Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lesson's that can be Learned: Sword Art Online

sorry guys, we're talking narrative again

I recommend everyone go read up a little on Sword Art Online and Accel World, then come back... i'll wait

♫do da do da da do da do♪

oh good , your back.

Sword Art Online and Accel World are attempts to forsee and explain possible futures for videogames. Much in the vein of dot hack we have elements of love, rage, anger, revenge, perseverance and limit pushing mixed together with the endless mind set of being forced to grind day in and day out for two solid years due to the obsessions of an unclear curious madmen.... in short....

It's fucking awesome

I really don't get to give praise very often for videogames, but with guys like this writing books, that were later transformed into manga, anime, and apparantly videogames... its needless to say I found a new source of inspiration.

Why exactly am I loving this guys work so much? Because each adaptation I have seen so far is bringing something more and more to the vision of the world's he has created. Normally with mediums we see a source material, and then we see all other mediums just copying the source material. Dpending on the source material this system could really damn well work. Full Metal Alchemist kinda proved the point, but sword arts approach is really really REALLLY weird... what they did with the anime and manga can only be described as skipping or dancing.

Alright look, this might be alittle long but here's a run down. On the first day of joining SAO, everyone loses the ability to leave the game. Their logout command is gone, and due to the tech involved they cant just shut the device down and walk away. So the story is about 10,000 people being trapped in an mmo for over 2 years. The punch line? If you die in the game or someone tries to get you out of the game back in the real world... then you die in the real world.

The main character Kirito takes on the role of a soloist before the catastrophy starts, they never properly explain it, but he dislikes groups and prefers to do rpg's purely alone. The moment he finds out that this is a game of life or death, he immediately takes the cowardly route of running away from the noobs in order to protect himself and only himself. At this point in the story some things do get a bit hazy. Your never given much of an idea of how much grinding has occured, and all the main plot points that we see occur after krito is over lvl 70. So all  time between those two very distinct very far points were turned into side stories ( they used the term side quests). The end results is that we see a human who was just told he could die, someone fearing death yet continuosly doing very difficult things in an RPG all alone, someone that realizes sometimes you need friends in order to survive, someone that fails to protect those friends, someone that falls into extreme depression, and someone that was saved by friends he once thought weren't worth the time. Alright, this sounds like alot ( and i left alot out), but this is all stuff that we see in the books. All the while the writer has explored what is happening to the other 10,000 people. Some randomly died, others slaughtered, some went on a PK frenzy, some became thieves, and a vast majority felt safety in numbers is key. We also see people going through all 7 stages of grief, accepting their situation, and accepting that sword art is now as real as the real world. It had become their home.  The anime and manga would only show small snippets of the side arcs and cover a few points of what I just described above.

Normally this would be the part where hulk just starts smashing..... everything... but sword art is getting a free pass for being so enthralling. They did something no game company has ever done correctly. Content that can be viewed more then once, on more then one medium. Each time you read the manga or watch an episode of the anime, you'll find yourself wondering about the book. I really can't think of any examples of games to even experiment with something like this... or even use it effectively.

Every year we're trampled with Mass Effect , Gears of War, and other such knock off junk that very rarely does anything special except prove the point that the original team that made each story should also write the freaking books, while things like star wars just makes us all incredibly sad inside when we think about just how many eras, characters, powers, and worlds that have never been explored in almost 30 years of media and film production.

Every once in a while we may get a sick music album, a children's book, or a lone comic exploring one of the more silly gags from a free to play mercenary based shooter, but when it comes to fore thought in making a ground break piece of source material that could very well be taken anywhere... we just don't get to see it much guys... and its really sad...

Maybe we need some kind of contest... excel saga and sword art were originally just entrances for a competition... and one of them was too long for the competition so it was just placed online for people to drool over. Perhaps people coming together, working hard on ideas, and then letting people to decide which idea should become a game, show, or book is the actual path we should all be considering.

( If you guys want to have a competition, then I'm totally game. I'll even find a prize for ya)

No comments:

Post a Comment