Video Games by the Senses

Video games have been, for ages, focused on user input and graphical display. The earliest video games had text, which required the player to read. Further down the road games implemented some basic graphics. Little red squares were you, and the giant yellow rectangle was the dragon. The green amorphous blob was the key to the treasure it held. Shortly thereafter games had on-board BLOOP sounds, occassional pitches to represent sound effects and a minor tune which was a fanfare. The SNES had Midi control. Entire orchestral audio could easily be played. Sound started becoming more and more important to the games. Just recently did our massive text based games replace all the reading with speech. Never Winter Nights 2 had interactive cutscenes with talkative NPCs, but other small quests still had quite some reading to do. Dragon Age: Origins meant no more reading, unless you want to read all those “Codex” entries or all the possible things to say to an NPC. But the NPC read every line in the dialogue. Massive amounts of speech.
Does this mean we are becoming lazy? Graphics had helped with user input, and over time a click of the mouse could perform an action which required a large input (Attack Grue With Sword, an entire 22 character phrase, eliminated). Now communicating information to the player was the same. A nice long descriptive writing was now represented by a nicely drawn image, and then a 3 dimensional scene. Nowadays the only advancement is dialogue communication. The player still needs to read about each possible answer they give to the recipient in RPGs, and they need to type it out (if they don’t have a mic) for online games.
I say we need to focus moreso on audio. We stay focused so much on visual. We rely on our eyesight too much. I played so many video games that I am pretty much blind now. My eyes are focused to stare at that monitor at that distance, or that television for so long. Have you ever seen someone stare at a display? Just that blank look without the monitor. So focused and intent on pursuing their artificial goals.
Now if we didn’t have something to look at, what would that face be? Would it be fixated to one spot, staring at a blank wall? Or perhaps wandering eyes, looking for the source of the game’s display. A pure audio oriented game would show this nature. Back in the day, those Monday nights where you would listen to the radio tell frightening stories. All you heard was a frightened man’s voice, some sound effects, and perhaps some music. Your mind pieced together what was happening. The listener had to use their creativity to recreate the scene being broadcasted.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the player to create their own environment? Completely out of their own mind, with influences from the audible source.

I propose development on some kind of interactive story, being told through speakers or headphones. No visuals.
A blank screen.
And then, a descriptive tale is told, with the player interacting in someway. Perhaps a choose-your-own-adventure audiobook equivalent. Maybe a 3D environment not being rendered, except for the cleverly placed sounds which you can use as a reference to finding your way around the map. Marco Polo.

In other news, why isn’t the Unfinished Swan finished?


One Response

  1. i really appreciate with this blog. a++ to this blog.

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