F'ing Up Isn't So Bad

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Much as I hate to say this given Yahtzee's views on them but - MMOs. Some do it better than others, but they're almost all built around the idea of allowing you to fuck up so badly you die, but still allow you to carry on playing without having to go back and reload. You may or may not need to start your quest from the beginning and you'll probably get a financial cost to make it clear that you did, in fact, fuck up, but the game carries on. You might even have done enough that your friends can finish the quest without you, turning your apparent fuck up into a heroic sacrifice instead.

Then you have Eve, where fucking up can mean anything from getting into the wrong fight and going out in a blaze of glory, to simply not paying enough attention while carrying something valuable. Or looking like you might be carrying valuable. Or looking like you'll make a pretty explosion. And Eve actually manages to have multiple layers of fucking up available to you. Losing a fight and having your ship blown up is a fairly minor one. But you can then compound that by having been flying something you couldn't afford to lose, or by not buying insurance and losing skills as well as just money, or by having started a fight that promptly gets someone to declare war on you. A single fuck up has the potential to cascade into a giant clusterfuck involving hundreds of other people. And all the while the rest of the game carries on in the background completely oblivious. Of course, not every enjoys Eve and it wouldn't work in many genres anyway, but that's how to make a game that really lets people fuck up in style.

Shjade:
Not every battle will lose you the game, but a single pivotal battle very easily can.

Take Starcraft (or Starcraft 2, either way the principle is the same). Early on in the game you find yourself attacked by a far stronger push than you're expecting. You manage to hold it off, but you take significant damage to your economy in the process, enough so that for the rest of the game you're pretty much behind. Roughly seven to ten minutes later your opponent follows up with a larger push you simply don't have enough units to defend. You lose.

You appear to be confusing Starcraft with a strategy game. Much as I love the RTS genre and have done since I first played Dune 2, it's a severely misnamed genre since there is no "S" actually involved at any point. You can't lose a battle in Starcraft without losing the game because the entire game is just a single battle. What Zhukov means by strategy games, I assume, is games like Civilisation, Total War, Hearts of Iron, and so on. Games that aren't about building a couple of tanks and telling them to attack another tank, but are instead about the actual strategic decisions of how many armies to build, where and when to attack, what territory to take and what to accept losing, and so on. If you lose your entire invading army in Civilisation, you've lost the battle, you might lose the war and you might even lose some territory. But unless you're really bad at the game it certainly won't mean you're guaranteed to lose the whole game later. Hell, in my current game of Europa Universalis, one of the most powerful countries is one that didn't even exist for 50 or so years because it lost all of its battles and was completely wiped out. A rebellion followed by some good choices and a bit of luck now has it dominating most of northern Europe.

It's like failing a quick time event v.s. failing in a fight against a dragon in Skyrim. A fight that results in you hilariously ragdolling down the mountainside. That, or screwing up the dive and landing on your character's face. It just has a certain...charm to it. Failing is irritating. Failing in a comical manner is always funny.

So I guess the real arguement is that it's better to be able to fail in a way that actually improves your future gameplay, or give you an extremely good laugh.

This is why the youtube video of the guy burning down his house in Minecraft was the best selling point there could possibly be for the game. Unscripted, emergent gameplay is by far the most unique and memorable.

And this is why Dwarf Fortress is the best game ever made. The whole game resolves around screwing up and having fun doing it.

Yessss this article is great . It's very true . Last gen EVERY game let you fuck up EVERYTHING . It was solely about your skill as a player therefore the whole experience was about a billion times more satisfying than those terrible modern games that could just as well be movies with tiny gameplay segments that any five year old could get through, inbetween . For example I also hated having to watch these stupid executions in the darkness 2 over and over and over again . Modern games are always like "HEY MAN CHECK THIS OUT ITS FUCKING AWESOME" and older games (or games that still have the mentality of older games like Kane And Lynch Dead Men (which I wished Yahtzee had reviewed), a game that's far from perfect but very fun in an oldschool kinda way) uhm where was I .. oh yeah right older games were more like "Hey here's a game we made, we hope you like it"

This explains why some games seem fantastic and your head tells you it's great game but your heart doesn't agree.

I know Yahztee hates multiplayer shooters but a large part of their appeal is that it's based on f**king-up. You are well aware of just how badly you can f**k-up at every turn.

There's also a more sinister aspect of people never f**king up in movies and on TV too. I have to constantly explain to my 4 year old son when he sees footage of things like a guy doing amazing stunts on his bike, that this isn't the first time that guy has tried to do that stunt.

He had to practice over and over, doing smaller stunts, and he probably hurt himself a lot. It explains why you see so many kids try something these days and if they're not instantly good at it they give up. They're being fooled into thinking you can either do it straight away or not at all.

Guess that's why "You've been frame/Funniest Home Videos" is still so popular. Besides watching people f**k themselves up it also gives a more realistic sense of just how useless we can all be a lot of the time.

I've been saying this for years, ever since a mate told me how cool Devil May Cry was when he first discovered it. I think that's when I realised how uninvolved button-mashers are. Yes the moves are cool, but continuously hitting the attack button while the character looks cool doesn't give any feeling of accomplishment.

When this topic comes up, my go-to example is the Jedi Knight series. They added automatic lightsaber moves in the last one (Jedi Academy), but ignoring those (which people rarely used), or looking at Jedi Outcast, the character's moves looked clumsy and didn't flow together like a proper Jedi Knight's moves should be, unless you timed your moves right. But you were in charge of making combinations of moves and using the powers. It required proper timing and proper chaining of moves to make something that looks good AND gets the job done.

Compare it with Force Unleashed, where everything looks great, but you have no control. Just mash the attack button and the character dances around with finesse while everyone gets sliced. Impressive to look at, but the player's involvement is merely one step closer than merely ordering the character to "kill everyone" with a voice command.

Kahani:

Shjade:
Not every battle will lose you the game, but a single pivotal battle very easily can.

Take Starcraft (or Starcraft 2, either way the principle is the same). Early on in the game you find yourself attacked by a far stronger push than you're expecting. You manage to hold it off, but you take significant damage to your economy in the process, enough so that for the rest of the game you're pretty much behind. Roughly seven to ten minutes later your opponent follows up with a larger push you simply don't have enough units to defend. You lose.

You appear to be confusing Starcraft with a strategy game. Much as I love the RTS genre and have done since I first played Dune 2, it's a severely misnamed genre since there is no "S" actually involved at any point. You can't lose a battle in Starcraft without losing the game because the entire game is just a single battle. What Zhukov means by strategy games, I assume, is games like Civilisation, Total War, Hearts of Iron, and so on. Games that aren't about building a couple of tanks and telling them to attack another tank, but are instead about the actual strategic decisions of how many armies to build, where and when to attack, what territory to take and what to accept losing, and so on. If you lose your entire invading army in Civilisation, you've lost the battle, you might lose the war and you might even lose some territory. But unless you're really bad at the game it certainly won't mean you're guaranteed to lose the whole game later. Hell, in my current game of Europa Universalis, one of the most powerful countries is one that didn't even exist for 50 or so years because it lost all of its battles and was completely wiped out. A rebellion followed by some good choices and a bit of luck now has it dominating most of northern Europe.

You appear to be confusing strategy with longevity. Chess is a strategy game that is a single battle from beginning to end as well; are you going to suggest there is no strategy involved in it for that reason? Or perhaps because all the possible moves are known before you begin? (Hint: the latter is true for most games if given the same level of analysis chess has had over the years) Strategy games don't require dedicating a month to play. They require strategic planning to be a key part of gameplay. Starcraft has that, therefore, etc.

For the sake of argument, however, let's assume your premise is correct and Starcraft isn't a strategy game. Okay, Civilization, then. I played a round of Civ only a couple weeks ago in which I was powering hard on economic and cultural advances and, without warning (because the AI likes to be a dick), found an entire army of my "friend's" abruptly on my doorstep. I managed to fend off that initial assault, but China kept expanding its control out around me while I was recovering and I just couldn't keep up at that point given there was no way to really push out my non-military advances with so much territory gobbled up by the opposition. Got steamrolled later on; there was really no way to come back from the position I was in. One battle, game-ending, just not at that exact moment.

Like so many previous XP's I'm finding myself in almost total agreement with what is being said. Messing things up can be brilliant. The moments like in Just Cause 2 when I developed a really stylish plan, where in my head a scenario plays out where I stick some bombs to a car, speed towards some solders, leap out, detonate the car-missile just as it hits the soldiers, picking off the strays with my pistols from the air before landing perfectly on nearby roof. However when I actually attempt this to find what actually happens is that in all the excitement I detonate the car about 10 feet before where I should have, missing everyone then face planting onto the wall of a building only to be turned into a bullet sandwich is the sort of thing I find so memorable.

However if there's one thing I will say, it's that I really don't mind the whole die --> respawn from nearest save method, purely because I'll always know I failed. What I do mind is games where you have plan A, then the moment that messes up you die. I much prefer having plan A, then when you mess it up you can still have a chance with plan B, and depending how skilled you are plan C.

The best example I can think of this is Skyrim. When I'm being an assassin (the best build) there is always an added challenge in that you can't really afford to be seen. At the start of the game I have 100 Health, 60 levels later I might only have 150 Health, so a high level Draugr can 2 or 3 hit kill me, so I have to desperately struggle through. What I like is that the struggle will never be as rewarding as doing it properly, yet it's tense and can be done. If I enter a room with 3 Draugr Scourges and 2 Deathlords I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction when I clear the room without detection. If I am seen, sure I can get all the enemies into a nice little chain then Fus Ro Dah them all into a corner and fire arrows at the body pile until everything stops moving but it'll never be as rewarding, so I refine my tactics and try harder next time.

So like everyone else I enjoy a game which doesn't punish you for cocking up when trying something different. Incidentally, it's why I'm not really a fan of most stealth games. Even if I have multiple methods of completing a mission like in Hitman: Blood Money it always comes down to how perfectly I can plan my route of attack, how perfectly I know the area, and how long I'm prepared to wait. I can see full well why people would enjoy it, but if I have to spend 20 minutes surveying an area, tracking enemies etc. then another 40 initiating my plan I like to have a functional but unrewarding failsafe. Call me a rubbish gamer all you want, but if I'm 30 minutes into my hour long mission when a mis-timed break from one cover to a next results in the whole building I'm in being alerted to my presence or not waiting an arbitrary 20 minutes for a guard to stand in the position I want him in results in my instantly failing a mission then I just get bored and annoyed with a game.

So basically what I'm saying is I can deal with a game killing me and knocking my progress back 15 or 20 minutes as long as I have a chance to make amends for a mistake and can pull an unlikely victory from the jaws of defeat. I don't like a game which knocks my progress back by an equal amount of time by an equal amount of time where a single mistake leaves me dead.

Moments like being on Arkham Asylum with a room full of 6 or so armed thugs only to be shot down to a slither of health are made all the better when you can swing up to the gargoyles, have your heart pounding and up your game so you take out every thug knowing full well 1 shot will be enough for a kill are infinitely better and more rewarding then sticking your head up in the wrong nanosecond and having it blown off by a sniper 2 blocks away on any first person shooter, only to be sent back 20 minutes and then knowing that perhaps next time you should look for a sniper you had no way of knowing existed.

I like Dungeons of Dredmor for this.
The whole game revolves around how far you can get before you fuck up.
And then you're dead, permanently. Try again, from the beginning, until you fuck up again.
There are even trophies for fucking up a specific way.

Left 4 Dead is probably the best example of a game that makes fucking up fun. So many good times arise out of doing something wrong that makes the situation drastically worse (car alarms are a great example)

i would like to point out the game WORMS, i still play that because of the awfully beautiful fuckups that happen all the time...
to me its one of the time-less games that stay fun in online multiplayer, no matter how good you are you will stil get to experience the 'it almost worked' moments and the 'damn i did not expect to work out right' moments...

to me it has to do with a luck factor in games... if you want skill to be the only factor, go play chess!

I'd like to mention that hilarious fuck-ups are part and parcel of Diablo 2 and 3's Hardcore mode. There's nothing funnier than watching someone who's gotten to max level (and supposedly Inferno difficulty but Hell is funny too) die due to some circumstance, known or unknown. It's like the money shot, you expect them to fail at some point and when they do, everything's golden.

I bet you could make a web series just about dying in hilarious ways on Hardcore mode in D3.

This EP makes a lot of sense. You can't appreciate successes if it's practically handed to you and you never risk losing it. Fun practically can't be had if there's no challenge, and there's no challenge without the possibility of losing or making a mistake.

This is why I play competitive Starcraft. Or Street Fighter.

Or endurance-based games such as Tetris.

Or brutal strategy games such as XCOM.

Heck, it's one of the reasons I might actually play Guild Wars 2 for more than a month. 'cos there are quests that you don't even get to see unless other quests are failed.

Hmmmm... well i guess a lot of games, especially sandbox games, take a very 'Organic' approach to gameplay but they often use that as an excuse to just let the player wander around dicking around. Dicking around engines are good but i think most games would benefit from gameplay that is a mixture of scripted and dynamic, like man payne is.

To bring back my massive STALKER fetish i think the series is a good example of great dynamic moments but without the "Do what you feel like we don't really care" outlook of games like fallout 3. Everyone i know has had a radically different experience of most encounters in the game but still within a relatively linear structure.

Zhukov:
It occurs to me that it would be nice if games could find a way for the player to fail every now and again without getting a game over and subsequent failure-cancelling time rewind.

Its been done before but guess which game is going to do that now! Call of Duty Black Ops 2. If you fail a side mission you fail it and the story changes in response to that. Or at least, that's the theory.

Anyway this is why I love multiplayer, it's inherently organic and allows for the greatest victories and the most hilarious fuck ups. In particular, this is why I like games like Battlefield and Tribes.

Reminds me of how Losing is Fun in Dwarf Fortress. Even if everyone dies and all is lost, what happened there gets incorporated into the lore of your installation of the game, and you may see references to it in future forts, like a crafter making a commemorative statue of something that happened back there

I am enjoying people making their own stories whilst playing the DayZ mod, in particular when they try and play it like a traditional FPS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBwKrFy3qhc

I have enjoyed this series as there was definite progression in the story
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL68854CD9F0A0C4A7&feature=plcp

Even getting a helicopter after all the effort it takes does not guarantee you will win
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gy373G-ttA

Every let's play for the mod seems to play out differently so far.

Some of my favourite games are ones where dusting up doesn't end the game as often as it does. You want to really make the player feel their losses? Make them clean up the mess if Dr. Venereal manages to blow off the prison gates or make them live with a character who has to jump to attack every enemy because the good doctor is fond of knee-high buzzsaw traps. The best part is there's no interruption of play.
Also this kind of stuff, and organic gameplay too, seems to work better anywhere the devs aren't putting the big spotlight. The more casual and seeming-normal-to-gameplay something is, the less likely it is to be overly scripted to do whatever Tony Hawk thing the devs imagined when they coded it.

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