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GameIntrospection

Love and Hate for Gaming @GIntrospection

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mtberryyoshi

Event Highlights: Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) 2017

There’s something strange yet gratifying about watching a game that you know intimately well being expertly maneuvered through for the first time, even more so for games that you’ve played for years but isn’t talked about or that you don’t normally see when old games get brought up. Just thinking about how often I used to play through the same sets of levels in the game and think I was past the point of the game being able to push my any further as far as difficulty and challenge was concerned. Then I saw some of the games being showcased at AGDQ 2017 and was in awe once again.

I’ve been watching GDQ events for the past few years (if the GDQ highlight posts didn’t give that away) but some of the games this year were so out of left field that I never thought I’d see these games being speedrun let alone being in a GDQ even.

While all the games showcased at AGDQ are worth watching, Mario Paint ruined me as kid, so I felt a special satisfaction when it was equally broken down.

Mario Paint

Races

The GDQ staff has really been making great selections for races this year and it shows from having such great competitors making the races both technically challenging, obviously difficult and competitively close to cause for some great exhibitions of skills and drama. Here are few of the ones that I think are worth watching

Mystery Game Tournament

Ducktales Race

MegaMan

Shovel Knight

Lost Levels

The Bad

Some games… are just bad. And we’re lucky have runners willing to put up with the bad platforming, wonky controller inputs and general malpractice of game design that occurs in these games.

Timecop

Batman Forever

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Donkey Kong 5

Fun Runs

Some commentators and runs are just extremely entertaining to watch. From great commentary, engaging runners, or games that allow for great moments occur that become memorable highlights of the week. Here are a few of these moments

Super Dram World – GrandPooBear/Dode

Zelda Windwaker

TAS Bot

SMB 2 Lost Level – BigJon

Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D

Mighty No. 9

Sonic adventure DX big the cat

New Super Hook Girl

Not Another Needle Game

Sega Bass Fishing

GTA: Vice City

Kabuki Quantum Fighter

Krion Conquest

Super Bomberman

Twitter: @GIntrospection

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Let’s talk about: Player-Driven Context; Final Fantasy XV, That Dragon, Cancer and How a player connects to a game

Final Fantasy XV is an interesting game. The first 80% of the game feels endless. You get in the car, Noctis and friends, trying to help Noctis find himself, his purpose and his responsibilities. You take detours exploring caves, hunting for the next big fish, camp under the stars and wish you would find the next town soon so you can get a decent shower. During it all, there’s friendly ribbing, putting each other down as a display of how close you all are, egos blow up or real life seeps in and full out arguments escalate until the cold front  sweeps through the group hindering all conversation but you know that they mean well because the argument only grew from a place of worry, respect and friendship rather than ill will. But everyone works through the bad feelings and it only helps to strengthen their bond in the end. Then the last 20% of the game happens, real life becomes too important and that friendship isn’t enough to stop life from happening causing the inevitable distance between you and your friends to grow.

ffxv

Final Fantasy XV is interesting because it made me long for the times when I could just spend the days with my friends not worrying about the distant future and just live in the moment with them. Only having to worry about our next meal or plan our next outing together is a distant memory from the abruptness of real life. But then again, I’m only thinking like this because of where I am in life while I’m playing the game. I’m already past that part of my life where I’ve had the time to waste with my friends where we only spent time building bonds with one another before life got in the way. I’ve brought my own experiences from life and had it color my experience of FFXV, by relating to the motifs of friendship and reminiscing between the banter that only friends that know each other well and are completely comfortable with shitting on each other can do. If this was my first Final Fantasy playing FFXV before having these experiences of bonding with my friends I can see the next generation idolizing the idea of grabbing your closest friends, going on a trip and making an adventure out of it as a means of entertainment and building bonds.

This raises the question: When is the right time to play a game?

More after the break

Continue reading “Let’s talk about: Player-Driven Context; Final Fantasy XV, That Dragon, Cancer and How a player connects to a game”

Bias in Gaming – Learning Patience and Understanding through Cooperative Online Games

How much of life is about learning patience over immediate reaction? Patience in seeing that the hard work that you’re doing now will have some payoff in the future instead of taking seeing a way out now and changing tracks. Patience in dealing with others, taking a situation in and seeing things from another’s viewpoint, instead of letting subconscious reaction take over and responding in the same energy that you’re given. Aggression responding to aggression. Hate responding with hate.

And what happens when you aren’t taught these lessons in life? If you’re never taught to practice patience over immediacy, understanding over reaction? Would it be easy to work well with others knowing that every interaction if brought with the wrong energy will cause a troubling scene? Would it be easy to stay productive and motivated knowing that at the earliest sign of a way out you’d take it instead of staying focused on the task that you have and losing sight of why that you’d working on is important?

A life of immediacy and reaction is probably not the one that leads to the kind of life that you want. Although it feels good to take control in the moment, it’s rare that you don’t burn some bridges when acting on reactions.

When is it a failure of the system that you weren’t taught patience over immediacy, when it’s such a key aspect of social development? Schools try to teach this, but it’s hard to force kids with varying personalities and motivations to see a common end goal. What’s worse is that if you grow up in an environment which instigates immediate reaction over understanding, from the peers you interact with to the adults in the neighborhood, it’s more likely that you’d never learn patience as you’re primed completely to act on reaction.

How you learned reaction over patience is the same way you could to undo the process. The people you interact with set up an expectation for a behavior from you, making you accountable for those expectations to build a sense of responsibility. As long you have a system that makes you accountable for being patient and learning understanding, then you have a means of practicing patiences and understanding.

Have you ever been in a long-term guild in a game before, or even just had a group of friends that you’d meet with regularly in-game and play a game together that required a high degree of cooperation?

Learning the maps, the routing and building expertise in a weapon-set in Counter-Strike, Destiny or Call of Duty.

Having regular times to meet and work on new content but theory-crafting a skill tree during the off-time so that you can make the most of those group play-sessions instead of stopping every time you gained a level and looking up where you should dump the new skill points that you just earned in Diablo 3.

Spending time outside of play-sessions to get better gear and learning the mechanics of a raid-fight before meeting with friends once a week to try and choreograph 8-people to beat the same boss that you’ve all been working on for a few weeks with incremental progress in World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.

The few people willing to take up team-chat and coordinate a group of strangers to play a specific set of roles to have a well balanced team-composition when you never know how your teammates react when things go well or poorly in Overwatch or League of Legends.

Having responsibilities to train and come prepared but building the social skills to deal with the differing personality types and viewpoints that you come across. The kind of responsibility for self-development and accountability for positive social interactions that need to be practiced for patience and understanding.

So what are we exploring in this article? We’ll look into how social adaption can get skewed during developmental years, how responsibility can be instilled by building systems of expectations and accountability and how we can mimics these systems outside of IRL and possibly recreate them online.

More after the break.

Continue reading “Bias in Gaming – Learning Patience and Understanding through Cooperative Online Games”

Bias in Gaming: Music as a Frame for Changing Behavior

Music is…

Music is a mood enhancer. The soundtrack to your life, to your experiences current and past. Music highlights the drama in your life, the carefree moments with friends, the intensity of a shootout in a movie or game. Music and sound build off of what we already feel and amplifies it when done correctly to saturate our senses in the mood of the moment.

But music and sound are largely background effects, unnoticed when done correctly and disruptive when done poorly. When done poorly, e.g. there is a large disconnect between the music and actions, there is a large contrast between what the scene is telling us to feel and what the music says to feel. This dissonance affects our experience of the scene but does it also influence our behavior in the moment?

Though music is largely experienced in the background, haven’t you ever felt the accidental change in behavior when that music changes? Take a faster stride when the pace of the music picks up? Taking in your surroundings when the a slower more thoughtful song starts? Remembering an emotion or a moment when a somber or sad song gets played, swelling the wave of emotions from the calm that you once had?

music amp gameplay amp deicison

Don’t you find it peculiar that music can change how you’re acting? We’ll explore this and more below the break

Continue reading “Bias in Gaming: Music as a Frame for Changing Behavior”

Bias In Gaming – How Brand Trust is Built – Blizzard and Steam, yes. PoGo, no.

PoGo PoGo PoGo

The summer of Pokemon Go is almost completed and it still seems like many are still at it. Walk by a public park and you’ll still find people at all hours of the day with their head down at their phone flicking towards the top of the screen.

abra

Everybody who tried playing during the first few days knows how poorly made the game is, how clunky the UI and controls are, how fickle the servers can be, but we all still kept at it. Whenever Niantic announced that they were releasing the game to the next wave of countries, the community prepared itself for the outages that would ensue as Niantic worked to scale their for traffic and replicated databases to support the millions of new users.

Game launches rarely ever go well unless you’re used to them not going well and plan for contingencies accordingly, like Blizzard and the release of Overwatch which was only troublesome to login and had spotty connectivity issues for the first day or so. Even on Blizzard’s worst launch days, e.g. most World of Warcraft expansion releases, Diablo 3 etc…, they might get a couple bruises in the gaming press but the gaming community as a whole still views Blizzard as one of the best in the business when it comes to polish in a game and longevity in a multiplayer experience.

But why could a game like Pokemon Go get away with feeling like an alpha/beta public test? Forgoing obvious arguments of nostalgia and novelty, why could Pokemon Go gain this much traction for what was ultimately a broken game? How can we trust Niantic and Pokemon Go as a brand and how does a company like Valve and Blizzard keep their high pedigree of brand trust? We’ll talk about that below the break.

Continue reading “Bias In Gaming – How Brand Trust is Built – Blizzard and Steam, yes. PoGo, no.”

Bias In Gaming – Sequels and Aligning your Game with a Company – Brands as a Frame for Influence

E3 happened a few months back and PAX West (originally PAX Prime) is about to happen in a few weeks. Game companies showcasing their pet projects for all to see, people to play and experiment with the parts that seem to be working and find the flaws that developers thought would go unnoticed, and the gaming media generating as much buzz around these games as can be mustered since (as we mentioned in the previous post) any advertising is good advertising.

But there is one part that I never really enjoy about these events, which mostly applies to E3, and that’s the publisher-sponsored conferences.

Microsoft E3 2016
Microsoft E3 2016
Sony E3 2016
Sony E3 2016

In essence, these conferences dedicate special time to showcase the exclusive/timed-exclusive games for a particular console or showcase all of the games under the same publisher.

But why is it so important for a game to be tied to a publisher/console so heavily? Wouldn’t you think that being untied to a particular lineup means that you have more accessibility to all consoles? I know that being a console exclusive gets you special broadcasting time, but why does it matter so much for non-first party games to be a part of the Microsoft lineup or the Sony brand?

Funny enough, it has a lot to do with why game studios and movie studios push so heavily for sequels and spinoffs.

Studios know the importance of a brand and its recognition in the consumer’s mind. Brands influence our choices as we gravitate towards things that we’re used to, yet we don’t always actively take their influence into account. We’ll look into why this is the case below the break.

Continue reading “Bias In Gaming – Sequels and Aligning your Game with a Company – Brands as a Frame for Influence”

Bias in Gaming – Attention, Rank and Choosing which Games to Buy

Imagine this scenario, you’re on Steam perusing the store and you find your way to one of the multitude of game categories – let’s say Action games. So you start looking through the games to see what you might like.

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What do you think you’d click on? There are 600+ pages of Action games, is it likely that you’d click on all of them? Probably not.

But would you have at least clicked on the first few? Do you even know if they’re good? What about the first 10? Maybe. First 20? Less likely.

For me, I’d probably at least look at Batman – Telltale and Abzu, but I’d have hoped that I would’ve noticed Abzu on the second page and not abandoned my browsing already.

I bring this up because making choices is always tricky. You’re are presented with options, some of which are influenced by our immediate wants and some by your distant ones, and you’re asked to pick one of those options. But if you’re told to answer now then you might give a different answer than if you’re given a half hour or a half day to answer. The person asking you the question is giving you pressure, your immediate wants are clouding your judgement and you just might give an answer that you might regret because you’re forced to answer it at this moment.

The reason why I bring this up is because most (if not all) Bias In Gaming posts are about the choices we make and the situations in which we make them, inside and outside of gaming. Those choices are affected by when and how we’re asked and how those choices are presented which influences how and what we’ll choose to do. The context of which we make a choice is typically called a Frame (as in how do we frame our choices) and talking about frames is bringing to light the many ways that those frames influence our choices, intentionally and unintentionally for better or worse.

Frames can be thought of some category that we filter out options. When purchasing something like a TV, we might first Frame our options based on brand like Sony or Samsung, then Frame out options based on TV definition 1080p or 4k, then on Price, then on number of HDMI ports, etc…

But what is it about the Steam store, Playstation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, etc… that influence how we decide what to look at and what to play? It’s all about availability and rank.

Continue reading “Bias in Gaming – Attention, Rank and Choosing which Games to Buy”

Best of Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) 2016

Summer Games Done Quick 2016 has wrapped up. The event raised around $1.3 million for Doctors Without Borders during the week long charity stream where around 170 games and 200 players donated their time and expertise to give the gaming community an entertaining 24/7 display of gripping moments, glitched games and great commentary.

0104-AGDQ

I’ve compiled a list of the what I think were the highlights of the event, based on how entertaining the games were, how impressive the runners were, and how cool some of the spectacles were to watch.

This list is a compilation of the best runs throughout the event, spanning races to co-op, blind-runs to glitch exhibition.

Continue reading “Best of Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) 2016”

Bias in Gaming – Complexity and Toxic Communities – A Small Case Study from League of Legends and Overwatch

Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to devote time into games that are seemingly more and more complex?

Complexity in many games might not be apparent at first, but some have a surprising depth to them that can make it intimidating to get your hands on, especially after watching people who’ve mastered the game, understand all of the intricacies and nuances of the complexities at play.

League of Legends is the prime example of a game with an astounding amount of depth making it entertaining to watch experts strategize around the depth within the game, but extremely intimidating to pick up and exhausting to keep playing as those strategies evolve, change completely or go extinct like the failed traits of an evolutionary tree because some new apex predator was created leaving a wake or genetic devastation.

Keeping up with the strategies is one troublesome aspect of League of Legends, but what’s worse is being berated by the community for not keeping up with those strategies when you’re trying to be a casual player or a semi-skilled player but one who doesn’t devote more than an hour or so per day to gaming, or by making one bad play causing everyone to criticize you more harshly for the rest of the game. Doesn’t sound like a good time, does it?

Then a game like Overwatch comes along, lightening the load of complexity, less resources to manage, less strategy to manage and making it feel all the more accessible, inviting spectators and players alike much like the early days of League of Legends. A game that’s still new (as of writing this) with a metagame that’s not completely defined yet and a community which doesn’t judge everyone so harshly for one or two bad plays.

Why is it that Overwatch and League of Legends has such differing community behavior, one toxic to all new-comers, casual players and nonprofessionals while the other is currently inviting to the same crowd? Well, that’s probably a bias worth looking into.

Continue reading “Bias in Gaming – Complexity and Toxic Communities – A Small Case Study from League of Legends and Overwatch”

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