Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Interactive Movies

While I was playing MGS4, it dawned on me that most of the stand out moments for me in the game were cutscene related. The interactive sections were a sort of bridge to the cutscenes, or I should say the continuation of the story. Even some of the interactive sections were structured in such a way to create a cinematic experience.

A lot of people online seem to use this as the main reason to put down the Metal Gear Solid series, but I feel that there is something going on there. Must games be purely ludic activities requiring constant input from the player? People always argue that that should be the case, especially when the quality of the non-interactive sections is below C-grade movies or books. There is a potential for this style of 'game' to be explored though.

While I was playing MGS4, one of my mum's employees was sitting down and watching me play the game. She then said that it looked like something she would like to play as it seemed that there wasn't much input required from her (I had just gotten to a section peppered with cutscenes). She even asked me whether there were games that would require even less input! Her first point raised something in my mind about those people who are looking for narrative experiences out of their games. A game that was just about its 'gameplay' would hold minimal or no interest to them.

From what I understand, the genre of Visual Novels in Japan are like this. Sort of prettied up choose-your-own-adventure stories. I think a game like Metal Gear Solid 4 could be the next step in this regard. Of course I am not advocating that all games should be like this, but it could help bring in some more people into gaming, and even provide an avenue for the near-dead adventure game genre.

Now that I think about it, games like Killer 7 also used a similar sort of structure. Minimal gameplay mechanics in a linear narrative that string together the story. Maybe Suda 51's and Hideo Kojima's rumoured collabo project would be something like this?

Just a thought.

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