Friday, November 1, 2013

"Playing" Prospero

This post was originally written for a Shakespeare class blog. See it here.

I've been thinking about my post of "The Tempest: The Video Game" and my point at the end about how the player could play Prospero and be forced to enslave Caliban as a new way to interpret the themes of the play. There's something much bigger in that idea than I thought at first.

Clint Hocking, an influential game designer, was quoted in the New Yorker in 2011 as saying,

Clink Hocking's online avatar
"Finding a way to make the mechanics of play our expression as creators and as artists—to me that’s the only question that matters." 

Like my suggestion in my post, he was talking about how the mechanics of the game could enhance the art of the author and designer. However, in a post on his blog he altered this quote ever-so-slightly but importantly to say, 

"Finding a way to make the dynamics of play support the creative expression of players—to me that’s the only question that matters."

A lot of the art of theatre comes from actors coming up with new interpretations for characters, or in the subtle differences a certain actor gives to a script by the way they he or she plays it. Why can't it be the same with video games? Taking that same scenario from above, a player could choose to try and avoid enslaving Caliban, or that same player could enslave Caliban the second he/she meets him, before the reasons to enslave him are even clear. Just like an actor or actress, the gamer could "play" Prospero however he/she chooses.

That's good art.

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