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.