Saturday, January 2, 2016

Playing with spoilers/informed playing

It's not as important for me anymore to go in blind into things. Sure, if I'm going into something which lasts an hour, I'd rather go in blind - I can replay it anyway. But if it's something longer and my hype isn't through the roof, I just might search out some more information concerning the alleged experience. I do this because one sees different things when one has knowledge of what's about to happen, or have some sort of context through which to analyze what's going on. If I've read that the game concerns itself with some sort of theme, or has a tragic ending, I can from a narrative and game-design perspective scan the game for thematic clues. It just might be a more interesting experience, especially if the game is convoluted in its handling of themes or I just don't have the mental powers to glean them myself. Another plus is that if I already know "what's about to happen", then there is a smaller chance of my playing just to find out what happens, which means that I can quit the game even if it's so-so but I want to know how it ends.

If would be cool if there was some sort of game wiki thing which worked as a sort of primer for specific video games and what one could be expecting from them upon play. It could be just a breakdown of conventions explored, or just questions one might try to answer when playing the game. For a game such as Life Is Strange, it could be things like "who writes what type of grafitti, what patterns can you discern and what functions do they serve?", "there are some animals in Life Is Strange - why these specific animals, why does Max happen upon them when zie does, and in what ways do they inform our understanding of different characters?", or "can the color coding of npc clothing reveal something or be read in interesting ways?".

I guess I just which there was more study/teaching material for video games in the same way that there are for books in American highschool movies. Resources where one could find study assignments for each chapter of a video game that makes one appreciate video game design more, to make one think more critically or just get a greater sense of meaning and context of the work as a historical piece, as part of a design school, as part of a genre, etc. I guess one thing that books have going for them is that spoilers aren't considered as important because the books that are being read are classics - we know already that Madame Bovary becomes insane, that Raskolnikov goes to prison, and K is executed and so we can discuss those things in the context of the whole book right from the first page. In that sense we need more Citizen Kane type videogames for sure.

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