Recently, while playing the game, I found myself wondering how it would be to reach level 141 in Ms Pacman. Would her thirst for white pixels be satiated? Is her food a poison that makes her keep moving unstoppably?
Perhaps the concept for videogames did evolve from the functioning of a human body. Satisfied with my imagination and easily distracted, I then proceeded to play ‘Great Gatsby game’, where you play as Nick Carraway in Gatsby’s castle, and you throw stuff at waiters and collect coins. At the end of the level, there is a neat scene of Gatsby looking across to the green light.
This then got me to contemplating how story books and videogames are very similar. When you read a story book, the words set the scene, and you weave your way through the pages like a camera following the protagonist’s story. The imaginative part here is the visuals. In a game, you have the visuals, and an established plot line. But, the way the story progresses here depends purely on your effort and strategy. The possibility for imagination in games lies in the difficulty of the game, and the malleability of the story line.
The game Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was simple. The overall structure and occasional cutscenes correlated to moments from the book. But the game was mostly side missions which included escaping from the Slytherin dungeon, and searching for Aragog — which we may not have read in the book. This gave me a new perspective into life at Hogwarts, enhancing my already formed image of the atmosphere from the books and movies. While playing Uncharted, however, the deviation of my mind was limited. There weren’t many ways in which I could finish a task, as there was a fixed path to follow. There were many dialogues, and there was always something happening on screen for me to pay attention to, leaving less distraction time.
Bringing this back to the analogy of life — Do we work hard and involve ourselves in the established plot-line in Uncharted, which is enjoyable in its own way? Do we do things that intensify our already settled lifestyle like the HPCoS game? Or has life left us with just Ms Pacman and her pixel-eating addiction, from which we are required to envision and fashion something greater? How do we find our green light?
(The writer is an economics graduate who spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)