Fictional Universe as Portrayed in Video Games Versus Movies/Literary Works

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1947 Words
Date:  2022-04-04

A fictional world or universe is an imagined fictional realm that is different from the real world. The fictional universe is often set in a fantastical setting that has events and elements that support such kind of world. This kind of constructed environment is common in novels, creative works, films, comics, video games and television shows. In certain circumstances, the fictional worlds can bear some resemblances with the real world yet the characters and the elements of time and space differ. The characters in fictional worlds are also often created to support certain elements of unreal capabilities that might not be possible in the real world. Again, in other circumstances especially in the extreme levels, fictional worlds can have strange, unrealistic environments, unreal characters, elements and dynamics which cannot be realistic in the real world. Human imagination has known no limits when it comes to creativity. Fantasy and science fiction has opened fictional realms that go beyond imagination itself (Allison). In most cases, the aspect of time and space are topnotch in unrealistic worlds, coupled with beautiful and technical sophistication which provoke awesomeness, suspense, as well as other related aesthetic feelings. Such fictional worlds come in the form of countries, cities, kingdoms, and planets. Some of such settings are done in places of widely known historical events but created to exhibit some contradictions which act as the background of the stories or narrations to be presented. Common phenomena in the fantastical universe include magic and travel speeds that are faster than light. These are carefully and deliberately incorporated to exhibit fiction or science fiction. There are major distinguishing elements that make fictional worlds different from the real simple world. Such include great levels of detail as well as internal consistencies. These details have to support the internal logic and continuity that operate throughout the creative work. If not inspired by films, fictional worlds are adopted from films and other literary works. While fantastical universes come out of imagination and science fiction presented in literary works like novels and films, fictional universes in games are mostly adopted from such literary works but showcase differences with their sources of adaption(Blanchet).

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Most adaptations of films to video games are related to the generation of extra revenue. The production companies of bestselling films or other literary works often license other companies to produce related products such as video games and action figures to generate more revenue after positive reception (Helgason).

The first difference between the fictional world of video games and literary works and movies can be found regarding the sequence in which events roll out. The sequence is one of the elements or properties of fictional universes that plays according to the internal logic and continuity. Computer games differ from literary texts or movies in that they have a non-linear sequence of events. This difference is also referred to as multicursal (Juul). Narratives or literary texts have been known for their flowing sequences in ways that evoke a sense of destiny. This simply means that events should lead to each other in a manner that has already been predetermined or fixed within the text. The sequence is of great significance in literary texts and determines how the text can be translated between various forms of media. Because of this sequence, it is possible to understand the storyline of a movie from its game version depending on the sequence that is depicted by various properties inherent within the fictional environment. Sometimes, if the sequence is illogical, such as in games, one cannot understand a movie or literary text from its game version. For instance, it is not possible to vividly deduct the narrative of Star Wars from its game version (IGN). This brings to light the fact that the fixed sequence of literary texts limits the readers' relative freedom to manipulate or deviate from their imagination. Games are presented in ways that allow the players freedom or capability to influence cause of action (Juul).

In the fictional world of both games and literary works or movies, time plays a vital role and affects a myriad of components differently. Temporal differences between the two have been widely talked about in narratology to highlight the concepts of the story and the discourse. From reading a novel or any other literary text, the storyline can be constructed from whatever is presented to the reader in a text in whatever order, chronological or not. This is the traditional format of storytelling, that, the events that had happened previously are narrated or recounted within the text. From this format, there is the time of the narration, time of the narrated and time of the reading. Each component of the fictional worlds painted by the story has to be logical and adhere to the elements of the story being told. At the same time, it has to make sense (Genette). On the other hand, while playing games, temporal distances are non-existent in most cases. Most aspects of game-playing are controlled by the use of control keys. Whenever a control key is pressed, the action happens, for instance, a gun is fired, and this action ends up affecting what is on the screen. Whatever is visible from the screen cannot be classified as past or future but present. This is because such actions can be influenced by the process of playing the game. In this essence, while the fictional environments of movies or literary texts have to contain some elements which suggest explicitly or implicitly that the time being talked about is either past or future, the fictional realms of games must be in present time. Equally, certain temporal capabilities that are possible in literary texts and movies such as flashbacks and flashforwards are not present in games (Helgason). For a video game like Doom, such capabilities are not present as they would potentially preclude the interactivity with the game. It is not possible, in a video game, to play a scene in the present, then go back and play at an earlier point before jumping to the future like in movies or literary texts. In games, unlike in movies or novels, the first scene would determine what action or step the player took at an earlier timeline. If this time jumping would be possible in video games, then it would create time travel paradox. These aspects simply mean that the concepts of discourse and story are meaningless in video games, and so are their fictional worlds. The video games lack such active dualism that is possible with literary works or movies but has concepts of program and material.

Some video games are built with traces or clues that aid in game playing by suggesting what the player can do to move to the next level or attack an opponent. Interestingly, these clues are strategically placed within the gaming environment such that the player needs to have a certain degree of keenness to identify them. They are not obvious or conspicuous. The secret to getting these traces or clues forms part of game-playing competence or skillset (Stuart). The fictional worlds of video games have been built in clever ways to incorporate these clues which assist in gaming. They act as hints, tips, and strategies that enhance success while gaming. For instance, in Star Wars Battlefront Two video game, there are tricks and flicks related to attack, choosing of weapons, survival on the ground or in the air, game mode, assault, and class. In addition, other privileges are added to the gaming interface such as lives, rests, or food to replenish energy that can be used to advance to the next levels (IGN). All these are related to success in the gaming environment. The detailed technical sophistication that exists within the fictional universe of this game makes it interactive and engaging. In comparison to the fictional world present in the movie or literary work from which the game was adopted, these clues or tricks are absent in that world. This means that movies are one-sided, or what can be referred to as view-only. There is no interactivity with the interface as viewers are only able to watch. The only changes that can happen, emotional changes, are within the viewers. The fantastical worlds of movies or texts are predetermined in that whatever elements present can only be of benefit to the characters within the movie or books. Some aspects like cooling of weapons, changing armor, in addition to tips and strategies are only present because game players get to take active roles in playing. This is so different from the passive roles that viewers take while watching the movies (Juul). The fictional environments have to differ depending on the purposes of either the video games or the movies and literary works.

The gaming environment is structured in a way that is graphically appealing to the player. The aesthetics and emotional surge that such fictional worlds give have been psychologically explored and the results are interesting. The curiosity that comes with watching or reading literary texts for the first time has been found to satisfy an uncertain near-future inquisitiveness. The suspense and intrigues of the first encounter with the fantastical world of films keep the movies very surprising and fascinating. Once the film has been watched and the narrative understood fully, the viewer will have experienced the irreversible factual accounts of the movie together with the overall perception of its fictional setting (Zillmann and Vorderer). The repetitive nature of playing video games means that the player interacts with the game so many times, that chances of boredom are higher. This is why the fictional characters and environments are made so graphically appealing to prevent such boredom from happening. Similarly, the curiosity that comes from watching the movie or reading the text is motivated by the ultimate ending, and what will happen in the end (Juul). For video games, the interest is boosted by the need to understand the basic skills and experience that can enable the player to win the game or move to the next level. In the same aspect, the video games are considered as learning processes as the player collect skills and techniques to maneuver the game world which consists of objects, a series of spaces, virtual realities, and actions. Through this learning process, the emotional experiences consist of curiosity, surprise, and suspense. In film or book, the viewer enjoys watching or reading while aware that the important information is withheld by past or future elements in the structure of the story or movie. In video games, the player learns tricks which must be remembered so that they can be used in future levels. This makes the game world more conscious-evoking so that the player can have the privileges or remembering concepts; these are not present in movie literary environment (Zillmann and Vorderer).

The differences in the fictional universe in video games and films cannot be explored without talking about animation. There are a lot of differences in the animation aspect of both movies and video games. Most people might think that animation for movies and video games is the same thing. Even though the same principles of animation, tools, and processes are involved, animating the game world is much more difficult than doing it for the movies. For movies, animation only focuses on a single camera angle as the animator knows very well that he/she only ought to animate what is within the frame. Only the character and background as far as the eye can see are animated, one angle at a time. This goes to every aspect that comes and goes out of view provided it will be visible to the viewer. One wa...

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Fictional Universe as Portrayed in Video Games Versus Movies/Literary Works. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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