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Let’s Talk About: When does a game truly die? Or Games that need to inspire.

We’re well within the lifetime of the Eighth generation of consoles. That means seven generations of game consoles have come and gone. Libraries of games within each generation and only a handful of them are ever talked about, reminisced on, and dissected with scrutiny. Thousands of games long forgotten with just as much potential as the game next to it when they sat on the store shelves, but rarely purchased and less likely to be remembered once the next gaming generation has spawned a fresh slate of shelf-space to remember.

But do these games ever really die?

The mortality of a game and its ideas is one thing, but its legacy is something to not be taken likely. Passing on the seeds of what a game has explored to future generations.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: When does a game truly die? Or Games that need to inspire.”

Impressions – Just Shapes and Beats – PAX Prime 2015

Just Shapes and Beats

Music games are strange. They’re strange in that there is something about the game that you can sync up with to make the game more predictable, something that’s rhythmic, something on beat. When you play the game well because you’re completely in-sync with the music there’s a strange body-extension sensation that takes over, but only for the time you feel in-time with the music.

That means that music games typically went one of a few ways. You make finding that synchronicity the main point of the game and pushing the limit of that synchronicity by pushing your dexterity and stamina, ala Rock Band. Maybe you make the music a byproduct of the player’s actions so those actions create new music on every playthrough, e.g. Sound Shapes or Everyday Shooter. Maybe you have the music be the cue for onscreen action and movement, e.g. Donkey Kong Country Returns and Axiom Verge.

Just Shapes and Beats is probably closest to the last of these, onscreen cues except that cues aren’t the easiest to judge and time.

just-shapes-and-beats-boss-1

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Impressions: Ultimate Chicken Horse – PAX Prime 2015

Ultimate Chicken Horse

Original Kickstarter

There’s a lot of ways to ruin friendships when playing a game. Games like Mario Party and Nintendoland have you building temporary alliances and never-forgotten rivalries from past betrayals. Others like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros relying solely on yourself for victory with the randomness of items to keep things interesting and forcing you to be globally aware but you still feel the anguist when victory is snatched from your grasps by a well-timed red-shell or a lucky pokeball grab.

It’s weird to find a party game that doesn’t have you building a hatred for the people that you’re with over time, but Ultimate Chicken Horse was definitely on its way there.

ultimate-chicken-horse

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Game Experiences: PAX Prime 2015 Day 1: Freshman’s on FFXIV

It’s a bit strange to have new players come into a game and expect them to be good, don’t you think? 

Let’s step back a bit. Remember when in World of Warcraft, that you can get a free level-90 character or some odd nonsense that there was an uproar? It wasn’t just nerds being elitist assholes, because yes they are but yes they are also right to be upset.

You start a game with a new class and you start with the building blocks for that new class. For tanks, it’s about building agro to make sure that enemies don’t beat on the other people in your party, then work your way up to using damage mitigation moves and finally enemy movement. Damage Dealers deal with learning a rotation and finding out the best order of what skill produce the highest damage output, starting with only a few moves in your skillset and slowly finding a place for each new move that you learn… Healers just learn to heal and cleanse at the right times while dealing with “don’t stand in the bad stuff” mechanics.

But the reason why people were upset about the free level-90 was because you now have new players come in and have all of these moves and no training in how to use them. There are no fundamental building blocks to build on-top of, just a clutter of skills and an intense memorization that needs to happen in just remembering what skills are useful for what situation. You typical “oh-shit I’m about to die” buttons aren’t second-nature and you’re hunting and pecking to find the next move that should be useful instead of being used to a particular combination that gets the job done effectively.

This matters because the Final Fantasy XIV Convention Events have and always will have this problem. PAX Prime 2015 was no different, having a group of 8 random people tackling Ravana Hardmode. Easy enough for people who are into the game, but not everyone plays the game outside of the convention, and not everyone knows the mechanics to survive.

PAX Prime 2015 FFXIV Wideshot

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YouTube Words: Game Grumps – Jon Tron vs Danny Sexbang Word Profiles (Bonus Post)

Remember what I said about someone’s Word Profile? About how it’s like a fingerprint of you past because we learn to gravitate our lexicon to certain words over others, event more so depending on the context of your situation?

In my last iteration of the Word Profile comparisons, we looked Markiplier’s Channel vs the Game Grump channel in hopes of both finding how their Word Profile’s differ, but also to gain some insight in how to find the differences in commentary style during a Let’s Play.

We found possibilities like categorizing Solo vs Co-op let’s plays based on someone’s Word Profile alone, possible improve training from “yes-and”-ing everything your friends are saying, and even just finding out the baseline aggressive language that the two channels have.

For this post at the least, I wanted to look at the inner history of the Game Grumps, since Arin and Dan weren’t always the hosts. It was Jon Tron that took up the co-host seat with Arin and I thought it would be interesting to see what the differences between the two would be, if there were any to be found.

Figure 1 - Game Grumps - JT vs DS - All
Figure 1 – Game Grumps – JT vs DS – All

Continue reading “YouTube Words: Game Grumps – Jon Tron vs Danny Sexbang Word Profiles (Bonus Post)”

Convention Guide: PAX Prime 2015 Panel Picks

PAX Panels to look in on. You might find something you’ll like and a nice way to give your legs a break from the showroom floor. These are at least the ones I thought were interesting at first glance.

Friday Aug 28th

Tales from Game Audio (10:30am – 11:30am)

Sound Design roundtable from Indie Successes.

LoadingReadyRun (11am – 12pm) 

My Favorite Terrible Game (1:30pm – 2:30pm) 

Journalists and Developers talking about bad games that they love.

Just Cause 3 – The Playground of creative destruction (3pm-4pm) 

How to Succeed in Game Journalism Without Really Trying (3:30pm – 4:30pm) 

Awesome Video Game Data 2015 (4:30pm – 5:30pm)

Co-Founder of EEDAR using live stats to granted to him from companies to show trends and methodologies that companies use when deciding on the direction of their games.

YouTube Gaming (5:30pm – 6:30pm)

YouTuber people talking about YouTuber Gaming content, communities, and engagement.

Extra Credits (7:30pm –9:30pm) 

Kinda Funny: How to Get Paid Playing Games with Your Friends (9pm – 10pm) 

Sat with a few of them on the plane ride from PAX East back in March. Nice enough fellows. 8 Months since they left IGN. Hopefully there’s a success story somewhere in there.

Continue reading “Convention Guide: PAX Prime 2015 Panel Picks”

Let’s Talk About: Genres and Better Describing Games

When does a thing stop being that thing.

A Genre is a broad term to try and classify. You start to create titles and classifiers and begin to find that many of those classifiers that you use to try and segregate can still be used in conjunction with another to classify something new. Look at games for example. There are very few games that have distinct classifiers that segregate themselves from other games.

Call of Duty: First Person Shooter, Online Multiplayer. Ok, not that hard. Does it have a story? It has a single player mode with a story, yes. Call of Duty: First Person Shooter, Online Multiplayer, Story-Based. Does it have Cooperative modes? Sometimes. Call of Duty: First Person Shooter, Online Multiplayer, Story-Based, Cooperative. What time era is this? This is largely fiction or non-fiction? Are all First Person Shooters like this? Are all Story-Based games First Person Shooters? Do all First Person Shooters have Cooperative play? We can actually keep adding onto the genre listing for a quite a bit.

And we have to keep making more and more qualifiers to describe a game because we can’t make assumptions about genres anymore, nor was it ever a good idea to start. It’s like trying to classify movies as either drama or comedy. For there to be tension, there needs to be drama and struggle, choice and impact. Action movies have drama. Sports movies have drama. Documentaries have drama. If a comedy didn’t have drama then it would literally be a movie with only stand-up. No, that’s not fair either because good stand-up, storytelling or joke telling, still builds tension and releases it conveying the drama of the situation. The only clear lines you can draw are ones like Animated or not, and even those have movies that blend the genres together like Heavy Metal (1981).

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Let’s Talk About: Looking at Games Individually vs Culturally

Q: Is it enough to talk about Games Individually or do we need to talk about Games as a cultural whole?

One is a tragedy, many is a statistic.

Is it possible to gain insight into the art of Video Games (the storytelling, the cinematic design, the character design, the gameplay elements that make the package compelling or not) by looking at a game by itself? There is insight to gain in a market report sense, did you have fun, where the controls buggy, were parts of the game overly frustrating, but what I mean is on a digestive-sense can we learn from games in isolation steering away from the idea that all art is a reproduction of past art

To gain insight we look at games as a comparison of others, naturally fashioning some order of which is better than another in some respects but worse in others and we can discuss why things are better in some ways than others. But a lot of elements that make up a game that make it good don’t necessarily get carried over to subsequent generations.

For many games, there is no genetic evolution for its offspring, taking the best elements of the ancestor and passing it along to the offspring. For many games, they are incestuously stuck tweaking the best elements they have disproportionately augmenting their strengths to overcompensate for their weaknesses.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: Looking at Games Individually vs Culturally”

YouTube Words: Markiplier and Game Grumps, Coop Word Profile Comparison

Yesterday’s topic: Markiplier and Game Grumps Channel Word Profiles

We ended off yesterday’s post about the Markiplier and Game Grumps comparison with a few open ends and some floating hypotheses.

We made comparisons between Markiplier’s channel and the Game Grump’s channel as wholes though the structures are fairly different from one another. Markiplier’s episodes are a mixed bag of solo-plays, compilations, cooperative multiplayer playthroughs and competitive multiplayer playthroughs. The Game Grumps videos have a different case depending on which brand you’re viewing (Game Grumps, Steam Train, etc…) and also are mixed between single player, co-op multiplayer and competitive multiplayer. This shifts the balance of words used a bit because the context for vocabulary will be different.

This analysis was supposed to be about a person’s/people’s Word Profile which is affected by the setting and context in which words are uttered. Because the contexts aren’t fixed between our comparisons from yesterday, the best we are able to presume are great generalities of a person’s Word Profile.

 

4 - GG v Mark - Word Profile - Uncommon Sent Words
Figure 1 – Game Grumps vs Markiplier, Negative Sentimental Words

Continue reading “YouTube Words: Markiplier and Game Grumps, Coop Word Profile Comparison”

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