4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

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4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby octoberpumpkin » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:26 pm

http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-ga ... -but-dont/

Ahem,

Hi, I'm Ashton, and I like video games. You may remember me from such threads as Pumpkin's Video Game Diary and Fallout: New Vegas!

I hadn't been on Cracked in a bit because... I dunno, didn't feel like it, but today I got a ton of homework done and decided to mosey on over. Quelle surprise! An article about video games, how interesting this will be! Except that it wasn't, and I didn't like it. Join me now as I explain why!

Firstly, it's great that he enjoys the new Doom, I've heard good things. That doesn't mean that every game needs to be that and that because he decided he doesn't enjoy the things on the list, that all gamers should be lumped in. I'm also not most gamers but I am active in a few video game communities, I'm an editor on one of them, and, well, I play a heck of a lot of video games. I'm assuming a lot of this was addressed in the comments, but I wanted to talk about it here as well and see what other TCSers think.

4. Absolute Freedom (Means There's Nothing to Do)

The title is mostly true, a lot of people like objectives when wandering around aimlessly gets boring. People enjoy open worlds for the less constricting experience. Like in Fallout you can wander around and then find little sidequests to do, meet people, experience stories, and the game didn't push you to them. You just explore and discover.

The No Man's Sky thing is, apparently, just not true though from what I understand. He said that people were upset because boring and everything promised was there. From what I've seen, that's a lie. A lot of things promised were not given and some people had expectations that were not met and were left disappointed. I personally still totally want to play it eventually, but saying they delivered on everything is false and that the only reason they don't like it is because boring and bad multiplayer is false.

#3. We Want Movie-Quality Stories (As Long As They Don't Get In The Way Of Our Murder Fantasies)

While many people take issue with some games becoming more and more movie like at the expense of gameplay, that doesn't mean they want more shallow stories. Likewise, many other people greatly enjoy story driven games and place it above gameplay in order of importance. Although this doesn't mean that they'd be better as movies necessarily. His example of The Last of Us is, I think, a bad one. People adored that game and I think it works great as a game. One thing video games have over movies is that they're more interactive experiences over a longer period of time, which increases a persons emotional investment. Spending 12 hours with Joel and Ellie, hands on, and actually pushing them through the narrative, going through the struggle with them (like when you control Ellie in that one part with Terrible McGee not respecting boundaries) makes it have a BIGGER impact for a lot people than sitting in a theater for two hours. That's why we're seeing so many "movie sim" style adventure games lately. People like movies, and this way they can PLAY the movies and spend more time with the story and world and characters they love.

Bioshock is a narrative told largely through gameplay and environment as opposed to cutscenes and dialogues, which is pretty unique to the media and I think it's great that people can have those experiences. Story heavy games have personally helped me develop as a person by getting me to learn more about psychology, how to view the world in different ways, how to get closer to a first hand look at dealing with forms of discrimination I've thankfully never had to deal with, about how to deal with morally ambiguous dilemmas and how to solve problems. Making these more hands on and personal through the use of story driven video games is an excellent way to help people learn and try these things. Just like books and movies can do the same thing for us. Putting me in a position to deal with a moral dilemma and having to deal with the consequences just hits closer to home than reading about someone else making the decision. This isn't to trash books or movies either, they're better than games at other things, but my point is that each media has its own strengths in helping us grow and learn.

Now I'm not saying we should do away with games like Doom, just like we shouldn't do away with trashy romance novels or terrible rom coms. Sometimes you just want some fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. But limiting games to ONLY that is really selling short what the medium can and does do. People like me and many others sometimes want to have a deeper, more involved experience that lets us learn more about our humanity and think about things in new ways.

2. Cutting-Edge Graphics (Don't Matter)

For the most part, I agree with this. Some of the best games I've played have some less than great graphics and they still hold up just fine. Especially RPG's because the focus is usually on story rather than graphics. Some genres do benefit from increased graphics though and some genres age very poorly, but overall a game doesn't need great graphics to be great. But it's always good to keep pushing what we can do, I suppose.

1. We Want The Devs To Not Be Involved In The Games

I... really don't get this one? Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't want the creator's opinion shoehorned in or shoved in my face. I'd much rather have a "Bloop, here's an issue" and be allowed to make up my own mind about it. Like if Chad (apparently) came up to me and just said, "So that BLM movement, huh? What do you think about that?" without giving me his own opinion, I... wouldn't really care? I'd figure he was just presenting an issue to see what I thought or hadn't formed an opinion of his own yet. I don't need people to come at me with their own opinions in order to have a topic discussed.

Anywho, there's my much too long nitpick of the article :? What did you guys think?

Edit:
Forgot the link, thank you gisambards and whoever edited the post!
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Last edited by octoberpumpkin on Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby gisambards » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:56 pm

Link to article in question: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-gamers-think-they-want-but-dont/

octoberpumpkin wrote:The No Man's Sky thing is, apparently, just not true though from what I understand. He said that people were upset because boring and everything promised was there. From what I've seen, that's a lie. A lot of things promised were not given and some people had expectations that were not met and were left disappointed. I personally still totally want to play it eventually, but saying they delivered on everything is false and that the only reason they don't like it is because boring and bad multiplayer is false.

He was definitely wrong about this. The reason people are disappointed with No Man's Sky is because they were promised a massively free open world experience in what appeared to be a very aesthetically-pleasing and varied procedurally-generated universe, but instead got a crappy survival game that looks nothing like what they were showing in their trailers.

octoberpumpkin wrote:His example of The Last of Us is, I think, a bad one. People adored that game and I think it works great as a game. One thing video games have over movies is that they're more interactive experiences over a longer period of time, which increases a persons emotional investment. Spending 12 hours with Joel and Ellie, hands on, and actually pushing them through the narrative, going through the struggle with them (like when you control Ellie in that one part with Terrible McGee not respecting boundaries) makes it have a BIGGER impact for a lot people than sitting in a theater for two hours. That's why we're seeing so many "movie sim" style adventure games lately. People like movies, and this way they can PLAY the movies and spend more time with the story and world and characters they love.

Again, I agree completely. Increasingly more of my favourite stories in media are coming from video games more than from movies. Eve besides that people will always be more engaged with a story they feel they've actually participated in, and that the video game medium allows the audience to spend considerably more time with the characters, I think increasingly they stand a good chance of being better written than similar movies: if you compare the quality of the script and characterisation of The Last of Us or The Walking Dead Season Two to the big blockbusters of that year (Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Gravity), the video games win resoundingly. Similarly Tales from the Borderlands or Life is Strange to any big blockbuster of last year.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Marcuse » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:13 pm

Well, some of this is Sargent being Sargent. Though I would say less so than normal. His issues with video games seem to stem from his extreme aversion to violence (despite claiming to love the new Doom) and his inability to see any plot that includes a "sensitive" topic as legitimate unless it always and forever sides with his personal views on it.

4. Yeah, it's pretty well documented that the more identikit and replacable your game objects are, the...more identikit and replacable your experience is. No Man's Sky is a topical one to choose, but really any open world game could double for this. Take any Bethesda RPG, no matter what you do the world never changes, nothing actually alters. The game has been programmed for the conditions at the start, and you go through all your adventures and expect the world to be different, and it isn't. If anything, when you reach the end of a lot of games, they're empty. That's the nature of a game being a limited experience, and an open ended game like an RPG doesn't railroad you into stopping like Metal Gear Solid (for example) does.

3. I don't really think that people are looking for movie quality stories as much as they're looking for something to engage them. For example, if we take the completely random procedurally generated world of No Man's Sky, the thing people I read/listened to complained of was that there was no reason to be exploring in the first place. We needed a story to provide a reason to get out there. Skyrim has the attack of Alduin, Fallout 4 the kidnap of the protagonist's kid, Fallout 3 the escape from the Vault. All of these things are story based events that push the player into the world and give them a reason to explore and travel around.

On top of this, people want those stories to be interesting, compelling and gel well with the format. A highly linear story that railroads the player into specific actions works poorly with a game that allows open world gameplay. Similarly, taking something like Metal Gear Solid's structured levels and trying to bolt on an open narrative leaves the player no opportunity to exercise the openness of the narrative, you're stuck doing the same thing in the same levels no matter what the plot is.

2. A game doesn't need top end graphics to be good, but I feel as though some games certainly benefit from a high definition presentation, and others don't need it. Every style is acceptable, and it's not out of the ordinary for a company that put a lot of work in creating a game with high end graphics to use that as a selling point.

1. Gotta agree with the pumpkin on this one. Why would it be better for developers to force players into making one moral choice every time they play a game. Deus Ex is a series that explores the idea of humans being different from others and being treated differently, and I don't see how allowing someone to make what Sargent considers to be the "wrong" choices, and showing the consequences of those decisions, is a bad thing. In most RPG games, you have the ability to randomly murder everyone, and that also has severe consequences for the player in lost quests, lost exp and help from NPCs. Often games are structured to support and promote a "good" play style even where "evil" routes are allowed. Mass Effect was like this, choosing Renegade answers didn't turn you away from the path of defending Earth from the reapers, you just were a bit of an asshole while doing it. Some of the choices you made in set pieces were different, but there's no option to throw it all away and abandon everyone. The same is true of Skyrim, at no point are you not the Dragonborn and completing the main quest means doing the thing and killing the baddie and being hailed as a saviour no matter how much a vampiric murderer you are.

This is one of the strengths of video games as a medium actually; the ability to present moral choices and then the consequences of those moral choices in a safe environment in a way that engages the player in them is pretty unique among media in terms of the level of responsibility the player bears for what the character does. If a bad guy does something bad in a movie, we can distance ourselves from it, but the experience of pulling that trigger (for example, blowing up Megaton in F3) makes you personally culpable for the (fictional) consequences of that, and it can help develop moral sensibility without actually hurting anyone.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Masonator » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:19 pm

The article betrayed the author's limited experience with games. It came off fairly ignorant to me, and I'm not even much of a gamer. Some of his complaints were nonsensical, especially criticizing Deus Ex for presenting a conflict but not advocating a side. This is exactly what RPGs should be doing, in order to allow players a choice that reflects the type of character they choose to play as. Otherwise, it's not really a 'role playing' game at all. Most RPGs give more of an illusion of choice than anything else, sure, but that's really a problem in the execution and hardly means games should start advocating for a particular side. All kinds of media simply present an issue without picking sides, and honestly it would probably come off as arrogant if it were otherwise. No, I don't think games should shoehorn in issues by just dropping a "hey, how bout that BLM movement" and leaving it at that, but the author didn't really point to any trend in video games addressing these type of issues in such a superficial manner (though I have not played the new Deus Ex yet).

Also, when people say they want freedom, I don't think anyone means that they want to just wander in an open world without any objectives. The reason behind wanting freedom is to engage in discovery, find new quests, new characters, new areas, etc. No Man's Sky failed because it had nine bajillion planets or whatever, but they were mostly copies of the same few layouts and provided nothing unique after a few days of play time. That doesn't feel like freedom, it feels like a copy paste job. It's not really freedom to allow me to explore nearly infinite planets if they are really just the same thing over and over again with a new coat of paint. That's putting me on a hamster wheel while telling me that they've created an endless quest. Well sure you did, it's just not an interesting one.

I actually am a bit more receptive of the point about the movie quality story goal clashing with the murder fests that make up most games. If you really are trying to sell The Last of Us as a journey of a regular guy protecting a young girl, but then the gameplay has him shooting up dozens of people, it feels like he's an everyman in the cutscenes and a mercenary in the gameplay. It could be jarring if you're not willing to forgive the compromises a game has to make to keep the gameplay engaging while telling a believable story. I just don't know that people are actually so insistent that the gameplay and story jive with each other so slavishly.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby gisambards » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:47 pm

Masonator wrote:If you really are trying to sell The Last of Us as a journey of a regular guy protecting a young girl, but then the gameplay has him shooting up dozens of people, it feels like he's an everyman in the cutscenes and a mercenary in the gameplay.

By coincidence, I'm replaying The Last of Us at the moment, and this isn't true. It's implied throughout the game that, apart from his love for his daughter or daughter-surrogates, Joel's arguably a pretty nasty guy who's killed a lot of people, and not even necessarily to survive. At the start of the game it's demonstrated pretty clearly that Joel and Tess are criminals and have no problem killing people at all, at one point Joel mentions off-hand having been a bandit and having killed innocent people before, and it's implied in a later conversation with his brother that, not only is his brother still disturbed by the things he and Joel did in the past, but that his brother doesn't agree with Joel that the things they did were necessary. Not to mention that, after 20 years in that environment, it's hardly surprising he's gotten pretty good at surviving. I think part of the reason The Last of Us works is that it's a rare example of a well-written, relatable character who could believably, in the story, do everything the gameplay demands.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby KleinerKiller » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:54 pm

Masonator wrote:If you really are trying to sell The Last of Us as a journey of a regular guy protecting a young girl, but then the gameplay has him shooting up dozens of people, it feels like he's an everyman in the cutscenes and a mercenary in the gameplay.


That's really more of a problem with sister franchise Uncharted than The Last Of Us (though I deeply enjoy both). Uncharted generally presents Drake as a lovable everyman, and only focuses on the consequences of his more murdery actions in the final game. The Last Of Us emphatically doesn't present Joel as anything more than a bitter, slightly sociopathic asshole growing to obsessively protect his surrogate daughter at the cost of the rest of humanity. I see the overall point, though, on a very basic level.

EDIT: Damn it, Gis! You beat me to that exact point, and in more detail.

As for the article itself, it's J.F. Sargent talking about video games. What did anyone expect? Ever since that first bullshit article back in 2012, that combination has never produced anything of more meaning or depth than the pandering clickbait it's intended to be.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby octoberpumpkin » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:59 pm

I am not familiar with his other video game articles. Would anyone mind linking me?
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby KleinerKiller » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:33 pm

octoberpumpkin wrote:I am not familiar with his other video game articles. Would anyone mind linking me?


Someone else might, but I honestly wouldn't recommend trying to go through them. Even reading them just to see how factually incorrect and blatantly troll-ish they are is a Herculean task that'll do nothing but irritate you if you know anything about video games. His first one marked the first time I lost some love for Cracked, and successive ones along with the gradual decay in overall site quality were big contributing factors to me leaving altogether.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby NathanLoiselle » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:58 pm

I know that I, for one, prefer it when my murder fantasies get in the way of a good storyline.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby iMURDAu » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:54 am

When lord, when will people who don't play video games learn to leave gamers alone? Can it be soon? Like within 100 years?

I'm not reading the article as I live a cracked-free lifestyle but from what has been said here I'm not shocked. More Sargent nonsense.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby BROWNRECLUSE » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:27 am

On a side note, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is pretty sweet.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Twistappel » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:34 am

Never mind
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Grimstone » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:28 am

Here is how I rank things, from most to least important:
.
  • 1) Fun gameplay: This is number one because it can trump any other quality, and without it you don't have much of a game.
    .
      A game being good without having any gameplay: GOOD LUCK
    .
  • 2) Good graphics: I'm changing the meaning here a little.. from one that refers to realism to one that refers to quality. I've decided that graphics are slightly more important to me than storytelling when it comes to games because one: without them, you've basically got yourself a book, and two: graphics are generally a stronger/more essential component of games than stories are.
    .
    Spoiler: show
    Edit: To help clarify, I consider the following to be examples of "good" graphics, not because of how realistic they are, but because of how well they achieve their desired look/style(pure realism isn't always the goal).
    .
    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image
    Image

    .
      A game being good without having any graphics: POSSIBLE
    .
  • 3) Storytelling: To me, stories are to games what lyrics are to music: An inclusion that may add to, may not add to, or even take away from the experience.

      A game being good without having a story: DOABLE
    .
  • 4) Developer involvement: Not entirely sure about this one(as "developer involvement" is pretty broad/vague) but, IMO, continued support/work from the developers is always welcomed

      A game being good without continuous involvement from the developer(s): LIKELY
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Matthew Notch » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:12 am

Good graphics maybe, but then again A Dark Room is one of my top ten games.
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Re: 4 Things Gamers Think Are Important (But Aren't)

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:16 am

I'm not really a tech-y person, so I don't really have an eye for graphics. Every game on the same gen looks like every other game on the same gen to me graphics wise. I see FluffyNinjaLlama's PC Fallout 4 playthrough and I don't really see any difference.

I can see where Sargent is going with #3, but I think that sort of issue isn't a reaction to the narrative of the game so much as towards the reactions of the audience. It's not story that seems to get the collective goats of gamers, but any attempt to analyze anything, or attempt to encourage such analyzing. A lot of gamers seem to be quite hostile to literary theory.
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