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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Explain to me...

    ...the appeal of platformers. I don't get it. Sure I enjoyed Blackthorne and Flashback and Prince of Persia, but we didn't have anything else back then. The gazillion physics based indie platformers that came out this year make me think there's an audience for them still. Why? Who? They are so limited. (It's a genuine question, I don't understand.)

    Also feel free to share your own Explain to me...
    Read more here (On hold) or on Twitter! Occasional impressions on random sim games.

  2. #2
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    I feel exactly the same where platformers are concerned. With all the possibilities offered by modern gaming engines, I cannot imagine going back to platformers as my primary gaming entertainment. There are simply too many other possibilities out there for me to go back to so limited a genre of games now.

    As for my own Explain to Me...

    Open World games. Not trolling. Not judging. Actually curious how people find it in them to enjoy the monotony of open world games. Its an endless line of errand running, and little more. And the very open nature of the game means you're always getting ambushed by enemies, or finding them in positions in which they are entrenched while you are alone and exposed. Curious how and why people find this fun.

  3. #3
    Network Hub Pertusaria's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of platformers, having neither the skill required, nor the tolerance of screwing up a physical thing in a game over and over again that is needed to develop the skill. (I don't mind as much screwing up because I've failed to see the logic.) However, I still sometimes buy a platformer, either for the plot if there is one, or if the graphics / movement look lovely, as with Dustforce (I haven't bought it, but it's on my list). I guess that satisfying movement is something you can only get from certain kinds of game. In contrast, I never buy tower defence games, because I have decided that no graphics or engaging setting can save them from becoming drudgery, purely as a personal thing.

    I've enjoyed what I've played so far of Adventures of Shuggy, although I'm nowhere near the end (partly the physical skill thing kicking in) because that's as much about puzzles as it is about getting the jump and the timing dead on. I guess it isn't surprising that the way to make people who don't play platformers pick up platform games is to mix in other genres.

    Don't know if that helps.
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  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    I grew up on them, but they don't interest me much anymore. The last side-scrolling thing I really enjoyed was Aquaria.

  5. #5
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    Well, most platformers are bad, especially the indie ones.
    Aquaria is good, Abe's Oddysee, Super Meat Boy if you're into arcade. Abuse is interesting, but not a platformer in the classic sense. Cave Story(not plus) if you can stomach it. You probably can.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Not sure myself but Limbo was very good.

    ...thread title reminds me of that dramatic reading of a flash game review.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    You are an enemy of gaming.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Limbo is on the edge really. I played through it and consider it more a puzzle adventure than platformer. Not sure why.
    Read more here (On hold) or on Twitter! Occasional impressions on random sim games.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rauten's Avatar
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    There is a market indeed, but it's over-exploited. I don't know if they're simply easy to develop or if everyone is after the money and success that Braid enjoyed, but there are just way too many.

  9. #9
    Network Hub Gwilym's Avatar
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    You realise describing the format as limited is pretty much issuing a challenge to game designers and now we're going to get even more of them

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnx View Post
    The gazillion physics based indie platformers that came out this year make me think there's an audience for them still. Why? Who? They are so limited. (It's a genuine question, I don't understand.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    With all the possibilities offered by modern gaming engines, I cannot imagine going back to platformers as my primary gaming entertainment.
    Not everything has to be complicated.

    Also, they're easy to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    Open World games. Not trolling. Not judging. Actually curious how people find it in them to enjoy the monotony of open world games. Its an endless line of errand running, and little more.
    Play co-op. Suddenly it isn't so monotonous.

    Also, most of what I do in strategy/builder games is balance a spreadsheet. And yet so many hours have been spent doing just that.
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I like platformers done well, but lately we've had a glut of them because mechanically they're simple to make and you can leverage your crappy indie art game off of fond memories of Mario Brothers or something. Although they're mechanically simple they're hard to get right, and few of them manage that. Like Rauten said a few of them managed to achieve success by finding a niche - Braid had a story (though I don't think it was a particularly good one) while Super Meat Boy was just Nintendo Hard (which by itself I also don't think is notable). The art genre in gaming is still in its infancy, so it's easy to get recognised no matter how piss-poor your effort.


    Explain to me... why AAA automatically equals bad and indie automatically equals good lately. I see this attitude quite a bit on the forums where many AAA games are treated with disdain or at least a heavy dose of suspicion well before release while indie games get the complete opposite treatment. Are people just that jaded or is it like a new-wave "cool to hate AAA" thing that I just don't get?

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Try Spelunky. It's a free download. Levels are randomly generated and the results are very pleasing. Difficulty level is quite high, and the game rewards cautious and thoughtful play. You can blow traps, enemies or walls. You can spend a rope to go around them. You can thrown stones and other objects in front of arrow traps to trigger them. There are many combinations, some not really intuitive. And it can get frantic when you're juggling your weapon, a key, and a damsel... in a dark level !
    This is a good demontration of level one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJPIFKSkuT8

    Download here:
    http://www.spelunkyworld.com/

    Now you can also pay for a version with blurry graphics.
    pass

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Explain to me... why AAA automatically equals bad and indie automatically equals good lately. I see this attitude quite a bit on the forums where many AAA games are treated with disdain or at least a heavy dose of suspicion well before release while indie games get the complete opposite treatment. Are people just that jaded or is it like a new-wave "cool to hate AAA" thing that I just don't get?
    When you define yourself by your consumer tastes, liking popular stuff means that you're giving up a chance at crafting an identity. However, you end up liking popular stuff anyway, but since you don't have the self-respect and personal fortitude to have a personality, either you have to develop different reasons for liking popular stuff than most, or you make an explicit point to make sure the popular stuff you like is in a different section of the store than the popular stuff they like.

    When I grew up, "Alternative" was very popular. But its adherents were very adamant that no matter how popular - no matter how many charts were topped by their music - it should never be put in the "Pop" section, lest they all suddenly wear polo shirts and khakis instead of ripped jeans and open plaid shirts.
    Last edited by Nalano; 01-01-2013 at 12:47 AM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node Oak's Avatar
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    Jumpin' makes me feel good.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    while Super Meat Boy was just Nintendo Hard (which by itself I also don't think is notable).
    Super Meat Boy worked because it was Nintendo Hard in the trappings of contemporary technical features; instant restarts, saved progress, more things operating on their own (AI) etc. So I suppose you're right, but it's notable that it did that one thing really well because it had the subtle backing of other things. It helped that the controls, art style, soundtrack and most other things about it were done brilliantly.

    The appeal of platformers is challenge. Can you beat the obstacles the designer put in your way in this given play environment and the tools at your disposal? That's the basic gist of it. Some people simply like that challenege. I'm one of them. I think that platformers have evolved considerably from being simply running and jumping too, with some of the examples given so far. Take modern Sonic too; for better or worse, it is more about learning routes and attempting to perfect them in as quick a time as possible. The challenge of beating the level is only initial, it's how well you can beat it that becomes important later on.
    Powered by Steam. And biscuits. I'm also a twit and dabble in creative writing.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    When you define yourself by your consumer tastes, liking popular stuff means that you're giving up a chance at crafting an identity. However, you end up liking popular stuff anyway, but since you don't have the self-respect and personal fortitude to have a personality, either you have to develop different reasons for liking popular stuff than most, or you make an explicit point to make sure the popular stuff you like is in a different section of the store than the popular stuff they like.

    When I grew up, "Alternative" was very popular. But its adherents were very adamant that no matter how popular - no matter how many charts were topped by their music - it should never be put in the "Pop" section, lest they all suddenly wear polo shirts and khakis instead of ripped jeans and open plaid shirts.
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    There's also the counter-effect whereby people who enjoy popular stuff start to resent the indie stuff just because of the indie fans who have an all-or-nothing mentality - either you hate AAA games or you're a mindless EA drone who just doesn't get how deep this puzzle platformer is.
    The same thing happens with films, books and every genre of music; there are people out there, often very vocal people, who just have to take things to an extreme, who allow themselves to be entirely and solely defined by the thing for which they have the strongest of feelings, rather than having a range of preferences. This behaviour tends to self-focus until you have one camp who eschew anything that wasn't made by <5 people who list their mums in the credits, or those who disregard anything that doesn't have AAA graphics and credits longer than a Simpsons episode.

    For my part I have loved things like Mass Effect and VVVVVV, AssCreed and Spacechem, Halo and Botanicula. Nothing bad comes from having broad tastes.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The JG Man View Post
    The appeal of platformers is challenge.
    Except lately it's not, it's "Here's my oh so special and deep introspective commentary on why potatoes need to be freed from the tyranny of Smiths Chips, play my crappy platformer while I flash messages at you enigmatically."

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    When you define yourself by your consumer tastes, liking popular stuff means that you're giving up a chance at crafting an identity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Casimir Effect View Post
    Nothing bad comes from having broad tastes.
    Fair enough, I figured I'd get an answer like that, but it's kind of annoying for people to go "AAA TITLE INSTANT DISLIKE" or something. The indies can get away with fundamentally flawed mechanics provided their game is "artistic" enough (or in some cases provided the devs are prolific enough) while any flaw, no matter how small or inconsequential, is exacerbated in the AAA sector. It goes beyond mere access to resources and expectations to a vindictive strike at "mainstream". Meanwhile, "hipster" is still a dirty word.

  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node RobF's Avatar
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    You'd think, judging by the way you're talking about this, that most of these games got discussed more, sold more than, got more press than even the shittest of mainstream games rather than being a small (but strong) niche in gaming.

    I mean, it's fairly bloody clear that mainstream doesn't automatically equal bad because people buy hundreds upon thousands of the things and they make the top spots in end of year lists on pretty much most major sites and they're fairly often the most fondly remembered and mostly discussed games around. They top the Steam best sellers lists. They top the console best sellers lists. They make millions of pounds for Activision. They make millions of pounds for EA. They make millions of pounds for Microsoft, for Sony and Epic are wiping their arses with the Unreal license sales money right now because they've ran out of pillows to stuff that money into. Most indies make a tenner and have to fight for even the smallest amount of press.

    Your perception is massively warped on this, man. Massively so. So either you're missing the obvious here (ie - mainstream != bad, indie != good as far as the vast majority of people on this planet who buy games are concerned) or you're simply mystified as to why people would possibly want to like things you don't. To which the answer to that is, as ever, well it takes all sorts.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    Your perception is massively warped on this, man. Massively so.
    I actually expected you to come in and reply to this, since anything about indies is like waving a red flag at a bull with you.

    I was commenting on an attitude I see on RPS that crops up with increasing frequency.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    I mean, it's fairly bloody clear that mainstream doesn't automatically equal bad because people buy hundreds upon thousands of the things and...
    Justin Beiber makes a fortune, as does Nicki Minaj (sp?) and CALL OF DUTY SIX HUNDRED FIFTY NINE. Yet the CoD series (and probably Beiber and Minaj) are derided on RPS because AAA manshoots are bad man innovation is dead.

    I didn't say that it was the popular opinion of gamers everywhere that AAA is bad and you should feel bad for liking them, just that with a lot of AAA titles I see an attitude (particularly on RPS and some of the "enlightened" communities where memes aren't a standard response) where if it's a AAA game it's instantly treated with suspicion or sometimes contempt for no apparent reason other than that it's AAA. Sort of like how a multiplatform release is always "dumbed down" for the console peasants.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Except lately it's not, it's "Here's my oh so special and deep introspective commentary on why potatoes need to be freed from the tyranny of Smiths Chips, play my crappy platformer while I flash messages at you enigmatically."
    I tend to steer clear of those games. Super Meat Boy is not one of those games, however. There's a minimalist plot as a drive, but the only message is "Haha, you're going to dieeeeee!" I'd say what you're describing are games in any genre with that intention. Platformers, as mentioned, are relatively simple though so it's understanding why it's disproportionate to them. I felt the 'message' in Vessel, for instance, was really silly and forced.
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