Aspects of Play: Operation

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 ‘Operation’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Operation, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead plays the role of a surgeon operating on a patient, removing certain parts of the body without touching the metal edges the correspond to the piece being lifted. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent in being the first to successfully take out all pieces before your opponent and to gain more points then them, although this game can be played in a single-player fashion, I’ll regard it in the overall sense of being competitive also. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs the board, taking turns with an opponent of whom you’re in direct competition with.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the failure aspect of hitting the metal side edges that house the pieces, because like B.F Skinner’s Operant Conditioning, it teaches the player to distinguish from bad behaviour and good behaviour to allow good behaviour to be more prevalent and for bad behaviour to be made aware of.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. The sheer amount of dedication and focus required for lifting certain tiny elements of the patients body was greatly enough of a challenge to warrant flow being induced.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would instead of having one singular patient, have multiple patients that way the competitive aspect of it would be enforced by the players racing to operate successfully whilst maintaining level of competition and focus required for performing said task.


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