Monday, 18 October 2010

Current stage of progress and about 'the path'

So... after looking into new media narratives.This was one of the more interesting pieces that I found. I found it unusual that this game is in fact on a USB pen that you can order or a download. I think the game itself is fairly niche... it can only be ordered online and is not available in store (for good reason I might add the cover for the game is as disturbing as the content itself), so it would make sense that people who would want to play it, would be willnig to go online to get it. This game definately doesn't have mass appeal, partially because of the disturbing imaginary, because of the delivery platform and because of the style of gameplay and the pacing of the artefact itself.

The art game was developed in 2009 by 'Tale of Tales'. It is called 'The Path'. The principle of the game is simple enough. You are a red riding hood- type girl... who must get to her Grandmother's house. The two instructions that appear onscreen are
'Go Grandmother's house'
'Stay on the Path'

If you sucessfully do get to grandmother's house (by staying on the path and not exploring the surrounding forest very throughly) and do not encounter a 'wolf' along the way...

Then you've failed the game... Yes I know... I don't quite understand it either...

The point of the game is to explore the forest... encounter 'the wolf' and then go the grandmother's house, where you will 'succeed' even if this results in you being killed or traumatised when you get there.

I would argue that this is indeed more of a narrative than a game. There are several 'red riding hoods' to choose from, the game is on a fixed path, although there is a very expansive interactive environment, the only thing you can really do is walk around and interact with objects, and collect 'memories'... there is no strategy required, all actions are pre-determined, regardless of what you do, and it is definately based more around the narrative than the gameplay, the cutscenes are long and a good portion of the game isn't even interactive (Once you get into the Grandmother's house the camera changes to 1st person and you can no longer control the character).

Each one of the girl's narratives represent a point in life (one of the girls 'Robin' is very young and 'Scarlet' is the oldest). Their repsective wolves are metaphors for one thing or another (e.g. alcoholism, smoking, rape), but the game is very abstract, we can take a guess, but there is no explicit narrative.

(We assume that most of the characters have some form of unfortunate encounter with a man.. but not all of them, some are too young for that).

Although I do like the idea of this game i.e. being able to explore the expansive space and a slowly revealing narrative for each girl. I can't help but feel that things often become 'darker and edgier' when they are designed for 'adults' and 'new media'.

A lot of new media narratives, because they are 'for adults' become quite dark and horrible and creepy. I'm sure that some adults wouldn't want that, in fact it may alienate a great deal of the target audience... I can only really see 16- 40 year olds playing this, unless they have a specific interest in new media narratives or folklore.

Another example of this 'darker and edgy' new media content is Dim O Gauble
Again, quite disturbing and unsettling.

Although both a feats in 'art gaming' and 'new media narrative' I still think they assume too much of the adult audience's need to be 'gritty and intense'.

Depending on the narrative that is chosen, my artefact may end up the same way, but only if it's appropriate. I can't create Faustus without a little bit of darkness, but neither does it have to be a traumatic experience for the reader/user.

By the end of today I hope to have finalised my extracts for review and have finished collecting people for my focus group. I have decided to try the target audience quite wide for now and say between 20 and 50 year olds, this may narrow, but that is my target age group for now. (I'm not saying that only this age group who can use it, I just think they are probably the age group most likely too).

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