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Games are wasting time

Games are wasting time
« on: March 30, 2012, 04:16:16 pm »

I have one problem with games and even notgames. They are wasting my time or to put it different: there is too much down time in a game. Time, where nothing is going on.

Let me explain. In the early movie days, films had to explain everything. If the detective was going to investigate a murder location: you were shown how he puts on his coat, leaves his office, walks to his car, drives, exit his car etc...
A cut like picking up the coat to the murder scene would have been too much of a gap.

Back to games. I feel, there is too much fat in them. Too much walking aimlessly around (if it is not an exploration-type of game). A 10 hour game could be reduced to the two important hours. I think, they should be.

If you read a good novel or any other kind of book, if it is good, there is no "fat". You can't remove anything without
destroying the work, right?

I don't feel that I have time for a 20 hours game experience. I could watch 10 great movies in that time. Or one season of a good TV show...

As much as I love The Path, it is too long, too big for me. It takes me about 2 hours for a single character. And then I even haven't found the wolf Wink

I want games that are 2 hours long and packed with content, layers upon layers.

I think Dear Esther had the right length and "density". Fatale was the right length, too.

Anyone else has this issue with game length?

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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 05:36:00 pm »

Yes, to an extent. And I do agree, that the shorthand in film is very well developed now. Same with comics. They both have 80-100 years on games. Games may take a while to develop as sophisticated a language.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 07:16:18 pm »

I completely agree. Games should be shorter if their content doesn't require the time. Hopefully Dear Esther and also Journey have now paved the way for this to be commercially viable.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 07:53:46 pm »

YES. I hate Mass Effect 3 right now. Because I've been playing it for 30 hours, and all the combat and sub par side missions have drained me completely. I just want it to end now, and in a bad way.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 06:46:06 pm »

There is a lot of scientific evidence to show that adults have a hard time keeping their attention focused on something for more than 90 minutes. I suppose it's just part of our rhythm, since we sleep in 90 minute chunks as well. That's why you have intermissions for events (even sports!) that last more than 90 minutes.

It has been argued on Gamasutra that film is about short edits, so videogames are about continuity. I remain unconvinced.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 01:40:50 am by God at play »
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 10:31:33 pm »

It is a strange thing, but after going to England last week and doing some very hefty recording days (by the end I was too tired to be satisfied - and then the pubbing starts, and then the clubbing continues), I have been unable to even read game news. It is like it just exists in some pocket universe with no relation to the exciting life I had been having. I find myself drawn to learning the piano, studying, drawing, corresponding... The idea of playing a game seems absurd after such richness. I feel sort-of through with the whole thing. I am really looking forward to some things, like Botanicula, but even for that I have all kinds of 'could give that game to...' plans which make it half a cute social thing. But all the other things seem like wasting enormous amounts of time.

After last week I seem to have lost the 'should give it a chance for what it is worth'-trigger. ...Oh dear, perhaps I am free now Smiley and I can finally do useful things without feeling any need to spend time on it.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 09:52:35 pm »

Even films today have a tendency of being too long, I think. Two hours or even more, instead of the old ideal of 100 min.
Furthermore- the most rapid way of getting a story is by a comic strips book. You get it in half an hour, the animated version would take a couple of hours ..

On the other hand, a real good piece of art is "timeless" -- there is no question of spending too much time on it or not.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 10:21:18 pm »

If games and notgames can't be a rich experience, then what the hell are we all doing here?
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 01:50:50 am »

Lets assume the richness could stay the same while shortening the experience. If you want to look at film as an example, the solution was a better use of editing through a transition from depiction to suggestion. What does suggestion look like in videogames?
Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 08:37:45 am »

I find minimalism often very liberating: to be able to concentrate on just a few elements and make them as good as they can be. Hours can be such elements too.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 01:01:01 am »

If you want to look at film as an example, the solution was a better use of editing through a transition from depiction to suggestion. What does suggestion look like in videogames?

This is a good question. I don't know the answer, but maybe making more short games like The Love Letter will help...
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2012, 01:13:02 pm »

Suggestion is using the viewer's mind as your canvas. Which implies that you need to work with who they are, what they are. As opposed to designing systems that they need to learn and excel at before they can enjoy.

In terms of suggestion, real time 3D multimedia is a godsent, because it allows us to address many sensory stimuli simultaneously. The strongest one of these, I think, is the body's memory.

For me, suggestion in videogames involves triggering things from the viewer's less than conscious memory. The memory of how the sun feels on one's skin, the memory of the smell of wet wood, the memory of the sound of the forest. We do not need to actually show these things, or recreate them. We only need to make the viewer imagine them, often on a less than active level. People do this spontaneously when stimulated in the right way.

Videogames are about being, not seeing. So what we are suggesting is existence itself, not, e.g. the logic of narrative or chains of causes and consequences.
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 05:00:16 am »

For me, suggestion in videogames involves triggering things from the viewer's less than conscious memory. The memory of how the sun feels on one's skin, the memory of the smell of wet wood, the memory of the sound of the forest. We do not need to actually show these things, or recreate them. We only need to make the viewer imagine them, often on a less than active level. People do this spontaneously when stimulated in the right way.

Videogames are about being, not seeing. So what we are suggesting is existence itself, not, e.g. the logic of narrative or chains of causes and consequences.

Very nice answer, thank you. Smiley
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Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 06:07:21 am »

Agreed, great answer!

People do this spontaneously when stimulated in the right way.

So this sentence says to me that it might be productive to forgo the computer altogether early on and just do random magic tricks and stuff IRL to get a better understanding of how to "stimulate."

Or is this medium so distinct it would be more productive to stay purely virtual? hmm
Re: Games are wasting time
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2012, 10:50:51 am »

I finished The Walking Dead Ep.1 (Telltales) lately. It took me approx. 2-3 hours to play.
The actual content ( without the fat ), would make a 40 min. TV episode...

so 1-2 hours of the game are wasted time, like wondering aimless in circles to get some puzzles done.
Or replaying parts, because of dying etc...

I don't feel that my time was used effective. It feels like a step back. Some say the "immersion" would make up for it,
but there were many points in the game, where I wasn't immersed at all. Like when I was searching some keys and the game did not progress at all.

I don't want to be too harsh, though. TWD is actually recapturing the comics really well, so I am looking forward to Ep. 2


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