Monthly Archives: February 2006
A Few New Games
After a day of shopping, we came home with 2 new games; God of War and Darkwatch. Although they are not new titles (who can keep up these days anyways). I was really impressed with God of War. Although a little on the violent side – some of the battle moves are quite comical. Your goal is to save Athenes from the god Aries and in doing so, was promised by Athena to be rid of your horrible visions of the violent massacres you have unleashed on the world during your power hungry Spartan days.
What I like about this game so far is that it is full of inventive puzzles in order to make your way through Pandora’s castle. There is still alot of battles along the way, but once you’ve cleared a monster, they are dead for good – clearing the castle over time for easier mobility in the long run.
I am not that impressed with Darkwatch, but vampire cowboys just aren’t my thing.
We are holding out for a price drop on a third game – Shadow of the Colussus, made be the same people who created ICO. This game looks quite innovative in that your goal is to attack and take down a series of colussi… their bodies is the landscape. You climb up onto them and attempt to seek their weak spots. There is no other battle in the game (as far as I understand) and the navigation of the colussi requires patience and wit. A nice contrast to a lot of the games out on the market these days.
Sports Games & Sociability
Not usually my area of interest, but after a conversation with a colleague’s partner last night, I wonder if it is not something we should look at a bit deeper. We talk of the sociability of play in mmog’s, and Lan parties, but I haven’t read much about the social elements of play in sports games. Shanly’s thesis approaches this form of sociability in her MA thesis in how boys use games as a social meeting space. (Please add more and/or correct me if I am wrong Shanly).
There is a different culture between sports and fps, rpg etc. games. Typically (but not exclusively) those who play the latter set don’t usually play sports games. In the case of sports games, guys tend to get together in groups to play 2 on 2 hockey, have a few beers and have a good time. Whereas (often not always) when my partner gets a new game, he might call his buddy to talk strategy, but it is more of a solo experience.
In terms of exploring the social, it seems to me that sports games, and the culture that surrounds them would be an interesting place to explore. Surely, some of the counter arguements would be that sports games culture is simply sports fan culture. But there must be some ludic differences between playing sports and playing sports games – the most obvious being the leisure social space the video game creates is a different kind of space that being in the park playing a game of football. Something to think about I suppose.
Blogging Away From Home
I have recently started blogging with my fellow gamecode members, and am finding myself at odds with what to post where. Although much of my ramblings here have been game research related, it is not all related to my research per se (usually course work, and other half coherent thoughts of the moment relating to games).
And so, I am trying to determine what to post where. For now, I will link my posts from over yonder to here instead of cross posting – will see how that works for now. Here is my first post., continuing on my thoughts surrounding my identification project for my CIN6011 class.
Upcoming GameCODE Event
Dominic Arsenault (Université de Montréal)
Why and how video games tell stories
Wednesday, March 1st 12:00pm 2:00pm
1455 de Maisonneuve West, Rm H-1122
(11th floor of the Hall building)
Images of Identification
I am trying to find a direction and structure for my upcoming presentation on Identity and Identification for my cin6011 class. As I’ve rambled on about before, I am working with these two concepts in relation to the movie and video game of my choice (FFX2 & TBNC). I am from a theoretical background and am quite comfortable theorizing about the theoretical history and appropriation of these concepts in film and games. But I have to give tangible examples of what I am talking about.
And so, the digging for good screenshots of Final Fantasy that depict exactly what it is I am describing begins. I have sifted through many pages of screenshots and have found a few. I am now diving into cut scenes and other film excerpts as well. But the challenge is (and this is a point made in most of the theory of identification I have been reading) is that the identification process between player/viewer and the textual medium is a personal one. Each player/viewer begins from a different starting point. Yes, there are a certain amount of cultural indicators designed into the game and/or film. But how, technically, does a film producer evoke a strong sense of identification? Is it a purely emotional issue? Close-ups and camera angles? Or is it based on the standpoint of the player/viewer in that the producer/scriptwriter/designer attempts to create a narrative that will relate to the widest audience possible to allow various levels of identification to occur?
I am struggling with the the transition from identification (between player/viewer and the character/avatar) to the concept of identity. Usually I work with the construction and maintenance of identity in mmog’s – and that makes sense in terms of the player. But in this case (the case of the cin6011 project) I am wondering whether i should talk about how the film/game develop the identity of the character/avatar and what role the viewer/player have in that on-screen development.
And how do I do all of this without treading into psychological waters?
The Faces of EverQuest
Very interesting commemorative project happening over at SOE. In short they are
creating a custom EverQuest Photo mosaic made up of photos of our players
throughout EQ’s seven year history. The final image will be that of Firiona Vie
from the original EQ packaging. We will distribute it at our seven year
anniversary event, in conjunction with our induction in to the Metreon Walk of
Time, Film & Video Games
Just something that’s been bouncing around my head. 10 hours of play logged on Final Fantasy X-2 (and no where near finished), I am beginning to wonder what is the effect of time on play and narrative in a game versus the preset time of a film, that pulls you through the story line in a relatively linear manner (pauses and rewinds aside). How does the time one takes to play the game affect the narrative experience?
On a small side note, when one goes through a scene for the first time and is forced to listen to the cut scene dialogue, how is this changed (in the perception of the player’s play experience) when they are able to skip the dialogue and get on with the adventuring. Does the play become shallow? Is the purpose just as pertinent or does it move from narrative to platformer?
Identification, Identity, Film & Games
I have been trying to work through my comparative analysis of video games (FFX-2) and film (TNBC), but I have been coming to a few annoying brick walls. In my previous (and thesis) work, dealing with mmog’s – the concept of identity works well since there is a (larger) element of player authorship in game progression. Identification in it’s empathetic and sympathic terms [re:Neill A., 1996] in that a player merely identifies with or for a character has been stumping me.
Since a character – an avatar – is a mere coded artefact, then we can only feel feelings for it.. we can merely be sympathetic. The feelings of vertigo I get when playing Velixious in EverQuest are merely vertigo FOR Velix. Fear of her falling, fear of her going splat. I am not feeling what she is feeling since she has no emote of fear. I cannot feel her feelings since I cannot identify them.
This, I suppose, is the big difference between film and games – at least mmog’s (since I have yet to see a cut scene in an mmog). In film, I am given clues to the character’s emotion through their acting. They display the appropriate feelings for the scene (or the inappropriate feelings depending on the character…) therefore we can experience feelings through the character. In terms of video games, without the cut scenes, we are not given the same social/emotional clues as we are given in film.
And where does identity fit in? And whose identity are we talking about? It was relatively clear for my mmog research – as the player is the one who develops the character (through levelling, social and game experience). But in the case of film – is there any connection between spectator and identity? Are we talking of the identity of the spectator being affected by the film or are we talking about the identity of the characters within the film, and how they are developped? I suppose these are the questions I need to tackle in my presentation on March 13th… on month to figure it out .. hmm
Food for Thought
In light of recent global political events, might be worth watching this again.
18 months ago, I posted about the signing off of WOXY.com, as the financial burden of running both a land and internet based independent radio station became too much. The air waves went sadly silently when they could not raise the money necessary to continue to be independent.
After a brief silence, the station received an anonymous donation that would allow them to stay online for 12 months – buying time for them to organize a new business model. They managed to stretch it for 18 months, but the advertising model they hoped for never took hold. There is some interesting commentary on why it did not work. Being an internet-only radio station, traditional advertisers were not hip on using internet only advertising, while – since the station is audio, traditional banner style internet radio didn’t quite catch on due to the fact that people are not on the site per se. This is an interesting dilemma to those who study/think about the impact of technology.
So – they are turning to a subscription based model for the time being. For 33¢ a day (or $9.95/m) you can get crystal clear reception (although it says 2000 accesses a month … so for now I am leaving it on all the time heh). If any of you who read this space, who enjoy independent radio and would like to support the station – please go here and check out how you can support and keep listening to a great station with great DJ’s.