Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wed. 2pm section, Diner Dash is Awesome

I liked this bit from Soderman's paper:
In any event, the temporal structure of women's daily lives—whatever shift they may be in at the time—lends itself to the gameplay dynamics found in a game such as Diner Dash. Whenever a moment of leisure can be snatched—be it while a child is napping, on a work break at the office, or on a bus headed to work or back to home—a casual game such as Diner Dash can fill the interstices of everyday life. The rhythms of reception of casual games align with the working women “in her real situation.”

I'm not a housewife, but this was the same feeling I got when playing Diner Dash. I was juggling a bunch of tasks and trying to do them all well, but there really wasn't enough time to make the decisions I needed to do them all in the most successful way. That's school. I think Diner Dash was so fun because it was a simplified version of life. Instead of having to work really hard for four years, get a degree, and find a job, I just played through level 1 and beat it. Then it was on to level 2. The immediate satisfaction of success after only a few minutes of playing was great. It wasn't easy to manage Flo's shift, but the chaos was fun, and overcoming it felt good. It was a dumbed-down, fast-paced, abstraction of life.

The point I'm trying to get at is that the reason this game was fun for me was that it offered the chaos and time-trials of real life, but in a way that I could accomplish seemingly long-term goals (like restoring a restaurant) in a half-hour. And more importantly, when I failed on level 6, I got a change to do it again, so there's no sense that you can really fail. I can't say that about life. There is true stress in life when something goes wrong.

I hope I didn't just reiterate what Soderman was saying. I don't think either one of us had a very solid point.

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