The two best TV shows this week were really games

In the past, I haven’t played video games very much, but I’m thinking more about games as tools for learning and socialization (social computing games?).

Maybe that’s why this week the two most interesting (which means “best” by my own definition) TV shows have been Daybreak and The Lost Room.

In Daybreak, the main character is a police detective, who much like the movie Groundhog Day, is repeating the same day over and over – presumably until he gets it “right”. There are a number of contingencies and clues the detective must solve to make progress. Each week, the plot changes as some issues get “solved” and the detective isn’t plagued by them on the next version of his day. We gradually learn more about the detective’s world, his past and how everything fits into place.

In The Lost Room, the main character is also a police detective and needs to unravel a mystery based around understanding, collecting and using a set of magical objects. He must discover objects, negotiate with their owners and determine the object’s proper uses. In an attempt to go meta about the issues in the plot, several of the characters are written to seem very much like I’d assume people that are deeply involved in a social game (MMORPG or the like) might be as to forming clubs (even cults in show) around studying, finding and advancing skills in the use of the objects and making alliances. It seems like they’re truly playing a game about the objects within the episodes as independent characters, but overlapping with the main detective’s role in the show/game.

Obviously, these concepts: working through a game level, a quest, negotiating with characters and finding objects of power are common to many video games of the last few decades. Adding in the social interaction and high quality rendered environment (studio sets with actual actors) and it’s a bit like watching a someone work their way through a game. Is this a new trend in scriptwriting that will bring in the gamer demographic? (Am I only noticing this because these examples are more obvious than past shows?)

(Note: do people really say “video games” anymore? I’d think the people that design all the audio would start feeling left out.)

(Double extra bonus note: I just bought a Nintendo DS Lite – got any game or gear recommendations?)

Technorati Tags:

2 thoughts on “The two best TV shows this week were really games

  1. Bryce

    Hey Don – glad to see your thoughts on Daybreak. I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit (moreso than ‘Lost’ actually, cause the pacing of the thing really makes me believe that they’re gonna SOLVE it in one season.)

    As for game recommendations, I hear that this will keep a fella like you sharp as a tack: 😀

Comments are closed.