Media & Technology: Redlight Greenlight 123

Friday, July 22, 2005

Magical Game Space

Katie Salen is an acting director at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she teaches Design and Technology on the graduate level. She is the co-author of Rules of Play, the first critically acclaimed book written by a woman that dissects games and game design. More importantly, it delves into what makes the gaming experience more gratifying for the gamer. "Games allow people to create a magic space," declared Katie during a New Technologies in Advertising and Public Relations class presentation at New York University, and I agree. When gamers are in their game space, their only limitations are within the space of the game. Games are dynamic systems that allow for an infinite amount of variables, including the players themselves.

Think about it (and this is where I show my age), remember going to the local store or mall and playing Ms. Pac Man, Millipede, or Donkey Kong against your friends? Well, I was and still am a big competitor (and sometimes a sore loser) and if we were playing, THOSE kids were no longer my friends...they were mortal enemies trying to prevent me from turning over the machine (not literally - that's what we called it when we scored so many points that the counter started back at zero). Anywho, THAT was our game space. Local store (mine was the Funhouse, I think), my crew, huge video games with a joystick, maybe two buttons, and lots of smack talking. Many a mama were insulted. I have to say this, here's one...yo mama is so stupid she thought a quarterback was a refund. HA!

I can understand the perpetual possibilites of playing online, but there's nothing like laughing, screaming, talking trash, and whooping it up with players in person. Intense playing and bonding. Now THAT's a magic space.


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