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Students: Lazar Mihai Marcu Dominic Margau Vlad Masura Alexandru

Academia de Studii Economice, Bucuresti, 2012

First off, you would imagine how thrilled our team was to have to write a paper during the holidays, with a deadline just two days after the winter break, so we came up with a clever way to bypass all the research work needed and just start writing about things we already knew and also loved doing, in order to grasp a more subjective approach on the chosen topic. People often say that if you dont truly believe in the things you are working on and dont have fun whilst doing them, you wont be successful in any of your endeavors. This means you have to work with passion, because the first person you are ultimately going to sell the idea of the finished product is yourself, and if you cant fully embrace the concept, its going to be even harder to pitch it to someone else. That being said, we quickly searched for a topic that each member of our team could relate to, and also provide valuable insight upon his experience and personal preferences on the subject at hand. In the end we settled on the topic of video games, due to the wide variety available these days. The first ever commercially produced video games were arcade games back in the early 70s in the United States, and I think we all remember in movies those huge machines that took up quite a lot of space in pubs, where people could play games such as Pacman, Space Invaders or Donkey Kong. They were very successful and in fact, they provided the buzz that this industry needed at that time in order to grow, attracting attention of such companies as ATARI or Sony to develop smaller gaming equipment, which the average consumer might have in their home. In Romania arcade games werent very popular due to the restrictions implemented by the communist block but after 1989 the true Figure 1. Pacman machine video game craze began here also, with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis consoles, due to their small prices, at that time.

Figure 2. Sega Genesis Figure 3. Super Nintendo

Simulator Games

Walking on towards the modern era of computer games, the innovations in technology and visual graphics have brought forth a major leap in gameplay, making them much more realistic and attractive in the eyes of the consumer. The branch of games that specializes primarily on these lifelike experiences are called simulator games, and they vary from sports simulators such as the very popular Fifa series or We Ski to auto simulator like Colin McRae Rally and even general lifestyle simulators, the most prominent figure on this market begin called The Sims. These games have in common the high level of reality that the consumer experiences while playing them, being an alternative to high cost activities that the average consumer does not really have the chance or possibility of participating in, on a regular basis, as the title simulators would suggest. In The Sims, or other lifestyle simulators such as Second Life or the very popular Zynga Games via Facebook, the object of the game is to build your own little corner of heaven and manage this space and your avatar, as best as possible, via financial transactions or social aspects, for as long as you desire, because these types of games really dont have an endpoint, a specific goal that needs to be reached in order to be proclaimed The Winner.
Figure 4. The Sims logo

On the other hand, in the very popular and adrenaline infused automobile racing simulators like Colin McRae Rally, victory is the prime motivator. First off, each player is assigned a racing car that he or she has to modify to his or her liking, in order to have the best chance of winning the race. After that, the abilities and skills of the player are really put to the test when their car hits the tarmac, where concentration and good hand-eye coordination are key elements. Though fun while played on an average computer, these games are ten time more awesome when played on a professional gaming console like Play Station 3, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii. For our current example, the Colin McRae Rally games, they provide gaming equipment such as a steering wheel and foot pedals that strive to better achieve the motions that the person would normally do in a real life car race, without the added danger of crashing or other undesirable events.

Figure 5. Colin McRae Rally game snapshot

RPGs, MMORPGs and Strategy Games

While the simulator games generally focus on recreating reality as much as possible, the RPG (Role-Playing Game) games and other strategy deviants focus on an alternate reality, where everything could be possible: most of these games have a storyline, or short movies, that highlight some aspects of this virtual reality world on which the action takes place, and the user is introduced to this new world. The main element for these types of games is that the player has to create his main character from the bottom up, with special focus on the skills his character will have in the beginning of the game, because they are essential in getting through some rough portions. In a highly regarded RPG nowadays, the apocalyptic Fallout series, these skills are Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck, abreviated as S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Depening on which set of skills has the most points awarded, especially in MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online RPG), there are different builds that a player can opt for: the tank (a character that will take the blunt of damage in the fight), the assassin (a character designed for maximum output of damage in a fight), the healer (a character that heals all members of a team in a fight) and different variations on these three main builds. Figure 6. Fallout 3 S.P.E.C.I.A.L build menu The RPG games, in general, focus on the players capacities to plan in advance and make the best out of unexpected situations while dealing with the AI mobs (the villains) and other enemy players. In the online game League of Legends, two teams of three or five players each, get to fight it out on a map consisting of three major lanes (top, middle and bottom), with the objective of destroying each others base camps. Through the choices they make early on with their build and the items they choose throughout the game they are constantly trying to neutralize the enemy players tactics, in order to emerge victorious, in the average 45 minutes session battle. MMORPGS like World of Warcraft take the concept of these individual battles to a more lengthy approach. Though a player can have a multitude of characters in stand-by, it requires a great deal of time and effort to achieve such a great variety of builds, and more often they settle on a couple basic ones, because the time it takes for a WoW character to max out its potential is not measured in minutes like in League of Legends, but rather in hundreds upon hundreds of gaming hours per character. This makes the psychological involvement even greater and thats why these types of games are usually controversial nowadays, with people playing days in a row, or weeks at a time, with complete disregard of other things.

First Person Shooters

Sometimes, though, when time is of the essence and you dont really have the possibilities or the mood to develop a WoW character in order to play, thats when many people opt for a First Person Shooter game. This genre is one the most physically and mentally demanding type of games due to the fact that you need not only look out for enemies and try to aim for a critical shot, but you also need to be aware of your teams and your enemys movement and make split second decisions on a regular basis, to Figure 7. Call of Duty MW3 midgame ScreenShot ensure you stay in control of your fate, more so than you would do in another type of game. This type of video games aims to satisfy the needs of the consumer more along the lines of gameplay, even at the extent of diminishing video quality for the interface, because speed and reaction time is critical, and any form of latency from the server or computer is not well received, to put it nicely. One of the top shooters of all time, and my personal favorite is Counter-Strike version 1.6, a two team faceoff with the terrorist organization on one side, and the boys in blue on the other. Using weapons that are made as accurate as possible to their real life counterparts, each team strides to claim victory in every 3.5 minute round, for as long as each gamer wants to play basically. All in all, in order to have fun and really enjoy a video game, be it a RPG, a Simulator, a Shooter or any other type, you have to first sketch out what you are looking for in the game, and what skills you possess in order to beat the enemy team frankly... no one likes to lose on their own free time!

Figure 8. Counter-strike logo

Figure 9. Counter-Strike 1.6 midgame screenshot