Letters to the Editor

In Spaaaace!


In response to “Kill Your Darlings” from The Escapist Forum: I’m a dissatisfied gamer. Games are getting stagnant. Surprisingly though I couldn’t disagree with this article more.

To use an example Will Wright uses when talking about game design, the overt metaphor of ‘Sim City‘ is a city planning simulator but the underlying game is more akin to gardening. The game plays by choosing where to plant your buildings, watching your city grow, and weeding out slums or anything else you don’t like. This discrepancy isn’t a flaw of ‘Sim City‘, the point being made is that there is a difference between the premise of a game (the overt metaphor) and the gameplay itself (the underlying part of the game). To put it very simply if you remove everything that doesn’t affect the mechanical decision making process you are left with the gameplay.

The thing that bothers me reading this article is you can’t have a great game without both an overt game and an underlying game.. Figuring out the game and improving your gameplay exercises the same part of your brain you used as an infant when you tried to figure out how your toys worked. Taking the health bar away is murdering the underlying gameplay in order to get a superficial improvement by making the game look more realistic. The value of immersion is misunderstood anyways. While I do get a sense of fun when I pretend I’m actually the main character that illusion is almost entirely due to my imagination – not more realistic appearances – and moreover that sense of fun is *not* a game.

– dosboot

In response to “Kill Your Darlings” from The Escapist Forum: There seems to be a lot of talk about immersion in games of late and I just wonder if maybe I missed something in what immersion should be. In my experience of games (RPGs being my favorite) stats and health bars etc weren’t really detracting from the game or my own immersion in it. They were just displaying information that was required for me to make a decision which in fact immersed me even further in the game.

– avocado

In Response to “Sound Off: Where Will We Be in 2020” from The Escapist Forum: I honestly think we’ll have a more unified gaming front…

We’ll be able to play a “game” on the console, but then we’ll switch it into standby mode and download the portable engine to a handheld device. We can then focus on the same game on the handheld, lowered graphics, but it will allow us to gain power ups/certain minerals throughout our GPS range.

When we get to work, we can plug in our handheld to the work computer, and occasionally click something to continue mining/crafting/etc.

We will be completely connected, we won’t have multiple computers. We’ll have multiple PC’s accessing a single server/computer unit. We may even, depending on the advent of Fiber Optics, completely lose the hard drive – save on mobile technology and backup.

– phoenixsflame

In Response to “Sound Off: Where Will We Be in 2020” from The Escapist Forum: If I put my pessimistic hat on, I think we’ll all be fighting a war of survival while Western Civilization collapses by then. I’ll take that hat right back off now, though.

Optimistic hat.

Crikey. When I think about how much videogames and technology have changed in the years I’ve been playing with them, it’s almost impossible to predict where things may go. Anything is possible. Around the launch of PS2/XB/GC, I made an argument on the interweb that the hardware itself wasn’t going to provide us with any new experiences, which I felt was pretty much unlike most other generational leaps in videogaming technology. I’m more confused by the issue with this generation.

Taking that forward, I think that hardware and technology implementation will pretty much lead the way, with the games themselves using that technology in new and exciting ways. It could be simple connectivity, it may be the convergence of interface types (glasses with HUDs and full body controls) or it could even be the realization of the Hollywood dream (holodecks). Whichever it is, I think the driving force will be immersion and intuitiveness; anything that gets in the way of the game, regardless what genre it is or what the aim is.

Ultimately, I hope that we actually get back to the purity of “old skool” gaming, but mixed with the technology of tomorrow.

– hitchhiker

In Response to “Sound Off: Where Will We Be in 2020” from The Escapist Forum: The future will bring a resurgence of the arcade, but in a different way. Experiencing something with others is obviously powerful – look how SSBM or MMOs can turn simple gameplay into a lot of fun. Maybe single player games will become less stagnant, and receive input from other players like Spore.

– wyrmwood

In Response to “Sound Off: Where Will We Be in 2020” from The Escapist Forum: I’m going to predict more of the same. With the net as it is I can’t see people expecting something vastly different. Also my generation will grow up used to the net, and it will be what we expect, and what we’ll be given.

Maybe teenagers will have something crazy and different, but we won’t understand.

– bob_arctor

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