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Looking to Windward

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I was just wondering what you all felt about the direction game developers should go, and what directions you are all planning to go in this business. Are you pro massive worlds with gripping narratives, trillions of polygons and THX certifed sound, or are you more for simple gaming? Are you neither? Do not let nostalgia cloud your judgement on this issue, as a lot of us have fond memories of ancient games that unfortunately are definitely clouded by the youthful enthusiasm experienced at the time. In my humble opinion, I believe that the next stage for gaming to go is to try and send across messages to people. After all, games (not just computer and video ones) are supposed to encourage social behaviour, strategical thinking, teach the fine art of non-agressive competition, and other assorted skills...I believe it can move beyond this, and also help with intellectual development, not just in the form of puzzles, but also in the form of introducing ideas, ideals and concepts in a visual and immediate manner. This would be much easier to digest when compared to reading Plato''s Republic for instance. To focus on games in which ideas and concepts are the playing tools for the player I believe will add immersion, and make games more of an artform. How this would be done I honestly do not know, although I am tossing a few ideas here and there...anyways, do put down your thoughts as well. [read the glass bead game by herman hesse, really good book, and has an example of what i am thinking about]

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Last night I watched the movie Men of Honor starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. and was struck by how effective and efficient it was in communicating its message. But despite the fact that it was a damn fine movie, I knew that (being a product of Hollywood) information was changed / lost because of the needs of the medium. A movie as a medium, while extremely versatile, can only support certain types of information, and only so much of it.

I think games, because of their structural nature, are the same. The game as a medium can support a message, but there''s a fundamental difference between sobering, emotional reflection and fun. Every *message* I''ve ever received from a book or movie was meant to be serious and impactful, and to the degree that they were, I "got" the message.

I''ll use a bizarre hippie culture example to illustrate: There''s a board game called The Transformation Game , which is supposed to be an ontological, self-reflective experience played as a board game. It incorporates such concepts struggle, loss and suffering, redemption, and emotional transformation... in a board game played with pieces and (I think) dice. It came across to me as completely inappropriate not because it wasn''t done well (actually, as a game it was) but because the medium could not support the message.

I think what you''re interested in has a future: Choices, interactions, and responses in a virtual environment. But I don''t think it will serve you or gamers to call it a game.

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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