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EUROJANK - the topic where we debate is it qualia or a genre?


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25 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

I thought twice about bringing it up because we’ll be here all day making diagrams with straws, but I don’t think you’re using it how it’s normally understood.

 

I really need to stop clicking "show post". You are doing the exact same nonsense you did in the PSN shutdown topic. Where I explain things with absolute precision, and you continue to ask the exact same question immediately following the answer. Are you running your RLLMUK account from inside an insane asylum? Or are you perhaps suffering from a head injury and we need to call an ambulance for you? Because the alternative is that you are trolling me.

 

Here is the Wikipedia page:

Quote

Much of the debate over their importance hinges on the definition of the term, and various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain features of qualia. Consequently, the nature and existence of various definitions of qualia remain controversial because they are not verifiable.

 

There are many definitions of qualia, which have changed over time. One of the simpler, broader definitions is: "The 'what it is like' character of mental states.

 

Frank Jackson later defined qualia as "...certain features of the bodily sensations especially, but also of certain perceptual experiences, which no amount of purely physical information includes".

 

I am using the term precisely how it should be. But also, the definition of what qualia is, as stated above, is open to interpretation. Much like the term eurojank. So in a way, the use of the word carries two meanings, the second being a meta sub-layer of meaning: using a word with a loose and imprecise definition to help define another word, also with a loose and imprecise definition.

 

TLDR: playing certain games, the mechanics of those games, generate a specific cognitive sensation.

 

Playing a puzzle game, like Puyo Puyo, in your mind feels very different to playing a Russian RPG. Even though they are both games. Both displayed on a screen. Both with buttons to control them. There is a specific distinct sensation that each causes.

 

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Well, sure, but there’s a distinct quality associated with something in the external world, hence this topic. The defining characteristic of qualia is that they are fully subjective internal phenomena.

 

I don’t want to derail this, like I say we could be here all day quoting Dennett and arguing over whether fMRI correlates are evidence for a tangible universal idea of “green-ness”.

 

(Regarding the PSN topic, I understood exactly what you meant as it was pretty unambiguously stated over and over and over, I just thought it was a colossally stupid idea however you chose to phrase it.)

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4 hours ago, deKay said:

At least there's a term now that can be applied to the sort of game I play every so often but can't describe how they're similar to each other. Games like:

tumblr_338de96ab9bccd918c2d1ad737738e89_

Wheels of Aurelia

Wheels of Aurelia isn't in any way Eurojank, it does exactly what it sets out to do (without much ambition), can be over in about 20 minutes and, fundamentally, isn't janky (other than clunky dialogue.)

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Did anyone ever play that Game of Thrones RPG? Based on the books, not the show. It was one of a classic example of the type. Cyanide developed, and even by their standards pretty cheap and nasty - not a good game at all if you take each component on its own but weirdly compelling and enjoyable as a whole. 

 

Speaking of Cyanide, how is that werewolf game they made recently? Reviews are terrible but they always are for their stuff. 

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10 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Did anyone ever play that Game of Thrones RPG? Based on the books, not the show. It was one of a classic example of the type. Cyanide developed, and even by their standards pretty cheap and nasty - not a good game at all if you take each component on its own but weirdly compelling and enjoyable as a whole. 

 

Yeah, loved it. Very fun RPG.

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I loved Elex too. I went full Cleric with lazer rifles. Always been tempted to replay it and going full Berserker - shunning all technology.

 

The game also looks absolutely gorgeous on PC. Eye-wateringly beautiful.

 

1 hour ago, deerokus said:

Did anyone ever play that Game of Thrones RPG? Based on the books, not the show. It was one of a classic example of the type. Cyanide developed, and even by their standards pretty cheap and nasty - not a good game at all if you take each component on its own but weirdly compelling and enjoyable as a whole.

 

It seems there were lots of Game of Thrones games. When you say made by Cyanide, and based on the books not show, do you mean Genesis? The 2012 RPG was also made by Cyanide, but was based on the show. I'm sure I saw a copy of Genesis for sale in CEX once, in their PC section, for peanuts. Kinda wish I'd bought it now.

 

All the mentions of Greedfall and the developer Spiders made me look into Mars: War Logs. Which I played this afternoon a bit. It's fantastic! Not sure why comments online call it a budget RPG or say the graphics are mediocre, I thought it looked quite beautiful in places, despite being set in a wasteland. I'm not sure how janky it is either - feels quite polished to me. Certainly more polished than something like The Fall: Last Days of Gaia. Playing on X360 and the controls are good, responsive camera, combat is a little simple but the guy moves and rolls how I want him to. I am especially pleased to see people say it's about 10 hours to complete. As much as I'm looking forward to The Witcher 3 someday, right now I really just want something bite-sized.

 

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2 hours ago, Gabe said:

Wheels of Aurelia isn't in any way Eurojank, it does exactly what it sets out to do (without much ambition), can be over in about 20 minutes and, fundamentally, isn't janky (other than clunky dialogue.)

 

Apart from how the dialogue doesn't make any sense, you can get your car stuck in the scenery, and events happen out of order.

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48 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

Ooooh Elex runs at 4k/60 in "resolution mode" on Xbox Series X! And auto HDR on top of that. That's nice!

Yeah I just started it last night and it looks and runs really nice on sx for a eurojanker. 

 

The few games that had an uncapped framerate on One X really take advantage of the extra horsepower. 

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5 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Yeah I just started it last night and it looks and runs really nice on sx for a eurojanker. 

It apparently does have an annoying freezing bug whenever you try to equip a new weapon...

 

Edit: unequip your current weapon first to prevent freezing. JANK!

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1 hour ago, deKay said:

 

Apart from how the dialogue doesn't make any sense, you can get your car stuck in the scenery, and events happen out of order.

Yes, and? It's just badly made, not janky in the sense being discussed, unless you think it was somehow trying to be too ambitious for a very short narrative experience?

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There's something similar to this in the Shoot'em Up genre where you have a category of games, often western made and for the old personal computers and PC that tend to feature ideas that are often omitted from most Asian-made shoot'em ups such as health bars, RPG systems, shops etc.

They're called EuroShmups. Whereas Eurojank has it's upsides, Euroshmup has often been used as a catch all term for very badly made or badly designed western shoot'em ups. Euroshmups are known to use the aformentioned features as a crutch; a life bar for example reduces the importance of dodging and may even cause the games to include damage that cannot be avoided at all. RPG systems and shops also make it so levels don't require the balancing more tighly made shmups would. They also tend to have a much darker colour tone and moodier aesthetic compared other shmup titles.

Overall, like Eurojank they have all the hallmarks of being something different to the norm with its own recurring style and aesthetic but without most of the endeering quality that is seen in Eurojank.

Xenon 2 is an often cited as one of the better Euroshmups:

 

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

Yes, and? It's just badly made, not janky in the sense being discussed, unless you think it was somehow trying to be too ambitious for a very short narrative experience?


I think it was, yes. The ambition was to tell a story about political conflict via a road trip and the execution was meh.

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5 hours ago, Dig Dug said:

There's something similar to this in the Shoot'em Up genre where you have a category of games, often western made and for the old personal computers and PC that tend to feature ideas that are often omitted from most Asian-made shoot'em ups such as health bars, RPG systems, shops etc.

They're called EuroShmups. Whereas Eurojank has it's upsides, Euroshmup has often been used as a catch all term for very badly made or badly designed western shoot'em ups. Euroshmups are known to use the aformentioned features as a crutch; a life bar for example reduces the importance of dodging and may even cause the games to include damage that cannot be avoided at all. RPG systems and shops also make it so levels don't require the balancing more tighly made shmups would. They also tend to have a much darker colour tone and moodier aesthetic compared other shmup titles.

Overall, like Eurojank they have all the hallmarks of being something different to the norm with its own recurring style and aesthetic but without most of the endeering quality that is seen in Eurojank.

Xenon 2 is an often cited as one of the better Euroshmups:

 

There's also the euro platformer. Which is basically the type of platformers we grew up with but which the rest of the world finds weird and annoying and shit because of the lack of polish the US and Japanese games of the time had.You know the kind of thing, games that are very Amiga-ish.

 

Weird jumping, water drips from the ceiling that kill you, bullshit instant deaths, annoying puzzle elements. Somewhat non-linear level design (or non-existent level design in the worst cases). Here is a nice video on the subject by the excellent Kim Justice. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, deerokus said:

 

There's also the euro platformer. Which is basically the type of platformers we grew up with but which the rest of the world finds weird and annoying and shit because of the lack of polish the US and Japanese games of the time had.You know the kind of thing, games that are very Amiga-ish.

 

Weird jumping, water drips from the ceiling that kill you, bullshit instant deaths, annoying puzzle elements. Somewhat non-linear level design (or non-existent level design in the worst cases). Here is a nice video on the subject by the excellent Kim Justice. 

 

 

 

I didn't even have to start watching the video before I thought of robocod and zool. This has got to be my 'jank' genre. Almost everything I played back in that time was a 2d platformer and most of them European jank. The master system, mega drive, Amiga, c64 etc. were flooded with them and I loved most of them. What a nostalgia rush moment. I really don't want to risk going back to robocod as it is probably awful but my god did I love it at the time.

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Flimbo's Quest was bigger than Sonic and Mario to me as a kid because, uh, I didn't actually own a Sega or Nintendo system, and I remember that friends would intuitively try to jump on enemies to kill them even though that's not how the game worked. Even back then I think people had already internalised that there are certain ways that a platformer or whatever must work, and I think the unpolished nature of those games was ultimately conflated with their different-ness which is a shame. I don't think we lost those styles because they were creatively uncompetitive, though, that they were somehow inherently less fun and therefore left by the wayside. I often wonder what a fully-polished and optimised version of one of those games would've look like.

 

This all reminds me a bit of lost creative and craft traditions, like sea shanties or quilt-making.  How do you bring that back? I guess a game jam is the equivalent of a creative festival, right?

 

http://heritagecrafts.org.uk/redlist/categories-of-risk/

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Oh god, flimbo's quest, I did have a master system but a friend had a c64 and I played it all the time on that. 

 

Nostalgia rush there. 

 

I just watched this video and the music I haven't heard in about 30 years was in my head. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, deerokus said:

Did anyone ever play that Game of Thrones RPG? Based on the books, not the show. It was one of a classic example of the type. Cyanide developed, and even by their standards pretty cheap and nasty - not a good game at all if you take each component on its own but weirdly compelling and enjoyable as a whole. 

 

Speaking of Cyanide, how is that werewolf game they made recently? Reviews are terrible but they always are for their stuff. 

Another vote for it, I really enjoyed it, think my only gripe was it was a bit short and could have been fleshed out more, would definately have bought a sequel. As for the werewolf game I've been tempted to pick it up but then initial reviews have been a bit damning, that said reviews dont tend to go hand in hand with what I enjoy i.e. a lot of the mainstream games just don't get my attention the same way a review suggests they should, personal taste I guess.

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I only played Flimbo's Quest many years after the fact, via C64 emulation, but even then I thought it had some decent backdrops (for a C64 game) and nice parallax and catchy tunes. Often on C64 you'd be fortunate to have one of those things. ;) The collect 'em up gameplay could get old fast, but it's not like it was the only game to have repetitive collecting...

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If I was to postulate, the closest I've played to a Japanese title that captures the feeling of 'Eurojank' is Dragon's Dogma.

 

Reading through this thread, I've come to regard Eurojank as a game that can be remarkable and compelling in its systems, but falls short in performance areas. However, I inevitably enjoy them more than their more polished counterparts, as the strange individuality they strive helps them stand out all the more amongst peers that over time blur together. Maybe somewhat tied into what we refer to as forum darlings, those weird flourishes and oddities live in the mind longer once a a genre becomes homogenised.

 

Could a part of it also be our own Western perspective, and that these are titles emerging from predominantly former Soviet states? There's a difference in culture and attitudes that can stand out to our lived experiences. I myself have had many fascinating conversations and been illuminated on many subjects in the time I've spent in Czechia, Slovakia, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and more, and the people present interesting contrasts to how our view of the world is shaped. Maybe it bleeds into these games in ways that make them seem impenetrable or obtuse to us.

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I like how this thread has gone in strange directions as the term means all things to all people.

 

Reading Euro Platformer I also immediately thought of Robocod, Altered Beast, Super Frog. Also Wonder Dog, on Mega CD, which was awful.

 

The overall feeling I'm getting from all these posts is maybe a wistful fondness for a time when game design, or the language of games, wasn't as homogenized as it is today? With game design being taught in schools there's now an academically enforced concept of ludology - or games needing to be a certain way. Which ties in to this thread on the language of videogames. I kinda miss the days of overt regional distinctness. Rayman used to feel a lot more French than it currently does.

 

1 hour ago, Cheyenne said:

If I was to postulate, the closest I've played to a Japanese title that captures the feeling of 'Eurojank' is Dragon's Dogma.

 

Deadly Premonition for me. That game is jank from start to finish, but I'd still score it 11 out of 10. :D

 

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Ah yes Rayman. The best euro platformer by a mile.

 

I think the Rayman series showed the euro style translates into 3D very well. It’s not like Japanese platformers where many of them became different kind of games entirely when making the jump to 3D.

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