Player/Audience Dynamic

In class, a couple of students played Wii tennis while the rest watched. We were supposed to alternate between looking at the players, the game, and then the audience. I found it extremely difficult to keep myself focused on the players. Focusing my attention solely on the audience was marginally less difficult.

I may be stating the obvious but I think that our conversation about eye contact and body language and this are linked. It was more difficult for me to pay attention to the players because I was receiving minimal feedback from them. They were focused on the game, so they did not make eye contact and rarely interacted with the audience, or at least me.They also rarely interacted with each other.

The audience was slightly easier because I was a part of it and I could understand their reactions as observers. They were also very expressive, shouting encouragements or laughing with each other. Additionally, I was on the left side of the room so I was face the other side of audience members on the right. The game was the easiest to watch because I could watch the action and their results. The Mii would swing the racket and they would either hit or miss. Another Mii might respond. With the players, they might swing the Wii controller, but if I only focused on them, I would not see the result. It was like listening to half of a telephone conversation.

I think it might be interesting to gauge the level of difficulty concentrating on the players if the set up was different.

My proposed set up (it's hard to draw with a mac track pad)
My proposed set up (it’s hard to draw with a mac track pad)

While I doubt this will work 100%, I think that it will be much easier to look at the players this way because even if we are not making direct eye contact, there is a false sense of connection by facing them head on. Just an idea.

6 thoughts on “Player/Audience Dynamic

  1. Nice post! I remember watching an E3 event where a company had players onstage when they were showing their newly announced games. They had a setup very similar to your drawing!

    1. Edit: I’ve chosen this post as one of my “top choices.” I think it provides a very nice summary of our discussions in class regarding the players relationship to the screen and the audience. You make very good observations, and even provide a alternative method for having a games be watched by and audience!

  2. I think you deserve points for making such an excellent drawing with only a trackpad. In terms of engagement with the players, I would agree that it would be easier with the setup your propose. However, I believe it falls more to the angle of the the viewer’s line of site and their proximity. Having the players on a stage sets them along the diagonal between the viewers and the screen, forcing the viewers to look at the players if they’re looking at the screen. Also, having the players farther away from the audience, makes it easier to see both the players and the screen at the same time.

  3. I’m selecting this post as one of my favorites for the semester. It takes into consideration the posture and actions of the player over the content of the game they’re playing. This carries forward our assignment from “Redshift Portalmetal”: to be aware of our physicality while engaging with consoles. The post also features an excellent, self-made diagram.

  4. It would have been interesting to have done this exercise in another room, like the Keefe Campus theater. Everyone would have been seated behind the players, so it would have been easier to observe both the players and the game simultaneously, though we would have lost their expressions.

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