When Gaming Is Business, Not Personal
Souvik Sunday, May 18, 2008Buongiorno paisan. After a stressful few days of battling with immersiveness in theory (Janet Murray, Ryan, Frasca et al.) I remembered that I have a just cause for doing some actual gangster shooting ... call it the experience of immersion if you will. Since I eschew the word 'immersion' as much as I can, let's call it my 'becoming-gangster'.
For two hours, I was driving to various little businesses and rackets in Little Italy and Hell's Kitchen and buying them out for my capo regime (Michael Corleone, in case you didn't know) and money wasn't the only thing that I was after. 'Respect' was high and it felt great to see the whole of New York make obeisance to my car as it passed. And I learnt two new execution styles and upgraded my Magnum and my extended clip pistol . The Barzini 's warehouses are difficult to loot but a few shots into the burning tar barrels has the outer guards frying and when the music changes from the Godfather theme to a more fast-paced tune, you know that the trouble has just started. I had forty five minutes (in game time) to kill every Barzini two-bit punk or I would risk a full-fledged mob-war. I killed them all. I blew the last two off the balcony as they shot me in my knee. That's 'becoming-gangster' for you! But I had to get home and drink that health power-up that lay on the bedside-table and to refill my tommy-gun with the two hundred and fifty bullets that I had fired.
I am a car and I don't particularly enjoy it hereThe next scene sees me ambling towards the car. I stagger inside and then I 'become-car'. Yes, I, Tommy Angelo (my in-game identity) and I, in my out-of-game self, am now a car. I perceive myself as the bullet-riddled back of a black jalopy (what horrid cars they had back then). In my becoming-car, I drive through Broadway and knock down a few flower pots. In Corleone compound, I emerge from the car ... yet becoming-gangster and becoming-car ... are they different? I haven't got time to think. Those Barzinis - I will show them. But as Don Vito taught me, it's after all business and not personal.
At least, that's what I say to anyone who asks me how many games I get to play for my PhD.
'Literature is a combinatorial game that pursues the possibilities implicit in its own material [...] but it is a game that at a certain point is invested with an unexpected meaning' - Italo Calvino