For this week’s post, I ventured even further into previously unchartered territory, and played the increasingly popular (or it was when I stopped being cool 4 or 5 years ago), “Call of Duty, World at War.”
I once again went next door for Vernon’s Ginger Ale and cold pizza, because the neighbors know their video games far better than I ever could. From what I am told, “World at War” is a game in the Call of Duty series, though this version features an increasingly more mature theme than its previous versions in the series. The game is what I’m told is “open-ended”, which gives the player multiple ways to complete objectives. Players fight alongside AI-controlled teammates. Friends, ‘teammates,’ or in my case, neighbors, are able to help during the game’s missions by providing cover fire, shooting down enemies, and clearing rooms for entry.
I’m told this is most similar to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4.”
When I play the game single-player, I am able to control three different characters from a first-person perspective. There are different types of characters and different abilities of each, but overall, I am of the belief that in any game of this sort (not just fighting / war games, but any in which the purpose is to teach a moral, ethical lesson, or prove a point, or in which the character could be somewhat believable – unlike a game like Pac Man), first-person is best. There are people who disagree with me, including those playing with me right now, but I like first-person. I like it because in terms of mechanics and being realistic, it does the job; at least for me it works.
The plot, while complicated, taught me enough about history that I was inspired to start emailing history teachers from high school – in other words, it did its job. When I noted ‘moral and ethical teachings’ above, half of you reading thought that was a joke, but there are lessons, including historical, and violent-leaning, to be learned.
The game story begins in Makin Island on the evening of August 17, 1942. Marine Private C. Miller watches the torture and execution of Private K. Pyle, a colleague in the Marines, by the Japanese. Within seconds (milliseconds appear on the television screen) before Miller’s execution, he is rescued by a squad of Marines, led by Corporal Roebuck and Sergeant Sullivan as they assault the island, replicating the Makin Island raid.
Through a variety of raids and series of battles, we are taken through the abovementioned controls and options, able to literally fight alongside members of this armed force.
Overall, I think this game provides one of the best senses of reality across gaming, from what I’ve seen. Again recognizing that I’m a novice, I would say that this provided me with even more realistic feelings than the sports games, such as FIFA, and some of the ‘free’ games that come with Wii (bowling, tennis, etc.) did. I might be wrong, but the fact that you look around and are alongside not only ‘real people,’ but folks in an armed force we read about and discuss, worked.
If I was to be more talented, and I had taken the game design option for this class, this game would have taught me several key take-aways to implement in my own game: The first is that first-person perspective works. The rest of the take-aways would have been that all ther mechanics and facets of game design should be tied to this perspective, allowing dialogue, visuals, options, player versions, and background music or noise to be tied to the fact that sitting in a living room playing a game like this one (assuming yours is similar or that realistic is what we’re aiming for) should be no different than putting three or four quarters in (does it still cost that?) at an arcade, in one of those actual simulators.
Cheers to perspective shaping reality.