Saturday, September 8, 2018

Wanita Pemain Gim Profesional , Buat Gim Jadi Pundi Uang

Bermain gim jadi keseharian Monica Carolina (27). Biasanya, ia menghabiskan waktu berjam-jam untuk bermain gim. Pemain gim profesional ini juga mengasuh tim pemain gim wanita NXA Ladies. Lewat tim ini, ia membuktikan wanita juga bisa berprestasi dan menghasilkan dengan bermain gim.

Sejak kecil, wanita yang akrab disapa Nixia ini hobi main gim. Namun baru diseriusi tahun 2009. Kala itu, ia memenangi turnamen gim Guitar Hero. "Iseng-iseng ikut, malah juara 1 akhirnya karena percaya diri, latihan terus dan ikutturnamen-turnamen lagi," cerita Monica ketika Bintang berkunjung ke apartemennya di Jakarta, pekan lalu.

Di tahun yang sama, Monica lulus SMK dan memasuki dunia kerja. Pekerjaannya masih seputar dunia gim, salah satunya dengan menulis berbagai ulasan. Monica pernah bekerja di tempat produksi gim sampai toko laptop. "Intinya, semuanya ada hubungan dengan gim dan komputer," ucap wanita yang hobi bermain gim bertema senjata (FPS) ini.

Sembari bekerja, Monica tetap rutin berlatih main gim dan mencetak prestasi lewat turnamen. Uang dari kerja kerasnya disisihkan untuk memperbarui perangkat bermain gim. "Aku enggak pernah meminta ke.orangtua, aku menabung sendiri. Karena itu hasil usaha sendiri,  orang tua juga ikut mendukung," ungkap wanita yang banyak menjuarai turnamen ini. Terinspirasi dari pemain gim dunia berjuluk Fatality, Monica membuat situs seputar dunia gim, Nixiagamer.com dan membentuk tim NXA Ladies di tahun 2011.

MEMBER DAYAKAN PEMAIN GIM WANITA

Monica punya misi khusus mendirikan NXA Ladies, la Ingin merekrut pemain gim wanita yang kerap diremehkan namun sebenarnya punya potensi. "Biasanya cewek itu malu-malu, main gim tapi diam (tidak ada yang tahu). Kalau ikut turnamen, enggak percaya diri, enggak ada teman," beri tahu dia.

Langkah Monica semakin mantap setelah mendapatkan sponsor dari beberapa perusahan teknologi di tahun 2013. Monica menuturkan, ia kini memperoleh sekitar 8 ribu dolar per 3 bulan dari sponsor. Berbekal dari uang dan barang dari pihak sponsor, Monica memfasilitasi anggota NXA Ladies.

Mulai dari seragam, beberapa perangkat teknologi, hingga gaji diperoleh anggota NXA Ladies, la pun memutuskan berhenti bekerja di tahun 2014 demi fokus mengasuh NXA Ladies.

Di awal NXA Ladies eksis, ada yang memandang sebelah mata. Apalagi, ketika melihat seragam NXA Ladies. "Dulu sempatada yang bilang girlband atau apalah.Tapi karena tim NXA berprestasi dan juga tim cewek mulai main gim macam-macam, di situ orang mulai menganggap biasa. Oh, bisa juga ternyata cewek main gim, bisa juga cewek juara," ujar dia.

Kini, anggota aktif NXA Ladies terdiri dari 10-12 orang. Mereka terbagi ke dalam beberapa divisi sesuai jenis gim yang dimainkan. Agenda rutinnya, mengasah kekompakan dengan main gim bersama, hingga ikut turnamen. Monica juga membuka pintu selebar-lebarnya bagi yang ingin bergabung. Dengan syarat, menguasai dan bisa menjaga kekompakan.

PUNDI UANG DARI GIM

Berbagi waktu mengasuh tim dan berlatih main gim, Monica juga sibuk melakukan live streaming ketika" bermain gim. Ini jadi salah satu ladang penghasilan Monica, la mencontohkan pemain gim yang belum terkenal bisa mendapat gaji awal hingga 2 juta rupiah, cukup dengan live streaming 3 jam per hari. Menurutnya, banyak cara mendapatkan uang dari gim. Mulai dari membuat konten di YouTube, menjadi komentatorgim sampai mengikuti turnamen.

"Banyak profesrdi dunia gim. Kita harus bisa menilai diri sendiri dan mencari tahu jago di bagian apa," imbuh wanita yang tengah bekerja sama dengan salah satu aplikasi live streaming ini. Monica mengingatkan bagi yang ingin terjun di dunia gim, wajib mengembangkan keahlian terlebih dulu. "Kembangkan keahlian dulu dan berprestasi. Ketika sudah berprestasi, itu bisa menjadi profesi utama," pesan dia.
Readmore → Wanita Pemain Gim Profesional , Buat Gim Jadi Pundi Uang

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Games Populer di Tahun 2010 Hingga Sekarang, MOUNT & BLADE : WARBAND, SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION, METRO 2033

MOUNT &  BLADE : WARBAND


Warband sebenarnya merupakan stand-alone-expansion dari game Mount & Blade. Sebagai sebuah game standalone, ia tak butuh versi original agar bisa di-mainkan. Namun sebagai sebuah game expansion, Anda tak bisa berharap banyak bahwa Warband akan berbeda dari seri originalnya. Grafik misalnya, nyaris tidak mengalami perubahan. Kualitas grafik Mount &c Blade: Warband masuk dalam nominasi terburuk, jika diband-ingkan dengan game-game RPG terbaru saat ini. Penggambaran karakter yang kaku dan lingkungan yang relatif sepi membuat Warband terasa out of date.

Kekurangan Warband tidak hanya di sektor grafik, game ini juga nyaris tidak punya alur cerita. Anda hanya dapat memilih latar belakang sang karakter dan motivasinya, itu pun hanya dalam bentuk teks. Beruntung Warband masih memberikan opsi kustomisasi pada perwajahan karakter dan setting statistic untuk beberapa attribute dan skill.
Apakah Warband melulu berisi kelemahan? Tidak juga. Game ini justru bersinar cemerlang pada sektor yang paling penting, yakni game play. Harus diakui, game ini sulit dan sangat tidak bersahabat bagi pemula. Anda akan bisa langsung merasakannya saat harus bertempur.

Alih-alih hanya sekedar point & click pada mouse, game ini justru menuntut lebih. Anda harus menggerakkan mouse, baik untuk menyerang atau bertahan dari serangan musuh. Butuh waktu cukup lama untuk terbiasa dengan sistem ini.

Kesabaran juga dituntut untuk bisa menyelami permainan dalam Warband. Game playnya sangat dalam dan begitu kompleks. Dalam game ini, Anda bisa membangun karakter menjadi seorang Lord di tanah Calradia. Proses membangun kekuasaan disajikan secara sangat berliku, dimana Anda bisa angkat reputasi melalui jalur politik, ekonomi, peperangan hingga pernikahan. Tentu untuk mencapainya, Anda harus memliki pasukan yang cukup kuat. Mount & Blade memang lebih menyerupai sebuah game hybrid antara game strategy dan RPG. Sayangnya, start awal yang lambat dan sulit seringkali membuat pemain cenderung putus asa, sebelum bisa menikmati "keindahan" game ini. 

SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION

 
Sekuel terbaru Splinter Cell, Conviction, tampaknya mengalami desain ulang jika dibandingkan dengan seri-seri terdahulu. Banyak hal yang berubah. Anda memang tetap akan bermain sebagai Sam Fisher, namun misi kini menjadi lebih personal. Kematian misterius putri tercintanya, Sarah, membuat Sam sedih dan berang, Sam yang berusaha melacak jejak sang pembunuh mendapati kenyataan tak terduga, Sarah kemungkinan masih hidup, tetapi suatu konspirasi besar yang melibatkan tokoh berkuasa berada di baliknya. Sam harus mengungkap misteri tersebut dengan nyawa Sarah sebagai taruhannya.

Splinter Cell selama ini dikenal sebagai game yang fokus pada stealth-action. Conviction pun bukan pengecualian. Hanya saja porsi stealth-action di sekuel terbaru ini direduksi menjadi lebih sederhana. Terdeteksi oleh musuh misalnya, bukan akhir segalanya. Dengan fitur Last known Position, terdeteksinya musuh justru malah memberi kesempatan bagi Sam untuk menyergap mereka dari arah berbeda, atau sekedar menyelinap dan melarikan diri.

Fitur lain yang menarik sekaligus memudahkan adalah Mark & Execute. Sebuah fitur dimana Sam dapat menembak beberapa musuh, sekaligus secara instan dan 100% akurat. Namun, demi keseimbangan permainan, fitur Mark & Execute hanya bisa diaktifkan apabila Sam telah melakukan eksekusi terhadap musuh secara hand-to-hand combat.

Aspek kemudahan semakin terasa dengan banyaknya "tutorial" yang menempel langsung pada elemen lingkungan. Contoh paling gamblang adalah sistem cover terbarunya. Sam dapat berpindah dari tempat perlindungan satu ke yang lain dengan sangat mudah, semudah menekan satu tombol saja. Terlebih, grafik pun seolah mendukung dengan adanya perubahan warna dari hitam-putih jika Sam dalam posisi terlindung, atau berada dalam kegelapan menjadi berwarna saat ia dapat terlihat oleh musuh atau di bawah penerangan. Singkatnya, Splinter Cell kini menjadi lebih "user-friendly" dibandiag sebelumnya. Conviction sangat cocok dimainkan oleh para pemula untuk seri ini.

METRO 2033

METRO 2033

Demi menyelamatkan stasiunnya, Artyom tak hanya harus menghadapi makhluk mutan tapi juga sesamanya, manusia!
Metro 2033 berkisah tentang suatu dunia yang hancur akibat nuklir. Akibat radiasi, bermunculan makhluk-makhiuk mutan. Udara yang beracun juga menjadi masalah tersendiri di sini. Dalam permainan, Artyom harus selalu mengenakan gas-mask bila berada di permukaan. Gas-mask bisa rusak akibat pertempuran. Selain itu, filternya pun harus diganti setiap beberapa waktu. Ini menciptakan kesulitan tersendiri. Namun, game ini mengasyikkan untuk diikuti, tak ubahnya sebuah novel interaktif. Akhir kata, selamat bermain.
PROLOGUE P.I. Prologue
Sesi ini berupa mode training. Ikuti rekan Anda, bantu dia menghabisi beberapa mutan (Nosalies) hingga sampai di permukaan. Tembak Nosalises yang mendekat. Artyom terjatuh. FMV.

P.2. Hunter
Ikuti Alexei. FMV. Ambil foto dari Hun¬ter. Setelah alarm, ambil pistol di lemari yang dibuka Alexei. Tembak semua Nosalies yang datang dari ventilasi. FMV.

CHAPTER 1: "LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN"

1.1. Exhibition

Ambil item di meja, keluar. Ikuti petunjuk kompas map (tekan tombol M). Temui penjaga loker dan terima senjata dan item darinya. Temui Boris. FMV.

1.2. Chase
Setelah beberapa lama di Cart (kereta), seluruh rekan Anda pingsan dan para Nosalies menyerbu. Tembak Nosalies yang memanjat kereta. Setelah beberapa saat, ambil shotgun yang diberikan rekan Anda. Tembaki lagi yang berhasil naik ke Cart. FMV. Artyom terjatuh. Begitu

bisa berdiri, lari secepatnya mengejar Cart. FMV.
CHAPTER 2: "BOURBON"

2.1. Riga
FMV. Berdiri dan ambil ammo di meja. Keluar dari bar, ikuti alur, temui anak kecil. Berikan satu ammo dan ikuti dia. Sempatkan untuk mengambil ammo di sana-sini, terutama dekat lilin. Temui Bourbon. Duduk di kursi dan dengarkan dia. Setelah berbincang, ikuti Bourbon.

2.2. Lost Tunnel
Ikuti Bourbon. Jarah  mayat yang dijumpai. Hindari "alarm" kaleng. Ambil throwing knife di meja. Sembunyi dan. biarkan Bourbon menghabisi pemabuk. Mengendap masuki pintu. Habisi para bandit di sini. Setelah beres, ambil ammo di tubuh mereka dan tuju pintu. Masuklah.

2.2. Bridge
Ikuti Bourbon. Loncat ke platform seberang. Ikuti Bourbon. Habisi semua Nosalies. Merunduk dan sembunyi untuk menghindari patroli Hanza. Jelajah gerbong, lalu ikuti Bourbon. Turuni tangga, ikuti dia. Lari secepatnya menghindari serbuan para Nosalies. Loncati kabel perangkap dan ikuti alur.

2.3. lost Catacombs
jarah semua mayat dan secepatnya dekati Bourbon. Usahakan selalu di dekat Bourbon, baik pada kondisi real maupun saat halusinasi. FMV. Setelah aman, masuki terowongan. Jarah mayat. Ikuti Bourbon. Sesampai di depan gerbang besi, bersiap hadapi serbuan para Nosalises. FMV.

2.4. Market
Ikuti Bourbon. Tunggu ia kembali dan ikuti dia. Ambil high grade ammo dari Bourbon dan beli filter di market. Sempatkan untuk mem beli senjata yang lebih baik, jika memungkinkan. Temui Bourbon. FMV.

2.5. Dead City 1
Ikuti Bourbon. Sembunyi saat muncul Demon (mutan bersayap). Ikuti Bour¬bon. Artyom tak bisa meloncati mobil, dan terjatuh. Ambit jalur ke atas, tuju bangunan seberang melalui jembatan papan. Masuki bangunan, jarah mayat. Tembak Nosalies, lalu ikuti alur dan naiki tangga demi tangga. Ikuti alur, tembak para Nosalies yang datang, dan keluar melalui dinding runtuh. Ikuti alur hingga Artyom menjumpai taman bermain dan mendapat halusinasi. Turun ke bawah, akses kontainer dan jarah mayat. Masuki bangunan. Jarah mayat. Ikuti alur. Hadapi banyak Nosa¬lies (lebih baik Anda pancing mereka datang ke lokasi yang menguntungkan Anda). Keluar melalui jendela hancur di pojok, ikuti alur. Seberangi sungai menuju runtuhan yang membentuk goa. Saat hendak keluar, Anda akan bertemu Demon. Tembak dia untuk mengusirnya, lalu lari secepatnya atau habisi Demon dengan berlindung di gua tadi. Jarah mayat yang dimakan Demon, tuju sisi kanan, dan masuki bangunan. Tuju kanan dulu. Hindari kabel perangkap dan masuki ruangan. Ambil semua item dan ammo di meja. Keluar menuju tem¬pat semula dan masuki lorong satunya. Turuni tangga.

2.6. Dead City 2
Ikuti alur dan seberangi dua sungai beracun. Jarah mayat yang ditemui, ikuti alur. Temui Bourbon di sisi kanan. Jarah mayat. Ikuti Bourbon. FMV. Hadapi serbuan para Nosalies. Setelah serangan seekor Demon, segera lari ke arah pagar yang kini terbuka karena tertabrak. Lari ke pojok dan raih jendelanya. FMV.

CHAPTER 3: "KHAN"

3.1. Dry
Ikuti Bourbon. FMV. Bourbon tertangkap. Balik ke lorong dan ambil AK-47 yang di dinding. Jarah tas Boubon. Buka ventilasi, bidik bandit yang patroli. Turun dan habisi semua bandit yang ada termasuk yang di balkon. Masuki area berikut dengan ruangan yang berkerangkeng. Habisi semua musuh di sini. Tuju pintu. FMV. Bourbon tewas, jarah semua ammo di tubuh musuh, lalu ikuti Khan. FMV.

3.2. Ghosts
Ikuti Khan, dan pastikan tetap berada di belakangnya. Ikuti Khan, hingga ia berhenti di depan pintu. Siapkan senjata dan buka pintu. Tembak para Nosalises yang akan menyerang. Masuk, jarah mayat, dan ikuti Khan.

3.3. Anomaly
Ikuti Khan. Hindari Anomaly dan diam hingga ia pergi. Ikuti Khan. Jarah mayat yang ditemui. Setelah Khan berpindah jalur rel, bersiaplah dengan senjata Anda. Hadapi serbuan para Nosalises, lalu menyingkir saat Anomaly datang. Ikuti Khan, lalu akses tram-car.

3 A Cursed
Ikuti Khan menuju para penghuni Cursed Station. Nosalises akan menyerbu secara bergelombang. Khan akan meminta Artyom melakukan dua hal. Pertama, maju lurus lalu belok dan naiki tangga kanan. Tembak Nosalises. Jarah mayat dan ambil dinamit. Tempatkan dinamit pada lokasi yang ditandai. Lari kembali ke Khan dan kawan-kawan. Kedua, maju lurus hingga bertemu lubang di tembok. jangan masuk ke sana, tapi tuju kanan. Belok kiri, habisi beberapa Nosalises, lalu ambil bom dekat mayat. Keluar, lewati lubang tembok tadi dan turun ke rel. Ikuti rel hingga ke ujung dan tempatkan bom pada lokasi yang ditentukan. Setelah men-fngger-nya, lari cepat ke arah Khan. Catatan: selama Anda menuju kedua tempat tersebut, jika serbuan Nosalises terlalu banyak, jangan sungkan untuk berlari ke arah Khan dan kawan-kawan. Setelah beres, bicara dengan Khan.

3.5. Armory
Ikuti Khan, masuki lubang dinding. Turun ke pintu rahasia yang dibuka Khan. Masuki ventilasi, ikuti alurnya. Turun dan ikuti rel. Setelah disapa, masuklah ke stasiun. Ikuti alur. Ikuti suara percakapan hingga bertemu tahanan yang diinterogasi. FMV. Ikuti tahanan yang kabur. Lakukan apa yang dia lakukan dan tetap di belakangnya. Saat sang tahanan terhadang dan ditembak musuh, lari dan naiki tangga kiri. Ikuti alurnya. FMV. Artyom akan ditolong oleh Andrew the Smith. Ikuti Andrew hingga bertemu tram-car. Jangan dulu naiki tram, belilah Armor Suit atau Stealth Suit dan sempatkari pula untuk membeli senjata VSV+Scope di merchant. Ttuju tram-car. Turun ke bawah, lalu naik ke bagasinya. FMV.

CHAPTER 4:" WAR"

4.1. Frontline
FMV. Setelah terjatuh, ikuti rel menuju ke belakang. Habisi dua musuh. Ambil Night Vision Google di kotak di dinding. Selanjutnya, kembali susuri rel ke depan. Bidik dan habisi semua musuh yang ada. Turuni tangga di sisi kiri rel. Tembak 2 musuh. Ikuti alur menuju platform kiri. Tembak semua musuh yang nampak. Selanjutnya, ke kiri dan naiki tangga. Habisi semua musuh, lalu bergerak maju. Sembari berlindung, bereskan semua musuh yang menghadang. Jarah semua musuh yang tewas. Setelah sampai di terowongan, siapkan dinamit, dan ma¬suki terowongan. Lemparkan dinamit ke tram-car bersenjata machine gun. Begitu aman, segera tuju ke ujung terowongan. Tembak musuh dan buka pintu kiri. Ambil ammo di ruangan ini. Buka pintu berikutnya. FMV.

4.2. Trolley Combat
Setelah FMV, ikuti Pavel, dan naik ke Ar-mored-car. Setelah melewati pos, bersiap hadapi serbuan musuh. Hancurkan 2 ar-mored-car yang mengejar. Habisi musuh di lobby kiri stasiun. Hancurkan armored car yang datang dari belakang. Tembaki penghalang di depan. Saat armored car Anda berjalan, tembaki semua musuh di depan, dan hancurkan lagi 2 armored car musuh yang mengejar, hingga jalan kembali tertutup. Hancurkan penghalang jalan. Armored car terhenti. Saat mulai berjalan lagi, tembaki tiang penyangga platform seberang. Setelah armored car berhenti, ikuti Pavel, dan bukakan pintu untuknya.

4.3. Depot
Tetap di tram-car dan menunduk cepat saat ada rintangan. Tembak musuh di depan, berlindung saat melewati lobby stasiun. Tram car Anda akan meluncur hingga mencapai depot, dengan gerbong kereta di kanan dan kiri. Siapkan senjata dan hadapi serbuan banyak Nosalises di sini. FMV. Pavel tewas! Tram car berjalan tanpa kendali. Tembak Nosalises yang tersisa di tram-car, kemudian merunduk dan berlindung. FMV. Keluar dari tram-car dan ikuti alur. Masuki patahan pipa besar, dan tuju sisi kiri. Ikuti alurnya.

4.4. Defense
Temui beberapa orang di sini, lalu temui sang komandan. Ambil ammo di peti kiri. Bersiap menghadapi serbuan para Nosalises dan habisi mereka. Setelah aman, temui sang komandan yang sekarat, ambil kaset di tangannya. Masuki "pintu" di sebelahnya. Ikuti alur dan tembak Nosalises mini (Lurker) di sepanjang jalan. Manfaatkan kompas {tekan M) untuk mengetahui arah yang dituju. Setelah sampai di rel berikutnya, turun ke rel, dan tuju lurus melewati beberapa barikade. Tuju pintu. FMV.

4.5. Child
Bicara dengan seorang anak, ikuti alur dan tembaki semua Lurker yang menyerang. Kontrol senjata akan lebih sulit karena Artyomn menggendong sang anak. Lurker akan selalu muncul dari setiap lubang di tanah. Jangan bertahan karena mereka tak akan habis. Tetap berjalan sembari menembaki Lurker. Masuki terowongan berwana hijau, selanjutnya naiki rangkaian papan, dan mendakilah ke atas. Loncat ke papan di tepi tebing. FMV. Lakukan jual-beli. Sebaiknya, beli VSV + Scope. Temui NPC dan keluar melalui gerbang yang dibukanya.

4.6. Outpost
Keluar. Pakai gas-mask. Habisi 5 patroli musuh. Naiki undakan dari mana mereka datang dan habisi musuh di platform atas. Ikuti alur untuk menuju atap. Habisi 2 musuh yang berjaga. Ambil ammo di ruang samping. Bidik sniper di gedung kiri. Lari menuju ke sana. Tembak musuh di rongga dinding dan masuklah ke dalam. Habisi beberapa musuh di dalam dan ikuti alur. Tuju pintu kiri, naiki undakan. Loncat ke platform atas. Tembak 2 musuh dan seorang lagi yang muncul. Habisi semua musuh di bawah. Turuni undakan. Loncat ke lubang di lantai. Ikuti alur dan habisi semua musuh. Keluar, lewati bangkai-bangkai mobil. Tembak semua musuh yang patroli atau lari secepatnya menuju pintu stasiun bawah tanah.

4.7. Black Station
Setelah FMV, tuju kanan, hindari alarm kaleng. Tembak 2 musuh. Tuju sisi kiri. Tembak seorang musuh. Tuju kanan, tembak 2 musuh. Ikuti alur, habisi mu¬suh di bawah. Turuni tangga dan habisi musuh yang tersisa. Ambil semua amunisi. Naiki tangga satunya, ikuti alur dan habisi semua musuh. Tuju pintu di kiri dan loncat turun ke trap-door di lantai. Ikuti terowongan sembari hindari jebakan kayu berduri. Naiki tangga. FMV.

CHAPTER 5: "HOPE"

5.1. Polls
Setelah FMV, ikuti Ulman. Bicara dengan Krasnov. Anda berada di Polis. Ini tempat terakhir Artyom bisa jual-beli. Manfaatkan sebaik-baiknya untuk membeli sen¬jata yang lebih bisa diandalkan, seperti Kalashinkov 2012 (dengan scope) yang lebih stabil. Setelah itu, temui Miller yang telah berada di samping pintu. FMV. Catatan: Polis tidak menjual filter!

5.2. Alley
Keluar, pakai gas mask, jika filter gas-mask Anda kritis, secepatnya susuri dinding kiri. Bidik Nosalises di atas batu dengan Kalashnikov 2012. Sekali tembakan di kepala, ia akan tewas. Selanjut¬nya, lari dan turun ke tepian sungai. Lari susuri tepian sungai dan segera masuk ke lubang, sebelum Demon mencapai Anda. Masuki lorong, merunduk lewati penghalang dan turun ke bawah. Tuju kanan dulu untuk mengambil ammo, lalu berbalik ke kiri. Gunakan pisau un¬tuk menghancurkan stalagnit es. Keluar dan naiki undakan papan di kanan, lalu secepatnya lari ke pojok kiri, sebelum dinding di depan runtuh. Setelah aman, lewati runtuhan dan lari susuri bangunan untuk bertemu 2 Ranger di depan pintu. Ambil filter di mayat dekat situ. Masuki pintu.

5.3. Library
Begitu masuk, segera ambil filter di mayat. Masuki pintu kedua, Demon akan menyerang, dan rekan Anda akan menahan pintu. Segera naiki tangga, tuju sisi kanan, ambil filter, dan putari ruangan hingga sampai di ujung sisi kiri. Jarah mayat dan masuki lubang dinding di depannya. Dorong pintu rusak dan bidik papan penahan pintu samping, lewat ceiah pada pintu rusak ini. Tunggu kedua Ranger membukakan pintu. Ikuti mereka. Setelah Demon berusaha masuk lewat jendela, tuju pintu rusak di kiri. Gunakan shotgun dan hancurkan pintu itu. Masuki ruangan, jarah mayat dan masuki lubang dinding. Bidik rantai penahan lampu gantung. Setelah 2 Ranger berhasil masuk, jarah mayat, lalu naiki tangga. Abaikan kedua Ranger dan segera naiki tangga kanan, masuki pintu. Tuju kiri lorong dan masuki pintu di pojok kanan.

5.4. Depository
Untuk chapter ini, sebaiknya simpan senjata dan keluarkan kompas. Turun ke-bawah, dan lari secepatnya menghindari monster kera sembari membuka semua pintu dengan cepat hingga tiba di WC dengan mayat, Ikuti alur, setelah monster Librarian menyerang dari lubang dinding, masuki lubang sebelahnya. Ikuti alur dan naiki tangga, Di lantai dua, hindari lu¬bang di lantai agar tak terperosok jatuh, dan segera masuki lubang di dinding. Buka pintu terali dan kembali lari hindari monster kera sembari menghindar agar tak terjatuh ke lubang. Segera masuki lift. FMV. Setelah lift jatuh, keluar dari lift, dan lari sekencangnya ke pintu se¬berang ruangan, sebelum sang monster mengejar. FMV.

5.5. Archives
Lepaskan gas-mask dan kembali andalkan kompas. Secepatnya lari menghindari monster Librarian dan segera loncat ke dalam lubang dengan tangga. Secepatnya loncat turun antartangga, sebelum tangga itu roboh. Masuki pintu kanan. Turun ke bawah. Lari secepatnya dari kejaran monster dan naiki tangga. Loncat ke sisi tembok samping pipa besar, masuki pintu/lubang ventilasi. Ikuti alurnya, lalu loncat turun. Turuni tangga dan loncat ke lantai. Seekor monster tidur di pojok, jadi lari secepatnya dan temukan tangga. Naiki tangga, ikuti alur dan tuju kiri. Loncati gap antarpapan dan masuki pintu. Turuni tangga. Secepatnya lewati monster yang tidur, lalu naiki tangga lagi. Hindari lubang agar tidak terjatuh dan segera tuju pintu dengan lampu di atasnya. FMV.

5.6. Driving to Sparta
Setelah FMV, bicara dengan Vladimir. Ambil senjata yang Anda inginkan dan amunisi. Naiki tangga dan temui Khan, setelah itu temui Miller. FMV.

CHAPTER 6: "06"

6.1. Dark Star
Setelah FMV, segera gunakan senapan penyembur api. Semburkan api saat para Nosalises menyerbu. Jika api habis, gunakan senjata Anda. FMV.

6.2. Dungeon
Ikuti tim. Saat Miller menyuruh menarik breaker, tarik breaker di dinding kanan pintu. Masuki gerbang yang terbuka. Ikuti tim. Sepanjang perjalanan, Anda akan diserbu Nosalises dalam tiga gelombang serangan. Lindungi Vladimir. Menjelang akhir, seorang rekan tewas. Ambil ammo di tubuhnya dan ikuti tim.

6.3. Cave
FMV. Saat pintu terbuka, pasang gasmask. Turuni tangga, dan ikuti tim. Habisi semua Nosalises. Ikuti tim.

Tunggu pintu terbuka. Merunduk untuk memasukinya. Artyom kini sendirian. Di dalam, buka gas-mask dan nyalakan flash-light karena monster di sini takut cahaya. Habisi monster bermata merah. Tuju pintu, ambil ammo di peti. Ikuti alur. Turuni tangga ke lubang. Masuki terowongan di kiri. Setelah tembok dijebol monster, masuki lubangnya. Ikuti alur mendaki. Di luar, habisi seekor monster mata merah lagi, lalu ikuti plat¬form yang ada. Tarik breaker pembuka pintu. Keluar dan temui tim. FMV. Masuk ke kereta.

6.4. D6
Setelah FMV, pasang gas-mask, dan ambil filter yang diberikan rekan Anda. Keluar, ikuti Miller hingga sampai di ruang kontrol. Miller menyuruh Artyom menyalakan mesin. Buka pintu, naiki tangga. Buka ke empat pintu sliding mesin. Perhatikan nomornya, lalu tekan dan tahan tombol merah di mesin, sesuai instruksi yang disebutkan Miller. Setelah beres, naiki tangga dan temui Miller. Lepas gas-mask, dan ikuti Miller menuruni tangga dan naik ke Cart. FMV. Turun di sector A. Akses kereta (cart) untuk menghidupkannya dan membuatnya menabrak gerbang. Masuki gerbang yang terbuka. Ikuti tim hingga ke ruang kon¬trol berikut. Setelah lampu padam, ikuti Miller. Tembak Amoeba. Ikuti Miller, dan lindungi dia. Tembak Amoeba dan hancurkan inangnya. Naiki lift. FMV.

6.5. Bio Mass
Ikuti Miller. Lindungi dia dari serangan
Amoeba. Pastikan untuk menghancurkan inangnya, Panjat tangga ke atas. Setelah FMV, tekan tombol merah dan keluar melalui pintu. Turuni tangga dan tuju tangga di seberang. Panjat tangga itu, lalu panjat tangga lagi. Susuri platform dan buka pintu crane. Di dalam crane, perhatikan layar navigasi. Arahkan crane ke t iga bulatan di layar. Setelah cerdengar "Contact Zone Reach", turunkan crane. Lakukan hal sama untuk kedua bulatan berikutnya. Setelah beres, keluar dari crane dan tuju Miller. Ikuti Miller dan naiki lift.

6.6. Separation
Ikuti Miller, ambil ammo dan senjata di peti. Ambil Guidance system. Naik ke kereta dan temui Miller. FMV.

CHAPTER 7: "TOWER" 

7.1. Tower
Sesi inilah adalah lajutan prologue. Tembaki semua Nosalises. FMV. Setelah ditolong Miller, ikuti dia. Tembak semua Nosalises sepanjang jalan hingga bertemu bangunan struktur kayu. Ambil ammo di salah satu ruangannya. Bergerak dengan cepat agar kondisi filter gas-mask tidak kritis. Tunggu Miller membuka pintu dan masuklah. FMV.

7.2. Top
Setelah FMV, ikuti alur mengelilingi tower sembari menghindari serangan Demon. Tak perlu menembakinya, rekan Anda yang akan melakukannya. Aktifkan kompas dan ikuti alur, naiki undakan ke atas, dan kembali kelilingi runtuhan tower menuju keatas. Naiki tangga rusak, ikuti alur hingga sampai ke tempat Miller. Kali ini, siapkan senjata Anda. Setelah beberapa saat, sang Demon akan menyerang Miller. Segera tembaki Demon itu hingga tewas. Kembali naiki tower melalui runtuhan. Loncat antar-platform dan panjat tangga. Bersiap untuk selalu menekan tombol £ jika di-minta. Masuki pintu dan kembali bersiap tekan tombol E karena anak tangga akan hancur. Selanjutnya, panjat tangga. Sampai di atas, segera tuju tiang horisontal untuk menempatkan Guidance system. Saat Artyom memasuki ilusi, titi platform yang terbentuk dan buka pintunya, tapi jangan masuk. Titi hingga ke empat arah, Pintu terakhir akan mengakhiri chapter ini.

7.3. Ethereal
Tugas Anda adalah menghindari alien bertangan panjang. Hindari mereka. Jika jalan tampak buntu, mondar-mandirlah dan jalan akan muncul. Di sekuen kedua, Anda akan berputar-putar di satu tempat. Berputarlah berlawanan jarum jam dan alur akan terbuka. Pada sekuen ketiga, ikuti platform, loncat antar-platform, ikuti platform yang terbentuk. Lurus terus, lalu belok kanan pada percabangan. Di alur ini, platform tak terbentuk sem-purna. Loncat antar-platform hingga platform kembali terbentuk sempurna. Pada percabangan berikut, ambil kiri. Lari terus. Hingga Anda bertemu seseorang yang memberi Artyom sebuah pistol. Tembaki Alien yang mendekat hingga ia tewas. 
Readmore → Games Populer di Tahun 2010 Hingga Sekarang, MOUNT & BLADE : WARBAND, SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION, METRO 2033

Monday, July 30, 2018

No Man's Sky Menggoda Alam Semesta Yang Luas

Anda bangun benar-benar sendirian di sebuah planet di tepi luar galaksi. Ada kapal luar angkasa kecil yang cacat yang berjarak batu dari Anda. Sesuatu yang misterius memaksa Anda mengumpulkan bahan-bahan vital, memperbaiki kapal, dan mengambil bintang-bintang. Begitulah cerita setiap pemain di "No Man's Sky" dimulai pada saat peluncuran game, dan bagaimana ceritanya masih dimulai hampir dua tahun kemudian setelah update terbaru, ambisius, "No Man's Sky Next." 

Pertama kali diumumkan pada tahun 2013, "No Man's Sky" menggoda alam semesta yang luas dan acak yang dipenuhi planet berwarna-warni yang robek dari lapisan klasik sci-fi lit; pemain dunia yang tak ada habisnya dapat menghidupkan fantasi ruang angkasa mereka. Dalam beberapa hal, versi awal 2016 dari game ini disampaikan pada janji-janji tonal, tetapi banyak yang kecewa dengan aliran waktu-ke-momen yang berulang-ulang. Di beberapa bagian internet, kekecewaan itu berubah menjadi kemarahan, dan para pengembang di belakang "No Man's Sky" - tim kecil di Hello Games di Guilford, Inggris - terdiam ketika sejumlah pemain yang marah melakukan segalanya dari yang bisa dimengerti (katakanlah, menuntut pengembalian uang) ke yang tak terpikirkan ( ancaman kematian, ancaman bom, nama-Anda-itu).

Bagaimana situasi di sekitar permainan berubah sangat beracun? Apakah gim ini benar-benar telah ditingkatkan selama dua tahun terakhir, dan apakah itu penting jika ia bisa mempengaruhi para pengkritiknya yang paling bersemangat? Mengapa ada yang pernah mengerti bahwa alam semesta Hello Games harus disesuaikan secara khusus dengan mereka?


Ubah jam kembali ke 8 Desember 2013. "No Man's Sky" terungkap ke dunia di "VGX," inkarnasi tahunan terakhir dari pertunjukan video game Spike TV. Pertunjukan ini dan penerus mereka, tuan rumah / produser Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards, ada di ruang aneh yang terbelah antara perayaan artistik dan boosterisme industri. Trailer eksklusif, sering kali untuk game yang tidak diumumkan dari studio yang dimiliki oleh Microsoft atau Sony, ditampilkan di antara penghargaan dan mendapatkan sekitar waktu layar sebagai bagian penghargaan dari acara - jika Anda belum melihatnya, bayangkan jika Oscar berhenti setiap 10 menit untuk menayangkan teaser untuk film superhero baru dan Anda akan mendapatkannya. Pengumuman "No Man's Sky" menonjol bukan hanya karena trailernya yang cantik dan ambisius:

Pada E3 2014, pameran dagang tahunan terbesar industri, "No Man's Sky" ditampilkan di konferensi pers Sony. Hello Games bermitra dengan Sony untuk memublikasikan bantuan pada game, dengan Sony kemudian berjanji bahwa mereka akan mendukungnya seolah-olah itu adalah permainan dari sebuah studio yang mereka miliki. Selama beberapa tahun ke depan, antisipasi untuk "No Man's Sky" semakin membesar. Pendiri Hello Games Sean Murray menjadi hampir identik dengan judul, muncul sebagai wakil utama kecil-studio-yang-bisa di setiap acara dan di setiap profil.

Banyak outlet mencoba untuk menggoda apa pengalaman sebenarnya dari permainan itu , dan, selain berbicara tentang fitur multiplayer yang tidak membuatnya dalam rilis awal permainan, Murray secara konsisten jujur-jika-berkelok-kelok dalam jawabannya. Inilah yang dia katakan kepada Eurogamer di tahun 2015:

Dan saat [pemain] pergi, mereka meningkatkan kapalnya, mereka meningkatkan senjata mereka, mereka meningkatkan setelan mereka. Dan mereka perlu melakukan itu karena mereka sangat rentan, mereka akan diserang oleh AI, berpotensi - sangat jarang - pemain lain, hal-hal seperti itu, jika mereka berpapasan dengan mereka. Ada ruang tempur, ada pertempuran di tanah, ada perdagangan jika Anda ingin melakukan itu, sumber daya pertambangan dan hal-hal, ada yang menjelajahinya jika Anda ingin melakukan itu.

Itu, singkat dari komentar multiplayer, adalah semua benar dari permainan pada saat peluncuran di 2016. Mengingat bahwa Murray tidak jelas tentang fitur multipemain hingga dan termasuk hari rilis permainan , itu akan terlalu murah hati untuk mengatakan dia menjadi 100% jelas tentang nuansa permainan di setiap pernyataan. Namun, ia juga membandingkan pengalaman "No Man's Sky" dengan gim-gim seperti "Rust" dan "Minecraft" - permainan bertahan hidup di mana khayalan-khayalan garapan video game tipikal dihindarkan untuk jangka waktu yang lama, self-directed menaiki tangga progresif, setiap anak tangga mengharuskan keduanya kesediaan untuk mengeksplorasi dan dedikasi pemain untuk tugas yang berulang. Itu jenis permainan "No Man's Sky".
Readmore → No Man's Sky Menggoda Alam Semesta Yang Luas

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lara Croft: action hero, Tomb Raider as quest narrative

This is a fantasy world forever mediated not just by a distance between player and protagonist that is integral to the third-person gameplay (we ‘look’ not so much over her shoulder, but from above and behind), but by the technology of delivery. When the rain slants down in the opening sequence of Tomb Raider III we are in no danger of seeing Lara Croft give an involuntary electronic shudder, or of seeing her pony-tail become sodden and heavy when she emerges from one of her many swimming expeditions. She drips briefly, but this is a visual gesture that has no further effect. There is no such thing as a bad hair day in Tomb Raider. Such refinements may be coming in a future episode, and are considered in more detail in the discussion of Half-Life in Chapter 3, but whatever the technology harnessed, whatever the ingenuity of the programmers, and whatever the computing power deployed, this will remain an essentially stylised representational version of something that is other than real experience.

What limited claims the games promoters do make for realism are essentially comparative with other computer games. This game is more realistic than earlier platform jumping games such as Super Mario or Donkey Kong. To draw on the language in which realism is commonly discussed, then its most basic claim to be more realistic than such earlier computer games is that it is not as ‘flat* or ‘two dimensional’, and offers the illusion of three dimensions (at least in terms of the rendering of landscape, if not of character and plot). The Tomb Raider landscape ‘grid’ is always visible, and its visibility is essential to the working out of possible moves. If we make comparisons with other forms of fiction, rather than with other computer games, then Tomb Raider is undeniably primitive, and the reader of this form of fiction understands the limitations of its realism just as he or she recognises the supporting architectural grid of the in-game landscape. There is a certain type of movie-goer who takes extreme pleasure in locating breakdowns in the cinematic illusion of the real (the digital watch on the wrist of the extra in the crowd scene of a swords and sandals Roman epic, the wobbling polystyrene gravestone set moving by a passing Penguin in Batman Returns (1992)), but no one gets similarly excited by the glaring continuity error of an immaculately coiffured Lara Croft emerging bone dry from the water.

Tomb Raiders self-evident artificiality is not in itself a failing that would necessitate its exclusion from the genre of realist game-fictions identified in this study. No critic of the novel or of film would be particularly exercised by the distance that always remains between representation and real, and the essential ‘illu-sionisrn of what is commonly termed realism.3 If the trick of illusion is performed with skill and panache, then we are entitled to applaud, whether we are confronted with a passage of elegant prose, a well-directed scene, or even an impressive moment of gameplay. The nod and a wink to fictionality that features so often in contemporary films and novels that accept and make obvious their own fictionality, and is also a feature of Tomb Raider, is intended to spark a certain frisson of complicity in the reader or viewer. That the trick’s methodology might be visible can add to, rather than detract from, the experience of reading. It certainly does not render an otherwise realist text somehow unreadable. What is meant by realism here, then, places the emphasis on the ‘ism* as much as on the ‘real*, and is intended to suggest that the ‘world* offered by the game is itself internally consistent, realistic in its own terms and according to its conventions. To make this claim is no more radical than claiming that it is possible to locate a core realist impulse within those novels that make such play with the acknowledgement of their status as novels. For those with the inclination, examples can be found in almost any works by Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or Angela Carter, among others.4 After all, the putative critic of game-fiction must surely be as entitled to the sub-genre of fantastic realism as the literary critic is to his or her magical realism.

The questions of form examined in this chapter follow from the central premise that Tomb Raider can be ‘read* as fiction, and as self-conscious fiction in which serious play is made not just in game terms, but in terms that literary critics would recognise as play with the possibilities and limitations of storytelling. Some aspects of this self-consciousness, it is demonstrated here, are the result of what might be termed deliberate ‘authorial’ intention or design, and include (but sometimes go beyond) mere parody and pastiche. Potentially more interesting formal characteristics emerge, with the game designers’ conscious help or without it, from the meeting of technology with what I variously refer to as ‘reader’ as well as‘player’. In taking in such questions as how this fiction ‘works’ in a formal sense, and what the relationship is between this fictional mode and the other fictional modes it draws upon and alludes to, I hope to justify my claim that the Tomb Raider series is a representative, however primitive, of a new fictional form. 

Lara Croft: action hero

One consequence of the unusual cross-media penetration enjoyed by Tomb Raider has been the transition of Lara Croft from the object of a substantial advertising and marketing campaign, to the vehicle for the promotion of another product. There is even some potential irony in the choice of product that ‘her’ digital image is used to promote, an energy drink that markets itself on its ability to revitalise a flagging human constitution. The Lucozade campaign, which appeared in the United Kingdom throughout 2000, blatantly acknowledges something that is implied again and again in the games themselves: Lara Crofts fictionality. And in its television manifestation at least, it does so by offering another layer of knowing fiction. In the advertisement a player halts a game to attend, presumably, to some human need or other. The action stops, as it must do, when he leaves his console. But the game-world is not frozen as a consequence of the lack of human input. Lara Croft and her digital adversaries are not frozen on screen, but take a well-deserved break. She drinks the product she is endorsing and, refreshed, is ready to continue with the drama upon the return of the player. Several observations spring immediately to mind. Lara Croft is presented, here, no matter how archly, as having a form of existence independent of the player. In this context she is not associated with that other fictional world of the series of games which operate within and through their own internal logic (and in which she is an ‘archaeologist-adventurer’), but with another fictional alternative entirely, and one carrying another set of expectations, that of film.

Even though the live-action film version of Tomb Raider had yet to go into production, ‘Lara Croft’ was already acknowledged as a role to be played. The advertisers did not choose to have Lara Croft played by a human actor: this digital Lara Croft is a digital actor. Not only does this conceit that Lara Croft is some kind of ‘cyber-babe’ starlet, as she has sometimes been characterised in the popular press (even appearing in ‘glamour’ shots alongside ostensibly real models in Loaded magazine) presumably help to shift units, but it also emphasises the manner in which she has come to escape some of the more narrow confines of the computer game as the preserve of adolescents and the socially dysfunctional. Somehow she has entered into a wider public consciousness as icon and image as familiar to a certain age group as any number of Hollywood starlets. She might still be most recognisable to small boys and young men, but she was certainly one of the first widely recognisable ‘characters’ of computer fictions. The game's publishers had recognised this aspect of their creation as early as on the blurb on the box of Tomb Raider //, on which the phrase ‘starring Lara Croft’ appears five times immediately beneath the main title.

Some of the implications of this intensity of cinematic allusion for Totnb Raiders realism and its relationship with other fictional forms are clear. Ms Crofts antics are no more ‘real’ than those of any other feature film action hero. She, and the chainsaw-wielding muscle man who is initially chasing her before the action is halted, are only acting. Their mutual antipathy is a fiction. The vicious Dobermans that had also joined the chase are only playing a role. This advertisement plays with the conventions of the knowing self-consciousness of so much contemporary film, television and (particularly) advertising where the seriousness of any genres claims to be replicating a plausibly realistic other world are deliberately undercut and rendered problematic.

The player within the world of the advertisement might be ‘fooled’ into thinking that he has control over the actions of the game's hero, but we, the viewers, are given a privileged sight of the ‘true’ nature of the hero as actor playing a role within a particular kind of fiction, the action movie. He is, in a limited sense, ‘directing’ the action in a fashion of which he does not appear aware. Which is where, of course, things get a little complicated. Alongside all this playful manipulation with the expectations of various fictional forms, there is little chance of anyone mistaking this Lara Croft for a ‘real’ human being. Tomb Raider stars Lara Croft playing the role of... Lara Croft. Her features are stylised, even within the enforced angularity of the available technology, and her body shape (as has so often been noted) is implausibly engineered to cater for the assumed fantasies, if not expectations, of a largely male adolescent audience. There are obvious reasons why the advertisers choose to make the player of the game ‘he’ rather than ‘she’. The euphemistic phrase ‘featuring an enhanced Lara Croft’, again from the box notes of Tomb Raider, refers to a form of‘enhancement* that would be familiar to any Californian cosmetic surgeon. But it is not her Active nature as a visual construct with an exaggerated body image produced through the mapping of digital information that is foregrounded here, but her Active nature as another example of the action hero that we recognise from film. An audience familiar with Lara Crofts computer game incarnation might be amused, entertained, or indifferent to the shift across media and the blurring of boundaries between her performance within game/televisual/cin-ematic conventions, but they would hardly be shocked. There has always been something of a cinematic quality to Tomb Raider.

The most obvious debt that the Tomb Raider games themselves owe to film is indicated in the title of the series, and if that is lame and scripted wise-cracks that pass for humour in the action movies of Arnold Schwarzenneger, Bruce Willis etc. In some ways they are similar to those often tiresome pauses between frenetic action in which plot is explained slowly and carefully to both protagonist and audience in a certain kind of action movie. In addition there is often evidence of a display of the programmers technical virtuosity, an attempt to push the limits of what is realisable within the technology of the moment that generates the same aesthetic appreciation as the finely realised illusion of the skilled draughtsman or painter, or, to draw a closer analogy, the purely technical level of achievement that has contributed to the success of computer-animated films such as Disney’s Toy Story (1995) or Toy Story 2 (1999), or Pixars Antz (1998) and still informs discussion of each successive wave of movies of increasing technical sophistication.

One partial example of such an FMV cut-scene should suffice to demonstrate their essentially cinematic quality, as well as their often derivative character. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation opens with a level designed to introduce the player to the major possible moves that the protagonist can make. An adolescent Lara Croft jumps and runs and climbs according to the instructions of a substitute father figure, the self-styled archaeologist-adventurer Werner Von Croy. For once, and presumably because of her tender age, she is denied the arsenal of weapons she usually has access to. Upon completion of the level, in which Lara Croft and Werner Von Croy have raced to recover an item known as the‘Iris’ from a temple complex in Angkor Wat, control of Lara s actions is removed from the player and an FMV sequence rolls. In a manner reminiscent of the squabbling between the two Doctors Jones in the second Indiana Jones film, Lara Croft shows caution about pulling the lever that will expose the Iris from its concealment within a globe-like structure, while Werner Von Croy is impatient and calls on his greater experience and maturity to persuade her to do as he commands. This is how what follows is described on one of the many unofficial Tomb Raider sites that exist on the Internet:

Lara pulls the lever, and the globe opens like a sliced orange revealing the Iris as a walkway descends to create a path from the outer ledge to the center of the now open globe. Von Croy walks out to the center of the now opened globe and reaches to pick up the Iris.

Von Croy: ‘Have faith in experience child and you will learn more than simple ...*

Von Croy stops talking as the entire structure trembles. Lara struggles to stay on her feet and says: ‘As you were saying?’

An earthquake tips Werner Von Croy over, and his leg is caught on one of the segments of the globe. He is left dangling in space as the globe segments begin to close. Lara Croft at first attempts to run away, then has a moment of conscience and makes a futile effort to help, and finally barely escapes as the temple is sealed with Werner Von Croy still trapped inside the globe. One last plaintive cry of ‘Werner’ and the action fades. Cut to a long sequence in which a ‘mysterious’ female figure investigates ruins in the desert until the legend ‘Egypt, present day’ appears on screen.

What we have here, then, is immediately recognisable as a method of plot establishment and advancement that makes the most of some of the graphics capabilities of the game engine in the replication of a cinematic experience. The camera had been active throughout the cut scene, mood music had set the forbidding scene, and the geometric form of the globe had enabled some fairly impressive, and yet not too complex, animation. In story terms, Laras maturity is marked by her recognition of the fallibility of her men-tor/father figure and her spotless moral credentials are established as she looks back on the apparent entombment of Von Croy with as much regret as the programmers’ limited visual palette and the girlish voice-over can generate. A rivalry and grudge is established between Werner Von Croy and Lara Croft (for we know he is not dead, just as we know Ira will escape at the last moment) that wil drive a particular kind of plot forward. As a bonus, the cut-scene also provides a logical explanation for the walking stick and limp that join Von Croys middle-European accent and his wire-frame glasses as sure signs of his villainous status.

Whether this is simply ‘bad' fiction, or undertaken with tongue firmly in cheek in the spirit of parody or pastiche, is largely irrelevant. Indeed, what it foregrounds most forcefully is the weakness of FMV as the delivery system of an interactive or collaborative (human and computer) form of fiction. Instead it suggests that what one gets in contemporary computer games is a level of dialogue that is laughably predictable, and a mobilisation of clichés that might make even some of Hollywood’s finest action movie directors squirm.

Of all the more cinematic digressions from gameplay, however, the cut-scenes are probably the least interesting in formal terms as game-fiction gives way to a form of ersatz movie-making in which the player has minimal investment or involvement. One area where cinema and gameplay merge without the abrupt, complete and extended loss of player control, and the associated elimination of the illusion of freedom of action, is in the movement of the in-game camera and angle of shot, and the use of the sound track to heighten tension. At its simplest, this sees the vision of the protagonist and/or the player directed towards some otherwise missable space or object, or a shift in background music or noises alerts the player to the imminent arrival of an adversary. At its most complex, entry into a new area sees the in-game camera move away from the protagonist and engage in the kind of long travelling shot usually to be found in big-budget Hollywood productions. Even in miniature, such as during the ‘death-slide’ sequence of Tomb Raider //, when the full depth of the canyon below is revealed in a sweeping camera shot, this can be impressive. Through such sequences the player might, again, enjoy a privileged view of otherwise obscured levers, blocks, doorways, or traps, and plot points might be made, but the effect is often primarily one of the generation of aesthetic enjoyment, and the dropping of hints about how to proceed is combined with an often spectacular technical realisation of the game world. The sight of a low-flying Stealth Bomber passing at close quarters in the Area 51 section of Tomb Raider III, for example, does not merely signal the kind of adversaries the player is about to face, but is undeniably impressive in and of itself.

At its most successfully realised, such as in the Venice section of Tomb Raider //, such a merging of cinematic visual realisation with gameplay interaction by the player results in the production of something akin to a personal mini-movie, a cinematic vignette that is only produced as a result of, or reward for, player interaction. Such moments conceal the shift from active to passive participant ‘in’ the action. Having explored the limits of Venice and opened doors and cleared obstacles in the standard fashion of such games, the player is left in a position where he or she must race a speedboat through the canals in a race against the clock before the exit to the next area is closed. The debt that the level designers and programmers owe to the cinematic exploits of James Bond become obvious as the speedboat clears two ramps to land on a line of gondolas, swings through a narrow passage and hurtles through the levels exit gate to the accompaniment of the last few chimes of the bell that had signalled the countdown. Although there are alternative methods of movement from the Venice canals area into tions a little later in this chapter), none are as aesthetically pleasing or so fully demonstrate one possibly unique kind of fiction that can be created within such game-fictions. It is the initial concealment of this series of discrete moves, the piecing together of clues as obscure as any found in detective fiction, with all the readerly pleasure that accompanies such delayed disclosure within text, that leads to the final reward of the fully realised sequence. Unlike the cut-scene FMV sequences there is no single trigger that transforms player into viewer, and this moment of gaming cinema requires the continuing active participation of the player if it is to be successfully realised.

Tomb Raider as quest narrative

For all the claims made here that one can see the first stirrings of a new fictional form within Tomb Raider, it should not be forgotten that it owes just as much, if not more, to other forms of game as it does to other forms of fiction such as film. One basic genealogy that also highlights the ‘fantasy’ rather than ‘realist’ roots of the game might trace a line of descent from those fantasy wargames played with cast-metal miniatures of ores and dwarves and dragons, through table-top role-playing games, making the leap into its first digital incarnation in the text-based adventures that appeared on such early dedicated games machines as the ZX Spectrum (and who will ever truly forget the frustration of playing the pioneering Spectrum adventure The Hobbit (1982), and being told, yet again, that ‘Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold’?) Text-based adventures suffered in comparison with more visually sophisticated games, and the virtually static ‘point and click’ adventures that emerged out of adventures like The Hobbit seem to have been all but superseded by Turtib Raider diid its imitators.

Any such formal system of rules that govern interaction between players inevitably have much in common with the ‘rules' of storytelling. Table-top role-playing, perhaps still most commonly associated with the sub-Tolkienesque ‘Dungeons and Dragons' (a game-system that has since made a commercially successful transition to computer format, notably in its incarnation as Baldur's Gate (1998)) has, particularly, had its fair share of claims made for it that it represents a ‘new' form of storytelling. In such a game the players interact through speech (rather than necessarily by moving pieces on any kind of board) with a game environment controlled by a referee-cum-mediator usually termed a ‘Dungeon Master*. The interaction between players and referee could, theoretically, lead to the creation of a free-form story in which, allowing only for the quest. Nor does she sleep, eat, defecate, or (disappointingly enough for Lucozade) often feel the need for an energy drink.

To dismiss Tomb Raiders fictional credentials as a result of its basic linearity of progression, for the apparent limitation of freedom of action, or even because of its violent approach to problem solving, however, would be to miss the implications of an alternative, and literary, line of descent that might be traced for this kind of game-fiction. We should recognise not just the extent to which J. R. R. Tolkien and his imitators inspired so many of the fantasy role-playing and text-based adventures that came before Tomb Raider, but the root source of so much of that fiction that is to be found within the folk tale form. And it is through an examination of the points of correspondence with, and deviation from, the formal characteristics of the folk tale, particularly as they are expressed within quest narratives, that we can begin to see a new form of storytelling emerge in Tomb Raider.

In many ways Tomb Raider conforms to the generic conventions of the folk tale, and particularly the quest narrative, and wears many of its folk tale credentials on its sleeve. Lara Croft may not be a Jack, or even a Jill, but she has much in common with the princely heroes of many quest narratives. She is, after all, an orphan of aristocratic stock, the daughter (so the basic back-story to the games to be found in the manuals informs us) of Lord Croft. She lives in the contemporary equivalent of a castle, even if her mansion has a swimming pool rather than a moat. In several of the games in the series she ‘starts* from this point (it is the equivalent of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelations Angkor Wat training level in both Tomb Raider ¡1 and ///), before moving on to an extended quest which might be broken down into a series of smaller folk tale quest narratives or plot fragments. Despite the more or less contemporary trappings of the Tomb Raider series (usually to be found in things you can shoot things with, or things you can drive) and its otherwise unstable ‘historical* locations (a distinctly contemporary Area 51, what looks like a near future/post apocalypse.


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Notes
  1. Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell To Anns (London: Grafton, 1977 [1929]), p. 133.
  2. Jon Covey (ed.), Fractal Dreams: New Media in Social Context (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996), p. xii. See also Kevin Robins ‘Cyberspace and the World We Live In’ in the same volume, pp. 1-30.
  3. A useful introduction to narratological theory can be found in Steven Cohan and Linda M. Shires, Telling Stories: A Theoretical Analysis of Narrative Fiction (London: Routledge, 1988). For an account that then takes narratological analysis to film, and which is therefore of much relevance in the examination of such a visually dependent medium as the computer game, see Jakob Lothe, Narrative in Fiction and Film: An Introduction (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  4. Jean Baudrillard, ‘Aesthetic Illusion and Virtual Reality’ in Reading Images, ed. Julia Thomas (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 198-206.
  5. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ trans. Harry Zohn, in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (London: Cape, 1970), pp. 211-44.1 will return to a consideration of Benjamin’s essay in Chapter 6.
  6. Baudrillard, ‘The Ecstasy of Communication’ in Hal Foster (ed.), Postmodern Culture (London: Pluto, 1985), pp. 126-34, p. 127.
  7. Fredric Jameson, ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’ in Foster (ed.), Postmodern Culture, pp. 111-25. As Jameson notes in an all too often ignored, and still relevant, opening statement, ‘The concept of postmodernism is not widely accepted or even understood today* (p. 111). That the postmodern is the site of debate rather than certainty and has been misrepresented as a straightforward category statement in popular usage has also been reiterated recently in Simon Malpas’s introduction to his Postmodern Debates (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), a valuable book that includes many of the key essays that have contributed to our understanding of what the multiple meanings of the postmodern might be.
  8. Ihab Hassan, ‘Towards a Concept of Postmodernism’ in Thomas Docherty (ed.), Postmodernism: A Reader (New York and London: Harvester, 1995), pp. 146-56, p. 152. See also Hassan’s The Dismemberment of Orpheus: Towards a Postmodern Literature (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).
  9. And yet I would not want to make any easy moves to accommodate theoretical models that have a superficial correspondence because they have discussed other ‘games’ in other contexts. For those conversant with psychoanalytic theory, for example, Sigmund Freud’s discussion of the ‘fort/da game provides a case in point. See James Strachey (ed.), Beyond the Pleasure Principle (New York: Norton, 1961). I can imagine an attractive and potentially elegant argument that really does little more than ignore Freud’s grounding of his conclusions about the child’s game of the disposal and recovery of a toy in observation, and simply substitutes the loss/recovery of the cherished object with the loss (‘death’)/recovery (reload) of the protagonist of the game-fiction. One can then simply move from the discussion of what is specific to gameplay within game-fictions to making more general assertions about the form. This is not the case in this study.
  10. The terms are Roland Barthes from S/Z, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975). Barthes is, like Benjamin, another‘absent presence’ beneath much of the argument in this work: as a champion of semiology; as an exceptionally astute reader of popular culture texts (see Mythologies trans. Annette Lavers (London: Paladin, 1972); and as author of The Pleasure of the Text> trans. Richard Miller (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990). 1 do not have space to tease out the significance of his arguments in the last of these works in full here, but would recommend that any reader interested in pursuing the prioritisation of the pleasure of reading in game-fiction consult this volume.
  11. Gérard Genette, Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method, trans. Jane E. Lewin (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980). See also Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, trans. Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997).
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Reading game-fictions

Reading game-fictions


The concentration in this study on notions of authenticity and realism, beyond keeping it to a manageable size, should allow me to address another prevalent temptation. The sometimes understandable confusion that appears to exist in the popular mind, and particularly the popular press, regarding the effect of such simulations in the real world, and the supposed blurring of distinctions between game-worlds and the real world generate all sorts of negative comment. Too many things become confused, too many correspondences are made and generalisations allowed to stand without sufficient scrutiny. The remotely piloted vehicle used for space or deep-sea exploration, or for entry into hazardous environments such as the inside of nuclear reactors, is now a reality. It will not be long before such machines are deployed by the US military for first-strike missions. For all I know, they exist already. The interface between controller and real environment in such circumstances is often similar to that between player and game environment. As the use of video footage as part of the public relations offensive during Operation Desert Storm indicated, these all too real computerised interventions in the real world share many of the characteristics of their gaming cousins. Anecdotal and press accounts of more general confusion can range from the worrying (such as a USAAF mechanic who is rumoured to have learnt to fly a state of the art warplane using a flight simulator on his PC and then taken a real plane for a joyride), to the alarming (and possibly alarmist) tales of teenagers preparing for mass shootings using custom-designed levels for first-person shooting games that replicate the geography of their school buildings.

The relationship between fictional representation and real world acts of violence, whether supposedly inspired by films, novels, or computer games, is a notoriously thorny issue, but this formal examination of the computer game as fictional form is intended to clarify some of the general issues that are rarely addressed. Too many simplistic associations are allowed to pass without sufficient examination (players of Tekken 3 (1998) or Street Fighter (2000) are more violent in the real world than those who play Ecco the Dolphin (2000), perhaps), and the fictional status of the game and the necessity of the player’s recognition of that fictionality, is obscured. And there also seems to be some inconsistency in the responses generated by this form of fiction compared to the responses that greet other forms. The 'realistic’ violence of the opening Normandy landing sequence of the film Saving Private Ryan (1998) was critically praised: the ‘realism’ of first-person shooting games is often subject to condemnation and potential censorship.

It should always be remembered that however much the computer game might be (and particularly have the potential to be) ‘more than a game’, it is still a fictional form. As a form of mass entertainment, like punk, rock and roll, and the novel before it, the computer game has been seen as offering some sort of threat to society, particularly by providing a space in which otherwise taboo or outlawed behaviour (spitting and swearing, the sexual expression of pelvic gyration, adultery, and aggression as the first resort in problem solving) is given free range. But the confusion of game for real is indicative of individual dysfunction and‘misreading just as much as the confusion of the films A Clockwork Orange (1971) or Natural-Born Killers (1994) with a template for real behaviour is a misreading. This is fiction, and should be treated, and subject to rigorous examination, just as other forms of fiction are. Its fictionality does not remove the need for the development of an understanding of how it works.

In undertaking a primarily formal analysis of computer games within this book I have restricted myself to the discussion of a fairly narrow range of games that constitute variants of what I term game-fictions. The most interesting contemporary game-fictions, at least for the purposes of this study, are those that borrow heavily from literary and cinematic conventions in the construction of something that resembles a game/fiction hybrid (Tomb Raider, Half-Life), games that offer a fictional intersection with historical event in the creation of a species of historical fiction (Close Combat), and games that allow for the creation and management of fictional social constructions (SimCity). Without being overly reductive, and while I fully recognise the fluidity of genre distinctions in such a young and rapidly developing field, my interest is in those genres of games that appear to have the potential to develop into something approximating the sophistication of the currently culturally dominant forms of popular fiction: novels, films, and television programmes. 1 might be treating those ‘shoot-’em-ups’ that develop story seriously, but I will be avoiding talking at any length about those ‘beat-’em-ups’ that seem to go nowhere else other than towards ‘lefs-beat-’em-up-some-morel Somewhere in the storytelling of the game-fictions I focus upon, I see fictional possibility and fictional promise.15 As the advance of communication and print technology was intimately related to the rise of the novel, and technological advance was inseparable from the development of cinema and television, so one cannot ignore the potential for advances in this new fictional form that may yet accompany this truly startling rise in computer processing power. Given that rise, to assume that the computer game will always be the junior partner in the relationship between itself and other fictional forms might well be naive.16 The example offered by those would-be futurologists of the middle of the last century who predicted atomic powered cars, colonies on Mars, and a diet consisting entirely of brightly coloured pills by the year 2000 is salutary, and I do not want to offer too many such hostages to fortune in this volume. But it is already possible to foresee a not too distant future in which the progress of processor technology, if combined with the creative flair we are used to seeing applied in our other forms of popular entertainment, could lead to the development of a generation of games that transcend the pejorative classification of children’s entertainment and are taken as seriously as mass-appeal novels and films occasionally are. It would not take too much of a leap of the imagination to see the computer game develop into something like a new form of soap opera or action movie. One day, perhaps, the computer game will even produce its A la Recherche du Temps Perdu or its Ulyssesy its Casablanca or its Citizen Kane. It is, as yet, early days, and this is a reading of those early days.
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The postmodern temptation

The postmodern temptation

Plenty of writers of more or less unreadable critical and theoretical works have claimed that their books are intended for that mythical beast ‘the general reader', and I am not keen to join their company. I have, therefore, attempted to keep the amount of theoretical jargon (rather than serious thought) to a minimum. Nor am I alone in my scepticism towards some of the more extreme language that can be used when this new technology is up for discussion. As Jon Covey has argued in his introduction to Fractal Dreams, ‘Each onslaught of hyperactive technobabble becomes more tedious than the last, until we become just plain bored would not even attempt to glorify my own argument - it is intended to be introductory, preliminary, and to raise questions as to where we go next as critics and readers, as much as it is intended to provide comprehensive answers about the past, present, or future of the computer game. The endnotes are there for those who want them, although not to any length or extent that would protect this work from possible charges of being overly reductive in aiming for clarity of argument over fullness of scholarly reference. The computer game-fiction is a form of popular fiction and I, like many other critics who work in the hinterland of what goes under the name of cultural studies, would argue that scholarly rigour is as essential in approaching such popular texts (and I use Roland Barthes' term ‘text’ selfconsciously, just as I have insisted on the italicisation of their titles as if they have equal standing with films or novels) as it is when approaching the supposedly high-cultural textual artefact. This present work, however, is primarily intended as introductory in tone and content -1 do not want to bury my arguments for what is new, distinct, or different in this form of popular entertainment too far under a language or methodology that is undeniably popular in academia, but is rarely accessible, understood, or even particularly popular beyond its confines. I seek to inform, but not to validate my arguments through either jargonistic ‘technobabble’ or philosophical musings that are not firmly anchored in observation.

That said, I freely admit that I have drawn far more on theories of narratological analysis (and to give an early example of the kind of simplifying gloss I will be guilty of throughout this study, I would define narratology for my purposes here as the study of how stories are told) than on poststructuralist or even postmodern thought.3 My ambition is relatively limited - the games I isolate as my examples, I contend, require informed reading as fiction and as texts. They deserve, and get in this study, no more and no less. To give an early indication of where 1 hope to have travelled to by the end of this study, my provisional answer to the question of whether the computer game is ‘more than a game’ is a qualified ‘yes’ - it can also be a form of fiction making, and in the cases I isolate presents a fictional text that rewards close critical scrutiny. Is it ‘more than a game’ in that it requires a reformulation of our understanding of self, identity, art, or culture? Is it representative of a truly radical break with the ways in which we have previously told ourselves our stories? ‘No’, or at least ‘No, not yet'.

This is a form of self-denial and self-restraint, and not always of ignorance. This is not intended to be a work of theoretical enquiry, but a work of close textual criticism. In concentrating on specific game-fictions as fictions, and looking in detail at concrete examples of the form, I try to avoid making too many hyperbolic claims, and to restrict myself to that which can be supported by readings sourced in the texts themselves. Specifically, I have recognised in myself a tendency to make too much of an apparent correspondence between the texts I have been reading ‘through’ or ‘on’ my PC and PlayStation, and those I have been reading that exist within works of contemporary critical theory. What I have termed the‘postmodern temptation’ in this section heading is something I have sought to both recognise and deny, partly to keep this study manageable, and partly to try and avoid moving too far into abstraction and generalisation. In particular, I have tried to avoid ‘applying’ theory to texts, and using the tricks and tropes of rhetorical argument to patch over the resulting gaps and absences.

Before I completely alienate a possible academic reader-ship, however, I would like to make it clear that this is not an anti-theoretical move. What I want to suggest is that it is far too tempting for the academic critic to consider the future possibility of what the computer game might become, rather than address the mundanity of the object we actually have access to. This is not that potentially oxymoronic thing, an ‘untheorised reading’. Rather, it is a reading that draws on namatological and structuralist thinking and criticism for the most part, and tries to leave its more speculative digressions until the closing chapter. Those who wish to read about Tomb Raider, Half-Life, Close Combat, or SimCity are advised to skip ahead to the beginning of Chapter 2 and read on. Those who wish to see if I have anything new to say about the future possibility of the computer game might be best advised to endure this section of the text and then skip ahead to Chapter 6. Much of the (hopefully unobtrusive) theoretical material that follows and informs this study emerged out of enquiries into supposedly‘simple’ or ‘primitive’ narrative forms such as the fairy tale or folk tale, and seems to have particular utility in the examination of the computer game if we recognise its own ‘primitive’ or ‘simple’ current state. What theoretical material there is that talks to and about intimately related cultural phenomena such as ‘virtual reality’, however, is concerned with a far more complex and sophisticated object of study. Jean Baudrillard’s essay ‘Aesthetic Illusion and Virtual Reality’, discussed in Chapter 6, for example, would seem to be as astute and as forcefully argued as much of his other work, but not to be straightforwardly applicable to the world of ‘left click this’, ‘hit that shortcut key’ and ‘save the game’.

The very materiality of the experience of playing the computer game, its engagement with bits of plastic and metal, silicon and glass, fix it still within the age of mechanical reproduction that was identified by Walter Benjamin even as there is a potentially digital or even cyber’ age evolving or revolving about it.s Things might be about to change, but the reality of playing computer games at the turn of the twenty-first century requires a mass of cables and plugs and extensions. Wires snake about everywhere. Get too involved in playing and your back will ache, your eyes will suffer strain and your mouse hand will begin to cramp. The computer game takes its toll on the body even as it promises a disembodied and virtual experience. Next time we feel inclined to chuckle about our digital forebears and find it amusing that huge mechanical monsters used to occupy the computer departments of our universities, we should take a long hard look at the cables and peripherals that trail across the floor of our living rooms or underneath recognition that the compound term game-fiction I deploy throughout this volume incorporates rather than rejects the game element within game-fiction, it is certainly a case of‘play* over‘purpose’, as so much of the negative criticism levelled at the computer game has made clear.9 Less certainly there is the presentation of chance over design - as the game reproduces the effect of‘chance’ (the availability of plural possibility) over‘design’ (the inevitability of a singular outcome, some kind of fixed and ‘authored’ outcome). Similarly, we see in that plurality of possibility a ‘dispersal’ rather than a ‘centering,’ and at least the illusion of the scriptable (writable, privileging the reader) over the Usable (readable, privileging the author).10 What we would lose if we succumb too readily to such critical temptations, however, would be this need for a specificity of analysis. As enough literary critics have found, if we are not careful in our definitions we are in danger of finding ‘the postmodern’ in every time and place, in the history plays of Shakespeare, and in the very first novels in English. I sometimes wonder what we might make of the prehistoric cave art of Lascaux if we always carry our postmodern critical apparatus with us when we confront an artwork.

Having been subject to intense theoretical debate since the 1970s, terms such as ‘simulation and ‘hypertext’ also press obvious critical buttons. In the terms of common usage (at least with regard to the textual organisation of the World Wide Web, both within specific pages and between websites),‘hypertext’ offers nonlinear and non-hierarchical communicating linkages between textual fragments, but it is not simply a technological enactment of what Gérard Genette is concerned with when he discusses ‘hypertextuality’.11 Context might well be boundless, but we would do well to remember its specificity. As Jean Baudrillard has noted when discussing ‘simulation’ in a wider social and cultural context it is possible to argue that ‘simulation threatens the difference between ‘true’ and ‘false,’ between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’. As such it seems to offer an attractive point of access for thinking through the computer game - particularly for those who might foresee a technological future in which we might ‘lose ourselves in the consensual hallucination’ of the ‘matrix’ of cyberspace.13 We should, however, continue to be careful in our use and understanding of such terms, never coined and rarely subject to critical reassessment in the face of the encounter with the computer game. As the actual experience of reading computer games should remind us, such terminology does not always survive its transportation to the specifics of that experience. I would ask the reader to pause and insert the words computer game’ before Baudrillard’s statement. Is ‘true’ and ‘false’,‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ really‘under threat’ in such games?

It is worth pointing out here that the ‘sim’ of SimCity is truncated and partial for a reason - ‘simulation’ in computer games is not the same as the kinds of ‘simulation’ that necessarily pose any such ‘threat’. In the games themselves, rather than the hyperbolic copy written by their promotional teams, they rarely support any claim to threaten this distinction in any meaningful way. In Chapter 3 I argue in detail that if the first-person computer game is simulating something, then it is certainly not simulating lived experience. It might, however, be useful in explaining my reticence towards ‘using’ postmodern thought if we quickly look here at some of the ways in which we can draw a distinction between Baudrillardian ‘simulation’ and the forms of‘simulation’ one actually encounters within the computer game as it currently stands. In Gunman Chronicles (2000), for example, we encounter a comparatively advanced visual experience that uses the same graphics engine as Half-Life. It is presented from a first-person point of view that allows us to pretend that we are ‘in’ this environment. Gunman Chronicles is a three-dimensional text, in which we use a combination of mouse and keyboard to move about this ‘virtual’ world.

Largely we move about in order to reposition the gunsight that allows us the crude form of interaction (shooting things) that is central to the playing of the game, but we are also provided with an illusion of freedom of visual movement. Playing for a while, how ever, indicates that there is a hierarchy of effective ‘simulation’ in the game. The artificiality of topography and architecture are barely noticeable as we become accustomed to what amounts to the visual ‘style’ of the game. There are too many angles and bright colours for this to be convincing in its illusory potential, but not in a way that intrudes too much on our reading experience. Water does not look like ‘real’ water, but is recognisable as water in terms of negative definition. It has enough markers of the characteristics of water (it moves, it reflects, it is semi-transparent) that we recognise it as not earth, not corridor, or not lava.

But the human figures of the other gunmen that move and shoot and run about this landscape are recognisably not human. We might be fooled for a moment that they looked ‘as if’ they were human, that there was ever an ‘original’ (as there is in the traditional filmed image before it is manipulated in the studios of Industrial Light and Magic), but not for long. Glimpsed for an instant in the distance we might not bring our knowledge of their graphic limitations to mind. But close up, they look remarkably inhuman - there is little individuation, they‘pose5 like bodybuilders at rest rather than stand naturally, and they are square-jawed not because they are action heroes, but because the framework of graphical boxes (or polygons) from which the image is composed is still evident on the most superficial level. The games designers have built in some nice touches, and these figures twitch and fidget with small random movements rather than stand stock-still, for example, but there is absolutely no way that anyone could mistake the computer-generated image for an apparent image of the real such as film. When the figures speak then the lack of effective lip synching reminds us of just how primitive this is if it is understood to be an attempt at ‘simulation.

Computer-animated films that have attempted this feat of presenting an image with no original as if there was an original, such as Shrek (2001), Monsters Inc (2002) or Final Fantasy (2001) are interesting enough as technical demonstrations of what hap pens visually when millions of hairs are modelled individually, or how the potential of each successive advance in computer processing power is harnessed to give apparent texture to skin, but in their attempt at the representation of the human always suffer comparative failure. Who could not have noticed, for example, that Princess Fiona in Shrek is far more convincing’ a figure when she is in ogre form than when she is her ‘human’ self? Or that the toys of Toy Story convince’ in a way that the humans do not? Ogres, or the walking eyeball of Monsters Incy or the hardware of a science fiction future in Final Fantasy, are comparatively convincing in their ‘illusion’ that the image presented could have been connected mechanically with a ‘real’ object because that ‘real’ object is actually located within the imagination (and our tradition of representation of the imagination) and not in the observed world. This is far harder to achieve digitally when it is poor flawed humanity that is the subject of representation. And I am sure those actors who provide the voices so essential to the success of such films will be laughing all the way to the bank when they read of the imminent redundancy of the human because of technological advance.

It is telling that where a game like Gunman Chronicles succeeds visually is in its rendering of images that have no meaningfully real reference - at the top of its hierarchy of‘simulation’ is not the human or the inanimate, but the dinosaurs that populate the first alien landscape that the player encounters. Of course, when we test the representation of the human in the computer game for its ‘accuracy' or its ‘realism' we make comparison with the observed real as well as with other acts of representation - when we test the ‘accuracy’ or ‘realism’ of the dinosaurs we test against a tradition of representation. These are not lizards with bits glued on, as we once encountered in the monster movies. Nor is this the stop-motion animation of models, as in films where animators such as Ray Harryhausen stunned audiences with the realism of the reptiles, such as One Million Years B.C. (1966). What it refers to is the current‘state of the art’ and not the state of the real. Jurassic Park (1993)

showed the way, and (at least in the UK) BBC television’s Walking With Dinosaurs (1999) moved us a little further along. But at the end of this particular pathway is the ‘imaginary’ and not the observed ‘real’. The sophistication, effectiveness, or plausibility of the dinosaurs on screen is judged within its comparison with the subsub-genre of the computer-animated dinosaur film, whether it claims to be documentary or entertaining in effect. For all any of us know (and 1 stress the‘know’) all dinosaurs hopped and bounced about the landscape like squealing schoolchildren at playtime. Or had perpetual hiccups. Or had polka dot markings. 1 ‘know’ how they should move and look on screen, but I do not ‘know’ how they did move and should look in life. We might ‘suppose’ or even ‘deduce’ things from the fossil record, but we do not ‘know’ if and how simulation matches real. No human observed the creatures in question, and the prehistoric is best known for its lack of record keeping even when there was a human presence. It is a disappointment encountered by every schoolboy that no recognisable ancestor feasted on brontosaur steaks or ran from a marauding Tyrannosaurus rex. Use of flocking algorithms based on the observation of the flight of birds to model the behaviour of dinosaurs can only simulate the flocking of birds - otherwise we are left with the possible and the ‘imaginary*, whatever the stridency of the claims for the ‘real’ made by those who will take observation of one event to another. This takes nothing away from the images with which we are confronted, however. They are aesthetically pleasing, they offer the pleasure of spectacle, and there is something simply ‘fun' about walking around the grazing dinosaurs or staring up at the wheeling pterodactyls in Gunman Chronicles before everything goes haywire and the running and shooting begins in earnest.

This is not to deny that the technology, rather than the deployment of technology within the computer game, cannot be read as posing a ‘threat' to a distinction that is already under strain. The same technology that is used by the computer game obviously has the potential to deceive, and probably not too far in the future,
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