Friday, 24 July 2015

Video Game Genres (This post is a train wreck...)

I think that each individual gaming genre covers a wide and more vague communication of what to expect from a game. But does this broadness potentially detract from video games?

 What can be confusing to outsiders is that the genre of a game is not correlated with the narrative theme of the game but describes the category of which the key mechanics of a game would slot into. Unlike movies where you find a genre and the components within it it change, like the actors, where they all fit into a cookie cutter role when acting in a movie directly linked with it's genre with little variation between others of that genre in terms of basic key elements. Although genre isn't a solid description of what a player can expect within a game, a genre is still applied whether we do it or the company does it. Both generally when applied are cohesive with each other. The importance of giving a game a genre is not as prevalent in the decision making process of whether a player wants to spend money and invest time in that game. With this in mind why is the application of a genre less applicable to the medium of video games when put in comparison to other mediums such as movies, and books? Is this potentially a contributing factor as to video games being split of as "technically" not an art form. One could potentially argue. "How can video games be seen as an art form when the subjectivity of their genres are far less compatible as genres applied to movies, and books!?" "fair deuce" I would say.

But flip that argument around. "Hypothetically" if we set video games as an art form (Which it is) than the perspective of having broad genre categories. Would only mean we would see games as larger potential for creativity. Which is how I like to think about gaming genres. They are applied vaguely as a showing of how categorising games can not be specified. The potential of what can be created in a game can not be narrowed down. It is too expansive to simply be this, or that. That's why video games are awesome. It's an art form with an insane encompassment. Vague genre's don't do any harm to video games. They only symbolize the expansive nature of creativity that video games can encapsulate. *Mic Drop*

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Buck kid excited after a long day of Maya crashes he has finally made it to my blog.


Buck kid exhausted after a long day of Maya crashes.


Buck kid eloquently balancing on one hand. Because that's just how he likes to handle his business.

Ludo narrative Resonance/Dissonance

To be honest I'm not exactly sure what the meaning of ludo narrative resonance and dissonance is. But I am going to assume it is the relationship between  a narrative within a game and the game play within that environment. Whether they resonate or dissociate. When this topic first came up and I thought of ludo narrative resonance/dissonance in this way I thought of the first article we had to look at during week one on a review of "Battlefield: Hardline" featured here:


And a particular game play aspect that I thought slotted in as ludo narrative dissonance in that as a cop you could take on a less violent approach in restraining enemies and cuffing them instead of killing them. This rewarded you by giving you extra experience for being a good cop and conserving lives. I know what you're thinking "But Brodie this creates ludo narrative resonance." But ultimately with these level ups you just received add on's to improve upon your lethal weapon load outs therefore creating ludo narrative dissonance as being the "good cop" only improved upon how lethal you could be a component relevant to being a "bad cop" making that approach more "funner" in terms of variable game play. So although yes ludo narrative resonance was made through being rewarded for being a "good cop" those rewards only made you better at being the "bad cop." Which leads me to believe that ultimately its a case of ludo narrative dissonance.

So then hopefully this examples helps to clarify my understanding of ludo narrative resonance and dissonance and that I can apply it correctly through analysis.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Versimilitude vs Stylized Graphics

Verisimilitude is defined as: The appearance of being true or realistic.

When playing a game I admire both graphics and aesthetics that strive for verisimilitude, and those that used stylized art. I think though that there can only be one sort of goal with pure photorealism within a game and that is immersion. But with this focus on photorealism will there be a cost to many of the other key aspects of a game? The visuals of a game will always play a huge part within a game but the fact that stylized and non-photorealistic graphical games are still around and extremely popular shows that players don't just want photorealistic games from developers. Yet. I most certainly cannot fault developers for trying. This is just another branch of progression for video games which as an art form is always progressive. I definitely have played many games seeking this high verisimilitude and been in states of awe. But I think that there shouldn't be an emphasis on this as a direction that video games should be going but a branch of progression that developers could take. In saying that I think that this could be just an overrated topic but only due to the encroaching trade off of game play for visuals. This is shown in Destiny. Carrying a movie blockbuster budget the game play and story of this was lost in its goals for amazing graphics and focus on verisimilitude. Not that the game doesn't have stunning aesthetics but it doesn't capitalize  on its potential for an encapsulating story. Instead players ended up finding it repetitive and monotonous. This has started showing the damaging and unbalancing potential of a dev team putting too much emphasis on photorealism in games but I don't see any harm in devs striving for this as long as there is no expense to story and game play.

3D VS 2D

I find that with games I’ve played majority of the games have been within a 3D setting. But as I think about it more there is no biased towards either 2D or 3D games in terms of what made me want to play a game. I don’t judge a game on whether I want to play it by its dimensional setting. I judge it by a plethora of separate factors. But in the 2D and 3D constraints I do see an individual set of pros and cons. The simplicity of a 2D game works for and against it with a player being immersed into the environment much quicker with 2D games more “pick up and play” mechanics. But these “pick up and play” mechanics are almost a restriction as the said mechanics are hard to make challenging without being tedious, but often these guaranteed playable mechanics are what entices someone to play. But this guarantee can’t be so solid filled in that of a 3D game. In terms of progressive mechanics within 2D and 3D mediums, 3D definitely comes out superior. The 3D platform has a greater potential for diversifying mechanics which I think has happened. But this also makes for a large hit or miss potential. Also with the incorporated 3D aspect of a game the camera has to be an added feature. If a 3D game drops the ball on their camera mechanics the game becomes extremely monotonous and definitely makes and breaks some games. Because camera mechanic is exactly that. Another mechanic in the game. And as the most predominant aspect of their game this mechanic is just as or more important than all the others. In terms of game immersion a 2D game sets up and creates a world much quicker for the player and allows for more of an unrealistic environment but also sets restrictions for environments that can never really be realistic. Whilst in a 3D medium the environments are much more realistic and complex in their mechanics which means a player can take longer to immerse themselves in a 3D model game but will find a deeper immersion when they do. Anyway that’s my 2 cents. All opinion based of course. But in general I think 2D and 3D mediums both make amazing games I love to play.

Rockstar North 2013 "Grand Theft Auto V"

Released in September of 2013 “Grand Theft Auto V” was a huge success quickly reaching critical acclaim. Being greatly anticipated preceding its release the game hit the hype,and it hit it hard. With its current total revenue sitting between 1.5-2 billion dollars this game certainly shows its worth in the numbers coming in as the 4th highest selling game in units sold. I bought this game the day it came out and spent hours playing it. I liked the aspect of having three different main characters who in a way were all contrasts of each other. The developers emphasised on the individuality of these characters in the random events that occurred as you changed between these characters with each character doing something that highlighted their personality: Michael lounging by the pool at his condo, Franklin going for a drive, or Trevor waking up in nothing but his boots and underwear on a train track narrowly avoiding being hit by a train. This added to the hustle and bustle of the open world setting making it feel like a real time, and progressive time line. Throughout the game I would hear news reports were the other characters had been involved. But only I knew that what Michael was hearing on the radio involved Trevor because I was the one that played through that event as Trevor. It really helped with the immersion in the game and really acknowledged your progression giving a rewarding experience to the player. In terms of the play style of the game the satirical nature of the game isn’t over exaggerated as they created a great balance between the games humorous elements and being taken as a serious contending AAA game which really draws in their large fan base.However one thing they did in the game that I and others found surprising was an event where the player as Trevor would torture a man who was innocent known by both the player and Trevor and the victim admitted he would confess all information yet you still proceedto torture him. I felt like this sort of messed with the overall flow of the game and it was a little out of context for me. I felt it wasn’t really part of Trevor’s character. Even though he was pretty psychotic and extremely violent. He seemed to be on a reprise and more misunderstood and that even with his violent tendencies he still had humanity and strong moral ground. The scene felt very out of place and was uncomfortable for players. Otherwise this was a great game with this being just a minor hiccup. This game was very deserving of its success and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

1987 Shigeru Miyamoto "Legend of Zelda"

This takes me back to when I went to my Nan’s house as a child (On my mother’s side just if you are curious). I loved being there for 2 reasons:
1- She had Austar.
2- She had a SNES and of her collections of games there was Legend of Zelda.
I loved that SNES. But how did someone make three triangles so god damn cool? This game felt more rewarding to me than anything else because of the castle puzzles and receiving new items and I felt like I'd actually been rewarded for the effort I put in to the game but it was also the first time I’d felt this. And the music. They did so much with so little, and since then the music throughout the franchise has always been grand putting us in that feeling of adventure. Legend of Zelda is awesome. Thanks Nan.

1980 Namco "Pac-Man"

I never played this on the “arcade platform” but I have enjoyed the cahunas off of eating those USB’s (Unknown Stationary Balls). I was never a talented paccer (That’s what us in the industry call someone who plays Pacman). But he certainly lives on today through me and in me as I show my superiority through the paccer himself in “Smash Bros. 4”

1978 Tiato "Space Invaders"

I remember when I first played this game and I was profusely bad at it. But I kept practicing and I finally pulled of some crazy shenanigans when I shot through my own defences to take out those pixelated menaces. I thought I was a genius. I wasn’t. Everybody did it.