perjantai 31. elokuuta 2012

Games as means to...what?

What is the purpose of gaming? Leisure? Learning? Sociality? Honing ones skills? Being the best? Well. It can be all of those, and there is no reason to hold, that there should or ought to be one and only reason.

torstai 2. elokuuta 2012

Ethical domain of games, the problems of unintentional and intentional indoctrination

I think this issue needs more attention, especially from the developers. Also I think consumers ought to be more informed. I'd like to hear your opinions on the matter. Am I taking this too seriously? Is there enough awareness already? Who has the responsibility, the consumers or the developers?

What is the problem when including things like racial prejudice, sexual discrimination, nationalism etc.? You can assert them as truth in the story. You are a creator, who can make any idea/idealogy to fit on the story, in which it will seem legit and reasonable. How is this different when it's done in movies, books, or generally in a piece where the creator constructs the story and it's elements? This is about which is effective, and while these other forms of media can immerse you, nothing can immerse you more than a game.

What worries me is that these assertions and implications are usually quite transparent, they still tend to be easily overlooked. Games, atleast for me are things to make me relaxed. So I don't start to analyze them or deconstruct the underlying reality, I'll just go for the "ride". A while a go I played the game Homefront. I'm not sure is this just me, but in the game I actually wanted to kill the koreans invading the world, they were already dehumanized to me by the intro etc. I felt like I was the survivor, and we have to kill these or be killed, and this is the only solution. Of course I didn't after the game think that koreans should be killed, but it's scary how subtly you can go with the flow of the game. I think this is because when we play, we try to go with the flow of the game. Because if we didn't, we couldn't enjoy the game.

In most modern shooters, your problem is always "do I shoot, or will I be killed", and the enemy is nonsensical screaming "zombies", with no compassion or mercy. The war is also being glorified, and shown as what it really isn't. Of course I understand that in FPS you shoot, and you don't try to negotiate. The problem I'm having is that these games try give a "realistic" and "authentic" feel to them, they're not arcade games by any stretch of the imagination. I think that developers atleast have the responsibility to research the facts. Like in Call of Juarez : The Cartel, there are plain lies and wrong information. Like how mexican mafia steals women from USA to sell as sex slaves in Mexico. This game is based on a real life situation, which makes it appalling, and really disrespectful towards the lost lifes of innocent people.

I'm not saying that games should be controlled by laws or any institutions. Or that these kinds of games shouldn't be created. I just think that developers ought to become more aware of these issue, and also the consumers. I recently watched WTF Is Spec Ops, and in that game they really did it right.

keskiviikko 2. toukokuuta 2012

Prioritising in making games

Game is a game, Im apparently not even being the captain obvious here. There are lots of people who compare games, based on their graphics exclusively. The graphics is something that is "the cherry in the top". Of course it can be essential for the game to have outstanding graphics or very unique graphic style. Games like Journey and Trine or other games like that. But for those, to not have the gameplay itself, would make them rather a gallery of graphic styles, compared to a game of interaction and being on other reality. By gameplay I mean in a rather broad perspective. Things like game engine, controls, innovativeness, enjoyability etc. the stuff which is the heart of the game. We should not forget the reason why we play games. Graphical effects and such, should only be enjoyed in movie or a cutscene in the game.

torstai 26. huhtikuuta 2012

Immersion in RPG games

Immersion is something that is most relevant in RPG. Without immersion you don't really care about the choices you make, you will always make decisions which result for the least amount of hassle. RPG's are all about living through the protagonist's perspective or being yourself the protagonist.

If you're decisions correspond with how you would actually decide, you have a good immersion. So that you just couldn't make evil choice and it would feel bad for you or vice versa. Or that you can roleplay evil character and really throw yourself into it, like acting a part in a play.

Most interesting thing is that you can find new sides from yourself. You rarely in real life come across to situations where you literally hold somebodys life in your palms. But in video games it's possible. You may find that you're indeed a sadist in reality or something worse - though of course the game makes you feel that you get away with it. Do be careful if you ever come across in real life to a certain ring.

Gaming difficulty level

There is lot of talk about the diffuculty settings of games. Especially to those who play at easy or normal level. The debate is about receiving the right gaming experience and also how games ought to be played. Same kind of debate as should you put milk on your black tea or sugar in your coffee, which is more enjoyable and so on.

It really depends on the game, and for what reason you are playing games in your leisure time. If you're doing job that requires most of you're energy, you aren't going to play games like Touhou on lunatic difficulty. But there is something to lose if you play games which are designed to be for the hardcore players, unless if it's  story driven game.

Story driven games are more about choices and interaction, hence high difficulty isn't necessary or even good for games which lack proper gameplay.

I recommend putting the normal difficulty always as default, and then playing through the game to a point where you have succeeded to about 20%. Then you should consider raising or lowering the difficulty. Of course the game hardens as you go, which can be quite enjoyable. As you know that you are developing as you play.

Frustration and anger isn't always bad. Games that make you go through different emotions are usually the best games you play, since they make you immersed and make you feel like, you are part of something great.

Enquire to the different settings of games and find the best preferences that suit you, don't care about others. You enjoy games for you're own sake, not for the sake of others.