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6541  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:53:20 PM
In regards to postmodernism stuff, I THINK death of the author isn't necessarily part of that. The idea actually seems bastardized in places. I guess it's not draw your own conclusion about everything, so much as anti authorial interference.

In other words, if you didn't put it in the story, fuck you you can't retcon it in. stop writing sloppily.

---edit---iup

I have this feeling like modern education is favoring trivial knowledge over actually being able to do anything. Four years and half of my major being computer science... You know, I can give laundry lists of C++'s features. I can talk about Big-Oh numbers and algorithms and operating systems and how stuff works and what stuff does.

And if you forced me to, I wouldn't be able to write a complete program.

There's no broad, over-arching structural knowledge here and I'm not sure where to get it. It's just minutia. Write a sorting algorithm or a binary search or a vector or or or...

This sort of came to an annoying head when I took the GRE a few weeks ago. I did sort of crappy on the verbal portion because I didn't know a lot of the words in the analogies and antonyms section, and frankly a lot of the words are archaic and ugly and the sort of things that, like ichor, if you ever actually DID use them in a work, you should probably be shot.

But the GRE is supposed to test what you learned in college. Is college really about learning a bunch of obscure words and super-trivial shit like that? Is that knowledge? Is that proving any sort of capability to doing anything? If you write using words that aren't known to the majority of the population, does that make you a good writer? I don't really think so. I think being a good writer is being able to convey ideas well. If nobody can understand you, you're not doing it right.

(Weird aside: Videogames sort of play into that a lot. Especially MMOs and the major multiplayer competitive things. You can minmax the hell out of everything and memorize tables and data and figures. Trivia stuff. Fox only, no items, final destination?

It's why I've sort of realized that Quake 3 is better designed than most RPGs. You actually have to be GOOD at Quake 3 to be good at it. Numbers do not fucking matter. Although this also applies to a lot of action games or any sort of strategy game where statistics are a lot fuzzier and contextual (and I'm not saying ALL RPGs have issues with this. Just a lot of them). Quake 3 isn't perfect. That's not what I'm saying. It's just... I don't know.

And then you have something absolutely brilliant like Persona 3 that has a thematic core ENTIRELY based around this entire thread).
6542  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:32:25 PM
One way of viewing games is as such:

Play can be seen as a form of creation. In particular, play can be seen as a form of narrative creation. RPGs and adventure games, oddly, are terrible at this. You might think otherwise, at first, as they are quite narrative based, but that's the problem. They have pre-packaged stories. You cannot *create* a story by playing a game. By playing your average JRPG, you only *witness* a story.

Even non-linear RPGs typically miss the mark, as you're still viewing a story. Just with some changes or in a different order.

Consider, instead, strategy/simulator games like Dwarf Fortress. It is difficult to explain, really, HOW a game without any storyline can turn out having such incredible stories. But it does. The game provides events and responds to actions and does this very thoroughly. It's easiest to see how this plays out by either playing the game or reading the famous Boatmurdered Let's Play.

Essentially, though, consider that a story is at its core a sequence of events. I think a better way of stating this is that videogames can be the narrators for the stories their players provide -- and vice versa, and when it's done well it's a constant and ever-shifting dance of roles.

This isn't, of course, limited to Dwarf Fortress. Most of Maxis' games do this well, as do a lot of Paradox's games (especially Crusader Kings, which has the benefit of characterization).

The difference between these games, and, say, a non-linear RPG, is that while a non-linear RPG might have a story that changes based on player actions, these games have stories that are ENTIRELY the result of player actions. And the player of course is allowed to do enough for these stories to be interesting.

---break--- ---edit---

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In fact, I'm starting to wonder if it commonly teaches us bad habbits, such as forgetting how to listen.

It does. Also, MMOs are solipsistic as fuck.

I have this unique disorder, though. It's called living in semi-rural Ohio. Look, I've talked about it before. Everyone in my hometown seems to have paranoid schizophrenia, and in Bowling Green... I've walked through the whole goddamn town. I've seen more streets than I can even mention. But I hardly ever see other people. You can't say "Good morning!" to a strange you pass on the street because there aren't any.

Most of my social interaction is, thus, online, because it's not even entirely clear to me whether there even ARE people offline that I can be talking to.
6543  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Games, Empathy, and Communcation... on: October 12, 2009, 10:07:28 PM
I'm writing two posts. This will be sarcasticy and commentatingy. The second one will actually be wort hreading.

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Iíve been mulling over an idea for quite some time about the psychological effect the video game medium has on people and a culture.

Videogames, like braincells, kill frat boys, and alcohol, thusly, loves them both.

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they do not offer insight into the mind of another person.

Okay, but whether books or movies even do this, I mean... that whole death of the author thing.

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"A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would not have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations."

Let's consider that. We can't really consider *anything* in a creative work concrete, because FOR it to be concrete there'd have to be some sort of word of god level... explanation. This is why I think death of the author is sort of bullshit.

If a creative work is nothing BUT interpretation, then why even write it in the first place? And if you're intentionally playing with this, then you're going to end up like those Deer Game fucks over at Tale of Tales.

More importantly, if I write a book, and you want to apply "death of the author" to *me*, then I'm going to apply "go fuck yourself with a horse dildo" to *you*. It's my IP and I can say whatever I want to about it.

On the other hand, if the author is staying mum on their own works, then it actually is true, and you have to freely admit that anything you're accepting as canon about a piece of work that is not absolutely, explicit stated, can be and probably is absolutely false. I mean I guess what I'm saying is if you consider death of the author, if a work is nothing but interpretations, can you even say it has any merit? Because what you find meritous might not even been what's intended.

This is why I'm a fan of the "it has a good beat and I can dance to it" school of rock criticism. I don't like seeing games as art. I don't like seeing anything as art. Art is boring and leads to nailing random pieces of garbage to a wall, or that Suda51 game about the hotel of dicks.

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Therefore, they only work to further isolate us from the world around us.

There's an essay in a Will Oldham album liner notes (Superwolf. Which is an Oldham/Sweeney collaboration, actually) that takes about how alcohol is inherently isolating, whereas hashish is more of a community experience. Hence, my original metaphor is even better.

I think someone should invent an iPod like device, only you can never listen to your own playlist. Instead, you can only beam it into someone else's machine. You can't do anything BUT share music. And you can like, put your contact info on the songs you send over, so they can get in touch with you. But you can never listen to your own music.

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we want to say everything ourselves, and not listen.

Additionally why death of the author is sort of bullshit.

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Transcripts of conversations from the 50s offered a lot more instances of individuals responding to each otherís ideas, empathizing with feelings and genuinely interested in listening to what the other person has to say.

This could just be people being less interesting, today. You don't have anything interesting to say, nobody's going to listen to you, and most people don't do anything interesting because instead of hauling ass across the country in a broken car, they do something stupid like going to college.

Of course, everyone believes that they really ARE interesting, even if they aren't.

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I myself, am diagnosed with a minor form of aspergers

HOLY SHIT NEWS OF THE CENTURY.

(j/k man. j/k)

Anyway, there's this essay out there, something like 10 reasons why the 20th century is making us miserable. Basically, there's not enough emphasis placed on achieving things, it's WAY too easy to cherrypick your friends and news and whatever else. And the kind of jobs that pay the most aren't usually things you can be passionate about.

So what you're saying is true.

Personally I just play videogames because I really do view them as kid's entertainment and I'm not finding any value in ever growing up.
6544  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: October 12, 2009, 12:42:10 PM
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People called Contra: Shattered Soldier hard.  Like DDR, games based on 'megaman memorization' just require practice.  It's not like an FPS where some people simply won't be as good as others.

Shattered Soldier isn't even THAT memory based. I mean, yes, it's memory based, but we're not talking Gradius 3 or even Hard Corps levels.

Although personally I think intense memorization in shmups isn't necessarily a good thing. Case in point I think Gradius 3 is utterly bastardly and not fair (namely, whenever you continue it's always in a fairly unwinnable spot with no items, which was probably done to pump money out of players by rendering continues effectively useless without entirely getting rid of them. Arcade origins and all). Also there is some validity to the point that once yu memorize the patterns the games tend to get really, really easy.

Which is why I'm really fond of SMT games for constantly finding a way to throw a dick in your machinations, forcing you to NOT rely on spamming the Best Attack You Have or whatever. Also the other problems with most JRPGs is that most patterns you find are useful in any particular context so it's just a matter of finding ANY pattern that works and spamming it everywhere...
6545  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Legendary Rpgfan forums discussions... on: October 11, 2009, 11:39:47 PM
Anything involving Russians, porcupines, and dicks.
6546  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Hero's Realm - a semi-epic old school nostalgia romp on: October 10, 2009, 10:55:51 PM
--

Comment withheld.
6547  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Square Enix on: October 09, 2009, 07:07:54 PM
Those aren't MAN PANTIES those are his BUTT.
6548  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Game Journal XX - Sharpened Pencil Midnight Bathouse on: October 09, 2009, 07:06:50 PM
Played iji up to level 7, doing the pacifist route sort of. Anyway. Nice story but the level design's lacking and the gameplay's not very fun to me.
6549  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan Community Photo Thread: 2007 Edition on: October 08, 2009, 10:55:04 PM
Not pics of me but pics I took while walkin' that ribbon of highway and seein' above me that endless skyway.

http://img169.imageshack.us/i/1007091352.jpg/
http://img195.imageshack.us/i/1007091407.jpg/
http://img245.imageshack.us/i/1007091430.jpg/
http://img245.imageshack.us/i/1007091438.jpg/
http://img195.imageshack.us/i/1007091659.jpg/
http://img19.imageshack.us/i/1007091738b.jpg/
6550  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Project: Find something new in your town. on: October 07, 2009, 08:48:01 PM
So yeah you know that thing about walking that nature trail? I walked about half of it. My legs really, really hurt.
6551  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Random Fantasy Elements in games.... on: October 06, 2009, 07:17:43 PM
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not sure how the earlier games played out.

The first five games are very sci-fi oriented. Basically, barring the third game, they all take place on various research nacelles orbiting the sun. These were built by an ancient spacefaring race for scientific purposes. The overarching stories sort of deal with the players trying to fight of a rather mean ancient that's set on launching the nacelles into the sun.

6-8 take place on a more traditional fantasy world, EXCEPT that the ancients (and the kreegan, and your party from the first game) crash land on it, which is why the sci-fi elements start showing up.

It's actually pretty well integrated and makes a lot of sense if you played the originals.

Keep in mind that this is fairly par for course for old fantasy RPGs. Keep in mind that Ultima 1 and 2 did it the goddamn worstest.
6552  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: That was a very serious mission by the Canadian military. on: October 06, 2009, 07:09:43 PM
It's part of your heritage.
6553  The Rest / General Discussions / Project: Find something new in your town. on: October 06, 2009, 01:11:06 PM
All of us live in places and many of these places are towns. Have you discovered everything in your town yet?? ARE YOU SURE???? ????

Find a store or a restaurant you've never been to. Walk or drive down a road you've never been on. Whatever it is, feel adventurous and find something new in your own town and then talk about it.

Here is what I did yesterday:

I walk out to Walmart a lot, but never much further than that because Walmart is the city limits and I'm not sure I want to walk under a highway overpass without sidewalks. Additionally, I've never really gone *perpendicular* to Walmart before because the sidewalks are rather poor.

Yesterday I noticed there actually were sidewalks, so I followed them. I ended up discovering a nature trail that, while I HAD been aware of it, I'd never walked it before. So yesterday, since it was more or less actually a short cut, I actually did follow it. Turned out to be pretty neat, although there's way more to the trail than what I saw. I walked maybe a mile of it. It totals about 13. Guess I'm going back Wednesday.
6554  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Remakes of classic 16 bit titles on: October 06, 2009, 11:11:15 AM
I've never been a fan of going back to an old title and just making the sprites smooth.

I think pixelation lends a certain gestalt to the visuals. So something like the RKA remake looks way better to me than EWJ.

See, a pixel is the smallest concrete unit of a computer generated image, right? When you have visible pixels they... they kind of act like *anchors* to the image. The background and foreground are made up of the same pixels, of the same size, so it gives the visual representation of them existing in the same sort of physical space.

It's like if a pixel on your avatar moves into a pixel previously showing stuff in the background... there's movement into a space there.

With smooth sprites on smooth sprites, the various image layers feel detached, to me. Each object is distinct, in its own simulated matter, from another object. They lack weight. They just float over image layers they're not part of.

does that make ANY sense?
6555  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Random Fantasy Elements in games.... on: October 06, 2009, 11:06:16 AM
I think I said this before, but I really feel that pretty much any game would be improved with Fist of the North Star-style mansplosions. Especially Toki's rainbow orgasm jesus beams. Gaming just looks like it's getting way too even handed in the current generation which is probably why really over the top stuff like TF2 draws such a following.

It's not so much "realism is boring" as it is "realism isn't that cool."

Also I think you can take yourself seriously without getting rid of the pyrotechnics and insanity. Everything has to be character driven. If you have serious, believable characters, no matter WHAT the story is, people will be able to take it seriously.

(And MGS3's major falling for me was the gameplay. I never got far in the game because I just found it annoying and uninteresting to play).
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