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 »