Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
The Terabyte Tenderloin

The Escapist Staff | 25 Nov 2008 12:31
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In response to "To Do: Finish Any Game" from The Escapist Forum: Games seem to have gone one of two directions: Become nearly endless (with tons of sidequests, sandbox play or something like an MMO which never, ever ends), or become almost too short, but very tightly constructed and with a compelling narrative.

I think success for the game industry lies in creating games that are both. Provide a short single player storyline that enables someone to feel like they 'beat the game', while giving the option to complete a wider variety of objectives for those who want to sink more time into the game.

World of Warcraft is a pretty good example of this - there are oodles of things you can do by yourself or with a small group that don't require looking towards beating the end bosses. But at the same time, those intent on grinding towards the end can do so, giving them the satisfaction of 'finishing the game'.

- mattaui

I have to completely disagree with your viewpoint on video games. I usually choose games specifically because of an extended narrative and view them in the same vein you describe for movies and books. It's an expected point of pride to complete the game (and here I'm using "complete" as you have: finishing the story arc) and it's only the truly poor games that I choose not to finish.

It simply sounds to me like you're trying to play too many games (a problem I must confess to as well). We don't have enough time to read every great book or watch every great movie, what makes us think we'd have enough time to play every great game?

- ashtonium

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In response to "Global Games, Local Perspectives" from The Escapist Forum: Until there are more cultures involved in video game production, we won't see more cultural viewpoints represented. I mean, sure, we'll keep seeing Lara Croft go to Peru (or maybe next time she goes to Suriname, who knows?). But what American, British, Japanese or Canadian developer is going to tackle the problem of how to make a game from a specific cultural viewpoint when they're not from that culture themselves?

I'm sure not going to try to construct a story from the POV of a Chinese, Chilean, or Icelandic hero without someone from that country showing me what that view really looks like. When you write about a fantasy world, there's nobody who can tell you "no, that isn't how it is" there aren't any cultural sensitivities to trip over, and there aren't any right or wrong approaches to the subject. Real cultures are a little more delicate. What we're seeing isn't an unwillingness to explore other people's realities, it's just classic "write what you know" when all the content creators know approximately the same realities.

- Solipsis

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In response to "Postcards from the Road" from The Escapist Forum: Another "travel experience": Helping the Somali woman seated next to you on the airliner fill out her visa application while you try to discern whether the dots swimming in front of your eyes are hallucinations induced by your malaria medication or a result of sitting on airplanes/in airports for 26 hours. I smell a mini-game! Or maybe a quick-time event.

Perhaps it's because I read your article immediately after Tom Endo's, but I see your call for truly jarring experiences as a possible remedy for the player fatigue referenced in his piece. At the same time, I think many players go to games for a comforting or reassuring experience: "I have learned the rules, and by following them I receive this little rush of endorphins on completing a task." Hence the appeal of multiplayer and the validation one receives from the group upon doing well.

I think that, upon the creation of these varying virtual worlds you mention on Page 3, you might see a result similar to what happens in real life: Many players' stories would be told within the bounds of the world in which they are comfortable (no doubt a rich experience in itself), while a relative few would strike out into the unknown. It's a theory, anyway.

- hungSolo

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