Sunday, 3 April 2016

Module 11: Future-Casting



Module 11: Future-Casting and Review
Monday, April 4, 2016 - Friday, April 8, 2016

  • April 4: Tweet @JessL something that you’ve just learnt from a reading
  • April 6: Think about all the readings you have done and all the games that you have played (board games, playground games, computer games, ipad games, nintendo games etc…) in relation to what Dr. Mark Butler says about time and that all games create their own idea of time and don’t always maintain that idea (see the video of his talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ag5MMKkk0k, see his ideas at about the 5 minute point though the video is 20 minutes). Write a blog comment on my Module 11 blog post explaining your thoughts
  • April 8: Write a blog post in which you reflect on the course. What has been new to you? Have any of the readings, discussions, blog conversations, tweets etc.. changed how you thought of any of the topics? What readings really made an impression on you? What are your key take-aways? Is there anything you might change in the future (tweet more often, run a crowd-funding project, look at selfies in a different way)

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am not sure if I understand how shifting perceptions of time in games relate to our module on the future of narrative. Presumably, as games -- both digital and tabletop -- develop they will manipulate conceptions of time?

    My takeaway from "The Future of Storytelling 5-6 | Talk: Dr. Mark Butler and Prof. Winfried Gerling" is the following quote from Butler:

    "Games also have the possibility that other media don't have... When it comes to games, time becomes a spatial dimension. You can travel forward you can travel backward, you can slow it down... you can speed it up" (Aunt Renie, 2014).

    This discussion is timely, because of yesterday's release of 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. The video game explores the events surrounding the Iranian Revolution of 1979. According to the games' creators, it's a "choice driven, narrative game that brings players into the brooding world of a nation on the verge of collapse. Play as Reza, an aspiring photojournalist, and make life and death decisions as you survive the gritty streets of Iran in the late 1970’s" (1979 Revolution - The Game, 2016).

    Therefore, it can be said that players can explore historical events/times through the avatar of Reza Shirazi.

    References

    1979 REVOLUTION - THE GAME [screen name]. (2016, March 23). "1979 Revolution: Black Friday - Official Trailer" [video file]. Retrieved on 2016, April 6 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50OJ1uuGoc.

    Aunt Renie [screen name]. (2014, September 17). "The Future of Storytelling 5-6 | Talk: Dr. Mark Butler and Prof. Winfried Gerling" [video file]. Retrieved on 2016, April 6 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ag5MMKkk0k.

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  3. I’ve played lots of games in my life, like hopscotch and tether ball, where gravity definitely has a place and worked the way it should. I spent time playing loads of card games and board games like checkers, the Game of Life, Risk, more recently the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. I’ve dabbled in video games, though I would never consider myself a gamer except perhaps briefly the summer Super Mario Three came out. When I think of these games and time, I think it's the same as anything else: my perception of time varies on how much fun I am having more than how long the game takes.

    I have to say that I didn’t really gel with the content of this video because it’s a) a little inside baseball (also a game) and b) Dr. Butler seems to be saying that the games will be so different in their use of time from film and literature, which I don’t agree with. He says you aren’t supposed to be jumping around when you watch a film, but the games of the future you will easily be able to do that. However, presumably the game designers have an idea of how a player is “supposed” to be moving around in time, and will have programmed it to act a certain way when a player does that. He seemed to be selling the idea that time is so different in a game, but I don’t feel like it is different from other narrative forms because they are created by someone for consumption by someone. Were the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books a game or a book? There are only so many combinations of stories in each book, as there will only be so many combinations of ways a game can go.

    When he says the games of the future may make "player emotions part of the game mechanics," I wonder if that means the game will speed up if the players are bored and slow down if they are having fun?

    References
    Aunt Renie. (2014, September 17). "The Future of Storytelling 5-6 | Talk: Dr. Mark Butler and Prof. Winfried Gerling" [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/1ag5MMKkk0k

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  4. There are a couple of temporal aspects to games, both traditional and computer based. There is, of course, the period in which the game is set in and games of all varieties can tap into that kind of use of time as a narrative element.

    Then there's 'game time' which is what Dr. Butler is speaking to.

    In some ways, time is distorted for many games, electronic or not. While some games, like a card game or a soccer game, unfold in realtime in the natural world, other games (like a turn based RPG) will exhibit a distortion of time. Time stops for players between turns and actions happen in spurts. Days, months, or years may collapse into minutes or hours. That type of distortion is the same in board games and for many computer-based games.

    What is different and unique in (some) electronic games is a malleability of time where the player controls the very engine of time. This wikipedia list gives a helpful rundown of where time is a game element:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_containing_time_travel#Time_travel_as_a_gameplay_element

    Dr. Butler goes on to segue into the similar control over the physics of a game engine.

    This discussion so far bounded by intentionality, that is, manipulation of time and space as intended gameplay elements. Being software elements, they can also be hacked, either as a game cheat (to improve the players position within the game) or just for fun.

    Sports writer Jon Bois has made a name for himself by exploiting features and bugs in gaming software to produce… surreal results. In his “Breaking Madden” series (http://www.sbnation.com/breaking-madden) he pushes the user-adjustable player settings to ridiculous effect, stretching reality to absurd limits or until the game breaks. Here, the Miami Dolphins must complete a touchdown drive against no opponent, not allowed to run or pass the ball, but only to ‘pass the player forward’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijGYvRGi35Q

    Or this, returning to a temporal aspect of game and reality, having Johnny Manziel extending a play forever: http://www.sbnation.com/2014/12/18/7382525/breaking-madden-johnny-manziel-browns

    It is this direct interaction with a time and physics in a game engine that provide unique experiences in the digital realm.

    -----

    References

    Bois, J. (n.d.). Breaking Madden - SBNation.com. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.sbnation.com/breaking-madden

    List of games containing time travel. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_containing_time_travel

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. As usual, you have clarified a murky area for me in the game/time/space content in this module. Thank you!

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  5. Appending to my comment above:

    Shakespeare wrote "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players" (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII) but that's just the type of thing a playwright would say. Swap out 'stage' for 'game' and we have our modern narrative.

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  6. I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. Board games, card games, video games, table-top RPGs, sports, and I've had exposure to MMORPGs and LARPing through friends who enjoy them. While video games, table-top RPGs and MMORPGs were not something I ever really clicked with or put much effort into, I have spent a lot of time on board games and card games. Card games typically unfold in real time, board games will depend on which game it is. When a friend convinced me to play Dungeons and Dragons with them back in university, I attended twice over the span of a few weeks, but the time 'in game' had only changed by a few days. When I think back on video games that distort time, the one that comes to mind in my limited experience is Zelda, where an entire day in game is gone in less than an hour, and players even have the ability to change from day to night once your character leans a specific song (I think that is what happens, it's been quite some time since I've tried playing).

    Time is not often the same as reality in video games, just like it is not in cinema. Weeks or months can be displayed on screen in just a couple of hours. From what I understand, the television show 24 takes place over 24 hours, which each episode showing on hour of the story over the one hour viewing time, but the whole season viewing takes months. Time is distorted, and does not connect with real time.

    Games re also being designed to take up more of our time. Some people do not want to interact with a game if it takes to much time from real life, where as other people seem to live their life through the game, spending countless hours interacting with the story unfolding in front of them as opposed to real life.

    I think games that required the world as the 5th platform are fascinating. Does it become more socially acceptable to spend so much of your personal time playing a game when it requires you to get out of our home and interact with people places?

    Dr. Butler makes a comment about not going into neuro uplinks, saying it's far off, but not as far as we might think. I'd be interested exactly how far off we are from that, personally I find the whole thought disturbing. He also questions if laws may come into play about game time, psychological impacts and people not being able to tell reality from game as the games advance. The concept would mean that not just time is distorted, but entire realities.

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