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  1. #18481
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tykh02 View Post
    But is it a game? Or is it an Interactive Exhibit?
    Does it really matter? I doubt anyone's enjoyment of the Stanley Parable hinges on whether it's considered a game or an Interactive Exhibit.

  2. #18482
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
    Does it really matter? I doubt anyone's enjoyment of the Stanley Parable hinges on whether it's considered a game or an Interactive Exhibit.
    I think the clear answer to this is no. It is what it is. Categorisations such as 'game' only matter as a convenience for discussion, in terms of placing something in a context and lineage, but it is only ever shorthand. It's best defined as needed for any given discussion, and that definition can shift depending on the topic and audience. Save dictionary definitions for terms with more widespread consensus.

    Dear Esther comes from a clear gaming lineage (->Doom->Quake->Half-Life->HL modding scene). It controls like an FPS, albeit in a stripped down way. It makes clear use of one of gaming's most powerful narrative techniques- the freedom to explore an environment at our leisure, thus pacing the reveal of the atmosphere and narrative at the player's pace. And hey, really the only appropriate word for the user is 'player'. So why not call it a game?

  3. #18483
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Going to be that guy again, but... ugh. Sorry, just ugh. Car crash, his wife was killed, he wanders around trying to look for Answers, including talking to the bloke in the other car, he doesn't find any, he kills himself (maybe not but I don't really care), the end. There, now these people can get on with over-analysing something that's actually worth the effort. Oh, I'm sorry, was I being flippant?

    Seriously, though, Dan Pinchbeck seems like a nice guy and I haven't played A Machine For Pigs, but people praising Dear Esther's writing (never mind actually thinking there's room for multiple interpretations of it) is just one of those things that make me think an awful lot of PC owners have very little idea what good writing is/can be. I have absolutely no problem at all with the idea of videogames-as-art-installation, that would be why I bought Dear Esther in the first place, but it was far from the best way to do it. Leaden, dreary, over-complicated prose that's comically eager to be Deep and Meaningful.
    I happen to be a very well-read individual. Hundreds of books across a multitude of genres and generations. I don't say this either to brag, but for context.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Dear Esther's narrative experience. Certainly its not Roger Zelazny or Glenn Cook's Croaker narrating the tale. Maybe it lacks that punch-in-the-gut impact of Cormac McCarthy or even Trent Zelazny.

    But its good nonetheless. Compared to video game writing, its flat out better than almost anything out there, for all that's damning it with faint praise. But even compared to a goodly number of short stories or novellas - which I think are literature's "fairest" comparisons to something like Dear Esther - it still holds its own.

    And that's good enough. Because, unlike those novellas and short stories, Dear Esther need not rely solely on narrative exposition to draw an audience into its world or even to tell its story in all its fullness. Dear Esther has something those other tales lack - visual references. And it uses the visual metaphor of the Island to great effect.

    At times the narrative contrasts sharply with the locale. At others, the location makes a perfect metaphor for the experience of the narrator. Dear Esther isn't going to shove its way into a grammy award presentation any time soon - which, given the usual fair there is likely a compliment to Pinchbeck - but its a darn fine tale with excellent presentation, and its clearly also shaken up this medium at least a little bit, for which the creator has my thanks.
    Last edited by Blackcompany; 27-11-2013 at 09:31 PM.

  4. #18484
    Lesser Hivemind Node postinternetsyndrome's Avatar
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    I would agree that a novella is a reasonable comparison. A lot of stories can be summarized with a single sentence, that doesn't make them bad stories. Presentation is important too.

  5. #18485
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Just beaten Vlamber's clone tycoon. Feels good.

  6. #18486
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    great post
    Thanks for putting it into words better than I could. That was exactly what I meant.
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  7. #18487
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    I'm playing too much Minecraft. It's actually pretty impressive how they managed to make the game even more compulsive with the introduction of enchantment. Previously, if you had a full set of diamond armour and tools, you were the most powerful you would ever be. But now, that armour and tools can be enchanted as well, in some cases holding up to five enchantments, some of which have five levels. So there's a massive number of possible enchantment combinations that make your equipment harder, better, faster, stronger, and they're applied randomly, so that's hours upon hours upon hours more you can spend killing monsters, mining and smelting ore, and breeding animal, in order to be the very best.

  8. #18488
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    I happen to be a very well-read individual. Hundreds of books across a multitude of genres and generations. I don't say this either to brag, but for context.
    If we're doing appeals to authority now, I'm an honours graduate in Creative Writing, I was a film and game critic for... I dunno, six or seven years, and I'm pretty confident I've read at least a couple of thousand books in my lifetime (I'm in my thirties). Not that any of that matters very much, if at all - it wasn't a particularly prestigious university, they weren't wildly successful websites (though more so than you might think) and there are tons of books I've never read that I'm aware a lot of people would tell me I should have. Just saying. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    Compared to video game writing, its flat out better than almost anything out there, for all that's damning it with faint praise. But even compared to a goodly number of short stories or novellas - which I think are literature's "fairest" comparisons to something like Dear Esther - it still holds its own.

    And that's good enough. Because, unlike those novellas and short stories, Dear Esther need not rely solely on narrative exposition to draw an audience into its world or even to tell its story in all its fullness. Dear Esther has something those other tales lack - visual references. And it uses the visual metaphor of the Island to great effect.

    At times the narrative contrasts sharply with the locale. At others, the location makes a perfect metaphor for the experience of the narrator. Dear Esther isn't going to shove its way into a grammy award presentation any time soon - which, given the usual fair there is likely a compliment to Pinchbeck - but its a darn fine tale with excellent presentation, and its clearly also shaken up this medium at least a little bit, for which the creator has my thanks.
    I don't think I could disagree much more with all of the bolded parts. Pretty sure that even at my most cynical and exacting I could still name at least ten games that have better writing and storytelling than Dear Esther, for God knows how many different reasons (more emotive, technically more accomplished, better characterisation, better integration with the actual mechanics and on and on). The visual language is clumsy and stilted: even before we get to the mediocre prose, he's alone, his thoughts and emotions are in chaos, he doesn't know where he's going... gee, mister Pinchbeck, I think I see what you did there!

    I appreciate what The Chinese Room wanted to do; I have absolutely no problem with a game (for want of a better word) being "Walk forward, occasionally stopping to look at things". I have no problem with piecing the narrative together for myself. I don't regret either buying or playing through Dear Esther. But I would seriously, with every one of my feeble critical faculties, argue they did not do a very good job of realising their ambitions. I mean, don't worry, I'm not going to - I'm just saying; I don't just throw these things out there to be contrary.
    Last edited by Eight Rooks; 28-11-2013 at 04:52 PM.

  9. #18489
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    If we're doing appeals to authority now, I'm an honours graduate in Creative Writing, I was a film and game critic for... I dunno, six or seven years, and I'm pretty confident I've read at least a couple of thousand books in my lifetime (I'm in my thirties). Not that any of that matters very much, if at all - it wasn't a particularly prestigious university, they weren't wildly successful websites (though more so than you might think) and there are tons of books I've never read that I'm aware a lot of people would tell me I should have. Just saying. ;-)



    I don't think I could disagree much more with all of the bolded parts. Pretty sure that even at my most cynical and exacting I could still name at least ten games that have better writing and storytelling than Dear Esther, for God knows how many different reasons (more emotive, technically more accomplished, better characterisation, better integration with the actual mechanics and on and on). The visual language is clumsy and stilted: even before we get to the mediocre prose, he's alone, his thoughts and emotions are in chaos, he doesn't know where he's going... gee, mister Pinchbeck, I think I see what you did there!

    I appreciate what The Chinese Room wanted to do; I have absolutely no problem with a game (for want of a better word) being "Walk forward, occasionally stopping to look at things". I have no problem with piecing the narrative together for myself. I don't regret either buying or playing through Dear Esther. But I would seriously, with every one of my feeble critical faculties, argue they did not do a very good job of realising their ambitions. I mean, don't worry, I'm not going to - I'm just saying; I don't just throw these things out there to be contrary.

    Seriously, it wasn't an appeal to authority. Or any sort of attempt at superiority. All I intended with the comment about being well read was to humbly - well, as humbly as possible without tone or other audible indicators, but humbly, mind - state that, yes, I have read more than a few books in my time. Doesn't make me in any way superior to anyone who hasn't done the same - or anyone who has, for that matter. It just means I have an appreciation for literature and narrative as presented across multiple genres in multiple styles that span several generations. I'm no expert, granted, but I've read a few good tales in my time. That's literally all I wanted to convey there, honest.

    As for Dear Esther...perhaps its a matter of taste. I like sparseness in my storytelling. I like a sense of mystery. I appreciate metaphor and allusion. And I like a good first person narrator; whereas I know a goodly number of people who absolutely cannot stand the first person style of either narration or storytelling, I prefer it to the third person omniscient almost to the point of exclusivity. First person stories simply do not allow for the sort of bloat that a third person, omniscient narrator often indulges in.

    So for me, according to my highly subjective tastes, Dear Esther really nailed it. It did not revolutionize story telling in games. And I think therein lies the rub for many people. This game was hyped, to a certain degree and from a certain quarter, as something that would forever change you as a person and video games as a genre, and it did neither of those things, even for me.

    But it did move me. And it did open the genre up to a different method of story telling and narrative exposition. It did give rise to questions about 'what makes a game, a game' and 'is the current approach (to story telling in games) the only viable one.' And those are good things. For all of us.

    If its not for you, that's ok. It doesn't have to be. I loathe Dean Koontz books - except the ones where he writes from the first person. Christopher Snow and Odd Thomas are some of my favorite literary characters. Not all Koonts books are for me - in fact, the bulk of them are for a completely different audience - but that's okay. Taste in art is highly subjective, and I for one am okay with that.


    Hence, I am still playing Assassin's Creed 4 like an addict. (To get things back on track here). Its not the best tale even in video games and its not going to hold a candle to literature for storytelling...but damn is all that pirate stuff more fun than it ought to be. And to be fair the protagonist and some of the characters are pretty well written and voiced.

  10. #18490
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    So Wing Commander: Armada is out on GoG... that and privateer along with XWing/Tie Fighter were my favorite space sims of the 90s. Now to find the time to play...

  11. #18491
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Played a bit of Killing Floor after a friend gave me a guest pass on Steam and first tried it out on Hard. Huge mistake and I got ripped to pieces in the first wave by clots. I got some practice with some friends and played it on beginner before transitioning to normal. it's a bit annoying when the shots delay quite a lot and it seems like I'm still playing a mod from UT2004 Half-Life rather than a fleshed out game

    A few hours on King of Dragon Pass too. I can find no other game that made me ragequit AND get back to it after a short outburst. I hated the balanced clan setting and opted for a war clan instead. For now, the clan has a shrine of Urox for the berserker blessing but we really need loads of food and me, being a big spender had squandered a huge amount of comattle just for sacrifices that went to waste. Gonna try my luck in Storm season for raids
    Art blog here.

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  12. #18492
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voon View Post
    A few hours on King of Dragon Pass too. I can find no other game that made me ragequit AND get back to it after a short outburst.
    Ragequit, why?
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  13. #18493
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    Ragequit, why?
    "we are starving! we are starving! HOLY FUCK, WE ARE STARVING, MAN! oh, the Squat Oaks took some of your cattle by the way and we've lost a raid against the trolls."

    every fucking time. but that's what I get for raiding in earth and sea seasons
    Last edited by Voon; 29-11-2013 at 03:37 AM.
    Art blog here.

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  14. #18494
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
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    Must be the war clan thing, I was running stuff and trying to manage the clan and tribe for the most part, keeping attrition to the minimum because it seemed so wasteful and got in the way of everything else; I only played for the first time recently, binged on it for a few days, but the more time I put in, the more stuff the game expected me to memorize, eventually I just lifted my hands to the sky and put it back in the bin.
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  15. #18495
    Network Hub Avish's Avatar
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    Got AssCreed: Black flag and now I'm playing my favorite game: Trying to make a Uplay game work. The usual reinstalling the driver trick didn't work, so I'm trying some other voodoo stuff like stopping background processes and re-installing on C instead of D.

    Next on the list is contacting Ubisoft support, which I heard can be quite a challenging and frustrating game.

  16. #18496
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Played an hour or so of Audiosurf last night. I picked it up in a recent Humble sale. It's not going to keep my attention for long, but it's great for filling a spare hour. I installed Fez afterwards, probably going to play that next.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  17. #18497
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arathain View Post
    pacing the reveal of the atmosphere and narrative at the player's pace.
    I haven't played the remake, but in the original release the player's maximum pace could have been a bit higher. It was the equivalent of a good story dragging a bit too slow.
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  18. #18498
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    Been playing Teleglitch: Die More edition. Bit late to it but damn it's a good arcade game. Guns feel good, challenging, and while you notice patterns of the levels, it does keep you on your toes.

    Im dying for multiplayer and sub-systems though. Imagine environments (graphically the same), but with more interaction; hacking, plenty more buttons, cameras, security systems etc.

  19. #18499
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    If we're doing appeals to authority now, I'm an honours graduate in Creative Writing, I was a film and game critic for... I dunno, six or seven years, and I'm pretty confident I've read at least a couple of thousand books in my lifetime (I'm in my thirties). Not that any of that matters very much, if at all - it wasn't a particularly prestigious university, they weren't wildly successful websites (though more so than you might think) and there are tons of books I've never read that I'm aware a lot of people would tell me I should have. Just saying. ;-)



    I don't think I could disagree much more with all of the bolded parts. Pretty sure that even at my most cynical and exacting I could still name at least ten games that have better writing and storytelling than Dear Esther, for God knows how many different reasons (more emotive, technically more accomplished, better characterisation, better integration with the actual mechanics and on and on). The visual language is clumsy and stilted: even before we get to the mediocre prose, he's alone, his thoughts and emotions are in chaos, he doesn't know where he's going... gee, mister Pinchbeck, I think I see what you did there!

    I appreciate what The Chinese Room wanted to do; I have absolutely no problem with a game (for want of a better word) being "Walk forward, occasionally stopping to look at things". I have no problem with piecing the narrative together for myself. I don't regret either buying or playing through Dear Esther. But I would seriously, with every one of my feeble critical faculties, argue they did not do a very good job of realising their ambitions. I mean, don't worry, I'm not going to - I'm just saying; I don't just throw these things out there to be contrary.
    If you don't think it matters, don't say it.

    I've absolutely no problem with anyone at all stating that they love/hate/whatever a thing to the nth degree, but one can do that without faux modesty or calling into question the integrity of other other posters or being passively condescending, and you've done that on a few occasions now.

    Your or my or anyone else's qualifications are not relevant or necessary here. Speaking for myself here but I'm very much of the opinion that if one has something interesting to say on a forum, that will come out in the words relating to the topic, and in those alone. You don't need to justify yourself for your opinion to be valid. You have every right to write your opinion sans any disclaimer.

    Talk about the game, talk about personal experience with it, engage with arguments, but I would suggest that posting anything about yourself or others unless explicitly related to an element of the game that other people can interact with is probably unnecessary and could get people's backs up. Even such things as education and personal vocational opportunity are emotive topics that could be sensitive to someone.

    There was a guy/girl on here who was incapable of making observations without mentioning in passing their personal opinion on something along those lines or how rarefied their particular tastes were, and that understandably upset some folks, it ended quite emotionally and I found it to be very sad all round when they left and I would hate for it to occur again.
    Last edited by sonson; 29-11-2013 at 09:26 PM.

  20. #18500
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
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    Gave the Euro Truck Sim 2 demo a spin. The demo of the first didn't leave me exactly impressed, but I keep reading good things about the sequel, and it's on sale, so...

    On my first mission after the tutorial, I've reached my destination but can't make heads or tails of where the smallish GPS unit is trying to send me, ending up in some deserted repair shop of sorts nearby instead. Takes me a while to back out and when I finally arrived at the delivery point, I am confronted with a huge line of cars in the other lane, along the whole length of the road; having to turn left, I stop and wait for someone to let me through, but the line keeps moving forward: first car, second one then the third, to finally come to a stop again; like clockwork, three new cars join the back of the queue: most of them looking exactly the same, just different colors.

    A U-turn later, I'm joining the back of the line myself: which of course isn't moving any faster now. On my right there's a landing strip disguised as an Innsbruck sidewalk; it's just a tad tighter than the autobahn that took me there, absolutely empty, seemingly the only people in this world are drivers and death awaits them were they so daring as to leave their vehicles ...you can guess the rest.

    Haven't played long enough to see if the management part of the game is better (I liked Trukz), but IMO a more game-y angle would work better. As for technical details, the game set itself for what looked like MCGA, the engine sounds are dull and hardly convincing, and HDR looks like someone poured water in my eyes.

    tl;dr GAH! DOUBLE GAH! & TRIPLE GAH!
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