reading response 12: Gaming Mechanics

Both readings related to how a video game is developed. I will mostly dig into the game time vs real time argument and slightly touch upon whether or not we create the story of a video game or there is already a plot set up for us.

First lets analyze video games and the time difference we feel while playing them. I argue that we get lost in a video game if we play one where time is not closely related to the time on Earth. For example, I can play the Sims 2 without having any idea how long I've been playing it. This is a HUGE setback in playing games like the Sims which force you to be sucked into their time zone since your character's life is based around that time. Days can pass by on the Sims 2 when an hour has passed in real time.

Another example of a crazy time difference felt by gamers is Legend of Zelda. One of the Legend of Zelda games I've played had a plot where the land in which you are in is going to be destoyed in 72 hours. Amazingly, the time in this game follows the time in real life. At least the speed at which it passes. BUT, in this game you are allowed the ability to "restart" the day or travel back in time. This creates an abnormal sense in time where you really confuse yourself (especially if you try to calculate the amount of time you spend on the game through the time on the game).

So the big question is why do game developers use this sense of time difference in their video games. I think the main reasons is to escape the mundane. We live in a fast paced society where most people look down while walking. This shows how much we want things to be quick. We usually want time to just go by so we can get to our destination or what-not. So in a video you are granted that wish and things are sped up so we don't have to walk for ours to get to the next village. Or cars are sped up so we can have a sense of going super fast when in reality it would be impossible. This sense of hyper-speed gives a thrill we can't experience in our mundane everyday life.

Now to the imagination vs plot given argument. I honestly think that it depends on the genre of game we play. Most fantasy games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or even World of Warcraft have a plot given to you. While reality games like the Sims 2, GTA etc may have a plot but gives you a lot of freedom to do what you want. Therefore imagination can come into play. So a lot of this argument depends on the genre and I hate how people will generalize video games as one category. It's just an impossible feat.