handcircus

Games and Interaction design

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ever a murakami game?

I've long been a fan of Haruki Murakami, much like many of my friends now, ever since I first read "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" - a tale littered with unicorns, surrealism, comedy and science fiction. I've just finished reading "Dance, Dance, Dance" - reminded me strongly of "The Wind up Bird Chronicle" - a novel that features a character with recurring character traits throughout many of his novels - an introverted, sensitive, regular middle-aged japanese man, on the edge of society - to which extraordinary events happen. While reading the book, it made me think of some of the statements from Robert McKee's "Story" - a popular screenwriting guide - that discuss how difficult it is to transfer a novel that is particularly introspective to the screen. While narration and other techniques can be used to force an audience to understand the thoughts of the character, it bypasses the real beauty of cinema when an audience discovers a character's persona implicitly through their actions rather than directly. It would be hard to really convey the emotional dialogue of his books through film (although the first officially sanctioned Murakami film is now out in the UK - Tony Takitani).

While it seems near impossible to create that kind of experience on the screen - what further challenges are offered in attempting to add interactivity to the mix. Would it be possible to create a game that provided an experience that bore similarity to a Murakami novel? While a lot of the pleasure of a Murakami novel is letting the book wash over you and transport you to a dream-like state, could this be possible in an interactive setting? Or would it just be tiresome and aimless?

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