1) Angry Birds
Angry Birds: I thought that, It would be interesting to see which game is the most popular game on mobile devices. And, I ended up with Angry Birds. It is fairly a simple game with very little amount of complex geography.
The game deals with a simple task. There is a complex structure in each level and there are some pig 'like' elements or simply pigs placed inside the structure. And, there are angry looking birds which we use to dismantle the structure and kill the pigs. we need to do this by throwing the birds on to the structure bu using a sling shot.
My main concern was to understand the purpose of the structure and the complexity of the structure which is the main geographic element in the game. The study gave me an understanding of many elements which are not quite visible from the outside i.e when we are playing the game. It gave me an understanding of how we use space and how we perceive space inherently without knowing that we are using and perceiving the geography and space of the game.
Commandos: I choose two games because I wanted to truly understand games played using both large screens and small screens and the differences in geography of both spheres.
Commandos is a game which has a great usage of geography in it. This is a game series with various versions released gradually since 1999. The game is built on historical events of world war II. I was mainly attracted to it because of my love for history. The game deals in completing various missions. There are seven characters in total who individually have different characteristics(i.e powers) which they use to complete the missions. The historical perspective of world war II and geography based on war time is truly interesting.
This geographical study gave me a different perspective of using geography in a game. It gave me an understanding of perception of geography up-close and when we are not up-close. The game deals in maneuvering the opposition army so that you can sneak through, which game me a different understanding of how we use geography of the game in playing the game successfully. This happens here with the player realizing that he is remembering certain sections of the geography as a whole and using that knowledge to play the game up-close unlike the case of Angry Birds.
The concept of sense of place is very interesting. It gives you an understanding of how a place impacts you and how you gain interest in various things which you may or may not like but still check those things out because of this concept.
I would again go to the example of commandos here. Actually, I don't like violence and I despise wars. But, I liked this game very much because the moment i saw this game, It directly took me to 1940's Europe. While playing the game, you clearly distinguish the surroundings inside the game space and you can say that the geography is from the past. I liked it because of various reasons. One profound reason was, It tool me to my childhood. I could relate with the surroundings. Not the war, but the geography of the game. I was born and raised in India and I grew up in the 90's. What I mean to say is, The infrastructure used in the game which is really of 1940's Europe but it is very similar to 1990's rural India. For example, the electrical Infrastructure showed in the game, It is very similar to the electrical infrastructure of 1990's India. For that matter, I would go as far as to compare with all the infrastructure represented in the game(i.e. Muddy roads, Wooden houses and Big Wooden Sheds, Large Silos and Tanks etc.).
As Nitsche explained, "Games can create and evoke places through narrative elements, which invites players to form a unique identity and project the necessary meaning into the game space".
The concept of story maps is fascinating. It took me right to my teens when I got to use a computer for the first time and I was introduced to an old MS DOS game called "Prince of Persia".( Those were the days).
This was the first time I played a computer game and It was a fascinating experience. I gave this game as an example for impact of maps in a game because I rediscovered this game during my college days and when I got to see the whole map of a game level, it blew my mind. The experience of this fascinating game with searching and sorting through doors, jumping and falling through various holes, getting killed by sudden surprises etc flashed right in front of me, all at the same time.
This experiment gave me a realization of how understanding of the space and imagining a new space and geography from the past experiences is fundamental to gaming experience. The concept of "Memento Map" explains this phenomenon very clearly.
The effect of sound in games has an impact on gaming experience. Actually, the picture does not tell the whole story. As Nitsche pointed out, in films, sound is used to visualize and perceive the motion of characters on the screen. This has a profound effect on the gaming experience too.
The example I choose which had an impact on me from the very beginning of the game is SACRED 3. This game has a very interesting and in way weird sense of the sound in the game.
This game is a combat(killing)game. It deals with all kinds of weird things that come your way. As i mentioned earlier, I don't like violence which again gave me an interest in this game. My interest is with lot of things that makes sound in this game such as sound when weapons are used, sound when weapons are not used, sound of the enemies growling (i.e making weird sounds) etc. Its interesting because it is totally different than of SACRED 1 AND SACRED 2 because the developers are different for SACRED 3.
My impression of the usage of sound in the game is completely different compared to previous versions of the game. Sound is very overlapping like many combat games. It is a bit better when sound is used in indicating various events. Niche's concept of harmony between image and sound is very well presented. But, when compared with other combat games I think the usage of sound is better. The developers tried to be very creative with the sound and that shows up in the game.