That’s a Wrap

I took Skate 3 out of the 360 today in order to promote my playing of other games, but I wanted to make a final mention of an aspect of the game I haven’t really spoken of. A big part of the series has been the ability to create movies of your awesome tricks and share them with an online community. This had led to some truly stunning material which demonstrates a great deal of skill.

By and large, the videos (and photos) you tend to see can be divided between deeply, deeply skillful tricks and hilarious “outtake” style crashes, frequently engineered to be spectacular. As such, the target of all the Skate movies I’ve seen seems to be going for either a “woah!” or a “haha!” from its viewer. Awesome or funny.

Another thing about Skate 3 (and probably the other games) is that it tacitly encourages you to at least try the filming setup because there’s an achievement associated with uploading some videos. Because I’ve been on the trail of completing every possible “solo” achievement in the game, I’ve therefore tried my hand. This is something I’d definitely like to see more of generally, this push toward making something for other people to see. While all multiplayer games are, in one sense, a form of public performance, the act of producing a video is far more intentional, structured, and therefore more soul baring in certain ways. You mean it, and your audience is specifically watching it, rather than seeing your performance incidentally.

Being myself, and also not especially talented at Skate 3 in a way that would enable me to make sophisticated trick or crash videos, I decided to push toward a vaguely cheesy “art school” take on the videos I had to upload for my official achievement. And so, I made one with a guy twitching facing into a corner, one poignant take on a guy who wants to fly, and another of a guy who just falls down (perhaps beneath the sheer weight of life itself). In each case I didn’t do any camera work (though the game has relatively sophisticated options there) in favour of just “performing” a scene with the available actions (and reactions).

While I didn’t achieve anything earth shattering with this, just going through the process of performing non skateboarding scenes in a skateboarding world was super fun and interesting to me. The idea that a game is a world in which we can do more than the obvious (do cool tricks and screw up a lot) is great, and the ability to film it enhances this because it removes the inevitable framing of anything “experimental” as a kind of failure within the world of the game (if you fall down in your performance, say, you respawn standing on a skateboard – get back to work!).

My brief time as a visionary auteur was a lot of fun, if perhaps not as fun as landing a badass 360 flip over a busy street.

25 January 2011
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