segunda-feira, 29 de outubro de 2012

Two good quotes from Raph Koster

Raph is one of my favorite authors. There are two excellent quotes from his book "A Theory of Fun for Game Design":

"When you're playing a game, it exercises your brain". (p.39)

"Since different brains have different strengths and weaknesses, different people will have different ideal games". (p.105)

About the author:

Raphael "Raph" Koster (born 7 September 1971) is an American entrepreneur, game designer, and author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design. Koster is widely recognized for his work as the lead designer of Ultima Online and the creative director behind Star Wars Galaxies. Since July 2006, he has been working as the founder and president of Metaplace (previously operating as Areae and acquired by social gaming company Playdom in 2010) producing an upcoming platform for online games also called Metaplace.


KOSTER, Raph. A theory of fun for game design. Arizona: Paraglyph Press, 2005.

terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2012

Huizinga’s magic circle

In the fields of gaming concepts and game design there's a very important author for reference: I'm talking about Johan Huizinga and in this post I want to discuss a very important concept: the idea of the "magic circle".

Johan Huizinga (1872 – 1945) was a Dutch historian and one of the founders of modern cultural history. In his book "Homo Ludens" (1938) he discusses the possibility that playing is the primary formative element in human culture.

In this book, the author presents the idea of the "magic circle". As described by Adams and Rollings (2009, page 8), Huizinga did not use the term as a generic name for the concept: his text refers to the actual playground, or a physical space for playing.

Inside the magic circle, real-world events have special meanings, as in the example below (ADAMS & ROLLINGS, 2009, page 8):

The magic circle is a place of dreams and fantasy. It's an escape for everyday problems and chores. And the most important: everything inside the magic circle is, in some way, transformative. Each time a person leaves the magic circle they bring meaning and experience.

Huizinga (1955, page 10) wrote that all play moves and have their existance within a playground marked off beforehand, either materially or ideally, deliberately or as a matter of course. Just as there is no formal difference between play and ritual, so the ‘consecrated spot’ cannot be formally distinguished from the playground. The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc, are all in form and function playgrounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. They are all temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.

In the image below I try to create a visual representation of the idea of the magic circle:

These ideas are essential to study and understand the gaming universe around the players and the impacts of the game culture in the mediatic scene and how important it can be for the contemporary world.


ADAMS, Ernest; ROLLINGS, Andrew. Fundamentals of Game Design. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009

HUIZINGA, Johan. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Boston: The Beacon Press, 1955.

terça-feira, 16 de outubro de 2012

Nintendo Wii U: First Impressions

Last week I tried the new Nintendo console Wii U at the Brasil Games Show fair (by the way, the biggest videogames fair in Latin America). After a long waiting, my friend Mauro Berimbau and I played a few games on the new platform. I'm going to share some opinions in this post.

In forty minutes we tried three games: New Super Mario Bros U, Nintendo Land (with the shuriken mini game) and Zombie U.

However, I don't want to make an analysis on the games. I want to highlight my very first impressions about the Wii U:

1. The tablet joystick is a little bit strange and big in a first moment. I really like the idea of a "second screen", but it's not very comfortable.

2. The graphics are average. New Super Mario Bros U is beautiful, but Zombie U could be better.

3. Everything made for Wii also works on Wii U (games, joysticks, accessories). That's a positive point.

4. It's clear to me: the Wii U focuses on families and casual players.

5. The tablet has a camera (there are games with camera interaction), the internet connection operates well, and the idea of the console is to be a kind of media hub. However, in my humble opinion, Nintendo is far from Xbox Live in the field of social networking.

6. The tablet joystick has potential with the second screen mode. But even PS Vita and Surface (Microsoft's tablet) have already been doing it.

I really want to buy the new console to play at home. I think I'll have new points of view about the product. Until there, let's enjoy a video about Wii U below.

Go gamers!

quarta-feira, 10 de outubro de 2012

New data about the brazilian gaming market

Brazil doesn’t have a formal gaming industry, and the country holds high levels of piracy. However, a recent survey made by a brazilian research institute shows that:

1 - There are 46 million gamers in Brazil (23% of the population);
2 - The most frequently used platforms: 67% console, 42% computer, 17% smartphone or tablet and 7% portable consoles.
3 - 47% of the gamer audience are women.
4 - The current market is US$ 500 million, but in 2016 the brazilian market is expected to reach US$ 2 billion.

There is no doubt that we have a potential market.

Then there is the question: why doesn't the market grow anymore?

The answer is: the lack of government incentives is delaying the development of the brazilian gaming industry. High taxes hinder progress. Bureaucracy keeps foreign companies away from our territory.

Isolated initiatives do not gain strength. What remains is to wait for better times.

terça-feira, 2 de outubro de 2012

About Super Hexagon

By Vince (@vincevader)

Super Hexagon is a minimal action game for iPhone and iPad created by game designer Terry Cavanagh, with soundtrack by Chipzel (a Northern Irish chip-musician).

It's a game in which you have to pay attention and enjoy the very creative gameplay. With very simple graphics, your goal is to escape from a weird maze with concentric walls while a repetitive music gives rythm to the movements.

Each game takes less than a minute to finish and the simple (and intuitive) interface makes you play more and more. Check the gameplay below:

Super hexagon is very successful among gamers and I think there are some reasons for this:

1) The game has the idea of "keep it simple".
2) The game has good content, intuitive mechanics and well defined interface.
3) Super Hexagon is elegant and can be considered a modern "Pong".
4) It is mobile, fast and can be played in any tedious moment.
5) It only costs one dollar.

Have you ever played Super Hexagon? Download it now and have a good experience. Enjoy!