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游戏应如何随着玩家的成长而成长?

发布时间:2011-10-20 18:01:19 Tags:,,,,,

作者:Brice Morrison

在我小的时候,妈妈对于游戏没有任何兴趣。她在看报纸的时候,不时会停下来微笑地看着沉浸于《超级马里奥》游戏中的我和弟弟。我们呼唤她一起游戏,高兴地把控制器塞到她手上,但是不出意料,马里奥总是很快便掉落到悬崖下面去了。这时候妈妈就会说:“我不喜欢玩游戏。你们两个小鬼好好玩吧。”然后将控制器递还给我们。我和弟弟叹了口气,便重新拿回控制器继续游戏了。

虽然我妈妈认真尝试过,但是她却始终控制不了游戏中的那个“小人”,尽管她在屏幕前激动得大叫。对于她来说,游戏就是种玩具,是小孩们玩耍的东西,不值得投入太多时间。游戏不能够提供任何经验,有用的知识或者让她感兴趣的奖励。也许对于还是小孩的我们来说游戏很好,但是对于她,作为一位理解能力强的成人来说,游戏只会浪费时间。

kid gamers(from thegameprodigy)

kid gamers(from thegameprodigy)

游戏只具有娱乐性

几年后我开始感受到我妈妈观点的正确性了。我很失望地发现,当我变得越来越成熟的时候,我也开始慢慢脱离游戏了。我开始倾向于其它媒体,从五分钱娱乐场到CNN,从Dr. Seuss(游戏邦注:美国最受儿童欢迎的作者)到George Orwell(英国小说家),而我对于游戏的兴趣度已经慢慢变淡了。当我进入大学后,我越发不喜欢那些愚蠢的娱乐方式,反而更喜欢一些新观点。我不想再浪费时间了,而希望能够牢牢把握住时间。我希望能够挑战一些更加深奥的观念,尝试一些新范例,新过程以及各种可能性。

成长就是一个积累知识的过程,所以为了获得更多的知识养分,我离开了游戏而转向其它媒体,以及与学校作业有关的教材。为了获得更多想法,我便需要书籍的帮助。小说以及非小说类书籍,如《美丽新世界》以及《高效人士的七个习惯》等都能够丰富我的生活,把我带到一个从未接触过的新世界。电视节目以及纪录片也很有帮助。我是一个“好奇鬼”,总是渴望着能够更多地了解我们所生活的这个世界。

而游戏却不能帮助我达成这些愿望,所以我不得不告别这个孩童时期的娱乐伙伴,去寻找更多更深层次的艺术和观点了。

作为一个资深的视频游戏玩家,我很纳闷:游戏就只能这样了?为什么游戏只能够吸引青春期前的孩子去玩,而其它媒介却能够满足不同年龄层的用户的需要?书籍也是一种单纯的娱乐方式,那么为什么当这种书面语言能够直击人类心灵的时候,游戏却只能够提供最简单的乐趣?当然了,我们肯定能够制作出比《超级马里奥》更深层次的游戏。如果这样,那么这些游戏在哪里?

电视能,为何游戏不能?

我开始将游戏与其它传播形式做比较,我注意到一些媒体能够长时间地伫立在用户面前,如电视,电影,书籍以及杂志。所有的这些媒体都能够被大众认可接受,而且我们也从不会质疑它们的存在,我们从这些媒介身上能够看到对于现实的一些更深层次的描述,即使只是艺术家用于调色的画板。它们可以是最纯粹的娱乐方式或者最纯粹的思想论域。作为一种媒介形式,它们都是自由的。

而游戏并没有这种命。对于很多人来说,游戏的存在只是最最简单的娱乐形式。同样遭受不幸待遇的还有漫画书。Scott McCloud(游戏邦注:美国漫画家,漫画理论家)写了(以及绘画)大量关于漫画悲剧的作品,而这些作品与游戏一样,只能够吸引到孩子们的注意。只有少数的一些漫画拥有更深层次且更深奥的理念,而不只停留在英雄间的打斗行为。但是McCloud却认为,漫画作为一种媒介形式能够吸引更多人的关注,而不仅是孩童。漫画中也不乏一些传奇故事,传记,讽刺或者超现实主义的内容。

也许漫画还未沉沦,也许在未来的某一天它能够吸引到更多非孩童读者的注意。举个例子来说,McCloud自己所著的漫画书就被当成谷歌最新浏览器Chrome的教程。20世纪30年代漫画作为一种传播模式出现在世人面前,但是如果希望能够同时吸引孩童与成人,男性与女性的注意,并更加清晰地表达出各种不同的主题的观点,漫画还需要很长一段时间的努力才行。

游戏尚未成人

游戏只有30年的历史,比漫画和书籍都要年轻。同为媒体,它们都比游戏有更长的时间去发展并找到属于自己的定位。所以,如何做才能让那些较成熟的思想者改变对于游戏的看法?如何做才能让游戏或者交互娱乐方式变得越来越成熟?

没有人知道这个问题的答案,很多人(和公司)开始采取行动力图将游戏带到一个新的发展境界。任天堂便在游戏产业发展史上刻下了意义深刻的一笔,而这并不是因为他们采取了何种富有创造性的技术或者因为他们让玩家不用再窝在沙发上玩游戏,而是因为他们改变了玩家。甚至是我那信誓旦旦说着不玩游戏的妈妈,如今却总是与我姑妈一起玩Wii上的保龄球游戏。很多Wii用户都宣称这才是他们的第一台视频游戏掌机。而这就意味着任天堂废除了之前困扰我妈妈的那些复杂按钮,而采用基于运动的控制器,让除了孩童之外的更多人能够接受游戏。

但是并不是只有任天堂吸引到更多高年龄层玩家的注意。根据ESRB(游戏邦注:美国娱乐软件分级委员会)的数据表明,与道听途说的情况相反的是,如今游戏玩家的平均年龄是35岁。伴随着游戏长大的孩童(也包括我自己),现在需要有更多能够满足他们新口味的游戏。

谁会关心一款游戏是不是有较老的玩家?这并不能够代表游戏便是真正受尊敬的媒介形式。来自乔治亚理工学院的教授Ian Bogost曾表示,只有出现更多“无趣”的游戏,游戏才能够成为受尊重的媒介形式。只有当游戏变得越发现实,即甚至能够教会人们如何安全驾驶,那么游戏的发展才算真正到达了一个新的境界。如果开发者不再创造一些无聊的游戏,那么他们将能够带领玩家进入一个全新的世界并感受一种不一样的公众认知感,而在这里任何无聊的游戏也会变得有趣了。

所以我们要如何做到这一点?第一步便是时间问题。《My Weight Loss Coach》以及独立游戏《The Passage》都在一步一步地发展,逐渐改变公众对于游戏的看法。如果一款新的游戏能够挑战极限,去改变我妈妈那一类人对游戏的看法,那么这些游戏便能够带领我们进入一个新的情感和思想领域中。

最重要的是什么?

在得到大众认可之前游戏还有很多需要做的。试想一下当我们到达一个新的世界,在那里游戏可以教会你更好地开车,更好地写作,更好地与同事和好友交流。想象一下游戏能够帮助你更好地理解自己所处的世界以外的世界,并帮助你学会将贫穷的痛苦虚拟化。想象一下游戏可以拓宽你的视野,丰富你的内心世界。等等的这一切都是我们可以从游戏中挖掘到的宝贵财富。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

Why a Game Designer Outgrew Video Games

by Brice Morrison

My mother was never interested in games when I was little. Looking up from her newspaper, she would give a soft smile as she saw my brother and I engrossed in Super Mario Brothers before slipping back into her reading. “Mom!” we called. “Come play Mario with us!” We happily tossed her the controller, only to grimace as we watched her plummet poor Mario off a cliff accidentally. “I don’t like these games. You boys have a good time,” she would say, handing the controller back to us. With a sigh, my brother and I would take back the controls and continue on.

Try as she might, my mother could never get the hang of moving that “tiny man”, as she called him, around the screen. To her, games were toys; children’s play things, a skill not worth investing time in. Games provided no lessons, no useful knowledge, no reward that interested her. They were fine for us, but to her, an intelligent adult, they were a waste of time.

Only entertainment

It was only a few years later when I myself began to share my mother’s point of view. I was disappointed to find that as I matured, I was leaving games behind. While my interests in other media grew substantially more adult, from Nickelodeon to CNN, from Dr. Seuss to George Orwell, games did not seem to have a more intelligent counterpart for me to move to. As I entered college, I became less interested in mindless entertainment and more interested in encountering new ideas. I didn’t want to kill time; I wanted to take advantage of it. I wanted to challenge myself with profound concepts, to learn of new paradigms, processes, and possibilities.

To fill my growing need for intellectual nourishment, I left games and moved to other media, texts largely influenced by schoolwork. In the search for ideas, books more than satisfied me. Fiction and non-fiction books such as Brave New World and Seven Habits enriched my life and took me places I had never before been. Television and documentary films followed close behind. I was an “infovore”, eager to learn all I could about the world I live in.

But the games I played appeared to have nothing to say in this discussion of the pragmatic. And so reluctantly I waved goodbye to my entertaining friend in search of deeper art and ideas.

As a long time video game player, I wondered: did it have to be this way? Why were games stuck with a preteen obsession while other media managed to satisfy different consumers at different stages of life? Books were also capable of pure entertainment, so why was it that the written word was versatile enough to delve deep into the human psyche, while games could only provide simple fun? Surely there was a way to make games with more depth than Super Mario. But if so, where were they?

TV can do it.  Why can’t I?

I began to compare games to other communication forms, and I noticed that some media have hit the big time, so to speak. Television is one. Film is another. Books and magazines yet another. All of these media are universally accepted and not even questioned when we see them expressing the deeper concerns of reality, simply a palette on which artists can create their craft. They are capable of being either pure entertainment or pure intellectual discourse. As a medium, they are free.

Games do not have this luxury. To many people, games are only allowed to exist for pure entertainment. Another medium that has succumbed to this sad fate is comic books. Artist Scott McCloud has written (and drawn) extensively about the tragedy of comic books. They, like games, are a medium which has yet to break out of its childish audience. Only a small handful of comics have been able to reach deeper and more intellectual concepts than the slam bang action of superheroes. Yet McCloud argues that comics as a medium are capable of so much more than children’s fantasies. Themes of romance, biography, satire, or surrealism are not out of the reach of comics.

Perhaps comics are not yet down for the count; perhaps they will one day serve more purposes than children’s entertainment. For example, a comic, drawn by McCloud himself, served as the tutorial for Google’s newest Chrome browser. But for a form of communication that has been around since the 1930’s, comics are a long way from where they would like to be: read by children and adults, men and women, expressing a multitude of themes and ideas.

Games as the baby brother.

Games, luckily, are only about 30 years old at best, much younger than comics, and certainly much younger than books. As a medium, they have a lot of time ahead to grow and find their identity. So what exactly are the barriers of entry for great thinkers (or groups of thinkers) to leave their mark on games? What must happen for games, or interactive entertainment, if you will, to mature as a medium?

While no one knows the answer to this question, many people (and companies) have stepped up to the plate to attempt to bring games to the next level. The Nintendo Wii has been a monumental development in the games industry, not because of its innovative technology, not because is has in part gotten people off of the couch, but because of the way it has changed the audience. My mother, who claimed she could never play games, frequently plays Wii bowling with my aunt. A substantial amount of Wii owners claim that it is their first video game console. This means that by taking away the buttons that confounded my mother and replacing it with movement based controls, Nintendo has opened up the possibility that games could be for people other than kids.

But Nintendo is not the only one moving the age of gamers up the scale. The ESRB claims that the average gamer is 35 years old, contrary to most anecdotal evidence. As kids (such as myself) who grew up on games turn into adults, the opportunity exists to satisfy their new tastes.

Who cares if games are played by an older audience? That doesn’t guarantee that it will become a truly respectable medium. Ian Bogost, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote that games will not be truly expected as a medium until there are more boring games. Only when games are mundane enough to be accepted as a method to, say, teach us how to drive safely, will games have truly arrived. While the goal isn’t to create boring games, the goal is to approach a world and a public perception where boring games are not outlandish.

So how do we get there? One step at a time. Games like My Weight Loss Coach, or independent titles such as The Passage are slowly, one by one, changing the public’s conception of games. As new titles appear that push the envelope of what people, like my mother, think of as games, we approach an environment where emotional and intellectual discourse is possible.

So what’s the big deal?

Games have a lot of growing to do before they are ready to be heard. But imagine when we arrive: a world where games could teach you how to drive better, how to write better, how to talk with coworkers and friends better. Imagine games that could help you understand life outside of your country, to conceptualize the hardships of the poor. Imagine games that could expand your mind, and make your personal world richer than it as before. Those are games worth seeking out.(source:thegameprodigy


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