Author Topic: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition  (Read 12923 times)

FLYmeatwad

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 08:59:03 PM »
Games are all about illusion though, I really don't see why story illusion is so bad. In retrospect it can be frustrating, but a game like Undertale (which I do like) ends up doing the same thing. There's not really a freedom, there's a limited set of parameters that one breaks down to reveal an ending state. Any game can be looked at raw mechanics, but if getting to that point makes decisions feel weighty in the moment then I would say it is successful.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 09:13:10 PM »
Games are all about illusion though, I really don't see why story illusion is so bad. In retrospect it can be frustrating, but a game like Undertale (which I do like) ends up doing the same thing. There's not really a freedom, there's a limited set of parameters that one breaks down to reveal an ending state. Any game can be looked at raw mechanics, but if getting to that point makes decisions feel weighty in the moment then I would say it is successful.

That's an insightful statement that I find myself surprisingly agreeing. Video games can be an art form, and art is malleable in unimaginable ways, so some games can be designed to take you to unexpected places regardless of its amount of endings and choices.

That being said, there's a fundamental truth (though not necessarily fact) one must consider in the design of a game with many meaningful choices. When you are offered that many options, it does give you a kind of feeling that what you do in the world will have consequences, it will have weight, and your actions will matter. In turn, you will matter as an individual in this virtual world. "The Stanley Parable" is a great example for this. Having such versatility in the things you could do, it gives you the perception, a real perception (not an illusory one) that you're on an adventure where the five different paths will lead you to many interesting discoveries, and the kind of option you choose almost defines you as a person when the ending is revealed.

This is one of the key differences between a CYOA game and an open-world game. In an open-world game, you can explore the world, sure, but it's not guaranteed that the many options available will be interesting. It's designed to merely give you a sense of freedom in a real world. CYOA games, on the other hand, are designed to make every option available to you as interesting as possible. The other key difference is that regardless of where you go in an open-world game, most of the time, you will reach the same ending as every other player out there. CYOA games give you a flavor of individuality. Your own chosen path shows you what kind of personality and mentality you have, and the game thus melds with you, connecting with you, in a very personal manner. You become part of this world, this universe in the game more significantly than you would have following a linear path to save the princess in Super Mario World.
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Melvil

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2016, 09:29:30 PM »
I haven't played Undertale, but it seems like I should.

Games are all about illusion though, I really don't see why story illusion is so bad.

I'm not saying it's universally bad, but it's been pretty universally bad for me. Every medium is about illusion of one sort or another, the important part is for the illusions to support the experience the art creates. There is an inherent contradiction between the interactive experience of games and the non-interactive experience of narrative storytelling, so the approach of providing the illusion of choice to the player is essentially just an attempt to trick you into thinking the line is more blurred than it is. Almost always the illusion falls apart with any bit of scrutiny due to the nature of a game though, and it cripples my immersion way more than it would have if it was more honest about what it is.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2016, 09:34:18 PM »
That's why I try my best not to scrutinize games with options. I let the waves carry me away in the tide. I pick the first choice offered to me, the first that comes to my mind, like I would in real life. A simulated experience of adventuring as you would in real life.
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

Melvil

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2016, 09:40:34 PM »
I'm talking more about games that are trying to provide "cinematic" narratives than just lots of choices like you would find in an RPG.

Speaking of which, my buddy and I picked up our Divinity: Original Sin co-op campaign again and have been playing it regularly. It's amazing. We are still uncovering new strategies and layers to the game systems that have kept things super fun and fresh. Even with all the hours we've put into it we're only level 12ish, and there seems to be no end to stuff to do.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2016, 09:44:08 PM »
I'm talking more about games that are trying to provide "cinematic" narratives than just lots of choices like you would find in an RPG.

Well, they're not necessarily all RPGs. School Days was a visual novel with lots of choices and cinematic narratives. Full-blown animation, which is not common for visual novels (most VNs would often use computer sprites instead of computer animation; saves time and money).

I've always wished that Telltale Games could have achieved that, but given that School Days is kinda a dating-simulator, I could see why nobody else bothered to spend their time applying such a design into an adventure game.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 09:46:31 PM by Hermit »
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

Melvil

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2016, 09:46:38 PM »
Yeah it's certainly not just RPG's, just seemed like an easy example.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2016, 09:50:43 PM »
Speaking of the role of RPGs in the world of CYOAs, RPGs are almost like a reverse CYOA. Instead of having one ending out of many based on your personal choices, most RPGs give you one character archetype out of many based on your personal taste. It's that personal touch to the character you get to play that still drew me to RPGs despite most of their linear storylines. And they can be pretty linear, considering most of their stories involve slaying the same monsters with different methods before reaching the inevitable end-game final boss.

Dragon Age: Origins, however, was an exceptionally different example, offering individuality at both beginning and end. Fallout: New Vegas is another, though the latter's different endings are a bit lazier, with the use of slides rather than animation.

Edit:
Okay, nope. They both use slides. Can't complain, I guess.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 09:59:07 PM by Hermit »
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

Solid Blake

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 08:30:02 PM »
Alan Wake is fantastic stuff. I'm thoroughly entertained with the world building Remedy has accomplished via their episodes of "Night Springs" (Twilight Zone parody), the Night Owl radio program and all the Twin Peaks references scattered throughout (some blatant like "Lamp Lady" looking just like the Log Lady, and others a bit more nuanced like labeling an achievement "Damn Fine Cup of Coffee"). My only gripes is centered around character movement and the position of the camera feeling a bit off. Regardless, I'm still loving the combat and the aggressive A.I., and, again, the impressive lighting/ambience. Has anyone else played through this gem? It's steadily climbing up my list of favorite games of the last generation (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii).

Junior

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Re: What are you playing? - 2016 Virtual Insanity Edition
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2016, 08:38:03 PM »
Yeah, it's really great for all of those reasons. A lot of Stephen King references, too. It feels like one of his stranger books.
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