Reading Response 5 | Xiaotian Chen

The article talks about documentary game. It is an emerging genre. Usually a documentary work articulate an actuality. More than film, a documentary game need to generate events bearing a plausible relation to reality. Documentary is also a kind of deep analysis cutting through the hopeful facade of fiction and exposes the world itself. Because game can set rules up, it is an advantage for games to provide such experience than other media. To enhance its documentary quality, a documentary work can use subjects “taken from raw” for interpreting the world. And by laying out the logic of a core system, a game can represent the system’s factual realities.
The author summarizes three forms of documentary game:
Procedural: These games use rules to define an experience for players to go through a constructed actuality.
Interactive: In these games, players themselves are participants/observers to a reconstructed reality.
Reflexive: These games focus on meta-commentary. They give players the freedom to change or even deconstruct the system.
From discussion in the article, the author also reveals some quality of documentary games:
Generative: some games are continuously constructed by its subjects.
Poetic: some games use abstract representation of raw material to evoke mood, loose association, fragmented and subjective perception.
There are still many concerns about documentary game includes its sacrifice of entertainment value. But digital games are definitely a powerful and potential media where actuality and documentary can find a place.
I pretty much agree with the author. Game is a powerful tool to explore the actuality. Although it is not easy to be fun to play while being critical. Some games, like EA’s sports series mentioned in the article, did a good job in reconstructing the sport and its constructed  play form. And some game combines a strong point of view, like anti-monopolist (as shown in name) and flower (environmentalism). So it is possible to be fun and critical in a game.
Comparing to film, game has the advantage to interact with players. It can set up rules to give player freedom and restriction. Other than being providing materials, games can be generative and commentary. And almost everything a film can show can be also included in a game. But the game’s entertaining nature makes players have less patience in experiencing. And players may have high expectation of entertainment content rather than serious material.
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