Thursday, March 4, 2010

Friday 11am Section- Space

As I was rereading Manovich, the idea that "space becomes a media type" stood out to me as particularly interesting. At first, one is resistant to accept space as something to be compared to video or audio. After all, I'm sure almost everyone can remember the last time they downloaded a video or a song. But if you asked most people the last time they downloaded space, many would look at you like you had two heads. But the more I think about it personally, the more "space" I can remember downloading. Video games (which have progressed tremendously in the ten years since Manovich wrote this), especially shooters, are becoming more and more prone to including "map editors." These tools essentially allow players to toy with space as they see fit and customize it by means of terrain and topography, weapon placement, physical structures, and more. After they're done, the player can save the new map and share it with their friends and perfect strangers. Likewise, in recent years, players have been paying for space more and more frequently. The idea of the "map pack" is becoming increasingly common and increasingly profitable. Essentially, players pay game designers (real money represented by fake money, in most cases) for new spaces to play in. The distinction between who pays for space and who doesn't gets interesting when players are kicked out of games that randomly cycle to the new maps if they haven't purchases them. This often makes players pay for maps they don't really want just to avoid the frustration of constantly being removed from games.

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