Week 6

The word genre has derived from the French term meaning “kind” or “sort” (Brook, 2015). Genres where originally used as a classification system for ancient Greek literature (Brook, 2015). Genres are currently used to classify print, film, art and music (Brook, 2015). Video game genres have developed naturally and there is currently no formal classification (Brook, 2015).

1) Do you think we need a standardised genre format for video games? Why?

I think the gaming community should allow academics to classify games into meaningful categories, as it will make games more accessible to the general public.

2) Do you think there are benefits to working within a genre when developing a game? Why?

Benefits of establishing a game genre include, but are not limited to game developers better knowing there audience, the developer will know what their audience expects of them, provides boundary to work creativity in, provides a template and forms a dialogue with their audience.

3) Pick a literary/film genre and, noting relevant books/films, identify their conventions of:

a) Stories, situations and themes

b) Settings

c) Character types

d) Iconography / cinematography

Horror is a film genre, which use audience’s primal fears in order to cause a negative emotional reaction (filmsite.org, n.d.). The macabre and supernatural are frequent themes, and may overlap with fantasy, supernatural fiction and thriller genres (filmsite.org, n.d.). Plots within the horror genre usually involve an evil force, event, or personage, commonly of supernatural origin, disturbing everyday life and the main characters having to free themselves of it (findmeanauthor.com, n.d.). Prevalent elements include ghosts, extra-terrestrials, vampires, werewolves, demons, gore, torture, vicious animals, evil witches, monsters, zombies, cannibals, and serial killers (findmeanauthor.com, n.d.). Horror films use a documentary style of cinematography and uses angles that will make viewers jump out of their seats.

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Figure 1: The Purge: Anarchy (Source: imdb.com, 2014).

The Purge: Anarchy by James DeMonaco is classified as a Action, Horror and Science fiction film (imdb.com, 2014). It is set in America where the government sanctions an annual 12-hour period where all criminal activity is legal, in order to lower crime and unemployment. The movie follows three groups of people who are trying to survive the purge night, but find themselves stranded and vulnerable (imdb.com, 2014).

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Figure 2: The Walking Dead (Source: amc.com, 2015).

Another film series that fits into the horror genre that I have been watching recently is Fear of the walking dead. It follows a family who is trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.

4) In regards to character types, is there a recurring stereotype in the genre? If so, what ‘type’ is it (refer to week 5)?

Stereotypical character types in horror movies include:

  • African American male: He is usually muscular and possesses leadership qualities as he is always the first one to go through the door (Colebank, 2011). He usually lasts for 15 minutes within the film and has a quick death (Colebank, 2011). The purpose of the African American male is to ready audiences for the killing spree which is going to occur (Colebank, 2011).
  • Non-believer: Can be either female or male and says things such as “There are no such things as demons”, “No one in their right mind would come out here” or “I’ll prove to you that nothing will happen if I read from this book” (Colebank, 2011).  The non-believer will be the first one to die, if there is no African American male (Colebank, 2011).
  • Sexually active couple: The characters are usually all over each other until there death, which usually occurs during sex (Colebank, 2011).
  • Blonde female: She is loud, annoying and dumb, audiences end up enjoying her death more than they should, although she somehow escapes her death on several occasions (Colebank, 2011).
  • The Jock: Muscular white male who is in love with the blonde and after her death decides to face the murderer, but never returns (Colebank, 2011). Both the blonde and the joke can be the sexually active couple (Colebank, 2011).
  • The wise male: He is usually older than the other characters and is the person they come to advice for (Colebank, 2011).
  • Hysterical female: The girl that doesn’t want to leave the house is always hysterically, usually because she saw her best friend die in front of her or she was kidnapped and escaped (Colebank, 2011).
  • Eye-candy: She sticks around throughout the entire film and her purpose is to take off her clothes and look good. She is very ‘gifted’ and sometimes dumb (Colebank, 2011).
  • The red neck: Muscular male, which has a thick southern accent and has a lot of guns (Colebank, 2011).
  • The loner: Average looking male or female, they may or may not survive the movie (Colebank, 2011). Typically cynical and is always sneaking around (Colebank, 2011).

After writing this I realized I don’t particularly like ‘typical’ horror movies that follow the format described above, but I still enjoy the genre.

5) Think of a game that fits the same genre

a) Does the game genre work within the filmic genre (does the game ‘type’ suit the filmic genre)?

b) Does the setting reflect the filmic genre?

c) Are the character types similar to those in the filmic genre? If so, what are they?

d) Are similar techniques used (iconography, cinematography) in the game as the filmic genre?

Left4Dead_Windows_cover

Figure 3: Cover for Windows version of Left 4 (Source: DeadJasonS2101, 2010).

Left 4 Dead 2 is a co-op action horror game where up to four players will need to survive zombie hordes and mutant monsters (steampowered.com, 2015). Overall I think Left 4 Dead 2 fits the horror genre, as it creates a similar atmosphere and experience. The setting of Left 4 Dead 2 reflects the horror genre as it has dark scary atmosphere, which aims to keep audience on the edge of their seat preparing themselves for the next scare.

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Figure 4:  Left 4 Dead 2 Characters Bio (Source: left4dead2.net, n.d.).

The characters for Left 4 Dead 2 are similar to the stereotypical characters we see in horror movies, but with a twist. The coach is the African American male, but instead of being overly muscly, he is overweight (left4dead2.net, n.d.). Rochelle is the eye-candy, but her purpose is not to look good and take her clothes off, as she is dressed modesty and is not objectified as she is a valued member of the team (left4dead2.net, n.d.). Nick is the loner as he has a cynical outlook on life and has a shifty past (left4dead2.net, n.d.). Unlike horror movies audiences tend to like the loner, although in Left 4 Dead 2 it easy to dislike him (left4dead2.net, n.d.). Ellis is the red neck as he is a young country guy, unlike typical horror movies Ellis is portrayed as having a naive and foolish way of viewing the infected (left4dead2.net, n.d.).

References:

amc.com, (2015). The Walking Dead [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead

Brook, L. (2015). Week 6 Lecture Slides- Genres [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Edith Cowan University, Faculty of Creative Industries, Blackboard Website: https://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_617928_1&content_id=_3843055_1

findmeanauthor.com (n.d.). Horror Fiction Genre. Retrieved from http://www.findmeanauthor.com/definition_horror_fiction_genre.htm

filmsite.org, (n.d.). Horror Films. Retrieved from http://www.filmsite.org/horrorfilms.html

imdb.com, (2014). The Purge: Anarchy. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2975578/

left4dead2.net, (n.d.). Left 4 Dead 2 Characters Bio. Retrieved from http://left4dead2.net/left-4-dead-2-characters/

steampowered.com, (2015). Left 4 Dead. Retrieved from http://store.steampowered.com/app/500/

JasonS2101, (2010). Cover for Windows version of Left 4 Dead [Image]. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_4_Dead#/media/File:Left4Dead_Windows_cover.jpg

Colebank, J. (2011). Top 10 Most Stereotyped Characters in Horror Films. Retrieved from http://horrornews.net/41413/top-10-most-stereotyped-characters-in-horror-films/

 

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Week 4

Games differentiate themselves from other forms of media (e.g. movies and books) by making the person consuming the content no long a spectator (passive engagement), but a participant (active engagement). Immersion is the sense of belonging in the game world; true immersion is achieved when you can play for long periods of time without noticing time passing. Anonymous (n.d.) discussed how readers can be engaged through complex storylines and interesting character development. Majority of Anonymous (n.d.) examples involved an interesting twist that changed how the player perceived a particular idea, character or object. Agency is the experience of making choices with consequences. Agency is attained through narrative structures, algorithmic storytelling, narrative devices, creating the illusion of interaction and using various story mechanisms. In order for game designer to tell a story through their game they need to keep players on the game spine and golden path. Bateman (n.d.) suggested that through the use of breadcrumbing and funnelling, game designers can keep the player on track without disempowering them and causing annoyance.

Think about non-linear games you have played recently, and identify:

1) A game that you felt had high-agency.

Minecraft is a sandbox game, which contains no linear narrative, thus empowering players by allowing them to create their own narrative. The only playable character in Minecraft is interchangeable and contains low pixels; this further encourages the player to project themselves onto the playable character. For this blog I will be referring to the Xbox 1 version of Minecraft.

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Figure 1: Minecraft (Source: playstation.com, 2015).

2) A game that you felt had low-agency.

In Bioshock Infinite the player is following a linear narrative, while controlling Booker DeWitt. The illusion of interactivity is created by the player getting to choose what weapons they equip and how they go about killing the enemies.

Official_cover_art_for_Bioshock_Infinite

Figure 2:  Official cover art for Bioshock Infinite (Source: Masem, 2012).

Answer the following questions about the choices given to the player in relation to: Minecraft

a) Was agency impeded by player interaction? If so, how?

Not that I can record.

b) Where you prepared for the choices before you made them?

Minecraft prepares players for each choice they are faced with by providing various resources (minerals, materials, animals and fauna) in order to not only allow players to survive, but flourish in this virtual world.

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Figure 3: Minecraft for beginners (Source: Cupertino Union School District, n.d.).

c) How did you perceive the significance of each choice?

Each choice the player makes is significant as it is dependent on their survival, for example if the player fails to collect wood, they may not have a weapon to defend off monsters.

d) Were the choices made fair or fun?

The choices made in Minecraft are fair, because they are logical. For example if the player does not eat, she or he will die of starvation. These choices are also fun, because it challenges players to see if they can not only survive in this virtual world, but flourish.

e) Could you make up for a poor choice?

Even though Minecraft punishes players for poor choices, players can always make up for them. For example if a player dies they will spawn in the game world with no inventory or levels, but can quickly run to where they died to collect them.

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Figure 4: Paperback Writer (Source: Beth, 2013).

f) Reflecting on today’s content, how might you improve agency in the game?

Agency can be improved in a game by making each choice the player makes important, while also giving them the opportunity to make up for their choices.

References:

Anonymous, (n.d.). Freeman_AgencyMotivStory. Retreived from https://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_617928_1&content_id=_3843053_1

Bateman, C. (n.d.). Bateman_KeepPlayrOnTrack. Retreived from https://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_617928_1&content_id=_3843053_1

Beth, (2013). Paperback Writer [Image]. Retrieved from https://chocolatesheep.wordpress.com/category/creativity/

Brook, L (2015). Week 4 The Golden Path [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Edith Cowan University, Faculty of Creative Industries, Blackboard Website: https://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_617928_1&content_id=_3843053_1

Cupertino Union School District, (n.d.). Minecraft for beginners [Image]. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/a/cusdk8.org/minecraft-for-beginners/home/getting-started/farms-and-animals/mobs

Masem, (2012). Official cover art for Bioshock Infinite [Image]. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioShock_Infinite#/media/File:Official_cover_art_for_Bioshock_Infinite.jpg

playstation.com, (2015). Minecraft [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/minecraft-ps3/