Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Puzzle Pirates

It was Lucas who introduced Cricket (and thus Fish and I too) to Puzzle Pirates. Thank ye very much ye little blaggard ;-)

We had begun to tire of the grind ('kill' lots and lots of monsters to achieve the quest) on Silkroad and this much lighter game offered a less violent, more amusing form of play.

Both offer the opportunity to explore social issues particularly in the online world. That other players may be real people on the other end means that what you do makes a difference to someone else - if you don't keep up your end of the pirateship tasks your character could be planked (and I think I witnessed recently robbed into the bargain). I think also that how well you do your task impacts on others' tasks (though I don't know that for sure in puzzle pirates). And when it comes to melee when one ship grapples another to plunder - your skill (and luck) may affect the consequence for the whole crew.

Curiously we have found beggars in both games - players who ask other players for game-money. How we feel and what we think about the begging is also interesting to observe. Fish can totally relate to the desire to have someone just give him the money so he can get the thing he wants NOW (a wolf in Silkroad, doubloons to play different games in pirates), and so he is inclined to give people the game-money they ask for because he would like to be given for his own asking. Me: "getting money in this game is quite straightforward and easy, if time-consuming... if you want the game-money play the game".

Enough of each begins to feel as monotous as bouncing a ball against the wall but Cricket loves another opportunity to play poker.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Silkroad Online

Which friend do we have to thank for the introduction to Silkroad?

It has kept us happily busy for the last few weeks. It is contributing wonderfully to Fish's reading and Cricket's spelling as we party up with game-friends (and strangers) to quest and try to survive trading on a fantasy silkroad.

Fish has enjoyed Trader and Thief jobs and I've tried out Hunting.

Issues we've explored have been: balancing such games with health and family needs; world-wide timezones; comparing virtual with real-time behaviours (what do we ever know about other people's motives).

I want to expand on that last one first. We discovered (although the game discussion forums did warn) that clever thieves are undetectable while they mark traders out... a new young trader trusts this friendly player who offers to escort you with your carefully loaded trade horse (which is such a low level it may not be attacked by player-thieves) only to be killed by strong npc thieves spawned in the area by the 'helpful' guy's thief friend, after which the 'helpful' guy now in his thief suit and his friend make off with your trade gear.

Watching Fish discover intricacies of the game first hand, despite the warnings, I was reminded that his learning style is very much to leap in and give it a go. It is a huge emotional challenge to support such learners. He is of an age where "it is just a game" is not comforting or consoling, mind you he is also of an age where not winning is almost intolerable. Having said that, it occurs to me that my own style of playing (reading about the strategies, watching others) reflects my own distaste for losses.

Update: 17 February 2008
This post has attracted advertising comments for bot services - please don't make such comments, I will only delete them. If you wish to pay for the advertising space I guess you could make us an offer.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Moonflowerdragon: Scenarios for Internet Ethics

Moonflowerdragon: Scenarios for Internet Ethics

I just blogged over at moonflowerdragon:

Thanks to my Bloglines account, and Francey from Gargoyles Loose in the Library, I now have a bunch of new scenarios to raise when discussing internet issues with my boys.

Our local library gave us material from the government's initiative to promote internet safety (can't remember what it is called), which didn't really address anything we hadn't already discussed ... but finding the material prompted a refresher discussion in a timely way for our exploration of Silkroad (about which more later, right now I want to PLAY).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mum has claimed us at Technorati

We have a few games to post about when we run out of steam on them. In the meantime mum has continued with the 23Things project and is claiming this blog at Technorati with this link to her Technorati Profile