Titanium Dragon wrote: »
The problem with your highfalueten idea is that it is bad.
Mechanics, dynamics, AND aesthetics ALL define end-user experience in important ways, and the idea that somehow, magically, aesthetics are the most important is terribly flawed - its actually a two-way street. While players will viscerally engage with aesthetics, defining genres by aesthetics leads to grouping games together that don't belong together based on just as superficial similarities. Choosing a first person view as opposed to a third person view, for instance, makes a big difference in how the game plays and what can be done with it.
The truth is that your approach is just as confining and actually far more nonsensical in many ways, and we can see why this is such a big problem when we look at film. Take The Cabin in the Woods and The Host. What genre do they fit into? The Cabin in the Woods uses the aesthetics of a horror movie, but it certainly is NOT a horror movie.
Indeed, your entire comparison to film is off in the first place because film doesn't have the same underlying structure. You experience a movie, but it is not an interactive experience. The mechanics and dynamics are what seperate games from other sorts of entertainment, so the idea of defining games based on aesthetics is just stupid - its yet another "I wish I was Hollywood" thing. Games aren't actually defined by just aesthetics, so making game genres based on aesthetics is ridiculous.
The fundamental issue is that mistaking aesthetics for the core content is just as much of a mistake as mistaking mechanics for it. A first person shooter can deliver on a variety of aesthetics, but that doesn't mean that they do not all share a lot of fundamental similarities, and defining them by the end aesthetics will lose a great deal of that.
I will also note that Portal is not actually a FPS, whereas Fallout 3 is. While Portal uses an interface which is superficially similar to a FPS interface, it lacks what makes a FPS a FPS - namely, combat, as FPSs are all about shooting enemies to solve your problems. Conversely, Fallout 3, while it adds RPG mechanics, is still fundamentally a FPS as well, as conflict resolution in the game is via violence. Borderlands is even more so than Fallout 3, with "RPG mechanics" without the actual roleplaying part.
What does this mean? It means that genres are defined by multiple levels of MDA, not just a single level, and mechanics and dynamics play a VERY big role in determining genre. Portal isn't a FPS because, despite its visual similarities, it isn't actually about FPS gameplay at all - you don't resolve your conflicts in the game via violence, which is an integral part of an FPS.
discrider wrote: »
I'm not sure why you added Competition to the list. It's simply Challenge but where the content is provided by another player.
For example, take any multiplayer game with AI. A game against the AI would be designed with Challenge at the core, but if we substitute the AI with similar skilled humans it suddenly becomes Competition. Even if you're replaying a demo of humans as the AI in the first instance, so for all intents and purposes the gameplay is the same, we still have this strange dichotomy. This makes me feel that the two aesthetics are fulfilling the same need through the same means and are actually the same aesthetic.
Competition provides Challenge and is merely a subset of it.
Edit: Regretting the use of 'merely' above, since if we consider mastery of any Challenge as beating the Game Designer/Dungeon Master (at his own game), then all Challenge is Competition as well.
R3DT1D3 wrote: »
I look at the biggest releases and highest reviewed games and they're mostly popcorn games with decent visuals/sound design. It's very hard to find games that are built on Mastery (an aspect of challenge), Discovery, or Narrative. It's so incredibly hard to find many games that covey anything beyond the immediate objective.
I miss games that punished blind impulse, required effort, and left me feeling like I didn't just waste time pressing buttons to a meaningless sequence.