Aspects of Play: 9-Ball Quick Fire Pool

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘9-Ball Quick Fire Pool’ belongs to is Internet Based.

When playing 9-Ball Quick Fire Pool, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon and Alea

In terms of Mimicry, you could say that the player takes the role of a pool cue, but I don’t think it would be appropriate to say that the player protagonist is a pool cue, rather the individual holding it but they aren’t present onscreen, so I don’t think it applies. Agon does appear within this game in the form of a highscore section, of which you can compare and contrast highscores with friends and other individuals online to see who is better, the competitive element stems from the player desire to be better then everyone on that aforementioned highscore section and thus would cause them to be more competitive. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game primarily because of the lack of Mimicry and also because there’s no room for disorientation on a game that has a timer in which the player is playing against to accumulate the highest score. Alea takes the form of the distance certain balls within the game can travel and whether or not the player actually scores points from putting those balls into their respective pockets.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the timer aspect of gameplay because it added the element of urgency that made me want to continue playing to get as many points as I possibly could before the timer ends. Additionally I like the implementation of the highscore section because of the social and replayable aspect of a competitive nature being more addictive in terms of gameplay.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. I found that the timer provided a sufficient motivating factor for me induce flow, as the timer only has a certain amount of time, obviously the session of flow was short lived but the required focus to make as many points as possible was enough to stimulate worthwhile and effective flow.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would add an AI to play against the player to improve the quality of replayability and the effectiveness of gameplay, either as a separate mode that isn’t timed but still promotes the Agonistic element or part of the timed gameplay that enforces the challenge factor and improves the level of focus required to win.

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