Sunday, November 14, 2010
Reading Meadows' interview with McCloud was a reminder to me of the sorts of subtle manipulations of time that comics allow. Think about it; when you're watching a movie, the movie can only unfold as fast as the film allows it to. When you read a comic or book, that sense of time is warped. Only you as the reader get to decide how much time takes place between Spider-Man's monologue and the citizen's cry for help. Video games make this sort of temporal play interesting, because they can allow for both. For instance, the amount of time a player stands still or accomplishes nothing often has no direct bearing on the game's internal temporal structure. I can swing for the fences all day in Halo and barring some sort of time-sensitive event, nothing much will happen in the game. In games like Shenmue, however, this sense of time is manifested literally through a constant day-night cycle that even keeps track of the date and season. In this way, Shenmue captures the cinematic feeling of constant time.