Posted by Letter11 (29 posts) -

"Content"

When did we start using this word so often? I seem to encounter it all the time these days, and especially in relation to videogames.

"This album is amazing, but look how few songs there are, it really needs more content."

"Content", is our catch all word for every piece that comes together to create the games we play. I won't refute that it's useful. But it takes a unique combination of art and ingenuity to produce these amazing experiences, and somehow all of it is distilled into one banal word. "Content". It reduces our perception of a game into numbers and statistics.

It can often cause us to focus on the wrong questions: How many hours? How many guns? How many powers?

Instead of asking, how much fun is it? How did it make me feel?

This brilliant scientist is well known for his discovery of tacked on multi-player.

After you finish your favorite author's latest novel, have you ever said to yourself, "I can't wait until she releases some new content"? It sounds strange because "content" and art are naturally at odds with each other. Content is made to be consumed, while art is made to be appreciated.

Now granted there's a balance to be found here. Yes, games are a business. A developer can't work on the next game if the current one doesn't sell. Developers want to put their best foot forward for their potential customers by saying we have this many Xs and so many Ys. And for a gamer putting their hard earned money down, you deserve a suitably satisfying experience. But there is a constant battle of art versus commerce here. I just hope we can swing the pendulum back in the other direction a bit, and the word, "content" is not helping matters.

My fear is that as developers attempt to meet the bullet points required by '"content" with dealer exclusive items, extraneous modes, and piecemeal delivery, the original intent of expression will be lost completely. The word itself is the impetus. If consumers ravenously consume content, there must a steady supply of rehashes and cash-ins to keep them satiated. But if we rid ourselves of that vernacular, and simply talk about a person in search of a fulfilling game experience. Well then, maybe that would change the playing field entirely.

Hey, You There

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it! I think I'll try to start putting out more of my content thoughts here on Giant Bomb, you guys are pretty cool.

I could be over thinking it, (which is a usual habit of mine) but I feel pretty strongly about this. I'm curious, what do you guys think?

#1 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4598 posts) -

I feel the same way about the word and its use in relation to art. It feels so dismissive. Like you said, you're taking a piece of art and reducing it to statistics and values based on "the things in it" as opposed to the greater whole of the piece. It just feels gross. It's a suit thing to say. Anyone who has any appreciation at all for art of any kind has no business referring to an artist's labour as "content."

Seriously. Refer to your favourite book or favourite album or favourite whatever as a piece of "content" and try not to feel like the biggest goddamn sleaze bag afterward.

#2 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Generally very much agree, but there's a limit. At some point, there needs to be enough content to sustain and support the business and price as well as to justify the art. Content is a good thing so long as it isn't chosen over craft. Look at Skyrim; 200 hours of awesome content.

Regardless of the artsy fartsy shit, people want to be entertained. And they want a decent bit of content. They don't want to right a 27 page paper on what they just played, they just want to have a good time and spend a few hours playing a good game. As excellent as something like Journey is (it certainly is one of the most impressive pieces of interactive entertainment I've consumed, and lists pretty high in my personal favorites) it still disappoints me that it had a price tag like it did, with the amount of content in it.

Also, most games should absolutely have multiplayer. It just needs to stop being multiplayer. Put coop in more games that is just the game but with other people. I can think of so many games that would be awesome if you could just experience the same game as the singleplayer experience but with a buddy. All I really need is networking code added in, I don't really care about logic loops or gameplay balance. Don't knock multiplayer. It's a good addition or it's a useless addition, but it rarely detracts from the experience.

Also, most games are entertainment, not art. I made a pass for Journey because I knew it would be an experience unlike anything else. I would not do the same for the same amount of content in a Gears of War XBLA game at that price.

#3 Posted by Hailinel (23913 posts) -

Generally very much agree, but there's a limit. At some point, there needs to be enough content to sustain and support the business and price as well as to justify the art. Content is a good thing so long as it isn't chosen over craft. Look at Skyrim; 200 hours of awesome content.

Regardless of the artsy fartsy shit, people want to be entertained. And they want a decent bit of content. They don't want to right a 27 page paper on what they just played, they just want to have a good time and spend a few hours playing a good game. As excellent as something like Journey is (it certainly is one of the most impressive pieces of interactive entertainment I've consumed, and lists pretty high in my personal favorites) it still disappoints me that it had a price tag like it did, with the amount of content in it.

Also, most games should absolutely have multiplayer. It just needs to stop being multiplayer. Put coop in more games that is just the game but with other people. I can think of so many games that would be awesome if you could just experience the same game as the singleplayer experience but with a buddy. All I really need is networking code added in, I don't really care about logic loops or gameplay balance. Don't knock multiplayer. It's a good addition or it's a useless addition, but it rarely detracts from the experience.

Also, most games are entertainment, not art. I made a pass for Journey because I knew it would be an experience unlike anything else. I would not do the same for the same amount of content in a Gears of War XBLA game at that price.

Art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive. That Die Hard is entertaining does not prevent it from also being art.

#4 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

There are far better reasons to hate the world.

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

It's simply the very real growing pains of an industry finding its way as both an art form and a business. Videogames are still young, and just as classical art has at different times of history been considered more of a business(the Romans regarded artists like those who worked in the fields, serving a simple need for content), videogames have to find a good balance. As they grow, there will be a bigger business for them, focusing on content, and this will actually open up smaller projects to explore greater -art-. Such is the history of all major art forms. We shouldn't hate "content". Instead, we should embrace the reality that videogames are changing thanks to their own popularity and find ways to get what we want out of the full range of options in front of us.

#6 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@hailinel: Entertainment is entertainment. It contains art of many kinds, from performance arts to computer generated art to traditional 2D art to sculpting and a million other things. However, entertainment is what it is. It is created to entertain. A game isn't art, it's a collection of art and math and lots of other things. It is even made by artists, but most games are not art.

The difference between entertainment and art is the intention of the resulting product. Art and entertainment have very different intentions. Die Hard contains art, but it is entertainment ultimately. Die Hard wasn't created to be dissected and critiqued. It was created to be a certain length (ie, having a certain amount of content) and medium and to be entertaining so as to encourage people to pay to watch it. That's not art, even if it contains art.

If you want to treat Gears of War as art in the same way you would treat a classical painting, go right ahead. I'll stick with understanding the difference and look at them accordingly.

#7 Posted by Hailinel (23913 posts) -

@hailinel: Entertainment is entertainment. It contains art of many kinds, from performance arts to computer generated art to traditional 2D art to sculpting and a million other things. However, entertainment is what it is. It is created to entertain. A game isn't art, it's a collection of art and math and lots of other things. It is even made by artists, but most games are not art.

The difference between entertainment and art is the intention of the resulting product. Art and entertainment have very different intentions. Die Hard contains art, but it is entertainment ultimately. Die Hard wasn't created to be dissected and critiqued. It was created to be a certain length (ie, having a certain amount of content) and medium and to be entertaining so as to encourage people to pay to watch it. That's not art, even if it contains art.

If you want to treat Gears of War as art in the same way you would treat a classical painting, go right ahead. I'll stick with understanding the difference and look at them accordingly.

Art can be entertaining; it's not all Frenchmen in striped shirts gazing in existential thought. Entertainment can also be art; Journey may be artistic, but no one would care about it as they do if it weren't also entertaining.

To put it in perspective, theatrical plays are art; performance art, to be more precise. Yet these works of art are primarily meant to entertain and evoke a reaction from the audience. But they're also performed with the intent to make money. That's why Cats ran on Broadway for decades; it was a show that consistently raked in hefty box office returns year in and year out. If the profits weren't there, they would have moved on to other productions that did make money.

Art isn't specifically created to be dissected and critiqued; that's just what happens when people analyze it. I majored in Cinema Studies in college; I spent four years analyzing the hell out of movies ranging from the most obscure independent productions to the biggest box office takers. I had a professor who could state an argument clearly on how and why a movie like Speed or the original Terminator are excellent action films, and why Terminator 2 is an inferior work. This is analysis done without any sense of irony or trying to be stuffy; it's just digging deep and understanding how the films compare in structure, theme, presentation, and so on. Yes, in school we tended to use a lot of jargon that goes largely unused by anyone outside of academia, but the intent is to analyze film as an art all the same. These same lessons I learned in studying film can be easily applied to video games, and some writers already do just that.

#8 Edited by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

#9 Posted by GreggD (4478 posts) -

@hailinel: Exactly. Vinny said it best on the Hotspot, though I'm having a VERY hard time finding his explanation isolated to share with you all.

#10 Posted by Hailinel (23913 posts) -

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

#11 Posted by Suicrat (3764 posts) -

Why must quantity and quality always be at odds with those who want more "art" in things? Do you really think there is no beauty in delivering a product on-time and under budget? Is there really no beauty in producing an item that people wish to consume? And, considering the total bloodbath that has been the corporate video game world in the last year in comparison to the explosive growth of independent development, do you honestly think that treating video games like toilet paper or beef jerky is the best way to maximize shareholder value?

I think "content" is an important metric (among many) when deciding whether or not a thing is of value to a person. Fez would have sucked if there was only one puzzle-application for the crypto-alphabet, Super Meat Boy would have sucked if there was only one wall jump. Those games were great because they did new and exciting things, but they also contained the right amount of content.

Now, if the word was being employed by critics the way it is applied by CEOs you might have a point, but it's not. Someone like Ryan Davis can give you an in-depth and thoughtful critique of a game that also makes reference to the presence or absence of content. His employment of that word does not negate his other thoughts about a game, they're just one metric he uses to evaluate things.

#12 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

#13 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@hailinel: Your right, that isn't what art is created for, but it still remains that video games are entertainment first and foremost, or at least the overwhelming majority of them are. A similar majority are also products. If you consider art something created by a skilled individual that is supposed to cater to an individual's desires outside of sustaining life, sure, video games are technically art. But entertainment is still a better term to describe them. Art is not just pretty pictures. If it were, just about everyone would be an "artist."

You've yet to really disagree with anything I've said except the core of my argument. I said that video games contain art of various kinds much like other entertainment mediums. But entertainment comes first. A man can be many things, but some things are more important than others. If a man has a family, a child and a wife; if he also has a menial job but no career; if he also has a brother and sister and mother; if he also has cancer, some of these would be more accurate to describe him than others. Being a Data Entry Entity is probably not something he'd use to describe himself before something like "Father" or "husband." Another example: I am a lot of things, but I would pick "American" before a lot of things, none of which, obviously, are exclusive from being an American but are not the same thing as being an American. I wouldn't call myself an "Earthling" I would call myself an American. Two very different things that, yes, are both accurate, but one is the one that would come first and be most important and most applicable in situations. For example, legally speaking I'm pretty much always going to be tried as an American, not as an "Earthling." I have rights as an American, not as an "Earthling." I am proud to be an American, not to be an "Earthling." I contain Earth blood (or so they say) but I am an American, not an Earthling.

Artistic Entertainment is, in my eyes, very much the same. While it contains and is created with art, it is created to be entertainment. Not art. As a whole, it's a product to be sold for the purposes of entertaining people. Not for the purposes of expressing the creativity or imagination of a human . Generally speaking, anyway.

You want these things to be art, and so they are art to you. I have no attachment to what they are, and see them for what they are. A collection of assets created to entertain. They are not simple "expressions of human creative skill or imagination" or whatever the dictionary defines art as. They have a purpose, which art does not. It's supposed to be enjoyed, and I think most of your argument completely ignores the original argument made by the original poster: that games should be here to be enjoyed, not reduced to parts or fractions or formulas.

By all means, look at things that are not at all whole as a single piece, treat them as an "object" of something that can't be created as a single object in that way. That's totally cool and fine by me, I think it's awesome that people want to get that deep into games. But that doesn't make them art. They are entertainment because it's what they are supposed to be. It's what they were explicitly created to be and do. There is no changing that.

#14 Posted by Hailinel (23913 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

No. His argument came largely from a demonstration of one point. He wasn't saying that Terminator 2 is a bad film; only from that from the perspective of the argument he was using, Terminator is a superior film.

#15 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

No. His argument came largely from a demonstration of one point. He wasn't saying that Terminator 2 is a bad film; only from that from the perspective of the argument he was using, Terminator is a superior film.

I figured that's what he meant, thus my comparison to those who prefer the first Star Wars over the second. They aren't necessarily deriding the second, only confirming a greater appreciation of the former. I would just say those people are mistaken. ha.

#16 Edited by Hailinel (23913 posts) -

You've yet to really disagree with anything I've said except the core of my argument.

Lack of statement doesn't equate to lack of disagreement. My intent was to argue against the core of your argument, after all.

A video game may be entertainment first and foremost, but that doesn't mean that it isn't art, or that it shouldn't be viewed as art. And the idea that art doesn't have a purpose is ignorance, pure and simple. Art is meant to entertain, to educate, to invoke some form of emotional and/or intellectual response. The technical methods behind the creation of that art may vary, whether it be a computer, camera, paintbrush or kiln, the intent is the same. To suggest hat art has no purpose is to not understand the purpose of art.

#17 Posted by Clonedzero (4091 posts) -

Content is a good thing.

If its a really flat game, with pretty solid core mechanics, yet it only has a few maps/levels. It's single player takes roughly 4-6 hours to complete and its multiplayer isn't quite up to snuff. Yeah i'll say its not enough content to warrant a $60 purchase.

Yes a game should be fun, it should be interesting, and thought provoking if it's suited for that sort of thing. Yet, a game shouldn't be able to get away with being pretty thin on content.

I just bought Injustice: Gods Among Us the other day. Great game actually, but its a fighting game. I expected a flimsy story-mode i can beat in an hour, solid couch versus and online play.

What did i get with Injustice? I got a fairly long and well done storymode, "Star-Labs" which is like unique challenges, like fighting as superman against batman when he has kryptoniyte(sp?) batarangs, a wide range of multiplayer online options, and fantastic couch versus. Not to mention all these crazy modifiers to non-story "campaigns". Alot more content than i thought i'd be getting, which is a GOOD THING.

Regardless of the quality of the experience, i should walk away feeling good that i bought that game. There are times where i feel like games fall short of that, and often times its because of a lack of content. If your game is single player only and really short, and you're charging alot for it, it better damn well be one of the best experiences i've had all year.

Personally i rarely buy indie games, or stuff like XBLA games. Why? It feels risky to me. I've gotten games on XBLA that were fun for 2 hours, but they costed me 15 bucks, sure if you wanna get naggy about it thats like 4 cups of coffee, or a movie ticket and a subway sammich, but hell. I expect more from games than i do other mediums.

Another recent purchase of mine was Gears of War: Judgement. I felt that game lacked content, a common complaint about that game. The campaign was beaten co-op on hardcore difficulty by me and my brother in a single afternoon. There was a severe lack of multiplayer maps and game modes in it. Only FOUR maps at launch for standard multiplayer game modes, and 4 maps for the unique overrun gamemode. The survival gamemode which replaced horde was just a one sided overrun with waves of enemies. I actually really liked the game, i thought what they did with the bonus objectives during the campaign was super fun, and the gameplay changes they made to multiplayer was pretty cool too. It's just the game does not have enough in it to keep it interesting.

So, long post short. Content is important and absolutely should be on the minds of developers / publishers, especially when setting the price for a game. If its a fun and short romp, make it cheap. If its an involved and lengthy game with lots to do, then sell it at full price.

Online
#18 Posted by Tarsier (1057 posts) -

its the word businessmen use to describe the art theyve murdered.

#19 Edited by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

The amount of content a game has is a perfectly valid way to judge a game. As you've stated above cost-value is an important ideal to consumers, I don't want to be paying $60 for a 2 hour experience that'll never play again. That's not a good deal, and for some it breaks a certain point where it feels like they've been scammed. It comes from an era of video games when games were long and challenging so you'd have to put more quarters into the machine if you wanted to get the highscore. And if a game doesn't meet those expectations, dismissiveness is just natural.

#20 Edited by StarvingGamer (8016 posts) -

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

EDIT: But to actually reply to your post, games are expensive. At least the ones where "content" typically enters the discussion are expensive. With a $6 book you don't care as much and $13 movies are a known quantity, but when you're dropping $60 at once it's important to know what's in the package.

And notice that when it comes to games where the purest expression is happening, no one is worried about content. That's because they're $5 indie games. No one was worried about the lack of multiplayer in Year Walk. No one asked how many levels and modes there are in Ridiculous Fishing. No one's bitching about the lack of playable characters in Cart Life.

$60 games need to sell in order to justify their budgets of tens of millions of dollars. They need content in order to sell. If BioShock Infinite was only 3 hour long, no way would I have bought it at full price. I, like most people, am not made out of money.

#21 Posted by Winternet (8006 posts) -

Games are art and, just like movies, there is good art and bad art. There is artistic value. There is artistic integrity. Just because a movie is shitty doesn't turn into not art. It just turns into shitty art. Same with games, music, painting and other forms of art.

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

That was terrible.

#22 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2129 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

That was terrible.

Yet so fantastic.

#23 Edited by Letter11 (29 posts) -

Thanks for commenting everyone. There's some really interesting discussion here and I want to reply to everyone so let's get to it!

@oldirtybearon said:

I feel the same way about the word and its use in relation to art. It feels so dismissive. Like you said, you're taking a piece of art and reducing it to statistics and values based on "the things in it" as opposed to the greater whole of the piece. It just feels gross. It's a suit thing to say. Anyone who has any appreciation at all for art of any kind has no business referring to an artist's labour as "content."

Seriously. Refer to your favourite book or favourite album or favourite whatever as a piece of "content" and try not to feel like the biggest goddamn sleaze bag afterward.

Yeah, this exactly how I feel. Amen brother. Also, "ODB" huh? I see what you did there, nice.

@mordeaniischaos said:

Generally very much agree, but there's a limit. At some point, there needs to be enough content to sustain and support the business and price as well as to justify the art. Content is a good thing so long as it isn't chosen over craft. Look at Skyrim; 200 hours of awesome content.

Regardless of the artsy fartsy shit, people want to be entertained. And they want a decent bit of content. They don't want to right a 27 page paper on what they just played, they just want to have a good time and spend a few hours playing a good game. As excellent as something like Journey is (it certainly is one of the most impressive pieces of interactive entertainment I've consumed, and lists pretty high in my personal favorites) it still disappoints me that it had a price tag like it did, with the amount of content in it.

Also, most games should absolutely have multiplayer. It just needs to stop being multiplayer. Put coop in more games that is just the game but with other people. I can think of so many games that would be awesome if you could just experience the same game as the singleplayer experience but with a buddy. All I really need is networking code added in, I don't really care about logic loops or gameplay balance. Don't knock multiplayer. It's a good addition or it's a useless addition, but it rarely detracts from the experience.

Also, most games are entertainment, not art. I made a pass for Journey because I knew it would be an experience unlike anything else. I would not do the same for the same amount of content in a Gears of War XBLA game at that price.

Right, an awesome game for your money is never a bad thing. I just don't want the developer to forced to include things because it is demanded by the environment the word "content" creates. Skyrim is a vast and expansive universe because that is what Betheseda set out to create from the get go. They weren't working on a linear game and a publisher told them, "hey add some side quests, because you know, content."

You brought up multi-player and it brought up a glaring example of how artistic intent was sacrificed at the behest of "content". Spec Ops the line was an interesting game that was definitely trying to veer from the norm in terms of what we think of from a shooter. It's clear the developers had much in mind of what they wanted to express to the player. However the publisher deemed, a multi-player mode a necessity and thus the "content" made it into the final product. The lead designer made it no secret that he thought the multi-player detracted from the experience he was trying to create, but in the name of "content" it needed to be there.

Now I don't want you to think I have anything against multi-player, because I certainly don't. But I only want it to be there when it was the developers intention to do so. What if that budget was used to bolster the games they actually wanted to create? Could Spec Ops have been even better?

@hailinel said:

@mordeaniischaos said:

Generally very much agree, but there's a limit. At some point, there needs to be enough content to sustain and support the business and price as well as to justify the art. Content is a good thing so long as it isn't chosen over craft. Look at Skyrim; 200 hours of awesome content.

Regardless of the artsy fartsy shit, people want to be entertained. And they want a decent bit of content. They don't want to right a 27 page paper on what they just played, they just want to have a good time and spend a few hours playing a good game. As excellent as something like Journey is (it certainly is one of the most impressive pieces of interactive entertainment I've consumed, and lists pretty high in my personal favorites) it still disappoints me that it had a price tag like it did, with the amount of content in it.

Also, most games should absolutely have multiplayer. It just needs to stop being multiplayer. Put coop in more games that is just the game but with other people. I can think of so many games that would be awesome if you could just experience the same game as the singleplayer experience but with a buddy. All I really need is networking code added in, I don't really care about logic loops or gameplay balance. Don't knock multiplayer. It's a good addition or it's a useless addition, but it rarely detracts from the experience.

Also, most games are entertainment, not art. I made a pass for Journey because I knew it would be an experience unlike anything else. I would not do the same for the same amount of content in a Gears of War XBLA game at that price.

Art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive. That Die Hard is entertaining does not prevent it from also being art.

Preach it.

@thedudeofgaming said:

There are far better reasons to hate the world.

Er, I think maybe you misread the title? I hate the "word", not the "world".

@truthtellah said:

It's simply the very real growing pains of an industry finding its way as both an art form and a business. Videogames are still young, and just as classical art has at different times of history been considered more of a business(the Romans regarded artists like those who worked in the fields, serving a simple need for content), videogames have to find a good balance. As they grow, there will be a bigger business for them, focusing on content, and this will actually open up smaller projects to explore greater -art-. Such is the history of all major art forms. We shouldn't hate "content". Instead, we should embrace the reality that videogames are changing thanks to their own popularity and find ways to get what we want out of the full range of options in front of us.

What a brilliant and balanced perspective. Games are fledgling medium as they expand in popularity and commercial success they allow more room for experimentation.

Alas, I completely agree with your points, but I can't help but still be aggravated every time I hear the debasing word "content".

@hailinel said:

@mordeaniischaos said:

@hailinel: Entertainment is entertainment. It contains art of many kinds, from performance arts to computer generated art to traditional 2D art to sculpting and a million other things. However, entertainment is what it is. It is created to entertain. A game isn't art, it's a collection of art and math and lots of other things. It is even made by artists, but most games are not art.

The difference between entertainment and art is the intention of the resulting product. Art and entertainment have very different intentions. Die Hard contains art, but it is entertainment ultimately. Die Hard wasn't created to be dissected and critiqued. It was created to be a certain length (ie, having a certain amount of content) and medium and to be entertaining so as to encourage people to pay to watch it. That's not art, even if it contains art.

If you want to treat Gears of War as art in the same way you would treat a classical painting, go right ahead. I'll stick with understanding the difference and look at them accordingly.

Art can be entertaining; it's not all Frenchmen in striped shirts gazing in existential thought. Entertainment can also be art; Journey may be artistic, but no one would care about it as they do if it weren't also entertaining.

To put it in perspective, theatrical plays are art; performance art, to be more precise. Yet these works of art are primarily meant to entertain and evoke a reaction from the audience. But they're also performed with the intent to make money. That's why Cats ran on Broadway for decades; it was a show that consistently raked in hefty box office returns year in and year out. If the profits weren't there, they would have moved on to other productions that did make money.

Art isn't specifically created to be dissected and critiqued; that's just what happens when people analyze it. I majored in Cinema Studies in college; I spent four years analyzing the hell out of movies ranging from the most obscure independent productions to the biggest box office takers. I had a professor who could state an argument clearly on how and why a movie like Speed or the original Terminator are excellent action films, and why Terminator 2 is an inferior work. This is analysis done without any sense of irony or trying to be stuffy; it's just digging deep and understanding how the films compare in structure, theme, presentation, and so on. Yes, in school we tended to use a lot of jargon that goes largely unused by anyone outside of academia, but the intent is to analyze film as an art all the same. These same lessons I learned in studying film can be easily applied to video games, and some writers already do just that.

All of my yes. Although I do find Frenchmen in striped shirts gazing in existential thought entertaining.

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

For realsies.

@greggd said:

@hailinel: Exactly. Vinny said it best on the Hotspot, though I'm having a VERY hard time finding his explanation isolated to share with you all.

Are you still looking? I'd love to hear it if you can find it!

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

"Come with me if you want to live!" Isn't that already enough to make it more awesome?

@suicrat said:

Why must quantity and quality always be at odds with those who want more "art" in things? Do you really think there is no beauty in delivering a product on-time and under budget? Is there really no beauty in producing an item that people wish to consume? And, considering the total bloodbath that has been the corporate video game world in the last year in comparison to the explosive growth of independent development, do you honestly think that treating video games like toilet paper or beef jerky is the best way to maximize shareholder value?

I think "content" is an important metric (among many) when deciding whether or not a thing is of value to a person. Fez would have sucked if there was only one puzzle-application for the crypto-alphabet, Super Meat Boy would have sucked if there was only one wall jump. Those games were great because they did new and exciting things, but they also

contained

the right amount of

content

.

Now, if the word was being employed by critics the way it is applied by CEOs you might have a point, but it's not. Someone like Ryan Davis can give you an in-depth and thoughtful critique of a game that also makes reference to the presence or absence of content. His employment of that word does not negate his other thoughts about a game, they're just one metric he uses to evaluate things.

I think people who view the quantity versus art argument the way I do would say that there is no exact science to this. I just don't want quantity to be increased at the expense of original intent. Because at that point the quality suffers.

Think of any great television show that ran too long. At some point the writers begin to prolong the show at the behest of the studio heads because it's a well established name that brings in add revenue. Eventually the viewership becomes upset at the drop in quality, and the show tapers off into an ignominious end. My point being, well respected art will generally be met with critical and commercial success. But when we attempt to exploit and dilute it is when the problem begins. Again there is no clear metric, but when a developer is forced to add filler because "content" demands it, this is a red flag.

I talk about it a bit more in a reply below, but I think much of this problem lies in the inflexible $60 retail model. "Content" must be added to justify the price, often times sacrificing the developers vision. Fortunately the downloadable space is giving us a bit more flexibility in this area, I just hope that publishers will eventually realize not every game that his the store shelf's must be full price.

I'm not quite sure I understand the point about beef jerky and toilet paper, but I think that games are infinitely more complex than basic consumer products. As Shigeru Miyamoto has said, "A rushed game is bad forever, a delayed game is good eventually." So I'm all for meeting deadlines, and originally established budget constraints but a good game sells well, and a bad game doesn't.

Quality is derived from passion, and quality sells. "Content", creates and environment where quantity is valued over passion, thus reducing quality, thus reducing profit.

Lastly, yes I agree when a well respected journalist like Mr. Davis uses the word it's in service of providing their readers with a well reasoned critique of the game. My only problem is that the word "content" creates the environment in which a few very powerful decision makers use it to dictate what game developers can do and what they can't. It limits them, and it constraints them.

That is why I attack the word alone.

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

I think you delve into and interesting place when you talk about what is objectively "better" than something else, because at the end of the day it's all about perception. For me though, T2 and Empires Strikes Back for sure.

@mordeaniischaos said:

@hailinel: Your right, that isn't what art is created for, but it still remains that video games are entertainment first and foremost, or at least the overwhelming majority of them are. A similar majority are also products. If you consider art something created by a skilled individual that is supposed to cater to an individual's desires outside of sustaining life, sure, video games are technically art. But entertainment is still a better term to describe them. Art is not just pretty pictures. If it were, just about everyone would be an "artist."

You've yet to really disagree with anything I've said except the core of my argument. I said that video games contain art of various kinds much like other entertainment mediums. But entertainment comes first. A man can be many things, but some things are more important than others. If a man has a family, a child and a wife; if he also has a menial job but no career; if he also has a brother and sister and mother; if he also has cancer, some of these would be more accurate to describe him than others. Being a Data Entry Entity is probably not something he'd use to describe himself before something like "Father" or "husband." Another example: I am a lot of things, but I would pick "American" before a lot of things, none of which, obviously, are exclusive from being an American but are not the same thing as being an American. I wouldn't call myself an "Earthling" I would call myself an American. Two very different things that, yes, are both accurate, but one is the one that would come first and be most important and most applicable in situations. For example, legally speaking I'm pretty much always going to be tried as an American, not as an "Earthling." I have rights as an American, not as an "Earthling." I am proud to be an American, not to be an "Earthling." I contain Earth blood (or so they say) but I am an American, not an Earthling.

Artistic Entertainment is, in my eyes, very much the same. While it contains and is created with art, it is created to be entertainment. Not art. As a whole, it's a product to be sold for the purposes of entertaining people. Not for the purposes of expressing the creativity or imagination of a human . Generally speaking, anyway.

You want these things to be art, and so they are art to you. I have no attachment to what they are, and see them for what they are. A collection of assets created to entertain. They are not simple "expressions of human creative skill or imagination" or whatever the dictionary defines art as. They have a purpose, which art does not. It's supposed to be enjoyed, and I think most of your argument completely ignores the original argument made by the original poster: that games should be here to be enjoyed, not reduced to parts or fractions or formulas.

By all means, look at things that are not at all whole as a single piece, treat them as an "object" of something that can't be created as a single object in that way. That's totally cool and fine by me, I think it's awesome that people want to get that deep into games. But that doesn't make them art. They are entertainment because it's what they are supposed to be. It's what they were explicitly created to be and do. There is no changing that.

You make some more interesting points, but like @hailinel I tend to disagree with you. The only think that makes art, art, is the intent to express oneself. Entertainment and art are not mutually exclusive. We are all artists in some way, but collectively we attribute more value to a particular artist's work because they resonate with more of us.

But then again, art is all about perspective. So like you were insinuating, does art cease to be art if I don't perceive it as such?

Lastly, I think all art has a purpose, which is expression. And in all mediums, expression that resonates can be monetized. Sure, maybe some lean on this more than others, but from my view even the most soulless cash-in wanted you to feel something. It's just that the art might be a bit more obfuscated by the meddler that is "content".

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

No. His argument came largely from a demonstration of one point. He wasn't saying that Terminator 2 is a bad film; only from that from the perspective of the argument he was using, Terminator is a superior film.

Indeed, although I can't get enough of Terminator 2.

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel: Wait, you had a professor who regarded Terminator 2 to be an -inferior- work?

I'm sure he is very knowledgeable and good at what he does, but... that dude be straight trippin from crazy sauce on T2.

Yep. It's been many years since I heard him make this argument in a lecture, so I can't recall all of the details, but his argument was based around how Speed and Terminator have a very focused, driving force behind them (This bus will explode if it slows down, this robot is trying to kill this woman and nothing seems to stop it), and in comparison, Terminator 2 doesn't hold to that as well as the first. I wish I could elaborate more, but as I said, it's been years, (over a decade, seriously O_o) so the finer details have been lost to time.

I imagine he'd also say that Empire Strikes Back was an inferior movie based on it being a more conflicted and personal film than A New Hope, which was more of a continuous rollercoaster ride. T2 was Terminator looking in on itself. The original Terminator was a classic, but T2 was a classic that dared to think about itself and ask real questions. The original was better entertainment, but T2 is the more artful of the two with the most to say.

Though, ha, I certainly don't expect you to have to remember what his original argument was exactly. Everyone has their own opinions. Even smart people can be horribly wrong. ;)

No. His argument came largely from a demonstration of one point. He wasn't saying that Terminator 2 is a bad film; only from that from the perspective of the argument he was using, Terminator is a superior film.

I figured that's what he meant, thus my comparison to those who prefer the first Star Wars over the second. They aren't necessarily deriding the second, only confirming a greater appreciation of the former. I would just say those people are mistaken. ha.

Yeah, preferring something over the other doesn't mean one is condemned to derision. But sorry man, Empire Strikes Back is the bestest!

@hailinel said:

@mordeaniischaos said:

You've yet to really disagree with anything I've said except the core of my argument.

Lack of statement doesn't equate to lack of disagreement. My intent was to argue against the core of your argument, after all.

A video game may be entertainment first and foremost, but that doesn't mean that it isn't art, or that it shouldn't be viewed as art. And the idea that art doesn't have a purpose is ignorance, pure and simple. Art is meant to entertain, to educate, to invoke some form of emotional and/or intellectual response. The technical methods behind the creation of that art may vary, whether it be a computer, camera, paintbrush or kiln, the intent is the same. To suggest hat art has no purpose is to not understand the purpose of art.

You're pretty good at this. Remind me not to disagree with you.

@clonedzero said:

Content is a good thing.

If its a really flat game, with pretty solid core mechanics, yet it only has a few maps/levels. It's single player takes roughly 4-6 hours to complete and its multiplayer isn't quite up to snuff. Yeah i'll say its not enough content to warrant a $60 purchase.

Yes a game should be fun, it should be interesting, and thought provoking if it's suited for that sort of thing. Yet, a game shouldn't be able to get away with being pretty thin on content.

I just bought Injustice: Gods Among Us the other day. Great game actually, but its a fighting game. I expected a flimsy story-mode i can beat in an hour, solid couch versus and online play.

What did i get with Injustice? I got a fairly long and well done storymode, "Star-Labs" which is like unique challenges, like fighting as superman against batman when he has kryptoniyte(sp?) batarangs, a wide range of multiplayer online options, and fantastic couch versus. Not to mention all these crazy modifiers to non-story "campaigns". Alot more content than i thought i'd be getting, which is a GOOD THING.

Regardless of the quality of the experience, i should walk away feeling good that i bought that game. There are times where i feel like games fall short of that, and often times its because of a lack of content. If your game is single player only and really short, and you're charging alot for it, it better damn well be one of the best experiences i've had all year.

Personally i rarely buy indie games, or stuff like XBLA games. Why? It feels risky to me. I've gotten games on XBLA that were fun for 2 hours, but they costed me 15 bucks, sure if you wanna get naggy about it thats like 4 cups of coffee, or a movie ticket and a subway sammich, but hell. I expect more from games than i do other mediums.

Another recent purchase of mine was Gears of War: Judgement. I felt that game lacked content, a common complaint about that game. The campaign was beaten co-op on hardcore difficulty by me and my brother in a single afternoon. There was a severe lack of multiplayer maps and game modes in it. Only FOUR maps at launch for standard multiplayer game modes, and 4 maps for the unique overrun gamemode. The survival gamemode which replaced horde was just a one sided overrun with waves of enemies. I actually really liked the game, i thought what they did with the bonus objectives during the campaign was super fun, and the gameplay changes they made to multiplayer was pretty cool too. It's just the game does not have enough in it to keep it interesting.

So, long post short. Content is important and absolutely should be on the minds of developers / publishers, especially when setting the price for a game. If its a fun and short romp, make it cheap. If its an involved and lengthy game with lots to do, then sell it at full price.

Right, my indictment is not on the proposition of good value for your money, but the word "content" itself and the connotations it engenders. It can cause developers to stray from their original intent and add a sort of "filler" in the name of content. With Injustice it was clear that NetherRealm Studios was intent on making a great story mode in a fighting game, which is something they are becoming known for. It was their artistic imperative to do so, and in turn it made the game more enticing to you and me. They didn't do so at he behest of the word "content" and that's the only thing I'm attacking here. Developers sacrificing original intent in the name of "content". They were purposefully thinking of a way they could build on their game to make it a more satisfying experience, not adding extraneous "content" to place the back of the box. So I'm not saying that getting more for your money is bad, but that adding things to hope people will be willing to pay more can detract from the overall experience. I think this is a problem partially created by the $60 standard price model. "Content" gives the publisher the right to decide that every game should be set at $60, when realistically not every game was meant to be released that way.

@tarsier said:

its the word businessmen use to describe the art theyve murdered.

Haha, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic. But either way, bravo.

@deathstriker666 said:

The amount of content a game has is a perfectly valid way to judge a game. As you've stated above cost-value is an important ideal to consumers, I don't want to be paying $60 for a 2 hour experience that'll never play again. That's not a good deal, and for some it breaks a certain point where it feels like they've been scammed. It comes from an era of video games when games were long and challenging so you'd have to put more quarters into the machine if you wanted to get the highscore. And if a game doesn't meet those expectations, dismissiveness is just natural.

You're right, the cost-value proposition is an important one. But I worry the chains that word "content" brings encourages developers to focus on ancillary features which they don't really feel like contributes to their game, just for the sake of saying it's in there. It sort of makes me feel like the the standard $60 pricing model is part of the problem as well. Even console releases should think about pricing their game in relation to what they're trying to accomplish. But this discussion opens the can worms that is the currently flawed publisher model. For example, Square-Enix selling millions of copies and losing money.

@starvinggamer said:

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

EDIT: But to actually reply to your post, games are expensive. At least the ones where "content" typically enters the discussion are expensive. With a $6 book you don't care as much and $13 movies are a known quantity, but when you're dropping $60 at once it's important to know what's in the package.

And notice that when it comes to games where the purest expression is happening, no one is worried about content. That's because they're $5 indie games. No one was worried about the lack of multiplayer in Year Walk. No one asked how many levels and modes there are in Ridiculous Fishing. No one's bitching about the lack of playable characters in Cart Life.

$60 games need to sell in order to justify their budgets of tens of millions of dollars. They need content in order to sell. If BioShock Infinite was only 3 hour long, no way would I have bought it at full price. I, like most people, am not made out of money.

This joke is the best and the worst simultaneously. Thank you for making it.

Your point about when "content" enters the discussion is a valid one. Indie games are usually at a lower price point, and thus allow more room for artistic expression. But I think that there are unique experiences that can only be derived from larger budget games, and I don't want them to be completely at the mercy of the word "content". Why does a larger budget/price point mean a game can't be expressive? There is a precarious battle here that I think is leaning strongly in one direction as of late, I would just like to see it shift, if only a little.

With Square-Enix having the troubles they are it signals to me that the current publisher model needs to change. What if Tomb Raider didn't have it's multi-player "content" box checked off, would it have made the cut in terms of profitability? I think we need more flexibility in how games are budgeted and priced, but I think the demands of "content" keep us trapped in a counter-productive loop.

@winternet said:

Games are art and, just like movies, there is good art and bad art. There is artistic value. There is artistic integrity. Just because a movie is shitty doesn't turn into not art. It just turns into shitty art. Same with games, music, painting and other forms of art.

@starvinggamer said:

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

That was terrible.

Aww, I like his joke. But yes, our perception as to the quality of art doesn't cease to make it art. Does a joke I don't find funny make it not a joke?

@shiftymagician said:

@winternet said:

@starvinggamer said:

Sounds like you're discontent with dis content.

That was terrible.

Yet so fantastic.

Yeah, seriously.

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

Thanks again guys. Stay awesome!

#24 Edited by StarvingGamer (8016 posts) -

@letter11: Don't get me wrong, I'd love to live in a world where budgets were of no concern to anybody and all that mattered was artistic vision, but that's simply not the case. The games business is incredibly volatile. With the stakes as high as they are, a single flop is often all it takes to shutter an entire studio for good.

Like you said, there are some experiences that can only be achieved with a big budget. But the bigger the budget, the larger the risk, the greater the concern for effective risk-mitigation. It may not matter to you, or to me, or to any number of other hardcore gamers, but we're simply not numerous enough to sustain the market on our own. The $20 million+ games need to pull from the mass market where perceived value is much more significant. Parents that buy their kids a game every two months aren't going to be very happy when the $60 nouveau art-piece they bought their kid (that received stellar reviews) turns out to only be an afternoon's worth of content.

Now, whether or not including multiplayer in Tomb Raider got enough responsibly irresponsible parents to sign off on the purchase to recoup the additional cost is difficult to parse, but I'm no businessman. I don't have data on consumer spending habits and focus testing, but Eidos and Square-Enix do. It would be arrogant of me to assume that they don't know what they're doing on such a broad level.

EDIT: And good on you for all the replies. I appreciate it when an OP follows through.

#25 Edited by Wikitoups (777 posts) -

I had found out recently that I don't like the word content when paired with consumption..and Jesus Christ I had been hearing that alot.

#26 Posted by TruthTellah (8537 posts) -

Good on you for replying to everything; I enjoy when an OP does that.

I agree that "content" can be a dirty word, but then, it's not inherently dirty. Some in the art world(I'm a painter) consider "business" and "industry" to be dirty words when used in conjunction with art, but they're part of the reality we live in. It's like the uglier side of freedom. Without that, we wouldn't have the whole picture. We must work so we might have fun. These are just things that we must realize as people and mediums grow up.

#27 Posted by Mrsignerman44 (1100 posts) -

content or content?

#28 Posted by Slag (4016 posts) -

With any product there needs to be an appropriate mix of quantity and quality of content. You can have too little and there can be too much. None of that matters however if the Quality is bad.

Unfortunately as you noted Quantity despite being a poor proxy measuring stick for Quality is often used that way.

I really don't care if XYZ rpg has 100 sidequest if they are all fetch quests. If it had 20 good sidequests with story arcs, that would be better.

#29 Edited by Letter11 (29 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

@letter11: Don't get me wrong, I'd love to live in a world where budgets were of no concern to anybody and all that mattered was artistic vision, but that's simply not the case. The games business is incredibly volatile. With the stakes as high as they are, a single flop is often all it takes to shutter an entire studio for good.

Like you said, there are some experiences that can only be achieved with a big budget. But the bigger the budget, the larger the risk, the greater the concern for effective risk-mitigation. It may not matter to you, or to me, or to any number of other hardcore gamers, but we're simply not numerous enough to sustain the market on our own. The $20 million+ games need to pull from the mass market where perceived value is much more significant. Parents that buy their kids a game every two months aren't going to be very happy when the $60 nouveau art-piece they bought their kid (that received stellar reviews) turns out to only be an afternoon's worth of content.

Now, whether or not including multiplayer in Tomb Raider got enough responsibly irresponsible parents to sign off on the purchase to recoup the additional cost is difficult to parse, but I'm no businessman. I don't have data on consumer spending habits and focus testing, but Eidos and Square-Enix do. It would be arrogant of me to assume that they don't know what they're doing on such a broad level.

EDIT: And good on you for all the replies. I appreciate it when an OP follows through.

You're right, the small amount of us who are deeply invested in games don't make a broad impact and I guess I have to come to terms with that. I still think that a game needs to a be a satisfying experience whatever that entails, but the atmosphere created by the word "content" encourages superfluous additions and meaningless DLC. A balance needs to be found between business and art, and lately in my view, it's been one sided.

As far as the companies in question go however, perhaps it is bit arrogant to assume I know better. But if the financial crisis and the politics encompassing many recent tragedies have taught me anything, it's that just because you're in a position of power, doesn't mean you know what you're doing. Question everyone, and everything. Especially a company that isn't smart enough to listen to it's rabid, raving fanbase, desperate to give them money.

Thanks for the props. I'm convinced to keep trying with this blog thing.

@wikitoups said:

I had found out recently that I don't like the word content when paired with consumption..and Jesus Christ I had been hearing that alot.

I hear you, now don't let me get started on the word "consumer".

@truthtellah said:

Good on you for replying to everything; I enjoy when an OP does that.

I agree that "content" can be a dirty word, but then, it's not inherently dirty. Some in the art world(I'm a painter) consider "business" and "industry" to be dirty words when used in conjunction with art, but they're part of the reality we live in. It's like the uglier side of freedom. Without that, we wouldn't have the whole picture. We must work so we might have fun. These are just things that we must realize as people and mediums grow up.

Thanks. And as far your comment goes I, yeah I get that. I imagine in the world of painters business lingo is even more aggravating to some, but like you said, there is a natural balance to be found between art and business. As the medium expands and we consistently see a wider spectrum of expression hopefully I'll get used to it. I don't want to be one of those guys forever shaking my fist at the "man" while I lay in my death bed.

Also, so cool that you're a painter. My best drawing ever happened when I was 6 years old. It was a bright green T-Rex. I was very proud. I haven't produced anything better since.

@mrsignerman44 said:

content or content?

Not this one: Life is good, I am content.

But this one: This game is good, but there isn't enough content.

This reminds me of a kid in my high school Spanish class. One day we learned some words that have multiple meanings.. He proceeded to complain about how Spanish is stupid and confusing. My wonderful teacher just stared at him, dumbfounded. I don't think he ever figured out why.

@slag said:

With any product there needs to be an appropriate mix of quantity and quality of content. You can have too little and there can be too much. None of that matters however if the Quality is bad.

Unfortunately as you noted Quantity despite being a poor proxy measuring stick for Quality is often used that way.

I really don't care if XYZ rpg has 100 sidequest if they are all fetch quests. If it had 20 good sidequests with story arcs, that would be better.

Yeah, exactly. Quantity is not quality. And the word "content" in my view, perpetuates the idea that it indeed is.

#30 Edited by Mrsignerman44 (1100 posts) -
@letter11 said:
@mrsignerman44 said:

content or content?

Not this one: Life is good, I am content.

But this one: This game is good, but there isn't enough content.

This reminds me of a kid in my high school Spanish class. One day we learned some words that have multiple meanings.. He proceeded to complain about how Spanish is stupid and confusing. My wonderful teacher just stared at him, dumbfounded. I don't think he ever figured out why.

Just making a joke brah no need to assume that I don't know about double meanings. Anyway, I really liked the piece but I didn't feel the need to touch on anything that was already said in this thread. I agree with what you're saying about content making art feel dismissed but a lot of people(not me) just aren't interested in appreciating all of the work that goes into a product and just want to get more bang for their buck. It's stupid, but I can understand where they're coming from, and from a marketing standpoint it's been solid so far.

#31 Posted by Letter11 (29 posts) -

@mrsignerman44: I'm sorry it came off that way! I wasn't trying to insult you with that story, I thought you would find it funny. Sometimes it's hard to express yourself through the interwebs.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

#32 Posted by Mrsignerman44 (1100 posts) -

@letter11 said:

@mrsignerman44: I'm sorry it came off that way! I wasn't trying to insult you with that story, I thought you would find it funny. Sometimes it's hard to express yourself through the interwebs.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Oh, I apologize if I sounded defensive as well then. I'm just used to a lot of sarcasm on forums, it really is hard to have conversations without a tone of voice included. I knew a fellow one piece fan couldn't be a jerk, thanks for taking the time to apologize man!

#33 Edited by theguy (796 posts) -

Calling games "art" to me feels kind of wrong. I can completely understand the the argument for games as art but I feels like calling a daytime soap "art". Maybe it's technically correct but it feels wrong. I can't really articulate it that well. I normally stay away from the "games as art" argument but since your hate for the word content kind of hangs on it...