Monday, April 28, 2014

Video Game Playthroughs of life: 'Review' with Forrest MacNeil [or Myles Barlow]

I grew up playing Videogames but have not played obsessively for close to a decade. The last game I recall being committed to was 'Super Mario Sunshine' (2002) for the Nintendo Gamecube. In the intervening years games have developed more realistic graphics and incorporated more engaging, moralistic narratives. With the online component and achievement building of personas and worlds in Games like 'Minecraft' and 'Second Life' there's a whole universe of Gaming I'm unfamiliar with.

Several of my friends are gamers and I'm often tantalized by their gaming conversations. I've never revisited gaming as I like to manage my "time sucks" which I know Gaming would be. Instead I just ask a lot of questions, consume shows like 'Good Game' or 'The Indoor Kids' and watch IGN Video Game Reviews.

A good friend told me that he found watching Video Game Walkthroughs a satisfying replacement to actually playing Videogames. He could engage with the emotion by being alongside the Player without having to expend as much mental energy and stress. I found this amusing at first but realised that a lot of our entertainment is passive anyway. We watch Sports without playing and enjoy Cooking shows without picking up a utensil or sampling the meal. This is what cinema is built on.

The thing that's different with Playthroughs is that Videogames are already one level removed from reality, so observing someone playing is two levels removed from the actual experience.

VIDEO: The Last Of Us Gameplay Walkthrough Playthrough (Full game)

I started wondering how a Playthrough of life might look like and how appealing that would be. The closest I could come up with was the Documentary format, then I remembered 'Review with Myles Barlow', a satirical black comedy about a critic who reviews life experiences in response to viewer questions. The Australian show has since been adapted for American audiences by Andy Daly, 'Review with Forrest MacNeil'.

VIDEO: Review - Life as a Thief

A friend of mine recently Facebook posted that her Eevee evolving into Sylveon (Pokemon XY for Nintendo 3DS) was her "proudest achievement so far this year" which was met by congratulations all around. She remarked astutely "It's all the same to the reward centre of my brain".

Other posts on "Life as a Video Game"
- Dan Harmon and Duncan Trussell: We are in a simulation echo. God was originally a mortal programmer who "sacrificed himself as a player"
- Exploring Worlds in life and in Video Games - The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes
- Onnit Blog: Self Improvement in Video Games VS the "Real World"
- Kumail Nanjiani and Pete Holmes talk about "affecting the world TODAY"
- Skateboarders GoPro Train Derailment aftermath - 'Strange Days' visceral experience
- On being a Badass: Comedians Harland Williams and Pete Holmes featuring band 'Biting Elbows'