February 10, 2012

Gaming as Experimental Fiction

One of the coolest things about gaming is the way it makes you think out of the box. As a player, you get accustomed to certain story lines: enter cave, fight off minions, get to center, fight off boss, pick up treasure. But every so often you get stuck, unable to kill a beast or win a contest, and you have to pause and realize: This isn’t working.

Two of my favorite moments in gaming were like this. In Fable II, you fight your way to a showdown with the Big Bad, who launches into a long, megalomaniacal, speech about how he’s going to destroy the world. It takes a minute to realize you don’t have to wait out this speech; you can just stab him and be done with it.  More recently, playing Skyrim I discovered a valuable tactic I like to call Run Like Hell. After 20 attempts to battle past the baddies in one cavern, I gave up and just ran past them as fast as my little hide-shod feet would carry me. Success!

Veering from the script, seeing that you’re following a script to begin with, those are good moments.  

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