你还记得自己何时发现视频游戏这个东西吗？我记得，而且我觉得自己发现游戏的经历与许多同年龄人无异。9岁时，我表现得与其他孩子有所不同，对科技内容尤为感兴趣。按照 今天的标准，我至少可以算是对计算机感兴趣的人，当时我深深被视频游戏的想法吸引。在我获得自己首台电脑之前的几年时间里，我让父亲带着我逛电脑店，就为了看货架上的 游戏。或许你还记得游戏包装盒背面的那些独特描述，比如“你是地球最后的希望！摧毁Zarg Empire，保护人类！”或是“勇敢面对Forest of Auria的恐怖，拯救漂亮公主！” 。当然，从专业角度来看，Zarg Empire只是些许方块形状而已，Forest of Auria不过是许多ASCII字符或简短文字描述，但是对于阅读这些描述的人来说，视频游戏可以让你获得 之前只能由梦境、书籍和电影提供的体验，你可以生活在充满奇幻的世界中。
3年前，我进行一项设计，希望它能够帮助我尽快融入游戏行业。我深度发掘游戏，但行业的趋势令我倍感失望，游戏媒体只是不断用所谓的结构化术语来谈论游戏，也就是那些组 成游戏的技术元素，比如3D引擎和AI等。我想要看到的是能够用来描述体验的词语。尽管我花了大量时间查阅游戏杂志、网站和访谈，能够找到的用来描述游戏体验的词语屈指可 数，可玩性可能算是一个，这个术语的模糊性证明，行业还未深入探究玩游戏过程中的主观体验。
我不断被自己的记忆带回年幼时的那段经历，而且急切想要深入探索，所以我坐在自己的电脑前，写下以上几段文字，用来作为这篇文章的开端。我想要继续下去，对这段记忆进 行更为详细的说明，但我却发觉自己找不到恰当的方法。然而，我认为在这段记忆中的某些地方，可能隐藏着更深层次理解游戏和拓展讨论游戏的语言关键点。所以，我开始进行 个人探索，寻找所有有关主观体验、幻想和想象的东西。本系列文章便形成此次探索，我希望能够引起游戏玩家和开发者的兴趣，并对他们有所帮助。
我采取的首个步骤是探索游戏媒体，同尽可能多的各种玩家进行交谈，看看我的个人反映和其他人的体验间是否存在某些共同点。这样的研究不能被称为科学性研究，但是我认为 ，自己努力探索的问题和体验是理解视频游戏的关键。心理学家们只是提出游戏对我们是否有益的简单问题，研究得出了许多相互矛盾的结果，因而几乎可以说是毫无进展。除了 评判好坏外，我认为更重要的问题是，了解个人同游戏间的关系，探索个人含义和想象反应。无论我的研究和探索有多大价值，我深信对幻想和个人含义的探索可以拓宽我们思考 和设计游戏的思路。
多年以来，游戏行业已经发展出用来描述游戏的语言和术语。这种语言主要分为两类：题材术语和技术（游戏邦注：或结构）术语。题材术语描述游戏的“类型”，技术术语描述 组成游戏的技术，比如AI或3D引擎。看看游戏杂志，你会发现多数游戏都是用这些术语进行描述。熟悉这种语言是所有想要成为开发者或硬核玩家的人事的必要工作。许多刚刚进 入游戏世界的新玩家用这些术语来展现自己的知识，将自己同他们玩休闲游戏的无知同伴区分开来。我应当认识到，自己也属于这部分人群。
在同年轻和年老玩家的交谈过程中，我发现前提是游戏对许多人的主要吸引因素（游戏邦注：这种情况在年轻玩家中表现更为突出），也就是游戏角色、主题和形象所暗示的体验 。玩家之所以会选择游戏，是因为他能够体验某种幻想中的经历，比如成为赛车手、冒险家或士兵。游戏广告和包装的制作者似乎很明白这个道理，多数情况下，他们会强调游戏 中的主题、角色和故事情节而不是其结构描述，但许多以硬核玩家为目标的游戏会专注于用题材历史来描述游戏，比如宣传拥有比《雷神之锤3》更多的多边形或更高质量的三维照 明等。我感觉，这种对视频游戏历史的强调是一种劣势，因为它不会让非硬核玩家产生兴趣，而且似乎在宣扬游戏仅仅是运算法则和特效的结合体。
如果我们阅读上世纪80年代初期到中期的老游戏杂志时，看看在现代的结构和题材术语还未成形时媒体对游戏的描述，我们就会发现当时更侧重于潜在幻想。不仅很少看到“平台 游戏”这样的题材术语，而且似乎更强调的是游戏的主题、任务和角色。在某些情况下，这样的描述会让读者产生与事实不符的期望和愿景，他们在真正体验到游戏时可能会感到 失望，而如果使用术语并结合截屏就不会出现这种问题。这表明，结构和题材术语的发展还是有一定的价值，至少让玩家可以很明确地了解游戏中会出现的内容。但是，它也有一 定的弊端，玩家无法在想象中模拟自己的游戏体验。
玩家对游戏的潜在幻想或许有着某些普遍的主题，比如在竞速中获胜、成为士兵或拯救公主，有些幻想可能会显得更为复杂和特别。玩家可能想体验某些类型角色间特别的相互关 系，比如主角和他邪恶亲属的关系，就像《最终幻想9》中的Zidane和Kuja。他们可能想探索两种对立概念间的相互关系，比如战略游戏中民主与专制间的战争或《Black and White》中善与恶的平衡。或者更普遍的是，想要体验特定角色在特定情境中的感觉，比如孤独战士在后启示世界中是个流行主题。有些玩家的主要需求是主题，他们会选择展示自 己特定想象主题的游戏。
年轻的玩家往往将游戏角色和情境视为想象中真实存在的事物，而不仅仅是游戏中的实体。比如，古老《塞尔达》游戏中有个敌人会将自身分成数块，在屏幕中四处飞行随后重组 。经验丰富的玩家都知道这个敌人是由多个方块精灵组成，在游戏中面对这种情境时，主要关注点在于把握攻击时机、避开方块的攻击和寻找安全点。换句话说，他会将整个情境 视为一个系统，而不是将敌人视为一个角色。但是，有个年轻的玩家在向我描述这个敌人时，显得颇为兴奋，他说有个沙子怪物将自己幻化为沙城暴攻击玩家。这样看来，他视乎 更专注于将怪物视为角色，将其视为需要应对的对手，而不是系统。
在知识更为丰富的老玩家中，我们也看到了潜在幻想对他们选择游戏的影响。不止一位玩家告诉我，他玩《文明》是因为自己喜欢管理国家、发动战争和占领世界的感觉。我认识 的一位玩家告诉我他体验《文明》乐趣的特定方法：在游戏中创造世界只有两大强力国家的情境，就是他自己和对手，两者都有很高的科技水平。然后，他对自己的敌人发动大型 战役，创造“胜负决定成败”的战争。所以在许多游戏中，当玩家以某种特定的方法或创造某种情境来体验游戏时，其作用的可能就是他们的幻想。
游戏角色和主题将游戏和想象深深地联系起来。我们可以看到，许多老玩家创建网站来分享《最终幻想7》中的Sephiroth等许多流行游戏角色、游戏相关的动作、动画电影、漫画 和模型。有些玩家还喜欢装扮成自己最喜欢的视频游戏角色。据Steven Poole所述，东京游戏展上出现许多装扮成游戏相关角色的游客。这些证据已经足够让我们相信，游戏能够 唤起强烈的情感和想象响应，影响玩家的个人生活。
还有个重要方面我称之为“情感共鸣”，也就是在看到特定图片、角色或人时产生的那种难以名状的情感冲击，这种不同凡响的图片感觉“相当真实”。在我年幼时，这种体验层 面令我着迷，尤其是无论你如何提出问题来分析图片、无论你如何研究其背景及其符号关系，你都无法将那种模糊的共鸣感具体化。许多视频游戏的图片有此等魅力，电影及其他 形式的艺术和自然世界中的场景也同样会产生这种感觉。
并非所有玩家都有过这些类型的体验。有些人专注于用结构化的眼光来看待游戏，有些忽略游戏中的角色和故事情节，专注于认知和操控游戏对象和谜题的体验。多数玩家似乎徘 徊于两种不同的玩法模式之间，其一是外向模式，玩家更专注于游戏中的运动体验和胜利，而不是故事情节或角色，或者在社交游戏中更专注于组成群体来玩游戏，而不是独自玩 游戏。其二是内向模式，玩家将游戏当成自我感觉或想象的催化剂。在这种模式中，玩家想象自身进入游戏。需要指出的是，这些只是大致的分类，而且针对的是玩法模式而不是 玩家类型。相同的玩家可能会从一种模式转换到另一种模式，这取决于游戏和情境。
游戏时间本身对这种社会公认的看法不具免疫性。我记得在90年代初期，自己阅读过一篇关于划时代RPG游戏《Eye of the Beholder》的评述。评论者花了一整页的篇幅来批判角 色扮演游戏粉丝，他认为这是些脱离社会的人。
最初研究这一领域，我是希望找到简单的心理学原理，将其运用至电子游戏的思考中。相反，我从中发现各种意识形态间存在不可逾越的鸿沟，这一分歧在以想象和主观体验为核 心的心理学中更加明显。这一分歧的一方是认知、行为主义和生物心理学学派，他们的理论和研究主要局限在理智元素，这可以通过科学方法进行客观验证。另一方是心理动力和 人本主义心理学，主要围绕个人主观体验，着眼于现象哲学：在任何观察中，我们必须从主观体验切入，这是我们的唯一观察视角。
就如心理学家William Glassman所述，“我们似乎经常被迫在非科学的心理学和非心理学的科学中进行选择！”（Glassman，2000）在分析想象方面，我们被迫选择前者，至少直 到我们拥有结合第一和第三人称分析方法的理论，因为之前我们论述的经历和整个游戏体验概念主要基于第一人称体验语境（游戏邦注：第一人称和第三人称存在客观视角和主观 视角之差；而第一人称本身又有不同视角：将精神看做社会或语言概念和认为精神基于基本遗传心理学结构的荣格观点。这里我们需要进行双重结合，首先是承认普遍心理学结构 的第一人称视角和承认基于这些结构的主观、文化和语境材料的第一人称视角；其次是结合第三人称客观视角和第一人称主管视角）。
探索电子游戏及其所唤起的体验最有趣、最有效的视角是，荣格深度心理学。虽然这在学术界颇具争议，但荣格心理学对人文科学及许多美工、作家和电影制作人产生重要影响。 它的理念非常适合电子游戏，它提供众多概念，让我们能够探索玩家和游戏、设计师和游戏间的复杂关系。它还彻底改变我们对于题材、暴力及体验过程的看法。荣格心理学是个 复杂的多层面学科，我们只能在此短文中进行粗略介绍。引言旨在说明它同游戏设计的关系，向读者提供把握相关设计概念的必要知识。首先就来探究玩耍和幻想心理学，这是构 成游戏体验的基础元素。
但玩耍的作用不仅体现在促进我们适应周围事物或开发合理技能。玩耍方面的杰出理论家Johann Huizinger表示，这是很多艺术和戏剧形式背后的促进因素。他还表示，玩耍并非 毫无意义的练习或是工作的对立面，它是社会幸福感的必要组成要素（Poole，2000；Rheingold，1991）。
虽然玩耍的教育和社会意义众所周知，被广泛接受，但内向型玩耍、幻想及纯粹的假装扮演活动则就不那么被认同。这多半是由于我们文化的外向型偏好或佛洛伊德的著名观点： 幻想是逃避现实的退化方式。但在Jungian psychology看来，幻想和其他思考方式一样重要，而且是健康心理发展的必要条件。Jung表示，就和外向玩耍促使个体适应和了解外部 世界一样，内向玩耍或幻想能够让个体适应自己的内在世界。在幻想的故事、人物和景观中，个体会接触到自身以符号形式呈现的性格元素（Stevens，1999）。
这并不是说外向和内向玩耍互相排斥。我相信很多读者都还记得和玩具或其他物体玩耍，赋予它们同实际功能毫无关系的含义的经历。通过将自己的想象影射到物体，个体赋予它 新的个人含义。这让他能够通过符号物体将自己的内在幻想游戏具体化。因此棍棒变成枪支，泰迪熊变成令人慰藉的朋友，系列模块精灵变成险恶的敌人。影射被玩耍理疗师这样 运用：不懂说话或能够自觉把握自身情感的孩子通常会通过玩具、内在过程、冲突和反应在故事和玩耍主题中的目标表现个人问题。
我觉得映射概念从一定程度上呈现玩家在电子游戏的沉溺程度。通过有意识或下意识地识别不同游戏角色、故事和过程，玩家能够发现个人问题、目标及理想，同时融入文化传递 给他们的内容。这并不意味着玩家只会发现游戏的可控制角色，而是说明整个游戏变成某种意义上的“想象空间”，其中的敌人、主题、风景、道具和过程都反映特定的虚构焦点 。例如，两个对立角色或政治团体的相互作用也许代表着内在冲突。一个令人满意的联盟，例如在RPG游戏中，神秘或危险角色加入玩家的党派代表着不同特性角色的内在冲突得到 解决。当然，将游戏中的所有元素看作是想象的映射是个最佳设计方案。由于多数游戏都有固定过程和情节主线，他们不一定都和玩家的关注点存在联系。但随着游戏复杂性和自 由度的提高，它们将能够适应不同体验风格和个人目标，映射玩家个性的内在动态模式。将游戏看作想象空间的观点听起来有些非同寻常，但它和古希腊剧院的表现形式存在有趣 的相似之处。
当古希腊人民到剧院时，他们并非想要收获适度娱乐或观看当前出于消遣目的的无足轻重内容。他们希望得到精神发泄，发泄深层次的情感，这在希腊人看来，是理智和灵魂的净 化。精神发泄的关键在于模仿，消除怀疑，同戏剧角色产生共鸣，内化戏剧内容，换而言之，就是从个人想象层面同戏剧建立联系（Rheingold，1991）。在希腊人看来，精神发泄 是应对生死话题的健康方式，这个词汇被心理学保存至今不无道理，主要用于描述同解决内在困境相关的情感。这类精神发泄也会出现在我们的精神想象空间中，当事件同玩家产 生某种程度的共鸣时，例如两个之前相互对立的角色变得团结起来或是克服某复杂障碍（游戏邦注：虽然这通常表现出不同强度）。
另一相似之处体现在德国杰出小说家及诺贝尔奖获得者Hermann Hesse的作品中。在小说《荒原狼》中，Hesse挖掘文学表现的可能性空间，“自我是个多层面的实体”。他还建议 读者，“不要将创作内容中的角色当作独立存在，而应该是多个层面和元素的高度统一。”（Hesse，1927）
很多读者都对于无意识或潜意识（包含所有无意识要素的心智状态）概念非常熟悉。这包括记忆、忘却的经历、下意识知觉及习惯倾向（如能够在无需思考的情况下驾驶汽车）。 多数潜意识论述都将其当作一个白板，或是撰写个人生活经历的白板。这一观点促使很多人做出这一结论，所有思想都截然不同，或者个性完全是由社会和环境塑造。和没有将生 物学考虑在内一样（所有大脑都共享同个基本机制），这一观点没有得到卡尔·荣格的认同，他投入9年时间研究精神分裂症患者脑中的错觉和幻觉。
在研究梦境、幻想及病人的错觉时，荣格发现，其中包含很多和病人生活经历毫无关系的影像和观念。这些可以被视作是无意义的精神失调，但他还发现，这些影像和观念与全球 各地的神话和宗教符号非常相似。就如精神病学家Anthony Stevens所述，“荣格收集众多资料证明，这一通用符号更多不是源自个人经历或文化传播，而是来自人类大脑的结构及 人类普遍无意识心智的基本要素”（Stevens，1999）。荣格将此基本要素称作集体潜意识。
在集体潜意识中，荣格假定原型的存在。这些都是和上述通用符号相关的基本心理模式。就如荣格所述，“原型概念源自重复观察，例如，世界文学的神话和童话故事包含随处可 见的图案。我们在个人生活的幻想、梦境、妄想和错觉中看到过相同画面。这些典型图案就是我所谓的原型构思”（Storr，1998）。虽然荣格的原型假设颇具争议，但有些思想家 认为，这能够将这类第三人称观念从第一人称视角描述成认知科学的认知纲要及进化心理学的进化心理机制；虽然我们尚不清楚这里延续多少原型模式，传递多少文化要素 （Glassman， 2000；Stevens，1998）。
这并不是说原型就是个虚构图像或存在。虚构图像和梦境及幻想中的画面都是原型的表现或象征。原型本身是没有实质内容的内在心理模式，它们呈现的是相关的真实生活画面。 例如，有人心中也许会存在成为数字朋客黑客，摧毁邪恶公司的系统的英雄幻想，有人也许会存在在世界杯中胜出的幻想。虽然具体幻想内容各不相同，黑客和足球粉丝的幻想者 的个性也许大相径庭，但其幻想和建立情感联系的基本方式则完全一致。二者都描绘特殊个体的英雄式胜利游戏邦注：这是古老的普遍主题），二者都有类似的关联情感；征服 、个人优势、自信和胜利情感。在两个个体中，主角原型都发挥作用，但其表达方式因个性和背景而异。这些都是简单例子，主要是为了体现原型的“虚拟”形式特性，其呈现同 个体现实生活相关的画面。通过探索不同幻想部分的相关情感和态度，我们可以发现更多，有时甚至会发现某些非英雄式的画面。
除以虚构存在及梦境和幻想形式存在，原型还能够被外部世界的画面和人类激活。两个典型例子就是梦中情人和女性意像&男性意像。你是否曾在看到某位异性时（或在现实生活中 ，或在想象中），心中充满超越本能的强烈情感；感觉他/她就是“那一位”？此人有种魔力，当你凝视她的脸庞时，你的灵魂就会激动难耐，满怀憧憬。他也许就像是你所需要的 任何物件；当你靠近他时，内心充满欣喜，当你离开时，就会感到深深的绝望。
若你作为男性，看到能够带来这种感觉的女性，那你就遇到荣格心理学所谓的女性意像。荣格表示，每个男人的灵魂深处都有个女神，即女性意像。她出现在自己的梦中，通常是 个向导，是个美丽的神奇存在，有时也会是危险的“魔鬼”。通常她会被无意识地影射到某位真实女性身上，赋予此真实女性神奇特性，将此真实女性模糊化。有时这类影射会带 来永恒的爱情，有时此真实女性会打破这一影射没，令男士意识到她并非自己心中所想的样子，会觉得她“变了”，离她而去，转而寻找自己的公主女性意像，另一可能激发他内 心爱恋的女性。
在荣格心理学中，男性意像是指女性精神中的对应男性形象。在梦境和幻想中，他也许会被视作英雄，有时是流氓。男性意像的另一标记是野蛮、类似于动物的男性（游戏邦注： 就如童话故事《美女与野兽》所塑造的形象）。同样，女性常常也会把自己的男性意像投射到真实男性身上，这有时会带来稳定的情感，有时则会带来麻烦，若男性意像影射让她 们未能认清现实。这些例子充分说明影射和原型的重要性。他们不是纯粹的抽象概念或构思，而是精神的基本力量。
这里有个和电子游戏相关的例子。想象一个胆怯的小男孩，害怕冒险，有些过度依赖父母。有天他看了一个描绘英勇冒险的卡通。男孩在期间感受到强烈的情感共鸣，每周会观看 一次，开始进行基于此体验的想象游戏，将自己设想成电视主角或分享同样的冒险活动。他想象自己在遇到困境或睡前，或独自处于黑夜之中时，将最喜爱的角色召集到身旁。渐 渐地，通过父母的支持和理解，小男孩变得越来越自信，越来越独立。
这个电视节目激活小男孩的英雄原型。当需要勇气和强烈认同感时，这个原型经常在梦境和幻想中出现。孩子的英雄式游戏是这一原型模式的表达，这会逐步变成他们成长的一部 分，通过征服依赖和恐惧之龙，小孩对父母不再有那么强的情感依赖性，开始萌生更强烈的认同感。在这个例子中，虽然小孩最初存在模糊的不安，会生成包含英雄意像的梦境， 但电视节目赋予他模仿和联系的具体形象。由于它们和内在原型存在高度相似性，电视节目的画面变得越来越具情感共鸣效果，让男孩的意识中形成无意识的自我认同和勇气。通 过幻想和游戏，孩子最终将电视呈现的主角原型要素融入其有意识的个性中。英雄和英雄探险在电子游戏中无处不在，通常和普遍观念相反，而且不只局限于童年问题。我随后会 详细论述这些原型及它们同电子游戏的关系。
影子通常是出现在梦境和幻想中的危险敌人，代表未知或遭到抑制的潜意识，之所以遭到抑制主要是因为脑中意识所采取的态度。换而言之，影子是我们的“黑暗面”，会腐蚀其 他原型，这主要取决于我们同它们的关系。一个简单例子是，刻板商人梦见危险的无政府主义者或波希米亚人闯进他的办公室，制造事端。荣格理论对于这一梦境的诠释是，波希 米亚人代表无意识的创造性人才或有利于当事人、但因当事人的态度而处在有意识个性之外的生活态度。这并不意味着做梦者抛弃所有东西，变成波希米亚人，而是表示他应该尝 试在生活中融入些许创造性和自发行为，及其有意识个性认为具有威胁性的品质。
荣格的影子理论和Other概念相似，这一概念出现在文化研究中，旨在说明特定文化能够代表其他不同文化。就如Ziauddin Sardar描述的，“最常见的Other代表就是黑暗面，个人 的二元对立：我们文明，他们野蛮；殖民主义者认真刻苦，原住民懒惰。”（Sardar和Van Loon，1999）
就如我们前面谈到的，女性意像和男性意像是男性和女性各自的异性原型。正如性吸引背后的生物规则，荣格表示，这里也存在相关的心理规则。荣格谈到男性和女性意像，“男 性的整体个性是以女性作为先决条件，包括外貌和精神方面。他的组织方式从一开始就调整至女性层面”（Stevens，1999）。女性也以类似方式调整至男性视角。但女性意像和男 性意像的角色远超越普遍意识中的盲目性本能。男性对于女性及女性对于男性的意义和这一发展过程的心智及阶段存在密切关系。
根据荣格心理学，梦境和幻想的女性意像和男性意像是个体同其潜意识关系的再现。换而言之，男性会通过女性角色感受自己的潜意识，而女性则会以男性视角感受自己的无意识 。女性意像通常以了解未知领域的巫婆或女巫师形象存在，例如无意识精神或但丁“Paradiso”中Beatrice之类的向导（Jung，1964）。女性意像也以爱人或同伴形象出现，在梦 中通常表现为同潜意识的良好关系。她有时是有待拯救的公主，就如很多童话故事和游戏中的形象。被野兽监视代表着这样的心智态度：阻止自己同女性意像或女性建立良好关系 ，她必须被足以对抗此生物的强壮英雄拯救。
男性意像通常以富有吸引力的英雄形象出现，有时是聪明的精神向导。和女性意像与男性眼中的女性品质存在联系一样，男性意像与女性感知的男性品质存在联系，例如英雄气概 和理性。通过男性意像，女性可以将这些积极的品质植入自己的个性中。男性意像也有消极元素，会以流氓或罪犯形象出现。有时他会以野兽形象呈现，映射出野蛮、未驯服及无 法结合的男性意像，或是对待男性及其关系的消极态度。梦到这类野兽的女性首先会感到害怕，但通过男性意像，他将被转变成更引人注目的人类形体。《美女与野兽》的故事就 是这一过程的反映（Jung，1964）。
就如我之前描述的，女性意像和男性意像可以映射到真实男性和女性身上，有时会带来各种危险的癖好和误解。通过下意识将女性意像和男性意像同特定异性个体绑定，个体能够 高效将自己的潜意识同它们等同起来，要求其表现要符合潜意识。这并不是说女性意像和男性意像完全呈现消极效果，当映射背后的真实人类能够被接受和理解时，这也是获得个 人成长的工具。
女性意像经常出现在这样的游戏中：女性被玩家拯救，有时是作为同伴。鲜有游戏会描绘女性同其男性意像之间的关系。但有些游戏，如《最终幻想》系列就在此表现突出，给予 玩家众多供其控制的男性和女性角色。在男性玩家看来，女性角色能够代表他的女性意像，例如《最终幻想VIII》中的Rinoa；Squall能够代表女性玩家的男性意像。SquareSoft通 过基于两种视角描述他们的关系做到这点。玩家也许会选择能够反映他们同自身女性意像或男性意像之间关系的游戏，而设计师则会设计能够反映出自身关系的角色和故事。
荣格将自我称作“原型的原型”（Stevens，1999）。它代表完整的心智，包含有意识和无意识元素。在荣格心理学中，自我是心智的内在核心。它通常以圆圈、九宫格或方格形式 呈现在梦境、幻想和神话故事中；通常是四位一体，例如“宇宙的四个角落”，四个方向或圆圈的四个部分。对于男性做梦者来说，这也许表现为聪明的老头子，或是女性眼中的 聪明老妇人，或者也许是伟大的国王或王后。有时这会表现为神圣或有魔法的孩子。通常在神话故事中，自我都表现为“宇宙人”或女性，代表完整的个体。在游戏中，这有时会 表现为游戏世界中最强大的原则。在RPG游戏中，这有时表现为四种元素、空间中心的魔法宝石或生命之树。在其他游戏中，这也许具体为时空统一体、基本基因代码、国家或是任 何在游戏中代表强大力量的元素。
自我有时也通过提供帮助的动物形式呈现，它们会在童话故事中出现，旨在给主人公提供建议和帮助。很多这类动物会在游戏中出现（游戏邦注：例如《塞尔达64》中Link的猫头 鹰同伴，《最终幻想》游戏中的moogles）。这些生物出乎意料，通常坚不可摧，但有些情况下却很容易受伤害，握有能够抵抗其他敌人的自然智慧，能够让它们跳脱红尘世界。它 们通常被描绘成强大力量的仆人，初期的自我会引导挣扎的主人公朝自己的命运迈进。
原型和集体潜意识都属于荣格理论中的术语，是低层面的潜意识心智，他们的模型塑造上述图层。但正如我们看到的，出现在梦境和幻想中的原型是个人生活中的画面。我们还发 现原型会根据我们同其之间的关系呈现积极或消极画面。换而言之，它们会被我们的现实经历及有意识态度影响。在荣格精神模式中，我们和原型的关系（游戏邦注：这会决定它 们的呈现方式）由个人和文化潜意识决定。
上述集体潜意识出现在个人和文化潜意识中。文化潜意识包含所处社会赋予个体的所有无意识假设。有些作者不采用文化潜意识的说法，因为严格说起来，所有这些经历都和个人 体验融会贯通，但我决定将它们拆开，因为这提供文化研究的切入点，而文化研究是在游戏中运用原型图像所要涉及的必要学科。个人潜意识和本章开头所述的传统无意识观念相 似。它包含我们的所有记忆、忘却的经历、下意识知觉和习惯倾向。它还包含我们的情结。
塑造我们和原型之间关系的个人潜意识的基本单元就是情结。我相信很多人都很熟悉情结一词，因为它常被用于形容各种各样的心理问题，但鲜少人会关注所谓的情结是什么或者 它如何形成。当原型被激活时，它会收集同情境或激活者相关的概念画面和体验。这些围绕原型的体验、情感和概念是种情结。心理学家Anthony Stevens给出一个很好的例子，孩 子脑中母亲原型的激活。根据荣格心理学，每个孩子都有内在预期的母亲形象。这个原型会在孩子遇到和内在预期形象相似的妈妈角色时而被激活。有时此妈妈形象是生母，有时 则是养母、阿姨或姐姐。关于妈妈形象的情感和体验构成一种情结，主要围绕原型的情感核心（Stevens，1999）。
形成情结非常正常，但它们通常会让人因此遭罪。Anthony Stevens列举一个具体例子。Stevens描述一位童年受控于残暴父亲的女子。这位女子的父亲原型只受到部分激活，他的 父亲情结主要围绕专制独裁原型，慈爱、给予保护的父亲原型依然处于无意识状态。Stevens继续描述到，此女子一直被强凌弱的男子吸引，但同时她一直憧憬着有男子能够给予她 关爱和安全感。据Stevens表示，此女子的幻想和行为表明，他期待有人能够激活他潜意识里的父亲原型（Stevens，1999）。这一例子不仅说明父母不当抚育的负面结果，同时也 表明，原型处于完整状态，它们包含父亲角色、母亲角色、英雄形象、自我的各种要素，只要被激活，它们就会显现出来，变成有意识内容。完整形式的原型在神话中通常被描述 成Mother Earth或Gaia之类的形象；Zeus之类的终极父亲形象，Odysseus之类的终极英雄形象。
我们和原型的关系及我们的情结内容也是由我们生长的文化及我们作为社会成员的潜意识假设所塑造的。一个例子就是宣扬和鼓励英雄不会显露情感的社会。这些同何谓英雄的社 会观念密切联系的情感和形象代表一种文化情结，由于多数人都存在这种情结，因此会传递给其情结由此形象构成的社会的其他成员。这些多数人都持有的文化情结常被映射到其 他人身上，进而影响社会的运作方式。就如社会学家和文化评论家所说的那样，这非常有害。但这样的情结无法通过革命进行推翻；和个人情结一样，它们需要治愈和转换。
应对情结元素，将潜意识元素植入有意识个性中的渐进过程构成荣格心理发展理论的个性化过程。和某些单着眼于社会适应的发展理论不同，个性化过程描述的是提高自我意识、 成熟度及自我实现的终身个人过程。个性化是精神的自然过程，发生在个人生活背景下，但它可能被惨痛经历、有害情结或看待潜意识的错误态度所阻碍。个性化始于童年自我意 识和自我认同的觉醒，会贯穿于整个生活当中，进行逐步整合，逐步意识到出现在个体梦境和映射中的潜意识元素。个性化过程的终点就是同自我及代表个体完整精神世界的整个 原型建立良好关系。
游戏采用互动模式让玩家能够跳脱被动映射或戏院和文学的模仿，自觉进行幻想。因此前面描述的女子也许会被这样的游戏所吸引：将暴君描绘成敌人，以拯救或发现有爱心的男 性角色。这类型的游戏是否能够让她得到心理治疗有待进一步探讨，但通过在游戏中看到自己的内心顾虑和问题解决方案，通过出于互动性需要做出关于内心状态的决策，女子在 此得到能够给予她一定帮助的系列想法和画面。至少，这款游戏及其挑战和女子的经历关联密切。
通过查看反映潜意识原型的画面，在某些情况下，玩家能够推进自己的个人发展。当潜意识模型映射至某形象时，个体收获的情感共鸣有效说明，特定游戏角色和主题为什么如此 受欢迎，以及为什么某些玩家喜欢打扮成自己喜欢的角色，或花时间绘制它们，或撰写粉丝小说。玩家喜欢的角色时是其内心未被激活的潜在原型化身。通过体验，绘制图像，玩 家试图将角色呈现的原型要素植入自己的有意识个性中。
Crowther和Wood的《Advent》，《塞尔达传说》，《最终幻想》，《古墓丽影》和《口袋妖怪》等电子游戏中都贯穿了英雄模式。有些游戏清晰地表露了这种模式，如大多数RPG游 戏；也有些游戏含蓄地体现了这种模式，如《命令与征服者》中的主题意义；还有些游戏基于一些常见的挑战和目标去阐述个人或团体的表现。从这一主题在开发者和游戏玩家间 的持续受欢迎程度来看，它已经不再是一种陈词滥调了。
为什么这会成为如此受欢迎的主题？作家Steven Poole曾经说过，英雄模式的行动属性适合于还未准备好应对其它主题中细微差别的电子游戏（2000）。这么说也是有道理的，但 这却只是部分原因。作为一种主题选择，英雄模式已经超越了功利主义。根据调查，许多新手游戏设计师总是希望最先尝试RPG游戏，因为这是最常见的任务模式，或者这能够帮助 他们在未来创造一款真正的游戏。对于许多设计师来说，英雄模式便是帮助他们实现努力的最佳渠道。既然存在那些致力于创造逻辑谜题或文学和电影故事游戏的设计师，肯定也 存在侧重“探索模式”的设计师。
英雄模式之所以如此受到玩家和开发者欢迎的一大主要原因是这是一种原型主题，是人类的普遍特征。在荣格心理学中，英雄模式是人类心理成长与发展的重要组成部分。根据荣 格心理学，英雄主题主要出现在那些需要体现强大的自我认知和意识的梦境与幻想中（Jung，1964）。英雄是指那些不会迷失于黑暗的迷宫也不会被巨龙所吞食的人们，他们不会 轻易被恶势力所打倒，也不会轻易丢失自己的人格。这种原型对于儿童和青少年的心理发展过程尤为重要，因为那时候的人们的心理正在远离父母，并开始形成属于自己的强大认 同感。但这也不只存在于童年时期；当我们在梦境和幻想中遇到一些潜意识力量时我们便需要使用“英雄力量”去对抗它，并最终带着满满的经历回到现实生活中。
根据学者Joseph Campbell（游戏邦注：他在著作《千面英雄》中参考了荣格的心理学而阐述了自己对于英雄模式的看法），英雄模式是关于世界上各种文化的“成人仪式”的放大 版。这种仪式共分为三个阶段，包括出发，启蒙和回归。第一个阶段，人们将被带离自己所熟悉的环境。在第二阶段他们将经历能够改变自己世界观的启蒙仪式。在最后一个阶段 ，受到启蒙的人将以一种全新的面貌重归故土。在某些文化中，孩童会被带离童年所成长的世界而被投放到一个艰苦的仪式中，在这里他们将最终挣脱与之前世界的心理维系并准 备以成人的身份从新回到生活中去（Cambell，1949）。
基于荣格的角度，这种出发，启蒙和回归的循环也就是反应人们从遭遇潜意识到整合早前的未知心理内容再将其融入自身意识的整个过程。这一过程包含了抛弃之前的自我感觉（ 如儿童时期的想法或一系列不再对你有帮助的理念），遭遇到一些曾经骚动于自己的内心，梦境，幻想和预测中的内容并感到紧张，最终将这种种感觉整合到自己的意识中去，也 就是带着一种全新的领悟而“回归”（Jung，1964）。
这便是英雄模式的整个过程，Cambell总结道：“在平常的一天英雄开始走出自己的世界向外进行探险，然后他将进入一个充满各种不可思议的国度：在这里他将遭遇极其强大的力 量并最终会获得决定性的胜利：带着探险中所获得的强大力量英雄将再次回到自己的世界并以此造福周边的群众”（Campbell，1949）。如此看来，英雄故事便是一种想象空间， 英雄代表着个人的自我（很多情况下自我的力量将要求个人走上一定的旅程），英雄所前往的不同地方以及他所遭遇的不同人代表着他的潜意识的不同方面，而故事本身则代表着 自我与这种潜意识间的交融。回归后的英雄所带来的恩惠便标志着他从潜意识所获得的宝贵的内心财富，并能够被整合进英雄资深的意识中去。
某些神话故事中只存在单一的循环，也就是它们只能处理一些“内在问题”。还有一些神话包含了多个循环，并且这些循环也总是交织在一起，能够同时处理一次史诗般旅程中的 多个不同心理元素——总的来说旅程也就是代表整个个性化的过程。这种循环不需要遵循线性顺序，在大多数故事和游戏中它们将会以一种复杂的形式相互重叠并紧密联系在一起 。以下我们将深入分析每一个循环阶段，并研究与之相关的各种主题。
让我们开始这段旅程。英雄模式的开场经常发生在一个相对世俗且安全的环境下，如他的家乡或家里。有时候这种开场会充满休闲感，但是也有时候，就像在许多现代故事如《黑 客帝国》中那样，一开场便会直接切入不愉快的氛围。但是不管开场是基于怎样的情境，英雄的身份都是从家庭或社会的集体无意识状态中浮现出来。有时候这种情境也标志着英 雄不再能够忍受这种乏味无趣的生活。在荣格的观点中，英雄模式的开场也就代表着英雄的最初心理状态。如果英雄最初生活在一个和睦的家庭中，这便代表着他在被迫离开父母 之前的心理状态是祥和的，而如果英雄最初生活在大都市环境下，他便有可能会对自己的生活感到各种不满。作为一种想象空间，英雄模式下的所有最初场景，风景以及角色都将 反应着英雄特殊的内心状态。
但是不管是安详还是世俗的场景终将被打破。这时将出现一名“送信者”——也许是一个怪人，一只动物，或者是一个重大的事件，并因此推动着英雄来到另外一个世界。这便是 英雄冒险的开始。这种重大的事件可能是故事中仁慈的国王生病了需要一种神奇的草药当药引，可能是英雄瞥见一个貌美的女子或注意到一个引人注目的陌生人；可能是出现了一 个威胁其家庭危险的敌人；也有可能是有人绑架了他的亲人或朋友，等等。不管是怎样的情况，神话世界中总有可能将角色引向他应该接受的命运中。
对我来说，《塞尔达传说：时之笛》便成功创造了合理的游戏开场。一开始展现在我们眼前的是一个祥和的村庄，英雄的童年便在这个与世隔绝的天堂度过，而其周边所设置的一 些险恶的高墙和黑暗隧道出口更是添加了一种刺激感，让玩家能够预见危险的逼近——即意识到内部安全外部危险的局面。而这种安全与危险间的反差便是将英雄引向冒险的真正 体验。
但是有时候英雄却会忽视送信者而拒绝踏上旅程。因为他们害怕改变，恐惧将他们引入了歧途。这时候他的世界便会演变成一个不毛之地。即使他注意到了外部世界，但是他却不 愿意接受改变与成长，从而牺牲了自己的家乡。最终，英雄将变成了一个等待保护的受害者。在故事《睡美人》中，年轻的公主应验了女巫对她的诅咒从而陷进了漫长的睡眠中并 等待着王子的拯救。《最终幻想VII》中也出现了类似的主题，英雄Cloud掉进了痛苦的绝望中，并要求女英雄Tifa能够进到他的梦境中拯救他。
而那些接受了这种引导的英雄们身边一般都有一位导师，或和蔼的指导者。这些导师通常都会被描绘成一个睿智的老人（女人）形象，有时候也会是动物，而他（它）们将为英雄 在今后的旅程中指明方向或赠与有利的道具。举些例子来说吧，《星球大战》中的Luke的导师Obi-Wan Kenobi；《口袋妖怪》中的Professor Oak；《塞尔达传说：时之笛》中那只 总是会适时出现帮助Link指引方向并给以建议的猫头鹰，以及不断引导着Link前进的仙女伙伴。这些角色便是英雄早期自我的标志，体现出了其完整的心理状态，能够保证英雄幸 存于陌生领域并获得心智上的成长。
在离开家乡并遇到导师后，英雄将面对来自通关门卫（看守着已知与未知世界交汇之门）的挑战。每个区域都拥有属于自己的故事，在城门外可能潜伏着各种妖怪，食人魔，在桥 下隐藏着巨魔，而所有的这些都是对于那位敢于打破常规（包括文化和个人）的英雄的“惩罚”。这是一个只能进不能退的入口，既是已知和未知世界的边界，也是意识和潜意识 的界限。当英雄踏入了这个入口，也就意味着他将展开一段危险的旅程，或者进入了一段难以揣摩的未知迷宫中。
在启蒙阶段英雄最常会遇到的考验或事件便是对抗敌人，遇到或拯救心爱之人，盗走或取回一件神奇或重要的物品。与敌人战斗也就标志着英雄在与一种有害或不当的态度相抗衡 ，如儿童过分依赖于父母。而这时候英雄就必须努力战胜并杀死敌人才能获得自身的进步。有时候，英雄遭遇敌人也预示着自己在与阴暗面做斗争，与那些不被世人接受却能够整 合到自己意识中的潜意识相抗衡。不管怎样，英雄最终都将战胜敌人。
有时候英雄需要去拯救爱人。在很多故事和游戏中，英雄的爱人大多是女性，也就标志着灵魂之意，而拯救爱人所挑起的战斗则代表着解放她或帮助她逃离某种消极的态度，如之 前说到的过度依赖于父母。这种消极的态度有时候也代表着英雄的心爱之人处于一种“美女与野兽”的恐惧感中。在《亚瑟王》中，圆桌骑士Sir Gawain便很好地展现了这一点。 亚瑟王曾经遭到一个强大的巨人的威胁，巨人问了他一个问题：“女人最想要的东西是什么？”随后亚瑟王便走遍各地去询问各种女性这一问题，但是他却不清楚自己收集到的各 种问题是否符合巨人心中的答案。
在森林中，他遇到了一个外表极其丑陋的女巫。但是他最终还是鼓起了勇气问了她这个问题。这位女巫在说出答案（即“女人想要的是能够自由地传达出自己想法”）之前，要求 亚瑟王必须给予她任何自己想要的东西。亚瑟王将这个答案带给了巨人，并得到了他的认同。最后亚瑟王回到了森林中，感谢了女巫并询问了她的要求。女巫回答道：“我希望嫁 给圆桌骑士”，但是这着实让亚瑟王感到非常沮丧。
亚瑟王回到了卡米洛特并告诉了骑士自己的遭遇。Sir Gawain没有丝毫犹豫便答应了这一请求。婚礼后，当Gawain和新娘躺在婚床上时，他开始害怕这个新娘了。不过让他感到惊 讶的是，转身看到的却不是一个老巫婆，而是一个他所见过的最美的女人。原来是咒语将她变成了巫婆，并且只有大不列颠最勇敢的骑士真心愿意娶她才能够解开这一咒语。但是 在完全解开咒语前，女巫还需要询问Gawain一个问题，即让他选择谁愿意看到自己白天变丑晚上变美，还是白天变美晚上变丑。Gawain思考了一会后让女巫自己做出选择。女巫最 终笑了，而咒语也完全被揭开了，她完全恢复了自己貌美的容貌。而此时的Gawain也真正领悟到巨人提出的那个问题的真谛。
很多情况下，英雄的目标可能是一件神奇或重要的物品。这件物品将包含一些未知的重要特性。荣格举了一个例子，是关于一名女病人梦见自己找到了一把剑。当询问她关于这把 剑的问题时她回答到正是因为梦到了这把剑她才想起父亲所拥有的一把短剑。她的父亲是一个很有见解的男人，拥有非常强大的主观意识，而这也是她自己所不具备的。不过正因 为发现了这把剑，她才开始察觉到自己身上的这些特性。
尽管英雄模式大多出现在一些RPG和行动类游戏中，但是我们却经常能够在其它游戏的基础层面中察觉到它的个性化过程。在我之前的一篇文章《The Yin and Yang of Games: Code and Content》中我便描写了许多游戏中的“隐藏过程”：
“基于最基本的层面我们可以将游戏描写为一个总体的系统；这是一个具有各种变量的系统，设计师（能够通过逻辑预测到每个变量的结果）设定了其中的范围和功能。[注：我这 里所说的变量并不是指编程语言中的结构元素，如DWORD或CHAR等，而是指基于不同玩家所理解到的不同游戏元素；游戏的对象，选择和游戏组件等]在这里，设计师能够透视全局 。从这点看，这里便不存在任何冲突与刺激，有的只是一个运转良好的系统罢了（有可能还存在一些小漏洞）。”
“为了创造一款具有冲突且难以预测的游戏，我们必须真正走进游戏世界中并真正思考是何种元素阻碍了我们对于整体系统的看法。也就是说我们必须从玩家的视角去看待游戏， 并基于他们的理解和控制去设置这些变量。而那些玩家难以理解或不能控制的变量则是其对立方，也就是敌人。一般情况下设计师在设计变量时都需要玩家的参与，以此才能确保 游戏真正体现出他们的视角。”
自古以来，开发者便将游戏分割为各种不同的类型，如平台游戏，RPG以及第一人称射击游戏等等。尽管这些术语能够帮助我们更好地区分游戏，但是频繁地使用却使人们错误地将 它们当成游戏设计中的主要元素。这便造成了一种约束，即很多设计师发现很难越过这些局限的分类而寻求到其它更加有趣的内容。缺少广泛的描写术语将强迫设计师只能深入研 究RPG或第一人称射击游戏，而如果有人愿意延伸这些分类并创造出不同类型的新游戏，这便会是一种飞跃式创造。
而关于想象空间的理念则能够帮助我们克服这一问题，即通过将游戏类型置于一个更广泛的理念框架中去挣脱所有约束。基于这种新构想，主要框架便是最基本的幻想，是开发者 希望通过代码形式表现出来的内心世界或想象空间。开发者可以通过探索幻想世界并寻找特别的技巧设备和结构去传达这些内容。这些设备可以包括显示技术，如三维地图或第一 人称视角；不同类型的控制技术，如即时战略游戏中常会使用的指点机制，以及包含于多种游戏对象中的其它复杂结构和关系。如此看来，构成游戏的不同元素和设备便是用于传 达想象空间的特殊语言。
因为有些设备能够有效地传达特殊的幻想，所以开发者便会反复地去使用它们（而未多加思考），并最终将其融合于自己所想要传达的理念中，创造出不同类型的理念。我认为这 是一个值得思考的问题，如此我们才能去分析大量的游戏并研究如何将这些常见的设备整合在一起而创造出一个特殊的幻想世界或游戏体验。而这种分析将能够衍生出更多不同的 建造模块和关系，并帮助我们创造出各种特殊的游戏主题。
在上个世纪80年代，著名的计算机科学家Brenda Laurel提出一个理念，即创造一个深受亚里士多德（在《论诗》中所阐述到的）的戏剧“规则”所影响的互动世界。在这个假设性 的虚拟世界中，每一个行动和事件都将受到这些基本规则的影响，并且它们也将塑造出一款完整的游戏（Rheingold，1991）。那时候，专家系统总是被当成是创造这类型游戏的最 佳方法，但是创造出专家系统以及亚里士多德的规则法却不是件易事。
然而，比起系统化亚里士多德的理念，我更倾向于基于荣格的心理学创造系统。作为一种动态系统，基于荣格理念的系统能够有效地适应于游戏的运行方式，并且也出现了可供我 们使用的（基于荣格理念的）数学模型（Sulis，1998）。这是一种非常有帮助的模型，因为它能够帮助我们处理“多形态集合体”。不管你相不相信，我们已经在精神病治疗法以 及模化传递系统中使用了这一模型。关于模仿和宣泄的戏剧规则是荣格模型中的一个子集，并且是以自我，复体以及潜意识之间的关系体现出来。实际上，这种系统也只是一种简 单的梦想模拟器。
在这一系统中，自我等同于玩家的观点，潜意识等同于游戏世界，而复体则结合了玩家角色及其目标。所以游戏世界将变成一个动态且分层的原型系统，而其中所带有的副体将明 确这些原型是如何出现并如何作用于玩家身上。我们将能够通过游戏世界中的每个对象与不同原型间的关系去定义它们，并且根据它们各自的复体判断其使用性和外观。玩家在游 戏中的前进便是一种“个性化过程”，经历并整合“复体”将能够创造出玩家的身份，而最终确保游戏世界，故事情节和玩家角色的改变能够保持前后一致。
暴力是电子游戏中不可避免且具有煽动性的一大对象。在游戏产业兴起的早期，很多人都对游戏中的暴力属性表示担忧和质疑，但是这种担忧却未影响这一对象在该领域的发展。 可以说，在游戏产业中很难创造出非暴力的游戏，或者说非暴力游戏很难博得年轻男性玩家的喜欢。无可厚非的是，那些对于暴力的反对论调都是源自于反对者自身的无知以及对 于游戏体验的误解；但开发者这一方却未能提出具有说服力的观点。关于这一问题的科学研究还未获得任何决定性结果。
虽然这个问题非常复杂，但是荣格的游戏设计理论能够帮助我们有效地解决它。首先，我们知道游戏（以及音乐）与其说是行为的原因（除了对于非常年幼的对象而言），倒不如 说是一种催化剂，或者说是对于现有感觉的有意识或潜意识反映。我们能够到游戏世界中去证实这种特殊的幻想，但是游戏却不可能是一种根本原因。其次，荣格理论告诉我们创 造非暴力游戏是行不通的。玩家根本不会愿意玩那些不能反映其心理情境的游戏。那些倾向于暴力幻想的玩家总是会被这暴力主题的游戏所吸引。
所以设计师该如何基于心理责任感创造暴力游戏？他们需要创造出一款整合阴影的游戏，并带领玩家经历从对立和愤怒转向整合并理解的过程。我们可以通过故事情节或游戏机制 去表现这些内容。我设计的一款RPG游戏便通过创造两个对立面的主角（游戏邦注：即一个善良一个邪恶）去传达这种过程。在某些时刻，游戏场景将会发生转变，而这时候玩家将 会受到邪恶的角色的控制。玩家将带着邪恶角色的视角继续进行游戏，并且他必须做出一些会伤害善良角色和整个世界的决定。最终游戏将慢慢融合这两个角色，并转变他们，而 玩家也将同时带着这两个特质继续上路。在一款基于故事的游戏中描述阴影的整合并不困难，并且这种方法也能够适度地应用于其它类型游戏身上。
我在本篇文章中主要讨论了幻想，这个被很多人认为是逃避主义的对象。我真心希望能够向人们证实幻想其实是一种实际且重要的逃避主义。富有创造性的幻想景象能够帮助我们 逃离或克服自身的缺陷；充满魔力的幻想能够引导我们走出世俗且乏味的生活。只有我们真正理解了幻想，我们才知道它不仅能够帮助我们指明方向，明确危险，同时也能够进一 步丰富我们的生活。
这便是本系列文章的最后一部分内容，尽管如此我们却还未完成对于无限的游戏世界以及想象空间的探索。荣格心理学并不是帮助我们研究这些问题的唯一方法。在某些方面看来 ，游戏设计其实是一种具有创造性的形而上学行为。所以当我们在创造游戏时必须明确定义这是怎么样的游戏世界以及玩家将被置于这个世界的哪里等。我真心认为，不管是世界 ，社会还是个人心态中的哪一种理论都能够用于探索我们的游戏。
Games and the Imagination Part I
Can you remember when you discovered video games? I can, and I don’t think that my experience was much different from others who discovered games at around the same age. At nine years old I was not a logical child, technical matters were beyond me and by the standards of today I was probably the least likely person to be interested in computers but I was completely entranced by the idea of video games. Years before I got my first computer, I would make my father
take me round computer shops to look at the games on offer. You probably remember the outlandish descriptions of the games on the back of the boxes, “You are Earth’s last hope! Destroy the evil Zarg Empire before it wipes out humanity!” Or, “Brave the terrors of the Forest of Auria and rescue the beautiful princess!” Of course, to the trained eye, the Zarg empire was a number of small blocky shapes that stuttered across the screen, and the Forest of Auria was either a collection of ASCII characters or a short text description, but to the young mind that read these descriptions, video games were a gateway to the kinds of experiences previously only offered by dreams, books and cinema, the closest you could get to living in a fantasy world.
For me, the attraction was the promise that these games held, through their themes, characters and perspectives; the promise that a young child could explore in safety and daylight the shadowy and indistinct mental world that imposed itself on him at night. They removed the clumsy limitations of toys, the dissatisfaction that came with increasing age of realising that the dark alleyway on the corner of his housing estate was not the entrance to the world of ghosts. They satisfied his desire to return there even after he was told it did not exist.
Three years ago I was working on a design that I hoped would speed my journey into the games industry. I was thinking deeply about games and was frustrated with the tendency of the industry and the games press to talk about games only in what I call constructional terms; that is, in terms of the technical elements that make up a game such as 3D engine, AI etc. What I wanted were words that I could use to describe the experience. Despite spending hours poring through games magazines, websites and interviews I could find little referring to the experience of playing, except perhaps for playability, a term which by its vagueness proves that there has been little insight into the subjective experience of playing games.
I kept being drawn to a particular memory and had an urge to explore it, so I sat at my computer and wrote the two paragraphs that begin this article. I wanted to continue, to elaborate on this memory only to realise that I knew nothing more. But somewhere in this memory, I thought, there might be a key to a deeper understanding of games and a widening of the language we use to discuss them. So I began a personal quest to find out everything I could about
subjective experience, fantasy and imagination, a quest culminating in the writing of this series, which I hope is of use and interest to gamers and developers alike.
The first step I took was to explore the games media and talk to as wide a cross section of gamers as I could, in order to see if there were any commonalties between my personal reflections and the experience of others. This research could not be called scientific by any means, but the questions and experiences I tried to explore are, I think, essential to any understanding of video games. Little is achieved by psychologists merely asking the simplistic question of whether games are good or bad for us, and the contradictory results of several studies bears this out. What is far more important is to ask, without judgement, how an individual relates to a game, to explore questions of personal meaning and imaginative response. Whatever the value of my investigations, I became convinced that an exploration of fantasy and personal meaning could lead to an opening up of the way that we think about and design games.
Widening the Language of Convention
Over the years, the games industry has evolved an impressive language of terms to describe games. This language has two main strands: genre terminology and technical (or constructional) terminology. Genre terminology describes the “type” of game and technical terminology describes the set of technologies that make up a game such as AI or 3D engine. Take a look at any games magazine and you will see most games described in these terms. Initiation into this language
is essential for anyone who wants to be a developer or hard-core gamer. Many young players, keen and recent initiates into the world of gaming wield these terms as proof of their knowledge and to distinguish themselves from their ignorant, casual-gaming fellows. I should know, I was one of these initiates.
But language is a cage. This terminology, perpetuated by gamers and developers alike has the effect of shaping our perception of a game, and often determines how we design new ones. Many developers, it seems, are straining against this prison of words, sensing vague intimations of aspects of gaming outside the language of convention, but lack the concepts with which to catch these shadows and render them concrete in code.
To escape this prison, we need to look at the aspects of gaming that lie outside of it, from the ideas of children yet unversed in the language of gameplay, to the intriguing mental shadows that we, the initiated, push aside as we play. I attempted to uncover some of these aspects in my research, aspects that I’ m sure many readers will recognise in their own gaming experiences.
The Primacy of the Imagination
During my conversations with gamers old and young, I found (with younger gamers in particular) that the primary factor in attracting many of them to a game was its premise; the experience alluded to by its characters, themes and imagery. Here a player chooses a game because it allows him to experience a particular fantasy, of being a racing driver, adventurer or soldier. This fact seems to be well known to the copy writers of game advertising and packaging, who in most cases, tend to emphasise the themes, characters and plotlines in a game rather than its constructional description, although many games for hard-core, initiated audiences will focus on describing the game in terms of its genre history, as displaying more polygons than Quake III or having better volumetric lighting for example. This emphasis on the internal history of the video game can be a disadvantage, I feel, as it shuts out the uninitiated and promotes the limiting ideal of a game as a mere collection of algorithmic special effects, which as I hope to prove, is not the case.
This concept of the primacy of an underlying fantasy is given more weight if we read old games magazines from the early to mid eighties and look at how games were described when today’s constructional and genre-based terminology was still in formation. Apart from the quaint clumsiness of such early terms as the “platform-and-ladders” game, there seemed to be much more of an emphasis on the themes, tasks and characters, in some cases evoking scenes of such
unparalleled adventure that a young reader would be hard pushed to discern a game’s genre were it not for the ccompanying screenshots, and would probably be greatly disappointed when he actually got to play the game. This shows that the development of constructional and genre terminology has been valuable, not least in giving players a shorthand way of knowing what to expect from a game. But it also demonstrates that a gamer lacking the concepts with which to enclose his experience will respond to a game with a much greater portion of his imagination.
The underlying fantasies that a player has about a game may be of a general theme, such as the desire to win a race, be a soldier or rescue a princess, or they may be more complex and specific. Gamers may desire to experience a particular interplay between certain types of character, such as between a man and his evil relative, as with Zidane and Kuja in Final Fantasy IX. They may want to explore the interplay between two opposing concepts, such as the fight between democracy and tyranny in a strategy game, or the balance of good and evil in Black and White. Or commonly, to experience a particular character in a particular situation, such as the popular theme of the lone warrior in a post-apocalyptic world. Some gamers will often think primarily in terms of theme, choosing games that reflect a particular imaginative concern irrespective of genre.
Younger gamers often see game characters and situations as imaginatively real, and see far more in a game object than the older, jaded eye. For example, one of the older Zelda games has an enemy which splits itself up into blocks, which fly around the screen and reform. The experienced player knows that it is a collection of blocky sprites, and in playing will regard the situation as a matter of timing his attacks, avoiding the blocks and finding a safe position. In other words he will see the situation as a system, paying only a little attention to the enemy as a character. But one young gamer described this enemy to me, in excited terms as a sand monster who turned himself into a sandstorm to attack the player. It seemed that he focused more on the monster as a character, seeing it as a being to be contended with rather than as a system to be negotiated.
In older, more knowledgeable gamers too we can see the primacy of an underlying fantasy. More than one gamer has admitted to me that he plays Civilization because he likes the idea of ruling a nation, waging war and taking over the world. One gamer of my acquaintance told me how he enjoys playing Civilization in a certain way, to create a situation where there are two main world powers in the game, himself and an opponent, both with advanced levels of technology.
He would then plan a massive campaign against his enemy, creating an all-or-nothing war to end all wars. So in many games, a fantasy might “kick in” when their playing pieces become arranged in a certain way, creating a situation or process of interest to the gamer.
With developers we could say that one of the reasons why they often rehash the same old game ideas is not because they can’t think of anything better, but because they want to create an ever more perfect representation of a particular fantasy or experience. The imaginative realm has often been a prime force in games design. The renowned designer of the Mario and Zelda games, Shigeru Miyamoto, has admitted that he draws inspiration from childhood memories of
exploring the caves and forests of the countryside around his home (Poole, 2000).
Games are deeply linked with other forms of imaginative play with game characters and themes influencing play away from the computer. In older gamers we can see this in the number of websites devoted to popular game characters such as Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and the popularity of game related action figures, animated movies, comics and models. There is also the interesting fact that some players enjoy dressing up as their favourite video game character.
According to writer Steven Poole, the Tokyo Game Show has a best costume contest for visitors who turn up in game related garb (Poole, 2000). Evidence enough to convince us that games can evoke a strong emotional and imaginative response and be a great influence on the inner life of a player.
Another related quality (and this is a purely personal reflection) is what I call “emotional resonance”, the indefinable emotional impact that can be felt upon seeing a certain image, character or person; that unusual feeling of an image being “more real than real”. This aspect of experience has fascinated me from an early age, especially the way that no matter how much you analyse the image in question, no matter how much you research its background or its semiotic relations, you get no closer to pinning down the meaning of its resonance. Many video game images have this quality, along with those in movies and other forms of art, as well as the natural world.
Not all gamers report these kinds of experiences. Some stick unreservedly to a constructional view of games, some ignore character and storyline and concentrate instead on the kinetic experience of playing or the cognitive manipulation of game objects and puzzles. Most gamers, it seems, sway between two different modes of playing, The first is an extroverted mode, where the players emphasis is focused more on the kinetic experience of playing and winning
than on storyline or character, and on social gaming where the emphasis is more on the group doing the playing than the game itself. The second is the introverted mode of playing, where the game acts as a catalyst or facilitator for the gamers own feelings or imagination. Here the player imagines himself into the game. It is important to point out that these are just rough working categories, and describe modes of playing, not types of player. An individual might move from one mode to another depending on the game and situation.
Another reason why some people might not report or acknowledge these experiences is because of our society. We live in a society which is profoundly extroverted, where inner experiences are often regarded as pathological aberrations, or waved away as being “only psychological”. In schools, introversion is regarded as a problem to be fixed rather than a natural tendency; no teacher has ever suggested that a boisterous, extroverted child should spend more time in quiet reflection, except perhaps as a punishment.
The games world itself is not immune to such closed mindedness. I remember in the early nineties, reading a magazine review of that groundbreaking RPG , Eye of the Beholder. The reviewer spent the entire first page of his review denouncing role-playing fans, who in his eyes were a bunch of asocial misfits. He then went on to declare the game an all-time classic.
This kind of prejudice, as well as reflecting a simple lack of empathic understanding, has its roots in a wider social trend. It is fashionable in our culture to cultivate emotional distance and cynical detachment, to not let slip that we are moved, certainly not by an ephemeral, commercial medium such as the video game. Another factor is our attitude towards fantasy itself. The epic and magical worlds adored by western gamefreaks and eastern otaku are often derided as vessels of mere escapism. It is no wonder that these experiences remain in the shadows of both the mainstream games industry and of society as a whole.
Whatever the prejudices of our society, it is clear from this evidence that underneath the surface there is a complex, imaginative relationship between a player and a game, a relationship that underlies the literal and technical aspects of a game and merges with the players world and inner life. That these experiences inform the work of many developers is not disputed, but the fact remains that they do not yet form a part of mainstream discussion, nor have they been integrated into the common language of games design; an integration that may transform the entire field.
So how do we integrate these experiences? Without a full psychological investigation we can only speculate on the nature of these experiences and how they relate to games, and given the status of video games in the mainstream eye, such an investigation is unlikely. But we can go some way in understanding these experiences by relating them to ideas already existing in psychology. In part two of Games and the Imagination, Approaching the Imagination, I will explore
some of these ideas and their relation to games design.
In part one of Games and the Imagination I discussed some of the aspects of gaming that remain unaccounted for by the conventional language of games design. I explored the idea that for many gamers an underlying fantasy is the primary factor in attracting them to a game, and that there is a complex imaginative relationship between a player and a game. Understanding this relationship and why and how games evoke such fantasies and experiences could revolutionise the
way we think about games and how we design them. To do this, we need a framework that we can use to interpret these experiences and relate them to games design. Psychology seems like an obvious framework and it was the first to which I turned, but as I discovered there were fundamental problems in using psychology to interpret the kinds of experiences described in part one.
When I began to study this area I had initially hoped to find straightforward psychological theories that I could apply to my thinking in video games. Instead I found an unbridgeable chasm dividing one ideology from another, a division running deep within psychology with imagination and subjective experience at its heart. On one side of this divide lie the schools of cognitive, behaviourist and biological psychology, their theories and research being limited to the aspects of the mind that can be verified objectively using scientific methods. On the other side lie the psychodynamic and humanist
psychologies, concerned mainly with personal subjective experience and basing their work on the philosophy of phenomenology, which states that in any investigation we must start with our subjective experience, it being the only viewpoint open to us with any certainty.
The problem is, that while the objective (or “third person”) viewpoint has been extremely successful in providing models of behaviour and in describing explicit concepts such as learning and memory, it has had less success in the first-person, phenomenological realms of experience, consciousness and identity. As such, its proponents either limit their work to the non-subjective or take the extreme view that consciousness and subjective experience are secondary phenomena or completely illusory and do not represent an accurate context from which to view reality.
The phenomenological, first person viewpoint has a similar problem. Although it has been successful as a framework for a large number of psychotherapies and as an essential component in literary and cultural analysis, it has had difficulty finding an objective, scientific base in the theories offered by the third person perspective.
As psychologist William Glassman puts it (after D.N Robinson) “..it seems we are forced to choose between a psychology which is not scientific, and a science which is not psychology!” (Glassman, 2000). In approaching the imagination we are forced to choose the former, at least until we have a theory that successfully unites the first and third person pproaches, since the experiences described in part one and indeed the whole idea of game playing lie within the context of first person experience1.
Having decided on which side of the border we are on, we now have the second problem of finding a set of concepts to interpret these experiences. The first person realm is a vast sea of interconnecting and conflicting approaches, from depth psychology to cultural studies and post-structuralism. All of these perspectives are equally valid and no single viewpoint can encompass the entirety of first person experience (Of course, if you accept the postmodern critique of science, then the third person view is in no better position). This means that anything we say about first person experience will be an interpretation, not an explanation, one viewpoint amongst many others.
One of the most interesting and useful viewpoints that we can use to explore video games and the experiences they evoke is that of Jungian depth psychology. Although it is controversial in academic circles2, Jungian psychology has been a great influence on the humanities and on many artists, writers and film- makers. Its concepts seem to fit video games like a glove, offering us a set of ideas that we can use to explore the complex relationship between a player
and a game, and indeed between a designer and a game. It could also radically change the way we look at genre, violence and the process of playing amongst other things. Jungian psychology is a complex and multifaceted subject and I can only give the barest introduction to it in such a short article. This brief introduction is only intended to show how it relates to games design, and to give the reader the knowledge necessary for understanding the design concepts
that can be derived from it. Readers wanting a deeper understanding of Jungian psychology are directed to the books listed in the bibliography. Lets start off by exploring the psychology of play and fantasy, subjects that underlie every aspect of game playing.
Fantasy, Play and Projection
Play has long been recognised as a fundamental part of human, even animal nature. Psychologists and educationalists see play as being a natural form of learning. Through play, nature trains the biological and psychological functions necessary for life, from hunting and physical survival, to social co- operation and cultural participation. On a cognitive level, play encourages the development of our concepts about the world. By toying with objects and ideas through playful experimentation we develop an understanding of the physical world and our place within it.
But there is more to play than just encouraging adaptation to our surroundings or the development of rational skills. The great theorist of play Johann Huizinger believed that it was the basis of all forms of ritual and represented the foundational impulse behind many forms of art and drama. He also maintained that far from being a wasteful exercise or the antithesis of work, play was essential to the well-being of society (Poole, 2000; Rheingold, 1991).
Although the educational and social aspects of play are widely known and accepted, introverted play, fantasy and pure make-believe are less well regarded. This may be due to the extroverted bias of our culture or to Freud’s popular notion that fantasy represents a regressive means of escaping from reality. But according to Jungian psychology, fantasy is just as important as any other kind of thinking and in fact, is essential to healthy psychological growth. Just as extroverted play orientates the individual to the outside world and helps him comprehend it, introverted play or fantasy, according to Jung, orientates the individual to his inner world. In the stories, figures and landscapes of fantasy, an individual plays with different elements of his own personality rendered in symbolic form (Stevens, 1999).
This is not to say that extroverted and introverted play are mutually exclusive. I’m sure many readers will remember playing with toys or other objects and investing them with a meaning quite unrelated to their actual function. By rojecting his imagination (often unconsciously) onto an object, an individual gives it a new and personal meaning. This allows him to concretise his inner fantasy play by representing it with symbolic objects. Thus a stick becomes a
gun, a teddy bear becomes a comforting friend and a collection of blocky sprites becomes a menacing foe. Projection is used in this way by play therapists, who know that a child, who may not be able to verbalise or consciously understand her feelings, will often enact personal issues through toys, with inner processes, conflicts and goals mirrored symbolically in the stories and themes of play.
The Game as Imagination Space
I think that the concept of projection goes some way in describing how a person becomes immersed in a video game. Through identifying consciously or subconsciously with the different characters, narratives and processes in a game, the player is able to explore personal issues, goals and ideals, as well as participate in those transmitted to her by her culture. This doesn’t just mean that a player will identify solely with a game’s controllable characters, it means that the game as a whole will act as a kind of “imagination space” with enemies, themes, landscapes, items and processes all reflecting a particular imaginative concern. The interplay of two opposing characters or political groups for example, may symbolise an inner conflict. A satisfying union, such as the moment in an RPG when a particularly enigmatic or dangerous character joins the player’s party may symbolise the resolution of an inner conflict represented by the characters differing natures. Of course seeing everything in a game as a projection of the imagination is a best case scenario. Since most games have fixed processes and plotlines, they won’t all relate to the concerns of every player. But as games increase in complexity and freedom, they will be able to accommodate many different playing styles and personal goals, mirroring the inner dynamics of the players personality. This idea of a game as an imagination space may sound unusual but it has an interesting historical parallel in the form of ancient Greek theatre.
When a citizen of ancient Greece went to the theatre, he didn’t go to be mildly amused or to view the kind of lightweight nonsense that passes for entertainment today. He went there to experience catharsis, a release of deep feeling that to the Greeks was related to the purification of the senses and the soul. The key to catharsis was mimesis, a combination of the suspension of disbelief, the ability to empathise with the characters on-stage and the ability to internalise the drama as it was performed, In other words, to relate to the drama on a personal, imaginative level (Rheingold, 1991). To the
Greeks, catharsis was a healthy way of dealing with the great themes of life and death, and it’s not for nothing that the term is retained by psychology today, to describe the release of emotion related to the resolution of an internal difficulty. Such catharsis may also occur within our digital imagination space, when an event occurs of particular resonance to the gamer, such as the union of two formerly opposing characters or the surmounting of a difficult
obstacle, though often at differing levels of intensity.
Another parallel is found in the work of the great German novelist and Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse. In his novel Steppenwolf, Hesse explores the possibility of literature representing “..the ego as a manifold entity.” He also advises the reader, “not to regard the characters of such a creation as separate beings, but as the various facets and aspects of a higher unity” (Hesse, 1927).
But what are the various facets and aspects of the psyche that we project onto a game? Can we say anything general about them that we could use in game design or are they utterly unique in every person? And how do the inner concerns of an individual relate to and identify with the epic and often otherworldly themes found in games and fantasy? To answer these questions we need to turn to Jung’s metapsychology, that is, his map of the imagination.
The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Many readers will be familiar with the notion of the unconscious or subconscious mind, that aspect of the psyche that contains all that consciousness is unaware of. This includes such things as memories, forgotten experiences, subliminal perceptions and habitual tendencies such as the ability to drive a car without thinking about it. Most popular ormulations of the unconscious regard it as a tabula rasa, or a blank slate upon which a person’s experiences are
written as he or she goes through life. This view leads many to the conclusion that all minds are utterly different, or that the personality is entirely constructed by society and circumstance. As well as failing to take biology into account, with the fact that all brains share the same basic mechanisms, this idea failed to impress Carl Jung, who for nine years had conducted a study of the delusions and hallucinations experienced by sufferers of schizophrenia.
Jung noticed, when studying the dreams, fantasies and delusions of his patients, that many of them contained images and ideas that could not be related to a patient’s life history. They could, of course, be explained away as meaningless mental irregularities, but he also noticed that these images and ideas were very similar to ones found in mythical and religious symbolism from all over the world. As psychiatrist Anthony Stevens explains, “Jung gathered a wealth of evidence which persuaded him that this universal symbolism was due less to individual experience or cultural dissemination than to the structure of the human brain and to a fundamental component of the unconscious psyche which was shared by all humankind” (Stevens, 1999). Jung called this fundamental component the collective unconscious.
Within the collective unconscious, Jung posited the existence of archetypes. These are fundamental psychological patterns that relate to the universal symbols described above. As Jung explains,”The concept of the archetype.. is derived from the repeated observation that, for instance, the myths and fairy tales of world literature contain motifs which crop up everywhere. We meet these same motifs in the fantasies, dreams, deliria and delusions of individuals
living today..These typical images and associations are what I call archetypal ideas” (Storr, 1998). Although Jung’s archetypal hypothesis is controversial2, some thinkers believe that it might represent a first-person view of such third-person concepts as the cognitive schemata of cognitive science and the evolved psychological mechanisms of evolutionary psychology; although it is not yet clear how much of an archetypal pattern is inherited and how much is culturally transmitted (Glassman, 2000; Stevens,1998).
Typical archetypal ideas that often appear in myths, dreams and fantasies include, the hero, the devouring monster, the wise old man or woman, the father, the mother, the “dream woman” the “dream man”, helpful animals and the dangerous enemy. There are also archetypal processes such as the heroic quest, the descent into the underworld, the slaying of a dragon, sexual union, the rising and setting of the sun, birth and death. These archetypal ideas symbolise the universal components and processes of the psyche and can often evoke a strong emotional impact.
This is not to say that an archetype is a mythical image or being. Mythical images, along with those found in dreams and fantasies are representations, or symbols of the archetypes. Archetypes themselves are innate psychological patterns with no content of their own, that take on the appearance of real life images that relate to them in some way. For xample, one person may have heroic fantasies of being a cyberpunk hacker, bringing down the systems of evil corporations and another may have fantasies of scoring the winning goal in the World Cup. Although the content of these fantasies are different, and the personalities of the wannabe hacker and the football fan may be utterly divergent, the basic form of their fantasies and the emotions associated with them are the same. Both examples depict the heroic triumph of a special individual, a universal theme of great antiquity, and both have similar related emotions; the feelings of mastery, personal strength, self-confidence and victory. In both individuals the hero archetype is at work, but it is expressed in different ways depending on their respective personalities and backgrounds. These are simplistic examples, just to illustrate the nature of the archetypes as “virtual ” patterns that take on the image of things that are related to them in a person’s life. Much more could be discovered by exploring feelings and attitudes relating to different parts of a fantasy, sometimes revealing things that may be other than heroic.
As well as appearing as the imaginary beings and landscapes of dreams and fantasies, archetypes can be activated by images and people in the outside world. Two powerful examples are the “dream man” or “dream woman”, the anima and animus. Have you ever seen a person of the opposite sex, either in real life or an image, and being struck with an overwhelming emotion beyond mere instinct; a feeling that he or she is “the one?” This person has a magical, eternal
quality, and when contemplating her face, your soul aches with an almost spiritual longing. He may appear to you as everything you have ever needed; when you are near him you are lost in rapture, when you are apart, you fall into a pit of darkest despair.
If, as a man, you have seen this woman, then you have met what Jungian psychology calls your anima, or soul-image. According to Jung, every man carries within his psyche the image of a woman, the anima. She appears to him in dreams, often as a guide, often as a magical being of almost painful beauty, sometimes as a dangerous seductress. Often she is projected, quite unconsciously, onto a real woman, investing this woman with her magical qualities, commonly obscuring the real woman underneath. Sometimes such projections can lead to lasting love, sometimes, when the real woman breaks through the projection and the man realises that she is not who he thought she was, he may accuse her of having “changed”, leave her, and go off in search of his anima princess, another woman who by chance embodies his inner love.
The animus is Jung’s term for the corresponding male image within a woman’s psyche. In dreams and fantasies he may be seen as a hero, sometimes as a rogue. Another symbol of the animus is as a brutal, animal-like male, as found in the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Again, women often see their animus in real men, sometimes leading to a stable relationship when the real man underneath is understood, and sometimes causing great difficulties when the animus
projection blinds her to reality. These examples show the power of projection, and also the power of the archetypes. They are not to be regarded as mere abstract concepts or ideas, they are the fundamental forces of the psyche.
Here’s another example, of great relevance to video games. Imagine a timid young boy, fearful of risk and somewhat overdependant on his parents. One day he sees a cartoon depicting heroic adventures. The boy feels a great emotional resonance when watching the show, watches it every week and starts playing imaginary games based upon it, seeing himself as his television hero or sharing the same adventures. He might imaginatively summon his favourite characters
to himself when he encounters difficult situations or before sleep, when he is alone in the darkness of night. Gradually, and with parental support and understanding the boy becomes more confident and independent.
This TV show has activated the boy’s hero archetype. This archetype often comes to the fore in dreams and fantasies whenever courage and strong self- identity are needed. The heroic games of children are expressions of this archetypal pattern that will arise quite naturally as part of their development, through conquering the dragons of dependence and fear, a child becomes less emotionally reliant on his parents and begins to build a stronger sense of identity. In this example, although the child may have had vague feelings of unease surrounding his initial situation, and may have had dreams containing heroic imagery, the TV show gave him concrete images that he could relate to and emulate. Through their similarity to the inner archetype, the images of the TV show become emotionally resonant symbols of it and make the unconscious qualities of self identity and courage known to the conscious mind. Through fantasy and play the child will eventually integrate the aspects of the hero archetype represented by the TV show into his conscious personality. The hero and the heroic quest are found almost universally in video games, and contrary to popular belief, are not limited to childhood concerns. I will explore these archetypes and their relevance to video games in more detail later.
The four most important archetypes, essential to any understanding of Jungian psychology are the shadow, anima, animus and self. These primary archetypes generally appear in most dreams and fantasies and in many video games, under various symbolic guises. In many individuals, the shadow is the first one to appear in dream and fantasy life and is a constant factor in the development of personality (Jung, 1964).
The shadow often (but not always) appears in dreams and fantasies as a threatening enemy representing the aspects of the unconscious mind that are unknown or repressed because of the attitude of the conscious mind towards them. In other words, the shadow is our “dark side” and will taint other archetypes depending on our relationship with them. A simplistic example is the straight laced business man who dreams of threatening anarchists or bohemians storming
into his office and causing a scene. A Jungian interpretation of this dream would be that the bohemians symbolise an unconscious creative talent, or attitude towards life that could be useful to the dreamer but remains outside the conscious personality because of his attitude towards it. This doesn’t mean that the dreamer should drop everything and become a bohemian, it means that he should try and integrate a little more creativity and spontaneity (or whatever he
associates with bohemians) into his life, qualities that for whatever reason his conscious personality finds threatening.
The shadow is often projected onto others. Perhaps our business man may be moved to rage whenever he encounters free-spirited creative individuals and will associate them with all kinds of evils. If he understands his dream and acts upon it, he may later dream of less threatening or even friendly bohemians, and will probably develop a more tolerant understanding of their real life counterparts.
A person who sees himself as a free-spirited bohemian however, may dream or fantasise about having conflicts with threatening straight laced business men, reflecting qualities that he consciously finds unpleasant, but may be useful to him, such as the ability to organise and think rationally. Working with the shadow is a real moral responsibility as it forces us to confront what we do not accept in ourselves and often project onto others, sustaining such problems
as racism and homophobia. To deal with the shadow is to deal with the ancient problem of good and evil on a personal level.
Jung’s shadow is pretty much the same as the notion of the Other, which is found in cultural studies and describes the way one culture represents those different from it. As Ziauddin Sardar describes it, “The most common representation of the Other is as the darker side, the binary opposite of oneself: we are civilised, they are barbaric; the colonialists are hard-working, the natives are lazy..” (Sardar and Van Loon, 1999).
Although the shadow often appears threatening, it may also represent qualities that the dreamer finds positive, but does not attribute to himself. A person might dream of a friend or compelling stranger of the same sex who displays qualities that the dreamer finds admirable, but is afraid of integrating into conscious life.
People might try to integrate the entire shadow or fight it off at every turn, but this is impossible. The basic facts of individual existence, that a person is one thing and not another, that a person says yes to some things and no to others, implies the basic opposition of ego and shadow, me and you, good and evil. The task of the individual is to develop an understanding of their shadow and what it tells them about themselves, to integrate what they can and negotiate with what they cannot.
The shadow appears almost universally in video games, as every enemy and every threatening character or idea. A gamer might choose games that depict the destruction of a certain order of enemy, reflecting his own relationship with his shadow. A designer may also create enemies and processes that reflect his own inner concerns. I`ll return to this important subject when I discuss using archetypal images in games.
The Anima and Animus
As we saw earlier, the anima and animus are the contrasexual archetypes within men and women respectively. Just as there is a biological imperative behind sexual attraction, Jung maintained that there was also a related psychological imperative. Jung said of man and the anima, “..the whole nature of man presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually. His system is tuned to woman from the start” (Stevens, 1999). And woman is tuned to man in much the same
way3. But the roles of the anima and animus go beyond blind sexual instinct as it is popularly perceived. The meaning of man to woman, and of woman to man relate closely to every aspect of the psyche and to every stage of its development.
According to Jungian psychology, the anima and animus, when they appear in dreams and fantasies are personifications of the relationship of an individual with his or her unconscious. In other words, a man will experience his unconscious as feminine, and a woman will experience hers as masculine. The anima often appears as a witch or as a magical woman with knowledge of deep and unfathomable realms, i.e. the unconscious mind, or as a guide such as Beatrice in Dante’s Paradiso (Jung, 1964). The anima also appears as a lover or companion, reflecting in dreams a successful relationship with the unconscious. She may sometimes appear as a princess to be rescued, as in many fairy tales and games. Guarded by a beast symbolising some attitude of the psyche that prevents a good relationship with the anima or with women, she must be saved by a hero strong enough to stand up to such a creature and not be devoured.
The anima also has a negative or shadow aspect. She may appear as a femme fatale, like the mythical sirens luring men to their doom with their magical songs, or as a dangerous witch, symbolising both a negative attitude towards the anima and the unconscious, and the danger of encountering the unconscious without strength and discrimination. The anima is also tied up with all the qualities and attitudes that a man regards as feminine and by working with the anima, he can integrate and understand such valuable qualities.
The animus, the male image within a woman, often appears as an attractive heroic figure, sometimes as a wise spiritual guide. Just as the anima relates to feminine qualities in a man, the animus relates to perceived masculine qualities within a woman, such as heroic courage and rationality. By working with the animus, a woman can integrate these positive qualities into her personality. The animus also has a negative aspect and can appear as a rogue or criminal. Sometimes he appears as a beast, reflecting a wild, untamed and unintegrated animus, or a negative attitude towards masculinity and her relation to it. A woman dreaming of such a beast may be fearful at first, but as she works with the animus, he will be transformed into more attractive human forms. The story of Beauty and the Beast is a reflection of this process (Jung, 1964).
As I described earlier, the anima and animus can be projected on to real men and women, sometimes causing all kinds of dangerous obsessions and misunderstandings. By subconsciously tying up their anima or animus with a person of the opposite sex, an individual effectively identifies them with his own unconscious and requires their presence and their compliance to engage with it. This is not to say that anima and animus projection is entirely negative, it can be a tool of personal growth when recognised, and when the real man or woman behind the projection is accepted and understood.
The anima often appears in games as a woman to be rescued by the player, sometimes as a companion. There are few games depicting the relationship between a woman and her animus. But some games, such as the Final Fantasy series do a good job by giving the player a large number of male and female characters to control. To a male player a female character can symbolise his anima, such as Rinoa from FFVIII; Squall could symbolise the animus of a female player.
Squaresoft make this work by depicting their relationship from both perspectives. Gamers might choose games with themes that reflect their own relationship with their anima or animus, and designers might create characters and stories that reflect theirs.
Jung referred to the self as the “archetype of archetypes” (Stevens, 1999). It represents the totality of the psyche, both consciousness and unconsciousness and all that they contain. To Jungian psychology, the self is the innermost nucleus of the psyche. It is often symbolised in dreams, fantasies and mythology as a circle, mandala or square; as a quaternity, such as the “four corners of the universe” the four directions or a circle divided into four. It may appear personified as a wise old man to a male dreamer, or as a wise old woman to a female, or perhaps as a great king or queen. Sometimes
it appears as a divine or magical child. Generally in myths, the self is symbolised by the “cosmic man” or woman, representing the totality of the individual. In games it is sometimes represented by the most powerful principle in the game’s world. In RPG’s it may be symbolised by the four elements, a magical jewel in the centre of the world or the tree of life. In other games it may be represented by such things as the space-time continuum, the fundamental genetic code, a nation state or by anything that symbolises the greatest power in a game.
The self is also symbolised by the helpful animals that often turn up in fairy tales to advise and assist the hero. Many of these animals appear in games, such as Link’s owl companion in Zelda 64, or the moogles in the Final Fantasy games. These creatures, unpredictable, often indestructible, but somehow vulnerable, possess a natural wisdom that defies any enemy and lifts them from the mundane world. They are often represented as servants of a great power, depicting the early appearance of the self as it guides the struggling hero towards his destiny.
The self is also an archetype of healing and unity, and will often arise in the dreams and fantasies of people struggling with inner conflicts. The drawings of children who are in the midst of divorce or family difficulties often contain circular motifs, symbolising the attempt of the self to bring some unity and healing to a child’s fragmenting inner world (Stevens, 1999). This healing and unifying aspect of the self can turn up in games, with the almost universal representation of force fields and energy shields as circular or spherical zones of light.
But the self also has a shadow side; as the most powerful force in the Jungian psyche, the shadow of the self is often symbolised by an ultimate evil. Taken together these two aspects reflects the great polarities of consciousness and unconsciousness, light and darkness.
These four archetypes are the main forces within the unconscious and are often projected on to objects in the outside world, including games. As one can see from the examples given, many games already contain symbols of these archetypes, either through social convention and repetition or through the imagination of the designer, who might spontaneously produce such symbols in a fantasy. But developers cannot simply put an archetypal image in a game and claim that they are being “Jungian”. We need to understand how the archetypes relate to the individual and to his psychological development, and why he has one fantasy rather than another.
The Archetypes and the Individual
The archetypes and the collective unconscious are in Jungian terms, the lowest level of the unconscious psyche, their patterns shaping the layers above. But as we have seen, the archetypes appear in dreams and fantasies as images from personal life. We have also seen that archetypes appear as positive or negative images depending on our relationship to them. In other words, they are coloured by the experiences we have in life and by our conscious attitude towards
them. In Jung’s model of the psyche, our relationship with the archetypes that determine how they appear to us is haped by the personal and cultural unconscious.
Above the collective unconscious lies the personal and cultural unconscious. The cultural unconscious contains all the unconscious assumptions given to an individual by the society he or she grows up in. Some writers do not refer to a cultural unconscious, as strictly speaking, all these experiences are mixed up with personal ones, but I will separate them as it allows an entry point for cultural studies, which as I will show, is an essential subject when using archetypal images in games. The personal unconscious is similar to the traditional view of the unconscious mind described at the start of this section. It contains all our memories, forgotten experiences, subliminal perceptions and habitual tendencies. It also contains our complexes.
The basic units of the personal unconscious that shape our relationship with the archetypes are the complexes. I’m sure many are familiar with the term complex, as it has entered popular use as a term describing all manner of psychological problems, but few are aware of what a complex actually is or how it arises. When an archetype is activated it gathers to itself ideas images and experiences associated with the situation or person that activated it. This bundle of experiences, emotions and ideas surrounding an archetype is a complex. A good example, given by psychiatrist Anthony Stevens, is the activation of the mother archetype in a child. According to Jungian psychology, every child is born with an innate expectancy of a mother figure, the archetype of the mother. This archetype becomes active when the child experiences a woman whose behaviour is similar to the child’s innate expectation of a mother. Sometimes this woman may be the birth mother, sometimes it may be a foster parent, aunt or older sister. The emotions and experiences associated with this mother figure form a complex, surrounding the archetype’s emotional core (Stevens, 1999).
The forming of complexes is completely normal, but they often cause suffering. An example of this is given by Anthony Stevens. Stevens described a woman whose childhood had been dominated by a brutal, tyrannical father. This woman’s father archetype was activated only partially and only the law-giving, authoritarian aspects of the father archetype were built into her father complex, with the loving and protecting aspects of the paternal archetype remaining unconscious. Stevens continued to describe how this woman kept being drawn to bullying men, but at the same time she had an unfulfilled longing for a man who would give her love and protection. According to Stevens, this woman’s dreams fantasies and behaviour showed that she longed for someone to activate and fulfil the unconscious aspects of her father archetype (Stevens, 1999). As well as demonstrating the harm done by bad parenting, this example also shows that
archetypes are complete, that they contain every aspect of fatherhood, motherhood, herohood and selfhood, and that once activated, they seek completion and conscious realisation. The archetypes in their total form are often symbolised in world mythology as figures such as Mother Earth or Gaia; as ultimate father figures such as Zeus, and as ultimate heroes such as Odysseus.
Our relation to the archetypes and the content of our complexes is also shaped by the culture we grow up in and the unconscious assumptions that we pick up as a member of society. An example is a society that promotes and encourages the view that a hero never shows his feelings. These emotions and images bound up with a particular society’s view of what makes a hero represent a kind of cultural complex, since it is held by a large number of people, and will be transmitted to members of that society whose own complexes are formed by such images. These cultural complexes, held by large numbers of people, are often projected on to others and often affect the way a society functions. They can be harmful as sociologists and cultural critics have shown. But such complexes cannot be argued with, reasoned with or overthrown by revolution; like personal complexes, which in fact they are, they require healing and transformation.
The gradual process of working through complexes and integrating unconscious contents into the conscious personality form Jung’s theory of psychological development, the individuation process. Unlike some theories of development that focus on social adaptation alone, the process of individuation describes a life long and personal process of increasing self awareness, maturity and self realisation. Individuation is a natural process of the psyche, occurring the background of one’s life, but it can be arrested by traumatic experiences, harmful complexes or a faulty attitude towards the unconscious. Individuation begins with the awakening of self consciousness and self identity in a child, and continues through the whole of life with the gradual integration and conscious understanding of the unconscious material that appears to an individual in their dreams fantasies and projections. The culmination of individuation is a successful relationship with the self, the archetype of wholeness that represents the totality of the individual psyche.
Complexes, such as a woman’s struggle against a tyrannical father figure and her search for his loving counterpart form the characters, themes and set- pieces of the inner dramas that are enacted in dreams and fantasies and projected on to the outside world. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the emotional resonance that a player associates with certain video game characters and themes derives from a projection of the players current psychological situation.
The fact that games are interactive allows a player to go beyond the passive projection or mimesis of theatre and literature, and to consciously take part in their fantasy. Thus the woman described earlier might be particularly drawn to a game that depicted a tyrant as an enemy and the rescue or discovery of a loving male figure as a goal. Whether such a game could help her therapeutically is debatable, but by seeing her inner concern and the path to its resolution within a game, and by being forced by its interactivity to make decisions regarding her inner situation, the woman is given a concrete set of ideas and images that might help her in some way. At the very least, this game and its challenges will be very relevant and involving to this particular woman.
By seeing images that reflect unconscious archetypal potential, a gamer may in some cases be assisted in his personal development. The emotional resonance experienced when unconscious archetypal potential is projected onto an image may account for the popularity of certain game characters and themes, and give a reason why some gamers like dressing up as their favourite character, or spend time drawing them or writing fan fiction. A gamers favourite character is a symbol or a reflection of unactivated archetypal potential. By playing the game, drawing pictures etc. the gamer is trying to integrate the aspects of the archetype represented by the character into his or her conscious personality.The process of resolving inner conflicts and integrating unconscious material may sound like very unusual subjects for a game, but this process is reflected in many games already, because it is symbolised in myths and fairy tales as the heroic quest. In part three of Games and the Imagination, The Game as Quest, I will explore the heroic quest and show how it operates as a symbol of the development of consciousness and identity. I will also show that far from being the preserve of RPG or adventure games, the heroic quest and the individuation process appear in the majority of genres, in a large number of games.
1: Selecting a first person viewpoint from which to interpret the imaginative relationship between a player and a game is fraught with difficulties. As we have seen there is a schism between the third person, objective viewpoint, and the first person, subjective viewpoint. Within the first person viewpoint there is a further schism; between a perspective that regards the psyche as a social or linguistic construct (the tabula rasa view described earlier) and the Jungian viewpoint that states that the psyche is based on fundamental inherited psychological structures. Most schools of aesthetic or cultural criticism focus on the former, because it has a strong base in linguistics and semiotics which are ideal tools for understanding structures of cultural meaning. This viewpoint has already been successfully applied to video games (Poole, 2000) and I regard it as highly important. But I maintain that any attempt to understand video games must include personal psychology and address the issue of personal meaning, and that any personal psychology that claims that the psyche is a tabula rasa is incomplete, as overwhelming third person research will attest. The relationship between a player and a game is a complex one, and any “playability theory” must encompass cognitive, personal (in the sense of something having a unique resonance and meaning to an individual) and cultural domains.
What is needed is a dual integration; firstly between a first person psychology that admits the existence of universal (i.e. inherited) psychological structures, and a first person psychology that admits the intersubjective, cultural and ntextual nature of the material based on those structures; and secondly, an integration of the third person objective viewpoint and the first person subjective viewpoint. The first integration is a conceptual matter, the second is known by consciousness researchers as the “Hard Problem.” Until such an integration takes place, anything said about the psychology of video games, and indeed the psychology of anything, will be limited and provisional.
2: Jungian psychology is controversial in academic psychology because it is a first person theory, and like all first person theories it cannot find a sound base in third person research. It is controversial in first person academic fields such as cultural studies, because it claims that the psyche is not a total social construction and because Jung’s complex, heavyweight writings have often been misunderstood. As it occupies a middle ground between the first and third person realms, it is in a difficult philosophical position, but as I stated in the note above, the only way for psychology to go forwards is to embrace an integrative approach, and Jung’s ideas may provide a stepping stone towards that.
3: The description of the anima and animus, as the female “image” within a male and the male “image” within a female is not to make any judgement regarding homosexuality, it is just the common description used by Jungian writers for ease of understanding. Since the archetypes are psychological and emotional patterns with no content of their own, they are not innate images of men or women, but the feelings and ideas associated with them. Therefore, the anima “feeling” of a homosexual man, that is, the feeling of a desirable, or perhaps dangerous “other” will be symbolised by a male image or projected onto a man.
In the previous part of Games and the Imagination I introduced the concept of the game as imagination space, a seamless whole where the different characters, objects and processes of a game act as symbolic representations of a players inner concerns. To understand the imagination space and its relationship to the player I introduced Jungian psychology and the concept of archetypes, low level psychological patterns that shape perception and understanding, patterns that not only appear as symbols in dreams, fantasies and myths, but also in many games, either through social convention or through the imagination of the designer. One of the most important archetypal processes is the heroic quest, which not only forms the structure of countless myths and fairy tales from across the globe, but also appears in the structures, processes and plots of many video games.
From Crowther and Wood’s Advent, through Zelda and Final Fantasy, to Tomb Raider, Pokemon and beyond, the heroic quest has been at the core of video games. It appears both explicitly, as in most of the RPG genre, and in a lighter, thematic sense as in Command and Conquer, or in any game that depicts an individual or a group under a common banner, a challenge and a goal. Its continuing popularity amongst developers and gamers suggests that this theme goes
beyond the mere cliché.Why is it such a common theme? The writer Steven Poole suggests that the action based nature of the heroic quest lends itself to video games which are not yet equipped to handle the nuance of other themes (Poole, 2000). This may be true, but it only tells part of the story. As a choice of theme the heroic quest goes beyond the utilitarian. For example, there is the interesting observation that a great number of beginning game designers attempt an RPG, the most common representation of the quest, as their first effort, or at least express the desire to work towards creating one in the future. For many designers the perfectly realised heroic quest represents the summit of their efforts. It seems reasonable to suppose that there is a whole class of “questing” designers, as opposed to those who might see their work chiefly in terms of logical puzzles or literary and cinematic storytelling etc.
One of main reasons why the heroic quest is such a popular theme for both gamers and developers is that it is an archetypal theme, a universal human symbol. To Jungian psychology the heroic quest is a symbolic reflection of an important part of the inner journey of psychological growth and development. According to Jungian psychology, the motif of the hero arises in dreams and fantasies whenever strong self identity and consciousness are needed (Jung, 1964). The hero is the person who can encounter the forces of the unconscious mind with its dark labyrinths and devouring dragons without being lost or devoured, without being overwhelmed by the unconscious and losing his individual identity. This archetype is especially important in the psychological development of children and young people who are faced with the task of separating psychologically from their parents and developing a strong sense of identity. But it isn’t exclusive to childhood alone; it can appear in dreams and fantasies whenever strength is needed to encounter the forces of unconsciousness and return safely with its treasures.
The Structure of the Heroic Quest
According to the scholar Joseph Campbell, who studied the heroic quest from a moderately Jungian perspective in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, the heroic quest is an amplification of the initiation rituals found in many cultures across the globe. These rituals generally have three stages, departure, initiation and return. In the first stage, the person undergoing the initiation either leaves or is taken from his familiar surroundings. In the second stage, the person undergoes an initiation ritual which has the effect of significantly changing his view of the world. In the third stage, the individual who has been initiated returns home, but with a new role. Some cultures, for example initiate boys into manhood by taking them away from the childhood world of their families and subjecting them to painful or strenuous rituals that have the effect of breaking the psychological tie with the old world and preparing them for their new roles as men (Campbell, 1949).
From the Jungian perspective, this cycle of departure, initiation and return reflects the inner process of encountering the unconscious mind, integrating previously unknown psychological contents, and making them a part of the conscious personality. This process mirrors the initiation ritual in that it involves a departure from one’s old sense of self (childhood for example, or a set of views that no longer serve a person), a sometimes strenuous encounter with the contents of the unconscious in the form of inner turmoil, dreams, fantasies and projections, resulting in their integration into the conscious personality, which “returns” as it were, transformed, with a new sense of self (Jung, 1964).
This process is symbolised by the heroic quest, which Campbell summarised as, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man”(Campbell, 1949). So, heroic tales act as imagination spaces, with the hero representing the ego of the individual (or in many cases, the strength of ego required by an individual undergoing such a journey), the different places he visits and the beings he encounters representing different aspects of his unconscious mind, and the narrative itself representing the ways in which the ego deals with these unconscious contents. The boon of the returning hero is a symbol of the inner treasure that has been wrested from unconsciousness and successfully integrated into the conscious personality.
Some myths and fairy tales symbolise a single cycle, that is, they deal with only a few “inner issues”. Others are comprised of many such cycles, often nested within each other, dealing with different aspects of the psyche within a single epic journey, a journey that taken as a whole represents the entire process of individuation.
These cycles are not necessarily in a linear order, in most stories and games they overlap and interrelate in complex ways. Lets look at each stage of the cycle in turn and explore a few of the many motifs associated with them. As with the Jungian psychology described in part two, it is not possible in this short article to detail every permutation of the heroic quest. Readers wanting a deeper understanding are referred to the books in the bibliography; particularly Jung’s Man and His Symbols, Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces and Marie-Louise Von Franz’s The Interpretation of Fairy Tales and Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales.
Here begins the journey. The opening scene of the heroic quest and the introduction of the hero often takes place in relatively mundane, safe and unthreatening surroundings, such as the hero’s native town or family home. Sometimes, this place may be idyllic, sometimes, as in many modern stories such as The Matrix, the opening situation is less pleasant. It is an undifferentiated state, where the hero’s identity has yet to emerge from the unconscious collectivity of the family home or society. Sometimes it symbolises a way of life gone stale, a state of being that no longer suits an individual. In Jungian terms, the opening scene of the quest is a symbol of an initial psychological situation. This could be a safe childhood home reflecting the world of a child before he separates psychologically from his parents, or a scene of a man dissatisfied with his life as it is, living below his potential in some anonymous metropolis. As an imagination space, the totality of the initial scene, its landscapes and characters, mirror a particular inner state.
But the normality and mundanity of this scene is interrupted. A messenger arrives, in the form of a strange person, an animal or a fateful event that gives the hero-to-be a glimpse of another world. This is the hero’s call to adventure. Perhaps the benevolent king falls ill and needs the cure of a magical herb; perhaps the hero catches a glimpse of a beautiful woman or a compelling stranger; an enemy may arise, threatening the home of the hero; or kidnapping him or
his relatives or friends The mythical world has many ways of luring people to their destiny.This strange messenger or event in its negative form is a symbol of the shadow; in its positive form it may symbolise the anima, animus, or perhaps an early
appearance of the self. It has appeared to lure the hero away from his initial, unsatisfying situation, to show him aspects of himself or of his life that he must deal with if he is to grow.
For me, Zelda, Ocarina of Time is the game that is most successful in creating this initial situation. The village in which the adventure starts is a warm, enclosed childhood paradise, the enjoyment of which is enhanced by the ominous high walls and dark exit tunnels surrounding it, giving the player a foreknowing of the dangers to come; an awareness of both the safety of home, and the shadowy world outside. This contrast between safety and fear is precisely the experience of the call to adventure.
Sometimes the messenger is ignored, the call refused. The hero becomes trapped in his fear of change, his own misguided apprehensions. His world becomes a sterile wasteland. After glimpsing the world beyond, yet refusing it in favour of the safe, limiting village, he essentially refuses to grow. The hero becomes a victim to be saved. The story of sleeping beauty has this motif, with the young Briar Rose’s refusal symbolised by her being put to sleep by a hag. This motif appears in Final Fantasy VII, when the hero Cloud falls into a paralysing despair, requiring the heroine Tifa to enter his dream orld to rescue him.
The first encounter for those who have not refused the call is generally with a mentor, a kindly teacher or guide. Often depicted as a wise old man or woman, sometimes as an animal, who gives the hero advice or magical items needed on the journey. Examples include Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke’s mentor in Star Wars; Professor Oak in Pokemon, and in Zelda, Ocarina of Time, a wise owl who appears at appropriate times to give direction and advice, as well as Link’s fairy companion, who gives constant guidance throughout the game. These characters are early symbols of the self, the totality of the psyche, giving the hero the assurance that the strange realms about to be entered can be survived and understood.
After leaving home and meeting with a mentor, the hero faces the challene of the threshold guardian, a being who protects the gateway between the known and the unknown. Every region has its tales of the bogeymen, ogres and monsters that lurk outside the city gate, the trolls under the bridge, the wild punishment for those who dare to venture beyond conventional boundaries, both cultural and personal. This threshold represents the point of no return, the boundary between the known and the unknown, the conscious and the unconscious. Sometimes the crossing of the threshold is symbolised by a hazardous journey or by the entrance to a cave or labyrinth.
Having crossed the threshold, the hero enters a world of strange powers and difficult challenges, all reflecting the psychological concerns that lead the hero away from home. Some tales may tell of only one challenge but most contain several, repeating the cycle again and again within this realm, reflecting the different psychological contents that must be integrated and understood in order to face a greater final challenge.
Three common trials or events that take place in the realm of initiation are the confrontation with an enemy, a meeting with, or rescue of a beloved person, and the theft or retrieval of a magical or important object. The battle with an enemy may symbolise the struggle with a harmful or inappropriate attitude, such as a child’s overdependance on his parents. In this case the symbolic enem must be battled with and slain so that the individual can progress. Sometimes the encounter with an enemy may symbolise the struggle with the shadow, with unconscious contents that one does not accept but could be integrated into the conscious personality like the businessman example in part two. In this case, the enemy is confronted and battled, but is eventually redeemed.
Sometimes a beloved person is rescued. In many stories and games this person is a woman, symbolising the anima, the battle for her rescue symbolising the struggle to free her and her related qualities from the clutches of a negative attitude such as a harmful dependence on one’s parents. The negative attitude can sometimes be symbolised by the beloved being in a frightening form as in beauty and the beast. One story, an Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain, a knight of the round table illustrates this beautifully. King Arthur was once challenged by a powerful giant with the riddle, “What, above all else does a woman desire?” He travelled across the land asking women this question, but he was unsure as to whether the diverse answers he received would satisfy the giant. In a forest he came across a hag who’s appearance nearly caused him to faint. He plucked up courage and asked her the question. The woman made Arthur promise to give her anything she wanted in return, before giving the answer, “A woman wants more than anything else, to exercise her free will.” Arthur returned to the giant, who confirmed that this was correct. After going back to the forest, Arthur thanked her and asked her what she wanted in return. “To marry a knight of the round table,” was her reply, much to Arthur’s dismay.
Arthur returned to Camelot to tell his knights of the adventure, and with a saddened heart, of the old hags request. Without hesitation, Sir Gawain stood up and offered himself as husband. After the wedding, Gawain and his bride retired to the marital bed, and he turned with some fear to his new wife. To his amazement, he saw not an old hag, but the most beautiful woman he had ever known. A spell had turned her into a hag, and could only be broken if the greatest
knight in Britain married her of his own free will. But one more task was to be done before the spell would be completely broken. She asked Gawain to decide if she was to be ugly by day and beautiful by night or beautiful by day and ugly by night. He thought for a while before saying that the choice was hers to make. She smiled, the spell had been completely broken and she would be her beautiful self again. Gawain had truly understood the giant’s riddle.
In many cases the object of the hero’s struggle is a magical or important item. This item is a symbol of some important quality that has remained unconscious. Jung gave an example of a woman patient who dreamed of discovering a sword. When asked about this sword the woman replied that it reminded her of a dagger belonging to her father. Her father was a wilful man with a powerful personality, possessed of qualities that the woman felt she lacked. By discovering this sword, she was beginning to uncover these qualities in herself (Hyde, 2000).
After the struggle of initiation the hero returns triumphantly to his home, transformed by his experiences. Often, the hero is crowned king or given an important position. His victory may have revitalised the world, having vanquished the forces that threatened it. Just as the opening scene of the quest symbolises an initial psychological situation, the end scene represents the new healed or transformed inner situation; the new order in the hero’s land symbolising the new order in the psyche.
Individuation and the Hidden Process
Although the heroic quest appears most explicitly in RPG and action games, the process that it symbolises, the individuation process, seems to exist at a low level in many other games. In my previous article, The Yin and Yang of Games: Code and Content, I described a “hidden” process found in many games:
“A game can be described at its most fundamental level as a total system; a system of changing variables, the limits and functions of which are set by the designer who can by the nature of logic, predict every outcome of every change in any variable. [Note: By variable, I do not mean the constructional elements of a programming language i.e. DWORD's, CHAR's etc., but the discrete, changing elements of a game as they are perceived by the player; the game's objects, options and playing pieces]
Here, the designer has the total perspective of a god. At this perspective, there is no conflict, no excitement, just a system running perfectly. (Well, maybe with a few little bugs..)
“To create the conflict and relative unpredictability of a game we need to step inside it and take up a perspective that limits our view of the total system. This perspective is the player, or more fundamentally, the set of variables over which the user has knowledge and control. The variables over which the user has no knowledge or control are the opposition, the enemy. Often, the set of variables that comprise the player must be maintained in a certain way to retain coherence of the player perspective.
“At its most basic, the game is the process by which the player manipulates the variables at his or her disposal to create a state of completion, or of stasis in the system, by either taking control of all the opposing variables, or by eliminating them. At this point, if no further opposition is forthcoming, the player has total knowledge of the system. Now equal with the designer there is no further reason to play”(Dare, 2001).
Interestingly, this process of gradually coming to knowledge of game elements1 is very similar to the individuation process, of gradually integrating unconscious contents into the conscious mind. In other words, the individuation process is, or can be represented in a game at a very low level; in abstract, systematic terms as well as in terms of plot or imagery. One could even say that representig this process is what games do best, and that rather than being simply a platform for storytelling or simulation, games are primarily platforms for psychological and imaginative expression.
The heroic quest is used almost instinctively and often unreflectively, by many developers. But by understanding its psychological interpretation and how it relates so closely to the underlying form of most video games, developers can not only make more creatively varied games, they can also create more meaningful experiences for their players.
In part four of Games and the Imagination, Integrating the Imagination, I will explore some of the ways that the Jungian perspective given here can be used in the creation of games. Amongst other things, I will explore the way that we can use the ideas of this series to widen the language of genre to a great degree, and offer a new perspective on that thorny issue of violence in games.
The main theme of this series of articles has been how, by understanding the psychology of the gaming experience, we can create more powerful and meaningful experiences for players. But none of this understanding is of any use if we do not integrate it with our current design methodology. This, the final part of Games and the Imagination looks at some of the ways that we can use these new ideas to extend our games design concepts and to address difficult issues such
as violence and the problems of using narrative in an interactive medium. These ideas represent only a few of the possibilities given by the Jungian approach, but in my view they are some of the most important and wide ranging. One of the most revolutionary ideas implied by this approach concerns genre, and implies that far from being the primary elements of games design, genres are in fact secondary and are encompassed by a much wider framework of ideas.
Fantasy and Genre
From time immemorial developers have divided games into distinct genres, such as the platform game, the RPG and the first-person-shooter. Although these terms are useful as a shorthand way of talking about games, their repeated use has lead them to be regarded as the primary elements of game design. This has created a very restrictive situation where many designers find it hard to see anything outside this limiting typology. The lack of wider descriptive terms
forces a designer to see everything in terms of RPG or first-person-shooter, and to regard any widening of this language or the creation of a new genre as the result of some intuitive leap of genius.
But the concept of the imagination space gives us a way of overcoming this situation, a way of transcending the limits of genre by placing it within a much wider framework of ideas. In this new formulation, the primary framework is the underlying fantasy, the inner world or imagination space that the developer wishes to express in code. The developer does this by exploring the fantasy and finding particular technical devices and structures that can express it. Such
devices include display techniques such as the isometric map or first person view, different types of control technique such as the point and click mechanism commonly used in the RTS and other complex structures and relationships involving multiple game objects. From this perspective, the different elements and devices that make up a game are a kind of language that is used to express an imagination space.
Certain devices work well at expressing particular fantasies, so they get used again and again often unreflectively, eventually becoming fused with the ideas they attempt to express, creating the idea of distinct genres. It would be a worthwhile undertaking, I think, to analyse a large number of games and explore how these common devices work together to evoke a particular fantasy or experience. Such an analysis would yield a large number of different building blocks and relationships that could be used independently of any particular theme.
Many developers make the mistake of focusing on these secondary devices rather than on the fantasy that they want to express. Separating the two is often very difficult, as a game designer’s fantasy may contain elements of these structures. The trick is to notice the feelings associated with them, to take the primary images, feelings and themes of a fantasy and find or create the best constructional techniques to express them.
The Problem of Narrative*
The problem of narrative, of integrating a linear storyline within an interactive game is widely acknowledged as one of the most intractable problems in the field of games design. Although many techniques exist and will attract developers and gamers for a long time to come, none of them solve the Hard Problem; the problem of creating a truly dynamic narrative, of creating virtual worlds wherealthough the themes and imagery in the world remain consistent, the
actions of different players lead to utterly different and utterly credible outcomes.
To solve this problem, we need a way of designing a game where the designer sets the theme, the world-space where the game takes place, and the player can then explore and experience whatever permutations of that theme he or she desires. This seems an impossible goal, and more akin to the lucid dream or Holodeck, but I believe that we can at least lay the theoretical ground work that could make this advance possible in the future.
To create this open-ended story world we need to find a way of defining our game objects and systems so that they produce meaningful narrative changes and promote dramatic tension. We need to embed a theory of narrative into the code itself at a very low level. Just as we can drop an object into one of our game physics environments and see it react to different forces, we need to be able to create game objects that are subject to narrative forces.
In the nineteen-eighties, the well known computer scientist Brenda Laurel put forward the idea of creating an interactive world that was shaped by the “rules” of drama as described by Aristotle in his Poetics. Every action and event in this hypothetical virtual world would be affected by these underlying rules, with the whole game being shaped by them as it progressed (Rheingold, 1991). At the time, expert systems were perceived as the best way of creating such a game, but creating the expert system and quantifying Aristotle’s rules in a suitable way would prove very difficult.
Rather than attempt to systematise the ideas of Aristotle, I propose a system based on Jung’s model of the psyche. As a dynamic system it already fits in naturally with the way games work, and mathematical models based on Jung’s ideas already exist and could be utilised (Sulis, 1998). These models are useful because of the way they can handle polymorphic sets”. They have been used in psychiatry, and believe it or not, in modelling convective systems. The rules
of drama, of mimesis and catharsis exist as a subset of Jung’s model, in the form of the relations between the ego, the complexes, and the unconscious. Such a system would be, in effect, a simple dream simulator.
In this system, the ego would be equivalent to the player perspective (See Dare, 2001 for an explanation of this term), the unconscious would be equivalent to the game world, and the complexes would determine both the player’s character and goals. The game world would be built as a dynamic, hierarchical system of archetypes, with the complexes determining how those archetypes appear and act towards the player. Every object or being in the game world would be
defined by its relationship to the various archetypes, and its use and appearance to the player would be determined by his complexes. The player’s path through the game would be a kind of “individuation process”, working through and integrating the “complexes” that make up the player’s identity, with the game world, the storyline and the player character changing coherently as a result.
These ideas are highly complex and I am still in the process of researching them, but I think that using Jung’s model of the psyche as the basis of an interactive world could one day prove to be an important development in games design.
Violence is an unavoidable and inflammatory subject in video games. Since the earliest days of the industry there have been concerns about the violent nature of many games, concerns which unfortunately have never been satisfactorily allayed by the industry’s major figures. There is a feeling in the industry that it is hard to design non violent games, harder still to sell them to a predominantly young male audience. Admittedly, many of the arguments against violence
in games stem from ignorance and from a misunderstanding of the gaming experience; but on the other hand, most of the arguments from the developers side have an evasive quality that does little to convince. The scientific research done on the subject has been inconclusive.
If the industry is to defeat the arguments levelled against it, it must face up to this issue. It must come to understand the range of reactions that a game can evoke and formulate a coherent way of depicting violence with psychological responsibility.
These are difficult issues, but the Jungian approach to games design can help us a great deal. Firstly, it tells us that games (and music for that matter) are not so much causes of behaviour (except perhaps in the very young) as they are catalysts, or mirrors for feelings that already exist, either consciously or unconsciously. A person may come to a game to validate a particular fantasy, but the game is unlikely to be a root cause. Secondly, it tells us thatsimply forcing people to make non-violent games will not work. A gamer will have no interest in a game if it does not in some way reflect his or her psychological situation. A gamer with a propensity towards violent fantasy will be attracted to games that mirror those concerns.
So how can designers create violent games with psychological responsibility? The answer is by creating games that depict the integration of the shadow, by taking the gamer on a journey from opposition and anger, to integration and understanding. This can be done through the storyline or through the game mechanics. One RPG design I created attempted this by having two main characters, one good and one evil. At certain points the scene would change and the
player would be in control of the evil character. The story would then continue from his point of view, and the player would be forced into comprehending and undertaking decisions that would have a detrimental effect on the main, good character and the world at large. The game would gradually lead these two characters together, transforming them both, and the player would be taken along with them. Although it is easier to depict the integration of the shadow with story based games, it can be done in almost any game with a little thought.
Throughout this series I have discussed fantasy, a subject derided by many as irrelevant escapism. I hope I have proved in some small way that fantasy is in fact, relevant escapism. It is through the images of imaginative fantasy that we escape and overcome our limitations. By their enchantment our fantasies lead us away from the mundane, unquestioned life. They point out directions, signal dangers, and have the power to enrich our lives if we but learn to watch and understand them.
We have reached the end of this series of articles, but we certainly haven’t finished exploring the limitless world of games and the imagination. The Jungian approach described here is not the only way we can explore this issue. In some respects, game design is an act of creative metaphysics; in making our games we are defining what a world is, and what place the player has in it. It seems to me that every theory of the world, of society and of mind could be used to explore our games. Each question answered, each puzzle solved leads to yet more questions, more mysteries and more ideas. Every section of this series could be expanded to create a series of its own, and in the future I hope to release more articles exploring these ideas in greater detail. But until then, I only hope that these articles have been as interesting and enjoyable to read as they were for me to write.