[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Sun Sep 25 03:51:21 CEST 2005

On Sep 22, 2005, at 11:18 AM, Sean Howard wrote:

> I didn't really mean to derail the discussion with something so
> minor, but I didn't explain myself particularly well. My point is
> that a Japanese kid could have a New York accent, meaning that all
> languages are learnable by different cultures and races. The
> specifics may be different, but language itself is functionally
> identical.

My apologies--I misread what you were trying to say.  I think we are
in violent agreement on this one, then :-).

> For the record, Japanese doesn't really have anything different
> from English. For instance, it's verb final, but English is
> perfectly understandable like that ("To the store I went, and it
> exploded").  Japanese has implied subjects, but we merely overuse
> pronouns to make up for it ("I went to the store and bought a
> toy. It was nice."). Japanese has formal language, but so do we
> ("Good Morning, sir" vs "Wassup!"). The biggest hurdle and
> difference is reading kanji, but written language is nothing but a
> learned behavior, while language structure is innate.

Actually, the example I was thinking of was the particle, which
English doesn't have ("wa", "ga", "o", "no", etc.).  English has the
same functions, but accomplished via very different structures.

> Which was my point, though I worded it extremely poorly. My point
> is that language IS innate (you said it wasn't).

Actually, no--I said that your native language you acquire is
completely learned.

I think we're mostly in agreement.  I'd even go so far to suggest
that gender is the same way--that the capacity for it is innate, but
which a person acquires (and certainly how it is expressed) is
learned, and that this is related to language acquisition (note that
the first binary distinction children are taught, as they are
learning to speak, is boy/girl...).

However, both are examples where once acquired, it's not changeable,
which gets to one of my points...

> It really just boils down to how important those details are. Are
> the differences between Japanese and English the important part,
> or the overwhelming similarities? I guess it depends on whether
> you are trying to teach someone a second language, or are trying
> to talk about the human brain.

Or, in this case, whether you're trying to build games that appeal/
sell to one or both communities.

"We're all the same at a fundamental level" is a fine philosophy,
and one one with which I strongly agree, but it doesn't really
answer questions like "why are FPS players mostly men, social and
puzzle gamers mostly women, and why do men and women in general play
MMO games with different goals and styles?"  I think these latter
questions are interesting (as are cultural differences--why is
Lineage popular in Korea and China but not the US?).  I think that
delving into these questions can teach us useful things about gaming
and MMO/MUD/VW participation.

> Actually, that makes a good metaphor for this discussion in
> general.  Nature vs nurture. Structure vs details. Abstract vs
> concrete. Good vs evil. Madness, I tell you. Madness.

Ah, but madness is *interesting*. :-)

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