Comments on

Me Me Me: Interactive Entertainment and Narcissism

Original entry posted: Mon Jun 11 19:06:51 2007

Corvus @ Mon Jun 11 11:17:45 2007 EST

Diner Dash? Harvest Moon? Sims (all of them from Sim City to the Sims: Has Been edition)? Animal Crossing?

All games which provide a narrative, but leave the majority of the storytelling to the audience.

Incidentally, you might as well toss the Round Table code at the bottom of this post. It's a good launch to this month's topic!

Corvus @ Mon Jun 11 11:18:53 2007 EST

Incidentally, I didn't intend the previous comment to be an answer to the question inherent in your post, but as a counter question to consider...

pseudonymous @ Mon Jun 11 11:36:14 2007 EST

By necessity, it casts its audience as someone who can Make A Difference, and sets aside any of the smaller stories about people who can't. That might even encourage a false hope--we don't all grow up to be President, you know.

Perhaps, I'm being hopelessly naive here, but I'm not aware of the existence of "people how can't [make a difference]," and I'm deadly afraid of a society in which only the President does. People are taught apathy, and the prevalence of video games featuring hyperagency in the form of gods and heroes signals consumers starved for being able to make a difference.

Video games could do something about this. I have yet to play it, but I'm guessing A Force More Powerful and games like teach you don't have to be a hyperagent to make a difference.

Thomas @ Mon Jun 11 12:37:43 2007 EST

Corvus: Good to know I'm ahead of the curve.

P: No, that's a good point. I'm not saying that ONLY the President makes a difference. But our lives are not only about grand heroics. I think depressing little films about family dynamics and drug abuse exist partially to teach us about how we need to take agency in the parts of our lives that are not majestic or god-like. Games do not tell those stories. Nor can we watch them and draw contrasts with stories of people who did not show agency in their own lives. They simply ignore that entire field of behavior with a few exceptions (Animal Crossing does come to mind).

Chris @ Mon Jun 11 22:30:31 2007 EST

The medium can support so much more narrative diversity - it just can't do it and be profitable, apparently. :(

But I'm trying with Reluctant Hero - this is a cRPG which is about... trying not to be an adventurer. ;) It tells the story of a person's life. You *will* die at the end, and that death need not be heroic... it is likely to be of old age. I hope this game will find its audience.

Congratulations for inadvertantly kicking off the round table!

PS: your comment protection rocks in infinite capacity! Hail Eris and All Hail You!

Chris @ Mon Jun 11 22:39:22 2007 EST

PS: I've just noticed that despite really enjoying your Round Table entries, you weren't in my blog reader or on my Other Curiosities list either! I would crave forgiveness, but since I am not in your list either it seems we have mutually missed each other like ships in the night. :) Shame, but then, who has the time to read everything! ;)

Michael Samyn @ Sun Jun 17 04:01:08 2007 EST

I think I aggree that traditional game structures only really allow for heroic, epic stories (in literature often referred to as pulp). Corvus is right to point out the exceptions. But it is important to realize that a) they are exceptions, b) they are not traditional games and c) in fact, they are still about being a hero in some way.

A hero is a winner. Games and especially computer games are designed to be won. There is not much else you can do with them (you can't even lose them). Hence the hero-narrrative.

I feel that most game stories are written with the game structure in mind. I would like to see more interactive pieces that start from a narrative premise and them build the interaction around that. And it doesn't need to be a game. Games are for children.

Thomas @ Mon Jun 18 22:38:37 2007 EST

Games are for children.

Boy, and you were doing so well.

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