Posts Tagged ‘Rockstar Games’

I was lately introduced to Charles Baudelaire (love his shock value!) and his ideas on modernity and what it means for individuals as culture changes and morphs. One of the ideas that has stuck with me is the idea of sensory overload. For Baudelaire in the nineteenth century, that meant having to learn what kinds of sounds and sights to ignore and what to pay attention to as he walked around Paris amid the new technologies that were popping up throughout the city. The same overload Baudelaire experienced still goes on today, particularly with videogames.

That point was reinforced for me when I read an article from Gonzalo Frasca’s baby, ludology.org, JET SET RADIO – STILL TASTES GREAT AFTER ALL THESE YEARS” in which he pointed out how we get better at learning how to play videogames and how it takes less time to go from game to game and get comfortable with the controls. It made me aware of how my husband picks up games and just plays with very little difficulty. He makes everything look so easy, and he knows where to look to get goodies and bonuses and such, whereas I have a hard time doing that. However, now that I have more time to play, I’ve witnessed how learning gets easier after my own experiences of having to adapt to different games.

One of those games was Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram. My husband recently pulled out his Dreamcast (which didn’t work, so we had to order a new one) so he could introduce me to a game from his golden years. In Virtual-On you control a robot (like in Gundam or Xenogears) and shoot at other robots in a fight to the death. The whole time I played it, I got really frustrated because the controls are difficult to get used to. For example, in order to lock the camera onto your opponent, you have to “dash” and fire weapons. Pressing the required buttons to execute said operations takes some really athletic bending of the carpels! Talk about awkward. And on top of that, there are so many colors and things going on that it makes you feel like you’re going to have an epileptic seizure. Once you get used to picking out the important things to pay attention to, it’s a really fun game.

After Virtual-On, I started playing Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. I love the open-world RPGs (as you’ve probably noticed from my Elder Scrolls obsession blatantly and shamelessly plastered all over previous posts) because I get to explore and talk to people and do whatever I want whenever I want. Having never played their other franchise, Grand Theft Auto, I was like “Sweeeeeet. Skyrim except in the Wild West!” Aw hell no! That was a stupid expectation. After much yelling and cursing, I finally started getting used to the game’s controls and love playing it.

Baudelaire was onto something. Even in an era where people are used to the constant hubbub and technological presences in daily life, there are always new things to get used to, particularly in videogames. Each game requires players to learn different controls and get used to the sights and sounds of the game. Players have to learn what to ignore and what to look for in order to survive in the gameworld. And who knows, maybe those experiences with videogames can help when we have to adapt in reality, too.

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