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#27 Feb 20 2012 at 4:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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I somehow managed to twist my knee Saturday afternoon, so I spent most of it with a doctor and it's still swollen to the size of a grapefruit. Spent the last two days playing on some educational game webpage with my daughter and watching Disney and Disney-esque movies.

Edited, Feb 20th 2012 5:20pm by lolgaxe
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#28 Feb 20 2012 at 4:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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Samira wrote:
I... don't think admirals get that many stars. There must be some uber-rank above that.


The extra stars go towards Space Admiralship. Thats way better than normal Admiral. Because it's in space!
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#29 Feb 20 2012 at 4:30 PM Rating: Good
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I went through to the semifinals of a local-ish voice contest on Saturday, which is exciting, I suppose. The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning and searching for places to play. I HATE the winter.
#30 Feb 20 2012 at 10:04 PM Rating: Good
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Getting out of the hospital a day early was nice. Spent Sunday and today doing pt, watching movies/tv and looking at some computer time.

Elne has been very helpful, drove today and had her first "accident" when she hit a stanchion in the pharmacy parking lot. No damage to the car. I myself have hit this stanchion myself as it is not high enough to be seen via the rear view mirror.
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#31 Feb 21 2012 at 5:53 PM Rating: Decent
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Samira wrote:
I think I get some of what he's saying, but he's using a broadsword instead of a scalpel. I think he's saying that games don't necessarily have to TELL the story, don't have to dictate the only way a story can go, because a game is not necessarily the best medium for that. For a specific, author-driven, preset plot, books and movies are better media. For an open-ended, player-driven narrative, some games do a very good job - because the developers don't tell the story. They set the world in motion and let the player choose how it goes. That is, arguably, one reason why games like Skyrim and Deus Ex are so compelling and replayable.


That's more or less what I got out of it as well. And to be honest, I've noticed the same trend. Instead of coming up with games with new "rules" and game mechanics, game developers are more often just using the same rules and mechanics (more or less) and writing a new story. I think where the appearance of contradiction comes from is that he has a hard time really explaining the difference between a game with a sequence of actions required to get through the level/game/whatever, and a game where characterization is highlighted, but the story is just as linear.

I've commented on the same sort of thing in a couple of roleplaying related threads in the past. I don't consider what most games today call "roleplaying" to actually be roleplaying at all. It's someone else writing a story for the character and me having to follow along with a limited set of choices. It's kinda hard to explain, so I totally get that Jaffe had a hard time getting it across.

A way to look at it is that a game like Doom had *zero* roleplaying in the modern game sense of the word. But if you think about it, I could imagine myself as any sort of personality whilst wandering through the complex shooting demons. My character is dropped into an environment with a set of rules and objectives and obstacles, but within that framework, I'm free to decide what I do and am totally in control of my interactions with the world around me.

Many games today are similar in terms of mechanics (more advanced, but similar in concept). However, game developers have added character based storylines. But those character driven parts, while adding depth, actually usually reduce the freedom of the player to create his own. Instead of me being presented with a character with various stats, I'm presented with a choice of characters with stats, but also personality. I can't be anything I want. I have to be one of the characters they've created. And my choices are limited to those the developers thought of for that character, and the results of my actions are also defined based on what those same developers/storywriters thought that character should experience based on their vision of the character and the story.


This is why he makes a distinction between games with player-author characters (you're handing a character with stats and are free to do anything you want), and developer-author characters (your character has a story that must be followed in some way). And he's warning about the problems inherent in the second form. I'm not sure that this means there's no room for those sorts of games, but I kinda have to agree with him that I personally find those the least interesting to play. While it seems contradictory I feel like a lot of games lose something by adding all that character stuff in. I'd much rather the game just have a set of rules that govern how the world reacts to your choices, and let the player decide what they want to do.


At least that's what I think he was saying. Not sure if I was any more clear about it than he was though.



OH! As for the weekend. I re-affirmed my assessment that PF Changs is about the most awful Asian restaurant in existence. Gah! Honestly don't understand why anyone likes that place, but every few years someone will drag me there because they really want to go there and I'm always left with the same crappy impression. Bad food. Bad service. Bad decor. And nothing remotely resembling actual Asian cuisine.

Edited, Feb 21st 2012 3:55pm by gbaji
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#32 Feb 21 2012 at 6:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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A way to look at it is that a game like Doom had *zero* roleplaying in the modern game sense of the word. But if you think about it, I could imagine myself as any sort of personality whilst wandering through the complex shooting demons. My character is dropped into an environment with a set of rules and objectives and obstacles, but within that framework, I'm free to decide what I do and am totally in control of my interactions with the world around me.

You were a space marine working your way through demon-infected Mars to close the portal to ****. There was narrative every few levels describing exactly what was going on.

You were certainly free to ignore it and pretend that you were a French Musketeer or something if you wanted but you could say that about any game. You're more free to ignore the plot in Oblivion when you get right down to it.

Have you played any of the latest generation of video games?
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#33 Feb 21 2012 at 6:06 PM Rating: Decent
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Wait, there's a plot to Oblivion?? I thought the game consisted of "fight skeletons with no armor and a rusty iron dagger to make sure you can get that +5 Strength skillup".
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#34 Feb 21 2012 at 10:09 PM Rating: Default
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Jophiel wrote:
Quote:
A way to look at it is that a game like Doom had *zero* roleplaying in the modern game sense of the word. But if you think about it, I could imagine myself as any sort of personality whilst wandering through the complex shooting demons. My character is dropped into an environment with a set of rules and objectives and obstacles, but within that framework, I'm free to decide what I do and am totally in control of my interactions with the world around me.

You were a space marine working your way through demon-infected Mars to close the portal to ****. There was narrative every few levels describing exactly what was going on.


That's what you were doing and why, but there were no game mechanics which enforced any sort of character development choices. It's not like a lot of the games today where there's often a set of side plot lines involving the character itself.

Quote:
You were certainly free to ignore it and pretend that you were a French Musketeer or something if you wanted but you could say that about any game.


It's not about what I am, but *who*. So if the game designers have decided that you start out as an uncaring lout, but through the course of the game you'll encounter other people who will convince you to be altruistic and caring, finally leading to you achieving the purity of heart needed to wield the whatsit weapon needed to complete the game, that's an added story to the game which appears on the surface to add depth, but some might argue actually distracts and limits it. I can't pretend to be anything other than what the game devs decided to create for that character in that case.

If you leave those elements out, I can imagine any motivation for what I'm doing I want.


I'm not saying that's always a bad thing, but I can understand about cautioning developers to go too far with this sort of thing. They aren't really encouraging role playing. They're just writing a character development story. And while sometimes that works, sometimes I'd rather not have it in the game at all.


Quote:
Have you played any of the latest generation of video games?


Actually, not many. Want to know why? Because many of them have exactly that sort of pseudo-RPG aspect to them that I realized I didn't really like about 10 years ago. I'd much rather the devs spent time making the actual game elements more interesting and less a reaction fest instead of spending so much time giving me 8 characters to interact with, with each having a dozen or so interaction points, each of which can lead to a hundred or so variant cut-scenes and and a handful of different endings. And I totally get when he says that the introduction of so much more space on the source media than that needed to actually play the game has lead to the ability to put those cut scenes in, and thus the desire to create reasons to have lots of them. And variable character interaction is a simple and easy way to do that.


But more is not always better IMO.

Edited, Feb 21st 2012 8:09pm by gbaji
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#35 Feb 21 2012 at 10:40 PM Rating: Good
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I can follow gbaji's complaint about as well as Jaffe's, which is to say, not very well.
#36 Feb 21 2012 at 11:01 PM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
I can follow gbaji's complaint about as well as Jaffe's, which is to say, not very well.


gbaji wrote:

Quote:
Have you played any of the latest generation of video games?



Actually, not many.
Scan for this type of stuff and know that if you choose to read any further it's purely for entertainment purposes.
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#37 Feb 21 2012 at 11:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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Sadly, I'm sitting at home now. I went to check out the house. Visit the X-ray place for chest x-rays. Then had lunch with a friend. I started feeling nauseous during lunch. Got home felt incredibly tired and my head hurt and was hot. I laid down for the rest of the day and it was a really nice day here. In the mid 70's. Being sick sucks.
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#38 Feb 21 2012 at 11:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
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Have you played any of the latest generation of video games?
Actually, not many.

Didn't think so.

More to the point: Your criticisms sound as though they came from someone basing them on JRPG games last played on their PSX or something.

Edited, Feb 22nd 2012 9:14am by Jophiel
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#39 Feb 21 2012 at 11:45 PM Rating: Decent
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I took Jacob in for a checkup today. He's doing remarkably well, apparently gaining weight in much the same matter that Bruce Banner inexplicably increases mass when he Hulks out.
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#40 Feb 22 2012 at 12:51 AM Rating: Excellent
Gbaji wrote:
OH! As for the weekend. I re-affirmed my assessment that PF Changs is about the most awful Asian restaurant in existence.


If you want authentic Asian food, don't go to a chain restaurant in San Diego as it is most definitely cooked by Mexicans.
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#41 Feb 22 2012 at 9:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm just springboarding off ya here, Samira.

Samira wrote:
Mixed in with that is his opinion, which I share, that games that are made from movies and comics are inherently problematic.

I agree that they're more problematic, but not that they're a problem.

If you're going to play a game that has you in the role of Batman, you should expect to play as Batman. Which I guess means not killing people or punching random civilians or whatever. By its very nature you'll be limited (and more so because DC isn't going to license a game that deviates from the core Batman persona).

On the other hand, for having you experience being Batman, the games are very successful and big hits by any definition. So there's obviously a market, both critically and economically, for that style of game. And I think the plot makes that game. You could just be a guy named "Batman" who runs around punching Joker minions without the plot or detective work but then it's only "Batman" in that "Batman" is a more profitable name than "Punch-Guy". That's stuff from the last decades where there was nothing at all defining about you, they just slapped a licensed name on the game and had you do generic stuff. There's still lots of games out there if all you want is to hurt things.

I do agree with his point about lengthy intros that allow limited interaction. Even as "basic training" they're not really successful. I'd love to be able to skip the whole wagon ride and associated content next time I start a character in Skyrim -- I don't even know if the sequence is actually long from a minutes standpoint; it's just dull. At least you'll probably never play the intro to Arkham City twice.

Edited, Feb 22nd 2012 9:33am by Jophiel
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#42 Feb 22 2012 at 2:01 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
I do agree with his point about lengthy intros that allow limited interaction. Even as "basic training" they're not really successful. I'd love to be able to skip the whole wagon ride and associated content next time I start a character in Skyrim -- I don't even know if the sequence is actually long from a minutes standpoint; it's just dull. At least you'll probably never play the intro to Arkham City twice.


I don't have any problem with them being long, or having limited interaction. In my experience, they can be perfectly enjoyable while being both of those things (Bioshock's is a bit like that). The problems are when they're boring, like Skyrim's, and unskippable, like Skyrim's.

Though I believe that you can create a save right before you 'create' your character, immediately after exiting the wagon. Or the game makes one for you. I've got one there, either way.
#43 Feb 22 2012 at 2:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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Also, the intro for Homefront. Yeah, I get that they were trying to set a mood but... yyeaaggugh...

That's the exact sound I made. "Yyeaaggugh". If I wanted to sit on a bus and stare out the window for five minutes, I'd leave my house and go somewhere five minutes away.
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#44 Feb 22 2012 at 2:43 PM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
I can follow gbaji's complaint about as well as Jaffe's, which is to say, not very well.
He doesn't like Choose Your Own Adventure® books.
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#45 Feb 22 2012 at 2:47 PM Rating: Default
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Omegavegeta wrote:
Gbaji wrote:
OH! As for the weekend. I re-affirmed my assessment that PF Changs is about the most awful Asian restaurant in existence.


If you want authentic Asian food, don't go to a chain restaurant in San Diego as it is most definitely cooked by Mexicans.


Yeah, because there are no Asians living in Southern California. Smiley: oyvey


There are some really good Asian restaurants (of all varieties) in the area. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone goes to this particular one. Power of advertising I guess.
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#46 Feb 22 2012 at 2:47 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
I do agree with his point about lengthy intros that allow limited interaction. Even as "basic training" they're not really successful. I'd love to be able to skip the whole wagon ride and associated content next time I start a character in Skyrim -- I don't even know if the sequence is actually long from a minutes standpoint; it's just dull. At least you'll probably never play the intro to Arkham City twice.
That's one thing I liked about Fallout 3. They give you a save file right before finalizing your character's stats and exiting the vault, so on subsequent playthroughs, you can just create your character and go.

If you play Skyrim on PC, you can just console command a race change, I guess.
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#47 Feb 22 2012 at 2:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Yeah, because there are no Asians living in Southern California. Smiley: oyvey

They built the railroads!

Just to prove I don't reflexively disagree with Gbaji about everything, I was at a PF Chang's recently and wasn't at all impressed.
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#48 Feb 22 2012 at 2:49 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
There are some really good Asian restaurants (of all varieties) in the area. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone goes to this particular one. Power of advertising I guess.
Same reason people in RI go to Olive Garden when there are a hundred good Italian restaurants around here, I guess. At least there isn't a Red Lobster around here anymore. Smiley: lol

Edited, Feb 22nd 2012 3:51pm by Spoonless
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#49 Feb 22 2012 at 2:51 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
On the other hand, for having you experience being Batman, the games are very successful and big hits by any definition. So there's obviously a market, both critically and economically, for that style of game. And I think the plot makes that game. You could just be a guy named "Batman" who runs around punching Joker minions without the plot or detective work but then it's only "Batman" in that "Batman" is a more profitable name than "Punch-Guy". That's stuff from the last decades where there was nothing at all defining about you, they just slapped a licensed name on the game and had you do generic stuff. There's still lots of games out there if all you want is to hurt things.
Gotham City Impostors is pretty awesome, yes.
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#50 Feb 22 2012 at 2:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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#51 Feb 22 2012 at 2:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Sir Spoonless wrote:
Eske Esquire wrote:
I can follow gbaji's complaint about as well as Jaffe's, which is to say, not very well.
He doesn't like Choose Your Own Adventure® books.


You're confusing plot with character. He's not saying that games can't or shouldn't have plots, but that by adding defined character personalities that you play and interweaving them into the plot, possibly (especially) with rewards for playing "in character" and penalties for not, you run the risk of actually limiting play options instead of expanding them. And he's not even talking about player defined characters. A game where you pick the name, stats, weapons, etc of your character and then go off and play through the game is very different than one where you pick from a set of pre-defined characters and are confined in some way based on which character you pick.


And to echo Joph's comment, I don't think that's a problem exclusively, but that it *can* be problematic if the industry moves too much in this direction. That seemed to be what he was doing. Warning against relying on that character driven storyline technique and possibly forgetting that game play is important too.
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