flOw as commentary on the stagnation of games?

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Psytek

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#1  Edited By Psytek

This is something that didn't come to me until I'd played flOw for quite a while, and had got used to the mechanics. I had this sudden thought that flOw, at its core, carries a really strong message about how a lot of games fail to innovate.

Obviously the 'actual' innovation in the game like the less goal-oriented approach, and the control system are really important. But I also thought it was really poignant how flOw takes the concept of levels/areas/stages in games, and really shows what you can do just by re-interpreting the status quo.

You don't have loading screens between areas, you can go back or forwards whenever you want, to effectively any part of the game and its a really refreshing contrast with the standard idea of "kill all the dudes in this level, go to exit door, load next level". In fact that's the way I found myself trying to play the game to begin with, but eventually I saw that you didn't have to play like that, and you can move through the world backwards and forwards however you want.

It made me stop and think how boring some games are because they just stick to the tried-and-true formula of "level 1 -> level 2 ..."
Of course there are lots of games like that which are good, but I just think its really great to see people breaking out of the established ideas in gaming, and I really love how so many PSN games are following this pattern.

Thoughts?

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Vaxadrin

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#2  Edited By Vaxadrin

I agree.

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Discorsi

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#3  Edited By Discorsi

Meh that game was still about getting huge as hell.  I thought it was pretty lame becuase there was no real point in playing it.  Once i realized that it lost it's charm but for a while i enjoyed getting more complex.

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Rowr

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#4  Edited By Rowr

I dont necessarily think the game is a "commentary" on anything, but its definitely shows what can be done with some smooth design.

If the game was a commentary on anything i think it would be on the inherent nature of life to grow and consume.

At first i wasnt really sure it was a "game" at all, but after a few minutes i realised it hides the mechanics much better than other games, and is a cleaner, smoother experience for doing so.

The challenges of the game are set by yourself, of course people who have been programmed with years of playing games that follow the standard design will hate that, but i found it refreshing and very much in keeping with the relaxed experience.

I really think its time games started pushing into the territory of not clearly explaining everything in a game, but rather let you enjoy the process of discovering/working it out for yourself. Much like a stanley kubrick movie in comparison to your typical hollywood "leave no viewer behind" production.

Psytek said:

"T I had this sudden thought that flOw, at its core, carries a really strong message about how a lot of games fail to innovate. "
I dont think the game innovates so much in mechanics, but rather design. Ii think the game shows that simpler less cluttered mechanics and design can be just as rewarding as a variety of complex mechanics and a visual barrage.

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Davvyk

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#5  Edited By Davvyk

although you could move to the next level without killing all enemys in the stage you could not complete the zone as a whole without doing that. When you got to the end the final "door" was still locked. so for me its just the same premise except for its spread over the entire chapter instead of applying it to individual levels

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atejas

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#6  Edited By atejas

In the same way that Pacman is about drug abuse.
Think about it. The maze represents the horrors of the man's own past, a labyrinth of his own mind. The ghosts represent people he has wronged in the past, come to exact revenge on him in his dreams. The 'pellets' are a disguised metaphor for a substance which lets the man confront his past, if only temporarily. Once he sobers up, he must continue living in fear of them.
The very game is about how broken this man is. Look at pacman himself- an incomplete circle.
tl;dr no, and you're reading too deep.

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lvl10Wizard

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#7  Edited By lvl10Wizard

There's nothing wrong with reading deeply into subjects and gaining multiple interpretations. Of course Pacman is about drug abuse, everybody knows that!

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deactivated-57b1d7d14d4a5

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Unless flOw changed a whole lot after it was made into a ps3 game, it didn't really do anything that hadn't been done before. It was fun for a few minutes, but that's about it.

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#9  Edited By kush

I don't  find flOw to be commentary on anything. I think the flOw is just this simple "game" you play to relax...doesn't work for me, but I know others love the game. It may be commentary on something; but not on the stagnation of video games.

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Rowr

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#10  Edited By Rowr
Davvyk said:
"although you could move to the next level without killing all enemys in the stage you could not complete the zone as a whole without doing that. When you got to the end the final "door" was still locked. so for me its just the same premise except for its spread over the entire chapter instead of applying it to individual levels"
are you sure about that? im pretty sure i completed levels without killing everything.
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BiggerBomb

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#11  Edited By BiggerBomb

I think you read a little too much into it...

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LCad

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#12  Edited By LCad

flOw is just a souped up version of Shark! Shark!, is it not?

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get2sammyb

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#13  Edited By get2sammyb

Wow... talk about searching for hidden depths. What you came up with is great if you're looking for metaphor but all I could think about while playing that game is how shit the six axis tilt controls are.

And I fear I'll think the same thing when fl0wer comes round.

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Davvyk

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#14  Edited By Davvyk
Rowr said:
"Davvyk said:
"although you could move to the next level without killing all enemys in the stage you could not complete the zone as a whole without doing that. When you got to the end the final "door" was still locked. so for me its just the same premise except for its spread over the entire chapter instead of applying it to individual levels"
are you sure about that? im pretty sure i completed levels without killing everything."
Ive deffo reached the end of a level and the final finishing gate would not be active. then going back and killing more things made it active.
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Rowr

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#15  Edited By Rowr
Davvyk said:
"Rowr said:
"Davvyk said:
"although you could move to the next level without killing all enemys in the stage you could not complete the zone as a whole without doing that. When you got to the end the final "door" was still locked. so for me its just the same premise except for its spread over the entire chapter instead of applying it to individual levels"
are you sure about that? im pretty sure i completed levels without killing everything."
Ive deffo reached the end of a level and the final finishing gate would not be active. then going back and killing more things made it activeT"
That sux. That kind of ruins the point imo.
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Davvyk

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#16  Edited By Davvyk
Rowr said:
"Davvyk said:
"Rowr said:
"Davvyk said:
"although you could move to the next level without killing all enemys in the stage you could not complete the zone as a whole without doing that. When you got to the end the final "door" was still locked. so for me its just the same premise except for its spread over the entire chapter instead of applying it to individual levels"
are you sure about that? im pretty sure i completed levels without killing everything."
Ive deffo reached the end of a level and the final finishing gate would not be active. then going back and killing more things made it activeT"
That sux. That kind of ruins the point imo."
I suppose from the design stand-point it gave the game the starting and finishing point that defines a "game" but yeah now ive thought about it it would of been cool to have just left it that you didnt have to kill things. in essence you would be making the choice to make the experience a game if you so choose.

Real world example. i could walk to work today like i normally do. or i could drive in a burnout fashion setting myself a goal of 2.9 seconds of getting there making the experience a game.

Lucky i dont own a car.
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daniel_beck_90

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#17  Edited By daniel_beck_90

Agreed

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