By Cassidy and Peter


World of Warcraft and Geocaching—opposite ends of the spectrum, right? One is a virtual game with Elfs and Orcs that involves players sitting for hours on end in front of their computer screens, while the other is real-life exploring. Anyone could agree that World of Warcraft and Geocaching are two different kinds of games, but they both share commonalities at the foundation of game play. In both of the games, people or avatars go out on epic quests; Geocachers may root around the Brooklyn Bridge for a cache as WoW players explore deep into the forests of Ashenvale attempting to find Dartol’s Rod.

Furthermore, at the core of their games, both WoW and Geocaching rely on deeply dedicated communities. In World of Warcraft players fight in guilds and have developed the worlds’ second largest Wiki to provide information about the game. Geocachers often cache in groups and rely on online logs posted by players to uncover information about each particular caches.

Though they’re not the same kind of game, they are the same type. In Gonzalo Frasca’s “Simulation versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology,” he defines games with set rules and clear goals as ludus, and games lacking structure in which the player is given more leeway as paidia. For example, a game of chess would be representative of ludus, as there are rules that must be followed to win; something like the Sims would be likened to paidia, in which the player has different paths he or she can explore, with none of them necessarily being wrong. We argue that both World of Warcraft and Geocaching are a blend of paidia and ludus. Read the rest of this entry »

By Cassidy and Peter

As Jane McGonigal says during her talk on TED TV, “We like people more after we’ve played a game with them.” Games build trust with another person and function as shared experiences. In many cases, the interaction born out of games is most important, not who wins or loses. Take two games that are seemingly unalike: Geocaching and World of Warcraft. Geocaching is the outdoor game of using GPS coordinates to find hidden caches while exploring important or interesting areas of history. World of Warcraft is an online multi-player computer game where the forces of good and evil clash. But these two have something in common: the journey or quest involved, which, for the players, is typically more rewarding than actually coming to their destination. In both, hard work, cooperation, and a few tips and tricks from peers are what help players succeed and what builds a strong, tightly knit community.

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