Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gaming conversation with Matt

Unlike me, hardcore Matt was a seasoned player of Diner Dash. Before reading the Soderman chapter and playing the game during lab, I had only heard of it. Matt had discovered it a couple of years ago when his then thirteen year-old sister had downloaded it. He had played it for hours at time, constantly re-downloading the sixty-minute trial. Despite having spent many hours of playing Diner Dash, Matt described the game as one that he would never purchase. His favorite games are those with high levels of replay, which he described as the ability of a game to be replayed with the possibility of different outcomes. Although Diner Dash does seem to offer some re-playability and is slightly different every time, Matt pointed out that the game does not offer much choice, in that the player can only perform/is expected to perform a very limited set of actions. Matt described his experience on Tuesday as very passive. I was surprised by this, because had found it a somewhat active experience, as I felt that I had to be very attentive, constantly perceiving and acting. Matt, on the other hand, had known exactly what and when to click, and had actually felt like the game was playing him, rather than the other way around. His was so attuned to the rhythm of the game, thanks to his many previous hours of gameplay, that he had simply been able to let the game guide his actions, almost without him having to think.

Matt and I were amused to find that we both had grown up playing exclusively on Nintendo consoles, enjoying games like The Legend of Zelda. Matt described himself as "the best consumer a company could ever want" because of consumer loyalty to Nintendo. We had both also started gaming around the 4th or 5th grade, and considered ourselves somewhat late-bloomers since we both remembered that many of our peers had started playing video games around 2nd grade. I mentioned that my youngest sister had started playing Zelda at four or five, and we started talking about the differences between our game preferences and those of our siblings. My sisters and I all shared a love for adventure games like Zelda and Super Mario. Matt's sister preferred games like Diner Dash that involved playing a character in generally real-life situations, which Matt couldn't understand. He enjoyed games that allowed him to explore worlds and do things that he would never be able to do in real life. "I could do Diner Dash in real life," Matt explained. "I could go out and be a waiter, so I why would I want to just play at being one?"

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