Some discussions, important as they may be, require not an entire hour for one to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Your PAX minutes are precious, so take this opportunity to get three panels for the price of one! We present for the approval and consideration of the audience three short subjects in gaming.
(0:00) – “When the Game Plays the Player” explores rhythm games, such as Dance Dance Revolution, both from a historical and game design perspective. Dive deep into the sometimes surprising mechanics of these games, a genre often ignored by theorists, and see how their concepts can be applied in places you would never imagine. It’s also, briefly, a discussion of why Chris Hecker is smarter than many other people in the game industry, and how to be a better hater.
(21:37) – “A Competitive Test of Skill,” the second of these, is a treatment of one particular class of games: competitive games where “skill” determines the victor. But what is skill? How do we determine what “skill(s)” a game is actually testing? What does fairness mean, and can it be measured? This is a deep examination of versus games from a variety of perspectives.
The Penny Arcade Expo is a place where gamers of all stripes come together, and while the competitive ones do pay at least subconscious attention to the idea, most don’t really consider what it means to play, and more importantly, to try to win, games.
(42:12) – “On the Ethics of Mind Control,” the third and final of these, and discusses the possibly uncomfortable questions surrounding the ethical considerations of game design. Is it truly ethical to design a game to be addictive, or is “addictiveness” simply a sign of good design? Do games change us in more ways than we might realize? Is regulation on the horizon, a good idea, or even possible? How are games different from other media (or are they different at all)?
Editors Note: This panel was originally three videos so I did some minor edits so that it appears as one lecture you see.