The latest gripping story in the news this week has been the plane that was shot down from Malaysia Airlines. This attack killed almost 300 innocent people. I don’t always understand the problems from around the world, but it is so hard to swallow that a plane was shot down with so many innocent people on board. The issues between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia have caused so many deaths across dozens of nations. Recently President Obama hard ordered a cease-fire after the crash. It’s crazy to think that people board plans everyday and that something this terrible could happen. It would be a great day to always feel safe, whether we were traveling on a plane, or car, or whatever we choose to do.
In Selmer Bringsjord’s Is It Possible to Build Dramatically Compelling Interactive Digital Entertainment, he analyzes the future of gaming narrative, stating that Artificial Intelligence will start creating the narratives of tomorrow. Gaming narratives, the epitome of storytelling, offers an interactive storyline. Can you imagine the possibilities of an MMORPG that constantly cycles and creates new quests with out developer input? That kind of technological advance would truly push Gaming Narrative ahead of the other traditional methods of storytelling.
When it boils down to it, what is the difference between a game and a traditional narrative? In Markku Eskelinen’s The Gaming Situation, he goes through what specific differences there are between traditional linear narratives and gaming. He states that linear narratives, everything party of the storyline whereas, in a game, side quests can often be ignored. He even discusses the relation between the screen and characters, citing a possible game based on real world stock trade movements.
I’m interested to see these integrated reality games come to life. It would allow for an unparalleled immersion in games.
If gaming is actually able to move from its niche and into a new one as a spectator sport, I think we can expect to see a change in industry goals.
As it stands right now, the money is in mass appeal. This means making games that are high graphics, newest generation of consoles, enveloping, and being open to all types of players. In terms of skill diversity, most games now are intended to be pretty easy to play, and quickly rewarding.
However, this does not make for a competitive atmosphere. The first game that comes to mind is the Super Smash Bros series. Melee (the second installment) was intended to be a casual party game, but Nintendo seemed to have accidentally created a fighting game masterpiece with a high ceiling for skill cap. Consequently, an intense competitive scene for the game erupted, and it became one of the largest competitive scenes in gaming. In response, Nintendo created Brawl, the third installment of the series. This game featured more random elements, slower gameplay, and the removal of most advanced techniques in order to slow it down and make it more accessible to people.
However, this was unnecessary! Melee was an incredible game because it could dual function as a competitive platform AND as a casual game.
To get back to the point– games with a heavy competitive scene are games with a high cap for skill and potential for players to become true masters of the controls. You can only be so good at a game like call of duty; most top tier players are really the same skill level. Where as in Melee, there were periods when one player absolutely dominated the rest. Showing that they were truly the best in their field. If the money moves from casual gaming, into the intention of spectator gaming, we can expect games to become harder and more skill based. The heroes of competitive gaming will truly be those who have mastered the controls, and they will be in a league of their own above the casual players.
I have seen a great deal of posts on this blog regarding the negative impact of gaming on youth, particularly about violence in video games. So, after spending dome time being aggravated and arguing back, I’ve decided to make a post about a positive effect of gaming. I am referring to the effect of gaming on one’s decision making process.
Games promote the idea that your actions have consequences, and these consequences can be positive or negative. When playing a game even as simple as Super Mario Bros, the player always has an immediate goal in mind, and makes decisions to try and reach that goal. If you are trying to cross a hole in the ground, you might just walk over it the first time without thinking. At this point you learn that you can’t just walk forward without paying attention– so the next time you try jumping over. And maybe it requires one more attempt to get the jump just right– but what is important is that the player is trying to accomplish a goal, and then implements various different strategies in trying to achieve it. They also see immediate results in the game, as opposed to in real life where they would have to wait possibly for years to see results of their actions.
My point in all this is that gaming is all about the idea that your actions have consequences, and that you alone have the power to decide your future. This is a really empowering thought for somebody coming from an unprivileged situation. When all seems hopeless as a child, as if you are destined to be poor and unhealthy for your whole life– these games introduced at a young age will teach that we can each choose our own actions carefully in order to achieve the future we want.