Sunday, April 01, 2007

The digression from the "loop" in Game Systems and Thought Processes

Lev Manovich’s text “The New Temporality: The Loop as a Narrative Engine” discusses how the “loop,” a repetition of some sort, manifests itself in the earliest forms of animations and computers and still exists today as a primitive device to simulate movement, life and narrative. The digression from the loop as a “narrative engine" as Manovich discusses relates directly to today’s competing video game systems. The PS3, Xbox, and Wii all strive to make their virtual reality more “real,” which in Monovich’s theory involve leaving the “loop” of movements behind. The PS3 for example is a powerful machine capable of giving each “blade of grass” individual movement in response to “a nonexistent wind.” However, Manovich also discusses the “hardware limitations” that “never go away” with each new media device. In terms of the PS3, the graphics of the environments the games set in are quite close to reality, yet the characters themselves don’t seem to compare. This points to the limited space that the system has, the manufacturers have to make a sacrifice do to the limited space the system can provide. Today’s entertainment systems are the peak of our technology.

Just as the digression of the “loop” is seen in the latest video games and most advanced software, Manovich also argues that computer functionality’s influence on our minds has also caused our thinking processes to digress from the “loop.” As a society we have already hit the point of no return regarding computers: the spatial and temporal reality we currently experience would be impossible without computers. Also, as people become more addicted to video games and other virtual realities, living in the actual reality might become a thing of the past just as the “loop” has. Just as Manovich claims conspicuous repetition is now deemed as primitive, repetition currently seems to be associated with simulation or a fake. Our current infatuation with making virtual realities as real as possible shows how our minds are in a way digressing from the “loop” in synchrony with the computer and other technologies, thus showing an instance of Manovich’s earlier argument. Just as computers and video systems enforce individualism and uniqueness to achieve reality, we also begin to think this is what we need to achieve.



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