Video Games and Morality's Effect on Immersion.
(working title I guess.)
So here are the elements I've been examining:
- The different ways that game developers create a completely unique (on a good day), immersive gaming experience. (FPS, Decision-based games, realistic violence, 3D design etc etc etc)
- The use of moral dimensions in decision-based games to create a more immersive gaming experience-- and how it fails to do so.
- What elements are more effective at creative immersive gameplay and why.
It all has to do with your world vs. the world the game developers have created for you. They're both separate (but equal) universes that exist on different planes of reality. One being virtual, on a single disk (or 12 if you have an XBox HA!), the other is "our" (quotations important) living breathing plane of reality (so one is more equal than the other).
In the section where certain elements of morality in video games makes the experience more immersive I'll primarily use the comparison of Lara Croft and Nathan Drake. Both popular and attractive "archeologists" that have recently been pitted against one another as not just marketing ploys, but as literary tropes. As a result, developers of the new Lara Croft game are specifically targeting not only Lara's past flaws as a gaming icon (the iconography*, they argue, actually impedes on the immersive experience. Interesting!), but the flaws of her male market rival, Nathan Drake. Drake, who after one Uncharted game series installment immediately shows up Croft in personality, physical ability, attractiveness (from a character model design standpoint, duh), and ratings.
The developers of the next Tomb Raider installment seeks to break down Croft in front of the players; humanizing her, and overall just making you feel downright bad for her (that's where morality comes in). <<< The result, they hope, is that Tomb Raider will be more original and immersive as ever. The two universes (yours and the game's) are forced to collide, thus immersing you as a player.
Two other games that do this are Heavy Rain and Shadow of the Colossus. I don't know if I'll have a lot of space to discuss them, but I'll prolly post that section here in addition to the rest. And I'll cover their significance in a later post.
At the same time, and I'll have to do more research on what Naughty Dog has to say about Croft and Eidos, Naughty Dog is breaking down Drake more and more each installment. He's never going to be the unrealistic demi-god that is Lara Croft. In fact, part of me feels that the villain (Katherine Marlowe) of Drake's next adventure is a sort of nod to Croft... which is pushing it... a lot, I know, but I see the connections and I roll with them.
(sorry about the formatting!)
As an aside, what makes Croft (somewhat) more interesting than Drake, is that she's a character all on her own, whereas Drake, has often been described as a cross between Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Not that I'm knocking Drake in the LEAST, he's incredible... trust me. I'm extremely excited to see our Croft Demi-god turn into the female "every-man" character I've been hoping to see more of.
*did I use that word right?
Some history on the Croft legacy
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune trailer
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves trailer
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
See what I'm talking about the progression of VULNERABILITY. I'm so vulnerable, you'd think I was ruur'l! immersion! yay!
Probably another project altogether. Vulnerability = "believability."