Games & Narrative

One of the main things that Jenkins points out is how difficult it is for a game to have a compelling story while also maintaining core game play elements. You either have a game with extremely fun game mechanics and a lacking story or an enchanting narrative that’s essentially a movie you can click on. Why do you think that is? Other than the examples give in the text do you think there are other ways to overcome this dilemma?

Another interesting point that Jenkins makes is the way he view games. Instead of comparing it to traditional communication mediums like movies or books he chooses to compare them to roller-coasters. This is because like an amusement ride the majority of the narrative in a game is derived from the world not unlike the props used around a ride. Do you agree with this sentiment? If not, what medium would you compare games to (assuming we should compare them at all)?

These aren’t questions but just some thoughts I wanted to share after reading the text. I think a lot of the narrative issues which games have stem from the fact that they are so interactive. Compared to movies or literature, games requires the player to use many more senses in a way that immerses them. Because of this, a good videogame narratives must make use of each sense in a way that is interesting to the player. This is a daunting task that is arguably much more difficult than filming/writing a movie.

Also I think an example of a great game with amazing narrative is the Stanley Parable. Here’s the trailer 

McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory

McQuail’s views on Mass Communication Theory was definitely an interesting read. Like any good novel excerpt his writings while informative created many questions for me.

One of the ideas that McQuail wrestles with is whether or not media actually has a substantial influence on the opinions of the people. He cites the effectiveness of using mass communication to broadcast propaganda during World War II as the mass media was essentially leveraged into broadcasting the opinions of the state. What do you think? Is Mass Media really as influential as McQuail makes it out to be? Personally I agree. Considering the way this current presidency is turning out it’s hard not to believe that Mass Media has at least some influence on people’s opinions.

Another key concept that McQuail touches on is the homogenization of culture. He believes that this is somehow correlated to the rise of Mass Media. Do you agree with him? I think it has much more to do with the increase in globalization. This allows people from far off regions easy communication and idea exchange which allows certain aspects of culture to spread.

Tying this in with what I ask in the wiki, what effects do you think that globalization and the internet have on Mass Media? Does it strengthen or weaken its influence? In my opinion the advent of the internet has largely democratized communication as it allows normal people to spread their messages just as far for much lower costs.