Forget watching Iron Man and thinking you're superhero-with-attitude Tony Stark. Multiplayer video games allow you to be a Tony Stark-type character.
It's this interactivity and customizability, says Tom Chatfield
Pixels and Policy investigates.
A New Paradigm for Entertainment
From the article:
There is, in the games industry at the moment, a sense that boundaries
are being broken every year. Take the increasingly important phenomenon
of massively multiplayer online gaming, embodied above all in the
phenomenally successful World of Warcraft.
Such games involve not only
the construction of online virtual worlds used by thousands of people
simultaneously but, more crucially, the maintenance and development of
these worlds: something that can approach the complexity of running a
city, or even a small country.
Interactivity is the key to engagement, and online gaming has this field down to a science.
Anyone who has ever spent hours questing for a virtual reward with no real-world value understands the importance of being the leader of your own fantasy story.
Movies simply don't offer this kind of interactivity, putting them at an increasing disadvantage as more first-time users discover virtual worlds.
Why Virtual Worlds Work as Entertainment
Movies ask you to suspend disbelief for a pre-existing story. This is a shortfall of film in an age where players can customize everything about an online avatar and choose which paths to follow for a story that appeals to their innermost passions and interests.
Online games are so successful because they don't cater to a "story" which may not be interesting to many people – online games allow the user to create the story as they progress. Not surprisingly, this is attracting some of the best directors and writers from film to experiment with the possibilities of online gaming. As the article says:
These are not only gamers or computer programmers: television
producers, writers, actors, directors, musicians, even performance
artists are flocking towards the medium.
In 2008, for instance, Steven
Spielberg was credited as lead designer on a game, Boom Blox, for the Nintendo Wii…It
was a game he had devised himself…aimed at creating an interactive version of the kind of cinematic space
he made his own – somewhere where parents and children come together to
share a creative experience.
We already see games like Halo receiving releases with the hype and publicity of movies, and we see movies about multiplayer online gaming coming out as rapidly as studios can produce them. Will multiplayer gaming reach a point where it is respected and followed in society as a whole the same way movies are today?