Role-Playing, Storytelling, and Spatial Construction

One thought on “Role-Playing, Storytelling, and Spatial Construction”

  1. I do agree that there is a sense of spatial representation and exploration in the game, but I feel that the mechanics and the limitations to the interactivity of the player to the environment slightly detracted from the game. When we are searching memories, the search often takes a few minutes – we move the cursor over objects on the screen until the cursor changes, and then we know it is something to explore that will give a memory. The process would have a more explorative feel if the cursor did not immediately change when we mouse over the parts and if there were more things that we would explore and “interact” with but were not strictly necessary needed for the player to advance. For example, in Her Story and Gone Home, the player could speed through the game and, for the first playthrough at least, the each different player would have a different view of the narrative conditioned on the path that he or she took though the game. In To the Moon, we are not given the luxury of forming our own independent understanding of narrative from the memories that we experience because we are required to go through all of them.

    Further, I wasn’t sure of the purpose of the mini-games that we had to play when we acquired the orbs. While some felt on point with the narrative, such as the whack-a-mole mini-game, the others, especially the tile games, felt forced upon the player. I feel the latter type of mini-games did not add much or even impedes on my explorations because I forgot what I was doing, focused or click enough times to get through the game, and then went back to exploring again without gaining insight in the exploration process.

    I also found it intriguing that once you collect all of the memories and interact with the object that moves you to the next level, you are given the option to explore more. While normally I would appreciate this gesture in the game, but in this game I felt it the gesture was excessive and a bit hollow – I had already explored everything in the smallish room, the cursor did not change when I moved it over objects in the room, and most rooms do not have much to explore outside the needed memory spheres.

    Ultimately, I felt the mechanics of the game attempted to portray an open exploration game, but there was just not enough non-necessary explorable content in the game to merit such mechanics.

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