Aspects of Play: Console Games

Timesplitters on PS2

Firstly me and Scott had a few multiplayer games of Timesplitters, which is a first person shooter created by Free Radical Design, a company now known as Crytek UK. When playing this I realised that it is a very competitive game as the aim of it is to defeat the opposing players or team to reach the target score. Also this game has mimicry in it as you can choose from several default characters and play with them in the multiplayer part of the game. I found this game to be very disorientating as some of the maps were very confusing to move around, also the default movement for moving up and down was inverted which was very disorientating as you would press up but it would move downwards and vice-versa.

A feature that I enjoy on this game is the multiplayer and the large selection of characters and enemies. I enjoy this because each match that is played has different enemies to kill. Also the weapon selection in the game is quite vast and allows for much destruction depending on what weapon you have. The multiplayer aspect have lots of characters and weapons reminds me of ‘James Bond Goldeneye’ for the nintendo 64, as the multiplayer on that has a wide selection of characters to play as and weapons to use.

When playing this I never really got into a state of flow as I didn’t really get into the zone from constantly dying, I would say I got into a state of control as I won both games we played and I knew what I was doing to achieve this.


Call of Duty Black Ops 2 on XBOX 360

This is a first person shooter made by Treyarch. Like the Timesplitters game this was also very competitive as you are trying to defeat the opponent by reaching the target score within time. You are controlling a soldier within a squadron that are against another team of soldiers, so this game has mimicry within it. To play this game I don’t think it has chance or luck to play it, it requires skill to play it. The fast paced shooter has stun and flash bang grenades which slow the player down, disturb the players view and effect the sound of the game which is quite unsettling.

In Call of Duty games, perhaps the most popular part is the multiplayer. The most enjoyable thing about all the Call of Duty multiplayers in my eyes is the large selection of gamemodes that can be played. From a normal deathmatch or team deathmatch to the slow paced stealth mode, Search and Destroy.

I got quite put off a lot of the time while playing this as I kept dying and I didn’t know where I was going with it being the first time I’d played this Call of Duty so I didn’t reach a state of flow. I was very anxious while moving around as the surroundings were very confusing and I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t want to die or get killed by the enemy. But I’m sure if I carried on playing for a bit, I would get used to the surroundings and perhaps get into a flow state.


James Bond Goldeneye on Nintendo 64

James bond goldeneye is a first person shooter based on the film of the same name, created by a game’s company called Rare. The aim of the single player campaign is to follow the story which has been created to follow the films story. For this i played the multiplayer part of the game, where you can choose a charcter from the film to play as; there is a large selection of characters to choose from and play as which puts this game into the mimicry category. Once you’ve chosen your character you can alter the settings of a match, choose what guns you want to use, what map and other special options, once in the game the aim is to kill the opponents and reach the target score. When trying to aim manually on this game, it was very disorientating as the up and down sight controls are inverted which makes it difficult to control.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is were most of the fun happens, with is being an old nintendo 64 game, multiplayer games were rather rare. With many different game modes and weapons to use, it is very fun to play with friends and becomes quite addictive. A game type that really enjoy playing is the Golden Gun set, the golden gun was a one shot, one kill on someone without armor. In the game type, there was only 1 spawning golden gun in the level, so it would turn into a race to find the gun first.

Whilst playing Goldeneye I didn’t reach a state of flow due to the aiming controls being messed up, I found it hard to concentrate while the aiming would do the opposite of what I wanted. I would say I reached a state of anxiety as each player would be surrounding me and I couldn’t kill them because of the aiming controls.


Mario Kart 64 on Nintendo 64

Mario Kart 64 is a racing game developed and published by Nintendo, the aim of it is to race and defeat the opponents to first place. There are plenty of characters to choose from to race with, from Mario to the evil Bowser, this fits the game into the mimicry category. With it being a racing game, it is highly competitive due to all the racers trying to pip the others to the post. While playing this, we had 4 players playing at the same time which splits the screen into 4. This made it very difficult to see and understand where to go, very confusing. Also you can pick up power ups that gives you special weapons but when you get hit by these weapons it can make you spin out and make you disorientated.

The weapons in the game are well managed to where a player is positioned. For example, if a player is last or second to last in the race and they pick up a power-up, they have a greater chance of collecting a blue shell (hits the player in 1st) or getting a large mushroom (makes them go faster) or collecting a bullet (which turns them into a bullet and they shoot forward). On the other side, if you are first then you have a higher chance of getting a lot of shells and bananas, which are used to slow enemies down.

Sometimes while playing this I got into a state of flow but once I got hit by a weapon, it snapped me out of the state. Like the other nintendo 64 game I played I was very anxious due to constant threat of being hit by weapons.


Final Fantasy VII on PS1

This is a Role Playing Game created for the PlayStation 1 by Square Enix but I played this on my Playstation 3 as you are able to buy classic games on there. The game is based around a character called ‘Cloud’, who you play as throughout the game, along with many other characters and you have to level up and upgrade them; this definitely brings FFVII into the mimicry category of Caillois’s Aspects of Play. I found the game to be very competitive, not in the sense of playing against real people but against the many different enemies, it was making me want to defeat the enemies as fast as I could because there is always a constant barrage of attacks, you cannot proceed without defeating the enemies you encounter. I found some parts of the game very disorientating due to the small passages that you would have to find within a clustered scene.

Even with the simple graphics of the game, I was wanting to play more. The Turn based attack system used in the game happens to be the most fun, although when you first start out this can be quite slow and annoying, once you level your character up a bit they become faster and have much greater attacks to use. Allowing the player to quickly strategise against incoming attacks with a more powerful attack.

Although it has been a very long time since I played this, when replaying it I was getting sucked into the story again, this was making me want to play more and more; thus sending me into flow, completely ignoring the things around me.


Super Stardust HD on PS3

Super Stardust HD is a downloadable game from the PlayStation Store, it is a space shoot’em up where you control a small spaceship that is on a planet with asteroids and enemies flying towards you. I found this very competitive because I kept going back to try and defeat my own highscores, I also thing this to be a game of skill and not a game of chance due to the high amount of challenge when you get further and further into the levels. During some levels you can get bombarded by lots and lots of enemies and asteroids, for this you are usually equipped with a bomb for some well needed crowd control but if you don’t have a bomb then it can get rather complex and disorientating from all these things coming and spinning from different directions.

As there are 3 different types of meteors and asteroids that float towards you, the three different weapons have more power against certain types of meteor. I enjoy this feature because it makes you use all the guns instead of just using the same one all the time. Also the green crystals that float inside the meteors give out upgrades and extras to the player, so their weapons become even more powerful the more power ups they pick up, making the game even more fun to play.

From all the games I played I noticed I was in a state of flow for the longest time during playing this. This is due to the intensity of the game and the urge to defeat and get further into it.


Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on PS3

This is a Action Hack ‘n’ Slash game created by Platinum games and published by Konami. You play as a character called Raiden and you have to kill and defeat cyborgs with your sword. I found this game very fun to play as the fighting system was very different to other sword fighting games I’ve played, but after a while it got quite repetitive. As you play as a premade character this game falls under the category of mimicry, also it is very competitive because after you complete a large battle against bosses or if you complete a chapter, there is a high score system which can make you want to go back and try to beat your old score.

Although it is repetitive at times, there is a certain feature I enjoy and that is the target system on large enemies. On the very large enemies, you can attack various parts of their body, from lower legs, lower arms, body, head etc. Depending on where you attack frequently, this will change how the enemy reacts, which allows for a decent strategy against difficult enemies.

I got right into this game from the get go, this is because they put you directly into the story and you start hacking and slashing the cyborgs; this immediately put me into a state of flow from the intense sword battles, but after a while of playing, concentration starts to dwindle as it becomes repetitive. The story was the only thing making me want to continue.


Motorstorm RC on PS3

This is a downloadable PS3 racing game created by Evolution Studios, a little bit like Micro Machines on the old consoles, you control an RC car around well built tracks. This brought a lot of nostalgic memories back from when I used to play games like this when I was younger. There is two control types for the game, but I feel the second control type was unnecessary because it would do the complete opposite from what you did on the controller making you very disorientated. After completing each track it shows your friends scores on the certain track and it allows you to race their ghost, to see if you can beat it bringing it into the Agon category due to the competitiveness.

What I particularly like about this game are the well built tracks that you race on, in some games like this, the tracks can be rather confusing with various ways to get lost or stuck but the tracks in this allow for a more smoother race. Another element I enjoy is the viewpoint. The main top down orthographic view of the RC cars is imperative to the experience of games like this, giving the player a feel of racing real life remote controlled cars as the camera is positioned about head height. This feature is found in a few games like this, from all the classic micro machines games to the PS2 game ‘Drive to Survive’.

I didn’t find myself going into a state of flow but more a state of anxiety because of the weird controls which where sending off track frequently; although the tracks were nicely built and designed, the controls, not so much.


WWE 13 on PS3

This is a wrestling game created by THQ, within this game you can play as past and present wrestlers within all different kinds of scenerios which puts the game into the mimicry category; hell in a cell, cage match and ladder matches are some of the matches to play. Within the 2013 version of the game they have incorporated a new story mode called ‘Attitude Era’, which was probably the greatest time for the WWE, in this mode you play as past legends that made the attitude era what it was; wrestlers like HHH, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This brought back a huge sense of nostalgia because I grew up watching wrestling as a kid, as you are fighting other people, the game is put directly into the Agon category for its competitiveness.

A feature that has eluded previous versions of WWE in previous years has come to the 2012 edition, allowing characters to store up finisher moves. A finisher move is the characters biggest and most powerful move they can use, being able to store these up allows for more destruction in the ring with either one or multiple opponents. I particularly enjoy this feature because finishers can be used to do special moves against objects like the announcer table, a normal table or the crowd barrier; doing these types of moves creates an ‘OMG!!’ moment which was a phrase commonly said when something painful or crazy happened in the WWE.

When I started playing WWE 13 and got used to the controls, I got straight into a flow state, this is due to wanting to play the story from the attitude era as I wanted to know what happened next and the fact I was playing as some of the greatest wrestlers in some of the most greatest match ups made it even more likely.


Minecraft on PS3

This is an open world sandbox game where you collect resources and build whatever you want using what you’ve collected. Although I have spent many hours playing the PC version of this game, I thought I would try out the console version, and it is pretty much the same except missing a few items and features. As I had played this on a different system, I knew what I was doing; just finding the right location to start building was my first task. Getting used the the consoles controls was a bit tedious as I was used to using a mouse and keyboard for it, which I prefer because of ease of movement it offers. Even though it doesn’t offer everything the PC version offers, it definitely has its good points. The multiplayer is a fun aspect, as you can play splitscreen with another controller, this offers another level of fun as you can go exploring together, mining together and even start building together. The multiplayer is probably to most enjoyable thing as you can do a lot more stuff with 2 or more people playing, and it’s fun to see what other people can build.

Minecraft fits into a few of Caillois’s categorys, the first being Agon; as you can invite people to your game, you can play and create your own mini-games to play with each other and this can become quite competitive depending on the type of gamer they are. It also fits into the mimicry category as you are controlling a character that you can feed, level up and put to sleep. In the game there are potions that can be brewed and used for good and bad, but some of the bad potions can make you and your screen spin and make you very dizzy, so Minecraft also gets put into the Illynx category.

As I have spent many hours playing this on various platforms, my migration to the Playstation 3 version was fluid and required no introductions. It was easy to start gathering and building whatever I wished, so it was very easy for me to get into a state of flow.


To conclude the Aspects of Play of console games, I have noticed that games that have a good decent challenge for the player, a great story to follow, good gameplay and even being under pressure from timers can put a player into a state of flow, or at least it was the case for me. Games that has sudden intervals like deaths or loading screens will divert your attention, making you more likely to come out of the flow state or not be in it at all. Also I noticed the there are two common categories that keep popping up within researching console games and they where Agon and Mimicry, this is because many game developers know that popular and successful games are mainly competitive or have a sense of role play or character control.


~ by reeceharry on October 28, 2013.

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