The 'What is a game' debate

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#1 Posted by platinumking320 (668 posts) -

When the Dear Esther, Proteus, Gone Home debates started. I initially thought 'to each their own, and what business do some gamers have telling others what is and isn't a game. whoever loved em was of little consequence to me anyways.

Then I started getting into arguements with friends, and I see its not just about the cultural wars of hardcore vs indie casual tastes.

Its also about mechanical things like failure states, risk and reward which telltale/Quantic dream games, Stanley Parable actually have explicitly as opposed to Gone Home and Dear Esther. I laughed when I browsed about dear esther, thinking it was some Half-Life lost coast level that forgot to add the zombies. I also laughed when I first saw the steam tags for 'walking simulator' thinking some devs might feel insulted, and then being reminded, its your wallet. Dont you want an accurate description of what youre buying?

So I get whats causing the intellectual stir now.

From games with too much movie and not enough gameplay, from social media cash-for-points builders. Some among us nostalgic are feeling that the definition of a video game is being diluted by all sorts of outside interests, that the popularity of indie successes arent just seen by us in the community, but cynical people in entertainment who arent as aware and might think they don't have to invest as much in good production value and programming, when an hour to two hour title with very implicit mechanics is making waves.

Now I've got mixed feelings about this whole debate. I dont want more exclusionism in the community, but I wouldnt want any broken commerical scamware in the future to hide behind the idea of being unconventional and indie. That would hurt all of us.

What are you guys thoughts? Could use some perspective on this.

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#2 Posted by wiouds (6072 posts) -

Games are first and foremost about game play. Game play is about problem solving. Problem solving can be physical and/or mental. From the FPS and how you fight through a group to the 4X games.

Story, most dialog, and moral choices are not a key factor to a game. If that all it has then it is not a game.

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#3 Posted by Reacher42 (25 posts) -

Distilled down into its most basic form I think games are just an input-output system. What you guys are getting at are components that make good games.

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#4 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

Its hardly a debate. I'm with wiouds on this one. Its pretty obvious what is and isn't a game. its all interactive entertainment but gameplay is definately the the most important factor of a game.

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#5 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@platinumking320 said:

When the Dear Esther, Proteus, Gone Home debates started. I initially thought 'to each their own, and what business do some gamers have telling others what is and isn't a game. whoever loved em was of little consequence to me anyways.

Then I started getting into arguements with friends, and I see its not just about the cultural wars of hardcore vs indie casual tastes.

Its also about mechanical things like failure states, risk and reward which telltale/Quantic dream games, Stanley Parable actually have explicitly as opposed to Gone Home and Dear Esther. I laughed when I browsed about dear esther, thinking it was some Half-Life lost coast level that forgot to add the zombies. I also laughed when I first saw the steam tags for 'walking simulator' thinking some devs might feel insulted, and then being reminded, its your wallet. Dont you want an accurate description of what youre buying?

So I get whats causing the intellectual stir now.

From games with too much movie and not enough gameplay, from social media cash-for-points builders. Some among us nostalgic are feeling that the definition of a video game is being diluted by all sorts of outside interests, that the popularity of indie successes arent just seen by us in the community, but cynical people in entertainment who arent as aware and might think they don't have to invest as much in good production value and programming, when an hour to two hour title with very implicit mechanics is making waves.

Now I've got mixed feelings about this whole debate. I dont want more exclusionism in the community, but I wouldnt want any broken commerical scamware in the future to hide behind the idea of being unconventional and indie. That would hurt all of us.

What are you guys thoughts? Could use some perspective on this.

My thoughts are i am tired of some mostly liberal peoples idea that its ok to move a clear definition into the absurd.

Dear Esther and Gone Home are and never will be a game, its a interactive story where instead of flipping a page, you "flip a page" by pressing some keys. One of the biggest arguments against Gone Home and Dear Esther is that they do not offer any kind of challenge nor do they have any kind of failure state, you simply cannot fail or not end up at the ending and that makes them both interactive books and not games.

Also you can be 100% sure that if Gone Home hadn´t touched on the subject it did, no-one would even look twice at the game.

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#6 Edited by Articuno76 (19633 posts) -

@wiouds said:

Games are first and foremost about game play.

It's interesting that you use the term 'game' as opposed to 'videogame' (one word). Over the last few years the term video 'game' (two words) has started to go out of use games journalism.

I think that is partly down to the fact that more developers (and players) view videogames as holistic experiences, where the synergy between the audio-visual and play elements is what makes them interesting.

This idea that videogames are about play, with every other element being decoration strikes me as a little old-fashioned (though it is certainly true for some videogames).

You may well be right in your assessment of what a 'game' is. But I don't think you can apply the same logic to the broad term 'videogame'.

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#7 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Articuno76

I think he can. After all a video game is just like a any other type of game. Only now theres video. LOL ! :p

its still problem-solving, its still challenge oriented.

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#8 Posted by Gamerno66666 (175 posts) -

The games you listed can be classed as interactive narrative genre. And stanley parable is actually the deconstruction of the genre.

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#9 Posted by Grieverr (2829 posts) -

@Articuno76 said:

@wiouds said:

Games are first and foremost about game play.

This idea that videogames are about play, with every other element being decoration strikes me as a little old-fashioned (though it is certainly true for some videogames).

You may well be right in your assessment of what a 'game' is. But I don't think you can apply the same logic to the broad term 'videogame'.

Why not? the term videogame tells me that the game is played on display of some sort, as opposed to a board game, for example.

I find Donkey Kong to be more of a game than Gone Home. There is more interaction. And there certainly is a fail state, which I agree is common ground for games; they can be won or lost.

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#10 Posted by wiouds (6072 posts) -

@Articuno76 said:

@wiouds said:

Games are first and foremost about game play.

It's interesting that you use the term 'game' as opposed to 'videogame' (one word). Over the last few years the term video 'game' (two words) has started to go out of use games journalism.

I think that is partly down to the fact that more developers (and players) view videogames as holistic experiences, where the synergy between the audio-visual and play elements is what makes them interesting.

This idea that videogames are about play, with every other element being decoration strikes me as a little old-fashioned (though it is certainly true for some videogames).

You may well be right in your assessment of what a 'game' is. But I don't think you can apply the same logic to the broad term 'videogame'.

I am using the term game because ''videogames' or Video games are a subcategory of games. The ideal of a game has been around a very long time.If it so different that you need to just jump to the ideal that video game is a more broad term than a game then there may be something else there beside games.

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#11 Edited by platinumking320 (668 posts) -
@Jacanuk said:

@platinumking320 said:

When the Dear Esther, Proteus, Gone Home debates started. I initially thought 'to each their own, and what business do some gamers have telling others what is and isn't a game. whoever loved em was of little consequence to me anyways.

Then I started getting into arguements with friends, and I see its not just about the cultural wars of hardcore vs indie casual tastes.

Its also about mechanical things like failure states, risk and reward which telltale/Quantic dream games, Stanley Parable actually have explicitly as opposed to Gone Home and Dear Esther. I laughed when I browsed about dear esther, thinking it was some Half-Life lost coast level that forgot to add the zombies. I also laughed when I first saw the steam tags for 'walking simulator' thinking some devs might feel insulted, and then being reminded, its your wallet. Dont you want an accurate description of what youre buying?

So I get whats causing the intellectual stir now.

From games with too much movie and not enough gameplay, from social media cash-for-points builders. Some among us nostalgic are feeling that the definition of a video game is being diluted by all sorts of outside interests, that the popularity of indie successes arent just seen by us in the community, but cynical people in entertainment who arent as aware and might think they don't have to invest as much in good production value and programming, when an hour to two hour title with very implicit mechanics is making waves.

Now I've got mixed feelings about this whole debate. I dont want more exclusionism in the community, but I wouldnt want any broken commerical scamware in the future to hide behind the idea of being unconventional and indie. That would hurt all of us.

What are you guys thoughts? Could use some perspective on this.

My thoughts are i am tired of some mostly liberal peoples idea that its ok to move a clear definition into the absurd.

Dear Esther and Gone Home are and never will be a game, its a interactive story where instead of flipping a page, you "flip a page" by pressing some keys. One of the biggest arguments against Gone Home and Dear Esther is that they do not offer any kind of challenge nor do they have any kind of failure state, you simply cannot fail or not end up at the ending and that makes them both interactive books and not games.

Also you can be 100% sure that if Gone Home hadn´t touched on the subject it did, no-one would even look twice at the game.

Yep. That point right there is why we have boundaries. The calculator game drugwars has more gameplay value than Gone Home and Dear Esther.

Also architects working for planning corporations Im sure have 3d builds of planned homes and real estate, like game levels. But even if they were interactive and hypothetically the owners of that artwork wanted to, they couldn't in a broad sense be re-classified as video games.

Maybe they could dump it on the steam store in its current state. But thats about it.

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#12 Edited by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

This debate has been going on with visual novel games for a long time now. And my response is usually the same: As long as they offer choices, then yes, they are video games. Decision-making is a gameplay mechanic in itself. As long as that element exists, then it is a video game. If it's completely linear, where you don't make any decisions, like Higurashi, then I would hardly consider that a video game. But if it involves choices and consequences, like Steins Gate, then I would consider that a video game.

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#13 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Jag85

So long as theres a right choice and a wrong choice then I agree. If its just choices just for choices sake then what you have is an Interactive Story.

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#14 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

This debate has been going on with visual novel games for a long time now. And my response is usually the same: As long as they offer choices, then yes, they are video games. Decision-making is a gameplay mechanic in itself. As long as that element exists, then it is a video game. If it's completely linear, where you don't make any decisions, like Higurashi, then I would hardly consider that a video game. But if it involves choices and consequences, like Steins Gate, then I would consider that a video game.

Thats a very broad group you are making there, also what do you define as a choice? but i strongly disagree a game cannot be defined by just having a choice, since a choice can be as simple as turning on the light or going left instead of right.

Which would also make the hundreds if not thousands of design 3d "experiences" out there a game and you would never hear anyone say that they think thats a game. Also all those japanese anime novels which allows for some interaction is also not games unless it has some sort of failure state.

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#15 Edited by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

Yes, the visual novel games I'm referring to often do have failure states, but in a more elaborate manner, rather than just a simple game over. For example, a lot of them (like Clannad, Fate/Stay Night, Steins Gate, 999, Zero Escape, etc.) have story routes that lead you down towards bad endings, with the goal being to work towards the best possible outcomes. In other words, this is essentially problem-solving, with the choices & consequences itself being the gameplay. On the other hand, some linear novels (like Higurashi) lack anything of the sort, and that's where I'd draw the line.

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#16 Edited by deactivated-57e5de5e137a4 (12929 posts) -

Gameplay is not problem solving. Candy land is a game and has absolutely nothing to solve. Dice are used in all kinds of games and there's no strategy to them. I don't care about people's semantic obsessions, but here's an excerpt from Down Home's Steam page...

"Gone Home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the story of the people who live there. Open any drawer and door"

"An interactive exploration simulator," and they highlight opening drawers and doors as a main feature. I mean, they aren't tricking anyone. Sure, some games could try to trick people, but that should come down to a game-by-game basis where those publishers are berated. Not people that simply made something that you don't enjoy.

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#17 Edited by Black_Knight_00 (20401 posts) -

There's no need for a debate. If it's interactive it qualifies as a game, even though the term "game" is highly limiting, a bit like "comic books" or "rock and roll".

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#18 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

Look. Nobody's trying to undermine Games like Dear Esther and Gone Home by saying their not Games. Or downplay their importance. But even Across Multiple other genres theres still a common factor in traditional games, their challenge oriented. Theres success and failures. Theres game theory.

They all impliment it in some form or another. It only stands to reason that if a game doesn't do this at all then its not a game. And thats not an indicator of anything. Its just simple categorization. Don't reas anything into to it.

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#19 Edited by Cloud_imperium (14080 posts) -

Games are about gameplay . Sure story , music , this and that are also important now but those shouldn't be the only thing to be available in a game . Sadly , most of games these days focus too much on story telling and very less on gameplay (specially console games) .

So what is a game .? I think games are about Fun , Challenge and/or Immersion through gameplay ( Cutscenes should be there only as a reward after your hard work during gameplay/mission unlike Max Payne 3 where interacting with any object triggers long ass cutscene that you can't skip) .

And different games have different genres , all qualify as being a game , as long as it have some kind of challenge in it . I don't consider QTE fest as a game though .

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#20 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

Yes, the visual novel games I'm referring to often do have failure states, but in a more elaborate manner, rather than just a simple game over. For example, a lot of them (like Clannad, Fate/Stay Night, Steins Gate, 999, Zero Escape, etc.) have story routes that lead you down towards bad endings, with the goal being to work towards the best possible outcomes. In other words, this is essentially problem-solving, with the choices & consequences itself being the gameplay. On the other hand, some linear novels (like Higurashi) lack anything of the sort, and that's where I'd draw the line.

If they do have a sort of "failure state" then yes they are indeed a game otherwise i would always say no.

@Black_Knight_00 said:

There's no need for a debate. If it's interactive it qualifies as a game, even though the term "game" is highly limiting, a bit like "comic books" or "rock and roll".

Of course there is a need for debate when some people like you try to redefine a clear definition and no just being interactive is not enough to class it as a game.

Its almost like the E-sports debate.

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#21 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

Anything you can interact with. Even though many people bash Beyond Two Souls, it's still a game

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#22 Posted by Black_Knight_00 (20401 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

Of course there is a need for debate when some people like you try to redefine a clear definition and no just being interactive is not enough to class it as a game.

Its almost like the E-sports debate.

I had this arguments with some dudebros who were shitting all over The Graveyard (that indie game with the old woman). Some people can't wrap their heads around the fact that artistic canons are not set in stone and their heads explode when they have to figure out a game where you don't race a car, solve puzzles or shoot people in the face.

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#23 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ The_Last_Ride

Beyond isn't a game.

Its an interactive telling of a story covers 15 years of Jodies life. calling it a game actually undermines its accomplishments.

being homeless wasn't a game. Her first crush wasn't a game. Delivering a baby wasn't a game.

Ironically that mission in war torn Africa was a game. You couldn't fail but challenge and oppertunity for success was definately present.

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#24 Edited by Treflis (13001 posts) -

Games is such a broad therm that it's similar to the therm Movie and Books and there are even games made today that mix genres in such a way that people are unsure on which genre they fit the most.

So until it's given it's own genre then we'll just have to call them games. Maybe they'll be called INSG's Or interactive Narrative Story Games with time.

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

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#25 Posted by Byshop (16942 posts) -

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

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#26 Edited by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ The_Last_Ride

Beyond isn't a game.

Its an interactive telling of a story covers 15 years of Jodies life. calling it a game actually undermines its accomplishments.

being homeless wasn't a game. Her first crush wasn't a game. Delivering a baby wasn't a game.

Ironically that mission in war torn Africa was a game. You couldn't fail but challenge and oppertunity for success was definately present.

And what do you base that on Lulu? because beyond is certainly a game.

Just because you dont like that you are not in absolute control 100% of the time doesnt make it any less a game, it has all the key elements, clearly it has gameplay, and if you say you couldn´t fail then you clearly havent played yet another game you try to debate about and no watching it on youtube isent enough.

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#27 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

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#28 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Jacanuk

You have it Backwards. Beyond gives you control in a way a video games just haven't been able to do. Its not like Portal or Half Life where the story isn't so much being told through interaction as it is just being told in a way that doesn't get in the way.

In Beyond you get do stuff in the story, like really do them. You can make Jody dance, play the guiter, play Snow Fight, and many other scenarios that video games just handle with cutscenes. In the 1st chapter you can scare the living crap out of another person, and set the tone of Jody's struggle with Aiden, and its all done interactively. Theres a fuckton of control, it still doesn't make it a game.

More games should be like Beyond. More games should not Be games. Especially where story is concerned.

And I did play Beyond..... I played it twice, I didn't even pick different dialog when the option came. I liked the version of Jody I crafted.

Avatar image for Lulu_Lulu
#29 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

Beyond Two Souls wasn't even fun. Its the 2nd time where a game could evoke a wide variety of negative emotions in a good way.

Usually Despair, Anger and Fear are the type of emotions you try to avoid making players feel because those emotions have an extremely negative side effect on the Challenge Oriented nature common in traditional gaming.

Beyond doesn't have this problem because its not Challenge oriented.

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#30 Posted by Byshop (16942 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Because I would argue that not solving a puzzle doesn't represent a failure condition, just a halting of forward progress. If I'm playing Silent Hill and I get killed, I lose some progress and I have to restore back to a save game. In the same game, if I get stuck on a puzzle I don't lose anything. I just stop moving forward. There is no consequence to not solving the puzzle besides a lack of progression.

There are even a few point and click adventure games where you can't actually kill your character if you tried.

Another type of game where this applies would be some score based games and some time based games. A game like Crazy Taxi doesn't really have a failure condition so much as you just see how long you can play for. Yes, you eventually run out of time by not reclaiming more than you use, but in arcade-style games like this there's no end point that you failed to reach. Some other games it's just about how high a score you can achieve during a fixed amount of time. There's no failure condition, just how high you can go.

Again, it's totally semantic so I don't feel like the question matters that much. However, where I think it matters is that I don't want someone else's definition of what is and isn't a game to limit the games that I get to play. Many would argue that Gone Home isn't actually a game, but I loved it. The last thing I want to see is something new and unique not get made because it doesn't fulfill some arbitrary list of characteristics about what a game is and isn't. Not pigeon holing the definition of what a game is and isn't potentially opens us up for a wider ranges of experiences from games.

-Byshop

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#31 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Byshop

Hangon. In addition to Failure states theres also feedback loops, Conditions, rewards and Punishments.

The halt of Progress in a Puzzles is a failure state. if something more were to happen, like losing something, then those would be Punishments. Just like a win state comes with rewards. When a reward or punishment contributes towards your perfomance like Upgrades or losing resources then thats called a feedbackloop.

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#32 Posted by Byshop (16942 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ Byshop

Hangon. In addition to Failure states theres also feedback loops, Conditions, rewards and Punishments.

The halt of Progress in a Puzzles is a failure state. if something more were to happen, like losing something, then those would be Punishments. Just like a win state comes with rewards. When a reward or punishment contributes towards your perfomance like Upgrades or losing resources then thats called a feedbackloop.

Is this a post I'm supposed to reply to or another post in which you deliberately don't have a point? I wasted several paragraphs replying to your last post only for you to counter by basically saying "ha ha, I'm just trolling". I'd like to know before I put the effort into writing a response.

Thanks.

-Byshop

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#33 Edited by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

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#34 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

Yep indeed and without Gamespot´s now US resident staff member, that would never have gotten on there.

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#35 Edited by platinumking320 (668 posts) -

@Jacanuk: Oh well. But lookt at it this way. I say Better Depression Quest than whoever from the Simmons family pushed Shannon Tweed's poor excuse for a broken Plants vs Zombies ripoff. Or Deus Ex the Fall. Or Dungeon Keeper Mobile....

Or the initial build of Rekoil...FPSbanana wouldn't even accept a skin that floated in midair with no textures, and you got AUG assault rifles dangling outside the player hands. Disgraceful!

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#36 Edited by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Byshop said:

@Jacanuk said:

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Because I would argue that not solving a puzzle doesn't represent a failure condition, just a halting of forward progress. If I'm playing Silent Hill and I get killed, I lose some progress and I have to restore back to a save game. In the same game, if I get stuck on a puzzle I don't lose anything. I just stop moving forward. There is no consequence to not solving the puzzle besides a lack of progression.

There are even a few point and click adventure games where you can't actually kill your character if you tried.

Another type of game where this applies would be some score based games and some time based games. A game like Crazy Taxi doesn't really have a failure condition so much as you just see how long you can play for. Yes, you eventually run out of time by not reclaiming more than you use, but in arcade-style games like this there's no end point that you failed to reach. Some other games it's just about how high a score you can achieve during a fixed amount of time. There's no failure condition, just how high you can go.

Again, it's totally semantic so I don't feel like the question matters that much. However, where I think it matters is that I don't want someone else's definition of what is and isn't a game to limit the games that I get to play. Many would argue that Gone Home isn't actually a game, but I loved it. The last thing I want to see is something new and unique not get made because it doesn't fulfill some arbitrary list of characteristics about what a game is and isn't. Not pigeon holing the definition of what a game is and isn't potentially opens us up for a wider ranges of experiences from games.

-Byshop

Well, a halt of forward momentum is also to be considered a failure. again i don't get your train of logic, puzzle games stop the minute you can't figure out a puzzle, in sense you fail and cannot continue. in your example you stop going forward when you die and in some games you don't lose "a Life" not even in Dark Souls, you just stop going forward for a bit. In binary the 1 becomes a 0 in both cases.

Also its a very narrow logic that you see failure as a death of the character, because that is certainly not the case with many games, particular not as you mention Adventure games, here a failure can be anything from not finding a particular item/clue to not being able to solve a puzzle Same goes for the rest you mention.

And its not about something not being made, its about a novel like Gone Home, Dear Esther or a ton of anime "novelgames" being called the right thing, its annoying when someone calls Gone Home or Dear Esther a game when it´s clearly not.

Also would you have avoided Gone Home if you knew it was a graphic interactive novel?

Avatar image for Lulu_Lulu
#37 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Byshop

Your animosity towards me is clouding your logic. Reply.... Don't reply. Doesn't matter. I'm Just trying to contribute. What I said made perfect sense. Read it again without troll trinted glasses.

Avatar image for Jag85
#38 Posted by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

Yep indeed and without Gamespot´s now US resident staff member, that would never have gotten on there.

Who are you referring to? And why do you oppose Depression Quest being greenlit for Steam?

Avatar image for Byshop
#39 Edited by Byshop (16942 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Jacanuk said:

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Because I would argue that not solving a puzzle doesn't represent a failure condition, just a halting of forward progress. If I'm playing Silent Hill and I get killed, I lose some progress and I have to restore back to a save game. In the same game, if I get stuck on a puzzle I don't lose anything. I just stop moving forward. There is no consequence to not solving the puzzle besides a lack of progression.

There are even a few point and click adventure games where you can't actually kill your character if you tried.

Another type of game where this applies would be some score based games and some time based games. A game like Crazy Taxi doesn't really have a failure condition so much as you just see how long you can play for. Yes, you eventually run out of time by not reclaiming more than you use, but in arcade-style games like this there's no end point that you failed to reach. Some other games it's just about how high a score you can achieve during a fixed amount of time. There's no failure condition, just how high you can go.

Again, it's totally semantic so I don't feel like the question matters that much. However, where I think it matters is that I don't want someone else's definition of what is and isn't a game to limit the games that I get to play. Many would argue that Gone Home isn't actually a game, but I loved it. The last thing I want to see is something new and unique not get made because it doesn't fulfill some arbitrary list of characteristics about what a game is and isn't. Not pigeon holing the definition of what a game is and isn't potentially opens us up for a wider ranges of experiences from games.

-Byshop

Well, a halt of forward momentum is also to be considered a failure. again i don't get your train of logic, puzzle games stop the minute you can't figure out a puzzle, in sense you fail and cannot continue. in your example you stop going forward when you die and in some games you don't lose "a Life" not even in Dark Souls, you just stop going forward for a bit. In binary the 1 becomes a 0 in both cases.

Also its a very narrow logic that you see failure as a death of the character, because that is certainly not the case with many games, particular not as you mention Adventure games, here a failure can be anything from not finding a particular item/clue to not being able to solve a puzzle Same goes for the rest you mention.

And its not about something not being made, its about a novel like Gone Home, Dear Esther or a ton of anime "novelgames" being called the right thing, its annoying when someone calls Gone Home or Dear Esther a game when it´s clearly not.

Also would you have avoided Gone Home if you knew it was a graphic interactive novel?

Again, it's a semantic argument. I would call a failure state anything where you can lose position or progress. If you would include a halt of forward progress in that category, that's fine. I wasn't saying that the death of the main character was the only failure state, just an obvious example that occurs in most games. In visual novel games, your character doesn't have to die to get a failure state. You can simply pick choices that result in a poor ending.

Either way, I don't care what people call them. I still consider it a "game" if I have some control over what happens. That doesn't necessarily have to be narrative control (i.e. like an "arcade" game where it's all gameplay and no story). How this applies comes in as many unique ways as there are different types of games.

I -do- call interactive experiences like Gone Home or Dear Esther "games" because they are interactive, but whether or not you call them games or something else isn't what's important. What's important is that they get made, because regardless of whether or not you consider Gone Home to be a unique masterpiece of a pile of crap so bad that it seems like a deliberate attempt to defraud anyone who buys it, you can't argue that it's not different from most of the games out there. Different is good, because different is where innovation comes from.

@Lulu_Lulu As a parent, I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior. Even if you want to be taken seriously in this thread, if you're trolling in half of the threads you participate in then why should anyone take you seriously at all?

-Byshop

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#40 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

Yep indeed and without Gamespot´s now US resident staff member, that would never have gotten on there.

Who are you referring to? And why do you oppose Depression Quest being greenlit for Steam?

i oppose it being on steam for a lot of reasons, one of them being that its a pretty serious subject and the way that quest deals with it is not only subficial but bad and having something like that free on a platform kids have access to is bad. A quest like this would be best in a classroom where there is a teacher or prof. staff the kids can talk to afterwards.

Also its pretty bad when someone in the gaming media industry uses their job and popularity as a way to push a certain game onto steam. That is just insane.

Avatar image for Jag85
#41 Posted by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

Yep indeed and without Gamespot´s now US resident staff member, that would never have gotten on there.

Who are you referring to? And why do you oppose Depression Quest being greenlit for Steam?

i oppose it being on steam for a lot of reasons, one of them being that its a pretty serious subject and the way that quest deals with it is not only subficial but bad and having something like that free on a platform kids have access to is bad. A quest like this would be best in a classroom where there is a teacher or prof. staff the kids can talk to afterwards.

Also its pretty bad when someone in the gaming media industry uses their job and popularity as a way to push a certain game onto steam. That is just insane.

In that case, the solution is simple: Just slap on an M rating. How hard can that be?

By the way, I'm still not sure which "irish mick" GameSpot staff member you're referring to... Danny?

Avatar image for korvus
#42 Posted by Korvus (10152 posts) -

I enjoyed titles such as Dear Esther and To The Moon and to me that's what's important; whether they are games or not is irrelevant to me.

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#43 Edited by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Byshop said:

@Treflis said:

Edit: But then again who really, honestly, cares so much if they're called a game?, Honestly?

This. Obviously it's an entirely semantic argument. For me, the distinction between an interactive drama and a game is not an important one. So long as you have the ability to influence -something- in the game (in a visual novel there would have to be some choice since there's no interactivity in gameplay like in other types of games), but a failure condition is not a requirement to call it a game. Many puzzle games have no failure condition, just the puzzle you have to solve and any wrong choice just fails to achieve the goal of solving the puzzle.

-Byshop

Of course games has to have a 0 when its a constant 1 Byshop and your logic is very flawed, you say puzzles game doesn't have a failure but what do you call not being able to solve a puzzle? a succes because i and i think 99% of the people out there would call that a clear failure. So your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

And the problem isn't that something is a game or not, the problem is when a clear cut definition gets watered down because some jackasses find it important to call something else something its not. like with the depression "game" that got on steam just because some irish mick found it funny to use his popularity to abuse the greenlit system.

Could you elaborate? I assume you're referring to Depression Quest, right?

Yep indeed and without Gamespot´s now US resident staff member, that would never have gotten on there.

Who are you referring to? And why do you oppose Depression Quest being greenlit for Steam?

i oppose it being on steam for a lot of reasons, one of them being that its a pretty serious subject and the way that quest deals with it is not only subficial but bad and having something like that free on a platform kids have access to is bad. A quest like this would be best in a classroom where there is a teacher or prof. staff the kids can talk to afterwards.

Also its pretty bad when someone in the gaming media industry uses their job and popularity as a way to push a certain game onto steam. That is just insane.

In that case, the solution is simple: Just slap on an M rating. How hard can that be?

By the way, I'm still not sure which "irish mick" GameSpot staff member you're referring to... Danny?

Ya, because we all know that the rating system works right?

And how many irish gamespot members are there in US?

Avatar image for Jag85
#44 Posted by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

Ya, because we all know that the rating system works right?

And how many irish gamespot members are there in US?

I'm curious to know why you're targeting Depression Quest in particular instead of the tons of ultra-violent games that are dominating the modern video game industry? Depression Quest seems like child's play compared to stuff like COD and GTA.

As for Danny, what did he do that's so bad? So what if he has a strong opinion and used his popularity/influence to spread it? How is that any different to, say, Jim Sterling or Yahtzee using their popularity/influence to spread strong opinions?

Avatar image for voljin1987
#45 Posted by voljin1987 (967 posts) -

if you have some semblance of control on your character then its a game.. what ppl do not get is that the movement itself is "gameplay" the purpose of the game might be different like either telling a story or throwing a puzzle at you.. but essentially if you have some extend of control then its no longer a movie.. its a game.

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#46 Edited by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

Ya, because we all know that the rating system works right?

And how many irish gamespot members are there in US?

I'm curious to know why you're targeting Depression Quest in particular instead of the tons of ultra-violent games that are dominating the modern video game industry? Depression Quest seems like child's play compared to stuff like COD and GTA.

As for Danny, what did he do that's so bad? So what if he has a strong opinion and used his popularity/influence to spread it? How is that any different to, say, Jim Sterling or Yahtzee using their popularity/influence to spread strong opinions?

There is a huge difference, Dep Quest targets an audience and you know why real Doctors tell patients and people not to go check their symptoms on net-doc before hand? because they are laymen and they should let the diagnosing to professionals. Same thing goes for a text based thing like Dep quest, which doesn't even really offer any insight, it offers a insight to what this chick was feeling and her conclusions might be right for her, but for a lot of others out there its not.

So you are ok with a member of game site using their job and popularity for his own agenda? because i am sure not and exactly as in a review there is no room for personal BS, there sure as .... isn't room for it in a show or on the site as a news story.

It makes gamespot look bad and unprofessional and puts their integrity into question, because if Dep quest´s developer gets special treatment, who is to say others won't get the same like Gone Home or bigger developers games.

Avatar image for RobDev
#47 Posted by RobDev (377 posts) -

@Jacanuk: "Irish Mick", classy guy.

Avatar image for Jag85
#48 Edited by Jag85 (8795 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

Ya, because we all know that the rating system works right?

And how many irish gamespot members are there in US?

I'm curious to know why you're targeting Depression Quest in particular instead of the tons of ultra-violent games that are dominating the modern video game industry? Depression Quest seems like child's play compared to stuff like COD and GTA.

As for Danny, what did he do that's so bad? So what if he has a strong opinion and used his popularity/influence to spread it? How is that any different to, say, Jim Sterling or Yahtzee using their popularity/influence to spread strong opinions?

There is a huge difference, Dep Quest targets an audience and you know why real Doctors tell patients and people not to go check their symptoms on net-doc before hand? because they are laymen and they should let the diagnosing to professionals. Same thing goes for a text based thing like Dep quest, which doesn't even really offer any insight, it offers a insight to what this chick was feeling and her conclusions might be right for her, but for a lot of others out there its not.

So you are ok with a member of game site using their job and popularity for his own agenda? because i am sure not and exactly as in a review there is no room for personal BS, there sure as .... isn't room for it in a show or on the site as a news story.

It makes gamespot look bad and unprofessional and puts their integrity into question, because if Dep quest´s developer gets special treatment, who is to say others won't get the same like Gone Home or bigger developers games.

Your arguments make no sense whatsoever. Did Zoe Quinn ever claim Depression Quest to be a replacement for an actual doctor? Don't be ridiculous. Every story draws from a writer's personal experiences in some way or another.

Have you ever heard of an "opinion piece" before? Countless journalists write opinion pieces all the time, yet you make it sound like it's something new. Writing opinion pieces is part of a journalist's job.

Has it ever occurred to you the reason Depression Quest is getting "special treatment" is because it's something that's, for once, actually original and innovative? Out of all the derivative trash you could have attacked, you instead chose to attack one of the more innovative games out there? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you, dude?

Avatar image for Byshop
#49 Posted by Byshop (16942 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

Your arguments make no sense whatsoever. Did Zoe Quinn ever claim Depression Quest to be a replacement for an actual doctor? Don't be ridiculous. Every story draws from a writer's personal experiences in some way or another.

Have you ever heard of an "opinion piece" before? Countless journalists write opinion pieces all the time, yet you make it sound like it's something new. Writing opinion pieces is part of a journalist's job.

Has it ever occurred to you the reason Depression Quest is getting "special treatment" is because it's something that's, for once, actually original and innovative? Out of all the derivative trash you could have attacked, you instead chose to attack one of the more innovative games out there? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you, dude?

I'm with Jag on this one. It tried something new, and whether or not you think it was successful at what it tried, at least it was trying something different. I don't think it's irresponsible for someone to try something like this because personal responsibility is always a factor. it's not like surgery simulator games are irresponsible for giving people the false impression that they can perform surgery.

-Byshop

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#50 Posted by Jacanuk (7782 posts) -

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Jag85 said:

@Jacanuk said:

Ya, because we all know that the rating system works right?

And how many irish gamespot members are there in US?

I'm curious to know why you're targeting Depression Quest in particular instead of the tons of ultra-violent games that are dominating the modern video game industry? Depression Quest seems like child's play compared to stuff like COD and GTA.

As for Danny, what did he do that's so bad? So what if he has a strong opinion and used his popularity/influence to spread it? How is that any different to, say, Jim Sterling or Yahtzee using their popularity/influence to spread strong opinions?

There is a huge difference, Dep Quest targets an audience and you know why real Doctors tell patients and people not to go check their symptoms on net-doc before hand? because they are laymen and they should let the diagnosing to professionals. Same thing goes for a text based thing like Dep quest, which doesn't even really offer any insight, it offers a insight to what this chick was feeling and her conclusions might be right for her, but for a lot of others out there its not.

So you are ok with a member of game site using their job and popularity for his own agenda? because i am sure not and exactly as in a review there is no room for personal BS, there sure as .... isn't room for it in a show or on the site as a news story.

It makes gamespot look bad and unprofessional and puts their integrity into question, because if Dep quest´s developer gets special treatment, who is to say others won't get the same like Gone Home or bigger developers games.

Your arguments make no sense whatsoever. Did Zoe Quinn ever claim Depression Quest to be a replacement for an actual doctor? Don't be ridiculous. Every story draws from a writer's personal experiences in some way or another.

Have you ever heard of an "opinion piece" before? Countless journalists write opinion pieces all the time, yet you make it sound like it's something new. Writing opinion pieces is part of a journalist's job.

Has it ever occurred to you the reason Depression Quest is getting "special treatment" is because it's something that's, for once, actually original and innovative? Out of all the derivative trash you could have attacked, you instead chose to attack one of the more innovative games out there? Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you, dude?

You clearly didn´t read what i said if you couldn't make sense of it, because of course Zoe Quinn didn´t say it was a replacement, neither did i say that she or anyone said that, What i did say was that a serious subject like what she wanted to bring to the table, was not suited for a place like stream where kids and weak younglings have their presence. and before you say "ya but its on the interweb" let me point out there is a huuuuge difference between having it on her own website, which noones visits and have it on steam.

Also nice try with your condescending tone, but the problem was that Danny boy used The Point which yes i know is equal to a opinion piece, but the way he did was just so bad, putting it in all casual and ending with almost spending the entire episode about that and not saying much about what the "topic" was.

Anyways who cares, Dep quest is on there but luckily forgotten and noone cares what you, i or anyone on this board thinks.