Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Reblog: Browser Game Pick: RIZK (Playerthree)

An truly fantastic game reflecting on the environmental impacts of resource gathering. Well worth a play.

Found thanks to IndiGames.com
Article below by Cassandra Khaw.
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rizk.jpg
Back in the early nineties, long before the gaming industry became obsessed with sex and other drivel, edutainment-related material was everywhere. Sadly, only a handful were brilliant; the rest were mostly boring or, at times, borderline preachy. Granted, that's how my nine year old self remembers it - your mileage might vary. Thus, when I first heard of RIZK, a part of the Science Museum's three-year series entitled 'Climate Changing..', I was extremely skeptical about its production values. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
RIZK is, essentially, a 2D tower defense-like game that requires you to nurture and safeguard an alien plant that serves as your only means of escaping to the next level. In order to accomplish this, you'll have to carefully budget a somewhat meagre stash of coins in order to create your strangely ameobic-like minions. There isn't any violence in the game, though. Your enemies here are not hungry herbivores but indigenous vegetation that release spores capable of hurting your plant; your own critters won't do anything outside of generate protective shields of varying strength and range.
According to the press release that popped up in my mail today, RIZK's visual presentation is apparently greatly influenced by the sci-fi posters of the 50's and 60's and honestly, there's something quaintly charming about the game's looks. Most of the terrain is nothing but silhouettes framed against a stary, pastel-flooded sky. The placid outlook, however, bellies the surprisingly intricate gameplay; it rapidly becomes less a question of resource management and more a case of you attempting not to agitate the planet's residents too much.
It took a little while for the message to sink in but once it did, I was impressed with the work put into the game by its developers. RIZK, without sounding overtly 'in your face', rather neatly encapsulates the antagonistic relationship man's technological progress has with Mother Nature. I'm not going to explain exactly how it all works out simply because it'd detract from the message but I can assure you that it'd at least trigger a brief 'Huh' when the epiphany finally strikes.
Play the game now at the Science Museum's official website.
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Reblog: Mateas on Agency

This post by HTLit points to a very interesting and helpful article by Michael Mateas. Isn't it fantastic how we find things?

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Recent interest around Eastgate in the role of agency in narrative immersion has led me to a fascinating essay by Michael Mateas, co-author of Fa├žade. Using Aristotle’s theory of drama as a starting point, Mateas diagrams the role of agency in interactive drama, adding an additional model of choice and causation atop Aristotle’s diagram of narrative causation. This addition results in the proposition that “a player will experience agency when there is a balance between material and formal constraints.”Leaning heavily on previous work by Murray and others, the essay provides and interesting perspective for anyone interested in agency and its relation to interactive narrative."