Author Topic: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality  (Read 4441 times)

MojoJojo

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2010, 11:42:36 AM »
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?

Oh, we don't. Things can still be good without being good art. Summer blockbusters, for example. But it's interesting to wonder whether games can evoke complex emotions in the same way that other mediums can.

The Batman bit I'm thinking of is one of scarecrow sections. It's really fascinating when you first play it, and I've avoided describing it even in spoilers since it would be a real shame to read about it before playing it.

It's more to do with the way it moves from gameplay to cutscene that's interesting - it basically undermines my "cutscenes don't count argument".  While the cutscenes are little bits of TV theatre, they are integrated into the game proper by doing something a bit different than "enter room - cutscene starts".


Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2010, 01:31:08 PM »
All of these arguments seem to come down to people who've not played anything other than hyped mainstream games for the last 20 years vs people who have. Virtually every argument against games being art (except for "they just aren't, alright?") has at least one counterexample in a published game from the last 20 years (often an indie PC release, but some mainstream and console titles too). Unfortunately the nature of the games industry, not to mention its incredibly incestous and narcissistic press, mean that those games don't ever get any sales and thus they get forgotten.

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2010, 01:45:47 PM »
Quote
They can only generate fairly simple emotional responses

A bit like reading BOLLOCKS!


MojoJojo

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2010, 02:21:30 PM »
All of these arguments seem to come down to people who've not played anything other than hyped mainstream games for the last 20 years vs people who have. Virtually every argument against games being art (except for "they just aren't, alright?") has at least one counterexample in a published game from the last 20 years (often an indie PC release, but some mainstream and console titles too). Unfortunately the nature of the games industry, not to mention its incredibly incestous and narcissistic press, mean that those games don't ever get any sales and thus they get forgotten.

Umm, is anyone actually saying games are/aren't art? The real question is whether they are good art, which I would suggest is different to whether they are good games or good in general.

You're post feels a little bit like a standard response to an "are games art" discussion, rather than a response to anything in this thread.

Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2010, 02:44:03 PM »
Umm, is anyone actually saying games are/aren't art? The real question is whether they are good art, which I would suggest is different to whether they are good games or good in general.
As a general rule, I tend to find that any game I would consider "good art" leaves me satisfied and happy with it, even if it's not necessarily a good game in itself.

katzenjammer

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2010, 03:18:41 PM »
.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2010, 07:17:08 PM »
Quote from: Mojojojo
I don't think games are good art, for the most part. They can only generate fairly simple emotional responses - fear, hitting people, satisfaction.

It depends on the game. I've played Deus Ex in the dark, with headphones, and I've stood on Liberty Island and looked into the distance and been humbled by the glow of the New York skyline set against the night. I was so involved and immersed in the moment, the sensation was a bit like awe.


Quote from: eluc55
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?

They don't need to. In 99% of games they don't. And that doesn't mean they're bad games. Games don't have to be art, I just completely disagree with Stuart Cambpell when he says games by definition never can be art.


Quote from: glitch
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.

Well I'm not talking about game breaking here, but being immersed in the story or atmosphere of a game.

If you've set out to push the limits of a games coding, chances are at the current moment your interests don't lie in being swept up in an imaginative story.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2010, 08:21:20 PM »
'Passage' is a game I've mentioned on here before. I know a few of you have played it too but no spoilers for those who haven't.

Basically, it's the only game which still resonates with me at certain times in my life. Only today I was frustrated about something and it suddenly came to mind, reminding me of [spoiler]the sacrifices we make to reap benefits in other areas of our life[/spoiler]. The execution is very simple but the concept is as profound, moving and inspiring as any artistic creation I've experienced. As you play through, you have to come to terms with a sincere, bittersweet and humbling truth. It's also completely unsentimental and unobtrusive, you draw your own conclusions to everything that unfolds on screen.

Download it here, play through a couple of times (won't take long at all) and then read the creator's statement.

http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/passage/

It'll stay with you.

Still Not George

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2010, 09:13:32 PM »
'Passage' is a game I've mentioned on here before. I know a few of you have played it too but no spoilers for those who haven't.
THANK YOU! I spent fucking ages trying to remember what that was called earlier on. As you say, it's probably the most meaningful game I've ever played.

"You Only Live Once" is kind of a similar, but more brain-dead concept.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2010, 09:40:13 PM »
Check out some of Terry Cavanagh's games at http://www.distractionware.com/

Pathways, Don't Look Back and Judith are all excellent examples of interactive storytelling. Don't Look Back has a great look and feel, and in Judith the suspense is palpable.

Zero Gravitas

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2010, 09:47:20 PM »
'Passage' is a game I've mentioned on here before. I know a few of you have played it too but no spoilers for those who haven't.

http://kafkaskoffee.com/junk/Platform.html

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2010, 09:50:23 PM »
Well I'm not talking about game breaking here, but being immersed in the story or atmosphere of a game.

Don't try to reframe your argument because I've pointed out a flaw in it. You're saying that in every game, the player's actions are dictated by the developer and I've given examples where this is not the case.

If skiing was a "game-breaking" feature in Tribes, why wasn't it patched out or excluded from Tribes 2? It's because the developers saw it is a flaw in the physics that required skill to actually execute. Same as bunny-hopping, although this was banned in some Quake-engine-based FPSs such as Counterstrike, for the sake of realism.

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If you've set out to push the limits of a games coding, chances are at the current moment your interests don't lie in being swept up in an imaginative story.

And that might be the way you play a game but not everyone else does. Not all games are about a grand story arc or even immersion. Where's the narrative in the majority of puzzle games, for example?

You're also ignoring the fact that practically every game requires you to probe its confines (even subconsciously) otherwise how else would you go about solving the various puzzles it provides? If the developer was dictating your every move then that game would probably get very boring very quickly as you're not actually being tested - and that would be more akin to a movie where you have to press x to progress to the next scene (Final Fantasy X lol).

And sometimes, through playing the game the way you think you're supposed to, you run into one of those confines that you can exploit. Such as the Pacman coding - if you observe the way the ghosts move, you can spot patterns in their behaviour and learn how to beat a level without ever being under threat. And if you're not watching their movement and reacting to it, you're not exactly playing the game, are you?

Zero Gravitas

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2010, 10:10:29 PM »
I think there are some interesting points about the balance of restricting player actions and the feeling of freedom in the HalfLife commentary sections, if anyone hasn't seen them here are a few samples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELRmrUm5ZU0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_tydwAbpGs

Along with this excellent discussion of the commentary:
http://danielhaggard.com/70/the-art-of-narrative-in-half-life-2/

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2010, 01:07:24 AM »
Don't try to reframe your argument because I've pointed out a flaw in it. You're saying that in every game, the player's actions are dictated by the developer and I've given examples where this is not the case.

Actually no. This is what I meant all along. You're talking about trivial gameplay elements that have no bearing on the narrative of a game. How does, say, using the Plasma Rifle in a really neat way that nobody ever thought of before affect the story arc of Deus Ex?

This is what I mean by not being in control. The story always pans out the way the designer wrote it.

Quote
And that might be the way you play a game but not everyone else does. Not all games are about a grand story arc or even immersion. Where's the narrative in the majority of puzzle games, for example?

No disagreement here. There's room for both quick fix puzzle and action games, and then there are games that aspire to immerse you and tell a story. We go to each type of game with the appropriate frame of mind.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2010, 01:57:32 AM »
Actually no. This is what I meant all along. You're talking about trivial gameplay elements that have no bearing on the narrative of a game. How does, say, using the Plasma Rifle in a really neat way that nobody ever thought of before affect the story arc of Deus Ex?

Well being pedantic here, very little actually affects the story arc in Deus Ex as it's pretty much down to your decision on the last level and the other "choices" are just window-dressing that almost always lead to the same outcome... and you wouldn't call bunny-hopping trivial if you played against someone who could if you couldn't ;)

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This is what I mean by not being in control. The story always pans out the way the designer wrote it.

Obviously, as video game AI is nowhere near good enough to rewrite carefully designed, complex storylines yet. Although L4D was a good step forward at a vaguely-dynamic narrative and I've heard L4D2 is even better (yet to try it though). There's also the problem (and cost) of creating the necessary assets if a game could do such a thing - 2D/3D assets, voice overs etc.

However, you could say that games like X-Com do actually achieve this goal because of their generative design. The "story arc" ends with destroying the alien base but the actual narrative is decided by the player's reactions to game events - which then cause different events to unfold and you have a lovely feedback loop. Levels were randomly generated, same with types of enemies and the weapons they have, which can then affect the speed of your research if you kill/incapacitate them and loot their gear. This was all possible because the assets used were so basic - a single isometric view, text and limited sound. And I'd say it's bloody immersive - you start to have favourite squaddies and every mission can be a tense nightmare, always fearful of Chrysalids turning up (until you get a particular armour anyway). I'd say it's practically impossible to have the same runthrough twice in X-Com, you could reload a save from halfway through and still have the journey to the end play out very differently.

Quote
No disagreement here. There's room for both quick fix puzzle and action games, and then there are games that aspire to immerse you and tell a story. We go to each type of game with the appropriate frame of mind.

I would disagree here though, as for me, immersion and narrative are entirely different. I feel immersed in the game when playing COD:MW2 multiplayer - hugging cover, flanking the enemy, listening for tell-tale sounds on the battlefield, communicating with allies etc. but there's no storyline. Fable 2 might have a storyline but I certainly didn't feel immersed in it or the environment. Marry and then kill your spouse? Nothing really happens.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2010, 11:57:08 AM »
The Boston Crab- I want to play Passage but do I really have to type in all that personal info?

samadriel

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2010, 12:56:49 PM »
I didn't type in anything, there's just a download link, isn't there?  Don't get too hyped, anyway.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2010, 01:33:09 PM »
The Boston Crab- I want to play Passage but do I really have to type in all that personal info?

http://downloads.sourceforge.net/hcsoftware/Passage_v3_Windows.exe

There's the game file. Not sure what happened when you followed the first link.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2010, 01:38:05 PM »
Passage is an interesting one, because the first time I played it I thought you only had to press the right arrow key.  So I just walked right, [spoiler]gained a wife, lost a wife, and abruptly died[/spoiler].

Don't Look Back doesn't really work for me as making any kind of point.  It's far too lo-fi and rough around the edges for that.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2010, 01:54:06 PM »
Ah yes. I read the creative statement which explains it.

Needs a couple more plays at least.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #50 on: March 11, 2010, 08:28:06 PM »

Art Games Funk Hell
« Reply #51 on: March 11, 2010, 10:30:56 PM »
[spoiler]Drug metaphors[/spoiler] seem to be quite fashionable in flash games at the moment. Redder is a game with a similar theme that's not as a clever as it hopes to be.

Passage and its ilk leave me cold, but then I tend to view interactive fiction as a seperate entity from 'games'.

I'm just not impressed by someone appropriating a game design convention as a allegory for loneliness, or something, and slapping it into a faux-retro platformer. It's all too transparent and rather artless.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #52 on: March 11, 2010, 11:02:56 PM »
Or...you're too young to get it.

You young bastard.

Re: Pac Man & The Inevitablity Of Mortality
« Reply #53 on: March 11, 2010, 11:30:51 PM »
You're probably right, the only Passages I'm interested in are the ones I can throw my sausage down.