Game theory – Planescape Torment

posted in: Game Design, IT University | 0

In game studies, there are many different theories on how to study games. However, many of these theories can roughly be divided into two main methodologies. The first methodology focus mostly on the analysis of the game as an artifact where technical aspects, the game’s design or narrative are deconstructed in order to derive meaning and attain knowlegde. Common for this form of method is that the player is not that particular important as the research of the game as an artefact is all that matters. The other methodology of studying games is focussed on the experiences of the players while interacting with the game system. Because of this methodology investigates the digital aspect of the game as well as the context that is generated through the act of play, this method also opens up for various ways of analyzing the play experience. Something that the first methodology cannot do.

One can agree or disagree with the various methodology approaches and both have their merits when analysing games, but as a game designer I do not agree with the first methodology approach that only focus on analysing a game as a product and leaves the player out of the equation. The reason for this is that in my opinion games are an unique form of media in that they, unlike movies or music, allow the players to implement their own agendas, feelings and ideas onto the gameplay experience through interaction with the game and the act of play. In doing so, the players are also activily defining what a game is and its intended play experience. This conflict of how to analyse games and multiple discussions with fellow students and teachers also led to a project that tries to come with an argument for why the last methodology is the only one that makes sense when analysing games.

The Project
This project uses the cRPG Planescape Torment as a case study in determining why I think that the only way of analysing digital games is by focusing on the gameplay experience between the player and the game. Without the player, the game would be nothing but a digital artefact that has no purpose. Thus it is the interaction between the player and the game that is important as it is the act of play that is meaningful for the player. Stenros and Waern (2010) theory of viewing games as enacted experiences play a central role in this argument. Other theories such as quest theory, narrative theory and understanding the context are also used to strengthen the overall argument of this project.

Did it work
Well, that is a very tricky question to answer as there is no right solution. In the end, it all comes down to a personal opinion and of course that the teachers of the course are convinced. This also means that this project is grounded in scientific theories and methodologies so it does not become a subject of me saying what I feel.

Want to learn more
If you want to learn more of this project, please feel free to read the project. You can click on the link here: Foundationpaper Planescape Torment Updated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.