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Playing games in Games
Posted on Thursday, March 10 2011 @ 13:40:43 PST

As I sat quite innocently playing the Legacy of Kain additional content to Lara Croft's Guardian of Light on my Xbox, I was struck by an old, fond memory, of a much (unfortunately, MUCH) younger me sitting in front of my Playstation playing the good ol' Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. But I wasn't busy exploring the dark depths of the gothic, twisted Nosgoth; nor locking soul reavers with Kain. Instead, I was busy taking Raziel up a cliff face and jumping back down into a small pool below- over and over and over again.
 
The idea of using the beloved avatar of a beloved soul-sucking wraith simply for the purposes of an inaccurate pool-jumping simulation might seem abhorrent. But eleven year old me was quite happy plunging Raziel into the water time after time, narrating to an imaginary, binocular-wielding, middle class safari party in a poor David Attenborough imitation, the behaviourisms, favoured habitats and above all unusual mating calls of "the" Raziel.  Even now I can hear my short-lived alter-ego pointing out "the creature's" ability to breath underwater.  
 
That is why I jumped, crawled and glided poor Raziel back down into that pool of water for what must have been at least a solid hour.
 
And it occurred to me that even to this day, I still do this! The noticeable difference being that David Attenborough's voice has now broken, of course. 
 
Games such as Prototype and even Spiderman have felt my directorship. Are in-game avatars the new limb-movable action figures? 
 
You might ask how anyone could take Spiderman to be anything other than Spiderman. Trying pretending you're the voice of Spidey's ex-girlfriend, explaining to her current date inside a cab that she's got some really unique past experiences, as you land the wall-crawler squarely on top of said taxi to say hello.
 
Perhaps this "playing a game in a game" is common.  Perhaps the days of children holding miniature batmen by their waists, tilting them from side-to-side and throwing them down flights of stairs is numbered. Perhaps all that crude oil used to manufacture plastic rod-shooting Iron Men was a waste, and in time humanity will be faced with ever-growing mountains of red, black and blue figurines in their so-and-so-mobiles, blocking out the sun as toy after toy becomes redundant to the impossibly flexible usage of a sandbox avatar. Or perhaps I just watched too much TV.
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