Thursday, February 14, 2008
It was interesting to read Pold's take on the FPS 'Max Payne'. I probably pulled a few all nighters trying to beat the game when I first bought it so I have a close, intimate knowledge of what Pold speaks. What he says about the narrative not being something that is freeing, but instead something that is binding and restricting makes a lot of sense. As a more and more infrequent video game user, when I do play, I find it nice to not have to think about what is going to happen next in a lot of the games. The point for me is to escape and be taken into another world, a mindless world. games like 'Myst' always tried my patience, because I wanted to leave my brain behind and just react. The interface between the world of Max and myself is not seamless. In fact the designers of the game play with this transparency by creating blurred dreamlike sequences where you can hardly see anything, completely effecting ones ability to do what they want. Here the idea of an interface is toyed with. An interface is simply there to assist the user in whatever they are trying to do with a program. With video games one is trying to be entertained, that is the main reason why people play video games. So an interface can be used as a mechanism to mediate perception in first person games. A video game is like hypertext in that the reader, or player can dictate certain elements of the programs but not others. You are always going to be bound to the creators in some way. With Patchwork girl you can freely move through the various texts, but you are still forced to go back to the map or to scroll to another text in some order. In video games you become part of the narrative, but the narrative controls you. It is still a program with boundaries, as long as there is an interface, freedom will be impossible. We will always be dependent to some degree.