Eric Zimmerman’s Four Concepts have made me rethink a couple of things related to games.
- The role of games in relation to narratives and storytelling
- Interactivity and it’s many forms
With regards to the role of games in relation to narratives, from what I gather from the essay every game has a story even a simple game of pong. So ultimately the question of whether a game has a story or not is completely irrelevant. What is relevant however is how the story is told in the AAA games of today we see a very cinematic way of storytelling, in the words of Zimmerman himself these games suffer from “Cinema envy”. It is evident that we are not utilizing games to it’s full potential in terms of narrative and storytelling. But in recent times simulation games have shown us a new path where the story is made in real time where there is no written script. The challenge comes in creating a compelling story where players want to see how this never ending story unfolds. That is not to say that the games of today are bad in their method of story telling. What I am trying to get at is that the games of today draw inspiration from existing mediums of storytelling and that in a way prevents games from reaching it’s full potential in creating a new method of storytelling.
How Eric Zimmerman explains Interactivity is extremely helpful in understanding the different modes of human interaction. For a game to be successful it has to fulfill all requirements.
- Cognitive interactivity – where the player finds new insights after experiencing certain content.
- Functional interactivity – the platform in which the game is played, do the controls suit the game
- Explicit interactivity – How to choices of the player affect the game
- Meta-interactivity – How cultural participation plays a part in the game, does it spawn an entire fan base of people creating new content for the game, does it have online multiplayer where players can form communities. That sort of thing
All these play important roles in creating games.