[-empyre-] empyre

i'm joining this discussion very late, but i've been following it with interest. i'm turning over a few basic dynamics of the game as we move ahead to the next phase of the 'endgames' project.

i just returned from an interview with the nbc waco affiliate. many of the questions asked were driven by reactions to the game within the waco community (law enforcement, survivors, citizens). the key point of contention seems to reside within the act of reinterpreting a traumatic event through a 'trivializing' medium. even though we'd like to dismiss this reaction as facile, it's been the most pervasive one - dominating the press generated by the project. until now, i've thought of this dynamic as a limit against which to push - but it's occurred to me that it might instead be the logical starting point for wider discussions.

for me (and i'm not speaking for the group), the most interesting aspect of this project hasn't been it's relative success or
failure as a computer game. that's not to say that we shouldn't try to make the game viable - but an independent game is just not going to succeed under the same rules established by the industry. besides, the criteria for determining good vs. bad or fun vs. boring seems much too crude at this point. the importance of generating a visceral experience IS important, however - but i don't think that experience is or can be located exclusively within the game itself.

eugenie seems to be advocating a kind of 'gaming in the expanded field' approach that i agree with completely. we had hoped to provide a new lens through which to view the incident - a POV through re-creation not available in the media coverage (they were kept at a distance - duly reporting government PR) or the various documentaries produced on the subject. another advantage to using the computer game medium is it's perceived uselessness and anti-social connotations - attributes that contribute to the notion of of this style of game-playing as absurd - and, of course, there's something intrinsically absurd about a large-scale paramilitary assault on a church.

all of this is to say that the next logical step is to expand the notion of the 'game' to the media and the actual members of the community in question. the 'game' becomes a 'thing-in-the-world' that generate it's own life and discussion. as eugenie said, this object should be deliberately considered and it's public interface deliberately constructed. we've been discussing a more fluid approach to this dynamic that would dictate more community interaction while incorporating the results of that contact into the game. the point, however, would be to own more fully the social impact of the process - making the game-construction more fundamental to the project. this has the potential to move beyond the 'game-with-political patina' phenomenon.

michael wilson


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