Mouthrop’s academic write up on the relationship between working and playing was something I actually struggled a bit to get through. Could have been my mood or just the timing, but for some reason I found the writing quite a tedious read. It was just something that caught me off guard since the website itself seemed like a blog at first. So, while not the most important thought, it did undoubtedly play into my opinion of this reading.
One expert cited in the article is Janet Murray. I tend to disagree with some of the thoughts she has on the video game industry. She says that “those engaged with electronic texts sometimes fail to read for the plot…” I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. If for nothing else, than for the fact that she really isn’t citing any specifics.
What kind of games are these people playing? Madden? There is no real narrative there. A huge percentage of the games on the market today don’t feature a narrative, but that doesn’t mean those players aren’t engaged with the game. It just means they’re engaged with what’s in front of them.
Even a game like Grand Theft Auto, that I see cited as a game nobody cares about the narrative in, it really depends on the source of gameplay. Online, the narrative really isn’t the appeal. You want to run around with 10 friends and rob 8 banks in the lowest time possible. That’s the narrative.
I get what she’s trying to get at. But, really, games have come a long way in terms of story structure and engagement. You used to just side-scroll into a castle and chase the princess for decades. Now, we have cinematic-quality games like Heavy Rain and the Uncharted series that are akin to playing a movie. So, while I see where she’s coming from, I just don’t buy her narrative.