Aspects of Play: The Simpsons Road Rage

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 ‘The Simpsons Road Rage’ belongs to is the Console.

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In accordance to Roger Caillois’ theory of play, it would be right to assume that this game falls under the following category; Mimicry

From what I played of it, it only housed the ability to move the playable character in the form of a car, around the map to various locations to pick up NPC’s and begin the ‘Road Rage’, thus deemable to belong in the category of Mimicry. I saw no distinct sight of Agon (competitiveness) as it is a game about driving NPC’s to various locations without any competitiveness, there wasn’t an external body or antagonist fueling my desire to ferry these characters across the map. Nor did I see any sign of Alea (chance), the only element of chance detectable is the player’s ability to finish/beat the game in terms of delivering all passengers to their destinations, but that is questionably chance because it’s the players ability in question not the game itself. Seeing as the game is purely driving a car around, it had no clear sense of Illinx (disorientation).

The appealing elements of the game to me were; The smoothness of driving, I’ve seen games that have the driving mechanics do a lot worse in terms of maneuverability. I liked that the open world seemed vaguely ‘alive’, it added to the immersion.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes, I achieved for a brief few moments the state of flow when playing this game. I think primarily it came down to the level of immersion that the game provides and primarily the mechanics. I find myself generally when it comes to games that have a driving mechanic, achieving flow more easily because of the level of concentration on the road they require.

If I were designing a similar game to this, I’d remove the timer for one, I personally have a distaste of games that have a time limit because they limit the amount of play and can be a block to flow. Instead I’d implement AI that would be rival ‘Taxi drivers’ that would attempt to steal potential customers from you, thus would bring in a competitive element into the game. Additionally I think I’d bring in the ability to move out of the car and wander around the map without the car. There’s a lack of depth to the game that really doesn’t go beyond being a taxi driver of sorts, I’d much prefer to explore the paradigm of the character to get a deeper level of immersion.

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