New Mediums

My long absence is due to a couple of factors.

One: I left a job and moved 400 miles back down to LA. This has allowed me to give myself plenty of leeway in doing anything that is even a little productive, all in the name of “settling in.” Now officially settled in and hopefully finding a rhythm, it’s really time for me to get back on the ball.

Two: I found a new obsession in a new medium.I just recently built a PC, and so was able to start playing more games, or as a friend put it “joined the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race” – I even have a membership card. This process started out slow, with me sampling games here and there, until my birthday came around and filled my Steam library with enough distractions to effectually make me useless to the outside world. Particularly because I was introduced to Mass Effect.

If you’ve talked to me at all in the last few weeks, I’ve probably mentioned this game once or seven-hundred times. I started with the first and was addicted, and I think it’s only gotten worse as time has gone on. But this has bearing on more than just my obsessive tendencies. The reason why I’ve become so obsessed with this game is because it has a marvelous story. And because it’s a game, I get to write part of it!

I also picked up Ender’s Game again (mostly because I finished ME2 and was waiting to buy 3, so I had unoccupied time), and in the introduction, Orson Scott Card talks about the intersect between author and reader being where the real story happens – “the story is one that you and I will construct together in your memory.” This has never been more explicitly true than in video games.

I took a seminar in my senior year about “modular narratives” and the stories that exist in video games. If you don’t understand what modular narrative means, don’t feel bad, I took a class in it and still just barely cling to a definition of stories that don’t have singular linear paths, but jump here and there and all over the place to come together. I wish I had played Mass Effect while reading Ender’s Game then, because I would’ve had a bang-on thesis. Now my genius concepts will go unwritten (and therefore remain forever genius, rather than being proven kind of eh).

Anyways, these are just a lot of thoughts floating around in my head today. The main point is this new consideration of video game writing. It never occurred to me that that might be something I might enjoy, and to be perfectly honest, it probably still isn’t, given how many games, and gamers, really prefer that the story didn’t interfere too much with the rest of the game. But it’s a new idea…

 

Also, this is half total bullshit and half reasonable truth. Playing an RPG, besides the half-assed arguments that could be made for research, does actually fall into the category of, at the very least, story creation. At least if you play like I do, and try to think of the character as a character rather than just an avatar. So while my hours of playtime haven’t been precisely productive, there’s an argument to be made for ‘creative exercise.’

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