Reading Response W5

1. Summarize the arguments made in paper re the main questionposed (You know the one that is the title of the article..)

Can games get real? Real documentaries tend to make impressions on their viewer through the elements chosen to be filmed and how they are presented to the viewer. Games can provide simulations of what is real, and simulations have become more and more accepted as highly realistic models. Games can also use primary materials and integrate them within the game to make it more realistic. Players experience the material for themselves instead of taking it from a pre-interpreted source. Documentary movies only allow participants to view the material but not experience and interact with it like games do. Besides participation, games can also be more real in the type of feedback they give to the viewer. They can reveal ‘live’ data that documentary movies don’t have the capability of processing or conjuring like the bio-sensor data of a sports player in action. However, you can also say the realism of ‘documentary’ games can be lost in gameplay because it isolates the consequences in the game world and doesn’t bring it into reality.

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?

Not all games are played for ‘fun’. For example there are many learning games out there, where the goal isn’t necessarily to have fun, but to learn and make learning more interesting through a game form. Games have huge potential for expressing points of views. Through the example of learning games, it is easy to see that games have potential in areas that aren’t just entertainment and that aspect doesn’t detract from the game. By experiencing different points of view through a game, people have ways of developing their own opinions about a subject or seeing the view of the game designer. Because games are more interactive than documentaries, they allow people to experience it themselves and come away with their own ideas instead of being fed information from a source.

3. Please describe examples of games that you felt had a strong political / polemical point of view?

JFK Reloaded – the whole game is about a controversy, whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald could make the shot from that window and assassinate Kennedy.

Many shooting games also have strong political views attached to them because it’s always one side trying to kill off the other side. However, because I never really play the storylines of these games, it’s hard for me to which games had actual political views and which just used different countries as a ‘skin’ for their game.

4. How do you see the relationship between “documentary game” and “documentary film” ? what are the limitations / advantages of each medium in this context?

Documentary game allows players to experience the situations and either make the choices or see the choices made. Documentary film gives those choices, often in a linear format where the viewer is merely viewing and only takes in information instead of giving feedback like in games. Documentary film does have the advantage of making the situation more serious. Oftentimes, games can be felt as less serious because they’re a game and treated like a separate world from reality.



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