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Why Aren't Games Better?

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CardJoe 19th May 2010, 07:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CowBlazed
I liked how the story in HL wasn't spoon fed to you, also how there was speculation on almost anything in the story and how only discussing it with other people brought out some of the underlying themes.

Expecting the story to be so cut and dry and obvious is expecting games to be like other mediums.

Not at all. I don't have a problem with the story in HL - I think it's pretty damn good and there are some things, like all the allusions and multiple objectives and concurrent plots, which I really like. I like that the story isn't cut and dry. What I don't like though is that praise for the game has reached such critical mass that people go on and on about the storytelling and how amazing it is without actually stopping to think about it or realising the truth.
juststsomeguy26 19th May 2010, 21:01 Quote
... yeah whats that saying about learning from past mistakes ?. We had a long period of stagnant hardware back in the atari day of the 70s-80s. That led to a huge crash in the gaming market and the legend of a certain landfill in Mexico where hundereds of thousands of E.T game cartridges had to be buried.
New technology is a good thing. It allows us to do new things (Yeah I'm a programmer). Innovative features are often made possible by new technologies like the Wii controller and the coming Natal.
Emotional invivolment a matter of story and script, they define the feelings that are meant ot be potrayed, and technolgy really is of benefit to that. Do you really thing a a charachter made up of two dozen polygons back in the days of ff7 can convey emotion better then a modern avatar made up of X number of thousands capable of protraying the look of agony on some guys face as you part him from his legs ?

What i think the author is picking up on and misinterpreting is the way games are marketed, not the way they are made.
With films and music, what makes this weeks number 1 better then the last ? this year blockbuster better then the one 12 months ago ?
Nothing, nothing bar peoples desire to fornew things, variety being the spice of lfe. You can only watch a move so many times in a space of time before it gets boring.
With games however the experiance has a greater scope. On a modern game one gaming sesion to the next isnt going to be the same even on the same title.
Games can have storys that unfold diferently dependant on your decisions, combat can go diferently if you miss a crucial shot, multiplayer brings in potentialy limitless variations from human interaction.

So, why buy a new game if you like the one you have ?
Drawing the comparison to films and music the default answer is for the variety, the new story etc.
Games however are not like more traditional media. The limits of what a game can be are constantly evolving with technolgy. While the underying tech may be out of sight out of mind, new platforms like PSX->PS2->PS3 provied obvious benchmarks.
From a marketing perspective this offers something films and other media lack. The ability to state as fact thata games for a PS3 are superior to PS2 games.
This principal extends as far as boasting about shading techniques used and higher poly counts. The basic point of which is all the same

Boasting about technolgies used lets publishers market games as "the best at" or "better then " and "imporvments on" as opposed to a static media like films where storys and scripts change but the only measure of one film being better then another is peoples opinions.
Bayaz 20th May 2010, 10:33 Quote
Games are not better because developers spend too much time and resources on the graphics and not the gameplay. Article only needs to be 1 line long.
roulio 20th May 2010, 12:32 Quote
I think the problem is the industry, who pumps a lot of money in the game comanies. Because if you are responsible for a lot of money, you won't do something risky. Doing a sequel of a successful game IS NOT risky. But trying something new, or a new way of gaming IS risky.
And most big companies buy the engine, so the technology improvement shouldn't be an issue!
That all I think is a big problem having to do with the global financial crysis. There are some people who want /need to make more and more money. So they invest in popular things. At the moment e.g. the games industry.
But then they are forced to earn money with the investment. This force will be handed over to the game companies manager. With this pressure, he won't do something risky. So a sequel is created.
If it doesn't sell well, because people are sick and tired of another sequel or maybe at the same time were other/better blockbuster releases, they blame the software pirates.
Just to save their heads.
mac007 20th May 2010, 20:57 Quote
Suppose you have a point, stories are quite similar - good against evil. Who cares end of the day as long as you're having fun. Do always want better graphics, more real sound (if that makes sense)- hey we're guys more polygons is better.
MrWizard6600 23rd May 2010, 09:41 Quote
I can't agree with anything in this article.

Classical cinema has always followed the next big cash-cow model of evolution, it’s how all forms of media, or for that matter it’s how all forms of industry evolve. The niche oriented forms of film, such as film noir, steer the evolution of mainstream Hollywood cinema, because when a Hollywood producer sees a niche market not included in movies currently produced he can try to integrate that market into his general audiance, in my example what results is movies like Enemy of the State.

And, Mr Editor, a question I think needs asking is: how is virtually shooting people fun? Humor me for a minute: I think the majority of games aren’t “fun” per-se, or at least fun requires a pretty broad definition. At least in one form of fun, it isn’t the medium that’s fun, it’s the challenge that I think the mind finds entertaining. In Modern Warfare 2 it isn’t the act of “shooting” a 3D model in a particular spot a certain number of times that we find fun it’s the challenge of fulfilling a difficult task; killing him before he kills you is fun. I hate to boil it down to something almost mathematic but what’s enjoyable about games is that they present you with a system, and you have to find a solution to some problem in it. In Modern Warfare 2 the system consists of different weapons with different characteristics, hiding spots, cover, and ghilie suits. An elaborate system, one which you have to navigate through before the other guy does. There are other forms of “fun”, maybe more difficult to explain, ones derived from immersion in a narrative for example, but certainly accomplishment is the biggest part of “fun” in gaming, and it’s a different form of entertainment than the fun derived from a good movie.

We need to stop looking at one form of media’s cultural relevance as compared to another which is over 200 years older. We need to stop thinking that games get mentioned in the technology section where movies get mentioned in the culture section less as a failing of the game industry and more as a success of the film industry.

But regardless of which form of media you compare it to, the fact that modern warfare 2 was banned in Russia for the “No Russian” section is a testament to its cultural relevance. A form of media that grossed over $600,000,000 in its first week, played by hundreds of millions of people, was banned in a country because of an inflammatory section of narrative.

I do believe that this media, at least in its current state, will always be “smaller” and/or “less culturally relevant” than say film or novels because it fails utterly at attracting women. As it exists now more than 80% of games are aimed exclusively at a male audience.
sadeed 24th May 2010, 03:02 Quote
its sad to to think that the ever expanding medium of video games (an entertaining way for children to develop hand eye coordination and quick reflexes in both movement and decision making, or maybe just a way to edge out the dullness of day to day homework and nagging from parents.) is moving closer and closer into the realm of "same ol' same ol'". i think that the industry should start searching for a different type of person to oversee the game development process. someone not so business oriented, and hopefully an avid game player and constant movie-goer. someone needs to be in there expressing the need for drastic new approaches to combining the action packed gaming that most of the playing world has an ever driven itch for, and the unexpected artistic approaches to the ongoing over population of similar games.

as a gamer myself i dread the every so often trips to the game stores, (though places like gamestop help out with the ability to purchase used games for a cheaper price and still return them after another dull victory for in-store credit) to try and purchase something else to grip onto my need for going fast; mostly because i hate speeding tickets. i hate looking upon the almost endless seas of games with their waves upon waves of technicolor printed covers, some of which can often be mistaken for other games or even movies you swear youve seen but cant recollect.

though i see the situation being a long term problem for my favorite mode of entertainment, i also have hope that some day, somewhere, someone will change the industry for the better in the way i have explained, (though i have no idea if i actually got my point across) or maybe, just maybe i will find the financial stability to finally go to school in my pursuit of design, and land myself smack dab in the middle of the video game industry to change it myself. wouldnt that be fun.

by the way john, i enjoyed your post.

-kirstein
lacuna 24th May 2010, 13:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by roulio

...That all I think is a big problem having to do with the global financial crysis.

*sigh*

I blame Crytek.
phantombudgie 24th May 2010, 19:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac007
Suppose you have a point, stories are quite similar - good against evil. Who cares end of the day as long as you're having fun. Do always want better graphics, more real sound (if that makes sense)- hey we're guys more polygons is better.

Going to have to put my hand up and agree here. I play games for fun, not for the challenge but to enjoy the action. And I like it better as the graphics improve.
Bayaz 1st June 2010, 10:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWizard6600


And, Mr Editor, a question I think needs asking is: how is virtually shooting people fun? Humor me for a minute: I think the majority of games aren’t “fun” per-se, or at least fun requires a pretty broad definition. At least in one form of fun, it isn’t the medium that’s fun, it’s the challenge that I think the mind finds entertaining. In Modern Warfare 2 it isn’t the act of “shooting” a 3D model in a particular spot a certain number of times that we find fun it’s the challenge of fulfilling a difficult task; killing him before he kills you is fun. I hate to boil it down to something almost mathematic but what’s enjoyable about games is that they present you with a system, and you have to find a solution to some problem in it. In Modern Warfare 2 the system consists of different weapons with different characteristics, hiding spots, cover, and ghilie suits. An elaborate system, one which you have to navigate through before the other guy does. There are other forms of “fun”, maybe more difficult to explain, ones derived from immersion in a narrative for example, but certainly accomplishment is the biggest part of “fun” in gaming, and it’s a different form of entertainment than the fun derived from a good movie.
I don't think games are just "the challenge of fulfilling a difficult task". That's part of the enjoyment. Immersion in the environment and using your imagination to simulate what it would be like to fight in a war without actually getting killed or injured is a big part of the enjoyment people get from games like Modern Warfare. Not just the challenge of a particular task.

If that was the case all people would love their job!!!
peoplesmachine 15th June 2010, 21:26 Quote
"This is a great article. Games are not better because the focus is mostly on MP. MP is alot of fun, and engaging and it's fun talking to your buds over xbox live and hanging out without having to go anywhere.
Halo is a great example of a game that at one time people cared about the cast of characters and story and MP was a second thought.

Look at Halo 3 when it launched people waited in a make shift line over night at Gamestop's and whatnot but only because they needed to play the new MP. I asked some people in these lines about how they felt the story was going to possibly play out. Only one person could actually remember the story at all. Most said that it wasn't even important.
makes you wonder if bungie thinks man why have more money than God or the government but it sucks to think we came up with this great universe of characters and gripping sci fi story that has ultimately turned into a tea bag party. "
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