Week 2- Adopted Identity

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1. How far would you say you try and inhabit the ‘character’ you’re ‘playing’?

Mentally a person must get in character and begin to think like the character in order to get through the game. The content and progression of the game depends upon the actions and the player’s control of that character. Therefore the game is designed to make the player think like the specific character. For example the game has boundaries that the player must adhere to. I quickly learned that when I tried to drive over a few pedestrians… not purposefully though, I lost control of the car! Well not quite I was wondering if it was similar to Grand Theft Auto… ironically the first thing I did in the game (attempting to kill innocent people) established my control and boundaries as a player. After confirming how far I could exploit my authority as a cop, it is clear that you get what you are given and the actions you take are based on those pre-established rules. The game sets the boundaries so you must apply yourself to them. Whether or not you make a conscious effort to become the character on screen is irrelevant, because you are made to step in to the role and persona of the character from the beginning of the game. Therefore in my opinion, the game is always in control, in the same way a novel is. You cannot change the events, unless the game gives you the power to do so.

2. How far do you try and see the world through their eyes?

A key aspect of role playing games is getting in to the role of the character, so it is important to keep the character’s viewpoint in perspective when playing the game. As a player you have to adapt to play the game, the game does not adapt to conform to your views. You are encouraged to resemble the character’s attitude and mentality. The game prompts reminders of the rules and your role in the game with messages. For example when you damage public property a message appears reminding you that your actions will have an impact on your record. Therefore the game does make an effort to get you to conform to the world if not wholly adapt to it.

3. Does the character you’re playing shape your behaviour or attitudes towards to other characters you encounter in the game?

Yes the character does shape your behaviour, however as an observer, as well as the player you automatically create your own opinion of the characters. As an observer you can detach yourself from the mentality of the character you are playing. You can mentally step out of the game to build your own opinions of the characters and events. Therefore you are free to think of things your character may not have thought about yet or express attitudes and opinions of other characters that your character may not inhibit.

4. Would you say your ‘game identity’ is all you, partly made-up of you and the character you’re ‘playing’ or as much as possible, is it entirely the character you’re ‘playing’?

Once you make a mistake the game does not have alternative avenues to adapt to your mistake. For example if you lost the battle with the boss or the main villain, in a classic turn based JRPG you would go through a virtual death resulting in game over. The game does not compensate for your actions by creating another avenue to make up for your virtual death. In other words you must kill the villain in order to progress in the game. You have to follow the sequence and story the game had created, you cannot create your own story. In the same way if you do not win a punch up between your character and the villain in LA Noire then you are made to repeat (or skip) the sequence in order to continue. Therefore the game lays down the law and the player is made to conform to that law. The game assigns you an identity and you must become that identity for the next three disks, the course of action and the sequences in the game are not determined by the player. Likewise I think the identity in the game is not determined by the player. You cannot decide the characteristics of your player, therefore in game you are made to become or resemble whatever the game decides to virtually give you or make you.

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Comments

  1. AndrewKingsley / Mar 25th, 2012 10:39 Quote

    Being a player of JRPGS myself, I totally agree that this is a more linear experience, and it sometimes makes it so you can only be Cole, no one else. Whereas in JRPGS you have a group, you constantly switch between who you associate with the most, as you learn more and more about them, and there are many different options you can take.

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