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  1. #41
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Noob...too broad a term, please define it.

  2. #42
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Are we actually devolving to the definition of the word "game?"

    Dear lord in heaven, grant me the ability to smite these noobs.
    Genre definitions are so yesterday. RPS forums now go for the big stuff.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    Conversely, it's dumb to argue for simplification of critical language vis--vis videogames. There's a huge difference between something like the Walking Dead and DayZ which should be apparent for anyone. Now, no matter what you may think, 'game' is a well-defined concept that usually pertains to a system with rules and goals that the 'player' interacts with. According to that, the Walking Dead is a terrible game.
    Critical assessment doesn't work that way. You could argue that Walking Dead has terrible mechanics (though frankly, you're missing the whole influence and reputation system which the true mechanical core) but that doesn't make it a bad game. Just like how Noel Gallagher may only use four different chords on the entire album but that doesn't necessarily make it bad music.

    According to your argument, football is a really bad game as all the player does is try and kick the ball into the opposing goal. What dull and boring mechanics!

    There is a mechanical element to every artistic endeavour: an artist needs to be able to draw, a musician needs to be able to play an instrument or sing, a dancer needs to perform basic physical manoeuvres, a writer needs to be able to string words together coherently.

    Yet time and again in every single artistic field, it's hardly ever the people who are the best at any of that who make the best art. A virtuoso violinist might still write shit songs. Dan Brown can't write for toffee but he can come up with very compelling plots so his books sell. Most rock and indie bands are mediocre at playing their instruments at best. Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles.

  4. #44
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    A lot of punk bands were purposefully bad at their instruments as a "fuck you" to what they viewed as masturbatory, oblique "art rock." Technique is indeed only one aspect of product.

    That said, Dan Brown's plots are shit as well; he makes airport novels, after all.
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  5. #45
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    He's right, even if he doesn't phrase it in an accessible way. Games are for playing. Games are for acting. Games are not for being told stuff and watching stuff. I don't insist that this kind of entertainment should disappear - just don't call it a game. It's more like "Choose Your Own Adventure". If you want to confront the strange man, go to page 34. If you want to follow him, go to page 22. If you would rather buy a newspaper, page 67. Nowadays many computer "games" don't even have a loss condition - as long as player doesn't stop playing. Rage, Prey, Bioshock and others just make you respawn. So the point that you have to "aim well" is untrue. At the very least, a game should be played against an opponent (or a challenge) that is on your level. Otherwise it's too easy and outcome is known.

    And it's not just that mechanics are important in a game. They make and define the game. Outside of computer "game" community, games are distinguished by their rules. If Heroes of Might and Magic III was a board game (possible, but awfully time-consuming to calculate everything) it would be called an expansion to Heroes II. Yes, because mechanically Heroes III is extremely similar and it's the least innovative HOMM game in the entire serries. It adds the least number of mechanics. Oh yeah, it has new pictures and a different set of "cards". So does Munchkin Cthulhu.
    I agree. I'm starting to think though that videogame=/=game, or at least big budget single player videogames =/= games. They are smoke and mirrors. Like you said, nobody looses, the outcome is known, and people follow a path. They try to trick the player into feeling like they are actually having an effect on the world and that their actions and/or decisions matter. So why do people want to call them games? Because they also want to give players the feelings that only real games can: the feeling of winning.

    Many people like that sort of thing. They find the stories in videogames compelling, and they willingly fall into the illusion of it being a game. Other people, like me, find the shit stories in videogames shit; and cannot force themselves into the illusion. Winning a game feels good only insofar as you know you don't have to play it anymore.

    I think that is in part why multiplayer is so important now for so many people. It is the only place where a player really feels like they are having an effect on the game world, where the outcome isn't know, and where winning actually feels good. Some videogames are still games.

  6. #46
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namdrol View Post
    I agree. I'm starting to think though that videogame=/=game, or at least big budget single player videogames =/= games. They are smoke and mirrors. Like you said, nobody looses, the outcome is known, and people follow a path. They try to trick the player into feeling like they are actually having an effect on the world and that their actions and/or decisions matter. So why do people want to call them games? Because they also want to give players the feelings that only real games can: the feeling of winning.
    If your only definition of a game is in the ability to lose, then Will Wright would like to have a word with you.
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  7. #47
    Network Hub Namdrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    Conversely, it's dumb to argue for simplification of critical language vis--vis videogames. There's a huge difference between something like the Walking Dead and DayZ which should be apparent for anyone. Now, no matter what you may think, 'game' is a well-defined concept that usually pertains to a system with rules and goals that the 'player' interacts with. According to that, the Walking Dead is a terrible game, where a player is limited to walking from point A to point B and occasionally pressing a button during a QTE sequence. Most of the stuff happens outside the system, because you can't interact meaningfully with it, since it's a linear narrative with some deviations here and there.

    On the other hand, DayZ is a fantastic game. It has a loosely defined goal, i.e. to survive, and the complexity of the rules allows for a vast range of possible interactions within the system. Countless truly fascinating stories have come out of the game, and there's not a single line of dialogue or cutscene in it.

    So what is exactly wrong with making this distinction, when the Walking Dead fails spectacularly at being a game but while it's obvious that the developer's intentions lay elsewhere? Clearer notions would lead to a better understanding and a fuller appreciation of things that they define. Same as it ever was.
    great post.

  8. #48
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    If all video games have to have a lose condition, then surely anything since the invention of using passwords in games doesn't count right? We must all go back to games where once you lose all your guys that's it, back to the start. That'd make playing something like Dragon Age or Deus Ex or everything else fun right? Why not go to the next logical step? Video games where if you die in the game, the disc/files/cartridge corrupts itself and you have to buy a new one! The ultimate lose condition!

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    A lot of punk bands were purposefully bad at their instruments as a "fuck you" to what they viewed as masturbatory, oblique "art rock." Technique is indeed only one aspect of product.
    The argument here does seem to be "It's all very good that you like this 'rock music' but why do you have to call it 'music', it's clearly not 'music' is it?"

    Repeat ad nauseum for every single genre of music ever made... "Dubstep isn't even real music..."

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    Conversely, it's dumb to argue for simplification of critical language vis--vis videogames. There's a huge difference between something like the Walking Dead and DayZ which should be apparent for anyone. Now, no matter what you may think, 'game' is a well-defined concept that usually pertains to a system with rules and goals that the 'player' interacts with. According to that, the Walking Dead is a terrible game, where a player is limited to walking from point A to point B and occasionally pressing a button during a QTE sequence. Most of the stuff happens outside the system, because you can't interact meaningfully with it, since it's a linear narrative with some deviations here and there.

    On the other hand, DayZ is a fantastic game. It has a loosely defined goal, i.e. to survive, and the complexity of the rules allows for a vast range of possible interactions within the system. Countless truly fascinating stories have come out of the game, and there's not a single line of dialogue or cutscene in it.

    So what is exactly wrong with making this distinction, when the Walking Dead fails spectacularly at being a game but while it's obvious that the developer's intentions lay elsewhere? Clearer notions would lead to a better understanding and a fuller appreciation of things that they define. Same as it ever was.
    This is not asking for simplification. This is asking for the rejection of that simplification. It is more worthwhile to ask 'to what extent is Walking Dead a function of its non-narrative mechanics', than try to rest on the subjective and wildly divergent binary notion of 'is it a game'. You should not ask 'what is exactly wrong with making this distinction'. Ask instead, what does making this distinction add to the conversation?

    Is the demand that people stop talking about such not-games in the context and locales where people talk about is-games? If so, it's alienating and ridiculous to demand a standard that the vast majority of developers, writers and players disagree with. If not, then the distinction adds nothing.

  11. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    According to your argument, football is a really bad game as all the player does is try and kick the ball into the opposing goal. What dull and boring mechanics!
    Not at all. Football's rules prevent players from using their hands, the most complex motor-functional part of human body, which sets a very interesting handicap for them to overcome. And that presupposes an infinite number of mechanics due to the nature of our anatomy.

    But this whole argument is false dichotomy. Music, cinema, etc. are irrelevant to games because of how different they are structurally. Games are about interactivity first and foremost, and you simply can't find that anywhere else.

    Every player will have a very different experience with, say, Crusader Kings 2, Dwarf Fortress, Deus Ex, or, I don't know, Jagged Alliance. Meanwhile, the Walking Dead presents a scant amount of options that only change what you watch (and it's not even that good to begin with, if judged like a piece of cinema). The former games use the strengths of the medium, with emphasis on player agency, simulation, a fairly complex set rules to create a framework for a great amount of scenarios and emergent gameplay. The latter borrows heavily from cinema.

    Otherwise, it'd be acceptable to call DVD menu a game with 'terrible mechanics' which, nevertheless, 'doesn't make it a bad game'.

  12. #52
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    The argument here does seem to be "It's all very good that you like this 'rock music' but why do you have to call it 'music', it's clearly not 'music' is it?"

    Repeat ad nauseum for every single genre of music ever made... "Dubstep isn't even real music..."
    I remember back when I was a budding student in the Fame school, I was taking both (Western, Classical) Music History and Jazz Studies, as well as theory and performing classes on both sides of the spectrum.

    The humor of it was, master classes on the classical side were all "now that you've spent 12 years mastering technique, here are some folks from Juilliard and the New York Phil to teach you how to turn that into music." The jazz classes were, "now that you have a fair idea of your own voice, here are some techniques you can use to explore it." Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    But this whole argument is false dichotomy. Music, cinema, etc. are irrelevant to games because of how different they are structurally. Games are about interactivity first and foremost, and you simply can't find that anywhere else.
    Except for dance. Dance can be interactive, or passive. Dance can be creative or prescriptive. Dance can have a narrative or not. It's what happens with every new artistic medium when it is still growing - people try and pin down what it is and say it's different to everything else. That never works.

    Every player will have a very different experience with, say, Crusader Kings 2, Dwarf Fortress, Deus Ex, or, I don't know, Jagged Alliance. Meanwhile, the Walking Dead presents a scant amount of options that only change what you watch (and it's not even that good to begin with, if judged like a piece of cinema).
    Actually I think every player's reaction to the experience will be different. You're caught up in the mechanics again, rather than the art created from it. Just seeing the same, or nearly the same, thing, doesn't mean everyone has the same experience. People react to art in different ways, the art doesn't need to adapt to the viewer for that to occur.

    The former games use the strengths of the medium, with emphasis on player agency, simulation, a fairly complex set rules to create a framework for a great amount of scenarios and emergent gameplay. The latter borrows heavily from cinema.
    No, Walking Dead plays to other strengths of the medium. The ability to put the player into the shoes of the person involved. You can do that in games without ruining it, whereas first-person books and films really struggle to create that illusion (and yes, it's only an illusion in this case) of the player actually being there and making the choices and decisions. It's another strength of the medium that can't be replicated elsewhere that you're ignoring entirely. Much like how film can effect you differently to a book, because of the visual nature of the medium offering a differing perspective, the interactivity, even in a limited sense in games like Walking Dead, again changes the nature of what you communicate and how people react.

    And I'm sure when films came out people were saying "Why just use them to tell normal stories when a book can do that? Why don't we use them to tell stories that only a film can tell? Surely if it could be told in a book instead, it's not a real film!" and now we look back at those people and see them as silly, as we understand there's a fundamental difference between a book narrative and a film narrative.

    The same for narrative games: they offer something different. It may not seem like a major difference on the surface (but neither was film: oh let's just replace the images in people's heads with images on a screen) but the nature of the entire experience changes with it.

    Edit: People always drag out next the "oh you may as well just watch a film while pressing buttons on a controller" but no-one has ever done this. If you take any film and change it so that for the main character to say a line of dialogue or take an action, you have to press a button, you'll change the experience of the film. Even if it's just one button, even if it's entirely linear, even with no choices. Because you get a greater connection to the character. It's a silly trick but it works. And it's what narrative games like Walking Dead are based around.
    Last edited by deano2099; 29-11-2012 at 07:05 PM.

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Fhnuzoag View Post
    You should not ask 'what is exactly wrong with making this distinction'. Ask instead, what does making this distinction add to the conversation?
    As I've said, a clearer and more precise concept is easier to understand, evaluate, and discuss. At this point, most people use the term 'game' out of lazy convenience. It usually means no more than 'a thing I watch and listen to on my TV/monitor that requires my input', yet the stark contrast between some of these 'games' is apparent.

    Instead of using the word sweepingly, it'd be more helpful to define different types of electronic entertainment differently and use a more concise vocabulary to judge them accordingly. Ethereal thoughts have no place in a critical conversation.

    I blame New Games Journalism.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    And I'm sure when films came out people were saying "Why just use them to tell normal stories when a book can do that? Why don't we use them to tell stories that only a film can tell? Surely if it could be told in a book instead, it's not a real film!" and now we look back at those people and see them as silly, as we understand there's a fundamental difference between a book narrative and a film narrative.
    Yeah, this is a really important comment. Simply because a medium provides a particular element doesn't mean it should be used! Certainly not in every work, at least. In film, we look at the praise heaped on the likes of the Artist, which throws out the entire 'sound' part of the cinema medium. Then on the flip side of that, we see the failings of various directors that leapt on the 3D bandwagon, thinking that just because 3D is now possible, using it will inevitably help their film - and that just isn't true. Similarly, while the game medium provides scope for a diverse range of gameplay possibilities, it is perfectly valid for a designer to forgo those and focus on precisely those elements that helps convey the experience they are looking for.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    As I've said, a clearer and more precise concept is easier to understand, evaluate, and discuss. At this point, most people use the term 'game' out of lazy convenience. It usually means no more than 'a thing I watch and listen to on my TV/monitor that requires my input', yet the stark contrast between some of these 'games' is apparent.
    You mean like "Adventure game", "Strategy game", "Shooter game", "Board game".

    I reckon that's a pretty good idea. I might start doing it.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doesn'tmeananything View Post
    As I've said, a clearer and more precise concept is easier to understand, evaluate, and discuss. At this point, most people use the term 'game' out of lazy convenience. It usually means no more than 'a thing I watch and listen to on my TV/monitor that requires my input', yet the stark contrast between some of these 'games' is apparent.

    Instead of using the word sweepingly, it'd be more helpful to define different types of electronic entertainment differently and use a more concise vocabulary to judge them accordingly. Ethereal thoughts have no place in a critical conversation.

    I blame New Games Journalism.
    You are seeking a clearer and more precise *terminology* to a concept that is far from clear and precise. Words are used because they are convenient. Suppose you win the word war, and somehow achieve the miracle of getting everyone to agree on an unified definition. Then I don't see renaming this subforum from the 'PC Gaming' subforum to the 'PC Gaming and Electronic Experiencing and Death-free Interactive Experiences and Pseudo-simulation and ....' subforum would suddenly enhance the conversation and encourage concise vocabulary.

    Imagine that. Games consoles will cease to be 'games' consoles. Steam will cease to sell 'games'. Vast numbers of people will cease to be 'gamers'. If you really want to do that, instead of forcing everyone in the world to adopt your terminology and think up new words for the things they all are actually pretty happy calling games, why not go create your own word for whatever specific, precise, and rarified thing you are thinking of?
    Last edited by Fhnuzoag; 29-11-2012 at 07:30 PM.

  18. #58
    Lesser Hivemind Node Shooop's Avatar
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    What's the fuller context? Is he saying no one should bother with trying to write good stories for video games? Because that's the same faulty logic people used for movies at one time - "We have books, why do we need moving pictures?"
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  19. #59
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Thought influences language.

    Language also influences thought. When you start putting up linguistic walls and excluding this or that from what you consider acceptable, you are limiting yourself and others.

    Which is why we have this sort of rebellion against form in the first place.

    Sparkasaurusmex was right: Maybe we should all start taking LSD.
    Last edited by Nalano; 29-11-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    And I'm sure when films came out people were saying "Why just use them to tell normal stories when a book can do that? Why don't we use them to tell stories that only a film can tell? Surely if it could be told in a book instead, it's not a real film!" and now we look back at those people and see them as silly, as we understand there's a fundamental difference between a book narrative and a film narrative.
    But in this case "video game" isn't the medium. Computer software is. You can create a piece of software to tell a story and it may even look like a video game. It wouldn't make it a video game though. This is something you don't seem to understand. Video games are pieces of software, but they are pieces of software that are games. This isn't an argument about whether video games should or shouldn't be telling a story, it is about whether games should or shouldn't be telling a story.

    Bringing up movies and comparing them to books is completely pointless because movies are not games.
    Last edited by Wizardry; 29-11-2012 at 07:39 PM.

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