Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Hero is the God


Over the course of the five weeks I have learned many new things about games and particularly video games; the definition of what makes a game (structure, rules, storyline, playtime, etc.), the flow of time both in the game and in real time and how it effects playtime (Half-Real, Juul, 6-7...141-156), debating the effectiveness of cutscenes, and personal opinions on the value of certain games. Probably the best part of the course was reading the novel “Ready Player One” by Earnest Cline; it was an excellent book which delves into the pros and cons of the players’ immersion into gaming, and the power of play. In fact this book is what inspired my final project here which I look into playing video games as a form of playing “God”.
Let me explain, in the story there is a MMOG (massively mulitiplayer online game) OASIS that almost every person in the dystopia world of 2044. The creator, James Halliday, dies and leaves in his will game of hunting for the ultimate Easter Egg to win the entire company, and ‘gunters’ must use their avatars to find it in the game. Based on this I came with this discovery; it appeared to me that the main character Wade controlling his character to complete the tasks that Halliday set up was very similar to a demigod directing his champion to complete the trials set by the God to raise himself to take the place of the God.
Another part that formed the “Player God” theory is the article “Playing the hero: How games take the concept of storytelling from representation to presentation by Teun Dubbleman. In his article he discusses two logics of interactivity of the player to the game; one is that of the player as a guide of the character’s actions, and the other is a more active participant of the game-world and the story.

Using these as inspiration I formed my idea as players are the ‘God’ of the video game. From my experience of playing over the past five weeks I have seen that as the player I have the power of complete control over every action of the character; in games like the Sims it takes it one step further by giving the character a bit of (preprogrammed) free will, and intervening only at the God’s a.k.a the player’s discretion like in real life religions.  But that is a different story.
New Super Mario Bros Wii - WIISince all my previous blogs have been over Mario games, I have decided to finish with Mario – Super Mario Brothers for Wii. The game is fairly straight forward; it is like a modern rendition of Super Mario Brothers with Super Mario World. In the game the player acts out a predetermined story, but even though the player has no control over the complete story they have complete control over the action and the existence of Mario and his gang.  Taking from the article and the novel, playing Mario allows the player to immerse themselves into the familiar story and rhythm of the upbeat whimsical world (like the first logic), but allows for the player to maintain the distance of their Godliness of the classical control of the game(logic two). (Playing the Hero, Dubbleman)

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