As I mentioned in my last post, the music and sound design of Ocarina of Time has been an element of the game I have noticed and appreciated more and more the more I play through the game. One interesting phenomenon with the game that I have discovered, however, is that the current near-meme status… Continue reading External Context and Zelda’s Magic Circle
As I mentioned in my last post, the music and sound design of Ocarina of Time has been an element of the game I have noticed and appreciated more and more the more I play through the game. One interesting phenomenon with the game that I have discovered, however, is that the current near-meme status that some of the sound design elements have achieved in gamer and internet culture have altered the associations I make with the sound effects, which alters the feel of the gameplay itself. For instance, I have heard Link’s spin attack yell used as a sample in songs, and have done so myself when making music. The “secret discovery” sound effect is another that I have heard so often in other Zelda games and outside of the context of a video game that I am somewhat dissociated from the game world when I hear it. It makes me wonder if the magic circle created by the rules of the game can eventually be worn away as the game becomes more of a cultural artifact than an immersive gamic experience and the player becomes increasingly distracted from the gamic experience by the constant sonic reminder that they’re playing a Zelda game and not actually exploring the landscape of Hyrule and fighting monsters to rescue the kingdom. To extend this line of thought, I also wonder if this phenomenon may mean that it is impossible to create a convincing magic circle with the continuation of a successful series. As the series gains a following and its own place in gamer/internet/general culture, it becomes impossible to disassociate elements of the game from their appearance outside of the game. Nintendo, however, seems to have wholly embraced the relevance of their games outside the context of the digital video game world, with games like the Super Smash Bros. series creating a context-collapsing post-modern mashup of the most popular Nintendo characters.
The mechanic that I found the most interesting in Ocarina of Time while playing was the day/night cycle that triggers when the player enters certain non-narrative linked areas and the ways this was used to add and alter the content of the game in ways that add depth to the game in a remarkably impressive… Continue reading Messing With Time
The mechanic that I found the most interesting in Ocarina of Time while playing was the day/night cycle that triggers when the player enters certain non-narrative linked areas and the ways this was used to add and alter the content of the game in ways that add depth to the game in a remarkably impressive way for such an early implementation of the mechanic. Searching for some discussion on day/night mechanics in games I stumbled across this reddit thread in the large (700k+ subscriber) /r/gaming subreddit about day/night mechanics in games (https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/24igkc/weekly_rgames_mechanic_discussion_daynight_cycle/). Nintendo games were some of the most frequently referenced in the thread, Zelda and Pokemon being the main two series. Because these were the earliest games referenced in the thread to my knowledge, I was interested in the history of day/night mechanics in games. This led me to this DigitalPress forum thread from 2006 on the subject (http://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?89524-First-game-with-a-day-night-cycle). Despite some uncertainty, it seems that the game Red Alert from 1981 is the earliest game mentioned with a day/night mechanic and in-game clock that changes as the player progresses through the game (video of gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iHMzi86KuE). Many games use the in-game clock or day/night mechanic to add difficulty during the night-time, with Minecraft being the most notable modern example of this that comes to my mind. In Minecraft the player must try to gather enough resources, weapons, and/or shelter in order to survive the flood of monsters that come when the sun sets. The nighttime and darkness in the game is something the player grows to fear almost as much as the sound of a Creeper about to explode. This seems to be a fairly common experience with day/night mechanics in video games as noted by many of the posters in both threads. Ocarina of Time eschews the notion that the night has to be a bad thing in the game, offering certain night-time-only opportunities to the player like the grave-digging minigame in Kakariko Village.
Having played a lot of Zelda on the Gameboy Advance as a kid (A Link To The Past, Oracle of Seasons/Ages) but very little on any major consoles (my parents never let me have a game console more than the gameboy my grandparents gave me when I was growing up) I was really interested to… Continue reading Zelda Nostalgia
Having played a lot of Zelda on the Gameboy Advance as a kid (A Link To The Past, Oracle of Seasons/Ages) but very little on any major consoles (my parents never let me have a game console more than the gameboy my grandparents gave me when I was growing up) I was really interested to play this game. The puzzle-based game mechanics that I loved in the previous Zelda games I had played were clearly present and apart from a few differing mechanics and graphic differences (the largest being the 3d/2d difference between GBA and Nintendo 64 games) I felt very much at home in the world of Ocarina of Time. I found the ambient nature of the graphics, especially in Kokiri Forest where the player starts, to be very relaxing and nostalgia-inducing at the same time. The music and sound design are the elements of the game that I have been most consistently impressed and awed by, with a music-based puzzle mechanic and music-based story elements fitting perfectly with the atmosphere of the game and story. I can recognize many of the sound effects from both my time playing other Zelda games but also from music and more general recent media, as the sounds in Zelda have become such recognizable cultural artifacts that they’re maybe even more commonly heard in digital media now than when the game was made. From a 2016 retrospective perspective, it’s very impressive to see how many of the Zelda games were constructed in a way that would let them age well. Despite improving graphics, physics engines, audio quality, and general game mechanic and technological improvement, I have found Ocarina of Time incredibly enjoyable to play and personally believe that it is still very much worth playing in 2016.
Here is the link to my final project called My Story.
Please copy and paste the link above to access the story.
Here is the link to my final project called My Story.
Please copy and paste the link above to access the story.
This is the excerpt for your very first post.
As I’ve played portal more and more, the level environment of the main facility in the game has begun to remind me more and more of a stylized futuristic insane asylum. The padding in the elevator walls and on some others in the facility, the flat lighting and Glados’ initially soothing voice being piped in from unseen speakers are all reminiscent of some sort of wild futuristic mental hospital complete with puzzles. The cameras placed around the facility to monitor Chell and the constant knowledge that Glados is watching you add to the sense that the player is trapped in an insane asylum. The back parts of the facility that Chell makes her way into later in the game are reminiscent of another different potential vision of a mental institution, with frantic-looking writing scrawled on the wall in various unknown substances. In fact, the entire facility that Portal is set in could be seen as a sort of asylum-gone-wrong scenario – but not for Chell, rather for Glados. By the end of the game it becomes fairly clear that Glados has gone crazy and had probably constructed many (if not all) of the levels as obstacles not to test the portal gun but as some sort of twisted test (or perhaps intended torture or killing) of Chell. Chell might not be crazy enough to be put in a mental institution but Glados is crazy enough to make an entire high-tech obstacle course just to mess with Chell for fun. It’s like a twisted version of the whole “mouse in a maze” experiment trope, with vats of acid and armed robots trying to stop Chell. In a sense, the entire facility is like a reverse madhouse, meant to protect the insane Glados from those who would try to reach the controller of the maze.
image source: https://brcondron.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/first-blog-post/
As my group played through Portal during our game lab last week, it dawned on us that Portal is a game about games. Each level takes the form of a miniature puzzle game that the player must solve in order to progress. Furthermore, as GLaDOS chides the player and narratives the gameplay, it soon becomes apparent that … Continue reading Game Log #1 (Portal) – The Game About Games →
As my group played through Portal during our game lab last week, it dawned on us that Portal is a game about games. Each level takes the form of a miniature puzzle game that the player must solve in order to progress. Furthermore, as GLaDOS chides the player and narratives the gameplay, it soon becomes apparent that your tests are a game to her as well. Despite GLaDOS’ monotone voice, her commentary indicates that she takes a sort of sick joy in watching the player struggle to solve her puzzles against their will. Therefore, the player spends much of Portal acutely aware that they are playing a game. GLaDOS’ comments like “this next test is impossible” solidify this fact, as the player knows in the back of their mind that the test cannot be impossible. Eventually, the game must be able to be completed because Portal is a winnable game. The player can spend most of Portal in this mindset, progressing forward with full knowledge of their role as the player of a game and without a true sense of immersion within the game’s world.
In this way, Portal lulls the player into a false sense of comfort. While the tests do increase in difficulty as the game progresses, the player still develops a set of expectations for the elements each level will contain (switches, turrets, cubes etc.). This, too, contributes to the player’s awareness of their role as the player of a game. However, GLaDOS’ attempt to murder Chell breaks apart Portal’s typical routine, and marks a major turning point in the player’s perception of their role within the game. At least in my experience, breaking out of the test chambers and progressing through Aperture Science’s abandoned back rooms marked the first moment in the game where I forgot I was a player. Instead, the shock of GLaDOS’ sudden betrayal rocketed me out of my comfort zone, and caused me to enter Chell’s shoes. Without the rules and GLaDOS’ commentary that had been so clearly and constantly present before, I found after completing Portal that the game’s final section engrossed me in a way that the earlier sections had not. For a little while, I felt like I was a test subject in the Enrichment Center that was no longer trying to progress through tests in some grander game. Instead, I was trying to survive.