Tomer Gabel's annoying spot on the 'net RSS 2.0
# Tuesday, 31 May 2005
First, if you're up for a decent laugh, go ahead and read A Gamers' Manifesto. You may have noticed the odd discrepency between this post's title and that article's; it's intentional - I do not presume to represent the gamer crowd as a whole, and for several very good reasons:
  1. I'm about as mainstream as the guy next door who never seems to shave, or shower, or do anything other than moan and occasionally groan something that sounds oddly like "braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains." I certainly enjoy an occasional hit as much as the next guy (UT2k4 anyone?), but other than that I'm definitely not your run-of-the-mill Israeli gamer. For one, I actually buy my games, which appears to be a particular oddity that even my absolutely closest friends can't fathom. Second, I often play older games (sometimes on their native platforms) because I enjoy them and do not mind their being old or technically outdated. Third, I consistently despise games heralded as breakthroughs by many of my peers; and lastly, I find myself playing less and less games and wondering why, exactly, that is. I used to play practically every game out there; there are few games from the '90s I haven't played extensively or at least taken for a spin.
  2. Gamers, even intelligent ones, look for different things in different games. I openly declare the original Doom to be one of the greatest games I've ever played. It's certainly mindless, quite repetitive and lacks any manner of story or plot. It doesn't matter. I've spent countless hours (must be about over a month in total) playing this particular title because it was so thoroughly satisfying. In recent years, however, I've heard people blaming Doom for starting a "dangerous trend in computer gaming" of mindless action games with no plot. Hate to break this to you: mindless action games were out there way before Doom (the arguably first computer game ever, Space War, was one). Besides, mindless action is definitely good for the soul. Still, it doesn't stop me from enjoying the more thought-inducing genres, which only goes to prove my point: people (especially gamers) enjoy things differently.
That said, I have several comments about A Gamers' Manifesto. Let's go by the numbers:
  1. I agree with the gist of the thing (tough, smart AI), but not with the particular example. Doom III was meant to retain Doom's simple, mind-numbing but gratifying gameplay, and does so extremely well. Playing Doom III was a religious experience for me: everything I loved about Doom - the suspense, the heaps of enemies, the challenging gameplay, the gameplay mechanics - is there. Giving the Lost Souls a proper AI would be like giving George W. Bush brains; it's great in theory, but it probably won't make the world a better place.
  2. With this I cannot possibly diagree. Games have been getting less and less diverse for years, and the studios that create the few exceptions usually get financially whacked: where are Bullfrog and Lionhead Studios these days? Do you recall the financial fiasco that befell DreamWorks' completely revolutionary The Neverhood, or the lackluster sales of the completely original Loom?
    Customers are obviously responsible, but it's also a result of the astounding costs involved in creating a top title these days. Twenty years ago you could've been a 15-year old mashing on his C64 and be pretty well off, but nowadays you need heaps of people and money to create even an astoundingly bad title like Chrome. I firmly believe, however, that tools will get progressively better, allowing less people to make more detailed, more immersive games in less time and effort; it's just a question of time. When that happens, the ball will be in our (the gamers') hand again: will we buy the creative titles? Will we reward creative persons and game studios? Time will tell.
  3. This is an interesting throwback to the time when the in-game graphics were so bad you had to tantalize your customers' imagination with interesting background stories, or beautifully drawn imagery on the packaging (recall Defender for the Atari 2600?). I think concept art has its place, but it's not good enough. Screenshots don't cut it nowadays either; I distinctly recall being thoroughly unimpressed with the Doom 3 screenshots and mesmerized by Half Life 2's, and Doom 3 turned out to be the more graphically impressive of the two (HL2 is no slouch, though!).
  4. The image made me laugh my ass off, and though I do not play adult games I find myself more than a little disturbed by the analogy (which is closer to reality than I originally thought.)
  5. It should come as no surprise that men do not know how to cater to women. I'm a guy, I do not presume to understand women, and wouldn't know the first thing about what they'd be looking for in a computer game. My immediate thoughts are "something cute," which is the exact stereotype and which only goes to show that game designers are probably equally in the dark.
  6. I couldn't possibly agree more. Save points are OUT, quicksave is IN. Still, I'd like to add that having quicksave/load available is no excuse for poor gameplay, and actually having to use it every few minutes equals shitty gameplay (Half Life again).
  7. Finally someone put it into words. Loading screens are bad, however I'll add that while I would definitely prefer not having to wait at all, as long as I'm kept waiting at least make it worthwhile. Half Life 2 had 30+ second loading times per 2-10 minutes of gameplay (reminiscent of the first game), while Doom 3 would take the same time to load an area you would play anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, which is much more acceptable.
  8. Woah, I'm glad I'm not a football fan.
  9. If I had a nickle for every time a bug in a game forced me out of the "obvious" game space and into an invisible barrier, I would be one rich monkey. Too bad I don't.
  10. YES! This is the one thing that's been driving me insane these last few years. Artifically linear gameplay was one of the things that annoyed me most about both Max Payne, Half Life 2 and even Painkiller; it drives me insane not to be able to walk into a room or a corridor "just because." Half Life 2's electronic barriers were better in that respect, but certainly not the solution. God damnit, if you want to trap me in a long corridor, at least don't pretend there are locked rooms and find some more reasonable way to make it plausible.
  11. The voice acting and cinematics comments are spot-on. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a classic example of this; it could've been one of the best games of 2003 had it not been for astoundingly bad voice acting ("I saw my father turn to sand!") and horrible camera controls.
  12. While I agree with the authors' frustration, I can't see any other solution. Some of their comments are certinaly acceptable (particularly the RPG triggers), but for example I consider ammo starvation much less an issue than most of my fellow gamers: although I haven't played Resident Evil for the GameCube, many single-player first person shooters - Doom 3 and Serious Sam for example - require (at least in their higher difficult settings) careful expenditure of ammunition. I consider this part of the challenge, not an artificial way to inflate difficulty. That I reserve to just throwing 50% or 100% more monsters at you in the higher difficulty setting, as is done in most games. I think it's a lot more challenging to have to use the lesser weaponry where possible against tougher monsters so you have enough ammo for the big guys. As for instant-faliure levels, I have two words for you: Half, and Life.
  13. I completely disagree. There should be the option to unlock everything, but starting with low-class weaponry is part of the FPS tradition (as well as a direct cause-and-effect for gameplay), and unlocking content (or upgrading your car) is a huge part of the fun for certain types of games. Remedy's excellent Death Rally, or the astounding 2D shooter Tyrian, would be a great deal less fun if you could just start with the toughest ship.
  14. Oh, I don't know. I love crates.
  15. I'm increasingly worried about intellectual property issues, in particular software and concept-based patents. I was not aware of the effect patents have on gaming, so this is something of an eye-opener for me. I'll be sure to keep updated on this subject.
  16. For that matter, stop with the multiplayer bullshit. I don't particularly like multiplayer, and would definitely prefer to pay less for most games and just not get the multiplayer capabilities.
  17. Again, I'm not sure I agree. As long as you have a DVD drive and MPEG-decoding capabilities, since the console is stuck in your living room connected to your TV anyway it might as well play DVDs. Or audio CDs. But I'd rather the other, nonnatural features (PC-oriented features) be left out of the initial product, and either added later or just left to 3rd parties. It's obvious that Microsoft and Sony want their respective platforms to be the centerpiece of the living room, but I'm not interested in paying for it since I'm not going to be using it.
  18. I don't play any massively multiplayer games, so I'm not very familiar with the subject - but I don't like the sound of it.
  19. Unlike most people I don't have issues with jumping puzzles in first person shooters, providing the controls are adequate. That is part of the problem, a lot of games did that really, very badly (again Half Life comes to mind) but a lot of others did it just fine - proof of that is that I do not recall jumping puzzles that did not suck, and I've played a lot more FPSs than I can recall jumping puzzles. (Did that make any sense?)
  20. Buggre that for a larke. (tm)
That said, I much prefer PC gaming to console gaming; I do not get along well with the incresingly complicated controllers (still stuck in the D-pad+A/B buttons era), I hate the low resolution and crappy displays (good televisions are getting cheaper, but still prohibitively expensive) and the whole set up doesn't work for me. However, I must face the harsh reality: I spent the equaivalent of $1500 on my last machine (sans monitor!), and after 1.5 years I can already feel the hardware getting dated. Gaming PCs are ridiculously expensive and short-lived. I'll probably spend the money for my next two PCs on a next-gen platform and a really great HDTV-capable display and be done with it.
Tuesday, 31 May 2005 10:17:15 (Jerusalem Standard Time, UTC+02:00)  #    -
Personal | Gaming
Me!
Send mail to the author(s) Be afraid.
Archive
<2017 March>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627281234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678
All Content © 2017, Tomer Gabel
Based on the Business theme for dasBlog created by Christoph De Baene (delarou)