Zero Punctuation Interactive

I've been watching Zero Punctuation reviews. What are those? "A short experimental film in which I attempt to make a video using only recorded speech and static images." Like this.

I saw that a Zero Punctuation contest has been announced, with really poor terms - basically, they own everything you submit, and you get nothing, except maybe some publicity, if you happen to be the one winner.

However, I am inexplicably intrigued by Zero Punctuation, and would really like to come up with a way to combine its "static images" and "recorded speech" in an interactive format. Like a game. Recorded speech wouldn't make sense directly in a game, but the still images, as conceptual, pictographic communication kind of like comics, could have a lot of interesting potential.

I just don't know how. A game where you compose images for a review? A game where you are a character inside a review? How do you translate the experience from the linear format into something interactive? Magic crayons? Miniature gardens?

The recorded speech is what you create in your head, your train of thought, while interacting with the static images. Static images are to animation as what is to games? Animation is essentially many still images strung together in sequence, but Zero Punctuation slows it way down, down to the bare minimum. Hmm.

You put those images together in space, rather than time, and you have comics. Instead of recorded speech, you have text. But you also have the reader's mind filling in the gaps. You have the viewer filling in the gaps in Zero Punctuation, too. And the way the images play off the speech, and the way the mind bounces between them gives it a certain flavor that is very interesting. How do you describe that dynamic? How do you recreate it in a game?

Back to animation and static images. What are games made of, if animations are made of static images? Choices? "A series of interesting choices." But what happens if you slow those down - are we back to text adventures here? Whatever happened to information density?

But in Zero Punctuation, it's all about the timing. Comedy is about timing, animation is about timing, and Zero Punctuation is about comedy. The images in Zero Punctuation aren't slower versions of normal animations - in fact, they feel faster. They cut out the slow stuff, the stuff that makes things feel detailed and coherent, and it still feels good. It feels unique, it has its own style.

It suggests, connotes, implies detail like digital speedpainting. It does not elaborate. What is the equivalent for games? In terms of pace I'm thinking WarioWare or any number of Flash clones. But what would it look like to have these compressed choices, only the important or amusing stuff, maybe random and incoherent, but always contributing to the pace and feel if not the plot or the main goal?

What would it look like? How could you make a game like that?

1 comment:

axcho said...

I wanted to add a few more thoughts that I forgot to mention.

The recorded speech could be your train of thought while interacting with the static images. However, it could also be the other way around. The images could be what your brain visualizes as you listen to the recorded speech.

This, I think, is actually closer to the experience of watching a Zero Punctuation review. The images are like someone else's mental images, sometimes insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes random, sometimes all of the above, and always loosely attached or sprouting from the more logical, linear progression of meaning conveyed through the speech.

However, in a game it makes sense to reverse this situation, because icons and visual elements tend to be easier to make interactive than language and story.

The other point I wanted to make is that Zero Punctuation is particularly interesting because it is non-fiction. Like Understanding Comics, it takes an medium most often used to tell stories, and uses it instead for exposition, to explain ideas. There may be little stories told be these images, but these are examples or metaphors used to support the overall explanation.

What could be the equivalent for games?