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Standing in the Last Remaining Light

September 25, 2011

So, I have yet to see “Memento” by the time I write this.  However, I did read the articles, so I at least have that going for me.  Mainly, I kinda want to focus on the whole mind-game shtick that the first article (I think it was Elessar or something; if you get that reference there, good for you).

I find the mind-game concept incredibly fascinating, especially when the author mentioned the Butterfly Effect from Chaos Theory, “sensitive dependence on initial conditions” is how it goes, I think.  Anyway, enough geeking out.  I found it interesting that mind-game movies have become fairly prevalent in modern cinema; I’ve been familiar with films like “The Village,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “The Matrix” for quite a while, but never really gave them much consideration about their mind-game effects, particularly in some of the deception that goes on in these movies with characters not knowing what’s real/imaginary, true/false or, simply, what’s going on.  I made some connections to other examples from my own experience of gaming, mainly thinking of the game “L.A. Noire”, which is a crime/mystery game set in late-1940s Los Angeles.  Primarily, I was thinking of the cases Cole Phelps (the player) and his partner, Rusty Galloway (the A.I. partner), encounter when working the Murder desk.  All of the cases seem fairly straight forward, but there’s always something missing that Phelps & Galloway just can’t put together; there’s always a piece of evidence missing or a clue that doesn’t quite fit with what the suspects have going on.   This all comes to a head in the final case on the Murder desk where the real killer from all these cases reveals himself and shows just how much he was playing Phelps & Galloway.  The game deceives the player into thinking that he/she was right all along in their deductions from the previous cases, only to show that he/she was wrong.

But, enough about “L.A. Noire.”  I found that games & movies aren’t the only place where the mind-game can really be found.  If I remember right, one part of the mind-game is that it rewards multiple viewings, or in the example I’m about to use, readings.  Books can also have the mind-game.  I’m thinking mainly of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” book series and, in particular, the Coda that’s found in book 7.  Now, I’m not gonna explain the whole series in great detail (the fewest words I can use are: “Ka is a wheel.”), but after reading the Coda, the book almost encourages a second reading of the whole series.  Not to mention the whole Coda really throws the reader for a loop because it is simply fantastic how King wrote it.

Anyway, I apologize if this post isn’t up to snuff with what I’ve usually been churning out.  As evidenced by my last tweet, I just got home after a rough few days; my mind is incredibly taxed right now.  Hopefully, with a little bit of rest, I may come back and edit this.  So, stay tuned for another exciting post from me; same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

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One Comment
  1. Stop apologizing – you make a lot of sense to me… This mind-game is not new to texts. (Another great example of this approach in print is Tim O’Brien’s collection of interrelated, semi-autobiographical short stories in The Things They Carried – O’Brien’s complex style helps communicate the extreme ambiguity combat causes). After watching Memento and reading Manovich’s essay, I’m beginning to see that the most effective medium for this technique is new media, which combines database and narrative… Is this technique intrinsic to more than film? Do games also intrinsically combine these competing forms?

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