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 … Continue reading Training Noobz into Hardcore Gamers →
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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In the previous Knights of Pen and Paper log, I mentioned how this mobile game is a sort of metagame in itself. My definition of metagame is similar to metatheatre where a game comments on itself or other cultural phenomena. I also brought up the Magic Circle, but there is an element of reverence that … Continue reading The Magic Circle of Reverence →
In the previous Knights of Pen and Paper log, I mentioned how this mobile game is a sort of metagame in itself. My definition of metagame is similar to metatheatre where a game comments on itself or other cultural phenomena. I also brought up the Magic Circle, but there is an element of reverence that I should discuss that explores how Knights of Pen and Paper is a metagame. The question I answer to the best of my ability is this: how does the Magic Circle and reverence combine in Knights of Pen and Paper to make a mobile metagame?
An understanding of the Magic Circle is necessary to see how this applies in Knights of Pen and Paper. The Magic Circle, as we discussed in class, comes from Johan Huizinga and his discussion of play and playgrounds (magic circles). With regard to this game, the Magic Circle is something similar to a sacred ground or ritual that gamers partake in while playing games, especially tabletop games. I thought the game would aim for a realistic story, but it seems broken as the Game Master and other characters make comments that point to the recognition of imaginary and real realms.
So how does reverence come into play? As Ian Bogost talks about reverence in his chapter “Reverance” in How to Do Things with Vidoegames, he explains how a videogame uses a church in a setting for Resistance: Fall of Man. Though people were outraged at the thought of using a real church as a setting, Bogost argues that the game shows people the significance of the church. In Knight of Pen and Paper, the game occasionally pokes fun at lame monsters or overused settings, but there is praise in its many jokes. With the little items that can be bought to customize the room, the buffs (upgrades) respond to cultural gags for those who identify as nerds.
Knights of Pen and Paper is undoubtedly a metagame. Not only does it break the Magic Circle, but it also breaks the Fourth Wall (basically the threshold separating performers and audience). And by making jokes about Dungeons and Dragons and other nerdy stereotypes, the game comments on its rules and other cultural topics. This form of metagaming expands itself to an audience that might be learning about tabletop games or to those who are veterans from the days before videogames.
After playing Knights of Pen and Paper, I remembered the fun of playing tabletop games in real life. From my own experience, translating tabletop games to videogames is no easy feat. The issues people face in this conversion has nothing to do with creating the right environments for fantasy or sci-fi, but they lie in … Continue reading Is Knights of Pen and Paper a Metagame? →
After playing Knights of Pen and Paper, I remembered the fun of playing tabletop games in real life. From my own experience, translating tabletop games to videogames is no easy feat. The issues people face in this conversion has nothing to do with creating the right environments for fantasy or sci-fi, but they lie in the numerous actions people can make in tabletop games. In this log, I would like to discuss my thoughts on Knights of Pen and Paper and its relationship with tabletop games and videogames.
As I mentioned before, the translation of tabletop games to videogames is quite difficult. This leads to videogames based on Dungeons & Dragons, for example, to fall through in terms of popularity. People want to play table top games because they offer a sense of creative freedom. Videogames, however, face plenty of limitations. It is too difficult for game developers to make a game that allows the player total freedom to do whatever they want since there are only so many programs most computers or consoles can run until the game crashes, especially for role-playing games. And in most RPGs (role-playing games), a narrative must form with cued actions from non-player characters (NPCs) according to the actions of the player.
Then how does Knights of Pen and Paper blend these two elements? First, it pays respect to the gamer stereotype. The room you play in looks like a basement where most people imaging tabletop games to occur. Also, though the player cannot say what they want, the party is created by the different “players” you can choose to fill the available chairs. In a sense, you control the “player characters” while the Game Master controls the monsters… until the game goes rogue!
The plot thickens when the Game Master reveals that he is not controlling the actions of his NPCs which reminded me of our class discussion of the Magic Circle. Knights of Pen and Paper seems to act under the premise, “What if the Magic Circle was a Magic Circle?” The objective to defeat those responsible for breaking the circle that separates reality from imagination is then born for the game’s plot. Using this plot, the player can experience the history of tabletop games (namely Dungeons and Dragons) and the tropes associated with these games, making this mobile game a metagame.