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So-Called Social Games

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language.

After having analysed some of the most-played Facebook games in previous instalments of this series (Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille 2, Puzzle Bobble Clones, Diamond Dash and Pet Rescue Saga), this final chapter looks at what is so “social” about these “social games” – if at all.]

It is a common assumption that games that are part of the Facebook platform are inherently more “social” than other games, since that platform offers the possibility to developers to tap into the social graph.

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The Critic's Curse, or: Does Science Take the Fun out of Games?

Some people suspect that if they know too much about a subject, they won’t be able to enjoy it anymore. Let’s call it the Critic’s Curse: because they have analysed so much, they will find fault in everything and enjoy nothing.

Of course, there are the people that argue that this also applies to game design, as outlined by Josh Foreman in a blog post over at Gamasutra:

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In the Search for the Game Design Auteur

One of the reasons why getting into game design right now is so interesting is the fact that part of the business, of the creative process and of the production is still forming – and in a constant state of flux.

While on one hand, game production teams have grown larger in order to produce even more content (after all, many AAA titles boast to have 50+ hours playtime – which is 25 times as much as a normal action film), other people reduced their teams and are producing awesome games with teams of three or four people.

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Pissing People Off

… is, apparently, something Tale of Tales are rather good at. Robert Yang has a neat timeline of the current events. And it is not the first time they make people angry.

Of course, you can debate the value of their provocations, you can debate their contribution to game culture –

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Now Introducing: Janina

In the future we will have reviews of new video games written by Janina Woods. Janina is – just as me – a future game designer and studies at the same university. She is well-known for her knowledge of Triple-A games.

In cooperation with PlayStation Switzerland, she will post reviews of new and upcoming PlayStation 3 games.

She is off to a fast start: here is her review of ModNation Racers (in German).

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