Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[PATV] Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 5, Ep. 9: Aesthetics of Play



  • ZorrahZorrah Registered User new member
    Yeah, on the FPS thing, I hate FPS's, but LOVE Borderlands. On an unrelated note, Diablo II is one of my favorite games of all time.

  • janerowdyjanerowdy Registered User regular
    Is it really that wrong to classify games as FPS and such - because, as you guys often point out, games are different than anything else because they're interactive. Should they really be given the same considerations for genre?
    Also, if I see "sense pleasure" on the box of a game, I'm not gonna touch it. Same goes with most of the other aesthetics you mentioned.
    Portal may be technically classified as a first person shooter, but nobody I know calls it that - it's a first person puzzler. Everybody I know calls Mass Effect an RPG - I feel like you're making an unnecessary argument here.

  • MrButtonsMrButtons Registered User
    Nice nod to City of Heroes departure. I never played it that much, but it was a fun game to go back to once in awhile and feel like your own awesome comic superhero. Excelsior!

  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    While highly descriptive (more so overall than traditional genre titles), the M.D.A. descriptors suffer from the same problem traditional genre titles do- they do not properly or fully describe most games with a single word.

    Portal - Platforming FPS Physics-based Puzzler
    Mass Effect - 3rd-Person Cover-based Shooter RPG
    Super Mario Galaxy - Action Platformer
    Final Fantasy - Turn-based combat Adventure RPG

    While clunky, the terms do work "properly" when combined to describe the basic experience a player will have. However, I'm all for using BOTH the mechanic descriptors with the M.D.A. titles for creating a complete picture, because here's the truth: many gamers dislike certain mechanics. Despite the overall experience or a game's radical departure from what one would expect, many gamers simply refuse to touch games that feature certain mechanics or types of gameplay. This means that describing a game's genre merely by its aesthetics (without any mention of mechanics) is going to cause a great deal of consternation among gamers who have a difficult time with, for example, 3rd-Person shooters; or who despise Turn-Based combat.

    While the mechanics are not equal to aesthetics, they do, fundamentally, define the player's experience; and will provide wildly varying experiences according to how they are combined.

    You're missing the point with those. They aren't there to describe every mechanic of the games, just the core draw of the game. Being an FPS isn't the main draw of Portal. Being a Platformer isn't the main draw of Portal. Both of those are part of Portal, and the enhance the play of Portal, but they are only there to enhance the Puzzle aspect of Portal.
    In fact with all four of your examples it's the same problem. You're using multiple roles to describe a single one that is the core draw of the game. You're using "3rd-Person Cover-based Shooter" as adjectives to describe the main draw of Mass Effect being an RPG. You're using "Action" as an adjective to describe Mario as being a Platformer (though all Mario games are pretty much straight platformers). You're using "Turn-based combat Adventure" as a subset of Final Fantasy's RPG draw.

  • metroidkillahmetroidkillah Local Bunman Free Country, USARegistered User regular
    edited November 2012
    @Dedwrekka: I'm sorry, but you clearly didn't read all of my post... or understand my point, which was merely that the MDA descriptors are just as incomplete as traditional ones. This is why multiple descriptors are necessary. Yes, most people play Mass Effect for the RPG elements; but if you were to describe the game as only an RPG, a great many people would start it up, and then be extremely disappointed.

    The same thing is true for Portal. The draw is the puzzle aspect, but the uniqueness comes from the "portal" and "physics" mechanics and the first-person perspective. Without the other descriptors, the player has no idea what to expect. "Puzzler" could mean a great number of things, all of them nothing like Portal.

    You don't gain anything by telling the "consumer" less. If you need to use more words, well, that's what they're there for. To try to limit ourselves to as few words as possible is unnecessary.

    Bottom line: we need more descriptors. We need descriptions that include not only core mechanics (since those are how the player interacts, and define the overall flavor of the experience), but also dynamics and aesthetics (since those define the actual experience itself). We need them all if we want to create a full picture of what a game has to offer. To outright replace what is already there would be foolish, at best; and for EC to imply that the MDA descriptors are somehow "better" or more "up to the task" than what we already have is simply wrong.

    metroidkillah on
    I'm not a nice guy, I just play one in real life.
  • The Elven JediThe Elven Jedi Registered User regular
    @rrh: Terms that we use to describe genre do not have to be used alone. That is to say, a western can be other "genres" in addition to western [django unchained is clearly comedy as well as drama, prometheus is sci-fi, but also horror. etc.]

    is the audience of Extra credits the 1%?... perhaps :-) [it's always fun to feel like one is in the knowing elite] but change has to start somewhere right?

  • Abdurrahman KhallofAbdurrahman Khallof Registered User regular
    OMG! this episode is awesome, U'll make me do research and thinking for at least 5 or 6 next months...

Sign In or Register to comment.