The Game OverThinker - Episode 61 "Bells & Whistles"
Games today are muddled down with too many features. Do you agree?
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hmm the create your own character as an issue. Ya know I gotta agree for the most part. Now I'm a fictional writer, or at least working on it, so this means I create my characters all the time. I often also play games with a little extra bit of my own thrown in.
As you can guess by my avatar I'm a bit of a pokemon fan, and one of the things I have a tendency to do is narrate the battles, at least the gym and important ones. Now pokemon's story hasn't always been the best. B/W (1&2) tried a bit harder and the side game PMD2 was flippin amazing if you got invested, but that's just from me being a long time fan and all that though some others love it too it seems.
I think the create your own character is something good for my RPG and open sort of games which the plot is the same no matter who you are. The character only matters to you so it means more for you. sure my brother doesn't care for my main character in dragon quest, but he'd go crazy if his got deleted/killed. It does matter very much what the plot line is.
I'd also agree multiplayer screws quite a bit up. I have multiple people in the military from my family they often joke a lot about the whole MMS genre cause they know what the real thing is, and they know that the genre means nothing in the long run. Yes 12 year olds are running around thinking that is war, but the preservation of our real world history should outlast this fad. if not I will eat my cubone.
As an artist....artwork is not always complete. A lot of ancient and modern artists revisit their work at a later date, much like bug patches in gaming. Some make modifications to their work years later, some make new work in response to the old work. Some redo work for a 2.0 version.
Your example of the Mona Lisa is somewhat bunk. A little history:
Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy. According to Leonardo's contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, "...after he had lingered over it four years, left it unfinished...." Leonardo, later in his life, is said to have regretted "never having completed a single work". On his death the painting was inherited, among other works, by his pupil and assistant Salaì.
So in your eyes the Mona Lisa is finished but the artist never finished it. And even so, a lot of famous work from centuries ago was never able to be revised because often the original was sold to someone, given away, etc. There wasn't really an ability to have many copies that could be updated for the masses to see at a later date. After the creator dies of course, he/she no longer has the ability to revise it. So to say that the Mona Lisa was never revised is really because Da Vinci never had a chance to, it was never finished in the first place and a lot of artists of the time died early on. Additionally, much high art took a lot longer to create, so revisions were even slower. Nothing like what we see now where bug patches can happen on a monthly or weekly basis.
I guess what I am saying is...I don't think your example works for this video...or really any example can work at all. Revision has always existed and a lot of work is never finished even if at the time creator might think it is for a brief moment.
Really...video games and high art are not all that different.
And this is why halo 4's multiplayer is training. It works. I still have issues with the idea of CTF being "training" but I guess it can be applied in real battles.
But anyway. Games are not traditional art. It's it's own very different thing. I can't properly explain, but yea...
You will be suprised overthinker with how many sprites of Mass Effect/Skyrim characters will make it into pop-culture. Just because people can make the character what they wish it to be, doesn't mean that the character has a specific baseline. For example, I still see basic archetypes of the male and female Shepard from Mass Effect everywhere.
I find that one big point missed is that only a hand full of paintings, music, and other great works of art are that because there are only a hand full of them. So in comparison only a hand full of video games should be considered this. I found that you seem to think that there are no great works of art in this age of gaming which I completely disagree with. The only problem is they are few and far between (as they should be). Let's take Skyward Sword for instance. Let's just say for one second The Legend of Zelda was not a series, and this was the first one. Skyward Sword has an enthralling story and intense gameplay that many love. It would not be hated as much in mind if this was the first ever Zelda game (blasphamey I know). That only one game though, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune also fits this as to prove your point on bells and whistles, it only had the main campaign with varrying and sometimes extremely challenging gameplay. The best part is, it's a third person shooter, part of the over-saturated market at the moment. To disprove your point though I would bring up Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This game has all the bells and whistles that would take away from it, but it only improves on some of the amazing features. The story of that game is probably the best of the series however. The story is compelling and entertaining and takes you in as the gameplay makes you fight to survive and enjoy the whole experience. I believe that with this topic you didn't give modern games much of a chance. Sure I didn't grow-up on a SNES, or NES, or Genesis, but the fact is as a gamer I respect both new and old schools of gaming. In the end though everything is left to your opinion as it your experiences and your show. I only ask as one gamer to another to be more open on your opinions in gaming today.
You used the Shepard image to make a point about blank heroes, the problem with that is that he is probably the most memorable character of the past five years. Ask any real fan of Mass effect if they remember Shepard. They will each give you a different version of the character and will say they have a soft spot for him or her. You tend to slander games that offer a different experience. For one, fps games are not the most played games. RPGs are. Think wow, Mass Effect, FF, and how all games now have a RPG elements to them. Even MW. Just like old people think crime is at its highest even though it's at it's lowest rate ever, people like you believe FPS games have no story or don't concentrat on the single player. Have you played MW3 single player??? It's the best part of the game! It even has moments where it tries to be emotional. It worked for some but not for me. Common man!
I feel this way about Team Fortress 2. Adding new weapons and cosmetic items is ok, but so many of them do not fit whatsoever and compromise the original artistry of the characters and world setting.
I rarely ever get a game for the multiplayer. When I do, it is something like Warhawk that is only multiplayer. A game has to put real effort and emphasis on it's single player campaign, or I will not buy it. I grew up in an era where multiplayer was a bonus to single player, and that is how I think still. The single player has to be worth playing or it is not worth my money. IF it happens to have a good multiplayer, fine. I will check it out and play it...after I beat the single player.
Mass Effect does a better job of giving the main character a personality than any other blank character game I have ever played. The main character has a set voice and lines. You choose the personality he has, but he does have one. It makes Shepherd more memorable than whatever character you create in open world RPGs. I remember a lot about Fallout and consider it a masterful work of art, but no one remembers the "main character" of Fallout.
One more thing. Not ever game needs multiplayer. I hate the mindset that every game needs multiplayer. Mass Effect, for example, does not need multiplayer. IT offers you 60 hours of gameplay and a lot of replayability. IT can easily keeo you playing through it 2 or 3 times. IT gives you more than enough single player content that it is well worth your money WITHOUT MULTIPLAYER
I just found the answer to my own question. Super Mario Land!
This is going to bug me now, but what game is that "ninja" music from? The one that sounds almost Chinese? I wanna say it sounds like a Capcom game.
my question for this episode is what about golden eye? as far as i recall that game had the most solid story driven campaign of it's time but it also had such a solid fun multiplayer mode for it as well that didn't diminish the effect of the characters or story at all......
It was certainly a lot better when they released they games as finished products. Thank goodness for Nintendo.
There is no reason (Apart from the stroking of gamer ego.) that games need to be art. While it's a nice idea games are essentially toys and unless you are going to frame or mount them and view them with a certain eye then toys are not art.
On the addition of multi-player: While I believe the addition of multi-player to many titles is a waste of disk space Bioshock was superior to its sequel not because it didn't contain a multi-player mode; it was better because the environment and art were fresh and story (Up to a certain point.) was self contained and intelligent. Bioshock 2 was panned because the story didn't make sense from a continuity point of view not because they tacked on multi-player. The mulitplayer in these cases is entirely superfluous and doesn't detract or add to either title and claiming that multi-player was what made Bioshock 2 a lesser game ignores greater problems within it's overall design (Poor story, overuse of already familiar environments)
And the argument that blank slate protagonists should be deprecated because good narrative requires strong primary characters ignores the fact that most games are primarily about interaction not story-telling and that many of the games that allow character customisation have evolved from tabletop RPGs where creating and filling you own character is a central part of the experience.
OMG! Is Jack Lieberson supposed to be Joseph Lieberman? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdhhQhqi_AE
I love the Batman skins, but I absolutely agree with what you're saying. I feel the same way about Dead Space 2, while I feel that Dead Space 2 is better than Dead Space 1, I still hate that I have to say "Dead Space 2's story is great, It's Multiplayer is phoned in."
For the multiplayer, I really must agree. The only thing I ever did with multiplayer was get together with a couple friends on Halo and play with the physics glitches. As for "blank-slate protagonists", I think there are three exceptions that come to mind-- Knights of the Republic, Mass Effect, and Persona 4. Persona 4 is to a lesser extent, as the only thing that's customizable is how the character reacts and interacts with people. But with those games, and some others, the game is less about the "playable" character and a little more about the characters around them and how THEY shape the story. I like games like those. But otherwise, very good. Glad to see SOMEONE pointing this out... finally. You can be Batman: Beyond in Arkham City!!?? Sweet...
There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. non surgical facelift Adelaide
I disagree. I find that the definition of "Art," especially "True Art" is very loose, Multiplayer didn't have any impact on my enjoyment of the stories of Uncharted, Deus Ex, Left for Dead, or Portal 2, and I disagree based on personal experience that customizable characters lessen a story.
Usually games that focus more on either single-player or multiplayer are more successful than those that divide quality between the two.
Great episode Bob, I like how the show seems to have a nice mix of your views of contreversial topics and continuity driven story (even if the latter is cheesy).
As far as this issue goes, I agree with everything you said accept your overarching view of it. Games should be considered art, and games like Call of Duty that are "militaristic paintball wars are not helping. However 1. Modding and character customization do detract from that in the classical sense of what we perceive as art, but open up an entirely new plane of how to achieve art status and 2. Just because Militaristic video games don't help, it doesn't mean that they should be trying to be art.
1. I think back to one of my bet and most artistic gaming experiences in Knights of the old Republic. Even though my character was user generated, I was still very moved by the gaming experience. I think the ability to impose your mark in the story is something that can enhance the artistic impact of a game in ways other mediums can't even touch.
2. I am personally saddened by not the existence of multiplayer based militaristic shoot-em-ups, but that they are the most popular games in the market today. This is a personal opinion though and as much as I think they don't help anything, that doesn't mean that they are entitled too. Games are first and foremost about creating entertainment, and they can achieve this in a much deeper sense by becoming artistic experiences, however they can do this through mindless free for alls as well.
Anyway keep it up, really enjoyed this one.