quarta-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2012

Essential books (and texts) about game design & gaming concepts - EPISODE V

In this moment I'm reading "Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames", a very good book from Ian Bogost. Click here to buy. Another essential edition to your library with great ideas for new researches.

And I want to share two important .PDF texts about persuasive technology below:

BERDICHEVSKY, Daniel & NEUENSCHWANDER, Erik. Toward an ethics of persuasive technology. Communications of the ACM, May 1999/Vol.42, No.5 (click here to download)

FOGG, B.J. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (Chapter 3: Computers as persuasive tools). Morgan Kaufmann: 2003. (click here to download)

quarta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2012

Dungeons & Dragons: the eternal classic

I would like to write a special tribute to Dungeons & Dragons Role-Playing Game in my blog's 100th post. D&D was my first truly immersive experience in a non-digital game. I think my first contact with this RPG happened in 1989 (I was 10 years old) and it was an entrance door to the world of many other role-playing games.

Dungeons & Dragons is a very special game. As the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (1991, p.5) describes

Role-playing games are interactive. One player (the Dungeon Master) provides the narrative and some of the dialogue, but the other players, instead of sitting and envisioning what’s going on, actually participate. Each player controls the actions of a character in the story, decides on his actions, supplies his character’s dialogue, and makes decisions based on the character’s personality and his current game options. The Dungeons & Dragons game is a fantasy role-playing game. This means that it’s set in a world where men and women can wield powerful magic, where monsters like dragons thrive, and where heroes like Sinbad, Hercules, and Lancelot abound”.

D&D evolved and had many versions in different platforms like card games, video games, board games and a lot of books. Until today the game is a success and congregates a lot of fans.

The way I see it, Dungeons & Dragons has two essential components of immersion described by Roger Caillois in his book “Man, Play and Games” (1961): we are talking about the mimicry (the theatre, the role-playing, the interpretation of a character) and the alea (the rolling of the dice, the luck, the chance).

The magic literally occurs with a good narrative, the role of a character and the unexpected rolls of the polyhedral dice. The mix of these elements results in one of the most famous games in the world. It's a very rich game without doubt.

I believe RPG must be studied more broadly in the academic field. RPG can be an excellent tool for research and education.

What do you think about that?

Well, and to finish this post: long live to the Gaming Conceptz! Go gamers!


ALLSTON, Aaron & others. Dungeons & Dragons: Rules Cyclopedia. USA: TSR Inc, 1991.

CAILLOIS, Roger. Man, Play and Games. USA: Illinois University, 2001.

terça-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2012

Persuasive games

In a very objective way, persuasive games are games that influence players to take action through gameplay.

Despite being just another terminology in the world of games, I think it is important to pay attention to it.

According to Ian Bogost (author of "Persuasive Games”, founding partner of "Persuasive Games Company" and Professor of Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology), games can communicate differently than other media; in this context they not only deliver messages, but also simulate experiences. While often thought to be just a leisure activity, games can also become rhetorical tools.

In the website http://www.persuasivegames.com we can find a lot of good examples of this gaming category. Some of them deserve special highlights, like "Windfall" - a very creative strategy game about building wind farms to create clean energy profitably. Another one is "Fatworld", a very curious game about the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the contemporary U.S.

The great question about this subject is: does it work?

I think it’s early to answer this question and we need a lot of research in this area to have a more objective view. One thing is sure: games are not just for fun.

I really recommend Mr.Bogost's book to cast a light in this discussion. Enjoy!


BOGOST,Ian. Persuasive Games. The MIT Press, 2010 (paperback) http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/persuasive-games

sábado, 8 de dezembro de 2012

Great day with great content

Today was a day full of games here in São Paulo (Brazil). The event "Media On" brought Espen Aarseth (from Denmark) and Gonzalo Frasca (uruguay) for special presentations about ludology and games & culture.

Again, I had the opportunity to talk with these two masters. Great ideas and great inspiration.

Go gamers!

Click HERE for an exclusive interview with Aarseth and HERE for an exclusive interview with Frasca.

quarta-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2012

Paidia & Ludus

In a very synthetic vision, games can be placed on two opposite sides: paidia and ludus. Both expressions used by Roger Caillois in his book "Man, Play and Games".

Paidia means spontaneous play. It's free improvisation, like children creating rules in real time at the backyard, uncontrollable imagination giving life to fantasy worlds using cardboard boxes. Paidia is our childhood essence that arises in some moments of our adult lives.

Ludus means controlled play. Games with rules, manuals, limits and instructions are part of this context. In a game designing process, it's important to identify our audience in order to create a good balance between these two opposite sides (or no balance whatsoever).

The card game Dixit is a good example of balance between paidia and ludus. Let's check the summary of rules from the site Board Game Geek:

"One player is the storyteller for the turn. He looks at the 6 images in his hand. From one of these, he makes up a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players). The other players select amongst their 6 images the one that best matches the sentence made up by the storyteller.

Then, each of them gives their selected card to the storyteller, without showing it to the others. The storyteller shuffles his card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up, randomly, and every player has to bet upon what picture was the storyteller's.

If nobody or everybody finds the correct picture, the storyteller scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise the storyteller and whoever found the correct answer scores 3. Players score 1 point for every vote for their own picture. The game ends when the deck is empty or if someone reaches 30 points,so he wins.Otherwise the greatest total wins the game".

In Dixit, the ludus components are the scoring, points and turns of the game. The paidia is the free and cathartic storytelling about the cards, every game of Dixit is different and becomes unique with different players.

Sometimes it's even possible to create chaos with rules.

So, what do you think about that?