Read vs Watched in Redshift and Portalmetal

After reading this post on the blog, I started thinking about the difference between Choose Your Own Adventure novels and video games where you can both see and hear the action that is taking place. The game Redshift and Portalmetal does something quite different than the average Choose Your Own Adventure novel, although it borrows a large part of the format.Throughout Redshift and Portalmetal, the player is expected to make choices between two or more options, much like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. However, these choices and lectures are supplemented by both audio and visual aids. When the character is at border patrol, the video is a constant driving of a car, as if taken from inside the window. All that can be seen is the land passing by and by. In this situation, the player may feel even more connected to the scene he/she is reading about, so the images help bring the player closer to the narrative.

However, the narrative is interspersed by small videos taken of the character as she walks in the snow, or on the rocks. She speaks different fragments from the game, her voice sounding in the background. Suddenly, the player is forcefully taken out of the game and forced to watch someone else live through the actions.

In a way, the game doesn’t want the player to become integrated with the character, to play the game as him/herself. Just when the player starts to think that he/she is starting to get the hang of it, they’re forced out of the character’s body and take the place of a mere spectator, unable to participate in any of the actions.

I can’t say I understand what the motives were in the creation of this dynamic. The ending, however, leads the player to reflect on the lives of other people who are seemingly living the narrated situations day by day, and in the end, there is a clear line drawn between the player and the characters/people referred to. This is not what I would have personally done. Wouldn’t it be easier to relate to these people if the player became fully integrated into the character?

0 thoughts on “Read vs Watched in Redshift and Portalmetal

  1. I’m really glad you expanded on this idea. After reading through your post and exploring this idea of disconnect from the main character, I have some new insight. I think it really could be intentional — to create this confusion concerning your identity or not really fitting into this body, which ties to the struggle the main character may have felt as a transgendered person. And not being able to control who you are and what you do, no matter how much you may want to understand. Additionally, the option to take the “hormones” threw me off a little, and again was one of those things that took me out of the story. I feel this emphasizes what the creators were trying to accomplish. What do you think?

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