March 16, 2008

From a land down under

Fourteen hours on a plane was only made possible with some Puzzle Quest on the DS and a whole row to myself to lay down and pseudo sleep. Boy was it worth it, Sydney is beautiful and quite walk-able which is something I dislike about sprawling Los Angeles. I think running the LA Marathon is the only time I will see so much of Los Angeles on foot. Anyhow, got another stamp in the passport and well on my way to knocking out all the places I want to see in the world. Next up Italy again for the wedding and hopefully Greece and Egypt in the near future. Well enough about travel since most people come here to read something video game related.

Honestly I am way too tired to talk about any of that so I am going to leave myself a reminder note here to force myself to post about why I think books and games have more in common than movies and games and why I think Orisinal is the equivalent of poetry. On second thought it's not all that deep so I am going to ramble on about it now. To preface, this is how I watch a movie... no talking if at all possible, no bathrooms breaks, no interruptions period unless I have already seen it and even then this annoys me with the exception of great quotable comedies with a group of friends after repeat viewings.

A book can be read at any pace and a movie is watched at the pace of the director. A game no matter if it is a board game or video game is played at its own pace. Often I will re-read a page or even chapter of a book multiple times to soak it all in, games tend to do a similar thing with re-spawning battles or repeating events upon death... where a film keeps on going with or without you.

I suppose it can be argued that some games impose a timer such as speed chess or sporting events but in games timers are usually legacy design from the early days and arcades, now a day it is rare to find a game that is shackle by a timer. Similarly one could argue movies can be controlled with rewind and scene selection but who really enjoys a movie with those options?

The reality is that enjoying something at your own pace is a very important distinction when consuming and enjoying entertainment. Books and games allow a high level of control when it comes to the experience where movies offer a much lower level of control, yet both can stir emotions and entertain. At the end of the day it’s not a matter of one being better than the other but a matter of how much control a person has over the experience.

Like I said this is not all that well thought out and requires a lot more research but it has always been on my mind and a talk with a good friend brought it back into focus during my trip. Hopefully I will get some time to think about it more and expand this idea because I think there is a lot to be learned from books and how they are crafted that we sometimes miss out on because of the obvious relationship games share with movies on the visual and audible fronts. Perhaps games can be the harmonious hybrid of the two mediums? Drop me a line if you have thoughts, conversation is wanted on this topic.

Well based on this scatterbrain idea I hope you can see why the games over at Orisinal might be the poetry of our world. Winterbells always brought this idea home to me for some reason!

p.s. I see a lot chapters in games and books have a lot of chapters!


Derek Daniels said...

To me the biggest comparison between books and videogames (and I believe the comparison is completely valid) is that while there are some hard movies to get into (2001) the barrier of entry for movies is rather low.

Where as the barrier of entry for games and books are largely the same. They both require a 'vocabulary' whether or not we wish to admit it. Books require the grasp of the written language and videogames for the most part require the player to be adept at holding a controller, blah blah.

There are also a subset of videogame players much like book readers who enjoy 'hard' things. I equate fans of beating every game on hard to those who enjoy reading James Joyce. Whether or not I will ever understand it there are those people out there who enjoy being beat up either by giant bosses or fragmented sentences with a lot of slang.

Both are very time consuming like you mentioned. I've been trying to read through American Gods by Neil Gaiman (sorry i've had your book for like 9 years Omar...) and Devil May Cry 4 at the same time. Both compete for the same free time I have for the most part (aside from when I'm on a plane which has been happening a lot here lately) but both suffer the same problem: What character is this? What just happened? Where is this story going? etc. Aside from falling asleep in a movie or the movie just being a bad movie this rarely happens.

Hope you are enjoying/enjoyed Sydney by the time you read this.

BirdDog said...

i like the pic man... view askew :)