As I continue to think about my Albuquerque presentation, I thought about what I’m missing in the difference between written fictional texts and computer games. Some items to add to my schematic based upon these thoughts are:
- Color. The colors of the Ancient are as much a construct as anything else, so some of the line items might include reds, ocher, yellows (desert), greens and blues (jungle), washed-out blacks, whites, reds (horror), and so on. Again, these colors will map all over the place. The reasons for selecting specific settings often focus on color – one of the developers of Torchlight 2, when asked why so many developers feature a desert environment, remarked about the cleanliness of the landscape (obviously for those who’ve never been to the desert) and the color scheme that we associate with that environment. Nonetheless, the ability to stun the senses visually with color is a key element of computer games, and thus fits into this schematic.
- Sound. Although the written word can absolutely portray sound, computer games and sound have a long and peculiar relationship that fits into this discussion nicely. From the slithers and growls and screams of horror to the bips and beeps of sci-fi (not forgetting, of course, the games that slip between genres like Doom) sound can invoke all kinds of emotional responses in game, some constructed by the fact that we’re in a game, others perhaps hitting us on a more primal level.
3) Movement. I don’t know if there’s some sort of bodily response to 2-D vs. 3-D characters or not, but this might be worth checking out.