Game Development Reference
Through this control, existing and well-established media have developed
in ways that make them incredibly rich and dynamic. Hundreds of millions
of people will enjoy a beautiful film, whereas even the best-selling games
reach only a fraction of that number.This is not because games are a less valid
medium in any way, but that the introduction of interactivity creates a
complexity that appeals to different people in different ways.
'Games are not films!' has become almost a rallying cry amongst those
who are worried that looking to the film industry for parallels will take
games in the wrong direction. Certainly, there is a lot to learn from the skills
and experience of those who have developed their careers in other media,
but game developers know that they must do so in ways that take nothing
away from the nature of their games. For instance, elements like the cine-
matic use of cameras have been tried in games on numerous occasions with
mixed results, mostly due to the imposition of such cameras getting in the
way of the gameplay and frustrating the player.We cannot lever in things that
will not fit, but we can learn from these other media by understanding their
principles and adapting them to work with this interactivity.
Whatever a writer is going to bring to the table when getting involved
with a game project, it should only ever be seen as worthwhile if it adds to
the interactive experience. Anything that moves the game towards any kind
of passive element should generally be avoided.
At its most simple, an interactive medium could be one where, for example,
the viewer of a television reality show calls in to vote for their favourite
contestant. By doing so they are affecting the outcome of the show, though
only in conjunction with thousands of other voters.
This type of interaction has a little common ground with games, but I am
sure that in general people would never think of the above example as a
game in its own right. Most, if not all, games need continual input from the
player or players which will feed into and affect the current status of the
game. Admittedly, some games, like chess, need lots of thinking time between
each interaction, but what separates a game from reality show voting is that
the player is responsible for their own part in the experience and what they
get out of it.
Most video games have some kind of on-screen representation of the player.
This can vary quite remarkably from a humanoid-looking character to a simple
cursor or pointer that enables the player to move pieces about the game's