During my playing of Broken Age, I was interested in the way that the game’s format as a point-and-click game affected the game itself. As a point-and-click adventure game, Broken Age requires the player to use the computer mouse to interact with the world. I found this method of playing to provide a new element to the game itself, slightly altering the games classification when using Roger Caillois’ four classifications.
Using Roger Caillois’ classifications of games from his work, “The Classification of Games,” I noticed that Broken Age is clearly an agôn game. According to Caillois, agôn games are competitive games in which the player seeks to prove their superiority, be it superiority of speed, endurance, strength, memory, skill, or ingenuity (131). In Broken Age, the player seeks to prove their superior mind by solving the puzzles presented to them while progressing through Shay and Vella’s narratives. Solving the puzzles require the player to obtain objects and talk to various characters, all by clicking on them.
Broken Age does provide clues as to what objects to interact with and what non-player characters to talk to in order to gain the skills or objects needed to solve the current problem or puzzle. Through conversations with the non-player characters, Shay or Vella, and by extension the player, can hear helpful hints as to what type of objects they should be trying to find. While sometimes this is enough to aid the player, the game adds another layer of help.
As a point-and-click game, the cursor is an extremely important part of Broken Age as it leads to the completion of all the game’s actions. Typically the cursor looks like a normal mouse arrow. However, when the player hovers the cursor over an object that can be interacted with, the cursor changes into a starburst-type shape, cluing the player in to the fact that the object or character can be interacted with.
This cursor changes provides the game with another of Caillois’ classifications: alea. According to Caillois, alea games are all about luck and chance, “winning is the result of fate rather than triumphing over an adversary” (133). Thanks to the ability of the cursor to change and clue the player in to what objects are interactive, the player can simply wave the cursor around until they see the cursor change into the necessary starburst. This alters Broken Age from an agôn game that requires skill to pass through the puzzles to an alea game that affords the player the opportunity to wildly wave their cursor around until a solution appears, all as a result of the game’s format.
Caillois, Roger. “The Classification of Games.” The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Ed. Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. 129-47. Print.