Final Project: Twine Game

Zack Lorber

http://file:///Users/ZackLorber/Downloads/Winners%20Better%20Quit.html (will also include USB)

Professor Carolyn Jong

ENGL 398D

April 15th, 2015

Video Game Project Review and Explanation

In the game I created on Twine, “Winners Better Quit“, my goal was to give the player many options and meaningful decisions. I am not sure that the end result should be described as a complete success. My goal was to create something like “The Stanley Parable” in that I wanted choices to create divergent endings. The other initial starting goal was to anticipate as many choices the player could make or want to make as I could. The two goals proved to be incompatible. If I had created the game in the way intended before the project had begun there would have been over eighty choices and twenty distinct story lines by the time the player made his 5th click or choice. This would be a logistics nightmare and was proving to still be one even after the choice selection was severely trimmed.

The Game isn’t as ‘long’ as I would have liked but there are many story lines and I achieved almost all of the goals I set out to incite in this game. The self imposed guidelines for the game’s creation were numerous but mainly: It is a game, don’t take itself too seriously. This led to the continuous poking fun at the player through narration. Mainly the emphasized lack of backstory toyed with the fourth wall. This also comes out in the brief interrogation.

The reasoning for the themes and actions of the game were mainly a commentary about the player and the community of players. This comes through strongly in the interview that numerous players are needed to complete the variety of the game. Another similar trope that was used is the fact that the game is what you make of it, if the player is not suspicious or wants to subvert the main story path they can be rewarded. Many games provide exposition about the motives of the playable character once the player has already controlled them for some time. This game plays on the fact that the character has the option to create his own name and story.

It was difficult and tedious to create independent stories but it proved to be enjoyable to provide a commentary on the choices and results if individuals creating their own stories and ideals. Human nature was commented on in various ways through ideas about being arrogant and lucky when a player feels ahead. With the threats of having ridiculously dehumanizing amounts of money and the ease of gambling when placed in the right environment. The numerous Puns kept the game light and hopefully enjoyable, it covered many topics with each storyline so hopefully it works as a whole entity.

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Different Fits for Machinima

Micro Essay 3 by Zack Lorber

There exists a symbiotic relationship between video games and Machinima. The medium diversification creates a mutually beneficial relationship in terms of advertising and additional content enriching detail. Video is also often used for comic effect or promoting entertaining aspects of the games. Machinima in general is the perfect mix of fan fiction and accessible video. 

Created for an audience who can relate to the subject matter to the games they play and easily access an image of what they expect to see. People who play the game, more than a reader of a book or viewer of a film, get immersed in the content of the world in the game. The popularity of live action Machinima is not surprising at all because it not only improves the perceived graphics of a possible upcoming game but humanizes the characters beyond the scope of playing the game. Some examples of such events are Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, Elder Scrolls V ‘Live Action’ trailer plus countless other trailers and trailer discussions.

As games are not constantly released due to the immense team and effort that goes into making one, the phenomenon of Machinima allows for the continued popularity of the games along with an episodic continued anticipation for further content. This anticipation works on both sides of the situation. Games use the video as advertisement and possibly inspiration for what the audience hopes the next game in the series will provide. The creators of these videos allows the creators to inform the game makers what they appreciated about the game, what they want in the future along with simply having fun in their creation.

The platform and easy access from console gaming to apps on said consoles for simplified viewing of Machinima made content. Streaming games on platforms like twitch are only a small aspect of what Machinima on the next generation consoles can do. When the Xbox one came out it included an app called UPLOAD and Upload Studio. This feature along with the Kinect microphone and camera allows players even on consoles to say “Xbox Record That” to record the last 30 seconds of gameplay which, in conjunction with Upload allowed them to simply assemble and share a wide variety of clips with tags that range from ‘Epic Moment,’ to ‘Epic Fail’ to ‘Funny Moments’. This simple idea has generated a massive following amoung the community on that platform. This level of video integration for common console players has never existed before and demonstrated new and challenging ways to play the games.

In conclusion the visual narratives elaborate on lore and hints and easter eggs within games. These spin off topics are an interesting and audience friendly creative art. They are also a form of art that has its own of advertisement in the form of the hugely popular video games that they are based on.

Bibliography 

 Lowood, Henry. “Real-Time Performance: Machinima and Game Studies.” iDMAa Journal. 2.1 (2013).

 Kücklich, Julian. “Precarious Playbour: Modders and the Digital Games Industry.” The Fibreculture Journal. 5. (2005).

Globalization in the World of Pokemon

The world of Pokemon is ripe with symbolism of globalization. Pokemon is a multi-medium phenomenon. It is more than a game or an anime television show. The world of Pokemon is a commentary on aspects of globalization within the content of those mediums.  The internal world of Pokemon is one of complex interactions and integrations of people and companies driven by the goal of obtaining and developing power and fame through the exploitation of Pokemon.

Pokemon are commodities in games that are built up and traded. The time invested into the collection of particular versions of particular Pokemon, in the video game and the card game. The army collected translates into a wealth of power with the goal to be “The very best that no one ever was.” This goal is mentioned in the theme song for the anime series. A principal of Pokemon games is that each area has its own problems and assets. The progression and gaining of badges within the game is a way the game presents to break down barriers and extend the reach of the character to other parts of the world. That area of the game is a reflection on the definition of globalization.
The implicit goal in the game of catching all the Pokemon is echoed by the explicit goal of collecting all the gym badges. The game instills the idea of seeking superiority as a universal goal as every trainer in the game wants to be the best, and they are all headlined by a rude and often justifiably arrogant rival. Kerr mentions this as cultural imperialism. Pokemon as a game is used “as the ‘immediate environment’ within which the self develops.”(Kerr 4) The quest within the game is a platform to prove yourself over and over to beat strangers, friends and finally rivals. The environment also presents puzzles and an almost unrealistic amount of Pokemon to capture.

A second troubling aspect in the games comes of concurring and taming a hostile wilderness. The problem with this is that its exactly the problem addressed with Richard Kippling’s ‘White Man’s Burden’ if the Pokemon are seen as slaves within the Pokeballs. That problem is similar to what Kerr mentions that globalization is viewed with “outright hostility due largely to the perception that these flows were uni-directional moving from the first world to the lesser developed nations.” (4) If they are interpreted as animals, which their shape and names represents, this game can be seen as a giant coq-fight. That idea is somehow only slightly less troubling. Neither case should be presented as a role model protagonist.
In conclusion elements of the world of Pokemon have links to globalization. This factor along with its adaptability to many mediums and countries and languages made it universally synonymous with the phenomenon of globalization.

Kerr, A., and R. Flynn. “Revisiting Globalisation Through the Movie and Digital Games Industries.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2003): 91-113. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.

Interactive Fiction: Choice Compared With Results

By Zack Lorber


The Stanley Parable gives players a more diverse array of results than similar games of its style that I have played. My experience with telltale games of the parser or hypertext variety is limited because person experience of gaming is mostly restricted to consoles. There are however two experiences that will be drawn on to compare and contrast The Stanley Parable. The two games of a similar form that I am familiar with are Portal 2 and Borderlands Episode 1 Zer0 Sum.

Firstly I will discuss Borderlands Episode 1 Zer0 Sum and compare it with The Stanley Parable. Much like The Stanley Parable, the Borderlands series does not take itself too seriously in regards to respecting the fourth wall. This short element was a telltale game which was essentially the console equivalent to a direct hypertext game. It had a great, short, rich, and concise story. There were four options for every decision that the controlled character had to make. The choices were designed to give the appearance of forming relationships with certain players and alienating others. The problem with having there four predetermined choices presented in the way that that particular game did it was that every choice felt like it led to the same result. It was as if the game made you roll a die, then take the result and then proceed the story congratulating the player for having rolled one die. This frustrating factor contrasts completely with The Stanley Parable where every decision leads to a completely unique progression to the story and a seemingly completely unique ending. Every choice in The Stanley Parable creates a unique ending but all endings point out the meta nature of this video game and how the player’s avatar has no control.

Next there is a puzzle game that loves to insult you for being nothing special. This game is Portal 2. Portal 2 is a game with a commentator who continuously insults the player for completing tests in the same average way. The life of the player’s avatar in The Stanley Parable and portal are similar. Both Characters are impersonal in the way they are not important to the world of their game. In both games the playable character never shows the controller their face. There is one path through Portal and only one conclusion but the games have a similar narrative stlye. A mod does exist to add a portal gun to The Stanley Parable that reorders the map. The gun allows instant travel between the many broken story lines, and the narrator’s dialogue is surprisingly coherent he is irritated that the player keeps subverting him. If ever the player doesn’t follow the prescribed path the narrator feels cheated and frustrated and exudes a similarly hostile sentiment to the authority figure in the Portal game.

In conclusion a single play-through of the Stanley Parable took about ten minutes but a full exploration of the game revealed much hidden diversity of choice. The brevity of the game allows for a vast alteration of the narrative for every choice. The number of conclusions multiply with the number of choices making the style of game less feasible for some longer games. It was refreshing and demeaning at the same time and really gave players unique experiences.

Work Cited
Montfort, Nick. “The Pleasure of the Text Adventure.” In Twisty Little Passages. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. 1-36.