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When you ask someone who their favorite fictional character is, it’s likely that they’ll tell you something like Tom Sawyer, or some dude from Star Wars.  You’d probably think that they were a weirdo if they said their favorite character was themselves playing portal.

I liked Jenkins’ paper comparing the different types of narratives in games, and tried to think about my opinions on the narrative vs mechanics game debate.  My opinion on that really isn’t relevant, but I thought it led me into thinking about why game is even used as a vessel for narrative, and how they compare with other modes of narrative.  This is a pretty vast wasteland of vague questions that could be asked, and are all probably very interesting, but it overwhelms me so instead I’ll focus on 3d games vs 3d animated movies, because that limits the domain just enough for me to perceive a little structure.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that 3d games and 3d animated movies are the same medium.  When I start thinking about the difference between the game and the movie, I come up with things like the game gives the player a position in the space, the player becomes a character, the player can interact with the world, the player has a say in the story, etc.  All of these things are pretty positive.  When written down on paper, I’d say that these all go in the pro game category, and the fact that movies don’t offer these things would mean that they go in the cons for movies.  Returning to what was mentioned earlier about picking a favorite character, maybe we don’t pick ourselves because it’s incredibly obvious that we are our favorite character, and the question is clearly actually asking who our second favorite character is, and since all the other characters in games look lame next to us, we default to a character from a movie.  That’s probably it.  So then why would anyone go see a movie?  Why would people possibly like movies more than games?  It seems like the only argument that could be made for movies is that they’re easier.  You don’t need to do anything when you watch a movie.  You don’t need to interact with the world, you don’t need to move, you just need to listen to the story.  I obviously would never call movie-goers lazy, because that would be rude, but that seems to be what the signs point towards.  Or maybe the movie-goers are so bad at games that when they are given the opportunity to write their own story in a game, they blow it and can’t hit the mark.  They say that the end is the hardest part of a story to write, and I guess the final boss is the hardest part of any game.

So in conclusion, I guess this reading made me feel like I should like games more than movies.  However, I know that I like movies more, and that there is something really viscerally exciting that I feel when I watch a movie that I almost never feel when I play a game (with regards to characters and narrative).  I guess Jenkins talks about this a bit saying that we find out about a character, and see them reach their goals.  But it makes me feel like I’m a sap for thinking that I would enjoy seeing other people reach their goals more than I enjoy reaching my own, but maybe that is true for me and a bunch of other movie people.  I don’t want to accept it, so maybe after a little more thought I will come up with it.