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CoffinNail

Pass of Fail

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Why does the typical "gamer" always seek games that all have a pass/fail element? I have lately been envisioning games without any win or loss conditions (very YMCA of me). Why are these games automatically branded with the stigma of being "casual", and in turn less credible of a game (this also is contingent of what you define as a game, I guess interactive media is more appropriate) even though they can be very deep and intellectually stimulating. The "gamer" does not approve of this genera of game and discredits it because it has no victory. I guess what I am trying to get at is what drives the "gamer" demographic to have the need to beat something or someone? Is it the natural competitive nature of all humans or are the 12-28 y.o. males lacking some sort of primal need that is fulfilled with games? In all of this I am speaking in generalities but they also have a ring of truth.

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I am not objecting your view. This is just another way of viewing it:


The challenges in games are designed. Those challenges are not always easy to define or to developed. A player looks for games with defined and developed challenges; that is, until they are bored what the prescribed challenges.

In games the challenges are defined. In toys, the challenges are not.

For most people, if you just give them a yoyo, they don't really know what kind of tricks you could do with it. But if you demonstrate a few tricks, you give the player objectives on how to play with the yoyo.

Games prescribe the objectives. Only players that are literate to the game world can prescribe objectives to themselves. This cannot be done at the initial stage interactive with a game world.

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I think people who choose to grow their creativity would become more creative.

People who enjoy competition seek a play field with more competitors.

People who enjoy doing experiments seek to have their own lab.


I am in the camp where the definition of a game requires defined objective. So a "gamer" by definition is always interacting with a system that has a victory condition.

If you are asking why there are more people who play with games than people who play with simulations, I would like to point out that many people who enjoy experiements are doing it, but not in the context of "computer games". A mother who enjoys cooking and invents recipes is play the "creative game". But I think you just don't see it like this. Someone who farms and need to take care of chickens for fun is player the "creative game". They just don't need a computer to simulate their playing field.

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"Casual Games" are not games without clear goals, or Victory/Defeat conditions, or any of the 'classic' game elements we are very familiar with. A casual game is, by definition, something that can be enjoyed casually, without dedicating an intense amount of hours to it. Something that can be picked up, played a little bit, and then be put down to move onto something else.

For example, the way I play the game, Soul Calibur is a casual game to me. I play one or two rounds with my wife, and then I move on to dinner/tv/whatever else. I bought Soul Calibur with that purpose in mind. I have made it a casual game for my purposes.

So I reiterate - a casual isn't something without those pass/fail conditions. It's just something that can be enjoyed in passing. I believe the reason why many casual games do not include those elements is because casual games have a certain amount of experimentation that casual gamers allow for. So you can play around with different ideas, different approaches. And some work well, like having a game with no pass/fails, or no levels, or a progressive difficulty, or stuff like that. But it's certainly not a requirement nor the definition of a casual game.

As a side note, casual games are becoming "all the rage" now because the people who started hardcore gaming in 80's and 90's (you know, back when being an avid gamer made you a geek) have grown up, with jobs, families, and responsibilities. We can't dedicate 8+ hrs a night to Halo, or Far Cry, or WoW, or whatever else unless you live alone and can afford the loss of sleep.
But we still want to game, so we play the games that we can enjoy in little chunks at a time.

So, CoffinNail, if you're envisioning games with no win/lose and all that - go for it. Forget about the hardcore gamers and their opinions of casual games, and whether or not your game will be branded as such. Chances are the people you're talking to are either in K-12 (and thus, let's be honest, do not know any better) or are talking out of their ***ses ;)

Whether or not your design your game for the casual or hardcore market will determine whether or not it is either, not simply because you're missing "classic" game elements.

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Quote:
Original post by CoffinNail
SO as we get older do we actually become less creative, or do we need formalized goals that are attainable?


I don't think it has much to do with getting older, children love the absoluteness of winning a simple game like a race, or checkers. But it's true that the more gray areas and ambiguity we have to deal with in real life, the less we want that sort of thing in a game. Real life is hard and confusing and depressing and you never really win at it. Fiction and entertainment therefore can appeal to audiences by providing simple tasks with concrete rewards and praise for completing them with a vague overall promise that beating the game is equivalent to winning at life.

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I agree with several of Grafalgar's points. When I see casual games (like match-3s or the Dinner Dash stuff) there are very clearly pass/fail goals, levels and other constraints. (Ironically, an oft used dynamic in games for gamers with little time is a time pressure).

Having said that, I personally love sandbox games and building my own goals out of the raw ingredients provided by the world. Yet I'm also a highly competitive gamer, enjoying everything from Halo to Civilization.

So if you want to build a game without definite win/lose states, I say go for it. The only caveat I'd offer is that of somehow providing closure. One thing I hate about the many open ended sandbox games I've played is the blah feeling toward the end. Because there is no single thing to accomplish that tells you that you've won the game, it can be hard to stop playing. Rather than this being a good thing, it's more like obsessively chewing a stick of gum that has lost all of its flavor. You know you should stop, but the game world is missing the right context to provide a satisfying ending (because there's nothing to emotionally end it). For that I'd provide a "Retirement" option with some sort of summation that's emotionally rewarding. Then you can at least "quasi-pass" the game.

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You all have valid points. One point is that I was not trying to covey, at least I did not intend to, all casual games are fully open ended. Contrary, the majority of them also have victory/loss conditions. I think, as a few of you stated, that as the demographic ages and is burdened with more responsibility they need a quick release that is light yet deep. Do you think a game more on par with traditional AAA titles, in respect to costs, would be viable if it did not have a goal to complete? Do we need more time in the market for the curve to catch up? Look at art for example. Before Dada, cubism, and surrealism, all art (or anything critically acclaimed, with a few exceptions) was a realistic depiction of the subject. With the influx of the new art the traditional base discredited it but everyone else loved it. Are we the Dalis of today, challenging the status quo of what is a "video game"? I like to think that we are on the cusp of a totally new perspective on how to interact with technology and in turn the whole world around us. There is, and always will be, a place for head shotting newbies, and I appreciate the competition it inspires (especially when some 12 y.o. calls me gay and yells at his mom to make him a Hot Pocket) but I also like seeing games that are beautiful and thought provoking without the complication of trying to win.

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In your situation, do you mean that you want to play a first person shooter but without the head-shot kids; or, that you don't actually want to play the first person shooter at all, but you tried to play because there is no other alternatives to you?

People usually solve the first problem by playing with their friends, or finding a group of like minded players. If multiplayer is not the point then they would play single player.

For the second problem, how does the equivalent of head-shot kids manifest in other games? What would happen if you were to play the Sims, 2nd Life, a single-player game, or wow in a roleplay server?

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I do enjoy the "head shot games". What I am getting at is I would like to see more of the Sims type games but maybe with a more artistic or personal discovery aspect. I am just throwing around these ideas to find the direction that really suits my wants and needs. Now that I am a little older and slightly (emphasize slightly) more mature I find less of a need to beat up on people or NPC's or whatever. Maybe this has to do with more of a competitive nature at work or in the social world that when I get home I like to collaborate and create rather then best whomever. Rock Band (though I deplore the game since you can spend your time learning to actually play said instruments) is a good example of a collaborative game, though you still have to beat something. Maybe like Flower or something along those lines is what I am envisioning.

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I think I understand what you mean:

You want more artistic expression medium that can be run conveniently from a computer. You want the accessibility and the connection that a computer (optionally, with a network) provides, but you want the competiveness that is often found in online games.

You want medium to chill. A medium where there is no pressure to the player to do anything. The player is in control of the expression. Unlike an artist, you are not looking for a medium that generates a product from your expression.

(Analogy: You are not looking for a platform that records a tune that you spontaneously compose, but you are looking for a platform that lets you play a spontaneous tune.)


When you think of a medium like this, do you usually think of it as a visual experience, an musical experience, or other?

Is it accurate to say that you are looking for an interactive screen-saver?


What people could to do for the same sake with a very low requirement of resources:
o hum a tune
o folding paper
o doodle
o make clay models (choose a clay that doesn't smell)
o play with rubber bands

You could play these many times anywhere (probably except folding paper). They in general don't have the multiplayer aspect a networked interaction would offer.



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Maybe? I would prefer a little more depth that folding paper. I want to use the computer or console to make something"chill." No pressure, no goal, just kinda zen like where you get done doing what ever and say "Wow that was fun to relax and unwind folding paper on my computer"

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Quote:
Original post by Wai
For most people, if you just give them a yoyo, they don't really know what kind of tricks you could do with it. But if you demonstrate a few tricks, you give the player objectives on how to play with the yoyo.


Guitar + Radio vs. Guitar Hero?

Quote:
Original post by CoffinNail
Before Dada, cubism, and surrealism, all art (or anything critically acclaimed, with a few exceptions) was a realistic depiction of the subject.


I belive this is largely due to the invention of workable cameras. When all you have to do is point-and-click to get a realistic depiction of the subject that can easily be reproduced at various sizes with many options for post-processing, why bother creating a realistic image with paint, a method that's both more difficult and more limited? (Also, Google informs me that today is Magritte's 110th birthday!)

Quote:
Original post by Wai
Analogy: You are not looking for a platform that records a tune that you spontaneously compose, but you are looking for a platform that lets you play a spontaneous tune.


I'm not entirely sure of the distinction you're making. It would seem the difference is the ease with which you can get something that sounds good. But then, I'm still not sure, because a guitar is, in my opinion, very easy to sound good on; Learn a few chords (G, C, D7, Em, Am) and some simple scale positions (Major/Minor pentatonic with the root on the first and second string) and it's not hard to sound good.

Of course, one of the first things I thought about was the Punk-O-Matic or, more generally, Newgrounds "Gadgets" collection.

One thing I've thought about that may be related is that I may be working hard at some game, whether trying to do all it has to offer or figure out the underlying mechanics or whatever, and then think, "Why?". I mean, why is there any drive at all to work at this arbitrary challenge? I could just as easily set myself some arbitrary challenge, but it seems that the fact that someone else posed the challenge helps legitimize it.

I think there's something similar where I some people don't regard, say, a penny whistle, ukulele, or jug as a "real" instrument, but what makes them less real than an accordian, mandolin, or trap set?

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The problem with many "games without true goals" like Spore, GTA, etc, is that sometimes its hard to understand what to do.

I was one of the many people who played spore, got to space, and then.....stopped playing. Before that point, the game was fairly linear, giving choices leading you on a path to creature, tribe, city, and then civilization. But...after space...there was no "Conquer the universe" goal, only "Explore the universe".

I didn't see a purpose in flying around doing whatever I wanted.

In the GTA games, there are story missions and stuff, but often most of the fun I have with them is by just running around trying random stuff that seems fun. But eventually, I find myself wanting to accomplish something, and I head to the provided missions.

Many people I know who play the Sims make up stories and goals for themselves. They create sims of people they know, etc, and have fun playing around in a world that exists as much in their own minds as it does in the game.

However, unless there is room for exploration, and reasons to want to explore, games without goals tend to become boring if you can't find anything to do.

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