Remediation is quite common in video games today, especially in horror games: points-of-view from camcorders, necessitating the use of torches to light dark spaces, requiring the player to find and listen to old cassette tape recordings to put together the story, etc. However, one of the most common applications of remediation we see in games is the use of maps. More specifically, games in which the map has to be unlocked by segment. Maps are a major avenue for remediation in almost every story-based game, particularly in the horror/survival genre. Usually, the player has to adventure out into the more dangerous sections of the map in order to unlock the radio tower, to climb to the top of the tallest cliff and survey the area, or to find scraps of map in chests just beyond bosses. This form of remediation helps greatly with immersion into the game and its environment, which in turn tends to increase the quality of the game and the player’s enjoyment upon playing.
In games such as Left 4 Dead, the map, though still accessible through a push of a button on the controller, begins as a blue or black or white sheet, sometimes with the boundaries of the in-game world drawn on, sometimes with no information whatsoever. Normally, to progress in the story line, the player will be drawn far from the original zone of the game, usually the easiest zone, on an adventure to find someone or something. However, before you can even delve into the details of the story events, you usually have to search through chests, backpacks, desk drawers, cabinets, and sometimes even the corpses you have laid in your wake. In other games, like Legend of Zelda, the player has to climb great towers, with enemies and obstacles around the base and sometimes even going up the tower itself. Once at these vantage points, a piece of your map can be cleared off, stitched together, or otherwise added to your collection so that you can actually see where to go and what will be between you and your destination.
This type of directional security is something my generation has grown very accustomed to- whenever a person in their twenties is going somewhere new, what do we do? We pull out our phones or our GPS devices to produce a comforting voice and continuous directions, even accounting for traffic and total travel time. However, in these horror-survival games, the use of older style maps and remediation serves to entrench the player in their environment. It is easy to look down at a map every two minutes to ensure you’re on the right course. It is much harder to have to find a visual waypoint in your field of view, track it through the environment, and struggle to find your way in a new and usually monster-ridden environment. That a player has to find map segments or scraps makes that player identify just that much more closely with the character they are playing. In this way, remediation is an effective tool to boost appeal, interest, and thereby sales in video games, particularly in the survival-horror genre.