Question 2

3

1. In some games, the player’s character has no defined charateristics, and is a blank slate for the player to make thier own choices and create their own avatar. However, LA Noire is a character driven narrative, with the story of Phelps being front and centre. This lack of overt choice and linear storytelling means that the player is forced to identify with the character of Phelps, since they are forced by the narrative to be Phelps, and see things from his point of view.

2. The game does encourage us to see the world of LA Noire through Phelps’s eyes – aside from a few flashbacks, all the narrative takes place from his point of view. When a player examines a clue in the game, Phelps’s thoughts about the object are shown to the player via voice over, adding to the sense of immersion.

3. In some ways the character does shape your behaviour and the way in which you interact with the other characters. In most open world games, the player is free to do whatever they wish, but since Phelps is a police officer, the player is forced to obey the law, and can not perform violent or destructive acts without consquences. The dialogue system, in which the player has to find out the truth by guessing if a character is lying or not, also affects your behaviour, as failing by picking the wrong choice makes the case harder to solve, and causes the loss of points. Therefore, the player is not free to do as he wishes, but must keep to a set of rules.

4. I think that the “game identity” is combination of both the player and the character they’re playing as. Video games, unlike other forms of story telling media, are interactive, with the player controlling a character who drives the narrative, unlike, for example, a book, where the auidence passively watches the story unfold. However, in a heavily plot driven game like this one, the player is forced by the characterisation of the protagionist, and the game design, to act in a certain way. The game gives the player only a few linear choices in how to act, and the behaviour of Phelps is predetermined by the story, limiting how much freedom the player has over the character.

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Comments

  1. James1185 / Mar 25th, 2012 19:29 Quote

    I would agree with your first point in particular, as many games don’t include character driven narratives, and therefore adopting a character’s behaviour is less common in other videogames – and easily done in L.A. Noire.

  2. Rossss / Mar 25th, 2012 20:35 Quote

    Yeah I agree too. Which is why I don’t try to make Phelps any different to how he is, and as his personality grows more into the game, the ability to understand him and the narrative grow. I like that.

  3. MaddieS / Apr 4th, 2012 13:59 Quote

    Though I completely agree with your assertions that as the majority of the game plays out in Phelps’ P.O.V and his characters’ position as a police officer, the player is forced to behave in a certain way and that our judgements are determined by Phelps’ character profile, our views differ when it comes to the ‘game identity’ and how far we can ‘inhabit’ the character of Phelps. I would say that because Phelps’ identity is so richly presented to the player with such a unique background, it makes it all the more difficult for the player to incorporate the character into their own ‘game identity’ – in other words, I think that Phelps’ character is so distinct that it is almost alienating for the player, and actions like him cheating on his wife only serve to widen the gap between character and player. “You don’t understand what I’ve been through” is the explanation that Phelps offers his wife when she discovers that he has been cheating with Elsa Lictmann. This emphasises my point that although we, the players, are given frequent insights into Phelps’ past, because of the nature of his background and the intricate way in which his character profile is developed in front of the player, I would argue that the player simply cannot inhabit the character of Phelps’ with any real strength.

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