Boyer: Your “Responsibility” Toward Games

By Jim Rossignol on August 16th, 2011 at 8:07 am.

The fringe that launched a thousand games awards.
Speaking at GDCE yesterday, IGF chairman Brandon Boyer has described what he feels is a “responsibility” on the part of people who play games. He suggested that games which expand upon the possibilities of what gaming experiences should be need be financially supported by gamers, and also suggested that games are now reaching for deeper meaning: “People value music more because it adds an emotional pitch and rhythm and color to life, it speaks to something more essential, it reminds them of a place and time, it reminds them of where they were when they first experienced it and who they experienced it with… And there’s no reason that we shouldn’t also be aspiring to that same exact sort of resonance.”

“All of us with a vested interest in games, no matter on what level, have the responsibility to talk about games in these terms,” says Boyer in some notes posted on Gamasutra “in the same way we talk about the creation and the emotion of other arts: to make them feel less like black magic delivered on discs, and more a process and a result attainable and achievable by all, especially as we move into the decades and generations ahead.”

__________________

« | »

, , .

78 Comments »

  1. poop says:

    hes basically saying that you should fucking play murder dog already you goddam ingrates

  2. JackShandy says:

    If you’re making and/or playing games professionally, sure, but I’m not sure consumers have any responsibilities at all.

    • jti says:

      And corporations have only repsonsibility to make profit, so here we are. Enter the Call of Duty n+1 and the million clones.

      Because we care about money and money means stupid and shallow and familiar.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Well, strictly speaking he’s talking to developers, but I think a bunch of this stuff could actually be applied to responsible for consumption, too. I think saying there’s no need to be a responsible consumer is a little naive.

    • formivore says:

      You can choose to assume a bit of responsibility as a consumer, if you’d like. This is really quite a normal thing in the course of human affairs.

    • jti says:

      And then: “I’m going to wait for Steam sale on this.”

    • JackShandy says:

      Oh, you’re right, consumers absolutely have responsibilities- to avoid products that cause harm,that were made using unethical practices, etc etc. What I should of said is that I don’t think anyone has the responsibility to buy or mention or care about a product because it’s judged as more artistic or innovative than others.

      Reading his comment, I would love to see more apps that aim for an emotional pay-off; but if someone tries to make such a thing and I hate the result, I don’t see that I have any responsibility to support it.

    • Kent says:

      I second JackShady on this. If you want to support games for the artistic sake (which is what he’s on about anyway and not consumer responsibility as we know it) then you should do so because you want to, not because some semi-famous dude about says so.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I guess no one will see this, but the mistake here is so obvious that I have to respond. Responsibility doesn’t necessarily mean ethical responsibility. This is a simple descriptive fact: our decisions as consumers effect the kinds of games that are made. If we as consumers don’t like the kinds of games that are made, then we as consumers need to look at our own behavior. Now, of course, you aren’t ethically obligated to care what kinds of games are made–we aren’t exactly talking about sea levels rising or a cure for cancer here. But chances are, if you’re posting a comment on RPS, that you already care about what kinds of games are made. So your behavior as a consumer has an effect on something you care about. That’s pretty much the definition of responsibility, no hippies or sandals needed.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Oh, you’re right, consumers absolutely have responsibilities- to avoid products that cause harm,that were made using unethical practices, etc etc. What I should of said is that I don’t think anyone has the responsibility to buy or mention or care about a product because it’s judged as more artistic or innovative than others.

      Forgive me for being cynical, but it sounds to me like you’re willing to say “consumers have responsibilities” when it comes to being angry internet men and boycotting products, but when it comes to actually supporting and backing up a good game with money, then consumers “have no responsibility”.

      The door swings both ways. If we want to see better games, we need to support the good games in addition to avoiding the bad ones. I know complaining about and boycotting bad games is fun and all (and free!), but that’s only half the solution.

  3. Sheng-ji says:

    The problem is, until the writers are of the quality of the best writers in literature, the sound is of the quality of the best musicians and the visuals as good as the best cinematographers, we will never get that emotion from games – more often than not playing a game is something akin to listening to your local school choir or watching a made for TV film.

    Games do have their superstars of course and there are games which resonate with you in that deep emotional way – for me it has been Alpha Centauri, Thief and Minecraft. Games like that are fewer and further between than other mediums, probably because there’s more to making them!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Alpha Centauri, Thief and Minecraft”

      Those being precisely the kinds of games which do not require the “best writers in literature, the sound is of the quality of the best musicians and the visuals as good as the best cinematographers”. And isn’t that the point about games? They are capable of using quite different tools to go places that books, albums and movies cannot.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Yes, forgive me for not explaining myself properly, I believe that trying to copy other mediums leads to mediocre results – games are a fully fledged medium all to itself and so the story telling techniques need to be relevant only to games. As the player has so much freedom, trying to shoehorn a player into a linear scripted story like a book or a film will always lead to an inferior result – the genius about minecraft for instance is it gives you the tools to make your own storyline.

      The same with the “cinematography” We’re all impressed by the technical achievements of the latest engines and artists, but a game like diablo 1 oozed atmosphere, even compared to Diablo 2, which was so much more technically accomplished.

      Games need the quality of hitchcock or Ken Follett, someone who knows their medium and audience and knows how to give the user that sublime experience, but not someone who copies techniques from irrelevant mediums.

    • mingster says:

      I dont need the ‘best’ writers, music and cinema has to offer. I just need a good game mechanic. Story is a throwaway add on usually ignored. I don’t ‘play’ a game to get a movie experience i watch films for that instead.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I agree with you too mingster – I very deliberately wrote “the quality of” we don’t need book writers in games because the linearity of a book has no place, I believe, in the future of games.

      One real bugbear I have with games at the moment is games which try to reproduce the closeup, where they focus up on a face and try to convey emotion through the spoken word. This fails because (And I haven’t yet played L.A. Noire) current game characters cannot hope to reproduce the subtleties that a great actor can bring to a film. In a game it looks plastic and emotionless because those tiny twitches and fidelity of a real face just cannot be present. I felt more for the inhabitants of Tristram than I ever did for anyone in mass effect, because the people who wrote D1, the people who crafted the world and the atmosphere and the people who wrote the story got everything just right. Yes there was a simple story, but it wasn’t trying to be a great epic. It was a simple demons came, lets stop them.

      Hopefully I’m getting my point across! We need quality – people who understand games making them. It boils my blood when I hear some investor or another has had creative control of projects – leave the game making to the game makers because most investors do not play games. I believe this is a huge part of the popularity of indie games.

    • John P says:

      Smart stuff said here.

      I think we should lay off the games industry a little bit in this regard. Good game designers are a hell of a lot rarer than good writers or good film directors. Get a good director to make a game and see what the disastrous result is.

      We need to value design talent. They are some very smart people making games.

    • Xercies says:

      I do think we need story, just done in a more cleverer way. Make sure that all your game mechanics and graphics provide something to that story. And have the gameplay provide something to that story. You can be clever about it, and it makes an emergent narritive, but its the emergent narritive that the maker of the game wanted you to get.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Good point about the close up Sheng. Although I’ve thought a lot about the games that have gotten an emotional response from me I’ve never really looked too deeply as to why they have. My thoughts are brought back to recently playing Project Zomboid, I’d need to play it again to examine exactly how they did it but I felt duty bound to protect my injured wife even though I knew she was doomed and I felt bad when anything happened to her. A lot of others reported the same. That’s way more invested emotion and loyalty in just 10 minutes of a game than I felt in the entirety of the Mass Effect games. ME has some good characters and some well written sections but it seems all so forced. And I had to force myself to feel anything for the characters in ME.

      Then thinking of the likes of Dwarf Fortress. Another lost cause full of doomed little characters. But those seven little Dwarves you start with really grow on you and it has an impact when the first one inevitably dies. At least for me anyway, user created stories through procedurally generated content are the future of storytelling in games. It excites the imagination in the same way a good book does. You start to actually use your brain to picture all the things that are described, whether in ASCII or black and white text on a page. I haven’t been satisfied or enjoyed the plot of a game in many years. Though I have only just installed Bloodlines, I hear it’s pretty good.

    • metalangel says:

      @Shengji: Don’t expect any award winning performances in LA Noire. Expect ham and cheese.

      For me, I can still enjoy the story and acting, provided the games to involve me in spite of the technical limitations. In that respect, I think it’s more important for the game to have a consistent look than for it to have LA Noire’s real faces pastes onto mannequins wandering stiffly around a lifeless city.

    • Archonsod says:

      “leave the game making to the game makers because most investors do not play games.”

      Game makers won’t do anything either. Innovation comes from those who look at a medium in a different way, or try or think about doing something that nobody else has; not from those who follow the established, well worn tracks of how something should be done.

      The problem with gaming however is that it’s still relatively young. Really, saying what games should or shouldn’t do is silly; borrowing the techniques from cinema mightn’t work *now*, but for all we know the engine that will allow them to work is just around the corner.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Mad Hamish, you really reminded me of another uniqueness of games – failure. In a book or a play or a film, the story runs it’s course no matter what. In most games, there is the definite distinction of success and failure, whether by death or whatever. Most games have to have ways to allow you to continue as it would be frustrating in most games to have to restart again, but the likes of dwarf fortress “Failure is fun” prove to us that games can allow us the fairly unique idea that the hero doesn’t always win – and still make it fun. My mind also turns to infinity blade which has quite a clever spin on this concept too. Minecraft turns failure into a little adventure all of it’s own, where you have to go and retrieve your lost inventory.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Archonsod, I guess what I’m saying is that if I play halflife 2 through, in my opinion, the finest linear game ever made, what is unique about it as opposed to reading the story in a book or watching it on a film. I can sit and watch a friend play the game and have the precise same experience as I did – but while there’s nothing wrong with that per say, I believe games can be so much more!

      Take cinema, at first everyone was filming plays, directing it exactly as they would a play. But film became special and unique when some in the industry realised that it was unique and could be different. There’s nothing wrong with watching a DVD of a stage production of the Demon Barber, but it is far inferior to being there and the film with Johnny Depp is an experience only cinema can give you.

      Too many games at the minute are trying to emulate a cinematic experience, or an arty experience or trying to present a great epic piece of literature. They need to stop trying to be an inferior version of something they are not and be a game. In my opinion, this is the future.

    • Archonsod says:

      “But film became special and unique when some in the industry realised that it was unique and could be different.”

      Those fundamental shifts were not pushed out by directors or screen writers though, they were usually pushed by the producers and investors who were looking at how they could maximise their return, rather than how they could make a movie.

      It’s a problem you get in virtually any field. Leave games development solely to games developers and you’ll just get the same thing over and over again; not because they don’t believe in creating good games, but because they have an entrenched notion of what a game is and how you go about making them. In order to push the medium forward, you need to involve people from outside who do not have these pre-conceived notions and thus look at what it could do, rather than what has always been done. Of course whether an investor is the best source for that or not is debatable.

    • Anton says:

      All this talk about gamers wanting to “play” and view stories as just an add-on made me wonder… playing say for example Minecraft, yeah there is no explicit story, but when you play it, you still create your own story in your mind right? Even sometimes you even yearn for some “scripted” event to happen that will break the monotony of building-farming-creep killing just for a brief change. So let’s not kid ourselves, we all do enjoy stories, it’s hard wired into our brains. =P

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Archonsod that’s actually quite true, sad to say though that in the games industry, it does not seem to be the case. People with money seem to prefer to put out safe bets and if they are taking a risk, they like to manage it. The developers of Titan Wars had an early quest where you trek to the top of a mountain, however the publishers intervened deciding that people wouldn’t believe that mountain tops had snow on in ancient greece. Instead it was replaced with a “publisher written” quest to find a lost wedding dowry which didn’t match the rest of the game at all. It’s by far from the only example of the investors intervening and making creative decisions with safety of investment being the root cause.

      Unfortunately another factor that we have to think about is that many games are advertised in video’s and on TV. This naturally leads to a hollywoodisation of the adverts for games and I think this creeps into the games themselves.

      Anton – It’s true we like a good story, but I do think that in games it needs to be told in a way appropriate for games. I hate to keep harking on about Diablo, but the random quests, each a little tightly scripted snippet which could be ignored or taken on at the players leisure worked really well.

      So gamer 1 could talk about meeting the butcher, trying to take him on and failing. He ran away but came back several levels later with more experience, better equipment and beat him

      Gamer 2 could talk about the time she met the butcher, set a trap for him and after a dramatic chase across the level, locked him in a cage and shot him to pieces with arrows.

      Gamer three didn’t even meet the butcher.

      Three totally different stories, one game – that’s what I want from stories in games.

      Now in a tightly scripted game, every player would have to enter the butchers room, as the staircase don would be in there. The doors would magically lock and the player could not progress untill they had slain the butcher. When the butcher dies he would drop the key to the stairs down, allowing the player to progress to the next level. Every player would have the same story and the game would have been no-where near as memorable.

      I do believe games can, if the developers have good enough vision, give you the best of both worlds, compelling story that doesn’t intrude into the game and try to be a big epic with the beginning, middle and end all tightly controlled. But you still don’t have to have a complete blank sandbox with nothing to drive a story. You might ask, why did player 1 bother to go back to the butcher and kill him, when better xp and loot was availiable further down? The atmosphere of the game made him care about Tristram, the characters were worth saving. He wasn’t forced to kill the butcher, he chose too. That’s what I think the power of games could be.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      yeah there is no explicit story, but when you play it, you still create your own story in your mind right?

      They’re utterly different concepts, though. One gives me tools and asks me to be creative, the other asks me to experience, like a novel or a film, a story someone else wrote. They’re opposites, creation and consumption, though you can certainly have both modes in one game.

      When people talk about “story” in games they’re almost always talking exclusively about consumption, and so I get sick of the whole notion.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Instead it was replaced with a “publisher written” quest to find a lost wedding dowry which didn’t match the rest of the game at all. It’s by far from the only example of the investors intervening and making creative decisions with safety of investment being the root cause.”

      The publisher isn’t an investor, they’re more like editors. It’s also pretty normal in this day and age for the publisher to own the IP, and thus creative control, so I don’t really see much point in distinguishing them from the developers in that sense; particularly not with the larger studios.

      I’m not so sure it’s right to lay all the blame on the publishers either. They do have good reasons to only fund what will sell, but at the same time to complain this is the reason 90% of the high budget games follow almost identical patterns means we’re presupposing there is a huge wealth of quality games out there which don’t get published. I’m pretty sure it’s more likely to be the case that there’s a huge morass of utter dross from which the publishers are trying to select the best; just as it is in the music or book industries. Particularly on the PC where having a publisher is largely optional in terms of actually releasing your game.

  4. HexagonalBolts says:

    Well, I think RPS is a good example of that happening already, so nobody here needs to feel too irresponsible. But I think people often lose sight of how fledgeling gaming really is also. Obviously things develop much more quickly now, but imagine what literature was like when writing had only been around for thirty years or so. Having said that, I would love to see more academic attention to games, jazz has it, pop music has it, cinema and Disney certainly have it. I suppose it’s just a matter of time and development.

    • formivore says:

      I’m increasingly suspicious of this argument. 30 years after film we had City Lights and King Kong. 30 years after the first jazz record we had Charlie Parker.

      You’ve got me on writing though. 30 years after after the first writing it was probably still like:

      PRIESTLY LEDGER FOR THE 14TH SUMMER OF THE GOD-KING MURMUGARDEGZEB
      50 CUBITS OF OATS
      29 CUBITS OF MUD
      14 UNSHAVEN SLAVE BOYS
      HEAR US O MARDUK AND SAVE US FROM THE ARROWS OF THE ELAMITES

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I think there’s a difference between writing and literature

    • bVork says:

      I think that’s the very point that Boyer is making: we shouldn’t make excuses about gaming being so young. We should discuss, analyze, and critique games in the same way that more “mature” mediums are treated. More intelligent discourse will beget more intelligent games, which will create more intelligent discourse in a wonderful feedback loop.

  5. Sigvatr says:

    HOW DARE HE SAY I SHOULD DO SOMETHING

  6. Khann says:

    God, that hair!

  7. mingster says:

    I thought games were black magic sealed into a disk using spells. How are they made then?

  8. d32 says:

    Well well, games as art are all very OK (limbo comes to mind as quite an achievement in this direction), but I like my damn puzzles! And strategies. Don’t you dare to go all emo on them.

  9. Tei says:

    This is a good call, I support it, … I will probably talk about games somewhere ( I don’t have a blog, so I will try somewhere else ).

    But I think we have to be very smart about this, and avoid any fanboyism. It will be very easy to put the fanboy poison on the well. so anyone that drinks there will be poisoned.
    I have some idea how that can be done, …talking less about the game name, and more about feelings, blurring identity… maybe changing from one game to the next.

    So, Ok, I will try it.

  10. Yosharian says:

    I already do tend to buy the most inventive and original games. But that’s because I want to play them, really…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      At first glance I thought you said “I already do tend to buy the most repetitive and unoriginal games”, and I thought “well at least he’s honest”.

  11. Shadowcat says:

    Bill Odie? Oh. Sad.

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      Well, a very young Bill Oddie perhaps.

      (going even further off-topic)

      I met the 3 Goodies about 5 years ago, and they’re absolute legends.
      Tim is the nicest most gentle bloke you’ll ever come across.

  12. Joe Duck says:

    I think indie gamers are doing an excellent job appealing to our artistic/ethical/political motivations. See if not stuff like Minecraft, the Humble bundles, stuff like Sleep is Death or Braid.
    The problem is that (exactly like films, music or books) the public for that type of products is small and these games lack money.
    A normal gamer does not know that Frozen Synapse exists, but he/she is very well informed when COD:MW BLOPS – The Elite Undercover Expansion Pack – Digital Exclusive Edition of the Year is going to be released.
    It takes commitment to stay informed and I agree that it is up to us to make that small effort. Specially if it involves reading RPS.

    • cliffski says:

      well said :D
      To be honest, supporting the smaller, niche style of game that you like will not cost you a penny. What really helps indie devs is word of mouth. Tweeting that you just bought and enjoyed an indie game, mentioning it on facebook, posting about it to reddit, or starting a discussion about it on a forum, all are vastly appreciated by indei developers, as they are free (and the best kind of) marketing that otherwise wouldn’t happen.
      Even just clicking the ‘recommend this game to your friends’ box on steam is helpful, or upvoting a reddit or digg story. All of this kind of stuff is how people can raise the public profile of games that they like, but think aren’t getting enough attention, and none of it costs anything at all.

    • Rii says:

      @cliffski: so what’s your objection to piracy again? Seems to me you just articulated a very good reason why the net should be cast as far and wide as possible, including to people who aren’t willing to pay for your game until they’ve experienced it themselves. No different than supporting the ‘free’ players in a ‘free2play’ game. But no, keep on thinking of pirates as The Enemy™.

  13. Wunce says:

    I find the real responsibility of gamers is to avoid being the scourge of humanity when online. Often the community of a game is equally as important than the game itself.

  14. negativedge says:

    blah blah blah another insecure gamer gets on a stage and says the same shit all his friends have been saying for years. when I want to read a book, I am very capable of reading a book (though I grant this is not the case for most gamers buuuuuuuurrrrn). when I play a game, I want things that gaming does well. and here’s a hint: it ain’t another 70 indie games meta-commenting on player agency while walking down a hallway.

    certainly the indie scene has produced much interesting content. the problem is blowhards like this guy like the shitty stuff instead, so they can move from the tech section of their favorite empty trendy web-mag to the arts secition. because then daddy won’t have to be embarrassed any more.

    • negativedge says:

      alt: if only we could talk to the monsters

    • The Sentinel says:

      If only you could talk to a therapist.

    • indigohjones says:

      If only I could turn back time

    • negativedge says:

      I did misspeak a bit: Edge be damned, there are some pretty awesome games about talking to monsters.

      if only we had games about talking to therapists. why can’t everyone else be as mature and passionate as me *sigh*

    • JackShandy says:

      If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs,
      The bark on the tree was as soft as the skies.
      The wolf waits below, hungry and lonely,
      And cries to the moon,
      if only, if only.

    • negativedge says:

      where is gaming’s “Ode to a Nightingale”?!?!?!??!

      ~~if the nightingale was polygonal my heart would flutter~~

    • Bilbo says:

      Hey look, The Sentinel’s being a jerk again

  15. StingingVelvet says:

    I’ve had a tendency at times to buy games because I “should,” because they make the right statement or exemplify the indie development scene. In the end though I end up feeling taken and barely play the games. It’s much more important to support what you will actually play and not get swept up in gamer politics, basically.

  16. danimalkingdom says:

    What he’s saying is valid, and I believe that plenty of people, especially RPS readers, already think this way about games.

    Bat having compared the appreciation of music to how we should feel about games only makes me wish that musicians were supported in a similar way, and that more monetary value was applied to music, especially if it has such crucial emotional value.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Exactly.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Jeremy Soule, who composed the music to many games has some excellent posts about this on his blog. He reveals some startling data – an artist who gets a million plays of his music can earn less than £5, which quite frankly is shocking.

  17. Sunjammer says:

    I can’t help but think we have a fundamental customer ecology problem, if the goal is to elevate the art form. Film began its popularity with simple stories and special effects, and it’s still profitable. Video games are, as much as we can moan about how far we’ve come, still in that embryonic stage where it’s still fighting for its right to be in every man’s home.

    Until it’s as natural for a mother to play games as it is for her child, we can do IGF talks all we want, but you can’t force evolution. First there’s innovation (often accidental), then technological refinement, then the technolgy is made easily accessible, and then there’s fine art. It’s always been that way. That moher & child scenario is already becoming more and more common, and paradoxically the more people buy the shitty uninteresting bullshit, the further we come towards a customer ecology where curiosity is natural rather than punished, as it still often is. I can’t count the number of times i’ve rescued friends from buying absolutely terrible games at face value alone.

    We’re overcharging, and asking for too much of a commitment before the customer knows what she is getting into.

    And honestly, Yeah Let’s Play Space Funeral is exacerbating the problem for the broader audience.

  18. The Sentinel says:

    This speech is essentially one part of Rockpapershotgun’s mission statement, So as long as sites like this exist, the ethos of games being anything you want them to be – from the five minute time-waster to the poignant artistic, emotive statement on the human condition – will continue and, hopefully, propagate.

    We should also guard against the tendency of our ‘industry’ to package and repeat these experiences, as Hollywood has done to the film industry, cheapening them with the process. For every CoDBlops and FiFA there should be a Dear Esther or a Minecraft.

  19. ABearWithAGun says:

    as if i’m going to take the word of a neckbeard seriously…

    • Mad Hamish says:

      When it’s all over the rest of your face too I think it ceases to be a neck beard. Otherwise anyone who didn’t shave for a week would be a neck beard.

  20. LuNatic says:

    “All of us with a vested interest in games, no matter on what level, have the responsibility to talk about games in these terms,”

    No. Please no. Hell no!

    It’s bad enough that all this crap happens with music, photography, painting, etc. The last think I want is a bunch of elitist snobs trying to add stupid levels of bizarre significance to my favourite hobby. When I launch a game, I do so for amusement, relaxation and stress relief. Not to get into a philosophical debate on the futility of man. Don’t go and ruin it.

    Enjoy the simple things while they are still simple.

  21. BobsLawnService says:

    And your responsibility is to get a haircut. Seriously, dude…

  22. mmalove says:

    I’m pretty sure Notch (ie Minecraft) put the last nail in the coffin on this one. Customers don’t need an ethics course, they need better games. Build something unique and interesting, and they will line your pockets and tell your story coast to coast before you’ve even released the game.

  23. Vile Vile Vilde says:

    Gonna go right ahead and guess from the comments I’m the only one that does actually buy all games which have great artistic promise.
    It doesn’t cost too much. Most don’t.

  24. Angryinternetman says:

    Why the fuck would you care what some guy you’ve seen the first time looks like? No, seriously!

  25. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Comparing music and video games is a bit like fitting square pegs into round holes.

  26. molten_tofu says:

    Less emotionally relating to pixelized girlfriends and Worf clones and more excellently executed *gaming* plz.

    I’m afraid, because statements Boyer makes result in games like ES:Oblivion, the original Witcher or Mass Effect – absolutely no match IMHO in the character development and especially writing (dialogue or plot) for a good novel. Examples of novels that are 1000x times more compelling, creatively, than anything I’ve ever seen in a video game: Any Philip K. Dick, “Captain Blood”, Harry Potter (yes, I said), and even what basically amounts to FanFic: The Han Solo Trilogy and 40k books by Dan Abnett.

    Market forces and the complete lack of seriousness towards gaming as a source of unique and compelling narratives combine to create either 1) call of duty clones or 2) marketing departments telling us Orson Scott Card is coming back from the dead to write Advent dialog.

    Wow, just realized Scott Card wrote dialog for Loom and Secret of Monkey Island when I researched the above snippet – so games USED to have good writing and plots! Ah, the memory hole. Deus Ex and Half Life had great writing/plots as well, I suppose. So, anything published before 1999 then…

    I played The Witcher once – it took me 60-70 hours to complete, with all the side quests and random wandering I was doing. I’m on my 125th hour of Killing Floor. I’ve got three friends who play it. I’m going to log another hundred hours ASAP because the mechanics are amazing AND satisfying (and diversified enough). There is no plot, there is no attempt to get me emotionally attached to characters, but when I die on the Patriarch after 10 waves of blood sweat and harrowing slow mo gun battles I *care*.

  27. ScubaMonster says:

    I’ll support games that are good. I don’t care if you try something innovative or whatnot, if it’s not good, I don’t care about your lofty idea.

  28. brandonnn says:

    I’ve only just now found this story & figure it’s reached its statute of limitations on people paying attention to the comments, so I guess I’ll just respond to some things in no particular order:

    * I wanted to get a haircut before GDCE but I was only home from Canada for a few days before I had to leave again and the only lady I trust to do it right wasn’t around. Hopefully this week!
    * Sometimes I do try and trim back the neck part of the beard, but it always grows back so quick that usually it’s like what’s the point. Being so virile is such a curse!
    * I’ve been rocking this look since Bieber was in diapers and I feel like it was a missed opportunity to trademark it a decade ago.
    * Thanks for calling me semi-famous!
    * I am actually saying to fucking play Murder Dog already.
    * I had to google “young Bill Oddie” and I lol’d a little.
    * Truthfully, I am far more insecure about my haircut (well, I am now) than I am about “gaming”.
    * Elsewhere in the 45 minute jumble of a speech I explicitly pointed out that “it’s not just about better stories” and gave a handful of examples of what/why/how some games are ‘doing it right’, but it’ll take until I dump my slides & notes somewhere or it pops up on the vault for that all to get through. I don’t think most would be what you’d typically classify as ‘art games’, but Negativedge might probably still think they’re shitty, I dunno.

    In summary, RPS and (most of) its commenters are absolutely Part of the Solution, and I’ve always tried to give credit as such for being on The Side Of Good.