This article recapitulates a lot of what we’ve covered in our unit on video games. Laura Hudson focuses on a program called “Twine” which allows users with limited programming knowledge to build games from scratch. She too points out that there seems to be an opening up of the gaming world to indy developers and people who don’t fit the stereotypical gamer demographic.
Hudson anticipates the criticism of nontraditional/narrative based games when describing Player 2 (a game where the abstract figure of “Player 2” represents someone who has wronged the actual player). She writes, “Player 2 is precisely the sort of experience that many critics would reject as “not a real game” for a variety of reasons: because it doesn’t give the player enough power or control; because you can’t win or lose; because it isn’t a test of skill; or simply because it’s not “fun.” Especially when a game focuses on narrative, how many choices, how much interactivity is necessary to create a game instead of just a story?” When trying to understand the medium of video games I like to compare video games to movies and books. The first two clauses of Hudson’s argument don’t seem applicable to any other media. But would you disregard a book or movie because it wasn’t fun to watch (e.g. a tragedy, hard-hitting documentary or exposé)? Why should “fun” be considered a crucial element of gaming/any other form of play, if it isn’t something we require from other sources of entertainment? In this article, Hudson focuses on games that are intended to give players to the opportunity to experience, rather than win (e.g. Begscape allows a player to try and survive as a homeless person and Consensual Torture Simulator lets the player assume the role of a dominant BDSM partner).
I’d love for you all to check out the article and let me know what you think about video games being used for more than just fun. Are they an effective tool for sharing experiences, or not?