To Own

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Entities can own other game entities. Ownership does not carry any inherent meaning, other than the fact that one entity is tied to another. Changes in ownership can not be initiated by the owned entity. Ownership can change the attributes or abilities of either the owned or owning entity. Ownership can be used to measure performance, either positive or negative. Ownership is never permanent; the possibility of losing ownership separates ownership from an inherent attribute or ability of an entity. Ownership of an entity can change in variety of ways, including voluntary and involuntary changes of ownership.

It is important to note the difference between owning an entity, and using an entity. For example, in Super Mario Bros, when Mario collides with a mushroom, the mushroom is immediately used and removed from the game world. Mario never owns the mushroom.


Strong Examples

Persona: Revelations

In Persona, your party has an inventory where purchased and obtained items are listed. These items are owned by the characters and can be consumed or equipped. Persona is a strong example of entities "owning" other entities.

Rise of Nations

In Rise of Nations, players own cities. Cities owned by a player affect the player's resource production and area of influence. Generally, the more cities a player owns, the better the player can perform. More cities also expand a player's territory. The size of territory can be important, as this can be a possible win condition. This is a strong example because, unlike other real-time strategy games, in RoN, ownership of cities can change hands! (usually, an enemy would have to destroy a city)

Super Mario World

In Super Mario World, in some states Mario can collect mushrooms (or fire flowers or feathers) to use later. In this case, Mario owns these entities to use at the discretion of the player. See also To Possess for a strong example of a more specific type of ownership in Super Mario World.

Sonic The Hedgehog

In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic collects rings throughout the game which then relate to his overall health and his vulnerability. He owns the rings in the sense that if he doesn't have any he can die more quickly. The rings are not permanent and can be lost if he is hit by an opponent or runs into spikes or another such obstacle. Therefore, Sonic owns the rings but can involuntarily lose his ownership.


In Monopoly, the properties on the board are purchased by players, who then own them. The ownership of properties can be forfeited or exchanged.

Second Life

Second Life is an interesting example because the Ownership extends to the real world in addition to the gameworld.

In Second Life, players own the 3-dimensional objects and code they produce, such as houses, vehicles, and furniture. Players who did not produce the object can only own rights the producer or intermediary is willing to sell. Given a set of rights, sellers control how objects are exchanged in the future. Producers begin with every available right to the objects they produce. They control whether these virtual objects can be copied or transfered by buyers. If an object cannot be transferred, then it cannot be sold. They can also choose to sell the original object or a copy of the object. Sellers can only sell a right to an object if they own it. For example, if a player bought a No-Copy object, they cannot sell the object as a Copy object. To purchase objects, players must first purchase Lindens, in-game currency, using First Life money (such as American dollars). Players can own virtual objects, but LindenLabs owns the environment which enable these virtual objects.

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The world of Oblivion has tens of thousands of individual object that can be picked up, bought, sold, stolen, or captured. Some items are interactive and very useful, such as weapons, repair hammers, potions and potion ingredients, keys and lockpicks, etc. Others just have decorative or monetary value, such as rings, golden nuggets, silverware, etc. Almost anything can be picked up and used, and since maximum amount of things that can be carried is realistically limited by weight, player often has to make tough choices and throw away some items when he or she becomes overly encumbered.

World Of Warcraft

Building off the above entry, World Of Warcraft (WoW) has ten's of thousands of items. Weapons, potions, herbs, gems, armor, pets, all of these things can add to the character when used. In WoW unlike Oblivion, the amount of items your limited to is a combination of spaces in your bank and in your bags allowing for the posession of several hundred items at a time especially if you use a bank alt.

Weak Examples


In this game, the player must buy his weapon at the beginning of the round. The weapons that you purchase are yours for as long as you are alive. Once the player dies his weapon is then left on the ground for another player to pick up and use.

Silent Hill

In Silent Hill, the main character must not only defend himself from all the demons, but protect a mysterious girl as well. And yet her movement is so slow that it impedes the likely success that the player will be able to survive. But it appears she is necessary in order to stay in the game.


In Ico, the player character must protect a girl called Yorda. While the player only directly controls Ico, his actions are very closely tied to leading, guiding, and protecting Yorda. Once could argue that Ico, in effect, owns Yorda because of the way they are tied to each other.

Halo 2

In the game Halo 2 for the Xbox and the PC, players can gain control of various guns and weapons through a game. However, players can steal guns from the deceased and can also pick up their ammo and grenades. The player is also limited in the number of weapons he can own at any given moment.

Crash Bandicoot

In all of Crash Bandicoot, along with going around and collecting those purple crystals, Crash always ends up breaking boxes which contain wumpa fruits, and by obtaining one hundred, the player will gain a new life. However, Crash does not need to pick these items up, the player must choose whether or not to pick these up as perhaps a boulder is coming really fast or a wumpa fruit is right next to a TNT box.

F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon)

In the Game F.E.A.R. a player starts out the game with only a hand gun and has the ability to pick up new found weapons either from the armories or from the deceased. But if the player was to run out of ammo he would lose the possession of the weapon. Also in the game the player is limited to the number of weapons and ammo he can posses.