Let not the sun set on the Golden Age of Video Games

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Let not the sun set on the Golden Age of Video Games

Postby MedicineStorm » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:06 am

The sun has not yet set on the Golden Age of Video Games. It may seem like it has only because the gaming industry has wandered off the brightly lit Path of Enjoyment and gotten lost in the dark forest of Addictive Features and Profitable Interests. Constant attacks from DLC-monsters and the unrelenting threat of content-only-available-to-premium-account-holders booby traps can cause even the hardcore gamer to lose hope.

Game Theory: The study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers. Game Theory is typically of more interest to mathematicians than it is to gamers. However, most modern game designers apply Game Theory to make their games more addictive and more noticeable.

Because of this trend, games have never been more effective at attracting players. These games are more addictive than any previous generation of games. They are Game Theory MACHINES!

Therein lies the problem; These games are robots. They are efficient, effective, and powerful... but they have no soul. "23 ways to make a more addictive game"? Who cares about addictive?! We want a game that's FUN!

Skinner's Box and Video Games: How To Create Addictive Games

Applying Game Theory to game design is often successful at creating a more enjoyable game, but "fun" is becoming the by-product. Similar to how grape seed oil is a by-product of making wine; It's useful and enjoyable, but it is only a minor result of a process designed to create something else. For too many modern game studios this main product is profit, marketability, and addiction. For this reason, we feel the gaming industry has lost its way.

Ethical dilemmas: Exploitative multiplayer worlds don't deserve to be called art...

Don't get us wrong; if there were no profit in making video games, the world wouldn't have any. However, Project Utumno seeks to produce enjoyment as the MAIN PRODUCT with all other motivating factors (if any) being the minor by-products.

Often a game feature will be both enjoyable and addictive. We will continue to seek such features for this game, but here is the difference: The going trend is to eliminate any feature that is not addictive. Our goal is to eliminate any feature that is not enjoyable.

Maybe that's naive. Perhaps this approach is doomed to fail... but it's hard to fail when our measurement for success is something we already posses; You can be certain this game will thoroughly enjoyed by those who are creating it. 8-)
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Re: Let not the sun set on the Golden Age of Video Games

Postby Argitoth » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:51 am

I think that's a good way to look at it. It's Addictive vs Fun.

We have to create a game that is fun. A fun game gives you options. An addictive game just makes you do the same thing over and over while rewarding you less over time. A fun game will have things in it for no specific reason, and the player learns to make use of it. In an addictive game, everything is connected to a quest, an item, a scripted event, a core feature, and you cannot escape the linear path. A fun game gives you some tools and doesn't tell you how to use them. An addictive game gives you tools and if you don't use it one specific way, you are punished or it simply is impossible to do anything else

In an addictive game, the spell "protection from fire" gives you just enough fire resistance to kill that big bad fire elemental. In a fun game, "protection from fire" gives you some benefit, but makes you more susceptible to cold. An elementalist learns to wield his spells in interesting way to shift the battle in his favor. There's depth in this style of gameplay. Nothing has 100% advantage, there's no 100% straightforward use for any tool, not 100% linear path to "the next better spell". The next spell could be powerful, but its power is dangerous. A powerful spellcaster is powerful not because of his high level spells (although that helps), but because of how he uses them, how he is experienced in using spells that have all sorts of caveats and are just never quite perfect. Magic is not a perfectly-wrapped Christmas gift with a bow on top. It's dangerous, but it's exciting.

You can't just raise the dead. You gotta think about the limitations and the potential problems. Will you be able to remain in control? Are there any diseases being carried by the undead?

Anyway, a fun game will not spoon feed you how everything should be used. The player will feel free to explore strange ways of using things. The addiction then will not be about getting the next item or spell, but collecting a set of tools and exploiting their strengths/weaknesses/benefits/limitations. Finding ways to make something seemingly weak or useless into something powerful. Discovery is addicting and fun.
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Re: Let not the sun set on the Golden Age of Video Games

Postby MedicineStorm » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:26 pm

Aaaand of course Extra Credit's take on it:
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Re: Let not the sun set on the Golden Age of Video Games

Postby Argitoth » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:56 am

yep they listed all the reasons that my all-time favorite games are my favorite.
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