What is a CDG?
A Collectible Duel Game is an electronic game format where human players collect virtual cards representing avatars, actions, and a variety of other items and functions. The players collect various themed sets for their own personal enjoyment, engage in peer versus peer battles which range from simulated combat to more whimsical 'pet show' type judged events, and can be involved in special events, tournaments, epic boss and secret matches.
Profits for CDGs are derived from in-system advertising, purchasing Blind Packs, specific item purchases, booster item purchases, and material merchandising such as clothing, toys, and other accessories to go with a specific CDG universe.
A popular genre of CDG is the chibi-monster. Chibi-Monster is predominantly occupied with exploring a specific region of the world, finding exotic cute monsters and capturing them. Once captured, said monsters must be evolved, trained, and then are used in fighting monster duels with other players, or against computer agents to complete in game missions and quests. This form of gaming dates back centuries to the progenitor game, Pokemon. The Chibi-Monster format is widely copied and simple. Each monster has a limited number of moves, but can be accessorized, evolved, upgraded, and so forth. Getting certain monsters requires fulfilling certain objectives, ranging from in game missions to redeeming codes, to collecting a physical item in the real world and turning them in for the virtual creature.
Chibi-Monster is popular among children, and is well supported by a number of companies. The game familiarizes children with CogNet gaming, microtransactions, and sets the stage for early brand recognition. The Chibi-monster genre is well supported by CogNet entertainment programs, toy and accessory merchandising, and the heroes and mascots of the games are well known figures.
Functionally similar to Chibi-Monster, Duel Monster is a more advanced version, combining the basic gameplay of collecting, training, and fighting in duels with other players. It adds more variables such as traps, situational modifiers, and allows the use of additional weapons. Unlike Chibi-Monster, Duel Monster tends to be more aggressive and violent, with monsters being slain and even players suffering 'injuried' through the course of a duel. The more aggressive and often more sexualized nature of these games makes them popular among teens and young adults who enjoy the edgy content.
Duel Monster is 3/4ths adult themed Chibi, and 1/4th cyber-ops. Elite level players of Duel Monster style games are competent hackers who just haven't been given the proper tools. Swapping out the 'monsters' and replacing them with attack, hack, snoop, and other programs turns a game deck into a cyber weapon. This is not accidental. Elite players can find themselves being offered jobs in security, at the game companies, or being headhunted by other groups.
A variation from the original theme, Fortress Farming involves the player building a base, setting up a system of resource collection, and building an army to fight and defend themselves. The original versions of these games lacked the revenue generation of other games as their monetization was limited. Once the option for random purchases was included, the value of the games increased as victories were no longer entirely determined by skill or luck, but could be affected by spending money. Fortress Farming games take the core architecture of the previous game iterations and moves them to a larger scale. Previously battles were between individuals or small teams, the battles and PvP of fortress farm games involved hundreds to hundreds of thousands of monsters. The Real Time Strategy elements, economic elements, and design and defense elements lend the game to favor players who are both tactical and strategic.
Fortress Farming trains players to be drone and robot controllers, or to work as military agents, directing and coordinating operations, in addition to those recruited for their cyber-ops potential.
Arena - the arena is the area in which the game is played.
Monster - default term for the units in a game, friendly or otherwise. Most games have extensive backlogs of monsters. It is common for monsters to be divided into rarity and arbitrary categories to support a paper-rock-scissors fuctionality, making each type vulnerable to one type and dominant over another. Inexpensive and small scale games have scripted figures, while high end games can run the equivalent of basic cathex programs as main characters.
Trap - Modifier that changes an element in a battle, typically one shot.
Spell - Like a Trap, Spells are modifiers that change an element in a battle, but rather than being something triggered, 'spells are activated by the user whenever they see fit.
Collecting is a large part of the game setting, with having 'the complete set' being a point of personal pride. Players can tour their galleries as virtual locations and interact with their units. The level of interaction varies from game to game. Less expensive games have very limited interaction, while the top tier games have synthetic intelligence designed into their units, allowing for conversations, personal exchanges, and in the case of some more adult themed games, virtual sex.
Some games exist solely for collection aspect, including a number of CDGs disguised as dating and relationship Sims. Lacking a violent aspect, these games are not as popular as others, but they have healthy profit margins as the items collected in the game can be quite rare, and the competition isn't combat so much as it is the hunt for the next ultra rare treasure.
(Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc)
Harem Game - The Harem Game is based around creating a collection of the most attractive potential mates. These games are focused on fanservice, beef and cheesecake, and range from innocent to very adult. Superficially these games with have another mode of gameplay, such as volleyball, hand to hand fighting, or racing.
- Fantasy Harem - collect exotic sexy mythological monsters and characters
- Zombie Harem - collect exotic sexy zombies
- Alien Harem - collect sexy aliens
Around the Solar System in 800 Days - A collector game, players travel through different exotic locations, fighting random battles to gain new items, ships, and achievements in the game.
- Voyage to the Center of the Earth
- 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
- The Iliad/Odyssey
Many games feature a 'breeding' element where two monsters can be used to create a new monster. This ranges from just another addition to the gallery, to creating a new hybrid fusion of the parent creatures. Breeders will spend a great deal of time and often money to get their specific exemplar, with the perfect stats, the perfect pedigree, and in some long established games, owning certain specific monsters can actually earn the owners money through 'breeding' privileges.
In some PvP games, having the best possible monsters is highly desirable. The players who are willing to take the time to create, raise, and train a major monster can make a lot of money selling it, or leasing it out to various interests. In many games, having something classified as an Ultra-Rare can equate to a virtual object worth thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.
(Pokemon, Monster Ranger, Dating Sims)
Monster Farm - The farming game is based around hunting monsters and raising them, and breeding them to create better monsters for a variety of goals. Monster Farming games are commonly combat oriented, with the best monsters fighting the best.
- Monster Pet Show
- Monster Racing
Family Farm - The goal of the family farming game is the collection of mates, and breeding them. More mundane versions are only in game creatures, while some more high end games allow the player to create virtual offspring with in game characters. Family farming games tend to run towards the disturbing as dehumanization of sex is common place, and there are strong kink and taboo undercurrents in the genre.
Some players thrive on violence, experiencing by proxy, bloodsport. There is no real blood, nothing is really killed, but the cathartic release is just as real as far as the brain is concerned. With combat being a regular aspect of the games, there are a number that allow the player themselves to enter the game and equip in game weapons and armor and fight.
The Petroleum Era had boxing, mixed martial arts tournaments, and other spectacles of violence, but none match that of the Gladiator style games. Gladiators and gladiator style games are known for their violence and gore factors, with opponents fighting on through missing limbs, and spewing out inhuman amounts of blood. Its all spectacle, and the matches between elite players are often enough to warrant entertainment feeds. Some top level gladiators are minor celebrities within their respective entertainment circuits. There are variations of this type of game that ranges from realistic hand to hand fighting to more fantastic battles, with the fighters using non-humanoid avatars in battle.
(Fighting games and First Person Shooter Games)
First Person Fighter - Fight other monsters, collect them, fight monsters against monsters, hunt and shoot monsters, etc. Combines the popular elements of First Person shooter games and martial arts fighting games.
One of the things that is frequently forgotten is that the MMO was developed in the middle of the Petroleum Era, and has been a viable game format for centuries. Explorer Type games spend more time fleshing out the world arena, and the profit factor is driven by item and equipment sales, rather than collecting large numbers of monsters. PvP is still common, but there is a much more pronounced in game culture that develops around these games than in others.
Immersion is very popular for this style of game, and as such, can command some of the highest normal access fees, limiting the reliance on item and in game sales for revenue. These style games can be used by outside groups to determine the effectiveness of a new fortress or complex lay-out, explore population dynamics in a new location (the computer model of Mars had been inhabited for three decades before the first solid colony was landed)
(World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto and similar sandbox games)
Games are an important factor to consider in entertainment, and games are going to change with both technology, and with the nature of economics. Game designers want to make money, as money as possible, and have to work within the cultural and technological limitations. The early years of gaming were dominated by 2D platform games and basic RPGs. This is what the technology could support, and what the new game culture was willing to support. Time progresses, and a variety of genres are born, the Real Time Strategy, the First Person Shooter, the Sandbox game, and the plethora of sim games. These games were innately limited because they were only going to be bought once, and that was it. Once a consumer bought the game, there was no more action between the designer and the customer.
Mobile gaming through smart devices made games much more adjustable. Rather than paying $20 to $60 a game, the games were released for free. Special items, limited edition items, special events, and other things were packaged as part of the games, but had to bought separately. The free to play game could easily end up earning the company hundreds of dollars from dedicated players and dozens from casual players. (To my personal shame I will confess to having spent way more money on FarmVille than I should have).
This mentality infected the gaming universe in the Cosmic Era. Game packs and blind bag DLC are the wave of the future. The economic model trumps game genres, and is as easily present in a car racing sim, fighting game, or FPS game. Buy a car, a fighter avatar, a gun? No, only at premium rates. For a more modest fee you can buy a pack. For $1 you can get a Mortal Kombat 19 Character pack, kaching, unwrap, there is a common fighter, another common fighter, an alternate costume, a power up, and an uncommon fighter. For $99 you can get the Ultimate Fatality Pack, a Rare fighter, rare costumes, rare fatality attacks, etc.
The other side of the point is the immersive nature of the CogNet and CogNet based entertainment. The games are much more interactive and desirable. Pokemon is massively popular, and it's a handheld game. Ported over into a CogNet setting, players can pay money to go to a virtual Kanto or Sinnoh that exists inside a game studio server cluster. It's a hunting game, with exploration, but you have to either work inside the game to earn in game currency, or you use real world currency to play. There is interaction with the actual monsters and avatars and NPCs in a game. Using the Pokemon example, people wouldn't play the game, they would go to it. Their pokemon are creatures they can pet and interact with. Move this to human 'monsters' and the appeal only increases.
Author's Note: I've had this idea for a while and haven't found a way to express it or use it. Watching the animes for Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh I could see the proxy monster fighting with the trap cards and spells and special attacks being stand ins for programs and code based weapons in hacking and cyber security. The players don't run around with bracers on their arms, throwing cards and shuffling decks to fight a cyber battle. Their 'deck' is their tool box of weapon and trick programs and code. The monsters do the fighting because it's code versus code, machine versus machine, just being directed by a human operator or a machine guidance system. The fact that the CogNet functions on a level of human unconsciousness, first level sleep, the actions taken by a gamer/hacker happen in a fraction of the time of a normal user.
The different settings and scenes from anime? That's the arena/atmosphere of the server.
The monsters? Those are the different programs at the hacker's disposal, protecting their computer core from being crashed by the rival.
The rest is a conflict of naked will and the electronic integration of the Dreamlands into the Cosmic Era.