Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 26, 2012
Hello Master Malstrom!
The problem with immersion is that today the game industry thinks immersion is about cinematic games, cutscenes, dialogue and story.. Mario, Zelda and Metroid never had any of these features and were very immersion, more than today games.
Today the developer makes a cinematic game full of story, script, cutscenes and dialogue and think they are making an experience very immersive and deep , but as you said once, “The purpose of a video game story is to give texture and scope to create a fantasy world. In other words, the story is the stage, the player is but an actor on the stage.”
Keep up the great work!
I wish I could hang a sign in every game developer ‘room’ that reads: “Consider this to be the last game you ever work on… because one day you will be right.” Game quality goes into the toilet once it becomes a ‘series’ and ‘franchise’ where multiple sequels are planned. For a new IP, whenever a game developer mentions the word ‘franchise’ associated with that IP, it is the kiss of death. Most of the great franchises came from games the developers thought would be their last game. Mega Man 2 was made in Capcom employees’ spare time. Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Mario Kart, and Smash Brothers were never imagined as ‘birth of a new franchise’. They had no idea if the game would actually sell when it came out. The most famous example is Final Fantasy which was made because Square was out of money and thought it was their very last video game.
I would like to add another sign that reads: “The author of video game characterization is the player.” So much time is wasted doing ‘characterization’ of crappy NPCs and ‘main protagonists’ as if the game developers are trying to make a movie, an anime, or a comic book. The fundamental nature of the video game is that the player is the performer.
Video games are interesting only when they reflect who we are. Cheaters will cheat. Losers will lose. Rage quitters will rage quit. Cautious people play cautiously. Show me someone’s Civilization game, and I will tell you interesting things about their character.
And you know what? The masters of characterization in other mediums will tell you the same exact thing. In the movie, they made you feel as if you WERE the character. The novel was written in such a way where you felt like you were the character. Good characterization is not about making special snowflakes but about holding a mirror up to the audience.
Video games are not a ONE WAY STREET. They have input! The player’s unique responses should create the characterization of the video game. Games that don’t do this are always called ‘bad’. Games that do this are fun to watch and considered ‘interesting’.
At one point, Isaac Newton wonders why they are playing “this ridiculous game.” Listen to Data’s answer. Games are not about exploring the facets of the game or the fiction within the game… they are about exploring the facets of the players who play them.