Victoria and Albert Exhibition: Videogames — January 27th 2019
They are the mirror worlds: framing the human condition, part of the modern media, carrying the message both direct and hidden.
It’s not that games don’t get my time at home — but the time I spend gaming on my dedicated consoles is getting smaller by the day: yet the impact of major games that formed my teen-age and prolonged youthful adolescence is there.
First was a pirated off-brand Nintendo 64 console that was popular among us youngsters jumping on top of Koopas as Mario the plumber — or doing other small frolicking in other games — and the prowess, capability and scripting abilities of the platforms that were offered as we matured — grew with us.
Today major studios invest in AAA gaming (big-budget, massive worlds with Hollywood scripts and hiring massive number of motion capture and voice actors (recent news was that Rockstar hired almost half actors available in NYC as it produced its Red Dead Redemption 2) — while indie studios captivate ones eye not with believable graphics but with believable stories.
The inside emotion and ability to resonate with users peeking into small and big screens has always been the note for games — to strike a tone and create a connection with the user — and through it to allow the player to believe he is in the game.
Separately I will publish two short reviews of my favourite gaming magician, Chris Kohler, who masterfully did two books about the rise of Japanese games and how they took the world.
Talking about elements of gaming production: it almost always requires precision, planning (reusing background setting just as planing a movie shoot) — and increasingly so — agenda.
Exposing, satirizing, blending real life events to mold them into the setting, push players to ask the “what if” questions. Even when games embellish violent behavior, sexualise women (scant armour costumes for female in RPG) — they rise questions that civilized societies then try to tackle — rather than just criticize.
Producers and designers take a lot from past mediums: books, architecture, fine art even, that also put people into the dreamworld: where originally criticisms were made against women reading books (it distracts them from household chores) slightly over 100 years ago, invectives are heard about the new medium to make a point.