Author Topic: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality  (Read 4745 times)

Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« on: January 31, 2010, 12:57:05 PM »
Mr. A made a great post a long time ago which stuck with me. In discussing the emotional responses we get from gaming, he suggested that the dominant feeling was one of frustration. It made me consider the satisfaction/learnings I actually get from games. Without turning this into a 'Games as art/Games vs. movies' thread, I can safely say that the vast majority gave me nothing in terms of satisfaction/lasting sense of achievement or taught me something about life/myself, in the same way that the best books/movies/telly/music often do. I can suggest that Pac Man is a metaphor for an illusion of choice within a limited fate and the dehumanisation of the consumer in debt, ultimately alone in a dog-eat-dog existence. I don't feel that's the intention, though. I think it's just a cracking little distraction. 'In the moment', even the most average games are almost always much more gripping than all but the very best of any other medium.

However, as for what I get from them, I'm still not sure. There's obviously a heightened sense of anticipation/excitement in something like RE4, coupled with a feeling of growth with weapon upgrades/plot developments/tougher challenges. As soon as I turn it off, though, it's pretty much gone - and that's one of the most immersive titles I've played. If you turn to something like Peggle, it stays with you in a very unusual way, replaying itself in your mind, affecting your perspective on the world but in a very dispassionate manner. I learn nothing. It doesn't make me reconsider my values or perspective. I suppose that the likes of WoW can inspire teamwork and camaraderie and a good bout of SF4 can generate an atmosphere of competition and sportsmanship as affecting as anything else...

It's the one-player stuff that really interests me, though. I love Mario games. I can get really stuck into the co-ordination challenge. The imagination revitalises the way I approach the game, to keep the puzzle elements fresh, forcing me to think in a new way. Probably 80% of the play time, I'm ready to smash the pad in my own face.

What do you get from games? What do you think they can inspire? Have you ever learned anything fundamental from a game? (open to joke answers, obviously)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 01:23:22 PM by The Boston Crab »

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Re: Ignore - for the moment
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 01:01:20 PM »
hey, i was replying to that!

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 02:25:55 PM »
Reply to this, then. It's a fucking brilliant thread.

Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 02:42:50 PM »
It's not quite connected, but this is by far one of the best reviews I've read in recent months.

I'll be back with some actual comments on your subject matter later TBC, promise!

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 02:54:42 PM »
Oddly, I don't really get irritated by games anymore.  I used to be on the brink of tears, such was my frustration with Super Mario World's Tubular level (admittedly I was a bairn at the time), but nowadays I'll plug through near-impossible games like Jumper 2, rack up 10,000 deaths and just click "retry" without breaking a sweat.

More later.

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 04:16:05 PM »
I HATE YOU FOR SHOWING ME THAT GAME

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 08:44:34 PM »
I enjoyed that review, SNG, but I don't think I quite got it because I've no idea what PS Home even is. Is there a point? Or is it just clever? And am I only dreaming?

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 11:09:23 PM »
BUMP

Yez fucken cunts.

MojoJojo

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 11:39:46 PM »
PS Home is like second life but with less sex toys and consequently less point.

As to the review, well it's just um... well, to "hack" terminals in Bioshock you play a little mini-game, which just happens to be a complete game from 1989, and Sony basically really bigged up Home as a reason to buy the console which is basically is Planetside without guns which anyone who has played it... actually, you're asking me to explain a joke*, it's just not going to work.

Um, vaguely on topic http://wosblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/in-your-electronic-arms/
It's not a game, it's "art" made from a game that is also about the inevitability of death. According to the good reverend Campbell. His post on games and art is one (linked from my link) which Idon't like but can't really disagree with in any way - which I hope is more a flaw in current games rather than him being actually right.

Hmmm, I've just read the first paragraph of the OP and can just say, "yes that's right" like the guy from OTH. And I've just read last five posts and realised that the
Quote from: The Boston Crab
Yez fucken cunts
refers to this post
Quote from: Still Not George
I'll be back with some actual comments on your subject matter later TBC, promise!

Actually, there is something very fundamental which has been danced around here, and there is the potential for a very interesting discussion. But a breakthrough is needed first. Games need a Shakespeare. Um, I'm slightly drunk and I've already been accused of creating one new variation of Godwin's law today so I'm going to bed.

An tSaoi

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2010, 11:58:53 PM »
Jumper 2
AAAARRGHGHHGSTRSRTSGHHHGHGGHGSHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 09:26:22 AM »
Thanks for explaining it then, Mojo. I took it to be an obtuse joke.

I'll check out your link.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2010, 10:03:51 AM »
AAAARRGHGHHGSTRSRTSGHHHGHGGHGSHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good innit?  I spent about three years 100%ing it.

An tSaoi

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 11:53:51 AM »
HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO 1.5??????!!!!?!?!??! AZREFUGSABAGUB

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2010, 12:00:46 PM »
HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO 1.5??????!!!!?!?!??! AZREFUGSABAGUB

Run over collapsing blocks, skid jump to the wall on the left, wall jump over the spikes to the right, mid-air jump to clear them.  Drop down, go left, drop down then mid-air jump left to avoid hitting the electricity above, drop down, then make your way to the end with big jumps and wall jumps.

Easy.

An tSaoi

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 12:32:58 PM »
I can't get the hand of wall jumping. Do I hit the direction of the wall and then up, or up first and then the direction of the wall? It just keeps spinning or bouncing off the wall onto the spikes.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2010, 12:34:56 PM »
Press into the wall, then hit jump

An tSaoi

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2010, 12:37:05 PM »
Well I did that. But I still landed on the spikes. My midair jump doesn't seem to be working.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2010, 12:41:13 PM »
Then you did it wrong, and are in fact doing a double jump instead of a wall jump.  Skid jump, wall jump, air jump in that order.

Thread derail lol

Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2010, 12:41:39 PM »
BUMP

Yez fucken cunts.

I promise I will be along shortly. I don't have time for more than one line posts right now, sorry.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2010, 12:44:02 PM »
It's very more-ish but what emotion does it...OH FUCK IT ONE MORE GO.

And 'cunts' wasn't just directed at you, G-Man.

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2010, 01:33:00 PM »
Pac-Man is quite fun but because I know I'll never be good enough or patient enough to pwn it, I never devote much time to it.

I prefer Tetris- there's something about that game which works on a rewarding level, the desire to organise things neatly. Even when you inevitably lose, the process of organisation until then is quite soothing, I think. Part of the games genius is the evolution from that rewarding beginning to this insanely difficult arcade ending.

I like games which reward strategy and exploration, as I've probably stated enough times. I generally hate losing, so the less times I see 'Game Over' on my screen, the more chance there is that I will continue playing the game.


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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2010, 02:02:35 PM »
Jumper direly needs to let you set the control scheme, and give you some visual/sound cue as to when you've wall-jumped vs double-jumped.  (oh, and an instant death/respawn, not a Super Mario-style drop off the screen, although doing the other two things would make death less frequent anyway).

God-tier Tetris: Tetris Master!

Getting a good match going in a fighting game (and naaarrowly winning) is a fucking riot, the buzz and emotional investment is so intense; definitely one of the best things in gaming.  Boy will you get pissed off if you lose because your execution's off though...  Especially if it's down to a quirk of controllers (as opposed to arcade-style sticks).

This is probably the right thread to scoff at the huckster bullshit that is "New games journalism".  Behold the sheer size of this steaming, pointless pile: http://kotaku.com/5420545/lets-talk-about-jumping
« Last Edit: February 02, 2010, 02:58:28 PM by samadriel »

Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2010, 02:14:31 PM »
This is probably the right thread to scoff at the huckster bullshit that is "New games journalism".  Behold the sheer size of this steaming, pointless pile: http://kotaku.com/5420545/lets-talk-about-jumping
What an unmitigated twat Tim Rogers is.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2010, 05:48:42 AM »
Um, vaguely on topic http://wosblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/in-your-electronic-arms/
It's not a game, it's "art" made from a game that is also about the inevitability of death. According to the good reverend Campbell. His post on games and art is one (linked from my link) which Idon't like but can't really disagree with in any way - which I hope is more a flaw in current games rather than him being actually right.


I didn't like that either but I've done my best to disagree with it.

Quote from: Stuart Campbell
Why do we care whether videogames are accepted as art or not?" If you enjoy playing games, why do you need some kind of intellectual, cultural approval to justify the fact?

There are game designers who take their craft very seriously. They spend years honing their skills at and pouring their emotion into their craft, and it's their desire, just like an artists, to communicate their ideas and emotions, all the while appealing to an aesthetic sense. I think it's fair that a serious game designer might want to know why he shouldn't be allowed to call himself an artist.

Quote
Art is the vision of an artist. It's a precise and defined work, whose meaning can be open to interpretation by the viewer, but whose content is always the same. In such a way, the different reactions of different people to the same piece of art tell us things about who we are, both individually and collectively.

Okay. Now why does that preclude games?

Quote
no two people will play a game in the same way, and therefore will not be basing their reactions on the same source material.

Who says everyone looks at Sunflowers in the same way? Or reads a line of poetry the same way?

The game is the source material. Are the 2 people playing the same game? Well then, they're reacting to the same source material. It's almost too obvious to have to type out.

Everything that is within the scope of the game, every possible way to play the game, comes under one umbrella; one source. 2 people playing a game differently are still playing within the confines of a single work of imagination.

Quote
If you can control the art, then you're influencing it, when the point is that it's supposed to influence you.

You aren't controlling the art (the game). The artist has set up a matrix of possible outcomes, and you are always acting within those confines. As much control as you think you have over a game, you are always experiencing exactly what the creator has intended for you to experience. You have no control over the game.

Quote
Some games have tried to tap into this notion, of course. The likes of Black And White, or Deus Ex, or Fable, present the player with choices (often of a "moral" nature) which affect the direction of the game. It might be argued, then, that playing these games forces the player to confront aspects of their own nature, and therefore serves the same purpose as art. The argument falls down, however, by virtue of the fact that you can play a game over again

...

in a videogame, not only is it possible to find out the results of every choice, it's all but inevitable. Given that every alternative outcome has been coded into the game, every location drawn and mapped, every incident depicted, it's (understandably) inconceivable to most players not to play the game until they've seen them all. The safety net provided by being able to play the game again therefore renders the decisions meaningless, because we're not in any way bound by the consequences of our actions.

Was anyone playing a game like Deus Ex for the first time, thinking along the way that every choice they make is meaningless because they'll just try something different on the next playthough? No, they were caught up in the story, and acted realisticly. And on subsequent playthroughs I might act differently to see what happens. Yeah. But if you take all my combined playthroughs you'll see when I'm playing "seriously" that I like to play in the same way, and make the same choices over again. I can explore different routes if I wanted to, but the fact that I always stick to one path is surely telling me something about myself?

Quote
The necessity for videogames to eventually arrive at a specified end identifying whether we did them properly or not is, ultimately, what undermines any possibility of their being "art"

This confuses me. Can't games just be a linear way to tell a story just like a book or a film is?



MojoJojo

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2010, 09:40:42 AM »
I suppose I agree with that - to be honest it's a couple of years since I read the piece and I didn't bother to read it again.

I think his point "why do you care" still stands-  the few artists I've talked to say "art is whatever you say is art - the real question is what is good art".

As a side point I wonder how long it was until theatre was considered art? Film is a less interesting example, since it's is very similar to theatre, especially when it started out.

I don't think games are good art, for the most part. They can only generate fairly simple emotional responses - fear, hitting people, satisfaction.

That sounds a bit pretentious. And I'm not including cutscenes and the like. Shoving a film or a book into a game doesn't count as part of the game.

Although I suppose games are getting quite clever in the way they interleave cutscenes with the game play (I'm thinking of a specific bit in Batman:AA), so maybe that isn't true. Although even the bit I'm thinking of left me only with fascination/"oh wow that's clever" - but I think the potential is definately there.

eluc55

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2010, 10:15:48 AM »
Surely computer games have more in common with Sport or board games, than they do with Art. Or are a blend of all three.

Why do we even need to box them into a corner like that? Why do they need to evoke complex emotions? Why is it seemingly shameful that they don't?

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2010, 10:19:31 AM »
You aren't controlling the art (the game). The artist has set up a matrix of possible outcomes, and you are always acting within those confines. As much control as you think you have over a game, you are always experiencing exactly what the creator has intended for you to experience. You have no control over the game.

Sorry but that's bollocks. A lot of the fun of gaming comes from working out what you can or can not do within the developer's confines, even if you're unconsciously doing this. This can lead to all kinds of behaviour the developers never expected, as players try to exploit different aspects of the engine/level design/whatever. See - rocket-jumping in Quake, skiing in Tribes, glitching levels for speed runs etc.

If you try and confine the user too much, it can lead to annoyed reactions. Example - the kind of exploration that is encouraged in Fallout 3 never worked in STALKER, as unless you had picked up a note signifying the location of some loot, you couldn't open it if you found it making the whole idea of exploring every nook and cranny of the gameworld meaningless rewardless.

(I'm thinking of a specific bit in Batman:AA)

The opening? Spoiler it if it's something else, I'm curious as to which bit in particular.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2010, 10:21:31 AM »
Getting a good match going in a fighting game (and naaarrowly winning) is a fucking riot, the buzz and emotional investment is so intense; definitely one of the best things in gaming.

I don't even know this game that well, I guess it's really impressive to block this many times, and then deliver a KO, but I love the energy. Get real goosebumps from the crowd's reaction.

Street Fighter ─░ncredible Blocks

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2010, 10:48:08 AM »
I've watched that about seven or eight hundred times and it's still exhilarating.

To time each parry, you're tapping towards your opponent at the exact time. You'll see that he can't actually block a single hit because he has zero energy. As an example of how difficult that is, my friend and I tried to practice parrying with him just jabbing in 4/4 time. I probably parried about one in ten. To even attempt to parry every single consecutive hit of an Ultra combo with no health takes incredible balls, yeah, but the skill required is something else entirely.

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2010, 10:50:39 AM »
I had to be there?

Did they have snacks?