Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sports and social gaming

Sunday is a day about non-videogame games for me. I watch football (and participate in a fantasy football league, which is kind of like a videogame) and play ice hockey.

I'm also taking my turns in Scrabulous (still undefeated) and hoping that my vanquished foes will ask for rematches soon.

It's also very "social gaming" kind of day. A lot of games I play are single player experiences -- puzzlers, RPGs, action adventure. I consume them like I consume books, movies, tv, music, etc. It's about the content.

Social gaming is much more about the context. It's the people that make it fun -- more specifically, a mixture of competition, cooperation, agreed upon norms and rules, and decent match making. With all the things that must go right to make a social game fun, it's amazing that they ever work out in some ways. When you bring 30 people together to play hockey, even one or two "bad eggs" can really spoil the fun for everyone in ways that are hard to correct. After you've got the gear on, have driven a half hour (or more), and have payed your league fees, you don't quite have the same freedom to drop from one session and join another as you do while playing an online FPS or RTS.

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