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Ha! As I began reading the first few lines I thought, this kinda answers my doubts regarding "finding games for your players". Turns out it's part 2! Thanks for a great article.
I agree with almost every point in this article, and I find it very interesting. I have only one gripe regarding your last piece of advice (the "simple todo's"). I am currently developing an indie game, and I was, expectedly, going for your "don't do this" scenario. I am convinced after reading your article that this might not be the right way to go; but I can't apply the todo list. Here is why: 1) I am coding on my spare time, and it is scarce. I spend sleepless nights working on my game, but development still progresses very slowly. There is no way I can liberate the time and energy resources to maintain a blog, a forum, or an active website about it. Specially not if I have to "expect resistance" and keep at it. I have a strong suspicion that this might be the case for a lot of indie devs out there. 2) If the process you describe was to happen naturally, it would be okay. For example: Let's say I have a blog such as yours (unrelated: reading your posts in the morning with my coffee is one of my daily good moments), that discusses issues around videogaming, and I gathered a following, then decided to build a game around the ideas discussed in comments, that would be fine. But going the other way around, in other words *planning* the gathering of the community, I just can't do. It demands a level of cynicism that I just don't possess. I don't mean to say that doing it would be evil, just that I can't. On the (not-so-)long run, I would get tired of speaking with people with an ultimate goal in mind (as opposed as talking with people for the sake of talking). I guess what I mean to say is I consider your todo list more like a lost of "how things would ideally happen" and not like a strategic plan, since it's a strategy that is flawed as soon as it is a "strategy" and not an "impulsive move" (as far as I am concerned). I would like to see how your todo list translates in real-world with an example of a game, existing or not (I realize this might be very long to explain, so this is not a request).
Yeah but no. I usually enjoy tremendously reading this blog. I mostly agree with the articles. But this one is just wrong! Games are ALSO a not-storytelling medium. But they can perfectly be! I would answer lengthily, but I am busy (reading this on my break), so I am just going to give a few examples; "After 30 years of trying[...]Videogames are - not, in turns out, a storytelling art." I could not agree less. - I could not get "Choice of the Vampire" out of my head for weeks - I am totally addicted to "Blue Lacuna". Out of IF now: - I hated Heavy Rain coz the story sucked, but I loved Farenheit - I felt deeply for the characters of LBA - I cried when Aerith died (I was little, ok?) - I played all through Chrono Trigger, complaining at each fight sequence because they bore me to death, just to continue following the story - There is not a week that passes without me going on the hunt again to see if someone finally decided to attempt do something akin to the old LucasArts games - Being a Linux user and an apple hater, I finally got myself an Itouch (this was before the android wave) just because they have a lot of little games that have a story. I mostly use it to play IF. It is not practical, but at least I get to play on the go. - I torrent all non-indie games, because I seldom play more than 10mns before never touching the game again, but I actually went and bought all the Phoenix Wright games on DS, after I finished them, because I could not feel well to have got so much fun for free. - I just don't really enjoy HL, nor Max Payne, nor any of those. I do play them, for curiosity's sake, to assess the quality of the physics engine and the new ideas, UIs, etc, but I do not have fun while playing them. These are examples out of my own experience, granted, but as I am a human that play games, I am representative of a fraction of people that do enjoy above all a story in a videogame. Video games are not different from books. I agree with you on "claim our art"; but what video games are, in my opinion: ALL ARTS Videogaming is an all-encompassing art that embraces, is nurtured, and differentiate itself from all the others. It is the head of the tree, not another node. I love your writings, but your positioning is negative instead of ++. You try to define videogaming by opposing it to what exists, whereas I think it encompasses goes well beyond other mediums. It is not even a medium per se, since the message is constructed by the receiver just as much as the sender. I link videogaming to the concept of play as Johann Huizinga sees it (somehow). Videogaming is illusion of control above all, is linked to dancing around the fire and drawing the auroch on the wall of the cave. For me at least. You are limiting it by calling it "art" only. Damn that text box is small.
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Feb 10, 2011