I played Game, Game, Game, and again Game and I thought about Galloway’s chapter about “countergaming”, and I started thinking about how the the six differences he listed apply to this game. Some of the things Galloway listed were very relevant and were obvious differences in this game compared to mainstream games I have played in the past.
The first think I noticed was the background of this game. Like Galloway lists as Aestheticism, this game did not focus on rules very much. At the beginning, we are given very simple instructions on how to move through the levels, but that’s it. And you do not have to do much to pass a level. Basically you just roll through to get to the door and it requires very little thought. Much more emphasis is put on the images seen in the levels. Each level has unique pictures and a link to open a home video, or “video proof” as he called it. Every level is just a flash of moving words, creatures, and random pictures somehow linked to the name of the level. For example, “The Faithful” level has a cross. On the opening page, Nelson even wrote the words “design, design, design”.
I also noticed how there was some “invented physics” in this game. For example, on one of the levels, you have to roll up a hill. If you stop halfway, you do not roll down like realistic physics would predict. You instead just sit there in that spot.
There were some visual artifacts also, where you get sent back to the beginning if you hit the creature that it is “not alive” as an example. Also when the screen jumps to a random picture or word when you hit a certain spot. This breaks the illusion of representational modeling that conventional games have.
There was one thing that I noticed was not common of countergames and that was interactivity vs. noncorrespondence. In this game, I could see a player-game relationship where I was in control and could see my movements instantly, which Galloway said is more common with conventional games versus countergames.
This game and the others we were supposed to play were the first “countergames” I have ever played. From what I noticed, the biggest difference was the lack of reality in many of them. It is not about the best, most realistic visuals. These games instead use words, videos, made up creatures, and anything else they can think of to make their statement.
I had trouble trying to figure out what the underlying social statement was though. The flashing of words and pictures was hard to follow and gave me an instant headache. Can anyone help me out here?