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Everything posted by aoanla

  1. E3 2018

    I have the same kind of experience, mostly, except that this applies mostly to playing the games - depressingly, there's increasingly many games that I'm interested in watching someone much better than me play, than actually playing myself.
  2. AGDQ 2018

    The Punch-Out/Super Punch-Out run is great. I have to admit, I tend to avoid the multiple-hour "speed" runs, like the Breath of the Wild run (I dipped into it a little, but anything over an hour or so is usually a speedrun I'm not going to sit all the way through). I know there's no skill difference - and in fact, endurance in continuing to hit all the right tricks, and sequences probably makes them harder - but 4 hours, guys... I'm probably just spoiled by the Prey speedrun being about 10 minutes long though...
  3. As always, there's a Deus Ex quote apposite to this: "The need to be observed and understood was once satisfied by God. Now we can implement same functionality with data-mining algorithms." In fact, this is precisely the same "social normalisation via fear-of-observation" which most religions incorporate - which is also why "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" is the most disturbing of all Christmas songs.
  4. To some extent, sure: but there's plenty of PC/Amiga/C64 games which weren't arcade games which are also stupidly hard. You could argue that they were part of the same cultural zeitgeist, and were just hard because the people who wrote them expected games to be hard, because arcade games, I guess. But there was also just a tendency to make hard games in genres which were never in arcades - there's tons of early FPSen which are incredibly hard, for example.
  5. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Got bored of Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy (and I'd rather be spending my time on finishing Opus Magnum, or other interesting games), for reasons I've talked about enough in the actual thread for it.
  6. Spelunky's way too hard for me to see the end - but it's still fun to play if you can't complete it. (It's actually an excellent example of a game which is both "hard" and also enjoyable for people who aren't good at games.)
  7. Well, lets clarify that to: bringing back games which are "solely hard" just punishes people who are bad at games. I've nothing against high difficulty modes - Bayonetta, for example, does this well in both directions, because it has "very easy" modes which automate some of the harder stuff for you, a spectrum of "normal" modes, and then "very hard" modes which basically make things ridiculously unfair. Now everyone is happy. Fetishising "how you could have games, once, which you couldn't ever complete, ever" kinda misses the point.
  8. I mean: sure. But buried in my complaint is a set of more nuanced points. Firstly, that Bennett also doesn't really understand the frustration of "hard games" because he's never been bad enough at them. (See his misrepresentation of why Spelunky is good, for example). Secondly, that Getting Over It probably still doesn't hit its target: surely the people who most need to learn about the value of set-backs in making progress feel more awesome are the very people who are also completing his game in less than 3 hours. I don't think it's possible to make a game which will teach the "left-hand side" of the bell curve this lesson, without making it utterly impossible for anyone else. [See also: why we have difficulty settings.] Thirdly, that, as @jennegatron notes, this is part of the fetishisation of "hard games", which I would really like to fight, because, again: the 80s and 90s were great for hard games only if you were good at games. Bringing back hard games just punishes the people who are bad at games.
  9. I mean: I'm also not against people being awesome at playing games - I love speedruns (and I'm dipping into AGDQ as it runs this year, as every year), and I think discovering exploits in games is impressive and painstaking work. (I watched a bunch of Getting Over It speedrun practice, too, and the high skill bar is really impressive, too.) But unlockable cheat codes really did miss the cultural point of cheat codes.
  10. I mean: yes, if you count the Commodore Amiga as a "PC". There have definitely been games which don't have cheat codes on non-console platforms - and I've definitely failed to complete them. Hired Guns, IIRC, didn't have any cheat codes, as the first example which springs to mind. I don't recall Cannon Fodder having any, either, nor Frontier (Elite II). (But also: just because cheat codes exist doesn't mean you know about them - I grew up before the WWW, where you only heard about cheat codes in magazines, and if you never knew the cheat codes, then you'd never manage to complete them. So, yes: another lesson I learned, moving from the late 80s to the mid 90s, is that the only way to complete a game was to cheat at it. But I think that's a side effect of the general experience In my previous posts, not a solution to the "problem".)
  11. Yeah, I've read it - everything in it indicates he has no idea what it's like to be bad at games For a start: Getting Over It isn't as frustrating as restarting most games - because the only thing you lose is a (variable) amount of one-axis progress. Restarting most games, especially games of the era that Bennett remembers (and that I remember too) would lose you tons more than that. And, architecturally, you don't even lose much time - one of the frustrations of losing and restarting in 8-bit and 16-bit era games is the sheer time lost to loading (especially in the era of multi-floppy-disk games, where reloading from some points might involve multiple disk swaps and reads, only to fail again within minutes) - Getting Over It gives you back control within seconds, and you can usually recover to where you lost progress faster than the time it took you to get there the first time. For a second: Spelunky is less frustrating than Getting Over It, for bad players, not because "you can blame your failures on randomness", but because you get something new and different each time you play it. Or, to rephrase it in terms of my prior post: Spelunky's random generation makes restarting endlessly less boring by introducing more variety. [In fact, this is true for all Roguelikes, and Roguelikelikes.] For a third: Bennett's two completions of Getting Over It are less than 5 hours (4 and a half hours the first time, and 30 minutes the second). That's comfortably within the median time to complete Getting Over It (and from Bennett's comments, vastly less than the mean), and much less than the time investment that, say, I've put in managing to get barely 25% of the way into my first climb. And yet, I feel none of the "frustration" that Bennett thinks I should - I just feel bored. [To use Bennett's own lexicon of "flavours of frustration" ( ) - Bennett seems to think Getting Over It should be evoking #2 (Starting Over), but anyone who's actually bad at games is inured to #2 by now. What Getting Over It comes closer to evoking is #5 (Getting Nowhere) and #8 (Others Can Get There, But I Can't), and possibly #11 (We've Been Here Before) - although, again, anyone who's bad at games has experienced all three of those in every single game they've played, ever, and is basically inured to them. All that is left is boredom - which is why making games hard for their own sake is kinda missing the point.]
  12. I've not gotten that far yet (I still can't do the Devil's Chimney at all consistently, and the two times I managed it I fell down after getting stuck in , so my last 3 and a bit hours have mostly been repeatedly failing to do the Devil's Chimney, which is getting boring, tbh). However, I know enough about the game to know that there's a trigger for getting a present dropped where you mention it. As an aside, the thing that confuses me about Bennett's espoused philosophy of design of Getting Over It is that he clearly hasn't met anyone who's bad at games. I'm bad at games, and I don't find Getting Over It frustrating at all - you never lose anything but pure progress, and you need to repeat things to practice them anyway [games which actually take collectables away from you are super frustrating, sure - eg Shovel Knight is awful for this - as are games which steal other things, like time (I'm looking at you, games with unskippable cutscenes before boss battles)]... but I'm bad enough at it that repeating the same section for hours on end is just boring. From audio that I've heard, Bennett seems to be concerned about not making "throwaway" content, and the way in which modern games are constructed in such a way that any challenge you encounter you know you will be able to solve it [presumably eventually]. But this is only true for people with a certain base level of skill within a "reasonable time" - there's plenty of games which I've never completed (in fact, I don't think I completed any games of my youth - except maybe Lemmings) - and this this also true of plenty of modern games. Whilst, sure, sometimes this is due to what Bennett wants to call "bitterness" - frustration with lost progress - I think Bennett also underestimates precisely how much "failure" someone poor at games experiences, and how, at this low skill level, boredom becomes more of a factor than "bitterness" over time. I'm not losing progress much any more with Getting Over It - I'm just repeating the same 10 or so seconds of activity over and over again, for hours on end. What I'm learning isn't that "overcoming loss makes success sweeter", it's "learned helplessness". That's not to say that we shouldn't have challenging games - or that every game has to be completable by everyone. What it is to say is that Bennett fails to understand why people don't complete challenging games. It's not "aversion to bitterness"; it's "wanting variety". It's not "fear of losing progress"; it's "inability to make progress/running out of content". (The most depressing thing about Getting Over It is that Bennett runs out of "inspirational quotes about failure" very quickly for low skill players, as he plays stuff on every major progress loss. Those quotes are the only new content we get to experience for most of the game, so they actually made the game less boring - losing progress is something we just expect as low-skill players, so getting additional content that way is nice, not nasty. With them gone, there's even less reason for us to keep repeating the same actions endlessly). (He also fails to really make his point universally with Getting Over It anyway, as "high skill" people will fail less, and learn less of a lesson about "overcoming bitterness" and the way in which success is sweeter after adversity than low-skill people (who already know this - we've been overcoming adversity in every damn game we've played in our lives). Compare the "2 and a bit hour" run length of someone who "gets" Getting Over It with the "25 hour+" runs of us over in the low-skill corner.)
  13. VA-11 HALL-A is probably worth giving another shout to, just for the mechanics being interesting - but I did find that it didn't go as deep as I would have liked it to (late in development, they removed a timer which would have measured how long you took to make cocktails - which makes it a more pleasant, chilled, experience to play, but makes a mockery of most of the "tests" people set you, because you have all the time in the world to leaf through the in-game cocktail recipe book...).
  14. And who doesn't have a fantasy about being a hammer jar man, deep down inside them?
  15. I'm using a trackpad anyway, so trackpad mode is turned on by default
  16. Yup - if you look at the sum-of-best-splits for the top 5 speedrunners, most are below 2 minutes now (around 1 minute 40-something for the top 2). It's just a matter of one of them having a consistent enough run for us to go sub-2 min. (Meanwhile, I'm approaching 3 hours in and still haven't even gotten to the devil's chimney.)
  17. Purchased: 02/09: XCOM2: War of the Chosen expansion. £34.99 26/09: Heat Signature (Supporter's Edition) £19.79 And then just in the Winter Sale: 27/12: Bayonetta Getting Over It (with Bennett Foddy) Opus Magnum £27.22 (total for all three) Completed: Nothing. (I'm about 10 missions or so from completing my first run through of XCOM2:WotC, and only about 15% of the way into a "completely unlocked" galaxy in Heat Sig, having just had sudden lacks of time with both of them and never having picked up the unfinished campaigns. I didn't really progress any of the games I bought Winter last year; and I'm about 80% done in Opus Magnum, and barely 10% done with Getting Over It - I've not started Bayonetta yet.) I've been playing fewer and fewer games over time, and buying even fewer than that - the last few years, the time over the winter holiday period has accounted for at least 30%, if not more, of my total gaming time over the year. I feel like I don't have enough time to even play the games I have, let alone buy more games - it's actively distressing to me that there's so much stuff that I want to play that I'll probably never have the chance to.
  18. I've actually only played it on a trackpad, and I think it detracts from the experience Bennet is going for. I might just be terrible, but I found it so hard to have any control that the experience devolved into an almost random walk across the terrain. As such, I've still to make any noticeable progress (I sort of sometimes get as far as the sideways house a little above the oar, at best), and any time I "lose progress" it means nothing, as I don't feel like I'd been earning anything anyway. It's kind of an experience in learned helplessness, really.
  19. GOTY of the Year

    I was thinking about this, and I realised that I've played exactly one game this year which was released (on the platform I played it on) this year. So, by default, because there are literally no other contenders for the title under the guidelines set, my Game of the Year can only be: Heat Signature [It's possible that I might buy Opus Magnum before the end of the year, in which case it'll probably end up being that instead - but HeatSig will still get to be #2! ] (edit: I just realised that I did buy War of the Chosen too, but I think I think of that as DLC, and I've not finished my first playthrough of it, despite having had it for ages, so I'd feel bad about adding it to the list.)
  20. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    So, taking this in order: IIRC, if you kill only the targets in each mission, and no-one else, then you will never hit High Chaos - Dishonoured doesn't like messy brutal mass murder, it doesn't have a problem with you being a scalpel. That said: of the villains, only two have fates which are inescapably worse than death in the detail you expect them to have when you apply them: The magic talking psychic heart tells you that some people are bad people (it also tells you that some people aren't, I note - not every secret it gives you about a person is bad - unless you think that "He taught himself to read" is a terrible sin)... but if you think brutal murder is the correct response to every single person you encounter who has a dark secret, then you might just be looking for excuses too hard. The Outsider expresses more interest in you if you go Low Chaos - he seems kind of unsurprised by your High Chaos actions (including killing targets), but surprised, mildly positively, by your Low Chaos actions. And he's the narrator of all 3 endings, and definitely seems more approving of your Low Chaos ending, as we've agreed. So, of those, one is mixed but (as I noted above, in fitting for a Gothic Revenge Fantasy), one is very mixed (and doesn't really justify murdering everyone, in any case), and one supports not killing messily more than killing messily. (Plus, you're still pointedly ignoring Samuel and Emily's responses, which are the core of the "normal people's moral response" signalling.) And, given that what I, and others, are complaining is dissonant, is the very fact that you're given lots of ways to kill people messily, when the game mostly tells you that killing people messily is bad, I'm totally happy with you bringing up that incongruity again. I agree, it's incongruous and problematic!
  21. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    I mean, yeah, we agree on most of this (although if I were going to quibble, I'd note that we're mostly just told that demons are "wholly evil", we don't know that most of the rank-and-file aren't just being driven into battle by their commanders - Vortigaunts in HL are a good example of this - and in fact, the history of justification for killing the enemy throughout the ages has been that the enemy are inhuman monsters, not "like us"; however, Doom, being fantasy, gets to have its cake and eat it mostly unproblematically, less so than, say Shadow of Mordor! But I think we agree on this too - I've made a similar journey in my approach to Video game violence, and I remember strongly being horrified by the gratuitous cutscene torture/death of one of the setpiece monsters in Quake 4, which really cemented this perspective for me.) I think Dishonored is problematic mostly because it's caught somewhere between two perspectives - on the one hand, they wanted to make a Gothic Revenge Fantasy game, and the whole point of such a setting is that the protagonist is not necessarily a Hero, and the audience learns a moral lesson about what the singleminded pursuit of revenge does to you and those around you (the ur-example being The Count of Monte Cristo, of course), and so the mechanics of the setting must show that being a brutal, indiscriminate, killer is wrong; but also that all revenge is, to some degree, morally transgressive - to seek justice is precisely to sublimate your desire for revenge into something greater and less selfish, and so it can't be an option allowed to you in the setting. You're not Batman; you're The Punisher. On the other hand, they also wanted to let you choose to be a maximally violent psychopath - partly because the traditions of the game genre, as we discussed, are all about the ultraviolence being an option (even, way back when, Thief couldn't escape having some very-hard-to-avoid combat bits against the undead, because it's what people expected, and this hasn't changed much) - and being a much more focussed, scalpel of an avenging figure. The problem is here in terms of the narrative/mechanical dissonance: it's not that they give you some tools to make you a more effective mass murderer - it's that they give you far fewer tools to make you an effective scalpel (and being a scalpel is harder than being a (careful) bludgeon in the first place).
  22. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    Okay, I know that you're strongly invested in believing that the game's signalling throughout the game isn't intended to suggest that "non-lethal is better", but can you consider this: Firstly: you're entitled to interpret media any way you want - but it's also the case that there's an authorial intent associated with any work (which you're allowed to disagree with). Secondly: the arguments we've (the people who think that the authorial intent is to suggest that "non-lethal is better") been making all hang together. Your arguments basically require a lot of "ah, but this is specials" - we should ignore the changed reactions of NPCs because they're morally compromised (except for Samuel and Emily - the closest things the game has to "neutral observers", or "everyman figures", which are often used to suggest the moral baseline of the world in fiction - but you just discount them because you don't like that their reactions also suggest "non-lethal is bad") - we should assume that "the order of the world decaying" with more violence is a morally neutral signal - we can "accept" that the ending indicate a moral stance on "non-lethality", but assume that this has nothing to do with the authorial intent in the rest of the work at all, it's just a non-sequitur. Our argument - that every signal the game gives you can be interpreted as an indicator that "non-lethal is better" - doesn't need any picking and choosing. It doesn't need any special pleading or wriggling. I submit, then, that it's almost certainly what the authors intended. Thirdly, though: to address your specific point (assuming that someone, like you, interprets all the other signals of the game as being morally-neutral statements about violence), taking the endings by themselves... It's disingenuous in the extreme to assume that your (or anyone's) experience of a game exists in a vacuum. Even someone who hasn't watched the endings on YouTube or whatever will likely hear about the experiences of other people playing the game, including their experience of the ending they got (even if the description is vague or allusive). There are these things called "Reviews" and "Articles" which other humans write and publish, concerning their opinions about their experiences of Video Games - and almost all the pieces about Dishonored of a general nature, and many of the specific pieces about aspects of it, discuss the endings as part of the general response of the game to the players' agency. Again, they may not go into detail, but it's very easy for someone to come to Dishonored any have even a vague idea that "if I want to get the good ending, I need to not messily kill everyone". In fact, I would expect anyone interested in any piece of media to have participated in the community discussion around it before experiencing it to some extent, so I'd say it's actually very odd for someone to encounter a game they want to play without having picked up a sense of its systems, including moral systems, ambiently, before play.
  23. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    So, sure, I agree that, at least, Dishonored avoids the "traditional ludonarrative dissonance" of having it be perfectly okay to be a mass murdering psychopath in the course of your interactions with the world. And, actually, I am just as put off by the strongly physical representations of the results of sword combat that Dishonored depicts as I am by the wider "things get bad" response of the world, and of NPCs; however, that seems to be a matter of taste (there are games - see Brutal Doom - where strongly detailed unpleasant representations of physical damage are a reward, not a penalty) and so it seems that the more general argument about authorial intent is more grounded when talking about the mechanical way in which the game reacts to your actions, not the artistic representation of you being a horrible brute. It seems like you're suggesting that because the player can never have completely clean hands, that this reduces the moral agency of the player. But that is equally problematic - knocking someone out is clearly less horrible than murdering them; and there's something to be said for removing potentially brutal dictators in a surgical way without "collateral damage". (I'd also argue that most of the nonlethal "takedowns" of the principals aren't necessarily fates-worse-than-death - although, of course, the game being aimed towards the Gothic Revenge, they're not *pleasant* - but they are also, at least, targeted towards people directly involved in your own harm, rather than simply bystanders.)
  24. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    How is it a problem that the game repeatedly and deeply, on multiple levels, tells you that killing people messily is wrong, bad, and destructive to the world you are part of and trying to regain... and yet mechanically gives you mostly tools for killing people messily? I dunno, it seems like that question answers itself.