A Japanese Board Game Review – Machi Koro

Digital Game Cultures

Machi Koro Machi Koro has a colourful and exciting design

Machi Koro is an extremely engaging game with easy to follow instructions. It allowed interaction between myself and the two other players, and I was most definitely taken on an emotional roller-coaster as each turn passed, either going against or in my favour. Before I delve into the mechanics of Machi Koro, lets look at the origins of this colourful board game.

Machi Koro is a city building game that was created by Japanese game designer Masao Suganuma and illustrated by Noboru Hotta, Ian Parovel and Mirko Suzuki. The game was first published in 2012 by a Japanese game company called Grounding Inc which was originally founded in 2007 by a lady called Mineko Okamura who has an exceptional career history in the gaming world. Okamura worked particularly closely on Astro Boy for Playstation 2 whilst she was at SEGA

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Prototyping and Play-testing: Méirén

Digital Game Cultures

For the prototyping of my board game Méirén, I decided it would be of greater use to create detailed cards, board game, playing chips and player pieces in order to receive more accurate feedback about my game during the play-testing phase.

I have a green folder, titled Méirén that contains essentially my ‘gaming journal’.  It consists of A4 hand written notes of my progressive ideas as seen below.

Folder Méirén Green Folder which contained all hand written game development notes

Idea 1 Idea 1

idea-2.jpg Idea 2

idea-2-part-2.jpg Card Development and Discussion of Mechanics

mechanics-that-i-liked.jpg Notes of Mechanics that I liked from the game Tokaido

Although this part of the game was time consuming, it was definitely worthwhile, as I tried to portray one of the key elements that I find the most important thing with any game: presentation. If a board game packaging and its gaming pieces do not appeal to me, I won’t buy it…

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Méirén: Game Pitch

Digital Game Cultures

Behold: Méirén! As some of you may know, I have a particular love and appreciation for Japanese and Asian culture. I believe that these cultures involve aesthetically pleasing colours and images that draw me personally to games such as Tokaido, Machi Koro and Lotus. As Fang, Chen and Huang (2016 p. 7) outline, “the appearance of [a] traditional board [can] impress people at the first sight”. This is a main driving force behind my board game creation, to ensure that it is aesthetically pleasing which will influence imagery and invoke emotional responses both negative and positive between players.

Lotus Tokaido Machi Koro The aesthetically pleasing details and colours of these Japanese inspired games influenced my desire to create a board game with similar appeal.

Essentially convergence has played a huge part in the development of my game. As Booth (2015, p. 47) outlines, “convergence is a way of thinking anew about…

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Disney Movies: Anthropomorphism

Charlotte Olsen | BCM310 | Blog 2 | Looking at Animals | Week 4

Disney

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Disney exemplifies the relationship between humans and animals through a source of inspiration and fantasy.  It transports us into a magical world free from the everyday stresses of reality.  However, the use of animals in Disney movies, has incorporated anthropomorphism; that is attributing human characteristics and behaviours to an animal or object.

The study of movement and animals was encouraged by Disney.  Many of the Disney characters were created through the artist getting closer to nature; having to observe the animals anatomy, their movement.  This included animals being brought into the studio as well as being observed in zoos and the wild (Anthropomorphism in Disney Movies Film Studies Essay 2015).  However, as Steven Watts describes, it was the interaction between animal characteristics and human personality, attitude, emotions and behaviour that saw, what he terms, ‘personality animation’ come to life (Anthropomorphism in Disney Movies Film Studies Essay 2015).

bambi 2

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A particular Disney movie that showcases perhaps more animal like features than others, is Bambi.  Bambi shows no human characters at all and portrays humans as “dangerous off screen creatures” (Leventi-Perez, 2011).  The animation of Bambi is more realistic, with the film focusing more so on the natural habitat of deer and woodland life.  However, human attributes are nonetheless present, through Bambi’s quest of self discovery, the reoccurring motif of the importance of family as well as the many love stories that emerge with the different animal characters.

1 beauty and beast

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Another Disney film that exemplifies the use of anthropomorphism is Beauty and the Beast.  Although there aren’t animals as such in this film, human like characteristics are given to objects such as Featherduster, Mrs Potts, Cogsworth, Lumière and of course, my personal favourite, Chip.  Mrs Potts and Chip highlight the family concept, whilst Lumiere is depicted as a romantic Frenchman.  Audiences cannot help but love Mrs Potts for her nurturing personality and motherly advice, whilst Chip is like a young child, eager to learn and explore.  This is a great example of how different human traits given to objects allows us to connect and relate to the characters.

It is thus evident that Disney went beyond giving animals human attributes by also instilling “gendered, racial, ethnic and classes categories” (King et al, 2010). Interestingly, Artz (2002) suggests that Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was not a huge success due to the lack of anthropomorphised nonhuman animal sidekicks as this adds appeal to young viewers as well as comic relief for older audiences.  Perhaps this is why the upcoming Disney movie Zootopia is specifically about anthropomorphised animals.

It also further highlights that we as humans empathise with animals perhaps more so than we do with humans in films.  Despite this, it is without a doubt that Disney’s inclusion of human traits in animals has been scrutinised as they possess social and political realities which influence and condition audiences.

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References:

Anthropomorphism in Disney Movies Film Studies Essay 2015, UK Essays, viewed 25 March 2016, <https://www.ukessays.com/essays/film-studies/anthropomorphism-in-disney-movies-film-studies-essay.php&gt;.

Artz, L 2002, ‘Animating Hierarchy: Disney and the Globalisation of Capialism’, Global Media Journal, vol. 1, no. 1.

King, R, Lugo-Lugo, R & Bloodsworht-Lugo, K 2010, Animating difference: race, gender and sexuality in contemporary films for children, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland US.

Leventi-Perez, O 2011, ‘Disney’s Portrayal of Nonhuman Animals in Animated Films between 2000 and 2010’, ScholarWorks at Georgia State University, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-131.

 

What does your selfie say about you?

Charlotte Olsen | BCM310 | Blog 1 | Seflies | Week 2

better selfies

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“In 2014, people took approximately 93 million selfies per day on just Android” (Senft & Baym, 2015).  Apart from this statistic being ridiculously high, it exemplifies that taking selfies has become an innate act; an everyday habit in our lives.  However, there have been many articles and research papers that have tried to explain why we take seflies, as well as what the selfie says about us.

The Narcissist, Psychopathy and the Self objectifier                                                        The increase in popularity of taking selfies has fuelled the debate as to whether or not people who take and post selfies on social media sites are narcissistic, psychopathic, self objectification or a combination of all three (Seidman, 2015).  Interestingly, a study conducted in Ohio (Fox & Rooney, 2015) concluded that narcissistic behaviour included showing off their selfies and going to a lot more effort to look their best in photos, whilst the posting of multiple photos without editing was associated with psychopathy.  Self objectification was associated with low self esteem, which was quite the opposite of narcissism which was linked to high self esteem.

Despite these links, it was deemed by Fox and Rooney that the personality traits such as the three listed above are notable through all sectors of society and are deemed to be within a normal range and thus are not of alarming concern.

The ‘Ideal Situationist’                                                                                                                       Tiidenberg points out however, that selfies are often created to emphasise the normative notions of what is considered “proper” or normal in society.  Such ideas include, an ideal female appearance, the celebration of a heterosexual family and the staging of opposite sex relationships in a romantic setting.

The Joker                                                                                                                                          Further to this, joke type selfies are created to decrease serious issues in a light heartening way.  An example of this is the selfie phenomenon ‘the sneaky hat’, which involved people posting nude or seminude photos with hats placed strategically over private areas on the body.

sneaky hat

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The Political Activist                                                                                                                           Selfies can also be used in order to create awareness about a particular issue.  An example of this was the #IStandForMercy campaign which was a series of recorded selfie videos which were used to plead with Prime Minister Tony Abbott to do something about the two bali nine men, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran who were to be killed in Indonesia in April 2015 (Razer, 2015).  This campaign took off extremely quickly, with many people also taking selfies and signing a petition in relation to capital punishment use in Indonesia.

The Inappropriate Selfie Taker                                                                                                       The taking of selfies during weddings, funerals, catastrophic natural disasters and other sensitive locations has seen many people criticised for such actions.  An example of this that we looked at in class was the young girl who took a selfie at a concentration camp in Germany.  I personally found this to be completely inappropriate, as I would if someone took a photo at a funeral.  However, it has been found that the taking of selfies in some of these situations is related to “legitimate cultural practice of presencing; a practice that is directly embedded in wider rituals of mourning and memorialisation.” (Senft & Baym, 2015).

What about simply a person who just likes to take selfies?                                           I personally think that there is a lot of stigmatisation around selfie taking.  Yes there is research to suggest that we have certain traits, but it is hard to categorise people into such specific categories.  Some people may be avid selfie takers who have no self esteem issues, whilst others may have severe low self esteem.  Regardless of this, selfies have changed the way we communicate between our friends, family and colleagues, by allowing us to express our feelings, emotions and state of mind, through the simple click of a button.

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References:

Fox J & Rooney, M 2015, ‘The dark triad and trait self-objectification as predictors of men’s use and self-presentation behaviours on social networking sites’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 161-165.

Razer, H 2015, #IStandForMercy and Selfie-Activism, Daily Review, viewed 14 March 2016 <http://dailyreview.com.au/razer-on-selfie-activism-and-istandformercy/23214&gt;.

Seidman, G 2015, Are Seflies a sign of Narcissism and Psychopathy?, viewed 14 March 2016, <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/close-encounters/201501/are-selfies-sign-narcissism-and-psychopathy&gt;.

Senft, T & Baym, N 2015, ‘What Does the Selfie Say? Investigating a Global Phenomenon’, International Journal of Communications, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1588-1606.

Tiidenberg, K 2014, ‘Bring sexy back: Reclaiming the body aesthetic via self-shooting’, Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, vol. 8, no. 1, viewed 14 March 2016, <http://cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2014021701&gt;.