About Face

While I was writing some notes on a couple of games I’ve been playing I put down something about the expressionlessness with which I assume I (and others) play games. Then I thought I really ought to check it out, so I recorded my face while playing a game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

To the right is one of the various expressions I made while playing. It was a mixed bag, really. A huge amount of the time my face was pretty neutral, a fairly intense stare at the screen and often a drawing together of my brows, but largely passive. Then there would be little tics as things happened in the game (many of them bad in this instance). I’d shake my head, smile ruefully, or grimace in a number of delightful variations (as we see to the left here).

Watching this made me think of Axel Stockburger’s video work of a woman playing Gran Turismo that my parents own. In the video you see the same kind of intensity on a relatively smooth and unmoving face. If anything, she looks like she was having more fun than I did in my particular game of Tecmo.

In the end, watching my face while playing didn’t really prove much of anything to me. It was less “private” looking that I thought it might be, and both more and less active than I’d expected. I guess I knew that I made faces at the events in the game, but not that they’d be quite so intense. Sitting there, watching my own face, I could kind of tell what was going on in the game in broad strokes. You know, the facial tics are the windows to the soul, after all.

I guess we’ve all got to face up to ourselves sometimes. Ha ha.

24 September 2010
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