Monthly Archives: May 2017

What Is a Game?

We probably all have a pretty good intuitive notion of what a game is. The general term “game” encompasses board games like chess and Monopoly, card games like poker and blackjack, casino games like roulette and slot machines, military war games, computer games, various kinds of play among children, and the list goes on. In academia we sometimes speak of game theory, in which multiple agents select strategies and tactics in order to maximize their gains within the framework of a well-defined set of game rules. When used in the context of console or computer-based entertainment, the word “game” usually conjures images of a three-dimensional virtual world featuring a humanoid, animal or vehicle as the main character under player control. (Or for the old geezers among us, perhaps it brings to mind images of two-dimensional classics like Pong, Pac-Man, or Donkey Kong.) In his excellent book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster defines a game to be an interactive experience that provides the player with an increasingly challenging sequence of patterns which he or she learns and eventually masters. Koster’s asser-tion is that the activities of learning and mastering are at the heart of what we call “fun,” just as a joke becomes funny at the moment we “get it” by recognizing the pattern.

Video Games as Soft Real-Time Simulations

Most two- and three-dimensional video games are examples of what computer scientists would call soft real-time interactive agent-based computer simulations. Let’s break this phrase down in order to better understand what it means. In most video games, some subset of the real world -or an imaginary world- is modeled mathematically so that it can be manipulated by a computer. The model is an approximation to and a simplification of reality (even if it’s an imaginary reality), because it is clearly impractical to include every detail down to the level of atoms or quarks. Hence, the mathematical model is a simulation of the real or imagined game world. Approximation and simplification are two of the game developer’s most powerful tools. When used skillfully, even a greatly simplified model can sometimes be almost indistinguishable from reality and a lot more fun.

An agent-based simulation is one in which a number of distinct entities known as “agents” interact. This fits the description of most three-dimensional computer games very well, where the agents are vehicles, characters, fireballs, power dots and so on. Given the agent-based nature of most games, it should come as no surprise that most games nowadays are implemented in an object-oriented, or at least loosely object-based, programming language.

All interactive video games are temporal simulations, meaning that the vir- tual game world model is dynamic-the state of the game world changes over time as the game’s events and story unfold. A video game must also respond to unpredictable inputs from its human player(s)-thus interactive temporal simulations. Finally, most video games present their stories and respond to player input in real time, making them interactive real-time simulations.

One notable exception is in the category of turn-based games like computerized chess or non-real-time strategy games. But even these types of games usually provide the user with some form of real-time graphical user interface.

Digital Games And Kids

The “Wikipedia problem” which means children turning to internet for readymade answers is the new age phenomenon baffling teachers and mentors globally. There are almost equal numbers of teachers who consider technology to be a solution as much as a problem. While a common belief is that technology is hindering the students’ capacity to think and analyze, there is also a strong opinion in favor of video games and digital gadgets’ ability to engage students and enhance learning by using more than one sensory stimulators. In spite of the growing concern about the students’ deteriorating attention spans, institutions are incorporating them in the process of classroom learning.

Children are inherently inquisitive creatures. They have a curiosity to discover new things and learn by way of discovering and experimenting even before they are subjected to methods of formal education such as reading or writing. Science is a discipline of experiments and discoveries. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that “science education needs to give students three kinds of scientific skills and understandings. Students need to learn the principles and concepts of science, acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists, and understand the nature of science as a particular form of human endeavor. Students therefore need to be able to devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas, and they need to understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful. Studies show that students are much more likely to understand and retain the concepts that they have learned this way “. Hence, it becomes imperative to engage children in science education at an early stage.

Digital games are more capable to gain students’ interests and attention than other conventional means of imparting education in a classroom. However, some educationists also regard them as culprits of exponential decline in the attention span in children. The next sections in this article discuss the involvement of children in games in the tech age, types of games available in the market and the impact of digital gaming as learning aids in classrooms.

Gaming and the New Age Kids

Digital technology has expanded the horizons of video gaming in the modern world. Kids are subjected to far more complex and challenging technological environment than their counterparts were from over half a century back. Involvement of kids in digital gaming is a result of many significant changes in the lifestyle and culture of the modern society. Easy accessibility of technology, dispensable income due to dual income families and lack of infrastructure for outdoor activities in many cities are some major contributors in making screen games an important part of the children’s’ lives. A study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) found that only 20 percent of the census blocks are within half a mile of a block boundary. Also, the effect of peer pressure cannot be undermined in these times of social networking.

The digital gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments of the global entertainment industry. US is witnessing unprecedented penetration of digital games amongst youngsters. In the US, 97% of the teens play some type of game on a regular basis. In India, the gaming market has grown manifold in the last few years. Hence, it is imperative that educationists are continuously contemplating the use of digital gaming as a learning tool in classrooms. Institutions are also employing innovative ways to leverage the digital advantage for enhancing the learning experience at schools.

Super Mario Bros Game For The Classic NES

You will have to think fast and move even faster to complete this classic quest! The Mushroom Princess is being held captive by the evil Koopa tribe of turtles. It’s up to you to rescue her from the clutches of the Koopa King before time runs out. But it won’t be easy. To get to the princess, you will have to climb mountains, cross seas, avoid bottomless pits, fight off turtle soldiers and a host of nasty traps that only a Koopa King can devise. It is another adventure from the SUPER MARIO BROS.!

Super Mario Bros was the first game ever to be released for the NES in 1985. It was the first game to deliver effective smooth scrolling levels with a well made map. Super Mario Brothers is currently the best selling video game of all time. You can play it on the NES, Famicom, SNES, GBA, and recently the Wii. Trust me everyone, this game is a true blast from the past, and still entertains today. Mario was the first true video gaming character and he will stand up and fireball away any others that try to take his place. He will always be big in the video game industry because of this games huge impact.

The Games Story:

Many say the story of this game is horrible and it is a big downfall of the game. I mean it is just like every other game where a princess gets captured and you need to save her. The real basic plot of the game is that Bowser has unleashed a wicked spell over Mushroom Kingdom. The only ones who can save the Princess and break this evil spell are Mario and Luigi.

Well, this game was pretty much the first game to start those generic plots. But honestly, what is there not to love about the classic Mario saving Princess Peach from Bowser story? NOTHING, it is simple and a compelling story. I am sure the story does not deserve a high rank because at the time when the game came out the story was very unfamiliar and probably sounded a bit corny. But today, we all know of our friendly plumber hero, MARIO.

Gameplay:

This game is unbelievably fun to play. The objective of the game is complete each level by running to the end of the level and jumping has high as possible towards the flag. You will encounter many famous enemies such as Goombas, Koopas, Piranha Plants and many more. There are coins spread throughout the game in random areas and hidden in blocks that you must bust. Once you get 100 coins you get an extra life.

You get a score for how many enemies you kill, how many coins you snatch, and for other various reasons. Each level is unique and has different obstacles in each and is a blast to play. There are 8 worlds with usually 4 stages in each world. The game is great because it has multiple hidden secrets throughout the game that keeps the fun coming. There are even secret minus worlds and warp pipes that give the game a great twist.

The game also mixes in a few mazes to give it a little challenge. You can also play 2 players where you can play as Mario and Luigi and defeat the evil Koopa King. The few downfalls are that the game is not very long, screen scrolling, and it gets frustrating. If you play it quick enough you could beat every level in around 30 minutes.

You can not backtrack once you move forward in a level. The game is frustrating because you can not even save and there are no continues (you can use a code to start from the world you lost on). The game screen only scrolls in the right direction. I would easily give the gameplay of Super Mario Bros a 10/10 if there were at least more levels per world.

Good and Bad in Gaming

Gaming is one of the biggest hobbies and even careers in the world. People play games for fun or learning while others record videos about the games. In this article, I will focus more on gaming itself and not so much the side of how to make gaming videos. Gamers come in all different ages, genders, religions, locations and shapes. The backgrounds of people who are gamers make gaming that much more fun.

Backgrounds of gamers can play a part in the type of games that people play. There are all kinds of combinations for different categories relating to the type of games and type of gamers. You really need to look at the game’s website to get all the pertinent information prior to buying.

There are many online platforms where you can buy games from such as Steam or Humble Bundle. Those sites will give you the description, videos by the company, pictures, user and non-user tags, reviews, website, company and their social account(s). Be aware the game’s website might not show you everything you need to know. As a minimum, a gaming company will show a short sales pitch description, small amount of pictures (5 at best), one or two videos by them and their social accounts. The most they will provide is an informative description, their social accounts, user reviews and videos by them.

Let’s dive right into what is perceived as negative about gaming. The majority of the negative things about games come from the real-life people on those games, the type of games and the types of games for the wrong person. A game can be poorly made but it’s not always the case where the game itself is bad. It could be where it was the wrong type of game for the wrong person. This is where the categories come in. Maybe a game has a bit of violence. That doesn’t make it bad; it just makes it the wrong type of game for a seven year old. Or maybe you bought a puzzle game for a person who loves action type games. So the action loving person won’t enjoy it, but that doesn’t make the puzzle game bad!

The types of games are endless from nudity, drugs and alcohol, horror, gambling with money and more. These different types are wrong for youth gamers as well as wrong for people who don’t like seeing such things.

Gaming has good and bad sides just like everything else. The key is how good and bad are those sides. For example, some games have a bad side with players that like to fight a lot. This is common in games. Understand for a lot of gamers this is not a big deal; however, for youth who are new to the game or even gaming in general this can be frustrating. There are times when you want to avoid the bad sides all together. There are times when the good outweighs the bad. If this happens and there are no problems with the game itself; then the bad side is just that one little fly in your room which is no big deal. Caution: If the bad outweighs the good, I would strongly recommend avoiding that game.

Another aspect that people will nag a game developer or creator about is representation. Should I say, a lack of representation which is not limited to race, body type and message in the game. If you are able to customize your character, then of course you will not have a problem with representation. There is a problem in some games where they don’t represent strong and smart females, minority females and males, big, small, tall, and short females and males. Notice how I didn’t put “males” after female for strong? That’s because males in games are ALWAYS represented as strong and smart.

In games that show a male strong and smart, he will mostly likely be white, tall, thin, movie star looking and buff. You will rarely see him be a minority, short, chubby, not buff, nerdy looking, while still being strong and smart. You see this even LESS for females. Some females in games are also white, tall, thin and strong while showing skin like no tomorrow. You only see THESE females in MMORPG games (Massively Multiplayer online Role Playing Game) though. RPG games are meant for fantasy worlds where you mostly fight people and monsters. Of course the females’ stats will be strong but they won’t look strong.

In most games, when they add a character for you to play they always add a white male first, then a white female, then a black male, and then a black female. They don’t even really add people who are mixes of races or in between. When it comes to the black characters they only add one shade of “black” or “African American” and not every black person on earth is that shade.