Extra Punctuation: Not All Sequels Suck

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Errm. Before Symphony of the Night, Simon's Quest was actually the first Castlevania game to make the game open-ended instead of level-based. Which as many people have pointed out many times before, did not improve the game.

Tin Man:

boradis:
Snip

Would you argue that games that attempt the storytelling crap, and gamers that argue for it, are trying to make playing with electronic toys more acceptable for grown-ups then it currently is? That gaming can't be more then a distraction and shouldn't try to be?

I'm honestly not being pedantic or rude to your views in any way, we don't often get intelligent individuals arguing against the grain, I just wondered what you thought on the matter of evolving gaming =]

It's a fair question, but no I don't think it's to justify gaming for adults. For one thing, the most successful segment of the adult gaming market is narrative-free games like variants on Scrabble. Frankly, I don't think most people over 50 can understand how a game can also be a story in the same way they struggle with the idea that a computer can be a typewriter and a phone. Yes, I am agist.

Also, when I was a kid and my friends and I would play with action figures (ok, 'dolls') we always made up stories to heighten the experience. We understood enough about Captain Kirk and the Hulk to realize they probably wouldn't get along that well. Their personalities are so deeply ingrained in the mind of a fan that it was unavoidable.

I think the reasons for the power struggle between stories and games are twofold. First off is money. A title that fails to greatly advance the gameplay can be saved by a stellar story. Without its epic scope, moments of tense drama and brilliant humor "Portal 2" is a really nice expansion pack aimed at the modding community.

Secondly, the gaming industry desperately wants to be the storytelling industry with all the glitz and glamor that comes with it. And storytelling artists are interested in gaming because it's another income stream. And they always want to be the stars and not take a back seat to gameplay mechanics. And they've got agents unlike, say, a good combo system.

As I said, games can contain stories and I've enjoyed many of them on that basis. But when the story, writing and performances push the gameplay out of the spotlight you don't have a game any more. You've got a somewhat immersive novel which replaces pages or a "next chapter" button with problems to solve.

When done well as in my all-time favorite game "Devil May Cry 3" the cutscenes, while entertaining, exist to support and connect the gameplay sections. The reason I played through it the first time was I wanted to get into the next fight. In "Portal 2" I found the gameplay to be padded and repetitious and only served to delay the funny bits of dialog.

Rome: Total War.

I think that gaming can indeed bring a more personal perspective on the story than any other medium can. That's one of two reasons I enjoy first person view more than anything else: it is highly personal on one end and on another it's immensely immersive. Examples include: HL series, System Shock 2, Metro 2033, Metroid Prime series that I'm currently playing.

Gameplay, however, always comes first in games. A game with strong gameplay, but without any story is still a good game. But I don't see any reason why we can't have both. Or for that matter why we can't add good sound design to it too and make it atmospheric while we're at it.

A game with a good gameplay is just that - a good game. To make a memorable game however, all four pillars: mechanics, visuals, sound and narrative have to stand tall. Mind you that unlike movies, atmosphere in a game is also a huge part of the narrative. A great example of all four elements in place would be Aquaria. You have no idea how much I love that game.

boradis, DMC3 is best in series and arguably one of the best PS2 titles altogether. That one and Killer7.

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Thanks for taking the time to type that reply.

The one thing I disliked about the TV series was indeed the soap opera feel it had at times. This darker tone you say is present in the books sounds exactly like what I enjoyed most about Dexter.

I shall be picking up Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

Cheers.

CrawlingPastaHellion:
I think that gaming can indeed bring a more personal perspective on the story than any other medium can. That's one of two reasons I enjoy first person view more than anything else: it is highly personal on one end and on another it's immensely immersive. Examples include: HL series, System Shock 2, Metro 2033, Metroid Prime series that I'm currently playing.

Just to be contrarian, I want to go on record that I hate the FPS format and think it is as far from "immersive" as it is possible to get. You have no arms or legs, no knees or elbows. You are just a single eye and a gun like a freaking Dalek. And like a Dalek all you can do is shoot things or open doors.

CrawlingPastaHellion:
A game with a good gameplay is just that - a good game.

Which I think is the whole point, but OK.

CrawlingPastaHellion:
To make a memorable game however, all four pillars: mechanics, visuals, sound and narrative have to stand tall. Mind you that unlike movies, atmosphere in a game is also a huge part of the narrative. A great example of all four elements in place would be Aquaria. You have no idea how much I love that game.

Ironically, I've never heard it even mentioned anywhere. And I read about games a lot.

CrawlingPastaHellion:

boradis, DMC3 is best in series and arguably one of the best PS2 titles altogether.

I agree with you here!

I have a friend who LURRRVES trying to make games in RPG Maker et. al. He invited me over to his place to unveil his latest masterpiece. Problem is, he has no earthly idea about the fundamentals of what makes a good game, and the end result makes me want to take an X-Acto knife to my eyeball and twist repeatedly.

Giving people the tools without any idea of how to use them is only going to result in more and more crap being put out. It's like trying to give a million monkeys a typewriter and expecting the works of Shakespeare...

Yahtzee really has a hard time staying on a positive topic doesn't he?

boradis:

Just to be contrarian, I want to go on record that I hate the FPS format and think it is as far from "immersive" as it is possible to get. You have no arms or legs, no knees or elbows. You are just a single eye and a gun like a freaking Dalek. And like a Dalek all you can do is shoot things or open doors.

Not true, some FPS games have a body showing. The best examples would be "The Trespasser", a very old game and "Mirror's Edge", my most favorite of the more recent AAA titles. Still, I can't argue with you about it: it needs more games like that. I especially hate it when the protagonist interacts with the environment by using "telekineses" a la HL.

What's with "all you can do is shoot things or open doors" part? Ever played "Deus Ex", "VTM: Bloodlines", Arx Fatalis, the games I mentioned in my previous post and many other games with FPS perspective? Not all FPS games are about just running, gunning and opening doors.

Dulcinea:

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Thanks for taking the time to type that reply.

The one thing I disliked about the TV series was indeed the soap opera feel it had at times. This darker tone you say is present in the books sounds exactly like what I enjoyed most about Dexter.

I shall be picking up Darkly Dreaming Dexter.

Cheers.

Hope you have a better time with the books than I did. I do not feel that the books are "darker" but instead I find them silly and stupid. Let's just say I did alot of face palming while reading them.

Dulcinea:

The_root_of_all_evil:
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Thanks for taking the time to type that reply.

Welcome. Let me know what you think. :)

It would take absolutely forever to build such a tool though, and it'd be so generically designed that it'd probably only use 30% of it's features while running. I reckon it would be possible though, maybe a little further in the future when CPUs could handle such a bloated piece of software.

The problem with most game makers though, is that you end up with everyone making very similar games. Without knowing how to actually edit code you are pretty much limited to choosing which features to implement out of the small list the designers thought of.

The main reason for this is the originality of the characters and plot is mostly expended by the original. Games like Mass Effect 2 and Uncharted 2 to me are not as good as the original despite much higher ratings, because they're less fresh and exciting. We already know the characters and know pretty much the formula for the story and game design. They don't accumulate complexity and fun new features, they just reskin what we've done before. There's an incongruity in a game starting over as a beginner too. It doesn't make any sense that the combat mechanics are totally changed for ME2, why is the ammo type different throughout the universe? The whole thing doesn't make sense, but it's just a seperation of combat and cutscene that's very common in RPGs.

I'll add Metal gear solid as an example of a game clearly surpassing the original. GTAIV is also much better than 1 or 3, and from a narrative perspective it's much better than San Andreas too though I'm sure someone will try to disagree. Are we only talking about the 2nd game in a series? FFVII is vastly superior to both FF1 and FFVI.

If everybody had the same approach then SOTN, then we wouldn't have the 3D graphics we have today. We needed companies to have their hands at it and to make it evolve.
So the question I ask... did Castlevania had guts to stay 2D at that time, or they were afraid to make the 3D jump? I tend to go with the second option... and 3 horrible Castlevania games in 3D are there to prove me right. But hey... SOTN was a great game. Because they build on strong foundations.

Yahtzee you are a true gentlemen. I salute you sir.

Seriously, Yahtzee, if you ever get your hands on that technology, make the end boss be "Stripperella". XD

rickicker:
Seriously, Yahtzee, if you ever get your hands on that technology, make the end boss be "Stripperella". XD

Or "lag". Maybe even "freeze" and "crash".

Gotta love how some people have such a bug up their ass that Yahtzee can't even admit he's WRONG without a million people jumping up and down, wailing and gnashing their teeth. He has a point, as a general rule the sequel isn't as good as the original. There are exceptions but those make up the small minority compared to the vast amount of sucky sequels that exist.

Kinda drifted from sequels to indie developing toward the second page but a fun read none the less.

There's really a standard format for trilogies.. The first game is good but kind of a prototype, then for the second they know they've got a good audience for the franchise, and they expand upon it, sort of perfecting it. Then for the third game they feel they need to move into new territory, often working out quite unfavorably. However the rule for the third game has quite some exceptions.

I really liked this: "Better to rule in 16-bit than serve in 32, right?"
I agree entirely. I like games that know their technical limitations, and play to them, instead of trying so very hard to look pretty and realistic.
I'd rather play an 8-bit game that looks really good in 8-bit, than any Final Fantasy with it's "HOLY CRAP LOOK AT HOW AWESOME THE GRAPHICS ARE IN THIS CINEMATIC" that returns to horrendously blocky polygons. FFVII was fun when I first played it, but playing it now hurts my eyes...

Some of the best games for aesthetics that I played as a kid, were the games that just made old graphics a little bit better, instead of hopping on the new graphics bandwagon that everyone seemed to enjoy. I'll take my cartoony Megaman made 10+ years ago over any dirt-filter "realistic" shooter made less than a year ago, kthx.

Torrasque:
I really liked this: "Better to rule in 16-bit than serve in 32, right?"
I agree entirely. I like games that know their technical limitations, and play to them, instead of trying so very hard to look pretty and realistic.
I'd rather play an 8-bit game that looks really good in 8-bit, than any Final Fantasy with it's "HOLY CRAP LOOK AT HOW AWESOME THE GRAPHICS ARE IN THIS CINEMATIC" that returns to horrendously blocky polygons. FFVII was fun when I first played it, but playing it now hurts my eyes...

Some of the best games for aesthetics that I played as a kid, were the games that just made old graphics a little bit better, instead of hopping on the new graphics bandwagon that everyone seemed to enjoy. I'll take my cartoony Megaman made 10+ years ago over any dirt-filter "realistic" shooter made less than a year ago, kthx.

There's even at least one game dev studio that has the technical limitations incorporated into their philosophy. It naturally states that they always work in the reals of what is possible at the moment. That studio is "Irrational Games" by the way. Unlike that other studio (I'm talking to you, "3D Realms").

I would go even further than that: always work in the realm of what your resources allow you to do. That's why my games will be in 2D. Unless I reach the AAA levels due to my very uncertain success, but the chances of that happening are about as big as me winning a lottery, so go figure.

Yeah and "Fallout 2" still looks just as good now as it did in '98, unlike "Zelda 64". I had just the same problem with it as Yahtzee did, even though I played through "Majora's Mask" in the time it was still new.

Funny though: have no prob playing "Metroid Prime" at the moment. It still looks quite nice, especially for almost a 10-year old game. I guess that's aesthetics for ya.

Well donkey kong country 2 and 3 were pretty awesome. DKC: returns was also a decent game.

I grew up with Klik n Play (or however they spelled it) and The Games Factory. Both were pretty good tools for making 2D games: They had a fairly flexible event-driven engine with a bunch of prepackaged stuff for collisions and movement schemes, and you could make some decent games with it. It still had the problem that I didn't have any good ideas of what to do, but the examples they showed were neat.

It also had one really intuitive feature for programming the game: You could play through your incomplete game, and every time an event occurred that hadn't been programmed, it would pause the game and ask you what to do. So you could, for example, jump into spikes, then tell it that when you do that it should kill your character. Or you could shoot an enemy, and tell it that it should destroy the enemy and the bullets.

Yahtzee, this should be a lesson in thinking hard before you say something as big as that.

ahhh Star Trek TNG.

"But.. this is impossible. It seems to be coming from the holodeck. Is this possible?"
"Yeah, that was the problem last week."
"I thought you fixed that malfunction?"
"I said I would get around to it IF I had the time."

I'm going to predict that Bioshock 2 shows up somewhere.

The first half of the article was about how most sequels are just technological improvements on their predecessors, while the second half thinks up the idea of design software with a GUI as simplified as Windows.

To comment on the first half, isn't the whole point of a sequel just to be a continuation of its predecessor? If it flips the mechanics and overall gameplay of it, then it becomes a completely different game (think Banjo Tooie to Nuts and Bolts).

As for the second half, At the point when design software becomes that simplified, everyone would be making games, and if everyone made the games, who would play them? I don't know, maybe the select few who are too lazy to make their own games will play everyone elses, like me. :)

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