Reading Response 4

1. This article argues the validity of video games known as “documentary games”. Documentary games are meant to simulate real life events. A major argument made in the article is how “documentary”-like are these games. A way they argue this is by comparing the games to documentary film. Games may not be the most realistic way to convey information, but as they mention in the article, have the ability to “run-code” unlike documentary films and can explore different aspects of the real life event, which takes documentary to a new level.
2. I think games with a point of view can be extremely influential, especially on younger or uneducated gamers. This can be a good thing, but also a potentially catastrophic thing. If a game is convincing enough, the player may become so involved they change personal beliefs to match those of the person who’s point of view they are seeing in the game.

Point of view may get in the way of the fun for certain players. For instance, those who had a strong emotional connection to the shooting of JFK would definitely not be comfortable playing the game described in the article. But in other games can add to the fun (a game where the player already shares the same point of view as the game).

3. The “Call of Duty” series have an obvious strong political and polemical point of view. The games play up American domination of whoever it is opposing them. Like I mentioned before, some may understand these games to be light hearted and fun, but there is always the potential that some will take it too seriously. I believe games such as Call of Duty can be extremely influential as a political point of view game, especially because each one is based on true life wars (WWII, Vietnam, The Cold War, etc)

4. As they mentioned in the article, “documentary” is a tricky term and often used loosely. Documentary film is used mostly to relay information, but isn’t always entertaining. Games are supposed to entertain, so sometimes they need to fudge the truth in order to keep the player interested and lose their credibility as a “documentary” game. The advantage of a documentary game is that it allows the player to explore different aspects and scenarios of the real life event it’s based on, but as mentioned the downfall lies in that they are rarely based purely on facts. Documentary film is traditionally a factual account of an event, but can really distance and audience if it isn’t done well, whereas a game is always engaging because one is actively playing it.

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