The two video games that I am going to talk about in this blog entry are Fifa 2010 (released in 2009 by EA Sports) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (released in 2004 by Rockstar North). These two games are very different from one another in regards to content and type of game (Fifa is a simulation soccer game, while San Andreas is a more free roaming, action/adventure game), but using the jargon that we’ve learned about video games, the two have more in common than one would think.
Fifa is a game that has a direct purpose: to provide a realistic soccer experience. The only option for you in this game is to play soccer (there are hundreds upon hundreds of teams). There really aren’t any characters in the game, only the players on the teams. Gameplay is very realistic and one can differentiate between the different stadiums that can be played in. There is no real storyline, however on Xbox there is a 1-player mode called “virtual pro” where you can exclusively play as a made up character and try to move up the ranks of a soccer team of your choosing. The diegesis of the game play in Fifa is supposed to simulate a television program. There are announcers who announce the game, and the default camera angle is that of a televised soccer match. That being said, this allows the operator to have better field vision to make plays. The focus is definitely on the gameplay as opposed to a storyline. Like all other simulation sports games, an operator playing alone can only have control over one player of the 11 on the field, so the machine acts as all of the other players on the field, making them move around the field, making the operator make good decisions about who to pass to/where to move. In 2-on-2, with two people on the team, two players are able to be controlled, meaning that one person bringing the ball up the field can have the other player running a desired route for the best option available in the game. Obviously the goal is to score, and having two people controlled allows for cooperation and savvy. As stated earlier, the stadiums and teams are all different, and the machine renders the grass to different heights, and more popular teams have rowdier fans. While the idea of the game is simple (to play soccer), the amount of options one has when they play Fifa 2010 is almost limitless.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is, in one word, huge. Everything about the game is as expansive, from its storyline to the size of the cities, to the amount of extra tasks that must be completed to 100% the game. The main storyline has the operator playing as CJ, the main character, who returns home to San Andreas. He had been a thug before, and all of the cops knows that because he’s back, CJ might continue his illegal ways. The storyline is really long and expansive, and spans over 100 missions across three legitimately huge cities (San Andreas, San Fierro, and Las Venturas). This main storyline in itself is really long and takes weeks to complete, but that’s just where the game begins. There are countless side missions, and mini tasks, including gang wars, tagging gang symbols, finding oysters in the water, and taking picturesque snapshots that lead you all over the humongous map that is the game. You can go anywhere you want, and you can choose to change the appearance of CJ, from his hair to the clothes he wears. You can also go and work out, get fast food, and go on dates with girls as well. It’s not like Second Life in that you are living just to interact with others, but you have free reign over pretty much everything in Grand Theft Auto. You can choose to do the main storyline, but you can do just about anything you want, from walking around to just walking around and killing people (if that’s what you want to do). There are a wide array of weapons and vehicles that are spawned by the machine, and while you are playing exclusively as CJ, the machine creates an entire world. Days turn to nights, back roads connect the cities, and everything is generated by the machine. The diegesis of the game is you can do whatever you want (as I said before), but the amount that the machine creates rivals that of Fifa. Playing a game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas really shows how amazing game encoding is because of how much stuff the game contains. You literally have hundreds of hours of gameplay in order to just beat the main storyline, and countless hours more to do all of the side tasks. It is like entering a whole world with few rules. Obviously is you do something bad in the site of a cop, you get “stars”, which as you do more severe crimes more police follow you and try and stop you. There are 6 stars that you can get, and once you get more than 3, the FBI comes with tanks and it’s just ridiculous. The game is just thoroughly entertaining, and everyone should play it at some point just to see how it works because there really is something for everything (even though there is a lot of objectionable material).