The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on October 21st, 2012 at 9:36 am.


Sundays! Oh Sundays. What are you for? Only the wise may dare to guess. And the rest of us, well, we must search in the internet for clues.

  • Wired’s feature on the relationship between Peter Molyneux and Adam “Peter Molydeux” Capone is a must-read: “For the time being, Molyneux’s team is still building out some features. A few hours after we have lunch with his family, the game designer and I are at 22Cans, a 600-square-foot unit in a 70-acre office complex near a cramped roundabout. In case anyone forgets his mission, Molyneux has posted printouts every 5 feet around the perimeter of the office that read, “100,000,000 DAUs in 32 months.” CTO Tim Rance gathers the entire staff around his computer for a demonstration. While the idea behind Curiosity is simple, the technological infrastructure is tricky—22Cans needs to find a way to let potentially millions of people see the same dynamic object at the exact same time. When one player smashes a cubelet, it needs to disappear on the screen of every other player around the world at just that moment.”
  • Speaking of Bullfrog and Lionhead, this Eurogamer feature on the lost and cancelled games from the two companies is fascinating: “Conceived in 1991 as a kind of evolutionary puzzler, by 1994, Creation was being touted as a 3D base defence game in which you kept your seabed HQ safe from attackers by, y’know, breeding fish to act as soldiers. The team spent months ensuring that the subsurface landscapes twinkled and shimmered in the correct watery manner, and even now, all it takes is a screenshot depicting a trio of bolshy-looking turtles to summon a little twinge of wistful pain. How weird this seems. How exotic. Could the fish-wrangler genre ever have fitted in alongside the RPG or the squad-based shooter? Why don’t we live in that universe?”
  • Yang’s design bloggings often make me smile. For instance: “Figuring out how to talk about your game is part of designing your game — so trying to explain Convo to various people has been extremely helpful in refining my design goals. My favorite version so far has been, “it’s an attempt to make The Sims accessible for hardcore gamers.”"
  • Oh and then back to Eurogamer again for Rab’s ludicrous Dishonored column: “This bedroom’s window is directly above the little porch that juts out above the front door. I’d been out on it many times in my youth, but hadn’t set foot on it in years. Still, what would Corvo do? I opened the window, clambered out onto the porch, and dropped onto the path below. I felt MAGNIFICENT.”
  • What happens when someone who had never played video games is chosen as a judge for some gaming awards? “After this it was a blessed relief to turn to Proteus, a low-budget indie game where nothing happens at all. You simply explore a pretty, pixelated island to the sound of music described in one review as retro-ambient electronica. There is no purpose, no destination, no levels. For 10 minutes I was enraptured. But then I got bored. Proteus is the video game equivalent of James Joyce’s Ulysses, only less eventful. At least Bloom occasionally picks his nose.”
  • And a New Statesman sort-of-defence-but-not-quite of the same: “We need more criticism that is intelligent, personally reflective and nuanced; treating games more like experiences and less like gadgets. We need to critically examine the role of games in culture, because we can only demand more from our media when we understand where they fall short. Sure, video games are fun, but they’re serious fun.”
  • Wagner James Au on “How Dishonored Honors Thief”: “Thief is a huge influence over our team,” the two acknowledged over e-mail. “All these years on, we love that fascinating sketch of a world, with all its murky history and esoteric factions. The way the game is only partially scripted and instead relies on simulation means that the moment to moment experience creates a unique narrative driven by the player’s actions. Thief stands as one of the greatest games ever made.”
  • How Game Tutorials Can Strangle Player Creativity: “What the researchers found was that relative to those in other conditions, children who were given instructions on how to make the toy squeak played with it for shorter amounts of time, did fewer unique actions with it, and discovered fewer of the toy’s other functions.”
  • Are racing sims on the right path? “Offering up a product that adds no depth, no innovative features, and nothing to separate it from the racing sims of five to seven years ago should not be satisfactory to this community. Dumbing down of simulation or just finding new ways to make people pay more money over a longer term is not an answer to increase the audience for simulators. A free-to-play sim will be played by people, for free, once. They won’t like it any more whether it is free or not. Compromising the serious simulation hobbyist, for the casual gamer is a tricky road to take, but just making a sim more accessible and less complex does not mean the casual gamer will jump at it.”
  • A meta-narrative reading of Kingdoms Of Amalur: “I kill the Maid. I want no part in this any more; I give them back their old stories, it seems to be what the majority of them wanted. They return to their boring, fated lives, and I feel sickened. I’m told I am now the Queen of their little story community, since I so totally emasculated the King. Am I not already important and isolated enough? I walk away, back over the pretty fairy bridge and away from this disappointment, back out into the open world that seems, to me, suddenly very closed.”
  • Duncan’s brilliant Left4Dead screens.
  • Sleeping Astronaut Causes Earthquake On The Moon.
  • Clay Shirky: “The Internet allows us to see what other people … think. This has turned out to be a huge disappointment.”
  • Music this week’s music is Pye Corner Audio‘s Sleep Games, which you can preview and buy here. Pye Corner Audio is fast becoming my favourite

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118 Comments »

  1. RedViv says:

    re b.c.: Gaming has way too little dinosaurs. In good games, that is. Why is it that the ones that happen are either bad or totally underappreciated?

  2. AngoraFish says:

    “Only You Can Save Us” (Kingdoms of Amalur) was brilliant. This helps explain, in part at least, why so many modern RPGs ultimately leave me feeling empty…

    • Dilapinated says:

      I heartily agree. This is what’s been eating me through Mass Effect and Skyrim (along with fairly boring combat in both) elegantly put into words.

      • KDR_11k says:

        I treated Skyrim like Borderlands (i.e. a large, open world where I kill stuff) and liked it. Quests and story are just ways to tell me where there’s stuff to kill.

        • Baines says:

          Sometimes I think Borderlands had too much story. Or more accurately, it was the quest and level-up structure.

          Instead of exploring for the sake of exploring and fighting for the sake of fighting, I found myself instead running its little quests (for xp and items). Talk to a guy, get told to go shoot some things, come back to guy, who pays me and gives me a new job even though the things I just shot will appear again next time I go there. And the leveling system means an area becomes a waste of time once you’ve spent a bit of time there. Poor XP, poor drops… Incomplete quests in areas that you are overpowered for are a bit of a worst of both worlds, though. You know most will give you junk, but unless you look at a FAQ you can’t be 100% certain that you aren’t missing an important/long term useful item by skipping them. (Something like the backpack expansions in the first game.)

          The end result is a world that isn’t really open, but also lacks the tightness of a more honest linear story-driven game. In some ways, I felt I had more freedom in how I played STALKER, despite the two games sharing elements like encouraging you to go to new areas to get better item drops, restricting some location access until certain story element quests were completed, and areas just becoming easy once you’d spent some time there. (Yes, even without leveling, that was true for STALKER. Once you learned how to face what was in an area, that area didn’t offer new challenges.)

  3. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Kingdoms of Amalur is the ‘hidden gem’ of 2012 for me. Lovely game and some surprisingly good writing if you pay attention to it.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      The writing in KoA is entirely derivative but so well-written and completely integrated into the game that it’s hard to dislike it. The Legend of Dead Kel DLC in particular has some fantastic backstory.

  4. Gassalasca says:

    “For 10 minutes I was enraptured. But then I got bored. Proteus is the video game equivalent of James Joyce’s Ulysses, only less eventful. At least Bloom occasionally picks his nose”

    Perhaps this philistine should first try understanding great literature before turning to games.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      And the non cider drinker who said that the super sweet sugary one which even the maker admits is more alcopop than cider should first try understanding the great citrus groves of Florida before talking about apple drinks, the philistine.

      • Llewyn says:

        Your analogy doesn’t stick. He’s not talking about comparing apples with oranges, but comparing one’s experiences of apples with potentially questionable judgement on previous experiences with oranges. It’s the writer’s critical judgement that Gassalasca is questioning, not his preference.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          No, he’s saying that to understand Proteus requires an understanding of great works literature. It does not, and a great understanding of the finest literature the world has to offer will not help you find the fun in the “game”. Because literature is oranges to video games’ apples. Movies are pears.

          It would be far more appropriate to have a deep and long understanding of the worlds finest video games, however, the whole point of her selection was her lack of knowledge. A point of view from someone who doesn’t understand the industry is important, regardless of whether her opinion on whether she found something fun annoys you or not.

          • Llewyn says:

            Perhaps we need Gassalasca to clarify here, as I think you’re completely misreading him.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Actually, I think you’re correct! I’ll blame the hangover again and steer well clear ofthe opinion, away! button for the rest of the day!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      At least we’ve finally found gaming’s Citizen Kane Ulysses.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        Do people even understand why Citizen Kane is held up with such high regards? It was due to new and revolutionary filming techniques that everybody picked up. We already have our Citizen Kane. Probably Doom.

  5. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Cubelet
    Bolshy-looking turtle
    Little Porch

    Cutest Sunday Papers ever

  6. SiHy_ says:

    The comments in the article about non-game-players judging games are much more interesting than the article itself.
    It amazes me seeing seemingly intelligent people who are well-versed in literature jump straight in at the deep end when playing computer games. Playing Mass Effect 3 when you have played absolutely no other games is the equivalent of never reading any books then attempting to read Proust’s A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu. Then giving up after 5 minutes because it’s too hard and renouncing books all together.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I find it interesting that simplistic, scripted games constantly get derided and admitting to enjoying say call of duty is a virtual sin in gaming circles, yet we need these games to get new people into our hobby. Arguably we need many many more of these games compared to the more hardcore titles if we are to avoid becoming a niche form of entertainment again.

      Look at the comments around the new sim city game, people are unhappy at the lack of depth, yet it is precisely this lack of depth that will open it up to a much wider audience and funding future city building titles. In the long run, accessibility will secure gaming. Do you honestly think Bethesda would be able to afford to continue to make Elder Scrolls games if they were all as complex as Morrowind? Without the simplification of Oblivion, Skyrim would not have been such a commercial success. I understand people getting upset that an IP they have previously enjoyed changes to the detriment of their personal experience, but let’s not pretend that this is anything more than a selfish desire – it does the industry a lot of good as a whole and it’s not as if hardcore games don’t exist, we just have less choice than the casual gamer.

      • Llewyn says:

        I’d like to share your optimism but I think it’s doubtful that the success of more accessible games will fund more sophisticated games* in future. I think it’s more likely that the success of accessible games will cause investors to pursue increased accessibility to further increase profits.

        I agree that this is a good thing for the industry as a whole, and might potentially be a good thing for gamers as a whole, but it’s not going to give us another SimCity 4.

        *On the continuum where those can be viewed as opposites.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          My apologies about the sophisticated opposes accessible, I mangled my words (How can 1/2 a glass of wine give me a hangover) but you clearly understand what I meant!

          Here’s what I believe, My First Simcity, as EA is making right now may not lead to the simciyt 4 we all desire, because when the game we desire is made and it will be, it will be called something different! The sim city franchise has moved on and yes, the majority of players in the simulated city genre will chase the profits, but I believe, when the genre has enough fans, as bought to city builders by EA et al, someone will release a game with a little more to it, the game we desire but by a different name. A game that would never have been made if MyFirstSimCity were to be a commercial flop.

          • Llewyn says:

            No need to apologise – I wasn’t criticising your point but trying to clarify my own definitions a little.

            I hope you’re right, and to some extent we’re seeing that with things like Xenonauts and Paradox’ proposed Syndicate-like, but my suspicion is that the My First Simcity type games, while also expanding the total market, will squeeze the market for more advanced games more than they will help to grow it.

            Only time will tell. I think we agree here on the possibilities but differ in our levels of optimism. I hope I’m proved wrong.

        • thestage says:

          Only in the world of the mouthbreathers who inhabit the RPS comments section are complexity and depth at all equivalents. People don’t complain about sim city because it doesn’t have water pipe laying, they’re complaining because of Stupid Idiot reason X (it’s published by EA; it’s new; it requires the internet you are using to post your comment on; a new Sim City that appears to not be marketed directly to you is an affront to your identity; THE CONSOLE GAMERS ARE KILLING US. I can keep going) and then using no pipe laying as a surrogate that they think doesn’t make them look like idiots. Go is “deep,” it is not complicated; laying water pipes is not deep, it is complicated.

          • Llewyn says:

            Feel free to come back when you’ve got a point relevant to the discussion and are capable of making it in a civilized manner.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        It didn’t need overscripted games to get anyone 30 years ago into gaming, and it doesn’t now.
        Saying that it does shows a lack of understanding what plethora of fascination different gametypes hold(roleplaying involves imagination and fantasy, as does adventure; puzzle games or tacticals tickle thinky areas; racers, platformers etc are more for reflexes and something-happens-when-I-push-things, etc)
        You might need it for people who actually just want to be part of a movie, but not for people who actually enjoy “play” (the elitarian version would be: challenge, thought) as an activity, regardless of form.

        • AngoraFish says:

          30 years ago nerds, D&D players and SF/fantasy geeks were into games. Today, all the cool kids play them too. Cool kids > nerds.

          • KDR_11k says:

            30 years ago my parents were gamers. Now they’re not. Arcade games weren’t just for nerds. They still aren’t. Super Mario Bros still sells as much as Call of Duty.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          My first game was pacman. What was yours? I’m going to guess it wasn’t dwarf fortress.

          Games 30 years ago were not a sophisticated as they are now. Take a non gamer and sit them in front of battlefield and they will get shot to pieces and never know why or how. Sit them in front of the single player and they will have fun. If you got killed by a ghost as a non gamer in pacman, you knew what had happened and why. The rules of the game were obvious. This is not the case in modern games. Failing constantly with no idea why is not fun for anyone, which is why a neat, linear, boxed in highly scripted, cutscene heavy experience is very conducive to fun for those who are novices.

          • belgand says:

            But also look at the more complex games of that era, e.g. The Legend of Zelda. The instructions were often vague and it could be very difficult to progress without piecing together poorly translated clues. It still captivated many children and parents alike. Metroid didn’t tell you explicitly where to go or what to do most of the time. Often it didn’t even tell you what new piece of equipment you might need to advance and had numerous hidden passages that were essential to completing the game. People loved it and it created an entire franchise and sub-genre.

            In many ways games used to be more obtuse. They did’nt hold your hand and tell you what to do in all cases. You needed to read the manual to properly understand what was going on. You need to be willing to experiment and put the time in to get something out. The problem is the idea of entertainment as some sort of passive activity. Something where you can just “turn your brain off” and still have a good time. If you’re frustrated or uncertain, the modern way of thinking goes, you shouldn’t think about the problem, learn greater patience and coping skills, or take a break to work it out. The new paradigm is that the game is broken like a poorly maintained carnival ride and after getting upset you’ll just turn to the Internet, not even talk to friends and try to work together.

            Games have become less complex because of this approach. The inability to let the player work or fail. Gamers have been turned into spoiled children, essentially, and our impending tantrums are always met with immediate submission rather than proper parenting.

            Complexity is often a virtue and while some people might be turned away those people are typically the ones that just want something quick and simple to begin with. The quick fix types that aren’t willing to put the time in. All hobbies require effort and learning. Even reading, ultimately, takes a long time to get down and become proficient at. Why are games increasingly being treated otherwise?

            Even further, why are already complex games being dumbed down? Simple games do and will exist. Ones where the rules and gameplay naturally and organically are easier to pick up. But that doesn’t mean that already complex games need to be cut down to that level. Nobody asked Joyce if maybe he could write the sequel as a children’s book.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            You seem to be determined to prove my point! There were complicated games back then too, you’re right. But the general population didn’t play games – it was as niche as dungeons and dragons and trust me , I took my fair share of ridicule for both my interest in role-playing and my interest in video games.

            What I’m saying is that if we want gaming to be more accessible to the general population, and I maintain that this is a very good thing, then we need games where the instructions aren’t vague, progress isn’t a case of boring trial and error.

            To put this into numbers, zelda sold 6.5 million copies worldwide whereas modern warfare 3 sold 6.5 million in the US alone. Accessibility brings players, no matter how much you look down your nose at people who enjoy it and some of those players you seem to despise so much will get into gaming in a way more pleasing to your wannabe-elitist view.

            I’m not precluding the games which don’t tell you what to do or hold your hand – they will always exist because there will always be the hardcore gamers but there will always be more games aimed at the less hardcore audience because, lets face it, there are many many more of them.

          • belgand says:

            Sales figures aren’t necessarily a great indication here. Culture has changed a bit and, truthfully, an older generation (with more money to buy) plays more games than it did in the past. It’s not solely and issue of niche appeal or desire for simple games.

            At the same time Zelda, while complex, brought in plenty of players outside of the niche. Almost everyone around played it as a child along with numerous people’s parents. My mother played Super Mario Brothers and once stayed up all night playing Gyromite. Metroid, as I said, was incredibly complicated, especially compared to simpler arcade games, and yet almost everyone played it. These really weren’t as limited in audience as you want to characterize them.

            I’m also not saying that games need to a dull set of trial-and-error. I’m the sort who always reads the instructions, unlike friends who just want to jump in and play. When I first played Civilization when it was released I accepted that I would need to read the manual first to understand how to play. OK, let’s be honest, I relished the chance because I knew I was getting into something with depth and complexity. Releasing a dumbed-down version of the same game would be terrible though. Sure, it might get more people to play it, but the decision to dumb it down would be made solely to get them to play something they didn’t really want to play. I wouldn’t suggest that Farmville should become a tremendously involved farming simulation either. Meeting people halfway on something like this isn’t helping anyone: they don’t want a complicated game and we don’t want a simple one. It’s just diminishing what already exists for the purpose of making money.

          • jrodman says:

            Pacman was not niche. We had top-40 songs about the topic. There were pac man machines in popular restaurants throughout working to upper middle class america, let alone the arcade. It was culturally relevant in a way that no single game has achieved since.

            That said it was a bit of an outlier, but still the arcade was something people knew about and frequently had participated in in that heady 1978-1981 window. Later, once the Extra Terrestrial had been buried in the desert in Mexico, it retreated into the realm of niche for nerds in the 1983-1989 or so window, only slowly re-emerging.

            And the games that were relevant and visible were, as you say, straightforward, accessible, and obvious. I do wonder why so few games made these days have those characteristics. I’ve purchased games with this kind of simplicity (or played free ones) in modern times, but I feel most sophisticated gamers look down on them somehow, as if they’re unimpressive or not as good.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            It’s funny that you mention civilisation, there’s a company that deliberately made a casual version of their game outside of the usual cycle of their IP – Civilisation Revolutions released between 4 and 5! I would be really interested to know how many “casual players” bought civ 5 on the strength of enjoying civ rev.

            I think we are all really saying much the same thing, but from different angles. I think we all agree that we want gaming to be more mainstream, I think we all agree that we very much want a game for everyone, games for us, the hardcore, whatever that means which are the fine wines of the gaming world and we all also want games which others find enjoyable who may not be able to discern the nuances which make the finest games so fine!

            All we seem to be disagreeing on is what counts as a game which is enjoyable for a more casual, whatever that means, player and in all honesty, I’m fine with agreeing to disagree! I would like to see less snobbish attitudes towards the massively successful franchises which cater to a more casual player, I think such criticism is shortsighted.

        • StranaMente says:

          My girlfriend until some time ago didn’t played any video game if not some old super mario bros on the n64. Recently I gifted her Dragon Age Origins. Even if she had to struggle a bit at the beginning with controls and some mechanics, she loved that game and spent hundreds of hours in it, playing multiple times through it. And now she’s planning to play some other games too.
          I think we can agree that Dragon Age might not be the most easy game to begin with for the uninitiated.

          I think that this article instead of teaching us how the game industry could improve, shows us the point of view of someone who never really wanted to get into videogames, and instead just wanted to see what these alien things were, and never really tried to understand games.

      • Steven Hutton says:

        If you want to get someone into FPS games. Give them Half Life 2.

        Not because it’s the best but because, like Portal, it does a FANTASTIC job of teaching the conventions of FPS games to new players.

        Think about how long it is before you even get a gun. Think about how the early game is set up a series of progressively more difficult movement tests. First, just walk, then get through this weird fence corridor. Ok, now climb some boxes. Now climb around these buildings, go a little faster, you’ve been spotted. Ok, take a little break, meet some characters. Have a crowbar. Ok, climb over these trains. OMG! RUN! RUN FROM THE TRAIN! KEEP RUNNING THERE ARE GUYS EVERYWHERE! RUUUN!

      • LionsPhil says:

        yet we need these games to get new people into our hobby

        Why?

        I find football dull. I don’t presume that they need to change the rules to make it more interesting to me, though. Nor does the fact that not everyone likes football stop football being successful and many football matches from being played for football fans to spectate the footballing of the ball foots foot foot ball.

        Not everyone has to like games. It’s OK.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Spot on, really. Peter Molyneux’s thoughts on this always used to wind me up. When making the Fable games he used to bang on and on about the controller being a barrier for none gamers. Well, so what? Learn how to use it.

          If you want to play tennis, you learn how to handle a racket. If that’s too much like hard work then it’s not for you.

          Games can still be culturally relevant without the need to cater for every single person on earth.

        • Xocrates says:

          I wonder if at any point you realized comparing ONE sport with AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY kind of invalidates your point.

          No, you don’t have to like football, but you don’t have to like Call of Duty either. And no-one is arguing for either of those to be changed to appeal to you.

          However, the industry does NEED to attract new players, even if only to compensate the ones that leave the hobby. It’s disingenuous to argue that if someone wants to play games they should suck it up – why should they after all? There are plenty of other hobbies.

          No one is arguing that ALL games should appeal to non-gamers, but some should. Much in the same way that for your own health you should do some sort of sport every once in a while, but that’s not the same as saying that all sports should be football.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Angry internet man ahoy.

            Globally replace “football” with “spectator sport”. Still basically applies.

          • Xocrates says:

            Indeed, that changes nothing.

            So… what’s your point?

          • DiamondDog says:

            I think the comparison stands up. Football has a huge cultural impact on a global scale, and makes no concessions about what the central game is to attract people to it. Of course, the various governing bodies try and get people interested in various ways, but it all runs parallel to liking football for what it is.

            The point is, people who become genuinely interested in a sport take the time to learn about it, they don’t sit around waiting for someone to modify it until it becomes palatable. There seems to be this idea that if only gaming didn’t involve playing games, then everyone would love it. I take the view that if someone is genuinely interested in a subject they will happily take the time to immerse themselves in it. Maybe they’ll realise it’s not for them or maybe they’ll grow to enjoy it. At least they’ll have experienced the games we all invest ourselves in.

            Anyway, it’s hard to argue too vehemently against attracting more people to gaming, I just don’t know why we have to do it by presenting people with a watered down version of everything we find interesting about this hobby. Seems dishonest.

          • Xocrates says:

            My problem with that argument is twofold:

            1) you don’t need to play football in order to enjoy football. Heck you don’t even need to know the rules and still enjoy it, which isn’t true for most videogames.

            2) you’re making blanket statements about videogames. Just because one game is accessible it doesn’t mean they all are. The issue here is that it appears some gamers are so worried that a game may not appeal to them that they’ll argue in favour of alienating 10 times as many people in order to preserve their vision of what games should be.

            And that’s the thing isn’t it? This isn’t about making ALL games more accessible, it’s about the industry and the audience maturing.
            Gamers in general need to start being more accepting of other audiences. STALKER won’t get less players because COD keeps beating sale records, hell it can even gain players that started gaming through COD.

            We cannot keep living in an industry split between the casuals and the hardcore, we need the middle ground. No-one is gaining anything with the schism we enforced upon ourselves other than a sense of smug elitism.

          • DiamondDog says:

            You’re still missing my point really. It’s not about making a judgement on what games people enjoy. I know very well there can be various levels of depth to gaming which can co-exist happily. I’m talking about what we choose to present to others.

            I would just ask, at what stage do you stop trying to please people that just aren’t interested?

          • RobF says:

            Roughly around about the time you run out of people who are interested?

          • Xocrates says:

            Ah yes, sorry, I was still mostly replying to LionsPhill.

            The question then is: Why are we trying to appeal to them with the things WE find interesting as opposed to the ones THEY do?

            Making things we’re already familiar more accessible has the advantage of drawing in the people who liked the idea but found it too inaccessible. This can work quite nicely or backfiring horribly, but it’s the only “safe” way of trying to tap to new audiences and it’s therefore the more common one. This has lead to some pretty big breakthroughs, like WoW which made MMO’s accessible to a wider audience, even if it itself did nothing new.

            Of course, what we should be trying to do is find out why people aren’t interested and work from there.
            Plenty of massively popular games were born of serving a demographic that had been pretty much ignored. See: Minecraft, the Sims, even Farmville.

            The answer to your question then, is not at what point we try to convince people who aren’t interested, but at what point we stop trying to convince them with things they might be interested in is: We don’t.

            Because even if we don’t manage to convince them, we might stumble into something else that is worth having.

        • MistyMike says:

          Currently it is difficult to secure funding for games’ projects. Dev studios go bankrupt if their product doesn’t sell enough. The conditions of work for devs are poor, which in turn leads to a lower quality product.

          These are real problems in the games industry which can only be helped be reaching a broader audience.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Not everyone has to like games, it’s true. On the other hand, getting more people into games isn’t a bad idea either, and having gateway games for that very purpose is good for everybody. The key is to make sure there’s a balance between gateway games and games you can play once you’re through the gateway, because the current perception is that gateway games are, you know, all games.

          It’s like novels. There are novels for younger readers, the best of which can be enjoyed just as much by adults, and then there are novels for adults, and then there are novels for adults who are really well-read. Same with movies: kids’ movie, Hollywood movie, art film. The categories mix and overlap with each other, and their audiences do as well. Everyone does bad when one category becomes dominant, because people start to feel like all the movies or all the books coming out are the same. It’s the same with oversimplified games now; people want meatier fare, and they’re not getting it, so much, so everyone suffers from the disinterest.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          @ Lionsphil, sorry, I missed your question yesterday!

          yet we need these games to get new people into our hobby

          Why?

          We still live in a world where I, a 40 something year old woman cannot tell a potential boss that I play videogames in an interview because it will reflect badly one me. I have no problems telling them I like sports or going to the cinema but in my experience, people react negatively to being told I play games!

          I believe getting new people into our hobby is what will sustain it in the future. If games are so dense and impenetrable that a newcomer cannot get to grips with a modern game, they will not take up the hobby. It’s no good pointing to games like Mario because Mario looks like crap compared to modern games – it’s the equivalent of a newcomer to football catching a few glimpses of the world cup final, wanting to find out more but being forced to watch their local seniors play their winter series because that’s the only way they can get to grips with the rules. There may be plenty of quality foot-to-ball action for the hardcore football fan to appreciate, but a newcomer wants the glitz and glamour.

          Not only will getting new people into the hobby sustain it in the future, it will make it more mainstream and more accepted in our lives. I would love nothing more than to talk with passion in an interview about what is so great about FTL or why I found Dishonored so enjoyable. I know that my hobby should reflect well on me, however it reflects poorly due to simple old fashioned prejudices.

          I never like the desire to “keep my interest niche” – that kind of behaviour smacks of people begrudging their favourite band achieving success or resenting people they consider to have worse palettes enjoying a wine they consider worthless. It is snobby and elitist and damages our hobby.

          You gave the example of football, well I believe it would be a shame if a person who would love football, who would enjoy it with a passion, who would love it so much they would play in their local team and it would bring them joy through their entire life – wouldn’t it be a shame if that person never got into football because they believed football was the exclusive preserve of thugs and those thugs resisted the kind of events that would get him into the game.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Simplistic doesn’t have to mean scripted. Arcade games didn’t bother with setpieces until Contra came along and they converted people into gamers in droves.

    • thestage says:

      So just to be clear here, Proteus is Ulysses and Mass Effect is Proust.

      Fuck, if either of these things is true I’ll never play a game again, we’re completely fucked.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Proust? Never read his work.

        Ulysses? Easily the worst literary experience of my 39-year life. I guess comparing a video game to that train wreck of a novel makes it easy enough for me to avoid ever playing said video game.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think the biggest problem is time. I wouldn’t recommend a non-gamer start playing PC games unless they feel like they have several hours in the day to kill that they’d otherwise just piss away, or if they need downtime but don’t have an outlet. Games are a big part of my life, but all other things being equal there are other hobbies that are probably better to chase for a newcomer.

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      if pat sci-fi pulp is gaming’s Proust then our critics from the literary worlds are correct

    • belgand says:

      I feel like the more telling moment occurs when she discusses Catherine. She briefly touches on the themes of the game before dismissing them as overly simple and starting to get a bit indignant, but the real issue is that she isn’t very good at it and can’t deal with that. This shows up repeatedly actually. She isn’t very good at something and then decides that she doesn’t care so it gets written off. The only games she does enjoy, briefly, are those where there isn’t any possibility of failure. Games that are little more than “wander around a bit until you get bored”, which, of course, happens rather quickly. When discussing Journey the fact that the game is short is touted as a positive element, presumably because it means she’s done and can go off and do something else.

      She discusses this more directly towards the end, but it’s really the key point here and something that makes her quite bad as a critic and, I would say, as a person. “I’ve spent my whole adult life ensuring I never have to do any of the many things that I’m hopeless at.” she states later on and, as such, demonstrates herself to be dismissive and rather unwilling to learn. It’s less a case of “I don’t enjoy this because it doesn’t appeal to me” and more “I’m not good at/don’t understand this so I’m not going to try”. Even when someone is better she’s quick to dismiss it, such as when she observes her son playing Mass Effect 3 competently something she regards as “a skill that I would admire had not half his life been spent acquiring it”. The ability to do something that she had trouble with is almost immediately denigrated as having been a waste of time.

      In same way as she dismisses the story because it doesn’t fit to her opinions. I might as well dismiss the Jane Austen she apparently holds in higher regard as little more than fluffy romantic comedy aimed at the sort of person who regards whom to marry as the only issue worth caring about. Again, no effort is made to engage. She claims she can’t relate to her character, but apparently doesn’t want to try (or even be bothered to create her own character, furthering the disconnect).

      There’s nothing wrong with having a sensible difference of opinion. Nor of not caring for a particular genre or theme, but she barely makes more than a token effort at any point and then cites her own problems with giving up when challenged. It’s not that she’s a bad game critic or non-gamer, it’s that she’s a poor critic period. I might not care for sports, but if roped into a game by friends or somehow forced to attend a match I’d still make the effort to learn the rules, try my best, pay attention, and not denigrate the players for spending their entire lives learning to kick a ball about.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Indeed. Points well made.

      • RobF says:

        Yes, except she’s not elevating herself to some sort of critic status. It’s just someone getting their first taste of games first hand and how she feels about them.

        Why this keeps getting lost in the defensive noise is beyond me.

      • crinkles esq. says:

        In fairness to her, the puzzles in Catherine do get quite difficult towards the end. But the themes and dialogue are fairly sophisticated — especially so for the low bar set by gaming — and in my opinion, compelling and thought-provoking, so I have to wonder if she even played beyond the first level. Of all the games she listed playing, Catherine should have at least garnered some begrudging nods toward artistry, but the only thing she wanted to mention was that it “debuted in a strip club”, a fact which is irrelevant to the game itself (if even true). The fact that she singled out the pretty whimsy of Journey as something she enjoyed makes me think she doesn’t really want any provocations — of thought or otherwise — in her life, art included.

        • Josh W says:

          I don’t think it is irrelevant, as isn’t the game supposed to be about certain guys and their reactions to sexuality and commitment? In that context a strip club becomes thematically charged.

  7. hypercrisis says:

    I fail to see why so much pomp and waffle surrounds Dishonored; from my experience so far it is a marginally above-average but ultimately unremarkable experience.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I think it’s mainly because a significant number of people see this as the start of a golden age for the stealth em up and dishonored is the poster boy, rightly or wrongly.

      • hypercrisis says:

        What else is there to suggest a resurgence of stealth?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          It started with the announcement of Thief 4, through Deus Ex: HR, Batman and has continued with dishonored, mark of the ninja, hitman, monaco, splinter cell etc etc and the doubling of the trend on google for the term “stealth games” since 2005, not to mention the recent explosion in media interest in the stealth game genre.

    • Harlander says:

      Once you’re past the menu screen it really picks up.

    • Xocrates says:

      Calling Dishonored unremarkable is slightly disingenuous. The game makes a lot of things other AAA games would be too afraid of doing, even other games in the same genre.

      Yes, the game has many questionable design decisions and doesn’t do nothing really new, but you might as well say the same thing about the new Xcom, or Bioshock, or Deus EX: HR.

      Ultimately, it’s a game in a genre people want more games of, that’s done decently well from a mechanical standpoint, and has a good setting, fiction, and aesthetics.

    • Spengbab says:

      Advertisments, disgusting amount of media attention and people who never played Thief, probably.

      Not saying its a bad game, or anything about the game at al, since I havent even played it but all this praising is making want to ignore it till the gamingworld has forgotten about it again, like Skyrim (Actually having tried to play Skyrim, I found it so mindnumbingly bland I uninstalled it after several genuine attempts to enjoy it).

      • Xocrates says:

        The last Thief game was released 8 years ago and was awfully compromised due to console limitations at the time. Personally the game playing so much like Thief is one of the main reasons I liked it.

      • DiamondDog says:

        I was going to defend Dishonored’s corner but the abject and utterly useless cynicism of your comment made my brain shut down.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Most importantly, thanks to the skills and availability of health potions, you can basically play the whole game in a “screw all of you, if you have a problem come face me” manner and do fine.

      Having that as the epitome of stealth is slightly bewildering. Sure, you CAN play it stealthily, but so could you any game.

      Its a little bit like saying you could play call of duty as military sim if you just stopped playing after you get hit by a bullet once. Then compare to an actual one like Operation Flashpoint where a bullet is a bullet.

      Let’s face it: This is a classic console port, oriented around giving you “easy outs” to dispose of bodies, to literally teleport around the place and have the most overused post-Matrix game effect ever: Bullet time, just in case health buffs, instant-healing potions and imba magic battle powers AND guns on top weren’t enough.

      Stealth and tactical sneaking due to vulnerability? Thief series?

      Oh please.
      100% wish / illusion, 0% reality.

      • Xocrates says:

        “you can basically play the whole game in a “screw all of you, if you have a problem come face me” manner and do fine.”

        Pretty sure that’s intentional. The game is more Deus Ex than it is Thief.

        You CAN play it like Thief, but that’s not the only way to play it.

      • DiamondDog says:

        Its a little bit like saying you could play call of duty as military sim if you just stopped playing after you get hit by a bullet once. Then compare to an actual one like Operation Flashpoint where a bullet is a bullet.

        Dishonored has stealth systems in place. If you choose to shoot and stab everyone that’s fine, because it’s made for that too. But it’s also designed with a stealth mechanic. You don’t have to impose arbitrary rules to make it a stealth game.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          My point is that it isn’t a stealth game, just like COD isn’t a military sim.
          The focus of my argument IS that very optionality that you point out.
          Dishonored literally is built around a system designed to take away all of the things you would normally have to take care of in a stealth game(body disposal, hiding, escape, not get overpowered / die, etc).

          A stealth game would be built around _requiring_ stealth, which is why I find it so ludicruous people are making it out to be stealth gaming’s avatar when its just another console game with “stealth options” (seriously: see through walls, insta-heal, teleport, magic winds..).

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Er… Thief had arrows which exploded on impact that didn’t fly according to gravity unlike the other arrows, explosive mines, a robust sword fighting model which if combined with your ability to circle strafe made taking on groups of enemies ludicrously easy, flashbombs for a “I’ve been seen” get out of jail free card.

            Basically every criticism you just leveled at Dishonored can be leveled at thief too.

            Proof that you can play thief as a run and slash, see Khad Banks’ lets play.

          • DiamondDog says:

            It is a stealth game. Lots of stealth games have lethal options and escape mechanisms. Dishonored might not be a pure stealth game, sure. And I certainly wouldn’t hold it up as some sort of poster child for the genre because I think it has it’s fair share of flaws.

            But it is a stealth game.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Yep. Dishonored isn’t a stealth game, it’s an action game with some underwhelming stealth mechanics built into it.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            I just played Dishonored like a stealth game and enjoyed it very much. But then I like the stealth in Far Cry 2, so there must be something wrong with me.

            One thing Dishonored does so well is to persuade you to let go of the narrow ledges of “stealth” and “action”, and just enjoy the fall.

      • Naum says:

        Dishonored has mechanics that explicitly support stealth — Possession, line-of-sight based detection, alternative non-lethal objectives, alarms, an appropriate AI, stealth-friendly level design, etc. — as well as action fighting mechanics, which you have given plenty examples of. So, why do you think it’s not a stealth game because it has action mechanics, instead of saying it’s not an action game because it has stealth mechanics? Why can a game only be considered a stealth game if stealth is the only way to solve its challenges?

      • JackShandy says:

        “Sure, you CAN play it stealthily, but so could you any game.”

        This is obviously false. You can’t even ghost through the original Deus Ex.

        • DJ Madeira says:

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are lots of games you literally can’t ghost through, right? Half-Life 2 being one example? So his point is completely invalid.

          • JackShandy says:

            Yep, but I use Deus Ex as an example because that actually tries to incorporate a stealth playstyle. There are actually plenty of supposed stealth games that you can’t complete without being seen – Metal Gear solid, for instance. Being able to ghost through the game more than qualifies it for the Stealth label.

    • DJ Madeira says:

      I’d say that (and please no-one drop-stab me for this) it’s similar in the way that Deus Ex is somewhat overblown today; it’s because at the time it came out it was a symbol that games could be something more. It’s not so much that dishonored is an exceptional game compared to every other stealth game, but I think history will think it was for the same reasons that it thought deus ex was so exceptional (which it was to a certain extent just like dishonored is to a certain extent, but not the miracle you’d think it is from the hype).

      Frankly, I think you should just enjoy what you get because you’re never going to get the “perfect ___ game”. Dishonored & the like are about as close as it’s ever going to come.

  8. phenom_x8 says:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-10-09-night-and-the-city

    Ah you miss this one, Jim! Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan played LA Noire together with His father to judge (and to bring some childhood memories) the authencity of 1940′s LA.A lot of interesting experience happened during the play session that concluded by fascinating impression letter by Donlan Sr.
    ‘m pretty sure John would be interested too(I remember my late father that loves to watch me play some video games back then)

  9. CobraLad says:

    Dont like that writer lady. Her son is swearing heavily and she drinks. Exactly like those univercity teachers, who read many cool books, but have no wits to explain them.
    Also, “ignoring his girlfriend for 5 years” is sorta offensive. I can say “been in a kitchen for 53 years” about her and “cant understand all that managment stuff, so this book suck” about her book “Sense and Nonsense in the Office”.

    • Pindie says:

      She described her teenage hobbies as “sex drugs and rock’n'roll” and she likes Ramones.
      A university teacher at some liberal arts collage.
      Please excuse the obvious character assassination but they should have grabbed some MIT lecturer instead. Somebody with appreciation for structure and complex systems.

      Also: shouting at your kids for mistaking – some French named object I have no idea what they are anyway – disgusting.

    • eks says:

      ““ignoring his girlfriend for 5 years” is sorta offensive.”

      It’s not really, go watch Indie Game the Movie. She pretty much hit the nail on the head, the developer ignored other large parts of his life to develop that game. He literally said that if the game flops he will kill himself. This wasn’t a joke, after watching it, I believed he would have. She knows how long development took and that it was made by a single guy, so chances are she researched it like a good journalist should.

      Teenagers tend to swear at their parents sometimes, they are teenagers. Most of them get over that little phase and appreciate their parents which I’m sure will be true of her kids. I also wasn’t aware that enjoying an alcoholic beverage was a something to be criticized about.

      To be honest, your comment and that other reply just reeks of “someone criticized something I like so I’m going to attack their character”. I thought it was a good piece, how can we expect non-gamers to understand the medium if we don’t keep an open mind and listen to *why* they are non-gamers.

      Also don’t forget that she was specifically asked for her opinion because she wasn’t a gamer, afaik there isn’t anyone asking you to read a book where you have no idea about the subject. If there was, it would be safe to say they would expect similar comments as the ones you mentioned.

      • Pindie says:

        She attacked my character indirectly so I can retaliate the same way. It’s fair game.

        I thought it was obvious this comment was not entirely serious. I did even point out the fallacy myself, but you apparently missed it.
        It was a jab.

        I see some irony in fact a hippie teenager grew up to be impatient and close minded person who would approach a subject, give it a try for 5 minutes with no previous research and then disregard entire medium. It does speak volumes about man’s character, more so than the other small details.

  10. LTK says:

    I was hoping to find this article in the Papers today about what we can expect to happen to non-Metro Windows after Windows 8′s closed development ecosystem, when we compare it to MS-DOS when Windows 3.0 came around.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/179420/the_next_twenty_years_what_.php?print=1

    It’s a must-read.

  11. Spengbab says:

    Regarding the BLDBLG article, you’d think being in a spaceship on the moon would warrant a sleepless night full of exciting space stuff, zero-gravity hijinks and whatnot, but Armstrong actually manages to sleep? Impressive

    • LionsPhil says:

      He trained for months and months at falling asleep in exciting situations.

      The local theme parks are just full of snoring NASA employees on rollercoasters.

    • Shuck says:

      You also have to remember that they landed on the Moon four days after they left Earth. They would have been exhausted by that point, not to mention somewhat inured to the novelty of it all.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I went to a talk by John Grunsfeld, one of the astronauts who repaired Hubble and a professional astronomer. Someone asked him what it was like when he arrived home having been in space, and he replied “heavy”. You get used to being in (HOLY EFF I’M IN) space, I guess.

  12. razorramone says:

    RE: Molyneux’s Cube game.

    ” Only one player will strike the final blow, uncovering a secret that will be revealed to that player alone. … How does the victor go about sharing the news of what’s inside? “What is inside the cube is life-changingly amazing by any definition,” he assures me”

    It sounds to me like what is inside the Cube is the “fame” of being the person who has that secret, and the power to share it how they please. I expect that would be wrapped up in some kind of metaphor or symbolism to make it sound nicer. But it seems to be what he is getting at.

  13. Jason Moyer says:

    “Simulations need to look more deeply into the “game” aspect of their product for this, and create something that is immersive and engaging from a perspective beyond just the driving of a vehicle.”

    Racing games might need to do that, and I’ve always appreciated their attempts at doing so, but simulations? No thanks. The act of driving a car as quickly as possible around a circuit teetering on the balance between control and disaster while trying to finish ahead of a bunch of other idiots doing the same is more thrilling than any sort of game-isms you could add to it. The thrill of a simulation is the mastery of a difficult skill, the immersion comes from creating a model that convinces the user that they’re experiencing the real thing. People who don’t like simulators don’t get this, and that’s fine, but those are the reasons people will spend hours doing thousands of laps around a racecourse trying to shave a thousandth of a second off their time or hours flying an Me-109 in search of prey even though the likelihood of getting a kill is low.

    Edit: And the problem with Simraceway is that iRacing is doing everything and more that they’re doing, but far far better.

  14. BreadBitten says:

    Rather enjoyed that ft.com article! Though the writer’s classification of The Ramones as simply ‘punk rock’ irks me more than I care to admit…oh wait.

  15. Scrooge says:

    Nice bit of coincidence (I assume); the book referenced in the article on tutorials and creativity is also mentioned in the piece by Shirky as an example of ethical lapses in journalism.

  16. RobF says:

    The New Statesman piece is one of the most selfish and point missing pieces of idiocy I’ve read. The whole point of the Game City prize is to start a conversation around video games. The WHOLE POINT is to get people involved who aren’t as engaged as we are with games.

    The FT piece opens with someone with not a single care about the things, only a vague distaste based on a narrow experience. So she gets some games, gets to play through stuff and comes away appreciating that yes, in fact some of these things can be beautiful.

    And how do we respond to this? NOT GOOD ENOUGH, WOMAN. Get off my culture if you’re not going to do it right. Shut her down within one paragraph and spend the rest ranting about our problems with videogames.

    Well played there, eh? Further proof that often we’re nothing but insular pricks towards anyone who we deem as not us, writ large in the NS.

    Shameful behaviour.

    • Pindie says:

      I think the problem with her article can be summed up in few points:
      1) she is ignorant of the subject (this part you got)
      2) she has a strong opinion on the subject
      3) she fails to do basic research (Fez for example)
      4) she (and this is important!) feels justified in having strong opinions despite her admitted ignorance
      5) she admits she does not understand the medium while at the same time rejecting the idea of investigating further before casting judgments
      6) she thinks her only limitation in enjoying video games is manual skill, she misses her attitude problem

      So in short: admit you make no effort, then justify your laziness or ineptitude in an article.

      At this point one has to ask: how is this helping?
      It seems to me it’s actually hurting the endevor.

      • RobF says:

        The endeavour we’re discussing isn’t to make someone like games, if it were the case then yes, this would be a problematic situation that’s arisen because clearly everyone would have got that wrong. It’s to open up conversations about games often with people who do either hold not give a monkeys views or maybe they are dismissive of them. Or maybe they don’t. It’s to talk about games. There is no necessity that someone walks away from this with an in depth knowledge or to become one of us.

        What you read in the FT isn’t some sort of abomination of abnormal view. It’s very much a view held by a lot of people. In some ways it’s generational and in others it’s cultural because it’s an attitude that still exists for a large proportion of my generation too but that’s OK. It’s absolutely OK for people not to see things as we do and not to like the things we do or to even dive in depth on these things.

        From conversations, even ones where the other party is dismissive, there’s a lot for us to gain. There’s a lot for us to gain on why some people bounce off games, we can find out why they’re dismissive, we can get other views into our hobby. And maybe, in the middle of these conversations, by putting games in front of people in a pressure free environment (their own home in their own time) to approach on their terms we can find some understanding too. One of the big takeaways from the piece that gets ignored in the focus on certain aspects is you have someone who previously had no understanding, no appreciation and absolutely no love for videogames at all who walked away at the end thinking that a number of them can be beautiful.

        If you want more people not screaming “MURDER SIMULATOR” in the newspapers, if you want more people not looking at you funny when you say you play or make games, if you just want some more understanding then this is one way to help achieve that. No, it may not have someone walk away with a deep and profound love of games, the urge to dive ever deeper into the pool of all the stuff that gets created in our name or indeed, to love them or see them as we do but that’s fine. That’s really OK.

        So the worst hurt that’s been done here is that a number of people with a vested interest in the hobby have walked away angry and upset that they feel their games have been misrepresented somehow and that she’s not done enough to get games. And given the way the mainstream media normally talk about games, I get totally why that happens and that’s sort of also OK. I do draw the line when pieces entirely shut down one voice from the first paragraph whilst ignoring the context which is why I find the NS piece distasteful but most of the other reactions, I totally and entirely understand.

        But y’know, rather than continue to make it Us Vs Them all the time, this is a point where we don’t need to be doing that. It’s just a chat. You have one woman who openly stated she joined so she could try and find some common ground with her son, she found that. We actually won this one. We did the winning. It might have done a full cyberman conversion on her or anything but if we’re keeping score, games just got a goal.

        So yes, she’s ignorant and had an opinion prior on games. This is what makes her so perfect for this sort of discussion. No, she didn’t do “basic research” because there’s no point to that if you want an unfiltered view of things – tell her how to download games or what buttons are where but the rest skews things uncomfortably and likely presents a barrier to discussing things further, remember we’re not trying to make her like games here, we’re having a chat. Yes, she feels justified in having opinions, every single person on the planet also. Considering that there’s a collective ignoring or misunderstanding of the context to the piece here, I think most of us should probably not push that one any further anyway.

        She doesn’t have to investigate further before casting judgement because we’re having a chat and no, she doesn’t think the only limitation to her enjoying video games is her manual skill, she makes an often repeated and something most of the industry and *we* already knows point that what we do is often incredibly inaccessible to the not-we. Which, knowing that we’re already aware that these things can be and are massively inaccessible, it seems churlish to rag on her for pointing out an absolute truth.

        • JackShandy says:

          I really disagree that we need to talk about games with people who hate games. This article is one thing – she was ambivalent, maybe it’s a good idea to remember that point of view. But it seems like you think our goal, as people who like games, should be to stop people who hate games writing articles about murder simulators.

          Making games that can be enjoyed by people who aren’t experienced in games is a great goal, but making games for people who actually hate games is useless. Listening to the daily mail and trying to make a game that they’d like would be a terrible idea. Why do you care about what people who hate games think?

          • RobF says:

            It benefits us as a whole the less people who hold the view that games are murder simulators, sure. I wouldn’t suggest for a second it should be our goal but having more people informed as to what games are can only be a good thing, especially if it leads to less aggressive ill informed hatred being published about them. This isn’t a singular thing though, y’know? It’s not we do this but we don’t do that or we only do this, it’s we can do this whilst doing that, right? Where that is whatever else we just do on a daily basis, playing, making, writing about games, whatevs.

            “Making games that can be enjoyed by people who aren’t experienced in games is a great goal, but making games for people who actually hate games is useless.”

            Thing is, where do you draw the line between people who aren’t experienced in games and people who hate games? What criteria do you use there? Sometimes the reason people have this sort of disdain is that they just don’t understand what games are. Sometimes it’s just that they don’t understand that there’s a variety of games and yes, one of them might just be the kind of thing they like. And sometimes it’s that they genuinely can’t play these games.

            And maybe none of these things matter to you and you can live every day with a “fuck ‘em” attitude and that’s fine. Whatever, y’know? But we didn’t get where we are today by saying “fuck ‘em” to everyone who didn’t like the games we made, we continued to push outwards and brought more people in by making more types of games. And there’s still more to make.

            If I made Nazi Woman Hating Kill A Benefit Scrounger For Christ:The Videogame for the Mail crowd, I’d obviously be a bad bad person but things aren’t quite so simplistic are they? Maybe they’d be happy with Proteus. Or maybe they’d be happy with Gun Mute. Or maybe they’d be happy with Portal 2. Or X-Com. How would we ever know if we didn’t talk to people to find out? It’s not such a black and white thing that people just hate games. And outside of the whole cultural thing there’s also the “more people pumping money into videogames making it a more viable job for more people” thing and loads more.

            And none of it comes at the cost of videogames-wot-we-have-now so why not? It’s certainly not going out there and looking for approval or anything here, it’s just “hey, maybe you might like this and maybe we can talk about it” and I can’t see how that’s hurtful or owt.

  17. Bobtree says:

    What’s worse is the XCOM tutorial doesn’t explicitly tell you when it’s over. So when the handholding ends but the story prompts point you directly to the Alien Base Assault, the natural thing to do is walk straight in and get your entire squad murdered. The tutorial should have been a separate self-contained scenario, maybe a little prequel about how XCOM gets formed, and not the “early bits” of a proper campaign run.

  18. Bobtree says:

    Ubisoft recently forgot to ship activation keys with a game. So much for “less evil” DRM.

    http://kotaku.com/5953443/guess-who-forgot-to-ship-activation-keys-with-their-latest-pc-release

  19. TillEulenspiegel says:

    The point about tutorials is one I’ve often made about quest markers as well. A lot of gamers don’t seem to notice how their actions and enjoyment are influenced by design decisions like that.

    When you give players an obvious path to walk along (or a few paths), they’re going to follow the path.

  20. crinkles esq. says:

    B.C. Put it on Kickstarter, stat. This is a game that needs to be finished.

    Although some parts of the game design stick in my craw. Human tribes wouldn’t be attacking apex dinosaurs unless they absolutely had to. It’s potentially fatal to the survivability of a small tribe, and in warm climates they wouldn’t be able to store tons of dinosaur meat anyway, so they’d be better off killing smaller, less dangerous animals on a more regular basis. Also, they’d more likely to be living in caves, not sleeping on the open plains where they’d be chomped in short order. This is a bit ridiculous to even discuss, considering humans didn’t co-exist with dinosaurs (Land of the Lost notwithstanding), but as they took such care to model a whole living ecosystem, those bits seem a bit daft.

  21. Universal Quitter says:

    The internet is a truth serum. That’s brilliant. I can’t believe I never though of that, or heard it before. I always thought of it as internet + human = sociopath, but this is way better.

  22. povu says:

    It’s still fairly enjoyable on single player. Certainly worth picking up when it inevitably goes on sale again for 5 euros.

  23. BluElement says:

    I was getting a sort of stereotypical and condescending tone from the Game Theory article on ft.com. It wasn’t much, but simple things like, “…deploying a skill that I would admire had not half his life been spent acquiring it”, “This may be part of the reason there is so little cultural discussion of video games: there simply isn’t much to talk about”, and “I might play them voluntarily one day but for now there is life to be lived…”

    So is she saying that gamers don’t deserve respect for the skill they show in video games, video games don’t deserve cultural discussion because she has an uneducated view that there “isn’t much to talk about”, and that video games shouldn’t be played if the person has a life?

    Overall, it was an interesting article, but these few quotes seemed a little outdated and naive.

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