Weeks 6, 7 Game Design

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From Introduction to Game Study, Chapter 4 History of Videogames Part One: The 1970s MontanaTech Thanks to Frans Mäyrä & SAGE Publications
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This presentation is from Intro to Game Design at Montana Tech.

Transcript of Weeks 6, 7 Game Design

  • From Introduction to Game Study, Chapter 4

    History of VideogamesPart One: The 1970sMontanaTechThanks to Frans Myr & SAGE Publications

  • Multi-Layered Meaning MakingBehind their digital surface, many games are remediated versions of old games.Games have a close relationship with advances of technology. Early games like Tennis for Two or Spacewar were developed and used as demos of the powers of new technology.It can be said that interactivity is what games are and what they do, at the very core of gameplay, hence they are great demos for the lastest hot tech.

  • Ralph Baerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LsRGUODHlQDeveloped the "Brown Box" console video game system and several other prototypes in 1966. In 1971, it was licensed to Magnavox, and after being renamed Magnavox Odyssey, the console was released to the public in 1972. Created the first light gun and game for home television use, sold grouped with a game expansion for the Odyssey, known as the Shooting Gallery.[7] The light gun itself was the first peripheral for a video game console.Another invention is Simon, an electronic pattern-matching game that was immensely popular in the late 1970s.Innovator

  • Games at the Forefront of ComputingNon-keyboard interfaces, immersive alternative realities and anthropomorphic characters were introduced by games (Bushnell, 1996).Games demonstrate how computer software can be designed to be highly usable and enjoyable.According to this view, games lead the way into an information society where most people are computer literate.MOORES LAW says that computer power doubles every 18 months.

  • Game ClassicsThe concept of classic relates to a standard of excellence, which is referred to in discussions that compare, contextualise and make sense of different (artistic) phenomena.As distinct from Genre, Canon refers to a body of great works that a civilised person is supposed to know.This textbook introduces a certain group of classic games but many alternative canons of digital games can be created.

  • Three Decades of Digital GamesOur focus will be on three decades: 1970s, 80s and 90s.There is no agreement of the exact periods in games historiography.The golden age of video games can, in different sources, refer to e.g. the years 19781981, 19781985, 19711983 or 19711984.The early period is generally seen as more influential, original and important for game development than the years from late-1980s onwards.

  • Games in the Information SocietyIn social history terms, playing of popular games is rooted in the rise of affluence and free time in the late industrial societies.Hobbies are activities that reflect and reproduce the values and activities typical to the work place.Several thinkers have written about transition into an information society, where the main emphasis is on knowledge and information in various forms.

  • Games in the Information SocietyA digital game is immaterial information software code therefore the rise of the games industry is an interesting example of the information economy in action.The instability of the games industry has displayed the risks of an information economy.History includes the video game crash of 1977, then 1983, foreshadowing the dot-com crash of 2000-2002.Despite this, the trend appears to be moving towards experience economy or media society.

  • 1970s: Learning the LexiconThe 1970s introduced the first video games, both in arcades and into homes.Growing gradually more complex, the early games introduced players with the evolving grammar and lexicon (sets of key conventions) of gaming.

  • PONG (1972): Popular and SimpleWatch video of original arcade PONG gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPkUvfL8T1IPlay a simple, single-player version of PONG: http://www.xnet.se/javaTest/jPong/jPong.htmlMore PONG remakes: http://www.pong-story.com/pcpong.htm Image credits: Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pong.png More on page 58

  • Al Alcornhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWvjSppMqdAAtari designer of Pong in 1972 the birth of interactive entertainment.Simple core gameplay and key factors of success:

    1. easy to learn controls2. Familiar game mechanics3. Infinite variety generated by multiplayer interaction


  • Secrets of PONGThe core gameplay idea is already widely familiar from tennis, squash and other similar, physical games.Players know immediately what to do.The single, turn-knob controller is easy to handle, but hard to master.The on-screen PONG paddle was divided into eight segments, so that hitting the ball with the edges would produce angle shots.As a two-player game against a real person as an opponent, PONG would provide infinite variety in its gameplay.

  • History of Gaming DevicesThe physical and electronic characteristics of gaming devices matter considerably for most gamers.The earliest digital games were often created with mainframe computers in research laboratories and universities.Four main routes of mainstream game evolution:arcade gaming consoles (arcade video games)home video game consoles (video games)home computers (computer games)handheld consoles (electronic games).

  • There have been many kinds of special controllers developed for digital play.Sometimes a good controller has provided a particular system with the necessary competitive edge.Evolution of ControllersAbove Atari VSC/Atari 2600 (1977); below, Nintendo Famicom/NES (1983)Image credits: Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org

  • Shooter Game: Space Invaders (1978)Shooting galleries were popular as fairground attractions.Different kinds of digital shooters have become one of the most popular kinds of action games.Space Invaders by Japanese Taito appeared as a mixture between pinball and a Marvel comic. (Sellers, 2001)Introduced high score which contributed to the social playability of the game.Image credits: The International Arcade Museum, www.klov.com; The History of Computing Project, www.thocp.net

  • Toshihiro Nishikadohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7PNELxGPF8What Nishikado achieved at the level of shell or representation, was the theme of a battle of laser defence against invading space aliens.This effectively recreatedthe simple core concept into a new kind of shell experience a science fiction action adventure. Designer/Engineer

  • PlayabilityPlayability is a concept related to HCI usability which relates to learnability, memoriability, and effectivity of use. The extension of usability into the area of fun.Four divisions: Functional playability usability of game and its controls.Structural playability enjoyability of balance of game rules and challengesAudio Visual implementation of a/v into experience.Social playability what kind of social practices the game is suitable for.

  • 1980s: Introducing Adventure, Characters and Fiction in GamesFrom 1970 to 1980 the total recreation expenditures in the US more than doubled.It is questionable whether there was actually more leisure time available - people just used more money on leisure and entertainment.Games profited from evolving technology by providing more complex digital entertainment.The 1980s introduced fictional storytelling and character elements to mainstream digital games.

  • Pac-Man as a Pop PhenomenonPac-Man (Namco, 1980) was originally designed by Toru Iwatani, and in Japan it was called Puck Man.Designed to appeal to a wide audience, also females - one of the all-time most popular games.Consciously avoided references to killing and war in its shell (imagery, thematic level).Small, cute characters and cheerful melodies were designed.Pac-Man toys, cereal, lunchboxes, a hit song and an animated cartoon series were produced to profit from its success.

  • Pac-Mans CharactersThe main character was designed to illustrate the games main activity: eating.Chasing and escaping while navigating is the other main player activity.Four ghost characters were differentiated by their colour and style of movement (which also gave them personality).The ghosts animated eyes showed their direction of movement.Image credits: Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org.

  • Pac-Man DesignPac-Man game design: arcade cabinet (US version, published by Midway), screenshotsPlay a Pac-Man clone online: http://www.thepcmanwebsite.com/media/pacman_flash/ Image credits: The International Arcade Museum, www.klov.com.

  • Game Genre SystemsGame genre can be based on the games shell or iconography (space game) or its interactivity (type of action: a shooter game),Large numbers of possible actions exist in games (listing them, Mark J.P. Wolf classifies games into 42 different genres).From a descriptive linguistics perspective, genre terminology needs to be recognised by players to be truly useful.Game genres are constantly being named and renamed by players, experts and game media: living game cultures are in a state of flux.

  • Genre of Pac-ManIf action decides the genre, Pac-Man can be called an eating game.Many classic board games are based on eating other players game pieces.Perhaps more importantly, Pac-Man is a maze game: labyrinth navigation is a central feature.The dynamics of chase increase the difficulty: player needs to multi-task in real time while navigating the maze.

  • Puzzles and GamesChris Crawford (1984) compares and differentiates games from puzzles, stories and toys.The quality and degree of interactivity is the key.A puzzle does not actively respond to moves made by man (a static puzzle is not a dynamic system).Even a classic jigsaw puzzle can be made into a digital game - see http://www.jigzone.com/ (adds real-time counters, competitive challenge or conflict).

  • Visual StorytellingBy the early 1980s, there was already an entire generation (shikaku sedai, the visual generation) living immersed in Anime and Manga in Japan.Japanese popular culture influenced digital game design.The Japanese games enhanced the gameplay experience by introducing recognisable characters, exploration-inviting places and rudimentary storylines to motivate action.

  • Donkey Kong (1981)Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong included cut scenes (short non-interactive sequences or movies) to advance the plot.The villain of the game is the ape, which escapes with Jumpmans girlfriend and the player is faced with the task of winning her back.Jumpman would later be known as Mario, the most famous game character of all time.The game narrative progresses through four different game screens with different building platforms to climb - making this the archetypal platform game.

  • Donkey Kong ArtDonkey Kong arcade cabin, screenshotsPlay a Donkey Kong clone online: http://donkey-kong.freeonlinegames.com/ Image credits: The International Arcade Museum, www.klov.com.

  • Legacy of Donkey KongFrom the starting screen of escaping ape to the final screen with Jumpman rescuing the lady, Donkey Kong was able to convey an entire storyline.The story progressed as a reward to successful player action - a solution that many games have replicated since then.Many later Mario series games had similar features to Donkey Kong: sideways-depicted jumping landscapes, and rescue the lady type plots.

  • Popularity of MarioThe game designer of the Mario games (Shigeru Miyamoto) has become the most celebrated of all time - known also for the Legend of Zelda series.More than 200 games with Mario characters have been published, selling nearly 200 million copies worldwide.Relating to their popularity, Mario games have generally been well-designed: their high playability includes clear goals, immediate rewards from the successful use of game controls, enjoyable visual and audio design, and a sense of magic permeating their fictional universe.

  • Mario in the List of Best-Selling GamesEstimations of digital games that have sold over 10 million copies:Super Mario Bros. (NES version) - 40.23 millionTetris (Game Boy version) - 30 millionPokmon Red, Blue and Green (Game Boy version) - 20.08 millionSuper Mario World (SNES version) - 20 millionSuper Mario Bros. 3 (NES version) - 18 millionThe Sims (PC version) - 16 millionPokmon Gold and Silver (Game Boy version) - 14.51 millionSuper Mario Land (Game Boy version) - 14 millionNintendogs (Nintendo DS version) - 13.6 millionPokmon Ruby and Sapphire (Game Boy Advance version) - 13 millionGrand Theft Auto: Vice City (PlayStation 2 version) - (13 million)Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PlayStation 2 version) - (12 million)Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PlayStation 2 version) - (11 million)Grand Theft Auto III (PlayStation 2 version) - 11 millionSuper Mario 64 (Nintendo 64 version) - 11 millionPokmon FireRed and LeafGreen (Game Boy Advance version) - 10.66 millionGran Turismo (PlayStation version) - 10.5 millionSuper Mario Bros. 2 (NES version) - 10 millionPac-Man (Atari 2600 version) - 10 millionSource: www.wikipedia.org

  • Shigeru Miyamotos Titles in Game FranchisesEntire series of games have been produced, known as franchises. List of game franchises with more than 25 million units sold:Mario (more than 193 million)Pokmon (155 million)The Sims (85 million)Final Fantasy (75 million)Tetris (60 million)Madden NFL (60 million)The Legend of Zelda (52 million)Grand Theft Auto (52 million)Donkey Kong (48 million)Gran Turismo (47 million)Sonic the Hedgehog (44 million)Lineage (43 million)Dragon Quest (41 million)Crash Bandicoot (34 million)Tomb Raider (32 million)Resident Evil (31 million)James Bond (30 million)Mega Man (27 million)Medal of Honor (27 million)Command & Conquer (25 million)Street Fighter (25 million)

    Source: www.wikipedia.org

  • More Depth of Character: RPGsRole playing games (RPGs) have developed into different varieties: pen-and-paper or tabletop RPGs, live action role playing (larp) and computer RPGs.First tabletop RPGs (like Dungeon & Dragons, 1974) had their roots in miniature war games.Typically RPG games involve the creation of a character with various attributes, such as strength and intelligence.A game master (GM) will present the challenges of an adventure to players, who take on the roles of their player characters (PCs) during the adventure.

  • Early Computer Games: Text AdventuresEarly computer games often relied on text and typing rather than graphics and audio.The earliest text adventure game was ADVENT (1975-76), programmed by Will Growther and Don Woods.The player would read descriptions from the screen and type in commands like go north.Infocom produced famous games like Zork (1977-1980), and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (1984).

  • Rogue-like GamesAn alternative to text description was to use the computer monitor to draw images by using text characters.Famous games of this type: Angband, Hack/NetHack, Moria, Rogue.Known as ASCII graphics, these games only relied on basic letters and numbers (ASCII characters) to display the game world.Rogue-like games often featured randomly generated dungeons, adding to their replay value.

  • Typical Rogue-like Interface -------Wall |....|#############Unlithallway |....|##.Lit area |.$..+#########$Some quantity of gold |....|#---+---+A door ------#|.....||Wall #|.!...|!A magic potion #|.....| #|[email protected]|@The adventurer ----#|.....| |..|#######+..D..|DA dragon |
  • Adventure Game TypesSeveral distinctly different types of games with adventure elements exist.Taking two key features, interaction temporality and the consistency of game world, the following table can be constructed:

    Contemporary games are often action adventures, featuring both real-time interaction as well as interlinking puzzle structures.

    Game GenreInteraction TemporalityGame World (mostly)ExampleAction RPGsReal timeRandomDiablo (1996)Interactive FictionTurn-basedPre-scriptedZork (1980)Platform GamesReal timePre-scriptedDonkey Kong (1981)Roguelike GamesTurn-basedRandomNetHack (1985-2003)

  • Ultima RPG SeriesRichard Garriott started the design of computer games while still at school.His first published game was called Akalabeth (1979), made for Apple II personal computer.His Ultima series of computer RPGs is considered the longest running RPG franchise.

    Akalabeth screen (Image credit, Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org)

  • Ultima IV: Game with Thematic DepthThe fourth game in the Ultima series represented an attempt to go beyond hack-and-slash battles or straightforward puzzles.The player is destined to become Avatar, a hero figure who is faced with various ethical choices.The game follows the main characters struggle to understand the Eight Virtues and reach Avatarhood.The player can become engrossed in the fiction and ethical dilemmas, but it is also possible to face Ultima IV as just a game.

  • RPG Player StylesIn late-1990s, participants in the rec.games.frp.advocacy Usenet newsgroup developed Threefold Model to identify different playing styles.It is one of the key player or play style typologies, differentiating between:dramatist (values how well the in-game action creates a satisfying storyline)gamist (is focused on game challenges, winning the game)simulationist (values above all a coherent and believable, simulated game world).(Source: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/threefold/)

  • Ultima IV ArtUltima IV screenshots; install and play original Ultima IV for DOS or XU4 remake from http://xu4.sourceforge.net/download.php Image credits: Origin/Electronic Arts; source: www.mobygames.com.

  • Assignments on Diversifying Game Cultures The birth of a genre:select a digital game (preferably from the 1980s) that you consider to have started a new genre. Give a short description of it, and give your reasons for attributing it as the first in a particular game genre.Maps in games:look for examples of the use of maps in games; describe and discuss them. You can either take a particular game and map, or write about the role of maps in games in general.

  • Map of Britannia, shipped with Ultima IV.Image credits: Origin/Electronic Arts; source: www.uo.com.

    *Pre-gameclass trivia.

    *Think of how popular Solitaire has been for Windows OS for example. Other examples?

    Early games like Tennis for Two (which we saw earlier) or Spacewar were developed and used as demos of the powers of new technology.

    Very few software programs can deliver similar experience of genuine and rewarding interaction with the system as do games.**From a historical perspective, the role of gaming hardware is relevant for understanding the quality of gameplay in digital games. Technological decisions influence how the game looks, sounds, and feels eg raster rather than vector graphics, synthsized audio vs digital samples. We need to be able to make distinctions both in terms of the core gameplay rules of interaction and in the multiple layers codified representations built on top in terms of the shell.*Closer to Taxonomy or styles of games. In film classic refers to what? Fictive hollywood Style. Realism or documentary in another style expressionistic/formatlist is another style. Could be canons too I guess.Great Canons Biblical Canon, Aesthetic Canon of Beauty. Overall big picture or meta-standard.**Hobbies are activities that reflect and reprorduce the values and activities typical to the work place EVEN IF THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES AS A BREAK FROM WORK! EG? Sims? Alvin Toffler, Manuel Castells and others have written

    *Hobbies are activities that reflect and reprorduce the values and activities typical to the work place EVEN IF THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES AS A BREAK FROM WORK! EG? Sims?

    *You found nothing strange about Bert and Ernie living together. You remember "Friday Night Videos" before the days of MTV. Leg warmers were cool. Schoolhouse Rock played a HUGE part in how you learned things like grammar, math and history. (A big hint here is if the only way you can recite the Preamble to the Constitution is by singing it.) You learned to swim at about the same time "Jaws" came out... and still carry the emotional scars to prove it. You ever had a Dorothy Hamill haircut or used Short and Sassy shampoo. You remember having to get off the couch to change the TV channel. If male: your first love was Marsha Brady, Jeannine, Samantha from Bewitched, Josie or any one of the Pussycat. You were unsure if Diet Coke would ever catch on. You ever asked to be gagged with a spoon. You remember the days when "safe sex" meant "my parents are going out of town". Chevy Chase was really funny in those vacation movies.*From Page 58. *Wrong in book. It is ALCORN.Png repackegd in america into a the Atari Home console in 1975.****We have covered some of this material*Tomohiro Nishikado (, Nishikado Tomohiro?) (born 1944 in Osaka Prefecture) is a Japanese video game developer. He is best known as the creator of the video game Space Invaders, released to the public in 1978 by the Taito Corporation of Japan.**************************