sexta-feira, 30 de setembro de 2011

Games inside movies - episode I

There's a lot of good movies with games as the main plot. I want to show some of my favorites in this blog. In this first post I´ll show to you three great productions.

I'm talking about: The Game (1997), Existenz (1999) and Gamer (2009).

THE GAME (David Fincher, 1997). Is the story of a wealthy financier named Nicholas Van Orton that gets a strange birthday present from wayward brother Conrad: a live-action game that consumes his life. There are good references about ARGs (Alternate Reality Game) and transmedia storytelling in this movie.

EXISTENZ (David Cronenberg, 1999). A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged. Very weird movie.

GAMER (Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor, 2009). In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. This one is not a favorite of mine, but still a very fun movie.


terça-feira, 27 de setembro de 2011

My DIGRA 2011 publication: Using a game as an advertising piece for a brazilian politics campaign

I´ll share my DIGRA 2011 publication in this blog. I presented this case in 15th september (2011) in the Think Design Play Conference at Utrecht School of Arts and Technology (Hilversum). Enjoy!

We seek to analyze the use of a game as an advertising piece for a brazilian politics
campaign. We discuss the impact of a game in the mediatic scene of internet and how
important it can be for a new political scene in the contemporary world. Keywords: Serious game, internet, politcs, casual game

In this presentation we seek to analyze the use of a game as an advertising piece for a politics campaign. We are talking about the game “Pacto pelo Pará” (Pact for Pará –
Pará is a brazilian state), that was used on the elective campaign of governor Simão
Jatene in the year of 2010.

The game consists in a very intuitive interface, based on the well-known internet game
named Bejeweled. It has four stages and instead of gems, social problems (education,
sportes, healthcare) are presented, to be solved. The player needs to click in similar
ortogonal icons to eliminate them of the screen. A lateral score shows how much of the
objectives were accomplished. In the picture below, it´s possible to see the game interface.

Figure 1: the interface of the game. There´s a time counter, a score for points and a bonus multiplier. The icons in the center of the screen reflects social problems to be solved. (design and code by Cenildon Muradi Jr.)

The player, at the end of each stage, has the opportunity of sending their collaboration on a 140-character text form. The opinions expressed by each player at the end of each stage are put in a weblog and belong to an idea of a collaborative government. Obviously there’s a filter to ban the posting of offensive content. At the end of the fourth stage, the player has the opportunity of taking a picture using their webcam along with the point record achieved in the game, and challenging a friend to make a higher score. In the picture below, it´s possible to see this feature of the game.

Figure 2: in the end of a stage it's possible to send opinions, critics and praise about the social problems to the political group.

For a better understanding of the game there´s an internet adress for it in

This game fits on the Casual Game category, that, according to Gregory Trefay, can be
defined as games that are quick to play, accessibles and with a simple mechanics. In this kind of game: the rules and goals must be clear; players need to be able to quickly reach proficiency; casual game play adapts to a player´s life and schedule; game concepts borrow familiar content and themes from life.

It also enters the category of Serious Game, that following the thoughts of Nick Iuppa and Terry Borst, is explained as a game with a professional, educational or pedagogical use. a kind of game that mixes storttelling with a mechanics to send a serious message to the players envolved in the process.

We recently observed that the campaign for the U. S. President Barack Obama, amongst many other tools, used games and advertising inside games (in-game advertising) in it. We notice the importance of using a gamelike language to reach the digital-native audience. On the game Pacto pelo Pará, we notice the importance of using the game as an instrument of gathering, with an interface for social network and thus, becoming a viral marketing tool for the candidate’s campaign.

In this context, we use the idea of Johan Huizinga, author of the book Homo Ludens, in which he explains that in the human nature there is a tendency to play games or other ludic activities.

With this work, we sought to collaborate with the entertainment industry and the gamedeveloping area, specifically politic games.

View more presentations from vincevader


HUIZINGA, Johan. Homo Ludens. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2005.

Iuppa, Nick & BORST, Terry. Story and simulations for serious games: tales from the
. Burlington: Focal Press, 2007

TREFY, Gregory; KAUFMANN, Morgan. Casual Game Design. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann, 2010

PopCap Games. (2000). Bejeweled. [Intrenet, first version], PopCap Games, USA: played january, 2011.

segunda-feira, 26 de setembro de 2011

Quote of the day

“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”

SUITS, Bernard. The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia. EUA: Broadview Press, 2005

domingo, 25 de setembro de 2011

A little bit of ADVERGAMES

Advergame is "advertise" + "game". It´s a kind of strategy for marketing communication that uses games, mainly electronic, to advertise brands and products. That includes a large range that goes from games that are developed specifically for advertising purposes, to common games that have ads in its interface.

The internet and the video game consoles are great environments to use this strategy. Mobile media (cellphones, iPads, iPhones) are already being tested by companies that chose this marketing strategy too.

When we are talking about advergames it´s important to highlight two main concepts: in-game advertising and product placement.

IN-GAME ADVERTISING: it's just a replica of the real world ad brought into the virtual world, using banners, posters, radio spots and billboards. SSX3, the snowboarding game from Electronic Arts, shows Honda and Seven-Up billboards.

PRODUCT-PLACEMENT: it's about putting the product into the game context. The characters in the game Devil May Cry wear Diesel pants. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow" the character uses a Sony Ericsson p900 smartphone to solve missions, the player literally lives the virtual experience of using the device. In Worms 3D, from SEGA, the characters drink Red Bull in order to jump higher.

So, game could be publicity/promotion. Could be a brand experience. Could be an advertising space for companies. Now on to your opinion!

sexta-feira, 23 de setembro de 2011

What is Game Design?

I´ll talk a little bit about game design in this post. I think it's an important discussion to bring to the blog.

Game design is a process of: imagining a game; defining how it works; describing the elements that are going to be part of the game (concept, art, foundation); passing these data on to the team that will produce it.

And we can't forget to talk about game key-components . Game key-components are: core mechanics (the kernel of the game); the challenges and actions ; interface (how the player interacts with the game ); and storytelling engine (the immersive screenplay itself).

The graph below show us this idea:

We can use this ideas in any platform: board games, video games, war games, etc. It´s important to have a good sinergy between the player, the interface and the core mechanics.

If you like this concepts i'll suggest a very good book named Fundamentals of Game Design (ADAMS, Ernest. Fundamentals of Game Design. New Riders: 2009).


quarta-feira, 21 de setembro de 2011

How about "ludification"?

By Vince

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate at Think Design Play DIGRA 2011, a congress in the city of Hilversum, Holland. During the three days of the event, many themes were discussed, among them: the main tendencies for the game industry, the use of games in education and politics, new interactive interfaces using game mechanics and the influence of violence in electronic games. I took part on a “advertising and games” panel, where I exposed some cases and concepts of games used in political campaigns, from a category called “serious games”.

I had the chance to participate in many panels and see excelent key notes, but it was during a presentation of Professor Espen Aarseth – a major figure in the emerging fields of video game studies and electronic literature – that I had the insight that led me to start writing on this blog.

Aarseth criticized the use of the term “gamification” in the present scenario, meaning that there’s much more in the term - we are forgetting some previous and extremely important concepts when we talk about inserting game mechanics in a non-game atmosphere.

In order to continue Aarseth’s argument, I propose a term to dwell on: "ludification", instead of "gamification". When we discuss "gamification", we are only talking about games, and I believe the idea is to go beyond that. When we use the word ludus – latin for “play” – we realize that the idea is to instert much more than just game mechanics for processes that are not games.

I believe that, when talking about "ludification", we are thinking of playful interfaces in a broader way. It can be a game mechanic, as well as a deeper way of telling a story. I can be common element to the language of games, like the rolling of a dice, as well as it can be a cartoon in a different context.

My point is that this is the century of playfulness, and more than just thinking of a way to offer games to a diverse audience, we should learn how to offer varied languages of entertainment – where the game is also inserted.

Now on to your opinion!