In a departure from my usual critical film studies, I decided to make a foray into the realm of starting a discussion. It’s a new experience for me so be gentle.
As with movies, books, and music, I enjoy a good video game. Note that I said, “good.” I’ve known a few developers in my time and, having worked in the Disney animation studios, I have a deep respect for the commitment those long projects require. To them, it is an art form. Much of the attention paid to video games concerns the violence involved (and there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of it), but like the aforementioned arts, I believe there is good mixed in with the bad. In fact, my wife (not a big fan of gaming) noted that I only really play games that have a good story. She’s right. To me, video games can represent a sort of interactive story experience.
Whether one likes games or gaming isn’t really the point. The point is two-fold. First, that with billions of dollars in revenue yearly, video games are here to stay. Secondly, as technology increases and games develop, they become much more complex. Just as movies have evolved from the kinetoscope fare of the early twentieth century, so too have games moved on from progenitors such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man. I had the opportunity a few years ago to meet the lead developer of Assassin’s Creed for a demonstration of the game two years before its release. At the time, he took us through a virtual tour of the Dark Age, Middle Eastern city of Acre. His programmers, artists, and developers had done-painstaking research to recreate “brick for brick” the city as it had existed at that time (they did the same for Damascus and Jerusalem). The recent release Mass Effect has an AI system that is so complex that every single interaction with every single character impacts the outcome. Continue reading “xBox Mormonism”