Cinematic Immersive Gameplay

Some games (Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, The Longest Journey) take cinematic gameplay to a new level. A few are explored here.

Some of you remember Omikron. Some of you played Indigo Prophecy (otherwise known as Fahrenheit). Anyone who did knows that Quantic Dream makes really good games. Really good. Heavy Rain, their upcoming PS3 title, is shaping up to be no slouch, either. Check out this "audition" (in HD, though it's important to note that this was produced a while ago and the graphic quality has likely improved greatly since).

It got me to thinking: could this be used in a Film Studies class? Maybe the trailer will give you more ideas:

Intense, right? Indigo Prophecy was like that, too. I'm really looking forward to this game, but not just because it looks like a lot of fun. Quantic Dream's games tend to be like interactive movies with sharp focus on interpersonal relationships. They called it "cinematic gameplay." Can't blame them. It really is gorgeous.

So, how would one use this in a classroom? Well, anyone studying acting could examine the monologue and critique it. That's fairly obvious. You could look at the trailer (the second video) and discuss how effective it is at sparking the interest of the consumer. I'm not a film studies person, so I don't want to get too into it; just throwing out ideas. Lighting, composition, editing, any aspect of study you can apply to a film clip you can apply to these.

Not into film? How about using either the woman in the monologue or the father in the trailer as a case study for a psychology class? Or interpersonal communication? Relationship studies? The applications seem endless. This is the beauty of the direction games are going: they become more than just games.

Look at Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Some gamers complained that the hours of cut scenes were just too much, that they impeded gameplay. I completely disagree. If I pay upwards of $60 for a game, I want as much as I can get for my money. Part of the fun of the MSG games is the storyline (which Kojima himself admits he sometimes gets lost in; I love that fact). Obviously, to gamers who only play Madden and Rockband, this is a turn-off. Also, obviously, I'm not referring to them. The discussion of different types of gamers will have to wait for another post.

I think the word I'm looking for is immersive.

In a future post I'm going to delve deep into two games from the mind of Ragnar Tornquist (The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey) and see just how far down the rabbit hole we can go.

 (This was originally posted on Teach Video Games on September 8, 2009. Tweet about this post!)

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