I originally wanted to do something more traditional with my GIF cinema project, utilizing previously existing videos with my own recorded videos to tell a linear story. I eventually gave that up.
The reason being I decided I wanted to tie together interactivity, GIF cinema and aesthetic. Video games and interactivity have been a common form of new media that comes up no matter what the week’s topic is. This past week we discussed the aesthetic. To be honest, from there I had a difficult time wrapping my head around how to do this.
I chose the action role-playing game The Witcher 3, due to the combat being a fairly repetitive process which would lend itself well to GIFs. It follows a similar pattern as seen below: dodge and hit, or parry and hit. There are some additional, smaller features to the combat but the process is overall almost always the same. This simple vignette shows the protagonist, Geralt, is faced with a pack of wild, rabid wolves that he must defeat. He (I) must follow the same pattern of dodge and hit multiple times for each enemy in the group until victory is obtained. Once victory is achieved, Geralt is rewarded with loot and experience points.
The Witcher 3 is a fairly violent and bloody video game, only suited for adults. Most enemies, like these feral dogs, die in a very violent manner, with blood splurting and occasionally the removal of limbs. It’s very over-the-top and indulgent, like a Tarantino film. There isn’t sound in GIFs, but the death animations are accompanied by death gurgles and the sounds of fleshy cuts. Its style and aesthetic are so indulgent, it seems the design of it is to reward the player for their victory and to keep playing to seek that high of winning another battle. Players like when they win and the visuals give positive reinforcement to win again in many ways.
After the defeat of the enemies, loot is left behind on the corpses of the deceased enemies. Also, experience points are awarded to level up the character and unlock more abilities and health. This is seemingly a universal mechanic in modern video games to encourage continued play in the world. The more enemies you defeat, the more nice things you get to have. This simple mechanic is a major culprit in why many people spend hours on end repeating the same pattern over and over. It’s a positive reinforcement cycle, disguised with shiny, digital items.
Color is important to the game design here. Red is usually the “loudest color.” What elements of the screen are red? It’s mostly elements relating to health and battle, which the game is currently focusing on at this point: my character’s health bar, the enemies’ health bar, the locations of the enemies on my map, and the trail of red following my character’s sword as he attacks, This is yet another example of the game re-enforcing participation in the repetitive process to achieve victory.