Reading Response 4 (do not count)

1. Summarize the arguments made in paper and the main question posed (You know the one that is the title of the article..)
The main argument of Bogost and Paremba’s “Can Games Get Real” is that digital games are a powerful yet underused medium for persuading a point of view. Through reading this document, Bogost and Paremba succeeded in further assuring me that digital games can indeed be real; real in the sense of effectively enforcing an idea. In my opinion, the strongest points that Bogost and Paremba brought to answering this major question were the participitory of documentary effect and the esposition of the underlying system by which the course of history can be changed by the users agency. The participitory of documentary being the idea that the screen between the subject and the viewer is not as solid in a game as it is in a film documentary in that players of the game have a sense of control of what content they’re exposed to whereas in a film documentary viewers have no control of what contenet they are exposed to aside from turning off the content alltogether.

2. Next week well play some “polemical games” and you can judge first hand but in the meantime – whats is your opinion of the potential (or lack there of) of games as a medium for expression a point of view? does this “get in the way of the fun” ? is it possible/helpful to play and be critical at the same time?
Even though I haven’t played many videogames, alot of analog games were an integral part of my learning growing up. Playing math and history games at school really helped me understand concepts that I couldn’t understand through reading and flashcard memory. With such a history in my earlier years, I grew up to understand games not just as modes of amusement, but also modes of education. Having this said, my opinion on games as a medium for expression is that of a supportive one.
My opinion is that the most effective way for people to gain a certain point of view is for them to actually step into the shoes of a person who lives in the situation that the point of view is about. Also given that this is somewhat of an impossibly, I think the second best thing is to do is to create a similar experience to put a person in. I think games among very few other things come the closest to achieving this. Coming from someone who got a great deal of education from playing games, I strongly believe that games can be engaging and can express a real world point of view at the same time.

3. Please describe examples of games that you felt had a strong political / polemical point of view?
One game that I read about during the summer, but never played was one that was featured in an interactive art convention (I apologise for not having the name of this game, nor the artists name). I remember reading that the artist’s purpose in creating this board game was to critique war. The polemical point of view that the game had was that the aspects of war are unpredictable, and digital games such as Medal of Honor and Call of Duty obscure this reality by creating a notion that one can survive in a war by being keen and cunning. In reality war is unpredictable and even the most keen and cunning can be killed by a stray bullet.

4. How do you see the relationship between “documentary game” and “documentary film” ? what are the limitations / advantages of each medium in this context?
To me the relationship between documentary film and documentary game is that of an alliance; in that both mediums are trying to achieve the same goal and that goal is to show a side of a situation and maybe even convince a particular point of view.  Though I believe that the goal of both documentary games and of documentary films are the same, I do believe that the limitations and advantages are both respectively are different.
For documentary films, I think they’re are advantageous in using cinemagraphic forms of rhetoric and ethos in convincing their point: showing sad images,  juxtaposition, narrative etc.  However, I think that documentary film is limited in its ability to allow its audience to experience the scenarios and situations being shown before them.  In this respect, I believe documentary games are advantageous in their ability to allow their audience to experience and interact with the situation a bit more deeper than a documentary film (i.e. in games an audience member can play as the assassin or as the social advocate to see the circumstances, motives, and point of views on of both sides).  Ironically, I believe that documentary games are limited in this same context of experience.  Though games are a great way to immerse he human mind into another mode of perception, I am not confident that they can fully immerse someone in someone else’s experience.  Though I believe that documentary games go way further in experience than documentaries films, I still don’t think one can completely understand a point of view, or a side of a story until one is literally in the space, time, life and body of a person who has experienced the point of view or who has lived the side of a story.  Then again, who is to say that advancing technology won’t prove me wrong in a later time.

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