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Are Games Growing Up?


steven_poole
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*grumbles about people completely ignoring his last post, containing as it did Yann's idea of what good examples of games with mature storylines, and games with mature gameplay. Bah, and indeed humbug*

<grin> I'm just reading it now, and will have a look at the games you mentioned later when I'm done with work.

Happy now? :blink:

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The story isn't the game, it's the actions you carry out in the game.

Much like the novel isn't the paper you write on, it's what you do with it.

If I tell you about my game of Tetris, I've told you a story. It'll never win the booker prize, but it's a story.

Maybe it is a bit of a sidetrack, but it's one based on maturity - you can't just look at the themes and narrative, you have to look at the story you create too.

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I'm never happy ;)

(You do realise that I have a much more indepth post earlier in the thread (page 10/11 methinks), which also gives a bit more info on the two games mentioned (like what they are/where to get them)?

Might be useful (that and more views of it = more potential praise for me. I'm such a cheap bastard :blink:)

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We've just looped back about four pages, allright. :blink: Yes, the story the game itself should mature (like, for example, the story of playing a Robotron or Advance Wars where very little is preordained), and probably will, alongside the non-game elements.

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no, that's EXACTLY what I said. you were trying to imply that the FMVs and non interactive elements were intrinsic to the game, and Zy,John and I are trying to argue that isn't the case. 

I know that it seems hard to comprehend, especially at it seems to have come to name calling on your part, but the fact is that GAMEPLAY hasn't matured on iota. you can layer on as much maturity in the story as you want - what's underneath doesn't seem to have changed at all.

I didn't say they were intrinsic to the game (please quote me), I just retorted to your ridiculous flippant comment where you said that FMV was not part of the game by saying that they're part of the overall experience.

1) Not every game uses FMV or movies. Indeed many of my examples contained barely any passive entertainment at all.

2) They're deliberately placed for a certain effect, making them part of the experience - the game.

And you must be illiterate because my lengthy post was arguing that games haven't matured one bit, both on the 'gameplay' side and the narratives running underneath. So perhaps it's you who finds things "hard to comprehend".

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I didn't say they were intrinsic to the game (please quote me), I just retorted to your ridiculous flippant comment where you said that FMV was not part of the game.

1) Not every game uses FMV or movies. Indeed many of my examples contained barely any passive entertainment at all.

2) They're deliberately placed for a certain effect, making them part of the experience - the game.

well, i'm certainly not going to waste my time repeating my points yet again, if you stubbornly refuse to understand what I was saying. FMV/Non interactive ingame engine - it's all the same. If you want to hold on to the idea that it's all the 'experience' and not actually grasp the concept that's being made re: mature gamplay vs mature storyline well,that's fine by me.

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well, i'm certainly not going to waste my time repeating my points yet again, if you stubbornly refuse to understand what I was saying. FMV/Non interactive ingame engine - it's all the same. If you want to hold on to the idea that it's all the 'experience' and not actually grasp the concept that's being made re: mature gamplay vs mature storyline well,that's fine by me.

I wasn't talking about that though, I was just responding to your comment about FMV not being part of the game. Why have you tried to turn my posts into something they're not? There's no subtext in them.

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Also, just to make it utterly explicit. If you look back you'll find that my original reply to you was your point about FMV/movies not being part of the game because they're non-interactive (which I disagree with, as I said it was part of the experience). You will see in my original post that I stated explicitly that games have not matured in any area, gameplay included, because they're (still) inherently limited by our understanding of the format and the hardware available. You can also see this repeated in my posts to Alex W. You may also note that I replied to you directly stating that until engines which generate entire worlds on-the-fly with a multitude of actions and characters, then the subject should be explored more in-depth.

OK?

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I wasn't talking about that though, I was just responding to your comment about FMV not being part of the game. Why have you tried to turn my posts into something they're not? There's no subtext in them.

We're clearly talking at cross purposes here - Whilst I can acknowledge that noninteractive sequences are part of the game - I have eyes, after all - they aren't the reason that you can classify a game 'mature'. the content may be mature, but the game certainly isn't. See In Memoriam for a case in point. great, involving story, but that's all it is. the game is essentially a collection of simple shockwave games. The emotion is brought on by the FMV elements - not the space invader game you have to play to trigger the event.

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they aren't the reason that you can classify a game 'mature'

I never said that. I said it was one of the ways a game could be classified mature, and that they haven't grown up. After that I went on to state the gameplay stuff.

See In Memoriam for a case in point. great, involving story, but that's all it is. the game is essentially a collection of simple shockwave games. The emotion is brought on by the FMV elements - not the space invader game you have to play to trigger the event.

Debatable. I would say that the puzzles are fairly mature as some require a serious amount of brainpower.

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Response to Dazza as I've had the opportunity of reading his post as he's below me:

Mario and Zelda were the only representatives of the bygone gaming eras? You realise, for a start, that MGS had a predecessor on the NES with a suitably Hollywood-esque storyline? In fact, most people thought MGS, with its comedy rollerskating boss, was more akin to a comedy than anything else. It's got sillier, not more mature. Kojima went a bit mental with his Western fixation, in the same way Western people go overboard with their (unfortunately inept by Japanese standards) fanatacism about Japanese things. You can see some games mentioned above for examples. Deus Ex drew on an incredible breadth of sources to complete itself, and this includes a slew of titles which showed us Cyberpunk, apocalyptic worlds of the future in which chaos reigned. Hell, it even drew shitloads of inspiration from MUDs. And considering Deus Ex is considered one of the best games of all time, it's hardly representative of modern games as a whole.

Fair points, there. But as I stated, I am only 17 years old, so my game knowledge obviously isn't as great as someone who was enjoying the 16-bit era when they were the age I am now. We were asked for our opinions, and that's exactly what I gave. From my recollection, games with the all too abundant nowadays "Hollywood-esque" storylines were few and far between in the bygone age of the SNES and it's compatriots, when looked alongside the ever-growing ranks of filmic storylines in games nowadays. I meant that the proportion of "serious" storylines to "non-serious" ones has greatly shifted in favour of "serious" nowadays. Am I wrong?

I do believe anyone who's been playing games for a long time would sneer at the thought of modern games being more mature.

I do believe that I stated in no uncertain terms that, gameplay-wise, videogames have scarcely changed.

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Fair points, there. But as I stated, I am only 17 years old, so my game knowledge obviously isn't as great as someone who was enjoying the 16-bit era when they were the age I am now. We were asked for our opinions, and that's exactly what I gave. From my recollection, games with the all too abundant nowadays "Hollywood-esque" storylines were few and far between in the bygone age of the SNES and it's compatriots, when looked alongside the ever-growing ranks of filmic storylines in games nowadays. I meant that the proportion of "serious" storylines to "non-serious" ones has greatly shifted in favour of "serious" nowadays. Am I wrong?

Hey, don't get your back up because I wanted to discuss what points you made. The idea is discussion, not refution of any (constructive) criticism. And you said you wanted to be a journalist, so you'll have to get used to receiving negative feedback :)

Your point would be debatable, but even if it could be shown that, as a trend, modern games are more inspired by Hollywood narratives than fifteen years ago, it wouldn't really matter - there were still a fair amount of games (memorable ones) that were influenced by Hollywood back then. So it's not as if it's a new thing at all, and it certainly wouldn't enter into the maturity debate.

I do believe that I stated in no uncertain terms that, gameplay-wise, videogames have scarcely changed.

That comment wasn't necessarily aimed at you.

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Oh, and that was a very well written article there Dazza, while obviously we have slightly different opinions on the matter I believe that yours was both succinct and put its ideas across far better than mine.

[PS, when you're a famous journalist, don't forget your old buddy here, eh? :D]

Thanks, mate! I appreciate it. Any praise is good in my not-too-confident-in-my-abilities state. :D

And I won't forget you! I may do a feature on your excursions down-under! ;)

(That was you, wasn't it? Have I just made an arse of myself again? :) )

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Hey, don't get your back up because I wanted to discuss what points you made. The idea is discussion, not refution of any (constructive) criticism. And you said you wanted to be a journalist, so you'll have to get used to receiving negative feedback :D

Your point would be debatable, but even if it could be shown that, as a trend, modern games are more inspired by Hollywood narratives than fifteen years ago, it wouldn't really matter - there were still a fair amount of games (memorable ones) that were influenced by Hollywood back then. So it's not as if it's a new thing at all, and it certainly wouldn't enter into the maturity debate.

I'm not getting my back up! I just think it's rude to hear constructive criticism and not respond! I'll not argue that I have any great knowledge of games of that bygone era, but surely you'd agree that far more games are "Hollywood-inspired" in terms of storyline nowadays? I also felt it appropriate (at the time) to look at the maturity of all aspects of the gameplay, as they would surely all contribute to a game's ultimate maturity, no? I generally just rambled on in that post, and simply went where mymind took me. I may have strayed from my original intention with the piece, if that makes sense.

That comment wasn't necessarily aimed at you.

Sorry, I just assumed it was, given that it was right below a comment on my post. :)

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Thanks, mate! I appreciate it. Any praise is good in my not-too-confident-in-my-abilities state. :D

And I won't forget you! I may do a feature on your excursions down-under! ;)

(That was you, wasn't it? Have I just made an arse of myself again? :) )

Hehe, no, you've got the right person.

I'm actually quite chuffed you noticed/remembered :D

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Hehe, no, you've got the right person.

I'm actually quite chuffed you noticed/remembered :D

Yes, I've always had an inexplicable ability to remember the experiences of forumites in my age bracket.

(You are approximately 17, right? Or have I again possibly made an arse of myself? :))

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Quite, but the games are faceless, which reinforces your earlier point.

Theres no characterisation, or narration.

I think games have to go full 'mature' with no laughter because it adds another angle on the gaming experience.

Games that are dark for the sake of it (like Manhunt).

Its a natrual progression to exploit the most from the medium.

I like that idea because gaming needs new experiences to keep fresh.

I think Doom3 is going to take it really far.

Its geared to scare the shit out of you, like the 'ghost' genre doing the rounds at present.

And we all love Silent Hil and Res. Evil.

I think a problem is that is difficult to get emotions across to a player from a game, sans being funny, or horrorific.

We love these emotions and programmers want us to get the maximum enjoyment.

You don't get much emotion playing a simulator as its designed to copy a job rather the a simple game.

But theres room for both.

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I think there's an interesting dichotomy between the fact that games don't seem to have matured thematically - i.e We have so called adult themes addressed in Vice City and Manhunt but they are actually 'pseudo' adult themes dressed up to appeal to younger adults with a perverse view of maturity - but the integral components of a game (AI, graphical realism) have reached a new level of sophisticated, technical maturity in that they are more adept at provoking a realistic emotional response. That's not to say that I don't agree with JPickford when he talks about Elite and the 8bit days but I recall playing games such as Deus Ex and Operation Flashpoint in the last few years and being genuinely impressed at how advancements in AI have enabled the player to feel much more immersed in the gaming experience.

Previously, games have been able to engage you emotionally but on a much more superficial level. The exciting developments for me are if game developers are able to take us through a deeper more emotionally, engaging game world by pushing the boundaries of how we interact with games..not just through obvious improvements in AI, but through genre breaking titles as well.

We've reached a bit of an impasse in gaming at the moment, IMO. Whilst we are very clever at fiddling with the components of a game and tuning their mechanics very finely to produce an enjoyable experience,(e.g POP: SOT is a clever and engaging revamping of the platform game) if we are ever to truly push the boundaries of how far we can enhance the interactive element of game playing then we need new genres. I'm not sure what genres tbh - that's for the developers to figure out! :D but I think if this can happen then you will truly see games start to grow up and be appreciated even more than they are now.

Not sure how much of the above makes sense but there's my two penneth..

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I think there's an interesting dichotomy between the fact that games don't seem to have matured thematically - i.e We have so called adult themes addressed in Vice City and Manhunt but they are actually 'pseudo' adult themes dressed up to appeal to younger adults with a perverse view of maturity - but the integral components of a game (AI, graphical realism) have reached a new level of sophisticated, technical maturity in that they are more adept at provoking a realistic emotional response. That's not to say that I don't agree with JPickford when he talks about Elite and the 8bit days but I recall playing games such as Deus Ex and Operation Flashpoint in the last few years and being genuinely impressed at how advancements in AI have enabled the player to feel much more immersed in the gaming experience.

Previously, games have been able to engage you emotionally but on a much more superficial level. The exciting developments for me are if game developers are able to take us through a deeper more emotionally, engaging game world by pushing the boundaries of how we interact with games..not just through obvious improvements in AI, but through genre breaking titles as well.

We've reached a bit of an impasse in gaming at the moment, IMO. Whilst we are very clever at fiddling with the components of a game and tuning their mechanics very finely to produce an enjoyable experience,(e.g POP: SOT is a clever and engaging revamping of the platform game) if we are ever to truly push the boundaries of how far we can enhance the interactive element of game playing then we need new genres. I'm not sure what genres tbh - that's for the developers to figure out!  :D but I think if this can happen then you will truly see games start to grow up and be appreciated even more than they are now.

Not sure how much of the above makes sense but there's my two penneth..

I'd agree with that. Using Deux Ex as an example again: whilst playing through it I remember feeling two emotions that no game had managed to make me feel before.

1. Shame

This happened when, exploring the UNATCO hq, I wandered into the Ladies toilets. When I came out, a secretary reprimanded me. I couldn't believe that my actions had elicited such an appropriate response. Sure, it's a scripted response, but the fact that I may now be branded a perv by the other characters in the game was enough to make me feel embarassed.

2. Regret

This happened when a police officer stumbled upon me picking a lock in Hong Kong. In order to stop him alerting his fellow officers, I shot him with the first weapon that came to hand. This happened to be a machine gun, so unfortunately I filled him full of holes. The fact that the game responds to player actions again made me feel remorse for my actions. Would I be punished for this murder later in the game?

So, I'd agree that advances in AI and branching narratives have contributed to more 'mature' games. There is still so much potential, though.

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Would the situation still have been as regretful or shameful without the context of the storyline, characters and setting though? How much of it is down to the freedom of choice in the gameplay, and the world that the designer chooses to give you that choice in?

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Would the situation still have been as regretful or shameful without the context of the storyline, characters and setting though? How much of it is down to the freedom of choice in the gameplay, and the world that the designer chooses to give you that choice in?

Hmm... but is there any feeling or emotion without context? And at which point does that context become more than 'just part of the narrative'?

(This is an excellent topic, by the way)

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It's true that it should be a relatively simple task to overlay a mature narrative and complex characterisation over a generic action or adventure game. The fact that this happens so rarely suggests that games haven't matured much at all.

However, this thread:

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showtopic=32454&hl=

contains a very interesting discussion about games aimed at older gamers. Where are the games that feature puzzles more complex than pushing buttons in the right order? Why are there no games that test reasoning and general knowledge to a level above what a 10 year old could manage?

There really aren't very many at all, suggesting that games are still geared towards the very young.

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However, this thread:

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?showtopic=32454&hl=

contains a very interesting discussion about games aimed at older gamers. Where are the games that feature puzzles more complex than pushing buttons in the right order? Why are there no games that test reasoning and general knowledge to a level above what a 10 year old could manage?

There really aren't very many at all, suggesting that games are still geared towards the very young.

Or aimed at being playable by anyone, perhaps.

Come to think of it, are there any games you can think of that are totally unplayable by anyone below the age of eight or so (due to complexity reasons rather than unsuitability, by the way)?

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Games as a whole haven't anywhere near begun to grow up. Rather there is no an obvious space in the market for games targeted towards a maturer audience, and some games are attempting to fill this gap.

I also think it's about time we stopped using GTA3 and Vice City as a prime example of just about anything when it comes to talking about games, particularly in respect to maturity.

This approach to maturity, seems at the moment to take one approach. One of violence, graphic language and themes that involve killing in some way. (And maybe fear) Now, obviosuly we've all been killing stuff in some regards since we started playing games, but now you can do it realistically. And its obvious why that's happened.

And that's great. We can all play a few games that attempt to treat as like adults, but that's not what I would call 'Games Growing Up', and its a shame that everyone seems to think that. So it's a pretty immature – playing out your childhood fantasies as an adult (nothing wrong with that of course, that's what's playings all about as a kids also, just swapped around) – way of presenting maturity to us as far as I;m concerned. But then that's why its fun.

Actually, maybe that's why they never will grow up. Shooting stuff, wondering around challenging your fears, robbing people, whatever, its all a way for a child, be they 8 or 28 to play a "real grown up".

Games don't need to grow up. The industries attitudes towards it and general public perception of it does though.

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I still think that Silent Hill 2 is possibly the most "grown up" game I have ever played.

The plot alone is way above almost any I have come across in games and even film in terms of dealing with shame, regret, jealousy and all that kind of thing. It really is a deeply psychological game.

Oh and that Deus Ex thing with the ladies toilet is very well scripted. If tou wait a bit you get reprimanded by Manderley, and get an email about not going into ladies toilets.

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