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Seth
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« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2008, 05:01:15 PM »

Yeah, but meanwhile Indie game developers seem to be only interested in gameplay and style innovations, which, while certainly neat, novel, and worthwhile, don't really help to push games forward as an artform.  Indie game devs still seem to be concerned with "cool" ideas (Jetpack Brontosaurus, Noitu Love, Fez, etc) rather than anything that tries push games as thought provoking pieces of work.  Not that I'm trying to bash these sorts of games, I think they're fine as games, and I doubt the authors tried to create revolutionary "artgames" rather than fun games.  But these types of games get the most hype, by far, and when people make games like Passage there's a lot of commendation but also a lot of bashing, so I don't think the Indie game scene is as much of pusher of games as an artform as it seems to think it is.

For the record Dreamweb and Earthbound are probably the games that have affected me the most in terms of lasting impressions, though they still don't compare to books or movies in terms of influence.

Also I want to make clear that it's not just that games are rarely rewarding that I have a problem with; it's that for how much time they demand gameplay-wise they don't put out enough lasting worth.  I've gotten more out of short stories that were 15 minute reads than I have out of any video game ever.
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« Reply #61 on: July 07, 2008, 07:21:44 PM »

Actually, from my list, even though only about 15-20% of them are "indie games" as we know the term, a lot of them were created by individual people for large companies in the 80s and early 90s. And some of them had teams of only two or three. So if you count "teams of three or fewer people" as equivalent to "indie" (which is not a good definition, but let's just say for the sake of argument), regardless of who the publisher was, about half of them are indie by that definition.
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« Reply #62 on: July 07, 2008, 10:06:47 PM »

Why stop at short stories? Some short poems have great value. Here's a poem that says about the same thing that Passage does:

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Although there are plenty of novels (or novel series) that take longer to read than even the longest game. So I don't think you can lay all the blame on the length of some games -- and many games are as short as poems in any case (such as Wario Ware, or Street Fighter II).
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« Reply #63 on: July 07, 2008, 10:24:17 PM »

But isn't that more of an issue of developers purposely stretching content to increase gameplay time so they can brag about "50+ hour EPIC ADVENTURES". You don't see books with big stickers on the cover saying things like "1500+ pages!!!".

This is an interesting point.  In movies, the director is always looking for things he can cut.  Ideally, he wants a 90 minute experience that gets his message across as tightly and concisely as possible.  And he has to cut and cut and cut in order to reach the 90 minute mark, so at the end, only the very most important stuff he made remains visible.

For boxed commercial games, the author is usually looking for ways to stretch out the experience.  These days, you really need a minimum of six hours, and for adventure or rpg titles, 30 hours is still kind of expected by the game-buying public.  And usually, you really have to stretch in order to reach those sorts of numbers.

Obviously, if you're stretching to get more stuff into the work, the stuff that's in the work will tend to be lower quality than if you're trying to cut out the weaker parts of the work.  (and that's an awesome poem, rinkuhero.  Written by Li Po, translated from Chinese by Sam Hamill)
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« Reply #64 on: July 07, 2008, 10:35:21 PM »

I think that kind of generalization is dangerous, because obviously not all movie directors do that (some things are clearly extraneous, even in the 2 hour limit of most movies) and not all game designers do that (I often cut out things from my games to make them more concise and compact).

Also, most novels have a set length too, and often an author will try to increase the size of their story until it fills a novel length, because novellas (stories around 90 pages or so) don't have a place on the marketplace.

In general, most forms of art have set lengths that the market will accept. With novels, it's ~200 pages (more for fantasy and sci-fi, which also often demand trilogies). With movies, it's about 2 hours. With television series, it's x episodes per season. With games, it varies by the genre. It's regrettable, but it alone doesn't make games worse than the other forms, and it doesn't mean that game designers try to increase the length of their games.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 10:45:06 PM by rinkuhero » Logged

Seth
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« Reply #65 on: July 07, 2008, 11:36:19 PM »

Quote from: Seth
Also I want to make clear that it's not just that games are rarely rewarding that I have a problem with; it's that for how much time they demand gameplay-wise they don't put out enough lasting worth.  I've gotten more out of short stories that were 15 minute reads than I have out of any video game ever.
But isn't that more of an issue of developers purposely stretching content to increase gameplay time so they can brag about "50+ hour EPIC ADVENTURES". You don't see books with big stickers on the cover saying things like "1500+ pages!!!".

Yeah, that's a big part of it, but I think the larger problem is that the gameplay is not integrated well into the game.  In most games the gameplay just serves for characters to go from point A to point B (or points A and B just serving to let the player experience the gameplay).  So it's not just superfluous gameplay, it's arbitrary.  Unlike Passage where the gameplay and points A and "B" are both necessary.

Although there are plenty of novels (or novel series) that take longer to read than even the longest game. So I don't think you can lay all the blame on the length of some games -- and many games are as short as poems in any case (such as Wario Ware, or Street Fighter II).

Yes, but I think that a good novel has justification for its length, which you can rarely say for video games.  And the difference with games like Street Fighter II, I think, is that rarely will someone (who thinks that it is a good game) play it once and be content to put it down.  It's not designed to be satisfying the first time around--it begs players to replay it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not just the amount of time a game takes, but the amount of time a game takes for the player to feel satisfied (and more often than not when players stop playing a game, it's because they're bored of the game).  I wouldn't necessarily call a short poem that required many many read throughs before the reader felt like they had any lasting satisfaction a good poem (I mean to put emphasis on "lasting"--I think addictive video games only supply fleeting satisfaction, which is why people feel compelled to keep playing.  Harry Potter, like I've said before, is a series that I think mainly only provides fleeting satisfaction.)
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« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2008, 01:03:13 AM »

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.

And you would argue that it isn't inundated with them? Seems like every time I turn around another generic first person shooter is rearing it's ugly head.

Seriously though, I wasn't writing off the whole commercial game industry as a whole at all. I was merely stating the fact that the industry is sticking with what makes them the most money because after all this is a business. I was only trying to say that indie games are not tethered to the prospect of making games that stick to the tried and true formula to make money (not saying that indie game makers do not aspire to make money I am just saying that a vast majority of them are in it for the fun of it). And what does rinkuhero's list of games have anything to do with anything? His list is obviously a subjective one and does not necessarily denote that these games actually possess these qualities. Just like the fact that I am sure there are many who would say that Passage is a horrible game and a horrible example of a game being anything more than just a game.

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.

Well, I actually used Passage as a single example of the innovation that is going on in indie games for the sake of space. Here are a few more:

Dwarf Fortress: An incredibly complex and multi-faceted game that is constantly growing and being improved. Playing on our ability to improvise new ways of doing the same or drastically different things. The game allows the player to expand beyond the confines of set goals and gives the player a veritable playground that has a plethora of possibilities.

Audiosurf:
Rather then berating the player over and over again with the same list of songs the game allows you to pick the song and then adjusts the track accordingly. This allows for a tremendous flexibility in what each person can experience with each different song that they decide to play.

Punishment: Definitely not the kind of game that is really being made these days by commercial developers. Taking a page from the side scrolling platformers of old that required quick reflexes and determination. This games takes the old platoformer formula and turns it on it's head, literally. The game challenges players in ways that your typical platformer doesn't nowadays.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many games out there of course, and yes, just being an indie game doesn't mean that the game will be particularly innovative or deviate from anything that commercial developers do. Believe me, I have played my share of crap and I am sure you have too. My argument is that there is a potential for innovation inherent in the development of these small, simple games that is hard (but not impossible) to find in commercial games. All I am saying is that people who develop games independently have more freedom to innovate. Would you disagree with that?

Yeah, but meanwhile Indie game developers seem to be only interested in gameplay and style innovations, which, while certainly neat, novel, and worthwhile, don't really help to push games forward as an artform.  Indie game devs still seem to be concerned with "cool" ideas (Jetpack Brontosaurus, Noitu Love, Fez, etc) rather than anything that tries push games as thought provoking pieces of work.  Not that I'm trying to bash these sorts of games, I think they're fine as games, and I doubt the authors tried to create revolutionary "artgames" rather than fun games.  But these types of games get the most hype, by far, and when people make games like Passage there's a lot of commendation but also a lot of bashing, so I don't think the Indie game scene is as much of pusher of games as an artform as it seems to think it is.

Hey, I don't disagree with you there. This seems to me to be the biggest problem inherent in the making of indie games. People jump on the bandwagon and over-exaggerate the quality of the game based off of often gimicky features. The truth is, like you said, there hasn't really been a game yet that has the emotional impact that other forms of art have already attained. Passage was the closest thing that I would consider "art" out of all of the games that I have played. This is not to say that I haven't played games that touched me in one way or another or left a lasting impression. I just haven't seen a game that takes the game to the next level, there seems to always be something missing. However, I believe that the reason that we have not witnessed this yet is due to the relatively young age of the medium as compared to other forms of expression. Hell, when movies were first introduced many could not see the artistic potential of the medium at all. It took a while before movies matured enough to attain the depth necessary to be given that designation.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 01:15:51 AM by skaldicpoet9 » Logged

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« Reply #67 on: July 08, 2008, 01:26:11 AM »

Yes, but I think that a good novel has justification for its length, which you can rarely say for video games.  And the difference with games like Street Fighter II, I think, is that rarely will someone (who thinks that it is a good game) play it once and be content to put it down.  It's not designed to be satisfying the first time around--it begs players to replay it.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not just the amount of time a game takes, but the amount of time a game takes for the player to feel satisfied (and more often than not when players stop playing a game, it's because they're bored of the game).  I wouldn't necessarily call a short poem that required many many read throughs before the reader felt like they had any lasting satisfaction a good poem (I mean to put emphasis on "lasting"--I think addictive video games only supply fleeting satisfaction, which is why people feel compelled to keep playing.  Harry Potter, like I've said before, is a series that I think mainly only provides fleeting satisfaction.)

I really, really don't think so. There are plenty of games, likewise novels, which wouldn't have been anywhere near as valuable to me if they were much shorter than they were. Sure, there are games that could do with being tighted up, same as novels, but I don't think games are any more guilty of that error than novels are.

I also disagree with that point on poetry: to me, the best poems are those which I have to read several times in order to fully get, as I peel away the layers of the onion so to speak. Something that you can get immediately, on your first reading (or playing, or listening) is typically something that's pretty shallow. Not that obscurity and complexity itself is a value, but it's often a necessary side-effect of depth.

My favorite poem ever, for instance, is Bei Dao's "The Answer", which isn't very clear on first reading at all.



Debasement is the password of the base,
Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
See how the gilded sky is covered
With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead.

The Ice Age is over now,
Why is there ice everywhere?
The Cape of Good Hope has been discovered, Why do a thousand sails contest the Dead Sea?

I came into this world
Bringing only paper, rope, a shadow,
To proclaim before the judgment
The voice that has been judged.

Let me tell you, world, I______do____not_____believe!
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet, Count me as number one thousand and one.
I don't believe the sky is blue:
I don't believe in thunder's echoes:
I don't believe that dreams are false:
I don't believe that death has no revenge.

If the sea is destined to breach the dikes
Let all the brackish water pour into my heart;
If the land is destined to rise
Let humanity choose a peak for existence again.

A new conjunction and glimmering stars
Adorn the unobstructed sky now:
They are the pictographs from five thousand years,
They are the watchful eyes of future generations.
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« Reply #68 on: July 08, 2008, 07:46:03 AM »

I also disagree with that point on poetry: to me, the best poems are those which I have to read several times in order to fully get, as I peel away the layers of the onion so to speak. Something that you can get immediately, on your first reading (or playing, or listening) is typically something that's pretty shallow. Not that obscurity and complexity itself is a value, but it's often a necessary side-effect of depth.

I think it is a mark of good literature to have high rereadability, but in my opinion replayability stems from from something else.  Replayability, I think, mostly stems from the continuing freshness and addictiveness of gameplay more than anything else, or different paths of narrative you can take (which to me is not as valuable as getting better insight into a complex narrative).  But the difference is, I think, that rereadability stems from inherent complexity in the work (which usually comes from some sort of emotional impact), which will give the reader a lasting satisfaction the first time around.  It seems to me that often games drive players to replay them not from giving the player lasting satisfaction rather than promising it and not delivering (I'm talking about playing games many many times, for example it wouldn't be unheard of to play Street Fighter for 50+ hours total.)

I disagree with the sentiment that clear=shallow, though, or that something that is obscure is more complex.  Too often writers hide shallowness in obscure language, and I think that there are many pieces of writing that is both clear and showing great depth on the first reading.  "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, for example, is on the surface a very simple story.  It benefits from rereading, but I don't think you must reread it to get any lasting satisfaction from it.

Quote from: skaldicpoet9
However, I believe that the reason that we have not witnessed this yet is due to the relatively young age of the medium as compared to other forms of expression. Hell, when movies were first introduced many could not see the artistic potential of the medium at all. It took a while before movies matured enough to attain the depth necessary to be given that designation.

This is probably the truth of it, but I'm impatient.  Gentleman

And really what bugs me more than anything is that the only people who seem to want games to reach this level seem to be mostly people who don't play video games.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 08:05:51 AM by Seth » Logged
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« Reply #69 on: July 08, 2008, 06:24:14 PM »

To be clear, I wasn't saying that obscurity itself is valuable, just that it's often a necessary side-effect of depth. I didn't say that you can't have depth without a lack of clarity, just that it's often unavoidable. Also, short stories are different from poems, poems are much more compact, and usually require re-reading more than a short story would. Poems also work very differently from short stories, and re-reading them is usually necessary, even to the skilled reader of poetry; I almost never have to re-read a good short story to get the point of it, but I almost always have to re-read a good poem to get the point of it.

I think it's a mistake to say that people replay games for different reasons than they reread poetry or fiction or re-watch movies. Perhaps you do, but I don't.

I wrote this in another forum just now, and it reminded me of this discussion, so I thought I'd copy and paste it here:

The reason I think fun is less important in a game than other factors is that it's short term. I'm no longer experiencing the fun I had from playing Ms. Pac Man 25 years ago, but the effects playing that game had on me are still in play. So if you look at the long-term, fun is not an important part of a game, the main use of fun is to get people to play a game and get them to keep playing a game. The other effects of playing a game on a person last much longer, so they're ultimately more significant.

So when people ask "are games art", even though art too is just an imaginary abstraction, that's a shorthand way of asking whether games have any long-term effects on a person beyond just providing temporary fun. And I think games do.
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« Reply #70 on: July 08, 2008, 09:33:39 PM »

rinkuhero, thank you for taking the time to write down your list. Let's see now... I have not played most of the games in your list, so that would mean that you have indeed played more games than I have, or perhaps that we have focused on a different subset (you seemed interest in this.)

- Endless Forest (PC / MMO)
Haven't played it (experienced it?,) and that should be remedied.

- Seiklus (PC / Exploration)
Played it, though I couldn't bear the sloppy controls, so not for long. Definitely a turning point in indie games, and yes, an important game because of this.

- Knytt & Knytt Stories (PC / Exploration)
My love. Playing (the original) Knytt is probably the closest to listening to music there is in this medium.

- The Sims (PC / Mundanity Simulation)
Never played any in the series, but I like the many sociological questions that they could rise. Not saying that it's a deep game, but it looks like a smart game.

- Wario Ware Series (Game Boy / Manic ADD)
Even though I loved the Wario Wares, I can't say that they're relevant in any way other than in their influence on the medium, as the creation of a new kind of gameplay that's consists of identifying the mechanics quickly. Very postmodern, but did it really make you ponder anything other than games themselves?

- Chrono Trigger (SNES / RPG)
Never played it, but I look forward to playing the DS version, only because of the nice music.

- Katamari Damacy (PS2 / Action-Exploration?)
Made me feel like I had fulfilled a childhood dream.

- Facade (PC / Experimental)
Man, I downloaded it and never installed it. Why the hell did I not?

- Lemmings (PC / Puzzle)
Smart, strategic game. Most 'slow' puzzle games are, at least, good 'brain training,' so I approve.

- Defcon (PC / Nuclear War)
One game I'm quite interested in playing, eventually.

- Loom (PC / Adventure)
I've never played a Lucas Arts graphic adventure, to my own dismay! I've ignored the genre most of my life. I should get ScummVM DS running.

- Wonder Project J (SNES / Simulation)
The whole 'raising' a robot deal, the nachas associated with it, are rather special feelings, I suppose. It didn't mark me personally, though.

- Ico (PS1 / Adventure)
If you get pulled by aesthetics in games at all, this is one game that makes you care for an AI. I mention the 'getting pulled' deal because there are people who go past them and straight to the mechanics, so they get frustrated when they have to be babysitting Yorda the whole time. I especially think that the elegance with which this game was pulled off is a positive influence in an industry that is always trying to 'one-up' the past: adding and piling feature after feature.

- Jason Rohrer's games, especially Idealism (PC / Experimental)
Haven't played Idealism, but maybe I should now. I've played Passage and Gravitation, both of which cleverly wielded gameplay to evoke emotions.

- Metal Gear Solid 2 (PS1 / Stealth)
Hm. I played only the first, which is a very fun game, but ultimately mostly a nod to Hollywood's action, sci-fi and conspiracy flicks. I can't say I got much from it, but it does explore the medium itself from different angles quite a bit. I guess in that sense it's a positive influence, in that works that push and twist the limits of the elements it's made with are always necessary for the evolution of the medium.

- Okami (PS2 / Action-Adventure)
Is this only for the visual aesthetic? I haven't played it, but all I've heard is that it's Zelda with a coat of paint.

- Balance of Power (Mac / Cold War Geostrategy)
This is another game I'm interested in playing.

- Out of This World (SNES & PC / Platformer-Puzzle)
Such an auteur game. What I like about it is that it completes a picture. It's not a terribly original sci-fi world, but the way you become involved with it, the sense of danger at every turn, is well resolved. Mostly just a tight package.

- Persona 3 (PS2 / RPG-DatingSim?)
Never played it, but could you explain why you chose this one?

From the games that you cited that you haven't played, I've played these two:

- Rez
Fantastic mix of audio and video in a way that could only be achieved in videogames. Important mostly because of the 'experience' factor.

- Electroplankton
Why don't I own this? Interactively emergent music is a great idea.

In general, from having read through your list, I don't think that games have reached an ounce of the complexity of other media. I think it's very much a necessity to evolve the medium.
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« Reply #71 on: July 08, 2008, 09:49:12 PM »

One thing to consider: we may have an overly positive view of other media, simply because their "classics" have stacked up over thousands of years, and computer games have only been created for a single generation. In other words, when you compare novels to games, it's not a fair contest because you're comparing the best novels ever created over thousands of years to the best games ever created over thirty years. I suspect if you limited it to similar time frames -- novels written since computer games became widespread -- it'd be much more comparable.

As for your questions on individual games:

Wario Ware: What I like about these is that they force you to pay close attention due to constantly changing circumstances, which keeps people on their toes, and doesn't allow people to slip into an automatic or habitual state of mind. That my itself may not be artistic, but more than any other game I've played besides "Shoot the Bullet", it forces me to stay very aware and awake.

In retrospect the Princess Maker series would be a better choice than Wonder Project J for that list, because there was more closeness between the player and the thing they were guiding/training/raising in that game.

Okami: Mainly included for the visuals, yes, but it also has an interesting "what you paint comes into being" mechanism which the Zelda games do not have.

Persona 3: Mainly its story. See this video for example: http://youtube.com/watch?v=5BobdppunbE But another part of it is its wonderful time based calendar system, and forcing you to make choices about who you befriend or not (there's a large social sim in it, it's not just a typical RPG).
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« Reply #72 on: July 08, 2008, 10:52:40 PM »

I think addictive video games only supply fleeting satisfaction, which is why people feel compelled to keep playing.

I like this. Yes. Most videogame makers focus on these fleeting sensations that one gets while playing them, which are gone once we stop. They don't make us grow, they only fill us with a craving.

There's a group of people who have identified the capacity that games have to communicate values; they're called Values At Play (found out about them from here.) According to them, and I agree, games already communicate values: a crude cartoon of this could be Pac Man being an analogy for consumerism. But designers have not used these possibilities, they only emerge without their control, and their games might end up going against their very ideals. Some believe that Pikmin is a cruel game about slavery, which was not Miyamoto's intention, unless he has a very dark side hidden from the public.
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« Reply #73 on: July 08, 2008, 10:58:47 PM »

when you compare novels to games, it's not a fair contest because you're comparing the best novels ever created over thousands of years to the best games ever created over thirty years. I suspect if you limited it to similar time frames -- novels written since computer games became widespread -- it'd be much more comparable.

You're right, indeed; but when I compare them, in my mind, I do it by comparing what's released today for each medium. That's hardly being methodical, though, so we could do this more objectively, definitely.

edit: I couldn't stand watching that P3 video, what with all the '-kuns' flying around and the terrible voice acting. Sad
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« Reply #74 on: July 09, 2008, 11:38:50 AM »

Haha, you have to see past that. It is a Japanese game, and it's better when they leave that sort of cultural stuff in, since it remains how it was meant to be. The voice acting is generally bad though, yes. But the idea of the video is that humanity is definitely going to die next spring, and the player is given a choice of going to spring in ignorance, not knowing he's going to die, free of fear and worry, as a normal high school student, or going to spring knowing he's going to die, full of fear and trembling, with the same result. The player actually has to choose between those two fates. That problem struck me as pretty important, because in a way it's what we do in real life: we either ignore the problem of our eventual death, and not think about it, or else we can obsess over it. I actually liked the ending where they forgot about it and just went through their lives in happiness for a few more months better, even though that's not the best ending. That ending, known as the "bad ending" to some, actually produces a wonderful feeling if you think about it. Here's the video of that ending: http://youtube.com/watch?v=I1rjo3vh3k4 and the last 30 seconds of http://youtube.com/watch?v=AXE-5cdNWVs -- this "bad ending" didn't show them die or anything, just showed them enjoying the last few moments, then cut away.

Anyway, be methodical about it: list some artworks created since, say, 1985, that you feel are more artistic than any game ever, and explain why.
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« Reply #75 on: July 09, 2008, 08:03:49 PM »

I don't mind being spoiled P3, as I'm not interested in the game, but you could think about using some spoiler tags there (can we use spoiler tags here?)

I don't consider 'artistry' to be the quality that constitutes a good game or other kind of work, but I get your point. Well, to simply cite something from recent memory: Persepolis is a brilliant animated film that is straightforward yet deep. No second meanings or anything of the sort, but the empathy that all elements combined generate is something I have never experienced in any game. It makes you ponder on war, ideals, family, politics. It feels intimate because it's biographical.

I don't know if it's better than every game ever made, as it's a bit apples and oranges, but I can say that I have rarely, if ever, felt as fulfilled with a game; and this one's not my favorite movie ever or anything. When I finish most games, I don't feel like I've taken anything from them; I feel like I developed some abilities very specifically for the game. I think this could be the reason why shoot'em up, fighting game or FPS players so stubbornly stick to their favorite genre, which is like watching only action or romantic comedy movies. That is something that happens much less frequently; though we do see something similar with more niche genres, like zombie flicks, in which the accumulated knowledge of the films you have watched increase your geek factor.
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« Reply #76 on: July 09, 2008, 11:03:51 PM »

Good idea on the spoiler tag, but I don't see any spoiler tags on the menu... if someone can show me where they are I'll edit it.

I haven't seen Persepolis, which I probably should because my mother was born in Iran.

There's a game that sounds similar in effect to it -- I don't actually remember the game's name and I didn't play it for that long. But the idea was that it took the statistics of the world and randomly generated a character for you based on those statistics, and had you live out a life. As an example, because most people were born in the third world, you were likely to be born there too. I remember it giving a good impression of the troubles that still exist everywhere in the world, just through statistics. I think it may have even been featured on the TIGSource front page once, I'm not sure. Though I'm not saying that game had as much impact, it probably doesn't because Persopolis sounds personal and autobiographical and that one was more detached.

Another thing to consider is that the impact of something on someone largely depends on that person. There are probably plenty of people who watched Persopolis and didn't get much out of it, because they didn't allow it to affect them or didn't think about it too deeply. As an example, I recently posted an entry in LiveJournal about the long-term effects of games, and one of my friends (also the writer of our game Immortal Defense) replied with this:

Quote
This is accurate, I think--SOJ, EB, DW4, Lufia 1 all continue to have this weird lingering effect, and had this during the actual process of playing the game. But I think what matters more is the reflection upon the experience once you've had it maybe--which is what I've always liked about RPGs more than any matter of gameplay.

In SOJ: the whole epilogue, Dogero and Mi'la in the mountains
In Lufia 1: returning to Doom island at the end
EB: walking through the Lumine Hall with Ness's thoughts suddenly appearing on screen
DW4: seeing the game's number of sprites and background tiles suddenly double when you get to Zenithian Castle, this moment of endless descent into the "final cave", this sense of accomplishing what earlier seemed impossible
FF4: Going to Silvera and realizing that there's this whole town that has no real reason to exist beyond being a weird fun place to visit, realizing that the joy of RPGs is their construction of free-roaming worlds and experiences (GTA3 way earlier)
FF8: Squall carrying Rinoa on his back across a bridge alone, thinking "I sure have changed" (the one lingering good moment of FF8)

Somehow these moments draw you out of the game, link plot explicitly to whatever a "theme" even is, and translate the game from experience to a memory of experience. I don't know if ID did this or not--probably not, but I have no idea since I never played it "in innocence" or anything. RPGs can do this really well since they have a narrative arc/sense of character growth built into their structure. Your stats grow, and tangibly. Mario Bros. has a "stat growth" feeling, but it's very implicit and based on the player rather than on something internal to the game world. You ARE Mario whereas you understand Ness, see yourself in Ness.

When I read that, what I thought was: I agreed that those games were great and had a long-term impact on me, but the parts that impacted me from each game, the parts that I feel were the best and most notable to remember, for each of those games without exception, were completely different from what he named for himself.

Which brought me to the conclusion that there's a lot more potential impact in games or anything else than most people take advantage of. Which also brought me to the conclusion that if you don't *expect* to be strongly touched by something, you won't be, and if you are, you will be. So is it possible that could be happening with you and games to some extent? Regardless, I think it's true that art is only as powerful as someone lets it be, and that the person's openness to is an important factor.

For the curious these are the parts that I remember best from each of those games:

Quote
SOJ: Mi'la and Katina in the woods in the beginning; Scarf being absorbed by Grinlow; the last town in the game where everyone told you about their weird life stories.
Lufia1: The intro, where that girl died and Maxim stayed there.
EB: Turning into a robot and losing your body, and what that feels like for the party.
DW4: The whole Mara and Nara chapter, about searching for revenge and having no one to help them.
FF4: Rydia saving the party from Golbez, just suddenly appearing with the Mist Dragon.
FF8: Laguna's fumbling attempts at courting Squall's mother.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 11:14:15 PM by rinkuhero » Logged

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« Reply #77 on: July 10, 2008, 12:06:56 AM »

No, I've only become this critical of the medium rather recently. I really look back and see little obtained from playing games, at least intellectually; more novels and films have left me pondering. I play games, but then have trouble defending my playing them. This happens to me with all expressive media; I can't really justify watching Initial D (anime series,) for instance, yet I watched it anyway, fully knowing that it's junk food entertainment, and that I will watch an actually interesting TV series at another time. I just had a lot of trouble finding the 'good' ones when it came to games. Later, I became much more judicious while picking what games to play, but discovered that non-junk food games were scarce.

Actually, most games have some interesting element, but that tiny part is overwhelmed by the rest, almost nullifying it. Call of Duty 4 is often praised for some of its narrative techniques, but then the rest of it is a highly generic WW2 FPS. In any other medium, such a derivative work would not be taken so seriously.
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« Reply #78 on: July 10, 2008, 02:24:02 AM »

I think it'd be tiring to have every part of a work so profound that it makes you stop and think about it, as opposed to just having occasional great parts as highlights. Which is why I can't read Nietzsche or Kafka anymore, it gets taxing to have so much packed into so little space.

If what you mean is more like, games seem to have one or two good ideas but aren't executed with skill in other parts, I'm not sure I agree that the best ones are like that, but to the extent that it's true perhaps that is because games are currently fairly hard to make, they require specialized skills, such as programming, which only a few people have, which cuts off a lot of the artistic types from even attempting to create them. Not that the other types don't require technical mastery -- painting for instance requires a lot of knowledge of color, and composing music a lot of knowledge of harmonies -- but it's considerably easier to get started with those than with game development. As game authoring tools become more sophisticated and easier to use I expect to better games. Some of the better games I've played wouldn't have been possible without such tools, I think Seiklus was made without much code at all (just using Game Maker's drag and drop abilities).
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« Reply #79 on: July 11, 2008, 03:01:06 PM »

Indeed. In some of these 1UP interviews with indie people (I think it was the one with the flOw guys, and maybe the Phil Phish one too) they mentioned how game making is now opening up with the new tools available, and likened the transition to what happened with the film industry when Super 8 cameras came out and suddenly almost everyone could make a movie with a little effort. I think your point about programming is equally important: programmers do not receive creative training as artists or designers do, so it's not surprising that many programmers, who have been the core of those acting as game designers, tend to imitate and build upon rather than disrupt conventions; Miyamoto was an industrial designer when he joined Nintendo, and he was disruptive.

What I meant with my previous post is that most games are like action movies with some food for thought thrown in every now and then at most; I didn't try to imply that games should be Kafkaesque.
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