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(Uproxx)   New York Museum of Modern Art declares 14 video games as important art   (uproxx.com) divider line 259
    More: Spiffy, Museum of Modern Art, contemporary art, SimCity, art  
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8067 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Dec 2012 at 9:05 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-05 08:35:12 PM
City of Heroes, you bastards!


i.imgur.com
 
2012-12-05 08:59:27 PM

Mike_LowELL: 0100010: How about the less fps/tps games like SimCity or The Sims? There's a lot more than exploration when it comes to sandboxing games.

The problem for me with most of those games is that the game world never ever bites back. Sim City and Minecraft generally have the same problem: Once you've built something, it's awfully easy to maintain. (This may have changed in the later Sim City titles, which I only spent a brief amount of time with and I understand that they became increasingly complex.) I mean, I quite enjoyed Sim City 2000 when I was younger, but once you have your entire city of gigantic robotic buildings launch off into space, that's really a "Time to go home, you've done everything" moment. (Obviously, you can imagine that I think Dwarf Fortress, the game which is designed so you will inevitably and eventually lose, is absolutely grand.) As far as The Sims goes, I could generally care less for it. I did play the original game in the series and got bored with it very quickly. Other than that, I've stayed away from most of those games.


I suspected that. You're using goals and achievements as a measuring stick for game quality and that's a poor stance to take. For you, it makes sense in determining how likely you will be to enjoy an individual game, but it has nothing to do with quality. There is a large (way larger than you probably realize) number of people that play games with little to no need for a definite goal. The Sims (especially the original one) is a great example of one that embodies the sandbox ideal rather than just an open world rpg. Before that, we had Creatures and its sequels. There's nothing wrong with you not liking that sort of game, but it doesn't make them poor games, just ones you don't value as much as others.

0100010: It sounds like you value pacing and difficulty rather than tone and immersion. Not every game is designed to challenge a player's abilities, nor should it. If tone and immersion aren't important parts of SS2, then lots of content in that game is wasted effort.

Not every game has to be extremely difficult, although I would argue that if you're going to make a puzzle game, you really, really have to push the player to their limits and rule out any "process of elimination" strategies, which Portal does not. (The second game makes that even worse by making it fairly obvious where the portals go...once you've found the wall for them.) For instance, I think that Super Metroid is an absolutely fantastic game in spite of its low difficulty level. Challenge and difficulty are just means to a great game. But I would argue that the atmosphere in games like Limbo and Portal (especially the second half of Portal, ...


Once again, you're showing your goal-oriented bias toward what makes a good game. There is no problem with Minecraft. It does what it was designed to do and has a lot of fans as a result. It's the same reason that DayZ is becoming a standalone game now. If you're going to be taken serious as a game reviewer, at the very least you need to understand that games are made for a target audience and that there are different expectations that result. None of which defines whether something is or isn't art.

I disagree that the second half of Portal had to ramp up the difficulty to make it worthy. Challenge and difficulty can help make a good game great or it can make a great game good. On top of that, it wasn't even a stand-alone title. It's amazing it grew so big. Still, there's a reason it is so popular without what you seem to expect in a game, and understanding that is critical.
 
2012-12-05 09:54:11 PM

0100010: I suspected that. You're using goals and achievements as a measuring stick for game quality and that's a poor stance to take. For you, it makes sense in determining how likely you will be to enjoy an individual game, but it has nothing to do with quality. There is a large (way larger than you probably realize) number of people that play games with little to no need for a definite goal. The Sims (especially the original one) is a great example of one that embodies the sandbox ideal rather than just an open world rpg. Before that, we had Creatures and its sequels. There's nothing wrong with you not liking that sort of game, but it doesn't make them poor games, just ones you don't value as much as others.


I would think that the nature of playing games is inseparable from the nature of goals, whether the designer is giving you goals or you're creating your own. In Minecraft, you're setting your own goals for what you want to build. In The Sims, you're not being given a goal, but you always have something on your mind, whether you're trying to get the dude a job, or build a house, or whatever. At the end of the day, it's going to be a matter of whether you can make those self-imposed goals interesting. But at the end of the day, you need a game world that occasionally bites back. You can build the Taj Mahal in Minecraft if you want, but it's going to be a thousand times more interesting if the game world resists your every urge to achieve that goal. (The survival mode really doesn't cut it on that front.) If you haven't played Ace of Spades, that would be the perfect example. (Just reminded myself of it.) Sandbox game through-and-through as built into a modern military shooter. You can build defensive fortifications, but players can tunnel into them, tear them down, blow them up, whatever. What makes the building fun is that it can be torn down.

0100010: Once again, you're showing your goal-oriented bias toward what makes a good game. There is no problem with Minecraft. It does what it was designed to do and has a lot of fans as a result. It's the same reason that DayZ is becoming a standalone game now. If you're going to be taken serious as a game reviewer, at the very least you need to understand that games are made for a target audience and that there are different expectations that result. None of which defines whether something is or isn't art.

I disagree that the second half of Portal had to ramp up the difficulty to make it worthy. Challenge and difficulty can help make a good game great or it can make a great game good. On top of that, it wasn't even a stand-alone title. It's amazing it grew so big. Still, there's a reason it is so popular without what you seem to expect in a game, and understanding that is critical.


At the end of the day, it's good for everyone to have an understanding of what people enjoy about the game. I completely agree with you. It's a business, and understanding what the population-at-large likes in their videogames is a good way to understand how commercial game designers are going to make them sell. But obviously, when I provide criticism on the topic, the most important thing is whether or not I enjoyed the game and whether or not I can articulate concrete reasons for that. And along the way, I'm going to find genres which I dislike or despise and it's up to me to explain why, whether through essays or multiple reviews.

There's no reason to be objective in the field of criticism because it is the reviewer's job to outline their biases and philosophy through numerous pieces of writing. My general rule of thumb is that the second I have to be "objective" on a topic, I pass that review or input on that topic to someone else. So, for example, I certainly have an appreciation for shoot 'em ups, but my knowledge of that genre is fairly limited and it simply doesn't click for me. Portal is a game that I feel comfortable providing input on, regardless of how other people feel about my opinion. I understand what makes the game popular, but based on what I know about the game and what relevant examples I can provide, I disagree with the notion that the popularity is a direct reflection of the game's finished quality. If they're confident in their own opinion on the topic, then the input I provide shouldn't infringe on their enjoyment of the game.
 
2012-12-05 10:27:13 PM
Over 200 comments and not one mention of Planescape: Torment? Ouch.

/also, +1 to Half Life, Ico, and SotC
 
2012-12-05 10:35:09 PM
No Cubivore? And no Lemmings!?!
 
2012-12-06 12:29:06 AM
The collection's current value is to chronicle the rise of digital interactive entertainment from early and groundbreaking examples of introducing physical input as a way to enhance a visually captivating experience.

/just my two cents

copypasta of link:

http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-t h e-collection-for-starters/
 
2012-12-06 12:33:10 AM

Mike_LowELL: I would think that the nature of playing games is inseparable from the nature of goals, whether the designer is giving you goals or you're creating your own. In Minecraft, you're setting your own goals for what you want to build. In The Sims, you're not being given a goal, but you always have something on your mind, whether you're trying to get the dude a job, or build a house, or whatever. At the end of the day, it's going to be a matter of whether you can make those self-imposed goals interesting. But at the end of the day, you need a game world that occasionally bites back. You can build the Taj Mahal in Minecraft if you want, but it's going to be a thousand times more interesting if the game world resists your every urge to achieve that goal. (The survival mode really doesn't cut it on that front.) If you haven't played Ace of Spades, that would be the perfect example. (Just reminded myself of it.) Sandbox game through-and-through as built into a modern military shooter. You can build defensive fortifications, but players can tunnel into them, tear them down, blow them up, whatever. What makes the building fun is that it can be torn down.


There clearly isn't a need for a game that "bites back" as I've illustrated with plenty of examples. There is a very large market for games that don't specify goals. Repeatedly, you have set the bar for quality based upon goal attainability and it's not a valid criterion for that sort. A game is made for a target audience. Its success is first and foremost based upon whether it meets their goals. The rare exceptions are games that can pull in the most diverse audience possible. Looking at a game like Minecraft, it wasn't designed for the fps crowd. Its success stems directly from finding an unexpectedly large audience that its needs meet. What you are missing is that if the game was altered to suit your expectations, it wouldn't be the successful game it is. All you need for proof of this is to look at the populations of the creative servers. Most of the large and elaborate constructions aren't done on survival servers...

At the end of the day, it's good for everyone to have an understanding of what people enjoy about the game. I completely agree with you. It's a business, and understanding what the population-at-large likes in their videogames is a good way to understand how commercial game designers are going to make them sell. But obviously, when I provide criticism on the topic, the most important thing is whether or not I enjoyed the game and whether or not I can articulate concrete reasons for that. And along the way, I'm going to find genres which I dislike or despise and it's up to me to explain why, whether through essays or multiple reviews.

There's no reason to be objective in the field of criticism because it is the reviewer's job to outline their biases and philosophy through numerous pieces of writing. My general rule of thumb is that the second I have to be "objective" on a topic, I pass that review or input on that topic to someone else. So, for example, I certainly have an appreciation for shoot 'em ups, but my knowledge of that genre is fairly limited and it simply doesn't click for me. Portal is a game that I feel comfortable providing input on, regardless of how other people feel about my opinion. I understand what makes the game popular, but based on what I know about the game and what relevant examples I can provide, I disagree with the notion that the popularity is a direct reflection of the game's finished quality. If they're confident in their own opinion on the topic, then the input I provide shouldn't infringe on their enjoyment of the game.


It's equally important to explain why you didn't like it as well as whether or not it was due to accomplishing what it set out to do. If you're not the target audience for a game, a non-objective review's a waste of space. Many of the old adventure games weren't particularly charging to play but a blast to experience; games like Day of the Tentacle or Full Throttle. Enjoying them is much less a factor of the game play and I doubt you would consider them worthy titles based upon your criterion. There's no way I could trust you to review the game based upon its merits due to your attitudes.
 
2012-12-06 01:40:44 AM
cdn2.sbnation.com

hey guys
hot
 
2012-12-06 01:47:55 AM
i18.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-06 09:08:24 AM

OhioKnight: City of Heroes, you bastards!


[i.imgur.com image 850x494]


God I loved that game. When it debuted the idea that you could log onto a MMO, play for an hour, and actually get something worthwhile done was amazing. It will be missed.
 
2012-12-06 10:26:09 AM
so I was playing DF yesterday. Had an ambush, quickly followed by a seige, and then once I reopened the gates after the seige got bored and left, another ambush.

I used the following year to bulk up my defenses and make a really clever access system to my fort that gives me great attacking range on any invaders.


Now? no-one will invade. I'm debating on killing the next elf caravan so that I can get a war going. It isn't undeserved either, their snooty ass traders won't deal with my "baubles"

/Fortress is acting pretty self-sustainable, migrants aren't showing up, and I have no nobles either.
 
2012-12-06 10:45:54 AM

Girion47: I'm debating on killing the next elf caravan so that I can get a war going.


I'm only disappointed that you don't automatically kill every elf caravan.

Girion47: Fortress is acting pretty self-sustainable, migrants aren't showing up, and I have no nobles either.


I'm considering firing DF up again, to make a fortress designed around the first seven living in a walled off, self sustainable noble city. Every migrant after that is drafted into the military, and takes their turn farming or mining to support the hellish, unprotected landscape outside the walls of the Founders.
 
2012-12-06 11:20:40 AM

0100010: A game is made for a target audience. Its success is first and foremost based upon whether it meets their goals. The rare exceptions are games that can pull in the most diverse audience possible. Looking at a game like Minecraft, it wasn't designed for the fps crowd. Its success stems directly from finding an unexpectedly large audience that its needs meet. What you are missing is that if the game was altered to suit your expectations, it wouldn't be the successful game it is.


It is not the job of a reviewer to give a score based on whether a game "accomplishes goals" or whether it is "successful". The only criteria is whether the game is "good" or "bad", and that's a distinction earned by comparing the game to other relevant titles within the genre and the medium. My amount of entertainment value received from the game is going to rely heavily on your experiences with other games. You're making the assumption that if a game is successful, there must absolutely be some positive reason for that. Angry Birds does exactly what it wants to do, it's popular as all hell, but I still think the game is crap. The newer Call of Duty games (post-Modern Warfare 2) do exactly what they want to do, but they're still crap. Keep in mind that Jim Sterling gave a "perfect score" (ten-out-of-ten) to Limbo for precisely this reason, that the game set out to do what it wanted and achieved it. It's a bogus reasoning. This is the only entertainment medium where reviewers are scared to give a bad score to a popular or "acclaimed" title, and it needs to stop. There's a difference between a examination of what makes the game popular and whether or not I think the game is good.

0100010: It's equally important to explain why you didn't like it as well as whether or not it was due to accomplishing what it set out to do. If you're not the target audience for a game, a non-objective review's a waste of space. Many of the old adventure games weren't particularly charging to play but a blast to experience; games like Day of the Tentacle or Full Throttle. Enjoying them is much less a factor of the game play and I doubt you would consider them worthy titles based upon your criterion. There's no way I could trust you to review the game based upon its merits due to your attitudes.


Reviews aren't supposed to be objective. They're the personal input and opinion of one writer, most of whom have markedly different opinions and experiences with the medium, and the writer should be able to disclose those opinions and experiences through compelling, entertaining, and intelligent writing. My input is heavily influenced by the fact that I fell in love with computer gaming, because computers offered experiences (Doom, Descent, Warcraft) that I simply could not get on a game console or in an arcade. It is impossible to be objective on the topic, and I think most people feel elsewise because they look at review scores and think a numerical rating is supposed to come with some kind of scientific accuracy. (You also have an audience which has practically been conditioned to skip the content of the review and go straight to the score as well, but this is because the content in the majority of game reviews absolutely sucks.)

I wouldn't review adventure games because, while I have played some throughout the years (starting with Hugo's House of Horrors and the NES version of Maniac Mansion), I'm ultimately not qualified to review the games because I don't know enough about them and haven't played enough of them. However, I don't care much for the Japanese Role-Playing Game these days, but I played tons of them when I was a kid. And the fact I would today slam most all of them (outside of some games like Chrono Trigger, Star Ocean, and maybe Earthbound and the various Mario RPG titles) would not disqualify me from providing my input. If I think a game is bad and I can explain why, I come out and say it, popularity or reverence of the game be damned. It's not my job to reaffirm the status quo. If you don't trust me to review the game, then that should be a reflection of the content in the review, and only on the matter of whether I'm "unqualified" to speak on the topic. "Whether or not I enjoy the games" would not be a road to qualification.
 
2012-12-06 11:22:42 AM

0100010: There clearly isn't a need for a game that "bites back" as I've illustrated with plenty of examples. There is a very large market for games that don't specify goals. Repeatedly, you have set the bar for quality based upon goal attainability and it's not a valid criterion for that sort.


He said he finds Dwarf Fortress 'grand' and Minecraft pretty boring. They're about equal in terms of goal orientation - you devise your own goals and execute them to the best of your abilities. The game doesn't set goals for you whatsoever. If anything, Minecraft's survival mode is more goal oriented, with the talent tree and teching up (get iron, get diamonds, go to nether, go to the end, etc).

It seems you're focusing on one of his claimed aspects of what can make a game great and assuming it's the only one.
 
2012-12-06 11:35:30 AM

Mike_LowELL: My input is heavily influenced by the fact that I fell in love with computer gaming, because computers offered experiences (Doom, Descent, Warcraft) that I simply could not get on a game console or in an arcade.


www.bakershighlanderccgstore.com
Ah, the Master Race strikes again!
 
2012-12-06 12:22:51 PM

sprawl15: Girion47: I'm debating on killing the next elf caravan so that I can get a war going.

I'm only disappointed that you don't automatically kill every elf caravan.

Girion47: Fortress is acting pretty self-sustainable, migrants aren't showing up, and I have no nobles either.

I'm considering firing DF up again, to make a fortress designed around the first seven living in a walled off, self sustainable noble city. Every migrant after that is drafted into the military, and takes their turn farming or mining to support the hellish, unprotected landscape outside the walls of the Founders.


Large siege just showed up, doors wouldn't shut due to goblin carcass that noone would clean up, 20 swordsmen dead, marksmen run out of bolts and then do nothing, weaponsmiths are going berserk far away from any kind of military presence.

YAY FUN!!!!
 
2012-12-06 12:31:44 PM

Girion47: Large siege just showed up, doors wouldn't shut due to goblin carcass that noone would clean up, 20 swordsmen dead, marksmen run out of bolts and then do nothing, weaponsmiths are going berserk far away from any kind of military presence.

YAY FUN!!!!


Probably my funniest fort failure...I built an aboveground castle with a moat, but I forgot about water evaporating so most of it dried up. I was slowly refilling it with a walls/breaching system to ensure a 4/7 or higher water level throughout. The only entrance into the fortress was across a drawbridge, aside from a floodgate directly into the moat that I used to hydrate the crops once. The aboveground area had a whole bunch of dwarves training up, siege engines being constructed, etc., a pretty solid military presence.

While I was doing designating and canceling and bla bla, I apparently accidentally deleted the up stairs to the top of the fort, and didn't notice. At roughly the same time, a dragon rolled in, so I raised the drawbridge (which he blew up anyway) and the dragon bolted immediately to the floodgate, blowing that open. The upper levels of my fort started flooding and the dragon started rampaging through my stockpiles and living area, slaughtering dozens. My military, stuck on the top level, couldn't do shiat even if they were able to get access because most of them were starved/dehydrated and they were already starting to tantrum spiral. The rest of the non-military dwarves were immediately drafted to hold off the dragon, and they fought a desperate last stand that very nearly killed it - they cut off one of his limbs, he was bleeding profusely, and he had internal damage. Some of the dwarves up top started building stairs down (by tearing down walls and using the stone for stairs) but it was ridiculously slow. The dragon decided to pass his time by roasting cats.

The stairs were never built as the captain of my guard smashed the mason's head in before killing almost everyone else. The only survivors were the captain, rampaging, and a laborer who was stuck on an operating table.

One of the cats hid in the alcohol stockpiles, and the resulting explosion was enough to kill the dragon.

Moral victory!
 
2012-12-06 01:28:27 PM

sprawl15: Girion47: Large siege just showed up, doors wouldn't shut due to goblin carcass that noone would clean up, 20 swordsmen dead, marksmen run out of bolts and then do nothing, weaponsmiths are going berserk far away from any kind of military presence.

YAY FUN!!!!

Probably my funniest fort failure...I built an aboveground castle with a moat, but I forgot about water evaporating so most of it dried up. I was slowly refilling it with a walls/breaching system to ensure a 4/7 or higher water level throughout. The only entrance into the fortress was across a drawbridge, aside from a floodgate directly into the moat that I used to hydrate the crops once. The aboveground area had a whole bunch of dwarves training up, siege engines being constructed, etc., a pretty solid military presence.

While I was doing designating and canceling and bla bla, I apparently accidentally deleted the up stairs to the top of the fort, and didn't notice. At roughly the same time, a dragon rolled in, so I raised the drawbridge (which he blew up anyway) and the dragon bolted immediately to the floodgate, blowing that open. The upper levels of my fort started flooding and the dragon started rampaging through my stockpiles and living area, slaughtering dozens. My military, stuck on the top level, couldn't do shiat even if they were able to get access because most of them were starved/dehydrated and they were already starting to tantrum spiral. The rest of the non-military dwarves were immediately drafted to hold off the dragon, and they fought a desperate last stand that very nearly killed it - they cut off one of his limbs, he was bleeding profusely, and he had internal damage. Some of the dwarves up top started building stairs down (by tearing down walls and using the stone for stairs) but it was ridiculously slow. The dragon decided to pass his time by roasting cats.

The stairs were never built as the captain of my guard smashed the mason's head in before killing almost everyone else. ...


I just had a genius idea. Build a support, floor on top of it, as wide as possible, and then stack rocks on it. When a troll comes by to bash it as they like to do, you pancake the invaders!
 
2012-12-06 01:34:03 PM

Girion47: I just had a genius idea. Build a support, floor on top of it, as wide as possible, and then stack rocks on it. When a troll comes by to bash it as they like to do, you pancake the invaders!


Supposedly you can design perpetual motion minecart machines that spin minecarts around at ludicrous speed...then flick a lever and they blast out as a shotgun down a hallway. I am tempted to figure out how to do this, because I can imagine the horrific dwarf blendering that will occur the first time a dwarf tries to push one of the carts and the every other dwarf runs over to pick up his socks.
 
2012-12-06 01:43:51 PM

sprawl15: Girion47: I just had a genius idea. Build a support, floor on top of it, as wide as possible, and then stack rocks on it. When a troll comes by to bash it as they like to do, you pancake the invaders!

Supposedly you can design perpetual motion minecart machines that spin minecarts around at ludicrous speed...then flick a lever and they blast out as a shotgun down a hallway. I am tempted to figure out how to do this, because I can imagine the horrific dwarf blendering that will occur the first time a dwarf tries to push one of the carts and the every other dwarf runs over to pick up his socks.


I haven't learned about the minecarts yet. I'm still building random things to see what they do. My first attempt at a water pump resulted in my dwarf being washed away in the river and the pump is now inaccessible. I built walls for the water to go into but it leaked back out.

I really wish I could figure out how to pump magma from Z-level 140 to around 120. Having my weapons/armor/ammo produced that far away sucks.
 
2012-12-06 01:48:22 PM
BTW, thanks to Mike for exceeding Fark's character quote limit.
/Douche
 
2012-12-06 01:52:27 PM

Girion47: I just had a genius idea. Build a support, floor on top of it, as wide as possible, and then stack rocks on it. When a troll comes by to bash it as they like to do, you pancake the invaders!


I'm pretty sure that the destructibility of supports was changed specifically because that trick made it too easy to kill sieges. All you'd have to do is just build a bunch of supports with a couple of tiles on top all over the map, and any time a siege came in, they'd actively seek out the supports first and wind up killing themselves.

Some kinds of building destroyers are still vulnerable to this trick, I think, but not trolls. However, like I said, I haven't been actively playing for over a year, so this might have changed.

/ You can still make triggered traps that work that way and bait them with stray cats, of course, but that takes a bit more work
 
2012-12-06 01:58:15 PM

Martian_Astronomer: Girion47: I just had a genius idea. Build a support, floor on top of it, as wide as possible, and then stack rocks on it. When a troll comes by to bash it as they like to do, you pancake the invaders!

I'm pretty sure that the destructibility of supports was changed specifically because that trick made it too easy to kill sieges. All you'd have to do is just build a bunch of supports with a couple of tiles on top all over the map, and any time a siege came in, they'd actively seek out the supports first and wind up killing themselves.

Some kinds of building destroyers are still vulnerable to this trick, I think, but not trolls. However, like I said, I haven't been actively playing for over a year, so this might have changed.

/ You can still make triggered traps that work that way and bait them with stray cats, of course, but that takes a bit more work


damn. Next idea is to create a moat with ramp leading up to my base, have a flood gate that can open to flood the moat, have the only route out of the moat be in the direct path of the water flow.

The only question is, how do I dry the moat afterwards?
 
2012-12-06 02:03:38 PM

Girion47: I haven't learned about the minecarts yet. I'm still building random things to see what they do. My first attempt at a water pump resulted in my dwarf being washed away in the river and the pump is now inaccessible. I built walls for the water to go into but it leaked back out.


Actually, once you get the mechanics figured out, that's a good way to train swimming. Just set up a pump next to a murky pool with a wall that causes the water to wash the dwarf into the pool, and provide a ramp into the pool so the dwarf can get out. Then, just assign the dwarf you want to train to pump duty, and he'll repeatedly wash himself into the water and (hopefully) get out before he drowns. Really handy if you like building moats.

Girion47: I really wish I could figure out how to pump magma from Z-level 140 to around 120. Having my weapons/armor/ammo produced that far away sucks.


There's a couple of good tutorials on the wiki on how to do this. I've made a big enough pump stack to get magma to the surface once or twice, but by the time you've got enough spare effort to do that, your fort is probably in good enough shape that you don't actually need to.

Still, magma anywhere you want it is tons of fun...
 
2012-12-06 02:11:45 PM

Girion47: The only question is, how do I dry the moat afterwards?


Easy: you can drain liquids off the edge of the map. Just make sure you use fortifications, or else things can wander *in* from the edge of the map in the same channel. I would also advise that you use drawbridges instead of floodgates to stop the water, as that prevents building destroyers from causing an uncontrollable flood. I used to use that trick all the time to make underground tree farms. If you mine out most of a whole level (some time after you breach the caverns,) then flood the entire level from a stream on the surface, and let it drain, you'll essentially get a completely secure forest of mushroom trees underground. At that point you never need to venture outside for wood again!

/The next release will be severely altering trees though, so this may not work as well in the future
 
2012-12-06 03:21:05 PM

Vash's Apprentice: Ah, the Master Race strikes again!


And what does that mean, exactly? "You're critical of the topic, so I don't care for your input?"

Vash's Apprentice: BTW, thanks to Mike for exceeding Fark's character quote limit.
/Douche


Yes, and you may be surprised to hear that children's books, yard sale signs, and the instructions packaged with dollhouses also exceed the FARK character quote limit. You may benefit from engaging these works and then moving on to the more complex writing that can, for instance, be found on the back of cereal boxes. I can't wait to find out what that crazy Trix Rabbit™ is up to this time!
 
2012-12-06 04:04:18 PM

Mike_LowELL: Vash's Apprentice: ***snip***

Yes, and you may be surprised to hear that children's books, yard sale signs, and the instructions packaged with dollhouses also exceed the FARK character quote limit. You may benefit from engaging these works and then moving on to the more complex writing that can, for instance, be found on the back of cereal boxes. I can't wait to find out what that crazy Trix Rabbit™ is up to this time!


I always felt bad for that guy, he just wanted some cereal. The Lucky Charms leprechaun, though, that guy was an asshole. You're a leprechaun, you want to horde your gold AND your delicious marshmallow-laden cereal, fark you. I hope those kids beat the shiat out of you when they finish eating your magically delicious bowl of bullshiat.
 
2012-12-06 04:19:54 PM

Mike_LowELL: Vash's Apprentice: Ah, the Master Race strikes again!

And what does that mean, exactly? "You're critical of the topic, so I don't care for your input?"


It means they consider you an elitist for thinking Gears of Halo: Black Maddens might not be one of gaming's finest achievements.
4.bp.blogspot.com

/Arcade offers an experience console and PC can't match
//PC and console allow for a depth of story arcade can't reasonably deliver
 
2012-12-06 04:33:30 PM

Mike_LowELL: When you pull away the story in Portal


...and when you pull the visuals away from a painting or all the story away from a novel - all you have is what again?

Games have different focuses, some focus on mechanics, some on story, some on visuals, and a hand full of others. You can't randomly remove aspects and think the result is meaningful. Would this sound reasonable to you, "I mean, Deus Ex is fun, but if you pull back the story, role playing elements, and choice mechanics, it's just a shooter with sub-par voice acting and terrible graphics?"
 
2012-12-06 04:43:17 PM

ProfessorOhki: ...and when you pull the visuals away from a painting or all the story away from a novel - all you have is what again?


That's a pretty terrible comparison because in those examples, there is nothing but the visuals to a painting and nothing but a story to a novel. Games have different...

ProfessorOhki: Games have different focuses, some focus on mechanics, some on story, some on visuals, and a hand full of others.


Oh, you're answering your own questions.

ProfessorOhki: You can't randomly remove aspects and think the result is meaningful.


If you make apple pie with rotten apples, but every other component is as fresh and well made as can be, would you say it's meaningful to comment on the crust and filling separately?
 
2012-12-06 05:02:45 PM

sprawl15: ProfessorOhki: Games have different focuses, some focus on mechanics, some on story, some on visuals, and a hand full of others.

Oh, you're answering your own questions.


Rhetorical question; used to frame the next statement. Intentional.

sprawl15: ProfessorOhki: You can't randomly remove aspects and think the result is meaningful.

If you make apple pie with rotten apples, but every other component is as fresh and well made as can be, would you say it's meaningful to comment on the crust and filling separately?


There's a pretty big differences between being rotten and not being the differentiating factor. The story and atmosphere were the most key elements of Portal. Yes, you take it away and the game becomes far less 'good.' The mechanics alone weren't bad though, they might just not stand out on their own. There's more than a few games out there where a story was good enough to overcome mechanical flaws; or the game was so fun to play it overcame plot holes. Something doesn't have to be perfect to be good and games are pretty much one of the most mixed-media arts you've got. That makes it hard to draw a decent analogy to any media... the best I can do is say take a film, strip the audio, and use subtitles for the dialog - First Blood stays nearly the same movie; Grease on the other hand...
 
2012-12-06 05:31:44 PM

ProfessorOhki: There's a pretty big differences between being rotten and not being the differentiating factor.


Not particularly, since the cook is the one who placed the component in the final product. If I choose to stick a farking awful game mechanic into my game, it's as much my burden as if I put a rotten apple into my pie.

ProfessorOhki: The story and atmosphere were the most key elements of Portal. Yes, you take it away and the game becomes far less 'good.' The mechanics alone weren't bad though, they might just not stand out on their own.


Which comes down to how we define how to judge a game.

There's a camp that argues that story/atmosphere are alone enough to carry a game. I would very strongly argue against that - they certainly help (and my love of SS2 is in large part because of its story and atmosphere, don't get me wrong), but I consider those more of a multiplier to the value of a game. A solid set of mechanics with a solid story/atmosphere is exponentially better than a game with poor mechanics and a solid story/atmosphere. That's easy enough. But it also means that a solid set of mechanics becomes valued higher than a solid story/atmosphere.

The game was fun and entertaining, but not because of anything pertaining to its value as a game. Lets take an extreme example; say a game ships with a full novel in the game world somewhere, and the novel is actually fantastic. An amazing novel, a must read, something that makes purchasing the game mandatory for anyone who enjoys the written word. Does that make the game better? I would argue it doesn't at all, because if we allow that to modify our opinion of the mechanics, we could package said novel with Custer's Revenge and we would have to consider the game as a whole something worthwhile. We recognize, in that extreme example, that story or aesthetic aspects of the game is an element distinct from the underlying platonic game-idea itself.

ProfessorOhki: That makes it hard to draw a decent analogy to any media... the best I can do is say take a film, strip the audio, and use subtitles for the dialog - First Blood stays nearly the same movie; Grease on the other hand...


Using your movie analogy, the gameplay of a game is equivalent to the visuals in a movie while the story is equivalent to the sound. A great movie has both done exceptionally well. But a game that focuses on story is aesthetically similar to a music video. Sure, it can be entertaining, but it's not to be judged by the same standards. How could you possibly judge Beastie Boys' Sabotage video using the same metrics as A Clockwork Orange? The argument isn't that games that focus on story and eschew gameplay are unfun, but rather that they are not mechanically sound. And, like music videos, people can put up with the grossly sub-par visuals on most of them because they aren't watching them to watch them, they're watching them to listen. Just like people don't play exclusively story/atmosphere driven games to play games, but rather to hear a story or experience an atmosphere.

And that's part of why a lot of people find Mike to be absurd when he talks about games like Limbo - he's a movie reviewer talking about music videos. You can argue the value of using those tools to review that kind of game, sure. But there are a lot of people who take great personal offense when, metaphorically, a music video for a song they love is called a bad video. And their outrage makes the least sense out of anyone's.
 
2012-12-06 05:33:37 PM

sprawl15: The game Portal was fun and entertaining


for clarity
 
2012-12-06 05:39:00 PM

roc6783: I always felt bad for that guy, he just wanted some cereal. The Lucky Charms leprechaun, though, that guy was an asshole. You're a leprechaun, you want to horde your gold AND your delicious marshmallow-laden cereal, fark you. I hope those kids beat the shiat out of you when they finish eating your magically delicious bowl of bullshiat.


I think the real problem is that companies are using these dudes as brands and these companies aren't paying them a dime for it. It's the only reason they just don't go out and buy some of the cereal for themselves. They don't have the money.

ProfessorOhki: /Arcade offers an experience console and PC can't match


No disagreement at all. I just happen to like the stuff that requires 80 different hotkeys.

ProfessorOhki: There's more than a few games out there where a story was good enough to overcome mechanical flaws;


As I mentioned upthread, I've played very few games where I could agree to that. And while I'm obviously considerate of the point of view that story can enhance a game, and I'm considerate of the idea that many people feel strongly about narrative in games, I don't give much weight to storytelling. You can have an awesome game without a meaningful narrative but you can't have an awesome game with meaningful mechanics. Easiest way for me to explain my stance is that Journey (a game which eschews all meaningful mechanics in favor of narrative) is lousy no matter how you slice it. Depends on what you think of that game, and we can go from there.
 
2012-12-06 05:42:07 PM
Oh, and I see sprawl15 covered it in more detail than I'm currently willing to expend. Much love.
 
2012-12-06 05:48:21 PM

Martian_Astronomer: Girion47: The only question is, how do I dry the moat afterwards?

Easy: you can drain liquids off the edge of the map. Just make sure you use fortifications, or else things can wander *in* from the edge of the map in the same channel. I would also advise that you use drawbridges instead of floodgates to stop the water, as that prevents building destroyers from causing an uncontrollable flood. I used to use that trick all the time to make underground tree farms. If you mine out most of a whole level (some time after you breach the caverns,) then flood the entire level from a stream on the surface, and let it drain, you'll essentially get a completely secure forest of mushroom trees underground. At that point you never need to venture outside for wood again!

/The next release will be severely altering trees though, so this may not work as well in the future


The only problem I'm running into is the game won't let me mine the edges.
 
2012-12-06 05:58:52 PM

Girion47: The only problem I'm running into is the game won't let me mine the edges.


Hmm. Unless they changed it, even if you can't actually mine the edges, you might still be able to smooth the stone at the map edges and carve fortifications, which will let the water through. (It's been a while though, I could be wrong.)

If that doesn't work, the other, less game option is to simply use one of the caverns as a sewer. If the cavern has a lake in it that touches the edge of the map, the extra water will eventually find its way out. Just carve an up/down staircase into the top of the cavern. As always, though, put a bend with fortifications in somewhere to make sure that flying cavern dwellers don't find their way up the drain.

Oh, and make sure you test the drain controls before actually filling the moat...
 
2012-12-06 07:58:43 PM

sprawl15: Which comes down to how we define how to judge a game.

There's a camp that argues that story/atmosphere are alone enough to carry a game. I would very strongly argue against that - they certainly help (and my love of SS2 is in large part because of its story and atmosphere, don't get me wrong), but I consider those more of a multiplier to the value of a game. A solid set of mechanics with a solid story/atmosphere is exponentially better than a game with poor mechanics and a solid story/atmosphere. That's easy enough. But it also means that a solid set of mechanics becomes valued higher than a solid story/atmosphere.

The game was fun and entertaining, but not because of anything pertaining to its value as a game. Lets take an extreme example; say a game ships with a full novel in the game world somewhere, and the novel is actually fantastic. An amazing novel, a must read, something that makes purchasing the game mandatory for anyone who enjoys the written word. Does that make the game better? I would argue it doesn't at all, because if we allow that to modify our opinion of the mechanics, we could package said novel with Custer's Revenge and we would have to consider the game as a whole something worthwhile. We recognize, in that extreme example, that story or aesthetic aspects of the game is an element distinct from the underlying platonic game-idea itself.


I'm of the camp where you have to take the entire experience as a whole regardless of genre. Sure, having a great written story doesn't make it a great game; you can't just judge it on things unique to it being a game rather than something else. If you can say "the music was great, the characters were great, the story was amazing, the level design was top notch, and I cried when it ended.... but the controls were sort of clunky so I give it a C-" [about some arbitrary, made up game] with a straight face, I can't come to accept that definition. It's all about how you draw your audience in and what you do with them once they're there. In the truest abstraction, you'd be able to tell how good a game was by standing next to the screen and watching the players' faces, never seeing or hearing it yourself.

Besides, "game" is almost too broad of a category to talk about. It's like comparing a novel to a screen play to a blog to a newspaper to a short story to a datasheet. They're all printed word, but they've all got different audiences, different goals, and different approaches to get there. You can read one and go, "it accomplished what it set out to do with great prowess," but you can't really go, "man, this novella is waaaay better text than that shipping label," because the novella sucks at getting you packages delivered.

/Probably my stupidest analogy to date

Mike_LowELL: Easiest way for me to explain my stance is that Journey (a game which eschews all meaningful mechanics in favor of narrative) is lousy no matter how you slice it. Depends on what you think of that game, and we can go from there.


Haven't played it myself. I do get the varying opinions on what makes a game though. I consider Minecraft complete crap because it's not a game; it's a first person voxel editor with scarcity thrown on top to drag out the time. It's Photoshop if you had to grind ink for the brush tool. It's like calling a cardboard box a "toy," sure you can have perfectly good fun with it, but you're the one who created the fun, it's wad of raw material.

/And it annoys me to no end that Notch realized people would buy that
//And then became a bazillionaire
 
2012-12-06 09:15:07 PM

ProfessorOhki: I'm of the camp where you have to take the entire experience as a whole regardless of genre. Sure, having a great written story doesn't make it a great game; you can't just judge it on things unique to it being a game rather than something else. If you can say "the music was great, the characters were great, the story was amazing, the level design was top notch, and I cried when it ended.... but the controls were sort of clunky so I give it a C-" [about some arbitrary, made up game] with a straight face, I can't come to accept that definition.


That's why I said that it's an interaction between the components. A game like Hotline Miami has pretty terrible controls, but I love it anyway. It's all part of the way the game farks with your expectations, kind of like the way you can walk around the buildings of each level is a feature, not a bug. The controls being a bit more reliable wouldn't really change my opinion of the game at all. There's plenty of games that approach the construct of a game from a meta perspective that pull it off well - Hotline Miami, without the insane aesthetic, is ultimately a decent night of puzzle game fun. But a game like Limbo, without the aesthetic, ultimately fails as a game, because its mechanics are poor and its structure is weak. Portal would be better off than Limbo, but suffers from the same problem. And when you're trying to put determine something as nebulous as 'goodness' of a game, you ultimately have to look at those things essential to a game - which Hotline Miami has, and Limbo doesn't have.

I mean, take Dwarf Fortress. The music was non existent, the characters were faceless until they were on fire, the story was like a Tolkein appendix, the level design was a chaotic mess, every game ends in tragedy, and the controls are horrific. Yet I'd still argue it's a far stronger game than nearly anything on the market.

ProfessorOhki: Haven't played it myself. I do get the varying opinions on what makes a game though. I consider Minecraft complete crap because it's not a game; it's a first person voxel editor with scarcity thrown on top to drag out the time. It's Photoshop if you had to grind ink for the brush tool. It's like calling a cardboard box a "toy," sure you can have perfectly good fun with it, but you're the one who created the fun, it's wad of raw material.


And, for the record, I do have fun with Minecraft for the same reason I had a lot of fun with Lego. But I wouldn't call it a particularly good game because of it, any more than I'd call a box of Lego a 'game'.
 
2012-12-06 09:59:37 PM
t1.gstatic.com
 
2012-12-06 11:26:16 PM

Mike_LowELL: Vash's Apprentice: Ah, the Master Race strikes again!

And what does that mean, exactly? "You're critical of the topic, so I don't care for your input?"



Would trust a fan of romantic comedies to review horror flicks?

Yes, and you may be surprised to hear that children's books, yard sale signs, and the instructions packaged with dollhouses also exceed the FARK character quote limit. You may benefit from engaging these works and then moving on to the more complex writing that can, for instance, be found on the back of cereal boxes. I can't wait to find out what that crazy Trix Rabbit™ is up to this time!


Translation:I have nothing of relevance, but look at MAH BIG WALL OF TEXT!11111
 
2012-12-07 02:11:19 AM

ProfessorOhki: Haven't played it myself. I do get the varying opinions on what makes a game though. I consider Minecraft complete crap because it's not a game; it's a first person voxel editor with scarcity thrown on top to drag out the time. It's Photoshop if you had to grind ink for the brush tool. It's like calling a cardboard box a "toy," sure you can have perfectly good fun with it, but you're the one who created the fun, it's wad of raw material.


That's pretty much the idea. Everybody has games they like and dislike. I don't really care for MineCraft, either. I just don't understand the point of a sandbox game which (as popularly played) offers you immediate domination of the game world. (As I mentioned upthread, I highly recommend trying out Ace of Spades, assuming they haven't utterly butchered it in the newer releases.) If someone can outline valid reasons they like and dislike those games, then that's perfectly fine. I think it would surprise most of the people here, but there's an underbelly for game criticism which pretty much rejects the popular narrative of videogame history. That's the viewpoint I take, and I try to learn more about it, because I keep finding really cool games to play. (Bulk Slash and Starsweep are the most recent examples.) I used to be of the opinion that, even if individual commercial game reviewers were incorrect, the aggregate mostly got it right. I discovered that I was completely wrong. If popular game criticism wants to get anywhere, people need to start challenging accepted truths. I doubt that will actually happen, but even if it doesn't, I'll just keep coming in these game threads and startling the shiat out of everyone.

Vash's Apprentice: Would trust a fan of romantic comedies to review horror flicks?


If they know the genre and can express their reasons for why they don't like that genre, why not? I like puzzle-platformers and I like first-person shooters. I just don't think Portal is a great game. I think it should be clear from this discussion thread that I believe aesthetics are one means to developing atmosphere in a videogame, and that narrative and storytelling have to be combined with mechanics that complement the desired motif. Thus, there shouldn't be any offense taken. There can be disagreement, but nobody can say I didn't outline myself. (Although I made a wonderful entrance with the discussion about Limbo, obviously.)

Vash's Apprentice: Translation:I have nothing of relevance, but look at MAH BIG WALL OF TEXT!11111


Name something I said that you disagree with. Provide reasons.
 
2012-12-07 09:34:37 AM

Mike_LowELL: roc6783: ***snip***

I think the real problem is that companies are using these dudes as brands and these companies aren't paying them a dime for it. It's the only reason they just don't go out and buy some of the cereal for themselves. They don't have the money.

***snip***


Imaginary character exploitation is the new equality frontier.
 
2012-12-07 09:38:01 AM

ProfessorOhki: Mike_LowELL: Vash's Apprentice: Ah, the Master Race strikes again!

And what does that mean, exactly? "You're critical of the topic, so I don't care for your input?"

It means they consider you an elitist for thinking Gears of Halo: Black Maddens might not be one of gaming's finest achievements.
[4.bp.blogspot.com image 550x391]

/Arcade offers an experience console and PC can't match
//PC and console allow for a depth of story arcade can't reasonably deliver


As opposed to Doom Reskinned 9999?
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-12-07 10:06:43 AM

ProfessorOhki: sprawl15: ***snip***

I consider Minecraft complete crap because it's not a game; it's a first person voxel editor with scarcity thrown on top to drag out the time. It's Photoshop if you had to grind ink for the brush tool. It's like calling a cardboard box a "toy," sure you can have perfectly good fun with it, but you're the one who created the fun, it's wad of raw material.

/And it annoys me to no end that Notch realized people would buy that
//And then became a bazillionaire


To me Minecraft is digital Legos. There is nothing wrong with that, but as I have never really enjoyed Legos, I don't have a great desire to play with Minecraft.

Mike_LowELL: ProfessorOhki: ***snip***


To me, the original Dragon Warrior or Zelda are as close to perfect as a video game can be, but I fully admit to being a biased moron.

///I also love Shining Force, but it is not great as a game. It is a strategy game that requires very little strategy, especially in the second half.
 
2012-12-07 10:36:08 AM
Look. If you want to consider games as art, the first step is to stop worrying so goddamned much about which games are or are not good, or what the definitions of good are.

That's a stupid approach to art.
 
2012-12-07 11:01:50 AM

Dafatone: Look. If you want to consider games as art, the first step is to stop worrying so goddamned much about which games are or are not good, or what the definitions of good are.


This is like saying there's no difference between an impressionist master and an impressionist amateur because most people don't care to learn the difference.
 
2012-12-07 11:07:02 AM

sprawl15: Dafatone: Look. If you want to consider games as art, the first step is to stop worrying so goddamned much about which games are or are not good, or what the definitions of good are.

This is like saying there's no difference between an impressionist master and an impressionist amateur because most people don't care to learn the difference.


Critics, generally, look more deeply into what's going on their field than just to argue over the precise definitions of "goodness."

Then again, criticism doesn't occur in a forum where people can actually talk back and forth, so I see where it comes from.
 
2012-12-07 11:13:46 AM

Dafatone: Critics, generally, look more deeply into what's going on their field than just to argue over the precise definitions of "goodness."


Yet they still agree that there is the existence of criteria by which to measure that 'goodness'.

Ebert may not be able to write a definitive guide on what boxes a movie can check to be automatically 'good', but he sure as fark could explain to you why he thought this movie was four stars and this other one was worth one...and what elements were 'good' in the first that weren't 'good' in the second. Saying "Limbo is a platformer but gets wrong some of the basic elements of platforming" isn't some arcane philosophical argument about the nature of 'goodness'. It's looking at basic form and function.
 
2012-12-07 11:16:44 AM

sprawl15: Dafatone: Critics, generally, look more deeply into what's going on their field than just to argue over the precise definitions of "goodness."

Yet they still agree that there is the existence of criteria by which to measure that 'goodness'.

Ebert may not be able to write a definitive guide on what boxes a movie can check to be automatically 'good', but he sure as fark could explain to you why he thought this movie was four stars and this other one was worth one...and what elements were 'good' in the first that weren't 'good' in the second. Saying "Limbo is a platformer but gets wrong some of the basic elements of platforming" isn't some arcane philosophical argument about the nature of 'goodness'. It's looking at basic form and function.


Sure. My original post was a little too annoyed/frustrated, anyway. I'm all for examining what does and doesn't work in a game like Limbo.

But trying to set out a guide on what "good" is is kind of a hopeless prospect, and seems to be going on in this thread at least a little.

There's a lot of fun stuff to talk about in games that has nothing to do with goodness. But every game criticism thread turns into "What's good and what's not good about games X, Y, and Z, and whether or not these games are good as a whole."
 
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