Co-op Story Mode: Participatory Elements in My Game Media

Image: © Golden Eye 64

Note: This article heavily features concepts from Joost Raessen’s analysis of computer games. Check it out here.

One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is the concept of gamification and how video games are the primary form of participatory media we have widely accepted in our everyday lives. This thought came to me while I was getting my licence renewed. As I waited in the uncomfortable bench seat (you know the ones), I watched a sweating teenager meekly tapping a screen every couple of seconds. She was completing the Hazard Perception Test in an effort to get her L’s, and, as I’m sure younger readers will know, she was basically playing a game based on her reaction times in a given virtual situation.

This, to me at least, was amazing. I don’t think she realised, judging by how nervous she was, that she essentially was playing an FMV game, and if she won, she could be driving in the real world. I think Joost Raessens is right in claiming that play is productive. The L’s test is a fitting example of participatory media being an essential building block of our current cultural life.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Dylan, what the hell is participatory media? And why aren’t you talking about your PS1-inspired DA?” Well, allow me to get into that.

Participatory media is any media that involves users as active participants in creating said media’s value. Sound familiar? How about two examples: websites and video games. Get out a copy of Silent Hill and don’t play it or refresh my blog and don’t scroll down or watch my video (you definitely should). These forms of media have value created by your interaction with them. We can use Raessen’s analytical frameworks to see how my digital artefact uses both techniques and types of participation to make a piece of engaging participatory media.

 Be sure to watch the video below for a full breakdown!

Further Reading:
Wiki article for a quick explanation of participatory media. -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_media#cite_note-2

Chapter reference continuously through this blog post – Raessens, J. (2005). Computer games as participatory media culture. In J. Raessens & J. Goldstein (Eds.), Handbook of computer game studies (pp. 373-388). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Cutscenes: An interesting paper on the role cutscenes play in videogames (multimediality) – https://bora.uib.no/bora-xmlui/bitstream/handle/1956/17275/Klevjer+Cut-scenes+RoutledgeCompanion+Postprint.pdf?sequence=3

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