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Links of the day 25th March 2011

GD Library Error: imagecreatetruecolor does not exist - please contact your webhost and ask them to install the GD library Links of the day 25th March 2011

Happy 3DS day everyone!

I don’t know anything that sums up videogames today as well as this:
The good, the bad and the ugly of videogames

Never trust robots. So true.

Pretty much everything Matt Stone and Trey Parker say is worth listening to:
Why the MPAA favours big studios

Duke Nukem Forever delayed? Who’d have thunk it.

Funny pic for a Friday:


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  1. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/30/2011, 1:23 PM

    I think immersiom is a hard thing to get in games. Getting a player to submit to a virtual world and suspend their disbelief will always be tough and nothing will break that disbelief harder than an invisible wall or barrier. When the player has a strong idea of what they want to do, it can be hugelly damaging to their enjoyment of the game to deny them, but games designers can’t cater to every whim of the player.

    With open world games though, you at least cater to one particiularly freedom, the freedom to say “I want to go there!”. To show them something in the distance then let them go there if they want to is a gaming joy, especially if they’re going there not becuase the mission designers wrote it that way and the player is forced to, but because they “choose” to go there. I think thats something offered by open world games that you don’t get in most other genres and for all their flaws, sometimes its the kind of game I want to play the most :)

  2. 03/30/2011, 12:55 PM

    I guess as we get older our time is more precious and we want to be able to finish a game whilst fitting it around our schedule, but I for one will always balk at having my hand held, or grumble when discovering that the ‘multiple paths’ are just smoke and mirrors. Open world games will always be more immersive for me, and give me a thrill when I realise just how big they are. Who cares if it takes me years to complete, right? Its not a competition to see how many games you can beat.

    Hell even talking about it makes me want to start Oblivion all over again. Roll on November.

  3. Profile photo of Ealiom
    Ealiom says
    03/25/2011, 3:53 PM

    Of course this style of game isn’t going anywhere and neither should it. People enjoy this type of game, who am I to tell them otherwise.
    I don’t rush through a game to get it over and done with like a painful chore which is what most open world games feel like to me these days.
    I just wont play them anymore, no more GTA’s, Oblivion’s, Bioware stuff for me.
    And here comes Eali’s food metaphors. I want to be able to eat steak. I’m not interesting in nimbling on the side dishes or teasing myself with the knowledge that there is still steak to come. I just want the prime experience. When there is so much gaming to experience out there, fucking around in a game thats diluted over an incredibly long time doesn’t interest me.

    To say that all the side quests in Oblivion style games are prime cuts of gaming beef or close to it is a stretch. You’re (I’m) essentially gnawing on grissle for a long long time.

    With limited man hours available it’s impossible for a developer to populate these massive worlds with truly engaging content. Hundreds of possible “quests” and 75% of them are cheese n macaroni bland. For every quest in Oblivion that you could retort with saying it was awesome there are heaps of forgettable drudgery.

    This is why I don’t play these games any more. I would much rather that they gave me 50% of the content but in a much more refined, tastier experience.

    My views on Mass Effect are different as you well know. Mass Effect crafts a glorious sci-fi world then populates it with soap opera nonsense.

    Mass Effect could have been.
    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. [pause] Time to die.

    Instead it was.
    Shepard I’ve got a problem. I’ve never felt loved. My father deserted me. blah blah blah. The science fiction world they created was secondary to the bollocks personal dilemas your crew had. I felt like an intergalactic Maury Povich.

    Why couldn’t we have found out about the characters while the story progressed? Not put the story on hold for the characters personal crap.

    Why were all the characters so emotionally useless. Not one of them could deal with there own problems they all had to run to “you!” The Captain… Imagine tapping your boss on the shoulder and asking them to solve your family problems.

    I could go on forever but I’d bore even myself.

  4. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/25/2011, 3:12 PM

    Issues about the use of the word “scripting” aside (I still don’t know how you can say Oblivion is scripted) I agree that open world games offer different gameplay rewards, but require more investment from the player.

    I question why you’re rushing through a game to get to something else though. If you’re thinking of other games you want to play, then you should simply stop the game as you’re obviously not enjoying it. Perhaps this is your main issue with Mass Effect. If you just want it to be over, no wonder you get pissed off with all the diversions and sidequests.

    If you are rushing to get to the end, why bother playing at all? Surely as long as you’re having fun the game is worthwhile, sidequest or not. Many of the best moments in games are deemed “sidequests”, but are better designed and written than the main story.

    Take WOW. That’s a game that’s almost 100% sidequest. Sure, there’s a main storyline, but each individual part is so discrete and separate that it stands on its own.

    If games offer many different types of stimulation and excitement for a player, then one of the main ones must surely be exploration. The possible drawback of open worlds to explore would be that the player could feel lost or unsure where to go next. That’s a price that many people are willing to pay to experience an imersive, engaging world. The very definition of that style of gameplay is Elite, a game where you were free to explore and trade in any way you wanted with no implicit goals. That style of games not going away.

  5. Profile photo of Ealiom
    Ealiom says
    03/25/2011, 2:22 PM

    Take Deus Ex and Oblivion. Essentially they are the same. You can approach each moment in a variety of different ways. However Deus Ex controls the players forward momentum more. Each “quest” opens the world up for you to explore and complete but in Oblivion once you finish you’re left to roam at the mercy of your own choices. Some people love that I hate it. Whereas in Deus Ex once you have completed your assignment your taken to the next where again you can choose how to overcome it. Both are heavily scripted its just that Deus Ex controls you’re progress.

    I feel (and im picking the first phrase that pops into my head here) like Oblivion and GTA style games ask alot of the player to get the most out of the game. They all require that you put time into things that don’t neccessarily push the story or game forward. Finding that you’ve spent 5 hours playing essentially a sub portion of the game that has got me no closer to stories end always pisses me off.

    Or put simply and angrily

    I dont have time for this bullshit. I have other games I want to play. Quit fucking around with this side mission shit and give me the meat of the game.

  6. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/25/2011, 1:56 PM

    Yeah, I agree that games like Bulletstorm or even something like Alan Wake is effectively just one straight journey and its still great. I think that there’s definitely a place for that kind of game.

    I think its funny that you play MMORPG’s but find the constant quest journal updates a pain. I guess the social aspect helps overcome this. I agree that in some games (fucking dragon age 2) the whole thing just becomes a massive chore.

    I still think I’m using the word “scripted” differently than you. For me, Oblivion is the very definition of unscripted, whereby each mission can play out many different ways dependent on reputation, class, weapons, choices etc etc. For me, “scripted” is when you walk into a room in COD and every single time a guy flips over a table and hides behind it.

  7. Profile photo of Ealiom
    Ealiom says
    03/25/2011, 1:32 PM

    Fair enough. I guess I just find issue with a firm statement of “This is Bad” “This is Good” sometimes on rails fits the game perfectly ala Bulletstorm. Sometimes multiple endings isn’t neccesary, so to say its the ideal is wrong. Take that and the jab at Limbo out of the list and I’d totally agree with them.

    Very few open world games are not scripted. The Oblivion’s and Fallout’s of this world are all free roaming games with scripted events that clutter up my Journal faster than you can blink. I get a distinct feeling of disinterest when I gaze at a “journal” fat with “quests” when i’ve only spent a mere hour or two in game.

    These open world games only allow you to tackle the events in an order you choose or to avoid them all together. Better they show me the world in a different way than that. A text entry telling me to find Zargor does not inspire me to continue playing.

  8. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/25/2011, 12:58 PM

    I don’t think the multiple paths have anything to do with open world games. Heavy rain or Mass effect (or Crysis or Deus Ex) all have “multiple paths” but I wouldn’t call them “open world” games. I think they’re criticizing rollercoaster games where they seem to play themselves and have only one critical path that you’re invisibly guided along, like COD. I think that’s fair.

    And how can an open world game be “scripted”. Isn’t that what they’re criticizing in the first place?

  9. Profile photo of Ealiom
    Ealiom says
    03/25/2011, 12:17 PM

    I agree with Cracks cartoon taking a jab at the state of the games industry, almost wholly accurate. However I don’t agree with their hard-on for open world titles.
    Open world games general leave me cold. Like the content has been diluted to barely nourishable levels.
    If the content of an open world is dynamic then it “can” be interesting. If it’s scripted then I’m usually a quit button away from falling asleep.

    Oh and I dont agree with the South Park guys all the time either… For a reason I can’t be bothered typing in detail here :D

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