Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Nutty Week

Gloria and Eli 11.10 went to Shreveport on Tuesday (coming back tomorrow). These four days are my only chance this summer to get in extended periods of work time on Gridiron Solitaire, so all I've done since they've left is eat, sleep, work out, and work on the game.

By the time they get home tomorrow, I'll have gotten in about 40 hours in those four days. It's been very tough to do that and write, though, so apologies for the disrepair this week.

Three things today.

First, the controversy over the "Redskins" nickname for the Washington NFL team blows my mind. How in the world does anyone on Earth think the name "Redskin" is anything but an incredibly offensive reference? How hard is that to figure out?

Team owner Daniel Snyder hired an "Indian" to go on "Redskins Nation" (a Snyder-produced show) and refute the crazy thought that "Redskins" was an offensive name. This guy was named "Chief Dodson", and he was "full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska."

As it turns out, he's neither.

It's an incredible story, and the unbelievable arrogance of Snyder is staggering. Here's the full story, and man, it's a doozy: Redskins' Indian-Chief Defender: Not A Chief, Probably Not Indian.

Second, I've been reading The Trenches for a while now, and it's become one of my favorite reads. It's a comic strip created by Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, and Scott Kurtz, and the story that's developed over time is both very funny and highly entertaining.

If you haven't checked out The Trenches yet, you should.

Third, Daniel Willhite sent me a link to a Gamasutra article that totally blew mind. It's The Top F2P Monetization Tricks, and it's evil sorcery. I'm not even kidding when I say "evil"--it's chilling. The entire article is 100% required reading, but let me just quote one excerpt:
A game of skill is one where your ability to make sound decisions primarily determines your success. A money game is one where your ability to spend money is the primary determinant of your success. Consumers far prefer skill games to money games, for obvious reasons. A key skill in deploying a coercive monetization model is to disguise your money game as a skill game.'s Candy Crush Saga is designed masterfully in this regard. Early game play maps can be completed by almost anyone without spending money, and they slowly increase in difficulty. This presents a challenge to the skills of the player, making them feel good when they advance due to their abilities. Once the consumer has been marked as a spender (more on this later) the game difficulty ramps up massively, shifting the game from a skill game to a money game as progression becomes more dependent on the use of premium boosts than on player skills. 

...Candy Crush Saga employs this technique artfully. In that game there is a “river” that costs a very small amount of money to cross. The skill game comes before the river. A player may spend to cross the river, believing that the previous skill game was enjoyable (it was for me) and looking to pay to extend the skill game. No such guarantee is given of course, King just presents a river and does not tell you what is on the other side. The money game is on the other side, and as the first payment is always the hardest, those that cross the river are already prequalified as spenders. Thus the difficulty ramps up to punishing levels on the far side of the river, necessitating boosts for all but the most pain tolerant players.

It's brutal, and it's more than a little scary. There's no real game here, just a Skinner box and shaping. Who knew that every behavioral nightmare of the science fiction future would be contained inside F2P games?

Site Meter