This Week in Video Game Criticism: Do We Overuse the Term 'Interactive'?
This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Lindsey Joyce on topics ranging from our overzealous use of the term 'interactivity' to whether games can exist sans politics.
These are not traditional examples of a broken fourth wall, but they do demonstrate something I think Metal Gear Solid asks us to consider constantly: the very nature of interactivity means there is no fourth wall to break. A video game story necessarily exists in a world that includes the player, not just the character they control, and you can’t simply pretend they don’t exist.
Elsewhere, Andrew Ferguson suggests that the inherent playfulness of James Joyce's literary work Finnegans Wakelends itself to interactivity and to play. He goes on to show that reader's interactions with the text are not dissimilar to those of Let's Plays.
Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Society
Moving from concerns of interactivity to discussion of story and narrative, Dan Stubbs writes about his attempts to create, what he calls, a "dynamic narrative system" in his game The Hit.
Looking at story from a different angle, Edward Smith suggests that, by designing a horror game that subverts standard game rules, P.T. submerges players in a truly nightmarish experience.
The Avatar is the Bridge between Our World and the Game World
Of course, if there's a story to interact with in games, it's commonly done through a first or third person avatar. This week brings us several articles that discuss the importance of the role of the avatar.
Mattias Lehman looks back at the options for avatar customization he was offered in youth and how such customizations were ill-fitting to his own identity and experiences. Lehman poignantly remarks,
I realize what bothered me so much about never being able to create an appropriate avatar. All this time, I’d thought that I wanted to be able to see my character as me. What I really wanted was for ‘me’ to be a character. I wanted other people to have thought “people might choose to play that”, and put it in a game, because then I’d know that somebody would ever choose ‘me’. The fact that I was never a choice meant (to me) that nobody wanted ‘me’ as a choice.