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Author Topic: Small Worlds - a true notgame?  (Read 13327 times)
God at play

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« on: February 03, 2010, 09:27:50 AM »

http://jayisgames.com/cgdc6/?gameID=9

My case
There is an ending, but there's no explicit goal.  There are no puzzles, reward systems, and really not much in terms of rules.  The only rules are platforming controls, collisions, a fog-of-war + zooming mechanic, and teleportation.  I certainly don't consider those specific game-based things.

There's even a story, which is not told cinematically, but rather through the exploration itself.

Conclusion
This is a virtual, fictional interactive system with no specific game elements.  It is a notgame.
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David

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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 04:12:54 PM »

the goal is not explicit, but it is there yet i think. It is just not explicitly told to the player: he/she has to guess it.
the worlds look like "parcours" or courses and the goal is to reach the exit points.

thus i think it is a game.
however i like the ambiance and the message.

but it is limited by its game aspect.
for instance what is the meaning of the "jump" action?
this action seems to be only there for the game: the player has to jump to reach the end of the "obstacle course".
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 04:19:20 PM by alphonse » Logged
God at play

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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 06:34:41 PM »

Having to reach the end doesn't seem like a game-specific goal, though.  Not allowing the player to go back seems like a solution for playability.  If you let people go back, they might not realize that this is about exploring and be confused as to what to do.

As a notgame, it might be a weakness implemented in this way, but does not allowing the player to teleport back immediately prevent this from being a notgame altogether?

You could argue that the goal of any linear media is to get to the end; in TV specifically the viewer is forced to keep watching in order to find out the rest of the story.  Thus getting to the end as a goal does not seem specific to games.

I see jumping as an extension of basic movement, providing a slightly more in-depth way to explore a space.  The meaning of the jump action in this work would be that the space is more complicated than a simple plane, and thus it requires more effort to explore.  By jumping, you feel more like an explorer that has to squeeze into tight spaces and crawl up ledges and jump across them.  It adds an element of adventure to exploration.  To me as a notgame player, that's pretty meaningful.  I'd miss it if it wasn't there.

Hopefully I'm making sense here... Tongue
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ghostwheel

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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 09:05:35 PM »

I would agree with God at play - Small Worlds is a notgame. Gameplay-like elements doesn't make it a game. Worrying about gameplay elements sneaking in and "soiling" a notgame seems bit absurd to me. Limitations are something you work with in any medium and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Btw, coming here is the first time I've heard of the term "notgame" except someone mentioning it once in #tigirc but I don't think they understood what it meant. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure of what it means yet as it's definition still seems to be incomplete. I do get a general sense of what you mean be notgame and I like the sentiment. I'm just not sure I like the word.

Btw, I LOVE Small Worlds. Smiley
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Irony is for cowards.
God at play

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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 09:25:59 PM »

After defending Aether's game elements I think I see how you could make a case for Small Worlds' game elements.  I could see it either way now and understand what alphonse was saying. Tongue

On one hand, there are puzzles.  You could see each world you visit as a puzzle to find the portal back home.  And the level being very maze-like is the challenge of the puzzle.  You solve the puzzle by finding the exit.

On the other hand, preventing you from going back is simply a way to improve playability so players know the experience consists of them going forward and exploring this world.  The maze-like path to get to the exit is a scenic path to allow you to see the whole world.

So maybe this would fully be a notgame if you could go back to the base right away?

But then if that's true, how does the experience end?  When you visit all 4 worlds?  Does that mean you'd have to start over once you realized that's all there was to it?  Or would there be some other way to end?  A sort of "final door" to go through?

And does not forcing you to go forward reduce playability?  Would an average player know what to do without being forced to find the exit?

What would be gained by removing the otherwise minimal game elements from this?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 09:28:18 PM by God at play » Logged

Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2010, 11:07:12 PM »

I don't think we should be judging which is a "notgame" and which is not. It's irrelevant. What is important is whether we enjoyed it or not, whether we found it meaningful, beautiful, innovative, inspiring, etc. What if something is a "notgame" and it turns out to be boring and stupid? Does that mean that all "notgames" are boring and stupid? No, of course not.

I personally don't see "notgames" as a category at all. It's a design method for me.
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God at play

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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2010, 11:27:15 PM »

You know, that's an excellent point.  I kinda just went in circles over the top of myself trying to figure it out.  It seems more useful to just use it as a method as you say.

Thanks ^_^
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axcho

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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 01:19:29 AM »

I personally don't see "notgames" as a category at all. It's a design method for me.

Thank you for this reminder. Perhaps we should save this quote for such reminding purposes in the future? Smiley
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God at play

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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 07:02:26 AM »

Heh yeah...  But it's still good to break things down and figure out what elements are going on.  Because that leads to an essential question, which I concluded with:

What would be gained by removing the otherwise minimal game elements from this?

Sometimes the answer is "nothing", and that's ok.
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2010, 12:46:54 PM »

I think designing things with "notgames" in mind will be far more revealing than playing, or thinking about them. In my experience, it's only "with the hands in the clay" that you really understand what you're doing.
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David

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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 08:26:45 PM »

On one hand, there are puzzles.  You could see each world you visit as a puzzle to find the portal back home.  And the level being very maze-like is the challenge of the puzzle.  You solve the puzzle by finding the exit.

yes, it is what i mean. Personally, this lack of freedom frustrates me. It is not as watching a TV program or a film, but there is something of it... I don't manage to feel like i am in this world, because the author is always telling me "you have to go there", by the rules and the level design.

perhaps my problem is not about game elements but about freedom...
and perhaps this is a very personal need, that some other people don't have.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 08:35:01 PM by alphonse » Logged
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