Saturday, 18 October 2008

Democratization of virtual environments_part 2

Simulation is an abstraction of the real world which is constituted by signs instead of the real.
Something that is not a brand new story, if one draws the parallel lines with the ancient theater which was a simulation of the ‘’polis’ in that era too. Concerning the democratization of virtual environments and the comprehension of the importance of virtue in simulation, it is essential to understand that rules in it are a form of narrative as well. Because these exact tools of the software that reproduce simulation, form the space of the potential, political, productive thinking and finally the democratization itself. It is the creation of spaces where the ‘ethicodesign’ could possibly expand the horizon of the user. What we have to keep in mind is that simulation is always an abstraction and consequently it presupposes that the author decides what is included and what is excluded.

To give an example, in the case of Microsoft’s flight simulator we certainly couldn’t have an airplane crash with a pilot called Joseph Beuys, who instead of bombing the Russians on behalf of the Nazis, realises that he could become an artistic shaman who makes shows in New York in collaboration with a coyote. This kind of abstraction in the experience of flying is in itself a form of story telling and narrative. In other words, inclusion and exclusion within a simulation of a system predefine both the narrative and the game play.

In most of the cases, entertainment industry merges narrative and simulation in one. Script-writing and game-play hold an important role in the overall potentiality of immersion and/or critical thinking that the user experiences. It is more accurate to examine the process of democratization in virtual environments, in a frame of critical thinking and/or immersion, than what appears to be the phenomenology of the dilemma in the bipolar of narratology and ludology.

It is not only interactivity that makes video games a different form than the older media. Video game developers take seriously in consideration the user’s participatory creation of virtual spaces, via mods, volunteer design, and forums of radical criticism. The ongoing need for users to personalize, customize and create their avatars and in general the virtual spaces and storylines, shape them us major elements that render possibly video games as a more democratic platform than TV and Cinema. Critical thinking is not only based on the way that narrative is told but on the build-in creation of the potential space that the users could ‘imagine’.