Monday, June 28, 2010

Pissing in Your Games

For all the interesting things that gamers constantly do, I still see very few of us 'pissing' on our games. Nope, I don't mean the reckless criticisms we're all desperately clinging to these days. I mean it in a more interestingly figurative sense. This of course, is intertwined in the common theme of passion I usually have threaded throughout my posts.

If you have any trace of obsession in you, this is an easy concept to get your head around. It can be done for any game (or any scrap of media if we get complex about it) regardless of the consensual 'quality'. Once one passes 'a certain line of interest' with a game, a very twisted sort of pride takes over. Depending on that individual gamer's personality, their relationship with said game will begin to take on certain consistent properties (e.g. an addictive, academic, or pure indulgent association with the game).

Since people are very adept at ignoring anything that gets too complex, they find ways to compensate for it (mostly subconsciously). Queue genre archetypes (i.e. hardcore, casual, indie, etc.), obsolete categories gamers will be fighting their way out of for quite some time. While the technical implications of that are pretty straightforward (i.e. we've all mostly accepted it into our lexicon now), the ripple effect that it has on certain communities isn't.

The social aspect greatly depends on the circles one relates to or travels in. Everytime someone passes that aforementioned line, they almost instantly get branded with the mark of their own love. Some people understandably avoid this like the plague (usually under the silly guise of objectivity), some hide it to preserve the illusion of privacy and personal space, others *cough* suck it into their own nihilistic void to beat people over the head with. To each his own I guess. After this gamer becomes branded with that 'mark' though, two things typically happen:

One: Shallow End (social) - The people around that gamer hollowly and meaninglessly offer ignorant support so as to not spoil that single gamer's happiness, confront their own laziness, or avoid confrontation altogether. They stand on a comfortably distanced and novice understanding of the single player's emanating radiance regarding the terms of something they love.

Two: The Deep End (psychological) - The gamer is forced to keep themselves afloat while juggling any number of the game's realities in relation to their own persona. Sometimes they drown and we see the effects of that. At least, I like to think that's what I'm looking at when I see a comment post by someone who seemingly hasn't used a keyboard before (e.g. "OMG EXBOCKS SUX").

Within this 'pool', there's usually one person in the deep end and upwards of 100 in the shallow end. Thus, all those in the shallow end graft the 'swimmer' directly into their entire perception of the game itself. The passionate swimmer becomes aware of this as well and it begins to feed their pride, ego, and intellectual vanities. They begin to feed off people's ignorance at this point. It's kind of disgusting actually...

Now if you want an easy example of all this in motion, just take a look at me and Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear series. Thanks to me just being able to express myself, dozens upon dozens of people have essentially plastered my face on the box as well. Their entire perception of the game has become significantly and irreparably ruined simply because they didn't know how to internalize information for themselves (coincidently a theme of the Metal Gear series, most notably Sons of Liberty). What this really boils down to is what inspired this post, me reading the Wikipedia page on territorial marking and pheremones:

"Spraying (also known as territorial marking) is behavior used by animals to identify their territory. Most commonly, this is scent marking, accomplished by depositing strong-smelling chemicals such as urine at prominent locations within the territory. Often the scent contains carrier proteins, such as the major urinary proteins, to stabilize the odors and maintain them for longer.

Not only does the marking communicate to others of the same species, but it is also noted by prey species and avoided. For example, felids such as leopards and jaguars mark by rubbing themselves against vegetation. Some prosimians, such as the Red-bellied Lemur, also use scent marking to establish a territory. Many ungulates, for example the Blue Wildebeest, use scent marking from two glands, the preorbital gland and a scent gland in the hoof."

There's something disturbingly parallel there to what I'm commenting on in this post. We're well into an age of gaming now where merely commenting on the milieu from the likes of Tselinoyarsk, has become lethal.

There's also the question to how this effectively lowers standards in many games as well. When people aren't willing to compromise their passions, they ironically begin to decay at that exact moment. I only genuinely like talking to people who aren't just coming to me with Metal Gear things, but rather presenting their own Metal Gear things. In otherwords, stop asking for my opinion and form your own damn it. I don't have the patience to cognitively babysit you.

It's kind of a shame how many people I know that will never be able to look at a Metal Gear game without the mental markings of my persona there (especially the ones who'll merely react ONLY after reading this post), but that's also something I take a rather vicious and vindictive pride in as well, as it lets me know who I should respect and who I shouldn't. That I can virtually ruin an experience for so many without even raising a finger just gets me all hot and bothered. ;)

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Kind of Shooting & Swinging More Games Need

A New Type of Shooter

A sort-of recurring complaint of mine these days is that not nearly enough games make use of the in-play camera. There's a sort of tendency for this to be ignored in a larger context for quite a few reasons. A big contributor is that PC gamers always have access to this in one way or another (and the progeny of all PC gamers still affect consoles significantly). The second extends into 'real life' and is indicative of how shallow most people have become now. One can learn quite a bit about someone by giving them a DSLR of any type and demanding that they 'go take pictures'. An instant reaction to my complaint here usually runes along the lines of:

"Well wtf am I supposed to do with a camera? Take pics? That's not fun!"

Anyone that writes about their experiences with games will/should easily be able to empathize with my demands here, as the simple relation of a one's vision through a photo is like --- I don't know, photography? There's a tendency to avoid the mere notion of 'art' and photography is one of the biggest proponents of this ignorance. This is to say, the willful avoidance of craftily organizing one's one sight of the world. Yes, it makes you an artist, no it does not make you special. It's one of the most easily accessible forms of art there is, but at the same time it isn't, as the craft is DAMN expensive. That in itself kind of bolsters my case for more in-game cameras, as developers can build a simulation of even the most expensive DSLRs in their titles; if there's one thing gamers are actually good at, it's the fanatics making use of the tools they're given. How about an achievement that unlocks such a feature/upgrades (instead of some dumbass trophy)?

Given that so many games are quickly becoming so visually dense, it only makes sense to capture some of those moments using the digital age we live in. It means more to me as a single-player experience, but I'm aware that the social-bugs can make just as much use of them (take a look at Halo 3 for example). Outside of some of the more well-known titles, simply having a sliver of one's experience can be thunderously rewarding. Gamers are always raising endless arguments for their personal creation of context (and also how the developers are meant to communicate to them that context). However, when push comes to shove, asking them to actually display a piece of themselves in that argument is equal to hurling dirt clods at a house and expecting it to fall over.

Oh, and don't even get me started on trying to find a decent screencap of a game (sans the horrific watermarks you sites sometimes plaster on your images) either. This would easily kill off that not having a decent shot of a game. I don't mind the developers watermarking an image, but game sites doing it is just an obnoxious and unnecessary filter I'm tired of veering around.


Thanks to Michael Abbott, I was linked to an 'Iwata Asks' segment of Nintendo's E3 site. Amidst the conversations on several of their revealed projects at E3 was the one I'm obviously most interested in, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. There's a conflation with my complaints in terms of what Twilight Princess did/did not do and it's one both Aonuma and Miyamoto admit to in this video. The density of play in Twilight Princess for example, was very ---- for lack of a better term, erratic. It ended up becoming far more counterproductive and it simply didn't help that another title had launched right alongside it. Admitedly, had not Okami launched in the same year, I probably never would have even noticed something like that (but let's avoid that comparison today). However it did, and it has affected the Zelda franchise in general to some extent, at least to an extent we all should pay attention to now. It's almost admitted by them in the video that the Wii individually was meant to communicate their ideas of a 'better way to play'. I among many have a knee-jerk reaction to the mere utterance of that, but there is a certain train of thought explained that I can respect (and by extension, give a chance too).

That admittance was the portion of the video where Miyamoto comments on the Wii MotionPlus, which essentially turns the Nintendo Wii into what we were all hoping for to begin with. The control which Skyward Sword now grants the player over their weapon is significantly more resolute than that of Twilight Princess (i.e. waggle). The problem now is that Nintendo squandered its reserves by launching Twilight Princess to begin with. That's not meant to bash the game but rather point out the degree to which it will deflate the actual prominence and awe the new sword palatability is meant to communicate. Many of 'us' will end up taking it for granted simply because we're familiar with and complacent to the Wii's entire visage now. This means that Shiggy & Aonuma's excitement in design becomes layered behind yet another slab of 'language'. It also means that at the end of the day, granting Skyward Sword's most ideal release, its greatest muscle becomes 'lost in translation'.

Concerning the game's new visual path, I'd have to say I'm a bit torn in two. First and foremost, I'm not a fan of Impressionism. Even given its proxy to Romanticism, it's a bit too proud of being an excessive tangent spawned from that movement (liking the parent doesn't mean I have to enjoy their bratty child). On the other hand, there's a distinct factor I'm willing to admit excitement for towards the game's release: use of movement and light (both very key to Impressionist works). Only those at E3 have actually seen how the game moves up close, but this also sheds light (no pun intended) on a darker side of the game's visuals as well; this is that I think only a few (even Nintendo here to some extent) will look at the game's usage of such a period beyond the general gist of:

"Omg cool! It's using a relatively popular 19th century art period as inspiration! I shallowly feel a bit more cultured now!"

They're actually more likely to just say 'cool! art!' these days, but you get my idea...

The way this game moves and feels is going to be immensely important now. The way its landscapes are rendered, the way those polygons move, and everything the light touches will become subject to intense scrutiny to those such as myself. Color is also an extremely important factor, but my detesting of it as an artistic ideal renders my opinion here a bit --- unstable. I don't like the colors that were shown in the trailer and I don't expect that to change over the next year. I will however, easily get over them, granted the game efficiently makes use of any of the above factors in relation to it. If there's a way to make the models 'bleed' to some extent, Nintendo might be on to something huge. As it stands though, I expect the Ueda games to remain one of the few (if not only) Impressionistically visualized games in existence (and I don't think those guys really did it on purpose either).

Monday, June 14, 2010

E3 2010, I'm Looking To Spoil Everyone's Fun...

...would you expect any less?

I'm only going to respond on Misanthropic Gamer this year (E3-wise) with the things people are willfully ignoring. The merits of any and all new announcements will no doubt receive their overindulgent praise on various websites anyway (so wtf do do you need me to do it for?). Instead, I'll just keep updating this blog for the next few days as conferences unfold and such.

A New X-box 360 & PS3

First of all, I'll try to completely ignore the 'aesthetic failings' in terms of the new X-box design (*whoops, I already failed*). There's a much larger trapping here though. Why are gamers now so accepting of console upgrades as if they're something to be excited for? Microsoft in particular here has earned absolutely NO CREDIT WHATSOEVER, yet gamers keep giving them bits of their soul because X-Box Live has brainwashed a good chunk of the globe. I just recently sold my own X-Box 360 because I hardly ever play it and it was a launch model that miraculously hadn't red-ringed yet. Now I see this new model, with a bigger hard drive and Wi-Fi support and am supposed to be excited? Hell, I'm not even grateful for it. Sorry Microsoft, but even Nintendo has had Wi-Fi up and running since their consoles's launch, and their entire online persona is tantamount to a serial killer (which is ironically what I think Nintendo specifically tries to avoid with it to begin with). That bigger hard drive? Maybe if you had not made a dinky 20GB hard drive (which pre-formatted, is barely more than half of that capacity anyway) that isn't a pain in the ass to get information on/off in the first place, maybe people wouldn't be starving for a little more breathing room in terms of game space.

*Update* Oh, they gave the audience some new X-boxe Slims? They also BLATANTLY admitted that the hardware should have been out long before 2010 too. Sorry Microsoft, I'm not a big fan of Oprah either, but that was just a very trashy parody.

Sony! Why in the world do you guys just keep pumping out models for the PS3? (*Update* I guess it didn't happen --- yet) DIDN'T YOU FUCKERS JUST START TURNING A PROFIT ON THE DAMN THING?! The PS3 being designed as a more general 'media machine' should have dictated from the get-go to have a larger hard drive (something at least over 100GBs to begin with). I have nothing to say on the upgraded Wi-Fi functionality, apart from laughing at dumbass early adopters (such as myself).

Motion Projects

Hey Kinect & Move, I still don't care?
But guess what? I think you can still get away with sticking a big fat penis up this industry's ass by not only prematurely restructuring design values, but also taking advantage of something that's just so obviously a fad. The technology for the motion control tech of both Move and Kinect will have to be absolutely mind-blowing for them to have any lasting damage/innovation, and I've not seen that. Kiss my ass.

Heh, and just what will end up on the price tags for all of this crap anyway (let's just say for the sake of argument that I don't have enough crap sitting in my room)? I can assure you a prostitute is cheaper. If I'm gonna get fucked, I don't wanna get ripped off.

*Update 6/14/10* Microsoft Conference*

Call of Duty: Black Ops

I've no real grudge against the standard FPS formula, but is there no other way to present a such a franchise without beating people over the head with the reality that they will just be one big chain of setpieces? Also, are we all supposed to forget the in-house development issues that this particular brand has accumulated for itself in just the past half-year alone? No doubt this is a major contributor to why this title itself even exists to begin with.

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

Okay, I'll admit it. There does seem to be some potential now that we know with some degree of certainty that Rising is meant to be a third person adventure game (presumably a hack-and-slasher). However, will this continue milking the franchise past it's breaking point (and I'm tired of fighting people on 'the line' there as well)? I'm not really excited to do anything else other than rent it myself, but the footage we were shown DOES appear to have SOME...*sigh*...potential. Any other impressions will simply have to wait until we're all allowed to get a better grasp on it. My simple conclusion? Peace Walker is for all intensive purposes, to be the last Metal Gear game I ever buy 'hot off the shelf' (assuming Outer Heaven and Zanzibar remakes are left as I-hope-for titles).

Gears of War 3

I actually enjoy the Gears of War games (I'm allowed one fuckyeahguygame, screw off), but it appears to be heading towards that same hurdle that Both Halo and Call of Duty have each jumped to fall on their respective faces. This is a hurdle of being completely consumed by the nature of the their main draw: quality multiplayer. I suppose I could say they're making an effort by the look of the female gears, but I also saw something else that I'm not willing to touch upon in this blog, as it deserves its own post. Whether or not you'll ever see it is anybody's guess.

Fable 3

The Colonial/Revolutionary aesthetic does not appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. If nothing else, it did remind me that I still need to play Fable 2, which is good in its own way I suppose. Not much else was shown, therefore I have just that much to say.


Huh?...Same rule applies I guess. Not much was shown, so I have shut up.

Halo Reach

See the above Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops musings, as the same rules apply (which is commentary in itself).


Sorry, but I don't want to physically interact with Facebook. Absolutely nothing I saw here really belonged at a video-game press conference. Some of the technology certainly had some practical and relevant value to some extent, but its presence here just reminded me that Microsoft is making some overly-scripted attempts at the health-obsessed, trendy, and casual crowds that we've all been trying work through since Nintendo opened the door for those fuckers years ago.


Again, a very nice business move, but this is not something they (Microsoft) need to admit spending so much money on (i.e. look at how much stage time ESPN got). It's not really a bad thing for the general gaming/sports fan, but it's not something I'll necessarily condone either.

Harmonix & All that Dance Crap

At this point, I had gotten up and walked away from the computer (right around the time 'Poison' started playing). I suppose it was the only natural state for things to end up as, seeing how people welcomed the music-game train , but there is a big difference with the dance games and that's how well the technology driving them will have to hold up. I just don't have faith in Kinect being well enough to offer THAT kind of progression. There are already dance games that function far better as games than this, which at best seems only to reflect some sort of fast-food 'simulation'.

At this point, I'm inclined to offer my own parody a MGS4 quote:
"Gaming has changed. It's no longer about play, experience, or artistic conception. It's an endless series of trends and perverse relations, upheld by the repressed and insulated. Games, and their consumption of time, have become a well-oiled business machine. Games have changed. Gamer-tagged players carry proudly worn achievements, proudly worn trophies. Blogs and press inside their heads enhance and regulate their play. Idea control. Criticism control. Opinion control. Motion control. Everything is monitored, and kept under control. Games have changed. The seventh generation of games has regressed back to the point of first generation. All in the name of maintaining the status quo established by generations the medium doesn't even belong to. And he who controls these ideas, controls history. Games have changed. When the games fall under total control, play...becomes as spoiled as its players."

*Update 6/14/10* Electronic Arts Conference*

I can't really offer any insightful commentary on the new
Need for Speed title, as I'm not that huge on racers these days (and these guys were offering up the veil of some hardcore car porn). The online 'careers' that echoed throughout both this and EA's other sports titles did ring kind of false to me, despite the fact that the premise itself didn't actually sound all that bad. As a general takeaway though --- EA even uttering the word career in an online context is just a whole new level of creepiness. It's a baby monster we've not seen the last of surely.

Dead Space getting a sequel is just shy of inspiring, but at the same time, I was left confused in terms of what I was actually watching (mostly because I still haven't played the first game outside of the demo I assume?). The trail that this game deviated from in terms of merely just being a post-
Resident Evil 4-era shooter is something I can still respect. The footage shown definitely indicated that it still deserves to be around, so I won't unnecessarily attack it, heh.

As for
Medal of Honor, I'm caught up in an odd limbo these of automatically hating all military/history games for not offering me the same grace that the average tactical-strat. game does (yeah, I know). Even giving these games some leeway though, I'd still have to say that their failings in the light of the above 'multiplayer corrupters' (i.e. Halo, Gears, Call of Duty, etc.) is kind of resolute at this point (which is a double-bladed insult too). I have no hope or faith in Medal of Honor not because of how great of a game it is or isn't, but because the type of game it represents overall.

Anything EA showcased pertaining to the Kinect is summed up above for me, so I'll just veer right around that.
The Old Republic interests me as far as an MMO goes, but I have serious doubts in the structuring of classes right now. Bulletstorm is kind of an unnecessary game altogether (evidenced by the title itself), and Crysis was never particularly able earn it's way into my good graces. The second title suffers from the way it was presented, and I think it's an indicator of some deep-seated problems FPS all have now, both on the console and PC alike.

*Update 6/14/10* Ubisoft Conference*

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is both good news and bad news in the sense that it shows some dedication to the fundamental premise they've established (rather than just merrily skipping on to the next entry), yet a blatant disregard for some of the context of the actual game (under the farce of its narrative). The creative director for Ubisoft has apparently left, which kind of makes me question some of the driving force behind this game franchise now.
Child of Eden becomes marginalized in my mind, as I don't think it's something I can ever be shown. As a fan of Rez, there's certainly something appealing about it, but what happens in a world full of music games, indie titles, and quirky minimalist mock-ups? Child of Eden has an overabundance of competition this time, there's no mistake about that.

Shaun White Skateboarding thing had an impressive showing, but a lot of what was actually shown seems like the only thing that CAN be shown. Unless there's some solid design function behind it, the transforming vistas will be come stale --- VERY fast. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has proven itself to be another reason why Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell could use more earnest attention. There's a certain generic ball-n-chain that the series just cannot seem to shake. The presentation was solid, but everything about it sadly kind of falls back onto the notion that it's just an existence going through the paces and nothing else (even SOCOM has a few failsafes to fall back on). The only 'project' I thought looked remotely interesting was Project: Dust, but not nearly enough of it was shown to make me do anything more than blink interestedly.

*Update 6/15/10* Nintendo Conference*

Nintendo avoided Microsoft's weirdness by offering up the simplest solution: showing games. A bunch of handheld and Wii iterations that will soothe rabid fanchild appetites is always welcome (and I include myself in that category too). However, just because they're probably going to come away with the best showing this year is no reason for me to get overexcited at --- well, anything. The 'apparent' 1:1 control of Skyward Sword was intriguing until I remembered that it should have been in Twilight Princess to begin with (along with Wii MotionPlus too). No doubt I'll enjoy it, but the window has long passed through which I would have seen it as anything remotely jaw-dropping. The 3DS is treading along similar lines as well, it looks lovely (that inset analog stick really makes me grin) but it being juxtaposed once again, against *counts on his fingers in mid-air* four other DS models doesn't inspire much faith in me as both a consumer and fan.

Still, although I remain stalwart on my stance at the entire 3D thing being an unnecessary trap/fad/trend to suck us all in, I do admire Nintendo's will to get it going properly (especially through just good old fashioned tech-design). They took on the burden of making it accessible for the user themsevles, whereas movies are still requiring the consumer to buy a new TV, wear stupid glasses, and be blissfully ignorant to everything else. Now whether or not Nintendo will actually hammer their new handheld model home with games is another issue, but it
is Nintendo so I guess I owe them some credit. They're already talking earnestly about how the presence of it (3D) extends beyond the visual and relates to how the gamer grasps any title (which is something both Sony and Microsoft don't even seem to care about). Moving on, Epic Mickey is simply not something to be trotted on on stage with Warren Spector rambling on about it. I'm still very interested in playing it (with Peace Walker now out of the way, it's pretty much the only thing on my plate to get this year), but I think it's a title that will benefit so much more from play rather than awe.

Other than that, the entire conference was just Nintendo being Nintendo really. They kept the charting and bragging to a mentionable minimum and instead focused on some decent looking titles that as I said, will shut a lot of us fanboys the fuck up for a while.

*Update 6/16/10* Sony Conference*

And the general consensus (which I'm not too inclined to argue with) is that Sony did much better than Microsoft, but still fell behind Nintendo. There's certainly a way to twist things in Sony's favor, but my will to spin that angle just isn't in me at the moment (as is the bigger issue of all of us pretending like either of them are any different at all). The keyword I have for Sony overall is 'clueless', as they seem to have no idea who the hell they're even marketing to. Microsoft is dedicatedly trying to expand their audience in a futile effort compete with Nintendo but Sony seems stuck at trying to cater to the 'hardcore gamers'. You see the almost atrocious manifestation of this with Playstation Plus. You know what Sony? I spent about an hour on Playstation Home yesterday and if you assholes put even a quarter of your funds into lengthening the quality of that service, you wouldn't NEED to worry about X-box Live to begin with.

Sorcery looks fun, but I think its presentation is far outclassed by its actual value. In essence, the game is the inverse of what happened to Epic Mickey at Nintendo's showing. Due to the motion controls, it appears to be something to look forward to (and I'll gladly eat my words if it is), but I don't expect that impression to hold up at all once it actually releases. Handheld-wise, everything bad about the PSP I consider Sony's fumbling, this is even to the extent that I don't care for its inevitable downward spiral in the face of Nintendo's five DSes. I got Peace Walker, why the fuck should I care anymore? Nobody can give me a decent answer other than "hack it" (and I'm hard-pressed to even argue with that). Sony welcomed death to their potential-filled handheld a long damn time ago.

"When death is entreated, the battle is decided."
-Liquid Snake

In essence, I think the most impressive thing about Sony's showing was LittleBigPlanet 2, as everything about that little game just continues to impress. Power was given to the users and they've stepped up to the plate to the extent that even a reclusive bastard like me enjoys being online with it. This is more than I can say for Portal 2, which was merely Gabe just walking out to say that he doesn't hate Sony. Yeah Okay! *thumbs up*

It was also kind of sad that Move actually expects to win its little dogfight with Nintendo and Microsoft. All I'm reminded off is a Khan's Arena from Mortal Kombat II, with Nintendo now sitting on Khan's throne (i.e. let the two idiots rip each other's heads off). What could be an impressive project is the new Twisted Metal, but I don't think they can eke out the core design to actually mean anything on the PS3 and if they can, will they violate the experience of what made the previous titles so enjoyable instead of craftily altering it? Both Killzone 3 and Infamous 2 bear the mark of 'speaking-who-they-speak-to-and-nobody-else' so I'm skating right past those. Sony can try as hard as they like, but they're not going to be remembered for being the dedicated sponsor for 'hardcore gamers' (even if Kevin Butler would fool us all into believing it), they're just going to end up as a big steaming pile of insecure catch-up plays.

I'll probably stick the Konami conference in here tomorrow if I can manage it, but if that turns out to be it then...I guess THIS is it.

*Update 6/17/2010...Konami's conference*

I'm not even going to bother speaking on this as I'm still not even sure what I watched.

What pissed me off the most this year: Three-Fucking-Dee. I blame gamers for this one, as they're always complaining about prices and quality, but the fuckers still ushered in an age of design that essentially forced developers to shift over to high definition and a consumer-based visual fidelity. Now, when we still don't have our precious $1000 TVs, we're being guided right along into the next big thing and a lot of people are already welcoming this horror with open arms. You assholes have been tricked into a more expensive and perceptibly invisible 'next-generation'. Although you can see above while I'll grant Nintendo some leniency here, I still assert that their big slew of remade 3D titles are unnecessary and borderline tainting. I don't need another MGS3: Snake Eater, and I don't need to play LOZ: Ocarina of Time again (assuming both are anything more than mere tech demos). Stop asking me to buy games I already have in different wrappers. Stop wasting your money re-designing games and actually experiment with your own mildly-impressive technology.

In closing, there's no way back through the HD era, we've already royally screwed ourselves to hell there. However, I can still cross my fingers that this whole 3D thing will upset the industry's 'stomach' just enough to make it vomit. It'll be good for everyone involved.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The 'Feel' of a Game

What does even that mean?

It gets tossed around a lot these days, so much that I thought its meaning should be reevaluated (which I really only do by proxy in this post). Mostly though, this is in reaction to the appearance of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's latest trailer. Thanks to it, the entire concept was slapped across my face yet again.

Ironically, the 'feel' of a game is something that's often downplayed and 'nebulously understood' (e.g. much like art) when it's something highly valuable and definitive for the medium itself. Traditionally, when something becomes nebulously understood, people are prone to selfishly project subjective meaning onto it.

Where's there exists subjectivity, there is objectivity and the former is far more human rather than the latter, which is a creation we'll never be able to grasp THAT effectively (computers are already doing it better than us). As it is, we can only deal with making the two dance with one other like marionettes (granted most of us are only using one arm with our eyes closed to do it). Translated, this is something you see all the time, even as a mere gamer. The virtuous idiot who doubts, or even politely questions the nebulous construct is often beaten to death by the subjective pervert.

"I never asked for this..."
-Adam Jensen

The lies they tell us...

...are hitting their peak in games now. The mere existence of the 'game trailer' is its own testament to the influences actually raising video games. Being primarily the generators of excitement and intrigue, they often fall short because that presentation that doesn't even originally belong to it as a medium. Hell, I'll even admit that the demo is a more exemplary generator here. It's a cognitive disconnect that (we as gamers) are forced to process now. Speaking on the trailer I linked above, how much of the game will incorporate what's seen (even LOOSELY), and how much will gamers let what's seen effect their entire perception of the game before it they even get their hands on it?

An exercise in restraint...

is one answer that video games still don't exercise enough. Minimalism is a design haven these days because tackiness, overindulgence, and laziness still reign supreme. There's so many factors effecting the mere perception of any given video game now (for both the developers and the audience), that it's no wonder why the industry is bitching about the foundations it's been building upon for decades. The systems that compose video games are certainly highly complex, but their output does NOT necessarily have to mirror the input (e.g. do we really need more than one or two trailers for certain games? At all?)

Playtime has flown Away...

...far the fuck away. We've now incorporated into our experience the relation of our games, even the hype that belies their actual presence. This has tipped the scales in its own favor to such an extent, it now plays (no pun intended) into a rather twisted disillusionment exacerbating so much that video games do wrong (hence we simply ignore what they do right).

The feel of a game might represent the artistic dynamos of countless developers (which I see no point in even formally listing anymore). It might signify the degree of intimacy one experiences with themselves in play (rather than with other people). Hell, games could even represent the successful communication between artists and their audiences (or a far more complex version of that equation) in any medium to date.

Too bad they dont, or worse --- they DO.