An Interactive(?) Girl in the Tower

20 Sep

I stumbled across this in a discussion yesterday – I tried to download it to my phone this morning, but it says it’s no longer available. I watched the ‘game’ below, I think it’s missing a part at the very end.  Still, how many times did you beat the game on the first try?

It’s more of an experience than a game, playing with the other side of the rescue the princess of the average game. It’s interesting someone made this – granted, when I was a kid, I was way more empathetic to the captured, and even though the games of the Nintendo and Sega Genesis weren’t generally heavy on story, I was the person who read the story in the little manual, even if it had very little impact on the game play. I didn’t like doing subquests, because I felt bad for the imaginary captured thing, but eventually I got older and realized it was just an objective, video game characters don’t have feelings, and although I’d say in general, story-telling in games has gotten more sophisticated, the purpose of the game is entertainment, not necessarily winning.

I wouldn’t say Hope is the first game that’s more of an experience (I’d say Shadow of the Colossus is also more experience than game, and once again, in the ending your actions are pointless). Effectively, you control where the princess wanders around her small cell – A is or Cry, B is for Sigh.  Honestly, it kind of cartoonized my depression when it rears its head. It got me thinking about the trope – how this is a story we’ve seen a million times (I used it in my debut, dangit) and it went in a very different vein then what I did. I think I’ll go into this more in the next few days, so I’ll leave ToO and focus on my own interpretation of that story.

I don’t know about the rest of you; I don’t play that many video games now, it was more of something I could get away with before University. However, I have noticed habits. I have a hard time interacting through the game in a way I wouldn’t operate in real life – I turned off a game because it involved execution of someone unarmed to progress, and even in those open-sandbox RPGs, I won’t steal or do things I find morally reprehensible.  Even though I’m hurting nothing, I think it’s the conscious decision to do something I view as evil that bothers me. (Slicing up and shooting monsters, however, I’m apparently okie-dokie with).

I thought about the use of a ‘game’ in which the players actions have no effect on the outcome, compared to that of a literary device – I have no qualms with having my characters act out morally reprehensibly. This had more of a narrative-based story-line, the actions of the princess are limited and, as said before, inconsequential. Without having played it as an experience – I think the fact that one controls the princess does have a more direct sense of being in with the narrative, whereas depending on the style of the prose with fiction, the audience is either in the character’s head, knowing their motives, or filling in the gaps. Even if all roads lead to the same destination, I think video games offer a much more open-concept and empathy compared to fiction, and I think one of fiction’s strengths is that good writers can utilize the audience’s expectations to question the prose. I think this can still be done in other media, in particular film, but I haven’t studied it much so I really can’t say. I tried to use that ‘unknowing’ with Aurore’s character in ToO, whereas with Hope’s narrative, all we know is the Princess’ s fears and despair. Beyond that, she’s every kidnapped Princess ever, and the feelings of isolation and helplessness are universal. Is the hero coming? Did he die? Do the words of the guards bear any truth?

I was skeptical before I watched Hope – I wouldn’t say it’s the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen, but I think it gets its point across, though I’m not sure if my interpretation of depression would suit everyone. When your actions are limited, or of no consequence, and you’re forced to go along with someone else’s desires, that feeling of helplessness is overpowering, especially when ones actions are met with failure or inconsequence.  I chose a very different path with ToO – which I think I’ll get into tomorrow, unless I rant about that Quebec Rights Charter.

So Gender or Religion. Controversy ahoy!

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