Blurry Thoughts About How the Medium Something Something

It’s a little late on in the evening for me to be saying anything particularly intelligent, so I’ll go with some vague ramblings my brain touched on briefly during the day. See, we were planning to watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly this evening (and did), and this reminded me of Rilla saying she’d watched some of it on an airplane. This led to thinking about the correspondence between the movie and sitting in an airplane seat watching a tiny screen. Appropriate, maybe even evocative.

Anyway, this makes me think about the assumptions we now have about how we’ll be consuming our media, particularly video games. It’s seems pretty oriented toward either a small screen or, more “desirably” (in some sense) a big-ass, high resolution screen. So games are being designed with this in mind. As such, they’re frequently presented with the pretty straightforward view that the screen is a transparent portal into the world of the game.

But something like watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on an airplane TV, and the potential that would create for an interesting viewing experience that would influence how you felt about the movie, makes me think that it would be really interesting to create games with a more explicit understanding of the medium of presentation. (You do get this a bit, of course. I remember Metal Gear Solid, for instance, playing with the idea it was displayed on a television.) What about a game that was meant to be played on a freaky washed out and over-used CCTV monitor? Could be spooky. What about a game designed to be played by looking through a door’s peep-hole?

And so on. Clearly these are kind of impractical and a good thing about the ol’ “big-ass screen” is that that’s what people mostly have, so you can count on lots of people have the experience you want them to have. Less people have some kind of game system hooked up to their door. Some, but less. All the same, it does seem like it would be worthwhile just pursuing a little more in the way of an awareness of the display device itself and the way it necessarily influences our experience of a game or other media, even as it perhaps is designed quite specifically to efface itself.

That’s what I’ve got left in the tank. Night.

25 August 2010
← next words previous words →