Aspects of Play: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

As part of the module, the task for the duration of 3 weeks, was to look into various types of games within 3 specific bands of play to fully comprehend the scope and ideology behind the notion of play. The band this game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ belongs to is the Console.


In relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play, I would rightly say this game falls under the categories of; Mimicry, Alea, Agon and Illinx

When it comes to the game itself the character, be it in single-player or multiplayer, is a soldier that the player thus is used as the playable character throughout the portion of the game they play, that is thus how this game achieves Mimicry. The Alea (chance) in this game comes from the players themselves, seeing as it’s primarily multiplayer oriented (regardless of the implementation of a single-player narrative) the objective thus is to eliminate the opposing team whilst performing specific tasks, the chance comes from the efficiency of the team and if any player acquires kill-streaks or supplemental abilities within the game that could give them an edge over other players. Illinx appears primarily in the moments upon which the player is disorientated with flash-bang and/or stun grenades that cause the inability for the playable character to move as it should normally, and temporary visual impairment from the action on screen. Agon is primarily the core aspect of this game, seeing as it’s as mentioned previously, multiplayer oriented. Having a 1v1 tournament within the session made it abundantly clear to me that this game stirs a direct competitive element, within players even from the fact that this idea for competition was presumed before the game was put in the disc tray. I think it stems primarily from the fact that it’s distinctly human vs human without any artificial intelligence getting in the way that makes it so competitive and the desire to be the ‘best’.

If I had to choose an element within the game that would be referred to as ‘appealing’ to me, it’d most probably have to be the assortment and array of specialised equipment that really helps diversify gameplay.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes, although only for brief stints. With the multiplayer element fueling the competitiveness of the game, flow generally from my perspective was achieved whilst within the game, searching for enemies and trying to stay alive. I found that the longer you stay alive, the longer and more enthralling the session of flow becomes. Death obviously within the context of the game, ends the immersion and thus flow.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I’d get rid of the kill-cam and the wait for respawning. Death in the context of the game is the most deimmersive element that does end flow, having a seamless transition between death and respawning would lessen the deimmersive impact that it has.


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