I was reading ‘play this thing‘ recently. The review described a very illusionist game that had come out. This makes me angry at a certain level. But then ‘andyhavens’ posted this:
you know… death? graveyard? can’t avoid it even if we want to… maybe especially if we want to. we have an illusion of control in life, because we can move up/down/left/right… we can walk, talk, etc… we can have wine with dinner, or not… but in the end, we die. we always move to the end of the game, regardless of input.
this is “more art” as a game, because the point about the illusion of control is made more strongly when you (the player/viewer) are given that illusionary control. if it were a film, the illusion of control is impossible; the audience knows it has no control.
I find it strangely wonderful.
And this makes me even more angry. No, not at andyhavens…but this is what I wrote in response
When your given control in a game, it’s to make you a co-author. This game gives you controls, then dishonestly says ‘Oh, by the way, you do everything just as I say – I’m the only author here, I just humoured your idea that you’d get to author in order to get you to listen to MY story’
If your not interested in authorship and just want to drink in what is there, then I compare that to drinking alchohol. Doing it a bit is okay, but if you binge on this, your just an alcoholic looking to wash away this world with someone else’s brew.
And it struck me how apt that alcohol comparison appears to be. So many freaking games are just a predictable tunnel, where you experience exactly the authors story and the only thing people will complain about are the graphics. It’s just booze – they don’t want co-authorship, they just want wash away this world with another persons brew. Ten million people on world of warcraft for absolutely no story impact whatsoever – pure alcoholism.
The worst thing is I advocate for a game like say, metal slug, to have a story, even though you in no way effect it. But that’s because metal slug is about hard gameplay first, then story as a side garnish that you don’t eat. That’s fair enough.
But somehow that gets twisted into the mmorpg model, where you’ll never effect story – and yet gameplay difficulty is only a garnish. Lets face it, the mmorpg is about story, and yet it denies co-authorship (oh, apart from how you can dress you ‘toon’) AND THIS IS LAPPED UP. It’s alcoholism – wash away this world for another.
I’m not against a few drinks here and there. But when does it become binging?