Evaluation Criteria for Different Games

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Re: Discuss two criteria, apply them to a game, and show how they don’t apply in the same way to a different game

Immersion is one important topic to address when discussing the Stanley Parable. By immersion, I mean the player feeling as if they are surrounded by the game’s world. This often is helped by mediums that allow the user to forget the interface that stands between them and the game, and first person points of view that allow the player to experience the world as a character within it does. Another important criterion for the Stanley Parable is fun. What I mean by a fun is a game that allows the player to experience pleasure and enjoyment–which can be created through a certain topic or a certain style of gameplay. Fun via topic is most relevant to Stanley.

One of the largest aids to immersion in the Stanley Parable is the visual perspective. The player sees the world through the eyes of the character, which helps create the feeling that the two have merged, and thus the line between the player’s world and the character’s are blurred–allowing for the player to feel surrounded by the world within the game. Fun in the Stanley Parable derives from the absurdity of some of the endings, the way in which the narrator speaks (getting exasperated, yelling, etc), and the premise of investigating the empty office being a refreshing break from the work Stanley usually does.

One way in which Redshift/Portalmetal avoids immersion is through the relationship between its text and visuals. While at some points its text has statements like “Your planet is dying,” inviting the reader in to take the character’s position, at other points it has videos of the character that the player watches from a third-person point of view. This adds a degree of separation between the two and reminds the player that they are looking at the world of the game rather than existing within it. It is difficult to describe Redshift/Portalmental as fun, because of the nature of its topic. It is still engaging/interesting/thought provoking, but its focus on the difficulties of being a trans person, and the realization that those persist even through this futuristic, sci-fi setting is too serious and disheartening for the topic of the game to feel joyous. This discrepancy helps me appreciate the difference between these two games, because it exemplifies the multiplicity of purposes that a game can have. The first may be more focused on silliness (among other things), and the second on exploration of identity and thought, but neither is more or less valid than the other.

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One thought on “Evaluation Criteria for Different Games

  1. I find it very interesting that for you immersion is largely accomplished through first-person visuals. I agree that when one plays a game in first-person there is more of a connection to the protagonist than in a third-person game. However, I can’t help but wonder what lets you know that you have become fully immersed in the game’s world? Personally, I feel immersed in a game when I begin to care for those around the protagonist as if they were my own friends and to feel guilt/pride in the protagonist’s actions as if they were my own. For example, I feel very immersed in games like Persona 4 because I begin to think of the protagonist’s friends as my own friends, and I take time in the game to hang out with them even after my relationships with them have maxed out. And when the protagonist makes a decision I don’t agree with, I feel personally embarrassed. Though we have spoken a lot about immersion in class, I still wonder how immersion makes others feel.

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