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#6895421 Oct 25, 2012 at 04:59 PM · Edited over 4 years ago
Consigliere
61 Posts
Big Think just featured an article by Touriq Moosa about the narrative complexity/richness in video games.

"The Banality of Killing and Spec Ops: The Line" by Touriq Moosa (Big Think) (Oct 25, 2012)

In the article, Moosa expressed frustration about video games not being taken seriously as a source of rich narrative making/complexity:

"It annoys me when people assume video games can't be vehicles for mature story, well-structured characters, and moral dilemmas. The more people consider this, the more writers will get lazy and start creating those Saturday cartoon villains again. I hope this article helps show what kind of impact games, like any novel or film, can have when creators bother to treat their audience as adults" (Moosa)

Within the article, Big Think also included Moosa's entire article that is published on the "Lazy Gamer." For educators who are trying to teach digital literacy, the article is well worth the read, as it informs us of the complex game mechanics operating in the game, the mature story line that draws the gamer to keep on playing, and the skills required to complete the game successfully.

I'm actually starting to really love reading game review websites; they inform me so much of what I am "missing" when I am assessing/playing a game.

Cheers~
Sherry Jones (aka Mind Erasure)
Twitter @autnes
sherryjones.edtech@gmail.com
http://bit.ly/sherryjones
Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones)
See my Visual Bio!!
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#6896404 Oct 25, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Guild Officer
187 Posts
Wow. I've never played that particular genre much, but the review seriously gives me pause. That goes beyond hearing passers-by NPCs in Grand Theft Auto say of a fellow recently-deceased NPC, "Don't worry, he'll respawn!".

Self-awareness in video games is a fascinating thing, actually. I remember studying it in college in a course about game design. Wastefully, I took the course before I really considered myself a gamer. It's hard to do well and to find it would into the gameplay mechanics, the visuals, and even the voice acting in a game is pretty remarkable.

There are a lot of short-cuts in many genres of video games, nowadays. It would be a fascinating study for a class to pick apart how many of those short-cuts were derived from Hollywood and how many were purely from video gaming's roots.

I love when games assume that the audience has a brain. It's so rare, though! Perhaps that's why so many games have affinity spaces...fans are trying to give the game a back-story that it seems to need so badly?

Here is a link to an article about plot devices found in video games. WARNING: This link goes to a comedy/variety website and the author uses the f-bomb several times. Somewhere in there are some nuggets of truth. Here's the link: (Some NSFW language) http://www.cracked.com/article/190_5-plot-devices-that-make-good-video-games-suck/

-LeeDale
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#6900950 Oct 26, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Consigliere
61 Posts
Hey Leedale!

Thanks for the Cracked article (bad language? Bah, I'm an adult). I'm pretty "fried" right now after all the work I've done today, so I'll get back to you on your thoughts about the The Line article. The conversations regarding video games are getting more and more complex (I LOVE IT)

Thanks again,
Sherry Jones (aka Mind Erasure)
Twitter @autnes
sherryjones.edtech@gmail.com

#6896404 Leedale wrote:

Wow. I've never played that particular genre much, but the review seriously gives me pause. That goes beyond hearing passers-by NPCs in Grand Theft Auto say of a fellow recently-deceased NPC, "Don't worry, he'll respawn!".

Self-awareness in video games is a fascinating thing, actually. I remember studying it in college in a course about game design. Wastefully, I took the course before I really considered myself a gamer. It's hard to do well and to find it would into the gameplay mechanics, the visuals, and even the voice acting in a game is pretty remarkable.

There are a lot of short-cuts in many genres of video games, nowadays. It would be a fascinating study for a class to pick apart how many of those short-cuts were derived from Hollywood and how many were purely from video gaming's roots.

I love when games assume that the audience has a brain. It's so rare, though! Perhaps that's why so many games have affinity spaces...fans are trying to give the game a back-story that it seems to need so badly?

Here is a link to an article about plot devices found in video games. WARNING: This link goes to a comedy/variety website and the author uses the f-bomb several times. Somewhere in there are some nuggets of truth. Here's the link: (Some NSFW language) http://www.cracked.com/article/190_5-plot-devices-that-make-good-video-games-suck/

-LeeDale

Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones)
See my Visual Bio!!
+0
#6906644 Oct 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Guides
561 Posts
I think we miss the point (not us, the general public) on the value of games or immersion as a way of teaching. We have done it in other forms of learning or entertainment, examples: 1) Can't get someone interested in improving reading? Find a comic book that they might enjoy and they get immersed in the comic and learn to look up words they don't know. I used this effectively with Marvel as they are at a relatively high reading level. 2) If they have Barbies or GI Joe's then get them to catalog their clothing, equipment, etc. They learn categories and make decisions as what goes where. 3) have problems sequencing say a paper? Then have them follow a recipe, a piece of clothing pattern, don't have to make it but do have them explain why things have to be done in that order. I know these are K-12 ideas, but if you can use something one place you can usually use it in another.

I can do that in my classes with having them structure a power point presentation in logical order and understand why it can't be jumbled. Or, in their outline, why they need to do annotated references so I know they are on the right track and they don't have to have them annotated for the final paper where they double the references.

I can even bring in board games (did bring in Magic the Gathering) and have them explain why the rules and play stages are the way they are and why it wouldn't work to mix up the stages.

I encouraged an English Instructor teaching 060 to use the cards as ways of identifying parts of speech in the "flavor text" on the cards. Art classes could use looking at say, 10 cards from each year of MTG and focus on the changes in the style of art/illustration and relate that to changes in graphic technology at that time. .

We are always gaming, we just aren't taught to recognize it. Even figuring out a back way to work to defeat traffic could be considered a real life game.

#6895421 Mind Erasure wrote:

Big Think just featured an article by Touriq Moosa about the narrative complexity/richness in video games.

"The Banality of Killing and Spec Ops: The Line" by Touriq Moosa (Big Think) (Oct 25, 2012)

In the article, Moosa expressed frustration about video games not being taken seriously as a source of rich narrative making/complexity:

"It annoys me when people assume video games can't be vehicles for mature story, well-structured characters, and moral dilemmas. The more people consider this, the more writers will get lazy and start creating those Saturday cartoon villains again. I hope this article helps show what kind of impact games, like any novel or film, can have when creators bother to treat their audience as adults" (Moosa)

Within the article, Big Think also included Moosa's entire article that is published on the "Lazy Gamer." For educators who are trying to teach digital literacy, the article is well worth the read, as it informs us of the complex game mechanics operating in the game, the mature story line that draws the gamer to keep on playing, and the skills required to complete the game successfully.

I'm actually starting to really love reading game review websites; they inform me so much of what I am "missing" when I am assessing/playing a game.

Cheers~
Sherry Jones (aka Mind Erasure)
Twitter @autnes
sherryjones.edtech@gmail.com
http://bit.ly/sherryjones

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#6906736 Oct 28, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Guides
561 Posts
LeeDale, this idea of respawning, or going back a level and trying a new approach, is part of leveling up in a game, and if you want to to a "way back machine" then in my dissertation in 1995 regarding "Single Parent Anglo-American Mothers and Their Delinquent Sons:Remodeling Personal Culture" I had a chapter that I had a hard time getting past a couple of professors on my committee, but after they heard me out it stayed in. It was "Dungeons and Dragons, Scraping Fetus Off the Wheel, NWA and other Red Herrings." As I reflect, nothing seems to have changed much, we still want to see if "killers" or "delinquents" played games, listened to certain music or dressed a certain way (Goth, comes to mind) and use that as a "reason" for the delinquency.

I pointed out that these activities did not cause the crime. Yet today, in Colorado, the Jessica Ridgeway accused killer was reported to "dress Goth" and "played World of Warcraft," same with the Century Theater accused mass murderer. . . Such red herrings slow down the acceptance of gaming as a way of learning. The press/community are so looking for a reason that they focus on these "red herrings" because it makes the public feel better. If you take it in percentages, WOW with millions of players does not "spawn" thousands of killers rampaging through our cities. They are using an exception to try to prove a rule.

However, having said that, the one point I made about what these games may teach that can influence/slow down communication between mothers and sons is the idea that if you don't get what you want, you go back a level and try another route. A parent's "NO" meant no, even single parent's "no," and I argued that gaming did teach sons to simply back up and try another approach to get what they wanted and it worked in most cases. I was trying to teach mothers that this would happen and to continue with the "NO" instead of falling into the trap and allowing the son to "level up" above her. Also it wouldn't hurt her any to play the games (Atari, or whatever) with him and even if he beat her, she would have some positive interaction and it would be a good time to bring up "a game is just a game" and "real life" is separate.

Ah, that was 16 years ago, the more things change the more they remain the same. The point being, you don't "respawn" in real life, but the skills you learn in the game are transferable.

#6896404 Leedale wrote:

Wow. I've never played that particular genre much, but the review seriously gives me pause. That goes beyond hearing passers-by NPCs in Grand Theft Auto say of a fellow recently-deceased NPC, "Don't worry, he'll respawn!".

-LeeDale

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#6948609 Nov 07, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Initiate
45 Posts
#6896404 Leedale wrote:


I love when games assume that the audience has a brain. It's so rare, though! Perhaps that's why so many games have affinity spaces...fans are trying to give the game a back-story that it seems to need so badly?

Here is a link to an article about plot devices found in video games. WARNING: This link goes to a comedy/variety website and the author uses the f-bomb several times. Somewhere in there are some nuggets of truth. Here's the link: (Some NSFW language) http://www.cracked.com/article/190_5-plot-devices-that-make-good-video-games-suck/

-LeeDale



My brain kind of "pinged" during that article. I agree that games require a different kind of narrative -- the old dichotomy between sit-forward (games, active, choice) vs. sit-back (story, passive, narrative), coined by Jakob Neilsen in the late 90s
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html and http://www.useit.com/alertbox/print-vs-online-content.html

Neilsen considers Web and Print media have a different ideal balance of "Narrative vs. Actionable Content". He continues:

I continue to believe in the linear, author-driven narrative for educational purposes. I just don't believe the Web is optimal for delivering this experience. Instead, let's praise old narrative forms like books and sitting around a flickering campfire — or its modern day counterpart, the PowerPoint projector — which have been around for 500 and 32,000 years, respectively.
I continue to write books, and I continue to develop training seminars, because I believe these media are best for deep learning of new concepts.

We should accept that the Web is too fast-paced for big-picture learning. No problem; we have other media, and each has its strengths. At the same time, the Web is perfect for narrow, just-in-time learning of information nuggets — so long as the learner already has the conceptual framework in place to make sense of the facts.


Second Life leaves me cold; other online games likewise. The only one I've enjoyed is Minecraft, where my son and I tell each other stories (and jokes) through the medium of that environment. We don't "chat" online, because we'd rather be together...for real. In person.

Personally, I lean towards Neilsen's view -- "Web" is to "Book" as is "Chat" to "Story". Each has its place -- they are complements, not substitutes -- but our desire for narrative appears to demand a linear form with "author" and "reader".

What do you think? Is Neilsen's dichotomy (lean-forward, lean-back) too simplistic?
(Being "down under" doesn't make me backward)
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