Jump to content
IGNORED

Are Games Growing Up?


steven_poole
 Share

Recommended Posts

Greetings everyone,

I'm writing another games feature for the Sunday Times, and I promise not to mention The Matrix this time. :lol:

The issue is: Are Games (Finally) Growing Up? Japanese postmodern horror in Forbidden Siren, an apparently non-sniggering approach to romance and sex in Flirt Up Your Life, appealing to the 80s-retro demographic in Vice City, a game named after a book by Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) (well, okay...). It might seem that games increasingly have content that doesn't assume we are children only interested in cartoon furry animals. Do you welcome this? Have you often felt patronised by games that assume you are 12? (Assuming you are not actually 12.) Would you welcome more maturity of theme or do you not really care so long as the game is good?

My masters want the voices of "real gamers" proffering their opinions in this piece, so reply here with your thoughts and you might be quoted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want games to be fun and enjoyable to play, maturity is no indicator of quality. What a gamer really wants/expect is quality & fun gaming.

The most fun I've had as a gamer this year so far has been playing Beyond good and Evil, Prince of Persia and now Final Fantasy CC with 3 mates.

None are kids games none are really for adults, IMO all are good games. Which is whats really important.

Although I am really looking forward to "Corpse dismember 3 - The Grinder" the blood in this game when it splashes on the screen looks like real blood and tastes coppery. :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends how willing you are to ignore the existence of games such as Deus Ex Machina, The Eidolon and many many more in favour of an easy headline or two.

Perhaps you could angle the article around the media's coming of age in terms of being willing to actually report the scene as it is rather than continuing to be selective in terms of what you tell your readership?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would offer the opinion that games have always been grown up, calling on developed levels of thinking, imagination and ability. One of the classics of early gaming, Elite, drew on a sophisticated skill set that required players to think tactically in combat, to manually dock with space stations and give serious consideration to the risks and rewards of trading certain goods in certain economies. Elite isn't a lone example either, plenty of early 8-bit titles such as Paradroid (the transfer section) and Impossible Mission (the puzzle match sub game) demonstrate the need for adult skills and reasoning. The only thing I think that has significantly changed is ability of programmers and designers to render games in such as fashion that they can be compared to other more mature media forms, hence the ability to render Vice City and pay homage to Japanese post-modern horror. Just because gaming is now acquiring the vocabulary to express itself doesn't mean that it hasn't always has intelligent or adult thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange timing for your topic, as I was in town today and my friend pointed out "FF CC" for the GC and I said I would prefer something a little less cartoony and with a more serious slant to it.

As I am 37 and have been playing games since the advent of the Commdore PET, I think I can say I have seen a lot of change in the industry, not all for the good.

As the demographic who play games expands, i.e. older gamers who still enjoy games, such as myself, I feel there is a need for more adult content in games. Most other entertainment genres have different content to suit all tastes and age groups, so why is a there such an outrage when computer games actually start to have a more adult content?

My taste in games has move on since my teens, and now I prefer games which are less cartoon like and have a grittier feel. Although I would prefer we do not enter a situation where there is gratuitous and excess sex and other more adult themes forced into a game out of context, otherwise the Daily Mail readers will no doubt be outraged just for the sake of it.

This industry needs to be taken more seriously and the best way it can is to admit that a lot of adults do still play games so it shoud take some risks and start to make more 18+ games but not exploit the adult themes and undermine what is still a fledgling industry. Soft porn is best left for the likes of cheap DVDs in my opinion!

Krish

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings everyone,

I'm writing another games feature for the Sunday Times, and I promise not to mention The Matrix this time. :lol:

The issue is: Are Games (Finally) Growing Up? Japanese postmodern horror in Forbidden Siren, an apparently non-sniggering approach to romance and sex in Flirt Up Your Life, appealing to the 80s-retro demographic in Vice City, a game named after a book by Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) (well, okay...). It might seem that games increasingly have content that doesn't assume we are children only interested in cartoon furry animals. Do you welcome this? Have you often felt patronised by games that assume you are 12? (Assuming you are not actually 12.) Would you welcome more maturity of theme or do you not really care so long as the game is good?

My masters want the voices of "real gamers" proffering their opinions in this piece, so reply here with your thoughts and you might be quoted.

For me, the move towards an convincing interactive storytelling medium has offered a layer of sophistication beyond that associated with mere childsplay. We are now presented with motive to play games beyond "because they're fun", offered instead an indulgance in a thirst for story archetypally linked to high culture - novels, historical events, mythological figures, represented in the richness of an interactive environment.

The form of the videogame story has matured too - we've gone from Mario's "save the princess" approach to your La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo's and biochemical conspiracies of your Metal Gear Solid's and Resident Evil's. Such intracies, machinations and even convolutions are not designed for the mind or attention span of the younger gamer - a sure sign that videogames are maturing with frightening rapidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see the big thing about games and gaming being "grown up" or "mature". In my opinion that only serves to help try and market games at people who have no interest in games.

Games should be fun, if they offer anything else beyond that such as a good story, or thought provoking moment then as long as it fits well within the game without affecting the core gameplay then fine.

The only people chasing the "grown up" angle are immature kids who want to play games but feel there is a stigma attached to their hobby, and until they are mature enough not to care how others react then they will always be in pursuit of something that means nothing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings everyone,

I'm writing another games feature for the Sunday Times, and I promise not to mention The Matrix this time. :lol:

The issue is: Are Games (Finally) Growing Up? Japanese postmodern horror in Forbidden Siren, an apparently non-sniggering approach to romance and sex in Flirt Up Your Life, appealing to the 80s-retro demographic in Vice City, a game named after a book by Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil) (well, okay...). It might seem that games increasingly have content that doesn't assume we are children only interested in cartoon furry animals. Do you welcome this? Have you often felt patronised by games that assume you are 12? (Assuming you are not actually 12.) Would you welcome more maturity of theme or do you not really care so long as the game is good?

My masters want the voices of "real gamers" proffering their opinions in this piece, so reply here with your thoughts and you might be quoted.

It's absolutely nothing new.

What you mean is, in the last decade console games have started to become marketed to specific audiences rather than aiming for universal appeal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Games have moved with the ages. People who played them in the 80's are now 20 years older, and some are still playing. This means developers can follow a more "mature" route to capture an older audience, an audience with an income worth tapping into.

Unfortunately it seems they have forgotten the younger generation. While I grew up playing Monty Mole, OutRun and Head over Heels, young gamers of the 21st century are growing up with Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto, and Medal of Honour.

My Son loves playing on the Dreamcast (only as a "treat"). In the 80's and part of the 90's I would have had no problem finding suitable titles in "initiate" him with. I actually had to resort to a Master System emulator, and the "Smash Pack" on my Dreamcast just to find something for him to play.

While the need to "think" has never left videogames, the setting and theme of most of them today seems to be modelled on reality, and a more mature set of goals.

I miss that mole.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends how willing you are to ignore the existence of games such as Deus Ex Machina, The Eidolon and many many more in favour of an easy headline or two.

Perhaps you could angle the article around the media's coming of age in terms of being willing to actually report the scene as it is rather than continuing to be selective in terms of what you tell your readership?

The Automata games, about which I wrote an Edge column not too long ago, were decades ahead of their time, but they were hardly representative of the 8-bit era.

Meanwhile, I couldn't possibly do as you suggest because then the whole evil media conspiracy of which I am a part would be exposed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, not really.

Nearly all the things you mention are driving at the same US male 18-24 market. They have merely refined the technique, by using linking in better with Hollywood - Enter The Matrix might have been shit, but it's the wave of the future, especially if you look at what EA is doing.

It's wrong to define games purely in terms of story (was Tetris "grown-up"?), but as that seems to be what we're talking about here - there still next to know games that deal with any serious emotional content. Where are the Lost In Translations, for example? It's all comic book stuff, back when that criticism could be applied to comics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, not really.

Nearly all the things you mention are driving at the same US male 18-24 market. They have merely refined the technique, by using linking in better with Hollywood - Enter The Matrix might have been shit, but it's the wave of the future, especially if you look at what EA is doing.

It's wrong to define games purely in terms of story (was Tetris "grown-up"?), but as that seems to be what we're talking about here - there still next to know games that deal with any serious emotional content. Where are the Lost In Translations, for example? It's all comic book stuff, back when that criticism could be applied to comics.

I don't mean "story" really but theme, say the theme of satirical sadism in Manhunt. Emotional content is something different altogether, of course, and not obviously on the horizon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Automata games, about which I wrote an Edge column not too long ago, were decades ahead of their time, but they were hardly representative of the 8-bit era.

Then what about the Infocom games?

Some of which address your 'emotional content' question, also.

Edit: That's just looking at the 1980's. Post 1990 there are more games with 'adult' themes than could be listed easily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Automata games, about which I wrote an Edge column not too long ago, were decades ahead of their time, but they were hardly representative of the 8-bit era.

Meanwhile, I couldn't possibly do as you suggest because then the whole evil media conspiracy of which I am a part would be exposed.

So what games were representative of the 8 bit era? My fondest memories are Elite, Mercenary, Impossible Mission, Theatre Europe, Koronis Rift - major titles that sold well and not a fluffy animal in sight.

See, when you start an article with the thing already half written in your mind and all that's left to add are the quotes ....

Suddenly remember why I got a new career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, linkster and the MK bloke are right - games in the mid-late 80's seemed to be a bit more open to being more mature, pr0obably because anyone and everyone could make games without having to get it past the console manufacturer. And seeing that the major force in the 80's was Nintendo, it's not surprising that games would be tailored for a younger audience. Maybe it's more of a 'resurgence' than them acutally growing up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find the more deliberatelty 'grown up' games to be the most immature and embarrasing. I'm just replaying Eternal Darkness now and I'm finding the 'dark' script and acting to be a bit cringeworthy. Obviously there is an attempt to make a more grown up game here but I don't think the right people are writing the scripts.

I think what's holding games back from become as mature, or sophisticated as other media as that what you actually do in game worlds (irrespective of how realistically they are rendered) is VERY crude. A game character is still a clumsy mute, crashing into objects, blundering down corridors etc. If they say anything meaningful then it's pre-scripted and no longer gameplay. If we EVER figure out a way to have more sophisticated input (and proper response to that input) then games may become deeper.

Simple stuff like driving, shooting, jumping, fighting can be implemented quite convincingly but anything more sophisticated means leaving gameplay behind and ripping off movie techniques. Actual gameplay is more comparable to silent movies at the moment. And it's difficult to see how it will progress beyond that in the near future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what games were representative of the 8 bit era? My fondest memories are Elite, Mercenary, Impossible Mission, Theatre Europe, Koronis Rift - major titles that sold well and not a fluffy animal in sight.

See, when you start an article with the thing already half written in your mind and all that's left to add are the quotes ....

Suddenly remember why I got a new career.

Hmm, let's see, did I say that all 8-bit games featured fluffy animals? No.

Was Elite a really "adult" game? Of course not. It was great for 12-year-olds, though.

Thanks for the journalism tips.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was Elite a really "adult" game? Of course not. It was great for 12-year-olds, though.

What a ridiculous statement.

What stops Elite (a game created by two students for a glorified classroom calculator, let's not forget) from offering something of value to adult players, exactly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find the more deliberatelty 'grown up' games to be the most immature and embarrasing. I'm just replaying Eternal Darkness now and I'm finding the 'dark' script and acting to be a bit cringeworthy. Obviously there is an attempt to make a more grown up game here but I don't think the right people are writing the scripts.

I think what's holding games back from become as mature, or sophisticated as other media as that what you actually do in game worlds (irrespective of how realistically they are rendered) is VERY crude. A game character is still a clumsy mute, crashing into objects, blundering down corridors etc. If they say anything meaningful then it's pre-scripted and no longer gameplay. If we EVER figure out a way to have more sophisticated input (and proper response to that input) then games may become deeper.

Simple stuff like driving, shooting, jumping, fighting can be implemented quite convincingly but anything more sophisticated means leaving gameplay behind and ripping of movie techniques. Actual gameplay is more comparable to silent movies at the moment. And it's difficult to see how it will progress beyond that in the near future.

Very true. It seems the more games try to offer a "mature" experience, the more glaring the faults in scriptwriting and limitations of interaction often get. As I remember, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was supposed to be, like, really "dark" and grown-up too. :lol:

What about Vice City?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, let's see, did I say that all 8-bit games featured fluffy animals? No.

Was Elite a really "adult" game? Of course not. It was great for 12-year-olds, though.

Thanks for the journalism tips.

No you didn't, but your reply to my first post seemed to be saying that I was picking games that were not representative of the scene at the time, even though I didn't actually understand from the outset that games had to be representative, so I added a few more. Evidently they're not what you wanted to hear.

Perhaps I just don't understand the question. Is Beyond Good and Evil (with its multitude of furry animals and talking pigs) more mature than Elite simply because of its title, which could have come from the marketing department for all we know? I don't quite get where you're coming from, other than appreciating perhaps that you know the kind of article you need to write and the kind of responses you want to get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see any evidence of "adult themes" emerging in games. You mentioned Manhunt, does it offer a satirical look at sadism. No I don't think so, I think this game has been made (and to an extent) marketed to young teens. When I was 13 I'd think the way characters swore so much and the fact you got to kill people with plastic bags would be awesome (or possibly "radical" when I was 13). But at the age of 32 it just seems a tad silly, and as if the game is trying too hard.

I know this is not what your after, but the only way that I feel I'm not being talked to as I'm a child is in better story lines. Perhaps not so much in a view of the complexity of the story, but in the emotional attachment. Two games I've played this year really touched me emotionally and were far better games for it - those were ICO and Beyond Good and evil. Should devco's manage to integrate an "adult" theme with an involving story and emotional content, then perhaps we'd start to see games grow up

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a ridiculous statement.

What stops Elite (a game created by two students for a glorified classroom calculator, let's not forget) from offering something of value to adult players, exactly?

I mean that Elite was not an adult-themed game in the way I am saying that Manhunt, Vice City, etc, are designed to be. It was a game that anyone (including 12-year-olds) could play. If I had a 12-year-old I would probably not want him to play Manhunt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still think storylines are completely pointless in games. They add, but they shouldn't be focused upon. How the games are played - there could be a possibility that they are 'growing up' - but I don't know how to define that. I'd never say Monkey Ball was grown up, because all it involves is moving a stick around, but there are many complications attached to it.

I'm not sure, really.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mean that Elite was not an adult-themed game in the way I am saying that Manhunt, Vice City, etc, are designed to be. It was a game that anyone (including 12-year-olds) could play. If I had a 12-year-old I would probably not want him to play Manhunt.

Oh, you mean exploitative adult themes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No you didn't, but your reply to my first post seemed to be saying that I was picking games that were not representative of the scene at the time, even though I didn't actually understand from the outset that games had to be representative, so I added a few more. Evidently they're not what you wanted to hear.

Perhaps I just don't understand the question. Is Beyond Good and Evil (with its multitude of furry animals and talking pigs) more mature than Elite simply because of its title, which could have come from the marketing department for all we know? I don't quite get where you're coming from, other than appreciating perhaps that you know the kind of article you need to write and the kind of responses you want to get.

There is not something I "want to hear", I am asking questions. That is why I put question marks at the end of the sentences.

The games you mention from the 8-bit era were fine products but not "adult-themed" in the way I am talking about. My mention of BG&E was frivolous.

You can stop assuming you know the way I write now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought Vice City had a great script and acting too. I'm not sure it's any more 'mature' than Mario other than in a not-suitable-for-children way.

I'm a bit of a gameplay purist; most games consist of (often poor quality) movie sequences strung together with gameplay. Often the gameplay covers the bits that would rightfully be left out of a movie (like travelling to meet someone on the opposite side of the city just to trigger another cut-scene). Currently, this our best approach but I can't help feeling it's a bit of blind alley. The scripts may get better, the graphics certainly will, but what the player actually does is not really changing, just the context.

I'd like to think it will be those developing pure video games rather than the want-to-be-films types that make the breakthrough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, that's a question, isn't it? Is the only way videogames can currently be "adult" to try to be shocking and exploitative, because they lack any more nuanced and sophisticated strategy?

No. Please refer to the growing list of examples participants in this thread are patiently trying to offer you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.