It's funny to think that the genre of a video game could change based on point of view. From the Prince's point-of-view in Katamari, everything is peachy, he's got a job to do, and everything in his path is nothing more than sweet, sweet points.
However, from literally anyone else's POV in that world, the Terrorist Alert Level just rocketed from green to red as some big-headed, green pajama-wearing moron is causing the biggest catastrophe in the history of the universe.
I mean, it doesn't appear that people are necessarily dying or anything, but he's rolling up continents, for Christ's sake! There is no more Africa! This should be somewhat disconcerting. (Unless you have a beef with Africa.)
I enrolled myself in fiction writing classes at one point and my biggest struggle near the beginning was perspective. My professor enjoyed the pieces I wrote, but reprimanded me for incorrectly jumping from the protagonist's POV to the antagonist's POV to an all-seeing narrator, then back to the protagonist's POV. I guess it's kind of a control freak thing-I wanted to explain my stories from every angle possible so the reader never got confused. But "apparently" it doesn't work like that. I had to stick to telling my story from one perspective and one perspective only.
Video games, being interactive fiction, are also like that. After you carjack someone's car in Liberty City, you don't all of a sudden jump to the perspective of the Joe whose car just got jacked. It would be a pretty bad day for him, but on the other hand, you are joyridin' in a lipstick red Ferrari without a single care if it careens into a telephone pole. Woo! Life is great.
I talk about this concept in a comical fashion in the above video with some examples of games that would be pretty different if we saw them from an alternate angle. Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Conker's Bad Fur Day… those are my picks! Tell me yours!
Kotaku Presents' debut season features Lisa Foiles, who is best known as the former star of Nickelodeon's award-winning comedy show, All That. She currently works as an actress/web host in Hollywood and is continuing to dabble in video game voiceovers. For more info, visit Lisa's official website She's also on Twitter.