A Game's Photo Mode Isn't Just a Feature, It's My Way of Seeing the World

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/nepm58/a-games-photo-mode-isnt-just-a-feature-its-my-way-of-seeing-the-world

A friend and I were playing Red Dead Online’s Beta when the game had its all too often, 'Every quest in multiplayer has broken." bug.

So, to fill the time, we took photos of the horizon and each other doing cool poses on our horses. The photo mode in Red Dead is incredibly limiting, but I love that it’s a physical object you have to pull out and position correctly. I appreciate both the free form photo modes of an Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, but I like working under the limitations of a virtual human too. There’s a bit of roleplay as you tell your online partner to look a certain direction, or to pull their gun out a certain way. It’s neat!

I mean, at this point is it even role play? You aren’t pretending to be a photographer and models, you are a photographer and your friends are models. Dunno if I’d put it on a resume or anything, but it’s not like you aren’t getting photos out if it.

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I guess. But I’m not a trained professional, so I would feel uncomfortable labeling myself as a photographer. People I went to school with earned that label with hard work, training, and dedication. So, for me, in a video game, it’s roleplay.

Fascinating read.

The ‘Naked Eye Reflex’ concept is an interesting perspective. Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as to eschew a good DSLR for a compact camera - I can see the value in instantaneous capture of a moment, but I think part of the skill and art of photography is anticipating your shots. Even with a compact, your framing and focus are still a factor, so unless you’re taking a point-and-shoot approach and forgoing any set up you’re still going to miss the moment from before you moved the camera up to snap.

I so see the benefit for game photography though. The point here about being able to pose actors in the space while frozen in time being a bit unnatural is defintely true. However, a middle ground with some basic tools for framing and zoom are still appreciated, as first person modes like in Yakuza don’t really allow you to kneel down or anything.

A game I really enjoyed taking photos in was the original version of The Wind Waker. You had a camera that (until new game+) could only take monochromatic pictures and could only store about 6(?) of them. You could tilt the stick to move and look around in the first person and zoom in and out. That was it.
I had a lot of fun making little mini-series, telling stories using NPCs as my models. I was studying photography in high school at the time and being able to apply the theory I was learning to a game was a transcendent experience. Having to delete the photos to make a new story gave the shots an ephemeral quality, too.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I have that save anymore. I disctintly remember one series of photos I took telling the story of a couple separated by the sea. A man on Windfall Island looks wistfully across the ocean to an island in the distance, the moon illuminating his face. A woman on Outset sits and stares back. The waves crash on the beach.