I Just Wanna Be God

I never learned to bow, bend or crawl
To any known authority
I really want to build my statue tall
That’s all

I’m just trying to be God
I only wanna be God
I just wanna be God
Why can’t I be God

A neat little song, and definitely one my megalomaniac self made quite an effort to live by for many a year. Most of the time, it’s a pretty cool personality trait to have – you know, having an internal locus of control and all that. Feeling like you can influence everything more often than not grants you the power and motivation to do just that. Anyhow, I’m not here to pretend to know anything about psychology or give a motivational speech. I’m here to talk about the fundamental difference between The Walking Dead and Kentucky Route Zero.

Last week in class, the overwhelming consensus was that The Walking Dead was a more (ew, I hate this word at this point) immersive gaming experience, in no small part due to the fact that the in-game camera view is right up in the characters’ shit, making the player feel as if they really were inside the game’s universe. In contrast, Kentucky Route Zero opted to show the big picture – literally. You see the tiny little dots that are your characters (especially on a small screen), their surroundings, their surroundings’ surroundings, and the choices you need to make frequently break the pace of the game, instead of flowing naturally with it (which is something The Walking Dead manages to accomplish through the use of choice timers).

Consequently, many people said that this undoubtedly makes The Walking Dead a better game to play. And sure, that is most definitely the case if your most important criterion for evaluating a graphic adventure is how much you can relate to (or just empathize with) the main character. On the other hand, if you’re playing because you want to be told a story, or because you want to feel like your actions have an influence on the game’s setting other than getting to decide the order in which your companions all flippin’ die (lol spoilers), you’re better off with Kentucky Route Zero.

Sometimes… You just wanna be God! You want to be able to stop time indefinitely. You want to be able to control what more than one character will say or do. You want to see the big picture. And the more visually distanced from the characters you are, and the more they look like tiny little dots on your screen, the more they will feel like your personal playthings, as opposed to your friends, your enemies, your loved ones, or you yourself. And when you have Conway and Shannon as your toys and think of them as such, instead of trying to get involved with the game on a deeply personal level, you are more likely to be entertained.

Then again, for all you fellow gods out there, it might be better to just wait for GTA V to come out for PC and make your superiority complex and megalomania shine in an actual sandbox. Jussayin.

One thought on “I Just Wanna Be God

  1. I definitely have my moments when I just want to pull away from the close narrative and just watch the action happen from above. However, I don’t think that I would be getting a better experience of the story by pulling away. I think of it like 1st and 3rd person narratives. One might argue that a 3rd person narrative might allow one a wider view of the story, so one might be in a better position assess fact from fiction. Yet, I’m not completely certain if that wider view would allow one a better understanding of things. No narrator is ever completely reliable, regardless of whether they’re speaking in the 1st person or the 3rd. Something is always obscured. It’s just a question or what.

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