Friday, August 13, 2010

Machinarium Starts

I decided to wind up Machinarium tonight, and I'm pleasantly unsurprised by its charm (it looked so from afar). It definitely has that stop-and-go adventure game thing going on, but nothing that breaks immersion, and the attention to detail is fantastic. I look forward to my next session with it.

7 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the rough feel of the art in this grimy robot world. Visual detail was great, fun little story, kinda fun to play, but a few of the puzzles pulled me out of it.

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  2. One thing I was thinking about with this game (and others like it, the old-school adventure games) is how story-driven they are, and yet almost all of the "cinematic" events happen in game camera. The net result is that story events feel more like watching a play than watching a movie, and it seems to be less immersion-breaking even though they take control away from the player. So do games need to back away from trying to feel like movies and look more closely at the emotional language of theatre?

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  3. I'll respond proper tomorrow. Super tired tonight.

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  4. When you say they're like watching a play, do you mean because a play also happens in reality, right in front of you?

    Removing control might be a 2-point immersion disruption, and presenting it in a non-game camera a 1-point disruption. Story and play formats strike me as frameworks wherein immersion disruptions take place rather than potential immersion disruptions themselves.

    But this might be short-sighted. The end goal is not to be play-like or movie-like but game-like, which in turn depends on the genre (e.g., adventure game vs. FPS), either of which would probably find useful cues from both movie and play formats.

    This is great thought-fodder, though. I look forward to additional comments you might have.

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  5. My point was not to emphasize the loss-of-control part of these games, because I think in most cases that wasn't necessary anyway. The main thing I was thinking was that story events in movies are more about framing, editing, and are good for intimate emotional expression. They can use camera cuts, movements, or focus to direct audience attention. Plays, on the other hand, use staging, timing, and larger expressions/acting, but can be just as effective in telling story. They use different tricks to redirect attention, such as sound and motion (which requires more careful control of everything going on in the scene, and different timing so that the audience has time to focus in on the new thing/event).

    At any rate, my point is that most games seem to be focusing in on making their games "more cinematic," and I'm wondering if this is the wrong instinct---not to necessarily abandon the goal of immersive story---but to model the mindset and techniques of storytelling after an art form that has some similar challenges to the problems that we face in games.

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  6. From what you're saying, I'd whole-heartedly agree. Do you remember that book about camera angles and the emotional impact they have on the viewer? I wonder if a similarly simple guide exists that introduces emotional, director-level considerations for theater presentations. I'd love to learn more about these techniques, and need to do some hunting.

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  7. Let me know if you find anything, because I'd like to get it also.

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