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This is so much win I can't even stand it. Jeff, yes. Just, yes.

1 year, 7 months ago on Tony Parker is 'Nightcrawler'

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 @Zachery Oliver  @sortiv I'm all for harder games. When I made the argument for fun, I was getting at challenge as being part of the fun. I think the misstep is placing all the emphasis on the pay out, and therefore making the pay out easy to get to. Even if you never "win" - if the challenge is satisfying and can put you into or near a state of flow, then you're having fun. You can't "beat" multiplayer the way you can a campaign, but people continually play for the challenge of testing themselves against others. 

 

 @loringted Sometimes challenge can aid narrative. I recently finished Spec Ops The Line and I deliberately played it on the hardest difficulty first time out, because I knew the thematic material was intense and challenging. I wanted to feel the stakes, and feel the challenge in the game play and especially towards the end it really worked. 

1 year, 7 months ago on I Die Daily - "Cheap" and "Unfair" Games

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I think this is partially a matter of a result versus an action. Part of the feedback loop which drives a lot of play, including video games, is predicated on both, but I think an imbalance has developed leaning heavily towards the result. Part of the satisfaction we feel when playing should be the fun of the action, and the enjoyment of the result. But now it seems a strategy is to make the result a spectacle every time and make the action as short, guided, and easy as possible without being patronizing so tha we can quickly and reliably get the result. Essentially, pressing the buttons in the right order and with the right timing in the right spot gets easier, the combo looks cooler and the casual players (who out number the dedicated players) are happier. More people, more often get to "win" and be good at the game. But potentially, they're enjoying the game less than they would if it had appropriate challenge and still had spectacular payoff. I think we could use less of an emphasis on winning and more on playing. You don't play Super Hexgaon to win (impossible for 99.999 percent of people) you play to play. I see your point about taking responsibility but I also think it's a matter of remembering this is pastime and it should be, as much as anything, fun.

1 year, 8 months ago on I Die Daily - "Cheap" and "Unfair" Games

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One of the reasons I like Dishonored was the ability to not kill. Nevertheless, you can kill in far more ways than you can restrain. And there is a certainly a glorification to the killing. The revenge element of the plot and for Corvo I think makes a bloody narrative more plausible, but I still think it will get repetitive. I also enjoyed nonlethal means on AC3. I wish there had been more optional objectives that stressed nonlethal means, but again the tilt is in favor of killing. I think we should try and highlight that we enjoy not killing in games (even action games) and demonstrate that there is a market for this. There is no intentional moral statement being made by publishers or developers, they're just trying to do what has sold in the past. Perhaps by talking about these things, we show, and further instigate, a change in appetite among the gaming base.

1 year, 10 months ago on I Am Tired of Digital Murder

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 @qwallath  @spiralchris 

The discussion of fictional religion is a whole other beast. At one point I considered trying to contrast some of that with real religions, but it would have been too broad at that point. I think Elder Scrolls does a good job of showing religious freedom issues, some benefits, and some negatives of religion throughout Tamriel, especially in Skyrim. Mass Effect does OK as well, though it can be mildly kitschy. 

 

 @Brauhaus -- I think John points out that games have at least gotten to other interesting subjects (see: Bioshock) more than they've gotten to religion. I agree as a whole games aren't making as much relevant commentary as they could, but religion seems like a special case of lacking. 

1 year, 10 months ago on The depiction of religion in games is awful for non-religious and religious alike

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 @john_brindle 

"This raises an interesting question - why is Bioshock 'allowed' to interrogate objectivism but everyone is reluctant to interrogate religion? It may be a question of power. While objectivism is an ideology with high-profile adherents among the political elite and in some sense the secret soul of the global capitalist orthodoxy, you can at least get elected in America without claiming you believe in it. It may also be a question of the cultural importance we attach to each: heartfelt political or ethical beliefs are 'just beliefs', but RELIGIOUS beliefs have special protection and must be treated with a certain amount more 'respect'. Obviously these questions are not inseparable. So maybe games' failure to deal with religion has more to do with religion than games. Whether you accept that depends on how much more effectively you think the gaming mainstream deals with politics - whether it does any better, or whether, actually, it's just as bad."

 

That's an interesting point. I like your take on it. I would also add that the stigma on religious discourse in games and other media is not out of any genuine respect for faiths, but rather a dogmatic approach to maintain status quo, particularly within religious organizations. That doesn't really make sense for the truly faithful, and certainly shouldn't appeal to any skeptics. To use Christianity as an example, Jesus challenged the religious institutions of his day, so did the Apostle Paul, and other New Testament writers. I think those of us who have faith, among ourselves should be willing to scrutinize religion to ensure it's scriptural. I'm sure nonbelievers would love to scrutinize all kinds of things (and that can be helpful), and believers should be even more willing to discuss doubts, dissent, etc. Paul exhorted early Christians to be ready to have an answer for why they believe. At least as far as Christianity is concerned there's no Biblical basis for not addressing challenges, having discussions.

 

I definitely think there is some kind of unique bubble around religion that keeps it from being examined more, not just in games but in all media. As I assert in the article, I think it's obvious that both religious and non religious should be open and even eager to pop that bubble in order to have meaningful representation of this topic in games and elsewhere. But I like your point on Bioshock/objectivism -- I think it highlights how conspicuous the lack of religion in games is.

1 year, 10 months ago on The depiction of religion in games is awful for non-religious and religious alike

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