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Are Games Growing Up?


steven_poole
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But having said that, I must say that you're utterly wrong. FMV is just as much a part of a game as the "playing" bit. It's an experience, it's a journey, and sometimes on journeys all you can do is sit back and watch.

why is it part of the game? I'm not trying to be funny, but why is something which you have no control over, aside from possinly meeting some predetermined criteria which trigger said fMV, considered the game instead of the narrative? the game itself isn't any more mature because it's there - it's there because pushes along the story which has been written deliberatly to put you in a certain state of mind, be it happy, sad etc. in other words, it's a reward for your actions, not your actions themselves.

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why is it part of the game? I'm not trying to be funny, but why is something which you have no control over, aside from possinly meeting some predetermined criteria which trigger said fMV, considered the game instead of the narrative? the game itself isn't any more mature because it's there - it's there because pushes along the story which has been written deliberatly to put you in a certain state of mind, be it happy, sad etc. in other words, it's a reward for your actions, not your actions themselves.

It's part of the overall experience, in the same way as trying to figure out who Kaiser Soze is or what the fuck's going on in Donnie Darko (interactive) is part of a movie experience (passive).

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Oh, I do, I was just making a point. Of course the two aren't mutually exclusive ways of creating emotion. Imagine the sort of sense of uncertainty and guilt about your combatative successes that MGS managed to (occasionally) raise in its plot coupled with the intensely viceral satisfaction of the combat in a good scrolling shooter.

Games still have a lot of development ahead of them.

The key word here is 'imagine'. People the world over can imagine, but very few can put it into practice. At the moment games are (and probably always will be) limited by hardware constraints, development costs, publishers not wanting to take a gamble on a format that may not make a return. It's all very good stating what you'd like (and I do it myself, of course), but putting it into practice is an entirely different ball game.

They do have a lot of development ahead, and I'm very positive about it.

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why is it part of the game? I'm not trying to be funny, but why is something which you have no control over, aside from possinly meeting some predetermined criteria which trigger said fMV, considered the game instead of the narrative? the game itself isn't any more mature because it's there - it's there because pushes along the story which has been written deliberatly to put you in a certain state of mind, be it happy, sad etc. in other words, it's a reward for your actions, not your actions themselves.

Sorry but that's just plain wrong, as Alex W pointed out with a very good analogy. If you can't see why a movie within a game is part of the experience, there's something deeply wrong with you, and it's not worth the effort of me drumming out a reply, because you'll refute what I post no matter what.

...pushes along the story which has been written deliberatly to put you in a certain state of mind, be it happy, sad etc.

And films don't do this? Because of this you won't enjoy a game? Mentalist.

When you can write a game engine that generates *everything* on the fly (i.e. an entire world where everything is unique), then I'll listen to you.

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why is it part of the game? I'm not trying to be funny, but why is something which you have no control over, aside from possinly meeting some predetermined criteria which trigger said fMV, considered the game instead of the narrative? the game itself isn't any more mature because it's there - it's there because pushes along the story which has been written deliberatly to put you in a certain state of mind, be it happy, sad etc. in other words, it's a reward for your actions, not your actions themselves

Because your interacting with the story and the story contains adult themes and themes revelent to adults.

Play any game and change the narrative, graphical style and charaters to something like the Tweenies and its then perceived a kids game.

Its more blurred examining games like Twin Bee and Ikaruga, Cotton and Gradius.

Arcade games can use childish charactors and adult gamers (well hardcore/retro gamers) will play them without embarressement.

A narrative then makes all the difference.

Arcade games have no real narrative apart from 'Kill aliens' or 'Rescue bint' (which are applicable to all ages and all stories).

I mean carmageddon is only adult because of its content.

In this case its the gore, buts its actually really funny and simple to play.

So graphical style and narrative are very important.

Then theres the control complexity and interlectual complexity.

Flight sim and Sim city are not really for kids due to the control methods and intelligence required to play.

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Yes. I think I'm talking at cross-purposes to this whole argument really. I'm talking about (potential) emotional depth and sophistication. Currenly MOST of this stuff resides in the non-interactive parts of games. I'm personally interested in where that stuff can happen in the interactive bits.

I tell you what, I really hated that flower-eating slug thing. You know what I'm talking about. RAAAARRRR.

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I suppose we can all agree that some games have become more mature or at least, the themes have become more modern. Rescuing the female isn't really 'cool' anymore particularly as it paints a picture of females being unable to look after themselves.

I still like the idea of rescuing the female, although I suppose an option for female gamers to rescue a bloke should also be applied to those scenario's to appease the PC brigade.

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I suppose we can all agree that some games have become more mature or at least, the themes have become more modern. Rescuing the female isn't really 'cool' anymore particularly as it paints a picture of females being unable to look after themselves.

As I've already pointed out, this was hardly the only storyline in game of old.

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*groans at Kryptonian*

I don't think that games have really changed apart from graphics, the majority still have the same basic designs as they did in the 80s - but what has changed is the actual industry and the people running it.

Mature gaming has always been here, but adding marketing men to the mix in a modern fashion has pushed the industry into the mainstream like a double-edge sword.

More gaming coverage but at a cost.

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Sorry but that's just plain wrong, as Alex W pointed out with a very good analogy. If you can't see why a movie within a game is part of the experience, there's something deeply wrong with you, and it's not worth the effort of me drumming out a reply, because you'll refute what I post no matter what.

I have to say, I think you've missed both Harvest's point and the distinction that's taken ten pages to establish. Yes, it's all part of the experience, but there's no reason why we can't sensibly distinguish the elements of that experience as interactive or passive. On a sliding scale between binary oppositions, if you prefer, but still determinable.

At the passive end you have the script, the backstory, the setting, the FMV rewards, what have you. At the interactive end you have the gameplay, the actions, the rules of the game, the run / jump / drive nitty-gritty.

So far, it's been easy to look at the passive elements and ascribe qualities like "childish" or "mature". This is where a large part of the context and the cultural baggage sits, and where literary / cinematic conventions are readily employed for the purpose of narrative.

But when I look at what I get out of good gameplay, the abstract activity I engage in has far more in common with (say) physical sport, or boardgaming, or playing cards, than with films and books. JP's comments about getting frantic in Elite remind me more of the kind of emotional highs and lows you feel when playing a team sport or gambling for real money at Poker. We've all heard about those barriers under the table to stop Chess Grandmasters kicking each other. I think playing games is vital to the human experience; it is as subject to emotional investment as anything else we do; and it is being both misunderstood and belittled when somebody asks why videogames can't "do a Pride And Prejudice".

To show how inappropriate the question is, just turn it on its head: why did Jane Austen never write anything that makes me punch the air with a spontaneous "Yessss! Eat that!" ?

I do believe there are still many innovations to come, and we've only scratched the surface of using our machines for play. I also have a little theory about how the technology has greatly advanced the roleplaying aspect (in its truest sense) of many modern games. But I've gone on long enough.

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From a retro view Video games of old gave an altogether different expirience from those of today.

Because the whole era was in its infancy and every game, regardless of content, gave us enjoyment.

You could see 20 years olds playing Circlus Charlie because it was new. At home, sim games have been around since year dot so i think theres a definative answer and that is simply no.

Commercially, In fact, games have grown immature.

Why? simply because of the companies that drive the programmers to program them.

The selling genres are limited.

When something matures it grows, and thats not really happening to much these days.

In the goldern era, everything was new.

Now, Its always better the devil you know and very few challenge this.

The content of the game itself has never changed really.

Theres always been the norminal taboos Horror, Gore, Sex but with lesser sound and graphics.

Now we can interact with the taboo, that in itself is taboo but it makes no sence.

If we were to bring out new controllers to interact with taboo subjects, is that mature?

A gun to kill zombies is fine, yet a programmer could release a game where you shoot kids. Thats immature.

A steering wheel can be used to race but a programmer could use it to run photorealsitic cots.

But nothing has actually changed in reality because few commercial companies will go there.

As a society we are bound by rules, and commercial games have always been written within this framework.

Whilst that moral framework exists, the perception of a games maturity will be based in its content.

Everything has content, just like everthing is made of matter.

So you really can't judge a game in any other way.

Also people like to be mentally stimulated either by strategy or puzzle and games offer all of these stimuli.

I would hate to think that games MUST appeal to one demographic, because many people will miss out, so to answer the orignal question, i think we should imbrance all gaming elements with open arms.

Games can simulate nearly anything, so i think we should let them flow.

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Sorry but that's just plain wrong, as Alex W pointed out with a very good analogy. If you can't see why a movie within a game is part of the experience, there's something deeply wrong with you[

um... let's try and maintain some perspective, eh?

And it seems that zy understands the point I'm trying to make, so I hope you've read his post.

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Games aren't growing up although more and more gamers are. I'm a <cough> mature gamer <cough> but I'm with Pickford in that most games trying to be 'mature' come across to me as exactly the opposite. Case in point was Splinter Cell with its awful intro FMV - old slightly greying ex-special forces type into freediving and not killing sharks recalled for special training blah blah blah. It even had the gravelly all too serious American voice over! Funnily enough though, I'm sure teenagers find these sort of things mature, as they would games like GTA and more recently Manhunt.

On the other hand I am now 50 hours into FFXI, my first ever MMORPG and I have been completely blown away by this game, almost in every respect. Games have matured so far as to be able to come up with such a complete and fabulous on-line gaming world. I stopped playing Call of Duty, KOTOR and Skies of Arcadia in my tracks and can't for the life of me work out when I'll want to stop playing FFXI long enough to go back to any other game at all.

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If you were attached to a character throughout a game, so much so that you formed an emotional bond, you could destroy this with your own folly, by perhaps making a mistake and getting her killed. You could have saved her, and this is interactive. This is an interactive part of the game, and is very much possible.

I think that's part of the problem, however. Generally, games have a sort of trial-and-error structure which negates this sort of fear; give something a try - if it messes up, then you go back and try it again a different way.

In order to raise the power of the emotion the player feels, you'd need to cement the outcome arising from their actions. So if you want to see games where you feel guilt for (eg) being responsible for someone's death, then you need to radically alter the gameplay so that they can't go back to right the wrong that they've committed. So the game would be (in terms of timeline, anyway) entirely linear, with the possibility you could mess it all up and have no recourse other than restarting.

How many people do you think would be prepared to play a game where this was the case? I'd guess not many.

I suppose it's here that games become separate from other forms of media entertainment - because whereas a film/book just has to be entertaining, a game has to be entertaining whilst being interactive. Which is a much bigger challenge. People are used to having no control over the direction of a film - with a game, they at least have the illusion of it.

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In order to raise the power of the emotion the player feels, you'd need to cement the outcome arising from their actions. So if you want to see games where you feel guilt for (eg) being responsible for someone's death, then you need to radically alter the gameplay so that they can't go back to right the wrong that they've committed. So the game would be (in terms of timeline, anyway) entirely linear, with the possibility you could mess it all up and have no recourse other than restarting.

How many people do you think would be prepared to play a game where this was the case? I'd guess not many.

I suppose it's here that games become separate from other forms of media entertainment - because whereas a film/book just has to be entertaining, a game has to be entertaining whilst being interactive. Which is a much bigger challenge. People are used to having no control over the direction of a film - with a game, they at least have the illusion of it.

This has been done - in the original Deus Ex you have the option to assasinate a good guy or kill a baddie fairly early on, each with their own alternative course available to you in the game.

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I guess so but when I was faced with the choice (I killed the baddie) I felt no inclination to go back to a previous save.

But if the fact you had killed him made life much more difficult as the game progressed (lets say his role was taken by someone much more of a "baddie" than he had been, or his brother decided to go after you with a small army, out for revenge), then you might have been tempted. Or, ultimately, if the game had become unfinishable because you'd killed the one person who knew a code you required to defuse a bomb etc etc - you have the safety net of being able to effectively go back and "un-kill" him.

Which perhaps makes for a less tense/worrying game, but surely also makes the player a bit more blase about their approach to it?

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What about Steel Batalion - get killed, instant death? Might make you more careful with how you tackle situations, and make sure you're aware of the concequences of your actions.

I've not played it, so I'm certainly not in the best position to comment, but this has always sounded a bit gimmicky to me.

I stuggle to think of anyone who, after having their save file erased for not ejecting, would be happy with the experience as it's more hardcore.

Just don't get it myself.

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What about Steel Batalion - get killed, instant death? Might make you more careful with how you tackle situations, and make sure you're aware of the concequences of your actions.

Yes, that was the only game that sprang to mind where this was the case. That and Uplink, anyway, where you can suddenly be arrested and that's it - game over (although later on in the game you can avoid this). I've not played SB, so I'm interested to know how harshly that's enforced?

Even on here, though, a lot of people voiced concern that they wouldn't want to put a load of effort into something, only to quite likely see their hours of careful play flushed down the metaphorical karzi when they fell in one battle. And if that sort of stuff isn't necessarily going to appeal to people who while away the days on a computer games forum, I seriously doubt it'll appeal to Joe Public.

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I've not played it, so I'm certainly not in the best position to comment, but this has always sounded a bit gimmicky to me.

I stuggle to think of anyone who, after having their save file erased for not ejecting, would be happy with the experience as it's more hardcore.

Just don't get it myself.

Well I've not played it either, but I'm guessing it makes you very careful when playing so that it never happens. Though, maybe there are better examples of this in not-so-hardcore games.

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