fms351-L14-reading02 - Video Garne ds tTtediurn Mark l P...

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Video Garne ds tTtediurn Mark l. P. Wolf t took a while for both film and television to attain the status of an artistic medium, and likewise the video game has been slow to gain recognition in academia as an artistic medium, even after almost thirty years as a commercial industry and forty years of its existence. After appearing as an experiment and novelty and then developing into a toy, the video game took only a little over decade or so to grow into an item of mass consumption. Early games were graphically simple, and the medium as a whole did not have a widespread impact on popular culture until the latter half of the r97os. Also, the video game's status as "game" put it in a different category from traditional media, despite its audiovisual nature and often narrative basis. Whereas works in traditional media are made up of fixed, linear sequences of text, image, or sound (or combina- tions of them) which remain unchanged when examined multiple times (apart from effects of wear and tear), events experienced in a video game will vary widely from one playing to another. Film viewers can watch a film from beginning to end and be satisfied that they have seen the film in its entirety, but a video game player must often have some amount of skill to advance through higher levels of a game, and there are often courses of action and areas of the game which are still left unexplored even after several times through. Mastery of the video game, then, can be more involved (and involving) than mastery of a film; in addition to critical skills, the researcher must possess game-playing skills, or at least know someone who does. Although one can refer to film viewing as "active," meaning that the viewer is attentive to what is being shown and is applying imagination and critical thinking to make sense of or "read" a film, video game play requires input-physical action of some kind-from the player in order to func-
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tion' and often quick reactions within a very limited time frame. only when a player becomes attuned to the way in which a game operates w'l success be possible; thus a certain manner of thinking and reacting is encouraged, sometimes at the reflex level. In a film, all tile steering of on_ screen events is done for us by the filmmaker, whereas a video gu-"" r"u.,r., more possibilities open. The manner in which and the d"gr"."to *rri.t u film or a video game is a vicarious experience differs greatli. Like the cinema before^it, the video game becale enormously suc_ cessful financiallywithin its first decade. Tlie uniqueness of the videogame ledrum has also opened up a new realm of interactive entertainment which has yet to be thoroughly examined and analyzed the way cinema and television have been' At present, film and television theories examining the use of moving imagery and sound are fairly well suited for analyzing video games, although some additions are needed to address areas where video games differ from traditional media (for example, the interface,
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fms351-L14-reading02 - Video Garne ds tTtediurn Mark l P...

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