[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Fri Oct 14 23:45:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Sean Howard spake thusly...

> There you go again, confusing the market place with the quality
> that can not be named...

> You make it sound like subjectivity is the catch all escape
> clause. Don't agree with an opinion, no matter how informed,
> articulate, or insightful - for any reason, not matter how stupid,
> shallow, or self absorbed - and it's okay because it's just
> subjective anyway. Not all subjectivity is created equal. Some
> opinions are WORTH MORE than others, and some opinions are worth
> so little as to be embarrassing (like those guys who think the
> moon landing was faked).

It seems to me that there are objective measures of quality for the
elements of any artform (which tend to be those that can be taught),
but that people's reaction to those various elements is where the
subjectivity comes in.

Perhaps a non-artform example will demonstrate what I mean better. A
car is fundementally an engineering problem - it's all mathematics
and physics and objective practicalities. You can objectively state
that the elements of some cars are better than others - better
quality of components, greater efficiency, reliability, etc.

Yet some of the "worst" cars out there are very popular with groups
of people. Why? Because of their subjective opinion of those
objective qualities. They may not care about the efficiency of the
engine, as long as it sounds very loud. Or they may just like the
shape, no matter how often the engine needs a service. Or whatever.

The point is to not confuse the objective atomic parts of a thing
with people's reactions to those parts. Chess has much greater depth
and replayability than naughts-and-crosses (tic-tac-toe). But some
people like depth, others don't.

I haven't seen (though I have "Theory of Fun" and "Rules of Play" on
order now) a decent detailed analysis of the elements of
games. Sure, we have gameplay, graphics, etc. but that's not much
different from looks, perfomance or handling when talking about cars
- useful, but not very precise. My attempt at something a bit more
descriptive is here:

  http://www.casual-tempest.net/playtheory/definitions.php

No doubt there's lots of holes to pick and comments to be made, so
please do. Hopefully over the weekend I'll get to write up the
analysis that this framework allows.

--
[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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