By Kevin Jakubowski
It’s 1980-something and all nine-year-old Jake Doyle wishes for Christmas is a Nintendo leisure method. No Jose Canseco rookie card, no GI Joe hovercraft, no Teddy friggin’ Ruxpin—just Nintendo. but if a hyperactive Shih Tzu is by accident overwhelmed to demise by way of a forty-two- inch tv set and each mother or father on the town blames Nintendo, it’s as much as Jake to take issues into his personal fingers. the result's a Christmas quest of large Mario Bros. proportions, jam-packed with flaming wreaths, dashing minivans, misplaced retainers, faux Santas, scorching academics, snotty sisters, “Super Bowl Shuffles” and one very bare Cabbage Patch child. advised from a nostalgic grownup point of view, 8-Bit Christmas is a hilarious and heartfelt glance again on the child popular culture of the Nineteen Eighties.
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Extra resources for 8-Bit Christmas
The exploitation of rules may involve identifying tactics never intended by the game’s designers. Perhaps the most infamous example is the Asteroids ‘lurking’ strategy. Rather than destroy all of the asteroids in the playﬁeld and move on to the next level, experienced players learned that by leaving one ﬂoating through space, the level could be effectively suspended and they could wait for the arrival of the alien spaceships that earn far more points on destruction than mere rocks. In observing children playing Transport Tycoon, Carsten Jessen (1995) has noted that working out the rules of a videogame constitutes a large part of the fascination and challenge and is a principal motivation for play.
While the player can attempt to create an aesthetically beautiful city, or an efﬁcient city, and while a session ends when resources are exhausted, it is not possible to win or lose. In his discussion of ‘abdicating authorship’, Doug Church (2000) has similarly noted that there is no winning or losing in videogames like The Sims beyond what the player understands those terms to mean. That is, the player imposes their own ludus rules upon the playground that The Sims offers. Moreover, Frasca suggests that ludus and paidea can be combined in speciﬁc games, and that the player themselves is able to switch between the two activities at will.
In Tetris, for example, both competition (Agon) and chance (Alea) are evident. The randomness and unpredictability of the sequence of falling blocks ensures that Tetris cannot be simply ‘learned’ while competition can be between two (or more) players or between player and CPU (Central Processing Unit – essentially, a competition between the player and the game’s ‘simulation’, see p. 25). It may be also that the element of competition is imposed by the player through their own ludus rules, for example, trying to maximize the number of four-line ‘Tetris’ scores.
8-Bit Christmas by Kevin Jakubowski