Notes: Juul, J. (2005). half-real

Juul, J. (2005). Half-real. Video games between real rules and fictional worlds.

(some additional notes by Manfred Thaller are available online)

p. 6: What a game is

Classic game model has 3 parts:

  1. a rule-based formal system
  2. with variable and quantifiable outcomes
  3. where different outcomes are assigned different values

Can game design be a game as well? a meta-game that meets these criteria while designing a game? Are academic courses formal games? (or does the lack of abstraction and fiction mean that these are not formally games?)

p. 37, Table 2.3: the classic game model

The game as formal systemthe player and the gamethe game and the rest of the world
1. RulesX
2. Variable and quantifiable outcomeX
3. Value assigned to possible outcomesX
4. Player effortXX
5. Player attached to outcomeX
6. Negotiable consequencesX

p. 58, on rules, limitations and affordances:

Rules specify limitations and affordances. They prohibit players from performing actions such as making jewelry out of dice, but they also add meaning to the allowed actions and this affords players meaningful actions that were not otherwise available; rules give games structure. The board game needs rules that let the players move their pieces as well as preventing them from making illegal moves; the video game needs rules that let the characters move as well as rules that prevent the character from reaching the goal immediately.

and these rules/limitations/affordances/structure are what guide a player/learner through the experience, toward a (productive? positive?) outcome or goal.

p. 73: games of emergence

Games of emergence exhibit a basic asymmetry between the relative simplicity of the game rules and the relative complexity of the actual playing of the game.

p. 197: conclusions:

The classic game model describes games on three levels: the game itself, the player's relation to the game, and the relation between playing and the rest of the world. The entire theory can therefore be described as the intersection between games as rules and games as fiction, and the relation between the game, the player, and the world. The player may pick up a game, invent a game, or negotiate game rules with other players. A game may exist before the player plays it, but the player generally plays it because he or she wants to. Fiction cues the player into understanding the rules, and rules can cue the player into imagining a fictional world. This… does not imply causality - the theory has no first principle or starting point, but many simultaneous parts that interact.

Inventing (designing) a game as a way of interacting with the world, the rules of the game. How does the meta-game interact with the game itself? Does it? The game of designing a game - does it touch the game itself, and the player of that game?

See Also