Palavras Sobre Jogos pesquisa

Palavras Sobre Jogos

Rob Sherman é escritor e designer de jogos de ficção interativa, atualmente fazendo residência como escritor na British Library. Ele acredita que o potencial expressivo dos jogos digitais ainda não foi plenamente explorado.1

Neste post eu apresento e comento algumas das ideias de Sherman. Eu também reflito sobre as diferenças fundamentais entre a sua perspectiva e a minha própria pesquisa.

Nota: por conta do grande volume de texto das citaçoes em inglês, elas não estão traduzidas.

Mala Vermelha

Eu descobri o trabalho de Sherman recentemente, através do seu interessante artigo I Did A Thing On A Hill: On Meaning And Purpose In Games (em inglês, RPS, Nov 2014).2

Este artigo gira em torno do seu jogo web The Black Crown Project (Random House, 2013-2014), descrito pelo autor como uma “rather excessive, microbial, non-epic, cough-em-up, text adventure shenanigan”. Mas ele também lida com a discussão mais geral sobre jogos, narrativa e as possibilidades expressivas do meio digital.3

A origem de Black Crown é um projeto não-digital anterior: uma experiência narrativa não-linear que se desenrola à medida que o receptor investiga uma série de objetos, incluindo um caderno de anotações, guardados dentro de uma misteriosa mala vermelha.

A mala vermelha.

A mala vermelha.

Este formato, é claro, se traduziu perfeitamente para o meio digital.

In other media, we have been conditioned to look for story on the next page, the following sheet, the next frame of animation or next byte of data. In games, in game art, we are engaging with a system, and such systems, and our ergodic traversal of them, is part of the vagary, the beauty, the wild beauty, of the medium.

Mas esta abordagem sistêmica também trouxe problemas.

Mídias Digitais: Além da Diversão e dos Jogos

Sherman acredita que os jogos digitais ainda são uma manifestação limitada do potencial expressivo das mídias digitais. Em parte isto se deve à ênfase dos jogos em proporcionar “diversão” (e/ou “desafio”, eu acredito)

Fun is a tyranny. If we believe that this new artform of ours can achieve its potential, that we can instil meaning and myriad interpretation by allowing our audience to actually alter the physical reality of the art itself, then I believe that ‘fun’ is only one, now-rather-tired genre of experience that we should be aiming for. We need to believe in the power of mechanics and of medium, and use ours in a way that is unique (…)

[G]aming’s reactive dogma (…) is a mixture of rebellion and defeat, which fights against the narratives of old media by stating that story is a mere luxury to games, peripheral to the main experience of ‘fun’, and yet which at the same time seeks those stories out, importing them from other mediums without understanding what made them work in those mediums in the first place.

A game is not a film, or a novel. It has its own tools, its own devices.4

Não posso deixar de pensar, porém, que se “jogo” é um conceito de fato tão limitante, por que insistir em relacionar todas as experiências digitais (procedurais/interativas) a ele?5

Nanny Em: O Jogo

De forma a discutir e argumentar a respeito do potencial único dos jogos como um meio expressivo, Sherman descreve uma ideia que ele teve para um jogo baseado na sua solitária avó, Nanny Em.

In my game, for no reason other than a strange turn of my brain, the player would become Nanny Em. [D]ue to her age (…) and lack of mobility, she would rarely leave the flat, and the players, I hope, would understand this limitation implicitly. What also might be quickly established would be the entire absence of win conditions. Nan’s life is nearly done, her biggest decisions long ago. We rarely see her like in games, or stories at all, for that matter.

[T]here would always be a central pool of tasks which need completing, little quotidian comforts which, at first, might take on the characteristics of some of our more traditional games. Nan would need to make sure all the fish in the fishtank get fed; (…) Things would always need putting away, washing up, and there would always be people, as small as currants, to spy on out of the window. Each of these, in Em’s mind and the players, could be fun, objective, strategic, economic, and could employ current paradigms if we needed them. A sort of HUD. A health bar. A targeting reticule.

Alguns aspectos da ideia de jogo descrita por Sherman me lembraram The Graveyard (Tale of Tales, 2008), que envolve uma senhora idosa passeando em um cemitério.

The Graveyard (Tale of Tales, 2008)

The Graveyard (Tale of Tales, 2008)

Sherman segue com a descrição da sua ideia, explicando que não se trata de um jogo tradicional.

But this everyday life, I could bring them to understand, would only be the surface of what it is be Em. Only what they, or I, might see if we were to visit the flat of any similar pensioner and spend too little time with them; the pathos, the inhuman isolation, the mixture of guilt and disgust.

While we should not discard these feelings, real feelings, with utility and truth to them, Em has not always been alone. She has not always been old and lip-smacking and deficient. And once players begin to explore, to use their authority and curiosity to move past this single ‘vision’ of a life simulated, they might find all sorts of things they were not expecting.

Some players might find Em’s love letters, hidden here and there, under cans of soup and heating bills.

Some players might look in her address book, and call the meals-on-wheels boy, who looks just like her late husband. Perhaps they were rude to him, the last time he came, just because the option was there for them to try. Perhaps he will never come again. What might happen if he did?

Perhaps, with time and perseverance and an empathy for those varicose veins, drapery legs and shaking hands, they might be able to leave the flat, go to shops, see a sliver of the city in which Em lives. Her exploration of it, and thus the creative burden on me, the designer, would be restricted by her disabilities, and so in the small radius of existence which has shrunk to become her life I could build in such richness.

Some players might throw her out the window. This does not make me sad to think about.

Some players might discover that they can have conversations with the man on the television, the one always droning on about wars and benefits cuts.

Eu considero o trecho a seguir particularmente interessante, pois ele representa uma perspectiva mais radical (ou extrema) sobre o potencial das mídias digitais. Esta perspectiva se baseia praticamente apenas em sistemas, ao invés do formato mais híbrido que caracteriza o gênero da ficção interativa, no qual se situa o trabalho de Sherman.

Some players might take things into their own hands, carve out realities and truths that I did not account for. They might use the game’s physics engines to arrange Em’s knick-knacks into a shrine to a music-hall dish, or pile them against the door to stop her relatives coming in. They might knock for the neighbours, leave them biscuits from their inventory without knowing if it will gain them anything. They might terrorise the neighbourhood. They might build an igloo out of books, and many other things that I cannot possibly imagine right in this moment. They would make my great-grandmother into another person entirely, a recluse, an outsider artist, or perhaps someone who still has the heart of a girl.

Mas Sherman rapidamente volta para a estrutura de jogo mais tradicional. Por exemplo, haveria um modo de jogo “secreto”, que poucos jogadores encontrariam por conta própria.

And perhaps only one player, in all the thousands that might play my game, would put my great grandmother to bed. Such an action would not advertised as an option by the game’s HUD, as Em hates going to bed, and would in fact involve the laborious task, almost an engineering puzzle, of laying that ninety-three year old spine recumbent on the pillows. It would not be easy, because it is not easy for such an old woman to go to bed (though of, course, the meals-on-wheels boy might be there to help her). And if they manage this, this hypothetical player, perhaps they would discover an entirely new game behind her eyes, in her sleep and dreams, her past as a wartime nurse, a newspaper editor, a film star, a little girl running through a beautiful wood.

Perhaps they would never tell anybody that such a bottleneck existed.

Em seguida surge a discussão sobre a recepção de narrativas não-lineares

A not-unwarranted question to me, at this juncture, might be what is the point of building such a thing if only one player finds it? If the others are reheating lasagnes and doing the bingo or trying, desperately, to find one particular photo album? How can you call that true?

Such a thing is true by its potential to occur. There is at least one Nanny Em for each and every player, and in fact many more possible ones depending on their actions. If I trust my audience to be something towards her, be that open-minded, empathetic, playful or perhaps even spiteful, if I trust them to just try, there is a chance that they will unveil such an Em for themselves, and soundlessly enter it into the canon of Ems, all living slightly different lives.

Whatever the case, as long as something is brought out of them, and embedded into the work, into the possibility space that the game provides, the art is complete; not in any traditional sense, but such a thing does not matter. This game would be unreliant on any other medium for its justification. It would be a game, as useless and limited as that term is. It would be, and could be, nothing else.

Procedurality: Beyond Beyond Games?

Como mencionei anteriormente, apesar das similaridades e intersecções entre as ideias de Sherman e a minha própria pesquisa, também existem algumas diferenças fundamentais.

A mais relevante destas diferenças reside no caráter fundamentalmente híbrido do gênero da ficção interativa, que é fortemente dependente de estratégias expressivas tradicionais (da literatura, ou linguagem verbal). Minha pesquisa, por sua vez, se concentra especificamente em examinar o potencial expressivo próprio das mídias digitais, que se realiza a partir das estratégias expressivas únicas deste meio.

Outra diferença é que Sherman enfatiza a interatividade, e a função do leitor/jogador em ajudar a construir ou revelar os diferentes elementos do sistema a ele apresentado. Eu evito me aprofundar neste aspecto, de forma a concentrar a minha atenção no sistema propriamente dito – esta escolha de recorte é elaborada na minha dissertação de mestrado (p. 80).6

PS: Sobre Estilo de Escrita

É interessante a maneira como o estilo verborrágico da escrita de Sherman reflete e afeta as suas ideias, bem como a reação das outras pessoas a elas.7

Pessoalmente eu gostei do seu estilo de escrita, embora seja de fato hermético, cansativo e difícil. Eu levei algum tempo até conseguir ler o texto todo.

Meu próprio estilo de escrita (se é que pode ser chamado disso) tende a ser o oposto. Eu geralmente busco pela maneira mais objetiva e concisa de expressar ou comunicar uma certa ideia. Por outro lado, esta abordagem também pode se tornar bastante hermética e confusa, além de ser mais trabalhosa e demorada.

  1. Ficção interativa (ou “interactive fiction” – IF) é um gênero de jogos digitais (ou narrativo) baseado principalmente em texto (linguagem verbal).
  2. Título do artigo em português: “Eu fiz uma coisa em uma montanha: Sobre Significado e Propósito em Jogos Digitais”
  3. Todas as citações neste post são deste artigo. Elas são bastante longas, uma vez que a minha intenção é justamente de apresentar algumas das ideias de Sherman de maneira completa (além disso, como ficará claro, o estilo de escrita dele é bastante verborrágico). Todos os grifos nas citações (negrito) foram adicionados por mim. Como mencionado no início do post, por conta do volume de texto nas citações, não traduzi elas para o português (caso você tenha interesse por alguma passagem particular, entre em contato).
  4. Aqui está o contexto completo para os dois últimos trechos: “Currently, however we sit between two dogmas. One is the dogma of traditional media, of those critics who mock and sneer, who at best see games a flippancy, a key to people’s brains that may be snapped once the lock is opened, and which at worst see systems logic, randomisation, psychology and design as inherently ‘non-artistic’, and our experiences as inherently not art. The other is gaming’s reactive dogma, reactive in the way that I reacted as a child when told that I would never find beauty in my games. One which is a mixture of rebellion and defeat, which fights against the narratives of old media by stating that story is a mere luxury to games, peripheral to the main experience of ‘fun’, and yet which at the same time seeks those stories out, importing them from other mediums without understanding what made them work in those mediums in the first place. A game is not a film, or a novel. It has its own tools, its own devices.”
  5. Sherman aborda este tema mais adiante no seu artigo: “Games do not need writers. Games do not need better stories. Games need to be better games. They must find their own beauty and truth, whatever that may be. [A]nd whatever it turns out to be, I know that it will not be the same as the beauty, truth and nobility of books, of films, of symphony. I believe that the first step is to cast aside this convenience, the term ‘game’, and everything that goes with it. Every time I use it now it feels too small in my mouth: what we produce has far outgrown this little syllable, and in fact its associations may be venomous to what comes next.” PS: Eita.
  6. Sherman: “The audience in every piece of art is important, whatever its size or form, and in games it is more important than anywhere else. They must be allowed to express themselves, in a way they cannot in a gallery or at a cinema, they attempt through fan wikis, forums, fan fiction and the like. They must contribute to the final truth, and that truth must be unique to them.”
  7. Veja os comentários no seu artigo (em inglês; Aliás, o estilo de Sherman fez mais sentido para mim após ouvir isto).
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