Notgames Forum

Creation => Notgames design => Topic started by: Michaël Samyn on August 26, 2011, 09:52:06 am



Title: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 26, 2011, 09:52:06 am
A challenging quote from a blog post about the recent Notgames Fest (http://www.gameblog.fr/article-lecteur_1188_notgames-fest) in Cologne:
Quote from: Bloutiouf
Également une remarque globale sur la plupart des jeux, il faut avoir un background un peu joueur pour pleinement les apprécier. J'ai vu des visiteurs ne pas comprendre en quoi les œuvres différaient des vrais jeux puisqu'ils ne connaissaient pas non plus les structures des vrais jeux.

So he says that you need to be a bit of a gamer to appreciate our not-so games. And that there's people who don't understand how these games are different from real games since they're not familiar with real games anyway.

Part of this is of course caused by the awkward name of "notgames" which people continue to interpret as the name of a category that is subsequently taken so literally that they feel that Amnesia doesn't fit in this category (which is what triggered this writer's comment). I guess it's too difficult for people to understand that "notgames" is a word used to invite and challenge designers to think differently about interaction design.

But on the other hand, he's probably right: most of our work requires some experience with (traditional) gaming to appreciate. This is unfortunate since one of our goals is to expand the medium so that other audiences can enjoy it as well.

And for these other audiences, there probably isn't much of a difference between what we make and more mainstream video-games, either because they don't delve deeply enough in either, or because they already enjoy mainstream video-games more for their notgames qualities (immersion, narrative, emotion, play, etc) than for their traditional competitive qualities.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Thomas on August 26, 2011, 03:30:57 pm
Notgames might still be good for the general public. Because even though many people are not familiar with videogames, they often have a belief of what videogames are. The term "notgames" then tells them: "these games are not like how you believe games to be". This might make people realize that videogames can actually have content that they would be interested in taking part of.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: God at play on August 26, 2011, 06:39:46 pm
Quote
I saw some visitors do not understand how the works were different from the real games because they knew not the structures of real games.

Here's the Google translation. That word 'structures' is striking to me. They don't understand the structures of games, so there's not a recognizable structural difference in what was at the exhibition. The amazing conclusion from that statement is that either the examples were not good enough to show a distinction or that there's no conflict to begin with because a distinction can't be discerned.

In addition, I appreciated the critique that, given the concept itself is experimental, there wasn't enough experimental work that traded production values for impact. The works presented were rather the results of experiments so that it became harder to deliver a clear, pure idea on what makes notgames different.

Overall, this seems to suggest that the message of notgames is developer-based, not consumer-based. Like what Thomas said, consumers will probably care more about a message centered around content rather than form. If that's the case, it would be more productive to market these things as "experiences with subject matter you'll care about" instead of "experiences that are structurally unlike games." I guess that's already been discussed here to some degree.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Jeroen D. Stout on August 26, 2011, 07:56:40 pm
But on the other hand, he's probably right: most of our work requires some experience with (traditional) gaming to appreciate. This is unfortunate since one of our goals is to expand the medium so that other audiences can enjoy it as well.

But perhaps 'experience with traditional games' is required because they have to derive their knowledge from somewhere. It might just be the case that our games require a non-trivial effort to play and are not plenteous enough for someone to assume you could have gained this knowledge from other notgames. It might just be more likely someone would become acquainted with WASD through other games, and hence the idea that you need to play other games to be able to play a notgame.

I for one find it encouraging we had a qualitatively high exhibition; but I find 'real' artefacts a lot more interesting than pure experiments, because ultimately that is what I would want to play.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Chris W on August 26, 2011, 08:42:39 pm
Very interesting.  This person is basically telling us that our current efforts are really some kind of internal squabble.  This gives me pause, because one of the things that annoys me about modern fine art is its navel-gazing self-involvement, where all new art is some comment on old art, or on how art should be done rather than using a technique to deliver inspired content.  This makes fine art unapproachable to most, in my opinion, and I think lots of the more important people in the art world like it that way.  I definitely don't want to become that.

WASD is a great example.  When you sit down to make a game, one of the most basic assumptions you will probably make is to put WASD control in because everyone will sit down and automatically know what to do.  But if you just clear your mind and look at the keyboard, there's nothing obvious about it at all.  We should probably ask how our grandmothers would approach one of these experiences for the first time and try to build an intuitive system around that.  This obviously has direct implications for the other thread about how to give people instructions for playing.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: God at play on August 26, 2011, 09:00:56 pm
This person is basically telling us that our current efforts are really some kind of internal squabble.

That is exactly what I meant I said the message is developer-focused and not consumer-focused; I think you put it better, though. :P And that is what makes me think that when looking "outward" the message should be about providing experiences with subject matter people care about.

It would be nice to get more points of view, though.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: ghostwheel on August 26, 2011, 09:23:16 pm
I'm not sure why you are concerned about reaching non-gamers. The pool of non-gamers is drying up as computers become increasingly ubiquitous. I don't see the point of thinking "I'm going to make a game for non-gamers." It just  seems silly to me. Make what you want to make and make it as awesome as possible.

People always bring up the grandma test - you wouldn't plop your grandmother in front of a desktop or laptop anyway. It would be much better to give her a tablet. The touch interface is about as simple as it gets. If infants and cats can figure it out, grandmothers can.

None of us are EA, Ubisoft or whatever, stop worrying about who plays the game, worry about people playing it at all. ;)


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Chris W on August 26, 2011, 10:26:02 pm

People always bring up the grandma test - you wouldn't plop your grandmother in front of a desktop or laptop anyway. It would be much better to give her a tablet. The touch interface is about as simple as it gets. If infants and cats can figure it out, grandmothers can.



Ha!  That's exactly where I was going next with that thought, though I didn't want it to become an essay.  Like I've mentioned in other places, I do feel like the computer box is an unfriendly place.  Any way the technology can be expanded or shaped to fit more naturally with our lives is welcome.  Your point is very well taken that getting anyone interested in our work is the first step - we're hardly in danger of running out of gamers to target.  But I can never help myself when it comes to thinking through some of the longer view issues, even if it's just a theoretical exercise.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: God at play on August 26, 2011, 10:29:38 pm
I'm not sure why you are concerned about reaching non-gamers.
...
Make what you want to make and make it as awesome as possible.

I can see both sides, but I just wanted to point out that the issue is coming up because some people want to make games for non-gamers.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: troshinsky on August 26, 2011, 11:38:37 pm
Well, making games for non-gamers is surely awesome!
Because gamers already have lots of games to play but non-gamers don´t.

However my doubt here is: what is our purpose? Do we want to expand videogames as an expressive medium or expand videogames to a new audience? I´m not sure we can do both at the same time. We need a language to build literature. To expand it as a medium we need a richer language. By asuming concepts and schemes as the WASD controls as an alphabet we can go deeper and complexify the experience. What I mean is that we need a complex and evolved language to express ourselves fully. We cannot create meaningful and deep experiences with baby-talk.

And yes, the pain is that this restricts our work to the gaming audience. So, should we write for the ilustrated or teach those who cannot read? Is there a way to do both?


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 27, 2011, 12:06:58 am
Notgames was originally intended as a concept to inspire developers. In this light perhaps it's unfortunate that it was used towards the public. But then again, I do see Thomas' point: that the word "notgames" explicitly challenges people with prejudices against games. So that's good.

There seem to be two worlds. The world I hear about on the internet where almost everyone plays video-games or has an iPad. And then there's the world I see outside of my window in Gent, Belgium, where not many people really care much about any of this. All of my friends here read books, watch movies, listen to music, go to art exhibitions, like pretty clothes, good food, etc, but not one of them plays video-games. So I guess this "making games for non-gamers" thing is kind of personal for me.

On the other hand, it is true that both the size and diversity of the video-games-literate audience is growing. It is certainly far easier to find an audience for these strange not-so-games now than it was two years ago, when we released The Path.

Creating interfaces is very problematic in this context. The game-conventions don't make a lot of sense for many games that I come up with plus they are absurd to people who are not used to them. So I always want to be a good designer and craft intuitive controls that fit the purpose. But no matter how smartly they are designed, and how easy to use for beginners, leaving out the conventional ways of controlling a game turns gamers into helpless cry-babies. Gamers are so used to their conventions that they can't stand learning a new interface to experience something new. God forbid they have to turn the joystick the other way than they're used to to move the camera, and don't even trying making a first person game without WASD navigation. It's quite a dilemma.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Jeroen D. Stout on August 28, 2011, 05:44:38 pm
Notgames was originally intended as a concept to inspire developers. In this light perhaps it's unfortunate that it was used towards the public. But then again, I do see Thomas' point: that the word "notgames" explicitly challenges people with prejudices against games. So that's good.

There seem to be two worlds. The world I hear about on the internet where almost everyone plays video-games or has an iPad. And then there's the world I see outside of my window in Gent, Belgium, where not many people really care much about any of this. All of my friends here read books, watch movies, listen to music, go to art exhibitions, like pretty clothes, good food, etc, but not one of them plays video-games. So I guess this "making games for non-gamers" thing is kind of personal for me.

You are certainly not alone in this, and I think things such as the Köln notgames fest might be a way to reach these people. I find that these days I am easily weary of people who play games as it usually is their principal hobby to which all other occupations are secondary; and while not a 1:1 correlation, often the other hobbies they have are not very aesthetic to me. So my interest does lie in games for non-gamers; not out of spite for gamers as a group, but because I feel it is easier for me to resonate with. (And my apologies to gamers with beautiful and interesting hobbies - your only fault is being so hard to find.)

I worry that as much as non-gamers are perplexed by conventions from games, a lot of gamers are perplexed by conventions from literature. It is the culture problem which I also thought about on my tumbler; the problem really is not goodwill or desire, the problem is that any artform requires conventions to work fullest, and that the target audience who (I think) matches my own narrative interests is a different audience who matches my interactive interests.

I have thought in the past about making a novel/game combination and finding a way of getting them combined and sold in a book-store as a book-with-mini-DVD; and now that I resurface this idea it strikes me as quite fitting for something like Dear Esther, which could have a more House of Leaves type of freedom with content.

What are your thoughts on using the Trojan method of getting games to people?


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: ghostwheel on August 28, 2011, 07:08:20 pm
Quote
What are your thoughts on using the Trojan method of getting games to people?

I simply don't see the point. And it seems like a bad idea because such an approach could backfire. If you're approaching art with the idea of "tricking" people because you think they won't like the art if you present it as it is, you're doing it wrong.

Do you seriously think anything we are doing would appeal to people that take this bullshit seriously:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx_E4DUWXbE

or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNw7CL23h08

or this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px_Z8Q6FaZM

or this

http://www.regretsy.com/2011/04/02/saturday-night-special/

And Jeroen, sorry, but literary types simply do not care about games or anything even remotely associated with them. There is virtually no cross-over.

Seriously. The best potential audience is gamers, whether you like it or not.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Jeroen D. Stout on August 28, 2011, 07:18:44 pm
But people might simply not be 'ready' for the art, or not able to understand it directly. I think 'Trojan' is the wrong word, perhaps I mean piggybacking.

I mean, you could have a book with a game (as one artpiece), and while people might purchase the book without the game, they might not otherwise come into contact with the game; as they go to bookstores and not game sites; and without the book all they see is the word 'game' and are turned off.

It is not about tricking people, it is about making it easier for them to realize they like something which, when confronted with it normally, they would not be open to.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: ghostwheel on August 28, 2011, 07:33:17 pm
But people might simply not be 'ready' for the art, or not able to understand it directly. I think 'Trojan' is the wrong word, perhaps I mean piggybacking.

I mean, you could have a book with a game (as one artpiece), and while people might purchase the book without the game, they might not otherwise come into contact with the game; as they go to bookstores and not game sites; and without the book all they see is the word 'game' and are turned off.

It is not about tricking people, it is about making it easier for them to realize they like something which, when confronted with it normally, they would not be open to.

But that's already happening on places like Facebook. There are literally millions of people playing games on Facebook that have never played any type of computer game and probably still wouldn't consider themselves "gamers." This conversation is like arguing for the worldwide adoption of Esperanto when English has already accomplished much of what the Esperanto proponents wanted.

If you want to reach a non-gamer audience, you should try to get your stuff on various social networks in a browser-playable form.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Jeroen D. Stout on August 28, 2011, 09:36:47 pm
The links you posted above are not an indication of the people I want to reach, and I believe quite evidently so. You took the cross-section which is the fad of bad contemporary art and a bundle of low-brow television. I see your point that this would be the non-gamer audience on average, but it is also a subsection of people not playing games different to the one I mean. You did not show, in your videos, the people who visit the British Museum, or people who curl up with a cup of tea, reading Jane Austen while stroking a cat. These people also exist, and these people need to play games - they cannot at the moment, because I cannot think of more than a handful of games which I would rather play (myself) than reading Jane Austen while stroking a cat. Once this game exists, the existence of which I myself will know through the internet, the issue I would like to clear up is how to get this game to the people and get them to purchase and play it.

You sketch a dreary view of people outside of games, but watching a few videos of people in games can be just as dreary - my target audience is the right part of both groups, I think I made the fault of being unclear when I said 'non-gamers'. Michaël sketched a favourable image of non-gamers in his post, and I meant 'non-gamers' is this idealistic way.

Thinking on it, that literary types do not care about games is the problem I was (again) pondering a solution to; I do not see it as an ultimate fact of the universe, I see it as a problem that games and 'literary types' do not exist on the same plane. Either these people learn to play games, or I find an audience of gamers massively interested in literary affairs. Perhaps in this my pondering is opposite to yours, in that I do not believe that there is a high chance gamers as an audience will pick up the type of culture. (Edit: By which I mean, if they have not picked it up already as part of their life, I do not think it is highly probable they will en masse.)

I must add that I do not believe gamers to be uncultured in a direct relation, there are wonderful and cultured gamers plentiful. I just believe that the wonderful cultured non-gamers will more quickly become wonderful and cultured gamers than that I can expect culturally uninterested gamers to become cultured gamers, let alone wonderful. One requires people to find enough worth to be pulled over the threshold, the other is an entire cultural shift.

I do not think your social game example to be without merit, actually, but I lack any insight in this as I am not invested in social network sites personally. (Beyond broadcast mediums such as Twitter and Tumbler.) Perhaps getting my game browser-playable and on Facebook would lure in the people who use Facebook while stroking a cat and drinking honey-tea. I would like to see someone do this, naturally, but I am not convinced myself.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: ghostwheel on August 28, 2011, 10:15:33 pm
Well yes, it was very broad and cheap but I made my point. :)

And I believe my point is NOT dreary. Quite the opposite. The interest is there, just not where you want it to be.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Thomas on August 28, 2011, 10:24:45 pm
Slight rant regarding reaching non-gamers:

I also think an important point here is that many of the people that we are trying to convince here have actually already been exposed to the videogames. Even many people in the industry, people that are making games for a living in some form, have stopped caring. They have gotten to the point where they realized games is no longer for them, and that they rather do their intellectually stimulating escapism elsewhere.

For example, Richard Garriot (of Ultima fame) gave a talk at GDC, where he said his current platform of choice was the iPhone. What this tells me is that what his view of games has shifted towards time-wasting toys, ie what the vast amount of iOS games are (I doubt he was spending all time with strange rain, etc). I am sure he does read a lot of fiction, but he never looks for games for any intellectual stimulation. Now, I am doing a lot of guessing here :) But do not think I am that far off.

The point I am trying to make here is that many people who do not see themselves as "gamers", might have been this in the past. I do not think this a small portion of non-gamers either. Pretty much everybody I know have been playing videogames at some point and might have continued to do so, but only in very limited scope. For example, most people read lots of comics when they are young, when they grow up they think that comics is no longer for them, except some specific strips in the newspapers. It will be very hard to convince these people to read "Maus" or some other more adult comic, they have just let it go.

In the same way, people have now made their choice on what they think video games are. I do not think it is possible to lure these people in. I think the only way is to make games that are so damn interesting to them that they simply cannot ignore. And the scary part is that this might be impossible for many.

Even more sad is that if any of these people do think that they might give videogames another chance, picking up the latest block buster, they find that games are still in the same state they remembered them in.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Thomas on August 28, 2011, 10:35:47 pm
And since I am already writing negative stuff, I might as well continue. This article is worth a read:

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

Basically, if people have set their minds on something, trying to convince them otherwise will only make them believe their viewpoint more! This makes me believe that any sort of viral approach is bound to fail.


So all is doomed? I do not think so yet. I think the ways to fix the problem is to simple make games that are so exciting that they cannot be ignored. My hope is then that a cumulative effect of many games that have this property is that they will become more noticed in the game community, more games like it made and then finally hit a critical mass where it gains mass appeal. I am not sure I would bet on it happening though...


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: troshinsky on August 28, 2011, 10:37:37 pm
I always thought there´s a problem somewhere when it´s obvious that everybody likes to play but not everybody likes to play videogames.

Probably the best way to reach this audience is to simply keep doing games that challenge what games have been so far, and eventually our work will reach that public, no matter how. First we should care about doing a good work, I don´t think that so far there are enough good pieces of interactive art to make this audience believe in this medium.

EDIT: Oh, Thomas just said what I was writing!


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: ghostwheel on August 29, 2011, 10:32:59 am
Quote
time-wasting toys

Toys aren't necessarily a wate of time, anymore than anything else. Toys can be stimulating, interesting and worthwhile. Strange Rain in "wordless" mode is a toy!


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Thomas on August 29, 2011, 08:49:02 pm
Quote
time-wasting toys

Toys aren't necessarily a wate of time, anymore than anything else. Toys can be stimulating, interesting and worthwhile. Strange Rain in "wordless" mode is a toy!
Agree, which is why I called them "time-wasting toys" :) What I tried to get across was the view of games of something you use for no other thing than to let time pass faster, e.g. playing angry birds on the bus.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 31, 2011, 08:50:48 am
I have thought in the past about making a novel/game combination and finding a way of getting them combined and sold in a book-store as a book-with-mini-DVD

We had the exact same idea for 8 (http://Tale-of-Tales.com/8). We even contacted Amélie Nothomb to write the novel, or short stories -and she put a very long apology about not having time for this on our answering machine :).


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 31, 2011, 09:04:15 am
There are literally millions of people playing games on Facebook that have never played any type of computer game and probably still wouldn't consider themselves "gamers."

I think these people are playing games on their computer because they have a computer and they have always played games.
But the video-games that we are interested in are very very different from this games. The games on Facebook and other casual games are an electronic version of the board games and card games that people were already playing. Our type of games, games-as-a-medium, doesn't have such an analog forefather that we could transition an audience from.

But it may be possible to find interested people in the audience for literature, fine art, dance, theater, opera, design, etc. In fact, I know this to be true: I personally know many people interested in the games that we make. Yet it often seems to be very difficult for these people to make the step to actually play them. The reasons for which I can only speculate about (I guess both technical and social issues are involved before they even start playing).


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 31, 2011, 09:10:26 am
I think the only way is to make games that are so damn interesting to them that they simply cannot ignore.

If nothing else, this sentiment will keep us on our toes! :)


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 31, 2011, 09:12:59 am
I always thought there´s a problem somewhere when it´s obvious that everybody likes to play but not everybody likes to play videogames.

By that same token there's also a problem somewhere when it´s obvious that everybody likes to see pretty pictures but not everybody turns to videogames to see them.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 31, 2011, 09:53:56 am
Deep down I believe that video-games can turn people into those "who curl up with a cup of tea, reading Jane Austen while stroking a cat." Modernism seem to have caused serious damage to the very idea of a cultured existence. And many modern writers, painters and film makers have contributed to this onslaught. So we shouldn't idolize this cultured life outside of the games community too much. It may have become much more sparse than we imagine.

In my restless dreams, I imagine video-games could actually re-introduce the idea of a cultured existence in our societies. By being a very wide-spread medium that is capable of interacting with the spectator, perhaps video-games can pull people on board of the ship of culture. Perhaps instead of thinking about turning non-gamers into gamers, and following Thomas's objections, we should focus on "turning gamers into non-gamers".

Turning the uncultured into cultured might in fact be a long term strategy towards success. Because if more people within the gamers niche become cultured, cultured people from other fields will be more attracted to video-games.

And given that many gamers are young, it's not so far-fetched to think of our work, at least partially, in terms of eduction. Maybe video-games offer the new generations their first artistic experience. It's quite a responsibility!


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: troshinsky on August 31, 2011, 05:38:49 pm
Quite an inspiring though, Michaël! We should stay positive.

By that same token there's also a problem somewhere when it´s obvious that everybody likes to see pretty pictures but not everybody turns to videogames to see them.

I can´t think of many games that offer pretty pictures actually, so yes, we have a responsability.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: God at play on August 31, 2011, 05:50:56 pm
Perhaps instead of thinking about turning non-gamers into gamers, and following Thomas's objections, we should focus on "turning gamers into non-gamers".

Turning the uncultured into cultured might in fact be a long term strategy towards success.

This seems to be the side that ghostwheel is arguing.

I guess my experience so far has suggested that the people interested in using Weiv aren't generally hardcore gamers. But I guess that could be because our scenes are still a little simplistic (some of which is intentional) and don't yet look like a big budget game. I can't wait to finish some of those scenes to see what the reaction is, hopefully we can subversively draw them in and shake up their assumptions a bit.

All I know is I'm thankful for the ease of use of the Wii Remote. Even something as intuitive as that is still intimidating to people. Some people are just really afraid they're going to break something due to negative computer experiences, and some have a very ingrained concern about what others will think of them, which comes out even in a holy space.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Mick P. on August 01, 2015, 05:15:33 am
In the same way, people have now made their choice on what they think video games are. I do not think it is possible to lure these people in. I think the only way is to make games that are so damn interesting to them that they simply cannot ignore. And the scary part is that this might be impossible for many.

I do think we have to make games that are better than existing games in every way. And I know that the only way that can be done is deliberately and collectively, and I know if it's not done no one else is going to do it ever. So someone does it, or it doesn't happen...

Unfortunately in our culture I feel like nothing happens collectively ever. One person must do it all, maybe two people if they are a lucky couple, up to a point, about 90% of the way, and then everyone will jump onto that bandwagon. It's just the nature of our species. I'm long resolved to doing it all, alone if I must.


EDITED: I read this thread backward from a quote link. I'm a little worried how often WASD appears in this forum. I don't think most people can even use WASD and when they say it what they really mean is pressing the W key with one finger while using the mouse for everything else. The keyboard should be taken out back and shot. There are no magic bullets in video games but there is at least the certainty that the keyboard is doomed (sorry keyboard :))

I don't know what the answer is, but there's no reason that a game controller should be a second class peripheral. If you have a mouse, then why not a game controller? They are on equal footing, or should be.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: God at play on August 01, 2015, 08:56:49 am
I do think we have to make games that are better than existing games in every way.
...
I'm long resolved to doing it all, alone if I must.

In the last 4 years since this conversation took place, a bunch of interesting videogames were released that heavily featured a notgames design mindset, and some of those released games went on to be commercially successful (most notably selling Minecraft to MS for an under-priced $2.5 billion). I think it really is true that all we needed was to create and keep creating experiences that were interesting enough, and the rest of videogame culture could help build them up. So you're right in the sense that the largest piece of the puzzle is making the right videogame.

I think where you're wrong is that much progress has already been made, and it was by some indie developers who were often working toward this non-deliberately and as a broader community more so than as one collaboration. They talked to each other at conferences and shared ideas and gave each other feedback, as artists do. And they built upon years of evolving previous work in their medium, along with adding some of their own new ideas here and there, as artists do.

Was it about making better videogames? Yes. Is it possible to single-handedly accomplish the task and do it yourself? Certainly not. They've already accomplished so much and have paved so many roads, there's no way you can accomplish anything without standing on their shoulders, unless you both never release your games (which prevents your effort from being proven) and have no prior knowledge of the medium.

Your enthusiasm is inspiring! Thank you. But I think it's impossible to create in a vacuum in 2015 and emerge later as a hero from outer space. Acknowledging the progress already made is a good thing, hopefully it can encourage you as you move forward.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Mick P. on August 01, 2015, 09:37:59 pm
I do think we have to make games that are better than existing games in every way.
...
I'm long resolved to doing it all, alone if I must.

In the last 4 years since this conversation took place, a bunch of interesting videogames were released that heavily featured a notgames design mindset, and some of those released games went on to be commercially successful (most notably selling Minecraft to MS for an under-priced $2.5 billion). I think it really is true that all we needed was to create and keep creating experiences that were interesting enough, and the rest of videogame culture could help build them up. So you're right in the sense that the largest piece of the puzzle is making the right videogame.

I think where you're wrong is that much progress has already been made, and it was by some indie developers who were often working toward this non-deliberately and as a broader community more so than as one collaboration. They talked to each other at conferences and shared ideas and gave each other feedback, as artists do. And they built upon years of evolving previous work in their medium, along with adding some of their own new ideas here and there, as artists do.

Was it about making better videogames? Yes. Is it possible to single-handedly accomplish the task and do it yourself? Certainly not. They've already accomplished so much and have paved so many roads, there's no way you can accomplish anything without standing on their shoulders, unless you both never release your games (which prevents your effort from being proven) and have no prior knowledge of the medium.

Your enthusiasm is inspiring! Thank you. But I think it's impossible to create in a vacuum in 2015 and emerge later as a hero from outer space. Acknowledging the progress already made is a good thing, hopefully it can encourage you as you move forward.

I think my idea of success is much less narrow than this. Minecraft is probably the only classic video game for a decade. And whenever I try to remember how much MS bought it out for I think $25B because $2.5B does seem ridiculous. I see something now called Minecraft Story Mode, or something like this, which is maybe getting closer to what I'd call a form of success if it shakes out. Minecraft does put a tool in the hands of lots of people, but it's more like a proof of concept, since you can't make anything except block worlds out of it.

The next step is to get something like Minecraft in the hands of everyone, only instead of block worlds, real worlds that look like classic video games. That's what I do, virtually single-handedly. I don't think a few small outfits making a few games with tools like Unity that are super time intensive will change the face of games the way I need it changed personally. There's also that Unity games tend to be unattractive, but I'm sure there are less often used ways to use it. What are you using for TDC?

(I think would-be game makers need a firmer hand to guide them than Unity. High-level tools like RPG Maker are the wave of the future.)


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Michaël Samyn on August 02, 2015, 08:48:14 am
Acknowledging the progress already made is a good thing

Thank you for the reminder. In my impatience I too am guilty of forgetting this sometimes.


Title: Re: Games, notgames, notnotgames?
Post by: Mick P. on August 04, 2015, 01:36:50 am
Your enthusiasm is inspiring! Thank you. But I think it's impossible to create in a vacuum in 2015 and emerge later as a hero from outer space. Acknowledging the progress already made is a good thing, hopefully it can encourage you as you move forward.

It's funny that you say this, because this is entirely my point. The idea of creating in a vacuum, which is literally how games are made, is outmoded, and ahistorical. We need to be creating together asynchronously and acknowledging and studying the entire history of video games. Even if you don't believe that is necessary you only alienate yourself in neglecting to do so, and make your position weaker in the process, gambling with the possibility of bringing everyone along for the long journey ahead.

The same goes for our hero from outer space. The approach I advocate for is self sacrificing and does not brook private fame or fortune. It may be a sad or even strange testament to our time that there'd be just one hero from outer space, but if that's all there is, then that's all there is. Does anyone in their right mind really want to be famous on a world of 7B? And is it not criminal that we are not all fortunate from cradle to grave? Michael is surprised there are a few naysayers out of 7B. I'm not.

I am not convinced Minecraft is a prototypical not-game, but if it is then the next generation may have a radically different concept of what a game is, and if there is anything to Minecraft's creative elements, that could translate into an eagerness to make video game like worlds, and given a "Minecraft 2.0" from somewhere (perhaps even outer space) that could conceivably bring real creative diversity to videogames and fast (CALL THIS IDEALISTIC FUTURIST SCENARIO-A)