So in class on Monday we played a game called “Facad” which was essentially a one-act play in video game format. You follow the first person point of view of a guest invited over to a couple’s home. The game not only gives you the freedom to walk around the room, pick up objects, and physically interact with the two characters, but it also allows you to speak (through text) to the couple and actually have them respond to you. This was like nothing I had seen before. Of course I’ve played video games where you can physically interact with other characters in the game (basically any game where you are fighting people/creatures… a.k.a the majority of games), and I have played “sandbox” games like GTA where you have the freedom to “do/go wherever you want,” but I have never played a game where I could actually speak to video game characters and have them interpret what I say and respond.
Now that I’ve raved about the incredible freedom and technical progress that this game demonstrates, I do have to point out the limitations of the game. It became very clear after playing the game for a little bit that the characters responses were definitely limited. Often times I would ask questions or make comments that were ignored or answered insufficiently by the game. Also, it was very clear that, while there were several ways the story could have gone, that still meant that there were only a handful of ways the story could end (most of the time ending with one of them saying “it’s time for you to leave,” and forcing me out).
I suppose I can see the appeal to a game like this. It was kind of interesting playing the game several times and seeing how I could get things to turn out differently each time. The fact that the medium allows me to actually participate in a one-act play is very very impressive, and I even found myself getting into the story for brief moments. At the same time it was definitely not for me. After each time that I played I felt like things ended very abruptly and felt no closure which is usually something that I feel in even the simplest of games even without the ability to respond to my text/actions. I suppose that in the future the technology and creativity of programmers could allow games like this to be even more participatory and responsive and if that is the case my opinions might change.