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Everything posted by aoanla

  1. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    It was particularly egregious in the bit I was in, because I was hiding by a set of pipes, and shooting through a (admittedly quite large) gap between them. It just feels so unnatural to me - because in real life, you'd move your bloody arms to a different position so you could shoot through the gap, not hold them in the same place all the time. [Also, so as not to make yet another post on E.Y.E., I'm editing in this comment: I watched your review of E.Y.E., and I note that it specifically mentions that the death system results in bad players potentially finding things even harder (because you can get permanent stat debuffs from death). This is... not an incentive for a poor player to play your game, to put it mildly. In fact, many things in that review just make me much less interested in playing E.Y.E. and much more interested in just watching someone else play it. And, as someone who doesn't understand how to use the radial menus in the game, and finds the entire menu control interface horribly unpleasant, I think the "positive" review actually put me off E.Y.E. more than the IGN one did!]
  2. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    I mean, to be clear: from what I saw of the setting and design, it looked pretty interesting. It's just frustrating that it's so obtuse about its mechanics - and I suspect that since 2011 games have gotten a lot better at explaining themselves, so its age doesn't help it. (I mean, look at 2016 Doom - it's nowhere near as complex as E.Y.E. probably is, but it has a bunch of systems in it which it introduces to you one by one, it makes things flash colours when you can do a special thing to them, colours areas you can jump and can't jump green and red respectively, and generally spends a surprising amount of effort trying to help you understand how it works. I'm still terrible at Doom too, but I at least feel like I understand what I'm being bad at. I basically died in E.Y.E.s combat without really understanding what I was doing wrong, or even if I was using the right weapons. ) And to be fair to E.Y.E. the geometry thing is a personal bug-bear of mine - it happens in a lot of FPS which don't have "explicit cover" if you're trying to hide close to some geometry and shoot around it, because the line between your reticule and your gun is different to the line between the camera and the reticule, so bullets will clip geometry. In any case, I'll probably give it another go, in a bit, because bits of the setting (and probably bits of the mechanics, if they're this complicated) seem worth putting effort into... but I suspect I'm going to have to go read a bunch of third-party guides first just to understand how and what to do about anything. [Lack of weapon drops is awesome, by the way: the reason I've never made it through a Diablo-like (in which I include Borderlands) is frustration with the "vendor-trash" drop problem.]
  3. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    at the risk of forking discussion, you reminded me that I bought E.Y.E. years ago and never got around to playing it... so I just did. Even on Easy, it seems... rather hard (although that's partly due to what seems to be horribly janky collision detection - I think I wasted a bunch of shots in firing into geometry which was no-where near my actual line of sight), and I agree that the tutorials could be considerably better. It's a pity, as what little worldbuilding and design I saw before I died on the first set of actual opponents seems interesting. to elucidate in an edit: the game throws you immediately into a character generation screen, where you mix up to three options (each named after, I think, a station on the Sephirot, so there's immediately a Kabbalistic thing going on) to make a bunch of stats change - with no indication as to which stats are useful or not. Once you've guessed randomly as to what seems useful, you're thrown into an ominous "pre game" area which seems to exist purely to be ominous, and from there into the tutorial area which eot mentions... which is really terrible. (I also couldn't seem to get the spoken dialogue to go English, so I had subtitles on too to see what people were saying). I admit that getting stuck on the "using augmentations to jump higher than normal" bit probably didn't help my mood... but it's followed by being thrown into, what I guess is supposed to be, the combat tutorial... which gets you to pick a bunch of weapons (and play inventory tetris to work out which combinations you can carry), again with no particular indication as to what's a good idea [there's a bunch of stats, but that's not helpful without more context]. And then you go into the combat section which I died in, partly because (like a lot of FPSes) you end up shooting geometry a lot that's nowhere near your aiming reticule if you're using it as cover, partly because there's a bunch of stuff which isn't explained about the importance of cover etc, and partly because it has my most hated feature from RPG-FPS hybrids, the "aiming reticule which slowly contracts over time because your aiming is a skill". For all I know it's a great game once you internalise all its its rules... but it sure doesn't want to tell you them in advance. (In looking at reviews, I think the IGN guy sums up my experience, and doesn't bode well for future play: )
  4. The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

    I never finished Painkiller (because it's also brutally hard, and because the cutscenes were sapping my will to live), but this is all accurate to my memory. Great gameplay (including some metagameplay stuff on top of the levels themselves) and some great setpieces, terrible terrible plot and CGI (on multiple levels).
  5. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Urgh, Pony Island needs to learn that giving you unpleasant arcade sections might well be a postmodernist commentary on bad game design... but it's also making you play a bad and annoying game. (One difference between, say, novels with deliberate sections of poor prose, and this is that you can always skip over the poor prose.)
  6. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Whereas I'd assumed that Ned didn't know you'd found it, or expect you to - but had one himself that he'd been using to track things like his backpack, also possibly stolen from the research station (or, possibly, had been using the one you found...). [On the note of hoaxes and paranoia, one thing I did find a bit surprising is Henry and Delilah's joint astonishment that anyone can listen in to radio signals. I know neither of them is technical, but the whole idea of people listening into police radio with spectrum scanners and the like is not exactly out of the public eye, and I assume that the radios are just standard analogue walkie-talkies, rather than the encrypted digital ones that the police and stuff use nowadays. I imagine Ned being a bit bemused at how freaked out they got about that detail...]
  7. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    Pony Island - it's not kidding when it says it needs some "rapid, precise movements" in the opening disclaimer. There seems to be a sub-genre now of games which put difficult time-based gameplay walls in the way of the bits that are actually interesting...
  8. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    I think I'm in a similarish position, but with different parts of the plot. I was terrible at navigating around (partly because it seems to be traditional in games with navigation that your character is worse at getting past obstacles than a healthy human of the same age in real life), and as a result of this, and partly because it was hard to tell when a "chapter" would end, I missed out on exploring quite a few bits of the map [on reading around online post completing my playthrough, I discovered that there's an entire ruined house I missed, as well as missing finding the Elk with an actual tracking collar]. so, while I guessed that Ned had been co-opting an existing research station - hence the obvious notes in the tent from someone tracking actual animals - I didn't get the actual confirmation in my playthrough itself. I can see how someone having the same experience might have issues piecing together Ned's "capabilities" and how the actual events all worked together.
  9. 1) not necessarily, it depends on their background. 2) no. And, yes, I would bet against you. Plus, I would actively resist your attempt to spread "game" to those people instead of better words - far from your suggestion that "the moment has passed" (which suggests that, really, you agree on some level with my distinction to be made on game), I think the moment is still very much in play.
  10. We've had this discussion. If you didn't give them a word I don't think they'd have much idea of what word to use. (Twig's example of people being persuaded to think about trying Firewatch suggests that, if they liked Dear Esther, they might be less inclined, not more, to use "game")
  11. Again, Tycho: you're no more a "general human being" than I am. I'm pretty sure that "general human beings" haven't even heard of Dear Esther. It's totally apposite if you accept that marketing to *you* would include "game" as a magic gating signifier, and marketing to "the general public" wouldn't, as it indicates that the usage of the term you're claiming is "common", isn't.
  12. no. Worse have chan But again: I fundamentally disagree with you here, and I hold that your view is in the minority. ...but, again, just because your subculture thinks that Dear Esther is a game, that doesn't make you magically "right", either. In fact, the preponderance of both positive and negative reviews of Dear Esther noting confusion over what it is (there are positive reviews which phrase things like "I'm not sure if this is really a game, but..") suggests that your near-certainty that you're in the dominant culture here is not well founded - "typical" seems like overreaching. In addition, you're in a culture which considers itself to be a Liberal, inclusive, space, despite apparently being happy to eradicate decades of development in other areas by deciding that this is all "games". I might equally well describe your perception of the word "game" as warped - and given the prior examples of how people outside your subculture use the word "game" I am just as likely to be making a valid point. [It's rather odd that you're so concerned by the fact that my way of thinking about things only works for me. Is this surprising? If it worked for you, perfectly, then what would the difference be between me and you? In any case, I think you're overstating this, and overstating the size of your subculture.] (I understand the sentence "My favourite game is Dear Esther" to mean "I am a human who has not experienced the 80s or early 90s. I like narrative style virtual settings, and don't like conflict. I like Dear Esther. I am not a member of Gamergate." I understand the Steam marketing tagline as explicitly marketing to people in your subculture - if I, or they, were marketing to the general public, the the word "game" wouldn't be used, as it's pejorative still in the general parlance.) No, it's a way of my explaining why I use the word differently from you. Wittgenstein would hate what you've just said as much as you say he would hate my sniff test - the same "word" has different meanings in different cultures and subcultures, as much as it does in different contexts. I also, on your general Culture War argument, consider it to be missing the point massively, in the same kind of way that, say, Liberal Americans missed the point in engaging with Trump - be sure you are the dominant culture before announcing that you're "typical". "Game" is not the term to fight with GamerGate over, and the more effective battle would have been to point out just how puerile it is to whine about as unimportant a term a "game". (Dear Esther deserves more than that.)
  13. Ahh, the longstanding problem of ludonarrative dissonance , or "the devs wanted to make the game they wanted to make, and basically told the writers to write around it" (also a problem with some Hollywood movies, apparently, where the special effects are so expensive to do that the script needs to be written specifically to include whatever they've been planning for the last 6 months)
  14. You don't have to change the name of GOTY lists, if you don't mind Dear Esther not being on them I dunno, I think it's fairly relevant if I specify the critical category I'm judging something in. If I say that an item of furniture is a "bad table, but a good chair", I'm telling you quite a lot about the item of furniture's relationship with two categories of furniture, and how well it does at them. Also, for members of your subculture, sure, you get ornery about my saying "Dear Esther" isn't a game - because you want it to be. But if I speak to members of other subcultures, as we've previously established, this isn't an issue - and as Twig noted, it does seem that members of the "general public" might respond better to categorising some "things-which-we-disagree-about-the-right-word-for" as "interactive movies". Everyone has an agenda, including you. In fact, given that I have explicitly stated that the sniff-test I presented was based on introspection of my own internal thought-processes when evaluating a "Game", it's should be utterly transparent that what I've just given you... is my agenda. It's indistinguishable from any software which produces a 3d virtual setting, I agree - in that sense, it's also indistinguishable from Second Life (not a game, and claims not to be a game), or a copy of Quake set up with a demo to play some Machinima (also not a game, and something which the creators describe as "movies", as we've noted in one of my examples). Your reductive test has a lot more issues than mine, to be frank, and would mostly reveal the small reference pools of an observer if they unambiguously described it as a "game". I disagree fairly fundamentally with this because, again: no, I don't have any impulse to consider Dear Esther a game. The sniff test isn't for me - I don't need it to understand how I parse words and meaning, because I already parse words and meaning the way I do! The sniff test is an attempt at representing my own internal categorisation for "game" in a way such that you, someone who parses words and meaning differently to me, can understand where I am coming from. That is, in fact, what you asked for, right? I, personally, due to my own personal experiences with various things which never called themselves games (including a bit of Second Life, although to be honest, I always found it less whelming than I wanted it to be), [edited to add: in fact, dating back to the 3d Construction Kit, which let you build your own 3d virtual spaces, which I never considered "games", way back in 1991] long before Dear Esther ever existed, developed, apparently, a conception of "game" which is approximated by what I have tried to present to you. I, personally, genuinely consider "virtual spaces" to be just that - virtual spaces - in which various activities can happen, which map onto various things in non-virtual spaces. [As an aside, this is also why I find it so weird how insistent people in your subculture are about "being inclusive" by calling things "games". Why would I want or need to include something in such a particular topic? For me, it's like finding a bunch of movie-buffs who've never heard of the idea of "music" in isolation, and then having them proclaim that they've discovered this really great thing where you just play the sound on the film, but with totally black screen. They're calling it "blank-movie" or "sound-movie", and it's the cause of a huge fight because some purists over there who have unpleasant views about people are insisting that there's no moving pictures so it's not a proper "movie"; meanwhile, the inclusivists are very keen to have them featured in "movie of the year" lists. I'm over in the corner saying... isn't this called music? Don't we already have... music awards? That's how this entire conversation feels like, to me, in the best analogy I can find.] For me, "Quake Dear Esther" is to "Half-life mod Dear Esther" (and to later-properly-not-a-mod-anymore Dear Esther) as, perhaps, different performances of a play in theatres with performers of different quality (and worse set design). They're all *plays* being *performed*. You're also, via this, fairly fundamentally begging the question of what *you* consider to make something a game? Why is Second Life not a game? Why is Dear Esther a game? Why isn't Quake machinima not a game? Why is, say, Blender, not a game? Why is Half-life a game? Turnabout is fair play, and I'd like you to introspect yourself as much as I have done here.
  15. I think you're being slightly disingenuous here - whilst "including X as a game is good for it because it brings them more attention" is not your core argument, you've certainly relied on it as a means of questioning my position. Every time you're asking, with an implication that it would be a negative result, if I would remove Dear Esther from GOTY lists, etc, you're essentially relying on this argument being at least somewhat valid. With respect, you're slightly misinterpreting my position here. Generally, when you say "movie X was a good movie", you're saying you enjoyed it and found it valuable, when judged in your mental space of movies. My position is that I can't say "Dear Esther" is a good game - although I might argue that it's passable theatre. Not at all. See below. I actually agree with you more than you think. My personal position is that Wittgenstein has some good points - but I have a sniff test which is also based on a thought experiment which Wittgenstein might not have hated. Essentially, my one axiom is that a "game", whatever else it is, is a category of thing which transcends the medium in which it is implemented. (This is an attempt at formalising the unconscious process which I believe happens in my brain when I decide if something is a "game" or not, arrived at via introspection.) So, when addressing "video games", and if something is one, I conduct a thought experiment in which I consider if I would call the same thing a "game" if it were implemented in Reality, or in other contexts. So, taking Dear Esther as an example: Imagine constructing Dear Esther in "real life" - with unlimited financial resources, someone has constructed a (or modified an existing) island with appropriate set dressing, hidden speakers which play speech when a participant reaches a particular area [or perhaps provides participants with their own headphones and audio guide which does the same thing], and so forth. I suggest that such a construction would be regarded by most people as an "art installation", maybe a piece of "participatory theatre", perhaps a staged poetry performance, and so on. I suggest that a word which would not be used for it would be "game". For a second example: imagine constructing Dear Esther in Second Life - the only difference here is that it wouldn't be considered particularly exciting or unique, as interactive environments of this kind in Second Life predate Dear Esther's conception by several years (and the Second Life engine permits a more varied range of motion - flight etc - whilst also having a different interaction modality for objects in world - and is inherently multi-user). We don't need to guess what people would call "Dear Esther in Second Life", because analogous constructions in Second Life already exist, and indeed, have existed before Dear Esther did - they are generally referred to as "exhibits", "performances" or such like. They are not referred to as "games". For a third example: imagine constructing Dear Esther in the Quake engine, back in the mid-late 1990s. You might argue that this is a case where Dear Esther would probably be called a "game", but I will cite the counter-example of the "Machinima" artistic movement, which also evolved from the same basis at the same time, and clearly described its output as non-game (despite being created not just using a "game engine", but often using much more of the game assets and design elements than Dear Esther does in either of its actual incarnations). In the cultural tradition of the late 1990s, "Quake Dear Esther" would almost certainly have been sold as a non-game thing - probably referencing the description of early Machinima as "Quake Movies". [Machinima, and its conception of itself, is another key plank of my general argument that software is a medium, in which we create all kinds of art - many of which are not games.] So, given these three examples of how "Dear Esther" wouldn't be considered a game in other contexts, I consider it not a game.
  16. I would say that I don't subscribe to the games are devoid of artistic value position myself - Shadow of the Colossus, say, is a great example of using game mechanics (and the assumptions and trappings of how you're supposed to behave in games) to make a point with genuine emotional value and artistic merit. And it wouldn't have worked as something which wasn't explicitly a game. My point is that the usual argument - that "calling Firewatch, or Dear Esther, or thing X a game brings them more attention, and is good for their image" is manifestly untrue, as demonstrated above. Stripping away that justification, we have the argument that we should call "Dear Esther" a game because it makes games look good. This is also, I would suggest, missing the point - Dear Esther is good [or not] for reasons mostly unrelated to things which make games good - it would have the same emotional resonance with even less control over the "protagonist" (and, in fact, I tended to find that the ability to get stuck places and generally have to deal with tedious FPS world interaction mechanics detracted rather from the grounding-in-the-world it was trying to do - much as people have disliked the interface with Everybody's Gone to the Rapture) - and there are plenty of games which exist which already make games look good [see, ie, Shadow of the Colossus]. It also displays a dangerous lack of self-confidence in the medium, when we end up having to excessively praise things which are near totally devoid of most characteristics of most games in order to claim things have value. I also suggest that this isn't really the reason that people called Dear Esther a game in the first place. They did so, I suggest, because of small reference pools - it's "made in a game engine" and "looks a bit like a game", and so people called it a "game". If it had been a Zone in Second Life, no-one would have called it a game [although there are Zones in Second Life which are games], because it doesn't actually contain any game content.
  17. I think the point that Beasteh is making is that you're still inherently arguing that "games" is something that's inclusive because it's inclusive to a subculture which you are a member of. The far wider culture which you're not part of does not particularly value the concept that they map onto "game" as a word, and "including more things" under that name is not necessarily positive for those things. This is also at root with your worries about not calling Dear Esther a "game" would exclude it from GOTY lists. Yes, it might do. I would argue that it's far more valuable for it to be included on lists for, say, the Turner Prize or other prestigious art or literature prizes; and this is what I mean when I talk about a lack of cultural ambition. Arguing for the legitimacy of software-based art and creative forms seems like a far more reasonable "long term goal" than simply deciding to call them all "games" so the specific subculture which cares about that can claim them. Edited to add: the aggressive version of this argument would be to suggest that "video gaming subculture" actively wants to ghettoise things like Dear Esther as "games" precisely because they could be argued as part of the "games have artistic value" position, and that having them categorised as something else would rob the subculture of its own self-justification for value. (That is, this is about doing things for the subculture, not doing the best thing for Dear Esther.) I don't think this is the case, but I am not sure if Beasteh disagrees. [To address some of your other points - I'm not saying that video game critics can't criticise Dear Esther. I am saying that maybe they don't have the best critical tools for doing so - and that aggressively claiming that Dear Esther is a "game" has the negative effect of suggesting that it should be criticised in a context which is not the best one to judge it. If we're talking about "Culture Wars", the side I'm on simply doesn't think that "game" is a word that's worth fighting over - I'd rather fight over the word "art". ]
  18. Yes! I hesitated to bring up the "calling something a game is a way to dismiss it" aspect in my argument, but I do think it's another aspect of the problem here. (It's directly relevant to the "parents are happy to call Minecraft a game when their kids are playing it" argument from popular culture much earlier in the thread, too - parents are often unconsciously dismissive of the "new thing" that their kids are really into (they're happy for them to have something they enjoy doing, usually, but also have a tendency to "dismiss it as not a real thing, because they don't understand it/ it's not a kind of pursuit that existed when they were young and doesn't fit into any moral framework for "valuable work"". Parents calling anything on a computer a "game" is a thing; I remember my parents would probably have referred to my early experiments in programming as "playing games" on the computer.)
  19. I think that the thing about using the word "novel" is that we also have the term "literature", the word "prose" and so on. You're trying to suggest that the word "novel", in the context of literary works, has expanded to encompass an entire field in the same way that "video games" does, but I don't think that's actually true. "Novel" is certainly a wider term than it was originally in this context (where there was some kind of imagined distinction between Romances and Novels which no longer really exists - but then, the Romance as a form is also pretty dead), but it still can be distinguished from other creative fiction-based works in its medium - novels tend to be prose, rather than poesy, they're longer than short stories [and possibly shorter than epics, or romances] and novellas; they tend to consist of a central plot and so on. Words are inherently fuzzy by usage, and non-technical use of words is fuzzier than the use of the same words in a technical context [Professors of modern literature use "novel" more precisely than the man on the street does], but the "core" meaning of novel isn't so far off what it was in the late 1800s that Dickens would have been confused by it. My point about "video games" is that the word is precisely shifting "level", in a sense of the levels of categorisation of creative works. If you consider things that were called "games", pre 1980s, they have lots of things in common - and they're clearly a "kind of activity", which can be represented in various different media [card games, dice games, board games, "choose your own adventure" games]; but they're distinct from other things in those media [predicting the future with cards; planning actual military actions on boards; all of the works of literature which aren't ludic]. This is also something which is true of "early software"; "video games", or "computer games", are "games" in which the medium is "computer software". [As distinct from any other activity you might undertake using computer software, which is essentially almost unbounded.] There were, and are, "computer artists", "computer poets", and so on - there have been people who have written and performed plays using software, [and people who have performed plays in "virtual worlds" like Second Life] before Dear Esther did something similar. The modern usage of "video game" has expanded out from being simply a "game" in the "computer" medium. The usage you are suggesting elevates "video game" to a medium in itself, which I suggest is problematic for the following reasons: 1) this eradicates existing formalisms and work in preexisting forms in the software medium, by "absorbing" them into "video games". It's disrespectful to computer artists, and the other creative artistic fields which already had names for their work, and makes it harder for them to promote their work and get funding. 2) as a side-effect of 1, it also weakens critical expertise - "video game journalists" are, indeed, critically equipped to judge things which are games. It's not clear that they are critically equipped to judge, say, Dear Esther, or other words of software art - I would argue that art criticism, theatre criticism etc are actually more relevant critical fields - but by absorbing Dear Esther into the "pseudo-medium" of video games, they are essentially claiming it as part of their critical domain. 3) on a technical level of critical categorisation, it makes it difficult to speak properly about distinctions in form between various kinds of entertainment software, as, at present, the same words are used for a "form" (games) and a medium ("[video] games"), almost interchangeably. Even without direct awareness that there's such a kind of distinction, this fuzziness affects the language and discussion even "laypeople" have. Now, obviously, creative works have always blended aspects of their categorisations - painting with thick layered paint has aspects of sculpture; poetry and prose interact in interesting ways at their boundaries and can contain each other; novels can contain elements of "documentary" work, and documentary work sometimes flirts with "semi-imagined" reconstructions of what might have happened; theatrical set design is itself an creative form drawing on painting, sometimes sculpture, architecture and so on. So, I'm not saying that Dear Esther doesn't share elements with "video games" [although I would argue that the things it shares are things it also shares with things which do not describe themselves as video games - Second Life, say, or the early academic VR stuff from the 1980s and 90s]. And I'm not saying that Minecraft isn't a game - in some modes, it is. And I'm not saying that "gaming podcasts" "can't talk about" things which aren't games - in fact, given that Idle Thumbs already has digressions on a number of (non-video) games [the locked room puzzles they've discussed before], and non-game theatre [Sleep No More], it would seem extremely quixotic for them to not talk about non-game software entertainment which informs the space of games! (Just as there are reading group podcasts which have had asides on film-adaptations of books, or of non-fiction works which are referenced in or inform a novel or whatever. You're obviously allowed to talk about the creative space which surrounds and informs the form you're discussing... you just don't mistake it for the form itself.) (It should be obvious that I consider Dear Esther, Minecraft, and all software games to be kinds of "software entertainment", along with visual novels, the cooler screensavers, and a host of other things in software which entertain in various ways.) [Edit to note that, additionally, I don't really see the need for podcasts to so "harshly" categorise themselves as only talking about one particular thing, ever. There's lots of arts podcasts which talk about basically all of art, and film podcasts which cover both fiction and non-fiction film... so I don't see why it's a problem for people to cover games and other kind of software entertainment in a podcast.]
  20. Not at all: the unsavoury characters think that "games" is a valuable trait, and that things that aren't games aren't valuable. Continuing to try to call everything electronic "games" just panders to their desire to have "games" be a solely positive value judgement, and plays into their hands. I strongly believe that the correct response to gamergate was, essentially, "No, you're cultureless losers who think that 'games' somehow is a thing you need to fight over; we're over here on the side of the spectrum of culture", not "Oh no you're saying this thing isn't a game, we must fight on your chosen battleground". The negative effects of conflating everything into games are mostly critical (they reduce the number of verbs we have to describe different kinds of content which are really related only via their medium), but I would argue that they also exhibit a general lack of ambition in interacting with popular culture. The software and creative industry of the 1980s, say, was much more inclined to use different words of different expressions in software (Maxis used to explicitly note that they made open-ended software toys, not games), and this retreat on multiple fronts in the cultural space is a little embarrassing.
  21. Entertainment already exists as a word, which is used to incorporate "games", "toys", "art", "novels", etc in an overarching sense. There's even a "Software Entertainment Association" which already exists and has the right members And my answer to all those things is: "we should broaden our critical categories precisely so we can judge Dear Esther fairly", "parents should actually probably treat Dear Esther differently to DOOM, just as they treat, say Reading Trashy Fiction as differently to Reading Shakespeare or Reading Technical Manuals", and Dear Esther should be eligible for Arts and Theatre grants.
  22. Well, this is part of my wider thesis: that because "common language" is lacking a good word for what Dear Esther is, people try to fit it into "video game" [because it's their only context for "3d environment"], and this doesn't feel right to them (so they ask "where's the game" - they're kind of assuming that there should be a game here, because it "looks like a game", but it doesn't "quack" like one). Now, there's two approaches to this which people seem to adopt: widening the meaning of "video game" to encompass basically all virtual environments, regardless of the activity you undertake in them; or using new words to describe what things are which use virtual environments, based upon how you interact with them. Because, I, myself, have a lot of experience with various 3d visualisations and virtual environments, pre-this-being-a-thing-which-defined-video-games, I am naturally drawn to the latter [it's also basically natural, I would argue, if you grew up with things like William Gibson's virtual cyberspace - it's clearly not a game, it's just a "virtual space where interactions happen"]. If you're young enough that your primary exposure to 3d environments is video games, I agree that it's probably less natural... but that doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong If I suggest that Dear Esther is a bit like a movie, or like theatre, to people who aren't "gamers", they're not utterly repelled by the idea. It's certainly no more odd to them than the idea it's a game. tldr; my thesis is precisely that there's no good words for what Dear Esther is, and so we should make some, not be lazy and decide it's a video game just because it's a 3d environment.
  23. I've sat people in front of "classic walking simulators" - like Dear Esther - and had them ask where the "game" is, definitely [they might just be bored by it, to be fair, but some questioning usually reveals that they don't expect a "game" to be as "aimless"]. I've not tried people on Proteus specifically. But then, I also know people who have a lot of experience in 3d art, or data visualisation software, and so on, who tend to consider "having a 3d environment" as not really being anything other than... having a 3d environment. [Also, are you telling people that Proteus is a game when you're introducing them to it? Priming people with usage of a word tends to skew the resultant usage - most people won't argue with a friend who wants to use a word a particular way. I explicitly did not say what kind of thing Dear Esther was to people I sat in front of it, mostly because I was interested in what they'd say it was.]
  24. Tycho, I'd like you to reread my comment that you quoted here: "In actual reality, my position is based partly on talking to actual humans who aren't regular players of video games, who were honestly confused by why some things were being called games, when they didn't seem to be games." Notice that I am not talking about gamers. I am talking, specifically, about people who are not gamers, and not part of gamer subculture (and probably don't even know "gamer subculture" exists). Those people, people who are not part of gamer subculture, are the people I was talking to who were confused about how the word "game" applied to some things that the subculture which you are part of includes as games.
  25. Yeah, I apologise for that, I should have expected it to still be a triggering topic.