Video-Game Genres NICS How to identify a film genre Narrative – the story being told Iconography – props and identifiable objects Characters – stereotypes Setting – typical location
Video-Game Genres Look in a shop (either bricks-and-mortar or online) and you will notice one key difference between films and games. Films are organised by type of genre: science fiction, romance, comedy, etc. These can be easily identified using NICS. However, video games are organised in a different way.
Video-Game Genres You won’t see a ‘science fiction’ section featuring Halo 4 (for Xbox 360) and StarCraft(for PC), despite the similar settings and style of these games. Instead, you will find games categorised by platform (e.g. PlayStation, Xbox, PC) and gameplay (racing, first-person shooter, strategy). This can be seen clearly where there are games based on films: The Lord of the Rings is clearly a fantasy film series. However, the numerous games based on it span different gameplay genres, from action-adventure ‘Lego’ games to role-playing and strategy games.
Video-Game Genres • FPS (First-Person Shooter) • RPG (Role-Playing Game) • Simulation • Strategy • Racing • Puzzle • Platform • Sports • Trivia • Rhythm/Exercise • Music • Education Name a game for each of the genres
Atari 2600 Games Console Emulator • Good old-fashioned 8-bit games for you to try. • Listen to the teacher’s instructions on how to load up. • Pair up and play some games!
Narrative Theories Tsyvetan Todorov says that there are five stages to every narrative (story): • Stage 1 – The Equilibrium – Life is just as usual • Stage 2 – The Disruption – A problem happens • Stage 3 – The Recognition – Think about how to resolve the problem • Stage 4 – The Repair – Go ahead and resolve the problem • Stage 5 – The Restoration– Life returns to normal
Narrative Theories Vladimir Propp says the same types of character appear in all stories: • The Hero –This is the main character whom the audience will recognise as the key person in the story. This character is usually good. • The Helper –The main character usually has a companion who helps the main character, gives advice and supports the main character in the story. • The Villain –This character is the opposite to the Hero and is there to create the disruption (Todorov) in the story. This character is usually bad. • The False Hero –This character pretends to support the main character in the story, and generally the audience will know this. However, the main character does not. Could also be the Villain.
Narrative Theories • The Donor –This character is similar to the role the Helper plays in a story. The character will give the main character something which helps him repair (Todorov) the problem in the story. • The Dispatcher – This character could be the Princess’ Father (setting the Hero a task) or even a False Hero (sending the Hero on a wild goose chase) • The Princess –This character can be the reward for the Hero or the person whom the Hero and False Hero are in competition for. • The Princess' Father – This character could be a combination of characters depending on the story being told. Generally this character will set a task for the Hero, with the reward being the Princess. But they could also be the Villain if they didn’t want to give the reward.
Narrative Theories Levi Strauss He believed that we understand some concepts purely by the fact that they have opposites. He referred to this as ‘binary opposites’. E.g. Hero and Villain – it is necessary for a Hero to have someone in opposition (the Villain) to become a Hero! Here are other examples of binary oppositions: • Good and Evil • Sane and Insane • War and Peace • Ugly and Beauty
Pac-Man– Narrative Pac-Man is happily eating and the ghosts are in their cage. The ghosts come out and start to chase Pac-Man round the maze. Pac-Man starts needing to avoid the ghosts and get the food before the ghosts catch him.He avoids the ghosts and eats the special dots that make the ghosts vulnerable, putting them back in their cage. If they catch him, he dies; the narrative ends and equilibrium is not restored.If they don’t, he gets to eat all the food and stay alive (till the next level!).
Pac-Man and Todorov’s Theory Pac-Man is happily eating and the ghosts are in their cage. (1) The ghosts come out and start to chase Pac-Man round the maze. (2) Pac-Man starts needing to avoid the ghosts and get the food before the ghosts catch him. (3) He avoids the ghosts and eat the special dots that make the ghosts vulnerable, putting them back in their cage. (4) If they catch him, he dies. The narrative ends and equilibrium is not restored.If they don’t, he gets to eat all the food and stay alive (till the next level!). (5)
Pac-Man and Propp’s Theory Do any of the characters in the Pac-Man game match Propp’s theory?