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The Forgotten Art of Game Design or Today's Gamers Only Pay Attention to Graphics?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by GarBenjamin, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I was thinking this week about retro gaming. Wondering what it is that keeps masses of people (including myself) playing games from 20 to 30 years ago.

    People usually hastily label it nostalgia and do not take the time to give it any deep thought. However, if you are a retro gamer you know there is something more to it. A lot more in fact. Although you may not be able to easily identify exactly what it is.

    Although it was the 16-bit era that really fine-tuned level design and game-play in general I'll use NES games as examples. NES games are where game-play was first focused on as an art. That's not to say there was never any good games and no focus on game-play before this time!

    Let's take a brief look at Super Mario Bros.


    I realize many modern gamers look at this and think it looks terrible. It's 2D not 3D. OMG! Generally there are about 10 to 14 colors on the screen at any one time and the tile design is obvious. OMG!

    Okay, so let's forget about the graphics for a bit. Just accept it. This is how it looks. Time to move on to more important things.

    Now people watching will see a little dude running and jumping. That is mainly what you do as you play through the timed levels. Based on many of the SMB type of games I have seen people making these days it is obvious they only have a surface level understanding of the game.

    One of the things that makes SMB so addicting even to this day are secrets. Many games from long ago had secrets and SMB probably was the biggest reason for that.

    Secrets in SMB include:

    Invisible blocks

    There are many secret blocks hidden in the game's levels. Some of these are useful just to reach other sections of the level. Others release coins. Others may have the "big man", a fire flower or even an extra life. And one may even have something that leads us to the next secret...

    Secret areas
    Some people seem to still not realize you can go down inside some of the pipes. Those are what I consider to be the sort of obvious secret areas. However, did you know there are certain places you jump, hit a block from underneath and a beanstalk will grow out of the top of that block? Climbing that will take you to a special area where you ride on a cloud and can collect coins.


    Random stuff
    You may have managed to jump off the blocks and land on the top of the flag pole scoring the maximum of 5,000 points and yet you did not see the fireworks display and wonder why. It works like this: if the last digit of the Time (remaining) is a 1, 3 or 6 you will get the fireworks display. And that digit determines the # of fireworks explosions you get and how many bonus points you are awarded.

    Beyond the secrets the game is packed with other game-play. When you jump on a turtle it flips upside down. If you then move into the turtle you will send it sliding across the screen eliminating any enemies it hits. You can run behind the turtle to extend the distance the path will be cleared. Although I have not done it, I have even heard if you hit 7 other turtles with this sliding turtle you will earn an extra life. Oh and of course every time you collect 100 coins you earn an extra life.

    Okay, I don't want to ramble on any more because many people don't like reading more than a paragraph or two per post. ;)

    Anyway, it is the kind of stuff described above that keeps retro gamers going back to old games. The games were just... well... games first and foremost. They were meant to be played not looked at. And they were filled with all kinds of cool stuff for adventurous gamers to find. The time and effort was primarily spent on level design and secrets and techniques and so forth. Not on graphics.

    I wonder has this art of real game design been lost as more and more emphasis has been placed on the presentation wow factor through the years? Or do modern gamers just not appreciate such things?

    Why do you think modern games seem to miss the mark on the actual game-play side as far as the above is concerned?
     
  2. GargerathSunman

    GargerathSunman

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    The problem lies almost entirely in graphical expectations. Most early games didn't have the capability to look better than they did because of the hardware. This meant that art was done simply and quickly, with more time spent on polish, level design, and gameplay.

    Unfortunately, in this modern time, the hardware can now support gorgeous graphics. As a result, companies feel obligated to utilize those graphics, especially when a larger company. This pumps up production cost. The higher production costs get, the faster the company is pressured to "just get it done." And thus the cycle continues.

    For big companies, this will only get worse as graphics improve. For smaller companies, like indies, the problem is exactly the same, just on a smaller scale. Indies don't have much money, that's a given. All the work they do tends to be in their spare time, and they don't have the budget for AAA art. What this means is that they either spend years on a product without seeing any returns, or they pump it out and try to make an early buck to fund future development.

    I'm not sure what the solution is, besides somehow incentivizing studios to make games between AAA and the usual low-budget titles. If we can get people to live with $50,000 to $100,000 art budgets and spend 1.5 years on gameplay, I don't doubt we'll get more Mario Bros. I'm just not sure where they'll get the money, outside of Kickstarter.
     
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  3. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    I'm not sure it's fair to compare Super Mario Bros to the typical games of today... SMB (and especially SMB3, which IMHO was the pinnacle of the series) was the absolute best of its day. For a fair comparison, you'd have to compare it to the absolute best games of today, not the common ones. Or to turn it around: there was a lot of junk back in the good old days too; it's just that even retro gamers don't bother playing (or remembering) those anymore.

    I'm not sure what the best games of today would be, but there certainly are modern games that I would say have good gameplay. Infamous was one that impressed me. Also the Tron: Evolution game, which (being a movie spin-off) I expected to be mediocre, but was actually really well done.

    But I don't play a lot of games, so I'm sure there are even better ones with deeper gameplay, that I'm simply not aware of.

    I do worry, though, about whether the freemium model that has taken over most of the industry has eroded the potential for this sort of thing. Like @GargarathSunman says, it's easy to spend three years and put so much care & fine-tuning into a design when your game sells for $30 in a field with only a few dozen other games on the shelves. But when there are literally hundreds of thousands of other games, almost all of them "free," it's hard to afford that kind of development cycle.
     
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  4. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Thanks for contributing to the thread! Great points guys.

    @JoeStrout I definitely realize there were some terrible games and many mediocre games back then. However, the ratio of the good/great games to the others seems like it was much higher back then.

    I don't know really how to put it. It is almost like creativity has degraded somewhere along the way. For creature design modeling and so forth today creativity is excellent. Graphics are certainly outstanding in most cases. I just don't see anywhere close to that same level of creativity and effort put into the actual games themselves. The level design, the mechanics, secrets and so forth.

    Maybe it is because the presentation just takes so much effort and time these days? Like back then they could add in a secret area because it was only a half dozen or so tile images, some collectibles and maybe a sprite enemy or whatever to create? And today to do that same secret area they would hire an orchestra to play some incredible tune, voice actors to announce WHAT IS THAT CRAZY VINE GROWING UP INTO THE SKY? and of course modeling the vine itself may be a day or three. And then actually make the secret level could be a week or more.

    I'm just trying to put my finger on what exactly caused the change. It is kind of funny in a way because today people will talk about the programming that was done for some games and how advanced it is. And yet in some ways the game were far better programmed back then. Just for a game like Mario think of how much is being tracked. Every little thing that was programmed for and they fit it all inside a tiny amount of space. Sometimes I think people see games like Flappy Bird and think that is about the same level of programming and detail that went into games like SMB, Castlevania, Battle Toads, Gradius, Adventure Island, Blaster Master and so forth. :p

    Mainly I just wonder what caused the change? Even on the PS2 games commonly had secret areas, things to find and so forth. It seems to be around the time of the PS3 & 360 there was a big shift in how games were designed. And I think it has a lot to do with the graphics as @GargerathSunman mentioned. I get customers expected some better graphics. I think they also expected there would be more secret levels to find. More gear to find. More techniques and mechanics available and so forth. At least I know that I did. ;)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts!
     
  5. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The thing is graphics have always been a major focus, or to be pedantic, the graphical techniques. On the NES it was scrolling and today it's physically based rendering. How hardware is pushed to its limits has always been graphically. The major difference is there is plenty more room for asset creation today then there ever was in the olden days. When you only had the memory to make a handful of sprites, most of your effort went to other avenues like rendering the sprites.


    I think you just play a bunch of S***ty games and think that's the state of the industry. If you want secrets, go play Dark Souls. Seriously, do it and don't come back until you're grossly incandescent.
     
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  6. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I ordered Dark Souls tonight. Will check it out next week.

    Maybe I have been playing too many Indy games over the past year or two. lol All I know is when I see popular games people are talking about they look like the same ole crap that has been churned out for the past 5 to 6 years. I am sure there are some great games out there if a person can just wade through all of the FPS and other crap.

    This looks like it is packed full of cool game-play:


    This has fantastic graphics but from what I can see in the video the game-play is pretty basic:


    This looks kinda cool:


    I find most 3D games to be quite lame anymore. For PS3, the early games such as God of War, Castlevania, Viking, Darksiders and several others were cool. They all had a pretty distinct play style and presentation.

    Maybe I am just burnt out on 3D games having played and seen so many over the past decade or so that maybe they are boring to me. It is possible I suppose although I think that probably has more to do with the games basically being the same thing over and over with different skins and different titles.

    I'll definitely give Dark Souls a go and see how it plays.
     
  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Try Dark Souls. On console if you can get it. The port to PC was done poorly. Input is broken, and all of the prints still say "press A to open door". If it wasn't for all the design hype it's got I would have walked away. It is playable once you get used to it, but you have to be pretty determined to play to get used to it on a PC.

    The game seems to fit most of your general requirements. No hand holding at all. Secrets all over the show. No cut scenes I interrupting play. Game play that require hour of gaming to get good. And interesting enough level design that you don't object to playing the same level over and over again while you are building up your player skills, instead of grinding to build up in game stats.
     
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  8. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I ordered it for my PS3. Will definitely try it out. I heard the game was good and also that it was another RPG game. I have Oblivion, Skyrim, Dragon Age 2, Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning and the best one of all Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen.... so didn't want yet another FRPG. I have not even opened KoA yet. lol

    Anyway I think this thread is going off topic it seems to have focused on ME again and the games I am playing. lol I am trying to get a discussion going on the bigger picture. There are millions of retro gamers. Masses of people who wonder why they can't make games as good as they used too despite having access to far better hardware. I mean truthfully the AAA game devs can make ANYTHING they want these days. Yet they seem to make the same things and focus on presentation far more than anything else.

    So... is it because gamers these days don't appreciate games like Castlevania, Metroid, SMB, Maximo GtG and AoZ, Jak and Daxter etc? What I mean is there seems to be a whole breed of game style that has been forgotten. Or are they still being made and just buried in all of the noise of the latest CoD and Halo clones?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  9. Azmar

    Azmar

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    Too be honest I never played most of these retro games you listed, and I am a 90s born kid. I was more hooked into the Zelda, Final Fantasy, RPG style games. But as much as I hate the Halo series, it contained a serious amount of "secrets" like easter eggs, super jumps, etc. Even Halo 3 made you look for secret "skulls" contained anywhere on their maps during campaign. But as far as newer games go, Dark Souls is exactly what you are looking for and shows that these type of games are still being made, Dark souls series is actually the only real games I have enjoyed in many years.

    I think the problem lies with "secrets" and amount of work/creativity goes into it and it only satisfies die hard fans or a niche of people. Most people don't have time, or care, or look for these secrets...so why bother putting so much work into it. Especially with so many 2D platformer games, no one will ever find them and if they do they would probably get confused and report it as a bug lol. And yeah no developers have time/money to do it anymore...
     
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  10. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Okay cool. It sounds like you understand what I am talking about. And you know maybe you hit the nail on the head! Maybe it is just us older retro gamers who wonder what in hell happened to that stuff! The serious gamers or maybe a better term is simply longtime gamers. I have been playing these games since the very first ones I stumbled upon as a very young kid in the mid to late 70s. Mechanical shooting galleries at that time.

    Now that I think about it... while there definitely are some modern day teenagers who are in the retro gaming crowd... most of us are probably in age range of early 30s to early 50s. It is a big group though for sure. With retro gaming conventions (kind of like a mini E3) going on throughout the year and devices such as the Retron which is now at version 5 selling very well on Amazon. People want to play those kind of games even if that means buying the original hardware and game cartridges or getting something like a Retron 5 and then slowly building up their library of game cartridges. I have about 40 NES and 10 Genesis carts now. Still have my PS2 and about 50 games.

    I think your explanation basically nails it. It is a niche group of maybe just a million or two retro gamers. Hopefully in time more good games will be made for this group. So far the games that seem to be targeting us have missed the mark. Things like Fez and Super Meat Boy. I was expecting retro style games and basically got the same ole kind of "fake retro" games made for today's teens and casual gamers yet again.

    Adding in the other replies I think we can call this case closed.

    Oh! I am glad you mentioned the Dark Souls series being about the only modern games you enjoy anymore. That sounds more and more like it will be just what we are looking for.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  11. Azmar

    Azmar

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    On a final note, I am not too sure who your target audience is but my brother's (8-10 years younger) never played these games and know nothing about 90s game or what they are. Heck they don't even like them when I tried to get them to play it! We are talking about final fantasy 7-10, Zelda series, etc they refuse to touch or care about. If your target audience is the 2000-2015 kids, what they want appears to be totally different to the 90s kids.

    But I feel like the 90s kids enjoy the same games as the older generations and more willing to play "retro" games or even go back to playing much older games and enjoy it for what they are. On a weird note, my dad and step mom (50-60 year old) play mobile apps now like random strategy games, puzzles games, collecting style games and they are insanely addicted to them. Everyone in my house is addicted to a game called "Summoners War", so something they did targeted all audiences properly. So maybe older generations are starting to try something new? Apps appear to be pulling in the older generations, because its easier to obtain with a click of a button while they are not willing to get PS4 etc and play the console games they use to love.

    Just my input on the younger and new generations and what I noticed.
     
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  12. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The fact you are thinking in terms of retro and modern is probably a good indicator you're nostalgia blind. Hell, you've framed the entire topic as "how could people have forgotten what game design was" and you assume the reason is just because of graphics. You're argument is effectively "these games are superficial, because all I do is look at their superficial elements." Even the secrets you're touting are superficial. Their actual effects on gameplay were minimal, if they had any effect, and so long as they didn't gate progression (a la Simon's Quest grade bullshit), then it was a quaint curiosity most of the time. As far as curiosities go, games still have them in spades, but you have to stop and make out the reference. http://www.uesp.net/wiki/File:SR-easter_egg-Star_Wars.jpg
    If you just raced through the level, you won't notice it. No effect on gameplay, but neither did coins in SMB.

    If you were actually criticizing the design of modern game, you would have some legs to stand on, but you aren't. There are some valid criticisms like how all games today are effectively Skinner boxes because of the use of RPG elements, or are aiming for a more casual experience (not necessarily targeting the casual market, but targeting people who actually have a job and can't dedicate eight straight hours a day to playing a game).

    Probably the biggest aspect of modern design is how all modern genres are amalgamations of the simpler genres from ten/twenty years ago. Every game is an adventure game. Every game is an RPG. Calling a game a shooter is about as meaningful as saying the game is in color, as it does nothing to describe what the game is actually like. Now we've got survival shooters, stealth shooters, open-world shooters, RPG shooters, whiskey shooters; and most of them have little relation to CoD or Halo. They might use similar, if not the same, control scheme, but the actual number of outright clones of CoD and Halo are fewer than there ever were of Doom and Wolfenstein. Genrebenders are something that is done better today than it ever was in the past, and it has to be done to appeal to as many people as possible. AAA has no say in it. When your budget is F***ING HUGE (the technical term), you have to appeal to as many people as possible to recoup any of the cost.
     
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  13. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Good points. I definitely can see I am in a tiny minority within this community as far as understanding the appeal of retro games. And it makes a lot of sense because it is a niche market and is probably fairly likely that many of the retro gaming group are not actually developing games in the first place. Some are for sure. But most are probably not.

    I think the appeal of the mobile games to this group is because at first glance they look to be the same kind of games even though they are usually ultra simplistic. That is some of the appeal of retro games in the first place. Being able to quickly get into a game without a bunch of crap to go through first. Also a lot of people even in the early 30s and older range are not retro gamers anyway. It is just a niche group of people.

    Also I realize there are a lot of people who will never understand what I am talking about. I think it is really one of those things where you are either in that niche group and "get it" or you do not. Again that also makes perfect sense.

    It's like the games I work on. I always know they will be for only a tiny niche market. Like that shmup I am now working on (and my bigger game project) I think many people simply cannot understand and relate to what I am doing with them. The tendency is always to suggest ways to pull them into a sort of mass market appeal which is completely the opposite of what I am after.

    With your input and the others I finally get it now. There is a tiny % of gamers who actually see the things I am talking about. We can all relate to each other fine. However, we cannot really get it across to people outside of the group.

    Thanks for dropping into the thread!
     
  14. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    I know a lot of people who don't care that much about the fidelity of the graphics, and are perfectly fine with decent art as opposed to complicated graphical rendering.

    At the same time, I've met a few people who are very much into the high-end graphics, and openly shun anything with primary colors. They demand as much realism as can be squeezed into their graphics, and are disappointed in anything that leans toward the stylized. This same type of gamer is mainly only interested in big-name, big-brand games with lots of explosions. It is the same type of consumer who likes Michael Bay films.

    The good news is that the first crowd is considerably larger than the second. The bad news is that the second crowd is commonly referred to as the "core" gaming demographic. In general, it is a much better idea to make games for the first crowd. They are larger, and have much more diverse interests. They are also not nearly as well served by the current gaming industry, so there is a lot of opportunity for making inroads into those varied demographics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
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  15. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    if your looking for cool games.

    Transistor is a great game, it actually has a unique combat mechanic -- where you can actually queue up your commands (3 seconds worth) and execute them in realtime and the whole things narrated by the sword, for $5 you really cant go wrong especially with steams refund policy.



    If you watch this video and dont buy snakebird well ill be surprised.


    And if your looking at AAA and havent played the Batman Arkham trilogy I dont know what youve been doing. I would love if rocksteady did a proper Evil Dead game
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
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  16. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    @Aiursrage2k:
    The game I am most looking forward to at this point is: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It is by Koji Igarashi one of the key people who brought us the Castlevania games from Konami. Like many of us he is tired of the direction modern games are going. He left Konami last year to start his own company. The kickstarter for his new Metroidvania game successfuly completed last week setting a new record generating over $5.5 million in funding. The campaign was only seeking $500k. I may be completely wrong here but to me this is a strong indication of the gamers out there who want to see more of those "old school" games. Maybe if we (retro gamers) are lucky more and more of these awesome designers / producers from those excellent games of old will get fed up with modern games and follow the same path.

    Transistor looks cool! Thanks. Hadn't seen that one before. I stumbled across Snakebird on youtube just last weekend (I'm always looking around trying to find cool games to try). Not my kind of game. Looks like it would be a good one for mobile gamers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  17. Azmar

    Azmar

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    Oh yeah my friend showed me that kickstarter, looked like absolute robbery to me and "older" generations not having the real experience that they should. With all the kickstarter's out there and people not delivering and asking for too much, that kickstarter was a prime example that show's NO gameplay, random bs art, random bs funding goals (wii u, to vita to blah blah) which most companies never successfully accomplish the porting over, nothing in their main video of actual gameplay...an obvious money grab and showing no product.

    I've seen too many kickstarters over the few years, wayyyyy tooooo mannnny and the majority of them fail...I have seen a lot of "older" generations not being able to live up to their titles and deliver properly like they think they can lately. Too many red flags popping up with that one, it just blows my mind the no actual gameplay part and asking for 500k.
     
  18. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I don't know if I'd say the "older" generations have a lack of experience as generally the exact opposite is true. I think it more accurately shows how much desire there is for a new Castlevania style game.

    Although there are definitely too many Kickstarter game projects in general I'd have at least as much, if not more, faith in IGA actually delivering than any of the random completely inexperienced people we see throwing up Kickstarters day after day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  19. Ryiah

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    Or alternatively we simply have more money to throw around by virtue of having fewer products we enjoy to throw it at. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  20. Azmar

    Azmar

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    Sorry you are correct I did not mean to target that one group, all groups have this problem.
     
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  21. GarBenjamin

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    I considered that too. It is definitely a part of it I am sure. It all kinds of goes together though, right? If a group of us are looking for something different than what modern games are bringing to the table... and we often enjoy playing the older games just as much or even more... we do not buy many of the modern games and have more money available. It still goes back to basically the same thing. People saw the Castlevania style game and that struck a chord with them so they threw some money out to help bring it to life. I am sure many backers are also into modern games. Just I wouldn't be surprised if many of the backers were also the people who continually post all over the Internet in various forums "modern games suck", "so bored with today's games", "why are there no cool games anymore" and so forth. Honestly, it really isn't me going around creating accounts all over the Internet posting those things. ;)
     
  22. RockoDyne

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    It probably didn't hurt that the entire internet was in the mood to tell Konami to go F*** themselves.

    To totally deflate your argument though, it's not like metroidvania is a dead genre. They are a dime a dozen in the indie scene, and I imagine that in the best of times they only sell competently but not like gangbusters. Yes, the retro market is a thing. No, it rarely puts its money where its mouth is.

    Kickstarter, much like E3, is fueled by hype and nostalgia. You remember the guy who made a kickstarter for a game in a dead genre that he used to be really popular in twenty years ago, but most to all of his recent games have all been financial failures? What was that? I can't hear very well because of my massive throbbing boner I got after the Final Fantasy 7 remake was announced. I may need to see a doctor.
     
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  23. GarBenjamin

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    No doubt KS is all hype fueled. Every campaign is or at least needs that hype. Unfortunately, it is what people seem to respond to. I never heard of the FF7 KS but I also never played any but the very earliest FF games.

    I think we see different retro markets. The one I know is thriving with people looking for good games in the style of the old as well as buying old consoles, cartridges and going to expos and so forth. Spending and spending on the hobby. So much so that recently Gamestop decided to get into the retro game business.

    It definitely is a small market compared to casual gaming or modern gaming but overall I think we probably spend much more per person than the other gamers do. Some NES games go for $500 or more these days. Of course, even I think that is insane and haven't spent more than $25 on a retro game yet. But some people are into the gaming and also collectors. There is definitely a market. I think Shovel Knight tapped into that market quite well. Most of the Indies who seem to be going that angle don't seem to really understand the market though. When someone actually hits on that market I think we will see a big success. The new Castlevania style game might just be the one that does it.

    And just for the record I am not against modern gaming. There ARE some good games for sure. It is mainly about just getting something different. A different style. A different feel. Wandering off the beaten path a bit.
     
  24. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    In some ways it seems like games are becoming more and more like movies and the gameplay is so bad you just want to watch someone else play it. For example rather then playing "god's will be watching" i just watched northern lions LP of the game, i bought the game anyway just to support the dev. I have a feeling though if they "moviefy games too much" then people will just watch them rather then playing them. Maybe movie games should work out some kind of deal where people pay like $5 to watch someone play it.
     
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  25. RockoDyne

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    Of course Gamestop wants to get into a market where they can buy games for pennies and sell them back at 100x markup. It shouldn't be that hard to understand their business strategy here.

    Any game that has a steep price tag is that way because it's rare. Rez and Valkyrie Profile were/are ludicrously expensive, even before the games were five years old. It's the same as amiibo's. How good the games are is irrelevant when they are a collector's item.

    Shovel Knight also tapped into a market who fondly remember their childhood, but are a tad iffy when it comes to the details. It lets people look back on the NES with rose-tinted glasses, without actually replicating what that era of gaming was really like.
     
  26. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That is one of the biggest turn-offs for people like me. I realize a lot of people, probably most people, seem to like that stuff saying it adds so much to the games. Yet that doesn't change the fact that for a large number of people all of that cinematic stuff is just seen as bs that gets in between the player and the game.

    It has to be that either most gamers do like that stuff OR the gamers who do like that stuff are the most vocal about it so game developers think that is what most people want.

    Hey man, modern games are incredible and everybody loves them! Very few people enjoy playing those old clunky games that didn't have an hour or more of movies to watch, voice acting, prompts to guide them along and amazing graphics! You are right. People could not possibly actually enjoy playing those older games just for the game-play. Despite many of those players saying countless times it is not nostalgia considering most of the time they are playing older games they never even played before... I am sure they are wrong. It has to be nostalgia. Bottom line is the modern games are the way to go! They are the only "game" in the game. I just wish everyone could see this truth the way you do!
     
  27. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Not all games need stories, im not saying that, nuclear throne was fine and it didnt have any story. In fact if a game has a good enough gameplay it doenst even need a story, but there are some games that Id rather watch someone else play them -- because the gameplay isnt actually fun to play (but maybe your interested in the story -- IE heavy rain, god's will be watching, deadly premonition, d4 etc).
     
  28. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Did you know that there were people who stopped caring much for movies once talking was introduced? For whatever reason once people started talking, movies became too complicated and ended up being uninteresting to them. Yet, this is almost unfathomable today.

    Imagine the young Luke Skywalker being told about his heritage and where his place in the universe is, while Obi-wan reminisces about his old friend during the clone wars, without any spoken dialogue at all. The scene would fall apart. It might have either conveyed all the meaning of the dialogue on cards, while ruining the pacing and tone of the scene, or conveyed the tone and kept the scene short, but that would have destroyed the worldbuilding which established the franchise. The movie would be lesser, and yet the fear was that talkies took away from what made movies unique.

    To loop back around to the people, I'm willing to bet that the people who didn't care much for talking only liked movies for what made them unique. They didn't like movies though. They liked what movies were at the time, not what movies are in their totality (third option is they couldn't last through the transition, which pretty much means they lost interest and weren't paying attention if there was anything good). In their mind, what constituted the medium was already set in stone, so when something completely changed the definition of the medium, they didn't care. They had a narrow idea of what a movie was, and eventually they were the only ones who thought that way.

    I dare say history might just be repeating itself.
     
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  29. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    LOL! Honestly, it is difficult to determine if you are just trolling or truly unable to understand. The trolling seems a possibility because you used the same kind of posts not too long ago in a thread someone had posted about 90s FPS games. Basically trying to make it seem like any person who enjoys playing those older games must have something wrong with them. That's right! We are all just a bit crazy watch out! ha ha

    I don't see how it can be so difficult to comprehend there are many people who enjoy a game for the actual game. Not the movies. Or the graphics. Or whatever. But simply the game-play experience. Or how it can be so challenging to grasp that sometimes people just want a game they can simply pick up and start playing within seconds. No movies, no continual prompts & tidbits of common sense information popping up and so forth. These things have absolutely nothing to do with silent movies and movies as we know them today. In fact, if you want to do a comparison...

    A much more accurate comparison would be something along the lines of going to a movie tonight and instead of simply paying for your ticket, sitting down and watching a movie... as soon as you enter the building someone steps in front of you and asks which movie you are there to see. You tell them. They hold up a tablet and you watch a preview of the movie you came for.

    Now you head over to the counter to get your tickets... after taking a few steps someone steps in front of you and tells you:

    1. Walk to the counter.
    2. Ask for a ticket
    3. Ask for any snacks you would like
    4. Pay for your ticket (use the money or a card you should have brought with you).

    So you continue on and leave the counter with your ticket and some snacks heading over to the ticket collector then on in to sit down and watch the show. You make it a few feet and someone steps in front of you and tells you: Awesome! You have your ticket and some snacks! Proceed to the ticket collector. When you get there give them your ticket.

    You continue on again and reach the ticket collector. You give them your ticket and as you are about to walk over to the room where your movie is showing they quickly step in front of you and say:

    1. Walk over to that door. If it is closed you can pull the handle to open it.
    2. Enter the room
    3. Look for a seat where you would like to sit.
    4. Walk to that seat and sit down.

    You walk into the room and sit down and think "man! whatever happened to the days when a person could just watch a movie without all of this foolishness!"

    Seriously, although there are some people who hate modern games period most of us who enjoy the older games also enjoy at least some of the newer games. We may not enjoy a lot of the crap that comes along with them... at least not over and over again. It's silly to believe that people who enjoy classic games or games without movies and hint boxes popping up and cutting edge graphics and so forth are somehow "lost in the past" or whatever. lol

    I mean where does the distinction begin and where does it end? Are people who enjoy playing 2D games in 2015 "behind the times" and somehow flawed as a game player? If so, then I guess there must be a massive number of people who fit this description. Are people who enjoy playing 3D games with low poly graphics "lost in time"? A large number of those too. Or is it the people who don't like all of the cut scenes in modern games? Again, there are a lot of people who repeatedly hit escape or space bar trying to skip these movies. Or maybe the ones who dislike the hint prompts? Annoying as hell to a lot of people. Hmm... maybe a person needs to match multiple criteria like any two or more? Or maybe they have to match all of the above and then they are lost in nostalgia. LOL!
     
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  30. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    How you define games is by play and only play. Every other aspect of a game, you have rejected outright. You don't like "games," the medium that can create a unique narrative, rather you like "games," the toy an adult can play with without being told he's being childish. You like a subset of what actually defines a game, something that once upon a time was the only aspect of a game that was technically possible... Then along came talkies and everything changed.

    Now, if you want to argue that modern gaming is under-utilizing (and abusing) aspects of the medium, I'll agree, but if you think the answer is to regress and strip away the aspects that now constitute a game, I'll call bullshit.

    Since I can safely surmise you have no idea what film was like almost a hundred years ago (I suppose I don't blame you at that point), look at Chaplin era comedy. Chaplin films are entirely visual. The jokes are expressed from beginning to end visually. Once talkies became a thing, it wasn't uncommon to see something that was effectively stand-up (Abbott and Costello if you want an example) that use almost no aspects of what made the medium unique.
    for a modern day criticism of the exact same issue.

    Fast paced action gave way to slower and methodical drama that could focus on interpersonal relationships and fuller worlds. You ended up with genres like film noir that de-emphasize the visuals to the point where most of the plots are about deconstructing the lie that was told visually. There were birthing pains and plenty of movies that could easily be argued didn't need to be filmed, but the medium matured and the masters learned how to create the masterpieces that take in and fully utilize everything that defines cinema.

    This is the exact same point in history we are at with games. Movies have visuals in motion, but they are not just visuals in motion. Games have play, but they are not just play. If I need to keep drawing parallels, that should give you a pretty good idea why games have to keep explaining how they work.

    You are not a freak because of your views, but the instant you cry foul and exclaim that games have fallen from the one true path because they no longer cater exclusively to your fetishes, it's you who has the problem and not the world.
     
  31. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I define games as something that I play. Yes, they are also things that I experience to some degree while playing. What I disagree with is your belief that games as they are now are superior because they are drawing more and more upon the elements of movies. Because that is not a universal truth. It is a matter of personal preference. I get that YOU love this stuff in modern games and so do a lot of other people. That fact does not make these games any better than games from 20 years ago. It just means the way they have developed over time happens to match what you like best.

    Heck I like modern games too. I have never said that I didn't like any modern games. What I have said is it would be nice to see a change from time to time. Something different. And I mentioned this is the appeal of the older games. I do not like much of the standard fare present in modern games regardless of their intentions whether it be to advance story telling, cinematography, applying psychological triggers, trying to make the games appeal to a universal audience, creating a demonstration of what modern technology can produce and so on. I get what they are trying to do. I am just saying I don't need all of that crap to have fun with a game.

    You seem to look at games very much from the viewpoint of film. It's like they are the same thing to you except the games allow you some degree of interaction. I am not knocking that viewpoint. It is definitely where games have been heading for a a long time. In contrast, when I am in the mood to watch a movie I watch a movie. When I want to play a game I play a game. The game can certainly have some movie-like aspects to it from time to time. That is fine. Or it can be nothing like a movie at all and be purely a game. I think the difference mainly is that to me Tetris is still a good game. Pac-man is still a fun game. Just because these games were made long ago and have very little to nothing in common with film does not take anything away from them being good games.... for some people including me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
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  32. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Do you know what an analogy is? Clearly my attempt to draw parallels to what happens when a medium changes, but the audiences views and expectations of that medium don't, has confused you greatly. Worse yet is you assume my views are diametrically opposed to your own, as if I fit the magical strawman of everything you hate. I don't play games just for the story. I don't play games just for gameplay. I play games for every aspect that constitutes what a game is.

    Tetris and Pac-man are great little artifacts of their time, but all they can do on their own is waste your life away. No one's life changes just because they played Sonic as a kid. Modern games aren't significantly better, but the idea that games need to be viewed as a whole is much closer to the surface than it was twenty years ago.

    All art is a fragment of humanity, and what I love about games is what they can say about humanity.
     
  33. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    If it hadn't been for Zork I likely would have taken far longer to get into programming. Assuming I did in the first place. Most of my effort learning programming was to understand how Zork achieved the natural language processing abilities it had as they were very advanced for their time period compared to practically every other text adventure game.

    So in this sense my life very much was changed.
     
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  34. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    That wouldn't be the game itself then. If you got into painting because you saw a color in a painting and wanted to duplicate it, the painting itself wouldn't be important. A more detached example would be getting into cinematography because you became curious about how projectors and cameras worked. It wouldn't matter what the movie was, because what you would be interested in is totally detached from the content.
     
  35. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Honestly I'm not convinced that would have been the case. Zork continues to impress me in ways that other games have failed to do so despite my enjoyment of them. I could very easily replicate much of the functionality in many modern games but I have yet to fully create a parser on par with Infocom's masterpieces.

    Zork is very important to me. My initial nickname on the Internet was based off it and my email address is still a homage to the second game of the original trilogy.
     
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  36. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    One of the side projects I have going on is an Infocom-style text adventure I designed when I was a kid. This is my third rewrite of it (1. Applesoft Basic; 2; REALbasic; 3. C#/Unity). If I ever get it to a playable state, @Ryiah, I would very much appreciate your input on it!

    (And sorry everyone for wandering off-topic a bit.)
     
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  37. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I read an interesting article An Introduction to Videogame Design History this morning that goes into depth about the way games (and closely related - the production of them) have changed over the years.

    After reading this section I now have a much better understanding why (to some of us) AAA games (and even many modern Indie games copying the AAA style) feel like they are just the same thing over and over again. In fact, I would say it even can be clearly seen why so many of them feel like the same thing based on the tools being used. Unity, with its Scene Editor and workflow for example, seems to be designed for the development of set-piece games.

    Anyway, some of you may find it interesting.
     
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  38. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    No worries. Those text adventures were quite interesting. It was nice back then to have different options depending on what you wanted to play. A few rounds of mindless alien blasting one time. A few hours of interactive fiction another time. I'd guess many of us worked on our own text adventures. I started out with a verb-noun two word parser like the Scott Adams Adventure International games. Redesigned a few times to extend it to be capable of zork-like full sentence parsing handling adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. Then I dropped the adverbs in the interest of game-play because all it did was make things more tedious. I figured it could be assumed if the player typed pull the lever and the response was "it's stuck" they had put as much effort into it as they could. ;)

    Several years ago Scott Adams created a remake with a full sentence parser. You may want to check out Return to Pirate's Island 2! These days, much like graphical game development, most people use one of the many adventure creators out there such as TADS but it is a fun exercise to roll your own parser and item management system.
     
  39. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Oh joy, the game design forum... First off, if you want to read something that you might actually find useful http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/MDA.pdf It's essentially an analysis of games from the creator's and player's perspective.

    Now then, this design via mashup vs asset pipeline disparity is BS. They are doing their damnedest to say that the AAA model doesn't invent, while also comparing it to a model about combining different mechanics. You just have to gloss over the fact that AAA assimilates mechanics like no other, while weeding out what doesn't work through strenuous QA. Their taxonomy really doesn't make much sense at that point. Even the qualitative vs quantitative argument they try to raise is vapid. It's not a new argument, and there are plenty of older games that suffer far more from repetition and simple scaled difficulty than most modern games. The base assumption that's effectively there is that levels are being created by some douchebag out of school, and will never be looked at by anyone in the company. No one signs off on it, no one sees it, and no one plays it. It just ships once they count how many enemies are in it.
     
  40. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I read that Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics paper several years ago. It was good common sense information. It doesn't surprise me at all that you label the very detailed analysis of how game design evolved over the years as BS. I find it just as reasonable as the MDA paper.
     
  41. Deleted User

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    Hmmm, it's not really about graphics as such.. Essentially, increasing texture sizes, adding more sub-detail and tweaking models is far easier to do than create a new concept and game from scratch. More lucrative too...

    Artwork is time consuming no matter how many years you've been at it, so re-using assets and just making them look better is simpler and cost effective. Just like they'll re-use code from a previously made game, so it's an accumulation of a formula that's already worked with shiny new coat of paint from the high poly model they had in stock.

    So when you say they're the same thing over and over again, that pretty much is right on the money.

    Unless they can find ways to improve workflow immensely, then it'll keep on being a matter of tweaking.. If you're starting a new IP with no previous assets (from art to code) it'll be much more difficult but generally something a little more fresh.
     
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  42. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    I grew up in the 70's & played games in arcades. Back then most didn't have a story apart from the one you made up as you went, sort of emergent but it was in your head & not in the game. The lack of processing power meant there was no space for anything that didn't add to the game so I'm guessing the designers had to argue strongly for each inclusion.

    The games then started to have simple stories that provided the story arc that the gameplay sat in & hidden items was a way to expand the game & give fans something extra that they could talk about & maybe feel a bit special if they found something their friends didn't. Their friends probably went back & played it again so they could find that same thing & then try to find something different that they could feel proud about. All of this still happened in a linear story (& gameplay scrolling environment). With the internet now showing everyone where everything is that special feeling is lost amongst friends as they will probably assume you found out how to do it online.

    As power increased people could add more & more content & the player could move in more directions but they tended to be scripted. In the old 2d games you could pretty much get to what you could see unless it was the background. In 3d worlds people started wanting to go wherever they wanted because they could turn around & see anything so the realism was jarred by restricting their movement, hence why there are probably so many corridor games.

    Now my feeling is that there is so much power available that makers tend to throw everything in & maybe remove bits later if it really jars instead of starting with the minimum & then adding extra bits that really do add to the game. I also think that the open worlds hamper the story telling as the main elements of the story arc need to be disjointed to allow the player to do side bits or just wander around exploring.

    Anyway, that's my opinion & I'll happily stand corrected. Sorry for the essay.
     
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  43. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    @tedthebug:

    I never really thought about it from the perspective of players bragging to their friends about finding the secrets and that spurring their friends to find the same secrets or even new secrets. I suppose that is quite possible. Miyamoto intentionally made the original Legend of Zelda game more difficult because he believed it would encourage gamers to talk to each other about the game, discussing the maze-like dungeons and so forth. Creating tons of little micro communities around the game. Considering it sold over 6 million copies on the NES and the game is often still talked about and featured on top X games lists to this day it looks like his strategy may have worked.

    It is also an interesting point about how these days the Internet can kind of put an end to that kind of thing. While people can discuss games in various online communities it is just as easy, as you mentioned, to simply watch a video on YouTube or search out an article featuring a step-by-step walkthrough.
    Always a good side and a bad side to everything. ;)
     
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  44. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The social aspect is also a very Japanese notion. Before Zelda there was Tower of Druaga, which was a cryptic as hell, dungeon exploring, sorta RPG, arcade game, that I don't think got out of Japan until a port decades later. Supposedly it wasn't uncommon for there to be player written guide/hint books near every machine, so that there was a communal effort to beating the game. The logic of the game was entirely random, and you would probably need to take notes even to play it on your own (if you were that masochistic).

    The generally accepted consensus seems to be that Americans just don't play games this way, and would rather play with little to no outside help or just don't have the environment/social circle to support this kind of play and make it anything except frustrating.


    At the same time, it's not like communities around sharing information is dead either, it's just that it serves very different niches. Speedrunning and the competitive arena are fairly typical communities, while there are also communities that bubble up around lore and story. Hell, the amount of speculation there is for one character in Dark Souls, who's only record in the game is to say that he was stricken from the records, is a bit disproportionate to his role in the game (okay, so most of the speculation is actually shoehorning him into a fairly active role, but he dies like a bitch anyway, we're talking sarlacc pit grade death).
     
  45. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Never played or even seen Tower of Druaga before. After checking it out on YouTube and reading a couple articles it reminds me of several other games from around that time on my C64. It looks like a pretty solid game with just a couple implementation flaws and is very similar to a game I want to create. I agree these kind of games are definitely for a niche market.
     
  46. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Thanks to the people who recommended Dark Souls. For a modern AAA game it seems very good. I don't recall any movies although it could be I skipped them as soon as they started. I must admit the game surprised me.

    I ventured around the asylum killing anything I encountered made it to a campfire spot. Then through some large doors and a huge demon dropped in. After trying to kill it a dozen times with my fists and failing I said screw this and ran straight to a corridor on the left. Got a weapon and a shield. Walked through some white mist and apparently teleported elsewhere. Only played for a little while but I really like how it is starting. Few prompts except for starting fires and a few other instances.

    Basically seems like the game just drops you in then gets the hell out of the way to let you explore and figure it out. When the large ball came rolling down the stairs the first time and nailed me I think that is when I realized this will be a good game. Didn't care for the hint tidbit saying safe area on the edge of the stairs. Not sure why AAA can't just stop with that crap. Stop telling me everything and let me figure it out. There might be a config to kill all of that stuff though. Will check when I play tonight or this weekend. Overall it looks like it will be an excellent game!
     
  47. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Once you leave the asylum, most to all the messages you see will be from other players (assuming you aren't explicitly in offline mode). Don't worry most of the important mechanics of the game have not been explained to you, and won't be, ever.
     
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  48. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I generally play all games in offline single player mode. If the game doesn't at least offer a good single player mode and instead relies on online multi-player mode I rarely buy them. D3 is always online and there is still an option to create a private game. A nice touch is it auto-detects other local players. I think it is because of the thing Joe Strout described in another thread. I have little interest in gaming with annoying foul-mouthed 12 year olds. Have done many D3 runs on the Windows version with random players though and only encountered a few of those. Just depends on the game probably or maybe they are mainly on the consoles.
     
  49. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Play it online. The only communication is through the messages, which are restricted to a mad-lib's style, or if a person crosses into your world there are items that make noises, and I suppose the gestures too. The online features aren't anything like what you think they are and what you're used to, so give it a shot.
     
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  50. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Yup. Dark Souls has taken online play in a weird direction. It's mostly single player, but you can occasionally help or hinder other players.

    I am currently taking a rage quit break from the game after being dropped into a pit of basilisks when I thought I was chasing a rat. I'll be back eventually.

    There was also a rage quit moment when a fairly imposing dragon that shows up and burns you to a crisp rather unexpectedly. And after first encountering unkillable skeletons. Heck, at one point even the poisonous rats had me stymied. And the mechanical boar...

    Anyway, point is there are a ton of tough encounters and very little hand holding throughout the game. Just remember, if something seems to hard, there is probably something else you could be doing instead. Like the passage way with the first demon.