Sunday, April 8, 2012

Games and Value

With the start of every new game, the player is reborn. They accept a new reality paradigm, and take on the goals ascribed to them. They do this unquestioningly - else why play the game? The motivation is in reaping the rewards of action.

The player values the act of affecting anything. The game's response to the player, a disturbance in its realm, shows its character.

How can one find meaning in a video game? How can one find meaning in any piece of art, whether it be a book, movie or video game? And how can we judge these, and say one is better than the other?

A piece of art must be true to itself. We don't judge art based solely on what it says, but also how it says it.

In a game, a player finds value in seeing the consequences of their actions. A game must be consistent with these consequences.

But how can we find meaning in a video game? We may value the consequences of our actions, but what do we take away from them?

This may be a question that only the player can answer. But a good video game provokes the question, makes the player look for the answer. The player engages with the game, and its secrets (not all of them!) spill forth.