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Weeks 8, 9 Game Design

  1. 1. History of Videogames Part Two: The 1980s From Introduction to Game Study Chapter 5 Thanks to Frans Mäyrä & SAGE Publications MontanaTech
  2. 2. 1980s: Learning the Lexicon  1980s are remembered as “the culture of selfishness” and carried contradictions – the decade that brought prosperity and computers to homes was also the decade of Chernobyl and AIDS.
  3. 3. 1980s: Introducing Adventure, Characters and Fiction in Games  From 1970 to 1980 the total recreation expenditures in the US more than doubled.  Games profited from evolving technology by providing more complex digital entertainment.  The 1980s introduced fictional storytelling and character elements to mainstream digital games.
  4. 4. Pac-Man as a Pop Phenomenon  Pac-Man (Namco, 1980) was originally designed by Toru Iwatani, and in Japan it was called „Puck Man‟.  Designed to appeal to a wide audience, also females - one of the all-time most popular games.  Consciously avoided references to killing and war in its shell (imagery, thematic level).
  5. 5. Pac-Man‟s Characters  The main character was designed to illustrate the game‟s main activity: eating.  Chasing and escaping while navigating is the other main player activity.  Four ghost characters were differentiated by their colour and style of movement (which also gave them personality).  The ghosts‟ animated eyes showed their direction of movement. Image credits: Wikipedia,
  6. 6. Auteur Toru Iwatani  “I was interested in developing a game for the female game enthusiast. Rather than developing the character first, I started out with the concept of eating and focused on the Japanese word „taberu‟ which means to eat. The actual figure of Pac- Man came about as I was having pizza for lunch.”
  7. 7. Pac-Man Design  Pac-Man game design: arcade cabinet (US version, published by Midway), screenshots  Play a Pac-Man clone online: Image credits: The International Arcade Museum,
  8. 8. Game Genre Systems  Game genre can be based on the game‟s shell or iconography („space game‟) or its interactivity (type of action: a „shooter game‟),  From a descriptive linguistics perspective, genre terminology needs to be recognised by players to be truly useful.  Game genres are constantly being named and renamed by players, experts and game media: living game cultures are in a state of flux.
  9. 9. Genre of Pac-Man  If action and iconography decides the genre, Pac- Man can be called an „eating game‟.  Many classic board games are based on „eating‟ other player‟s game pieces.  Perhaps more importantly, Pac-Man is a „maze game‟: labyrinth navigation is a central feature.  The dynamics of chase increase the difficulty: player needs to multi-task in real time while navigating the maze.
  10. 10. Visual Storytelling  By the early 1980s, there was already an entire generation (shikaku sedai, the visual generation) living immersed in Anime and Manga in Japan.  Japanese popular culture influenced digital game design.  The Japanese games enhanced the gameplay experience by introducing recognisable characters, exploration-inviting places and rudimentary storylines to motivate action.
  11. 11. Donkey Kong (1981)  Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong included cut scenes (short non-interactive sequences or movies) to advance the plot.  The villain of the game is the ape, which escapes with „Jumpman‟s‟ girlfriend and the player is faced with the task of winning her back.  Jumpman would later be known as Mario, the most famous game character of all time.  The game narrative progresses through four different game screens with different building platforms to climb - making this the archetypal „platform game‟.
  12. 12. Donkey Kong Art  Donkey Kong arcade cabin, screenshots  Play a Donkey Kong clone online: Image credits: The International Arcade Museum,
  13. 13. Legacy of Donkey Kong  From the starting screen of escaping ape to the final screen with Jumpman rescuing the lady, Donkey Kong was able to convey an entire storyline.  The story progressed as a reward to successful player action - a solution that many games have replicated since then.  Many later Mario series games had similar features to Donkey Kong: sideways-depicted jumping landscapes, and „rescue the lady‟ type plots.
  14. 14. Popularity of Mario  The game designer of the Mario games (Shigeru Miyamoto) has become the most celebrated of all time - known also for the Legend of Zelda series.  More than 200 games with Mario characters have been published, selling nearly 200 million copies worldwide.  Relating to their popularity, Mario games have generally been well-designed: their high playability includes clear goals, immediate rewards from the successful use of game controls, enjoyable visual and audio design, and a „sense of magic‟ permeating their fictional universe.
  15. 15. More Depth of Character: RPGs  First tabletop RPGs (like Dungeon & Dragons, 1974) had their roots in miniature war games.  Typically RPG games involve the creation of a character with various attributes, such as strength and intelligence.  A game master (GM) will present the challenges of an adventure to players, who take on the roles of their player characters (PCs) during the adventure.
  16. 16. Early Computer Games: Text Adventures  Early computer games often relied on text and typing rather than graphics and audio.  The earliest text adventure game was ADVENT (1975-76), programmed by Will Growther and Don Woods.  Infocom produced famous games like Zork (1977-1980), and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1984).  EXAMPLE OF A TEXT ADVENTURE
  17. 17. Rogue-like Games  An alternative to text description was to use the computer monitor to draw images by using text characters.  Famous games of this type: Angband, Hack/NetHack, Moria, Rogue.  Known as ASCII graphics, these games only relied on basic letters and numbers (ASCII characters) to display the game world.  Rogue-like games often featured randomly generated dungeons, adding to their replay value.
  18. 18. Typical Rogue-like Interface ------ - Wall |....| ############ # Unlit hallway |....| # # . Lit area |.$..+######## # $ Some quantity of gold |....| # ---+--- + A door ------ # |.....| | Wall # |.!...| ! A magic potion # |.....| # |..@..| @ The adventurer ---- # |.....| |..| #######+..D..| D A dragon |<.+### # |.....| < Stairs to the previous level ---- # # |.?...| ? A magic scroll ###### ------- Source:
  19. 19. Adventure Game Types  Several distinctly different types of games with „adventure‟ elements exist.  Taking two key features, interaction temporality and the consistency of game world, the following table can be constructed: Game Genre Interaction Game World Example Temporality (mostly) Action RPGs Real time Random Diablo (1996) Interactive Fiction Turn-based Pre-scripted Zork (1980) Platform Games Real time Pre-scripted Donkey Kong (1981) Roguelike Games Turn-based Random NetHack (1985- 2003)  Contemporary games are often „action adventures‟, featuring both real-time interaction as well as interlinking puzzle structures.
  20. 20. Ultima RPG Series  Richard Garriott started the design of computer games while still at school.  His first published game was called Akalabeth (1979), made for Apple II personal computer. Akalabeth screen (Image  His Ultima series of computer RPGs is credit, Wikipedia, www.wikipe considered the longest running RPG franchise.
  21. 21. Ultima IV: Game with Thematic Depth  The fourth game in the Ultima series represented an attempt to go beyond hack- and-slash battles or straightforward puzzles.  The game follows the main character’s struggle to understand the Eight Virtues and reach Avatarhood.  The player can become engrossed in the fiction and ethical dilemmas, but it is also possible to face Ultima IV as „just a game‟.
  22. 22. Ultima IV Art  Ultima IV screenshots; install and play original Ultima IV for DOS or XU4 remake from Image credits: Origin/Electronic Arts; source:
  23. 23. Auteur Richard Garriott aka Lord British  Richard Allen Garriott (born July 4, 1961) is an English- American videogame developer and entrepreneur.  Also an avid magician.  Quotes A.C. Clark “Any technology sufficiently advanced in indistinguishable from magic.”