Aspects of Play: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

As part of the module, the task was to look into various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed’ belongs to is the Console.

When playing this game, I personally found that it belonged to the following categories of play, in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Mimicry, Illinx, Alea and Agon

Mimicry within this game comes in the form of controlling the selected racer that the game gives you to choose from, of which you then use to race around specific tracks against either AI or other players. Illinx comes primarily in the form of an effect that occurs once hit with a Tornado weapon that makes the victim have to control their vehicle with reverse controls, thus disorientating the player. Alea occurs in the instances on the map that weapons become available, because a player might have the lead for the entirety of the race, but could easily lose the race if someone goes All-Star (The most powerful power-up that is given to the player randomly, that allows them to be invulnerable and move faster then everyone). Agon comes from the competitive aspect that racing games promote, you don’t go into a racing game wishing to come in second place, you always try to be first, so this is prominent in this as well.

In terms of elements in this game I liked, I really liked the fluidity that the game switches the vehicles from land to air and to sea. The ‘transformed’ aspect of the title comes from this being that the vehicle transforms mid-game, and I very much like the way in which this is handled without too much deimmersion on the side of the players. I also liked the diversity in gameplay, you see there isn’t a single in-game character that is prominently better then the rest because of the mods that are available to diversify gameplay and alter the way in which the vehicles perform on the track.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. I find that racing games in general require an intense amount of focus due to the Agonistic elements of wanting to win. The more you want to win, the more engrossed you become with the game and flow is entered. Seeing as the races only last for a short amount, the flow however doesn’t last for too long.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would implement more dynamic tracks that alter during gameplay. That I know of, there is one within the game that destroys the road after 2 laps and that segment of the track is used by way of your vehicle taking the aerial route, instead of being on the ground, which I thought was great.

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