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Dumbing Up Gaming

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Ending Credits 29th May 2008, 14:52 Quote
I've seen so many games get broken down to the core base mechanics by the enthusiasts.
Ending Credits 29th May 2008, 14:56 Quote
On another note. Actually I agree that I play games to unwind, I'd be much better at CoD4 if I gave it my full concentration and I would probably be playing Supreme Commander in the top 500 or so if I gave ever second of every match my full attention.
[PUNK] crompers 29th May 2008, 15:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ending Credits
I've seen so many games get broken down to the core base mechanics by the enthusiasts.

eh?
naokaji 29th May 2008, 15:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
Recently I bought Orange Box, and with it came Portal. What a fantastic change of pace. Whilst the puzzles were relatively easy on the initial pass, and then the escape rather than burning in the fire.. it was the challenge and advanced levels that made this game complete. A game for people who want to think.... Portal ticks that box.

agree, Portal is full of win in every aspect (except that portal 2 isnt annonced yet:'().
knuck 29th May 2008, 15:57 Quote
It's funny how I was thinking about this just yesterday. I was trying to think about a recent racing game that would give me a good challenge when I will buy a Logitech G25, and well... All I could think about was the old Live for Speed (and maybe GTR2). Nowaday's racing games are all arcade games that require very little to no 'driving' skills at all. If these games manage to be even slightly fun, they still take the player for a retard and don't offer challenge at all. I always find myself playing racing games in time trial mode because it is the only way I can actually have challenge (and I also like to push myself to the limit and drive perfect laps ;) )
koola 29th May 2008, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ending Credits
I've seen so many games get broken down to the core base mechanics by the enthusiasts.

Starcraft ^^
Vash-HT 29th May 2008, 17:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CozaMcCoza
Quote:
I don't care if you need a degree in biology to play the game because there are a lot of people with degrees in biology. Sell just to them, it's still viable.

I completely disagree. A game is something that shouldn't be exclusive to a certain group of people and designing it so that it is is will only make sales limited. This makes no business sense at all.

Yes some games are dumbed down, but not all. If you are so concerned about this then don't buy the dumbed down games! But at the same time you can't expect them to make a game specialised to your own area of expertise. There is a balance to what can be made economically viable and attractive to the masses.

Eh I disagree with you, there isn't a game out there that is totally accessible by the general public, in essence every single game has target market, it just seems more commonplace nowadays to make your target market the entire playerbase (or at least try to).

I wouldn't have a problem making a game with a smaller target market at all, after all if you really want to design a game wouldn't you want to do it with your vision for it in mind, not "What game would make the most money?". This goes back to the idea of considering games as an artform, would you compromise your work of art just to appeal to more people and make more money? There have been a lot of successful games in history that have not appealed to the entire market, "niche" games if you will. I would hate to see games like this disappear in favor of economically viable games that appeal to the masses.
Mr_Sinister 29th May 2008, 17:42 Quote
I agree
dumbing down games just make for a less enjoyable experience
Orlix 29th May 2008, 18:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash-HT
Quote:
Originally Posted by CozaMcCoza
Quote:
I don't care if you need a degree in biology to play the game because there are a lot of people with degrees in biology. Sell just to them, it's still viable.

I completely disagree. A game is something that shouldn't be exclusive to a certain group of people and designing it so that it is is will only make sales limited. This makes no business sense at all.

Yes some games are dumbed down, but not all. If you are so concerned about this then don't buy the dumbed down games! But at the same time you can't expect them to make a game specialised to your own area of expertise. There is a balance to what can be made economically viable and attractive to the masses.

Eh I disagree with you, there isn't a game out there that is totally accessible by the general public, in essence every single game has target market, it just seems more commonplace nowadays to make your target market the entire playerbase (or at least try to).

I wouldn't have a problem making a game with a smaller target market at all, after all if you really want to design a game wouldn't you want to do it with your vision for it in mind, not "What game would make the most money?". This goes back to the idea of considering games as an artform, would you compromise your work of art just to appeal to more people and make more money? There have been a lot of successful games in history that have not appealed to the entire market, "niche" games if you will. I would hate to see games like this disappear in favor of economically viable games that appeal to the masses.

Hmm..... I guess Coza has all the Barbie games.... As far as I know it is aimed at young girls... fine... and maybe at some grown men... jk. These games are made for selling Dolls, but I agree with the article. There are target groups untouched. Marketing concepts applies to the game industry also. The main point of this article is the "smart" niche is not been exploited. I hope it starts soon and we get some more choices of generes.
Bladestorm 29th May 2008, 18:32 Quote
I think as you start trying to widen the appeal, you risk actually stopping being attractive to some groups and eventually becoming so wide in scope that nobody actually enjoys it very much. That and aiming at the lowest common denominator combined with the above, might mean you end up aiming for the least loyal customer group too.

The games I've enjoyed the most over the years have mostly been what would be considered niche games, with the variety of generic shooters being very much "meh I'l give it a go" type games that I've kind of stopped buying these days (you can only play much the same game so many times after all)

By the way, to comment on EVE - they actually have a dev team assigned to developing walking around on stations (Or Ambulation, which was the last code-name I heard it called by) I have no idea how many years it will take them to get it out there (It's not in the expansion in the next few months at least and I've no idea what's in the one after that.) but they have some pressure to get it done since they have to start developing World of Darkness: Online using the same tech soon. And for a final bit of rambling, if its a long time since you tried EVE, give it another go, it's always improving. :)
smoothie 29th May 2008, 18:34 Quote
I enjoyed this article.
My first game system was a Sega Genesis, back when games were more difficult even if they weren't more complex. For example, though Sonic the Hedgehog is a pretty straightforward game, the original Genesis version is much more difficult than the Sonic Adventure game I own for my Sega Dreamcast, even though Sonic Adventure has a few (limited) puzzle elements. Completing a "classic" (read: old) game such as Sonic the Hedgehog, because it is more difficult, is inherently a more rewarding experience than completing a newer game because newer games are not as challenging. I realize that games have evolved from arcades in which they were designed to make money on single play-through attempts, which I suspect is the reason that most (all?) newer games have done away with things like "score tally" and "lives." Halo-type games have even done away with health bars.

Which feels more rewarding to you, attaining an uber-weapon in a modern single-player shooter, possibly after a few attempts from a save point you created just before the action, or attaining an uber-weapon in a game like Ranger-X or Contra, within a limited number of lives (or even in an arcade, in front of a few spectators?) Lives and health bars give you a certain type of rush; each time you accomplish something in-game, you feel as if you've "beaten the clock," and this rush is one aspect of your reward that makes you want to keep playing the game (and paying quarters to an arcade game, should you happen to fail). Games are meant to trigger our brains' reward centers in this manner; remember how good you used to feel when you earned enough points to get that extra life?

Newer games lack these rewarding elements because developers are developing for home console markets, and these people only pay for the game once. Developers no longer concern themselves with giving gamers the tiny rewards that our brains all crave because we no longer have to insert quarters each time we get a "game over." When was the last time you saw those words and felt absolutely dejected, because you knew you would have to replay an entire level, or even an entire game? Staying alive in older games truly made gamers aware of their actions, and of the risk versus reward principle, because taking a big risk in an older game could mean total failure and a replay of the entire game (sometimes at the cost of a quarter) while success meant a bigger reward, both in-game and in-brain. In modern games, before taking any risk, the gamer usually just saves their game, and replays the action as many times as they need to. I like to play Half-Life games using only autosaves, but even those occur right before major game action. Where the risk is reduced, the (physiological) reward is also reduced.

I won't deny that the best newer games have engaging storylines, but the reward of advancing the story, in my opinion, just can't measure up to the reward of completing a level in an older console or arcade game, simply because of your body's natural reward pathway, which makes you feel accomplished depending on the magnitude and difficulty of the task you've just accomplished. If this reward principle weren't a factor, arcade games would not have been as popular as they were, (some arcade games are still popular) and gaming might never have caught on.

I wish games today were a bit more challenging in the manner that the article suggests. I enjoyed Call of Duty 4, but playing through it on Veteran was more like a chore at some moments than an enjoyable gaming experience because the factors contributing to the "difficulty" were unrealistic amounts of enemies who would aim for the player-character with deadly accuracy. Most people will know what I'm talking about here.

I imagine that most people enjoy learning new things more than they might even realize. After reaching level 55 in CoD4 (PC), I simply stopped playing it and went back to TF2. After downloading the StumbleUpon toolbar, I have noticed that I spend MUCH less time gaming, and much more time reading new or interesting content via StumbleUpon. It would be a great innovation in gaming if a game could satisfy my curiosities by providing me with task that require the use of my brain or to learn something entirely new, while still providing decent gameplay that activated my brain's reward center like the games of old. If that game had a decent story as well, why it couldn't it set a record number of sales?

Sorry if this is long; I don't contribute often, but I am a frequent lurker.
freedom810 29th May 2008, 18:39 Quote
I always think the half life series challenges gamers abit more than most games, still has the shooting in there for dummies, but puzzles for clever poeple (:
xtremeownage 29th May 2008, 21:23 Quote
My pups always told me if your going to play a game make sure it can help you with your studies but be fun at the same time.
He believes most video games make u dumb. its true. The game i play don't mean i have to impress him.Its just i belive he is right.

My currently installed games

1.Unreal Tournament 2004.multiplayer carnage :) (BEST TACTICAL SHOOTER EVER MADE!!!!!!!!!)
. Never mind ut3 becuase it was dumbed down to cater the noobs of this world. >>Unreal tournament 3 sucks.

2.Galactic Civilization 2 Twilight of the Arnor ( amazing turn based space strategy game..best)

3.Supreme Commander Forged Alliance.. what can i say. Supreme. Had to get a Quad core this year to really enjoy it.

4.Crysis .multiplayer carnage :) (my second best shooter) (Tacticle Strategy)

5.Portal- mind blowingly awesome

naokaji its not your fault games are hard for you, its the fact some people have a spark in there heads to remember corridors and simply come up with the best killing styles while in the action. Believe me they exist 2 worlds of gaming. The gamers who game because they are bored, will use cheats, whine, cry,flame and will never crank up the setting to hard to challenge there brains.

The other side well lol they call us mental athletes not because we are crazy but because we are the 'hardcore' gamer, learn games faster and try to master them....There lots of us out there, many are here as i can see. Its simply the way we see things is different. hard core gamers start out as noobs but they learn. Pro gamers start out as noobs but they learn.
RPG games are for noobs. NO offence. World of god damn world craft is another virtual world for people to socialize not learn skill.
You would think the population gets clever as each decade passes by but its the complete opposite. They demand easier and easier stuff, we suppose to be advancing not the opposite.

It is easy to be a pro..just challenge yourself , think and keep trying if u fail.
When developers decide to target the larger audience being non-pro gamers its becomes really frustrating for the rest of us. We buy the gadgets, we make the mods, we scream and demand the features..they listen but not thoroughly. Then they wonder why there games didnt sell so well (unreal tournament 3). Its not like PC games can only be bought. When a game is worth buying we buy,,(all the game above i purchased).. If i dont like a game ill download and try then end up deleting it anyway.
we...save up money for months and months to get Nvidia GTX280.. yes i cant wait omg!

Gears of war was Tacticle but easy slightly after a while.It was cool on xbox live. Its not on my list because at the end of the day u can learn all the tricks.. No aim precision, no gaming mouse needed, plain old modern gamer style.
Gears of war is my 3rd best because it is a story teller and protraits violence, skill and graphic pretty well. Violence online fuels the thirst to keep us at bay from doing it in reality.(If children under 16 play then things go bad). Basically it is for the cool gamer.rocks

Panos u are also right. Games are to unwind. They should be fun. Thats why when you play a game for the first time it should be easy and fun. If u choose to increase the difficulty and complexities it should be optional. The problem is that option is no loner available! It becomes stupid if i open a game and the ai player cant duck and cant even fight back,,what the heck is that. Shooting rag dolls,, i can go blowing instead for that with my buddies, beers, party scream, fun fun.
( and dont even get me started on the bowling pc games out there, and pool too. wtf is this ****)
If u can see this 9800GTX advert down below then thats me in the middle..hunger to own u noobs. :-) Take care people, game on!
Kipman725 29th May 2008, 22:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Computer Gremlin
The dumbing down of games is starting to effect first-person shooters as well. Adding economy and social etiquette helps with online games but when developers start ignoring basic physics with firearms the challenge of firing guns and actually managing to hit something is taken away. Bring back the realism to first-person shooters and people will start respecting the game beyond the shiny guns.

Every time I see a game where you plunk a scope on a gun and it shoots exactly what it is pointed at every time I get very angry. It took thirty shots and an afternoon at the range to get my scope sighted in on my Marlin and unless scopes are matched with ammo every shot will miss regardless of how much stuff is attached to the gun.

Recently I purchased a shotgun and the spread of 4BK shot in Doom 3 is completely unrealistic. Normally this ammo spreads about three inches at 21 yards (63 feet) with an improved choke. Unless the barrel of the shotgun in Doom 3 is defective and three inches long why it have a useless range of ten feet?

Sorry for the rant but if game developers want realism make the weapons fire as they would at a shooting range. If they can model a palm tree to sway in the wind, create real-time shadows and render lush environments then why do the guns get so little attention?

I got the special edition of COD2 and on the DVD the devs actauly did use the real guns. But found that modeling the guns acurately would make a boring game as the machine guns were so so much better than the rifles in every respect. Especialy the MP44 which was lethaly acurate with practiacly no recoil, light weight and with a fast fire rate.
BlueTrin 29th May 2008, 22:28 Quote
Fallout 3 will be the next failure :p
docodine 30th May 2008, 05:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipman725
I got the special edition of COD2 and on the DVD the devs actauly did use the real guns. But found that modeling the guns acurately would make a boring game as the machine guns were so so much better than the rifles in every respect. Especialy the MP44 which was lethaly acurate with practiacly no recoil, light weight and with a fast fire rate.

Which tells you why no WW2 games can be truly accurate. If you fight a battle, only one side can win, and if players happen to be on the Allied side, and the Axis have MP44s, you die. 'What If?' scenarios have no place in games that hope to be realistic. The player must be always placed on the winning side, for it truly to be realistic. You can't always be even.

Also, addressing the point someone made earlier, something about stripping down the game to its bare mechanics. Completely true. The worst offenders are MMORPGs and RTS games. For example, World of Warcraft. I haven't played very much, but from what my more experienced friends say, if you want to be good, there are only a few ways you can go. Many spells are useless, etc. An example that I am more knowledgeable about: Diablo II. Many of the 'high level' spells have no use in the game. Has anyone seen a successful Paladin use Fist of the Heavens? No. Every guide will tell you to avoid the spell like the plague, and to only use Blessed Hammer or Zeal. RTS games. When I first played Starcraft online, I was Terran. I assembled a group of 24 assorted troops, mostly marines, some firebats, a few ghosts, a couple vultures and two tanks. Moments later, I was attacked by what seemed like 100 hydralisks, and the game was over. In the single-player mode, my army was plenty to beat any mission. In multiplayer, it was decided that massing hydralisks is the way to go. Supposed 'pro' gamers have the ability to quickly mass a certain unit, but this is not how the game was meant to be played. VERY few games aren't succeptible to this gamebreaking. FPS games. Halo 3. Who on earth uses the marine pistol? The assault rifle? Was the game even tested? Is there any situation where the marine pistol is superior? And it's not like it's any easier to find than say a battle rifle or shotgun. However, it's useful in the campaign. It gives headshots, and ammunition is plentiful.

These reasons are mostly why I only play the game Armagetron Advanced at the moment. The playing ground is 100% even, and is purely based on your personal skill, and how adept you are at wisely placing your controls. It's free, pick it up.

I'm not quite sure what point I was trying to make, but there was one there...
Sark.inc 30th May 2008, 07:48 Quote
don't agree to some extent, but you are right in games being dumbed down.
Fozzy 30th May 2008, 09:43 Quote
I totally agree. For example racing games. Most racing games tailor to people who like racing around a track and playing Mario kart....bleh. I LOVE Gran turismo. It is what I would consider intellectual. Yes it is realistic, but more so than that it lets the motor head exceed. When I race I want to know that I smudged my top speed a bit because I knew what down force was, or the handling is improved for the style of track I am racing because I made the right tweaks to my car to adjust it's under/over steer. That's why I love that game. It's not because of graphics or unreal elements that have been added to the game. It's because of the Realism and the involvement it takes to truly conquer the game.
dire_wolf 30th May 2008, 14:31 Quote
My grandad is cracking on 70 and he's got an xbox 360, he's actually really very good at bioshock and call of duty.
joingi 30th May 2008, 15:02 Quote
I couldnt agree more. Games today are not challenging enough. all games i have tried the last few years always assume you have never played before....frankly makes those games boring.
TheGuru 31st May 2008, 03:30 Quote
My thoughts exactly; lets get ambitious with design
roadie 31st May 2008, 09:24 Quote
I think that like 90% of mainstream media (film, TV and radio) games are starting to pander more to the lowest common denominator, so the publishers can make as much money as possible by reaching the largest spread of consumers. This goes hand in hand with the reduced innovation we're seeing in the market (EA, I'm looking at you)

I think it will increasingly fall to smaller developers to make games for specific audiences. Portal is a fantastic game, and although Valve is massively larger than it was, it's still not lost its roots.
Tassadar88 31st May 2008, 16:52 Quote
There is a very nice experiment that illustrates this dumbing-down phenomenon - on Facebook, there is a game called Knighthood.
Originally, it was a game with relatively simple rules, where you had to calculate your offensive / deffensive strategies and with care, you could grow in power quite steadily. Ranks shifted, people who used their brains got ahead, people who didn´t, complained.
When the DEVs found out that many people were complaining about the necessity of a) reading the rules and b) using heads,
they radically changed the game concept to be appealing to the already mentioned lowest denominator. Now the game is boring at higher levels, as it has become a matter of who can click more times at the attack button, but as more people are playing, the DEVs are happy... :(
This is one of the reasons why I make mods, I am trying to put some challenge into RPG again ;-)
CozaMcCoza 31st May 2008, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Eh I disagree with you, there isn't a game out there that is totally accessible by the general public, in essence every single game has target market, it just seems more commonplace nowadays to make your target market the entire playerbase (or at least try to).

I wouldn't have a problem making a game with a smaller target market at all, after all if you really want to design a game wouldn't you want to do it with your vision for it in mind, not "What game would make the most money?". This goes back to the idea of considering games as an artform, would you compromise your work of art just to appeal to more people and make more money? There have been a lot of successful games in history that have not appealed to the entire market, "niche" games if you will. I would hate to see games like this disappear in favor of economically viable games that appeal to the masses.

The point I was referring to was in the article where the author wrote about designing a game for people with a degree in Biology. I realise what they are trying to say but it is too difficult/uneconomical to aim to a very specific group of people. I agree that there should be more choice of "clever" games but that isn't the only way. If it gets too complicated people will play the game, and then get sick of constantly being challenged if they can't progress. I think the way games are made should be changed to include additional missions etc that will challenge the gamer but are not necessary in order to complete the game. And I'm not just talking about collecting flags or doing repetitive tasks all over the maps. Generally speaking, the game makers are looking to create a successful game that makes them money. Singling out specific people may get them some money but not as much if they widened their scope.
Quote:
Hmm..... I guess Coza has all the Barbie games.... As far as I know it is aimed at young girls... fine... and maybe at some grown men... jk. These games are made for selling Dolls, but I agree with the article. There are target groups untouched. Marketing concepts applies to the game industry also. The main point of this article is the "smart" niche is not been exploited. I hope it starts soon and we get some more choices of generes.

Very witty but I took my own advice when writing and I only buy games that interest me. I don't just buy everything out there because I either can, or it is easy to play. I don't think games should be tailored to specific groups as they won't be appealing to others. In fact, I haven't bought any Barbie games because of this. They are tailored at small children and are specified to a specific group.

Saying the "smart" niche has not been tailored to yet I don't believe to be true. There are a lot of games out there that are fairly hard to play, require good logical thinking and not all people can play. There are games where tasks have to be done in a certain order, gameplay tactics and good logical sense. Try looking at Devil May Cry 4. There are areas of that game which are fun in terms of killing lots of things, but there are also areas where logical thinking only allows you to continue. If you want something that really stretches the brain I suggest looking at other game areas such as the cryptic crossword.
CardJoe 31st May 2008, 18:41 Quote
If you target a game properly at any niche then there's viability in it and the Biology example is perfectly valid if you consider that it can then be sold to labs, students, universities, institutions and not sheerly on a retail scale. Cliff wasn't suggesting that a game made this way should just be shoved into a Gamestation and left to sell.

The issue I'd raise with Cliff's arguement is at what point such a carefully targetted and produced piece of software would stop being a game and start becoming a tool.

That said, some of these types of games have been produced in the past with varying levels of success - see Safe Opening Simulator, Life and Death 2: The Brain and, closest to this topic since it basically is 'Spore for Biologists'; G-Netix.
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