Aya of the Beholder
An Examination of the Construction of Real-World Locations in Parasite Eve
The ways in which virtual environments are constructed and perceived is rarely a direct one-to-one experience. Using the foundational example of Squaresoft’s Parasite Eve (1997), I examine the ways in which real-world locations and approximations of such are represented within videogame worlds. I examine the methods through which videogames can create spaces which evoke the conceptual idea of a given place, both through audio/visual and interactive means, without constructing a one-to-one simulacrum of the location. Thus, the player actively contributes in the transformation of an actionable virtual space into an actualized lived place.
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, my discussion draws on cinematic semiotic theory, by way of Christian Metz, in association with Wittgenstein’s examination of language as a foundation from which to proceed. These concepts are then incorporated into a broader discussion of theories more focused on videogame studies, such as Laurie Taylor’s Lacanian approach to the videogame avatar and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow, to illustrate how video game locations may leave out large portions of their real-world referents and yet still be identified as said referents by the player. The choices for what to include/exclude are also examined from a socio-political perspective, allowing reflection on what is considered necessary for a representation of a real-world place.
Anable, A. (2013). Playing (in) the city: The Warriors and images of urban disorder. In G. Papazian & J. M. Sommers (Eds.), Game On, Hollywood!: Essays on the Intersection of Video Games and Cinema. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers.
Bates, B. (2001). Game Design: The Art & Business of Creating Games. A. LaMothe (Ed.). Roseville: Prima Publishing.
Carr, D. (2006). Space, navigation, and affect. In D. Carr, D. Buckingham, A. Burn, & G. Schott (Eds.). Computer Games: Text, Narrative, and Play. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Castronova, E., Bell, M. W., Cornell, R., Cummings, J. J., Falk, M., Ross, T., Robbins-Bell, S. B., Field, A. (2009). Synthetic worlds as experimental instruments. In. B. Perron, & M. J. P. Wolf (Eds.), Video Game Theory Reader 2. New York: Routledge.
Central Park Official Website. Retrieved from http://www.centralpark.com/maps/group/maps.
Cross, H. (2019). Chrysler Building Visitor’s Guide. About.com. Retrieved from http://gonyc.about.com/od/attractionslandmarks/p/chrysler_building.htm.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Perennial.
Electronic Gaming Monthly staff. (May, 1998). The RPG revolution. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Vol. 110, pp. 78-95.
Electronic Gaming Monthly staff. (September, 1998). Parasite Eve preview. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Vol. 106, pp. 58-59.
Square. (1992). Final Fantasy IV [Super Nintendo Entertainment System].
Frasca, G. (2001). Simulation 101: Simulation versus representation. Ludology.org. Retrieved from http://www.ludology.org/articles/sim1/simulation101.html.
Frasca, G. (2003). Sim sin city: Some thoughts about Grand Theft Auto III. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.gamestudies.org/0302/frasca/.
Fullerton, T. (2008). Game design workshop: A playcentric approach to creating innovative games. Second Edition. Burlington: Elseveir.
Hallford, N., & Hallford, J. (2001). Swords & circuitry: A designer’s guide to computer role-playing games. A. LaMothe (Ed.). Roseville: Prima Publishing.
Helgeson, M. (2010). L.A. Noire preview. Game Informer, Vol. 203, pp. 44-53.
John, G. (in interview). (2004). Afterthoughts: Spider-Man 2. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Vol. 183, pp. 54-55.
Rockstar Games. (2011). L.A. Noire [Multiplatform].
Lindley, C. A. (2005). The semiotics of time structure in ludic space as a foundation for analysis and design. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 5(1). Retrieved from http://www.gamestudies.org/0501/lindley/.
Insomniac Games. (2018). Marvel’s Spider-Man [Sony PlayStation 4].
Metz, C. (1974). Some points on the semiotics of the cinema. In G. Mast & M. Cohen (Eds.), Film Theory and Criticism (pp. 103-117). London: Oxford University Press.
Miller, K. (2008). The accidental carjack: Ethnography, gameworld tourism, and Grand Theft Auto. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 8(1). Retrieved from http://gamestudies.org/0801/articles/miller.
Square. (1998). Parasite Eve [Sony PlayStation].
Interplay. (1999). Planescape: Torment [Microsoft Windows].
Namco/Atari. (1982). Pole Position [Arcade].
Rodowick, D. N. (2007). The virtual life of film. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Capcom. (1996). Resident Evil [Sony PlayStation].
Rybicki, J. (1999). Silent Hill review. Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, 2(6), p. 66.
Saltzman, M. (Ed.). (1999). Game design: Secrets of the sages. Indianapolis: Brady Publishing.
Sellers, J. (2001). Arcade fever: The fan’s guide to the golden age of video games. Philadelphia: Running Press.
Siabra-Fraile, J. (2008). Constructing NESpace in Zelda. The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy (pp. 133-149). Chicago: Open Court Publishing.
Konami. (1999). Silent Hill [Sony PlayStation].
St. Francis Hospitals Website. http://www.stfrancisheartcenter.com/utility/about/locations.html.
Nintendo. (1985). Super Mario Bros [Nintendo Entertainment System].
Taylor, L. (2003). When seams fall apart. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.gamestudies.org/0302/taylor/.
Eidos. (1997). Tomb Raider II [Multiplatform].
Toyama, K. in interview. (1999). Founding fathers of Silent Hill. Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, 2(6), p. 66.
Vella, D. (2016). A structural model of characters as semiotic constructs. Proceedings of the 2016 DiGRA Conference, 2(2). Retrieved from http://todigra.org/index.php/todigra/article/view/37.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright for papers and articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the University of Glasgow. It is a condition of publication that authors license their paper or article under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence.