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Rik Newman (Remy77077)
Sheffield, UK
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This is very much the source of my argument that games such as Halo only really become interactive games when they are playing in their "real game" mode, which is, of course, multi-player competition! (But yes, you and others have convinced me to give up on any semantic argument regarding the word "game" heh).
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2013 on The Interactivity of Non-Interactive Media at ihobo
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Nice article & I completely agree. I've been a primarily console gamer for most of the last 25 years, but right now everything is heading towards me being a primarily PC gamer right now & primarily "indie" games too, as consoles don't seem to be supporting the games or gaming systems I enjoy.
Toggle Commented Mar 7, 2013 on PS4 and the Tightening Noose at ihobo
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This reminded me of an old post of mine many years ago where I was complaining about people's attitudes and actions related to Achievements where it came to "boosting" and other actions that spoil competitive games, especially with poorly written achievements. So, basically many of the negative effects of the overjustification effect. :) That "100 books read" example is a perfect analogy for a poorly written Achievement having an unintended negative effect - because it is stupidly and easily 'boosted' in the manner you describe. However a better 'written' Achievement could theoretically have resulted in more of the actually desired behaviour (albiet still vunerable to the overjustification effect when it comes to reducing intrinsic motivation!). Brain dumping here, but in some ways this seems to come down to ability to measure things. If the desired behavour is 'an intrinsic motivation to read more' - how would you make an Achievement that measured that? :-O
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2012 on Does Overjustification Hurt Games? at ihobo
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Good summary, and very timely given recent news stories such as this: (very interesting to read the comments thread reactions there - I believe that as others say, the main source of consternation is the appearance of, or actual deception) and Thanks Chris :)
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2012 on Purchase Models for Games at ihobo
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Thanks, to be honest I thought this would be a rather dull topic for anyone not as passionate about the subject matter as myself ;-) There have been various attempts at petitions and some fan-noise responses; even some firings within EA Tiburon about all of this; but there probably isn't the critical vocal mass to make a difference really. There are far more people just happy to part with their cash to play ANY version of videogame NFL football. However you'd hope that the (reportedly) declining Madden sales ought to be a concern to both the NFL and EA. Again, there is some smoke that this is the case, but then, EA has always played the 'marketing game' well, building hype & promise for each version of Madden that comes along, that invariably turns out to be little more than a few patches & roster updates onto their existing engine; which admittedly, wouldn't look so bad if it was already great. This is actually another videogame market where I think a subscription system for constant updates would make more sense than boxed product sales, actually.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2012 on What Are You Playing? at ihobo
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Hmm, how to summarise this... I'm not sure it's possible. :-/ Madden games have for a very long time now been filled with unrealistic outcomes, bugs, glitches, poor animations, poor game mechanics which don't represent the sport well outside of "highlight film", poor online play etc. Which they completely fail to address despite year on year iterations. It's still an "ok" facsimile of American football after all that though. But other American football games had already far surpassed them in terms of the actual gameplay (and even aspects like presentation, graphics etc). NFL2k5, from 2004, by 2k Sports in particular, is STILL seen by many (including me) as by far the best NFL videogame ever made. There were other competing products like NFL Gameday as well. However because after that year the NFL for some reason sold an exclusive license to produce NFL videogames to EA (presumably for a huge amount of cash), Madden became the only game in town. 2k still tried (with All Pro Football 2k8) and other ones have come along such as Backbreaker recently, but the problem is, without the marketing pull of real NFL teams and players etc, no-one else is able to realistically compete. The difference when you compare to other sports video games fields where there IS real competition (such as soccer videogames, or baseball, or basketball) is striking. With Madden, EA clearly has no motivation than to do the bare minimum to get sales from their cashcow. However they are even becoming less successful at this, as apparently sales have been on a downturn anyway due to their lack of any kind of care (outside of soundbites and attempting to garner good press) with the franchise, despite the fact that no competition ought to mean more sales, and the NFL's popularity has grown a lot over the same time period. TLDR: There's no competition in the American football videogame market any more, and instead there's a single (poor) game limping along.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2012 on What Are You Playing? at ihobo
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Chris - correct, a lot of the time what I play is determined by what friends I can arrange with :) I had a much harder time regarding what I am looking forward to. *Fez, perhaps in the single-player challenge stakes. But really, I have plenty enough of these kinds of titles. *Anything new co-op challenge that comes along that looks interesting to me, including replaying old stuff with new friends! :) *StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm (all modes). *Any output by Sirlin Games, hopefully a new fighting game that I'd actually like one day! *If the NFL license ever gets wrestled from EAs "Madden" hands, hopefully, finally, another decent America football videogame might come along. :-/
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2012 on What Are You Playing? at ihobo
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Well, since you asked so nicely :-) What am I playing? :D So this month - Gears of War 3. I've mainly been playing the co-op challenge mode of the campaign; but the ending was dire and of course, the storyline laughable. The team competitive modes are ok, far better than previous Gears, but have so much wasted potential by offering little of the gaming design features I want. At least there's no level up grinding nonsense though (other than cosmetics). They've also split the player base with map packs and such which has soured things. Matchmaking is a bit of a mess now too. Another one where the beta was actually better due to better weapon balance & better matchmaking (because everyone was playing the same limited modes). Outland - another co-op challenge (which of course suits my tastes). Difficult too and very very good. I'm impatient to play more, but it's co-op partner dependent of course ;-) I like it as a single player challenge too, but I'd rather enjoy it more in co-op mode. Portal 2 - spotting the trend here? ATM though, no co-op for me, but that's the real goal, but all the reviews and comments I've read recommend doing the 1P first so that's whay I'm going through. To me, there's nothing bad about it, but nothing especially amazing either (much like Portal 1). I like the fact I can play it for 10 mins here and there though as a backburner spare few mins kind of challenge. Halo Reach - because it's the only competitive team FPS that has any kind of working matchmaking; although its far from perfect gaming design, it's the closest things out there in FPS land to how things "should" be done (which means StarCraft II's Battlenet as it's close to perfection for a competitive environment). Also, because I have friends that play it. Street Fighter 2 HDR - because it's probably still my favourite competitive game ever, I can't ever see me not playing this sometimes, as long as there's good opponents to play. Toki Toki (Android) - and also on PC, another single player "play for a few dead minutes" challenge along with Portal 2. I was impressed that it is actually challenging, rather than some pushover kids game the graphics lead you to expect. Surprisingly plays ok even on a small touchscreen, but actually much better on the PC which means I doubt I'll continue with the Android version much longer, still an interesting experiment for me, as I'd never really bothered with any mobile gaming for a long time. What Raptr doesn't show - I've spent many hours this month on Yomi at because Raptr doesn't allow me to record this yet or auto-track it :( This 1v1 competitive game has really been getting my interest, due to my dis-interest with the rest of what's out there at the moment. I've been writing about it at and intend to write more as I play more :-)
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2012 on What Are You Playing? at ihobo
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Chris - that sounds perfect then. I really hope this mechanic makes it into a videogame one day. I think the fact it's not for mass market players makes it a hopeless case. Things like achievements for completing games on increased difficulty settings don't really appeal to mass players either, nor even to what most consider 'hardcore gamers' (I prefer your term 'gamer hobbyists' for what most consider 'hardcore'), yet they are used a great deal to appeal to the competitive & challenge-interested gamers (agoners, hah ^_^). At least until more companies catch on to the fact that easy achievements = greater sales... :-( I also love the term "creep save". I'm going to have to use that as much as possible from now on!
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2012 on No Reload Bonus at ihobo
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Whether I'd like this or not would depend entirely on the type of challenges and skill-tests presented by the game and the kind of checkpoint system used around it. Where I think this would be an amazing solution would be in games like Deus Ex (original) or even the Half Life series, where the instant save/reload game mechanic absolutely kills most of my interest in them, since the 'best' or smartest way to play also becomes the least challenging & the most unsatisfying. eg: in Deus Ex I'm often presented by a door I could use some of finite resources (like lockpicks) which are of unknown value and amount to me (on a 1st playthrough) to open. The obviously solution is to save, check what's behind the door, then evaluate whether it was worth using the lockpick or not, then reload. What would be critical though would be, whenever there are some actual 'skill test' parts to a game like this ie: anywhere you could die - to have good natural checkpoints to break up the challenge into whatever is deemed a sensible chunk. So if you can "kill 10 enemies" without recourse to a quicksave & reload then you get something out of it, rather than someone who uses the "kill 1 enemy - save" "kill next enemy, save" method that again, is the best way to play these types of games usually. Even the addition of an Achievement for not using Quicksaves (or not using too many of them) would be enough incentive to make these types of challenge titles a LOT more fun to me! A lot more about why I dislike the current save mechanic so much, and why yours would be a VAST improvement is here: I even made a comment "At the very least score a player on the least use of save states or something of that ilk" which is essentially exactly your proposal in many ways. :-)
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2012 on No Reload Bonus at ihobo
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Interesting thoughts about it all. I've noticed competitive gamers (like me) getting increasingly marginalised. The counter to it all, is spectator interest which captures a much bigger market than actual playing does (eg. StarCraft II and the 'Barcraft' situation, fighting game tournament streams etc). What about this reported idea that Sony might not even make a PS4?
Toggle Commented Jan 12, 2012 on Sony and Microsoft's Controller Crisis at ihobo
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Yup, I actually champion those kinds of cosmetic progression systems: "The “right” way to use grindable systems in videogames that are actually intended to be games or puzzles is to gain the advantages of the ‘carrot’ they offer, but not to damage the game/puzzle aspects at the same time – make the grindable system separate from actual game mechanics. " This is why Xbox Achievements don't usually bother me, but the ability improvements tied to level-up systems in a game like COD does. In fact I love Achievements that are actually skill-based to get, for a very different reason - because they are visible outside the game (and socially networkable) 'proof' that you've done something. I actually prefer the PSN name of "Trophies" for this reason, as that's exactly the aspect of Achievments that I like. Playing (and generally cheating past any skills needed as much as possible) "to get gamerscore" is the antithesis to this! I also hate badly designed Achievements that have detrimental effect on a multiplayer game (there's a lot of older stuff on Agoners about this ^_^). Glad the sites are still friends! ;-) Since you were one of the main people who inspired me to try to write :) Glad it helped you find out some ordering bugs in the software too... must be my software tester 'abilities' coming through even in the site name!
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2011 on Digital Dominance: Goals at ihobo
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I really like this take on the wider issues. The goal structures that bother me personally the most are the ones that damage the actual competitive game or skill-based challenge in a title - ie: it spoils what I enjoy :-) I've had a bit of a rant about that here: and specifically about COD earlier: BTW, Agoners would love to still be friend's of iHobo, even if obviously our material is at a rather different 'level' than your own a lot of the time Chris :-)
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2011 on Digital Dominance: Goals at ihobo
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Soren... ? Named after a certain game designer by any chance? :O
Toggle Commented Mar 17, 2011 on Spring News at ihobo
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As a player, there aren't ANY industry awards of any kind that I take seriously, for many of the same reasons as you.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2011 on To Vote or Not to Vote at ihobo
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I'm honestly surprised by any amount of disagreement with your premise! I didn't comment earlier because I simply agreed completely with your rant. Perhaps it's not clearly identified enough for other readers, but I got that the main thrust of this was the fact that almost all games are using variable reinforcement, and like you say - all attempting to become like slot machines. You're hardly alone in your concerns about this. Jonathan Blow had a pretty extreme take on it, but one I also agreed with entirely: And I myself have railed against "grinding" (as these types of reinforcement schedule inevitably become):
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2010 on Game Design is Dead at ihobo
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:) Clearly I find the discussion fascinating too. ;) Veering wildly off topic here, but when I eventually get the time I'm working towards a discussion of SF4 on my blog which I'll go into all of this in more depth. Despite the fighting game resurgence 'caused' in part by SF4, I do think it will remain such a niche market, precisely because of the way the big ticket 'headline' games like SF4 fail to even really attempt to broaden the accessibility of these titles (outside of false advertising). Your point about the appeal of mastery of execution is extremely astute as usual :). I think this is a big part of the 'flow' that a fighting game player can achieve; the problem is the vast majority of people will end up stuck in the frustration (despair?) zone, and the worst thing is these games make so little attempt to even help these players. I hit my "flow" point most often in SF2, and many other fighting games are just too hard/too fast and too complex for me, which I really find a shame. What I find tragic (as a fan of the genre) is that good training modes and good online matchmaking & handicapping could do so much to make these games fun for many more players, no matter the level of play - yet these features are still glaringly absent. What I also find interesting though, is that at the very top levels of play at these games, at least for SF2, everyone can execute everything with very high %'s of success. So making moves 'easier' for lower level players, really doesn't change the top-level game at all. Right, I really ought to write this up properly. ;)
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2009 on 2D Or Not 2D at ihobo
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Chris - whilst I'm likely not as far along that scale as you are, that's pretty much precisely the reason I prefer older "simpler" fighting games like Street Fighter 2 - the recent 'HD Remix' of it made it even easier to actually perform moves - to certain players chagrin) over newer ones which just add massive layers of complexity to the things. The decision tree in most fighting games doesn't tend to get that much more complex than SF2, but they just seem to add huge amounts of layers onto the difficulty to actually remember & perform the optimal parts of that decision tree. I don't feel either is better, it's just a matter of taste really of how much you slant towards the more strategic side of making the optimal decision(s) and the execution side of making it hard to actually perform those decisions - and even take decisions away from players of lesser skills, so they might know what to do, yet can't do it. I personally believe even the 'simplest' ones like SF2 are already far too difficult to execute for the vast majority of players. I'm good enough to have won local tournaments and am ranked around the top 300 on XBox Live skill ranking, yet I still find many moves too difficult to do.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2009 on 2D Or Not 2D at ihobo
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Thanks for that defence of the 'hardcore' idea of fun Chris. I can't believe anyone thinks I'm not genuinely having fun when I'm playing Street Fighter with the hardest of the hardcore! Of course I do also think there are =some= so-called 'hardcore' gamers who are both highly gaming literate and play punishing games just due to other reasons - social, peer pressure, simple unawareness of the options etc. yet would actually get far more fun from other kinds of games.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2009 on The (Gaming) Gods Must Be Crazy at ihobo
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