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Originality, or lack thereof


rustyjaw
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I found a link to this article on /. -- It's an Adrenaline Vault editorial/E3 followup that intelligently rants on the lack of originality in the current gaming scene.

 

Among the points made is one I've been thinking about recently:

 

[Carmack] believes it won't always be necessary for programmers to pump out new engines for each successive generation of releases. This could mean that it might not be long until technical innovation is no longer a driving force in interactive entertainment - at least provisionally. This would leave games with one leg upon which to stand: Creativity.

 

I agree, and it's one of the reasons I can't wait for games to mirror reality.

 

Once you've conquered that milestone, the gaming industry, and game players alike, can get over their incessant thirst for more polygons, bigger textures and better physics. Believe me, I love seeing new technical achievements in games, but so often that seems to be the goal, not a means to make a better, more creative and more immersive game.

 

check it out here

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Games don't need to mirror reality, they just need to be more original. The problem is that a lot of people don't think that, they simply shell out for every mots release that comes down the pipe. I realize I'm guilty of this to some degree (hug Resident Evil :P) but people buy crappy games, knock-off games, and novel concepts like Rez or Super Monkey Ball get shafted in sales.

 

Back when gaming first exploded onto the scene in the Nintendo generation there was a lot more originality at work, sometimes to make up for the ass graphics capability. Even generic platformers got beefed up with bizarreness like Kabuki: Quantum Fighter. Heck, remember when MegaMan was an original concept!?

 

And then there was the truly weird stuff, like Wall Street Kid (for some reason I LOVED this game ;)), Super Dodge Ball, and Princess Tomato In The Salad Kingdom. Not all great games, but the ideas were new and that's what counts sometimes. Hell, look at A Boy And His Blob, that's more original than many newer titles (so glad it's coming back to the GBA :D).

 

I think we lost a lot of creativity in favor of graphics quality and that sucks. We need more creative designers who can actually come up with new concepts. If I had the time back I would have been a fervent DreamCast supporter. Sega is one of THE best companies for new ideas. They don't all work, but they're willing to try. That's something we ought to be lauding these days.

 

And THAT's the reason you should all go out and buy a copy of Freedom Force ;)

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Back when gaming first exploded onto the scene in the Nintendo generation there was a lot more originality at work, sometimes to make up for the ass graphics capability. Even generic platformers got beefed up with bizarreness like Kabuki: Quantum Fighter. Heck, remember when MegaMan was an original concept!?

 

And then there was the truly weird stuff, like Wall Street Kid (for some reason I LOVED this game ), Super Dodge Ball, and Princess Tomato In The Salad Kingdom. Not all great games, but the ideas were new and that's what counts sometimes. Hell, look at A Boy And His Blob, that's more original than many newer titles (so glad it's coming back to the GBA ).

 

I know what you're saying but I've never bought into this argument. It's similar to the 2D vs. 3D wars.

 

It's the same basic argument used for books & movies. You know the one: There's only 7 basic story elements and everything is a variation on one of those 7.

 

Many older games are considered groundbreaking and creative only because they were the first to employ a specific gameplay element. Just as the "7 story rule" there are only so many things a designer can do when the core gameplay elements are a player, controller, a game engine and a screen.

 

After that it's all relative. Ignore which game was first to use a gameplay element and highlight those that use it creatively. I think that's what Carmack's quote was getting at.

 

One of the things this industry needs to come to terms with is that this is an art form. (Anyone who disagrees with that statement should have a power cord stapled to their nose while someone swings the power brick around their head until the length of cord begins pounding against their skull). As with any form of art, game making isn't easy. The industry needs more creative types in positions of power and fewer marketing dorks. It took the film industry 30 or 40 years to reach the technical level relative to Carmack's quote. Once the major technical hurdles began to disappear Hollywood became a fairly decent mixture of artists and business people.

 

Today's games are far more complex than those in the NES era. They have increased in complexity disproportionately to the increase (if any) in creativity. Many games today have fantastic elements of the craft on one level but are severely lacking elsewhere. To Carmack's point, I think once technical features begin to level out (which may be a while) and the industry realizes it's own artistic merit we will enter the real golden age of gaming.

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Games don't need to mirror reality, they just need to be more original.

 

I agree, but I think the article makes a good point that more-of-the-same sells, and innovation seems to be focused on the technical aspects rather than gameplay concepts. Therefore, if you start to get diminishing returns on polygon pushing, which I believe is inevitable, and games get to be so real that they can't be distinguished from reality...the drive toward realism that is driving gaming (economically) now might be diverted into other areas.

 

I mean the main reason that you can sell 30 varieties of Doom is because each new one promises more realism, better graphics, and so on. There's not much incentive to promise a more creative idea because it's too easy to just jump on the latest advance in hardware, dress up your old ideas in new hi-def clothes and make some cash.

 

If the quest for realism waned a bit, that would force the door open for creativity again. Gamers will be jaded by realism and want something else (hopefully) - something that isn't simply realistic, but imaginative.

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I disagree, I do think games were more likely to try disparate elements back in the day. Maybe that's the inherent wackiness of Japanese concepts, maybe not. I find gaming tends to follow sheepherding much more now than it used to. We were lousy with FPS games and still are and they don't offer much variation.

 

I mean, I recognizing that platformers did go through that phase, at least they were introducing new elements. FPS games tend to differ in the guns and not much else. I'm not saying its bad, I love a number of FPS games, but innovation is rarer.

 

Mind you, I am a computer gamer first above everything and I think the "game as art" scenario was really going back in the late 80's but things are more workmanlike now. Sid Meier was great until he only did strategy games. I mean, Civ is good, but he was so good at other genres, like Railroad Tycoon, Pirates!, and Covert Action (this wasn't superb, but it was good). Dani (nee Dan) Bunten was bleeding edge of game design up until she died. I mean, she was doing online gaming before it was even really feasilbe. And not to mention M.U.L.E., one of the best games ever.

 

For the record, for me there are no 2D v. 3D wars. I'd almost always pick 2D for most titles. There are situations that require 3D, ie FPS games and sports titles (and others), but I prefer 2D.

 

I completely agree that we need to recapture that games as art vibe though. They really are. Good designers can almost always hit it out of the park every time.

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For the record, for me there are no 2D v. 3D wars. I'd almost always pick 2D for most titles. There are situations that require 3D, ie FPS games and sports titles (and others), but I prefer 2D.

 

I love 2D games too, but I think 3D gaming has been given the short end of the stick by short-sighted game designers (and the economics of the game industry). And again, I think this harkens back to the desire for realism.

 

Games like Rez, that are 3D but don't strive for realism, are a key example of what I mean. I don't think there's any reason whatsoever that 3D games can't be every bit as innovative and fun as the best 2D games, except that right now, everyone wants realism. It sells games.

 

I for one would love to see a FPP, first-person-puzzler. I don't have anything specific in mind, but a purely abstract game in 3D, where you have a point of view and solve puzzles....where you are in the puzzle.

 

Tranquility comes close to this, and it's why I've been a champion of the game since it came out (I run a forum for it)...and those of you from the HTF might remember when I created a thread there to 'announce' Tranquility - a certain amount of derision and almost anger came back at me. Tranquility isn't a perfect game, but then again, it stretches the definition of the term 'game' - and for that alone it deserves credit.

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I don't think there's any reason whatsoever that 3D games can't be every bit as innovative and fun as the best 2D games, except that right now, everyone wants realism.

 

Well, I do and it's as simple as one word: complexity. Adding in another dimension is a HUGE new thing to have to deal with. Complexity shoots through the roof by necessity. Making it too simple when dealing with a 3D world would almost have to involve taking control from the player's hands.

 

When I play Super Mario 3 I can grab it and plug it in to play in ten seconds. I move, I jump, I make myself big, I land on turtle heads. It varies in the difficulty by what I have to contend with in each level and have to take on, but the control is simple and not an issue.

 

When I play Super Mario Sunshine, it's different. There's so much to do and think about. You can no longer craft the intricate puzzles of jumps and ducks that Mario 3 had because you are now faced with players simply going around them. The player is more easily disoriented, has more trouble getting the character to go where they want, and (in this case and others) often has to grapple with a camera that is less than perfect and disorientation is much easier. Disorienting the player doesn't happen in 2D and it adds nothing to the game's inherent fun factor.

 

I get equally frustrated in 3D games at times simply because they aren't as immersive as they need be. The monitor or television is a big minus to 3D immersion. We need to be able to swivel our heads and get the camera to move, while shooting in another direction. It's basic human movement that currently cannot be emulated in 3D. Mouselook is so so close, but it's not perfect.

 

With 2D there is no claim to realism and it's simpler and easier to pick up and play and that's a big thing and part of the appeal. 3D is certainly tending to try for realism, but when it does not accomplish it as well as we'd like, there's a certain dissatisfaction with that.

 

I'm not sure where you get the idea that 3D gaming is given the short end of the stick Ed, since it's certainly the dominant medium in the industry right now by a loooong shot. This is far afield from our discussion on originality, but I firmly think that the quick pick-up-and-play of a 2D title is never going to be achieved with 3D gaming.

 

Sure it can build up to that level, I love FPS' and such, but I think it is inherently more complex and therefore it requires more of an investment and while satisfying, can't deliver the visceral punch. If I could only ever play one game ever again, it'd be Tetris Attack, not Welltris ;).

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Well, I do and it's as simple as one word: complexity. Adding in another dimension is a HUGE new thing to have to deal with. Complexity shoots through the roof by necessity.

 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think complexity is only an issue when a game tries to emulate something real in 3D.

 

Your point about Mario 2D vs 3D, and I do agree with what you're saying (didn't partcularly like SMS), illustrates my point. Mario in 3D is emulating a tweaked version of reality, you're controlling a 'person' with abilities like jumping and climbing, running around an environment with familiar objects like buildings and grass, and it has familiar rules like gravity (yes, tweaked), bouancy, etc. It's complex because it emulates reality. By all means it 'dumbs down' reality by, for example, making it impossible for Mario to break bones, and maintain balance, after falling off a 3 story building, but it's a version of reality nonetheless.

 

My point is that it's the adherence to emulating real things that is problematic for 3D. In a game like Rez the resemblence to anything real is tenuous, and allows the game designers more room for, well, design, rather than emulation. It's why, among other reasons, Tranquility works, IMO. It's abstract, it makes it's own rules, it uses 3D for soemthing other than creating a dumbed-down version of reality.

 

With 2D there is no claim to realism and it's simpler and easier to pick up and play and that's a big thing and part of the appeal. 3D is certainly tending to try for realism, but when it does not accomplish it as well as we'd like, there's a certain dissatisfaction with that.

 

I think we're agreeing here, and maybe the term emulation, rather than realism, is better suited to what I'm arguing is the main problem with 3D.

 

I'm not sure where you get the idea that 3D gaming is given the short end of the stick Ed, since it's certainly the dominant medium in the industry right now by a loooong shot.

 

Dominant yes, but nearly creatively stagnant because most everyone is trying to emulate real things.

 

This is far afield from our discussion on originality, but I firmly think that the quick pick-up-and-play of a 2D title is never going to be achieved with 3D gaming.

 

Pinball. High-quality, high resolution pinball in 3D is pick-up-and play, and IMO better than any 2D version. Funny I should pick pinball since, at it's best, it's a convincing emulation of the real thing. But notice it's an emulation of a very simple system.

 

Sure it can build up to that level, I love FPS' and such, but I think it is inherently more complex and therefore it requires more of an investment and while satisfying, can't deliver the visceral punch. If I could only ever play one game ever again, it'd be Tetris Attack, not Welltris ;).

 

Again, I think we agree far more than we disagree. I just think the design-space of 3D gaming hasn't really been explored very much. I think we can see glimmers of brilliance in certain games that go beyond emulating real things, ala Rez and Tranquility...

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But notice it's an emulation of a very simple system.

 

If you consider it a ball + flippers, but there's a complicated physical system there (lots & lots of laws of physics involved) matched with a system of rules & scoring mechanisms that are never as simple as they first appear. There's frequently some clever "under the hood" rules/dynamics that are only apparent when playing to any length of time.

 

Pinball is more than just a ball being flipped around.

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When I play Super Mario 3 I can grab it and plug it in to play in ten seconds.

 

When I play Super Mario Sunshine, it's different. There's so much to do and think about.

 

These same issues were argued when people first began claiming film was an art form. For centuries people had learned whole vocabularies to describe the craft and depth of traditional studio art. Many of these terms didn't easily find parallels in film.

 

Over time, the "art" in film was accepted as just different. -as it should be. 3D vs. 2D gaming is the same in my eyes. There is a different depth of art in each and each deserves a place. I also disagree that 3D puzzles need be less intricate -the "art" is in keeping that depth of gameplay in 3D.

 

I do think games were more likely to try disparate elements back in the day.

 

I agree. However, I'd argue that it just seems this way as so many of these elements were very new. It also helps that many of these elements were simple and easy to define. I'd go so far as to argue that EVERY single gameplay element used in the NES era is being used today (often within a single title).

 

It's a more complicated gaming world right now. It's more difficult to notice or remember all the creative touches seen in a game. A cool littel element may occur yet the story, graphics, animation, surround sound, NPC interaction, etc causes you to simply overlook it (which is part of the art anyway!).

 

FPS games tend to differ in the guns and not much else. I'm not saying its bad, I love a number of FPS games, but innovation is rarer.

 

Underlying all my comments is my platform that all current games (even today's FPS titles) are built upon the creative elements of the past...

 

I think FPS games are, in many ways, leading the pack in artistic innovation (and, as we know, technical innovation). The FPS is very similar to state of platform games in the NES through SNES period. There was a glut of copycat platform titles which only borrowed innovations. There were also a handful of truely spectacular platformers released every year. These really pushed the evelope of the genre. Today's FPS games are in a very similar state. On the surface the vast majority differ only in new guns yet games like Half-Life & Halo (scripting), Quake & Unreal Tournament (online play) have changed the face of gaming in every gaming genre.

 

The problem is it's much more difficult to see subtle innovation in a game as complex as a FPS (even the bad ones). (stop me before I repeat my 2nd paragraph)

 

I completely agree that we need to recapture that games as art vibe though. They really are. Good designers can almost always hit it out of the park every time.

 

Good, now how do we convince EA? ;)

BTW, I don't think we've begun to understand what a "good designer" is. Once we get a Brazil or a Schindler's List in a "game" we'll start seeing good designers.

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Once we get a Brazil or a Schindler's List in a "game" we'll start seeing good designers.

 

Well, I've played a lot of games that held particular emotional resonance for me. I think there are quite a few games I've played that really sucker-punched me in terms of surprisingly dredging up actual feelings.

 

I mean, Gabriel Knight 3 is a fun title but the worst GK game, yet the ending of that story is... whoa. If you've played the series through, it's such a culmination. And that mind-blowing ending is followed up by an absolute killer of an epilogue. I want to play it again right now just talking about it :).

 

Grim Fandango and Final Fantasy IV are similar. The ending with Glottis in GF is really moving and the art design of GF is spectacular. It's cheesy as hell, but the prayer of the earth at the end of FF4 is really moving in its own way.

 

the "art" is in keeping that depth of gameplay in 3D.

 

Well, my point is that I just don't see that happening. There's too much introduced complexity with 3D to actually have the same depth of 2D and be anywhere near as accessible. Don't get me wrong, I dearly hope to be proven wrong on this eventually.

 

And don't start me on EA. What they are now is so, so far from where they were that it's kind of sad in its way.

 

Ed, I see your point, but I don't think that games as abstract are going to be accessible either. We need that grounding in reality to enjoy ourselves. Whether the person is a plumber, an anthropomorphic hedgehog, or a theoretical physicist. People play games because they're cool and we get to indulge in activities that are not possible in the real world (the Sims being a baffling thing there :P). At the same time though, we want that connection to the real world, enough to hook us in, then let us go.

 

Take Max Payne. Max is an undercover cop. Big deal, plenty of them. Max also gets to dispense nasty amounts of justice and wield weapons in bullet-time. That's appeal. If Max was a sphere able to speed up or slow down the movement of octagons, it just loses that appeal to people.

 

Dominance versus stagnancy are two different things though. And while creatively bankrupt in some ways, I don't think 3D is as bad as you say. Half-Life 2, for example, emulates real-life, but one in which you have to lay the smackdown on invading alien forces. What that engine allows them to do with you is immerse you in the story.

 

Half-Life doesn't have the most compelling story ever, but creatively it's a juggernaut because it is extremely clever in how it brings the player completely into its storyline. It's very well crafted to let the player use their intuition to solve the puzzles and progress and it sets the atmosphere very well.

 

For the record, I'm glad you started this topic Ed, as I feel that there's some great discussion coming out of it, even if it's just a three way between you, me, and Camp, with some Brian comments tossed in thus far ;).

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Well, I've played a lot of games that held particular emotional resonance for me. I think there are quite a few games I've played that really sucker-punched me in terms of surprisingly dredging up actual feelings.

 

Oh, I think we all have.

I just think we have a long way to go in this department. Generally, it's the story that illicits the emotional response though. Sure, our in-game actions led to the conclusion of the story (and therefore, the emotion) but it's still a pre-scripted story. What if a game forces you to make decisions you don't want to make? What if the interactivity was the story element instead of scripts?

 

the "art" is in keeping that depth of gameplay in 3D.

 

 

 

Well, my point is that I just don't see that happening.

 

It's already happening.

I'll leave it at that and agree to disagree though.

 

And don't start me on EA. What they are now is so, so far from where they were that it's kind of sad in its way.

 

LOL! ;)

I know, but still don't like them. I guess I mainly hate them for their generic (across all platforms) sports franchises.

 

For the record, I'm glad you started this topic Ed, as I feel that there's some great discussion coming out of it, even if it's just a three way between you, me, and Camp, with some Brian comments tossed in thus far .

 

Me too. This is a fun thread -and an important one.

This is exactly why this forum rocks. If this thread were over at HTF we'd be pulling our hair out.

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And while creatively bankrupt in some ways, I don't think 3D is as bad as you say.

 

I'm afraid I'm making the wrong impression. I really like 3D games, although my desire to play FPS games is near zero. In general I play primarily 3D games, and I htink there are tons of great ones, from Super Monkey Ball to MotoGP2 to CMR3 to Tiger Woods. In fact, I might describe some of the games in SMB as pick-up-and-play.

 

But I have always had a craving for abstract games, and that is where 3D, at this point in time, is at it's weakest, IMO. Which is why I keep bringing up Rez and Tranquility. I also think it's a way to address your points about complexity.

 

I agree that people want to deal with fanciful versions of reality in games, to pretend to do something impossible or otherworldy. I think right now, traditional 3D, while not imerssive enough for the reasons you outlined before, is the best technology we have for this right now.

 

But my main point (which I admit has been teased out by this thread, and not really forethough too much) is pretty simple. That the focus of 3D gaming, on realism, simulation and emulation, has been successful enough to stunt the growth of creativity and exploration into other uses of the technology. Even granted your observation that most people like playing games grounded in reality, I think this desire can be satisfied AND good use can be made of 3D technology...it's just there's not much incentive to risk doing this.

 

The corollary point is that once convincing realism and near-perfect simulation is achieved, the focus will (hopefully) shift away from that prusuit and into other directions.

 

For the record, I'm glad you started this topic Ed, as I feel that there's some great discussion coming out of it, even if it's just a three way between you, me, and Camp, with some Brian comments tossed in thus far .

 

Me too. Argument is good, if done with respect. :D

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If it's only 5 years, that's not very impressive. The Quake engine has been around longer than that (albiet in various versions).

 

that is 5 years no development. Think about it like this DOOM3 has been in the making for over 3 years, and Quake III was released in December 1999.

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Great thread.

 

I'm a bit surprised that no one has mentioned ICO. While Rez was mention, and definitely deserves to be, I believe that ICO is the most recent benchmark in gaming as art.

 

This game, while not turning the game genre world on its end, was an artistic achievement in its simplicity, atmosphere, and story. The fact that there was pretty much no music, no health gauges, no inventory, and no understandable script while creating such an emotional experience really floored me. Art, in my opinion.

 

I think that the problem is that games that people like us consider truly creative and artistic aren't viable from an economic standpoint. Everyone here is complaining about EA and what it has become, but the truth is that it wouldn't have become as huge as it is doing artsy games. Would Dreamworks be the studio it is if it just published movies like Brazil?

 

Of course not.

 

This leads me to my next point, though, and this is perhaps the silver lining.

 

As the videogame industry grows economically, and it is, it's possible that we'll see some truly creative independent studios pop up like we have in film. Of course the little indie film studios weren't around in Hollywood's earliest days because the market wasn't there.

 

Hopefull we'll see something similar happen in video games. Maybe we'll have indie games for the game buffs like we have indie films for the film buffs. Let's hope.

 

Think about it - do you think the average gamer knows who designed and produced the random game he buys at EB?

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Actually stencil, I think the average gamer knows nothing and contributes to the problem, not to be a snot :D. People don't ever bother to think about things anymore. That's why I love this forum, we have thinkers here.

 

Maybe we'll have indie games for the game buffs like we have indie films for the film buffs.

 

To a small extent we do, it's the modding scene. Counter-Strike is a great example. I think that game is a work of art in itself for its design. The only negative thing to CS is the playerbase/cheating [i await a Kelley or Romier rebuttal ;)], but the design of it, giving each player a single life per round, is something that I don't think would have been tried for a long time in multiplayer simply because nobody saw it as viable.

 

Or look at They Hunger. Neil Manke is a seriously gifted modder and those games are spooky as hell. They've got atmosphere to go. His game prior to that, Blackstar (er, it's something plus that but can't remember), is equally smart and used the HL engine to create at least one truly memorable sequence.

 

And that's just Half-Life. There are other mod scenes offering truly inspired gaming experiences (Max Payne Kung-Fu anybody?).

 

the truth is that it wouldn't have become as huge as it is doing artsy games.

 

This I've gotta disagree with though. EA started off doing artsy games, and they were good at it. EA gave us Seven Cities of Gold, M.U.L.E., Adventure Construction Set, and other amazingly fun little titles. They set out from the beginning to define themselves as artists and their early ad campaigns to that effect were very, very well done.

 

Compare that to the EA of today and I find it a little less heartening. I don't have a mad hate-on for EA like some people do, but I yearn for the old times. I do believe that we will see things circle around, as has been suggested, to the creative side of things, once we finally cap off technology.

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I await a Kelley or Romier rebuttal

 

Not at all. For those that enjoy Counterstrike please continue doing so. I just never got into it. I played it for a short period of time and was just utterly bored with it. The main reason for my "play test" was because so many friends were telling me how its the most addictive online game ever. *vomit* :wink:

 

 

 

I believe that ICO is the most recent benchmark in gaming as art.

 

*cough* Panzer Dragoon Orta *cough* 8) . Yes I'm utterly biased on this one and I will freely admit that but I have seen no game that can rival the art design and sheer beauty (and I am not speaking from a technical standpoint) of PDO. The synergy of music, story and otherworldy creature and player designs are just absolutey top notch for me and have not yet been rivaled (though Psychonauts may change things as Im really loving the quirky art design in that title).

 

Though I do feel your selection of ICO is very on point Josh. It is what I would consider to be a very "artistic" game. In graphic design and the quality of its story. Though I like to think that it did more for the genre than what your giving it credit for :wink:

 

ICO's affect on the adventure genre as a whole was limited by the number of people that decided to give it a chance. These days however you have very old and well known series such as Castlevania borrowing elements including the camera design from that very game.

 

Though the game community may be ignoring these wonderful concepts at the very least it seems that *SOME* developers at taking note of thier accomplishments. in the end thats what I like to see.

 

Another game worth mentioning is The Mark of Kri which was criminally ignored and had one seriously fun fighting system. Though the stealth elements were not as developed as I would have liked and there were moments of repitition it was a game that deserved better.

 

This whole question of originality, the impact "artisitic" games have on the industry as a whole and why these very titles cant seem to breakthrough to the mainsteam is the subject matter for an article I researched and wrote for this very site months ago. When the site goes Live it will be my first that I feature on here with some new thoughts and updates. In fact given the wonderful discussion thus far in this thread I may go ahead and post it.

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Publishers need to adopt the indie philosophy. The problem is there isn't a market for it yet...and there isn't a market because the average gamer hasn't yet seen how gaming can push the artistic envelope.

 

Once those things happen the game industry should adopt a business structure more like the film industry. Right now we have creative people answering to marketing and business types. That's certainly a generalization but it is, for the most part, true. The business people aren't necessarily commited to producing the best possible games. They're only interested in just enough artistry to sell a billion copies. They're interested in very gradual artistic improvement over time. It's in their best interest to smother games with budgetary and resource limitations to the point that everyone is advancing equally.

 

I don't mean this to sound like a conspiracy theory because it certainly is not. Business is about maximizing profits and that's exactly how things work now. Once the tech slows down, however, creativity and artistic merit will rule the industry -and the very structure of the business.

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I think that there is another driver present that has a positive effect on creativity:

 

The tools to make reasonably well-polished games are increasingly available to people who do not need to rely upon a big bucks from a large studio or publisher.

 

If I might draw a parallel with film, take a look at Kevin Rubio's Troops. It clearly was a labor of love, done by a small number of people for very little money. Yet it is put together pretty well.

 

We saw Serious Sam come out of nowhere. I'm not suggesting that this is the model for the kind of creative game we are discussing, but how long until people start producing them?

 

For that matter, I've played flash games that surprise me with their creativity. I suspect other games are not far behind.

 

-j

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Once the tech slows down?????? Oh man, how I wish videogame technology would hit a wall and force people to be creative. Unfortunately I don't see that happening until the XBox 4 is able to recreate Gollum from The Two Towers in real time.

 

Meanwhile, idiots like me who actually came up with some fun ideas for 2D games get critiques such as "why isn't this in 3D?" or "this is weak, come back when you can make Halo."

 

I grew up on PONG. Okay? Freakin' Space Invaders and Asteroids. Ms. Pac-Man is like my generation's version of chess. It's just freakin' timeless. And if Namco decided to make a 3D version of Ms. Pac Man using a graphics engine that makes Deep Blue look stupider than a light switch, it still ain't gonna hold a candle to the original.

 

The purpose of a game is fun and amusement. Niobe's leather jacket looks great in Enter the Matrix, the game sounds great in 5.1, and the cutscenes are wonderful. So what. The finished version of the game is bug-ridden and incomplete and that sucked a lot of fun out of the game. I'd much rather play Trogdor on the Homestar Runner website. It looks like hell, it sounds like crap (in Non-Dolby 1.0), and the cutsecenes consist of Trogdor with smoke coming out of his nose. But the game is fun. Therefore it serves its purpose more successfully than Enter the Matrix. Trogdor is a game. Enter the Matrix is a tech demo. I din't blow $179 for an XBox and $49 on Enter the Matrix to marvel at how great a graphics engine can look like (as Niobe stupidly performs a walljump into a bottomless chasm instead of stepping over a hole in the friggin' walkway like I wanted her to do).

 

Do I sound bitter? I AM. If I want realism I'd turn off my XBox and play in traffic. The last videogame console I owned before buying a PlayStation was the Atari 2600. One joystick, one button. None of this twin-sticks with four shoulder button crap. I felt like my grandfather when I first tried to play a PlayStation game.

 

Of course now that I'm acclamated to it I'm fine. But if programmers are going to insist on bigger better faster and more, it better be funner too.

 

I also agree with Robot Monkey about how good something can be on a limited budget with limited resources. There are tons of games made in the 70's and 80's by one person that are still better and still more influential than most of the crap that comes out today from 30-to-200-person dev houses. There's a certain fun element you just can't get in a perfectly rendered 3D world with accurate physics and real-time bump mapping. And if a perfectly rendered 3D world with accurate physics and real-time bump mapping is a requirement for you in order to play a videogame these days, you're doing yourself a horrible disservice.

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Once the tech slows down?????? Oh man, how I wish videogame technology would hit a wall and force people to be creative. Unfortunately I don't see that happening until the XBox 4 is able to recreate Gollum from The Two Towers in real time.

 

 

I want better than that!

I totally agree we have a long way to go. However, this thread is based upon Carmack's comments to that effect. I think he's waaaay early but I'm not about to argue with Carmack! :)

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One joystick, one button. None of this twin-sticks with four shoulder button crap.

 

And another thing: what is this alternating current nonsense??!! In my day consoles had a hatch in the side, into which we shoveled coal.

 

Games consisted of staring at a white cube that sat motionless on a black background -- we didn't even have one joystick with one button because there was no interactivity.

 

Hell, I hear people whining about multitaps and crap. My first two consoles consisted of a black and white picture of a white cube on a black background that we'd tape to our TV (the only TV in the village) and sit and stare at.

 

Because we had imagination in those days.

 

-j

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One joystick, one button. None of this twin-sticks with four shoulder button crap.

 

And another thing: what is this alternating current nonsense??!! In my day consoles had a hatch in the side, into which we shoveled coal.

 

Games consisted of staring at a white cube that sat motionless on a black background -- we didn't even have one joystick with one button because there was no interactivity.

 

Hell, I hear people whining about multitaps and crap. My first two consoles consisted of a black and white picture of a white cube on a black background that we'd tape to our TV (the only TV in the village) and sit and stare at.

 

Because we had imagination in those days.

 

-j

 

You're not much younger than me, Methuselah. :D

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