While I was reading that Sustainable Play, I kept thinking to myself, "Hey, we played that in class;" so, I figured I might as well analyze the games with which I have personal experience.The first was probably my favorite (strangely enough, the students in the paper seemed to like it the best as well), Rock, Paper, Scissors Tag. Since we all played it, I'll skip the description. RPST (that's what all the cool kids are calling it) was fun because there wasn't really much of an endgame. Sure, the idea was to go on a winning streak so that your team absorbed the other, but what made it feel so different was that the face of the enemy kept changing. What was funny was that it was really only a handful of people doing the decision making, but when they lost and were tagged, they'd go over to the other team and still try to be the decision maker...even though they'd just joined the team that essentially outwitted them. What else was new to me was that when your team had a strategy that it was going with, if it ever failed and you managed not to get tagged, you'd know that members of the other team were aware of your strategy.The game took that traditional RPS game mechanic (a bit self-referential, I know) and made it into a game of psychology. It also managed to take a lot of the emotional investment out of it because losing just meant you got to go play for the winning team. It also had a tug-of-war aspect in that the game never seemed to make progress toward and end result since the mode of conflict had a chance of victory that was essentially a coin flip (but where George Washington has a brain and goals).
Another new game we played that was mentioned in Sustainable Play was Prui. Once again, I'll assume we all know the rules. Prui, I did not like so much, but that might be because I was afraid my hand would wander somewhere unwelcome (it's not like we're all the same height) and drama would ensue. Anyway, that game completely subverts typical gameplay mechanics. You can't really win at Prui. You just play it. There aren't really teams either.The game is more about the process, although, it probably would've fallen into the fun category more if the process hadn't been so dull. If only they could've thought of a more engaging way of interacting and spreading the prui "infection," if you will...
Sustainable Play also talks about some video games that fall into the New Game category, including Halo 2. Born out of the player community of Halo 2 (and it may have originated in Counter-Strike or elsewhere, I don't know) and later formally included in Halo 3 was the game Infection. Infection actually works a lot like a combination of RPST and Prui. The way it works is that when a round starts, everyone is human except a set population (1 player, 25% of the players, etc) who are the zombies. If a human kills a zombie, the zombie just respawns and tries again. If a zombie kills a human, they're infected and then respawn as a zombie. The round ends when there are no humans left. So, imagine Prui, but fun and with the team aspects of RPST in that losing a team mate typically means trouble for you.
Halo 3 as a whole is obvously not a New Game, but the reason Infection falls into that category is simply because the goal is to play the game. Sure, you can technically "win," but that's only because they wanted to put the game online and the masses aren't into the whole New Game idea. Anyway, the way my friends and I usually play is that the zombies only get melee weapons and the humans only get a shotgun and a pistol (both standard Infection fare). The zombies have less health and the only items on the map--which can only be used by humans--are mongooses (mongeese?) (ATVs) and a single guass hog (an SUV with a mounted single-shot armor-piercing cannon). The catch is that the zombies run at 300% speed, which makes them as fast as the vehicles. The most popular strategy for the humans is try and be one of the two or three people in the guass hog. The reason this is significant is that if this were a game that people took seriously from a competitive standpoint, no one would ever drive. Whoever gets in the back of the guass hog always gets the most kills, and the zombies who go after the gauss hog always die the most. But, this is a New Game, and the fun is in the playing and not the winning. Chasing down that 'hog is challenging, and if you succeed, you've got yourself a couple new team mates to help you go after the guys who like to sit in the cockpit of the elephant (it's a big vehicle). Infectrion uses the same tools and basic rule sets that every other Halo gametype does (physics, etc) and the basic gameplay idea of killing people, but flips it on its side to make the idea of playing for your team or even for personal glory come second to idea of just playing with your friends...and some random people you recruited online.
Ludica (Fron et al.). 2005. Sustainable
Play: Towards A New Games Movement for
the Digital Age. In Digital Arts & Culture Conference Proceedings,