Video Gaming (EL 250)

2 Jan 2006

My Trip to Liberty City

What assumptions about videogames do you find challenged, or reaffirmed, in this short movie?

On this page, add a brief comment that presents a thoughtful response to this video.

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One assumption about video games that I found challenged in this short movie was the idea that traditionally the player can’t choose the destiny of his or her character. Here we see the idea of having choices presented to the player and this differs from the set paths of many games. Another unique thing about this game/movie is that there appear to be no boundaries on the screen. We don’t see the character going to the far left and then getting stuck walking into a building, etc. The character is also not penalized for not carrying out the "hit" or task and I found that interesting. Note: I especially enjoyed the attack mime.

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at January 1, 2006 11:35 PM

Leslie is right that there is a more unique Action/environment playability. Players who want action can follow the radar, while the more curious player can still participate in the game aside from the main plot.

His obvious parody of playing the game that allows so many acts of imaginary crime, without wanting to be violent made the game's violent nature seem more apparent. Each cab he stood next to, waiting for the character to gently enter into sped away. He knew that if he tried to open the cab door, the character would throw the taxi driver out and steal the cab. He showed the realism of the world by walking around, but in hard conflict with the plot that kept trying to entice him with actions outside social edict.

Games like this have existed for a long time, dating at least as far back as Ultima on the atari and before 'Windows' on the computer; where players can choose to either follow the plot or kill and steal for fun. What are the creators accomplishing by allowing the player to stray from the plot and does this take away from aspects of the game.

Posted by: Stephan Puff at January 2, 2006 01:55 AM

Good points, Leslie and Puff. Games like GTA are called "sandbox" games, in that being in them is like playing in a sandbox, where you can choose what you want to do. While GTA offers missions and points, you can also spend the whole time practicing stunts, delivering pizzas, or, like "Canadian Tourist," just enjoying the sights.

That makes a subtle point about the violent and anti-social potential of this particular videogame.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 09:40 AM

For some reason the page is coming up that it cannot be displayed. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could get it to work? I've clicked on the link, refreshed the page, and even typed out the link but it doesn't seem to want to work.

Posted by: Kayla Lukacs at January 2, 2006 03:39 PM

Kayla, I'm getting the same problem. Try this alternate download site:

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 03:52 PM

This video shows that a player does not have to complete the mission at hand but do as they wish. Agreeing with Puff I found that a player can make any game as violent as they want it to be. I like how you can change the exterior of your character and they can do everyday tasks like exercise and eat. These "sandbox" games give the player the option of doing pretty much whatever they want in the game.

Posted by: Kayla Lukacs at January 2, 2006 04:32 PM

The video reminds me of Aunt Beezly playing a nice game of whoopass.

But seriously, the world that the game programmers create is brilliantly detailed. With this short tour of the city, their is so much that they must take into consideration when creating this game. The scenery is just one thing. Did you notice each of the bystanders had a unique reaction to each of the "extreme mime's" actions?

Although GTA is your stereotypical shallow-plotted, blood-and-gore type action game, you must give the creators some amount of credit because creating a world with such realism is amazing... even though Bandura would have a hissy-fit.

Posted by: Evan Reynolds at January 2, 2006 05:42 PM

Evan, wouldn't you react that way to an extreme mime?

Posted by: Leslie Rodriguez at January 2, 2006 06:32 PM

I think that this videogame showed alot of "reality." The speakers voice influenced my opinion greatly because it allowed me to form a picture of what the charcter would be like. I pictured him as a proper well-educated person who would rather have peace then violence. For example, he wanted to go rest in the park lol! I think that it is important because he did say numerous times that he did not want to give in too the violent behavior like Puff said he did not wnat to open the car doors because then he would have thrown the cabbie driver out and stole a car. But the character seemed to step out of his "morals" and gave into society, which is just another example of how society has a huge influence in the way people act and view their actions.

Posted by: GinaBurgese at January 2, 2006 10:22 PM

Good point, Gina! The video would have been boring to watch if the filmmaker couldn't interact with the environment somehow, and the environment is programmed to respond interestingly to certain actions that would be extremely socially unacceptable.

The actions I'm referring to include hijacking vehicles and attacking pedestrians, though your personal list mit include miming! ;)

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 2, 2006 10:32 PM

Y'all need to explore the world of San Andreas in your class (GTA) as it is enormous. From the Compton-esque "Gannon" to Vegas, "Las Venturas" it is the largest bit 'o land I have ever seen in a game - driving sometimes takes 20 minutes to get to a different city. Each location is completely realistic, with local flavor - such as different types of people/comments/vehicles/buildings/landscape/etc... if you're in a hick town in Red County, you'll tell the immediate difference from the rich folk in San Fierro... the whole flavor of the game is different. GTA: San Andreas is still the greatest game I have ever played, and ohh... I've played a lot of games.

Posted by: Mike at January 5, 2006 11:58 PM

Since this is an online-only course, the only way we could all take a field trip to San Andreas is if I put the game on the syllabus. I considered choosing a commercial game to focus on, and doing just that, but instead for an upcoming assignment, I'm giving the students the option to choose from a moderately-sized list.

And GTA is one of the options.

I picked up a copy of Vice City when the price dropped just before San Andreas was released. Driving games aren't really my thing, but I'd heard so much about the series I knew I had to try it out for myself.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 6, 2006 01:32 AM

Vice City is decent, except I always found some annoying control issues, such as the ability to pan the camera around while driving, and the irritating first person perspective while walking. San Andreas cleared all that up - and added things like SWIMMING, so you can just run out from the beach into the waves. The AI is also amazing, as well as the randomness. If you just "hang out" for a while, you'll see the craziest things occur on the streets.

It does have a great 80's feel to it - but San Andreas is a work of art... when the sun goes down, all hot and orange in the sky, you feel as if you really are in Cali - plus the early 90's vibe is represented perfectly. The voice acting is also incredible, including Samuel L. Jackson. Great plot twists - plus it's a HUGE game that takes a loooooong time to get through - it took me nearly a year, off and on playing a few hours a week.

I would like to try this "Movies" game that just came out, I've heard neat stuff about it.

My current post-Christmas gaming obsession is SOCOM III on PS2 - I can't wait to hook it up online and play with 32 people at once. The single-player campaign is incredible, but the online experience with headset... thats just geek heaven!!! Talk about zero sleep!!! :-)

Posted by: Mike at January 6, 2006 01:47 AM
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