Flower Creator Loves Action Games, Questions Their Usefulness

Flower Creator Loves Action Games, Questions Their Usefulness

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If you're looking for a distraction, then videogames are just the ticket. But when it comes to more practical lessons, Jenova Chen thinks you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Flower creator and head of thatgamecompay, Jenova Chen, doesn't hate action games - quite the opposite in fact - but he isn't convinced that playing them online really teaches people anything useful. Speaking to the Official PlayStation Blog, Chen said that as he has gotten older, he started to see that games could be a lot more relevant than they currently are.

Chen said that while pulling off an infinite hit combo was fun, it wasn't an especially useful skill. Online gaming couldn't compare to games like chess or poker, he added, which taught players skills like strategic thinking and deception.

He thought that in a lot of cases, the design of online games was quite basic - around the same level as schoolyard games - and the only real abilities required were accuracy, manual dexterity, or a tolerance for grinding. Making online gaming more relevant, he said, would take a complete redesign from the ground up, with a much greater emphasis placed on social interaction.

Chen stressed that he wasn't saying there was anything wrong with action games, however, and said that they were important to the industry. He just felt that people didn't have an endless supply of free time so it was important that their entertainment be relevant on some level - be that social, intellectual or emotional.

Source: via CVG

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StarCraft says hi. It's chess on steroids. Although I can see what he's trying to say.

And StarCraft isn't exactly an action game.

Logan Westbrook:

Chen stressed that he wasn't saying there was anything wrong with action games, however, and said that they were important to the industry. He just felt that people didn't have an endless supply of free time so it was important that their entertainment be relevant on some level - be that social, intellectual or emotional.

Social= WoW
Intellectual= StarCraft (strategy)
Emotional= Red Dead Redemption

HankMan:

Emotional= Red Dead Redemption

I don't think Red Dead's multiplayer is very emotional.

HankMan:

Logan Westbrook:

Chen stressed that he wasn't saying there was anything wrong with action games, however, and said that they were important to the industry. He just felt that people didn't have an endless supply of free time so it was important that their entertainment be relevant on some level - be that social, intellectual or emotional.

Social= WoW
Intellectual= StarCraft (strategy)
Emotional= Red Dead Redemption

The only social interactions I had on WoW were insanely high levels asking to dual me and then insulting me for declining. And others calling me a noob when I asked for help on a group quest(note to developers, stop with the fucking forced-group quests).

I did not have a good experience with WoW...

And Red Dead didn't really do anything emotional for me. Wait, it did a bit, it made me feel anger towards Marston. Since he just came off as a prick to me.
Forgot we were talking about multiplayer...

Still, I felt the same emotion in multiplayer, anger. Angry because every time I try to play some dick comes along, kills me for no damn reason, then laughs about it and calls me a noob.

OT: I'd like to see online games be more social. And by that I mean more friendly. But I doubt that'll ever happens, so yeah.

Honestly, very very VERY very very few games teach any skills you can use outside of the game. I hope he doesn't think Flower does.

Spies vs. Mercs involves a good amount of strategy and deception and I'd consider it an online, action game.

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
StarCraft says hi. It's chess on steroids. Although I can see what he's trying to say.

And StarCraft isn't exactly an action game.

really? I dont find starcraft nearly as mentally stimulating as chess, I am a gamer but I think for the most part its mastering a few key variables and that is about it.

I think that's quite a silly view to take. If anything the multiplayer parts of action games teaches more about strategy than most. Like poker or chess you are against an opponent equally, you have all the options they have. If you want to consistently win you have to develop a strategy because it doesn't matter how good you are at quickscoping in a game like MW2, if you run out into the open with reckless abandon it will take seconds before you die. The entire basis of the game is killing your opponent as much as possible without dying, it even gives us the Killstreak reward system. In order to get killstreaks you have to stay alive, this means anticipating where your opponent is going to be and moving from cover to cover, developing strategy but also a kind of strategy-on-the-go unlike chess and poker what's more there is plenty of deception to be had as well. If you watch teams play they will move around helping each other and working together and they are much more likely to win this way than a team who are all working individually. If he's really saying that "the only real abilities required were accuracy, manual dexterity, or a tolerance for grinding" then I could not disagree more.

These skills are of course only useful in game but how is that at all different to chess or anything else? This guy is an idiot if he thinks that games are belittled by that fact. The fact is while typing may give your fingers greater dexterity, if you want to learn the Piano a much better way to learn is to actually play the Piano and that fact will never change.

I agree to an extent, but he also forgets that most people play games to have some effing fun. while having meaningfull and thought inducing games is nice every once in a while that is certantly not what I want every single freaking time I play a game.

psrdirector:

really? I dont find starcraft nearly as mentally stimulating as chess, I am a gamer but I think for the most part its mastering a few key variables and that is about it.

You should check out Code S GSL! Sadly, it really takes that long before the game starts to really get interesting strategically. I do think one needs to get to the point where micro/macro is no longer a concern and you can focus entirely on tactics, but that can take a really, really long time.

I loved Flower. Shame that The Journey won't be available for the XBLA. Really would have loved playing that game. Concepts sound fresh and unique.

I really don't like a lot of things that come out of Jenova Chen's mouth. I like that he's pushing artistic boundaries (though I'd also argue that he's not really pushing as much as people think) I dislike his condescending tone towards games that don't try to be "art games." For instance, in this situation, I'd like to present four words and two numbers; Team 2 Dead Fortress Left 4. Err, Left 4 dead, Team Fortress 2. The former is an amazing social tool, giving players both a purpose on which to jump start their conversation, and frequent lulls for it to continue, with highs to break it up a bit. Plus, it can be an incredibly emotional experience to be saved from a hunter, or pull through in a seemingly impossible situation. And Team Fortress 2, requires a huge amount of both team and individual strategy, to a literally indescribable degree. I'm hardly the best sniper, but I can still get to the top five on the scoreboard with good positioning, team coordination, map knowledge and mindgames.

I agree with him totally.

But still the textbook definition of a game is - an activity where the process is more important, than the result. So it's OK to unwind once in a while. Even better if at the same time you got something from it.

As far as online action games go I don't think a majority of people play them to have fun. They may think they are having fun but it is more likely closer to how fun an addiction is. I remember playing a few online games for 8+ hours one time and I realized I was miserable. There's a lot of repetition in online action gaming and very little positive social interaction. If Chen wants to attempt a more engaging online experience and wants other developers to do the same I support that.

HankMan:

Logan Westbrook:

Chen stressed that he wasn't saying there was anything wrong with action games, however, and said that they were important to the industry. He just felt that people didn't have an endless supply of free time so it was important that their entertainment be relevant on some level - be that social, intellectual or emotional.

Social= WoW
Intellectual= StarCraft (strategy)
Emotional= Red Dead Redemption

Exceptions to the rule, and they're hardly exceptions. Don't cherry pick, you know damn well what he's saying.

I agree with Chen, video games seem to just focus on the distraction part of the game, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that from time to time, there are so much more things that video games can do. We just need someone ballsy enough to do them.

...His name is Jenova?

Sweet.

ITT: Lots of people attempting to deify pastimes.

HankMan:
Social= WoW
Intellectual= StarCraft (strategy)
Emotional= Red Dead Redemption

Well, isn't that just rich? Maybe you should tell the US Army about StarCraft, and the shrinks of Harvard about the intricacies of RDR!

Pfft. The only tangible benefit of any of these games is relaxation and the possibility of meaningful social interaction, and that doesn't go for RDR. There is just as much to gain from watching Salt as there is from playing RDR.

 

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