[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) Re: POLL: Games ruined by bad players (Player killers, tank rushers etc)

Koster Koster
Mon May 4 09:58:21 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Saturday, May 02, 1998 12:04 PM cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA 
[SMTP:cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA] said:

>[JC Lawrence:]
>:I would note that any competitive game which involves the concept 
>:"beating" another player is actually a variation on the "killing"
>:games, just with a prettier face drawn over the gore via poker 
>:or property cards etc.  This suggests that the deliniation among 
>:on this point is specious, or at best artificial.
>OK, I'll bite. A difference you are paving over here is that of what 
>left after the different kinds of competition. In a game where the 
>is to defeat (avoiding the perhaps loaded term 'beat') other players 
>some task such as property management, risk management, economic 
>casting, etc., both players are still around at the end of the game. 
>fact, both players may well be improved by the game in that they now 
>better at whatever the game involved. In a game where the goal is to 
>the other player, one of the player's (in the game context) is gone 
>the game is done. Hence, there is likely to be a significant net loss 
>available resources after the game is over. So, I think painting all
>competitive games with the same brush is unwarrented.

A very good point. However, there's the issue of whether "in the game 
context" is particularly significant in this case. (And I don't have a 
definite answer). We may see it as more 
[altruistic/noble/moral/whatever] for there to be something 
constructive as a result in the game context, but that's possibly 
merely evidence of our bias as persistent world designers. For the 
designer of say, a head to head fighting game, the desired 
"constructive" result might be a better understanding of the code of 
Bushido (as in Square's "Bushido Blade" fighting game), or of the 
techniques of Tae Kwon Do. Who cares if within the (ephemeral) game 
context one of the characters is left standing? Even in strategic 
resource management games, you often exterminate the opponent 

I brought up on Ola's now inactive graphical mud design list the work 
of Bruno Bettelheim as it applies to what we on this list term GoP 
players. Bettelheim in his studies of child psychology differentiated 
between "play" and "game." Play as he defined it, was not competitive, 
and game was. And I argued (somewhat unsuccessfully) that virtual 
environments will stay what we term "games" in the industry because 
they have to satisfy the desire to be either a "play space" or a "game 
space"--or else there is effectively nothing to do there. Play is 
communicative, more than anything. It is about information. It is 
socializers, roleplayers, and explorers, in-game merchants, 
storytellers, etc. Game is about power and standing (not 
unsurprisingly, Bettelheim said that there were clear biases towards 
"play" or "game" in small children depending on gender).

Most muds, even those oriented towards play spaces, haven't tended to 
give a very wide scope for play. The most complete play spaces, such 
as MUSHes, have such a high barrier of entry for true "play" ("let's 
make TinyTim's clock!" "Sure! Let me just pull up my custom softcode 
editor with integrated debugger!") that they are self-limiting...


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