First off, to the by now non-existent readership of mine, I realise my blog has been a little barren lately, but that’s because I’ve got many posts floating around incomplete in the dashboard waiting for some curation and closure, this is not entirely due to negligence. heh. My apologies.
Its been bugging me all week just thinking over again what was discussed in the unlecture 8.0, and how the idea of hypertextual games unanimously being regarded as mostly unfeasible. Being an avid player of video games this got me thinking quite a bit as to just what a game is exactly. Adrian mentioned being a part of the first discussion that covered this and mentioned that games do not require a story and are not narrative based. He also mentioned that games are governed by a notion of winning.
“You can’t win stories”
So what is a game then? Is a game supposed to be fun, or is it supposed to be competitive? Are games supposed to have narratives at all or does that turn them into something else?
How can a game be competitive and fun if there is always a loser? [For arguments sake] If losing isn’t fun, should competitive games be called games at all since there is always a loser (doesn’t that mean its always not fun for someone playing it), and wouldn’t that mean its just a competition and not a game? What about games that are narrative driven which rely on character development and have multiple endings or none at all (like Dungeons & Dragons or Skyrim maybe?) [my thinking is that the narrative IS the game and the platform is inconsequential] You play [maybe with friends] to navigate a fictional world which is being moderated or controlled by the game master(D&D) or game engine (Skyrim). Who are you competing against here – the game master? the fictional world? Is losing insubstantial when/because there is no human opponent? What constitutes as winning the game? -the closure you get from the ending narrative which could potentially change at any point (is that what makes these games fun? Closure). Doesn’t that mean you can win stories? Or does that mean that these aren’t games at all.
Isn’t that what interactive narratives give us – The ability to create, direct or choose our own paths and conclusions by concluding or “winning ” the stories we explore the way we want to? Maybe not so much in Skyrim – as it does has a specific ending, but the way you get there and what happens in between is entirely up to you within the confines of the world you’re in and where although the provided content is limited by technology, is still massive enough and explores so many avenues, that most people will never get to see or explore even half the content – but its getting there. Would that mean that interactive narratives are actually games we play?
I think games are meant to be fun and non-competitive but challenging. We hoomans find that the more we do something the better we get at it, and games are an avenue for exploring potentiality which could be why they’re fun because of the interactivity and discovery that it comes with.
Then again.. isn’t that what art is? blerhg..
Time to go on an adventure!!
Since hypertext fiction does not have the fixed, tangible beginnings and endings of print stories and books, readers decide when their experience of the text ends. – Douglas, J. Yellowlees