Watching people play games...
I had to write in ruby, didn't have a lot of sleep and just ate a piece of chocolate, hellllooo rambling time!
Soooo in this weeks post I talk about... what did you guess? About watching people play games.
For quite some time I've been into watching people play video games on youtube. I especially like SSoHPKC and the Creature stuff they do, but that is an other story, maybe for an other rambling post.
To those who don't know them, they essentially record themselfes playing video games and talking about random stuff.
The weird thing is, I think it does more than just entertain me, I think it helps me looking at game design from a more neutral standpoint.
"You are weird" you say? I have to tell you: I am watching people play games, what do you think I should be?!
But in all seriousness, it really does. More often than not, the commentary breaks the atmosphere of the game. "Why should that be a good thing" you say? Well, sometimes it seems games brush over bad design or bad story elements by providing an atmosphere that draws the players attention away.
Breaking away the atmosphere with the commentator shouting "SHOTGUN RAAAIIIIN" lets you notice all the dips and bumps.
The best example: try watching Call of Duty: Black ops, or COD: MW3 for that matter.
The singleplayer SUCKS! The story gets increasingly embarassing, the gameplay has stayed the same since Modern Warfare 1, the only thing that makes the singleplayer acceptable is the atmosphere. The distributed "I am so awesome" events like breaching and a few total badassery moments at the end of the game to make you forget about it.
COD: Black Ops at least TRIED to have an interesting story, they put effort in a plottwist that you maybe could not have seen coming.
But the latest MW3... seriously?! Have you ever had a knive in your heart, didn't care about bleeding, survived a World War 2 emergency medical procedure and walked around shooting stuff few days later? Was he faith healed by Peter Popoff? They didn't even try...
I couldn't watch SSoH play MW3, it just was too boring. Same shit, different day. On the other hand, watching him play Batman: Arkham Asylum was just awesome. Not only becaue he failed hilariously, but even by watching the game, I was drawn into the world of this game.
But back to watching people... play games...
Usability engineers have a technique called "talking out loud", they try to encourage a test person to talk out loud what he/she thinks while using the gui. This isn't just for shits&giggles, it helps evaluating the design, finding design errors. In other words, there are people on youtube doing exactly that for video games! For free! Day and Night!
Next week is business as usual, better structure and fleshed out thoughts. For today, I just wanted to ramble around a bit. See you soon!