Montageman: A dude who writes

February 3, 2007

More Manhunt

Filed under: affect, videogames — montageman @ 9:53 pm

Playing Manhunt last night, I found myself no longer concerned with the narrative progression of the story. Instead (and I don’t know what this says about me), I found myself wanting to kill people. When a character is killed, the camera moves from the avatars back to the front and shows a fetishistic view of your avatar killing. “The Director,” a disembodied voice, tells you to kill these characters, but the player is not clear who or why he is killing. The kill and the view of the kill depends on what weapon is being carried – at this point, the choices have been a glass shard or a plastic bag. A piece of glass is jutted into the jugular. The plastic bag is used as a suffocation device (below). Either way, pleasure is gained from watching the act.

The cutaway video of the kill is not the only way to see a kill in Manhunt. In order to see the cutaway video, the player must sneak up on his foe and hit the ‘X’ or square button at the right moment. If timing is off, then I must kill by striking my enemy multiple times with the chance that he can fight back. The Manhunt‘s pleasure in killing is highest when there is no chance of prey fighting back. The only time this happens is when the game cuts away, thus the most pleasurable moments of killing are not interactive. The player watches the suffocation. The affective cue then is the cut or the game’s use of editing as a formal structure.

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