By Ecem Böke & Chan Yik Ka Kaka
In this game survey we try to uncover the game cultures of story game player and action game player by looking into the reason of chosing between the two game type, the understanding of the two term ‘story-based’ and ‘action-based’ and how you think about the general public perspective on the two game type.
Nearly all people we interviewed believe they are story gamer but not action gamer, at the same time they do mentioned some action games as their favourite such as GTA. Interestingly, the understanding of the term story-based diverses between games from/with artefacts (original packaged games, books, posters with characters), simulation games such as Sims, or strategy games like Football Manager. The other end of the spectrum, action-based games, are seen as only represented by shooters. Only a limited poll of interviewee considers sports games or ‘simply running around game’ as action game. It rases a question on how to define story game and action game.
We found this understanding worth anaylsis, because it shows a blurred understanding between the core (game as game play) and the shell (game as representation and sign system). In case of GTA, some see the act of driving or smashing of cars meaningless, while some sees the game as a controlled environment to release stress from normal life. Almost all interviewee do not realize that there is a spectrum between story-based and action-based, but simply classifying the games by dichotomy. In case of Mario, which we consider a very good combination of story and action, interviewee tends to classified it as action game, neglacting the story element in the game. This observation is suprising as it oppse to the quotation from Mäyrä’s book where “no one actually seem to be willing to reduce games either into stories, or claim that they are only interaction/ game play, pure and simple, without any potential for storytelling.”
It is also interesting seeing a slight rejection on action game. On one hand age seems to be a termining factor for this rejection. Some interviewee comments on how they used to play action game when young and turned into story game when they grow up. They give reference to the ‘dynamics’in game, that they do not want to make movew simultaneously, but to based on their knowledge and choices. On the other hand some interviewee believe they show their interest in story game since early age as they know they would like to manupulate one’s life and live in a fantay world. Nevertheless, the interviewee seems to turn down the understanding of Jesper Juul who believe the strength of a computer game is to have without any narrative elements.
The contact by interacting in playing is over-generalized by some interviewee. They have an idea where story based game could not be played together, while action game is a game to be play in groups. Yet from our interview we find that both groups hold a similar understanding on playing their games together or alone. Also, there is a gender association on female plays story game and boy plays action game, which, again, against our observation from the survey. As mentioned above, interviewee appears to see age (degree of maturity) as the core factor affecting game choice.
There are some difficulties during the surve. We observe that interviewees rarely able to verbalize the quality of game play experience, especially on why they like and dislike a game, and a slight misunderstanding or lack on realization of own game choice and preferences, making the analyze a bit difficult.
To improve this survey, a larger sample size should be used which includes more hard core players and players that goes more to action game (as we have a hard core story-based gamer). A deeper understanding on interviewee’s personality and background would also be helpful to make less generalize observation.