Reading through classmates posts, I found that many of the responses got me thinking about the magic circle. The magic circle is defined by theorist
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.
I’ve been in many classes that reference Second Life, an expansive 3D virtual world built for socializing. So I decided to try it out! This blog post is about the tutorial and my reflection of its educational value. In videogames, the tutorials are usually a solo-venture. In Second Life, after choosing a sim character, you are immediately […]
I’ve been in many classes that reference Second Life, an expansive 3D virtual world built for socializing. So I decided to try it out! This blog post is about the tutorial and my reflection of its educational value.
In videogames, the tutorials are usually a solo-venture. In Second Life, after choosing a sim character, you are immediately placed in a virtual world with other new players. Some of them look just like you, because there are about 10 model sims to choose from. This immediately gave me the sensation of community, knowing that other people were learning the basics and might fail a few times. This initial stage also set the tone that Second Life is a social experience, whether it’s an adventure towards self-exploration or interaction with other players.
As I continued through the tutorial, I learned that we were in “Learning Island.” After the lessons which teach you the basic mechanics, you are encouraged to explore before going to “Social island,” since there’s no way to return.
I initially got frustrated, thinking that the game implied that learning is an isolated event. After some reflection, I think this was intentional and fits well with the purpose of Second Life. This separation communicates that learning emerges from interaction with others (learn more about Social Pedagogy here). Although Social Island doesn’t provide many opportunities to socialize directly with other players, I was free to explore the virtual space and learn through challenges.
There were two moments where my suspended belief was broken. There were times when, ironically, I felt alone in Social Island. I tried to chat with other players, and found myself assuming that each sim accurately represented their real world identity. How hypocritical of me! I was playing as a pear-shaped redhead – characteristics that in no way embody my real life identity.
As I was exploring, I happened upon a tablet that outlined the rules for game play. It was made very clear that although Second Life is a virtual world, the same social rules from the real world apply. You aren’t allowed to harass anyone. You will be punished for being rude or performing non-consensual behavior among another person. Second Life developers acknowledge that many players may want to take advantage of the magic circle that videogames traditionally embody. These rules are made clear so that people understand that there is little difference between the magic circle of real life and the one in virtual life. It is made more clear that the game establishes a safe space for all, and tries to democratize the experience for every player.
Earlier this year Britney Spears released her namesake videogame with Glu Mobile- the same developers of the wildly successful Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Britney Spears American Dream is the ultimate casual game: a free app available on the app store and Google play. In the game the player’s goal is to become an A-list pop star. The…
Earlier this year Britney Spears released her namesake videogame with Glu Mobile- the same developers of the wildly successful Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Britney Spears American Dream is the ultimate casual game: a free app available on the app store and Google play. In the game the player’s goal is to become an A-list pop star. The player completes tasks (dates, meetings, recordings, photo-shoots, etc.) to climb their way through the industry. In order to complete these tasks the player must use up units of energy, which replenish every few minutes in real time (a brilliant mechanic that keeps players constantly returning to the game multiple times per day.)
The game makers have employed other arguably brilliant techniques to earn money off of the game and reach out to new users. Players can buy energy, in game money and other rewards with real dollars. Players also earn in game prizes by sharing and promoting the game and the songs they’ve created in the game with others via social media. Linking the in game account with Twitter or Facebook accounts and sharing posts about the game gives players in game rewards and advances their rankings. Players’ real life friends can access and up-vote the songs created in game, boosting their ranking on the in-game charts. By reaching certain levels players can also unlock content relating to Britney Spears’ real life music and career.
A similar game mechanic is used in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, where developers will make clothing items and events that occurred/ existed in real life unlockable in the game. Glu Mobile also released games with Nicki Minaj, Gordon Ramsey, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Katy Perry, all with very similar gameplay and merging of game and real world.
This style of game blends the game world with the real world, almost requiring players to participate in both at the same time. Just by having a main character that is a real person (Britney herself) American Dream is trying to entangle itself with the real world. So, if a player of American Dream sends out tweets and statuses about their gameplay, does the magic circle really end once they quit the game app? Their posts on social media continue to exist for the purpose of drawing likes and in game advancement, leaving them in a constant state of play.