Archive: March 12th, 2009

More on games and adaptations

[Research] (03.12.09, 5:12 pm)

This web site is becoming more and more a repository for accumulating research notes. I spoke with Celia earlier today, and she pointed me to her interview with Louis Castle. For those who are not in the know, Louis Castle is faculty at USC, but was one of the founding members of Westwood Studios, the ones responsible for the original Command and Conquer series.

The interview discusses game adaptations among other things, and what adaptations are and should be about. Castle describes several of the adaptations that he would like to make, and the core of these is about recreating some of the important emotional and aesthetic experiences found in the original work, as well as recreating, to some extent, what the work is about. Castle’s focus is on the emotional reaction to the world, rather than the mechanics of the world, and this is an interesting point of difference between his process and the ideas that I have. It raises an interesting question of how related the two things are. Certainly, there are ranges of intersections, there can be a game that communicates the mechanics without the emotional connections, but I can not say whether it is possible to have a genuine emotional adaptation without adapting the mechanics.

In his discussion of the Blade Runner game, Castle describes the process of adapting the film into a game. In my impression, his goal of adapting the emotional experience led to a very particular interpretation of the world’s model and mechanics. I can’t say whether it is successful as an adaptation (because I have not played the game), but it was at least a very successful game on its own. Castle has reservations about how successful it was as an adaptation, because, he argues, the film noir genre is impossible to bring into the game, because the genre requires an incorporation of failure, something that games have a great deal of difficulty integrating. Blade Runner as a work conveys an extremely evocative and rich world, and thus is something I would argue would be represented very well by simulation, and this is exactly what Castle has done.