Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ten Stale Ideas Holding Back Gaming...But Not Really (Part 2)

See? I told you I'd be back for part two! I went over the first two points of IGN's article, 10 Stale Ideas Holding Back Gaming. Now for the remaining points that I will rant all over and probably uses some other bodily function!

Hit the jump to keep reading.

3. Motion Control = Gameplay

"Simply adding motion control to a traditional gaming experience doesn't constitute satisfying gameplay..."

Ah a point where we can actually sort of agree. I'd like to see better use of motion controls, not just shaking the controller up and down to make a complicated action. Of course the problem is how difficult it is to program something like that to read gestures. If the developers don't get help from the first parties, then they will be poking around in the dark making sub-par motion controls. Currently I do not own a Wii, but I have played a few games for it and I have yet to be impressed with the motion controls. 

Regardless, I view motion controls as just a stop gap to virtual reality. It was very early technology back in the early 90's but now it's definitely maturing with 3D technology that will prime the audience. Once a non-invasive treadmill type device can be made to simulate motion at an affordable price, then virtual reality will really take off. Microsoft also doesn't have the right idea with Kinect. Not having tactile feedback is a bad thing. Maybe if there were some Minority Report type gloves to go with the device it could be more useful. But we'll see how it turns out.

4. The A.I. Question

"'s all too easy to pick out how to exploit the AI in a game..."

Artificial intelligence is a very complicated subject that is getting some attention in the gaming world. I'm sort of on the fence about this topic. Most successful games today have a multiplayer aspect which negates the need for AI in the first place. Most single player games rarely touch the AI in regards to changing difficulty; they just make the enemies take less damage and deal more damage. 

Why haven't we seen vast improvements in AI? Well actually we have. Developers now make the AI duck, cover, try to flank and for friendly AI they try to make the best decisions according to what is going on. It is by no means perfect and to get it to that level would require a lot of computational power and some very talented AI dedicated programmers. 

Another aspect holding back AI is that we are human. Because we continue to be human 24 hours a day from when we're born to the day we day, we know how humans act and behave. We are too nuanced in our actions to really replicate that in AI or in a similar situation on a CG human character. Once we get to that point, then I suppose gaming will no longer be held back by AI. Barring budgetary and time constraints.

5. Downloadable Content Goes Awry

"...this kind of in-built revenue stream seems like a cynical cash-grab that denies players legitimate content that should be in the game at launch."

I definitely agree with the statement in that the game should be as complete as possible with truly exceptional DLC available at a later date. Sorry, no rambling rant to this piece.

6. Music Games

"'s not enough to simply repackage essentially the same content every year and call it a new experience."  

Hey you know what else does that? Sports games. Do we really need a new Madden every 12 months that has marginally updated graphics, maybe some gameplay tweaks and an updated roster that could be easily have been done through the use of a patch? Of course not.

This the case where the author missed the point and just decided to have a narrow focus. The problem isn't music or sports or racing or action or any other kind of games. It's the constant annual and sometimes bi-annual iterations of games. Activision is particularly guilty of running franchises into the ground. One only needs to look at the Tony Hawks, the Call of Duties and the Guitar Heroes to figure that one at. The games were all hailed for various reasons in their first couple of iterations then quickly derided for being mere cash-ins and failing to do anything really different.

It's not just music games that we have plenty of and guilty of unnecessary updates, but games of all genres. 

7. Every Game Needs to be Epically-Epic-in-Every-Single-Epic-Way-Epic-Epic

"Not every title needs to strive to build off the back of a formula that already exists..."

I think the author is a bit confused on this topic, I know I am. The title suggests that not every game should have an epic scope, yet the body suggests that you shouldn't do things when others have already done so. Don't remake Halo because we already have one? Well, someone should've told Bungie not to make that game because we already had Goldeneye and before that Doom and before that Wolfenstein 3D. So please stop improving on already established games.

Oh and Mr. Actor who starred in a successful movie being made into a game? We don't need you any further. Despite you knowing the character more than anyone else and able to bring that character life, you've already done it. Stop. And you're not invited to the sequel either. 

Seriously his point of not making games of the backs of others is complete garbage. There are plenty of games that took the original formula and tweaked it enough to become its own successful new game. I am curious to know some of the author's favorite games. I'm sure most of them are just being build off of the backs of other games.

8. Everything is a Franchise

"Not every game needs a sequel."

I definitely agree with that sentiment. Some games don't need sequels. Honestly I felt that BioShock didn't need a sequel, and the second one certainly missed the point of the first game.

One thing I don't agree with on the author is that developers should not design with a franchise in mind. Why not? Just because it could possibly tank? For every Too Human out there is a Mass Effect. It's basically a risk. If anything, I think that developers should create the first game with fairly tied up story and not such a blatant cliffhanger, like Too Human.

9. Every Game Needs Multiplayer

"Sometimes a perfectly constructed single player experience can please just as many players as one that is tailored towards multiplayer."

What in Odin's name? Another point on which I agree with the author? What is this mortal world coming to!? I certainly agree with that, but if anything I wish that more games would allow co-operative play during the regular gameplay, not just strictly in a side mode. Besides some games that we wouldn't think should have multiplayer actually pulled it off well and very creatively such as Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. Perhaps as long as another studio is involved in the multiplayer aspect, like in BioShock 2, then it could come out for the better.

10. "Casual" Means "Minigames"

"the dirge of minigames... ...has somehow become synonymous with 'casual gaming'."

I basically agree with this statement, yet again! A hat trick in this list! Maybe I should just give up on being bitter. But wait, what's this? Limbo equated to a casual game? Ah now we're getting somewhere.  It's gameplay is relatively simple yes, but it's puzzles and gloomy, dark atmosphere are really not one for casual gamers.

A casual game is just something that is easy to play for a few minutes then put down with no worries. In reality, the very first games would be defined as casual games today. Games like Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaga and more all had simple gameplay that was easy to pick up. Dammit weren't they fun though?

What Limbo is is an independent game. It was funded without publisher funding. It's not really accessible insomuch as Mega Man is accessible. The controls on both games are simple but the difficulty can sometimes be unforgiving. And really in Limbo, I sometimes had problems with where to go next or the clues weren't clear enough as to what I was supposed to be doing. Something I wouldn't shoehorn casual gaming with.

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