Jimquisition: Lazy, Boring, Ordinary, Art Games

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This is the only long running show on the escapist I don't regularly view but every couple of months, I'll decide to give it a shot and be horribly reminded why it I don't watch it... This guy just acts like a such prick. It's like listening to a troll war except the troll decided to ban the other side of the argument so it's just a troll bitching to himself.
Sorry I guess this is a bit of a random troll thing and it's all manner of opinion but god I hate this show.
Terrible replacement for extra credits.

him over there:

I feel your last point about lack of interactivity sort of falls short. Jim isn't belittling art as a whole for not being interactive, he's criticizing art games for being games at all, if you aren't taking advantage of the interactive half of an interactive medium making it interactive in the first place is arbitrary, just make a short silent film or something.

But there are different ways of being interactive. For example, The Path is interactive. The game Every Day the Same Dream is also interactive. You move your avatar around and do things. Are those things combat? No. But that isn't the only thing that makes interaction. In Every Day the Same Dream you are trying to solve a puzzle of the 5 different ways through the dream. In The Path you are searching for collectables and the Wolf.

The Art Game is, in many ways, it seems to me, most often related to Exploration games (see the link I posted above) and Point and Click Adventures. Though sometimes there are platformer references as well. And the sorts of interaction that you have in those genres is very different that the interaction you get in other genres.

The kind of interactivity you have in a JRPG is different than in a WRPG. The kind of interactivity you have in a casual puzzler like Tetris is different than a FPS. And the kind of interaction you have in an art game is also different. It doesn't make it nonexistent, just different. And one of the big sorts of interaction the art game wants to deal with is during and post game interpretive analysis. I have spent sooo much time thinking about Trauma or The Path or The Graveyard. Really digging into it and interacting with the ideas it presented. Silent Hill 2 and Bioshock also gave me a similar level of interpretive interaction. Not everyone enjoys that particular sort of interaction. But I do. So I'm glad that good art games are our there doing it.

Also, Jim says walking around in a world isn't interaction...but exploring a 3D space *is* interaction. And not all art games involve walking around and exploring...for example, Digital: A Love Story.

I agree with his argument on certain art games lacking much interaction, but not all.

His assessment of Dear Esther is untrue for it being a single-time walk, because the narrative is randomised. I agree that you don't have much agency in the world making it feel like a walking simulator but because of the randomness it encourages multiple "walk"throughs. So each time you play a chapter, you get the narrator saying something else, and you notice the objects and scenes can be different. You use the randomised dialogue and objects to figure out the mystery.

Like for instance, you fall down a cave and into a hallucination with a street underwater with cars. Or another time you'll notice a hospital bed.

It's a ghost story. Your character is a mystery too, because sometimes the narrator changes characters and you're not sure whether you're the daughter, Esther, or someone else.

See Yesterday
image
,
Loved
image, and

Don't Look Back
image
for examples of art games (all free browser games) that subvert your interaction with the game.

A fellow Acorn viewer! Thank god! When's he gonna release a new video?!?! It's been 4 months. I can't take the wait.

Good job arty game developers. You've created games that push the boundaries on what a narrative is.

Now go back to the board and push it some more. Don't just copy the same formula over and over. That breeds stagnation.

Everything you said reminds me of the problem that many "art films" face. Rather than try to tell a compelling narrative, too many of them just try to come off as having some sort of deeper meaning, with symbolism out the wazoo yet little understanding of what those symbols actually mean. The truly great films do both those things, infusing their narratives with hidden meanings and messages to deepen the experience. Just look at Star Wars (the original trilogy), District 9, Fight Club, The Matrix (before the sequels ruined it), or many of the great films of the '70s "New Hollywood". If you go to either extreme, on the other hand, you get either the stereotype of the braindead Michael Bay summer blockbuster, or that of the pretentious (and often European) "film artistique" a la Lars von Trier.

Or to use gaming examples, you get mindless shooters like Modern Warfare and Uncharted (a series that I'm a fan of, by the way) on one end, impenetrable walls of pretension like Dear Esther on another, and immensely enjoyable, yet astoundingly deep, games like Bioshock, Silent Hill 2 and even the Assassin's Creed games (yeah, I said it) in the goldilocks zone.

And now I know that games should be considered art. They're getting just as pretentious as movies. Dunno whether I should be happy about that or remorseful.

Hmm. I think what Jim is trying to say here (and I'm surprised he wasn't this blunt) is that a lot of "art games" forget to be GAMES. They drop the gameplay completely to allow for the mood and narrative, reducing your input to "continue with the story".

That said, it's for that reason that I like The Path. It remembered it HAD gameplay, with a lot of exploring to do, things to see, items to collect- hell, you even got rated on it at the end of each "level". It also had a sense of tension and palpable dread, even though you KNOW after a bit of play that the Big Bad Wolf isn't going to just come crashing out of the woods and eat your little red-clad girl alive (or rape her, or whatever)- the game is just FRIGGIN' SCARY. The endings of each forest section and the linear movement through Grandma's house that follow just freak me the fuck out- I've rarely been so scared while playing a game. I can't really play it a lot at one time, so far I've just played 1 girl's route at a time, spaced out over a period of several play sessions, but I find it a chilling and engaging experience all the same. It's also a game of discovery- after 3 routes I'm STILL not sure what counts as "meeting the wolf" or what the significance of the dark-skinned girl in white is, but I intend to find out.

Yeah I think the issue is, Dear Esther is not a game. Its a piece of interactive art. As a work of art its perfectly fine, and creating interactive paintings is certainly valid. I actually think that interactive art is something that will become more common and separate itself from games as a whole.

Video games, their players, and the industry at large have spent the last 2 years touting the notion that games are art and that its some thing special to argue about. Problem is, being art is unexceptional, a 5 year old's crayon drawing is art. Which makes just being art alone unexceptional. There is a vast difference between being an artist and a great artist. So a game just by being a creative work, is art. But it doesn't mean its a good game, or a game at all.

Being art is not what makes games special, its that their games. Its what makes them unique as opposed to things such as painting, sculpting, writing, music, acting, dancing, film, and so forth. Each one with their own special trait that makes them unique unto themselves.

1) Different people have different preferences. Don't get mad about it.

2) Even if Dear Esther was flawed (and I'm not saying it was), if you enjoy art games and want to see further development of the genre you still must support developers by buying their games.

Invadergray:
A tough position to take, but by God it needed to be said. The Jimquisition: slowly going down the line and telling each and every one of us that we aren't as smart and cool as we think we are.

At least its not Bob Chipman, who tells us if we don't agree with him we are idiots.

Jimquisition is completely intentional, he's supposed to be a narcissistic prick. Bob on the other hand isn't supposed to be that way and takes pot shots at what ever he doesn't like and their supporters.

trooper6:

him over there:

I feel your last point about lack of interactivity sort of falls short. Jim isn't belittling art as a whole for not being interactive, he's criticizing art games for being games at all, if you aren't taking advantage of the interactive half of an interactive medium making it interactive in the first place is arbitrary, just make a short silent film or something.

But there are different ways of being interactive. For example, The Path is interactive. The game Every Day the Same Dream is also interactive. You move your avatar around and do things. Are those things combat? No. But that isn't the only thing that makes interaction. In Every Day the Same Dream you are trying to solve a puzzle of the 5 different ways through the dream. In The Path you are searching for collectables and the Wolf.

The Art Game is, in many ways, it seems to me, most often related to Exploration games (see the link I posted above) and Point and Click Adventures. Though sometimes there are platformer references as well.

The kind of interactivity you have in a JRPG is different than in a WRPG. The kind of interactivity you have in a casual puzzler like Tetris is different than a FPS. And the kind of interaction you have in an art game is also different. It doesn't make it nonexistent, just different.

Also, Jim says walking around in a world isn't interaction...but exploring a 3D space *is* interaction. So is a rail shooter.

I see your point and I admit that does make a lot of sense, however is the interactivity adding anything? Is it merely there, like some sort of non linear movie, does it allow us to choose things or have an impact on the world around us? I think we need to scrutinize and figure out how and the degree to which we use interaction and what response it causes in the player.

Another thing Jim was talking about was a lack of stimulation ripping the player out of the experience, and I think there is some merit to that, though it is part of a bigger issue. That being that because videogames are interactive we don't just empathize with a player on a screen but are affected ourselves. This in my opinion is both a blessing and a curse. A film like Grave of the Fireflies obviously isn't a happy or fun experience, something moreso to be appreciated rather than enjoyed but this sort of feeling doesn't translate well to videogames.

Let me explain, one day I played Heavy Rain. I knew going into it that it would be a depressing story, something I thought I was prepared for. However because it was an interactive experience that I was driving forward I was just as devastated as the characters in the game, not because I was empathizing with them but because this was happening directly to me. I know this sounds like a good thing but hear me out, I couldn't appreciate the story telling because I was legitimately sad, I hating playing the game because it made me sad, so it's hard to make a game exploring negative themes because it leaves the player feeling negative as well.

Another thing is the lack of stimulation. This is the equivalent of playing a game you hate, because you hate it you neither enjoy it or can get into it to appreciate it. It would be like looking at a painting that's supposed to wrench your gut and pull at your heart strings, a painful message, only instead of it doing that it actually physically hurt to look at it because it was so garish and you can't stand to face it anymore.

"I'm not one to judge."

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

P.s. Sheep-leading made perfect sense to me.

I apologize if this has already been said, as I don't have the time to read all of the comments, but this is the first time I've disagreed with Jim, although it is only partial disagreement.

I agree that games have to utilize their interactive nature. They have to let you be a part of them. However, I think Dear Esther does this and does it well. The problem with it, in my estimation, is that it simply wont appeal to a lot of people. If you go in WANTING to be pulled into the world, TRYING to be pulled in, the story works. If you are the kind of person who goes in to see IF it will pull you in, it probably wont. There is little it does to pull you into the story, but once you are in it the story is fascinating. I don't think it is even that deep, but it is a story that is different for everyone.

Dear Esther utilizes a semi-random story, where the framework is the same, but the actual bits of narration change each time you play (selecting from a list of possible lines). The story is very, very vague, and the fact that the details are different for everyone means that everyone has their own interpretation. The game is essentially a puzzle game, but you don't interact with the environment, you interact with the story, trying to piece together disparate narrative threads to reach a conclusion as to what is going on. This makes the story so much more personal, because YOU figured out what's going on, the game didn't tell you.

Dear Esther really wouldn't work as a short-film or novel, as you suggested, because if it just told you the story it would be boring. The fact that it is a game lets the story be non-linear and it also slows the pace. The vague details don't make for a very meaty story, so just expressing it straight out would lose the pacing and immersion.

Now I realize that it isn't perfect, and I agree that it needs to let you interact with the environment a bit more. What I think would work perfectly for this style of 'interactive story' is Amnesia:The Dark Descent's click-drag physics. They let you interact with the environment in a fairly natural, immersive way. This is why I think it is awesome that Dear Esther devs TheChineseRoom are making a game under Amnesia devs Frictional Games. They will get to use the immersive Amnesia interaction system along with their talent for storytelling. I don't think Dear Esther is perfect but I love it for its uniqueness. It is the only game I've ever played that has a story that is simultaneously so linear and yet so personal. I do think that many games are guilty of just having you walk through a story so that they seem deep and arty though. Limbo almost fell into this trap, but the puzzles and atmosphere were enough to pull it through IMO. Every Day the Same Dream on the other hand, was fucking boring. I know that is was partially supposed to be to make its point, but just because you wanted your game to be boring and repetitious doesn't stop it from being, well, shit.

One game (well, mod really) actually made use of this lack of interactivity. The Stanley Parable is a Half-Life mod in which the entire point is the lack of control. I don't want to say too much more for fear of spoiling, but it is fantastic and you should definitely play it (it only takes about an hour or so to see all of the endings.) A lot of people say that these art games Jim speaks of ARE interactive because you walk around and take it at your own pace, its just that the interactivity isn't combat-based (hmm yes, go back to your 'shooty' games, plebian.) This argument is BS in my opinion because while walking around freely is technically interactivity, it is boring interactivity, and usually contributes nothing to the work in question. Dear Esther uses it to slow the pacing and to add to the atmosphere and immersion by letting you walk around and take in the scenery at your own pace.

In the end, I think you are right Jim, but I think Dear Esther is better than you give it credit for, even if it isn't the best.I don't mind the problems because it was an experiment. It has no interactivity in the environment because it was designed to see if a game could be held up by narrative ALONE. I think it succeeded, but I can easily see how someone who doesn't actually TRY to get pulled in like I did may have found it face-meltingly boring. It is similar to how some people (like me) find Amnesia terrifying while others think it is dumb. If you don't actively immerse yourself in it, the game's subtle dread-inducing tactics will have no effect on you and the actual scares will be made far less scary. Whatever, to each his own I guess, I just wanted to voice another point of view.

Oh and uh, sorry for the wall of text, I tend to do that a lot =/

him over there:
One thing I don't get is why we subject ourselves to this if we know it sucks and we're self aware of it. I mean you said mediums intentionally try to reach this stage sometimes so I assume some people know what's going on, and by extension what it will be like looking back on it so why don't we try to skip by this and make good things.

I probably just don't know enough about this (Hey I'm a don't get it!) so maybe someone else could fill me in?

Really, I think there are a bunch of what I consider to be "symbiotic delusions" we accept in the world. I think of it like two people on the internet lying to each other about their qualifications -- each knows the other is full of it, but they also know they're misrepresenting themselves... so neither calls the other out on it, because they don't want to be called out, too. Each allows the other to continue the lie so that they can enjoy the same courtesy.

The folks pushing the "next wave" art get to feed on the attention of the folks pretending to "get it," and the folks pretending to "get it" get to feel like the intellectual elite. As long as both sides agree not to tell on each other, they both get to look down their noses at all those "idiots" on the outside.

There's no way to stop this kind of thing from happening. All you can do is avoid participating in their little exchange.

Adam Jensen:
Dear Esther is not a video game. I don't care what anyone else says. You may install it like a video game, you may intend to sell it as a video game, you may call it a video game, but it's not a video game. It's something else entirely. It's a short story told from third perspective but seen from first perspective in a form that resembles a video game. If you expect it to be a video game then it sucks more than anything else you've ever played. Which is a shame. Because if only it was a puzzle adventure with horror elements it would have been spectacular. Luckily I knew what it was and I didn't expect it to be a video game. And I got it as a gift on Steam. I liked it. Great writing, great visuals. Not as a video game though. If I thought about it as a video game then I hated every second of it.

This is more or less how I feel. By most definitions of the word "game," Dear Esther is not one. It's an interactive experience with the intent on telling a story. No, it doesn't leverage a lot of the tools we've learned about creating video games as interactive experiences, but I don't think it needs to. Not every novelist needs to be, say, James Joyce, and experiment with the structure of telling a linear story; and similarly, not every interactive story needs to experiment with a common, working structure. In either cases (of novels or interactive stories), it does't make it any less "art" or even any less "original," just less "evolutionary." If every type of art medium had a rule where every piece had to be evolutionary, they'd probably evolve faster, but at the cost of having a lot more "misses" instead of "hits." It's good to have a balance of both in the world.

I was planning on buying Dear Ester, looks atmospheric and spooky, but if there's nothing to do, then i'll have a problem spending money on it.

him over there:

UnderGlass:
All I'm really seeing here is Jim proclaiming his criteria on what makes a true video game and reviling his selection titles because they don't meet them. Pretty subjective and arbitrary arguments if you ask me.

snip

I feel your last point about lack of interactivity sort of falls short. Jim isn't belittling art as a whole for not being interactive, he's criticizing art games for being games at all, if you aren't taking advantage of the interactive half of an interactive medium making it interactive in the first place is arbitrary, just make a short silent film or something.

Also I feel that Jim doesn't think they are bad, just they are trying to hard (or not enough), not making art at all just going "look at how abstract and vague and unconventional this is!" The "art game" now has it's own label and cliches instead of almost any game having the potential for art. It's like saying games like portal are games and Dear esther-esque site seeing tours are art, they are totally different and only one can have any sort of deep artistic meaning or vision.

I tried Dear Esther and it sucked ass personally, nothing substantial or artistic, just some nice scenery. By contrast Majora's Mask which I had played through recently is both a typical fun and engaging videogame while also having important and profound implications about the cycle of grief told through the adventure.

Well, that last part wasn't really trying to make a specific point. I was mainly referencing Jim's mention of boring, dusty museums. Linked to the previous paragraph you could say I'm illustrating how both activities can be entertaining and neither is wrong, despite fundamentally different approaches to active participation. The reference to art was kind of incidental.

You're right. Jim is criticizing these games for being called 'games'. Which just strikes me as shallow and narrow-minded. His assertion that they call themselves Art Games or even the existence of this designation as a genre is weird too. Who said that Henceforth It Shall Be So? Video game itself is just a term that presently has a very broad meaning, as developers experiment with the tools available to them. Jim directly insults these games because he finds them lacking in qualities he associates with games he enjoys. I'm not sure how else you could interpret "pretentious load of shit" or "stale; mundane; fucking sheep-leading (lol); non-interactive pap" other than Jim thinking they are bad but maybe I misunderstood.

If you found Dear Esther boring or inscrutable that is a totally valid reaction. Heaps of art is. But Jim saying that it is 'doing it wrong' is pompous and and a wee bit elitist. I completely disagree that Dear Esther would have been the same experience if viewed passively as a film. In a film the experience would have been crafted for me down to the last detail. I would have been unable to stop and examine the vistas or details which interested me or experience the narrative (such as it was) at the pace I set. The information, poems and story elements would have been entirely predetermined and the experience identical to everyone else's. 'Was it entertaining or successful in what it was trying to do' is not the same discussion as 'it failed because it didn't have X and all games must have X'.

The Cheshire:
Perhaps you're playing with the wrong mindset.

I am pretty sure Jim added a reply to those claims at the end of the video.

Adam Jensen:
Dear Esther is not a video game. I don't care what anyone else says. You may install it like a video game, you may intend to sell it as a video game, you may call it a video game, but it's not a video game. It's something else entirely. It's a short story told from third perspective but seen from first perspective in a form that resembles a video game. If you expect it to be a video game then it sucks more than anything else you've ever played. Which is a shame. Because if only it was a puzzle adventure with horror elements it would have been spectacular. Luckily I knew what it was and I didn't expect it to be a video game. And I got it as a gift on Steam. I liked it. Great writing, great visuals. Not as a video game though. If I thought about it as a video game then I hated every second of it.

This, but also fuck you too Jim whats wrong with a visual book and why do I need to be the hero? That's pretty childish though self-involvement is your persona.

Also you say stale, but you mention almost 3 whole games. Let me tell you about stale.

Call of Duty 1
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty world at war
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty Black Ops
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 3
(I'm sure I'm missing some.)

Nope Nothing fucking stale about that is there? Not even gonna mention a lack of choices, paths, STORY, or even a half decent shooting mechanic.

So no, thank god for innovative "Not videogames" or whatever helps you sleep at night. I'm sure they'll move on without you.

Really you sound ADD. "I always have to have something to do.". Really? Can't enjoy a sunset? A sit in a park? You need meds man.

I agree with Jim. I actually enjoyed Dear Esther and The Path, but it does feel like their "arty" aesthetic and premises are being used to excuse the fact that players are barely playing a game.

At least the themes and art are good enough in those games to succeed in distracting me from the flaw. Katawa Shoujo, by contrast, utterly failed to do the same. It's art, writing and story telling were far too clumsy to get away with the fact that all the player can do is make an arbitrary decision every 20 minutes or so.

Games that only let you walk around and watch the story happen around you: Dear Esther, Passage, The Path, Every Day The Same Dream...

...Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3...

SUPER INTELLIGENT ZING THAT NO ONE ELSE COULD HAVE THOUGHT OF! PLEASE WATCH AS I DO AN EROTIC DANCE SO THAT MY SUPERIORITY IS TOTALLY APPARENT.

Only Jim can defend a point I agree with so poorly he almost makes me change my mind. It's true that there are plenty of games who think calling themselves 'art' is a get-out-of-engaging-gameplay card, but the examples cited are horrible. Saying that Every Day the Same Dream is a game in which 'you watch story happen around you' makes me think you haven't actually played it. (Or didn't play it through the end, imagining that because it was an Art Game it didn't actually have any objective and you were only supposed to repeatedly go to work. Which I must say is an understandable reaction.)

As for Dear Esther, I agree that it's the kind of self-affirming artsy fartsy thing that doesn't actually push the medium forward, but keep in mind that the game that just came out is a graphical update of a 2008 mod. The art game/indie scene rocketed forward in those four years, and while pretentious games are still coming out and thinking they're the utmost form of human expression, back when it actually came out Dear Esther was breaking ground. You say Dear Esther doesn't bring anything new, and yet Journey does; but they both do the same thing, only in different amounts. Anything new will need some bad tries until it settles in a way that actually works, and comparing a game to one four years its senior - and which probably took some lessons from it to heart - is just mean. (It wouldn't be so if it was a review, as the game actually came out on Steam just now, but this video is meant to look at it from a perspective of gaming as a medium; it's the difference between talking about the bad translation of a Dostoevsky book on its Amazon reviews and on a master's thesis on Russian literature.)

piscian:
fuck you too Jim whats wrong with a visual book and why do I need to be the hero? That's pretty childish though self-involvement is your persona.

Perhaps it's because those "visual books" are marketed as games. If you are prepared to describe it as a game, than it deserves to be held up to the standards used to judge games.

Call of Duty 1
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty world at war
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty Black Ops
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 3
(I'm sure I'm missing some.)

Nope Nothing fucking stale about that is there? Not even gonna mention a lack of choices, paths, STORY, or even a half decent shooting mechanic.

The first three had no story, just lots of settings and exciting action sequences. They, along with Medal of Honour, brought something radically different from Half Life and Doom, providing a more streamlined and faster paced FPS. They did it well, and so can be excused for a lot. By COD3, they realised that they needed something different from WWII - something more - so they went with a totally different period, tone and story. Modern Warfare is very different for that reason. Black Ops is totally out there; a stand alone with a world of its own. So really, there is a lot of innovation, experimentation, story telling, and variation in COD games. People who tend to say "they're all the same" are like old people describing anime: "They're all big eyes and shouting; they're all basically the same thing". They're basing their argument on superficial observations. It would be ignorant to suggest Call of Duty 2 is the same as Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Really you sound ADD. "I always have to have something to do.". Really? Can't enjoy a sunset? A sit in a park? You need meds man.

I enjoy sunsets and parks, but those would make really boring games. I think that is Bob's point. Hence why he said he'd rather read a bed time story, than be sold one in game form.

RyoScar:
I was planning on buying Dear Ester, looks atmospheric and spooky, but if there's nothing to do, then i'll have a problem spending money on it.

I'd recommend it all the same. You might enjoy it despite the lack of interaction. I think it does the "none-interactive, atmospheric, exploratory poem" as good as it possibly can.

maninahat:

piscian:
fuck you too Jim whats wrong with a visual book and why do I need to be the hero? That's pretty childish though self-involvement is your persona.

Perhaps it's because those "visual books" are marketed as games. If you are prepared to describe it as a game, than it deserves to be held up to the standards used to judge games.

Call of Duty 1
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty world at war
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty Black Ops
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 3
(I'm sure I'm missing some.)

Nope Nothing fucking stale about that is there? Not even gonna mention a lack of choices, paths, STORY, or even a half decent shooting mechanic.

The first three had no story, just lots of settings and exciting action sequences. They, along with Medal of Honour, brought something radically different from Half Life and Doom, providing a more streamlined and faster paced FPS. They did it well, and so can be excused for a lot. By COD3, they realised that they needed something different from WWII - something more - so they went with a totally different period, tone and story. Modern Warfare is very different for that reason. Black Ops is totally out there; a stand alone with a world of its own. So really, there is a lot of innovation, experimentation, story telling, and variation in COD games. People who tend to say "they're all the same" are like old people describing anime: "They're all big eyes and shouting; they're all basically the same thing". They're basing their argument on superficial observations. It would be ignorant to suggest Call of Duty 2 is the same as Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Really you sound ADD. "I always have to have something to do.". Really? Can't enjoy a sunset? A sit in a park? You need meds man.

I enjoy sunsets and parks, but those would make really boring games. I think that is Bob's point. Hence why he said he'd rather read a bed time story, than be sold one in game form.

My only comment would be, if they are so innovative and original then why are they using the same title over and over? It's call a dead horse more a skeletal horse at this point. Every reviewer EVERY REVIEWER starts off with "Well its the same old CoD BUT NEW MAPS!" I'm not exaggerating and yes for every new interesting anime that comes out(once every 5 years) there's 600 of the same old repetitive shit. Good analogy.

Ok I supposed thats two comments but the point stands.

I found looking at the back ground and strange notes on the walls in Dear Esther better then 25 hours of meaningless explosions from Battlefield and modern war. Knowing what game was about before hand helped put me in a different state of mind. And that is what Jim failed to do, you can't play Skyrim like you do Team fortress 2. You have to change your expectations to fit what you are playing. I didn't mind the lack of things to do, but when I found things alone the way that I would always take with me. Medical supplies, etc, it didn't make any sense to me. Was I listening to a story, Living a story, or writing the story? A puzzle or two would have been a nice to break up the long session, maybe something from the writing on the walls. Or more freedom to explore, like the group of ships at one point. The game barred you from going inside and checking them out. I would love a large detailed world ready for me to look at every plant and rock.

A little hard on Dear Esther wasn't he? I mean granted it's not really an engaging "game" but it's an interesting way to deliver narrative. The minimal player interaction (moving and looking) draws you in just that much more than if you read a similar story as piece of writing, or watched a film composed of nice scenery with some narration. The disadvantage though, is that while I sometimes feel like re-reading short stories, I would never want to replay Dear Esther. Walking around just takes too damn long.

I enjoyed Dear Esther, a statement I feel neither a need to defend nor to proselytize. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and that's just fine; I'm just glad there is a space within the market for games of the type.

I do think there are things it could have done better, though. Something like Half-Life 2, with its speechless main character, partly shows a way: pay attention to what the player is paying attention to. I understand there are some randomized elements in Dear Esther, some variations for multiple play-throughs, but I confess I haven't yet felt compelled to give it another two hours in the hope of finding those withheld bits of narrative any more than I feel compelled (rather than cheated) to find the 117th hidden golden ring in game X to get the "real ending". One of the things that sets aside the games I really feel worth my time these days is that they feel like they're conforming to the way I play, rather than constantly punishing me or re-routing me for not playing the way the short-sighted designer envisioned. I think a game like Dear Esther certainly could deliver that experience. But we're not there yet.

I actually liked "Every Day the Same Dream". I don't think it's worth playing twice, but I do like it.

(there is sort of a way to "win")

After I read your review of Journey on destructoid, I knew this episode was coming.

I showed your review to all of my friends to show how the guy who consistently bashes art games loves Journey and you should go play it.

Shadow of the Colossus. That's What I consider an art game done right. Beautiful world with a great story and message, but still revolving around your quest and the unique and engaging puzzle/boss fights make it one of my most favorite 'Arty Game'.

In a way your right, but in a way your amazingly wrong.

With many games of artistic vein the message is important element. Just as much as combat and mechanics. The bubble thats referenced is like conveying the message of helplessness and being out of control over ones fate. Look how well that worked for a game like Amnesia TDD

I grant you that many art games fail, and its because of the failure to balance the message along with the other traditional gaming elements, much like the visually repeatedly pointed out "The Path". But to imply an art game is a failure because it keeps the player in a bubble of sorts is like to suggest that a game like Myst and or Riven was a shit art game, because its premise is built around the same thing. The narrative dominating the interactivity and rendering the player frustrated at limitations they do not think should be there.

Its not that you miss the point,cause you clearly get it. Its that your choosing to ignore the points relevance and assign your own level of validity. When you make that choice, then make a video about it, your engaged in a little sheep leading of your own.

Being a fan of "art" games, I think Jim's criticism is valid. Although you would think art games would be striving for originality and innovation, half the time we are applauding games that don't really feel very original at all.

Here's a few art games I feel do try to be more ambitious than "walk around moody environment, hear/read narration" and why the genre might not be hopeless.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/547881
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/459147
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/544332
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/545788
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/495076
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/585599
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/591565
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/555181
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/569834

I think most games should remember to not completely sacrifice entertainment for artistic pretensions, that would help them considerably.

im not even going to give any sort of explanation, but i think the modern warfares are the CODs that are the same thing with different maps.
excluding any slight graphical improvements

The reason I liked Dear Esther was because the game encouraged the player (yes I use that term lightly) to experience as much or as little of the environment and the story as they wanted, it felt freeing to not have 'Objective' floating in the distance with an arrow pointing down, saying, 'go here and do this and kill them'. Plus the added bonus of decrypting all those little clues was kind of fun, I guess you could say that was the interaction.

In short, it was good if you allowed yourself to become immersed in the experience.

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