Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Game is Better Than Your Game!

Recently, comments posted under the "Just Call it a Game" blog entry have spawned yet another tete-a-tete about videogames. A word of warning... this one gets ugly. Normally in a critical-correspondence both parties take turns countering each others points back and forth. Namekuseijin called for me to counter his points. I did in a clear and lengthly manner. And when it was his turn he decided to ignore all of my points, try to change the subject/issues, and attack my character. And that's not even the ugly part.


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namekuseijin said...

So, it's a game then. Big deal. It's not the kind of game I'm interested in. More likely your mother will be playing it rather than going to Curves.

Although the technology it brings to the table may eventually be put to good use in fighting games, indeed.

It seems to me Nintendo focused on bringing innovative hardware this generation, but mostly no good games to put such hardware to good use. It's a shame, because otherwise such hardware is just a gimmick.

Of course it doesn't matter for their huge casual, newcomer public which are just happy of playing Wii Fit or some other beginner Nintendo games. Let's see what happens once the novelty of playing a game for the first time wears off and the Tamagochi-like fad ends.

Long-time game fans, OTOH, are still waiting for ambitious titles that go beyond the mere fun and puerile diversion Nintendo offers. In that direction, I see MGS, Ico, SotC, Portal, Half-Life etc.

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KirbyKid said...

Nintendo not bringing good games?
I like the gameplay in WiiFit better than the gameplay in MGS4. It's definitely cleaner.

For anyone who thinks quality hardware paired with quality software will fade like a fad, such people need to open their eyes.

MGS, SoTC, Half-life, and even Portal can't match the level of design and the genius of Super Mario Bros. on the NES.

And if you don't think WiiFit, WiiSports, and Mario Galaxy are ambitious in 3 very different ways, then I can't help you.


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namekuseijin said...

The blog title is intriguing, the banner is nice, the about box thoughtful.

Unfortunately, I can smell a fanatic when I see stupid nonsense statements like this one:
"MGS, SoTC, Half-life, and even Portal can't match the level of design and the genius of Super Mario Bros. on the NES."

SMB "genius" was far superceeded by even Nintendo's subsequent titles like SMB3, Super Metroid and Zelda: OoT. Why be so pedantic? And no, Wii Fit ain't in the same league by a good lightyears.

Best regards, good luck with the blog and happy fat burning. "

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KirbyKid said...


Here's the deal Namekuseijin... Don't come to my blog with your caustic internet message board pugnacious edge and thoughtless blanket statements.

If you were trying to make a point in your first post, you didn't do a very good job.

Next time, try not to reference my "mother" in any way. I'm more than ok with you admiting that WiiFit is a game, and that it's not one you're interested in. But leave the rest of your bad attitude comments out of this: "Big deal," "rather than going to Curves."

Yes, the tech in the Wii Balance Board will be great in a properly designed fighting game. I should know, I've been designing one for a few years now. That comment was apt.

If you want to make a statement like Nintendo hasn't put "such hardware to good use" with good games, then you're going to have to back it up. Make a list and we'll debate from there. Otherwise...

You sound like every other whiny Nintendo fan on the net. You have a hard time accepting Wii Fit: "Big deal." You claim that there aren't a lot of good games on the Wii that use the new hardware, but there are many. And then you go on to make statements about how fickle the new "huge casual" consumers are.

You claim that Wii Fit is a "beginner Nintendo game." What a myopic claim. Just consider the design of Wii Fit and what kind of place it can have in a normal person's life. Exercising, and knowing more about one's body isn't a beginner step. Comparing Wii Fit to Tamagochi is rash.

Then you go on to talk about the "long-time [Nintendo] fans" are still waiting for the good stuff as if there's a definite difference between the people who like Wii Sports and Wii Fit and these fans.

You claim that the true fans want games that go beyond a Nintendo "diversion," then you list a bunch of non-Nintendo games. If you didn't sound like you have a chip on your shoulder before this point, then you certainly sealed the deal.

MGS, SotC, and Half-Life have some serious design issues. I can't get into them now, because this is not the place. Instead, I pointed out that Super Mario Bros. is better than such games.

"MGS, SoTC, Half-life, and even Portal can't match the level of design and the genius of Super Mario Bros. on the NES."

This is not a stupid nonsense statement. It's a valid claim, one that I can back up.

The funny thing is, I never said Super Mario Bros. was the pinnacle of design in Nintendo's games. I know that Bros. 3 is better designed.

And I never said Wii Fit was one the same level as Super Mario Bros.
Next time, read a little more closely.

Thanks for the compliments though. As I said before, if you really think you have something to say/prove then post/email me and back yourself up without using my "mother" this time.


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namekuseijin said...

> Here's the deal Namekuseijin... Don't come to my blog with your caustic
> internet message board pugnacious edge and thoughtless blanket statements.

I'm sorry, but they're no more thoughtless than "MGS, SoTC, Half-life,
and even Portal can't match the level of design and the genius of
Super Mario Bros. on the NES."

> If you were trying to make a point in your first post, you didn't do a very
> good job.

My point is that current Nintendo games made for the casual public --
such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports -- are no more of a great game, neither
more fun, than past simplistic classics such as California Games,
Olympic Games, Balloon Fight etc. We've grown way past that era of
simplistic, unsophisticated gameplay and visual presentation. The
only difference is that now you sweat a lot more than just your hands.

> Next time, try not to reference my "mother" in any way..."rather than going to Curves."

You know, I think you have a point here. You're not the first person
that felt insulted for me to be putting "mother" in the argument about
the Wii.

But don't take it as an insult, because that was not my purpose. The
purpose is to show the kind of public Nintendo is trying to reach:
your parents, uncles etc. People who do not ordinarily would think of
playing a videogame. I took the example of "mother" because of that
and because Wii Fit, I'm sure, will be very successful among women.

Now on, I'm going to drop "mother" as an example, though.

> You claim that there aren't a lot of
> good games on the Wii that use the new hardware, but there are many.

Care to list them?

> You claim that Wii Fit is a "beginner Nintendo game." What a myopic claim.
> Just consider the design of Wii Fit and what kind of place it can have in a
> normal person's life. Exercising, and knowing more about one's body isn't a
> beginner step.

If I want to exercise and know about my body, I go to the gyms.
You're purposefully distorting what videogames are about to
accommodate Wii Fit in Nintendo videogaming.

> Comparing Wii Fit to Tamagochi is rash.

Both are novelty toys, fads unlikely to endure much time on the market
as the novelty wears off. None of the new casual, large public of
Nintendo is taking the toy too seriously, like old-time Nintendo fans.

> Then you go on to talk about the "long-time [Nintendo] fans"

I was actually referring to long-time videogame fans. You know, the
kind of which have already played all those simplistic,
fun-but-unsubstancial games of old Nintendo is pushing to the market
today in new flashy clothes?

> MGS, SotC, and Half-Life have some serious design issues. I can't get into
> them now, because this is not the place.

Well, email is a much better place then a public blog, so take your time.

> "MGS, SoTC, Half-life, and even Portal can't match the level of design and
> the genius of Super Mario Bros. on the NES."
>
> This is not a stupid nonsense statement. It's a valid claim, one that I can
> back up.

Ok, I'm waiting for when you're ready.

> The funny thing is, I never said Super Mario Bros. was the pinnacle of
> design in Nintendo's games. I know that Bros. 3 is better designed.

Good for you.

> And I never said Wii Fit was one the same level as Super Mario Bros.

Oh, at least you recognize it.

> Next time, read a little more closely.

Ok, my bad.

> Thanks for the compliments though.

I'm actually intrigued by the articles in the blog, but what really
pisses me off is the stubborn "Nintendo is better than anything" kind
of thinking I always see among Nintendo fans. I've got out of that
kind of thinking once I realized what utter piece of shit the N64 was,
despite the years of hype. So, I bought a Playstation and realized
there was life, thrilling life, in the console world beside Nintendo
after all. It's not all that hard to let go...


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KirbyKid said...

"I'm sorry, but they're no more thoughtless than "MGS, SoTC, Half-life,
and even Portal can't match the level of design and the genius of
Super Mario Bros. on the NES."

If I prove my statement, I expect you to retract your statement, and I will do the same if I can't prove it for we are now engaged in a Critical-Correspondence. In our email exchanges, we are to be as civil and clear as possible. Assuming neither of us quits, we will reach a conclusion.

" My point is that current Nintendo games made for the casual public --
such as Wii Fit and Wii Sports -- are no more of a great game, neither
more fun, than past simplistic classics such as California Games,
Olympic Games, Balloon Fight etc. We've grown way past that era of
simplistic, unsophisticated gameplay and visual presentation
. The
only difference is that now you sweat a lot more than just your hands."

From now on, I suggest that you don't generalize when you make statements like "current Nintendo games" unless you want to define what you mean by current Nintendo games including which dates define "current." Otherwise, we can't be on the same page.

First of all, it doesn't matter if a game is aimed for casual or hardcore audiences. What matters is what the game brings to the table at the end of the day. The way I, and I assume you too, critique games is based on principles of good game design. I look at how every element influences the way a player plays a game through a game's mechanics. If you are unwilling to go into a sufficient level of detail with your analysis and you refuse to at least acknowledge the research, methods, and language I have developed for critiquing videogames, then I'm afraid we cannot move further on this point.

Fun has no place in a proper critique (at least the kind I promote on critical-gaming). So from now on, let's leave fun out of the equation and replace it with "good design." Otherwise, we cannot move beyond restating and arguing subjective opinions and personal experiences.

Bottom line, Wii Sports and Wii Fit support the highest level of game mechanics: level.1 (see http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/05/mechanics-and-abstractions-part2.html) Though the controls are more intuitive, this does not make the games simplistic. The minimalist (if you can call it that) design of both games keep the player focused on playing the game. Forget spending hours in menus. Forget long load screens. Forget overly complicated features. The most innovative, interative, and important feature of these games is how you play them. In other words, the action/mechanic takes priority (as it should in all games.) Both Wii Sports and Wii Fit are deep in new ways because of their unique motion controls. If you thought the analog stick did wonders for videogames, well designed motion controls (like in these games) are the next level of analog control. Instead of being confined to a stick, developers can now design around 360 degrees of motion at various degrees of force.

Wii Boxing is a surprisingly deep fighter. And on top of that fact, it's perfectly balanced. Just like other fighting games, the negotiation of space and attacks between (at least) two players is key. In Wii Boxing, players have 3D analog control over their avatar's bodies. In other words, you can lean all the way to the left, all the way to the right, and every degree in between. You can also lean forward and backwards with analog controls. Positioning ones gloves to line up attacks is also analog on the vertical and horizontal axises. Players have at least 2 different speeds for executing jabs and special hook attacks. The game is fast paced, it has a clean design by sticking strictly to the design principle "form fits function" (see http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/02/reducing-clutter.html), it's balanced, it has a high degree of intuitive variability, and it does it all without using a single button.

This in itself is quite notable. The Wii Sports games are not only very deep, but they stay true to solid design principles. If you can find a fighter that's as balanced, analog (variable inputs), has a character creator, intuitive, and as clean as Wii Sports Boxing, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, you must admit that, when you compare the mechanics and the design, Wii Sports Boxing is quite deep.

You say we've grown past the era of simple, unsophisticated, gameplay with lackluster visual presentation. Well, sorry, but we haven't grown out of that era at all. It's not Nintendo's fault either. Here at critical-gaming, gameplay takes priority over everything else because interaction lies at the heart of the videogame medium. Sure, even I must admit that graphics in Wii Sports/Fit are pretty bland hearkening back to the age of the Gamecube and (dare I say it) the N64. That may be going too far, but you know what I'm taking about.

Nintendo (allow me to generalize for a moment) has always been about the gameplay. Miyamoto is constantly in pursuit of fun mechanics, that work with solid controls, that spawns a whole game from a solid start. It's games like the Metal Gear Series, BioShock, Mass Effect, and just about every RPG that missed the mark in the gameplay department. What's worse is these games push the graphics side of gaming very far at the expense of gameplay. I know this is the part where you want me to prove my bold statements. Well, I'm working on MGS4, I don't plan on writing anything about Mass Effect, but, for BioShock, I've already written a series essays. You can dive through this... http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/insert-game-here-discourse.html or go through each essay on my blog.

  1. http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/aims-of-bioshock-shoddy-shooting.html
  2. http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/bioshock-rpg-in-disguise.html
  3. http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/death-milk-and-diving-suits.html
  4. http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/sorry-sister-its-just-business.html
  5. http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/01/look-dont-touch.html

Thanks for dropping the use of "mother." I understood what you were saying, but I decided to point it out anyway because I think there's a clearer way to get your point across. And I was right. You came back and clear everything right up.

Now for the list... "Care to list them?" Keep in mind that all of these games aren't worthy of essays, critical debate, and the highest esteem. Most of them are good to excellent with a few decent games sprinkled in. I only kept the decent ones in because of how they take advantage of the new controls.
Games with a * at the end are ones that I have no experience with.

A high variety and high degree of integrated motion controls. The motion/pointing/balance controls and the game are inseparable. Such games feature a majority of level.1 mechanics. See (http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/05/mechanics-and-abstractions-part2.html) for details.
  • Wario Ware: Smooth Moves
  • Wii Sports
  • Wii Fit
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids
  • Boom Blox*
Some updated motion controls that have blended with the existing controls and breathed new life into the game/series.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Excite Truck
  • Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
  • Super Mario Galaxy

The possible implementation of new elements that are motion/pointing control specific. Otherwise, the motion/pointing controls have refined what was already present.
  • Mario Strikers Charged
  • The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess

The new motion/pointing controls work very well, perhaps even better than standard control set ups. But the difference between styles is a matter of preference.
  • Geometry Wars: Galaxies
  • Trauma Center

These games wouldn't exist without the new controls.
  • Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
  • Link's Crossbow Training*

That's a lot of games that do what they do in a lot of different ways. The list also runs the triangular gamut of hardcore games, to casual, to niche. The quality and variety here is irrefutable.


"If I want to exercise and know about my body, I go to the gyms.
You're purposefully distorting what videogames are about to
accommodate Wii Fit in Nintendo videogaming."

Jesper Juul wrote a book called Half-Real. He defined what a game is quite nicely. I agree with his definition. And videogames aren't anything beyond their definition. If you disagree with his definition, then that's another issue. But for now, you should know that I don't have to distort anything. I operate on strict definitions. Whether you play WiiFit with your feet, body, or nose, it's still a game (something you already admitted to). Super Mario Bros. has mechanics that operate according to the laws of motion and momentum. For example, if you run with Mario and you reverse directions, you'll skid to a halt while still traveling in the original direction. Your comment is the equivalent of saying "if I want to learn/play with realistic (or even semi-realistic) mechanics/results in a game, I'll just go outside/do something else." The fact that Wii Fit uses the body and it can teach you things doesn't detract from the quality of its game design at all. The bottom line is, according to the definition of what a game/videogame is, WiiFit fits well within the criteria.

Some wonder if there will be any additional quality software for the Wii Balance Board. I wonder too, but then again, I'm completely satisfied with Wii Fit. It's a complete package, not a step to anywhere else. You don't evolve from WiiFit into playing games like RE:4. That's not how the trend works at all. Wii Fit has some aerobics, yoga, strength training, and balance games. It tracks your progress over time. And, because the human body (the controller for this particular game) is unimaginably complex and dynamic, the game is always different. If you're the kind of person who doesn't want to be changed by your games/any experience in life, then this debate ends here. Whether you think of games are art or not, we play because they're interesting and they move/change us in plethora of ways. If you are still holding on to the arbitrary belief that the change in response to a game shouldn't effect the human body (ie. becoming more fit), then I suggest you rethink how you think. Track and Field, DDR, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, even Rock Band and Guitar Hero all exercise/move the body in unique and strenuous ways.


"Both are novelty toys, fads unlikely to endure much time on the market
as the novelty wears off. None of the new casual, large public of
Nintendo is taking the toy too seriously, like old-time Nintendo fans."


I grabbed the definition of "toy" off dictionary.com. The definition that is the closest match according to how your used "toy" is in bold. It looks like this definition can apply to all videogames. But more interestingly, if there was a game that can be used for "serious practical use" then Wii Fit is that game. It's really like having a personal trainer to help you stay in shape. Either way, your statement is falling apart.

1.an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with; plaything.
2.a thing or matter of little or no value or importance; a trifle.
3.something that serves for or as if for diversion, rather than for serious practical use.
4.a small article of little value but prized as a souvenir or for some other special reason; trinket; knickknack; bauble.
5.something diminutive, esp. in comparison with like objects.

Furthermore, even if Wii Fit stops selling tomorrow, that doesn't diminish the quality of the game design.

If you haven't researched or polled the "casual, large public of Nintendo" then you shouldn't bother making statements like this. In this case, you made a bold claim that screams to be backed up with data. If you don't have any data, or if you were only exposed to a very small, biased group, then you should correct your statement.

"I was actually referring to long-time videogame fans. You know, the
kind of which have already played all those simplistic,
fun-but-unsubstancial games of old Nintendo is pushing to the market
today in new flashy clothes
?"

Once again, if you haven't researched or polled all these videogame fans and if you can't defined how long "long-time" is, then this correspondence has no use for random, unfounded statements.

Also, once again, I can't help but think that the "simplistic,fun-but-unsubstanti
al" games you refer to are games like Super Mario Bros. which is deeper and better designed than most games. If you need convincing of this fact, just read the Mario Melodies series. (http://critical-gaming.blogspot.com/2008/06/mario-melodies-introduction.html). Keep in mind that there are a LOT of videogames out there. Being better than 50% of them isn't too hard. I don't think you'll have a problem with my statement.

Finally, once again, games like MGS4 are really just old unpolished games that have a new next-gen coating of graphics slapped on to them. Your statement applies far more to just about every other developer than it does to Nintendo.

My critique of MGS4 is coming, and (just for you) I'll write up something about SotC as well. Stay tuned to the blog.

As for backing up my bold claim, you'll have to wait until the Mario Melodies series is finished.

Keep in mind that I've constructed all of my statements very carefully so that my sentences only say what I mean for them too. Try not to assume one thing or another unless it's explicitly stated.

"I'm actually intrigued by the articles in the blog, but what really
pisses me off is the stubborn "Nintendo is better than anything" kind
of thinking I always see among Nintendo fans
. I've got out of that
kind of thinking once I realized what utter piece of s*** the N64 was,

despite the years of hype. So, I bought a Playstation and realized
there was life, thrilling life, in the console world beside Nintendo
after all. It's not all that hard to let go..."

In response to this last statement, I never said Nintendo is better than anything else. I understand where you're coming from. Nintendo fans can be stubborn, vicious, and blind. But, here at critical-gaming, as long as I can back myself up with evidence, then I hope you can accept my bold Nintendo inclined statements. At the end of this "battle" if we do find that the games you listed and/or any other non Nintendo game aren't better designed than Super Mario Bros. then that can only mean that Nintendo is better than anything. Admitting that this is a possibility (and for me.. not a possibility) is how we'll both move through this.


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namekuseijin said...

Richard,

I was going to write a long, thorough point-by-point response to your
claims and arguments. After reading some more of your articles and
some posts in brainygamer, though, I'll be as brief as possible:
there are gamers and gamers.

That's really all there is and is the major point of contempt in all
your posts: you seem not to believe games not dealing with pure
visual action under direct and irrestrict control by the player are
"good" games or even games at all. But, like I said, there are gamers
and gamers: some people enjoy games consisting solely of cerebral,
tactical options, others prefer sports, many dig resource management,
while a few others take their kick out of interactive role-playing
experiences more than anything.

Don't get mad at me for having you go into a whole essay and replying
this briefly. I enjoy reading about theories of good game design,
play mechanics and all. I do enjoy your articles in this blog. They
ooze with passion, even though perhaps a bit overanalytical, by a
young man in his 20s. Just don't think racionalizing too much about
it and wanting people to agree with them will lead anywhere: people
have different opinions on that. Little anecdote here: in my teens,
I discovered classical music and thought it was the best thing ever!
So, I thought it'd be a good idea to share it with my neighbours and
began playing Beethoven at a very loud stereo. It obviously didn't
work out as expected and I quickly reached a conclusion: everybody
sucks for not thinking like me.

So, in the end of the day theories about something as abstract as
music or gaming are just a set of opinions agreed upon by some people
that may look like common-sense at some particular time. This is the
best I've read on the subject and I wholeheartidly agree:

"What went wrong with humanities academia? From my position, I can
only attribute it to a severe and debilitating case of physics envy.
Humanities academics no doubt feel awed and belittled by the success
of their colleagues in science; and so, like desperate cargo cultists,
they have mimicked the form and procedure of the sciences, without
understanding that what is necessary in one field is entirely
meaningless in the other.

They bandy about 'theories', which give their works an air of
meticulousness and precision, but in truth these are poor parodies of
scientific theories. A scientific theory is a model of reality,
induced from precise and repeated observations of evidence, formally
stated, testable, falsifiable, and with useful predictive power. A
'literary theory' is just, like, your opinion, man. When you know the
theory of gravity, you know not only why an object falls to the
ground, but also how fast it will fall and how hard it will hit; and
you know this for any object and any ground in the universe. When you
know 'reader-response theory', you just know what some guy thinks
about books."

from http://plover.net/~bonds/physicsenvy.html
Smart guy, though perhaps a bit too bile-obsessed...

All this theoretical groundwork may discover winning patterns in
successful games and may indeed deliver useful rules to follow. But
they won't save a bad game from being a bad game. How can a
technically flawless game based around sound design principles be bad?
It sure happens, all the time. And if there was a solid,
bullet-proof theory which could answer that and allow you to make a
fortune in the game industry -- or any area of expertise, indeed --
you can bet many people would be following it and making games with
far wider appeal. As it stands currently, though, no matter how much
thought we put to it all we have as possible answers and sources of
criticism are vague notions such as "unispired", "not fun" and others
which in my book -- and in the pockets of developers -- are much more
important than sound theories.

Games have really only two ways to get us compelled enough to play and
continue playing them: by being a whole lot of fun, or by amusing us
in ways only art can. Since you don't think games are art and fun
factor was not invited to the discussion, I think I'll stop by now.


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KirbyKid said...

You have reached your limit. So I'll wrap this us.


"you seem not to believe games not dealing with pure visual action under direct and irrestrict control by the player are "good" games or even games at all. But, like I said, there are gamers and gamers: some people enjoy games consisting solely of cerebral, tactical options, others prefer sports, many dig resource management, while a few others take their kick out of interactive role-playing experiences more than anything."

The bold statement is incomplete. You didn't offer an alternative example of a game that doesn't deal with "pure visual action under direct and irrestrict control by the player." The fact that people enjoy different games for different reasons is irrelevant. Games, by definition, have elements that work together in a specific ways. Videogames are no exception.

"They ooze with passion, even though perhaps a bit overanalytical, by a young man in his 20s."

I'm not mad at you at all. But keep in mind, my age has no bearing on my points of argument. It would seem, like so many others, that you've run out of actual rebuttals and have started to phase into unnecessarily addressing my character. Strawman? Ad hominem? Case and point: " Just don't think racionalizing too much about it and wanting people to agree with them will lead anywhere." What does this have to do with any of the points raise previously. You don't know what I want, and that's all beside the point.

You classical music anecdote is damaging to the point you were trying to make. Music may be abstract, but the theory isn't. And before you dig yourself too deep, videogames are NOT abstract. The "video" part projects forms and most likely concrete forms. And the "game" part is made up of rules and goals which are explicitly defined, not abstract.

I wouldn't be so foolish as to try an educate me (and English major and scientist of sorts) about literary and scientific theory. You are really reaching very far with your limp rebuttal. If you read closely, I used literary and music theory and a jumping off point to try and secure the language necessary for talking about videogames. I didn't copy paste any concepts, but aligned and translated them.

"All this theoretical groundwork may discover winning patterns in
successful games and may indeed deliver useful rules to follow. But
they won't save a bad game from being a bad game.
"


What a pointless statement. If a bad game is already bad, then of course nothing will save it from being what it is.

"How can a technically flawless game based around sound design principles be bad? It sure happens, all the time."

It does not happen at all. A technically sound game may not sell well, but that's a different issue entirely. You should have included examples.

"And if there was a solid, bullet-proof theory which could answer that and allow you to make a fortune in the game industry -- or any area of expertise, indeed -- you can bet many people would be following it and making games with far wider appeal."

Do I really need to remind you of Miyamoto and Nintendo? Nintendo is making a fortune even with the underpowered Wii and DS. Many people are following their path, very poorly but they're still following. If you want widening appeal, then Nintendo is the champion once again.

"As it stands currently, though, no matter how much thought we put to it all we have as possible answers and sources of criticism are vague notions such as "unispired", "not fun" and others which in my book -- and in the pockets of developers -- are much more important than sound theories."


No. As it stands now, I made a case to the contrary, and instead of countering my arguments with counter arguments, you've decided to become vague and dance away from the issues at hand and attack/address my character. You clearly didn't put enough thought into this, so your "book" is worthless.

"Games have really only two ways to get us compelled enough to play and continue playing them: by being a whole lot of fun, or by amusing us in ways only art can. Since you don't think games are art and fun factor was not invited to the discussion, I think I'll stop by now."

Now, you've lost your footing. In Mario Melodies: Counterpoint part.1, I dedicated an entire post to explain why videogames are art. Once again, your comments tell me that you're not a close reader, you're not a careful posted, and you haven't thought about the issues enough at all.

You should stop now because you're finished. You lost the debate. But instead of conceding, you did a lot unnecessary fighting. The interesting part is, throughout this debate, you never put together any cogent arguments. You made a lot of rash statements (rash because you couldn't back them up), and then you challenged me to counter them. I did in detail, and you still failed to step up.

Thanks,

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namekuseijin said...

Yes, I've reached my limit trying to argue with an arrogant pompous
a**. You wonder why there are no comments in your blog? I'm sure
it's not because you don't have interesting ideas nor because everyone
is stupid and hasn't taken the time to study in minute detail your
elaborate and ingenious articles before trying to beat you in your own
terms, but simply because you treat everyone like an a**. Tone your
headiness down a bit and you may come closer at gaining more
substantial support.

Let me show you examples where your edginess actually hurts your audience:

"And I was right."

"You have reached your limit."

"I wouldn't be so foolish as to try an educate me (and English major
and scientist of sorts) about literary and scientific theory."

"You clearly didn't put enough thought into this, so your 'book' is worthless."

"You lost the debate."

In other words, you're a young bright genious and I'm a complete moron
with terrible taste for games and incorrect personal opinions. Too
bad as a game designer you won't be receiving my hard-earned money,
nor your blog any more reads.

BTW, to make your victory more complete: I'm a white guy. Yes, you
just brought a white guy to the ground in your silly little game and
own rules. But that was to be expected, since you african-americans
really go a great deal of effort into being better than white trash.
I wasn't really expecting (black) racism to get into the picture, but
seemingly my anecdote of how stupid we all are in the youth wasn't
enough to make you wake up and smell the coffee. So, there.

bye.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

All I have to say is... wow. Just wow. Using racism to end a debate on videogames.

6 comments:

Philippe said...

Kirby Kid,

and here's a white guy congratulating you on your really interesting blog. Sorry that I don't write any comments usually, but your entries are always so elaborate I can't think of any good counterpoints/additions.

Oh yeah, take it easy. Always remember: this is not an academic discourse group (although you'd prefer that, which is why I can't add much), it's "teh intarwebs", where everybody is allowed. And I don't have to tell you about Godwin's Law, right? ;)

Please, go on.

KirbyKid said...

@ Philippe

Godwin's Law... ah yes. You do have a point there.

Can you believe that I was going pretty easy on Namekuseijin?

If you're saying I should go a litter easier, then that's an option I'll wholeheartedly consider.

I typically let the other person set the level of seriousness I bring to a critical-correspondence. And with each response, I adjust my level to match theirs.

And on a side note, did you ask me to write something about how music is used in videogames?

Daniel Primed said...

Not sure why you dragged this out here considering that it was, as you put, 'ugly' but in anycase I can feel your frustration.

This criticsm that this guy puts towards Nintendo is beyond the point of stale now. :(

Nintendo puts out a handful of genuinely interesting titles that are introducing 10000s of people into this medium and all we can do is stand around and cry about it. It's not as though we can't enjoy these games too.

I don't understand your criticsm leveled at BioShock and Metal Gear actually. I'm not displacing the importance of Super Mario Bros but I don't see the fairness in contrasting it against those games and saying that because of it they are failures. Apples and Oranges I say.

Great blog though, I completely agree with your "Just Call it a Game". ^_^

KirbyKid said...

@ Daniel

Thanks for the comment.

At some point before things took a turn for the worst, we were both upbeat and enthusiastic about the exchanges.

Many of Namekuseijin's arguments are very popular around the net, so I figured it would be good to post some solid counter arguments.

I don't think I ever said MGS or BioShock were failures. They have some pretty serious issues with their gameplay.

I stand by my statement that Super Mario Bros. is a better game. Some people don't think it's fair or worthwhile to compare games across different eras/genres. Part of the reason for this sentiment probably stems from the lack of understanding about videogames. After all, if one can't go into detail about how two games work, comparing them would seem impossible.

I believe that Super Mario Bros. represents a kind of standard for videogame design/creation. Comparing other games to this standard naturally follows.

There is still much to like about games like BioShock and the MGS series.

namekuseijin said...

Richard, I'm sorry for the last rash comment. More on that later.

Yes, I was enjoying the conversation very much, but I came to realize that by abiding entirely by your definitions of what constitutes a game or good gameplay and leaving subjective matters as how much fun or enjoyment I can get from a game, I wouldn't have much voice in the arguing anyway. So, I chose not to play.

The problem with your definitions are not the definitions per se, which are pretty reasonable and interesting. The problem is simply they are just one among many others, like every opinion. Gaming theories are just that: opinions and some consensus about some of those opinions. I can never be entirely sure why I don't like certain games, but I can be pretty sure why things fall to the ground in exact math terms.

So, by constraining the "discussion" by abiding to your personal view of what gaming is all about, I wouldn't have much to add other than congratulate you on your fine reasoning: indeed, by A and B it follows C, just like you said. Was that what you expected? I'm sure not. What if I add D to the equation? Does it hold?

I became frustrated and came to notice something in your behaviour that was putting more fuel to the fire: all those phrases I listed before, as well as your insistence in playing by your rules alone, began to sound to me as an extremely arrogant attitude. Then I noticed in your photo you're black. Then I, regretably, took the stance that your behaviour might be explained both by your age and your social/ethnic context.

Rap/Hiphop culture is very much about bragging african-american greatness and trashing whites. In Hollywood movies, which is the closest I can get to african-american culture, I almost always see african-americans in auto-affirmative journeys to be better than caucasians. In other words, "aryan race" ideals inverted. And we all know how well these things end up...

So, sadly, I took the shortest path and assumed your arrogance is simply a result of being both imature and influenced by auto-affirmative-white-trashing culture. But who am I to judge you? And how would I expect to counter your arrogance with arrogance? I'm really, really sorry for that.

Maybe you're arrogant only because of low age. Don't get mad, I'm more of a joker than a complete ass... :P

I hope I had that clear and offered a honest and compelling apology. Like I said, I like your blog and ideas, so not coming here and bragging a bit about something is not really an option. It's not everyday I meet a gamer who's not a mere bot full of redundant one-liners.

I hope that's ok to you.

KirbyKid said...

It was a sort of backhanded apology but I'll take it.