Hey guys.  So unfortunately I am way behind schedule on pumping out this paper (I’ll admit it).  I left it for last out of the three big ones.  Anyway, I have a pretty rough outline that I’m working with right now, and I could use some suggestions on theories that you think apply well or examples of video game power ups that do not fit well within a game would be great.  Unfortunately, my outline format got really messed up in the transfer, but hopefully it is still understandable.  Thanks guys!

Research question:  What makes this power-up such a fun and appropriate addition to the Super Mario Bros Game line?

Thesis:  The propeller power-up in the New Super Mario Bros Wii game is an entertaining and appropriate addition to the Super Mario Brother’s game line because it is effectively phenomenological in its effortlessness.

Consistency with power ups of previous Mario games

  • Flow
  • Good design practice
  • Wholeness and composition
  • “Each system, each design, even if exactly the same as another, makes up an ultimate particular that has to be understood in a designerly way as evoking emergent qualities in the composition made up by the system and the organization together.” Stotlerman IJD
  • “Iteration between the ‘composition space’ and the ‘construction space’ was a significant aspect of the experts’ design process” – Cross Expertise
  • Integration into the game world of super Mario bros
  • Resembles Super Mario Bros 3 raccoon tail power up
  • Harder to catch than other power ups
  • Increases accessibility to parts of the game
  • Highest and most elusive power-up
  • Similarity in the slow decent

ú  Adds challenge, not sure where you are going to land because character goes off screen

  • “The design has meaning when we can see how it is connected to other things that we value.” – Nelson – Stolterman (273)
  • Success of the Mario enterprise says that it is impactful for people
  • Most people in my age group remember playing these games on Nintendo 64s and NES
  • Recent upswing in “vintage” clothing often uses Mario

ú  Examples from Hot-topic

  • “A timeless design can be understood as a design that is not only appreciated at a specific time and in a specific place, for a specific purpose; it is also a design that is valued by people in different times and places, because it represents enduring and commonly held human values.” – Nelson/Stolterman (280)

Integrates natural movements of game play into the actual interaction

  • Anecdote about playing when I was younger
  • Pushed buttons hard when things got tense
  • Had a tendency to shake the remote to emphasize my movements to make sure the game counsel read what I was doing
  • Throwing the remote when I got frustrated when I died
  • The clever thing about what Nintendo game designers have done here is that they have made a natural reaction into a benefit of the game
  • Gamer expertise tendencies are applied so the learning curve is really easy
  • “Intuitive interaction minimizes the burden of conscious thought needed to operate the system, leaving us to concentrate on our goals.” – G. Smith Designing for Everyday life
  • Made something that was ready-to-hand a present-to-hand benefit
  • “The relationship between the activity and the tool is a reciprocal one.  Activities shape the requirements of particular tools, and the application of the tool begins to reshape dimensions of activity.” (2) Activity theory and context-based design
  • Played to the anecdotes like mine
  • Seek phenomenological acceptance in the lifeworld of the gamer
  • It’s as if they figured out the client-base desiderata and applied it to the design of an unknown want for new power-ups
  • History of Mario Games using the same power-ups

Emotional rollercoaster makes it a coveted item

  • When I play I’m excited when I get it, anxious when I have it, and bummed when I lose it
  • Responds to the player as an emotional human
  • Creates a coveting nature by making it easy to lose,  and difficult to get much like other coveted things in life
  • Wealth
  • Respect
  • Does what Boehner et al consider good affective design which is to “encourage awareness of and reflection on emotions in individually and collectively”
  • The “life-saver”
  • Can be used for success and when in the grips of peril
  • It allows players to do and survive in surprising instances
  • Much like the thrill of a getting a hit in racquetball that you went for because you thought “unlikely, but maybe” and then it worked
  • Ensoulment – “intrinsic value of design itself—value—and the value of the design in relation to something larger—meaning.” – Nelson/Stolterman definition of ensoulment

Implications for Design in Conclusion

  • Using some principles of this to create more fun and engaging designs
  • Encompassing emotion
  • Demonstrating a consistency
  • Using player’s natural habits
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