161: Indie or Die

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WhitemageofDOOM:

There may be nothing wrong inherently with trying to focus on emotional depth, but if you sacrifice entertainment value for emotional depth it becomes a problem. Emotional depth should increase the entertainment value, not detract from it.

I agree with you actually. Sacrificing entertainment value is a no-no. I just see a lot of the "entertainment only" crowd as being just as elitist as the "artistic" community, in that they criticize anything that doesn't meet their "pure entertainment" standards.

I think we both agree that art should be entertaining. I just feel that this should be the springboard for bigger and better things, not the endpoint. Game designers should be aiming for more than just entertainment. But they definitely should not forget to keep the entertainment part in.

That isn't exactly what i meant, you might be mulling over it in your head what the story is saying. But you have no impact on the story, you aren't really doing anything with it. You can take away ideas from the story but that doesn't really affect the story itself, since you can choose to ignore any ideas in the story.

I don't think that's necessarily true. I think games just make the audience/gamer's involvement more explicit. In some games you can decide whether your character is good or evil, for example. In other media, like movies and books, you can also decide whether characters are good or evil. Maybe you can't alter the words on the page or the scenes in the film, but you can alter what they mean. And that, I think, is actually more important.

Is Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness" a villain, a tragic figure, a symbol of civilization, etc? Figuring out that question is a more involving interaction with a piece of art than most videogames provide. And each person will figure it out differently for themselves, meaning that the book is never really the same text each time a person reads it. Most games allow you only unimportant interactions, like whether you shoot a zombie in the head or knees, with a gun or rocket launcher.

I guess you could say that videogames allow you to change the actual storylines sometimes. Like, say, the end of Half-Life you can choose to join the aliens or not. But some movies and books let you do that, too. This is a really lame example, but it's all I can think of at the moment... I remember having lots of unresolved debates about whether the old lady dies at the end of the movie Titanic. Some people say she does, some people say she doesn't. Importantly, the ambiguity means there are really (at least) two different endings to that movie that people choose depending on their interpretation of the movie. That means there are actually (at least) two storylines to pick from, just like many a videogame.

For good examples of games where the gameplay tells a story, try Facade or Dwarf Fortress.

Facade - http://interactivestory.net/
Dwarf Fortress - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_Fortress

They're more artsy fartsy than you might like, but imagine if character interactions in an RPG were as good as they are in Facade. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Jared Newman:

"'You died.'"

"Either the audience was particularly bloodthirsty that night, or this 14-year-old kid just pointed out how often death is synonymous with failure in videogames."

Read Full Article

Or maybe the kid knew something nobody else seems to have realized yet, when a performer has a bad show it is frequently referred to as either "bombing" or "dying."

Well for a game to be interesting, you need something at stake. The biggest thing that often can be put to stake is your own life (and the fate of humanity as we know it). When you raise the stakes this high, death is a manditory punishment for failure. You wouldn't have anything at stake if you can't be killed, so the conflict of the story dissapates.

I don't see this as a problem. Detective Mystery novels also require deaths. Readers are far less likely to continue reading a story if the mystery isn't dealing with something particularly serious. Death is the only thing that can really encaptivate a reader, or justify the elaborate nature of a story. Poirot would be boring if he spent 200 pages, looking for the one who stole a thousand pound necklace. It wouldn't justify the effort. You can get away with that kind of thing in a short story format, but for anything longer, death is obligatory.

TheEndlessGrey:

Jared Newman:

"'You died.'"

"Either the audience was particularly bloodthirsty that night, or this 14-year-old kid just pointed out how often death is synonymous with failure in videogames."

Read Full Article

Or maybe the kid knew something nobody else seems to have realized yet, when a performer has a bad show it is frequently referred to as either "bombing" or "dying."

That is fairly likely. Well done, you killed the thread.

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