Post CRA-W 2012

One post, and then distraction! But I refuse to be disheartened.  Excuses excuses, let’s just move past them!

I am moving forward with my idea of a pet game.  I am trying to keep my mind open, my thoughts pure, my dreams free to expand and fill my little cranium.  Or does it count as running away? I don’t know!

What is the educational merit of a fancy pet game?  What can one do with an intelligent pet? We have trainable dogs and all kinds of animals, with the right training mindset and positive reinforcement.  What does that give us? How can we turn that into a game?

Is there something to be said about nurturing?  How is a virtual pet similar to a child’s doll?  If we lose so much when interacting with humans, what do we lose when interacting with a virtual pet?  How do you role play with these virtual pets?  What do simulation games, in general, teach us about ourselves?  Our humanity, our mortality, our selfishness?

Speaking of mortality, I think I remember reading about some kind of pet game in the last five hours or so… A pet game where your pet will die within five days, so if you do not keep up with it, it is GONE!  How messed up is that? I would hate to deal with that, as a child or as a gamer.  I don’t want to feel tethered, that my pet will die without help.  Just like I hate the idea of crops withering in Farmville or other Facebook game titles.  Console games are different in that time only passes when you are playing them, at least in real-time titles (some work on system clocks, but just ignore that for now).

However, what kind of consequence can we give the player?  Does the game play itself?  Sims seem to take care of themselves alright. Can pets do the same?  Can pets scrounge for food?  Life in filth?  Cats and dogs maybe, rabbits okay, but what about tiny hamsters?  Iguanas? Creatures that need expert care.

But…. who says we have to be restricted by real animals? No one!  However, if it is to be a simulation of some kind of life, and we’re expecting players to find some kind of parallel in what they are playing vs. what they are living, what do we lose by not using some kind of realistic animals?  Or is it refreshing to have a companion that doesn’t have the terrible set-backs of real life? Similar to how we took out the yarn tangling and other silly imperfect aspects of crochet in Pattern, we can do the same with pets.

But… if you don’t water and feed them, or give them necessary socialization, what game is there to play?  What are the consequences?  The mechanics? How do we want players to feel?


About robbierabbit

As of the making of this account, a 1st year phd student in computer science with a focus in computer games and intelligent agents.
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