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  1. #21
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Games made for the purpose of education are titled "edu-tainment", with the idea being they are fun to play and will educate as you do so.

    Of course games don't have to be fun. We all knew that before 30 flights and Dear Ester. If he really wanted a good example of the last year of a great game that wasn't fun he would've picked The Walking Dead. Great game, not very fun, not going to cheer you up.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Of Bees View Post
    "enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure."
    Presumably this is the cause of the original author's confusion. Amusement and light-hearted pleasure are reasonably narrow concepts---they imply a sense of "on the surface" happiness and perhaps a bit of frivolity. Enjoyment, on the other hand, can mean far more. Probably further confusion is caused by the fact that most people start out playing games (whether video games, board games, playground games, or sports) for amusement and light-hearted pleasure, and only later appreciate deeper qualities of enjoyment available.

    A clear example of the difference was apparent today when I was playing EU3. There were armies from Milan parading everywhere in my country, Holland was being a dick, my navy wasn't as strong as I had believed, and I had completely underestimated the power of a particular military Idea my enemies were using. It is impossible to say that dealing with this mess was amusing or light-hearted. It was quite daunting and occasionally frustrating. But it was also very enjoyable. I'd say I had a lot of fun. However one can imagine other people not only failing to find it fun but also failing to understand how it could be fun.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    Of course games don't have to be fun. We all knew that before 30 flights and Dear Ester. If he really wanted a good example of the last year of a great game that wasn't fun he would've picked The Walking Dead. Great game, not very fun, not going to cheer you up.
    I've never played 30 Flights and I'm too lazy to check, but neither Dear Esther nor Wanking Dead really qualify as "games".

  4. #24
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    A lot of people would qualify TWD as a game. You do many things in it that you do in other games.

    You pick up things, have inventory, talk to people, shoot people, melee people, you can win, you can lose, you solve puzzles, your character moves when you tell him too.

    Enough people think so anyway that it went away with a great deal of game of the year awards, beating out much more "gamey" games like AC3, Blops 2, Halo 4 etc, etc.

  5. #25
    Why are people so precious about the definition of 'game?'

    Walking to work can be a game if you try to avoid stepping on the cracks as you go.

  6. #26
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus laneford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohorovicic View Post
    I've never played 30 Flights and I'm too lazy to check, but neither Dear Esther nor Wanking Dead really qualify as "games".
    Surely we as a forum populace are above 'Wanking Dead' (AND IN THE GAME) and the like.

    What's next? Micro$oft?

  7. #27
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    Enough people think so anyway that it went away with a great deal of game of the year awards, beating out much more "gamey" games like AC3, Blops 2, Halo 4 etc, etc.
    Yeah, AC3 is sooo gamey with it long cutscenes where you didn't even have QTE.
    At least TWD's cutscenes have much tension (not for everyone, but for me was) and forces player to be focused and aware. I find it to be very gamey, sometimes even more than routine gameplay mechanism like walking, shooting, where you even dosen't really need to think about what are you doing.

    Have anyone ever played a game and started thinking about school, work, what make for a dinner etc instead of what's on the screen right now? I have, many times. None of these times was when I was playing TWD (it forced me to be focused almost all the time) or Dark Souls (if you'll lose focus while playing DS, you're dead). I think it may be a good indicator of "being gamey".

  8. #28
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    A more appropriate video tbh.

    Also on the whole game/not a game debate. I'd go with TWD being in the game camp (decisions are made/payoffs occur and you as the player have ownership as to your actions within the frame of the narrative extents). However neither Dear Esther or 30 flights really deliver in that regard. I view them more as interactive machinema when push comes to shove. There's no opportunity to change the experience and make it your own in some way Vs simply move through the spaces and trigger a sequence of events, just as one can wander through a gallery and trigger installation pieces. That's not to say that within themselves they can't be interesting experiences, but I'm not sure it's really an advancement of games as a medium versus the narrative flexibility of The Walking Dead or Kentucky route zero.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 28-01-2013 at 02:02 PM.

  9. #29
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    There's no opportunity to change the experience and make it your own in some way Vs simply move through the spaces and trigger a sequence of events, just as one can wander through a gallery and trigger installation pieces.
    Uhm, doesn't it applies to all CoDs (single player mode) for example? You're moving through gallery and interact with "installations" by shooting at them and throwing grenades and sometimes you even can't walk because you must sit down and see a "movie" (cutscene).
    How it's more gamey than Dear Esther? No matter what you do, you will NOT change anything. You can't change even the slightest thing in CoD (but I heard that in CODBLOPS2 you can fail some side objectives without game over screen, is it true?), except once you will be shooting with rifle and in second playthrough you will use SMG. But final output (and even local events) will always remain the same.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    Uhm, doesn't it applies to all CoDs (single player mode) for example? You're moving through gallery and interact with "installations" by shooting at them and throwing grenades and sometimes you even can't walk because you must sit down and see a "movie" (cutscene).

    How it's more gamey than Dear Esther? No matter what you do, you will NOT change anything. You can't change even the slightest thing in CoD (but I heard that in CODBLOPS2 you can fail some side objectives without game over screen, is it true?), except once you will be shooting with rifle and in second playthrough you will use SMG. But final output (and even local events) will always remain the same.
    1) How you go about moving the game forward provides you with the opportunity for variation (change is not important personal variation is). What weapons, tactics you employ etc. One of the big criticisms with FPS atm are the points where in you're essentially reduced to push E to advance. They also have fail states.

    2) The vast majority of people aren't buying MW or BF3 for the single player experience. It is not the core appeal of those games, multi-player is.

    Both 30 flights of loving or Dear Esther could just as easily be presented as films...neither would be any the lesser for it as experiences. Hell you can watch both on Youtube and you're effectively getting the same thing out of both bar the camera control.

    I did write out a much larger piece about this in another thread tbh. However I'd be fascinated to know by what criteria you're concluded they are games.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 28-01-2013 at 08:57 PM.

  11. #31
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    All that said, I agree that gaming needs to have more games that aren't just Call of XYZ n+1: Future/Modern Warfare. I like games that make me think or provoke a reaction or have a message. Unfortunately, a lot of the attempts so far have been laughably ham-fisted.
    As I've pointed out elsewhere when this has come up, these sorts of games are by no means the majority. They're the most public in many circles of gaming and some of the most popular across all circles, but even if you stick with the top 25 or so games, you end up with a fair number of games that aren't shooty-bangs. I haven't crunched numbers, but they don't seem to make up even half of the top selling games--market share is another matter, but of course one can buy Call of Duty AND The Walking Dead so that's not necessarily the most relevant point.

    Of course, we're still left with a lack of popular games that have much mechanical or intellectual depth to them ... so I would love to see that change as much as you do.
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  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Of course, we're still left with a lack of popular games that have much mechanical or intellectual depth to them ... so I would love to see that change as much as you do.
    I think that will come. Games are in as much as what they can be in terms of functionality, a reflection of the technological capabilities of the hardware available at the time of their creation. Were the technologies of now available 10 -15 years ago the games made then would be radically different in both scale, scope and complexity. As we head into a new truly multi-core console cycle we should definitely be seeing a mark up in terms of product. Albeit I expect there will be a degree of graphical push I suspect the real direction will be towards embracing visual and system complexity, with more diversity in terms of characters appearance (less identikit clones) and far better AI across the board.

  13. #33
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus alms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Of Bees View Post
    Why are people so precious about the definition of 'game?'
    You gotta draw the line somewhere, otherwise there's no us & them.
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  14. #34
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Of Bees View Post
    Why are people so precious about the definition of 'game?'
    Because that's what humans do - put things into categories. But to give a better answer, if we're going to compare games or review them in terms of "this stands up as a game" then you need to have some idea of what a game is. Things like Dear Esther really don't have a lot in common with what you'd traditionally consider a 'game' - they're riding on the title to gain prestige as being an 'art game' despite the fact that their main similarity is that it's delivered via a game engine (like Source).

    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    How it's more gamey than Dear Esther? No matter what you do, you will NOT change anything.
    It's got nothing to do with change. Most games don't change, they are a linear sequence of events to get to the level exit. Play through Doom and you'll still start in the same place and end it in E1M1. In E1M7 you'll collect the same keys, hit the same switches, and do it all in the same order to get to the exit.

    What CoD does that Dear Esther does not is bring in actual gameplay mechanics (though you can try to argue that point). In most things you'd traditionally consider a game, you have a clear goal, you have opposition, you have rules to govern how to play, and a fail state. The Walking Dead stands in game territory (IMO of course) since you can fail. Failure is largely inconsequential but it is possible, and you fail due to a lack of skill or greater opposition (even if it's just a QTE). Rules define what you can and can't do to win the game and how to play - Lee can't fly or kill some zombies without a particular piece of equipment etc. CoD is definitely a game - it has a fail state (hp < 1), it has a goal (reach the end of the map) and it has an opposition or challenge (evil russians/evil brown people/evil zombies or whatever). The rules are very clear - no HP you die, get gun to kill enemies, no ammo gun doesn't fire, etc.

    Dear Esther, and most of the 'art games', tend to have a "goal" (reach the end) and some rules, but no true opposition or fail state. The fail state of "did not complete" isn't really a fail state. There is no opposition. Some of these games include platforming mechanics which does put them into the game category since it introduces a proper fail state, challenge (jumping) and new rules to govern it, but lots of them don't. That's a very big difference from CoD or most of the traditional non-art games. They have far more in common with, say, a 3D walkthrough of a house, which I'm sure you'd agree isn't a game. The fact that it tells a story is largely irrelevant, and the fact that it imposes a boundary outside of which you could "die" also doesn't push it into game territory.

    This is all IMO of course but to me there's a very clear difference between Dear Esther and CoD or TWD. I don't think calling Dear Esther a game is a proper method of judging its worth - it's more of an interactive walkthrough which would lose very little if it was just a video presentation for example. It probably makes it seem more remarkable than it is by holding it up against DudeBro games like CoD, sort of like how holding up Shakespeare's Halmet next to Die Hard 4 isn't a decent comparison.

  15. #35
    Network Hub DeekyFun's Avatar
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    I don't get much value out of judging something by the box it's being put in. If I've 'played' (if we'll allow the terminology) Dear Ester, then you judge it on what you've experienced surely. You don't absolutely need to put it in a category first, and surely you can compare it positively or negatively to what you like, regardless of genre/type/thing. To me, these criteria almost always seem to be a shackle to discussion rather than a focus. Dear Esther railroads you, it has no fail states, it's focus is on narrative. I'd still group it with games.

    Personally, I prefer to keep these criteria very loose. As in, a game is simply something done for an 'enjoyable' experience, and a computer game is that done on the computer. I don't find I need to move much beyond that in a practical sense, really.

  16. #36
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeekyFun View Post
    As in, a game is simply something done for an 'enjoyable' experience, and a computer game is that done on the computer. I don't find I need to move much beyond that in a practical sense, really.
    Okay, so here's a genuine question and statement based on that thinking:
    I like to draw. Drawing is an enjoyable experience. I like to draw on the computer (using digital art... sometimes I just scribble on the screen in black marker but same thing right?).
    Since drawing is enjoyable, and it's on the computer, does that make it a game? Because unless you qualify your definition, apparently that's a game.

    Yes, it's a ridiculous example, but I picked it to highlight how difficult these definitions can be. If you consider Dear Esther a game then that's fine, but I don't think it can be judged as a game for the fact that its gameplay is practically nil. As a virtual diorama or something? I'd rank it better, but not by much. Honestly I didn't like Dear Esther but hey that's just me.

    As for judgement - surely the "box" does play a role in judging whether something is good or not because we need a point of comparison. It's entirely subjective, there's no scientific method with opinions like this, but when we can find something in a broadly similar group we can at least decide its worth in that category. Otherwise the comparison is fairly useless. You can go on about what X says and did this but comparisons are pretty hard to avoid. We use other titles and concepts they employ as benchmarks or standards. It may be that this new wave of "art games" needs its own category - not quite games, but not quite static art.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeekyFun View Post
    I don't get much value out of judging something by the box it's being put in. If I've 'played' (if we'll allow the terminology) Dear Ester, then you judge it on what you've experienced surely. You don't absolutely need to put it in a category first, and surely you can compare it positively or negatively to what you like, regardless of genre/type/thing. To me, these criteria almost always seem to be a shackle to discussion rather than a focus. Dear Esther railroads you, it has no fail states, it's focus is on narrative. I'd still group it with games.

    Personally, I prefer to keep these criteria very loose. As in, a game is simply something done for an 'enjoyable' experience, and a computer game is that done on the computer. I don't find I need to move much beyond that in a practical sense, really.
    Of course you can compare anything with anything you want, but it does help if the things you're comparing are of a similar order. For instance, I could compare Dear Esther with Statistical Reasoning with Imprecise Probabilities, but I doubt that would be a profitable exercise. Still, I might be able to derive something from doing this---but only if I make sure to remember that the two things are very different.

    Clearly, Dear Esther is more similar to a video game than to a probability monograph, and it is hardly controversial to suggest that one could learn some useful ideas for "installation art games" from examining video games, and some useful things and ideas about video games from examining Dear Esther, but again it is important during these examinations that the two things are not of the same order. Naturally you can argue that they are of the same order if you want, but that's something that you have to argue, rather than say "well that's just what I've decided". As we can see in your post, a frivolous definition isn't very useful to anyone.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  18. #38
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    Oh, I almost forgot. Dear Esther have fail state. You can drown in water and after that you must load last saved game. Like in CoD.

    I like to draw. Drawing is an enjoyable experience. I like to draw on the computer (using digital art... sometimes I just scribble on the screen in black marker but same thing right?).
    Since drawing is enjoyable, and it's on the computer, does that make it a game? Because unless you qualify your definition, apparently that's a game.
    No, Photoshop, GIMP or other apps like these doesn't count as game.
    But let's take digital colouring book. You have 20 sketches of plants and you must fill them with the colours. Each complete colouring gives you a star. Collect 10 stars and you can unlock next theme, animals for example. It's definitely a game.
    Very easy and simple (because it's for kids), but still a game, even when you doesn't have failure state. But you have rules - every 10 stars gives you next theme.
    Dear Esther also have rules (you can't jump, you can't walk through walls, walk into water and you'll die) and goal - go to "exit". It's very, very easy game, but FOR ME it's still game.

  19. #39
    Network Hub DeekyFun's Avatar
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    The problem I'm seeing there though is that while the frivolous, lite definition offers little use, I find that's often true of attempting a concrete absolute definition of what constitutes a Game as well, especially in the uses it's put forward for in discussion, where mostly it appears as a placeholder for 'I don't like it'. Firstly, because I think we're talking about something that is both personally subjective and also gestalt in composition, which means that might you might be able to nail down a set of rules for what constitutes a game, or not a game, that unless it matches up with another persons definition, it might as well be redundant. When discussing them with other people, in a comparative sense, you end up dropping all that anyway (Unless, of course, it's about this specific topic itself).

    I know the definition I put forward is loose, and easy to pick apart. I can think of other ways to dismantle it too, without reducing it to ridiculous comparisons (Games as professional sport, for example). And I do agree that boxes or categories do have their usefulness, for instance for quick comparison, or 'please suggest a game to play like X' where knowledge on the owners request is limited. But I think in this case, the notion that Dear Ester is either a game or not a game doesn't relate to it's worth within in the medium is has been placed in, or whether enjoying it while not having 'fun' with it counts as enjoying it.

  20. #40
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    Of course you can consider the value of Dear Esther, its influence, and whether or not you enjoy it, without having to decide whether or not it's a game. However, as soon as you start using it as an example in discussions about games, you really do have to consider whether or not it's a game. The question at hand is not whether or not Dear Esther can be enjoyable without being fun, but whether games do not have to be fun. And Dear Esther is being used as an example of this. The argument being used is "Dear Esther is good without being fun, Dear Esther is a game, therefore there exists a game that is good without being fun, therefore games can be good without being fun". It is critical to this argument that Dear Esther is a game, therefore if I disagree with that designation then the entire argument collapses.

    And of course definitions of "video game" will vary from person to person, but there is still value to be had from being clear what you mean, and there is value in discussing our various definitions. It is not like my definition of a video game is something that I am never allowed to change, and discussions may change my beliefs. It's also not as if definitions are things that cannot be put to the test. For instance, a good test for a definition is how often it mis-classifies something that most people are fairly sure of the classification. We saw earlier that the definition "a game is simply something done for an 'enjoyable' experience, and a computer game is that done on the computer" mis-classifies an awful lot of things. It is simply a bad definition.

    Another common definition for video games involves whether or not the object reaches you through a "video game engine". This is more defensible, but I have serious reservations about it none the less. For instance, I can create a game in an Excel spreadsheet. Does this mean that either this is not a video game or that anything in an Excel spreadsheet is a video game? Neither seems too appealing. Further, we have the problem that "game" is a term about objects that have nothing to do with computers. If an object in a video game engine isn't really a game in the traditional meaning of the term, we end up with a situation where a video game is not necessarily a game. These problems seem to lead us to a situation where computer games may not be games, and games on a computer may not be computer games. This seems incredible confusing at best. On the other hand, I think I could argue quite strongly that a game played on a computer may not be a computer game, so it isn't as bad as it seems at first glance.
    Last edited by NathanH; 29-01-2013 at 01:35 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

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