Postmodernism and Gaming

2/01/2016 April 0 Comments

One of the main forms of postmodernism media is the gaming industry. Games are an alternative reality that people can interact within. Games can allow people to experience things that they wouldn't be able to do in real life.
An example is Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V)- this game allows the player to of things which they couldn't do in real life without having serious consequences. GTA subverts the traditional ideas about reality and simulation. Players are living their lives through a simulation, they are spending real time living in a simulated world which is similar to out own. The game has bars, night clubs, a gym and restaurants which the player can visit. Interactions such as these can alter the avatar the the person is playing as such as change in body size. This adds to the realism of the game and shows that actions can have consequences. In the game players can make the ideal version of themselves by making themselves rich and owning luxury items. The boundary between real life and virtual reality can become blurred- the game can be considered hyperreal. Jean Baudrillard described hyperreal as being "a condition in which 'reality' has been replaced by simulacra". GTA could be considered a simulacra as it is a representation of reality, this simulacra is replacing the players reality.
GTA V can also be considered a bricolage. It is set in the fictional city- Los Santos- which is based upon the real city of Los Angeles. The game uses a variety of real life thing that are brought together to make the game and the fake city.

The Sims 4 is another hame which could be considered a postmodern media. Sims itself is even named after the theme/genre of the game: simulation. To date thee have been four Sims games each with the same gameplay/aim. In the game the player creates Sims- virtual characters whose lives you control. As the Sims Games have progressed the characters/avatars have been made to look more realistic and to have more actions/ways in which you can control them. Sims 4 should be considered a hyperreal game as it is a simulacra which becomes reality so some people. Players are playing/living through a fictitious game which becomes their reality. Real people can become addicted to and deeply invested in the Sims game living vicariously though it.
EA set up a feature in the Sims games where people can have a blog where they can share life updates, videos/pictures and stories of their Sims. This allows other players to comment and share their thoughts back. There is also a feature in the game which allows players to create movies of their Sims. Many players make their own stories, others recreate stories from reality. This is an example of fan production as the fans are producing their own content. This adds to the realism of the game and leads to players becoming more invested in their Sims lives and the lives of other players Sims. A virtual reality has been created through the introduction of these features- another form of simulation/simulacra that has been created through the game.
Intertextuality, a common feature of postmodern media, has been used throughout the game. Many things that exist in real life such as TV programmes and stories have been incorporated into the simulated world making it appear more realistic and a reflection of reality. 

Most simulation games could be considered postmodern as the player is playing in a fictional world similar to their own. Animal Crossing is a simulation game where you play as either a villager or mayor of your own world. The game allows you to create and name your own town. One of the key things that makes Animal Crossing and other simulation games postmodernism is that they adhere to Lyotard’s suggestion that postmodern texts reject metanarratives. Games such as Animal Crossing don’t have a main story or goal to reach, they are instead made up of a series of smaller narratives. Games have been designed like this because of the attention span of the player and how long they would like to play the game for. Smaller narratives allows the player to have a greater sense of achievement as it doesn’t take them long to achieve a smaller goal. For example, in Animal Crossing the goal may be to finish paying off the house mortgage or to build a feature in the town. This relates to Csikszentminalyi’s theory of the flow of video games. He stated that hard tasks are increasingly pleasurable as the player goes through the levels. The challenges in the game are achievable which hooks the player making them become immersed in game. Even though there are small narratives, there are many of them which lead up to larger goals, although you may complete the many goals, there is never an end to the game. 
Animal Crossing could also be considered as postmodern as it is a simulacra. The game emulates real life as it works in real time, the graphics and design of the game changes with the season and time of day.