Articles of Interest

  • Sony is building “entitlements” (i.e. Xbox Achievements) into its online service. For some reason, this makes me think of medicare and social security … probably not the effect Sony was hoping for.  :-)
  • As you’ve probably heard, E3 may be greatly scaled down in size and scope. Game Politics offers some insight from a “knowledgeable source”, if you’re curious.
  • Via Raph, a nice article: Can Games Make You Cry? It proposes occassionally limiting interactivity (player control) in order to elicit sadness.
  • Lots of buzz around GameTap lately. Turner announced a deal with Konami, bringing classic titles like Frogger and Castlevania into the service. GameTap will also play exclusive host to Sam & Max: Season One (the franchise is going episodic.) This news triggered an endorsement of sorts by Tycho of Penny Arcade (which will probably do more for GameTap than many advertisements). Tycho’s remarks mirror those of GameTap VP David Reid, who recently said, “It’s great to have this bulk of things that people can look to while they’re waiting for the next installment of something new, but like HBO has its Sopranos and things like that, we need things like Sam & Max that we rely on to be the hits that anchor people and keep them on the network.”

17 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. It proposes occassionally limiting interactivity (player control) in order to elicit sadness.

    I really dislike suggestions of limited interactivity. I mean, why bother making it a game at all, then? Just make a damn movie if your only idea is that the player shouldn’t have control. The medium of videogames is all about interactivity, so if you can’t work with that, get out of the industry.

    That said, I didn’t quite get the same reading from the article itself, quite the opposite, actually:
    The solution for controlling the player’s emotion, therefore, would seem to be through manipulating that curiosity. Set up terrible things that the player can do without realizing it, that he can never go back and undo.

  2. Just make a damn movie if your only idea is that the player shouldn’t have control

    Bit extreme, no? I’ve played some great games that featured cutscenes, and I wouldn’t say the designers of those games had “no other ideas” for making me feel emotion.  :)

    That said, I admit that I enjoy when games manage to keep me involved in the action at all times.

    That said, I didn’t quite get the same reading from the article itself, quite the opposite, actually

    It’s complicated. The author disparages the FF “Aeris thing” as cheap yet repeatedly applauds it as effective (btw, Aeris’ death is counted as “most tragic game moment of all time” by many gamers, so does the fact that it was “cheap” really matter?)

    The author also states: at least imply some other course of action … Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. But I’m not actually sure that’s any less “cheap” than a cutscene. Many gamers instinctively reload saved games when something really terrible happens to them. How unenjoyable would it be to reload ten times, only to realize the designers really left you no option — that your illusion of control was fake? Is deception really better than a cutscene? I believe that it could be in some cases (for example, when reloading wouldn’t be feasible for the player). But I’m not sure it is better in all cases.

    Anyway, I guess I was trying to communicate my sense of a continuum when I wrote “limiting interactivity (player control)”. I.e. “You can restrict interactivity and/or the player’s control over the situation.” Perhaps I should have simply said “limiting player potential to succeed” instead?

  3. breath wrote:

    I really dislike suggestions of limited interactivity.

    Read the first chapter of my three-part series, Customer Indecision-Unmaking. Interactivity should always be limited to the extent that players are not overwhelmed with choices at any point during gameplay. Providing too much interactive freedom at any point during gameplay can be detrimental to customer satisfaction.

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