July 12th, 2012 | Published in News
We started to play with a video game format today, basically transforming the very realistic scene about the two sisters in Fukushima into a video game. That may seem like a very odd choice, and it felt pretty risky in many ways. But I wanted to begin to tap at into the potential of placing a character or the audience in a position of power and control of a very sensitive situation, and see whether the gaming mechanism would change the way the scene might play out.
We experimented with a few different modes:
Magin was the “player” of the game and Saori and Makiko were character within the game. In one iteration, Saori, as Magin’s avatar, was both a character in the game but also had the ability to speak to Magin to communicate what she felt her options were in the scene. Then Magin would give her directives like “be more aggressive,” etc.
In another version, the basic set-up was the same as the above, but Saori was a character in the game as well as the designer of the game, so she had the ability to change fundamental givens of the game design, should she be directed to do so by Magin, who was kind of the player but also someone who seemed to be evaluating the game. So for example, in the middle of the scene, Magin told Saori to “go back to the other version of the sister,” changing the kind of character Makiko was playing to make the game less challenging for the player.
Our exploration today really uncovered some pitfalls in the way this all worked. For one thing, the roles needed to be more clearly defined. The Player could not also function as someone who is permitted or able to manipulate The System. The Avatar could not doubly function as The Designer. Also in the space that was created for the manipulation of character and choices, the scene immediately lost its emotional veracity — which is not necessarily a bad thing, but something we need to be conscious of. Also it became clear that we would need to map out the entire storyboard of all possible actions in the game as opposed to letting the controls be so loose. An important day that will determine how we work over the next few rehearsals.