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Editorial

The Player Is and Is Not the Character 152

Jill Duffy writes "GameCareerGuide has posted an intellectual article about video games which argues there is no such thing as 'breaking the fourth wall' in games. Written by Matthew Weise, a lead game designer for the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, the article considers the complex relationship between video game players and characters. Weise says that, unlike in theater and film, video games don't ever really break the fourth wall, as it were, because in games, there is no wall. Players are always tethered to the technology, and the player is always just as much the main character as not the main character. Weise looks at both modern experimental games, like Mirror's Edge, as well as old classics, like Sonic the Hedgehog, to defend his point. He writes, 'Both avatars and the technological devices we use to control them are never simply in one reality. They are inherently liminal entities, contributing to a mindset that we, as players, exist in two realities at once. It's just as natural for a player to say, "I defeated that boss," as it is to say, "Snake defeated that boss," since Snake is and is not the player at the same time. It is likewise natural for a player to say, "I punched an enemy soldier," when in reality, she punched no one. All she did was press a button.'"
Editorial

The Player Is and Is Not the Character 152

Jill Duffy writes "GameCareerGuide has posted an intellectual article about video games which argues there is no such thing as 'breaking the fourth wall' in games. Written by Matthew Weise, a lead game designer for the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, the article considers the complex relationship between video game players and characters. Weise says that, unlike in theater and film, video games don't ever really break the fourth wall, as it were, because in games, there is no wall. Players are always tethered to the technology, and the player is always just as much the main character as not the main character. Weise looks at both modern experimental games, like Mirror's Edge, as well as old classics, like Sonic the Hedgehog, to defend his point. He writes, 'Both avatars and the technological devices we use to control them are never simply in one reality. They are inherently liminal entities, contributing to a mindset that we, as players, exist in two realities at once. It's just as natural for a player to say, "I defeated that boss," as it is to say, "Snake defeated that boss," since Snake is and is not the player at the same time. It is likewise natural for a player to say, "I punched an enemy soldier," when in reality, she punched no one. All she did was press a button.'"

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