It's not bizarre to want to win at a game. Everybody feels good when they succeed at something, and games are all about achieving a goal. Games require victory conditions by their very nature, whether the player is to rescue a princess, win a war, or just avoid whoever is "It" in Tag. The problem with Civilization is that what I considered a victory differed from what the game considered a victory: The game wanted a civilization that could stand the test of time, but I was having more fun strategically role-playing as a world leader. And instead of just shrugging my shoulders and doing what I wanted, I changed my behavior because that's what the game expected of me.

The problem with Civilization is that what I considered a victory differed from what the game considered a victory.

Not only do games define victory, they also reinforce its meaning through play. In a Call of Duty multi-player match, players receive bonuses for racking up their kill count. When Mario defeats a mini-boss, rewarding music signifies your success. At the same time, the player is made aware of the consequences of failure. The Announcer from Team Fortress 2 verbally reprimands players when their team fares badly, and if any platformer character loses their last life they face a recognizable Game Over screen. These are not quaint genre conventions; developers consciously add these elements to teach you how the game is played. Certain tasks are encouraged at the expense of others, which is perfectly fine until you do something that runs counter to the victory condition the developers chose for you.

Even the rules speak volumes of how developers think participants should play. Take Zombies!!!: The Board Game by Twilight Creations Inc. The core rules provide two possible victory conditions: Be the first player to find the escape helicopter, or be the first to kill 25 zombies. The rules allow players to explore an abandoned city, gather weapons and supplies, and fight off slowly-approaching undead. Most importantly, there are no set rules for zombie movement; all undead actions are controlled by human players each turn. These victory conditions and rules create an atmosphere of intense competition among players. By declaring that only one person can "win" the zombie apocalypse, the game assumes that players are lone wolves looking out solely for themselves. Supplementary rules and event cards promote in-fighting and reward those who hinder their opponents in any way. A player can freeze another in their tracks for a full turn, spawn zombies at major intersections, or even relocate the helipad across the board, all while bringing themselves closer to the goal. If you prefer a cooperative experience, you won't find it in the core ruleset. This game requires all participants to be ready and willing to screw over everyone else or the gameplay slows to the point of monotony.

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