A Little Ditty about Jack and Diane (over at Frontierville)

I did a little writing over at the Critical Gaming Project blog (a short little ditty about Zynga’s Frontierville game).  It is a sample “critical game review” for Tim Welsh and my focus group this quarter:

Frontierville, a Casual Queer Reading

As I was re-reading the introduction to Jesper Juul’s A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players and thinking about what I could possibly say about the current bumper crop (pun intended) of web-based, social networking-based games (like the Zynga oeuvre, including Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafe World, and now Frontierville and Cityville), I am struck by the following passage:

Mimetic games move the action to player space, but many of them also encourage short game sessions played in social contexts.  Such games, like all multiplayer games, are socially embeddable: games for which much of the interesting experience is not explicitly in the game, but is something that players add to the game.  For example, if playing a competitive match of Guitar Hero or Wii Tennis, the game takes on meaning from the existing relations between the players.  Playing a game against a friend, a significant other, a boss, or a child, adds meaning and special stakes to the game.  Furthermore, people playing mimetic interface games are often themselves a spectacle, making these games more interesting even for those who are not playing. (Juul 20)

Read the full text (with screen shots): https://depts.washington.edu/critgame/wordpress/2010/12/frontierville-a-casual-queer-reading/

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