My call to game devs: No more trashcans, let me take you seriously!

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EpicSteve

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Edited By EpicSteve

What a totally “meh” E3, right?

While nothing at E3 was relatively new or will set the stage for preliminary excitement like Gears of War for the 360 or anything, it did highlight something that has been bothering me about videogames for so long.

It’s that games are completely stupid and are only held back by themselves.

We’re at a dividing road between titles that set out to completely immerse a player into its world like The Last of Us and games that set out to deliver a very well tuned “gamey” experience like Dark Souls or Rogue Legacy.

These gamey titles are experiences that focus on the mechanics and fine-tuning those while delivering an experience that’s simply fun. Games like Street Fighter IV and Fez aren’t necessarily trying to offer an immersive experience. But instead they revolve around a design philosophy where fun takes precedence over a greater narrative. Or at the very least wouldn’t serve well in those fancy guided demos we see on stage every year.

My issue was highlighted by the traditional guided demo we saw with games like The Division, Rainbow Six, and Call of Duty. Those guided tours through those worlds looked thrilling and better than my experience will likely be. I have heard those demos described as, “the model home of videogames.”

There is a very large place for “gamey” videogames. Divekick, amiright? I love what they do and typically prefer them to the immersive narratives. Mainly because I don’t think the story driven game has been done well a lot.

This isn’t due to a lack of vision or technology, it’s due to games like Bioshock holding on to “gamey” ideas. I would argue Bioshock leans more into the narrative driven game but holds on to too many artificial elements for me to take seriously.

I remember playing Bioshock Infinite in front of my girlfriend. She was into the sky city and all the cool narrative hooks. But after seeing me dig through trash cans every 10 seconds made it difficult to pull her in and for me to take the game seriously. Seeing a game tackle racism and religion only to be followed by an endless stream of audio logs and robbing corpses sets a very awkward tone.

Those goofy gamey elements play well in something like The Elder Scrolls, when that game is so artificial and revolves around collection stupid shit anyway. But Bioshock!? Remember how silly Joel looked in The Last of Us the second you got a flamethrower? How often did you have to stop and press ‘Square’ to collect ammo in Wolfenstein: The New Order?

I want clearing a home in Rainbow Six: Siege look as smooth as it was demoed. What will it really look like? Will that floor that’s eligible to be blown up glow yellow? Will bad guys act independently and just run after you for you to press ‘R3’ to execute a single slash of a dagger and kill them? Or will that victim (that flag) really panic? Are those walls destructible? Will I get awkward button prompts that communicate when I can infiltrate the house’s window?

I’m not begging the game industry to move forward and tackle social commentary tomorrow. However, if I’m going to have a serious discussion about a game’s narrative, I can't have the juxtaposition of half that experience being digging through trashcans and audio logs.

What do you think?

Also, I'm moving to Chicago very shortly for a job. It involves videogames! Please PM me or get with me on Twitter, @stevenbeynon for any tips on where I might want to live. I know NOTHING about the city. Any help is appreciated.

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csl316

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#1  Edited By csl316

Chicagoland is a great place to live and I don't want to leave. But read up on neighborhoods because it varies so damn much. Lincoln Park is nice, I know that much, but I stick to the suburbs.

During the E3 shows, someone mentioned that the high fidelity of The Order made any weird glitch that much more noticeable. So there's potential for immersion to increase or for little things getting way more jarring. I'm curious if digging through trash cans will decrease in the coming years to immerse you. Or if it'll increase to pad out the game.

No one knows!

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Achaemenid

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#2  Edited By Achaemenid

Screw you I like audiologs. It's fun to listen to a random day in the life of Joe Blow while running around the environment.

More seriously, I don't really think we should force a division between "serious" games and "gamey" games, I think doing so creates a false dichotomy. Games can easily be both, it's just a matter of being smart about it and understanding what "gamey" parts detract from the serious narrative and what parts don't. Digging through trashcans to eat hot dogs in the middle of Bioshock infinite's story might detract from the narrative, while in for example, Bioshock 1 I felt it did not, due to that game being very much focused on being alone and trying to survive in a hostile environment. Given that situation eating from a trash can wasn't as jarring as it was when you were in the middle of showing Elizabeth the joys of the beach.

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musubi

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I don't over think video games. So, digging through trash cans for audio logs in Bioshock ect... doesn't bother me one bit.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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#5  Edited By SchrodngrsFalco

I'm kind of not sure what you're getting at; it seems your post went from one discussion then flipped to another.

Screw you I like audiologs. It's fun to listen to a random day in the life of Joe Blow while running around the environment.

More seriously, I don't really think we should force a division between "serious" games and "gamey" games, I think doing so creates a false dichotomy. Games can easily be both, it's just a matter of being smart about it and understanding what "gamey" parts detract from the serious narrative and what parts don't. Digging through trashcans to eat hot dogs in the middle of Bioshock infinite's story might detract from the narrative, while in for example, Bioshock 1 I felt it did not, due to that game being very much focused on being alone and trying to survive in a hostile environment. Given that situation eating from a trash can wasn't as jarring as it was when you were in the middle of showing Elizabeth the joys of the beach.

The problem with me in that "hot dog/trash can" scenario: why not just reduce the amount of collectible health ups in the world, and balance the the rest of the game around that? Or take away many health ups and put one big one somewhere. Make the game less TEDIOUS for the player so that you give the game chances to be more immersive and not detract from the important or fun aspects.

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Achaemenid

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@hurricaneivan29: Well okay, fair enough. That's kinda a different discussion though I think. All games could stand to be less tedious. I think the original point however was that games's stories are often hurt by the inclusion of "gamey" things. Unless I read the OP wrong, I'll agree it was a bit confusing.

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EpicSteve

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#7  Edited By EpicSteve

@achaemenid said:

@hurricaneivan29: Well okay, fair enough. That's kinda a different discussion though I think. All games could stand to be less tedious. I think the original point however was that games's stories are often hurt by the inclusion of "gamey" things. Unless I read the OP wrong, I'll agree it was a bit confusing.

I think if you want to drop me into a well realized fictional world than I shouldn't spend half a game with my face in a sink looking for ammo and money. That jeopardizes the greater experience that could be possible.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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@achaemenid said:

@hurricaneivan29: Well okay, fair enough. That's kinda a different discussion though I think. All games could stand to be less tedious. I think the original point however was that games's stories are often hurt by the inclusion of "gamey" things. Unless I read the OP wrong, I'll agree it was a bit confusing.

I think if you want to drop me into a well realized fictional world than I shouldn't spend half a game with my face in a sink looking for ammo and money. That jeopardizes the greater experience that could be possible.

Okay, yeah, that's what I was saying as well. It's not necessary in any game really. There are so many easy ways to design around over-abundant loot/collectibles/X-ups.

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Video_Game_King

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If you were going to pick anything to criticize The Last of Us for, you should have picked the stairwells filled with furniture and file cabinets, or all the wooden palettes spread across America.

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MooseyMcMan

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#10  Edited By MooseyMcMan

I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I never really found the searching through trashcans in BioShock Infinite to be weird until I saw tons of people complaining about it online. I do agree with you, however. Like in The Last of Us, it wasn't so much the flamethrower as it was the fact that Joel had could carry tiny amounts of ammo, but also EVERY GUN he found. If the game couldn't have a totally realistic inventory, I would rather carry a couple guns and a ton of ammo. You know what I mean?

And looking forward, I'm still kinda bummed that stuff like the cardboard box is returning to MGSV. Ground Zeroes had a pretty realistic inventory (though the amount of ammo carried was a bit too large, I think). At the very least, you saw all the stuff either on Snake, or it was small enough to fit into one of his ammo bags. But not so with the damn cardboard box, and stuff like that breaks the immersion.

But you can steal sheep via balloons in that game, which is the right kind of stupid, so I don't really mind that much.

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Calmgamer

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#11  Edited By Calmgamer

I think the TS is right on with regards to Bioshock's reliance on scrounging for audio logs being a jarring experience - all the more noticeable for the games sophisticated handling of some pretty big and unpleasant real life issues (like racism). Consistency of tone or theme in a game (or at least some elegance when tone shifts) is vital to the experience. Many people have brought up the cognitive dissonance required to accept Nathan Drake as the likable rogue as well as Nathan Drake the sociopathic killer (self-defense or not - he leaves behind a lot of bodies).

One of the reasons I enjoy the Souls series is that they largely avoid that cognitive dissonance - you are pretty much a blank slate, and other than NPC's there is no real moral quandary with chopping up whatever is in front of you. Lots of developers seem to use this technique - hence zombies and Nazi's as go to adversaries.

Thinking back on it - I believe Metal Gear Solid 4 did a pretty good job of keeping the gameplay elements in line with the story - as long as you played stealthy. Of course there the "cheat" the developers utilized was the huge amount of cut scenes bridging the action sequences. I suppose you could say the same thing for Mortal Kombat 9.

I've always found Zelda games to be fun on a gameplay level while staying in line with the story - of course that story has been revisited many times now and is pretty simple as well. What I mean is that in a Zelda game I am rarely jarred from the experience or story by a mechanic that feels tacked on or out of place.

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EpicSteve

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I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I never really found the searching through trashcans in BioShock Infinite to be weird until I saw tons of people complaining about it online. I do agree with you, however. Like in The Last of Us, it wasn't so much the flamethrower as it was the fact that Joel had could carry tiny amounts of ammo, but also EVERY GUN he found. If the game couldn't have a totally realistic inventory, I would rather carry a couple guns and a ton of ammo. You know what I mean?

And looking forward, I'm still kinda bummed that stuff like the cardboard box is returning to MGSV. Ground Zeroes had a pretty realistic inventory (though the amount of ammo carried was a bit too large, I think). At the very least, you saw all the stuff either on Snake, or it was small enough to fit into one of his ammo bags. But not so with the damn cardboard box, and stuff like that breaks the immersion.

But you can steal sheep via balloons in that game, which is the right kind of stupid, so I don't really mind that much.

I'm not so bummed about un realistic inventories. Then you get into the concepts of how reloading weapons really works. I appreciate some elements of suspensions of disbelief.

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smcn

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If you were going to pick anything to criticize The Last of Us for, you should have picked the stairwells filled with furniture and file cabinets, or all the wooden palettes spread across America.

In The Last of Us 2 you discover a society that lives exclusively on the top floors of buildings, completely unaffected by the disease.

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MooseyMcMan

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@epicsteve: I dunno, I do wish more games would have more realistic reloading. At least games like The Last of Us, or even MGS that are more than just "run forward and shoot hundreds of guys." I'm not saying it would make the games better, but it'd make them more interesting, I think.

But I do find it really jarring when a game has super realistic graphics, tries to have at least some level of realism in most aspects of the game, aside from the part where the character is carrying eight guns and a cardboard box (to be fair, MGSV looks like it's at least keeping the two guns thing from Ground Zeroes).

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Cinnase7en

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There is always going to be a clash in the AAA industry. They want to appeal to everyone. You want more immersive stuff. I want all that stuff removed because I don't understand the obsession with immersion. How do you balance that? No idea. You don't, honestly. It's always going to be a meet in the middle as much as you can.

@csl316 said:

During the E3 shows, someone mentioned that the high fidelity of The Order made any weird glitch that much more noticeable. So there's potential for immersion to increase or for little things getting way more jarring. I'm curious if digging through trash cans will decrease in the coming years to immerse you. Or if it'll increase to pad out the game.

That's a bigger discussion about games trying obsessively to be like films. As long as there in interactivity, as far as I am concerned, you will have those "gamey" parts be way more noticeable than they would otherwise be. But, you solve that by not being films little brother who doesn't do things as well as film. You embrace what you are. The ones that do that are the most successful.

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tourgen

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I think most of the issue is a hyper-realistic visual style combined with game-ass-gamey gameplay.

All this stuff looks so REAL! But wait, no, it plays like a 2014 version of Robotron.

Personally I'm looking for games like No More Heroes 1 and 2 so I'm maybe not the person to ask about realistic worlds and immersion. I don't really want any of that.

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Video_Game_King

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@smcn said:

@video_game_king said:

If you were going to pick anything to criticize The Last of Us for, you should have picked the stairwells filled with furniture and file cabinets, or all the wooden palettes spread across America.

In The Last of Us 2 you discover a society that lives exclusively on the top floors of buildings, completely unaffected by the disease.

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deactivated-5f9398c1300c7

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Loading Video...
Loading Video...

We need 13 - 20 minute public demos.

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Corevi

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#19  Edited By Corevi

@tourgen: I want a Vanquish 2 for PS4 just to prove that a fun game can have realistic visuals.

No Caption Provided

Imagine that but at 60 fps and looking even better.

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Achaemenid

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#20  Edited By Achaemenid

@mooseymcman: For what it's worth, you're not alone with the whole not being bothered by the looking-through-trashcans. I understand why people were bothered by it but when I played the game I barely noticed it at all and was surprised by the complaints as well.

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MooseyMcMan

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@tourgen: I want a Vanquish 2 for PS4 just to prove that a fun game can have realistic visuals.

No Caption Provided

Imagine that but at 60 fps and looking even better.

Oh my goooooooooooooooooooooood.

Why is Shinji Mikami wasting his time on The Evil Within when he could be making this?!

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csl316

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#22  Edited By csl316

@cinnase7en said:

There is always going to be a clash in the AAA industry. They want to appeal to everyone. You want more immersive stuff. I want all that stuff removed because I don't understand the obsession with immersion. How do you balance that? No idea. You don't, honestly. It's always going to be a meet in the middle as much as you can.

@csl316 said:

During the E3 shows, someone mentioned that the high fidelity of The Order made any weird glitch that much more noticeable. So there's potential for immersion to increase or for little things getting way more jarring. I'm curious if digging through trash cans will decrease in the coming years to immerse you. Or if it'll increase to pad out the game.

That's a bigger discussion about games trying obsessively to be like films. As long as there in interactivity, as far as I am concerned, you will have those "gamey" parts be way more noticeable than they would otherwise be. But, you solve that by not being films little brother who doesn't do things as well as film. You embrace what you are. The ones that do that are the most successful.

Indeed. Games that are games first will always appeal to me more. Because otherwise you wind up with (46:18):

Loading Video...

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Cinnase7en

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@csl316: Pretty perfect, honestly. Sums it up well. This entire argument sounds insane to me. And I lol'ed at the digs at Polygon and IGN. +4 Uncharted 3 joke. Good giggle.

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Justin258

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#24 Justin258  Online

I want clearing a home in Rainbow Six: Siege look as smooth as it was demoed.

Well, the issue with something like this is either player agency (i.e. clumsy humans will screw around with it) or it will become far too guided and narrow to have much room for interest or experimentation.

Gameyness can't be completely divorced from narrative driven games, not if they want to remain interesting and fun. There's always going to be something silly and out of place if you think about it.

Screw you I like audiologs. It's fun to listen to a random day in the life of Joe Blow while running around the environment.

More seriously, I don't really think we should force a division between "serious" games and "gamey" games, I think doing so creates a false dichotomy. Games can easily be both, it's just a matter of being smart about it and understanding what "gamey" parts detract from the serious narrative and what parts don't. Digging through trashcans to eat hot dogs in the middle of Bioshock infinite's story might detract from the narrative, while in for example, Bioshock 1 I felt it did not, due to that game being very much focused on being alone and trying to survive in a hostile environment. Given that situation eating from a trash can wasn't as jarring as it was when you were in the middle of showing Elizabeth the joys of the beach.

This is probably says what I want to say better than my sleepy ass could say it. Developers have to be tasteful about what mechanics juxtapose too much against their story and world and which ones don't.

Another point: Digging through trash cans, finding stuff in weird places, pushing Square/X/E to grab ammo and stuff off the ground have never bothered me in the least. They just don't process as "things juxtaposed against the story", especially when some of my favorite video game stories are incredibly mechanical (Chrono Trigger, SMT Nocturne, and potentially Final Fantasy VI).

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shivermetimbers

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Sadly this is a problem without a solution. If games were to get rid of the exploration aspect of scrounging for items, then you would lose a big part of what makes a game a game. The sad part about games as that they're not movies; they cannot show us a mirror image of reality. The minute you let players off the leach to interact with the world is the minute you run into juxtaposition problems like this.

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Video_Game_King

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Gameyness can't be completely divorced from narrative driven games, not if they want to remain interesting and fun. There's always going to be something silly and out of place if you think about it.

I don't know. I'm pretty sure you can limit things in such a way that the mechanics never intrude upon the experience. I was just listening to Jet Grind Radio, and I just remembered that there's not a lot in that game that's ridiculous by the game's own logic. (Well, maybe the dumb final level, but that's as close as I can come.)

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Belegorm

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This just in: @epicsteve confirmed working for Iron Galaxy in Chicago!

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OurSin_360

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Well that's the thing about videogames, they aren't meant to be "watched" they are meant to be played. Digging through trash cans looks stupid in a movie, but finding loot in a video game to upgrade your stats or buy new gear is still a fun gameplay mechanic.

Games will never be movies, and when they try to be people typically hate them or are completely divided like David cage games.

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Evilsbane

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#29  Edited By Evilsbane

@shivermetimbers said:

Sadly this is a problem without a solution. If games were to get rid of the exploration aspect of scrounging for items, then you would lose a big part of what makes a game a game. The sad part about games as that they're not movies; they cannot show us a mirror image of reality. The minute you let players off the leach to interact with the world is the minute you run into juxtaposition problems like this.

That is why I am so excited for VR and stuff like the motion gloves demo at E3 because you can start interacting with it in a natural way so "unleashing" the player becomes an experience that just works. Obviously this stuff is early but if VR catches on like we hope someone will make it.

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ViciousBearMauling

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@tourgen: I want a Vanquish 2 for PS4 just to prove that a fun game can have realistic visuals.

No Caption Provided

Imagine that but at 60 fps and looking even better.

Guess who just popped Vanquish into his PS3 after seeing this picture...

Thank you.

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Blackout62

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Sorry I don't have much to contribute to this discussion but it got me thinking how integral trashcan digging is to some games. Take the Fallout series for example. Sifting through the ruins is a huge part of the atmosphere of that game. In most RPGs looking for everything is justified under raiding dungeons, though even in most cases that's gotten out of hand.

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Slag

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#32  Edited By Slag

What a totally “meh” E3, right?

...

I’m not begging the game industry to move forward and tackle social commentary tomorrow. However, if I’m going to have a serious discussion about a game’s narrative, I can't have the juxtaposition of half that experience being digging through trashcans and audio logs.

What do you think?

Also, I'm moving to Chicago very shortly for a job. It involves videogames! Please PM me or get with me on Twitter, @stevenbeynon for any tips on where I might want to live. I know NOTHING about the city. Any help is appreciated.

I liked this year's E3. Nintendo had a great show, Having three viable consoles is a win for all of us.

I think I'm not sure what you want re:Storytelling. How do you want video game stories told? If you want great stories maybe you just shouldn't play shooters? There's only so many story telling mechanics that work from a first person perspective with a shooting focus.

I feel like Heavy Rain and TWD have set a pretty good template for narrative driven games (even if you didn't like those particular stories).

be careful about where you live on the southside if that's the side of town, especially Fuller Park. Don't live in Chicagoland myself but friends have do have told me it's been a rough couple years.

http://crime.chicagotribune.com/

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AndrewB

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My only dig is that Dark Souls actually does immerse you into a world and a story in the same manner as with the gameplay - by not holding your hand. If you dig into the lore, it's actually deeper than I would ever have guessed given my first attempt through the game years ago. It's a level of immersion you need to be willing to dive into, though.

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deactivated-5e49e9175da37

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It feels as though your mistake was that you are playing a game and she is watching a game. You're not playing a movie, so she wouldn't be watching one. She is not watching 'the story' and neither are you; you're playing and she's watching you play. These are not comparable experiences. A controller is a transformative thing.

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audioBusting

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I've been watching Masterchef and I think one of the most common advice the judges give applies to these games: if it doesn't contribute to the dish, don't put it on the plate. Eating every pack of crisps you find in a trash can doesn't add to the experience in Bioshock Infinite... it's just video game busywork. I think there is a place for game systems in a narrative, and it's just infuriating to find these pointless gamey-ness in big games =(

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fattony12000

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I didn't think E3 2014 was "meh".

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Zevvion

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#37  Edited By Zevvion

I've never had a problem with BioShock's trashcans being full of hot dogs that heal me. I get where you are coming from, but I like to take games how they are. Yes, BioShock was narrative driven but it was also very gamey. The gameplay was more than half of that game and it didn't consist of the typical quick time event to make the action look realistic and cool. It was a bunch of gameplay systems layered on each other to create a sandbox within a certain environment for you to unleash your creative mind.

The fact that a game is narrative driven does not exclude it from being gamey as well. I saw this in the original BioShock and saw it even more clearly in Infinite. I liked the game for it. It would have been a 'one time through' game if it was narrative focused only. Now, I've cleared the game 3 times and will probably play it again at some point in the future just because I like those gamey systems.

I was drawn in by the story, replayed it for the gameplay and that allowed me to experience the story once again. It is one of the reasons why I really, really like Infinite.

I get that some people want a distinction between narrative focused games and games centered around gameplay systems, but I honestly don't. I can really appreciate narrative focused games, but gameplay will always remain key for me. It just makes a narrative focused game that much better if I also enjoy playing it. It is one of the reasons why I think Gone Home is heavily overrated. Yes, when it was done I felt satisfied with the uniquely told story, but I was also bored playing the game frequently and have no desire to ever play it again.

So, no. I do not agree with you. If you have an amazing story to tell me, I'd be glad to hear it however you want to tell it to me. But I know it will be that much better if you also put in fun trashcans.

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benspyda

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#38  Edited By benspyda

I'll always take a fun game over realism. I'm happy to suspend my disbelief to enjoy the gameplay because that's why I play games. My immersion comes from how much I like to play the game and the overall atmosphere of the world they've created. Last year, The Last of Us was number 10 on my top ten list, purely because the gameplay didn't click with me despite its incredible narrative. For me it's how well a game merges story, gameplay and atmosphere, and to get the right balance some realism needs to be sacrificed.

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mike

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I think you're taking this stuff way too seriously. It's all about the suspension of disbelief, not making things more realistic. Realism does not often equal fun.

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fobwashed

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Digging through trashcans is a necessary mechanic for a game that requires you to collect ammo/resources. Shooters especially need to continuously feed you ammunition somehow and games with an economy need to give you a way to collect currency. I'm not saying that a game without those things can't exist, just that there's a very valid reason that they do.

The type of experience you seem to be asking for sounds like the types of games Gone Home and The Novelist are. More Gone Home than The Novelist because in the latter, you're doing some gamey ass game shit jumping from point to point and hitting button prompts to see basically audio logs. I also feel like button prompts to do actions is just something we're always going to have to deal with since we're interacting with the game worlds using a controller with buttons. The only way around that shit is to play D&D and just say what you want to do =P

Like MB stated, realism doesn't always equal fun. I think I remember you writing about that very thing a while back. It had to do with shooters and maybe ARMA =P

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mrfluke

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better people said what was on my mind. all ill say is, i really didnt think this year's E3 was meh, i thought it was pretty great E3,

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benspyda

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E3 gets a pass because Bloodborne was announced. I want that game now!

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Coafi

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I don't over think video games. So, digging through trash cans for audio logs in Bioshock ect... doesn't bother me one bit.

I didn't think E3 2014 was "meh".

@mb said:

I think you're taking this stuff way too seriously. It's all about the suspension of disbelief, not making things more realistic. Realism does not often equal fun.

These posts are pretty much what I was going to say. Plus, I like digging through trash cans makes me feel like a video game hobo and that's great...so, in Fallout: New Vegas I felt quite at home.

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Dussck

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What a totally “meh” E3, right?

Nope, not at all. I think E3 was awesome. The only negative thing I had after the E3 press conferences was: 'where the hell do I find the time to play all these amazing games?'.

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DarthOrange

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@mrfluke said:

better people said what was on my mind. all ill say is, i really didnt think this year's E3 was meh, i thought it was pretty great E3,

Ditto.

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#46  Edited By EpicSteve

@fobwashed said:

Digging through trashcans is a necessary mechanic for a game that requires you to collect ammo/resources. Shooters especially need to continuously feed you ammunition somehow and games with an economy need to give you a way to collect currency. I'm not saying that a game without those things can't exist, just that there's a very valid reason that they do.

The type of experience you seem to be asking for sounds like the types of games Gone Home and The Novelist are. More Gone Home than The Novelist because in the latter, you're doing some gamey ass game shit jumping from point to point and hitting button prompts to see basically audio logs. I also feel like button prompts to do actions is just something we're always going to have to deal with since we're interacting with the game worlds using a controller with buttons. The only way around that shit is to play D&D and just say what you want to do =P

Like MB stated, realism doesn't always equal fun. I think I remember you writing about that very thing a while back. It had to do with shooters and maybe ARMA =P

I'm not bothered much by a lack of realism. But a lot of mainstream games do hold on to some elements I feel are outdated and uncreative filler. The Walking Dead does a good job at not being tied down to artificial mechanics. I'm turned off by how many times the action seems to stop, when the game needs to be brought to a narrative halt just so the player can press 'X' to collect a lot of nonsense in nonsensical places. There's a jarring juxtaposition of how some games seem to want to be treated and how they present themselves.

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ProfessorEss

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#47  Edited By ProfessorEss

I'd rather they just keep the trash cans and abandon the narrative. I can sympathize with what your saying, but my tastes lie elsewhere.

None of my favourite or most memorable gaming moments have been a result of a narrative. Beating Rag with the guild for the first time in WoW, listening to She Sells Sanctuary cruising down the strip on a hog at sunset in Vice City, running from a tiger while on fire only to fall of a cliff into the water and be eaten by a shark in FarCry 3, or (to show my age) using my lunch break to destroy anyone who dare face me in Mortal Kombat (1) in the arcade next to the food court - that's where I get my moments.

As much as I loved "Would you kindly", I'd still trade it for a Halo 3 4 player co-op hammer/plasma grenade elevator battle royal any day :)

(PS: I used to get an hour for lunch, used ten minutes to eat, and I left my quarter in machine more times than I counted)

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veektarius

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I don't think your criticism of Bioshock can be broadly applied to story-based games. Raiding wooden crates (and no one caring about it) is a trope of RPGs that migrated over into Bioshock. I don't think anyone really enjoys it, but most shooters have story-driven campaigns and don't have anything like that. Mass Effect ditched the 'random shit in cans" approach after 1. So, I think this is something that the industry doesn't really need to get in front of; they've already gotten the message and some designers just haven't quite caught up with yet.

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ajamafalous

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I was going to write a long thing but most people have already said what I was going to. If I'm picking between story or gameplay, I'm picking gameplay every single time.

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Seppli

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#50  Edited By Seppli

@epicsteve said:

What a totally “meh” E3, right?

While nothing at E3 was relatively new or will set the stage for preliminary excitement like Gears of War for the 360 or anything, it did highlight something that has been bothering me about videogames for so long.

It’s that games are completely stupid and are only held back by themselves.

We’re at a dividing road between titles that set out to completely immerse a player into its world like The Last of Us and games that set out to deliver a very well tuned “gamey” experience like Dark Souls or Rogue Legacy.

These gamey titles are experiences that focus on the mechanics and fine-tuning those while delivering an experience that’s simply fun. Games like Street Fighter IV and Fez aren’t necessarily trying to offer an immersive experience. But instead they revolve around a design philosophy where fun takes precedence over a greater narrative. Or at the very least wouldn’t serve well in those fancy guided demos we see on stage every year.

My issue was highlighted by the traditional guided demo we saw with games like The Division, Rainbow Six, and Call of Duty. Those guided tours through those worlds looked thrilling and better than my experience will likely be. I have heard those demos described as, “the model home of videogames.”

There is a very large place for “gamey” videogames. Divekick, amiright? I love what they do and typically prefer them to the immersive narratives. Mainly because I don’t think the story driven game has been done well a lot.

This isn’t due to a lack of vision or technology, it’s due to games like Bioshock holding on to “gamey” ideas. I would argue Bioshock leans more into the narrative driven game but holds on to too many artificial elements for me to take seriously.

I remember playing Bioshock Infinite in front of my girlfriend. She was into the sky city and all the cool narrative hooks. But after seeing me dig through trash cans every 10 seconds made it difficult to pull her in and for me to take the game seriously. Seeing a game tackle racism and religion only to be followed by an endless stream of audio logs and robbing corpses sets a very awkward tone.

Those goofy gamey elements play well in something like The Elder Scrolls, when that game is so artificial and revolves around collection stupid shit anyway. But Bioshock!? Remember how silly Joel looked in The Last of Us the second you got a flamethrower? How often did you have to stop and press ‘Square’ to collect ammo in Wolfenstein: The New Order?

I want clearing a home in Rainbow Six: Siege look as smooth as it was demoed. What will it really look like? Will that floor that’s eligible to be blown up glow yellow? Will bad guys act independently and just run after you for you to press ‘R3’ to execute a single slash of a dagger and kill them? Or will that victim (that flag) really panic? Are those walls destructible? Will I get awkward button prompts that communicate when I can infiltrate the house’s window?

I’m not begging the game industry to move forward and tackle social commentary tomorrow. However, if I’m going to have a serious discussion about a game’s narrative, I can't have the juxtaposition of half that experience being digging through trashcans and audio logs.

What do you think?

Also, I'm moving to Chicago very shortly for a job. It involves videogames! Please PM me or get with me on Twitter, @stevenbeynon for any tips on where I might want to live. I know NOTHING about the city. Any help is appreciated.

Not saying you are completely wrong, but the digging through trashcans part of Bioshock Infinite (as in most games that offer that type of shit) is entirely optional. Skyrim is the perfect example of a game that drowns the player in such freedoms as digging through trashcans - and how acting like a real human being, rather than like an indiscriminate vacuum cleaner, does immensly improve one's experience. In many ways I think it's up the player to show the self-restraint it takes to act lifelike - to play the game like an actor trying to bring a play to life, with one's own immersion in the role, and in the reflection thereof bringing the world that character inhabits to life.

Playing videogames is as much part of the artform videogames, as the creation of thereof. The art of videogames only comes to life with the interaction of the player, and hence, the player carries the responsibility of the final touch. You have to take responsibility for your gameplay - Steve!

Like I'm currently playing Batman Origins, and I can't help but mock the game for its contrivances and artifice, as well as for mechanical shortcomings like its insane camera. I just don't have it in me to take the game seriously at this time. How much better an experience would it be, if I approached it with a mindset of *What would Batman do?*, and gave my best to bring Batman and Gotham to life? Sure - the worldbuilding is far from perfect, and the game is filled is contrivances and artifice, but I certainly could have a much better experience than the one I do have with my shit attitude towards it. The spark of life I introduce to the world of Gotham could be of much higher quality, if I put more thought and effort into it.