Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Games and Sex

An interesting little lecture, makes some interesting points. It's a topic I've never been quite sure about myself. Personally I think it's one that wont be overcome until more and more decent writers become attracted to games as a valid narrative format. As it currently stands games (when they aren't just written by members of the coding team) are generally written by people who have more experience of computer games than they do of narrative or, well, life*.

Until Matt made me play System Shock 2 I'd never really considered games to be a format particularly compatible with good stories. After playing that game though, I was converted - the story isn't particularly great, but the way that it is told, the experience of being a part of the story whilst the context is gradually explored and understood, that made me interested in what else could be done.

I do take issue with the lecture on one significant point, however, and that is the identification of film as the narrative form that games should seek to emulate. This is stupid, games can occupy the audience for anything up to about 60 hours. That places the narrative possibilities way beyond that of the 3 hour film. Games writers would be better off looking to the depth and complexity of novels for their cues on characterisation and plotting.

Ugh. I've just realised that I'm writing about sex outside of work - and it's not even something covered by the book.


*I know it's mean, but there's definitely some merit to the suggestion that those who play computer games enough to want to become part of the industry generally don't have the most mature or developed attitudes to sexuality.