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Corpus
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2008, 12:10:00 AM »

You may not like, it but those "bullshit cop out" answers pretty much /thread, because they are at the core of the argument.
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Derek
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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2008, 12:40:54 AM »

One individual playing WoW might constitute a waste of that person's time.  But the medium as a whole, no.

For one thing, making a game is an extremely satisfying (and challenging) creative and intellectual pursuit.

Secondly, playing games can allow you to be very creative.  The first example that comes to mind is Dwarf Fortress - I think about all those people playing and crafting their own stories based on the game that might otherwise not be writing stories at all.  The second one is Spore.  I downloaded the Creature Creator on my parents' computer a week ago and it was absolutely amazing to watch my middle-aged mother make a freaky monster and bring it to life so easily.

Thirdly, there's a strong social aspect to game-playing, whether you're playing a game with friends or discussing games online (like we are).  For every person that dies in a bathroom, how many countless people are meeting new friends?  It's a common point of interest that people can share together!  Would cactus have ever sucked Brandon's nose if not for the love they first shared for video games. NO!

Fourthly, there are all kinds of social applications for games.  These use the very "addictive" quality of games you were describing to inform people, and educate them.  Or train them.  Or spread messages that would otherwise not get spread.

Fifthly, and this is kind of a personal example.  But way back when, in my Blackeye Software days, someone e-mailed me and told me that, because they were physically disabled and couldn't leave the house very much, they spent a lot of time playing my games.  They said the games meant a lot to them because it gave them something to do each day other than think about their disability.  And it meant a lot to me, too.  I play games and I make games because I enjoy it, and that's enough for me, but because of that e-mail I will always try to champion games as being "not a waste of time."

And I'm sure all the children who have benefited from Child's Play would agree!

You can also make a strong case for games improving hand-eye coordination and reflexes, and stimulating the brain (Brain Age), etc., etc., I don't think I need to go on...

Games have all kinds of wonderful applications and they're also a great medium for developing creative ideas and technology.  They're also fun to play and think about.

VERDICT: NO, NOT A WASTE OF TIME.

P.S. Enthusiasm for games can totally get you laid because people want to bone people who have genuine enthusiasm for something.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2008, 12:44:02 AM by Derek » Logged
Derek
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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2008, 12:46:37 AM »

Also, this:



 Wink
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Alec
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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2008, 12:53:50 AM »

If you can't get any, play games.
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mjau
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2008, 10:55:54 AM »

And my biggest beef is that "addictive" is used to praise a game.

I don't think this is so strange.  When you play a game, and keep playing it, there's something that holds your interest there.  If you don't complete the game the first time you play (if it can be completed), you decide whether or not you want to play it again.  If you're not having fun or don't find the game interesting in any way, you'll probably stop playing and not come back, maybe you'll call it a bad game or just not for you, uninteresting.  If there's something about the game that makes you want to play more, you'll come back, and see it through to the end if possible.  It's a good game.  Addictive.

This isn't unique to games.  If a book isn't addictive in that sense, you'll stop reading it, or maybe save it for some extremely bored moment when you've nothing else to do (but get little pleasure out of it).  If a movie's not addictive, you'll stop watching, or at least stop paying attention to it.  Whether or not you'll want to repeat it when it's done, a good book or movie is addictive while it lasts, and it's the same thing with games.  Wanting to repeat it is a different kind of addiction.  Unhealthy addiction is something else entirely.

At least that's my take on it.  Maybe I'm abusing the definition here, though.  Is there another word for the milder, positive "addiction"?
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Melly
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« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2008, 12:32:29 PM »

I agree with the fact that when the act of playing a game is lengthened artificially (by repetition, shallow design, milking every little mechanic until it's dry, dead and buried) it is a bad thing in quite a few ways. It forces the player to use more time to get the same ammount of enjoyment then if the experience was concise. I think we should REALLY stop praysing games that offer "80 hours of gameplay!" because you know that, yes, at least half of those hours will be a waste.

I've played MMO's for a while, and I can affirm that they can be pretty bad in the 'bad' type of addiction, because they simply glorify this artificial lengthening of gametime by making every little goal at least 10 times more of a chore than it needs to be. Because they work with a system of "more gametime = more money", which I think was made by some hellish demon, or Martha.

I could feel my brain growing slower from spending my time in MMO's. Literally.
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Corpus
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« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2008, 12:41:46 PM »

Also, this:



 Wink

*wipes a tear from his eye*
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Seth
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« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2008, 02:28:52 PM »

mjau: well, I don't agree that because something is addictive necessarily means that it is good.  I think it means that there is something good about that particular piece of entertainment, or that it is cleverly designed.  I think there is a difference between a well written book and a good book.  A well written book can be addictive because the writing style is entertaining, but that does not necessarily mean that the entire book is good or very worthwhile.  For example, I would consider J.K. Rowling's writing style very effective and addictive, but I wouldn't necessarily call the Harry Potter books good.  Similarly, gameplay can be addictive, but that doesn't mean the game as a whole is good.  To me, the addiction is the difference between "I'll keep reading this because it is interesting" and "I have to keep reading to find out what happens!!!" or "I'll keep playing this game because it is interesting" and "I have to get the high score!!!"
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skaldicpoet9
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« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2008, 03:15:59 PM »

I agree with the fact that when the act of playing a game is lengthened artificially (by repetition, shallow design, milking every little mechanic until it's dry, dead and buried) it is a bad thing in quite a few ways. It forces the player to use more time to get the same ammount of enjoyment then if the experience was concise. I think we should REALLY stop praysing games that offer "80 hours of gameplay!" because you know that, yes, at least half of those hours will be a waste.

I've played MMO's for a while, and I can affirm that they can be pretty bad in the 'bad' type of addiction, because they simply glorify this artificial lengthening of gametime by making every little goal at least 10 times more of a chore than it needs to be. Because they work with a system of "more gametime = more money", which I think was made by some hellish demon, or Martha.

I could feel my brain growing slower from spending my time in MMO's. Literally.

Yeah, the grind is pretty soul-sucking. That is why I quit WOW for awhile. However, I realized that there wasn't any point to grind in the first place. I have much more fun questing with other people then I do just trying to level up and get the best gear I can. Although, that too could be considered a grind but I think it is much more fun though. I like WOW because at least (compared to every other MMO I have played) they allow the player to do things other then just grinding. The auction house, battlegrounds, duels, raiding, running instances and participating in seasonal events are all great ways to avoid grinding. Hell, you don't really have to grind at all unless you are grinding for gear or PvP gear.

and...

@Seth

I don't see that much that is inherently wrong about games. I think the thing that I dislike the most is that many games are limited in what they can convey (ex: NPCs spouting the same lines over and over,running into invisible walls at the end of the world etc...) but as I mentioned before I believe this is due to the technical limitations that we have currently. I fail to see how a video game is any worse at rewarding a player then a book is. When I read a book I read it to further the story along and then when I reach the end I am either satisfied or dissatisfied with the book overall. I am rewarded as you said above with the a clever writing style or deep, well-crafted characters or an unexpected ending. The same goes for a game. In a game I am rewarded with a polished presentation, fluid gameplay dynamics, new characters or gear or a key clue for progressing the storyline and at the end I evaluate the game's worth overall. And believe me, I for one have stayed up for hours to finish a book an addictive book at that.

I just fail to see how there is any difference between any form of addiction. Whether it be games, books, movies, the internet, drugs, sex, money, food etc...
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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2008, 05:08:12 PM »

A lot of games are bad uses of time, but a large number are also good uses of time.

As an example, let me talk about the games I first played in 2008:

The games I can say were not a waste of time for me are Persona 3, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, The Graveyard, Fatal Hearts, and Idealism (a Jason Rohrer mini-game).

The ones I feel which were on balance a waste of time that I could have put to better use are Dofus, Dragon Quest 8, Chessmaster Grandmaster Edition, Civilization 3, Oblivion, Foldit, and Faith Fighter.

The games I'm unsure about (may have been a waste of time, may not have been, I got some value out of them but not a whole lot) are the Avernum games, Gravitation, Space Barnacle, and Dyson.

(I may have missed a few, but these are all the major games I remember playing for the first time this year.)

I think that's a pretty good success rate -- about a third of the games I played this year I can say were definitely worth my time and I got a lot of value from them.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 05:03:48 PM by rinkuhero » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2008, 09:26:20 AM »

mjau: well, I don't agree that because something is addictive necessarily means that it is good.  I think it means that there is something good about that particular piece of entertainment, or that it is cleverly designed.  I think there is a difference between a well written book and a good book.  A well written book can be addictive because the writing style is entertaining, but that does not necessarily mean that the entire book is good or very worthwhile.  For example, I would consider J.K. Rowling's writing style very effective and addictive, but I wouldn't necessarily call the Harry Potter books good.  Similarly, gameplay can be addictive, but that doesn't mean the game as a whole is good.

Yes, I agree Smiley.  I think you misunderstood me, I was not saying that a game being addictive necessarily means it's good.  That is obviously not true.  However, I do think that a (subjectively) good game needs at least some level of addictiveness to be perceived as good by the player.  If not, there would be nothing to keep you playing, it would just be seen as a waste of time.  Hence why people can sometimes use the word 'addictive' in a positive sense about games:  Addictiveness by itself doesn't mean that a game is good, but I think addictiveness (to a degree) may be an inherent quality of a good game.  (At least usually.  I guess you could make a game where the objective is to quit playing, but I'm not sure you could call that a game anymore.  Unless you're forced to keep playing against your will..)

Quote
To me, the addiction is the difference between "I'll keep reading this because it is interesting" and "I have to keep reading to find out what happens!!!" or "I'll keep playing this game because it is interesting" and "I have to get the high score!!!"

How about morbid fascination? Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2008, 09:44:08 PM »

I'd like to argue that a lot of games aren't addictive so much as they simply do an excellent job of achieving "suspension of disbelief".  I don't know anyone who suffers withdrawal if they can't play a game.  They might be bored, but that's because they're doing nothing - going outside for a walk or just talking to a friend can relieve that.  What I do notice is that really great games lead me to completely forget about everything else for a period.  It's not a matter of, "I gotta find out what happens next, just another hour," but rather, "The terrorists have a nuke?!  I've gotta stop them!"

I think when a game achieves that state of flow and suspension of disbelief it's achieved it's ultimate goal: fun.
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« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2008, 01:18:18 AM »

Some people in the thread equate 'waste of time' with 'I didn't like the experience overall.' Masturbating might be enjoyable but it's hardly time well spent, at least in most cases, right?

Also, I resent the notion that games should strive to be fun as their main, mandatory goal. Satisfying the senses should not be the main concern, else we're talking about porn for the mind. The main concern should be what is gained; having fun should not be the goal of the game, but a by-product. Today, games at large offer but empty, content-less instinctual gratification, much like the lower forms of other expressive media. Very few posters in this thread have named positive traits for games they might consider important. Good literature is intellectually stimulating; can games get away with 'exercising reflexes'?

The fact is that the medium has a huge potential. How often have we learned something of value for life from a game? We learn things all the time from more linear media, as those tell stories with which we could relate to and learn from vicariously. But in games we are in control, we experience things ourselves; we could be faced with difficult conundrums, philosophical questions that put our beliefs in doubt, and which we have to confront on our own... But to this day we mostly have to use our reflexes, or simply identify patterns, in order to beat the game.

There are a few games out there that transcend this fate, but I'll agree with Seth that the medium is largely irrelevant, and at times even nocive, in its current form.
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« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2008, 06:46:55 AM »

I didn't name the positive value I gained from the games I mentioned because it would have taken a lot of time and because people can't often consciously identify the value of something so complex to them, because the benefit of games on people is largely a benefit to their unconscious. I think it's incredibly arrogant of agj to assume that if someone didn't name that value that it doesn't really exist.

But certainly the value of games is more than just "fun" and games have given me great value. I just don't want to go through the tedious process of elaborating on that, because there have been so many games of great value to me and they've been of benefit to me in so many ways that it'd take a book to categorize that properly.

But here are three quick examples.

I first played chess when I was 5; from that game I gradually gained (among many other things) an understanding of the importance of looking ahead before I did anything, of foreseeing the various paths of possibilities that would result from my actions, and in general thinking with foresight.

I first played Civilization when I was 15; from that game I gained (among many other things) an understanding of how civilizations grow and expand, the concept of exponential growth, and various details about human history (such as what a granary was and why it was important).

I first played Xenogears when I was 20; from that game I gained (among many other things) a desire to be a game designer professionally, and an understanding of how important games are to people's lives, in particular because I observed the reaction to that game by the people who played it, for instance I remember a forum thread that went on for pages about how that game had changed their lives, and reading that thread I understood that games are the most powerful form of art and do (not just can, but do) affect people in more ways than any other and more strongly than any other.

These are just three examples, I could name hundreds more. Games are very important to people, they aren't just empty addictive fun, they affect and change their lives every day.
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« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2008, 08:53:10 AM »

I really gotta play Xenogears someday.
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« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2008, 02:13:01 PM »

As an addendum, I'm not trying to say that games are perfect as they are now, obviously they could be a lot better, and will become better as they mature. When movies were first invented they were mainly used for pornography, cowboy shootouts, and things like that, and gradually became more mature as their audience expanded and as the people who made movies gained more talent and experience over the generations, and the same will happen with games.

But I think it's plain wrong to say that games don't affect people right now very much, or that games haven't played a major role in shaping the lives of the people who play them, or that the best games are inferior to average novels in terms of value and worth.
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« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2008, 01:17:46 AM »

I think it's incredibly arrogant of agj to assume that if someone didn't name that value that it doesn't really exist.

I don't think I suggested such a thing? I was just pointing out the fact that no very compelling arguments have surfaced. I want them to surface, of course. This is a discussion, is it not?

I'm not sure how you got that videogames are the über form of expression from reading forum posts on Xenogears. Go find some trekkie community and you'll see the same kind of thing. The medium has potential but I would not hurry to put it above other media; can you really call game x better than album y? Isn't it like comparing apples and oranges?

The rest of your points are quite relevant and good examples of what games can offer. Civilization indeed seems like a rather important game, even if I haven't actually played it. Chess is widely recognized, though it's not a videogame.

I do believe that everyone can gain something from playing videogames, but what can be gained is often tied to logical reasoning, psychomotor skills and visual perception. Games inherently require players to exercise those abilities, but very few go beyond the essential. In other words, game designers are content with challenging our reflexes and our logic, but rarely consider anything beyond. Yes, the medium is young, but what's worrying is that there's very little interest in going the other route; at least in cinema there were artists pushing the boundaries from the very beginning (consider Luis Buñuel,) but we don't see much of that here.
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« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2008, 08:17:54 AM »

I see from that post that you are (like everyone, really) very self-deceptive, so I'll just leave it here and attempt no further arguments. It's one of the largest tragedies that humans are so self-deceptive, Rashomon is a good example of that. And although everyone is self-deceptive to some degree, using straw men is a particularly developed form of it, one which isn't easily reversed.
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« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2008, 12:13:56 PM »

I'm self-deceptive because I don't bow down to your arguments? I've been trolled.
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« Reply #39 on: July 04, 2008, 12:25:10 PM »

No, not at all. You're self-deceptive because you mentally re-arranged my arguments to be something ridiculous, instead of treating them seriously.
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