When will games grow up!!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Musenik, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. 320x240

    320x240 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    Once again the discussion has come to a point where video games are judged and compared with other forms of entertainment rather than being judged on it's own merits. To do this we have to first discern between what makes a video game mature and what makes the theme a of video game mature. Some people seem to equate the two but a brief look at the state of todays video games will tell you that it is not so.

    If we look at the issue of mature themes in video games it seems that for something to be deemed mature it must be non-allowable for children, or, even better, something childlike turned on it's head (like American McGee's Alice). I think it's safe to say that this way of thinking is not very mature at all but rather typical of that age in an individuals life when he have left childhood behind but have yet to become mature; the teenage years.

    Pacman was mentioned and, to me, it's follow up, Ms Pacman, is the perfect example of a mature video game. The best way I have of expressing this is to compare it with a flower that has been allowed to grow undisturbed, exposed to light and darkness in equal measures and thereby having developed all the innate qualities of it's flower-nature. Ms Pacman is a video game that approaches the same kind of harmony that a beatiful flower possess; it approaches the ideal.
     
  2. buto

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    of course this is a liitle off-topic. But regarding your statement
    As far as I know there are no non-violent games rated 18+ in germany. Actually only games with very violent content or games with VERY explicit sexual content (no serious game comes to my mind) are rated that high.

    Most serious and mature games benefit from an unobstrusive story. I think of games like Myst, where the appeal just comes from a somehow authentic world which you can experience.

    Generally I think Christian made a good point. As well as most others too :)

    regards,
    Sebastian
     
  3. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yume Miru Kusuri is 'serious' by a number of definitions. It's also highly sexually explicit.
     
  4. hippocoder

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've got the sense of fun of a child and some people would call me immature even though I'm in my mid 30s, and long may that continue.

    As far as being grown up, stuffy, boring and a tight arse "mature" twit, well thats just out of date as far as I'm concerned. Age is no barrier to just letting yourself go and having fun.

    Of course when it comes to business, and serious discussion, I am "mature" but the moment business is concluded, I put on my fun turnip hat and streak naked*






    *in the comfort of my own home
     
  5. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    "When will games grow up!!"

    When you write a mature game.

    It's that simple. I think games have a serious potential to be an amazing medium to express ideas. The interactivity aspect offered is unlike anything else out there. Film, TV, painting, literature, music and every other art form can't compare. In fact, you could even go as far as saying video games are a conglomeration of most art forms.

    And you know when someone is going to create the games that taps into potential?

    When you write that game.

    A game doesn't have to stop being entertainment in order to explore a mature topic or theme. I know I've read plenty of books that have touched on strong human themes and still remained entertaining to read. Not to mention, sometimes the best way to handle things is to subtle - we're not talking adding countless cut scenes to move the narrative along. There are certainly some WW2 games that are just run and shoot, while others trying to give at least a sense of what it was like using various tricks and by being creative with zero cut scenes. Games can find that balance.

    When will games find that balance?

    When you write that game.

    Don't sit around waiting for EA to make a game like that. Their job is to remain profitable and to pass those profits onto their shareholders. To do that, they make games that sell and won't risk much into uncharted waters like this one.

    The problem is, I think, that people in the video game industry all come from a computer back round. How many of them have actually studied writing? How many of them actually practice writing? How many of them study the MEDIUM of games in order to learn how to best tell a story that fits within it? I doubt many have...

    So if you want to see a game that does and one that deals with mature issues and themes...

    Well, I think you know what I was about to type... ;)
     
  6. Spiegel

    Spiegel New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with you, I never let "serious" stuff afect my humor or fun(of course in work related stuff Im very serious), Im 30 and a father and I have fun like a little kid whenever I can... and to heck whom ever judges me... in a couple or so decades Ill be dead anyway so I best enjoy this little time I got left anyway I see fit. Im just saying that's how a grown up is judged by most of the society, I know that, first hand.

    Anyway back on topic, 320x240 is right, what do we really mean by a serious mature game? How to define mature? With mature content? With a sort of gameplay suited only for grown ups?

    I like to define a mature game not by its content but by perfect gameplay, for me its THE whole core of any sort of game, videogame or not. Mature content, story, for me is a bit irrelevant, not totally but still.
     
  7. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    This one of the best life observations I've read for a while.

    When I was in my teens, I thought all adults were these serious, responsible people with the world on their shoulders. Now I'm one of those, I realise that they're actually just as childish, only with creaky joints and less stamina for the fun bits!

    As a company CEO, albeit of a very small company, I make some pretty important decisions from time to time that might affect whether people vacation well or get their homes reposessed. But you know what? I think I could've done that at age 16 too.

    "Old" is a bag of shit and "maturity" is bogus, they both mean nothing. Wiseness is what matters, and how fast that accrues is down to the individual.
     
  8. vjvj

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    0
    While I do feel games will eventually "grow up" in the sense that we'll have a better distribution ratio of games that appeal to adults vs. games that appeal to teenagers, I believe that people ultimately seek games that will provide an escape from reality.

    There are a lot of people who like packing AK-47s and driving around in stolen vehicles with big-titted chicks in the backseat, because those people generally don't get to experience that outside of video games. It's like any other fantasy, really. Be a gangster for a few hours... What's wrong with that?

    The above statement is correct, but you're missing the point. It's not that games should not explore art, it's that games should not abandon what they are (i.e. games) in order to fulfill artistic pursuits.

    Arguing what is and isn't art is a gray area, but arguing what is and isn't a game is easy; if there are no gameplay mechanics (i.e. success/failure mechanisms), it's not a game. The Graveyard is not a game, it's interactive art. As are most of the damn interactive art titles being championed as "games as art".
     
  9. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    But books are escapist. Movies are escapist. Going to the Met for an evening can be escapist. All those things can be/are art, though.


    I don't think anyone is advocating games abandoning what makes them games.

    This is about games evolving. People are going to learn how to express ideas/themes better using the medium of Games. First they start expressing ideas/themes and exploring them(Interactive art), and then they learn how to do it in the confines of a FPS... Or a strategy game... Or a role playing game...

    First we start with cave paintings, and then we get to The Last Supper or the Mona Lisa throughout time.

    Plus, as you said above, I think people are just interested in there being a better(actual?) ratio of games expressing ideas and handling things in a mature way vs complete escapist entertainment, not ALL games become like The Graveyard.
     
  10. vjvj

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    0
    My comment was a direct reply to what Deva said, so it should be taken in that context.

    On that topic, though, I don't actually believe people are "advocating" for the removal of game mechanics. I think what's actually happening is that game mechanics are being left out of the picture without people really realizing it. It seems to be a function of two factors: A growing number of people "looking for ways to push the envelope" combined with the fact that game mechanics are just plain unintuitive to begin with. And of course the press being generally clueless about everything doesn't help, either.
     
  11. Leon

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree, I don't think people are. But I think some people BELIEVE others are advocating that games become glorified interactive stories by removing game mechanics(Becoming like The Graveyard), and I don't think this is really the case. But that is how rumors get started. :)

    I think people are just trying to explore, and evolve the medium of gaming to a new place, and with this being a new territory there are going to be mistakes, errors and paths that lead no where.

    But in the end, people will learn how to do it through trail and error. There will be a balance found between excellent game play and a mature in depth narrative I think, and it will lead to a very interesting experience.
     
    #31 Leon, Mar 21, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  12. Musenik

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here, here!! I vote yours is the best post this thread.
     
  13. vjvj

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    0
    Of course, I think it's pretty obvious that this is what is happening and I doubt you'll find anyone who disagrees with this.

    All I'm really trying to say here is that we are still in a transition phase and I think it's going to take a better understanding of game mechanics on an industry-wide level before we can really take it to the next level. There are people with relatively loud voices working their way into positions of influence who are getting plenty of room to sound off about how to make "games as art", while being completely naive to the fact that their titles aren't even games to begin with. Sure, lightning could strike and some paradigm shift could arise from this, but it's generally hard to make a case for how this kind of naivety can yield any sort of measurable advantage outside of those extreme cases*.

    Please don't confuse this with any kind of decree of how interactive entertainment should be made. How artistic and gameplay devices are used is obviously always up to the creator, and there is no right or wrong there. But I think we can all agree that there is a certain value in being able to add and remove these elements in a CONSCIOUS manner. This is not to say that everything should be conscious; a healthy dose of chaos and randomness is necessary and can be extremely productive. But when you're 100% clueless about what your product is to the point where you can't even classify it retroactively, that basically means every step forward you make is just an accident. Honestly, how many of us are raising our hands saying "yeah, that's what I want to do!"?

    If we were discussing the movie industry, there wouldn't even an argument here. You could take the wildest, most abstract, most artistic movie out there, sit down with the director, and he could still identify each of the elements that make it a movie, and go into the thought process behind why some elements were added and some elements were not. The fact that we have developers incorrectly classifying their own products is a sign that our industry just hasn't matured to that point, yet. Which is why I say it's in a transitional phase still. We'll get there eventually, though.

    *What's most interesting to me is the idea that somewhere along the line (with a healthy dose of randomness and chaos), someone in the pursuit of artistic games will stumble upon something that is neither a game nor interactive art. Then we'll be on to something juicy.
     
  14. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't understand why people argue that the Graveyard isn't a game. What degree of interactivity is required in order to justify the 'game' label? Is The Longest Journey or even Peggle considered a game?

    Every popular medium accommodates art in retrospect. Art is simply entertainment that caters for the highbrow (unless it's objective or is used to anchor entertainment). The computer game intelligentsia have been around for years, analysing and lecturing game theory so it's only logical that game art should appear. I'm surprised it didn't appear earlier to be honest.

    For me the discussion as to how an active media (as opposed to passive media like film etc.) will shape game art differently.

    In regards to 'mature' games, I think games designers need to learn to create emotionally engaged characters before that can truly be realised. Heavy Rain looks like it might be the turning point.
     
  15. Mattias Gustavsson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interactivity on it's own does not make a game.

    A game must have

    • Rules
      Strategies
      Payoff
      Outcome

    If it doesn't have the above, it can still be interactive, and it can still be a fun toy, but it is not a game.
     
  16. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rules

    If anything games like Fallout 3 and Oblivion have less rules than the Graveyard. The Graveyard has a very constricted set of rules and are more set in stone than many games available.

    Strategies

    Huh? Surely you need a goal to have a strategy? A goal can be self-defined and therefore the strategy would be subjective.

    Payoff

    Payoff again is very subjective. Is self-satisfaction, enlightenment, inspiration or broadening horizons considered payoff?

    Outcome

    Why? An outcome is just a stage of narrative. If your game isn't narrative driven (Peggle etc.) then payoff is the outcome.



    I think what is more relevant is that games should have 'play'. Though I disagree. I think games should entertain. Whether that includes play or not is dependent on the game.
     
  17. Mattias Gustavsson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not making this up myself you know, it's basic Game Theory :rolleyes:

    Rules, means that you need clearly defined rules, such as: you can't move diagonally. pawns can only move forward. there's a 10 second respawn period when killed.

    Strategies and payoff, means that by going about things in different ways, you get different rewards/penalties, such as: line up three red ones, and you get a bonus/line up 4 and you get a bigger bonus but the board is cleared (making it sometimes beneficial to go for 4, sometimes better to go for 3). Move your pawn to the other end of the board (instead of moving your more powerful pieces), and it turns into a queen. If you can take three opponents with you when you die, it's worth the 10 second respawn period.

    Outcome, means you need a way to resolve the outcome of the game: simply put - how to win, such as: clear the game board. Capture the opponents king. Bring the opponents flag to your own base.

    For the record, I don't think there's anything wrong wanting to make Interactive Fiction or toys - I personally like those type of products. But it's not right to call them games...

    I think that a GOOD game should entertain. Just like I think a good work of Interactive Fiction or a good toy should entertain. But the entertainment part can't be part of the definition of game, as what is entertaining for one person might not be for the next man. And even games which doesn't entertain anyone, are still games.
     
  18. thehen

    thehen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hehe, yep I know. I've written many academic pieces pulling apart game theory. You have to remember that's what it is, theory.

    An example isn't a definition. If you were to define rules you would find they are very open ended and open to interpretation. Remember the rules of physics, rules of social conventions, rules of generic conventions etc. Same goes for strategies and payoff.

    I agree you have to resolve the outcome of the game, though I think your examples are generic. I think if the perception of 'winning' is broadened then we would get some more interesting games.

    Yes I agree a good game should entertain. Just like a good movie or book. Though I disagree that if a game didn't entertain anyone that it would still be a game. I believe entertainment is core and that if you found a game that lacked that, it really wouldn't resemble a game in the slightest.

    What is the difference between interactive entertainment and games? (just out of interest)

    p.s. Sorry if I seem argumentative, I'm really not. I'm just quite passionate that if games abide by the generic conventions forever, nothing interesting is going to emerge. I think the Graveyard is one of many games to push the boundaries of the medium.
     
  19. Mattias Gustavsson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whatever. I'm not trying to convince you of anything here, and not really interested in discussing this :rolleyes: I know what I think is important for games, and that's good enough for me.

    You said you didn't "understand why people argue that the Graveyard isn't a game". All I was trying to do is give you the answer - I should have noticed that it was a rhetorical question, and not an actual one. My bad :cool:

    Rhetorical again, right! Got it this time :D
     
  20. Pallav Nawani

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is that the definition of art? Problem with defining something like art is, it doesn't work. Everyone has a different view of whether a particular creative is art or not.

    Unsurprisingly, it isn't different for games. Everyone has a different view of what a game is. No matter what definition is applied, it can always be re-interpreted to show that such & such is a game, or not.

    So really, it shouldn't surprise anyone if people feel that graveyard isn't a game. Really, only people interested in evolving a accurate definition of 'what a game is' are the academics.

    And I think you have no idea of the huge rulesets games like Oblivion have.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer