The significant relations between art and industry have long since generated philosophical discussions. In the last two decades, the gaming industry has undergone a remarkable growth. A major change can be observed in this sphere where existentialism is inseparably connected to arts and technology, the highly distinguished trio «art – technology – industry». Currently, a large number of game software worldwide is designed and produced from creative technology and art concepts. Hence, they assure that these products will offer pleasant and valuable experiences. However, the primary aim is to make these products highly entertaining. The industry plans to increase their recreational value by providing future aesthetics that are more detailed, livelier and realistic. I mean that if industry wants to increase its income and expertise while ensuring it works sustainably, it has to focus on creating art products that follow and develop subjectively quasi-philosophical and aesthetic experiences.

The action game John Woo Presents Stranglehold, developed by Midway in August 2007, features both offline and online game modes. This game boasts the participation of director John Woo, which explains its rather high artistic quality. The game’s superiority lies in its specific aesthetic provision – its entire story and characters who shape this story. This game’s art design brings a lot of aesthetic concepts to our attention, particularly those encompassed in philosophical work The Number and the Siren. The distinct analogy between Stranglehold and The Number and the Siren becomes even more evident through Slow-Mo Tequila’s physical aspect, representative of the siren. The paper applies a taxonomic classification approach in order to prove the game’s appeal.

1.1. Background of John Woo Presents Stranglehold

In its most extreme realization, a game has little or no straightforward story to speak of and is focused primarily on gameplay. During game development, the real concern is whether the in-game story and associated cutscenes and dialogue disrupt the overwhelming yet cohesive and engaging first-person gameplay experience. Anyone familiar with John Woo Presents Stranglehold, or the Woo films this game is based on, understands the game’s story is not its selling point. The game gushes with action and style, and graphics are spectacular, but its hackneyed storyline and campy dialogue and clichéd characters are at best laughed at, and at worst ridiculed.

John Woo Presents Stranglehold is based on director John Woo’s 1992 Hong Kong action movie classic, Hard Boiled. Golden Kane is the leader of the Gold Temple Crime Syndicate and has kidnapped the daughter of Detective «Tequila» Yuen. The game is filled with Woo-style flourishes of screenplay, camera, and choreography, and stars Hong Kong action legend Chow Yun-Fat, reprising his role from Hard Boiled. The game is filled with Woo-style flourishes of screenplay, camera, and choreography. Although the movie showcased a unique style of gun-fu martial arts, I have the goal of creating a final project that breaks away from those restraints and uses storytelling via cutscenes and in-game dialogue to illustrate and connect the characters.

1.2. Purpose and Scope of the Study

The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between story and characters in the narrative of a contemporary digital game, using John Woo Presents Stranglehold as a case study. This is accomplished by addressing two key research questions: What does John Woo Presents Stranglehold’s narrative consist of and how is the narrative conveyed? How do the characters and story elements within the narrative relate to each other on a narrative level? The scope of the research is defined by these research questions and by the specifics of the case study being investigated, so the goal is not to draw conclusions for digital games as a whole. By using Stranglehold as a single case study, however, the results can contribute to the more general exploration of story and character relationships in digital games and to the development of guidelines for how such a relationship can be strengthened to the benefit of games as a narrative medium.

2. John Woo’s Influence on the Game

The ties between cinematic elements and video games are at an all-time high, and their potential is just beginning to be explored. Ben Reeves points to Rockstar Games’ (Team Bondi-developed) L.A. Noire as an «execution of masterfully crafted narrative.» While non-player characters often have jobs, hobbies, and their own woes, little agency is granted to the player in terms of affecting the game’s world. The Mondoshawan, the company behind John Woo Presents Stranglehold, includes the director as an integral part of its command structure. Also, Woo is part of the creative team working on Stranglehold, which certainly will influence the direction of the narrative and the objectives of the game. This relationship predictably produces a game that thematically ties to his movies, which dramatize the relationship between the powerful and the powerless.

2.1. John Woo’s Style and Aesthetics

We will start by explaining how the physical style present in Stranglehold graphics is distinct thanks to support from John Woo’s cinematic style and its major attributes. John Woo is a cinematic director who is well known for using violence to tell his heroic bloodshed stories. In a Yo-Mail interview with John Woo, the director mentioned his thoughts about the use of heroic bloodshed in his movies by stating, «I do remember in the past, always create so many characters, so how they can express their feelings, they can expand their personality? It’s only the action». The hero in a heroic bloodshed is typically at odds with the government or the outside public but will often reciprocate when he is shown respect from certain characters. These «certain characters» usually possess a higher moral responsibility for the welfare of others, and will always represent themselves not only by attitude but also through their actions. When the story becomes desperate, these characters’ strong will to achieve justice will not diminish. Comics-based Hong Kong action movies initiated the famous John Woo-heroic bloodshed style commonly known as «how many police officers or criminals can my protagonists maim today?» This violent characteristic is contained in formulaic portrayals of struggle where a bad, unjust character tries to dominate good and virtuous credibility. This statement of morality in the representation of battles was first successful in Hong Kong in the 1980s and continues to be a prevailing visual typification for films where John Woo is a participant.

When the influence of a famous director such as John Woo is incorporated into the making of a video game, comparisons with his cinematic style become inevitable. John Woo Presents Stranglehold greatly benefits from its association with John Woo and his established visual style. The director’s trademark elements such as heroic bloodshed, the style of his characters and plot combined with slow motion camera shots and acrobatic processions of destruction brought to the game an exciting physical presentation during combat. When it came time to create a plot and establish the distinct details of his characters, Stranglehold was able to benefit from John Woo’s influence but developed a slightly different formula for story progression due to the characteristics of a video game.

2.2. Impact of John Woo’s Films on Stranglehold

Throughout these movies, there are numerous scenes where Tony informs everybody that if anyone is to be encountered, they should better hope it is Chow Yun-Fat. It is always a pleasure to watch Chow and Tony working together and seeing how well they play off of each other’s qualities. Chow Yun-Fat is the man deranged during either idle stirring or mindless repetitive mechanistic action. His character is movie star awesome; a wild boost in almighty human strength and unerring human accuracy, defying maddening unlikely superlatives, indulging only in sight and scent. Woo’s reputation leads us to suspect he would rather respect superhuman talent and fewer functional weaknesses. Indeed, while Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung certainly do possess the enviable attributes of a gun-toting powerhouse, multiple other characters in Stranglehold are also incredibly capable of genuine rib-crunching conduct during the duration of the game’s many super slow-motion showdowns. Stranglehold also features an equally extraordinary ability to incorporate many of Hard-Boiled’s most memorable bits into the game in surprising and enjoyable ways. Woo’s signature stylized gun battles do come closest to exhaustively exactingly imitated; not only is the petty bad guy below the big bad guy, but multiple bad guys do rally round for the duration of the moment, and the tempest munificence of dual firearm surfeit powers characters through heavily magnificent scenes. However, Wise Dragon and the physicians also possess fantastic abilities and otherwise unusual strengths which shock and excite until the final twirl.

John Woo’s most recognizable and iconic creation is undoubtedly the 1992 film Hard-Boiled. In it, Chow Yun-Fat stars as super-cop Inspector Tequila, who goes deep undercover to break up a criminal organization. On the surface, Hard-Boiled’s role in Stranglehold is similar; he stars as international super-cop Inspector Tequila, who goes deep undercover to put a stop to a criminal organization. The 1999 film’s focus is similar; it again features Woo and Chow Yun-Fat, this time playing brothers who team up to fight Triad domination. The story of the game is certainly a rehash, as Tequila has the honor of teaming up with his brother, Tony Woo, to take down Triad domination. What really connects all three films with Stranglehold, however, is the relationship between the two characters. Hard-Boiled and A Better Tomorrow II are not movies about any old detective or any old brother; they are John Woo-tastic movies about two characters in particular. Stranglehold is a game about those same two characters.

3. Narrative Structure in Stranglehold

The concept of the three-act structure has long been an essential part in the writing and analysis of screenplays. Syd Field, Hollywood’s most famous writing guru, wrote that nearly all successful Hollywood films, particularly those that are successful at the box-office, use a plot structure or formula, known as the three-act structure. Field asserted that three-act structure is imperative because it mirrors the way we have learned to perceive objective reality. Because it is how the brain works, it is thus also how the brain seeks organized information. Since it is based on the pattern of human consciousness, the three-part or three-act structure reflects our experience of the beginnings, middles, and ends not only of our lives or our day, but also the parts of virtually any story communicated by voice, prose, or image. Although not every story fits this model, Field estimated that 90% of Hollywood narrative film stories could be plotted within the three-act form.

The basic narrative premise of Stranglehold, featuring Tequila as the protagonist trying to rescue his daughter and bring justice to Hong Kong, is both simple and classic. It is structured according to a three-act scripted drama, featuring three major battles against three different antagonists. Each separate act or segment of the plot is also an example of the three-act structured narrative form, with each segment leading to the next in an escalating, expanding drama. The game therefore offers not so much a traditional narrative as a series of curated story segments, one after the other. The flow and pacing of these segments is managed by an external engine that controls gameplay actions rather than narrative choices. This very constricted form of narrative allows no active or direct engagement with the game story, just passive observation of the progression of narrative or character through and between these scripted segments.

3.1. Overview of the Storyline

The single player storyline of JWPS generally follows Tequila’s endeavors to rescue his daughter, Billie, and resolve matters of vengeance for the murder of his wife. Although the stories portrayed in the movies of the series are already built and pre-existing, JWPS does not follow the story plot for the movie genre but rather acts as a predecessor to the events that take place in those movies. One of the most intriguing features of the game is the fact that the storyline of a game with a central Asian or Hong Kong setting is built around the actions of an Asian movie star. Consequently, this often has the player wondering whether the digitized character Tequila is actually playing the role of Chow Yun Fat in the game or Munchy-westerners are able to play the role of Chow. Other teething points, such as the corny lines and «hongeys» that are often repeated again and again during the game, contributed further to the confusion. The split screen multiplayer mode for the game is also confusing and tenuous.

3.2. Character Development and Arcs

One of the areas in the game where Yuen is consistent with Woo’s characters in its representation of family relationships is that of respect and admiration. He is shown to have great respect from his colleagues and friends, particularly from his uncle, Benny. The treatment of Hon and her relationship with Wong is the only place where things start to get undermined. Their narrative is not well-integrated with those of the other characters, and their place in the story structure is unsteady. In the game’s most irritating instance of how narrative can be chopped up into discrete and ‘distinct’ elements, Tequila and Ho walk past Hon and Wong talking, with no one acknowledging anyone else, and the player cannot access their conversation without disturbing Chiang. And thus I took to the idea, if two characters pass in another medium, nobody has to wave at anybody else. This made several narrative gears rather clunky through the build. The narrative overall will flow much better if all the play of one character impacts directly on the story arcs of the others, but design tools can’t make the player mark time while two characters have an RPG-style event scene to chat when the two playable characters are expected to work independently. It’s not game-breaking, but it makes moving from the B or C thread to the A thread more abrupt than it should be to see the mutual cause-and-effect relationships of interwoven or converging plotlines.

In the original shooting script for Hard Boiled, Yuen and Tequila were brothers as well as partners, and they greatly respected and admired their father. Before the family was torn apart and their mother was killed by a gang employed by Wong Hoi, she managed to send one son away, the younger by a few years. Yuen—now Tequila—stayed with his brother and dying mother until her death, then saw his father—in shock—kill his brother, thinking the boy was an enemy, and shoot himself. Since that time, he’s been dealing with his loss through his single-minded dedication to being the best cop he can be. Ho comes from a similar background, the loss of a brother, but he took a different path, first turning to crime and eventually becoming an undercover cop so he could legally pursue those who had taken his brother from him. It’s clearly acknowledged through Ho’s narrative on Hong Kong when he turns up in Tequila’s life. He tells how he saw an escalating circle of revenge (Ho’s path) or lack of faith in justice (Tequila’s path) tearing everything apart. Tequila needs to rediscover hope and faith before dealing with Tony. He goes from avenging cop to saving hero.

4. Main Characters in Stranglehold

However, John Woo as producer as well as director made sure that this game provides alternate, equally entertaining means of story and action. To do this, no other true main character could be pulled off. Tequila could not suddenly hate who he is and spend more time being brooding and angsty. Instead, it became necessary to provide him with a relatable best friend or family member, thereby allowing him to more naturally express who he is and what he stands for, thus developing his character throughout the game’s simplistic, even cliché plot.

Billie’s slightly expanded role leads her to be referred to more as a deuteragonist to Tequila, rather than a solely secondary character, after Chow’s very real change to his character. In John Woo’s 1992 film Hard Boiled, Tequila was essentially a one-dimensional character. His only qualities evident are his need to alleviate, his continuous excessive drinking, and his incredible ability to ignore pain. Consequently, viewers are left focusing only on the big action scenes.

Officially, the John Woo Presents Stranglehold game has only two main characters, although there are several key characters around them. Those two main characters are: 1. Tequila, portrayed by Chow Yun Fat. 2. Billie Wong, known to be Tequila’s ally as well as his love interest.

4.1. Tequila Yuen

Tequila’s talent for combat is influential. A lot of people believe that since Tequila is a cop, he can’t use any of the controversial techniques that those triad members are using. However, after playing Stranglehold, they found out that Tequila is capable of more than just regular moves. It seems that his identity as a cop doesn’t really matter, and he can execute the most stylish and sophisticated martial movements. That’s more than everything a combat game player would desire—using a good or bad character to do dirty work and take the major role of controlling the story of the game.

Tequila Yuen, the main character in the video game Stranglehold, is an officer working for the Hong Kong Police Department. In terms of weaponry, he is always equipped with a pair of pistols and will occasionally get his hands on some other guns, such as grenade launchers and shotguns as well. Just like his fans all over the world, Tequila plays multiple roles in Stranglehold. He is not only a tough cop who fights the triads but also a father, an ex-husband, and a protagonist who is willing to give up everything in order to fulfill his responsibility. The depth of his character lies in his personal stories.

4.2. Billie Wong

Guidelines for Building Territory Relationships: Here is a quote that describes the guidelines for making relationships in games. «Our goal was to make the player feel close to someone with whom he would be able to communicate when provoked or in trouble. This is true of Lt. Tequila throughout the game, but especially with Billie. Usually, in the beat’em up genre, the main character is a superhero who can face an army alone. Tequila is not a superhero. He’s a cop; an honest one, but a broken man suffering from his inner pain. Actually, Tequila isn’t a «he,» it’s a «we.» To talk about the character, we need to know: Who is Tequila and what does he want?»

The only other character in the game is Billie Wong. Billie Wong is Lt. Tequila’s daughter, and he has a relationship with her that is different than the one he has with other characters. The relationship manages to build a character for Tequila, other than just another cop who has been wronged. His latent emotions are shown clearly, and the game is more about rescuing Billie than stopping the drug war. It creates a father’s point of view for the player, as the player is made to believe that it’s up to him to save Billie rather than stop the gang war of the Chicago underworld.

5. Interactions and Relationships between Characters

If the computer game is character-based and in addition to creating characters with different personalities, as in discovering and experiencing a more self-vivid, interactive role that can make the player feel stronger emotions. In such a situation, the relationship or interaction between the characters maintains high priority and is also one of the genuine profit spots of the story and characters’ relationship. The computer game’s character interaction can attract the player to play on. The more vivid a computer game character’s personalities, relationships, and interactions, like the more seemingly «real» the character, the more likely the player will be attracted to continue playing. Additionally, the character’s relationship and the interaction provide an important aspect of the gameplay experiences and also promote the individual ability.

There are three potential methods of building up a story for a computer game: storyboard, gameplay, and characters. Gameplay-driven computer games mainly concern the game’s construction and the player’s preference, while storyboard-based computer games have the properties of «lightness, trouble-free method, and convenience». However, they are often linear, lack sustainability, and have an overly tight use of resources, so it is very hard to build up an attraction informed only by presentation. In recent years, the third method has become more frequently employed: computer game character-based drama. This method makes the «attracting point» based on characters and has a good effect to attract the player.

5.1. Tequila and Billie

And, as in modern action films, the sidekick runs the risk of being nonsensical, whiny, pathetic, and/or annoying, while changing the rage and disdainfully calling excessive violence out on the protagonist. Thankfully, Billie runs none of these risks. Amount clicked, and 1 of the monster Tequila’s worlds are quite possibly best executed on the nose characters in the game. She is a very young woman possessed by a strong will and a deep sense of duty, and her conflict revolves around seeing her long-lost but estranged father so shaken up and out of place. She also conflicts with her own professionalism and the rules of the force, and her resolution about Tequila and what she sees and learns about the violent culture and institutions of Hong Kong become strong enough to fuel her own personal desire to become an extension of her partner, forming a strong bond of 2 characters together, who depend upon each other and learn from each other in order to excel.

The first relationship in the game, and the one which receives the most screen time, continues the epic struggle between the forces of good and evil that epitomizes the Chinese heroes of old: the hero and his estranged family member. In this case, Tequila and his daughter Billie, an officer in the Hong Kong police. Tequila learns that his wife is dead and his daughter long thought that he was dead, setting up the possibility of reconciliation between the two if Tequila can survive the night, and if they manage to get through their personal, emotional, and professional issues, trust each other, and work together. As Tequila and Billie interact with each other, you learn a lot about the personalities of both, which in the case of Tequila remains largely a deep mystery for quite a bit of the film.

5.2. Tequila and Jerry

In the game of STRANGLEHOLD, instead of saying who uses money to take advantage of others, freely imagining who becomes the bird and who becomes the prey, or who is the dog or the provider, who can say for sure, who rules, who serves? Actually, the opposite for this question can later on bring variety and diversify these two main characters. […] No matter who is the bird and who is the prey, they both have mutual exchanges and mutual restrictions, which reflect today’s real society and character, and they are the very game design theme of making STRANGLEHOLD happen today. […] We can believe that this is an excellent «game experience». If this kind of building the relationship was not perfected so that it became «mostly comfortable», the game would be intensively dull. In order to step out of one’s role to play one’s acting position, and thoroughly get into the textbooks to guess which is the weak side and which is just on the verge of seeing through, and change again and again to dance the waltz with the «partner» who dances regularly to moving means constantly. […] Therefore, both Tequila and Jerry are absolute necessary characters – imaginary alternators, and obligated to use means in order to compensate each other.

Unlike Inspector «Tequila» Yuen, Jerry as an interpreter is not a truly independent person. The purpose of his existence in the game is merely a concept, a cover that is forced to be activated to explain the story content to the player. On the one hand, Jerry is Tequila’s «ally» chosen by all; on the other hand, in the game, he is actually a tool used by Tequila. Our familiar westerners can understand a magnificent game like the Monkey King transforming into the weakest form, a small insect, just to bring along the right person – a hook-made-up monkey who can neither say any meaningful words. During the time of ALONE IN THE DARK, Edward Carnby was surrounded by a dangerous Dwayne character, so that his dependence on this person could happen. Similarly, the less powerful the game character is, the relationship built with the non-player character is more essential.

6. Themes and Motifs in Stranglehold

In the following section, I will highlight and expand upon salient themes and motifs discernible within Stranglehold, and the broader range of possible meanings and significances their narration offers. I will demonstrate the many ways the game’s invocation of filmic factors serves as a referential communications medium for a decentralized gameplay experience of individual multi-sequential Hitachi Building events reflective of a dispersed, player-experience model. I will locate and illustrate the meaningful connections that link this extended game to a plurality of social and economic factors that complicate, and are often obscured in the traditional achievement-oriented structure model of the action game. The absence of a thorough 5-line game narrative and priorities of play that focus excessively on the downtime-laden pieces of the game divert substantial focus to other components of the formal, in a self-conscious attempt to distract the player from the substitution act occurring at the same moment and draw attention to the game with a searchlight. The game’s mode of presentation itself demonstrates aspects and styles linked with this argument, most notably in the million-and-one inanimate objects paraded about the world to very little effect; a variety of culture is instantly visible in the way in which Stranglehold draws attention to thematic import generally overlooked in the video game sphere.

6.1. Family and Loyalty

Firstly, the importance of family in Stranglehold has helped to reinforce Tequila’s filial relation with his daughter in the video game. Family comes first for these characters, especially Tequila. It is shown that Tequila is very upset when he sees his daughter appearing in the surveillance screens, causing him to be determined to rescue her. The appearance of his daughter also motivates Tequila to risk his life in rescuing her. This is further emphasized in the prologue of the game as it tells the players about his background and his motive in investigating the kidnapping. Through this, players can understand Tequila’s character and have sympathy over his suffering, and discover what part of the game plays in his daughter’s life. The in-game conversation also reveals his family and shows Tequila’s commend in his duties. Therefore, guiding players through conversations and dialogues in Stranglehold enables family characters such as Tequila and his daughter, Billie, to further evolve during the game. By emphasizing the bond between Tequila and his daughter, the affective character can help with the motivation of the character.

In Stranglehold, family is held dear to Tequila, with his motive being his desire to rescue his kidnapped daughter. The importance of family and loyalty in Stranglehold reflects the Asian background of its characters. Family and loyalty are very important in Chinese culture, and John Woo, who has created Stranglehold, is accustomed to the Asian culture, being a Chinese born in Guangzhou, China. Being brought up in Chinese culture has allowed John Woo to understand the background of his characters, and his creativity and experience as a Chinese to incorporate the important Chinese values of family and loyalty in his characters in Stranglehold. These characters act as teaching tools to educate Western children about Chinese values and the filial piety which is part of the Chinese characters, and bridging the gap between the different cultures through playing as relief factors. Furthermore, the importance of family and loyalty also provides the motivation for characters in Stranglehold to perform and sacrifice, to evoke guilt and be trapped in the social dilemma.

6.2. Revenge and Justice

There are so many allowances made for Tequila in the cinematic universe of Stranglehold that he cannot be a Stray Bullet. As a traditional hero of the western Action, he is an adult, masculine, and willing to use violence to combat evil, even outside of the law. His personal code of conduct urges him to protect people’s happiness and maintain his sense of righteousness. Judge Patrick Shannon secretly opposes the gang while publicly executing mob members during trials, making him another typical representative. Chock Sr.’s selfless sacrifice of his son’s admiration in order to protect him is also consistent with the model. In the game’s dialogues and in-game documents, a second-class hero, the trio of the Libermann family, and an inner-hero do-gooder cop are also registered. Such a simple moral structure guarantees the comfort and readability of the performances of the game with his personal story.

With relation to the main character’s revenge and justice missions, I argue that the story in John Woo Presents Stranglehold exhibits a binary morality. From the morally gray criminal world, some rules emerge that regulate the behavior of its members. These rules and understandings vary regionally and historically. The location or closed settings and the existing relationships of some characters guarantee a stable balance in the relationship between the main character (a good guy with a badge and a father) and gangsters. Some psychological and domestic scenes, as well as additional documents, stimulate the player to respect their sacrifices and ethical training, and thus further motivate them to pursue their mission. The interactive scenes succeed in balancing the two relationships in the work while preventing the improvement of the villainous characters’ personalities.

7. Gameplay Mechanics and Story Integration

The Laws of Destruction in the world of Stranglehold see destructible environments and bullet ballet collide in a special. Brian explained the process of balancing Open Level Design with Detail to us. «Everything must remain breakable.» Midway’s lead designer for Stranglehold (and level design supremo on Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy) has a very particular mantra for Stage 4, the Office Complex and levels of a similar type: «Freedom of Choice—the player has a choice in all matters. Suspense and tension throughout: there needs to be moments where you think ‘the ambush could happen now’ and it doesn’t… or does it?» In Stage 4, emphasis is placed on «getting the player the opportunity to make full use of the gameplay mechanics.» This can mean keyhole cover in the form of doors, gravitoning onto lasers, the capturing of health packs seen in Think on Your Feet – «problem with health packs is you have to suffer to pay them off and your players can get pretty pissed off.» Actions have consequences.

In John Woo’s Hard Boiled, Tequila is portrayed as an unstoppable hero who is relatively invincible. Since Stranglehold uses his likeness, were the mechanics made to reflect this? And was anything done to get the bullet time or physics-based action that is expected from a John Woo game in line with the story? According to Game Director at Midway Chicago, Brian Eddy, «Tequila is actually a very difficult character to balance with any other characters in multiplayer. He’s very powerful, and we want to put that across in the game.» As for giving Tequila abilities that are in line with other characters in the game, «Emotionally, powerful is the key, not kill 20 guys and get a special power,» Brian adds. The team at Midway has called John Woo «a perfectionist» and «is very honest with his feelings.»

8. Critical Reception and Analysis

This chapter also reflects my goal in conducting textual analysis to not just perform a close reading of the work but to also situate it within the framework of available critical response. John Woo himself understandably also had his own thoughts on how to interpret Stranglehold’s reception in his dual role as the force behind both the game and the filmography and style which it was a part. This third chapter consolidates its findings from previous discussion and places them in the context of the available sources which discuss the game. The conflicts between internal audience reception, game academic criticism, and developer intent provide a viewpoint where I can investigate the reasons for widely divergent interpretations of the game and the reasons behind them. These findings bear directly upon my research question, and I seek to apply them to understanding of the creation of fan relationships with Stranglehold’s characters, which is the subject of the next chapter.

Critically, the game was generally well received. The popular culture corps of academia has also encountered the game when Keith Kerr discussed it in «Romancing the Gun: The Violent Paths of the Hong Kong Movie,» one of the first critical works to discuss the game, overlapping part of my period of study, and which approaches the game from a somewhat broader perspective than mine. In the discussion which proceeds, I draw both on my conversations with fans and on the reviews and the publicly available video works on the subject for this section, and I attempt to make sense of the astonishing diversity of response from the fans. Critical response here is useful for helping me to understand why the fans responded to the game as they did. The divergence in critical reception, in turn, supports my understanding of what it is that the fans love about the game and what is of interest in its fan story-based contributions, which I explore in the next chapter.

9. Conclusion and Future Research Directions

While relationship concepts from the colloquial sense and model from the narrative domain provided a good basis for understanding and categorizing the relationships present in JWP Stranglehold, the derived type of relationships were limited to one aspect of storytelling in the vast, open-ended, and interactive medium of video games. If games are to realize their potential for representing powerful experiences, conveying and exploring issues of import, and other such functions of narrative, new more comprehensive relationship models, aided by player actions, should be developed. By focusing on the deeper narrative constructs that another character-based form of art, the one-off television series, is able to evoke, the earnest study and identification of new and different video game character relationships can be expressed.

The story and character relationships in the medium of video games have been the subject of limited academic inquiry but represent a vital component in understanding interactive, player-driven games. Through an examination of the story and character relationships in John Woo Presents Stranglehold, a variety of exemplar relationships between characters in video games have been identified. Prototypes for further development and other types of relationships should also be identified in the future.

por ronitec

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