Rated M for... Mature?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Rated M for... Mature?

Is it possible for a good game to not be fun? While Six Days in Fallujah probably won't be the answer, it does raise some interesting questions.

Read Full Article

A very insightful artical. The recent controversie has cause me to think about these kinds of things more. I'm still not sure whether a game has to be fun to be good. All past encounters have told otherwise but maybe I'll have to rethink this in the future.

But more importantly, how can you not like avocado?!

This artical raises a very good point, many things labeled as "mature" or "adult" by the media and society are really quite childish.

Well, considering that 6 Days of Fallujah, or rather, Gears of Fallujah like it should rightfully be called from now on, might be a shitty arcade game pretending to be a legit 'documentary': I believe the controversy is even more justified.

War is hell and it's not supposed to be fun to play a War Game.

The Fallujah game still just strikes me as inevitable. Games, in their current form, simulate combat in a tolerable manner very, very well. I'm all for them doing something, ANYTHING, besides be about conflict. But this is the culture we live in and it doesn't shock me that games would try to expand themselves by first expanding what they've already mastered.

Mature isn't exactly mature if you ask me. In fact all the ESRB does is make it illegal for minors to buy M rated games, that's not going to stop them from playing them. In fact mature is pretty immature, from Yahtzee's review of Manhunt, It's rated M, but the target audience are 12 y/o, because they are the only demographic who would like it.
But on Six Days in Fallujah, I don't care how scary or traumatizing it could be, I would play it and enjoy it, just to mimic the experience the true horror of war that most games lack. I have an idea for gameplay It would seem a strange move to the idiot player, but I could see a combo of health bar and regeneration working. Minor lacerations and bruises would regenerate over time while cuts and bullet wounds would drain health, the more the faster, until you can get to a medic. Realistic and possibly immersive, something that could work. I think it could work as an FPS or 3PS.

I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

Expecting a big budget game to not conform to the norms of its genre was perhaps naive of those who thought otherwise (myself admittedly as one of them). Just as with movies & books, the AAA title, big budget releases may pick controversial subjects, but rarely push boundaries beyond that.

That said, for Konami to initially extol the virtue of their game as an interactive documentary, then backpedal & say its just a game, is crass & unhelpful whether they intended the controversy or not. Mature may only really refer to age group. But, imo, things like this mean that, especially outside the game world, what is considered maturity for the gaming audience is still puerile & silly in its content.

PedroSteckecilo:
I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

Well you can thank people like Hillary Clinton for that. I blame her because she was one of the major faces over the whole "Hot Coffee" contreversy.

Simply put, putting genuinely mature content into an M rated game gets people screaming for an AO (Adults Only) rating which is basically what would be an "X" rating for movies.

What's more as soon as you address any serious issues in a game someone is going to take exception to it, especially in the US where any whacko minority can form a PAC (Political Action Committee) and join up our own America-bashing pseudo historians, and make anyone's lives a living H@ll in exchange for their 5 minutes of fame.

We had no propaganda or information control in "The War On Terror" so of course you've got the whole anti-war lobby (people are always going to dislike wars in sizable numbers) to jump on it. Then you've got the Arabs themselves, and everything else. Of course it's going to be under attack.

Heck, when they did Resident Evil 5 set in Africa, we couldn't even get past the accusations of racism there. I mean it's all noble and beautiful to show all these guys in mud huts and carrying spears on "The Discovery Channel" but as soon as you set an action game down there and say they got infected by a bio-weapon that turned them into monsters, well by jobe that's just so bloody wrong and racist it must be surpressed.

The bottom line is, that you can't really do sex without someone complaining. You can't do REALISTIC violence without people complaining, so it needs to be overdone and cartoony at the best. You can't touch anything that anyone could consider politically offensive or contreversial, unless of course your supporting left wing ideaology (which means that a lot of the real global conflicts and issue are off the table for PC purposes).

M games are basically PG-13 games, and yeah that 12-13 year old mentality is about right.

The thing is that the industry has not been willing to grow a pair and stand up to "the man". When companies like Rock Star backed down, you pretty much had the entire industry following suit. I'm sure there are game companies who would love to produce 'M' rated games but there aren't many producers who want to put THEIR money up to fight the nessicary battles. They would rather wait for someone else to do it.

The most I can do as a gamer is not to buy any games that I feel have cowtowed to censorship, and talk about it on the Internet.

Does a great game have to be fun? No. Half-Life wasn't really fun: it was full of frustrating platform segments and insta-kill moments. It was an exercise in patience and critical thinking, which was something unseen for FPS at the time. That is what made it great. Portal wasn't fun either. It too called for patience and critical thinking, an attention to detail, and the final level was--more so than any other game I've played--a true test of everything you have learned and perfected in the game. Braid was most certainly not fun at all. It required of the player--guess what--patience and critical thinking, had punishing puzzles, and didn't even have a satisfying "good guy saves planet, gets girl" story to take out the zing. The story was depressing when ambiguous.

So it's true that a great game can be no fun at all, or have long moments devoid of fun. The real question is can a great game be cold, harsh, and real? Can a war game strip away the heroism and theatrics and still be a good game? Do we really want a full-on war simulator, one that is a true near-perfect replica of urban combat?

A war simulation can be fun, in that it engages the same parts of the brain that an RTS or tactical FPS or really good puzzle game engages. Successfully executing perfectly planned tactics feels good, but when we get the "mission failed" screen and we restart at the last checkpoint, does the Battle of Fallujah lose some of its weight? Does the sacrifice of those soldiers seem a bit less real? I don't think anybody wants either of those things to come to be.

I'll probably give Six Days a spin just to see how it pans out, but I have to say: I don't think that some things should be made a game.

Therumancer:

PedroSteckecilo:
I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

You still don't get it, gratuitous sex is extremely childish, the kind of thing hormone infused 13 year olds sit at their desks and has fantasies about.

I am definitely anxiously awaiting to see more of Fallujah and get a feel for what Konami's really trying to do.

I have to say, though - I thought a much more well-known game developer would try to attempt such a controversial game.

Maybe someone like Kojima or Molyneux, people who really like to go and on about how their game is "pushing boundaries". Instead, we've got this developer I've never heard of until now.

vivaldiscool:
This artical raises a very good point, many things labeled as "mature" or "adult" by the media and society are really quite childish.

I second that

No, rated M for Manly.

Jester aside, ratings have gotten diluted. They add the danger and the forbidden factor that so graciously draws attention to their product.
To put this in perspective, when was the last time anyone has seen a movie in the theaters that was rated G? (Has anyone even noticed this?)

I've found that ratings get diluted as society as a whole loses innocence. When I'm on xbox live and a ten year old kid is talking to me like a sailor, I tend to think that ratings aren't working anyway.

Christian Ward:
As we get older, along with developing tastes for things that most children hate - wine, avocado, foie gras - we learn to appreciate types of media that children do not.

...

Christian Ward works for a major publisher, and must admit that he still does not particularly enjoy wine, avocado or foie gras.

It's funny how often adults convince themselves that they enjoy things like wine when they're rather just have a beer, or even some Hawaiian Punch spiked with vodka.

What's interesting to me is that the ESRB still doesn't have a 'horror' descriptor like PEGI last I checked. I wonder if that would be different if the ESRB formed in, say, 1984 instead of 1994: if it was formed back when parents were afraid of horror movies and violence was just fine, as opposed to the period between 1994 and today where the big focus is on violence, especially *gun* violence.

level250geek:
Does a great game have to be fun? No...Portal wasn't fun either. It too called for patience and critical thinking, an attention to detail, and the final level was--more so than any other game I've played--a true test of everything you have learned and perfected in the game.

Eh, it wasn't 'party time' fun, but it was still fun. There was still a feeling of accomplishment and victory at the end. I think the 'fun' the author is talking about is more like the 'fun' of reading Anne Frank or something.

hopeneverdies:
Mature isn't exactly mature if you ask me. In fact all the ESRB does is make it illegal for minors to buy M rated games,

Not true--the ESRB has no legal force. A couple of proposed laws have tried to adopt the ESRB ratings into the regulatory scheme, but I don't think any of them are in effect.

Therumancer:

PedroSteckecilo:
I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

Well you can thank people like Hillary Clinton for that. I blame her because she was one of the major faces over the whole "Hot Coffee" contreversy.

No, you blame her because she was one of the major faces over the whole "Hot Coffee" controversy *and she's a liberal*: you could just as easily of mentioned Joe Lieberman, but, well, I think we can all figure out why you didn't.

Heck, when they did Resident Evil 5 set in Africa, we couldn't even get past the accusations of racism there. I mean it's all noble and beautiful to show all these guys in mud huts and carrying spears on "The Discovery Channel" but as soon as you set an action game down there and say they got infected by a bio-weapon that turned them into monsters, well by jobe that's just so bloody wrong and racist it must be surpressed.

That's not what the controversy was about. That's what a lot of people *assumed* it was about when they saw a headline 'Racism in RE5' because no one ever stopped to see if they're going to trip over facts while running to a soapbox, but, no: that controversy was at first more about how "that imagery still has a history that has to be engaged, that has to be understood."

vivaldiscool:

Therumancer:

PedroSteckecilo:
I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

You still don't get it, gratuitous sex is extremely childish, the kind of thing hormone infused 13 year olds sit at their desks and has fantasies about.

I get it quite well. Sex is entertaining and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. That is why it's all over the place and transfuses nearly everything. Not everything that is "mature" has to be mature in the sense of being a stoic stick in the mud.

Face it, everyone wants to be the incredible hero, with the gorgeous love interest, who saves the world. Age doesn't really enter into the equasion.

I see the issue of "maturity" as one being able to seperate fantasy from reality. The reason for a ratings system is not nessicarly because kids (teens in paticular) can't handle the idea of sex, but rather that seperating the message of a fantasy game from reality can sometimes cause them problem. The key word here is 'message' , unless insane they can pretty much seperate the fantasy stuff from what happens in the real world.

The problem as I see it is that to do sex "right" in a video game one has to get away from the whole "sex farce" genere. It seems right now that things tend to either be entirely non-sexual and prudish, or childish Leisure Suit Larry exagerrations. Games that have tried to walk a middle line between that (ie straight fantasy games with some naughty/deviant bits) are the ones that seem to get the most attention, and ultimatly what I think we need to see more of.

For example filling in some of the details of the kinky things going on in Manhunt 2, or implied in Silent Hill, or whatever could very well work with the game. By the same token I see no real problem with a love scene between your character and his romantic interests in a game than I do with when it happens in a hollywood movie.

-

Oh and Cheese Pavilion, I didn't pick Joe Lieberman because like a lot of Republicans I don't truely consider him one except on paper. The guy is a liberal fence walker. He doesn't really subscribe to much in the way of an ideaology other than what will get him attention at the time. I guess you can say this is true of a lot of politicians, but let's just say I'm not a fan.

To invoke him in paticular comes with a lot of baggage. Hillary is at least fairly consistant in what she does and being a part of her party.

Some might disagree, but that was my thought processes.

Joe Lieberman and what "party" he actually supports could probably fill it's own thread. Not to mention the fact that I personally do not like him due to something one of his family members (involved in politics) did to me. While not directly involved, I do think he's the face for the entire *ahem* organization.

>>>----Therumancer--->

Therumancer:

vivaldiscool:

Therumancer:

PedroSteckecilo:
I've never found "mature" titles to have that much legitimately "mature" content, it seems like they were all designed for 13 year olds....

You still don't get it, gratuitous sex is extremely childish, the kind of thing hormone infused 13 year olds sit at their desks and has fantasies about.

I get it quite well. Sex is entertaining and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. That is why it's all over the place and transfuses nearly everything. Not everything that is "mature" has to be mature in the sense of being a stoic stick in the mud.

I'm not saying it's not entertaining, I'm not saying it's not common and popular, I'm say it's not mature at least not how it's commonly portrayed. You don't have to be a stick in the mud, but it is a matter of self control over childish lusts.

Face it, everyone wants to be the incredible hero, with the gorgeous love interest, who saves the world. Age doesn't really enter into the equasion.

I'm not saying people don't, I'm saying that's a childish, carnal desire, not a mature one.

One thing you're deffinently right about though, age has nothing to do with it. (Which is why I find the ratings system so screwed up in the first place.) Maturity and childishness
aren't a matter of age, but attitude. I know 20 year olds too immature to be allowed to play GTA, and twelve year olds with more maturity in their little finger than you're likely to find on a collage campus.

I see the issue of "maturity" as one being able to seperate fantasy from reality. The reason for a ratings system is not nessicarly because kids (teens in paticular) can't handle the idea of sex, but rather that seperating the message of a fantasy game from reality can sometimes cause them problem. The key word here is 'message' , unless insane they can pretty much seperate the fantasy stuff from what happens in the real world.

That's more a matter of sanity (as you mention) As for message, well, I think that problem's greatly misunderstood, but that's another topic. But, while I do think that's the ESRB's deffinition of "mature" I think that's decidedly wrong.

Maturity is a matter of self control, and, not sex or violence itself, but gratuitous sex and violence as seen in GTA and the hot coffee is anything but. It's actually a glorification of immaturity. Indeed, it's an odd dichotomy where you're supposed to be "mature" before you're allowed to have immature games.

The problem as I see it is that to do sex "right" in a video game one has to get away from the whole "sex farce" genere. It seems right now that things tend to either be entirely non-sexual and prudish, or childish Leisure Suit Larry exagerrations. Games that have tried to walk a middle line between that (ie straight fantasy games with some naughty/deviant bits) are the ones that seem to get the most attention, and ultimatly what I think we need to see more of.

For example filling in some of the details of the kinky things going on in Manhunt 2, or implied in Silent Hill, or whatever could very well work with the game. By the same token I see no real problem with a love scene between your character and his romantic interests in a game than I do with when it happens in a hollywood movie.

I agree basically, Sex itself isn't immature, it's a lack of control and gratuitousness that makes it so, for example, I wouldn't consider mass effect on anything near the same level as GTA or bikini samurai squad in a sense a maturity.

Christian Ward:
Rated M for... Mature?

Is it possible for a good game to not be fun? While Six Days in Fallujah probably won't be the answer, it does raise some interesting questions.

Read Full Article

why did you repost something from another forum, the article is in the fetured content furm for those who want to post.

Very good article, infact I started up a thread not to long ago that dealt with this very topic also.

Great minds think alike, eh? :D

Christian Ward:
Is it possible for a good game to not be fun?

Yes.

How did it go again? "rated M for BUT MOOOOOOOMMMMMM WHYYYYYYYyeeeee".

It sucks that the game is going to be just like every other game. I really had my hopes up for a brutal, realistic, emotional, and frustrating war game.

But who needs that when you have COVER MECHANICS and REGENERATING HEALTH right...

The maturity ratings for games are utterly pointless. For every one parent that is actually responsible enough to give their kids a game appropriate to their level of maturity there are 100 others that don't give a crap.

You have touched upon the core problem, but you didn't examine it that much in your article. The core problem is games are supposed to be fun but "fun" is a subjective term with no intrinsic value, ergo, everything has the potential to be fun. for perverts, rape is fun, for death fetishists, murder is fun, for people who find war fascinating, a game like this would probably be fun. The narrow, preconceived notion of fun that permeates the games industry, and to a lesser extent our culture, is more harmful to the growth of games as a medium of expression than any corporeal entity. To try and sound less pretentious, a game that takes this subject seriously could easily be very fun.

Wait... people still look at the RSRB rating? Who cares anymore?

Sewblon:
You have touched upon the core problem, but you didn't examine it that much in your article. The core problem is games are supposed to be fun but "fun" is a subjective term with no intrinsic value, ergo, everything has the potential to be fun. for perverts, rape is fun, for death fetishists, murder is fun, for people who find war fascinating, a game like this would probably be fun. The narrow, preconceived notion of fun that permeates the games industry, and to a lesser extent our culture, is more harmful to the growth of games as a medium of expression than any corporeal entity. To try and sound less pretentious, a game that takes this subject seriously could easily be very fun.

I think you and the author agree even though your use of the word "fun" differs; that's why I use the term "enjoyment" instead. Fun has too many associations with child-like bliss for it to effectively support the point of this article: where is the sophisticated (arguably boring for children) adult content for a medium that's supposedly full of 35-year-olds? If you keep using the word "fun" to describe any level of enjoyment from a medium, you'll start seeing the limitations of that word. I'd like to see video games accepted as an artistic medium (like film, music, and literature), instead of just an electronic toy. It's happening slowly, but I don't want to die before the good stuff is made. ;-)

level250geek:
snip

Dunno about you, but I find thinking and problem-solving fun.

And that's why I play those games.
And even when it's more of a frustration to fun ratio, I get very happy when I am successful.

(ie: supaplex)

Whether a game has to be fun depends on your definition of fun. I define it along the lines of happiness in a neural network, the desirability of an action or outcome so by that sense I'd say yes, it must be fun, it must give the player the desire to continue. In the theme park sense, not so much. A game doesn't have to use the regular triggers to grab the player, it doesn't have to inflict joy, it can use any other emotion, thought, etc to grab him but it must grab him or he'll put the game down.

As for ignoring other factors and focussing on the gameplay, there are what I call experience games, games not meant so much for the challenge or the gameplay but the experience that you get along the way (though the cynical side in me would argue that modern conventional games are approaching experience games pretty strongly).

I'd say if Fallujah is a total glorification of the war then it's still not much different from other media or older wars. For a proper feeling I'd say go for something like Nethack, randomly generate parts of the levels so people cannot memorize it, make death permanent and the whole thing about fearing death (with a death counter to show you how many times you have died). I think the Oregon Trail videogame was one that taught kids about the difficulty of that trail by killing them over and over and over? Many people on the internet remember that game fondly.

BTW, over here we have games rated 6,12,16,18 and kids still like high ratings because that makes them feel 18 years old (and, frankly, because all the big name games these days are rated 16-18 and a 12 year old gamer would feel pretty damn screwed with everything locked away)

level250geek:
Portal wasn't fun either. It too called for patience and critical thinking[...]

I don't know about you but I enjoy puzzle solving, especially the rush from beating a puzzle with my own wits.

If a game makes me want to keep playing, for any reason it's good. Whether I want to kill 100 more cloned enemies, solve one more puzzle, gain a new level, get to the next big story point, or ONE...MORE...TURN, then that game is fun for me.
Examples of each thing I mentioned in order: Call of Duty 4, Monkey Island(s), Fallout(s), Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, and of course Civilization IV.

I enjoyed this article, but the writer is overlooking the fact that survival horror was a genre that saw popularity for a short while, and that wasn't 'fun' in the classic videogame sense.

I think back to the best times playing games like Silent Hill. The best moments in those games weren't 'fun', or rather they didn't stimulate that 'happy' part of my brain with addictive play mechanics like Halo or Mario does. Instead there were such long periods of fearful intensity that I would literally have to turn the game off, walk away and get some fresh air in a well-lit room. At it's best, Silent Hill made you not want to play, which is also why there are so many people who don't consider the new Resident Evil's to be survival horror, so much as a more traditional action (I'm not sure if this is a consensus among survival-horror aficionados, but I'm sure there are quite a few people with me on this).

With that said, I don't think a war game would be able to take quite the same route as a survival horror game in terms of giving people an appreciable experience without that experience being 'fun' (once again I say 'fun' in the classical videogamey definition), but I'm just pointing out that we have a genre, with a fanbase (albiet no longer in the main stream of things) that has these qualities already.

KDR_11k:

level250geek:
Portal wasn't fun either. It too called for patience and critical thinking[...]

I don't know about you but I enjoy puzzle solving, especially the rush from beating a puzzle with my own wits.

Don't get me wrong. Portal, Braid, Half-Life, and a multitude of other games are satisfying and rewarding, but they feel like work. The fun comes after the fact. That's what I was getting at. The Gears of War series, God of War series, the Halo series, all of these games are fun in the moment: they make you feel like an awesome hero and they offer the video-game-equivalent of a really well-made action movie; conversely, the three games I mentioned earlier (and games like them) are less about making the player feel awesome and more about making them feel like they've accomplished something meaningful.

Echolocating:

Sewblon:
You have touched upon the core problem, but you didn't examine it that much in your article. The core problem is games are supposed to be fun but "fun" is a subjective term with no intrinsic value, ergo, everything has the potential to be fun. for perverts, rape is fun, for death fetishists, murder is fun, for people who find war fascinating, a game like this would probably be fun. The narrow, preconceived notion of fun that permeates the games industry, and to a lesser extent our culture, is more harmful to the growth of games as a medium of expression than any corporeal entity. To try and sound less pretentious, a game that takes this subject seriously could easily be very fun.

I think you and the author agree even though your use of the word "fun" differs; that's why I use the term "enjoyment" instead. Fun has too many associations with child-like bliss for it to effectively support the point of this article: where is the sophisticated (arguably boring for children) adult content for a medium that's supposedly full of 35-year-olds? If you keep using the word "fun" to describe any level of enjoyment from a medium, you'll start seeing the limitations of that word. I'd like to see video games accepted as an artistic medium (like film, music, and literature), instead of just an electronic toy. It's happening slowly, but I don't want to die before the good stuff is made. ;-)

I'd add another level to that: rewarding. Because I think the kind of 'adult' content you're talking about is more likely to be rewarding than actually enjoyable. A great tragedy in literature isn't fun, but it's also not enjoyable: it's more along the lines of rewarding, I would say.

Games like Europa Universalis I think can be described as "sophisticated (arguably boring for children)" yet I don't think those are the "good stuff" you're talking about. And that's the big wrinkle: games can have narratives independent of how "sophisticated" they are.

A game like Donkey Kong has a narrative while a simulation game like Hearts of Iron does not, and is therefore closer to "film, music, and literature" yet no one would say that Hearts of Iron has more "child-like bliss" than Donkey Kong.

That's what complicates the whole issue of what is and is not 'mature': is it more sophisticated game mechanics, or is it more sophisticated narrative? When you consider that one of the most important movements in an art like film was French New Wave that fought against narrative, that in literature James Joyce's novels are considered some of the best even though he made a mess of the narrative, that plenty of music that is considered great have no lyrics, well, before we go off trying to make games into art, maybe we shouldn't assume that what we're calling sophisticated--"mature"--is what is considered sophisticated in those other arts.

Before we go to far with this idea of 'mature'='quality', maybe we should take a look at one of those arts--music--and see what happened when a world class violist pretended to be a busker, playing music that he normally plays to critical acclaim in concert halls in a subway instead:

A onetime child prodigy, at 39 Joshua Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston's stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell was just another mendicant, competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.
...

Three minutes went by before something happened. Sixty-three people had already passed when, finally, there was a breakthrough of sorts. A middle-age man altered his gait for a split second, turning his head to notice that there seemed to be some guy playing music. Yes, the man kept walking, but it was something.

A half-minute later, Bell got his first donation. A woman threw in a buck and scooted off. It was not until six minutes into the performance that someone actually stood against a wall, and listened.

Things never got much better. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

...

A couple of minutes into it, something revealing happens. A woman and her preschooler emerge from the escalator. The woman is walking briskly and, therefore, so is the child. She's got his hand.

"I had a time crunch," recalls Sheron Parker, an IT director for a federal agency. "I had an 8:30 training class, and first I had to rush Evvie off to his teacher, then rush back to work, then to the training facility in the basement."

Evvie is her son, Evan. Evan is 3.

You can see Evan clearly on the video. He's the cute black kid in the parka who keeps twisting around to look at Joshua Bell, as he is being propelled toward the door.

"There was a musician," Parker says, "and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."

So Parker does what she has to do. She deftly moves her body between Evan's and Bell's, cutting off her son's line of sight. As they exit the arcade, Evan can still be seen craning to look. When Parker is told what she walked out on, she laughs.

"Evan is very smart!"

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother's heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

level250geek:
Don't get me wrong. Portal, Braid, Half-Life, and a multitude of other games are satisfying and rewarding, but they feel like work. The fun comes after the fact. That's what I was getting at. The Gears of War series, God of War series, the Halo series, all of these games are fun in the moment: they make you feel like an awesome hero and they offer the video-game-equivalent of a really well-made action movie; conversely, the three games I mentioned earlier (and games like them) are less about making the player feel awesome and more about making them feel like they've accomplished something meaningful.

I can't really agree to that, feeling awesome is based in having accomplished something. Or being in the process of accomplishing something. Easy games don't make me feel awesome, it feels more like performing as expected rather than performing to the limit of my ability. Yeah, sure, it tends to be a nice trip but more for the ideas the game presents than the actual act of beating the game.

level250geek:

KDR_11k:

level250geek:
Portal wasn't fun either. It too called for patience and critical thinking[...]

I don't know about you but I enjoy puzzle solving, especially the rush from beating a puzzle with my own wits.

Don't get me wrong. Portal, Braid, Half-Life, and a multitude of other games are satisfying and rewarding, but they feel like work. The fun comes after the fact.

And I felt Braid to be work, and Portal to be fun in the moment.

Maybe when it comes to 'fun in the moment' vs. 'rewarding in the reflection', things are more a matter of individual taste than we're assuming.

That's what I was getting at. The Gears of War series, God of War series, the Halo series, all of these games are fun in the moment: they make you feel like an awesome hero and they offer the video-game-equivalent of a really well-made action movie; conversely, the three games I mentioned earlier (and games like them) are less about making the player feel awesome and more about making them feel like they've accomplished something meaningful.

I agree in one sense, and disagree in another which I think might open up the debate a little more to contemplate that new idea of 'fun in the moment' vs. 'rewarding in the reflection' being more subjective than we all assume initially. Some parts of those games *aren't* fun in the moment, even though I wouldn't take them out of the game because they add to the overall experience of the game.

Maybe we can make that are "satisfying and rewarding, but...fun comes after the fact." The question is if we should, if we're excusing bad gameplay with "satisfying and rewarding" story.

Maybe narrative is the new graphics: something shiny and pretty that covers up a lack of quality in the gameplay. I think the reason graphics are looked down on and story is looked on as 'mature' is because we live in an age where our books and our music and our film are all judged on the 'story' they tell: how many of us that are looking for a 'mature' experience in our video games pay any attention to paintings and sculpture? How many of us read the books we do for how the language is crafted and not for the story and the characters--and how many of us have read any poetry since high school? How much of the music we listen to and cherish is instrumental, is without lyrics that 'tell a story' or 'paint a portrait of a character'?

Maybe before we go off talking about what is 'mature' or not, we should see exactly how 'mature' our tastes are: a desire for media dealing with complicated human emotions through story is only one way to be 'mature' in an artistic medium.

Echolocating:

Sewblon:
You have touched upon the core problem, but you didn't examine it that much in your article. The core problem is games are supposed to be fun but "fun" is a subjective term with no intrinsic value, ergo, everything has the potential to be fun. for perverts, rape is fun, for death fetishists, murder is fun, for people who find war fascinating, a game like this would probably be fun. The narrow, preconceived notion of fun that permeates the games industry, and to a lesser extent our culture, is more harmful to the growth of games as a medium of expression than any corporeal entity. To try and sound less pretentious, a game that takes this subject seriously could easily be very fun.

I think you and the author agree even though your use of the word "fun" differs; that's why I use the term "enjoyment" instead. Fun has too many associations with child-like bliss for it to effectively support the point of this article: where is the sophisticated (arguably boring for children) adult content for a medium that's supposedly full of 35-year-olds? If you keep using the word "fun" to describe any level of enjoyment from a medium, you'll start seeing the limitations of that word. I'd like to see video games accepted as an artistic medium (like film, music, and literature), instead of just an electronic toy. It's happening slowly, but I don't want to die before the good stuff is made. ;-)

Good stuff already exists,(Grim Fandango, Ico, Killer7) it is just, few, far between and normally doesn't make any money.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here