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agj
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« Reply #40 on: July 05, 2008, 05:12:31 AM »

Hm, I see. Don't take my comments too personal, okay? I'm not simply responding to what you write, I'm addressing the general subject of the thread. And I don't think that your points are ridiculous in the slightest; sorry for making it seem that way.
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« Reply #41 on: July 05, 2008, 10:41:14 AM »

Hm, I see. Don't take my comments too personal, okay? I'm not simply responding to what you write, I'm addressing the general subject of the thread. And I don't think that your points are ridiculous in the slightest; sorry for making it seem that way.

I can't help but take it personally, because it's a personal matter. Basically you're saying that you don't believe me when I say that a game has been important to me. Why the heck should someone have to prove to you that something is important to them? Why not just take them at their word? Why would someone lie about it? How could they be mistaken about something like that?

As an example, let's say someone told you that their last girlfriend was important to them, that they learned a lot from them and will always carry the experience with them for the rest of their lives. Would you then tell them to prove it, because you don't believe relationships can be important to people?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 10:44:57 AM by rinkuhero » Logged

increpare
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« Reply #42 on: July 05, 2008, 12:51:38 PM »

Some people in the thread equate 'waste of time' with 'I didn't like the experience overall.'

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Masturbating might be enjoyable but it's hardly time well spent, at least in most cases, right?
I don't agree with you there.  At least for me, the alternative to masturbating for a couple of minutes is feeling irritably/restlessly horny for some longer period of time.  There is a certain jouissance to be derived from both states, but largely context will decide whether or not one is a more worthwhile activity than the other.

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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.
I resent the notion that games should not strive to satisfy the sense as their main concern Wink  (basically, I think I agree with you, but if somebody wishes to create a game to aesthetically delight people, I would not at all wish to stand in their way  Smiley  ).
« Last Edit: July 06, 2008, 02:30:06 AM by increpare » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: July 05, 2008, 10:38:16 PM »

Basically you're saying that you don't believe me when I say that a game has been important to me. Why the heck should someone have to prove to you that something is important to them? Why not just take them at their word? Why would someone lie about it? How could they be mistaken about something like that?

I don't doubt that games can, and are, important to people! But Harry Potter can be important to people too, and render a message. What I'm saying is that eating at McDonald's once in a while is not bad, but it sure ain't healthy if it's the only thing you eat. Variety and depth are things lacking in games in general.

Wait, I think I understand now. The particular sentence you're still discussing is:

Very few posters in this thread have named positive traits for games they might consider important.

Let's make this clear then. When I say 'important' I don't mean just 'subjectively relevant,' which is what you seem to think, nor do I want anyone to 'prove' anything. Yes, appreciating a particular work is in great measure a subjective effort, but I called people out on it because not describing what makes a game so important, at least to yourself, is not analyzing what makes games (as a medium) important at all. Anything can be relevant to anyone, but that's sidestepping the issue: exactly how relevant are games? Could they be replaced by a more worthwhile activity? Can they be made to be more relevant to our lives?

I could say that Picasso's Guernica is incomprehensible crap, because it didn't produce any reaction in me, nor did I rationally understand it; yet how valid would it be if I used this opinion to judge visual arts in their entirety? This is why it's important to exemplify, justify your opinion in order to generate discussion. Simply saying "visual arts suck, I never get anything out of them" is not enough, and I don't think that I'm being unreasonable for expecting people to go beyond that.


increpare, that's a good point and I definitely agree; a game that explores aesthetics in a special way would definitely float my boat, and I would consider it relevant as exploratory communication at the very least. What I meant, even though I didn't use the right words, was going for the gut reaction, which is what almost every game does nowadays; they get you to enjoy the game mindlessly, feeding you at an instinctual level. 'Fun' usually means 'keep it constantly pumping endorphines.' So this is nothing bad per se, either (it's good if you want to keep the player playing,) but I do think that it's a very low goal to aim for, that it's something that should be taken for granted, and not something to strive for. The World of Warcraft example is perfect: the game is designed around keeping you addicted, but what do you get out of the experience? Many people leave feeling hollow.
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« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2008, 02:06:22 AM »

The most important thing video games ever teached me:

Golden Tortillas make me more experienced.






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« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2008, 02:44:55 AM »

'Fun' usually means 'keep it constantly pumping endorphines.' So this is nothing bad per se, either (it's good if you want to keep the player playing,) but I do think that it's a very low goal to aim for, that it's something that should be taken for granted, and not something to strive for.
I don't think it should be taken for granted, or considered necessary.  If somebody wants to create a game that will challenge people in some novel way, and it does succeed in doing that, even if a player does not feel for a moment that they are having fun, then I think their efforts have not been in vain.  A lot of contemporary music do not aim to excite, or delight, but rather to challenge the listener.  That said, one can still experience a positive appreciation of the value of a piece of music, even if one doesn't have 'fun' listening to it.

One thing that seems to be glaringly absent when comparing the computer-game world to the contemporary music world is a stronger link to philosophy (Deleuze, in particular, seems to be particularly influential amongst many modern composers).  For one instance, the closest we have* to game-designer with a concern for issues of morality is Molyneux, who doesn't get much beyond the good/evil dichotomy  Sad

*=that I can think of off the top of my head.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2008, 02:48:45 AM by increpare » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2008, 06:00:16 AM »

Just because a medium isn't reaching it's full potential, doesn't mean it's a waste of time, and as soon as one stops having fun and spends time trying to decipher a cryptic message about humanity, I don't see how that is any better than the example of people playing not because it's fun, but because they want to level up one more time.
I think there's something of an (important!) difference in terms of what one might experience in the two scenarios.  In both instances, there's clearly a mix of both a desire to play and a desire to stop playing.  Simplifying terribly (as you did, with your caricature of the game which one plays in order 'to decipher a cryptic message about humanity'), I think it possible that, in the case of the 'addictive' game, at a conscious level one desires to stop playing, but with the case of the 'intellectual' game, at a conscious level one desires to continue playing.  There's also the issue of end rewards: one knows that, in an addictive game, there is little in store but more of the same, whereas the other sort of game promises a change, a difference.

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People play games because they are a form of media that does what only a few others do, they actively reward the player for input.
Do they really though?  And what is the nature of this input?  Most games are still pretty linear: one is rewarded not for 'input' in the sense of making a contribution to the game, but rather for playing a part.  You do what you are supposed to do, and you are rewarded, in some manner that has been pre-determined.  To what extent does that constitute an active reward?

Compare this to the possible quality of the feedback from one's engagement with a painting.  One's engagement happens usually at a psychological/visual level.  One may think whatever one likes about the painting, and the rewards for this input are unpredictable.  But there are often rewards, and I find them to be sometimes very great.  Certainly comparable to the happy bling what chimes out when you collect a coin in Sonic.

(that's not to say that this mode of 'interaction' cannot be used with games, rather that there is a form of interaction* that can be extremely significant and that has existed long before the digital age).

(*I know that some are going to disagree with my use of this term, and I accept that they have good grounds to).
« Last Edit: July 06, 2008, 06:07:20 AM by increpare » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: July 06, 2008, 11:53:29 AM »

I don't doubt that games can, and are, important to people! But Harry Potter can be important to people too, and render a message. What I'm saying is that eating at McDonald's once in a while is not bad, but it sure ain't healthy if it's the only thing you eat. Variety and depth are things lacking in games in general.

I don't think you've played enough games then. You are probably judging all games based on what's in the top 100 in sales or something, but there's a great variety and history of games out there. I've probably played over 20,000 different games, so I may have a larger standard of comparison than you do.

It's as if you looked at the top-sellers in books -- Harry Potter, The DaVinci Code, and so on -- and said that all books are terrible. Those are just as vapid as the top-selling games are.

So I encourage you to seek out more artistic games, rather than just the ones you've had experience with. If you like, I could provide you a list of 100 or so of what I believe to be the best games I've played, and you can go through them.

Let's make this clear then. When I say 'important' I don't mean just 'subjectively relevant,' which is what you seem to think

Actually no, I don't just mean subjectively relevant, I mean important, valuable, life-changing. To quote a recent article on the subject:

"Narrative art of that caliber is distinguished by its ability to re-organize our preconceptions, to shift us into a world that’s always been there but that we’ve been afraid to acknowledge [...] Successful art tears away the veil and allows you to see the world with lapidary clarity; successful art pulls you apart and puts you back together again, often against your will, and in the process reminds you in a visceral way of your limitations, your vulnerabilities, makes you in effect more human."

That is more the type of thing that I mean.

I called people out on it because not describing what makes a game so important, at least to yourself, is not analyzing what makes games (as a medium) important at all. Anything can be relevant to anyone, but that's sidestepping the issue: exactly how relevant are games? Could they be replaced by a more worthwhile activity? Can they be made to be more relevant to our lives?

I don't think it's sidestepping the issue at all. In order to determine how important games are as a medium you can only base that on how important games have been to individual people. Society is just a collection of people, and the importance of games on mankind is the sum collection of the importance of games on individual men and women. There's no other sensible way to approach the topic than to look at its individual effects on people, one at a time, and try to establish patterns based on that empirical data.
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« Reply #48 on: July 06, 2008, 12:00:24 PM »

I don't believe that video games are as much a waste of time as any other activity, not only because it is subjective, but because I don't find the basic idea of "You do x, you get y reward" system wrong. I mean, you give others presents and you are rewarded with seeing others feel good, which in turn makes you happy, or you play a game of sport and get rewarded by exercising your athleticism.

I agree with the idea that games don't have to have a significant affect on a person's life, but we are kind of talking about whether or not games do. In other words, I think you're on about something different. It's as if there were a discussion of the nutritional value of different foods, and you're pointing out that food just has to taste good, it doesn't need any nutritional value to be enjoyable, and that taste is more important than nutrition when deciding what to eat. And to some people, it is, but to others it's not, and to others, both are equally important.
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« Reply #49 on: July 06, 2008, 09:44:09 PM »

If somebody wants to create a game that will challenge people in some novel way, and it does succeed in doing that, even if a player does not feel for a moment that they are having fun, then I think their efforts have not been in vain.

I absolutely agree with and endorse this opinion.

I don't think you've played enough games then. (...) I could provide you a list of 100 or so of what I believe to be the best games I've played, and you can go through them.

I've played plenty of games during my life, I'm no stranger to the medium; this is exactly why I'm critical of it. Nevertheless, please do provide a list of your top games, as that'll be a good source of discussion. Maybe we all should?

In order to determine how important games are as a medium you can only base that on how important games have been to individual people. Society is just a collection of people, and the importance of games on mankind is the sum collection of the importance of games on individual men and women. There's no other sensible way to approach the topic than to look at its individual effects on people, one at a time, and try to establish patterns based on that empirical data.

Can't disagree with this at all, but I still think that going deeper into the reasons is much more fruitful for the discussion, especially seeing that we will not be able to poll all of Earth's population.

what is wrong with trying to fill your life with as much happiness and reward as you can?

It's as if there were a discussion of the nutritional value of different foods, and you're pointing out that food just has to taste good, it doesn't need any nutritional value to be enjoyable, and that taste is more important than nutrition when deciding what to eat. And to some people, it is, but to others it's not, and to others, both are equally important.

This has been a good analogy, so I'll follow it. Taste in food only makes us want to eat it; if the food is not nutritious, then we'll become unhealthy. If the media that we consume do not nourish us in some form, our brains will become malnourished, no matter how enjoyable it is to us.
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« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2008, 10:04:50 PM »

This has been a good analogy, so I'll follow it. Taste in food only makes us want to eat it; if the food is not nutritious, then we'll become unhealthy. If the media that we consume do not nourish us in some form, our brains will become malnourished, no matter how enjoyable it is to us.

You, my friend, have just summed up the biggest problem that entertainment has today perfectly. All style and no substance is diluting people's perception of what is "nourishment" and what is empty filler for the soul. The vast majority of commercial games are guilty of this. The goals are essentially the same as we have always had: go to loaction X kill X amount of people and then go to location Y to continue on to the next level (I would etch out a similar scenario for other genre's as well but for the sake of space I will not go there, but I am sure you get the point). The thing is is that we have been playing the same games essentially only with updated graphics and minor innovations (yes, of course there is always the diamond in the rough so to speak). Developers continue making these games because they know that people eat them up like hot cakes, I mean, why do you think that the market is completely inundated with FPS games? I do believe there is a bastion for hope though and without trying to sound too "elitist" I seriously believe that indie games are changing the way that people think and feel about games. There are a lot of games out there that seek to not just challenge the player but also challenge the player's mind as well. I think that a lot of the reason why we are attracted to indie games here is the fact that these games are experimenting with the medium and are willing to go places that commercial developers won't go with their games. Case in point: the Wii. The Wii has all kinds of potential as illustrated by Johnny Lee and the Wii itself. The possibilities are limitless, but unfortunately the Wii has a lot of developers working for it just looking to make a quick buck with a shit game and gimicky controls. And who are the ones who will be innovating with the Wii? Yes, the homebrewers, the people that are willing to take the platform to the next level. I believe, that in order for games to reach their potential as a medium, they must not only be considered games and a form of entertainment, but must also be considered a form of expression.

/end rant
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« Reply #51 on: July 07, 2008, 02:22:06 AM »

When you're addicted to a game, is it not because you enjoy it and want to keep playing?
Quote from: increpare
  In both instances, there's clearly a mix of both a desire to play and a desire to stop playing. 


Quote
I personally can't imagine an addiction with games where one doesn't want to play it.
You've never spend a whole evening/day playing a game and once thought 'I should really go to the toilet by now', or 'I should have eaten something several hours ago'?

One area where I get these thoughts (though I don't pay too much attention to them), and where I don't feel any sort of remorse is when I'm in a programming mood, where I can forget to eat all day and not feel too bad about it, so maybe my characterization is a bad one.

Also, rinkuhero, I'd be interested in seeing any list of 100 games you think to be especially interesting.
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« Reply #52 on: July 07, 2008, 02:39:03 AM »

Developers continue making these games because they know that people eat them up like hot cakes, I mean, why do you think that the market is completely inundated with FPS games? I do believe there is a bastion for hope though and without trying to sound too "elitist" I seriously believe that indie games are changing the way that people think and feel about games.
I think that a lot of the reason why we are attracted to indie games here is the fact that these games are experimenting with the medium and are willing to go places that commercial developers won't go with their games.

As I write this, there are fifteen playable indie games currently on the first screen of TIGForum's "Feedback" page.  Of these:

One is an RTS
One is a beat-em-up
One is a clone of Robotron/Geometry Wars
Two are roguelikes.
One is a 2D-ification of Portal
Three are 2D platformers
One is an "homage" to Star Fox
Three are space sh'mups.
One is a Marble Madness-style rolling-ball game.
One is a SNES-era console-style RPG.



Sir, I dispute your conclusion.   Gentleman
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« Reply #53 on: July 07, 2008, 12:09:41 PM »

Okay, here's my preliminary list of games that have redeeming qualities other than "fun". If you ask about a specific one I could give details about why I picked it. They aren't in any particular order.

- A Boy and his Blob (NES / Platformer-Puzzle)
- Soul Blazer (SNES / Action-RPG)
- Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (SNES / Action-RPG)
- NetHack (PC / Roguelike)
- Endless Forest (PC / MMO)
- Seiklus (PC / Exploration)
- Knytt & Knytt Stories (PC / Exploration)
- Shoot the Bullet (PC / Bullet Avoidance)
- The Sims (PC / Mundanity Simulation)
- Wario Ware Series (Game Boy / Manic ADD)
- Wing Commander (PC & SNES / Flightsim-Shooter)
- Chrono Trigger (SNES / RPG)
- Katamari Damacy (PS2 / Action-Exploration?)
- Final Fantasy VI (SNES / RPG)
- Facade (PC / Experimental)
- Lemmings (PC / Puzzle)
- Yoshi's Island (SNES / Platfomer)
- Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (PC & NES / RPG)
- Defcon (PC / Nuclear War)
- Loom (PC / Adventure)
- Oddworld (PS1 / Puzzle)
- Uplink (PC / Hacking Game)
- Ecco the Dolphin (Genesis / Underwater Platformer)
- Wonder Project J (SNES / Simulation)
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (PC & PS1 / Action-Adventure)
- Majora's Mask (N64 / Action-Adventure)
- Yar's Revenge (Atari 2600 / Shooter)
- Ico (PS1 / Adventure)
- Snatcher (Sega CD / Adventure)
- Sword of the Samurai (PC / Action-Adventure-Strategy-Simulation)
- Jason Rohrer's games, especially Idealism (PC / Experimental)
- SimEarth (PC / Simulation)
- Kagero: Deception (PS1 / Traps)
- Final Fantasy VII (PS1 / RPG)
- Metal Gear Solid 2 (PS1 / Stealth)
- Okami (PS2 / Action-Adventure)
- Balance of Power (Mac / Cold War Geostrategy)
- Ogre Battle (SNES / Strategy)
- Narcissu (PC / Visual Novel)
- Fallout 1 & 2 (PC / RPG)
- Trust & Betrayal: The Legacy of Siboot (PC / Social)
- Alter Ego (PC / Browser)
- Sword of Jade (OHRRPGCE / RPG)
- Wizard (Atari 2600 / Asymmetrical Vs.)
- Photopia (PC / Text Adventure without puzzles)
- Out of This World (SNES & PC / Platformer-Puzzle)
- Fathom (Atari 2600 / Arcade-Exploration?)
- E.V.O: The Search for Eden (SNES / Platformer-Simulation?)
- Persona (PS1 / RPG)
- Civilization (PC / Simulation, Strategy)
- Alpha Centauri (PC / Simulation, Strategy)
- Persona 3 (PS2 / RPG-DatingSim?)
- Pikmin (GameCube / Exploration-RTS?)
- Xenogears (PS2 / RPG)
- A Mind Forever Voyaging (PC / Interactive Fiction)
- Balance of the Planet (Mac & PC / World Simulator)

Note that even though I've played a lot of games, I haven't played all of them. So it's also my duty to mention games that others have told me are very artistic, but which I have not had a chance to play myself. Some of these games are: Psychonauts, Planescape: Torment, Europa Universalis II, Deus Ex, Indigo Prophecy, Advent Rising, Killer 7, Shenmue, Grim Fandango, Segagaga, Fantavision, the Panzer Dragoon series, Policenauts, Rez, Electroplankton, People's General (a.k.a. Dynasty General), Kaged, Imperialism, Trinity, Deuteros: The Next Millennium, 1830: Railroads & Robber Barons, Master of Orion, The Corporate Machine, Entrepreneur, Business Tycoon, M.U.L.E., Axis & Allies: Iron Blitz Edition, Archon, The Ancient Art of War, Anacreon, Amnesty Interactive, Allegiance, Planetfall, Blackthorne, Betrayal at Krondor, Below the Root, Beneath a Steel Sky, Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space, Bureaucracy, Breakquest, The Book of Lulu (a.k.a. Lulu's Enchanted Book), Albion, Second Life, Executive Suite, Dungeons of Daggorath, Princess Maker series, Mind Mirror by Timothy Leary, In Search of The Most Amazing Thing, Epidemic!, Suspended, The Lurking Horror, Crime and Punishment, Wilderness: A Survival Adventure, The Robot Odyssey, Sundog: Frozen Legacy, Trinity, Seven Cities of Gold, Portal (1986), Shades of Grey, Darklands, Star Saga: One - Beyond The Boundary, The Sentinel, Metropolis.

You might also object that in most of my picks, the artistic value is primarily in the story rather than the gameplay. I don't disagree with that objection, except to note that games are more than just their gameplay, a game includes the gameplay, the story, the graphics, the sound, and all that, and if even one of those parts is artistic, there is artistic value in the game as a whole. For instance I included Final Fantasy 7 on the list not because of the gameplay (which I feel is horrid and repetitive) but because of the rest of the experience: the visuals, the story, (especially) the music, etc.

(I didn't quite reach 100 with the main list, but if you add that list to the list of second list that I haven't yet played it'd probably be over 100.)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 07:14:50 PM by rinkuhero » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: July 07, 2008, 12:56:17 PM »

Developers continue making these games because they know that people eat them up like hot cakes, I mean, why do you think that the market is completely inundated with FPS games? I do believe there is a bastion for hope though and without trying to sound too "elitist" I seriously believe that indie games are changing the way that people think and feel about games.
I think that a lot of the reason why we are attracted to indie games here is the fact that these games are experimenting with the medium and are willing to go places that commercial developers won't go with their games.

As I write this, there are fifteen playable indie games currently on the first screen of TIGForum's "Feedback" page.  Of these:

One is an RTS
One is a beat-em-up
One is a clone of Robotron/Geometry Wars
Two are roguelikes.
One is a 2D-ification of Portal
Three are 2D platformers
One is an "homage" to Star Fox
Three are space sh'mups.
One is a Marble Madness-style rolling-ball game.
One is a SNES-era console-style RPG.



Sir, I dispute your conclusion.   Gentleman

You can't base the whole indie scene off of what is on the front page of TIGS. Derek and the other editors post games on the front page due to the fact that they consider them fun and worth playing. That doesn't mean that every indie game has to be an experiment in innovation. There are plenty of indie games out there that are just as much crap as there are plenty of commercial games that are as well. I was just merely positing that indie games have more potential to experiment and tread new ground due to the fact that they are not bogged down by monetary considerations.

There are many games that I would use to dispute the assertion that indie games do not do this. One I can think of off of the top of my head is Passage (made for the Gamma 256 compo). This game is exactly what I am talking about. Obviously there isn't really much "game" to be found there but what is illustrated is a abstracted and simple illustration of the lives that all of us lead. Choosing to take a different path in the game might make it so that you die old and alone or taking another path you meet your love and journey to the end together. This was truly the first game that, yes, I actually cried during. It was such a simple but accurate portrayal of the human experience. This is what I am talking about. Just because every game on the front page isn't a masterpiece doesn't mean that it has to be. Sometimes games are just merely games and I welcome that because I love a good challenge sometimes. My point is that indie game makers are changing the landscape of gaming because they are uninhibited by what they can do in their games.
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« Reply #55 on: July 07, 2008, 01:05:10 PM »

It was such a simple but accurate portrayal of the human experience.
Accurate?
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« Reply #56 on: July 07, 2008, 01:08:08 PM »

Accurate in an abstract sense -- i.e. it's accurate that no matter what we do in life we'll end up dead. Some of the other parts were less accurate -- like the idea that getting married makes it harder to find treasure / achieve things (it can, but it depends on who you marry).
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« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2008, 01:19:01 PM »

Accurate in an abstract sense...

Thanks for clearing that up Rinku that's what I meant. Obviously I didn't think that wandering around a labyrinth in search of treasure and love is not an accurate representation of life in a literal sense. I merely thought of it as a well crafted metaphor of what we all go through in this life. I think that making the game less complex emphasizes the points that he was trying to get across because it distills them into a much more manageable format rather then trying to overdo the message of the game.
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« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2008, 03:25:39 PM »

like the idea that getting married makes it harder to find treasure / achieve things (it can, but it depends on who you marry).
I don't know about you, but I'm going to marry a pirate.

(erm..sorry, this is another non-response.  I'll maybe have something constructive to say here tomorrow post-sleep Roll Eyes )
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« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2008, 03:46:06 PM »

You can't base the whole indie scene off of what is on the front page of TIGS.

But you're going to write off the whole commercial scene with the claim: "the market is completely inundated with FPS games"?

Look at Rinkuhero's list of games with qualities beyond simple 'fun'.  Ask yourself:  how many of those games were commercial games, and how many were indie?  I count 9 indie games, and 46 commercial ones.


Passage was a neat art-game, definitely.  But you can't just pick out a single interesting game and then make a sweeping generalisation about Indie games being the Only Remaining Hope of Games.  I mean, not if you want people to take you seriously.
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