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PORTFOLIO Revised version of Video Game Critiques [1] Mafia Wars [2] Portal [3] Phoenix Wright IAT312 – Fundamentals of Game Design Fall 2010 ! ! ! ! SIMON BONG NOV 11, 2010 !


! Critique!Assignment!1!–!Mafia!Wars!!

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Revised!on!Nov.!11,!2010.! ! The!advent!of!social!networking!websites!such!as!Facebook,!Bebo!and! MySpace!also!brought!about!a!new!category!of!genreIcrossing!games,!or!commonly! referred!to!as!social!games.!Mafia!Wars!by!Zynga!is!an!example!of!such!a!game!that! exists!within!a!social!networking!website!and!the!networking!aspect!becomes!a! major!part!in!defining!the!game.!!One!could!categorize!Mafia!Wars!as!a!strategy! game!but!another!could!also!argue!that!it!has!roleIplaying!aspect!in!it!since!players! create!and!take!on!the!role!of!a!mafia!in!the!realm!of!the!game.!Furthermore,!since! the!game!requires!players!to!invite!their!friends!on!the!networking!sites!to!join!their! fictitious!mafia!gangs,!to!“grow!their!family�!as!stated!in!the!game,!this!game!also! has!elements!of!a!massively!multiplayer!online!roleIplaying!game!(MMORPG)! because!everyone!who!has!a!Facebook!account!can!get!in!the!game.!A!statistic!shows! that!it!is!estimated!there!are!500!million!active!users!on!Facebook!and!if!only!2! percent!of!Facebook!users!play!Mafia!Wars,!then!there!are!approximately!10!million! players.!With!that!being!said,!I!consider!Mafia!Wars!a!new!type!of!MMORPG!because! of!its!unconventional!user!interface!for!such!a!genre!since!of!the!lack!of!control!of!an! avatar!that!players!can!use!to!interact!with!other!players!in!a!3!dimensional! environment.!! The!core!mechanic!of!this!game!is!the!ability!for!players!to!navigate!with!a! computer!mouse!on!an!interface!that!consists!of!icons,!tabs,!buttons!and! !

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checkboxes.!It!also!shows!level!progression!bar,!health!status,!cash,!energy!and! stamina!levels.!Players!navigate!by!clicking!on!the!links!to!carry!out!desired!actions! such!as!do!jobs,!fight!with!other!mafias,!purchase!properties!and!items!in!the! inventory!to!complete!jobs,!go!on!special!missions!and!also!the!visiting!the!infamous! “marketplace”!to!purchase!items!with!reward!points!that!you!can!purchase!with! money!but!not!the!money!you!earned!in!the!game;!your!real,!hardIearned!dollars.!!

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In!Tools!for!Creating!Dramatic!Game!Dynamics,!Marc!Leblanc!discusses!the!

different!systems!for!producing!and!controlling!Uncertainty!and!Inevitability!as! parts!of!the!dynamics!to!produce!dramatic!tension!in!games.!Mafia!Wars!certainly! has!aspects!from!both!systems!that!drive!the!game!play.!Uncertainty!is!described!as! the!sense!that!the!outcome!of!the!game!is!unknown!and!that!any!player!could!win!or! lose.!I!believe!that!this!aspect!of!uncertainty!is!a!major!part!of!the!game!because! after!playing!it!everyday!for!a!week,!I!still!do!not!know!if!there!is!an!end!to!the!game;! whether!there!is!a!“game!over”.!As!I!was!playing,!I!realize!that!the!only!possible!way! for!the!game!to!end!is!to!collect!all!the!collectibles,!complete!every!possible!level!of! jobs!and!purchase!every!property!and!item!in!the!inventory!but!even!then,!the!

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developers!could!add!new!items,!jobs!and!properties!in!the!game!at!any!time.!So,!my! conclusion!is!that!similar!to!simulation!games!such!as!Movies!and!Sims,!social!games! are!not!developed!with!an!end!in!mind!and!without!an!end,!there!could!never!be! winners!and!losers.!Every!player!has!a!chance!to!catch!up!to!the!others!by!logging!in! to!play!more!often!or!simply!using!real!money!to!purchase!special!items!or!mafia! members!to!increase!their!strength!and!ultimately,!their!chances!of!beating!the! other!players.!I!believe!that!this!is!an!example!of!the!negative!feedback!as!a!source! of!uncertainty.!Another!example!to!illustrate!the!use!of!negative!feedback!to!create! dramatic!tension!within!Mafia!Wars!is!the!idea!of!finding!random!items!(“loot�)! within!the!game!structure.!Sometimes!when!you!complete!a!job,!you!will!stumble! upon!rare!items!that!could!increase!your!attack!or!defense!power!given!you!a!boost! and!allow!you!to!take!on!stronger!opponents.!However,!this!happens!randomly!and! you!are!unable!to!predict!which!jobs!would!provide!you!with!these!loot!items.!! !

Another!source!of!uncertainty!within!the!game!is!hidden!energy.!Players!can!

purchase!boosters!to!temporarily!boost!their!attack!or!defense!giving!them!an!edge! over!stronger!opponents!who!attack!them.!

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In!a!way,!I!believe!that!this!is!an!example!of!the!hidden!energy!that!was!discussed!in! LeBlanc’s!paper!because!each!player!can!stock!up!on!these!boosters!and!use!it!to! defeat!their!rivals.!Players!are!unable!to!determine!the!strength!of!other!players! because!each!player!can!purchase!and!use!these!boosters!whenever!they!want.!! !

In!contrast,!the!sense!of!inevitability!is!disregarded!in!most!social!games!

including!Mafia!Wars.!As!I!have!mentioned!above!about!the!feeling!that!the!game! does!not!seem!to!have!a!“game!over�,!the!sense!of!inevitability!is!not!present!in!the! game.!Perhaps,!this!is!replaced!by!a!different!aspect!of!the!game!such!as!the!constant! waiting!as!players!have!to!wait!for!their!energy!and!stamina!to!be!replenished!to!do! more!jobs!and!engage!in!fights.!Even!without!a!perceivable!end,!the!sense!of!waiting! somewhat!captures!the!essence!of!inevitability!because!you!feel!as!if!when!your! energy!is!replenished,!you!can!complete!more!jobs!to!raise!your!level!and!one!step! closer!to!completing!the!game.!! !

Being!a!social!game,!Mafia!Wars!exhibits!almost!no!story!or!plot!because!it!

has!to!maintain!its!flexibility!and!fluidity!that!corresponds!to!the!social!aspect!of!the! game.!You!start!by!creating!your!character!and!invite!as!many!friends!to!join!and! become!members!of!your!mafia!gang.!From!there,!you!do!whatever!you!feel!like! doing!in!order!to!level!up,!unlock!new!jobs,!purchase!properties!to!generate!income! and!obtain!loot!items.!At!times,!the!linearity!of!the!game!is!disrupted!by!special! missions!you!can!go!on!and!often!you!can!obtain!rare!items!upon!completion!of! these!missions.!

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! In!terms!of!intention,!players!can!make!a!plan!on!how!to!distribute!the!

attribute!points!and!whether!to!use!the!money!to!purchase!items!or!properties!in! response!to!the!requirement!of!the!jobs.!For!example,!some!jobs!require!a!certain! number!of!mafias!in!your!gang!such!as!boss!fights!and!others!require!you!to!have! certain!items!such!as!weapons,!vehicles!and!such!to!be!able!complete!the!jobs.! Therefore,!each!player!has!to!plan!on!how!to!obtain!these!items!and!recruit!as!many! members!as!possible.!I!think!this!helps!players!to!understand!the!game!play!options! because!players!are!unable!to!proceed!without!meeting!those!requirements.!

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The!most!obvious!tool!that!is!exhibited!in!this!game!is!perceivable!

consequence.!Players!can!immediately!see!the!result!of!their!decisions.!Whether!it! be!fighting!some!opponent!who!are!much!stronger!and!losing!or!purchasing!a! particular!weapon!to!complete!a!job,!players!can!see!and!understand!the!result!of! their!decisions.!!

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Fabricatore!describes!the!gameplay!system!in!threeImechanics!related!

activities;!learning!the!mechanics,!using!the!mechanics!in!ordinary!situation!and! also!using!the!learned!mechanics!in!extraordinary!situations!with!external!factors! that!can!alter!or!enhance!the!ordinary!working!of!the!mechanics.!In!Mafia!Wars,!the! main!mechanic!of!the!game!is!using!the!unique!interface!that!allows!players!to!play! the!game.!The!interface!consists!of!various!tabs!or!buttons!that!players!can!choose! such!as!‘Jobs’,!‘Fight’,!‘Properties’!and!several!other!categories.!Players!can!decide!on! any!action!that!they!want!to!perform!by!choosing!these!categories.!After!learning! and!understanding!the!structure!of!the!mechanic,!players!can!use!them!as!tools!to! gain!advantages!within!certain!aspects!of!the!game.!For!example,!you!learned!that!in! order!to!level!up,!you!need!to!log!in!more!often!to!do!more!jobs.!However,!the!more! often!you!logged!in,!the!higher!the!chances!that!you!will!be!attacked!by!other!mafias! and!if!you!are!“iced”!by!other!mafias,!you!will!lose!experience!points!and!money.! Therefore,!to!avoid!being!attacked!and!killed!by!other!players,!you!need!to!allocate! more!attribute!points!to!your!defense!so!that!you!can!strengthen!your!level!of! defense!to!withstand!attacks!from!other!players.!I!believe!that!this!is!a!relevant! example!to!show!my!understanding!of!the!mechanics.!! Lastly,!the!notion!of!the!transitive!relationship!is!present!in!the!game! because!players!need!to!go!through!smaller!jobs!to!gain!the!necessary!experience! points!and!level!up!before!fighting!the!big!bosses.!! ! ! ! !

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Critique!Assignment!2!–!Portal! Revised!on!Nov.!11,!2010.! ! Portal!is!a!first!person!shooter!(FPS)!game!developed!by!Valve!in!2007.!The! game!was!well!received!by!the!public!and!part!of!the!success!is!the!unique!concept! of!a!FPS!game.!Portal!tells!the!story!of!a!protagonist!named!Chell!who!is!a!test! subject!at!Aperture!Science!and!she!is!directed!to!maneuver!through!the!test! chambers!with!the!help!of!the!artificial!intelligence,!GLaDOS.!Throughout!the!game,! players!can!hear!the!mechanical!voice!of!GLaDOS!in!the!background!giving!hints!on! how!to!clear!the!level!or!how!to!use!the!object!around!you!to!clear!the!level.!It!is! unique!in!the!sense!that!instead!of!shooting!ammunitions,!such!as!Counter!Strike!or! mindlessly!blasting!aliens!or!enemies!away,!such!as!HalfILife,!you!as!the!player!use!a! portal!gun!to!shoot!2!wormholeIlike!structures!on!certain!walls!that!you!can!travel! through!one!and!appear!out!of!the!other.!There!are!podIlike!enemies!that!shoot!at! you!as!the!game!proceeds!along!but!you!can!use!the!portal!gun!to!transport!simple! cubes!called!the!Weighted!Companion!Cube!above!these!sinister!pod!machines!to! crush!them.!Portal!is!truly!an!exciting!and!interesting!game!because!of!its!concept;! combining!FPS!and!also!puzzle!solving.!!

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In!Portal,!one!can!easily!identify!the!different!types!of!conditioning!that!exist!

within!the!gameplay.!It!is!safe!to!say!that!learning!the!mechanics!of!the!game!is!an! essential!part!in!order!to!beat!and!clear!all!the!levels.!At!the!beginning!of!the!game,! the!protagonist!wakes!up!in!a!cell!chamber!not!knowing!what!to!do!or!where!to!go.! You,!as!the!player,!will!feel!as!if!you!are!confined!in!a!cell.!Then,!you!see!one!of!the! portals!and!looking!through!it,!you!can!actually!see!yourself.!My!experience!playing! the!game!for!the!first!time!was!that!I!did!not!know!I!was!looking!at!myself.!I!started! chasing!myself!but!soon!realized!that!it!was!my!character!that!I!was!chasing.!The! first!form!of!classical!conditioning!that!is!present!within!this!game!is!the!idea!of! pairing!the!voice!of!GLaDOS!in!the!background!with!the!start!of!each!level!that! presents!new!challenges.!After!clearing!a!few!levels,!every!time!you!hear!GLaDOS! voice,!you!will!try!to!listen!to!the!clues!that!are!given!by!it!in!order!to!solve!that! particular!level.!It!happens!on!an!instinctual!level!and!players!associate!GLaDOS! voice!to!clues!that!can!help!solve!the!level.!!

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! Another!form!of!classical!conditioning!is!the!use!of!signs!in!within!the!game! to!guide!players!through!the!different!levels.!Examples,!of!signs!are!the!exit!or! proceed!to!next!level!sign,!arrow!signs,!check!and!cross!signs!and!also!a!large!board! at!the!beginning!of!each!level!giving!you!an!idea!of!what!to!expect.!There!are!present! in!the!game!to!give!players!a!better!sense!of!direction!and!better!understanding!on! the!things!that!the!player!is!required!to!do.!After!playing!for!a!while,!players!will! associate!these!signs!with!their!intended!meanings!and!will!respond!to!these!signs! when!they!could!not!find!a!way!to!clear!a!level.!In!the!screenshots!shown!below,!you! can!see!that!there!is!an!arrow!sign!and!a!sign!with!a!running!figure!on!it,!these!two! signs!represent!‘exit!this!way’!and!also!you!can!see!the!cross!and!check!signs!that! are!linked!to!the!large!red!buttons!on!the!floor.!To!open!the!door,!players!have!to! put!one!cube!on!each!button!and!once!a!cube!is!placed,!the!cross!sign!will!become! check.!!

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Operant!conditioning!is!the!idea!that!the!frequency!of!a!behavior!can!be!

increased!if!the!behavior!or!action!is!rewarded!or!decreased!if!it!is!punished.!Within! this!game,!this!kind!of!conditioning!can!be!seen!through!the!puzzleIsolving!aspect!of! the!game.!Portal!relies!on!the!players’!ability!to!navigate!the!environment!and!try! different!ways!of!solving!the!level;!whether!it!be!crossing!over!a!huge!gap!that!a! regular!jump!will!not!reach!or!transporting!a!cube!into!a!space!that!is!difficult!to!get! to.!For!example,!putting!a!cube!on!one!of!those!floor!buttons,!the!door!will!open.! Players!are!then!conditioned!to!do!this!every!time!he!or!she!sees!one!of!these! buttons!in!order!to!proceed!to!the!next!level.!!

! Another!examples!of!operant!conditioning!within!the!game!is!when!players!are! required!to!create!a!portal!on!the!ceiling!and!drop!down!on!a!moving!platform!to!get!

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to!the!elevator!or!exit.!Players!will!learn!that!it!takes!accuracy!to!open!a!portal!on! the!ceiling!and!timing!to!drop!on!the!platform.!If!the!player!is!unsuccessful!in! completing!the!task,!the!protagonist!will!drop!into!a!electrified!toxic!pool!and!will! die.!Therefore,!this!action!or!behavior!is!punished!if!it!is!not!carried!out!successfully.!! Below!are!the!screenshots!illustrating!the!situation!described.!

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In!order!to!increase!the!frequency!of!a!behavior!or!to!apply!the!principle!of! operant!conditioning,!reward!scheduling!is!important!to!the!success!of!the! application.!An!effective!reward!system!can!increase!the!players’!experience!and!a! game!much!more!enjoyable!and!interesting.!!In!Portal,!the!reward!system!is!based! on!the!continuous(model!in!which!every!action!that!the!player!makes!will!result!in! immediate!reward.!Using!the!previous!example!of!placing!the!cubes!on!the!red! buttons!on!the!floor,!by!doing!so,!the!door!will!immediately!open!and!we!can! proceed!to!the!next!level.!This!activity!can!also!be!considered!as!an!example!of!a! reward!schedule!that!is!based!on!a!variable!ratio.!Variable(ratio!scheduling!refers! to!the!idea!that!reinforcers!are!provided!after!a!varied!number!of!correct!responses.! In!this!example,!players!are!subjected!to!place!the!cubes!on!a!varied!number!of!red! buttons!on!the!floor!from!one!level!to!another.!On!the!first!few!levels,!players!may!

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only!need!to!place!cubes!on!one!or!two!buttons!but!the!number!of!red!buttons!that! they!need!to!activate!increases!significantly!on!higher!levels!of!the!game.!! Fixed(ratio!scheduling!can!also!be!seen!within!the!structure!of!the!game.! Fixed!ration!refers!to!the!idea!of!reinforcers!being!given!after!a!succession!of!correct! responses.!An!example!of!this!scheduling!system!that!can!be!seen!in!Portal!is!the! amount!of!portals!that!can!be!shot!within!each!level.!The!number!is!blue!portal!that! can!be!shot!by!players!is!one!at!any!given!time!but!players!can!shoot!again!and!again! to!get!the!placement!correctly.!The!orange!portal!is!already!present!within!each! level!so!in!order!for!the!players!to!complete!the!level,!they!need!to!time!and!place! the!blue!portals!in!specific!areas!to!get!to!platforms!that!are!difficult!to!reach!or! transport!a!cube!on!top!of!turrets!to!destroy!them.!! Within!the!game,!there!is!also!the!aspect!of!using!a!fixed!interval!scheduling!system! to!reward!players!for!completing!certain!tasks.!Fixed(interval!is!defined!as!the!first! response!is!reinforced!after!a!fixed!interval!time.!An!example!that!supports!my! argument!is!that!when!the!player!needs!to!direct!an!energy!ball!into!a!machine!to! activate!the!moving!platform,!the!player!needs!to!create!a!portal!that!will!allow!the! energy!ball!travels!through!the!portals!and!hit!the!machine.!Players!have!to!wait!for! the!machine!to!shoot!the!energy!ball!at!a!fixed!interval!period!after!the!previous! energy!ball!disintegrates.!!Therefore,!in!order!to!activate!the!moving!platform!and! get!to!the!next!level,!players!need!to!wait!for!the!right!timing!to!direct!the!energy! ball!to!another!machine!and!thus!the!behavior!is!rewarded!through!the!fixed! interval!schedule!system.!!

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The!last!example!is!to!show!the!aspect!of!variable!interval!reward!scheduling! system!within!the!game.!Variable(interval!scheduling!is!similar!to!fixed!interval!but! the!difference!is!that!the!first!response!is!reinforced!after!a!variable!time!interval.!! An!example!within!the!game!that!illustrates!this!notion!of!scheduling!system!is!the! moving!platforms!in!higher!levels!of!the!game.!Each!platform!moves!at!slightly! different!pace!and!players!have!to!wait!for!the!correct!timing!to!get!to!get!across! them.!Players!will!have!to!wait!for!the!all!platforms!to!be!in!the!correct!location!in! order!to!successfully!get!across!them.!Since!each!platform!move!at!slightly!different! speed,!the!chances!of!getting!across!to!the!next!level!are!determined!by!the!variable! time!interval!within!the!game.!

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!! The!3!positive!stimuli!or!rewards!are!the!keys!to!opening!doors!to!the!next!levels,! ability!to!get!on!higher!platforms!that!regular!jumping!will!not!reach!and!also!the! ability!to!kill!turret!guns!by!using!portals!and!dropping!cubes!on!them.!The!2! negative!stimuli!are!dropping!into!the!toxic!pool!or!getting!hit!by!the!energy!balls! which!either!one!will!result!in!instant!death.!! !

Consecutively,!there!are!also!elements!of!behavior!shaping!and!behavior!

chaining!within!this!game.!Behavior!shaping!is!defined!as!a!way!to!add!a!specific! behavior!into!the!players’!repertoire!or!a!set!of!behavior!that!is!often!seen! performed.!In!order!to!apply!this!principle,!one!has!to!define!the!target!behavior! that!wants!to!be!shaped!and!reinforce!the!successive!behavior.!For!example,!in!the! early!stages!of!the!game,!the!tasks!that!a!player!is!required!to!perform!are!quite!easy! but!as!the!game!proceeds,!the!tasks!are!much!more!difficult!and!usually!follow!by!a! successive!sets!of!different!actions.!In!Chamber!4,!you!have!to!use!a!portal!and! gravity!to!launch!to!another!platform!that!can!be!seen!as!relatively!easy!to!perform!

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but!this!task!is!made!much!more!difficult!in!which!you!have!to!jump!through!a!few! portals!launching!yourself!farther!and!higher.!By!doing!so,!players!get!better!at!this! task!and!the!behavior!becomes!part!of!the!set!of!actions!that!is!performed!by!the! player.!!

! Besides!behavior!shaping,!there!are!also!elements!of!behavior!chaining!within!the! gameplay.!Behavior!chaining,!unlike!behavior!shaping,!is!defined!as!a!way!to!learn!a! specific!task!by!breaking!it!down!to!smaller!tasks!in!order!to!facilitate!the!learning! process.!There!are!two!different!types!of!behavior!chaining;!forward!and!backward! chaining.!Forward!chaining!refers!to!the!linear!and!stepIbyIstep!way!of!learning!the! smaller!tasks!and!backward!is!the!opposite!of!forward!which!means!that!one!learns! by!doing!the!last!task!first.!In!Portal,!forward!behavior!chaining!is!illustrated!in!the! first!few!levels!where!you!are!presented!with!smaller!tasks!such!as!putting!a!cube! on!the!floor!button,!creating!a!portal!and!dropping!from!the!ceiling!to!a!moving! platform!and!also!avoiding!the!energy!ball!while!directing!it!to!hit!the!machine!that! activates!the!platform.!By!learning!these!tasks!one!after!another!in!the!beginning!of!

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the!game,!the!player!can!then!use!all!these!tasks!to!complete!a!level!that!requires!the! player!to!perform!a!combination!of!these!tasks!to!proceed!to!the!next!level.!!

! ! ! References! Chaining: Introduction. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.autismnetwork.org/modules/behavior/chaining/index.html! Conditioning. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.betabunny.com/behaviorism/Conditioning.htm Portal (video game) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (October 2010). . Retrieved October 15, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal_(video_game) SHAPING AND CHAINING. (June 2002.). . Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.bbbautism.com/aba_shaping_and_chaining.htm

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Critique!Assignment!4!–!Phoenix!Wright:!Ace!Attorney! Revised!on!Nov.!11,!2010.! ! Intro! !

One!of!the!many!things!that!set!Phoenix!Wright:!Ace!Attorney!by!Capcom!

apart!from!other!games!is!the!narrative!of!the!game.!The!protagonist,!Phoenix! Wright,!is!an!attorney!who!goes!to!trial!to!defend!his!clients!and!to!prove!their! innocence.!In!court,!Phoenix!Wright!exhibits!a!range!of!emotions!and!characteristics! that!gives!players!a!sense!of!the!character!traits!and!personalities.!In!the!beginning! of!the!game,!Wright!is!getting!ready!for!his!first!trial!as!an!attorney.!The!client!for! the!case!is!his!best!friend!from!school,!Larry!Butz!and!Butz!is!being!charged!for! murder!of!his!former!girlfriend,!Cindy!Stone.!With!the!help!of!his!mentor,!Mia!Fey,! Wright!takes!on!the!case!against!the!prosecutor,!Winston!Payne!and!fight!to!prove! his!friend’s!innocence.!The!narrative!is!segmented!into!different!chapters!or! “turnabouts”.!The!first!turnabout!is!the!case!relating!to!the!murder!of!Cindy!Stone! and!the!second!is!based!on!the!murder!of!Mia!Fey,!Wright’s!mentor!and!law!partner! and!also!the!introduction!of!a!new!but!important!character,!Miles!Edgeworth.!He!is!a! rival!prosecutor!that!plays!an!important!part!that!drives!the!storyline!of!the!game.!!

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! ! Narrative!form! !

The!game!exhibits!the!embedded!form!of!narrative!structure!because!the!plot!

is!driven!by!the!design!of!the!game!and!players!do!not!have!the!ability!to!change!it.! The!choices!that!players!make!throughout!the!game!can!determine!on!the!outcome! of!the!trials!but!do!not!significant!affect!the!plot!of!the!game.!!For!example,!the!plot! unfolds!from!one!turnabout!to!another!on!a!linear!structure!or!exhibits!the!concept! of!the!ticking(clock.!Players!are!well!aware!of!the!time!and!settings!of!the!game!at! any!given!point!in!relation!to!the!plot.!The!story!is!revealed!to!the!players!through!a! narration!by!the!protagonist!explaining!everything!that!is!happening!and!also!the! dialogue!between!the!characters!in!the!game.!Through!the!interactions!between!the! characters,!players!are!able!to!understand!the!story!because!of!our!natural!tendency! to!piece!different!parts!together!and!make!sense!of!things.!The!embedded!form!of! narrative!is!a!common!structure!of!narrative!used!in!strategy!games!such!as!Ace! Attorney!because!it!allows!players!to!immerse!in!the!narrative!and!follow!as!the! story!unfolds.!! !

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! Plot!Structure! !

The!plot!of!the!game!is!structured!in!a!linear!form.!Linear!plot!structure!

refers!to!the!linearity!of!the!events!that!happen!throughout!the!game.!Each!event! takes!place!after!another!consecutively.!As!opposed!to!a!nonIlinear!plot!structure! where!players!have!the!options!to!choose!between!2!or!more!ways!on!how!the!story! unfolds.!The!plot!in!Phoenix!Wright!takes!on!the!form!of!linear!structure!because! the!story!is!told!in!a!linear!fashion.!For!example,!the!first!chapter!happens!before!the! second!chapter!in!relation!to!the!time!in!the!game.!The!same!goes!for!chapter!3,!or! the!third!turnabout!that!happens!after!the!second!turnabout.!!Even!though!the! larger!scale!plot!structure!is!dominantly!linear,!there!are!instances!within!each! turnabout!that!shows!the!element!of!nonIlinearity.!For!example,!during!each! turnabout!and!court!case,!players!must!crossIexamine!the!witnesses!and!are!given! the!options!to!press!further!with!hopes!to!find!contradictions!within!their! testimonies.!In!addition,!there!are!also!instances!where!players!are!required!to! make!a!choice!whether!to!“press!on”!with!the!questioning!to!get!more!information! or!to!“leave!it”!if!the!judge!has!given!you!warnings!about!badgering!the!witnesses.! These!decisions!can!influence!the!plot!within!each!turnabout!but!they!do!not!affect! the!plot!on!the!larger!scale.!!

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Elements!of!Narrative!(Poetics)! Characters!–!In!the!Phoenix!Wright!series,!there!are!a!number!of!recurring! characters!that!play!important!roles!in!establishing!the!different!plots!within!the! series.!By!using!the!same!characters!appear!across!the!series,!players!who!have! played!one!of!the!series!can!relate!to!another.!They!immediately!become!familiar! with!the!story!and!plot!of!the!game.!The!main!characters!in!the!games!are!the! protagonist,!Phoenix!Wright,!Mia!Fey,!Maya!Fey,!Miles!Edgeworth,!and!also!�the! Judge�!because!these!are!the!recurring!characters!in!the!series.!The!characters!are! true!to!life!and!consistent!to!the!settings!and!the!virtual!world!that!they!exist!in.!! The!game!introduces!Wright!as!a!nervous!new!attorney!going!to!defend!his!first! client!in!the!beginning!of!the!game.!His!character!develops!over!the!duration!of!the! game!and!becomes!more!confident!in!his!skills!as!an!attorney!as!he!defends!and!

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wins!more!arguments!in!courts.!He!exhibits!an!easyIgoing!attitude!towards!the! people!around!him!and!also!his!work!in!courts.!The!purpose!or!goal!of!his!character! is!to!defend!his!friends!in!court!and!prove!their!innocence.!Part!of!his!traits!can!also! be!determined!by!the!choices!that!players!make.!!For!example,!in!Chapter!2,!the! character!Maya!requests!Wright!to!asks!Marvin!Grossberg!(Mia!Fey’s!mentor)!to! defend!her!in!court!but!Grossberg!refuses,!players!are!given!the!choice!to!defend!or! not!to!defend!her.!By!choosing!to!defend!her,!players!are!actively!structuring!his! character!traits!within!the!game.!

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! Miles!Edgeworth,!on!the!other!hand,!is!a!character!who!is!determined!and!will!do! whatever!it!takes!to!win!cases.!He!is!the!arch!rival!of!Wright!and!they!meet!in!courts! multiple!times!throughout!the!game!and!also!the!series.!!His!character!exhibits! smart!and!calm!even!though!under!constant!pressure!to!win!cases!and!get! convictions.!For!example,!in!the!second!chapter!with!Maya!is!accused!of!killing!her! sister,!Edgeworth!presented!a!possibly!falsified!autopsy!report!to!contradict! Wright’s!claim!that!Mia!was!killed!instantaneously!and!could!not!have!written!the! bloody!note.!Therefore,!Edgeworth!shows!that!he!will!do!anything!to!get!convictions! on!the!defendants.!! !

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The!other!supporting!main!characters!are!Mia!Fey.!She!is!Wright’s!mentor!and!Maya! Fey’s!sister.!Although!she!is!killed!after!the!first!chapter!of!the!game,!I!believe!that! her!character!plays!an!important!role!in!the!narrative!of!the!game.!She!becomes!a! link!for!other!characters!such!as!Wright!and!Maya!and!also!Marvin!Grossberg.!Her! character!is!also!revives!for!Phoenix!Wright:!Ace!Attorney!Trials!and!Tribulations! that!begins!with!players!playing!her!character!for!the!first!chapter.!She!exhibits! kindness!and!leadership!as!she!is!Wright’s!mentor.!Similarly,!Maya!Fey!also!exhibits! the!same!traits!as!her!sister!but!she!is!more!childlike!and!happyIgoIlucky.!!The! combination!of!all!these!characters!create!a!dynamic!interaction!within!the!game! and!enhances!the!players’!experience!of!playing!the!game.!Different!player!can! identify!with!different!characters!in!the!game!based!on!their!traits!and!personalities.! For!example,!some!players!will!identify!with!the!heroic!and!easyIgoing!nature!of! Phoenix!Wright!and!some!will!identify!more!with!Miles!Egdeworth!for!his! intelligence!and!aggresiveness.!The!character!design!in!this!game!is!well!done!as! with!most!JapaneseIdeveloped!games!because!we!can!clearly!see!that!there!are! efforts!being!devoted!to!the!characters!development!in!the!game!design!process.!! !

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Thought!and!Diction!–!Diction!refers!to!the!way!that!meanings!are!constructed!and! conveyed!within!the!game!play.!In!Phoenix!Wright,!the!meanings!constructed!within! the!game!are!conveyed!in!logical!and!conventional!words.!This!is!consistent!with!the! environment!that!the!game!exists!in.!In!the!courtroom,!words!such!as!‘objection’!and! ‘!contradiction’!are!used!to!add!to!the!immersion!of!the!players.!!

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The!thought!or!argument!present!within!the!game!is!the!idea!of!the!creating!a!true! to!life!court!trials!within!a!virtual!environment.!Although!the!court!cases!are! simplified!in!the!game,!the!basics!of!how!to!try!a!case!are!captured!within!the! gameplay.!Overall,!the!design!of!the!game!manage!to!successfully!transitioned!a! serious!endeavour!such!as!a!court!trial!into!a!game!that!most!people!enjoy!playing.! Song!and!sound!–!In!Phoenix!Wright,!the!use!of!song!and!sound!is!an!imporant!part! of!the!overall!experience!of!playing!the!game.!The!songs!that!are!used!within!the! game!add!to!the!dramatic!effect!and!create!tension!at!certain!points!in!the!game.!For! example,!when!players!find!a!contradiction!and!present!it!to!the!court!to!debunk!the! lies,!the!song!changes!from!a!slow!tempo!background!music!into!a!up!tempo!and! victorious!music!to!signify!the!change!in!the!situation.!By!doing!so,!players’!emotion! changes!from!one!state!to!another!when!they!hear!the!change!of!songs!according!to! !

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the!situation.!The!use!of!different!music!in!different!situations!also!makes!the! gameplay!more!dynamic!and!interesting.! For!example,!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymTKaLtbAZs! Another!good!use!of!song!or!music!is!the!idea!of!using!different!songs!according!to! different!emotions!and!state!of!mind.!For!example,!when!Wright!finds!Mia’s!body! and!Maya!by!her!side,!the!music!in!the!background!changes!to!a!slightly!somber! music!to!signify!the!characters’!emotions.!This!enhances!the!experience!of!playing! the!game!and!identifying!with!the!characters!within!the!game.!! ! Spectacle!–!Spectacle!refers!to!the!aesthetic!values!of!the!game.!These!can!be!things! such!as!costumes,!sound!and!visual!effects!and!the!decorations!within!the!set!of!the! game.!In!Phoenix!Wright,!the!costumes!are!generally!believable!and!consistent!to! the!virtual!environment!that!the!game!sets!in.!Presumably,!the!settings!of!the!game! is!modern!days!metropolitan!city!with!characters!wearing!clothes!that!reflect!that! idea.!For!example,!Wright!is!always!in!the!blue!preppy!suit!and!Edgeworth!is!in!his! VictorianIera!suit!with!ruffles!on!the!collar.!However,!since!the!game!is!developed! by!a!Japanese!developer,!the!animation!seems!to!reflect!that!as!well!in!ways!that! characters!usually!have!fancy!color!hair!such!as!pink!and!blue,!and!some!female! characters!usually!wear!ridiculously!tight!outfit!(the!character,!April!May).! In!terms!of!visual!and!sound!effects,!both!of!these!elements!also!play!a!role!in!setting! the!mood!and!creating!dramatic!tension!within!the!game.!The!most!prominent!

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visual!effect!is!the!use!of!exploding!text!boxes!with!the!word!‘Hold!It!’!or!‘Take!That!’! in!them.!These!add!value!to!the!aesthetics!of!the!game!and!also!a!sense!of!comical! humor!to!the!game.!The!sound!effects!also!match!the!context!within!the!game!to! create!dramatic!effect!to!the!experience!of!the!players!playing!the!game.!The!use!of! voice!acting!in!the!game!also!plays!a!role!in!adding!to!the!overall!experience.!For! example,!players!can!hear!someone!shouting!‘Take!That!’,!‘Hold!It!’!and!‘Objections!’! during!the!trial!and!I!think!it!is!much!more!effective!than!not!having!voice!acting!for! them.!Subsequently,!decorations!of!the!set!in!the!game!is!important!in!the!gameplay! because!at!times,!players!will!need!to!examine!the!scene!to!find!evidence.!!Most!sets! are!decorated!according!to!the!context!that!they!appear!in!such!as!office,!hotel! rooms,!court!and!detention!center.!Most!of!the!scenes!are!designed!so!that!they!fall! in!the!background!when!players!are!interacting!with!the!characters!in!the!game.!!

! ! All!these!different!part!and!elements!mentioned!above!are!important!factors!that! determine!the!playability!and!overall!experience!of!the!game.!These!elements!not! only!add!to!the!aesthetics!of!the!game!but!also!different!important!values!that! enhance!the!game!play!for!the!players.!!

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Reflection!–!Revision!of!Critique!Assignments! ! !

The!feedbacks!for!all!my!critique!assignments!are!mainly!about!the!lack!of!

critical!analysis!on!some!parts!of!my!critiquing,!lack!of!inIdepth!analysis!of!the! points!that!I!have!presented!and!also!the!inability!to!communicate!my!ideas!and! points!to!support!my!arguments.!Therefore,!in!the!revised!versions,!I!have!made! necessary!changes!to!show!my!ability!to!use!the!feedbacks!that!I!received!and! improve!my!critiquing!skills.!For!the!first!critique,!the!main!problem!was!that!I!did! not!show!enough!understanding!about!Fabricatore’s!concept!of!the!game!mechanics! and!the!way!they!are!used!in!different!scenarios.!So,!in!the!revised!version,!I!have! included!examples!of!how!Fabricatore’s!concept!can!be!applied!to!a!game!that!does! not!have!a!visible!avatar.!By!doing!so,!I!can!show!my!understanding!about!the! concepts!and!ideas!about!game!mechanics.!For!my!second!critique,!the!feedback!was! mainly!on!the!fact!that!I!did!not!show!the!5!different!types!of!reward!schedules.!In! the!revised!version,!I!have!included!fixed!and!variable!ratio!and!also!the!fixed!and! variable!interval!schedules!and!I!used!examples!to!show!the!different!types!of! reward!schedules!within!the!game.!! Lastly,!on!my!third!critique,!the!problematic!parts!are!the!lack!on!inIdepth! analysis!on!the!narrative!and!plot!structure!section!and!the!need!to!show!more! critical!reflection!on!the!narrative!poetics!section.!Therefore,!in!my!revised!version,!I! have!stated!the!embedded!narrative!structure!that!is!driven!by!the!interaction! between!characters!and!also!added!another!diagram!to!show!the!multiIlinear!aspect! of!plot!structure!within!each!turnabout.!!I!have!also!elaborated!on!the!narrative!

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poetics!and!stated!the!quality!of!these!aspects!within!the!game.!Another!feedback! about!the!critique!is!the!repetition!of!some!images!in!the!paper!and!also!the! relevancy!of!the!images!to!support!my!point.!I!have!thus!removed!some!of!the! images!that!do!not!convey!the!idea!that!I!want!to!communicate.!! The!iterative!process!of!rewriting!parts!of!the!critiques!has!helped!me!gain!a! better!understanding!of!the!concepts!and!learned!how!to!apply!them!more! successfully!in!my!critiques.! !

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Game Critique Report  

This report presents the critiques of 3 selected games from various media. The critiques are based on a set of requirements, standards, and...

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