1 August 2010

Story, art and morality against interaction.

From time to time journalists ask themselves and their interviewed persons about the relation between videogames and the elements that belong to the older media. Lack of mental flexibility and good sense. Let's see why and what we can do about it.



2nd premise: a rhetorical idea is mostly harmful for the object it refers to. Not just because it's the best tool for conservatorism, which stifles rethinking which in turn is the only doorway to progress, but because common persons never form that idea on their own, there's puppeteers who do it for them, they simply obey to what the few decreed.

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In the beginning videogames were sporting competitions, now thanks to pretty looking graphics some have decided videogames are movies + gore(+ Pong, as it was before). This is when journalists think it fit to ask the question: do we need story/art/morality in videogames? Do programmers have the skill to do it, since they're not proper novellists or scriptwriters? Is it even worth it?

It's important(maybe only for me) to notice that all of this works exclusively through old and rigid abstract ideas nobody durst rethink. But a new media always creates brand-new narrative tools because it has unique features. Story writing in cinema is different from radio and other means, writing(and artistic values and so on) is directly influenced by the characteristics of the recipient in which it has to happen.

You can't talk about art and narration for videogames ignoring videogames' unique and most discriminating element which is interactivity... the gameplay. It's inside the gameplay itself that story finds its uniqueness and beauty, and it's in the gameplay's freedom of interaction(choices and problems to be faced) that art finds the strength of genius... like in all those freeware mini-adventures(wish i were the moon and don't look back): the beauty is absolutely not the story itself and the art is not in the imagery, they both are elevated by the beauty of the specific way you interact in the game.

The same is valid for moral themes. A deep gameplay interaction, with mind manipulation, choices, crossroads and consequences, is just about as moral themed as it can hope to get... programmers who put C&C in their games managed to give the audience moral themes without even KNOWING it and caring, so there's no need to ask whether one should insert moral themes or will people like them, it's all about interactivity. The question is rather how people like interactivity and how much of that game makers are WILLING to provide us.

So to resume and make the final point:

Videogames do NOT need writers, do NOT need artists, do NOT need strained moral themes artfully implemented in a game, we just need GOOD gameplay designers, because the interaction of a gameplay is able to encompass all of these themes, in its embrace.

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I teach history, literature, linguistics, philosophy and psychology. I believe in a cosmic order. I love each place on Earth because everything has its unique attractions. I worship the God of progress and That of biomechanics. I try to write novels in a strongly interaction remainding formulaic fashion. As i'm progressist, i am a socialist extremist. I wanna open a social library art chocolate house. I write lyrics for my musician metal-crazed friends. I wanna be a theatre master. I believe Star Trek vision of society can be realized, but people are afraid of change and Power frightens people because they are afraid of loosing their privileges. I am incredibly dense in astronomy but i philosophically love it. I can't live without spirituality. I try to find the the key to happiness, investigating, exploring the way nature works, understanding its mechanisms, its secrets and mysteries. I believe one of the goals of living is to make life better for everyone.