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[PATV] Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 4, Ep. 26: Mechanics as Metaphor (Part 2)

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    MuanMuan Registered User regular
    @Voracious Trees You're a little wrong in your assessment, or rather, you've overlooked something. Perhaps you've never been treated as a pariah, but, when others revile you and go out of their way to avoid you, you begin to enjoy imposing yourself on them and watching them essentially run away. Sometimes its easier to think of yourself as a feared monstrosity rather than as an outcast. Its sort of, "If they will not love me then they will fear me." I think you might have been experiencing this without noticing.

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    MuanMuan Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    .

    Muan on
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    MuanMuan Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    .

    Muan on
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    DemystifyDemystify Registered User new member
    @RoyceSraphim - I've seen a theme of cultural diffusion in the Civilization games that I really enjoy. I saw the most of this in Civ III, but they sorta also added it in the Gods & Kings expansion of Civ V, with religion. It seemed a bit contrived and I didn't really end up liking how it was implemented, but all the same it's a fascinating idea for nation building games.

    I'd love to see one such game that had systems for cultural diffusion such that being local to and trading with large, more advanced nations provides you with cultural, religious and technological advances at a fast rate, but conquering enemies offers some advantages and disadvantages in the form of the steady diffusion of culture from conquered opponents, as well as getting some of their technology if you make sure not to destroy too much of their infrastructure and population. That way, if you're a conquering lord and you want to take over a city, you might decide just to besiege it instead of shelling it to a crisp and burning it.

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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    I guess I'm just bothered by the constant use of a direct approach when it comes to combat. I understand its hard to program and even harder to bolt hard math to an organic real world scenario, but it would diversify the industry a bit.

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    GenjiBulletGenjiBullet Registered User new member
    I had to think about Dark Souls, surely the goal is to complete the game originally, but after you've done so a couple of times, the focus may well shift towards the PvP aspect of it. You have so many ways on how to interact with other players, be it by invading them as they work towards the area boss, protecting a certain forest once any player trespasses there, helping other players defeat an area/ boss ... you can be part of a covenant which punishes players which have commited what the game defines as sins against other covenants. Role play also comes largely into action here, aside just the diverse options of gameplay.
    Just my thoughts anyway, there are so many buttons this game pushes just right!

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    Ok so I played loneliness after seeing the last episode. It's just so pointless. I didn't "feel" any of the stuff they talked about, I wouldn't have known those dots were supposed to be people had I not been told beforehand. I think the crew at EC are just too smart to realize when a game is almost nothing. It's like somebody staring at a blank sheet of paper and saying it's a "non story" representing our empty shallow lives. The only "meaning" the game properly expressed was in the form of a sentence, that's pretty much the opposite of game mechanics having meaning. There are plenty of games where you move to a group of small things and they scatter. One can say that those are just fish or bugs in the game and have no meaning, I can also say those are just black dots and serve no meaning. They didn't even move away all the time. The guy couldn't even get that completely right. Don't give me that "time, budget, one guy did it" stuff, go look up a game called "Hard time". Very interesting game, well designed, and made by one guy in about 3 months according to the credits.

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    I'm sorry but I have to say one more thing....set your own goal?
    How on earth do you set your own goal in that game? It doesn't allow you to do anything but go up. sure you can go down.......is that setting your own goal? It's a game with one path. Seriously, I think you guys need to make games because you have great ideas you are applying to very crap games. I played loneliness expecting what you described, now I want to play the game you described, not that lazy attempt at looking "artsy" by creating an extremely quarter assed game and accusing those that call it bland and pointless of "not getting it" or not having imagination. You can hardly blame the player for not imagining the dots as people when you do nothing to establish them as people. He could have done something as simple as making the background something familiar that groups of people may be in, so we could easily identify the dots as people. Plenty of flash games use basic shapes as characters and many have no problem establishing what those shapes are without outright saying it, especially just outright saying it after you sat through the entire thing.

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    KifaruKifaru Registered User new member
    @Driscol,

    You shouldn't deny a game just because you didn't understand or didn't emotionally invest into it as you would've thought. Personally I totally got, like a bunch of other people, that the dots were people. The game name itself should've been a precursor to what you should've been expecting. The game was called "lonliness" and I immediately started to expect that people would involved or there would be some sort of isolation from company or object or something to induce the feelings of lonliness. The game was so minimalist that the only thing on the screen should've been something that provided you with a sense of security or belonging; even if they were just dots you immediately fit in the blanks the game left there on purpose for you to decide on your own which ultimately comes down to the goals as they video says. Based on the confines of the game you had your own choice what you decided to do in those situations like whether you went to all the groups, or you decided to avoid the big group expecting them to leave you so you didn't bother and continued onwards. Or perhaps you didn't go through all the groups halfway and then came back when you saw that one dot thinking that could've been the one to accept you. Personally I preferred them as dots than shapes as it distracts you from the main purpose of the game which was for you to craft your own experience within the confines of the game. I myself got what they were meant to represent, or maybe an allegory of life, but hey. That's just what I think and how I connected with the game which I felt it was done well.

    Why not welcome the idea of discoverying something that you probably didn't get. I ask you to welcome new ideas or concepts even if it isn't black and white for you, though ironically the game is in black and white, and understand why you didn't get it. Maybe you're just a person who hasn't ever felt lonely before, who knows? Could be age; perhaps you haven't lived long enough in the world. If you did maybe you'll discover something about yourself that you never would've realised was about you.

    But hey, if you felt like it wasn't something that deserve the attention it got then okay for you. Just accept it and move on and not to offend or discredit the maker of the game because it didn't meet your expectations.

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    kingcethkingceth Registered User regular
    @Driscol I get what you mean, but as the idea dawned on me that the dots were people, the game got incredibly sad for me. The game was meant to convey emotion, that was all.

    P.S. I totally went the rebel way and wen't backwards.

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2012
    @Kifaru Seriously? I didn't get it?
    I get it. It's about loneliness. Don't you tell me I don't know what loneliness is like, clearly you don't. I know more about it then you will ever want to know, my own family treats me like a freak and talks about me like when when they think I can't hear them. You have no idea what your saying.

    Second, I GOT IT! I was going to be civil but I just new some moron would be like "Oh you just didn't get it" or "don't shut yourself out of a new experience" even though there is nothing new about this game. There is no point to not hitting every group because there is no effort required. You would have had to make a conscious effort to miss the dots just so you can act out the narrative they talked about here.
    There is no "choice" that people talk about and if this game is an allegory for life, just blow my head off please. It has no emotion, it's like a game made by Patrick Bateman. It's not "depressing" because it lacks anything that inspires those feelings.

    Seriously, I got it, I just think it sucks. Am I allowed that? Am I allowed to see that the game has no point and doesn't express the idea of loneliness in the slightest? If you think this game represents loneliness perfectly, then obviously it's you that "doesn't get it" and has never experienced the feeling.

    Driscol on
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    Ginsu48Ginsu48 Registered User new member
    Kifaru never said you didn't understand loneliness like the emotion, he meant the game. Everyone experiences loneliness as some point in their life. There also was a "choice". The Guys at EC did a great job describing everything so I'm not sure why you don't understand why a majority of the people here got something out of the game you didn't. We know you understood it was about loneliness, but didn't understand why it was in any way a good representation of it. We get that. Instead of saying we are the ones who "didn't get it", ask yourself how we actually saw how the game as a representation of loneliness. Also this game definitely represents loneliness spot on. I mean shit, you're a dot that is surrounded by dots that don't want to be near you. Do you get excited when people don't want to be near you or lonely?
    Debating is grand. I think we can all agree on that though. That's why we all bother to talk up here. :D

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2012
    @ginsu48

    " Maybe you're just a person who hasn't ever felt lonely before, who knows?"

    Yup he sure never said that, did he?
    So what choice? I suppose you can say Mario had an infinite choice system since you can "choose" to do nothing but jump up and down in one place. See it's hardly "choice by design" when the game only recognizes one or none of your "choices" I mean by that logic, every game has a ton of choices since you can choose to turn it off and do anything else.
    There you idiots go again saying you know what I do or don't understand. I GOT. THE FUCKING. POINT OF THE GAME!
    Do I need to use a power drill to get that through your thick skulls? If one more person tells me my opinion is based on the fact that I "didn't get it" I am going to snap.
    This game does nothing to represent REAL loneliness but seeing as how you think loneliness is just something you "experience at some point in their life" I don't find it surprising that you think it does. I can't just state my honest opinion without a bunch of morons blindly agreeing with whatever the talking heads on the screen say.

    To say it's a perfect representation just because dots move away from you makes no sense. That's like saying I made a game that perfectly represents the idea of murder, your a dot and when you hit other dots they disappear. It's not minimalist art with meaning, it's a lazy pretentious attempt at getting notoriety.

    It's obvious you people wouldn't know anything about real loneliness, it's just some abstract concept you can only perceive through lifeless dots.

    There, we even now?

    Yes debating can be "grand" when you can have a discussion without people saying you "don't get the point" that you are ignorant, or that you have never experienced a particular feeling.
    Oh you don't like the game I like? I guess it means you have never felt sad before. You don't like the movie I like? I guess you have never experienced poverty. You see how infuriating that can be for people to cut you down and say your point of view is worthless, telling lies about who you are, claiming your opinion is simply based on ignorance?

    Again, you people clearly don't understand real loneliness. It's not just people walking away from you, it's people distancing themselves from everything you are, and discrediting you at every term. Real loneliness is not passive, as this "thing" shows, it's actively aggressive. Even when you want to be left alone they intrude on your life simply to tell you your doing it wrong and that it's your fault you have nothing.
    That's real fucking loneliness, but it's something I "have never experienced" according to the wise commenter here.

    Driscol on
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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    Trying to communicate with you people gives me a headache. I mean a literal, physical headache. Like a horrible sinus headache. I can't even make a simple statement of opinion without some smart ass making accusations about who I am.

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    LokisDawnLokisDawn Registered User new member
    @Driscol I understand your point. I know where you are coming from. However, what you are doing, is basically saying:"I'm right, and noone else is!" What you are feeling and going through is certainly tough, at least from what it sounds like. However, yours is not the only kind of loneliness there is, in fact, I'd call it more like mobbing. There are many people whose feelings resonated with the game, like mine. It can also be heart crushing if you are simply being ignored, in fact in your position you may even be able to use your haters negative energy for something positive, though I don't know if thats possible.
    You have to realize that your position was very aggressive, calling the game "crap" because the kind of loneliness you are feeling is not one you could experience within the game. Other people felt understood by it, and that's that. You do of course have the choice to call the game crap, but then you can not complain about us discussing that point with you.
    I hope you have some good friends or at least a hobby that is there for you, since other people are what gives most humans strenght, which i wish for you.

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    @lokisDawn I am not saying "I am right, everyone else is wrong" I simply stated my opinion before being told my opinion is based on the fact that I don't get it and that I haven't experienced loneliness. You don't see how that might inspire some aggressive behavior?
    You fucking clowns, I swear. So if I agree with the talking heads, I'm just having an opinion but if my opinion differs from yours, I am apparently claiming it's the only right one.
    People weren't "discussing the game with me" they were accusing me of "not getting it" and of never feeling those emotions. That's pretty obnoxious. So what am I supposed to do when my opinion is labeled as moot because "You don't get it"? I should just agree with that? Bullshit.

    As for the game, it's not that "my particular loneliness" didn't fit the game, it's just IN MY PERSONAL OPINION the game did nothing to express the idea that required any form of creativity. Like I said, it's bland and emotionless and the only reason a person knows what it's about is because of the title and the sentence at the end of the "game" and that hardly makes for game that expresses metaphor through game play.

    I am not saying that opinion is the only one, or that it's right, but when you and the others accuse me of "not getting it" or "not understanding loneliness" simply because of that opinion, you are pretty much saying mine is wrong. This is why you people give me a fucking headache, you demand one thing and do the other. You accuse me of doing something I haven't done but somebody else (that you choose not to respond to) has done.

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    Wildcard608Wildcard608 Registered User regular
    I don't know. I think this game is kind of pretentious as well. The narrative doesn't work for me because you don't have to project the fact that there humans or this is about your character's loneliness. Despite the title you still don't really feel it in the game and if you don't see the title you could get to the end without thinking about it. I could project that this was about an asteroid and those were all little spaceships fleeing from a head-on collision. It is one of the rare times when I think the simple approach worked against the game.

    I've seen this theme better anyways.

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    RountreeUSMCRountreeUSMC Registered User new member
    Mr SP wrote: »
    Wasn't Silent Hill 2 HD's lack of fog both
    a) Clearly a mistake on the part of the remake team, as pointed out by the original director and
    b) Patched?

    Exactly. Supposedly Konami lost the code to both Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 so they had to work from the ground up. In addition to the fog there were tons of other issues from frame rate to voice acting that plagued the HD Collection. On August 8th they announced a patch for the PS3 version on the Silent Hill Facebook page. However, on August 10th they said there would not be a patch for the XBox 360 version and offered all customers with this version to trade in HD Collection for another game. So only the PS3 version got patched. The 360 version will remain broken.

    If the lack of fog was a conscious design choice it is a great example of the failure to use mechanics as metaphor. It is also an indictment against modern AAA game designers that don't trust their players' intelligence or imagination as it took away the very things about Silent Hill 2 that made it such a visceral and engaging experience. And that mishandling of both a classic game and subsequent fixing of it lost Konami a lot of fans and money.

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    XZoahXZoah Registered User new member
    Umm... Loneliness did have an objective: to get to the end... To see what the author had laid out. It gave us a lot of freedom in the intervening time... but I understood where the ending was, and how to get there and, due to me being human, I wanted to see it.

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    SkullBoySnafuSkullBoySnafu Registered User new member
    When I played the game, I kept finding myself reaching for everything I came across, only pausing once or twice wondering "What? Why? Maybe..." and continuing to reach.

    Though I was not truly aware of the title, it quickly gripped me with its heavy sadness, without consciously knowing why until the message of the game truly sunk in, I loved that it never spelt itself out, and I was able to fully fall into the emotions of this game, without preparation. I haven't felt such an emotional swell since Journey.

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    BeetBeet Registered User new member
    edited September 2012
    Why black dots? Abstraction isn't about removing all form it's about removing unnecessary complexity. Why intentionally obscure the form when it just makes it more difficult for the player to grasp what you are trying to convey?

    I don't see why having goals is a bad thing either. Yes with a goal the game designer is influencing the audience, but they are influencing them in order to convey the games meaning more effectively. Well designed goals shouldn't make an experience longer either. It should make the game much shorter since the designer can more efficiently communicate to the player.

    Also I don't understand how a game could possibly not have a meaning?

    Beet on
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    imputeimpute Registered User new member
    Watching this I couldn't help but think about Jim Dunnigan's "World War I" board game from 1975 where the primary resource is men's lives which are counted with a simple slider that does an impressive job of recording the senseless deaths.

    Gregg Costikyan has a For a few more ideas about mechanics, specifically from board games and paper RPGs at http://www.costik.com/vidiot.html

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    ZombieAladdinZombieAladdin Registered User regular
    I have to wonder though--this kind of "leaving the interpretations up to the player" thing...is it done mostly subconsciously? Because based on my experiences, most people don't see anything past the surface level of any narrative. I've known plenty of people who enjoy watching South Park but were totally unaware of the social commentary until I pointed it out.

    Heck, you can see it in the stellar ratings for The Boondocks. (Not as stellar as Family Guy, of course, but strong enough to become a mainstay on Adult Swim.) That, too, is full of insight, but it's sharing the same block as the likes of Aqua Teen and Childrens Hospital (and trouncing the latter in popularity). I highly doubt most people who watch The Boondocks see it as anything more than Tyler Perry: The Animated Series.

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    osaka35osaka35 Registered User new member
    Didn't read the name of the game, and thus didn't get the feel of "loneliness" at all. Ya'll say that it does what it does on mechanics alone. I completely disagree. The name of the game sets the entire tone for the piece, NOT the mechanics.

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    Exactly. You could call the game "Sadness" or "happiness" and people would argue that it presents those concepts perfectly. They would argue that the blocks running away represents your happiness causing them to exit their state of stillness and run off into the world. The guy that made this "game" judging from his other work is fond of making pretentious works of flash masturbation. In the words of a wise man, it's like he's just saying "Ask me what it means, ask me what it means! I'm deep! I'm tortured!"

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    DriscolDriscol __BANNED USERS regular
    I would love to work on a game that really portrays loneliness and isolation in a fully realized way. I don't know anything about game design but I am good at writing, am learning to animate, and have a lot of passion. If anyone wants to help make this idea a reality, send me a message. We can talk details in private.

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    SubetaRyuSubetaRyu Registered User new member
    I know OP and all others are likely gone, but after reading Driscol's posts and the reactions they inspired, I felt something had to be said.

    It doesn't matter if Driscol thought Loneliness was "flash masturbation." Perhaps Driscol's posts were too aggressive and insulting to the developer, but whatever. The truth is, Driscol went out and exposed their loneliness to everyone on this board, and in return, was told that they had not really experienced loneliness.

    There was an opportunity to reach out and connect, and this opportunity was ignored. Whether or not the Loneliness the game is worth playing or not, there was a chance to decrease the world's store of real loneliness. All anyone would have to write would be "I don't think the same way about the game, but I empathize with you." Arguing about the quality of game instead of reaching out and establishing a human connection subverts the entire stated reason for Loneliness the game.

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    DeDreamer428DeDreamer428 Registered User new member
    For years I've wanted to play FFVII. Back in high school (when Advent Children came out in the US) a friend lent it to me and it kept freezing at certain points during the game so I never even beat the first disc. Even so I was struck by how I went from laughing at the little Lego people graphics to feeling invested in the characters. Recently I purchased the PC remake.

    What's struck me about it, knowing basically the whole story of the game all ready, is how Cloud's mental state is conveyed to the player. Considering the technology of the time, it's pretty subtle. Cloud's emo faced portrait in the character select menu doesn't match the cock-sure, sometimes goofy person we meet in the early dialogue. I find the cutscenes depicting Cloud's... mental breaks or whatever they are lose something when accurately translated. In the PS version of the game I played they struck me as incoherent and creepy, in the remake the voice in Cloud's head feels friendly and informative, which in a way makes sense, I guess. But what really got to me was the way Cloud talks to the player during the tutorial segments. I can't think of any other game where the player character is the character that gives the tutorial, that says a lot about the guy right there. A) He considers himself to be an expert and is pretty smug about it. B) He's immediately disassociated from the player, which makes the player capable of distrusting him. C) He's talking to someone who isn't there.

    This was really nailed home for me when I was running around the base, or port, whatever it is in Junon and found an inn where Cloud talked to semi-transparent people and recapped all the tutorial segments. Some of the text suggests that they're ghosts but I couldn't shake the feeling that the whole thing was an hallucination brought on by Cloud's re-exposure to Shinra. I talked to one of my old friends from high school who played the game as a kid and he quit at this point. Cloud made him too uncomfortable to continue playing.

    Anyway, playing that portion made me remember the Extra Credits episode about tutorials. FFVII used its tutorial, in a really very simple way, to show that their was something profoundly wrong with its main character. As this episode pointed out, you can take this necessary to a game and make them pull so much more weight with just the littlest extra touches.

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