The Game Boy: Why “Game” Needs to Stop Being an Ugly, Elitist Word

29

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

boodiespost

I tried this game, for 2 hours and i quit. For a game like this to work, the graphics need to be much much much more realistic. The environment is something that we see in most games today and it just doesn't cut it.

At least give me a faster walking mode, cause thats the one main reason i quit.

avatar

ApathyCurve

"They must be some lower form of entertainment that filthy serfs play in between loud lamentations over their illiteracy and inability to rebel against the landed gentry."

I do believe you have it surrounded, sir. Art it art, and it's always boring as white paint.

avatar

szore

For a game that revolves around.... walking..... I wish there was an autopilot button. Sitting here pressing 'W' the ENTIRE time I play the game is incredibly dumb. I got a cramp after 1/2 hour of walking around. ( I was gonna say playing, but....).

Still waiting for the guh guh guh ghosts. or anything for that matter. I been 'walking' for 2 days now.

1 British accents are incredibly annoying and pretentious.
2 The prose is horribly written.

avatar

flyup

I use the xbox controller--- or did you not intend to bring this discussion up?

I saw them, look more closely.

szore is sore... i see you for flamebait. and I love you still.

avatar

szore

I am a grumpy lil' bitch, I admit.

xbox? Never touched one in my life.

avatar

flyup

Your best sentence in the piece: Our medium's devolved into a brainless zombie, content to merely feast on the decaying corpses of Tolkien, Heinlein, and whoever first thought “Hey, you know what'd be a great idea? War.”

avatar

igoka

I wonder what do you guys think about " Dinner Date "?

avatar

kris79

Well written. Absolutely brilliant expose'. Oops! Used an apostrophe...

avatar

HeartBurnKid

Well said, Nathan. It amazes me how many people seem to think that smaller games, whether they be indie PC titles, smartphone titles, etc. aren't "real games" or aren't played by "real gamers". And the list of excuses they give would exclude pretty much every single game made before the advent of the CD-ROM from being "real games".

It's quite sad, really; it'd be akin to somebody declaring that only summer blockbusters are "real movies".

avatar

someuid

Nathan, the only reason you're feeling this way is because you're (1) involved with all the big 'game' houses (2) listen to advertising and (3) the rest of us playing the non-cookie cutter games are too busy playing and not interested in trying to show brainwashed zealots what they are missing.

You could start by doing some reviews of these unknown video games here at Maximum PC. Time for a new column in the magazine. Anti-Establishment Gaming. You can use that for free.

avatar

HeartBurnKid

That is a fantastic idea.

Maximum PC, steal this man's idea!

avatar

Hilarity

Not me. Any game I play needs to have a maximum amount of gore and swearing and titties for me to bother with them. So, The Witcher 2 for RPG's and any shiny FPS. Good stories I make an exception for like Mass Effect 1/2/3 or Planescape Torment but right now there are very few games that focus on story. I will never play an RTS or anything tactical. Can't stand it. Call of Duty is very good for only one reason. The gameplay. The engine is utterly ugly but the mechanics are exceptional. That nearly ruins any FPS for me. FPS's are supposed to push your hardware, of any genre. I might give Dear Esther a shot, as long as its not some pretentious arty farty game.

avatar

bigdog2309

This is a very thoughtful article. I would consider a video game to be an art which is why I tend to gravitate toward RPGs mainly ones of fantasy I love to see what the author can offer. With that I feel alot of "gamers" tend to like the games that don't challenge them, don't get me wrong COD and BF are good games but its mindless fun aim and squeeze, I more like to say wow that was a hard puzzle or that is a different char build, I like the author to show me true creativity.

avatar

szore

Myst anyone?

avatar

Erris

Game is something where your efforts and actions against opposition affect the final victory or defeat result.

Guns and sprinting do not define what a game is, but if all you do is move around and observe, it is not a game - it is an interactive story.

avatar

LatiosXT

I think the main issue here is that people have their definition of what a "game" is, and then stick to some convenient half-truth in order to bolster their argument against something they don't like. Or something that challenges the way they do things.

Do we consider games like Sim City or The Sims a game at all? A game with no end but certainly a "losing condition". People see those games as "toys", not "games" since there is no real goal. Ah, but see, I think there is, and that's whatever the player wants given the parameters that limit what he or she can do.

Otherwise it'd be fair to say games like Minecraft, Terraria, and I daresay The Elder Scrolls are just "toys". TES may have a "win" condition, but it's just a scenario in a game that has no real end condition. There is no "game over" upon reaching the goal, it's basically whatever the player wants to do.

And then you see, all of the above begs the question: what is a game?

Obviously whatever's popular at the time.[/sarcasm]

avatar

thematejka

I think that this was a wonderful article. Good job!

I decided long ago to not have any expectations coming into games, but that being said, I really am not interested in a fast-paced, achievement riddled, and operatic game unless there is a more to it than that. Take the Witcher series for example, hate on it all you like for all its flaws, but it was rich in philosophical and political content which makes satire of the current world we live in.

Or take Mass Effect 3, maybe game developers INTEND to have the ended they made. Why the heck do people assume that developers are stupid and don't know what they are doing? The ending of that game was actually pretty good when you take it as it's presented. Not satisfied? Maybe the developers wanted that. I don't know.

Don't get me wrong, I like achievements and pretty graphics, but if that is all there is then what the hell is the point? People are so selfish, maybe haters should become game-developers if they think they are so smart.

avatar

Supall

Sim games generally do not have an end-goal. Even Sim City doesn't have a victory condition, although there does exist a fail-condition. Still, Second-Life was considered a game and you could do anything you want in it, which had its own consequences.

When you were a child, you made up your own games with other children. It didn't have to make sense, it didn't even need victory or loss conditions. It just needs to be fun.

Being elitist about the term "Game" completely ignores the very reason why we have them in the first place - interactive entertainment.

avatar

iceman08

I'll be honest, I've gotten more enjoyment from a 32MB game (LoZ: OoT) than I have from a 10GB game (pick a title). Modern games haven't really held on to that magic yet.

avatar

Guiltyplsure

Good, well thought out article. I don’t really think the question of if it’s a game or not is important. Ultimately when talking about the Art/Entertainment genre everyone can define anything as art or entertainment and you could even say that you could say the same about anything being a game. What I think is important to keep in mind is that when I think of a video game my interactivity is key. When I sit down to play a game I expect my input to be the defining factor.

The two main games you brought up were DE and Journey. In Journey there are tasks the player MUST perform in able to advance the story, in DE you just hold down W. To me DE is a movie in which you have to hold down W to keep it playing. You could gather everything from DE by watching a 45 minute long movie of someone’s play through and holding down W as actually playing the game. While we could nit-pick and say that every game is just a more complex version of pressing more buttons DE simplifies it to the extreme. Basically DE is a game but a game wasn’t the best media choice to deliver the experience.

Regardless in my opinion DE did not even have a captivating story and was a waste of my money. It would fall under my “shock-value” category of Art/Entertainment where a group of people sing its praises just because they do something different. Sure we need game developers to try new and different things but the fact of the matter is DE tried and failed.

avatar

Gezzer

I have a very simple criteria for what makes something a game.

1. Does it have a goal or goals?
2. Does it have something opposing or diminishing your ability to achieve said goal/goals?
3. Does it have a method or methods to overcome opposition and achieve the goal/goals?
4. Does it give you a sense of accomplishment and/or satisfaction when you reach the goal/goals? (might be optional)

I think number 2 is the most salient point, and the major reason that things like movies, books, art, and music aren't considered games. The opposition can be anything from another player to the game world and/or it's rules.
A perfect example is the game, A Dragon's Lair. I only ever played the arcade version. Your goal is to get your hero to safety. The method is by choosing which direction you go at certain parts of the game. The opposition is the world you go threw. I think it could be considered the biggest "quicktime event" game of all time, but it's still a game, just barely so.

Even interactive novels are games according to my criteria. The goal, get the optimal ending. Your opposition, the game world and any "red herring" dialog options. Your method, decipher dialog trends and character reactions to chart your course. A game, just not a game I'd play. I'm the same with adventure games, I can't get into them but that doesn't make them any less of a game.

I guess some people have a narrower definition on what makes a game a game. Some people don't consider Minecraft to be a game, even with survival mode thrown in the mix. So it's not hard to see them excluding Dear Esther. But they're the ones that miss out by not being willing to try something outside their comfort zone.

avatar

jeegte12

people are definitely ignorant about this kind of thing, but they always have been and always will be. i think many, if not most, people's problems with games like Dear Esther is that it was just boring. i love a good story as much as the next guy, and i'm absolutely patient enough to enjoy one, but i just felt like i was trudging through DE. and purposefully withholding information is not always good exposition. i'm not sure whether it was in DE's case. for the record, corporate games like CoD and Madden are absolutely disgusting plagues on what used to be a respectable business. the game business, i mean.

avatar

zac.smith

Bravo Nathan, I for one am sick of the laziness of certain cookie cutter franchises, and how the fact that gaming has become big business has meant more traditional business methods of sales over innovation.

I guess you could say I liked it before it was cool :P

avatar

The Corrupted One

I like these really thoughtful games like these. And not every game has to be competely actionless, you can walk the line, look at the Half Life 2 anthology. Crysis is great and all, but sometimes thought provoking design is better than epic-inducing graphics.

Ravenholm was one of the most disturbing experiences in gaming for me(although I have not really done any horror games, but think about who you are dismembering horribly.)
^Why I will never play Left 4 Dead, as much as I love Valve.

avatar

Danthrax66

l4d is really only meant to be a multiplayer game. The first one was a lot of fun but the second one felt uninspired and rushed (also an obvious console port). The mechanic of playing as zombies in the first game was perfect and required skill, the engine also registered better. The second game was mediocre all around.

avatar

The Corrupted One

No, it's a well designed Valve game, however, I find it very disturbing.

avatar

fightclubdoll

GAME didn't used to MERELY SIGNIFY FPSs. That's the invention of those who missed the real story. Here's a word for it IGNORANCE. I won't say "elite".

The story of gaming is as rich and varied as any medium. By ignorance, such unilateral thinking and one dimensional playing, those who sell the medium short, make poor opponents and weak contenders of themselves. Especially as games continue to evolve. Game theory favors those who have complexity and adaptability in their arsenals. Furthermore, for the rest of us who are eager for all gaming can offer, games will always offer us greater experiences... we get more from it.

It's sad to think there are people who reduce all of Gaming down to mere FPS adrenaline rushes, what is most pathetic is that there are those among them who believe themselves to be BETTER for it. (LOSERS)

avatar

Danthrax66

Seriously this kid sounds like he is a CoD bro that just found weed and had an enlightening thought about the industry while high and made a BS story out of it. Quit playing mainstream (or all) FPS games and you will find plenty of story. People buy FPS games because we as humans like competition and are driven to it.

avatar

Taffer

This may be true of your average Joe who picks up the latest COD for his console, but I'm not sure sure about more serious gamers. My gaming history is littered with games without guns or sprint keys: Zork 1-3, Secret of Monkey Island, Loom, Lemmings, Wing Commander 3, etc. I do think that the current generic crop of gamers have much less attention span for slower-paced games. To be honest, I can't even really enjoy epic RPGs anymore.

But I'm just a grumpy old floppy gamer.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.