Nick Sherriff

Interview Transcript



High Score Name     – UFO.

Location                     – Home.

Time                           – 2200.


This interview was conducted whilst the interviewee [player] was playing the game.



Q. What game are you playing at present?


A. Project IGI.


Q. What sort of game do you think it is?


A. Strategy …Shoot’em up …first-person …strategy game.


Q. What do you think the appeal or the pleasure of playing this is?


A. It’s wary; you get a sense of topping people, achieving aims and goals.


Q. So does that make it challenging?


A. Yes, very.


Q. What are these challenges in the game then?


A. Not getting killed. [He laughed as his character was shot during a crescendo of gunfire.] Not getting killed and achieving your objectives.


Q. Are they quite a few problems to solve then?


A. Yeah [He is engrossed in the game.] Shit I’ve just run out of rounds.


Q. So this looks hard, was it always hard even from the start?


A. Well sort of there were a lot of controls to master … you can’t be a child and play it, put it that way.




Appendix 3

Q. And why is that?


A. Well It’s too deep and gorery as well that’s not good for kids.


Q. And it that a bit of its’ appeal the fact that it’s not for kids?


A. Well yeah, really adults don’t go for kids’ games.


Q. So when you first buy the game, is this when you get the challenge? …the fact that you’ve got to learn the controls, then the missions sort of give you challenges, is that the…


A. I don’t think controls have anything to do with it to be honest with you.


Q…no what I mean is, is there a challenge for you to master the game albeit the controls?


A. Oh yeah sure.


Q. Some people have suggested that the challenge must be varied and interesting all the time?


A. Well I mean with this sort of genre, if you want something varied and different this is not the sort of game you want to be playing. I mean you got to expect the sort of levels to be virtually the same; you’ve still got to slot people and achieve the objective.


Q. I agree there is that but …the challenge changes every level doesn’t it because I should imagine it at least gets harder or things are put in a different order?


A. Well yes, I suppose.


Q. Okay, what about the playability or the longevity of this sort of game?


A. Oh it’s really, really good. The missions get very hard as you get deeper into it, which is the failing of some games, here the early missions nurse you into it then it gets really difficult which keeps you going.


Q. Are there other pleasures in games, does anything follow the challenge?


A. Winning is all that matters, beating the game.


Q. But earlier I noticed your sort of interest in the MiGs in the hangers. Is this a sort of pleasure in exploring the levels?


A. That’s right but even looking to see if it runs smoothly, glitches and that, the more fluid the game is the better it runs.


Q. It has been mentioned that games which limited the exploration and do not give the freedom to roam around are in some ways not as good, is this correct?


A. I suppose so yeah.


Q. Does it follow that learning is required by the player and the game and that this is another pleasure of games?


A. …Oh shit, where the f**k did he come from [UFO has been attacked from behind and killed] I shit myself then!


Q. But I mean that which just happened there, where he sneaked up behind you…


A. …He came through the door didn’t he?


Q. …Yeah, has that meant you’ve now learnt from this is it a pleasure…


A. …What the they use stealth to creep up on you…


Q. …Yeah, and does this add to the game.


A. Of course it does because you know that the AI (Artificial Intelligence) is good and you’ve got to be on your toes all the time.


Q. So as well as the pleasure of you learning who the game works there is a pleasure in knowing that the game learns your moves, meaning you have to be a bit more switched on.


A. Definitely. [Again the bullets are still flying and as an ex-soldier the noise is very realistic and once again UFO is killed] Just like that. [He laughs]


Q. What about…say the pleasures of… say reading a book and you follow the story is there a similar pleasure playing games?


A. Too right!


Q. The fact that you follow it through to the end.


A. Yeah.


Q. You know here there’s this special services type guy infiltrating enemy lines via many different missions does this sort of story count at all, does it give any pleasure.


A. Yeah, everyone wants to play the action hero don’t they, I mean we all want to be the James Bond type character and video games give you the possibility to do it, I think but that’s just my opinion.


Q. Books offer you suspense, give a bit of thrills, offer and resolve problems and the story unfolds as you read. Does that happen with video games?


A. Yeah, I would say it does…Shit! [UFO is shot again]


Q. So the difficulty counts?


A. Oh yeah, you can’t make it too easy can you? Otherwise it’s all over in 5 minutes and you think it’s a waste of time.

Q. What makes you want to keep going back to the game, for instances just then when you died you said,  ‘you only just got there’?


A. You want to get that little bit further don’t you?


Q. Surely it’s not that simple is it?


A. It’s the thrill of the game, it’s the will to succeed, you have to succeed.


Q. Okay but why do you not finish all games like Orphan.


A. Cos it…It don’t know. There’s got to be a certain type of quality to the game and I didn’t find that game…it actually was a good idea but it was to linear for my liking. Which means you are only…you were very limited in what you could do, movement wise and where you could go. Whereas games like this you’ve got full manoeuvrability.


Q. We are actually back to exploration again aren’t we?


A. Exactly.


Q, This brings us nicely to something else I like to talk about and that’s Fantasy. But with video games there’s a little bit more to it?


A. Well I think they are more or less the same thing although yeah, a little bit more interactive.


Q. Does this interaction alter the fantasy?


A. Maybe.


Q. Because you have a limited amount of control where as in a book you have to follow what the pages say?


A. Well yeah…you can decide certain outcomes, you’re not stuck to a script. In books you have a definite ending, you’re stuck to the text. In video games you have got an ending but quite often different endings and as you go through the game you can change the outcome.


Q. Does it then facilitate fantasy more easily because the images are actually on the screen and you are controlling them?


A. Yeah, of course it does. Well I’m playing this game know and you can fantasise that you’re the person in the game.


Q. The element of control, is that a pleasure for some people?


A. Well yeah you have got definite control of them.


Q. Real control?

A. Well it’s not real control is it; I mean you can’t do anything but I like games that require you to use your loaf [Brain] and have a degree of autonomy.


Q. So this autonomy then, the freedom to make decisions in the game, do you think it is one of the major appeals of video games. I am trying to think of what is a different pleasure in video games compared too say books, TV?


A. It’s the interaction. They’re all a similar media at times. You interact with books and TV but with video games it’s just on a different level and with the others you have to use your imagination and games it’s set out in front of you. Because of the interaction it feels a bit more personal.


Q. What of then terms like escapism?


A. Well yeah, don’t get me wrong I like playing games when I get home from work. It’s just great, it’s a tension reliever, you can take all your anger out on this [games].


Q. So you don’t see your life, as being particularly boring that then requires relief from it?


A. No, not at all, it’s and added pleasure. I have a lot of pleasures in my life and this is just one of them. I like to enjoy life and get as much pleasure as I can.


Q. You said that one of the pleasures for you was achievement and the fact that your achieving something so could one pleasure be the recognition by yourself and others of how good it actually is and how well you have done playing it.


A. Yeah! A lot of LAN [local Area network] players are in clans and there is a lot of ego about finishing games and what game you’ve finished. It is a bit of an ego trip.


Q. Is that helped by memory cards where you take them around to your friend’s house and show them what you’ve done? So that achievement is recognised by other people not just yourself?


A. Well yeah, I suppose, that’s right. I have taken my memory card around people’s houses. It’s not just for an ego trip but also to help and share information.


Q. Do you think there is a pleasure in giving your friends pleasure, I mean if you have a visually stunning game like this you may want to take it to them so they could enjoy it as well.


A. Well yes. We’ve all grown up in the gaming world really and generally the newer the game the better the graphics, you know it’s just a big buzz.


Q. Is there then pleasure in the appreciation of a well-put together game?


A. Yeah of course it is.


Q. And is it exclusive to video games players. For instance would your parents recognise the qualities of such a game?


A. No she wouldn’t would she because she’s from a different generation isn’t she.


Q. Is there a pleasure in knowing you can recognise this?


A. Again yes, I like to think of myself as a good judge of video games.


Q. And what about competition, is that a pleasure you get from video games?


A. Yeah, some people class it as a sport. Many players play online in organised competitions and there’s big money for the winners. In America this sort of thing is massive with team and individual events it’s huge.


Q. Do you also feel the pleasure in beating the game? Maybe pitting your wits against the programmers?


A. Yeah there is, it’s like anything, you set a goal in life, in games that goal is to beat it. Once you’ve finished it there is satisfaction that you done it.


Q. One of the difficulties I have noticed is the way people describe games and the vocabulary used. For instance someone said games were exciting can you explain what that means?


A. No that’s very difficult to do; people’s tastes are so different. Some people like platform type games but I don’t.


Q. Have games an addictive quality, for instance do you find yourself playing when you should be doing something else?


A. Yeah, all the time.


Q. Do games need to be realistic?


A. No not at all. Many games like Quake bare little resemblance on reality but are still great games to play but parts need to be realistic. Many things that are unrealistic like driving around bends 350 mph is unreal but great. I mean people like to fantasise about walking down the street with a machine gun and letting rip into shops and cars.



Q. Is this why some people think video games are bad influence?


A. Older people just don’t understand full stop.


Q. If you had to make your own game what pleasures would you put in it?


A. Well it would be exciting, it would have to be a long game and feed on peoples fear and emotions. Graphical content is important. Varied levels, interesting.


Q. What is your most important pleasure?


A. I don’t know I just get satisfaction being able to do it.


Q. Not fantasy. I mean your at home on your own it’s dark and your playing silent hill [Adult horror].


A. I wouldn’t play it on my own in the dark it’s as simple as that.


Q. Why is that?


A. Because I ‘d shit myself.


Q. Do you think it does draw you in and play with your mind a bit.


A. Of course they do. I mean games like Resident Evil were a nightmare for me. When I first played it…see I get scared very easily…I now it’s only a game but..


Q. And is that a pleasure for you?


A. Oh yeah, it’s the thrill of being scared just like a roller coaster. Also your mind starts playing tricks on you. Every noise you here you think there’s someone going upstairs or outside which is why I don’t like playing them in the dark.


Q. So for you some games really do give you that element of fantasy?


A. Yes they do.


There is a bit of a pause while he plays a bit more then.


A. Sorry. I’m just slotting Spetznatz for fun.


Q. It is odd that you say ‘I am’ rather than the game wants me or my character has to.


A. You always take it in the first person though.


Q. Do all games gradually get harder and faster?


A. Oh yeah, they do don’t they. If they kept the same pace you would do it really quickly and it wouldn’t be a challenge. It has to get progressively more difficult as you get into it.


A. It is escapism, it is fantasy but basically it is fun.


Q. Yeah I here that a lot but imagine you own a software company and you have spent 2 million on a game. Could you afford to say well just make it fun. This seems to be the crux in that why do games get 2 and 3 percent ratings in the magazines. Surely they understand what pleasures they are aiming at don’t they?


A. It’s about taste and what the individual enjoys. I just get a sense of achievement. I finish games like Final Fantasy after spending hours and hours on it and I’ve done it. I got everything you could possibly get, all the characters, the weapons. It just gives me a sense of achievement that I could be bothered to spend the time doing it and not give up on it after ten minutes like a lot of people do.