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Lack of Premise

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We''ve been talking about it a lot lately and it seems to be a well agreed upon fact that the reason so many games seem stale nowadays is because the majority of them lack premise. You may have herd about the petitions and such going around that the freedom of speech should not be applicable to games because games have nothings to say. No message to "really" get across. What are your thoughts about this? Personally, I do agree that there should be more games out there that aren''t just there to be a game. The strength of the medium is interactivity and the psychological effects of gaming are much higher than many other forms of entertainment. I think that it is beneficial to have a real premise to get across. Firstly it makes the game you are developing have a purpose, and it becomes much more than a game. Secondly, it would force the developer to get away from just throwing out themes as after thoughts to their creations, and rather focus on creating a game around a premise and not only telling the player, but showing them why this premise is true false etc. I just think this would spice things up a bit. Again, think about it and leave some feedback about your thoughts. peace -Sage13 Liquid Moon Team X2: Official Site

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Just incase your intrested in the topic some interesting points are being brought up here:




Discussion on topic

[edited by - Sage13 on December 5, 2002 10:29:03 PM]

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I''ve been trying to say the same thing here for awhile now. Indeed, I think the very word "game" is too limiting, as it comes with a host of connotiations of what it means to different people. That''s why lots of people here argue over semantics and come up with terminlogy to better define what they want...for example, "toys", "sims", "interactive story", etc. etc.

Personally, I feel that by saying game, you automatically limit how people perceive what you can accomplish. To me, the computer is a tool with which we can provide experiences to the viewer. It doesn''t have to be a game with the strict definition that there are objectives, or a winner/loser category.

Games to me are just that...games. They may be fun, and you can get enjoyment out of them, but I''d like something more than that. I want people to out something IN to the game as much as get something OUT. We have been conditioned inour culture that we sit back and entertainment comes to us. We sit back and we wtach TV, sports, movies, and play video games. Very rarely do we stop and think of what we do, or question what goes on and how we can be better. Being better can mean improving our skills or making us better people even.

So what can we do to change this? I think for starters by creating a "game" with a message. And not as an afterthought, but purposefully constructed around this message. I think Black and White was a step in the right direction, but actually didn''t go far enough.

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Above all else, this is my passion when it comes to game design. To make games that are entertaining, and yet make people wonder if it should really be called a game.

It disturbs me deeply that video games are currently not accepted by the public as being worthy of being "speech." There are several games that disprove this belief, but the sad truth is that most games have very little to say. You could say that making games with something to say is my Holy Grail -- my ultimate quest.

Messages are most effectively conveyed through stories; such has been the case since the dawn of man. Games have as much potential of film to tell a story -- but it seems to be difficult for many, including some of the the more gifted and intelligent designers within the industry, to grasp the concept.




Brian Lacy
Smoking Monkey Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@smoking-monkey.org

"I create. Therefore I am."

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Yes, I agree. From my conference with other designers in the industry at the IGDA meetings, the fact that publishers don''t want to ''Say'' anything also stifles the ability of designers to create what could be perceived as ''art'' on it''s own.

This, of course, is what the independent game development community should be pushing towards. Yet the industry trend of mimicking has trailed down to even the bowels of the independent developers. Do you think this could be lack of education about game development? Fear of creating something no one would want to play?

We should be experimenting more such as the film and comic industries have.

-Sage13

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Gaming nowadays is much like Hollywood Film Industry, no message is required to be delivered across since noone cares due the fact that people play for entertainment, not to get smart. ITS ESCAPISTS entertainment.

IF you want messages, feel free to grab any penguing literature classic book and you''ll start to understand why tehre is a huge distinction in between escapist literature and more meaningful literature. Quite often these two don''t come in a same packet and for a nowaday reader who is not interested in finding a lot of significant meanings hidden in the theme through stylistic devices they don''t offer a lot. Of course there are many novels that accomplish this, but yet there are too many that fail in this. However, things are different if you are interested in stylistic literature, then you''ll probably gain more reading these "meaningful" books. I mean reading Moby Dick is totally different from reading Rainbow Six or reading Fahrenheit 451 compared to your general shitty star trek book with a lot of erotic fan fiction involving jumpsuits and elf ears.


The state of general human mind is that nobody really cares what you have to say as long as they are entertained. If someone started to put shit involving changing attitudes towards gay people(i''m homophobic and not going to change) I would most likely throw this shit where it belongs: trash can.

I''d say indie-games are cabable of having this *meaningful* content, but for mainstream market it is too dangerous. Let''s say you express positive attitudes towards gay people and you get the hatre of some faggot Southern Babtists and other religious shitstain groups.

Games are pop culture, pop culture is like a snickers bar, flawless creamy chocolate crust leaving a taste that is lasts 10 seconds leaving a hollow feel that is over as soon as you get another one. Then you get fat.

Feel free to try, I''d say you are doomned in a limbo of artsy faggotry, where there is no other escape than killing yourself.

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Captain Goatse has a point in that basically people are....well, cattle. They don''t want to exercise their minds or their soul, and if something comes across as pedantic, pedagogueic or remotely like a soapbox, they immediately tune out.

I think the only way around it is to trick the audience into caring. Make it seem like they aren''t really doing anything but they are actually making choices. Getting the players to try something new maybe diffucult though, even if it comes with good praise (how many good games have there been with good reviews that were just too different for people to accept?).

I think the Indy game developers have a greater degree of freedom to pursue these kinds of avenues however. Me personally, I want to make a game just as practice for my programming skills. I know it won''t be of the same quality of games that are produced by development studios with scores of workers, but I bet I could put out something more unique than they ever could because the almighty $ has no control over me. So frankly, I don''t care if 90% of the population thought my game was stupid as long as 10% thought it was amazing.

So there are two problems...one is human nature that people want their breads and circuses (a saying attributed in Roman times that people will be contented as long as they are entertained and have food even if society is going to hell around them) and the other problem is getting the industry to dip their toes in different waters. The latter I think is actually a more easily surmountable problem. All it takes is a brave soul to make something new that succeeds, and then you get the copy cats to flock to it with slight tweaks. It''s a slow evolutionary process, but it does work. As for chaning human nature, I think the only answer to that is to trick them into thinking its escapist entertainment when it really isn''t.

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Boy, is this a topic that really irritates me!

[rant on]
What irritates me is the fact that a few people think they have the intelligence and ability to define what is freedom of speech and what is a "message" and what isn't. For example: a person can get funding to splash paint on a canvas, let their dog walk on it and crap on it, then hang it up in a museum and call it "art"!!! What are they thinking?!?!? Or a person can sort through a trashcan, glue together some pieces of trash and put it on a pedestal and have people oohhhh and aaahhh over it! But if a company spends a couple of years (more time in actual man-hours) and a couple million dollars to create something that people actually want to buy and play, they get told they shouldn't be allowed to create it because it doesn't "say" something?!? What kind of drugs are these censoring idiots on and where can I get some, because they must be really good!!!

If people would spend their time on dealing with what's really important instead of sticking their noses in an industry they don't understand and don't want to understand we'd be a lot better off.
[/rant off]

I have to agree that most games don't really have a premise, but then again, they don't really need to. Most games aren't about getting a point across or making the players think. They're about good clean fun. I have no problem with companies that want to make a game with a point. Perhaps more of them should just to please the idiots noted above. But it's not a requirement and shouldn't be. Many people just want to fire up a game and blow stuff up or beat up on other players or monsters. It's stress relief for some and just something they like to do for most.

One of the main problems is that some companies are just satisfied with jumping on the genre bandwagon and cloning the latest best seller than putting the effort into making a more original game. The main reason for this is that publishers want to play it safe. They'd rather put out something they think is a sure money maker than take a chance on something original. It's sad that publishers don't think more of gamers than that. That's the main problem. Developers can't really take a risk on creating something original unless they can afford to develop and publish it themselves, since most publishers won't touch a game unless it's a sure thing.

If the community as a whole would somehow let the publishers know that taking a risk is a good thing and might forward the industry instead of letting it stagnate then things might change as far as developers creating more games with a premise.

[edited by - Machaira on December 6, 2002 8:27:32 AM]

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I doubt that it´s an "agreed upon fact", I can´t agree at all with this whole "games gotta have a message" thing. Actually I tend to agree with Captain Goatse, games don´t need to have a message. If you think your message is so important, stick with the traditional media for delivering it (write an essay, print pamphlets, found a cult or make an experimental short film).

Games are for fun. Fun alone. Your task is to entertain people, not educate them or pound your world view into them. Of course, games will never be entirely free of that, and that´s ok I think (after all, a little sprinkling of real life issues never hurt anyone), but basing a game on a message is a different thing entirely.

Make a game first, the message will come by itself. If you go at it the other way you tend to have all message without game.

If you find ways of incorporating touchy subjects in your game, all the better, I think it will be a better game because of it. But making a game in order to bring home a message is not going to work.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Welcome to the problem of being a real artist.

Try being a contemporary orchestral composer when people will only pay you a living to write John Williams pastiche or techno.

Try being a poet who has to produce corporate literature or advertising patter.

Try being an architect who can only get commissions to redesign ever smaller estate housing.

You wanna go beyond "games" (in the traditional sense)?
Go to it, and take all the luck in the world with you.

You want sponsors to trust you with their cash (so you actually stand any chance of even beginning on your dream interactive psychological experience)?
Hmm, well, we spoke to Helmut in accounts, and well, we''re spending a lot on an all new never been experienced before DRIVING game this decade. Not to mention the new offices which our ever expanding marketing department simply HAD to move into. So, um.. no.


My personal feeling is that you can either produce work for yourself or for others. If you are "pushing back the boundaries", it tends to be for yourself. And no-one''s gonna give you any cash or support for it, until you have made it successful and proven that it sells....

Tom

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lol
Thanks for the responses guys, some interesting comments. I''d like to continue.

I do agree firstly that not all games should have a premise. Some games are just for fun. However, I do feel there is a serious lack of substance (that is not mindless) in games nowadays, that can be aided if we had more developers seeking to make more than ‘mindless entertainment’. Think about the film industry; Citizen Kain came out and people were floored. It had a huge premise, but did that mean it wasn''t a good movie? No. Similarly in games, you can’t make a horrible game and try to cover it up with a message.

I feel that problem number one is, if you don''t have developers in the industry who are even thinking in the direction of taking and using this medium as something more than mindless entertainment, then we will never achieve anything but. Where''s our Citizen Kain?

Secondly, as far as games reaching a level of equivalent to art, or at least to the prestige of film, more content that doesn’t involve shooting, killing, and action needs to be made. This is another reason why the gaming industry is under the gun and has a bad reputation. The immature, making games for the immature. Besides, it''s been done and rehashed 1000 time already. Newer weapons, better graphics, and more advanced physics rule the gaming industry currently. But the shock value wears off eventually. The market is becoming stagnated with similarity, especially since you now have so many games being produced nowadays by about 6 major companies.

Again, there is the issue of money, and if your just looking to pay the rent then this is not a topic to be so concerned with. My point is valid and requires a little extra effort before even starting your next project.

You don''t have to shove your opinions in everyone’s face and say that''s the way it is. Rather, consider that at this very second there are about 100 other developers out there thinking "Lets make a FPS with hot chicks". SHeesh. And people wonder why this industry gets slammed like it does. Everyone wants to provide entertainment, but who is willing to provide ‘good’ entertainment and substance? I''ll be honest with you, it is not easy. For most of the population (heck for most of the developers out there) it is impossible. Why? Because you''ve been condition to think a certain way about games. Boom, kill, fun!!!! But with out a section of the community pushing in a direction widely unexplored, that’s the way it will continue to be.

How about inspiring people? How many are willing to go against the grain and really develop something that can stand alone as art? Books and film can do it, but a game has so much more power. Your moving away from just showing the player, and having them experience something with their own senses so why limit yourself to hitting them in the knee with a rubber hammer just to get a mindless reaction?

(nice discussion BTW, keep it flowing




Liquid Moon Team

X2: Official Site




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LOL, wow, I''m rather surprised at the tones in this thread.

Goatse, your attitude is a classic example of the lowest common denominator. You don''t speak for anyone except those whose psychological development has not progressed past the Id stage. Keep buying and playing 1st person shooters, the industry needs you.

A person does not have to like art for it to be art, art is subjective. Art is speech. Speech is free. Speech cannot be censored. Just because one person does not get the message behind something does not mean it isn''t there.

If something is not speech, then it can be censored. Get it now?
Nothing artsy or "faggoty" about it, if the notion that entertainment software is not speech gains critical mass - then regulation and censorship will follow. Let me say it on an id level - No more exploding heads, no more chunky blood colored giblets, no more topless chicks riding bikes, no more virtual car jackings, no more self-regulation.

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tell you what AP, YOU get me the funding, and I´ll make games as artsy, deep and message-rich as you want.

edit: typos

[edited by - Hase on December 6, 2002 7:15:47 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well that brings up a good point. Should we as developers only be seeking make the mighty dollar? Is that what''s driving your passion?

It''s the employee complex. Sure work at what you like to do, but no, don''t even think about making it work for you.

It''s understandable, and that will always be the argument.

"Yes I want to make good games, but I''m afraid that I won''t get funding!!!"

Well I tell you, just stop bothering then. Go ahead and make the next RTS, FPS Skateboarding game, but will you be making a differnce?



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[
quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Well that brings up a good point. Should we as developers only be seeking make the mighty dollar? Is that what''s driving your passion?

[...]

Well I tell you, just stop bothering then. Go ahead and make the next RTS, FPS Skateboarding game, but will you be making a differnce?



To be honest, your high and mighty attitude pisses me off a little. You obviously don´t have any idea what it costs to put out a retail title that can match what´s out there. Almost everybody in game development is in it because they love games; they´re there even though the hours suck, the work is hard and there´s easier money to be made elsewhere. So don´t insult us by saying we´re selling out our dreams for a dollar.
Then again there´s something you probably haven´t considered: I like making games. I like it so much that I want to spend as much time as possible doing it. And guess what? I also like food. I also like a roof over my head and a place to sleep. And without money that just can´t be done (unless you´re still living at hotel mama).
So screw the "difference" (whatever that may be). I don´t want to make a difference, I don´t want to save the starving lemurs of Tuvalu. I want to make games that people enjoy. If you´re on a conscience-trip, go to India and join an aid organistation. THERE you can make a difference.

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Hase (heated debate hun?)

Hey chill out, this is just a discussion.
I am purposely taking the extreme left just to make it more interesting. I am well aware of the cost, time, man power, and pressure that is involved with game development. That won''t stop me from taking into consideration the options that the medium presents.

All I''m saying is that is it so bad to make a game that for once isn''t just limited to the scope of blatant entertainment. What so wrong with creating a game (any game) that is not made just for the sake of getting another FPS or RPG out on the shelf. Bring it from the inside. Make it purposeful.


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uh-oh, my rage meter just went up

Frankly, it amazes me that people on this board think that if someone suggests that games should have a message or point to them , that they mean ALL games must have a point or message. I have yet to see anyone here who has posted saying they wish games had more substance behind them say that all games must have message, and that anyone who doesn''t games like that don''t belong to our effete elitist group

While I''m being sarcastic of course, I get the feeling that''s what many game designers feel...and they take offense at other game designers who merely suggest that games can be about more than fun. I for one am not trying to dictate how games are made...I enjoy a good mindless deathmatch like others do. Escapist entertainment has its place. But name a game that does try to have substance and meaning behind it. And yet some people in this forum get their panties all uptight because other designers would like to see more...and see this as an affront to their beloved "game" culture.

Frankly, I don''t know why this idea bothers some people here so much. Just as all movies can''t be of one genre or even directorial style, why should "games"? A game is just a type of program that has a specific function and purpose. Entertainment can come from many forms. Why are people so afraid of challenging the status quo?

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Hase-
When I say that I''m not affected by the almighty dollar it means that I don''t have to bow down to marketing departments or what some company who has a serious investment in a development studio dictate how the game should be. I don''t think anyone here wouldn''t be here if they didn''t love games, but how many people here who have actually worked in the business have had to compromise their vision of a game design because the "suits" decided that it would be better to pander to the masses?

I''ll give you an example of just how deadly the "suits" are. BAck in the early 90''s Marvel (the company that makes the Spiderman comics) went public. The "suits" that represented the stockholders interest came in and basically started dictacting the direction of the stories. Instead of being the "house of ideas" that they were famous for, the writers and editors often had to compromise their artistic vision because of the suits telling them that their market research indicated that the comics would sell better if they did something different. That almost destroyed Marvel. They went bankrupt and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few years ago. They are just now coming out of their hole, and if you ask the editor in chief and any of the writers there during the mid to late 90''s what was the demise of their company, it would be the selling out of their artistic vision for mass market appeal. That is the price of the almighty dollar. Instead of experimenting and letting the customer decide what they liked, the stock holders and "suits" told the writers what kind of stories to write because they thought it was what everyone liked....more of the same.

When a development studio loses more of its artistic vision from corporate pressure, that is the almighty dollar at work. You took it as meaning the designers sold out...not necessarily. It more often means they had to...or lose their job. But the end result is the same....a watered version of the game that was envisioned by the designers. That is the price of the almighty dollar. Not for the development studio, but usually for the publisher and anyone else that funds the studio. How many publishers or corporate studios are willing to fund a development team on an idea that is totally revolutionary? The idea sounds good, but there''s a good chance that it will fail. It''s simply too risky for most big commercial studios to take risks like that.

We''re not trying to be elitist and dictate what game design is like. In fact, I find it both funny and irritating at the same time that people shoot down others like me for suggesting that games can be more than they are. In fact, I think people with the attitude that "games are only for fun", is the same attitude that people had if they thought the internet was only good for research. How do you really know until you try? I have nothing against games being just games, I just like to see exploration in other areas...something that the "games are only for games" camp seems to have a religous zeal in denying.

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O_o goodness this thread is almost hot enough to spontaneously combust. Hmm. What can I do to cleverly moderate this?

(thinks...) Ok, how about this:



I, Gamedesigner

I, Gamedesigner, am an entertainer - I want to give people what they want. It''s no sin to keep doing what works and what people like. It''s even to be expected; people''s needs don''t change, so why should my method for fulfilling them? In designing games like my own favorites I pass my enjoyment on to a new generation of players and pay homage to brilliant creators whom I respect very much.

I, Gamedesigner, am an artist - I want to create what feels right to me, I want to thrill people''s aesthetic senses, and it''s hard to get a good aesthetic response with a game that''s just like any other game. I prove my value as an artist when I create something new and unique, whether it''s really entertaining or not.

I, Gamedesigner, am a politician and a philosopher - I want to use my creations as a vehicle to convey ideas to an audience. It is my civic and self-defensive duty to try and enlighten my society and teach individuals how to be more ideal people. If I entertain my audience and stimulate them aesthetically this is good because it keeps them there to hear my message, but the means must not get in the way of the ends.

I, Gamedesigner, am a human baing living in a capitalist society. I must give the market what it demands to feed myself and my family. I also realize that the market is made up of individual customers. These customers know what will satisfy them and that''s what they buy - I shouldn''t try to forcefeed them something they neither want nor need.


I, PlayerOfGames

I, PlayerOfGames, want games that will fulfill my various psychological needs, be they adrenaline stimulation, tragic or comic emotional catharsis, escapism, a safely firewalled form of social interaction, a chance to reinforce my personal mythology of being a hero or a problem-solver, an opportunity to learn about alternative morals and philosophy, an opportunity to experiment with the idea of being in various types of relationships with various types of people, or whatever other need I may have.

I, PlayerOfGames, am always questing for the game that will perfectly fulfill my needs, and I am frustrated that there are so many games that are useless to me. Naturally, I wish that more games of my ideal type would be designed and produced. I wish that the games I do like had less of whatever parts bore or annoy me, so naturally it would be to my advantage to convince game designers that they should not design these elements into their games.


I, MemberOfGamedev

I, MemberOfGamedev, am a theorist and a member of a dialectic community. I have undertaken a social contract that I will try to help my fellow community members that they might in return help me. We will try to give each other good advice, enlighten each other, point out each others errors, and generally help the seeds of ideas blossom into the games of tomorrow. I have a communal and self-improving responsibility toward the game design industry as a whole; a responsibility to encourage both diverse experimentation and concentration on projects that are most likely to be successful; a responsibility to see that my industry and its product grow in popularity and are taken seriously by my culture.

I, MemberOfGamedev, want my industry''s product to be successful, both economically and socially. Do I want my industry''s product to be taken seriously as an artform, an entertainment, or both? I must realize that art is often entertaining, entertainment is often artistic, and the community of game designers can persue both avenues, the two are not mutually exclusive. I may work toward one or the other as the higher priority in my own design theorizing, but it in no way disadvantages me if others'' priorities are different. History will decide which is right, whether one, both, or neither, and there''s no point in arguing about it ahead of time. Flaming interferes with everyone''s communication and progress, including my own. Therefore I will share my thoughts and opinions, and try to persuade people when this seems helpful, being careful for my own benefit to stay on-topic, not lose my temper, and not provoke others to lose theirs.


How''s that? Did I forget anything? Hope I don''t sound too preachy, that''s not my intent, I''ve just been reading lots of political speeches lately and it rubs off.

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I''m going to be uncharacteristically plain-spoken here.

All other game designers can do what they like. I''m not going to talk about the "state of the industry" or "what''s wrong with games today" or how "games should be meaningful". I am going to talk about me, myself, about whom I do believe I am the undisputed authority. I''m an artist. That means I have a vision which means a lot to me, and a burning desire to see that vision made real at any cost. My vision happens to be a game. That means I''m a game designer. I am a game artist. If nobody ever buys my game, that''s fine. I''ll release it for free. If nobody will help me make my game, that''s fine. I''ll do it myself. I have a hard-core, bloody-minded dedication to my concept and I DON''T CARE IF NOBODY ELSE WANTS IT.

Will I get a job making my game? Probably not. I''ll have to do something else to make a living, and create in my spare time. Others have done it; starving artists are legion, and every great artist starts out a starving artists. Those who challenge the accepted view of what is art are not appreciated in their time: that is the lesson of history, and that is what I expect for myself. Perhaps I will never be recognized; perhaps I am not worth recognition. It doesn''t matter. My desire to create overrides all other concerns.

Now, it would be a mighty fine thing if the NEA takes a good hard look at games and saw, shining through the mountains of profit-minded uninspired crap from both major and indie designers, those games which through the unique combination of sound, vision, and interactivity create a sublime effect in the player irreproducible in other media. Then I might get some cash for being an insane artist. But this only affects the time and the effort it will take for me to bring my vision to fruition, not whether they will come. I will tilt at the windmill until the windmill falls.

Maybe this is conceit or megalomania talking, but I do believe that a truly original idea will put an indy game out from under the wide, fat shadow of mass market games. I know I can''t beat a sixty man team in programming polish or art quality or sheer eye candy. But I can create something raw and honest and personal, something which holds a piece of my beating heart out in the light for all to see. No amout of marketing, no amount of crash-coding, will give a game a sense of truth, of an individual speaking his innermost thoughts directly to you in the best way he knows how. Maybe it''ll resonate, and maybe it won''t, but it''ll surely be different.

Yeah, that''s my rant. That''s where I''m coming from. You don''t have to agree; I highly suggest you don''t, as "starving artist" is a shitty career option by most standards. But for those of you as insane as I: shout out, be heard. We''re not the elite. We''re not the chosen ones. We''re not lucky and we won''t be rich or famous. Millions of people will choose games that make them happy over games that try to speak, and it will probably be the smarter choice. But for me, just knowing that my vision exists in concrete form and the potential exists for someone to appreciate it would be enough.

In short, here''s the takeaway: instead of talking about how we should inject meaning into games as if it were some extra feature we had to cram in, we could talk about how we have something meaningful to say and how it is better expressed through a "game" than through any other medium.

-STC

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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Just as the most difficult and avant-garde of art, music and literature are difficult for the general public to unanimously worship at any time, so do games poised for purpose and message face a similar uphill battle for recognition.

However, I would say that the battle is a different one. Because all games require some level of interpretation, even poorly-made ones can possess some meaning for a player who is willing to look everywhere for what is being said, and what might''ve been said, and where things were lost or muted during the development process. On the other hand, a player who plays purely for accomplishment and reward, for "beating" the game and getting the high score, ignores all these things, and can say at the end only that it was "good" or it "sucked." And these two audiences are going to get wildly different perceptions of the same game because of their method of operation.

The best solution in terms of personal success, of course, is to make games that satisfy both parties, similar to how Shakespeare was able to write plays that both engaged the audiences of his time and held enough meaning for them to merit continued study today. But not everyone is a Shakespeare.

For any one person or group to be able to set a line where a game possesses a message goes too far, however. I''ve been playing lots of Dance Dance Revolution a lot, for example. It''s a game in which the mechanics involve simply hitting arrows on time. And depending on how people view it, it''s either only that and it''s a stupid waste of time(or a game to go OMG I got a AAA grade on song x pwnage!), or it serves as an opening for someone to perform a dance routine, with no formalities or expectations to overcome other than your own reluctancy for getting up on the stage and actually trying it. And if only the people seeing it as a waste of time were judging, there would be no DDR.

My opinion is that things are (generally) fine the way they are, though when the marketers have too strong a hold of a project, they eventually strip the game of whatever good qualities it may have possessed, or when developers are pushed too hard to release on an unfair schedule, the game isn''t in a stage where things shine through as well. Over time, I have no doubt that people will arise who bring games into the academic fold and start writing papers about them. This will, in turn, protect games from the legislation battles we''ve seen in the past and now.

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quote:
Original post by Machaira
If the community as a whole would somehow let the publishers know that taking a risk is a good thing and might forward the industry instead of letting it stagnate then things might change as far as developers creating more games with a premise.


From what I've heard and read about the industry (which honestly isn't all that much), in order for a large publisher to fund and publish an innovative game (which is a lot riskier than your normal sequel/clone), they must also publish several other games which will spread out that risk and help keep them afloat in case that innovative game bombs. So there are innovative games out there with high ideals and strong premises. It's just that they make up a smaller part of the whole just because of how the industry is.

It seems like this is the way things work with companies like EA. Take Majestic and the Sims, two very innovative and risky games. Majestic didn't do well and EA is still afloat because they still have other less-risky solid franchises to fund such innovation. If a company had bet all of its money on games like Majestic and they didn't all pan out, it means they'd have gone under.

As long as games involve large risky investments of time and money, and as long as the industry is hit-driven, this seems like this is the way things will work.

One interesting thing is modding. It seems like a cool way for anyone to try out innovative ideas with no risk. And if any of those happens to be a winner with gamers, a company scoops it up and publishes it. Hooray!

[edited by - beantas on December 7, 2002 6:28:31 PM]

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