Wednesday, 26 October 2011

what's in a genre? apparently a lot.

Since finishing the first episode of everwake we have been looking at ways of developing it for the future. In time we hope to develop it's complexity and make it of equal complexity of some tv series but across different media channels and obviously through games.

Now this is not an easy thing and we are aware it will take along time to bring this to the players but we think the different levels and complexities will make a truly brillant game and experience. But there are two points that have been nagging me about the project. Firstly the argument that games are not stories and indeed stories are not needed to make a game work, and when people say this to me I always think about how I skip through the story of contemporary games such as call of duty which further re-enforce this in my mind. Yet is this the case when it comes to pervasive type games that have real world elements surrounded by a theme.

A really quick way of describing this is thus. If we describe a game through a story or more importantly a cultural understanding then instantly there are rules, fears and all manner of information that people instantly recognise. So as I am talking about stories I will give you two examples:

example one - You are the survivor of a zombie apocalypse, you have to stay alive and make it to safety.

example two - The population of earth has been infected by a virus. billions of people have died from the virus with some people coming back from the dead but having a lust for blood and a desire to kill anything that is considered alive. Among the billions of people who died there are some people who seem to be immune from the virus and are looking for join together for safety reasons. You have to try and find these people are get to safety.

So through your cultural knowledge of zombies through books, films and general myths and legends you understand the who premise of the game and in someways a number of it's rules (such as run from zombies), in a single line. In contrast example two says the same thing but is so hard to understand and also more importantly 'get into'.

So this is a very simple example and I guess you could argue that the game can still be separated from the story. But I think the question is for the pervasive gamers. Is does the story add to the game? but more importantly does the story change the way you play the game? if yes then surely the story is hugely important to the game?

So on to the second part of the blog. The issue of making a story and how it is classified. I was having a conversation a week ago with Kev and allie about how everwake could develop. Looking at if it could have sci-fi elements in it or should it turn more into a thriller or simply stick to a ghost story? while we made no decisions what became apparent is that all three of us had a totally different view point of what stories and films fit into genres.

So as a test what genre would the following films/series fit in for you?

- Misfits
- Heroes
- 28 Days Later

So Sci-Fi, Paranormal, fantasy, thriller what would they be?

I think what I am getting at is that just as things are converging within the media, could that mean that generes are becoming twisted together?

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