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999255 Posts in 39205 Topics- by 30615 Members - Latest Member: AlecKelley

April 22, 2014, 11:37:50 PM
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Author Topic: Gray  (Read 9155 times)
Glyph
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2009, 12:35:44 PM »

If I'm not mistaken You find a moderate point (gray) but find it's hard to convince anyone of something that's not an extreme.
Oh, so that's what it meant. Pretty good concept, actually. Good work.
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TOM SENNETT
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2009, 12:38:25 PM »

It's one of those highfalutin "art-games" so it's not intended to be entertaining. Try and keep that in mind while playing it.

That's a joke right?

Nope. It's not supposed to be entertaining.

Well then why make a game? Why not just make a textbook or an informative brochure?
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2009, 01:57:15 PM »

Nope. It's not supposed to be entertaining.

Well then why make a game? Why not just make a textbook or an informative brochure?

Because virtual interaction is a different form of expression, it has the ability to express things in a different form than a textbook or informative brochure.  Ideally, that results in being affected in a different way than one would be affected by a textbook or informative brochure.  I would guess Greg's hope as a game designer is that there is a potential to be affected in a deeper way, in addition to simply being a different way.  Even if that's not true, isn't it still valuable just due to the difference?

This particular game is meant to express a message other than "entertainment," but the form of expression used is virtual interaction.  Therefore, the ideal situation would be to understand the message and be affected in a different way than you would by receiving the message through some other form of expression.

In this sense, you could consider the game as the structure, and it's message as the content.  Couldn't you have a variety of content that still fits the same structure?
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TOM SENNETT
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2009, 07:04:52 PM »

Hey man, I'm down with games actually meaning something. I dig taking gaming's distinct characteristic - interactivity - and using it to convey something in a way no other medium can. And I, in fact, applaud this game for doing that, or attempting at least.

But if the form of expression is "virtual interaction" and it's not entertaining, then it's no better than some goddamned tax software. I understand the desire to push the concept of what a game is, but games are made to be played, and playing should not be working.

The best art is entertaining. Maybe not for everybody, but for somebody at least. I'm of the opinion that art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive, and in fact are significantly more powerful when combined. This is why people still perform Shakespeare.

Like, if this game were the same, except it tried to entertain you, wouldn't you enjoy it more?
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« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2009, 08:08:19 PM »

The best art is entertaining. Maybe not for everybody, but for somebody at least. I'm of the opinion that art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive, and in fact are significantly more powerful when combined. This is why people still perform Shakespeare.

Macbeth: because watching people murder other people and then descend into madness is just so much fun!

Let's move beyond sarcasm though. I believe - and I wouldn't be surprised if you agreed with this - that art should be able to encompass a wide range of emotions and that some pieces truly need to never be entertaining. What if Poe's "The Telltale Heart" stopped mid-narrative to insert a knock-knock joke section (much like Macbeth perhaps)? Arguably, this would ruin the narrative flow, destroying all sense of drama up to that point, and perhaps breaking the momentum in a way from which the story could never recover. Simply put, "The Telltale Heart" is an uncomfortable read because it needs to be uncomfortable. Perhaps this fits under your definition of entertaining though.


In regards to the game, however, I feel a lot of this argument has stemmed from my earlier comment, which I want to make clear once more so it doesn't get lost in the noise.

I'm fine with games portraying meaning, even at the expense of "fun", but I feel this game's message is easily grasped while the gameplay mechanics are much harder to understand. Again, this draws the viewer's attention away from the meaning and toward the confusing gameplay. I think it could be more effective if the mechanics were simpler and more intuitive, thus allowing the player to focus more on the message. I certainly don't think it's a bad game, far from it, I see much potential here and I'd love to see that furthered, but I do think that the gameplay and the message distract from one another.


Furthermore, I've actually finished the game now and my original interpretation still stands. I think, unfortunately, it was a bit predictable given the title and tone of the game.
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Darren Torpey
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« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2009, 09:13:20 PM »

I enjoyed playing this game because:

  • It was short and simple
  • It felt quite meaningful & evocative
  • It was a truly unique experience for me

I think I can safely say that any game that meets all three of those criteria is worth playing.

I suppose it helped that I went into it with zero expectations (it was a preview/beta, so I hadn't heard anything about the game). My main concern, while playing it, was that it would go on too long, but I felt that the progression was almost perfect. (The game does end, and it's not as long as you might think it will be be, at first)

I found that I really sympathized with my character, who seemed to feel as though he or she was the one sane person in a mad crowd. (Turns out, you can't bring crazed people to reason simply by barking opposite ideas at them -- at best, you'll just turn them into a different kind of crazed person.)
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godatplay
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2009, 07:51:09 AM »

Thanks for clarifying, Tom.  I think we're on the same page, then, it's just that I was entertained by the game and you weren't.  I guess it felt like playing to me.  And really I think that's some of the best reasoning you can give - it didn't feel like playing.

Maybe part of it is that I haven't played too many games with quick-time events, so it seemed more novel to me?
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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2009, 09:10:21 AM »

For us people with a 15 second attention span it's too hard to find the game at your site. I just saw the game with a fish, the game with a rooster and the game with hail. You need to put your new stuff up front so people... Ok, my attention span ran out, bye
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« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2009, 11:36:56 AM »

For us people with a 15 second attention span it's too hard to find the game at your site. I just saw the game with a fish, the game with a rooster and the game with hail. You need to put your new stuff up front so people... Ok, my attention span ran out, bye

Sorry you got lost JLJac, but greg posted the link directly to the game on the first post of this thread.  Though, to be honest, if you don't have the patience to find the game on our site, you probably aren't gonna like it anyway Tongue

As far as Tom's comments, and in general the whole "games should be entertaining" thing, I totally agree. Maybe not "fun", but if Gray was a more compelling experience, I think more people would play to the end and actually end up taking more of the message away rather than the confusion.

I think Macbeth isn't "fun" per se, but I think it's totally compelling.  It's kind of a good example for comparison actually.  Ideally, Gray has an interesting premise that drives people to play it and read some subtext and shit, but if you can't understand the basic gameplay mechanics, that becomes a big barrier to appreciating it as art.  In the same way, if you can't really understand what the actors are saying in a Shakespeare play, it will end up being tedious and boring to you, despite how much Macbeth means to people who can get through the olde-timey language.

Just so we're clear, I'm not comparing Gray to Macbeth in terms to quality of the work, I just see some parallels Smiley
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godatplay
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2009, 12:38:45 PM »

Well put Mike.  I guess I was able to get through the olde-timey-ness of Gray, and I enjoyed it as a result.  Tongue

It kinda comes down to the "accessibility" factor that a lot of indies have been talking about lately.
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Alec S.
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2009, 01:39:47 PM »

I think the argument has been caused by people's varying definitions of entertaining.  I'd say something doesn't have to be light and humorous to be entertaining.  I guess enjoyable would be a better word?

I think currently the game is enjoyable as a game, or at least parts of it are.  The main problem is that as the game get's more interesting, it also gets shorter.  I can accept making the game for the sake of the art, but don't use that as an excuse not to tweak it so that the game element of it is as enjoyable as it can be and still convey the message.

I think you just need to shorten the first two phases, and maybe lengthen the later phases a bit.  If you do this, people will enjoy the game much more and be more likely to finish it.  The way it is, after the first phase, people are likely to think "wait, shouldn't that be it?  Do I have to do more of this same thing?" since the first 2 phases are rather repetitive.  The gameplay itself gets interesting and ejoyable to play at around the third phase.  The first phase works as something of a tutorial, but it is also the longest section of the game.
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« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2009, 02:31:41 PM »

That's a fair point. I really don't think I'm making excuses for the game here. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. We both are. Semantics might have something to do with it regarding entertaining/fun/engaging/compelling etc. but whatever... This should clear things up a bit more maybe?

The fact that it's frustrating, or you feel it's hopeless/pointless is 100% intentional and what we want players to feel. If the majority of people quit, well that's not surprising in the least, in fact I think it says something very interesting about people in general.


To answer your question Tom about brochures vs. interactive applications(games) as media...
This is a really good question, and is worth spending a lot of time on. I spent a while trying to do so, but I won't do it justice. I'd say the thing that interests me about interactive media as a medium for expression is player agency and its wild, emergent potential for interpretation.
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« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2009, 11:21:46 PM »

The fact that it's frustrating, or you feel it's hopeless/pointless is 100% intentional and what we want players to feel. If the majority of people quit, well that's not surprising in the least, in fact I think it says something very interesting about people in general.
It says that if you make something that feels pointless, people will stop doing it?  As a matter of self respect, really.  I'm not convinced that's 'very interesting' ...

I would say add that if it feels pointless, then the game itself is telling you to stop playing it -- that becomes a part of the message.
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Chris Z
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« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2009, 11:39:02 PM »

I liked this a lot, my interpretation was similar to the one already presented in tiny text, which isn't too difficult to conclude.  I didn't think it was boring, it was engaging enough for it's length.  If that gameplay had to be kept up for several hours then yes it could've gotten monotonous. 

I thought the sound and visuals really captured the confusion in the game and your character.  The transitions felt like he was saying "wait a minute, but..." before changing his stance and trying to understand the other side again.  The way you could still interact (as futile as it was) with people in your final state really added to the message assuming the player attempted it.  That was a very nice touch.
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Alec S.
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« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2009, 11:42:16 PM »

The thing is, though, I found only the first part of the game to feel tedious and pointless.  The latter part of the game was actually pretty compelling.  If you want it to be about a feeling of hopelessness, you should have that feeling start small and increase over the course of the game, not the other way around.

Also, I thought the most interesting part of the game was the sudden feeling of powerlessness at the end when you become gray, which is the reason I think it's worthwhile as an interactive experience.  I think that that's a much better way to deliver the message of futility than to have the player quit the game out of frustration.
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