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  1. #81
    Lesser Hivemind Node SirDavies's Avatar
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    Sorry to revive this dead thread but I felt like this video was relevant to the discussion:


  2. #82
    Lesser Hivemind Node DWZippy's Avatar
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    Interesting mechanics and interactivity. This often means I'm drawn towards steath, turn based and open world games.

    [Jagged Alliance 1.13 is still my favourite game solely because of how fascinating/detailed the mechanics are.]
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  3. #83
    Activated Node JimBob's Avatar
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    Nothing. They are a complete waste of time.

    42hrs in chivalry, 345 hrs of css, 293 of m2tw, 82 of ro:hos, etc...

  4. #84
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    A good story. This can either be supplied by the game itself, like the adventures of the heroic mute, Gordon Freeman. Then again, if the game supplies the tools for me to make an awesome story, that's fine too, like my betrayal laden campaigns toward global conquest in Civilization II.

    Challenge. There's no better feeling than when some seemingly impossible obstacle is finally overcome, like completing the solo to Freebird in Guitar Hero, or taking out an aimhacking AWP noob in Counter Strike with a pump shotgun.

    Those are the two things I can think of, maybe the only things.

  5. #85
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Surprise is one of the things I value most. Some of my favorite video game moments were:


    • Getting the OMGWTFBBQ achievement by accident in TF2.
    • The turrets singing to me in Portal 2.
    • Pretty much every round of Frozen Synapse.
    • The ending to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
    • The ending to Prince of Persia 2008
    • Getting my legs blown off and crawling to the end of the training facility in Deus Ex.


    Things like that. Another thing I really value is meaningful challenge. There are challenges that I find difficult but boring (like most boss fights), and then there are challenges like the entirety of VVVVVV. It wasn't deep, but it was meaningful to me. The game went out of it's way to provide me with direct access to challenges. I want to try Veni Vidi Vici or one of the less-well-known but still intricate bonus challenges? There's a convenient checkpoint at the beginning of every challenge, and sometimes in the middle of a challenge. I never have to backtrack too far just because I died on a completely unrelated challenge and the only penalty for failure is ... failure. I could do challenges in pretty much whatever order I wanted once I got the hang of the game enough to breeze through incidental challenges and movements. Hitman Blood Money deserves a nod here, too.

    In Skyrim? I never feel challenged. Sometimes I die or get outgunned ... but a lot of those instances feel just as meaningless as my dominance over the wildlife of Skyrim. How difficult a given enemy often feels spastic, arbitrary and hollow. I'll decide to kill this or that NPC, take on an enemy I see from a distance ... only to find it way more simple or difficult than I expected. Skyrim provides me with lots of Surprise though, which saves it somewhat. I guess meaningful challenge is more important to me than Surprise though because I find Space Chem more compelling than Skyrim--though I log fewer hours in it for reasons more to do with pacing than preference. Or maybe Skyrim provides enough of the expected to balance out the surprise.


    Some other things I value enormously are mechanical elegance and novelty. Give me a game that flows together beautifully or does something weird and interesting and I'll enjoy myself just as much (if not for as long) as a game with a more tired mechanical concept that gives more moment-to-moment surprise or more meaningful challenge (i.e. the two things above). Sequence is my poster child here. It's one of the more mechanically bizarre games I've ever played. It's not the most visually or fictionally inventive ... but that's not something I look for in games exclusively--fictional innovation is something I look for in a lot of mediums. Sequence has something else though: and exceptional JRPG style combat system combined with a fun and at times excruciatingly difficult rhythm game in the style of DDR. And they blend together perfectly. It's a glorious thing. I have high hopes for The Void, still haven't gotten around to it yet. Jedi Knight (Academy and Outcast are about the same to me, like them for slightly different things) really nailed being a Jedi for me. I felt like I could do all the things a Jedi could and I loved the chaotic saber fights. In singleplayer they had a tendency to get a little arbitrary at times (skill could get you to win battles against the same opponent 9/10 times but that 1 in ten was frustrating and seemingly chancy), but multiplayer felt more skill based. Not sure what the difference was in the saber mechanics (if there was one?) but I got a better impression of consistency in multiplayer. Anyway, solid mechanics that understood what they wanted to emulate.

    For all that it is predictable and uneventful, the Half-Life series plays smooth as butter to me. It knows what it's doing. The pacing is apt, the mechanics click well, the guns function nicely, the gravity gun is a blast, the level design is workman-like, and the voice acting is excellent (especially Gordon). It's a shame there isn't more ... life in it. That didn't start as a pun, but I'm going to retcon it as such. The game is aptly named. It was all the pieces, but something is missing so I salute them as mechanical works but am not at all sorry to see the series fade into the mists of time. I do so enjoy playing through them every now and then. Same with the Portal games, really. It all felt so shiny and workman-like but there was something missing. In Portal is was due to the game being a fleshed out tech demo. The point was the mechanics, and it stuck to the point--there was a good deal of entertaining humor along the way (the final showdown was especially hilarious if a bit daft as gameplay) but mostly it was a slick mechanical showcase of what the Portal gun can do. A damn good, damn fun show case. Portal 2 was an absurd comedy piece stretched thinly over slick but heartless, toothless gameplay. It was, to be precise, a very long rendition of the ending of Portal 1 played backwards.

    Hmm. I think that post, in agregate, sums up what I value in games nicely even if it rambles a bit and leaves out a lot of my favorite games and moments. Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.

    **Sometimes I wish Xor weren't just a programming thing and that or meant logical or exclusively rather than inclusively.
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  6. #86
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Only a handful of games do story well.

    But when they do, I like story above all other considerations.
    I can definitely enjoy games that engage me as stories even if I don't care overmuch for much else about them. I disliked a lot of things about Mass Effect 2, but damn did I want to know what happened to that bunch of characters. I will always remember PoP 2008 fondly even though I found the game functional but bland, just because I loved that ending so much. Good stories are behind all of my favorite individual pieces of across-the-board entertainment. I love a lot about games, but I love good stories more than the things I love most about games.
    I think of [the Internet] as a grisly raw steak laid out on a porcelain benchtop in the sun, covered in chocolate hazelnut sauce. In the background plays Stardustís Music Sounds Better With You. Thereís lots of fog. --tomeoftom

    You ruined his point by putting it in context thatís cheating -bull0

  7. #87
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I can definitely enjoy games that engage me as stories even if I don't care overmuch for much else about them. I disliked a lot of things about Mass Effect 2, but damn did I want to know what happened to that bunch of characters. I will always remember PoP 2008 fondly even though I found the game functional but bland, just because I loved that ending so much. Good stories are behind all of my favorite individual pieces of across-the-board entertainment. I love a lot about games, but I love good stories more than the things I love most about games.
    Good characterization (and good plot to go along with them) makes the world go 'round. Even people who hated the Mass Effect series saw the appeal of Mordin Solus.

    To me, franchises like Saints Row or Borderlands would be average, unremarkable GTA-clones and FPS/RPG hybrids without their incredible attention to the characters. The adventure game genre would basically be stillborn without the likes of Guybrush Threepwood or Sam and Max or Manny Calavera. RPGs got a lot of their appeal from the flavor of Minsc and Boo. Hell, even Alpha Centauri, as wonkish as it gets, had an ongoing story between the player and Planet (not to mention scenarios between the factions that spawned their own books).

    In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.
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  8. #88
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.
    Pretty much. There has to be a degree of peronal investment in what's going on for sure. Certainly I'll play RTS and the like, however giving a damn about the characters is key for me. Half the fun of XCOM is that my squads made up of my friends and I can get behind their survival.
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  9. #89
    Lesser Hivemind Node SirDavies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Surprise is one of the things I value most. Some of my favorite video game moments were:


    • Getting the OMGWTFBBQ achievement by accident in TF2.
    • The turrets singing to me in Portal 2.
    • Pretty much every round of Frozen Synapse.
    • The ending to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
    • The ending to Prince of Persia 2008
    • Getting my legs blown off and crawling to the end of the training facility in Deus Ex.


    Things like that. Another thing I really value is meaningful challenge. There are challenges that I find difficult but boring (like most boss fights), and then there are challenges like the entirety of VVVVVV. It wasn't deep, but it was meaningful to me. The game went out of it's way to provide me with direct access to challenges. I want to try Veni Vidi Vici or one of the less-well-known but still intricate bonus challenges? There's a convenient checkpoint at the beginning of every challenge, and sometimes in the middle of a challenge. I never have to backtrack too far just because I died on a completely unrelated challenge and the only penalty for failure is ... failure. I could do challenges in pretty much whatever order I wanted once I got the hang of the game enough to breeze through incidental challenges and movements. Hitman Blood Money deserves a nod here, too.

    In Skyrim? I never feel challenged. Sometimes I die or get outgunned ... but a lot of those instances feel just as meaningless as my dominance over the wildlife of Skyrim. How difficult a given enemy often feels spastic, arbitrary and hollow. I'll decide to kill this or that NPC, take on an enemy I see from a distance ... only to find it way more simple or difficult than I expected. Skyrim provides me with lots of Surprise though, which saves it somewhat. I guess meaningful challenge is more important to me than Surprise though because I find Space Chem more compelling than Skyrim--though I log fewer hours in it for reasons more to do with pacing than preference. Or maybe Skyrim provides enough of the expected to balance out the surprise.


    Some other things I value enormously are mechanical elegance and novelty. Give me a game that flows together beautifully or does something weird and interesting and I'll enjoy myself just as much (if not for as long) as a game with a more tired mechanical concept that gives more moment-to-moment surprise or more meaningful challenge (i.e. the two things above). Sequence is my poster child here. It's one of the more mechanically bizarre games I've ever played. It's not the most visually or fictionally inventive ... but that's not something I look for in games exclusively--fictional innovation is something I look for in a lot of mediums. Sequence has something else though: and exceptional JRPG style combat system combined with a fun and at times excruciatingly difficult rhythm game in the style of DDR. And they blend together perfectly. It's a glorious thing. I have high hopes for The Void, still haven't gotten around to it yet. Jedi Knight (Academy and Outcast are about the same to me, like them for slightly different things) really nailed being a Jedi for me. I felt like I could do all the things a Jedi could and I loved the chaotic saber fights. In singleplayer they had a tendency to get a little arbitrary at times (skill could get you to win battles against the same opponent 9/10 times but that 1 in ten was frustrating and seemingly chancy), but multiplayer felt more skill based. Not sure what the difference was in the saber mechanics (if there was one?) but I got a better impression of consistency in multiplayer. Anyway, solid mechanics that understood what they wanted to emulate.

    For all that it is predictable and uneventful, the Half-Life series plays smooth as butter to me. It knows what it's doing. The pacing is apt, the mechanics click well, the guns function nicely, the gravity gun is a blast, the level design is workman-like, and the voice acting is excellent (especially Gordon). It's a shame there isn't more ... life in it. That didn't start as a pun, but I'm going to retcon it as such. The game is aptly named. It was all the pieces, but something is missing so I salute them as mechanical works but am not at all sorry to see the series fade into the mists of time. I do so enjoy playing through them every now and then. Same with the Portal games, really. It all felt so shiny and workman-like but there was something missing. In Portal is was due to the game being a fleshed out tech demo. The point was the mechanics, and it stuck to the point--there was a good deal of entertaining humor along the way (the final showdown was especially hilarious if a bit daft as gameplay) but mostly it was a slick mechanical showcase of what the Portal gun can do. A damn good, damn fun show case. Portal 2 was an absurd comedy piece stretched thinly over slick but heartless, toothless gameplay. It was, to be precise, a very long rendition of the ending of Portal 1 played backwards.

    Hmm. I think that post, in agregate, sums up what I value in games nicely even if it rambles a bit and leaves out a lot of my favorite games and moments. Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.

    **Sometimes I wish Xor weren't just a programming thing and that or meant logical or exclusively rather than inclusively.
    I mostly agree with your point of view, but Portal 2? Seriously? Are you trying to tell me that Portal 2 did not have surprising moments, mechanical elegance or meaningful challenge?

  10. #90
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirDavies View Post
    I mostly agree with your point of view, but Portal 2? Seriously? Are you trying to tell me that Portal 2 did not have surprising moments, mechanical elegance or meaningful challenge?
    It had surprising moments in the fictional sphere. And that was a lot of fun. But a lot of the jokes felt hollow to me. Like ... they were funny before they got put through a filter of some sort. Similarly the game was beautiful and it had some elegant mechanics ... that were not used interestingly. I didn't feel challenged by the puzzles in singleplayer. I felt like I was walking through them rather than solving them. Having the most elegant mechanics ever made won't help if the player is never called upon to make use of them elegantly or creatively of their own volition. I never felt clever in Portal 2, nor did I feel outmatched. I just sort of wandered around in a very pretty and mostly funny environment finding surprisingly funny fictional elements only to meet with surprisingly predictable pacing and surprisingly bland levels in between those fictional surprises.

    The co-op mode, however? Hit all of my bullet points. Still not as challenging as I would have liked, but far better than the single-player in terms of meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance, and mechanical surprise. Maybe you found Portal 2 challenging in a meaningful way; I didn't. It doesn't mean I'm better at puzzles, either. It means I'm either so in line with or so orthogonal to the thought process Valve used to make the puzzles that they didn't behave as expect for me. Or they could have been too easy for me, but I have no reason to assume I was better at them than people who found them difficult. There were certainly puzzles I thought I couldn't do until I realized there was a hidden thing around the corner ... but I don't really count that as a meaningfully difficult puzzle in the Portal 2 setting. I didn't see that there was a portal-able surface over there! Damn, well good thing I never try to play hidden object games, I'd be rubbish at them.

    Toothless, heartless gameplay and mostly-funny writting ... because the story being told wasn't all that interesting other than as a comedy routine, that didn't really carry the day for me either so I'm left with a funny, but rather robotic single player game.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 30-11-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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  11. #91
    Lesser Hivemind Node SirDavies's Avatar
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    Fair enough

  12. #92
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirDavies View Post
    Sorry to revive this dead thread but I felt like this video was relevant to the discussion:


    thx. good vid.

  13. #93
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    Rewarding gameplay (not pseudo rewarding 'gameplay' through unlocks or achievements or filling bars).
    Good learning curve.

    lowest possible input lag needed to facilitate both.

    Video is a load of crap, games haven't been about fun ina long time, they are now about a false sense of accomplishment and power fantasies. Neither even remotely have anything to do with fun.
    Last edited by Finicky; 01-12-2012 at 11:01 AM.

  14. #94
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    -snip-

    Surprising moments, meaningful challenge, mechanical elegance (and/or** mechanical novelty). I'll compliment or complain about other elements, and I'll play games exclusively for other things (I cherish some games for their fiction or visuals) but these are the features that all of my top-ten share.
    +1. you said it better than i could ever have, great post.

  15. #95
    Network Hub Outright Villainy's Avatar
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    Many different things, but I think there's one common trait that I always look for: Make me pay attention. It could be a story worth telling, or a great world worth seeing; I'd say Portal 2 was great on both of those counts. It could be completely different to that, make your goals ambiguous, and rely on paying attention and exploration to make your wary forward (a la Dark Souls and Cave story.) Big hint arrows telling you where to go completely kill a game for me most of the time since I'll just zone out and auto-pilot. On that point, having combat that forces you think. Not just spam grenades and make you replay it until you twitch fast enough, but actually require you to use different tactics and ideas. Games will often tout choice heavily, but I want to be forced to use it, to have to weigh the tactical pros and cons of each choice, instead of it just being the variety show. Or it could be the mechanics themselves having such underlying complexity that they require constant thinking about what you're doing for them to be effective; Counter strike is a good example here, with its spray patterns, strafe cancelling and burst firing.

    I think the main thing is I don't play games to relax, I want them to take as much of my attention as possible.

  16. #96
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    I value meaningful interactions with other people and learning complex systems. This is why I gravitate mostly towards multiplayer games, and why Dota 2 is currently owning my life. It is endlessly complex, and as team-based as any sport. Nothing brings you together with random internet strangers like putting together a wombo-combo to win a teamfight.

  17. #97
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    I value most a game that makes me stop thinking of other things while I'm playing it, and keep thinking about it when I'm not playing it. In the end I think that's what really matters.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  18. #98
    Lesser Hivemind Node SirDavies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    Video is a load of crap, games haven't been about fun ina long time, they are now about a false sense of accomplishment and power fantasies. Neither even remotely have anything to do with fun.
    These false sensation of accomplishment doesn't feel false to most people. Look at the CoD players at 15 prestige. But this is not what the video is talking about. The sense of progression, power fantasies, the objective of all those mechanics is to make you enjoy yourself, to make the game more fun. What the video argues is that fun is not the only thing videogames can deliver, and that they have potential for so much more.

  19. #99
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Good characterization (and good plot to go along with them) makes the world go 'round. Even people who hated the Mass Effect series saw the appeal of Mordin Solus.

    To me, franchises like Saints Row or Borderlands would be average, unremarkable GTA-clones and FPS/RPG hybrids without their incredible attention to the characters. The adventure game genre would basically be stillborn without the likes of Guybrush Threepwood or Sam and Max or Manny Calavera. RPGs got a lot of their appeal from the flavor of Minsc and Boo. Hell, even Alpha Centauri, as wonkish as it gets, had an ongoing story between the player and Planet (not to mention scenarios between the factions that spawned their own books).

    In short, to me, mechanics can only go so far.
    This. I think I would full on hate Max Payne 3 without Max and the cast, like full on hate-it's nasty and dumb and preposterous and poorly balanced. But I've kept going back to it to follow the plot and see what there is to see. It's the ideas which pull me in. I don't care how fun they are or how good they feel to play, gaming is just another experience to me and as long as I enjoy it I don't care how pure or otherwise it is. If I'm enjoying it, I'm enjoying it.

  20. #100
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    I love just becoming the toughest, most heavily armoured knight/Jedi/whatever out there. Simple tastes.

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