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SGS Feature: 'Playing with Fire: Enemy Dolls'

In a feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, Gonzalo Frasca discusses how seeing events in games through the eyes of the opposition could lead to better und
In today's main feature written for Gamasutra sister site Serious Games Source, which deals with games created for training, health, government, and other uses, as well as their cultural effects, Powerful Robot's Gonzalo Frasca discusses how looking at events in games and other media through the eyes of the opposition could lead to better understanding of the greater conflict. In this excerpt, Frasca notes how players stepping into the role of a Covenant soldier in Halo 2 offers some greater understanding of the game's underlying conflict, though he concedes that this is just a taste of what could be possible should this sort of gameplay be expanded on in the future: “The fact is that nobody likes to be shot at. This applies both to reality and games. Virtual shooting may be technically harmless since nobody really gets hurt but it can still be troubling. Your enemy’s toys can certainly be disturbing but they may also allow you to view the world from a different perspective. In Halo, Master Chief is the good guy and he kill as many Covenant soldiers as possible. However, at a certain point in Halo 2, the player suddenly gets the chance to step into the shoes of a Covenant character. This change of perspective is enlightening, since for the first time the player is encouraged to understand the enemy’s motivations and may realize that the game’s space war is a bit more complex than 'us versus them'.” He later adds: “Still, the experience is quite limited due to the fact that both the human and alien characters are pretty much bounded by the same actions: walking and shooting. It would be interesting to also be allowed to know the aliens through their particular limitations, differences and alternative strategies.” You can now read the full Serious Games Source feature on the subject, including more from Frasca on the perception of conflict in games, as well as in other media (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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