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Are Games Growing Up?


steven_poole
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It certainly was. Manhunt was incredibly boring for the hours I played it. I'm only going to buy the Xbox version because I like the headset audio idea and because I trust the opinions of people on this forum who've convinced me to try it again. So does maturity mean that you have to spend hours doing something dull before you earn the right to enjoy it ... ?

Well, how good the game is is not actually what is at issue. (But it gets very good when you have guns.) The point is that it feels very different from kicking fruit around.

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Remember though, Mario and his ilk were born out of technological limitations - bright, simple characters were the order of the day when 16 pixel sprites ruled the earth. It's only technology and increased graphical capabilities that has allowed more diverse kinds of characters/worlds/games.

I've no doubt that games like 'Manhunt' would have existed during the Atari VCS days had the systems had the kind of power we play with today.

Of course. That is why now is different from the 8-bit era.

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Right, so the fact that 99% of magazines out there are tailored for early to late teens is Rockstar's problem - how? It's as suitable as covering the aforementioned Casino in Smash Hits as 'THE film to watch'. It's the magazine that's at fault.

yes, you can be cynical and say that 'that's what Rockstar want though', but I just don't believe that to be the case.

So you think the magazine rang Rockstar over and over until they agreed give them some details about the gamer, or do you think Rockstar offered them an exclusive if they put the game on the cover and devoted 8 pages to it ?

You do the math.... or something

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I'll accede chess, but snooker and poker... The only thing that makes them more mature is the culture that surrounds them. In and of themselves they are little more than a childish card game and an advanced form of marbles.

I'm not saying that I think these games are mature, just that they are played by adults, and no-one thinks anything of it.

All these attempts to claim that games have grown really do is prove that they haven't. Cinema, Sport, TV - none of these media need to apologise for themselves, they just are what they are. So whilst you could never say that Cinema is for kids, you could say that some films are for kids.

This is currently not true of gaming.

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Well, how good the game is is not actually what is at issue. (But it gets very good when you have guns.) The point is that it feels very different from kicking fruit around.

But why (if you forgive the pun) are you comparing apples and oranges? How can you compare Manhunt to Mario, and be restrictive about what aspects are up for discussion to boot?

I spent ages carefully planning my game in Theatre Europe only to have one side launch an attack no matter what I did. It was pretty upsetting. But the graphics barely mattered. There are many striking 'images' I have from games, and often the image is something I put together, not what was shown me. Violence for the sake of violence, no matter how many polys ... how can you use that as the basis for a discussion about maturity? When video nasties came around, they weren't considered mature, they were desirable because you weren't allowed them, irrespective of age. Maturity didn't come into it.

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Kicking fruit, kicking bodies. Spraying water, spraying bullets. How is it (fundamentally) different?

Sure, everything is the same at a high-enough level of abstraction. Personally I find playing Manhunt to be a very different experience, psychologically, from playing Mario Sunshine.

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Of course. That is why now is different from the 8-bit era.

My point being is that gaming hasn't necessarily 'grown up', it's just that perhaps recent technology has allowed games like Manhunt to be made in the first place.

Not sure that answers your question though, I suppose.

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My point being is that gaming hasn't necessarily 'grown up', it's just that perhaps recent technology has allowed games like Manhunt to be made in the first place.

Not sure that answers your question though, I suppose.

Sure. My point is just that games like Manhunt are only recently being made (for the reasons you describe), so discussion of certain 8-bit classics is sort of irrelevant.

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Personally I find playing Manhunt to be a very different experience, psychologically, from playing Mario Sunshine.

Ooo, I dunno..... I still wanted to kill people when I was playing both those games. The intended targets in Manhunt, and Shigeru Miyamoto for Mario Sunshine.

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I'd say it was almost entirely based around the storyline. Oh and there needs to be a distinction between 'mature' and 'adult'. Possibly.

Hitman 2. Now there's a mature game. Mature because the violence depicted, ace though it is, is essential to the feel, mood & storyline of the game. Yet at the same time it can be played in an immature way (I'm talking shoot outs & strangling competitions).

Now, in the past there was nothing like this. Violence was depicted as cartoony, and death was just characters dissapearing after small bullets touched them.

But maturity is more than death and violence. The storyline to Hitman 2 is something that not only would have been impossible a while back, but wouldn't have even been considered. To me it's one of a few videogames actually trying to tell a clever story which isn't a pastiche, but something original. Mario may be a good game, but a mature storyline is not- save the princess to get a cake.

If, in Hitman 2, it was just level after level with no story, than I would say it wasn't a mature game, but 'adult'. Possibly.

EDIT=- Maturity in games is nothing to aspire to. BTW

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Sure. My point is just that games like Manhunt are only recently being made (for the reasons you describe), so discussion of certain 8-bit classics is sort of irrelevant.

Maybe you should describe just what a "game like Manhunt" is to you then.

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But why (if you forgive the pun) are you comparing apples and oranges? How can you compare Manhunt to Mario, and be restrictive about what aspects are up for discussion to boot?

I spent ages carefully planning my game in Theatre Europe only to have one side launch an attack no matter what I did. It was pretty upsetting. But the graphics barely mattered. There are many striking 'images' I have from games, and often the image is something I put together, not what was shown me. Violence for the sake of violence, no matter how many polys ... how can you use that as the basis for a discussion about maturity? When video nasties came around, they weren't considered mature, they were desirable because you weren't allowed them, irrespective of age. Maturity didn't come into it.

I can compare Manhunt and Mario because they are both videogames.

Notice that I have not actually said that Manhunt is "mature", I have actually asked, a few pages back, whether it is just shocking and exploitative because more nuanced "mature" content is currently out of reach.

If you will insist on getting angry about something that I am not actually saying we will continue to fail to communicate. :(

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Sure, everything is the same at a high-enough level of abstraction. Personally I find playing Manhunt to be a very different experience, psychologically, from playing Mario Sunshine.

Why's that? Because of how it 'looks' and what it depicts, right? These aren't mature games, these are adult themes pasted over identical gameplay.

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Sure. My point is just that games like Manhunt are only recently being made (for the reasons you describe), so discussion of certain 8-bit classics is sort of irrelevant.

I'm not sure I agree, I mean for something to 'grow up' it has to have had something to 'grow up' from doesn't it?

I think the 8bit era is entirely relevant to your question - "Have games grown up" - as the old videogames are the benchmark from which you'll come to your conclusion, surely?

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I am finding it kind of hard at the moment to see this growing up thing with games, so I think probably what I attempt to say is nonsensical, I will do my best!

In my opinion it’s strikingly obvious we are currently stuck in the same commercial rut as Hollywood. Nearly every game is going for the 14 to 25 age bracket and to be perfectly honest it’s getting tiresome. Profits may be high but creativity isn't that noticeable in so many of today’s games.

For games to be seen as growing up they need to be tackling subjects with maturity, the word "game" itself is still evident in every single title you play. I don't mean literally, I am talking the way everything is made. It is always the same mechanic; nothing truly pioneering ever seems to happen these days.

Never do I seem to experience an immersing piece of entertainment anymore - yet now I'm not actually sure if I ever have. Everything is 'just' a game.

For the first time ever (hell it could be grim realisation) I am actually bored by games, never mind trying to do this whole maturity lark. Yet even on this "all new" angle for entertainment its spectacularly failing in every single way.

It is my opinion for a "game" to be truly mature it needs to cease trying to be a game as we know it and take things to a totally different angle - though what this is, I am still uncertain.

What we have is post modernism in games, but we never had the modernism to start with.

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I'm not sure I agree, I mean for something to 'grow up' it has to have had something to 'grow up' from doesn't it?

I think the 8bit era is entirely relevant to your question - "Have games grown up" - as the old videogames are the benchmark from which you'll come to your conclusion, surely?

Sure, irrelevant's the wrong word, I mean that citing 8-bit games that are purportedly "adult" in order to prove that there's nothing new under the sun is a bad argument precisely because of the representational sea-change.

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Why's that? Because of how it 'looks' and what it depicts, right? These aren't mature games, these are adult themes pasted over identical gameplay.

I think, for better or worse, visual representation has become a large part of what a game is these days. (And the gameplay is hardly identical in Manhunt and Sunshine anyway.)

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I can compare Manhunt and Mario because they are both videogames.

Yup, it's your ball, and you can take it back whenever you like. I thought you might like to explain just what you're driving at though, then I can stop apparently bringing up what you consider to be irrelevant points.

Notice that I have not actually said that Manhunt is "mature", I have actually asked, a few pages back, whether it is just shocking and exploitative because more nuanced "mature" content is currently out of reach.

I find it neither, and again struggle to see why mature and Manhunt deserve placing in the same sentence, but again that's an old argument here and not one I really want to retread.

If you will insist on getting angry about something that I am not actually saying we will continue to fail to communicate. :(

I'm not angry in the slightest.

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Notice that I have not actually said that Manhunt is "mature", I have actually asked, a few pages back, whether it is just shocking and exploitative because more nuanced "mature" content is currently out of reach.

Which it isn't.

Your argument is akin to saying films are a dead end because that George A. Romero never said anything profound about the human condition.

FFS.

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I don't believe the so called Mature games around at the moment are mature is the slightest. In fact they are immature often appealing to thoughts most little boys have.

Mature gaming for me will be games that deal with issues that are understood only by adults, Love and relationships.

Unfortunately most games still deal with the issue in a cack handed way. Shenmue deals with love like schoolchildren would. Nothing is said, only implied. The other extreme is the Fear Effect lesbians, which seemed to cater for the child in us again.

The only recent example I can think of that dealt with Love in a mature way was Prince Of Persia. Sexual tension increased slowly between the characters through little tit-bits of conversations during gameplay. The moment it came together however was when Farah is waiting in the baths calling for you while you try to figure out which door to go through. A simple gameplay puzzle placed as a perfect vehicle for the story.

As Ive said before, Games will have truly grown up when publishers are clamoring for the licenses for "Pride and Prejudice" rather than "The Matrix".

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I think, for better or worse, visual representation has become a large part of what a game is these days.

Has it?

So what is 'mature'? What is a mature theme? Is something that "isn't suitable for children" a mature theme?

So, taking a basic game concept you'd see today, like running around rooms collecting stuff and solving puzzles, suddenly becomes a 'mature game' if you put some strippers in the background and make all the collectable items into zombies who's heads you can blow off with realistic depictions of brain flying everywhere?

Is that a mature game simply because you put some unsuitable-for-kids' content into it?

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It might seem that games increasingly have content that doesn't assume we are children only interested in cartoon furry animals.

There have always been games which didn't assume the player to be a child, so I don't see it as being on the increase.

I don't think games are growing up at all.

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Having reached full natural growth or development: a mature cell.

Having reached a desired or final condition; ripe: a mature cheese.

Of, relating to, or characteristic of full development, either mental or physical: mature for her age.

Suitable or intended for adults: mature subject matter.

Composed of adults: a mature audience.

Worked out fully by the mind; considered: a mature plan of action.

Having reached the limit of its time; due: a mature bond.

No longer subject to great expansion or development. Used of an industry, a market, or a product.

Geology. Having reached maximum development of form. Used of streams and landforms.

So which one are we really talking about?

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As usual, we're getting bogged down in a debate over definitions.

It's a problem though. Just because you're Adult, doesn't mean you're Mature. And being Grown Up also allows you to be Childish.

Games will only have grown up, when there are no articles called "Are games growing up", when Gaming is just "Gaming". I put it to you all that this will not happen until all the people who were alive in a time before games existed, are dead.

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As usual, we're getting bogged down in a debate over definitions.

It's a problem though. Just because you're Adult, doesn't mean you're Mature. And being Grown Up also allows you to be Childish.

Games will only have grown up, when there are no articles called "Are games growing up", when Gaming is just "Gaming". I put it to you all that this will not happen until all the people who were alive in a time before games existed, are dead.

yeah, but will the graphics be any good?

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