Richard Hofmeier

Feb. 08, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

Video game designers go to next level with real-world problems, nuance

"Thralled" creative director Miguel Oliveira at his Los Angeles apartment. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times )
Miguel Oliveira is developing a video game in a tiny apartment near USC, worlds away from the high-tech studios of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. He works on a laptop surrounded by folding chairs and red plastic cups. The spare surroundings belie his ambition: to design a game that changes the way we play. In Oliveira’s game “Thralled,” set in 18th century Brazil, players explore jungles and ships to help a runaway slave reconnect with the life that was stolen from her. The Portugal native grew up on games where guns played the starring role. Now, he wants something more — to create work that has the same cultural resonance as the best in film, literature and music. “What’s blocking interactive media from being considered art is that most video games focus on primitive feelings of aggressiveness and competitiveness,” said Oliveira, […]
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