The Skill Spectrum of Station 38
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 12:44PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Indie, Skill

Though I'm not yet to the end of the Examination of Skill series, I wanted to talk about the skill spectrum of Station 38, a game made by Pat Kemp. A skill spectrum is the range of skill needed to play a game at a specific level. Typically, skill spectra are used to analyze the level of skill needed to beat a game, 100% complete it, or compete at a tournament level. Being a relatively simple platforming game, I'll be unpacking the spectrum needed to beat and/or master (100% complete) Station 38.

 

 

In Station 38 you take control of a space ship. To pass each level you must safely navigate to the teleporter using the BOOST mechanic. To BOOST, click and hold the mouse button, drag it in a direction, and release. The farther you drag the cursor, the more boost power you get. The direction you drag the cursor determines the vector direction you travel. Though this single, core mechanic may seem simple, understanding why it's engaging and exactly how it challenges the player requires using the DKART system. As a pun on  René Descartes' "Cognito ergo sum/I think, therefore I am," the DKART system is rooted in the fundamental concept of video gaming. Being a uniquely interactive medium, players have the power to influence the game state/presentation/art form. This act of influencing is our agency. To act we must use some facet or combination of our skills. Therefore, we can express the idea of selfhood or agency in a virtual environment as, "I DKART, therefore I am."

The following is a breakdown of the skill spectrum of Station 38 for mastering the game.

Dexterity

  

Knowledge

 

Adaptation

Reflex

 

Timing

 

 

Such is Station 38. It's a great game with a great core mechanic and just the right amount of levels/story. I don't know how popular this game is, but I like to think that I'm one of the few "masters" in the universe. 

 

Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (http://critical-gaming.com/).
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