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Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals

Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« on: May 20, 2014, 11:29:13 am »

I know there is a similar topic here, but with closure I mean, actual closure. Like when you get over a break-up or when you finish a novel or a meal, etc.
That feeling when you say "I'm done here and I can move on."
I feel like that is hard to achieve in interactive media. Especially when you take out traditional game elements like challenge and linearity.
And I think that is due to the nature of interaction, the feedback loop. You get feedback, you provide feedback, it's a loop and therefore infinite. How can you say, you're done with this?
You don't have that with music, cinema or literature. Heck, even paintings and architecture end in a way, when you feel satiated. How do you do that with games? How do you find closure with Mario? Is it really over just because the credits roll? Or was it already over when you died the first time? Or will it be over much, much later? How could you tell? A game over feels forced, you don't get a same sense of closure like with a novel or a song, that way.
I find that thought fascinating. It's like when I replayed "The Graveyard" and it struck me "This isn't a game! It's not even an interactive painting! It's a ritual!" The old lady is bound to repeat and repeat, over and over again, until everybody forgets about her. And I am as well. I can't find closure by simply ending the game. Or not playing. It's a ritual by nature and it may never happen again, but not becuase we're done with it, not because we found closure.
I made her do a silly walk, backwards, in zigzaglines, hiding her behind the chapel, sitting her down and standing up to shut down the song. It was liberating, it was enlightening, it was rebellious. I don't know. I felt like I'm taking part in something that happened before me and will happen after me, something infinite and I just wanted the old lady to feel alive again, to feel young. It was just my turn. Nothing more, nothing less.
I feel like there could be something spiritual, something worth experiencing, something undiscovered when we tried to make rituals rather than finite pieces of art. I don't know, I mean, it's already there, the loop.
But I also feel like there could be something truely spiritual, something worth experiencing, somethiong undiscovered, in the opposite, finding a way to bring closure to interaction. Finding the end of the circle.
I don't know, any thoughts?
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Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 03:38:42 pm »

There are definitely some instances where I agree with you, like Dead Esther. I prefer to think that each time I play the game represents another cycle of the protagonist through the island, repeating endlessly. At the same time, I definitely feel like To The Moon had real closure. I think closure has mostly to do with narrative.
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"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."
--H.P. Lovecraft

Call me Dale Smiley
Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 08:23:02 pm »

Well, yes, that's what I'm wondering about. Closure has something to do with reaching something after a certain time. Like a narrative or a song. But you also can find closure with a painting. Because after a time you feel you reached the level of whatever reason you looked at the painting. And I think that is due to the one-directional flow of information. Now with interactive media the flow is bi-directional, it's a loop. Does this setup of our medium, does interaction exclude closure? That's what I'm wondering about.
Can I think about an experience, an activity taken within the realms of virtual simulation as something that I did and possibly even highly think of, but don't feel like doing that again, just because it's done, it's a one time thing?
Maybe even taking it further, to a (not)game that actively discourages replayability?
I thought it was some interesting design challenge, but maybe it's utterly ridiculous to begin with.
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Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 04:06:40 pm »

Well, I think if you can have a closure with a painting you can easily have closure with a game, even one that is substantially different with each playthrough. We appreciate games not wholly by the specific decisions we make, but by the way those decisions relate to the entire possible world of decisions we might have made. When a player is satisfied with their understanding and appreciation of the relationship between different possible playings of the game, closure is achieved!
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"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."
--H.P. Lovecraft

Call me Dale Smiley
Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2014, 08:28:17 am »

I was initially attracted to this medium because of its lack of closure. The idea of a novel that never needs to end still has great appeal for me.

I know that many people don't feel the same. But I wonder if the desire for closure in medium is not a result of conditioning. Maybe we can learn to appreciate it more. There's other things we can enjoy without closure: the sun on our skin, the wind in our hair, walking barefoot in the sand, swimming, etc. Maybe videogames can be more like that.
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Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2014, 08:31:30 am »

But you also can find closure with a painting.

I can't. When I'm really enjoying a painting, walking away from it feels like breaking up with a lover. Made worse because I'm breaking up with this one to immediately attempt to engage with another.
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Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 03:08:46 pm »

I suspect, but cannot yet prove, that all narrative requires closure to be satisfying.

Quote from: Michael
the sun on our skin, the wind in our hair, walking barefoot in the sand, swimming, etc. Maybe videogames can be more like that.

That sounds fantastic, though. Please do that!
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"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."
--H.P. Lovecraft

Call me Dale Smiley
Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 07:16:13 pm »

In more lyric, free-form art, I find closure more difficult to come by because those artworks ask me to contemplate a subject in a different way than a narrative asks me to. But like, anything, it depends on the subject and how it is handled. One poem may cause me to ponder for years, and another might just be relief—something calming and closing. I think things like loop, like loops and choruses in music, like GIFs, like video installations, etc. can provide closure via drone or repetition, in that it can be comforting to return to, but okay to leave behind. If that makes sense.

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Re: Closure In Interactive Media And Games As Rituals
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 06:19:20 pm »

Kenneth Anger would say art of this kind (perhaps of all kind) should be appreciated as a form of spell casting. Literally in his case I think.

This isn't at odds with closure. Games tend to resist closure. I think this is a big mistake, because it stunts the mediums growth by sheer numbers. People adopt games--individual games--as lifestyle, hobby, but there are few games for people who would like to play as many games as they watch movies, serials, or read books, and for the same reasons people have always done these things. So far video games defy convention, or at least what seems like convention. Perhaps it wasn't always so for these more mature mediums.

P.S. Stop me now if reviving lapsed topics is not in these forums best interest.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 07:07:07 pm by Mick P. »
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