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Why Do We Have to Die in Games - Essay Example

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The main question examined by this article "Why Do We Have to Die in Games?", as is evident from the title, is whether it is really necessary to ‘die’ in video games. Bevan looks at the issue from both sides: Dying is an extreme way to eliminate a player from a game, and wouldn’t it be much better for all concerned if he were merely declared as ‘out’ and enabled to rejoin?…
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Download file to see previous pages We may pay an amount, or accept a game setback to come back from the jaws of death, to resume our place in the game. Likewise, at the end of the article too, she suggests that those who play video games and are attacked by laser-gun carrying space-men should realize that being riddled with bullets does imply a finality, and not merely that this eventuality could get them teleported to the local Starbucks for a cappuccino. We may draw the inference from this, that what Bevan suggests is that video-games should (perhaps) not use 'death' but some other means for eliminating players.
In the course of discussing video games, Bevan also looks at how other media or means of entertainment/ games deal with the issue of eliminating players. For instance, in traditional 'games'. Team games have set rules and a time frame. According to these rules, players are eliminated so that within the given time a particular team is enabled to be declared 'winner'. This finite time frame copies real life. Though the elimination of players according to the rules of the game in no way resembles death. Also, in a game like a tennis, it is possible to lose a set, yet come back to win a match.

Bevan also looks at how the theme of death is played out on stage or on the screen. Here, the audience goes through a process of identification with the protagonist. In the case of an action movie, quite often the 'hero' gets pummeled by the bad guys and is close to death before he suddenly gets energized enough to come back at them, to win the day. However, Bevan does not explicitly mention a vital difference in the roles of a person watching a play and a person playing a video game. In a play, the audience and the player are separate entities. The outcome cannot be affected by the audience. (In a reality show like 'Big Boss-as Bevan mentions-the audience can affect the outcome, but the connection between the vote of a single member of the audience and this outcome-Bevan doesn't mention this is tenuous.) In a video game, the player is both the audience and co-creator of the outcome. This is an important difference between a video game and a play/movie, which leads to different levels of psychological involvement in the game and its outcome, on the part of the player. To that extent, a video game becomes more true-to-life.

Bevan mentions the three goals of playing video games-endogenous, exogenous and diegetic. Endogenous goals exist in all games-these are the goals sought to be achieved as per the rules of the game. (For instance, in chess, the endogenous goal of each player is to check-mate her opponent and avoid being checkmated). An exogenous goal comes from without. I may play a game to win money, or to humiliate my opponent and so on. The exogenous motive is not inherent in the game itself. Diegetic goals are those that a player seeks to achieve when he role-plays. When a game has several characters with their own defined personality, the player who assumes a role tries to achieve the goals as if he were actually the role he was playing. This involves subsuming my personality to take on the one as defined by a role, given in the game. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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