In response to “Confessions of a GameStop Employee, Part Three” from The Escapist Forum:

GeneticallyModifiedDucks:
It’s like people are deaf… I can only imagine what working for a store like that must be like.

It’s often very frustrating, but I don’t think any more so than any other retail job. The general public has an almost astounding lack of respect for retail employees (or so it seems). You just find ways to cope.

Easiest way I deal with it is to focus on the customers who are actually there to enjoy themselves. Parents who smile graciously when I help them out, kids who walk out of the store saying “Thank you!” while clutching a new DS game, or the occasional regular who chats up the staff for fifteen minutes about the newest games. That makes the job worth it, even though I occasionally want to take an Xbox and crack it over the head of some of our customers.

I still have yet to forgive people for their inability to put game cases back where they found them.

JeanLuc761

I lost a retail job I held for 3 years thanks to random crazy women calling in to complain about me, so that particular anecdote hits home. I was a model employee, the regular customers all loved me, but because I was the only guy besides the manager who worked there and I’m the stoic type by nature, people (soccer moms, it was always crazy soccer moms) kept calling our customer feedback line to complain about my “attitude problem”. Which I didn’t have of course, I was unflinchingly polite and courteous in all my customer interactions, I’m just not gregarious and boundlessly cheerful so whenever there was something else bothering them they would project their issues onto me.

Never mind that I’d have customers asking for my name specifically so they could call and leave positive feedback about me, or telling other patrons all about how helpful I was – when you get X amount of anonymous customer complaints over interval Y, they fire you, whether or not any of the complaints were determined to be actually valid (I’d have to ‘review’ them with my manager whenever one came in, and the consensus was always that I’d done nothing wrong in my interactions with these customers, not that it mattered).

The best (worst) part is I’d never ever see these complaints coming, because I didn’t have customers walking away in a rage or obviously upset (at me anyways, that would happen every so often) – they wouldn’t say anything to me, they’d just go home and complain about me to a machine, and then I lost my damn job.

Reading this article kind of dredges up some bad memories. Thank goodness I’m out of the retail business.

Gildan Bladeborn

***

In response to “I Punch the Body Electric” from The Escapist Forum:

Brendan Main:
I Punch the Body Electric

Forget petting tigers and swinging swords: The truly important question is which motion controller best replicates smacking someone in the face.

Read Full Article

Motion controls are like 3D–they’re cute, but little else.

These gimmicks engage only one sense at a time, and not even fully. The problem here is that even if you do fully engage one sense, there’s a reason your body has five (or six). A stimulus needs to register on more than one of these to be considered of immediate consequences (either threat or boon). Yes, you can see the storm… but can you hear it? Nope? Then you’re good.

Motion controls attempt to engage your sense of touch. Unfortunately for them, all you touch is the controller, and all you feel is the vibration of said controller from time to time. This means that it isn’t engaging your whole body. It’s engaging that bit of surface area wrapped around the controller… and if there’s no controller, even less. You’ve got the ability to use motion to input information, but you feel no response of any sort. This one-way engagement fails to captivate the senses.

The controller is trying to tell your body, “You’re really doing this!” Unfortunately, your other senses, and the only-partly-engaged sense of touch, are getting plenty of (absent) information that tells them, “No, in fact, you’re not.” 3-D has a similar problem, in that it is at its most effective only when it fills your entire field of view (to include peripheral vision). Otherwise, you’ve still got other visual information that (thankfully) informs your brain, “This is not really three-dimensional.”

Those folks that say, “Motion controls without force feedback are pointless” are correct. But only partly so. Even with incredible force feedback, should that day come, motion controls will not be able to do the job alone. You’ve got to have a unity of visual, audio, AND tactile information if you want to fool the body enough to immerse the mind. My only hope is that taste and smell can take a pass on this one, unless the future of gaming is in Cooking Mama.

Dastardly

***

In response to “Tripping the Arcade Fantastic” from The Escapist Forum:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds… prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going “Look how clever we are!”. There is a lot more happening OUTSIDE of this mainly American model of ‘indie’ (which has come to mean the genre of “Pretencious platformer”) where people are making full 3d games without being owned by giant publishers but instead using them to their advantage. Look at places like 4A games, CD Projekt RED, GSC Gameworld, Codemasters. This is the model i would like to see indie games take, games that can stand soulder to shoulder with the big boys in ambition and scope not prencious little 2d projects.

‘Indie’ exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to ‘the evil mainstream’ in which it exists in the vaccum of it’s own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

As it stands i can’t help but seeing these people has buying a bottle of wine, some thift store cloths and pretending to be a wino at the train station. Sure being indie is ‘cool’ but sometimes you actually have to go beyond making games about stick men which is really a metaphore for capitalism.

The pretentious appearance of the indie games is probably spot on, but it’s just a response to the dull formula of the mainstream. When the movers and shakers of the industry are just rereleasing ‘Space Marines in Tones of Gray’ for the 15th time, you aren’t going to change the way people think with Minecraft, no matter how cool it is. You’re going to make games that are actually gritty and depressing and bring gamers’ attention to how, no matter what the big shots say, there are alternatives. Most gamers won’t even understand this alternative, but that’s how they end up hearing about Minecraft on the first place.

Plus there are plenty of indie developers that start with high brow artistic titles and end up with gameplay-first retro games that still manage to be revolutionary. Terry Cavanagh’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ is pretty high brow, but you can see how it led to the simple but tightly woven VVVVVV. Overall it’s common for most creative people to produce consistently more accessible works as their trade grows better.

And of course… the article was all about people drinking beer and talking shit while playing games on old tyme arcades. It wasn’t exactly Snobcon 2010.

The Random One

***

In response to “The Philosophy of Game Design, Part Three” from The Escapist Forum: I can tell there are much confused wanderings in your soul. I have come to make all things clear, and shall now give you the one true definition of art. Prepare your mind.

Art is any intentional form of human expression.

There you have it. Hear me now, believe me later.

(Oh, and video games have elements of art, some games have major art elements, some have minor. Does this make games on the whole art? I’m not sure. I’d probably prefer to call games simply “games” and not “art”, but follow up by saying games include art that’s just as significant as any other traditional art. Therefore, games are superior to pure art because they not only contain art but also other elements.)

Brumbek

Er, definition of art must by default leave “intention” out of the picture. You can’t know if the person who made the thing, or if it even WAS a person, had any intentions of making anything. Or if it was actual design, or accident.

You can find something designed by an aleatory algorithm totally beautiful and artistic, so where does that leave “art?” Really now, art is from the view of the observer and pretending it isn’t is writing yourself into a corner. If you observed the result of said algorithm WITHOUT the knowledge that it wasn’t someone that consciously designed it, and instead the person who wrote the algorithm did it as, say, homework for a class with zero interest in it being art or anything like that, then what?

This is the reason these definitions fail:

“Art is any intentional form of human expression.”

Not really as my example above shoots a rather huge hole in this as you can’t tell intention just by the finished product. You need extra information that may or may not be available and everything else is assumption.

and

“Art is a pattern of sensory input designed to alter the mental state of a person who perceives it.”

My example above also shows that “design” can be entirely accidental or aleatory. That you perceive an illusion of “design” in things isn’t false, but it doesn’t mean actual design (by somebody) must be necessarily involved. It can be an accident, and again this requires information that may or may not be available. Design assumes intention and you may or may not be able to get this information from only the finished result.

And it creates the retarded scenario that finding out something behind the previously thought work of “art” makes it suddenly not “art.” Which would be the logical consequence of such definitions, and it really makes absolutely no sense as information ex-post-facto can’t negate the experience you already had.

Hence, saying X is or isn’t “art” is nonsense, since it’s only a personal opinion. Others may share it, it may be part of culture, but it’s simply a personal judgment. You can’t objectively state X is art, you can just explain your reasons, but they are subjective.

And that’s how you can tell these arguments about games being or not being “art” are made by people who have, often, no real understanding of modern aesthetics and modern art history. In reality there’s so much stuff out there that you’d find extremely conflicting opinions on it being or not being “art” that games are kind of insignificant in comparison. After all, people have been arguing about this for a long, long, long, time.

Ytmh

The Shadow and The Sword

Previous article

Philosophy of Game Design – Part Four

Next article

Comments

Leave a reply

You may also like