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jordan_a
8th Jan 2009, 14:46
I was listening to Jonathan Blow (http://braid-game.com/)'s MIGS lecture and at the beginning he speaks about books, movies or music which were really meaningful to the average person (not the game designer) in their childhood.

He then states that this kind of reaction won't generally be possible with video games unless we ask a very young thus impressionable person, who "hasn't seen much of the world yet".

So I'm thinking, do you think that growing prevents us from finding elements that affect the way we're thinking? Is it a coincidence if one gets less emotions playing now than before?

We know video games can deeply inspirate youngsters, be genuinely important to them. But can our media touch grownups? Why is it not as strong as books, movies or music?

jordan_a
8th Jan 2009, 17:09
If you don't have an answer you might want to talk about the games that were special to you and why.

Spyhopping
8th Jan 2009, 18:57
When I was younger I did have more potent emotional reactions from games, but that is true for pretty much everything. Maybe its one of the reasons I was so effected by DX.

Even so, there is so much potential in video games for adults because it is a media that potentially combines part of the story telling of books, beautiful art, music and the excitement of movies. You can explore every tiny detail of a game or just enjoy the experience as a whole and take all of the details for granted. And all the while, a decent game lets you make your own choices about where it is going and at what pace. All of it has the potential to combine to create a very rich experience (potential being the operative word!)

NK007
8th Jan 2009, 19:04
I think video games is the principle reason I am going to be a combat soldier instead of a paper pusher (which I could have easily been). I think that means a pretty profound effect. Ever since I was little I wanted to be a commando soldier, a tank commander, a pilot, a frogman - if I could all of those. I may not be elite but I always knew, since the first time I played Commandos and Rainbow Six that I was gonna be in combat.

K^2
8th Jan 2009, 20:41
I was so effected by DX.
I enjoy usage errors like that. They give a sentence a whole new meaning.

I think video games is the principle reason I am going to be a combat soldier
Holly crap, Jack Thompson was right. Video games do kill people.

Video games are a new medium. They don't affect people the same as books or movies only because they haven't quite found their niche yet. Imagine a world where the quality of a book is judged by how fine the paper is. Once we get over this, games will be roughly the same part of peoples lives as books and movies are. For better or for worse.

Blade_hunter
8th Jan 2009, 22:34
I think games is a mean to discover parallel worlds by the imagination of some game makers, and DX has the most interesting parallel world

rhalibus
8th Jan 2009, 23:24
I play computer games for the same reason I watch movies or read books: to be immersed temporarily in a different world. Most of the games I play are 1st person (Bioshock, Farcry 2, STALKER) and slightly RPGish...Deus Ex actually changed my life direction a bit in my appreciation of this new medium's potential; too bad so few games have been made from the DX model...

iWait
9th Jan 2009, 00:23
How many people do you know that read books regularly?
Most people I know (Who are usually less intelligent than me) don't read books because they are "boring." They get their kicks watching movies for the action scene, the cheap joke, the almost sex scene, and play video games for the same reason. Deus Ex didn't sell well, neither did S.T.A.L.K.E.R, neither did A Clockwork Orange or The Dark Tower Series.
Intelligent works with a perspective different than yours are the things that change your life. Movies and games are limited in that aspect (and so are books to a degree, damn editors), since nobody will pay to watch an 8-hour epic about giant sand worms and Spice. Movies and games are usually short, and fit to their target audiences (usually not intellectuals that appreciate Great Expectations).

Woah, I just realized how fast this forum goes now, did we gain 20 new people or something?

SageSavage
9th Jan 2009, 01:08
Well, every medium offers quite a number of gems burried within a gigantic pile of trash. Thanks to the internet, everybody can find the good stuff quite easily. You have to be a fool to not enjoy the best of all worlds.

Apart from the fact that each medium has it's special advantages, I think books will continue to offer the highest output of unique and interesting stories because

- it's the cheapest medium (virtually no production costs until it actually get's published) = not many compromises needed
- it's the oldest medium = big back catalogue and plenty of experience
- it remains very powerful because it leaves a lot to the reader's own imagination - something that good movies and games can only achieve with a much greater effort and by using workarounds)
- people simply want great stories - no matter how or via which medium. As long as there are great books, there will be people reading them.

dixieflatline
9th Jan 2009, 01:20
Hmm interesting question.

I have different take on it, I think. I would say that a large reason why people develop a stronger emotional bond, more often, than with books and movies than games is about characters.

For most games, gameplay is the #1 thing they are striving for. Gameplay is important, of course -- but I don't need to say that you can't get too emotionally attached to good gameplay. Not as easily as you can get emotionally attached to a good character, plot or story.

Maybe I'm just talking about personal experience. But the games most memorable for me, are generally the ones that had damn good stories; or they were RPGs that had a good enough illusion going to make me think that I sort of made a special or unique character in the game, that I grew attached to. Fallout 1/2 are good examples of this for me.

And say some one has an emotional bond with the game, uh, NHL 2000. I'd bet that emotional bond is there not because the gameplay was good (or not), it's because thinking of the game brings back memories of playing with there good buddies at the time, or perhaps playing a season only to have erased by your mom by accident.

Emotional bonds are most easily made with things that can give emotions back; like people -- be them real, or imaginary.

That's why I really appreciate game companies such as Bioware that hire big groups of writers. They understand that a good story is as important as a good interface, the latest graphics, or 5.1 stereo sound or any other facet of a game.

FrankCSIS
9th Jan 2009, 04:48
It's hard to tell, and therefor rather presumptuous of Mr Blow, because we have so little history to analyse and go by. The vast majority of players today either started playing as kids or are still kids as we speak. Many "grown ups" who gave it a try as adults were turned off the same way my grandfather was turned off by his first contact with the ATM, or my mother who couldn't possibly understand what I saw into The Simpsons when it was still in its second season. Like those two examples though, there are also several adults who recognised the potential of games and craved in. I know of quite a few seniors who were completely sucked in by a few adventure games.

The medium is about as young as the oldest of us here, and to be fair, it hasn't seen much of the world itself. In a way, it is true that we probably aren't as touched or influenced by games as we grow older, but the main reason is quite simply because the game remained at the same age level while most of us aged up. Movies, books, cartoons, comics, music, they're all arts that had the time to age and can now reach out to people of any age. I don't think twenty years ago many of us, or our parents, would imagine 45 year olds watching Saturday morning cartoons, but the medium has evolved so much in such a short amount of time that some of the best movies and tv shows are now either cartoons or started as comics.

Most developers are either limited by hardware or don't quite grasp the actual purpose of games yet. With a few extremely respectable exceptions, games are not approached like the natural evolution of movies, or another of the major art forms. The other trouble being that we don't have a specific class of artists specifically groomed for games. We have visual artists, we have voice actors, we have musician and composers, but we have yet to define or even find a name for those who's art would be video game making. A lot of various hired guns from different disciplines and arts, but not a whole new class of artists.

The medium also greatly lacks the equivalent of a director. Producers we have a plenty now, seasoned ones too, but there are so few actual directors that the exception doesn't really grant to be recognised. Perhaps this director and the new class of artist would be one and the same, who knows.

The result are games that start from an engine and get a story attached to it, generally for good measure. Features added on here and there, impressive visuals and some good musical scores. Even if the story is good, there's still an inherent problem; The game was built around its tool, instead of tools being used and tailored to fit the game. It's the only art form I know that picks its instrument as the foundation to build on instead of seeing them as the mean to achieve it. Ever heard of a director who built a crane camera before he knew what he'd do with it, or a musician who decided he'd write a piano masterpiece before having a single note in mind? I'm sure some tried, but we most likely never heard of them, because that's simply not how its done.

Give it time though, that's all I have to say. This art has the potential to blow everything else, especially movies, completely out of the water.

As for being impressed as kids, I can testify, like many here I'm sure, that there are games out there that influenced me just as much as my first movies or books, so you can scratch that too.

iWait
9th Jan 2009, 05:13
As for games that had an emotional effect on me, Pac-Man had the greatest impact on me. I realized that my goal in life was to collect those tiny white circles, while running from those ghosts, sometimes we come across caek that lets us turn the tables on those ghosts, but they always come back. If things are looking ****ty on this side, go through the tube and come out on the other side of the screen, but pretty soon the situation there's gonna look pretty ******* similar. And just when things are getting good, you slip up and have to insert another quarter, but you don't have any more quarters, so you have to leave the arcade and it's cold outside and you left your jacket at your apartment and you don't have bus fare 'cause you spent it all on damn Pac-Man so you have to walk back home now, but when it's all said and done you're pretty happy 'cause you had the third highest score, and not many people can beat you, except that one nerdy kid, but **** him right? His dad's rich and gives him all the quarters he wants along with his tuition for Harvard, he doesn't even work, he just goes home to daddy, and those ghosts chasing you? Sho sholly, Charlah, but nobodies gonna help you out with those, they've got their own ghost, 'cept that one nerdy kid, his dad makes all his ghosts ******* dissapear, nobody ever sees those ghosts on the screen ever again.

And that's why I love Pac-Man

NK007
9th Jan 2009, 06:15
As for games that had an emotional effect on me, Pac-Man had the greatest impact on me. I realized that my goal in life was to collect those tiny white circles, while running from those ghosts, sometimes we come across caek that lets us turn the tables on those ghosts, but they always come back. If things are looking ****ty on this side, go through the tube and come out on the other side of the screen, but pretty soon the situation there's gonna look pretty ******* similar. And just when things are getting good, you slip up and have to insert another quarter, but you don't have any more quarters, so you have to leave the arcade and it's cold outside and you left your jacket at your apartment and you don't have bus fare 'cause you spent it all on damn Pac-Man so you have to walk back home now, but when it's all said and done you're pretty happy 'cause you had the third highest score, and not many people can beat you, except that one nerdy kid, but **** him right? His dad's rich and gives him all the quarters he wants along with his tuition for Harvard, he doesn't even work, he just goes home to daddy, and those ghosts chasing you? Sho sholly, Charlah, but nobodies gonna help you out with those, they've got their own ghost, 'cept that one nerdy kid, his dad makes all his ghosts ******* dissapear, nobody ever sees those ghosts on the screen ever again.

And that's why I love Pac-Man

While funny, and I have no idea if you're making fun of me specifically, I can find no other reason. I could have easily been a paper pusher or even a support type (still nowhere near the field) in a country where combat service is getting looked down upon more and more in the last years. I can not bare the thought of being in the army and not being combative. I started thinking about it and realized that, I had no real direction to go be a combat soldier from friends or family, so I realized it must have been another source entirely.

I would also like to add how much the age of gamers has grown. I remember when I was a kid of 11-12 years old that adults playing games was seriously frowned upon. My brother who was already married got a PSX and my mom laughed at him! Nowadays, there seem to be even more adult gamers than teenagers.

iWait
9th Jan 2009, 07:22
While funny, and I have no idea if you're making fun of me specifically, I can find no other reason. I could have easily been a paper pusher or even a support type (still nowhere near the field) in a country where combat service is getting looked down upon more and more in the last years. I can not bare the thought of being in the army and not being combative. I started thinking about it and realized that, I had no real direction to go be a combat soldier from friends or family, so I realized it must have been another source entirely.

No, I wasn't making fun of you, I was being completely serious. Think about it, Pac-Man is the perfect analogy to life, 98% of people's goals are to make money, so we run around hectically doing this and that trying to get money. Then all of a sudden Fred is being a real ass trying to steal your job, so look, you found a battery at your local shady dealer, and that speed you bought may accidentally have dropped into Fred's morning coffee, so the next time he gets drug tested at the company you work for– BAM!–Ghost vanishes. The rest was also true, but in a different way.

I find it sad how many people look down upon the armed forces. At least it's not as bad as Vietnam. Imagine a bunch of shellshocked soldiers coming home, expecting some peace, to find drugged up hippies calling them murderers and child killers. Oh yeah, well you might been inclined to kill that 11 year old Vietcong kid too if you just saw him shoot your best friend to pieces. Well, actually you probably wouldn't, seeing as your a drugged-up hippy that thinks the flowers are singing to him.

Laputin Man
9th Jan 2009, 07:43
No, I wasn't making fun of you, I was being completely serious. Think about it, Pac-Man is the perfect analogy to life, 98% of people's goals are to make money, so we run around hectically doing this and that trying to get money. Then all of a sudden Fred is being a real ass trying to steal your job, so look, you found a battery at your local shady dealer, and that speed you bought may accidentally have dropped into Fred's morning coffee, so the next time he gets drug tested at the company you work for– BAM!–Ghost vanishes. The rest was also true, but in a different way.

I find it sad how many people look down upon the armed forces. At least it's not as bad as Vietnam. Imagine a bunch of shellshocked soldiers coming home, expecting some peace, to find drugged up hippies calling them murderers and child killers. Oh yeah, well you might been inclined to kill that 11 year old Vietcong kid too if you just saw him shoot your best friend to pieces. Well, actually you probably wouldn't, seeing as your a drugged-up hippy that thinks the flowers are singing to him.

That is terrible, what did Fred do to deserve that? Poor jobless Fred :(

NK007
9th Jan 2009, 07:51
I'm sorry to go offtopic, but I just agree with you so much. People nowadays seem reluctant to address terrorism as a serious issue and sort of hope that it will fade away if they bury their heads in the sand. I can't help but want to be in combat right now as I see my countrymen get bombarded and my country being called Nazis and such for protecting the citizens. Still, I can't help think if I was on the other side I would want to fight too. Hell, I assume if I was a German born in the 1910's I'd kill to be in the Waffen SS. It's this feeling I can't explain, but I think MGS 2 sort of made it clear to me with the whole "videogames as war. What better way to train soldiers?". Having spent a majority of my youth playing videogames was a shaping experience to say the least... Although I can't decide if it's good or bad, that's just how it happened. I wouldn't be surprised, as games get more and more realistic and resemble real life in graphics (I made a nice transition back on topic here), this phenomenon will start to actually take hold.

I'm not talking about the whole Jack Thompson "videogames make you kill people" bull****, but I guess I have the right mind to know if I have to kill someone, I'd better do it legally and with moral justification. I guess he has some ground for that saying, but those are just a catalyst, sort of like John Lennon's killer being affected by Catcher in the Rye.

Wow... tl;dr

K^2
9th Jan 2009, 08:16
NK007, terrorism is probably the only issue that can go away if people start ignoring it. Purpose of terrorism is to scare people. If people don't notice it, they aren't scared of it. Ergo, terrorism doesn't work.

It's when entire country goes into panic, airport security becomes a nightmare, you have to get a ton of extra papers to have anything done, and government is passing laws that take away your rights - this is when terrorists win. This is their goal, and they are successful. If people simply don't care, terrorists lose.

Terrorists attempt to create an impression that nobody is safe anywhere by having random groups of people killed. Well, nobody's safe anyways. You could die in a car crash. Your plane might fall without a bomb on it. You might get shot for a $20 in your wallet in some dark alley. Heck, a lightning might strike you down. All of these things, combined, are far more likely than you dying because of a terrorist attack. So forget it. Live your life like it doesn't matter. Because it doesn't.

I'm not saying counter-terrorism shouldn't exist at all. But it shouldn't be something on the nation's mind. And it shouldn't become inconvenience in day-to-day life. It most certainly shouldn't become inconvenience that strips me of my rights. When I go onto an airplane and I have to take off my coat, my shoes, make sure I don't have any liquids with me, pull out all electronics and put them on a separate tray... If you ever travel, you know the drill. That is an inconvenience. I'd rather have a tiny little chance that somebody did manage to bring in a bomb on board. Because if I accept that small chance, terrorists lose. And if I'm afraid, and ask for everyone to be throughly searched, terrorists won, and they didn't even have to waste a bomb.

So yeah. Terrorism should be ignored, and only then will it go away. As long as people are afraid, terrorism will grow only stronger.

spm1138
9th Jan 2009, 11:57
When I think about the books and films that I consider "meaningful" they usually tackle the big stuff or at least make me think hard about the small stuff.

I mean it's a work of fiction but you come away from it feeling like the author has expressed something real and true about life or about human nature that resonates (blimey, I'm pretentious this morning).

Most games don't get anywhere near that stuff. Most games are not even trying. A few are trying, which I always think is awesome.

Generally though the storytelling and characters are pretty clumsy or just not really the point. It's pulpy b-movie action with lots of cliches to make it easily understandable and the point is the adolescent power fantasy.

For example Gears of War was very carefully calculated to be the most awesome thing in the world for a 13 year old. Seriously. I read an interview with one of the designers where he said as much.

Look at that thread about love stories in games. There's just no faith that videogames can properly handle that stuff yet and generally I'd agree.

Deus Ex is one of the few games I've come to appreciate more as I get older I think, mostly because of the ending and it's discussion of power and free will and whatnot.

I dunno. There's nothing wrong with games being fun and escapist but if meaningful is the goal then the writing has to get a lot more ambitious and design has to move beyond paradigms that aren't really suited to that stuff. "You man with gun shoot aliens" isn't going to give us our Citizen Kane any time soon :D

edit

I think video games is the principle reason I am going to be a combat soldier instead of a paper pusher (which I could have easily been). I think that means a pretty profound effect. Ever since I was little I wanted to be a commando soldier, a tank commander, a pilot, a frogman - if I could all of those. I may not be elite but I always knew, since the first time I played Commandos and Rainbow Six that I was gonna be in combat.

I've been trying to think of a response to this that doesn't just sound like I'm taking the mick out of you because honestly this is such a stupid statement I don't really know where to start.

I give up :scratch:

NK007
9th Jan 2009, 12:21
It's definitely the fact that it's an interactive art that affects. Books cannot get away with having crappy stories because that's what matters. Movies can sometimes get away with a crappy story because of sex scenes or cool effects, but even then people with average intelligence can distinguish what makes a good movie. Games can get away with it a lot of times because, honestly, what matters here is the gameplay. Would you prefer to play a crappy game with a good story, or a good game with a crap story? I know I'll always prefer gameplay, and there is definitely more than enough stuff to qualify level design and game design as art forms. However it sometimes becomes a problem to get attached to a character that cannot die, and the in-game cutscenes actually break the immersion. That's where the problem comes, I think: incorporating the story into the gameplay... It's not a just-watch or just-read medium, you have to mess about with the world, try the limits of the game, etc. The games that actually manage to combine the good story with good gameplay and not break the immersion of the two are the excellent games (i.e. Deus Ex, Half Life, etc.) and are those that are remembered.




NK007, terrorism is probably the only issue that can go away if people start ignoring it. Purpose of terrorism is to scare people. If people don't notice it, they aren't scared of it. Ergo, terrorism doesn't work.

It's when entire country goes into panic, airport security becomes a nightmare, you have to get a ton of extra papers to have anything done, and government is passing laws that take away your rights - this is when terrorists win. This is their goal, and they are successful. If people simply don't care, terrorists lose.

Terrorists attempt to create an impression that nobody is safe anywhere by having random groups of people killed. Well, nobody's safe anyways. You could die in a car crash. Your plane might fall without a bomb on it. You might get shot for a $20 in your wallet in some dark alley. Heck, a lightning might strike you down. All of these things, combined, are far more likely than you dying because of a terrorist attack. So forget it. Live your life like it doesn't matter. Because it doesn't.

I'm not saying counter-terrorism shouldn't exist at all. But it shouldn't be something on the nation's mind. And it shouldn't become inconvenience in day-to-day life. It most certainly shouldn't become inconvenience that strips me of my rights. When I go onto an airplane and I have to take off my coat, my shoes, make sure I don't have any liquids with me, pull out all electronics and put them on a separate tray... If you ever travel, you know the drill. That is an inconvenience. I'd rather have a tiny little chance that somebody did manage to bring in a bomb on board. Because if I accept that small chance, terrorists lose. And if I'm afraid, and ask for everyone to be throughly searched, terrorists won, and they didn't even have to waste a bomb.

So yeah. Terrorism should be ignored, and only then will it go away. As long as people are afraid, terrorism will grow only stronger.

That is quite an honest answer I guess, but by that view I assume neither you or your family have never been prone to an actual terror threat. I would love to hear you say the same after you are on actual plane and the terrorist has a bomb, shot someone near you, is holding a gun in the air and the his finger is on the trigger to blow himself and the entire plane into the ocean (God forbid). Now, I honestly do not care if the government comes and checks my email and internet messages and phone calls, because if that is what keeps me safe then so be it. I fully agree that when it comes to arrests if you are against the current PM\president\party\whatever or anything similiar it is way off, and that is hypocritical of a democratic state to do this, but if you're not a terrorist, why should you care?

When you're used to it enough, so yeah, you go to the city center despite bomb alerts, because you have to and because just sit around all day. But you pay attention to alarms and you don't go near crowded places and you notice strange things like big coats on a summer day or a person that is nervous and sweaty for no reason. But if you take 5 minutes off your time to make sure you're going to land safely in your destination, so what? I see things like airport security as important as aircraft maintenance.

Terrorists don't usually just want to scare people, they want to scare people into doing something. So, you can get scared, and be cautious, it's just human. But when you start ignoring the threat and you keep inching ever closer to actually being killed by a terrorist attack, your lack of response just goes to show the terrorists they can get away with worse and worse things, until they can actually make a bloody coup and get whatever they want.

NK007
9th Jan 2009, 12:22
I've been trying to think of a response to this that doesn't just sound like I'm taking the mick out of you because honestly this is such a stupid statement I don't really know where to start.

I give up :scratch:

Give it your best shot. And yes I know it's not the same. So go ahead.

SageSavage
9th Jan 2009, 13:03
That is quite an honest answer I guess, but by that view I assume neither you or your family have never been prone to an actual terror threat. I would love to hear you say the same after you are on actual plane and the terrorist has a bomb, shot someone near you, is holding a gun in the air and the his finger is on the trigger to blow himself and the entire plane into the ocean (God forbid).

If you are personally affected (survived an assault, lost a loved one etc) by a crime/terror you mustn't be envolved with the prosecution - that's one of the most important principles of all states of law!

I agree with K^2, terror grows when it's fought with terror.


Now, I honestly do not care if the government comes and checks my email and internet messages and phone calls, because if that is what keeps me safe then so be it. I fully agree that when it comes to arrests if you are against the current PM\president\party\whatever or anything similiar it is way off, and that is hypocritical of a democratic state to do this, but if you're not a terrorist, why should you care?

Because large organisations / governments can and should never be fully trusted - history taught us this lesson countless times. You have to be very naive or indoctrinated to believe anything else. It's the combination of power (aka money aka influence aka connections) and (semi-)anonymity that makes them dangerous because greed seems to be inherent to mankind - to some extend.

Btw: it's a myth that surveillance protects people. There are several studies (especially about CCTV in England) to back this statement up. There are also many studies that clearly show that people change their behaviour when they are under surveillance, even when they are not guilty of anything and even when they are only subconsciously aware of the surveillance. Surveilling the general public means contantly suspecting everybody. Is that how states of law should operate? And for what? There aren't even any actual positive effects - like crime/terror prevention, criminals and terrorists simply change their patterns a little bit.

spm1138
9th Jan 2009, 14:28
Now, I honestly do not care if the government comes and checks my email and internet messages and phone calls, because if that is what keeps me safe then so be it.

It won't. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_bomber_will_always_get_through)

K^2
9th Jan 2009, 14:45
That is quite an honest answer I guess, but by that view I assume neither you or your family have never been prone to an actual terror threat. I would love to hear you say the same after you are on actual plane and the terrorist has a bomb, shot someone near you, is holding a gun in the air and the his finger is on the trigger to blow himself and the entire plane into the ocean (God forbid).
I can tell you that I was in a situation where I was about to die a couple of times. Once when a car lost control on a freeway, once under water. I have also had a few situations where it seemed like that was the case at the moment, but it later turned out not to be so bad.

With that in mind, I can tell you precisely what my actions would be. I would assault the terrorists on board. Presuming I survive, I would attempt to disarm the bomb if it appears to have a timer. Presuming I survive that, I would proceed to the cockpit and put the plane on course to the nearest airport. I have just enough training in all of the required to give me a fighting chance.

But even if I was to know that I'm bound to fail, I would not change my mind on the topic. Life in fear isn't worth living. I've knowingly put my life in a managed risk a number of times, and I am glad I did. I've had experiences because of it that few others have had. And that's the thing that really matters about life.

By the way, the thing about Jack Thompson was a joke, mostly. As you probably know , in every joke there is a fraction of truth (or fraction of joke, depending on the telling). If video games are the only reason you want to go into infantry, you'll probably get killed and get no satisfaction in return. It'd be wise to reconsider. But if games merely helped you realize that it is what you want to do, and it really is what you want to do, then hey, I'm the last person to try and stop you. I'm learning to fly for a similar reason. And if it wasn't for all these WWII fighter sims, I probably would never payed the amount of money it took for me to pilot a 1945 T6 Texan. If you never pulled 3Gs on a 60 year old plane going over 200 miles per hour, you have not lived.

Joseph Manderley's Corpse
9th Jan 2009, 14:55
I see it as a hobby, like golf or model trains.

Computer games, from solitaire to DX3, should be taken for what they are...games...entertainment. No different than checkers or chess, just delivered by a different media.

K^2
9th Jan 2009, 15:11
Maybe they should, but they don't necessarily are. I mean, books are the same way. They are just books, right? But if you need an example of how a book can be taken as something more and change the world, just look at Bible or any number of other holly books.

I don't see why a game cannot become a center of some religion in a few hundred odd years.

SageSavage
9th Jan 2009, 15:21
I don't see why a game cannot become a center of some religion in a few hundred odd years.
http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/neuromancer/screenshots/gameShotId,72195/

InGroove2
9th Jan 2009, 16:34
i think that there is a simpler aspect to this that hadn't been touched on much...

just that they're games. most adults BARELY have the time to be affected by movies... i think the very premise of not only having to sit down and get immersed in something, that they would have to learn the mechanics of the game, the controls how to use the game in everyway. i think alot of it is simply time.

my brother, with 3 kids a wife a house job the whole 9... he still palys games as much as i do, i'm ten years younger i just got engaged and live with my fiance and her daughter (my soon to be sted daughter... which makes me really happy...), i still have a huge desire to play games, find games.

this is because my brother and i are already experienced in figuroung out game and game mechanics.

also the pereption that people have, muich like the perception of rock music at it's birth, was that it was useless and frivolous.... i think the perception of games need to change on a larger scale. this is a result of many things. one big one is the sports game and mindless FPS games that attract meatheads... err... people with no interest in being "affected". it's a huge part of the market.

games like DX and MYST games revolutionized the industry to an extent.. but their ideals will be homogenized into the mainstream.

ultimately it just takes time for the whole market to get big enough and accesible enough for their to be, almost a niche adult market for games.

El_Bel
9th Jan 2009, 16:40
I'm sorry to go offtopic, but I just agree with you so much. People nowadays seem reluctant to address terrorism as a serious issue and sort of hope that it will fade away if they bury their heads in the sand. I can't help but want to be in combat right now as I see my countrymen get bombarded and my country being called Nazis and such for protecting the citizens.


You cant fight ideas with bulets.
What about stop installing dictators around the world, stop going to other countries and bombing the **** out of them, throwing bombs and bullets made of depleted uranium, that not only poison the countries you go in but your allies (greece is hurt from the Balkan wars). Than take back all your soldiers from around the world, yes from all the 300+ bases you have, guard your borders and within six months, problem is solved.
Now if you want to fight, gather some other people who want to die and create a tournament or something. The rest of the world doesnt need to pay for your madness.

NK007
9th Jan 2009, 17:05
A bit of final offtopic as I can see it getting closed again by now:
- Many researches have been done. Including that games are violent, games cause you to be stupid, games make you axe your mother in her sleep, etc. (a good point for on topic too). On the flipside, there are many events of security actually stopping terrorism. Security over privacy any days, sers.
- Today's governments in democratic states are under constant surveillence and battering by the media anyway, and yes while they are definitely not golden boys of conscience, they mostly do a good job of keeping me safe, so I'm happy (my gv. anyway).
- K^2, while I don't doubt you, this is the internet. I would like to know, on your behalf, and you can PM me if you don't want to continue this OT, where do you have the training to assault a terrorist with your barehands, diffuse a live bomb and land a commercial jet.

No more OT fur mich.

Games around religion? I think that is a tiny bit exaggerated. I don't think games can ever come close to being that important, or anything else for that matter. I'm sure that's what many movie enthusiasts thought when they were talking about movies in the olden days. Also, being inspired and driven to do something by games, is, as far as I'm concerned, just the same as being inspired by books or movies or any other medium. It's a legitimate medium to be inspired by. And I also think it is better to be inspired by games to go out and do something rather than being inspired to replay on a harder difficulty level and collect all hidden chicken heads or something.

I never thought of the whole "games are more complex" argument and how adults don't have time. But then again, I think nowadays people are way more skeptic of anything. It's much harder for people to be affected if they're state of mind is constant scrutiny. Most religious people are people who grew up from day 1 with a belief instilled by their parents (extreme example again, I know). Still, if you would tell me 10 years ago that I would be playing with my 53 year old neighbor on the PS2 and he would be kicking my ass, I would laugh in your face. That's a huge step up. But maybe it's the tendance for simplification in games recently that's causing, so that's not so good.

Spyhopping
9th Jan 2009, 20:01
Jack of all trades, master of none

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 01:21
That's where the problem comes, I think: incorporating the story into the gameplay... It's not a just-watch or just-read medium, you have to mess about with the world, try the limits of the game, etc. The games that actually manage to combine the good story with good gameplay and not break the immersion of the two are the excellent games (i.e. Deus Ex, Half Life, etc.) and are those that are remembered.

I've been advocating for a while now, as well as in my previous post, although perhaps clumsily, the necessity to build the engine, or gameplay in general, around the story, instead of simply attaching a story to gameplay elements.

Because I remain convinced in the end that the games we remember are those that got us immersed, and that story is mainly what creates the immersion. Gameplay is of course important, essential even, but it should be built to reflect and serve the story in its very architecture to ensure complete cohesion of the medium.

As someone else mentioned earlier, the only other games we remember, such as Mario Kart or NHL 94 are those we spent playing around friends and family, the same way I think fondly of Risk or Monopoly.

SageSavage
10th Jan 2009, 01:34
Actually there are different types of SP-games and not all are storydriven. Think of Solitair or Tetris...

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 01:53
Sure not all games are story-driven. I think as fondly of Solitaire as I do of the actual game with physical cards though. Tetris, as far as I'm concerned, was only truly fun when played with or against others, or to compare our scores. Hell, one of the best feature for Tetris was the ability to connect our Gameboys together. I believe, but correct me if I'm wrong, that the first game compatible with the technology was in fact Tetris. When you think about it, the biggest reason that ever kept us playing an arcade game was the damn Highest Score flashing before our eyes at the end of each games. Sure the gameplay was fun, but what really made you coming back? And to be honnest, if you've ever spent time in the glorious days of arcades, what do you remember of it? The only games I can think of and associate with real fun memories were Lethal Enforcers, House of the Dead, Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter, and those were mainly two-player games.

I'll grant that much like most single player platform games however, there is an interesting element of competition against ourselves, but I don't know just how memorable they truly are. Most of my memories of NES, Sega Master System or SNES go back to the people I was either with at the time or to the stories we exchanged about games played alone. Even in more recent history, Golden Eye, for all its single player glory, is only remembered for the countless hours spent together in a basement with a carton taped to the TV to split the giant screen in two teams hidden from one another. In comparison and coming out at the same time, Grim Fandango is a game I will always remember and cherish for its outstanding story, absolute beauty and glorious soundtrack and voice acting.

iWait
10th Jan 2009, 02:17
Maybe they should, but they don't necessarily are. I mean, books are the same way. They are just books, right? But if you need an example of how a book can be taken as something more and change the world, just look at Bible or any number of other holly books.

I don't see why a game cannot become a center of some religion in a few hundred odd years.

The reason this is not plausible is because the Bible is a mish-mash of confused moral stories and pointless acts of ultimate nothing-ness.
Imagine trying to fit the real story of the bible (and by this I don't mean the edited Vatican-approved scrapbook bible your priest hands out) into a movie. You'd have countless contradictions-one scene may show God murdering everyone's firstborn, the next God's son saying Love mah pappy cause he loves you! But that's just the bible. Nobody would want to watch a movie with a religion centered around it-let alone a game. Unless it's Pac-Man of course.


Also- The war on terror isn't a war on terror, we're not fighting ideas with bullets. We're doing the best we can to kill the people who have radical anti-American ideals and will take action against us, while still being bound by international treaties and the support of the populace. It won't work, and it will never work as long as we deny the fact that we are not fighting a country or a group, but individuals.

Also Also- I love when people get all freaked out over wiretapping and the like. It's as if they think George Bush himself is reading their e-mails and telephone conversations, reading them aloud and laughing with the devil. In truth, computers scan for keywords such as: Bomb, U.S. landmark name, carbomb, suicide, kill, murder, infidel, atheist, American, Christian, Jihad, gun, suitcase, nuclear, nuke, biological, and whatnot. If enough keywords from certain catagories are found in one conversation or e-mail, some government employee who seriously doesn't give a **** about you (let alone know your name) reads it and decides if you want to bomb Disneyland or not. Yes, the government doesn't have the right to do it, but neither do they have the right to ban any substance for personal use, any vehicle, and type of house, or any type of condiments to go with your All-American (But came from Taiwan) hotdog.

K^2
10th Jan 2009, 02:20
I've been advocating for a while now, as well as in my previous post, although perhaps clumsily, the necessity to build the engine, or gameplay in general, around the story, instead of simply attaching a story to gameplay elements.
I partially agree with it. But only partially. Engine shouldn't be built around the story. However, any good story has a complex world behind it. The world in which the story takes place is what the engine should be built around.

If that is done, then the process of making the story come alive is just a matter of populating the world with well written characters. If the world comes first, the characters are placed in it, and only then the story is weaved in, the game will have capability to really draw you in. If you start with a story, make characters for it, and then try to build a world around that, it will feel like a cheap movie stage all the way through.

Spyhopping
10th Jan 2009, 02:32
Here is a relevant opinion: games will eclipse other media
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7821612.stm

"Video games are poised to eclipse all other forms of entertainment in the decade ahead,"... "Games are no longer pre-set trips through linear mazes," said Mr Griffith. "They are becoming a legitimate story-telling medium that rivals feature films." :)

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 02:37
It's kinda hard to put what I mean into words because of the lack of reality portraying the concept, but I think we're essentially saying the same thing. By story I don't really mean the script, the same way for me a movie is not a collection of lines said aloud combined with images passing before our eyes. By story I mean the the whole thing, from script to characters to the actual universe it takes place in.

In the end, what I ultimately ask for is true synergy between the gameplay and, as you put it, the world, or the universe of the game, and to me that can only be achieved if the engine, or gameplay, is built around it in its architecture. The Wii, to a very, very limited extent, has started to do so, with a game like World of Goo. Arguably though, the game was designed for the Wii gameplay, not the other way around. The end effect is a very primitive example of what I expect to see in the future.

Of course you can't really build a console around each game. Well, that's what arcades did, in a way. They're probably the games that had the best gameplay to world ratio when you think about it. Consoles sort of screw that up. Should we use the engine the way we used the physical arcade machines though, and build them to serve the world, we'd be back in business and in the right direction.

SageSavage
10th Jan 2009, 02:40
Great games might eclipse great movies or books in their emotional impact but because of the extreme production costs for AAA-games there will always be a big market for good stories told via text only.

K^2
10th Jan 2009, 02:44
It might seem like semantics to you, but story includes a lot of elements around which the engine should not be built. The world must be made complex enough to support these elements. Let me give you an example.

Say you have a story where an important character is a pyrokinetic mage that can cast fireballs. Very many developers build the engine to include that character as an exception. And the fireballs end up even more of an exception. What it means that if later you want to write a sequel with another fiery mage, you're in trouble. But even without that, you will have a bunch of problems with testing, debugging, etc.

Instead, the world should be written from start to support fiery magic and characters who could cast them. Then you put in your fire mage character as having such ability. And then if you want to add more of these, you are free to do so.


there will always be a big market for good stories told via text only.
People should start making text adventures again. Maybe put them in digital book form, or something.

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 02:53
I'm just worried about how much you can put into an engine and then have someone use it for entirely different purposes later on because it is supposedly so flexible. How long would it take before someone saw your engine with fiery magicians and figured they could adapt it to a horror-surviving game without too much pain?

GTA 4, for example, had a terrible engine for what it claimed to be trying to achieve. Even Vice City, no matter how enjoying it might have been, greatly suffered from the GTA 3 engine (or which ever was used to build GTA 3) because of the emphasis it tried to put on the story. The engine simply couldn't support a story in its very architecture, but it did support the car chasing world it was set in. In comparison, GTA 1, which was unique, was perfectly adapted to what it tried to achieve, and a better game as far as gameplay is concerned. Trouble is, it had no story nor could it support it in its architecture.

See where I'm getting or do I still suck at wording my thoughts?

K^2
10th Jan 2009, 07:00
I see where you are going with this. And my answer is simply that stories set in different worlds shouldn't use the same engine. GTA 3 and Vice City aren't set in the same world, from my perspective. They might be the same universe with interleaving characters, but the fact that the mood is very different is enough for them to be entirely different game worlds. Take a look at conversions like State of Liberty for San Andreas. They make my point perfectly clear.

And GTA IV was a poorly built game. Yes, knocking pedestrians off their feet was fun for the first 5 minutes. But I'd rather have a game that was fun for weeks. I still play VC and SA occasionally. I've never bothered to buy IV for PC after my PS3 got stolen.

GmanPro
10th Jan 2009, 07:03
Somebody physically made off with your PS3? Wow, that sucks...

Maybe its a sign not to waste your money on stupid consoles :whistle:

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 07:26
Then I definitely agree. I still think the difference between what we are both saying is very thin though. What would prevent a company from re-using their engines if they consider them to be of the relatively same world, the way the GTA franchise did? I'm sure it made perfect sense for them, monetarily but also as far as the gameplay is concerned.

Where are you supposed to draw the line if not from varying story elements?

GTA IV was probably the closest to 3/Liberty City, and yet its engine was clumsy and extremely inappropriate, even more so than it felt for 3. Wasn't the story the biggest difference between the two? I definitely think they weren't the same world, personally, but I'm curious to see exactly what would constitute the same world. An expansion pack perhaps? Even in that case I wouldn't take a chance and adapt it to fit the need of my story, should it evolve in a different direction of course.

I guess what I'm saying is that if the story/world is truly at the center of your game than an engine would never feel completely appropriate should the story change, even if the world is similar. Or actually, I see the story as so closely related that I wonder exactly how the world itself wouldn't change, if the story did. Even direct sequels in movies see their world changing from one title to the other. That's pretty much the essence of a sequel. Familiar elements for certain, but still several variations. General techniques could remain in the engine, but I still feel they would call for a remodel.

Come to think of it, I'm pretty biased though. I wouldn't exactly consider myself a writer, but perhaps a story-teller, in the sense that I'm constantly plagued with stories that pop into my mind. When such a thing does occur, in the creating process, should I dare call it this way, the world/context/universe/ensemble always comes with and completes the story that is spawned for no apparent reasons. I can't seem to dissociate the two and I doubt I could ever write or imagine a sequel to anything. With this process in mind, I have a hard time figuring how I could re-use an engine. Like I said though, that's my bias. It's entirely possible that you could, should your thoughts have a different mechanics than mine. After all, we did argue endlessly on our visions of AI!

K^2
10th Jan 2009, 08:13
My view on it is that you have to create, as a concept, the world separate from the story. There are many writers who do that. They first come up with all the rules for the world, with some idea of what they want to happen inside, and then they create several stories within that world. Some things might change from book to book, but they tend to be minor additions.

That's how a game world should be approached. If you think there will be sequels/expansions, you should get at least a rough outline of what they will be in advance. Then build a world that houses all of these stories comfortably with no contradictions.

There is also something to be said about modular build of the world. There are ways to build an engine so that it can be expanded easily. Then really you get a new engine for a different story, but you don't have to build it from scratch. But again, to build something like this, you have to focus on elements of the world. GTA 3 had gray streets with gray people amongst gray buildings with a gray sky over the top. That does not go well with VC setting. So the engine has to be different. However, you can keep all the parts that involve cars, shooting, etc., because these things work the same way no matter where on the planet you are. This is a kind of thing you can foresee if you think about the rules of the world rather than just the story. It is then easy to expand the engine to include the bright colors and lively crowds.

Perhaps our disagreements come from the fact that you are thinking about it as a writer (or something similar) while I'm thinking about it in terms of programming. When I'm writing an engine, It feels a lot like the first few passages of Genesis. I don't think about the characters and stories that are to follow. I create the world, and it is the void without form at first. Then I add things, see that they are good, and figure out how they should interact with each other. The main difference is that the light tends to be the last step. Also, I'm not omnipotent, which does cause problems and delays occasionally.

Somebody physically made off with your PS3? Wow, that sucks...

Maybe its a sign not to waste your money on stupid consoles :whistle:
He, he. That maybe. Though, I was using it mostly as a Blu Ray player. So now I have a 42" 1080p screen and a few BD movies, with no way to watch them.

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 08:23
Last thoughts before I head to bed. I think I can safely conclude by now that our disagreement really only comes from what constitutes a world and a story. Buildings, plants, cars, even without the characters, already do tell a part of the story. Those buildings, that setting on this planet, it's brought forward for the story to come that has already started to unconsciously brew. If I thought of those grey buildings, it's because I already knew what I'd do with them, and why they're here, thus how the story constitutes the world, and vice versa. A sequel or extension is only the part of the story I couldn't fit within the first part, not something I'd think of afterwards. They're all part of the same story, divided in order to fit constraints. I'd know of their content before I even did finish the first though.

Working with the Genesis analogy, a great thing a physicist once said is that the glorious thing about the human race isn't that we evolved from a single cell and eventually most likely from monkeys because of specific circumstances due to factual random events, but the fact that the possibility for us to evolve was there in the first place, right from extremely primitive start. In that light, whether the universe was created by some God or just accidentally spawned by itself, the possibility, or the "purpose", was there from the start, thus making all of our stories an inherent part of the world.

Like you said, I don't think it's semantics so much as a different approach. I suspect the end result would be rather similar in design.

jordan_a
10th Jan 2009, 09:02
Yesterday evening I watched a TV program about litterature where authors explained their books.
Topics of discussion could be about a very short sentence yet be very lengthy. And when I heared that I thought "my god video games are so far behind in everything". It's probably because writing is so ancient, sophisticated and noble that if you don't put sense in it, it sucks and doesn't get published.
Hence the huge gap between game developers/producers and genuine writers. (genuine meaning "not quite the kind you find in our industry") I mean, when the two are explaining their references, historical, religious, personal and all sort, and why they did what they published: it's like putting a child aside a professor.
As it is, our media cannot thrive intellectually even if, a some said here, there are very few people not conforming to the general rule.

K^2
10th Jan 2009, 10:44
Frank, certain stories can only exist in certain kinds of worlds. That's why it seems to you like the style of buildings etc. is part of the story. Yes, it is important for the story, but in the same sense as any part of the setting is. But what I'm saying is that a single setting can have stories with different themes, plots, and ideas. They don't even have to be the same literary genre. But if the setting is the same, so can be the engine. And if the settings are different, then there should be some difference in the engines to reflect that.

Jordan, I really can't understand why some devs don't want to hire real writers. Ones that write published novels and stories. Maybe you have some insight into why most people who write game stories aren't any good at that. Is it the kind of people who get hired, or is there enough of a difference between media to make literary writers unsuited for game production?

NK007
10th Jan 2009, 15:25
You are foregoing all those important things in game, like: gameplay. In that sense, the world is about a million times more important than the story. A world needs to react in a realistic enough way for me to believe that if I deviate from the story, a thing I definitely do in the course of any game (human nature), the world could respond convincingly and would not fumble around to keep things as they are or just set up invisible walls or keep something from being interacted with. For instance, if I wanted to raise the castle drawbridge so that the evil army won't come into the castle, slaughter everyone and rape the princess, I should be able to do so, and not have the game developers make the drawbridge suddenly un-interact-able. On the offhand, if I wanted to the evil army, I should be able to melt the drawbridge chains with Greek fire or something and then the evil army could come in.

If this won't be a scripted event, but rather something that you COULD do within the game world in the sense of: you spotted the evil army outside the castle, and you know they're heading that way - what do you do? Instead of: The evil army is coming.
A. inform the king and close the drawbridge or
B. Open the drawbridge after its closed etc.
So several options the AI will have to respond to instead of scripted option A, B or C, and the world would effin' amazing.

spm1138
10th Jan 2009, 17:22
gameplay

The original question was about making games "really meaningful".

Space Invaders is fun, but I dunno if it's really meaningful in the same way as a book or film is.


For instance, if I wanted to raise the castle drawbridge so that the evil army won't come into the castle, slaughter everyone and rape the princess, I should be able to do so, and not have the game developers make the drawbridge suddenly un-interact-able. On the offhand, if I wanted to the evil army, I should be able to melt the drawbridge chains with Greek fire or something and then the evil army could come in.

Why do you care about the princess and people inside the keep?

Jerion
10th Jan 2009, 17:36
^^ Meat shields. And the princess is just there anyway...

FrankCSIS
10th Jan 2009, 21:03
a single setting can have stories with different themes, plots, and ideas. They don't even have to be the same literary genre. But if the setting is the same, so can be the engine. And if the settings are different, then there should be some difference in the engines to reflect that.

Just food for thoughts on my part here in reaction to this:

Several stories can take place in NY. That's too broad though, so let's restrain the world. Several stories take place in a café. The Café itself is very specific in physical details. The world the Café is built in is very specific too. The circumstances within which the Café is (world at war or peace, for instance) is still very specific. Yet we both agree several stories can and do take place within that Café, on the same night and at the same time.

Yet what I'm arguing is that the Café will be approached, seen and felt very differently depending on the stories and the protagonists. It's the people inside that make the Café what it ultimately is, and it varies greatly depending on where you are seated and who you are with at time. You mention that the Café should be built in order to support all of those stories, but I insist this approach is specifically why engines and stories feel so disconnected from one another.

Your approach is still similar to the current approach I consider to be problematic. You seem to think of an engine in terms of "what does my character need to accomplish within my world", which I feel creates this discordance we see that prevents true synergy or symbiosis. Grim Fandango is a big example of this. The game obviously started with a story, which I dare consider one of the bests ever written for a game. The engine, on the other hand, was clearly built with one purpose in mind; Eliminate the point and click to encourage immersion. A respectable attempt that ultimately failed, unfortunately. Regardless of its success though, my problem lies with how disconnected it was from the narrative. It seems that the story stopped every time an action had to be made, which turned out to be just as bad as the point and click engine. While tailored to fit what the character would accomplish within its world, it was too general and too broad.

I think my fear is of how impersonal the engine would be if strictly tailored to fit the world and the functions needed within that world. The engine needs to reflect the mood, the narration, the visuals and the world for it to be in true harmony and form a whole we can safely consider to be a single piece of art. In that sense, conventional practical barriers need to be broken, and the approach needs to be revisited.

Of course certain realities, like the effect of gravity or how a fire spreads, can be maintained from one engine to another. But the gameplay has to reflect more than simple physical realities, the way an instrument is chosen not only for its sound but for what it needs to inspire in regards to the melody.

K^2
11th Jan 2009, 03:51
It's the people inside that make the Café what it ultimately is, and it varies greatly depending on where you are seated and who you are with at time.
Well, this part is achieved by filling the world with different characters.

You can take that cafe, fill it with different people, change lighting just a bit, a few decorations, replace the music that is playing on the radio, and you'll have entirely different atmosphere. You do not actually need to change the engine.

I understand your point about Grim Fandango, but the problem there was that a wrong genre was used to tell the story. The engine itself did what was required of it.

AaronJ
11th Jan 2009, 04:29
When I first played DX, I did understand the story, Morpheus and all. Even though, I admit the first time I played it, I didn't use the skill system or different ammo types at all.

GmanPro
11th Jan 2009, 05:24
Lol, I did all of that stuff when I first played DX1, and I was like ... 12 i think. :rasp:

FrankCSIS
11th Jan 2009, 07:54
Sorry if I keep on beating the horse but I think I found a better analogy for what I'm trying to picture.

Because the topic initially concerned books and movies, let's compare movies with games.

In a movie you have a world within which a story takes place. This world is typically, although not exclusively, expressed through various sets. Sets can and have been used to tell different stories, that much we agree. What we see as the viewer, our tool to witness the movie, and therefor witness the story, is the set as seen through the eye of the camera, and never the set itself. In other words, we never see the actual world, but rather the world the way the camera portrays it. In order to fit and reflect a story, several techniques will be used to show us the set/world in a specific way. Camera angles, length of each shots, lighting, lens filters and colors, and so on and so forth. All of those choices are not universal or applied broadly within same sets. The decisions are made in accordance with a story, to ensure we see the world the way it was meant to be experienced. Therefor, within the same set, or the same world, we can have an infinite amount of ways to view or portray it depending on what we are trying to tell.

The interactive nature of a game asks for a different approach to experience the world, but the objective is ultimately the same. If a game was just a recollection of cutscenes put back to back we'd end up with a movie. Instead of relying on cameras to experience the world, we use engines. Same objective, different technique. What was true for the camera remains true for the engine. The world and the ways we have to view it are ultimately one and the same, and they are intrinsically linked to what part of the world we wish to depict and how we want to present it, which derives from the story. What makes it difficult to imagine is that a part of the engine is ultimately a camera, but of course that's just a part of what it needs to accomplish.

Long post short, the camera is the engine of a movie, the tool used to explore the world. The engine, or the camera, is manipulated and tailored to fit a story and ensures we experience the world the way it was meant to be depicted. For the same kind of synergy to occur with a game, the same has to be true of its engine.

NK007
11th Jan 2009, 08:02
I've been reading the whole engine thing in your posts, and I've been wondering if you realize how expensive it is to design a game engine, let alone time consuming. Even though I think DX 3 is big and important enough to warrant a new engine being developed, if game developers followed your philosophy and develop a new engine for every game instead of just modify existing ones, they would all go bankrupt soon and we'll be left with no games at all.

FrankCSIS
11th Jan 2009, 08:08
I do realise that, but it's irrelevant to the topic. The question here is why games, in its current state, would never have the impact of books or movies. The idea I bring forward to explain this is that the way we have to experience the world/story is partly or completely disconnected from the world and the story itself, preventing it from being a whole and complete experience. So long as a game will start from its engine and have several elements attached to it, the problem will remain the same, no matter how technologically advanced the engines are.

The approach has to change for the problem to be truly solved and for the experience to be ultimate. Is it costly? Of course it is. There could however be some solutions to avoid redundancy and useless coding, and therefor save money. Besides, the kind of budgets we have for games today would be considered astronomical 10 years ago, let alone 25. You can't compare the current costs to the eventual costs because the experience would be entirely different, and therefor affect the market.

K^2
11th Jan 2009, 10:32
Frank, I'm glad you keep bringing this up. There is some miscommunication between us, and I'd rather have it cleared. I don't know if you find it of any benefit, but I'd like to work in game industry at some point, and I think that many of things I don't understand about how creative part of the development team thinks might get in the way. These discussions are helping me understand it a bit better and also to find new ways to communicate what I am trying to say. So don't worry about "beating the old horse".

Yes, your analogy helps a little. The problem is that the engine isn't just the camera. And the stage isn't just cardboard.

There are multiple components to the engine in terms of how it works with story telling.

There is the character or set of user characters and the UI. That, along with some post-rendering effects, work as the camera in the movie analogy. The post-rendering effects can take place of various filters. You can make the scene look as if it is shot through a green filter, like Matrix was, if you want to achieve a certain mood for the shot. These things tend to be rebuilt from game to game. Even in sequels, quite often. They are an essential part of the engine, but they aren't responsible for the world.

The game world is the stage of the game. Just like a movie stage, it is fake, but it needs to look real when seen through the camera, whatever that may be. Buildings you can't enter are usually hollow. All of the walls are paper-thin. Et cetera. But what really makes it come to life is the fact that the player can interact with things. When you are watching a movie, you can't throw something at the wall and listen to the thud it makes. In a game you often can.

When I'm talking about game world, I'm talking about the set of interaction rules. What should happen if one piece of the stage comes in proximity of the other. Should that trigger a collision detection? If so, how should that detection work? What should happen if the collision is detected? What if one piece of stage obscures the other? Does it matter which order they are shown in? If matters, how do you chose? (This is extremely important in transparency.) It is things like that.

A lot of these things happen in background, just like with a real stage. If you have a wall with a window, seen from outside, and an actor must peek out of the window, you can bet that the wall is cardboard or canvas, but there is some structure behind it that the actor is standing on. Same thing with game's stage. The things you see aren't the things that can "support" actors. They are even less tangible than canvas. There is another structure all together that makes sure that things stay where they need to be. This is part of the world. To push the movie analogy a little further, think about all the cables, pulleys, and trap doors that are used to make the stage work. The cardboard part changes from movie to movie, but all the hardware gets reused. This is mostly what I'm talking about.

There is a lot more that goes into the engine. There is networking. There is AI. There are various resource management systems. But with an exception to certain aspects of AI, they aren't what creates the world. Neither is the portion that keeps the player within bounds to make sure he doesn't see your stage from the wrong angle. The world must support such boundaries, but the boundaries themselves are placed by level designers, and that's already part of the story telling process. It is not part of how the world works.

FrankCSIS
11th Jan 2009, 20:18
I appreciate the effort to communicate your view as well as the view itself, and do benefit from it. I don't come from a technical or scientific background and often tend to overlook those aspects. I also want to say that while I talk a lot about what I see as problematic, I really have no clear option or solution to solve the issue. I can only throw observations in the air and hope it reaches those who do. I'm also terribly frustrated by the language barrier. There's only so much I can say in English!

But back to the topic. I agree all the way to the definition of the world.


When I'm talking about game world, I'm talking about the set of interaction rules.

I do realise this is the major aspect of an engine, at least from the technical standpoint. What you worry about is how the player will interact with the world, and how will the world react to his actions. What I'm trying to say is that the engine has to be slightly more than this. That the very mechanics should reflect, or be tainted, by the world and the story itself. Otherwise there will remain a disconnection between how we experience the world and the story, and the word/story themselves.

I'll expand the movie analogy to many art forms, if I may.

Photography: Every picture tells a story, even when it has no human or live protagonist. A photography of a building tells a story, the story the photograph pictured in his mind, even unconsciously, when he decided to take the picture. In order to tell this story, the photograph will not just point his camera and shoot the subject. Several factors and choices will come into play in the technique to make sure the viewer understands exactly what the photographer saw of this building when he decided to picture it. In that way, the building itself doesn't matter and doesn't change, but the way we experience the building does, depending on the story.

Music: Every melody tells a story, even if it has no lyrics. Combination of notes and instruments can express simple feelings like joy or pain, but also complex ideas like redemption or forgiveness. The composer, whether he realises it or not, selects his instrument(s) and the combination of notes to reflect what the melody needs to say. The instrument, and the musical notes they create, are the "engine" of music. They are the tool of the musician to make the listener experience the world the way the composer want them to. Unlike movies or photographies, there is no visual tool here, but the objective remains the same, that is to make others experience the world the way we see it.

Writers: Surely you see my point by now so I'll make it shorter for writers. A book generally has no images, so the "engine" of the book is the narration itself. The type of narration combined with the chosen words will ensure the reader sees the world the way it was meant to be seen by the writer, through a story. A written story tends to bring words around concepts that could be expressed through various other forms, such as music or movies. The objective still remains the same though, it's only the tools that vary.

Back to games: The technical and theoretical problem with games is the complexity of the very nature of this art. The engine of a game is far more complex than the engine of a book, a movie, a photography or a melody. It is not limited to one aspect, like the visual aspect of a movie. However, the necessity for the engine to reflect the story, or the way the creators intended the player to view the world still remains, even if it's far more complex. Beyond technical coding, the architecture has to reflect, or even become, the world it is meant to depict. The tool, or the engine, still needs to tell the story. That's the only purpose of art.

In music, you don't hear the instruments, you hear the Music. With movies, you don't see what the camera technically shoots, you see the Movie. With a picture, you don't see the subject photographed, you see the world or the story depicted by the photography. With games, you don't really see the world or story, you tend to see the gameplay. "I can do this, I can't do that". Devs seems to approach a game like, say, Fallout, the same way they approach NHL 200X. We see the tool, not what the tool is meant to portray. Hence how a game doesn't seem like a true art form in its current state.

How could the engine, or the tool, be changed to reflect the world? I have no idea. I do have a certain picture in my head, but it's anything but clear. What I'm trying to get at is how the engine has to be approached outside of its usual box, outside of its strict technical aspect of world interaction, in order to portray the world the way the story meant us to see it. It's hard to describe something that doesn't exist, but it has to be on a greater level than first person/third person or simply how objects react to one another.

Lilith
11th Jan 2009, 20:21
Heya, I'll read through again and make sure I haven't missed much.

But want to get this down before I head off for awhile.

I'm 18 at the moment (09 turning 19 this year).
Probably would've been maybe 10-12 when I first played this game.

Honestly, it changed a lot how I viewed the world.

Being 10-12 I was VERY indifferent to the world, very internalized. This game did a few things, cause me to realize very quickly the metaphors in art and how important they can be for understanding things. Actually one of the first things I did after playing Deus Ex was at a friends suggestion look into Eva (anime). That is a different story but it seriously effected me.

Back to Deus Ex, directly it led me to want to become part of the gaming industry for more then love of playing a game. I view that a video game CAN be seen as art, because art is perceptive. I'd even go so far to say in the case of games like Deus Ex, Metal Gear Solid that it breaks into the grounds of what can be considered high art. Of course there is no artist solely to land the love at the feet of. But then that is fame and I don't want to judge. (note - morphus).

Specifically Deus Ex made me interested also in Politics, because you can't deny in the 9 years since this game hit us. The world has become much more centralized, you just cannot shake the way privatization leaves open so may of the dangers that lead to the world of Deus Ex.

Beyond that, to the more detailed question about effecting adults?

Yes.

I'm 18, I'm a legal adult, I played through again. It effected me. Simple.

More detailed, I also play World of Warcraft, I'm a Guild Master 2/3rds of my guild are parents, they pass on life experiences and I pass them back, from tips on industry (teacher/IT types) to Iced Coffee. Video games in MMO form are a forum like this in a way.

And to be honest, putting a guild together, and running it has taught me a lot of leadership skills. As well as organizational skills in an environment without real world cutbacks, I'm not going to loose money or effect my job history or anything like that.

K^2
12th Jan 2009, 03:37
Frank, I'm not sure such subtleties are achievable or necessary in a game. A photographer can look for his shot. A player may wonder around the world, though. Expecting an engine to show him something when he is seeing it from just the right angle... I don't think we understand human perception enough to put this into the engine. To some degree, this is achievable with triggers and such, but that's part of the game script, and that isn't part of the engine. It's part of the content.

Books, theater, and movies have an advantage. They tell the story in a very fixed way. If author isn't mentioning something, it may as well not exist, and he can make up what happened to it later. Same thing with things that are out of view of camera in a movie or off the stage in theater.

In a good game, things don't work like that. I can't just pull an object out of the world, because the player might be watching it. And I can't just let some important events happen, because player might not be watching. As a result, entire story telling must be based on interaction. Characters don't just start telling you tings. Generally, you have to approach them or even start a conversation. Other events don't take place until you reach a certain place or push a certain button. The world, as a result, must tell its story not by a particular sequence of images, sounds, and words, like in every media, but by the way everything interacts with each other and with you.

Because of this, player ultimately has choice in how he experiences the story. For that reason, the way things interact must be very specific. Player should be able to quickly understand the rules of the world that he is in, and from there on, if something looks like it should work a certain way, it should work that way. That will let player understand how he can learn more about the world and listen to the stories that are happening within it. It will let the player experience all of that the way he wants to. The rest is up to props, characters, and scripting.

singularity
12th Jan 2009, 07:46
In a good game, things don't work like that. I can't just pull an object out of the world, because the player might be watching it. And I can't just let some important events happen, because player might not be watching. As a result, entire story telling must be based on interaction. Characters don't just start telling you tings. Generally, you have to approach them or even start a conversation. Other events don't take place until you reach a certain place or push a certain button. The world, as a result, must tell its story not by a particular sequence of images, sounds, and words, like in every media, but by the way everything interacts with each other and with you.

I think that is a wonderfully valid point. The first time I played FEAR, I thought the developers were crazy to market it as a horror-action game because it wasn't scary in the slightest. After a replay at the request of a friend, I saw the game was very scary indeed (at least to me), it's just that I never seemed to be looking in the right places at the right times. The fire-fights were random, with flexible AI, using tactics that couldn't be avoided. The scares required you to be looking out of a particular window at a particualr moment, or facing a certain direction at the right time to be effective, and the result is that they were rarely effective.

Games are less emotional (in general) than other forms of media because, in my opinion, games, despite their overwhelming potential, are much harder to make. It doesn't help that developers seem to also be focusing on all the wrong things in their games either. Games have so much potential over something like a movie or CD, because you can't even compare the emotional impact you can get from something you watch or listen to for a few hours to something you interact with for 20 hours. But with that lies the problem -- the interaction. You could make Atonement: The Video Game, but it would be boring as all hell to actually play. The same way Metal Gear Solid: The Movie would need some serious editing, because no one wants to watch some middle-aged, chain-smoking cynic sneak around Alaska for 3 hours in a box.

Nailing the awesome game-play isn't that hard now-a-days (so long as you don't aim for anything innovative). Doing something emotional doesn't exactly take a pulitzer winner to pull-off. Doing both together is extremly difficult and expensive (and if you throw innovation into the mix then it is neigh impossible). Most humans find things that are emotional as things that are intangible (ideas of loss, regret, tragedy, triumph, love, passion, glory, fear etc.) which are easy to write about or compose music about, but video games have a physical aspect to them, because you have to actually play them. How in the world can you make something intangible, like the feeling of loss, playable? The closest you can get are cut-scenes or scripted events, but where as a book or even a movie can base its entiriety around these intangible emotions, eventually, a game has to break the emotion aspect and let the player get back to playing.

You feel sad if Snake lets Meryl die. But eventually the cut-scene ends and you have to get back to kicking ass. The Ring can easily be frightening, because the director can show you exactly what he wants to when he wants to. The developers of FEAR didn't have that luxury, because the player was behind the camera.

K^2
12th Jan 2009, 08:25
I think, it has potential to be more emotional than books and movies for all the same reason. Developers simply haven't learned to do this yet.

Again, if you want a horror game, I don't think the story can do it alone. In order to be truly horrible, the entire world around should be set against you. When it is just a scripted scene in some room, you can walk away from it. When the horror follows you around no matter what you do, giving you feeling that you cannot escape it, that's when it is scary.

The only time I actually felt scared in a game is when playing through HL2's Ravenholm. And it wasn't because of the scary buildings, or the zombies themselves. It's just that it happened to workout perfectly against my style of play. I tend to clean out the area before proceeding. I also got used to wasting ammo rather exceedingly because I knew I could always find more. So somewhere closer to the end, when I was running out of ammo, and was stuck in the area where zombies keep spawning and spawning - only I didn't realize that the were respawning, so I wasn't running like hell for the exit, but rather kept trying to fight them off - and I started running of ammo, I remember the feeling of counting the revolver bullets. That moment of putting the last 5 into the chamber, and a thought crossed my mind, "5 bullets. That's 4 more zombies, and the last one's for me."

Then I remembered that this was a game, and started using the slow movement of the zombies to explore and find the exit. During that time, I found the spawn zones and realized how the thing worked. It stopped being scary immediately. On the second play through I just kept more buzz saw blades with me, and I went through with full stores of ammo and feeling like I was walking through a park on a sunny day.

If the game worked like this from the start, it would not be scary at all. Hordes of zombies that keep spawning, and you can't kill them all. Roll with it. But the fact that you get used to being able to shoot your way out, and suddenly you are thrown into a place where this is not possible, only nobody tells you this, and you just keep feeling as control is slipping out of your fingers. That's what is scary in a video game. All of the scripted sequences - none of it can be as bad as some of the things you run into on internet. It has to be the interactive element that draws you in and then closes the trap.

spm1138
12th Jan 2009, 11:36
The same way Metal Gear Solid: The Movie would need some serious editing, because no one wants to watch some middle-aged, chain-smoking cynic sneak around Alaska for 3 hours in a box.

That sounds like a classic.

K^2
12th Jan 2009, 12:25
And think of the budget it could be made on. All you need is a bunch of snow, a box, and a smoke machine inside the box.

gamer0004
12th Jan 2009, 16:26
I think, it has potential to be more emotional than books and movies for all the same reason. Developers simply haven't learned to do this yet.

Again, if you want a horror game, I don't think the story can do it alone. In order to be truly horrible, the entire world around should be set against you. When it is just a scripted scene in some room, you can walk away from it. When the horror follows you around no matter what you do, giving you feeling that you cannot escape it, that's when it is scary.


You should really play FEAR if you haven't already - that was one heck of a scary game.
Unlike Bioshock. Those ghosts were just funny.

GmanPro
12th Jan 2009, 18:01
FEAR? Meh... Not as scary at the end of the game as it is during the first few levels. Sorta the draw back to making a game that is supposed to be scary.

The scariest moments for me when playing a video game were the times during Thief 1 when I was sneaking around trapped inside the haunted cathedral. Doom 3, FEAR and other 'scary' games cease to be scary after the first few hours (granted I was a good few years younger when I played Thief 1 for the first time than when I played FEAR only a couple of years back).

There were times when playing DX1 that I was so excited and anxious to see whats going to happen next that I guess you could almost say that I was 'scared'.

Radius86
12th Jan 2009, 18:10
^^ I completely relate to Thief being a scary game to play. I think for it's time it established a VERY good environment to make you FEEL a little nervous, and one of the reasons it worked was because it used some kick ass ambient sounds. Less to no music during gameplay and just echoing footsteps. That used to give me the willies. :nut:

SageSavage
12th Jan 2009, 18:31
I think FEAR was a good shooter but it wasn't really scary for me. There were some nice shock effects and a few intense areas but most of the time the game felt rather unoriginal (take "Alma" as an example), a bit confusing and also the ending wasn't very satisfying.

Bioshock had a brilliant atmosphere and a handful of scary moments but most of the time I was not scared - I was more enthralled by the design although I liked the story up to a certain point (you know what I mean).

Yesterday I finished the action adventure "Sanitarium" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitarium_(videogame)) - despite its clumsy controls, horrible voice acting and outdated graphics (1998), it delivered a unique and fascinating bizarre atmosphere in combination with a very rich and dark story. I wish there were more experiences like this (without the shortcomings of course...). A great example for creating original levels.

It's true, a brilliant story and strong characters are the most important ingredient (for games with a story). The true masters create a world filled with clues and fragments, so that the reader/watcher/player uses his own imagination to build the story in his head. This personal involvement is what defines the emotional experience - shocks and other "cheap" tricks work but they lack in depht and people get used to them very quickly if used frequently. A very effective example for masterful use of the players imagination and associations is the infamous "Shalebridge Cradle"-level in Thief 3. It also tells a fascinating story without using many words.

GmanPro
12th Jan 2009, 18:42
^^ Great level also. I remember being releaved when I finally made it out of there. My only beef with Thief 3 (1 and 2 also) was that it was very hard for me to set the brightness just right. I wanted the game to be dark because realistically, it would have to be so dark that you cant see in order to pull off the stealth that Garret could, but at the same time I couldn't see what the hell I was doing if I lowered the brightness!

I don't know why specifically, but I just could not get into BioShock. Even though I ended up beating it twice. Nice graphics and art style, poor audio quality.

cjc813
12th Jan 2009, 18:48
I wanna insult so many people in this thread it's not even funny. But since this seems a fairly civilized lot, I'll do what I can to avoid a flame war. (This doesn't seem to be like bungie.net or the WoW forums. *grin*)

Anyway, OP: I agree with your assertion, but I look at it in a different way.

You're trying to ask if we think age detracts from the emotional impact games have on us.

My response is a sarcastic, "Well... yeah..."

Kids are dumb, dude. We were all dumb as kids, compared to the minds we have now.

To prove that point, look no farther than the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Most of it is, quite frankly, garbage. I'm reffering to mostly Disney Channel as that seems to get played more in public (but even Spongebob has gone down hill) therefore I'm more familiar. Every time I see the horrible acting of people on shows like Hannah Montana or The Suite Life of Zach and Cody I cringe.

And consider this, go back and watch shows you used to love as a child. Try and avoid nostalgia, and you'll realize that these shows were kinda crap too. I would be disgusted by Power Rangers now, but when I was a kid... damn, I ate it up.

Why? Kids aren't as cynical or experienced and reading through bull-crap as adults. Kids are easy to please and they'll eat any garbage you throw at them as long as they can have fun eating it.

A childlike mind being a benchmark FOR ANYTHING is an idea that disgusts me severely.

SageSavage
12th Jan 2009, 18:49
I don't know why specifically, but I just could not get into BioShock. Even though I ended up beating it twice. Nice graphics and art style, poor audio quality.

Poor audio quality? :eek: For me the music and sound design of Bioshock ranks as one of the very best ever...! Seriously. My only critique was that the transmissions were sometimes hard to follow because they were too quiet against the environment. They fixed it with a patch though.

cjc813
12th Jan 2009, 18:52
^^ Great level also. I remember being releaved when I finally made it out of there. My only beef with Thief 3 (1 and 2 also) was that it was very hard for me to set the brightness just right. I wanted the game to be dark because realistically, it would have to be so dark that you cant see in order to pull off the stealth that Garret could, but at the same time I couldn't see what the hell I was doing if I lowered the brightness!

I don't know why specifically, but I just could not get into BioShock. Even though I ended up beating it twice. Nice graphics and art style, poor audio quality.

I can has your babiez? (I'm not a girl... o_o)

First you say you don't like BioShock, then you quote Planescape: Torment.

Finally, someone on the internet with good taste.

What did you think of Half Life 2? (As with BioShock, I think I'm one of the 3 people in the entire world who just didn't think it was that amazing.)

GmanPro
12th Jan 2009, 18:53
Poor audio quality? For me the music and sound design of Bioshock ranks as one of the very best ever...! Seriously. My only critique was that the transmissions were sometimes hard to follow because they were too quiet against the environment. They fixed it with a patch though.

They fixed it then? Cause thats really what I meant by poor audio. Reminds me of Halo. Its the FUTURE, why cant we have radios that dont pour profuse ammounts of static into my ear drums!?!?


What did you think of Half Life 2? (As with BioShock, I think I'm one of the 3 people in the entire world who just didn't think it was that amazing.)

I enjoyed Half Life 2 very very much. I'm a little annoyed at Valve for going with episodic expansions rather than a full length third installment, but hey, I guess thats just my opinion. And I am very frustrated at the unwashed masses in the gaming community who praise games like Halo, CoD, BioShock, and have never even played Baldur's Gate or the original Half Life. A sign of the times I suppose.

SageSavage
12th Jan 2009, 19:04
They fixed it then? Cause thats really what I meant by poor audio. Reminds me of Halo. Its the FUTURE, why cant we have radios that dont pour profuse ammounts of static into my ear drums!?!?

Not sure if they did it for all versions but they sure upped the volume of Atlas's transmissions in the German version. The static noise is fine with me though, it's there for added style and I found it fits the setting. It's like scan lines in cyberpunk settings, there's no reason for them but I love that dirty retro-style.

cjc813
12th Jan 2009, 19:08
And I am very frustrated at the unwashed masses in the gaming community who praise games like Halo, CoD, BioShock, and have never even played Baldur's Gate or the original Half Life. A sign of the times I suppose.
I honestly enjoyed Halflife 1 more than I did Halflife 2. I couldn't even finish the second one (nor BioShock). I stopped about 10 hours into either because I just wasn't having fun.

But don't you be talkin' bout my Halo! (One, of course.)

I'm one of those pissed off gamers who still loves the first Halo to bits. And I'm disgusted to sit back, and think about how they destroyed what I consider to be an epic.

I could talk for hours about the fall of Halo, but I'll just say that gaming is becoming paralell to the rest of the entertainment industries.

If you release a flashy product that's easy to enjoy (Halo 2 and 3 for example) and one that appeals to the lowest common denominator then you will make money. And that's what it's all about anymore.

The more you broaden your fanbase, the more you seem to alienate hardcore gamers, that's just the way it seems to go.

The only reason I rambled on like this is b/c this concept is what drew me to this site. When I first heard of DX 3 I was excited.

Then I read of "those changes," and the fact that Warren Spector wasn't on board, and I'll be honest, I was pissed.

Having read the top sticky on the forums ("official things we know about DX 3" or some such) I've changed my status to skeptical, and naievely optimistic.

I'd like for this to be a good game worthy of the legendary name... but to be honest I don't trust the current gaming industry to live up to the standards. I just don't.

But yeah play Baldur's Gate. One of the greatest games of all time, imo.

EDIT: If you tell me your handle is a reference to the Gman from Half-Life... then I'll just feel silly about asking you if you liked HL2. O_O

K^2
12th Jan 2009, 19:24
Kids are dumb, dude. We were all dumb as kids, compared to the minds we have now.

To prove that point, look no farther than the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Most of it is, quite frankly, garbage. I'm reffering to mostly Disney Channel as that seems to get played more in public (but even Spongebob has gone down hill) therefore I'm more familiar. Every time I see the horrible acting of people on shows like Hannah Montana or The Suite Life of Zach and Cody I cringe.

And consider this, go back and watch shows you used to love as a child. Try and avoid nostalgia, and you'll realize that these shows were kinda crap too. I would be disgusted by Power Rangers now, but when I was a kid... damn, I ate it up.

Why? Kids aren't as cynical or experienced and reading through bull-crap as adults. Kids are easy to please and they'll eat any garbage you throw at them as long as they can have fun eating it.

A childlike mind being a benchmark FOR ANYTHING is an idea that disgusts me severely.
This is actually a very big problem with Western Civilization right now. We realized that kids can be entertained by cheap garbage, and started making money on it. For parents, it is a cheap way to get their kids to stay quiet. For networks it is another way to make a quick buck.

Yes, most of the kids shows today are complete garbage. And yes, I have tried watching some of the shows I watched as a kid. I see a lot more flaws than I did then, but most of them weren't half as bad as stuff today.

The assumption is that kids will watch very shallow shows and enjoy it, so therefore they can't benefit form anything having a deeper meaning. That couldn't be more false. It has been shown time and time again that kids develop much better if they are fed serious information. Kids who listen to classical music develop better than these who don't. Kids to whom parents speak in full sentences since they are infants develop better than kids whose parents used short "baby words". When there is a deeper meaning, kids do try to understand it, and even if they fail, it helps them develop their mental abilities. I am very, very worried about the future generations after everything they have been bombarded by by the networks, parents, and society in general. There aren't two thoughts required between most of the kids shows that are out there now.

SageSavage
12th Jan 2009, 19:49
Yeah, that's right. Kids aren't any dumber than grownups, they just lack the experience - the base for cynicism and irony. They are therefore easy to impress with quite everything, also with garbage that only appeals to the baser instincts. It's a fact that the quality of television is declining, including the program for adults. It was bad when I grew up and it's far worse now, which is why I don't have a television anymore. Obviously this must have some negative influence on people, especially on kids, but I sincerely believe it can't cause very much damage when parents do a good job and take care of their children.

GmanPro
12th Jan 2009, 21:07
I honestly enjoyed Halflife 1 more than I did Halflife 2. I couldn't even finish the second one (nor BioShock). I stopped about 10 hours into either because I just wasn't having fun.

But don't you be talkin' bout my Halo! (One, of course.)

I'm one of those pissed off gamers who still loves the first Halo to bits. And I'm disgusted to sit back, and think about how they destroyed what I consider to be an epic.

I blame Halo for creating the dreaded auto-heal bs that has since plagued the entire business. I still find it hard to believe that it has found its way into an RPG of all things.

While I agree that Halo 1 was by far the best of the trilogy, to me it just simply cannot compete with HL2. Halo is like the kids version of HL.


EDIT: If you tell me your handle is a reference to the Gman from Half-Life... then I'll just feel silly about asking you if you liked HL2. O_O

Lol :thumb:

The kids of this generation are growing up with these kinds of casual games, and I cant help but notice the correlation between tv and games growing more and more base simultaneously over time despite the many advances in technology etc. I guess you could also say that books aren't as good as they used to be, but I wouldn't really know because I tend to only read books that are classics anyway.

SageSavage
12th Jan 2009, 21:38
I've already written it two times in this thread but it's actually quite obvious that you will continue to be able to find many more unique stories told via text (books) then via movies or games, simply because everyone with a good idea and some paper can write down his story. It needs far more effort, people, knowledge and money to tell a story via movie or a game. It's no coincidence, that you can find many of the most interesting ideas in the independent/low budget-segment - unfortunately often enough you can see that more money and expert knowledge could have improved these movies (which sometimes leads to remakes). People producing a big budget movie or AAA-title want to minimize their risks by appealing to a broad audience, because if the movie/game fails, it might very well be their ruin - many millions at stake... High production costs are what causes this uniforming trend "in favor" of the mainstream (conspiracy buffs might want to add that it's obviously also a major element of their plan to enslave mankind... ;) ). You've actually got to be pretty brave to produce something that might not appeal to many people - sometimes it turns out as a surprise-hit but it might as well end as a total disaster.

A writer will only lose his precious time, maybe his sanity and a bit of ink and paper... a significant difference with increasing impact. In fact, a written story is (at least in most cases) the base for a movie or game anyway.

GmanPro
12th Jan 2009, 23:18
Lol, more often that not, the remakes turn out crappy and the classic version remains the better one. I shudder to think how bad Akira could turn out to be... :(

FrankCSIS
12th Jan 2009, 23:43
If the game worked like this from the start, it would not be scary at all. Hordes of zombies that keep spawning, and you can't kill them all. Roll with it. But the fact that you get used to being able to shoot your way out, and suddenly you are thrown into a place where this is not possible, only nobody tells you this, and you just keep feeling as control is slipping out of your fingers. That's what is scary in a video game. All of the scripted sequences - none of it can be as bad as some of the things you run into on internet. It has to be the interactive element that draws you in and then closes the trap.

One could argue this was scripted on a structural level, which sorts of brings me back to synergy of the various aspects of games.

I think a compromise we'd both be prepared to make is based on one aspect of the sometimes ridiculous, sometimes quite accurate Chaos Theory. The part that interests me here is how one element of an ensemble is exactly the same as the ensemble itself, on a different scale. Chaotic in appearance, it has a structure showing that one element is a carbon copy of the sum of the elements. This has been applied a lot to analyse classical music.

What's the link with games? For a game to be truly rounded up we could aim to achieve the same idea with both the technical and artistic aspects. A chaotic melting pot in appearance that follows a scripted logic, deicting the variation of the curve of the story and the variation of the curve of the interaction, the music and the action as one structured curve. It would make scenes like the one you described more effective and coordinated. It's not quite what I had originally in mind, but it would already help to elevate the art.

I couldn't quite get into Bioshock either, specifically for the reasons expressed several times in my previous posts. The world was beautiful and rich, the story was quite good and the engine was decent, but all three were completely disconnected. Sometimes you were playing, sometimes you were exploring, sometimes you were watching, but never all 3 at the same time and towards the same objective. With Deus Ex, which I consider a model in terms of structure, every interraction you made also served to develop the story, but at the same time you didn't have to do everything to understand the events. You would only ever find out as much as you would look for through interaction.

As for kids and tv, the idea that only kids are targeted by garbage is rather laughable. Have you ever watched clips of 60's tv? Groucho Marx on What's My Line is deliciously hilarious and yet absolutely brilliant. Even variety shows and talk shows were on another world as far as intelligence is concerned compared to average television we get today. The problem lies more in the fact that like education or information, we have lowered everything to most common denominator supposedly to reach a maximum of people, which of course never truly happened. We've seen the same curve with games when the medium exploded in the late 90's. There are, thankfully, several exceptions every now and then, in all mediums, and I deeply appreciate every attempts made to reverse the tendency.

iWait
13th Jan 2009, 01:39
I've noticed another thing happening in television shows and movies. Instead of setting up a scenario based on plot/story to evoke laughter/emotion, most movies/tv shows rely on either slapstick or tearjerking scenes.

K^2
13th Jan 2009, 02:22
That's why I like British comedy. They have so much slapstick that it isn't funny. At all. You sit through first few minutes thinking, "What kind of a brain dead moron thought this would be funny?" And then, with no warning at all, you start laughing. You obviously don't laugh at slapstick, because it doesn't get any funnier than it was in the beginning. But the subtle humor finally gets to you, and you just can't help but laugh at everything, even the dumbest jokes that a dumbest American comedy would avoid. And in many cases you cannot figure out why in the world you were laughing even after the movie is done.

Any attempts to reproduce such comedy elsewhere have failed miserably and invariably.

French have gotten really good at situational comedy, but that is much easier to reproduce, and I've seem some great American remakes.

SageSavage
13th Jan 2009, 02:46
I love British Comedy, too. It's not only the slapstick that makes it so great though, it's also the deadpan and macabre/morbid elements. Some older stuff like "Fawlty Towers" and its spiritual successor "Brittas Empire" also had a certain structure in each episode where the intensity was building up to a climax at the end of each episode, which worked very well in combination with the slapstick-elements. They also know how to invent original, yet strangely familiar characters, often with a brilliant sense for the absurd or even surreal.

I think some Danish movies have quite a bit in common with British humour but I don't think they are deliberately trying to copy it because it has it's own undertones, often melancholic ones.

I especially love "The IT-Crowd", "Spaced", "I'm Alan Partridge" and the Ricky Gervais-stuff (we have a German version of "The Office", called "Stromberg", wich is actually brilliant because they didn't try to do a 1:1 copy and re-wrote everything with the German audience in mind). The style Ricky Gervais does comedy is in the very sense of the word, it's borderline between gags and drama. Oh and let's not forget the great Chris Morris commenting on the sick issues of the real world using his grim humour.

FrankCSIS
13th Jan 2009, 02:58
French have gotten really good at situational comedy

Le Dîner de Cons has got to be the funniest damn situational comedy I've seen. Unfortunately, it very poorly translated into English, and so many will never see the glory of it.

Necros
16th Jan 2009, 13:25
So I'm thinking, do you think that growing prevents us from finding elements that affect the way we're thinking? Is it a coincidence if one gets less emotions playing now than before?

We know video games can deeply inspirate youngsters, be genuinely important to them. But can our media touch grownups? Why is it not as strong as books, movies or music?
No, I don't think it has to do with our aging but rather the quality of the stories and dialogue in the majority of games. But every now and then a game comes along that is strong in both areas, and those games can touch people. Too bad there seem to be fewer and fewer of them these last years... :hmm:

jordan_a
17th Jan 2009, 00:21
Hopefully Fallout 3 is giving me some hope. And I rebought a PS2 just for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, I don't know the latter.