In our study week we were asked to observe an activity and focus on one aspect I chose audience. Tom Gunning in his text “Cinema of Attractions” talks about audiences visiting cinema at the start of motion picture to see “Machines Demonstrated” this meaning they came to see the art of projection and the moving picture. They then transformed into needing and wanting an interesting narrative. He goes on to say that “Every change in film history implies a change in its address to the spectator, and each period constructs its spectator in a new way.” Gunning is writing in 1922 but if you take this theory into our century you can see that gaming is a new way of engaging audience; a progression of cinema, a new way of engaging audience.
One of the options was to ‘Play a Videogame – on your own or with friends’. It just so happened that my friends and I were planning on staying in on the following Saturday and having a ‘FIFA Tournament’. This is something that we have done for years, right from our early teens. The tournament was to be played on the Xbox 360 using FIFA 14. As word spread popularity of the night grew and in the end around 10 of us were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to show off our skills on this years FIFA. We arrived at my friend Lewis’ house in twos and threes; we all ordered a pre match Dominoes pizza and the tournament began.
We picked the top ten teams from across Europe and then drafted players to each team. We then picked the first set of matches out of a hat, having ten players made it difficult as the stages of the tournament didn’t work out as it would be 5 games then you would have one spare for the next round. After much deliberation the losers of each round were thrown into a hat and then one was chosen to play in the next round and fill the empty spot, we did this process a few times to make the tournament work. Throwing players back into the tournament worked out well because it stopped players who lost in the first round having a boring night whilst everybody else played they still had some sort of interest because there was every chance they could be back in after each round of games.
The way the room was set up being an open plan kitchen and living room meant that there was a lot of space and we could all sit together whilst chatting, eating, drinking and playing.
It was interesting to see peoples attention spans fade throughout the night. At the beginning few of us were on our phones and we were all watching the first couple of games. We were excited to see how good we all were on FIFA as we no longer play it together very often, mostly playing online if at all. Some of us being students including myself play it relatively often but then others who have full time jobs don’t have the time so were not expected to be as good as others. There was a lot expected from some of the players; this wasn’t specifically mentioned but from the reaction of the group you could tell that the majority wanted the presumed better players to lose. This hierarchy was formed on the basis of previous tournaments and how well they have played on previous versions of the game. These presumptions didn’t really come to truth with the overall winner not being included; although by the end of the tournament most spectators had completely lost interest or fallen asleep.
By the final of the tournament there had been around ten games and talk had switched to the weekends football games, gossip about people we know and browsing through photos and posts on social networking sites. We also found ourselves reminiscing about holidays and nights out that had stuck in our memories. It seemed as if the FIFA Tournament had continued to drop in importance throughout the night and we had switched to talking. The console though remained on and the tournament was finished but we had started to focus more on each other than the actual game which I suppose was the underlying objective of the night as otherwise we would be playing our Xbox’s at home alone, something that I imagine wouldn’t appeal to any of us on a Saturday night.