This game log is the final log for Knights of Pen and Paper. As such, I am required to have found research on the game. It should be noted, for example, that Knights of Pen and Paper is playable on the PC (Personal Computer), a fact that was unknown to me. However, Knights of Pen and Paper has not attracted the critical eye of the academic. This log will analyze the game through a casual-academic perspective, investigating its mechanics and narrative for deeper meaning.
By analyzing the mechanics of the game, I will be able to determine the nature of Knights of Pen and Paper. After reviewing my previous logs, I noticed that I have looked at this game through the lens of a “hardcore gamer,” if I may call myself that. In Jesper Juul’s Chapter 2 of A Casual Revolution, Juul describes casual games as containing five elements: fiction, usability, interruptibility, difficulty and punishment, and juiciness. To me, Knights of Pen and Paper fulfills these categories. The game is set in fiction, it has a usable game design (it’s simply clicking!), you can stop and resume whenever you like, the game requires a level of strategy and the player is punished for failing (losing gold or time), and the positive feedback from clicking on attacks is disproportionately high considering the action in the game.
I think Knights of Pen and Paper can be considered a casual game. Though some might argue that this leans closer to hard core, the game welcomes players, naïve and experienced, to join and learn about nerd culture. It’s narrative covers topics from fantasy to sci-fi as the TV Tropes link can show below. What made the game seem more relevant for inexperienced players is the final battle with Mom. Granted, I only made it to “A Journey’s End,” but I found a video with this ending: “WOWOWOWOW! GAME IS OVER, GG WP! Congratulations, you beat the game! You’re a hardcore player!” Suddenly the narrative tells the player that they are a hardcore player, which strikes me as something odd for a casual game to claim. But this indisputably recognizes how this casual game introduces themes, motifs, tropes, concepts from a variety of games (tabletop and videogames alike) and rewards the player of any skill level after defeating the Final Boss (Mom) by giving them the title “Hardcore Player.”
It should be safe to say that this game acts as a tutorial for people who want to play games in general. Knights of Pen and Paper uses a simple clicking mechanic to introduce a variety of ideas using humor and “dumbed-down” explanations to bring players to a common understanding. And as for the nature of the game, I think the amount of grinding (repetitive monster-fighting in this case) alone is enough to welcome noobz (new players or newbies) to the world of the hardcore gamer.
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