PLAYERS X EXPERTS - OUR ATTITUDE ON PLAYING GAMES

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Whenever someone raises a topic about "what makes a good game?", the answers always come down to one unitary factor: FUN. A good game doesn't need awesome graphics, doesn't need elaborate custom systems, doesn't need amazingly well written stories... a game is good if it's fun.

In a way this is a something of an empty concept, because the fun factor may be tied to those graphics, system or story, but at the same time the premise is still true because fun is very subjective. What is fun for some is not for others. What is fun for me at a time may be boring or annoying at another.

What is interesting noting is that FUN is not a passive process. FUN is not something that is forced down my throat while I'm exposed to something. Fun is something that happens as a part of the interaction. It is, in a way, part of my actions, part of what I'm doing. I make the fun. What I'm saying is the more fun I WANT IT TO BE, the more fun IT WILL BE.

If I play a game wanting to enjoy it, wanting to explore the good of it, wanting to make it a good experience, it most likely will be. If I don't want to enjoy a game, if I'm using my laser vision to spot flaws, if I'm not in a good mood or in a good attitude when playing it, there's no way I'm gonna like it.

Isn't that kinda obvious?

But still, a lot of people play games with attitude number 2. They don't play games as players, they play them as developers. They DON'T WANT to have fun, they want to JUDGE. Sometimes, they want to show game design expertise at the expense of other people's games. And the funny thing is, if they WANT to find flaws, if they WANT to get bored or annoyed, I have no doubt they will. If you don't have fun playing a game, it's not only the guy who made it's fault, but also yours.

So, what I'm saying is that I think people should turn off their analytic skills, avoid spotting flaws in games, try to ignore the bad stuff and enhance the good stuff in their minds? Yes, that's exactly what I am saying.

But if people keep that superpositive attitude, who will help game makers improve their games, since actual flaws DO exist?

Well, trying to enjoy a game won't make you go blind. You will notice things that could use improvement while you're playing the game. The whole point is not letting them impact your experience that much. Someone who makes a game does want to make it a technically better game, but the thing he wants the most, have no doubt about it, is knowing that someoned enjoyed it.

After all, the target audience of someone making a game is definitely people willing to enjoy it, not people willing to point out bad stuff. As a community, we should also keep a positive attitude on receiving criticism, of course. But let's not forget that the most important thing about a community of people who make and play games is having fun making games and having fun playing them.

What inspired me to write this topic was reading the some of the last polemic reviews from Solitayre. What is funny about those reviews is that they're well written, he says things people don't disagree with, but still he gives low scores to games everyone else likes. I've read again some of those reviews, and what I noticed is a huge imbalance of the weight given to the good stuff and to the bad stuff. I feel like (I may be wrong, but that's how I feel) what he does is getting games everybody likes and go like "Everyone likes this game, right? I'll show you how it's full of flaws". He says he doesn't play games to hate on them after, but I don't believe that. Soli doesn't strike me as a player with unorthodox tastes, so it should be expected that he'd like a game most people like. But he doesn't. And I believe it's all about the attitude.

Soli, forgive me for using you as an example, but I did it just to make my point clear. I think everyone is, to some degree, guilty of overanalyzing games in detriment of fun, including myself. But that doesn't mean we can't do differently. We can, and we should.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
I agree. I think I go in to an RM game with an attitude like, "Well, it's an RM game, so it's only going to be kind of good." I have a lot less patience for them, even if they compete with or surpass some of my favorite SNES games.
I'm trying to get better about playing . RM Games have a ton of potential. Wilfred the Hero threw me for a loop the first time I played it. Mage Duel is fun as hell. My roommate sat down and player Hero's Realm for three days straight. The introduction to A Blurred Line (I just started the other day) is way more involving than Chrono Trigger's "let's screw around in a fair for an hour". RPG Maker games have a ton of potential.

Playing through a game, learning from it, and discussing it improves the community as well. It helps the maker learn, it gives the players ideas and inspiration, and it makes it more likely that someone will give your game a chance too.

And Solitayre is pretty harsh, but he always brings up good points - reviews are a good way for developers to learn from their mistakes.
I love Solitayre's reviews. Harsh reviews seem to be the best.
Yeah I have to wonder if some reviewers click the RPG_RT.exe with a notepad next to their keyboard.
If you're definitely going to review something then it might be best to do just that; it stops you from doing something stupid like thinking a game has battle-music when it actually doesn't...

EDIT: I am not someone who does that.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
post=153327
Yeah I have to wonder if some reviewers click the RPG_RT.exe with a notepad next to their keyboard.


I've asked my friends who play-test my game for me to do this, actually.
It's good when you're play testing or playing the game a second time, but besides that you should just... play the game like anyone else would, then decide if you want to review it (a 2nd play-through). Like Cal said, play the game as a player rather than a developer.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
But still, a lot of people play games with attitude number 2. They don't play games as players, they play them as developers. They DON'T WANT to have fun, they want to JUDGE. Sometimes, they want to show game design expertise at the expense of other people's games. And the funny thing is, if they WANT to find flaws, if they WANT to get bored or annoyed, I have no doubt they will. If you don't have fun playing a game, it's not only the guy who made it's fault, but also yours.

I think (and I hope no one mistakes this for sarcasm) that in just six sentences calunio has bored down to the very kernel of the community's attitude problem. Can anyone honestly say they DON'T do this?

GREAT topic, I don't know if I can add anything. I totally agree with everything in the OP, 100%.
I wonder if this is something inherent to trying to fit a gameplay experience into words, though. Like maybe not all the time but I know I've enjoyed games like The Shivah and Norrland and then posted about them somewhere and couldn't really explain why I liked them without it sounding stilted and forced. And they're really good fucking games! But yeah I sorta think this is because when people talk about fun in games and so on they're really talking about some specific experience that it's hard to put into words so they break it down into components of SOUND PLOT BATTLES CHIPSETS etc and in the process lose track of what all these things actually cohere into. It's almost impossible to talk about these things specifically without being nitpicky because they're not particularly important by themselves!

Having said that though I don't really think the problem is to do with standards or mood: these might play a part but I know there's a ton of books and albums and things that don't really do anything for me but where I could see what people might like and find valuable about them, which is different from actually disliking something I think. It's more to do with a change in priorities of what people are actually judging. There's also the fact that in an amateur community the purpose of reviews (for the player or the developer?) can get kind of blurred and that it's easier to make "objective" points about chipset consistency or whatever than give an actual opinion but mainly I think it's because it's hard to talk about what's really valuable about games without lapsing back into component categories with more established criteria of good and bad.

EDIT: actually I think stuff like mood and boredom etc is exactly why it's better to have some kind of standards etc instead of just basing it all on whether it was fun to play. there's a ton of reasons someone might not have fun (and theres nothing more unbearable than trying to force yourself into having a good time) but even if you don't you can still try to reasonably look at what the game has to offer!
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
It's true. The way you hype yourself for something is half the reason you enjoy it so much - if you're in a bad mood (or judgemental, in this case) then that's how you're going to enjoy the game.

It makes me wonder how much more I've enjoyed certain games that have been hyped up purely as awesome (like FF7 or Chrono Trigger) simply because of the hype and not for the game itself. They're fun, but were they amazing, or did other people just make me think that?
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
Can anyone honestly say they DON'T do this?
I don't! (mostly because I don't play games)

I have a half-formed article on my desk at work on the topic of reviews on the internet that would be somewhat relevant to this conversation. Too bad I am at home right now.

post=153364
It makes me wonder how much more I've enjoyed certain games that have been hyped up purely as awesome (like FF7 or Chrono Trigger) simply because of the hype and not for the game itself. They're fun, but were they amazing, or did other people just make me think that?
See, this is the advantage of playing games months or even years after they are released - the hype is gone and forgotten so you can enjoy (or not) the game in earnest.
See, this is the advantage of playing games months or even years after they are released - the hype is gone and forgotten so you can enjoy (or not) the game in earnest.


Gone and forgotten? You still see FF7 in BEST FUCKING GAMES OF ALL TIME lists along with chrono trigger being discussed a lot in any SNES rpg discussion. In fact I think the hype is gone when you play a game when it comes out back when there was no internet or even you not having a subscription to nintendo power. Then again, you still have that mysterious element of NOSTALGIA that a lot of people like to harp about to say your childhood game sucks.

basically, there's always an outside element at work that can influence your enjoyment of a game. Though it's possible to at least minimize it.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
Yeah, but I am not bombarded with FF7 advertisements and magazine front-pages and clipshows in the local Gamestop and whatever-else, like I was back in 1997.
While this is definitely a very existing problem, it also often goes the opposite way around. I tend to overlook flaws more often if I'm having fun than when the game bores me. When I'm enjoying a game I can think "the story is subpar and sometimes doesn't make sense, but the point of the game is and not the story" which doesn't really work if the game is boring. Of course, this means that if a game starts slow, it can affect my judgment for rest of it since I'm now noticing more flaws. I don't think I can just turn off my analytic thinking if that happens though. Over-analyzing things what I do and that's not just limited to games.

Anyway, it has also happened that I've found a game to be boring, but stuck to it because there is potential and being an RPG Maker game, there is a chance of improvement if the author is given the right feedback.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14510
post=153327
Yeah I have to wonder if some reviewers click the RPG_RT.exe with a notepad next to their keyboard.

This is what I do, but usually I do logs for testing purposes and not actual reviews. I find that this with a basic +pro/-con/=neutral comment system is extremely helpful for people!

Here's my notes on the first part of Hellion, for example:
http://rpgmaker.net/users/Craze/locker/testingnotescraze.txt
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20851
That was extremely helpful for me!
But still, a lot of people play games with attitude number 2. They don't play games as players, they play them as developers. They DON'T WANT to have fun, they want to JUDGE. Sometimes, they want to show game design expertise at the expense of other people's games. And the funny thing is, if they WANT to find flaws, if they WANT to get bored or annoyed, I have no doubt they will. If you don't have fun playing a game, it's not only the guy who made it's fault, but also yours.

ding ding ding
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
440
What inspired me to write this topic was reading the some of the last polemic reviews from Solitayre. What is funny about those reviews is that they're well written, he says things people don't disagree with, but still he gives low scores to games everyone else likes.

as soon as rpgmaker games reach final fantasy 6 quality i am sure he will bump it up to a 2. like above, people like sol play rpgmaker games to act elitist about it because it gives them a form of superiority. as long as an rpgmaker game isn't filled with bugs and sort of makes sense, it's not bad, and most people are easily entertained.

if you find excuses to not like a game, yea, it's pretty easy to call a game crap. i do not like kc for a lot of reasons, but i still respect the fact that has the best dungeon design in an rm game. it's far from a bad game, but if you have the sol attitude, you will pretty much dislike 99% of the games here.
Yeah. I fall into the trap of not wanting to enjoy certain games. Especially stuff on this site. But that's because I have certain preconceptions, not because I actually don't want to like a game. For example I hate anime a lot so any game with anime in it will automatically be looked at with a bit of distaste by me. I'm also no fan of jrpgs (why am I on RPGmaker.net I will never know). So there's a lot going against these things.

The fact that they're free also makes games a lot easier to dismiss.

So basically for me to enjoy a game I want it to surprise me. I look at games and they premise looks interesting I open it up and. Lo and behold it is the same tripe every other game is! And I quit after I've finished the first cutscene.

Of course if I've decided to review a game I can't just go by the gut reaction before the end of the first cutscene and say "No. This game was pretty bad". And once a game is bad it's even harder for it to get good again. Instead I start to look at even the tiniest details and how it annoys me greatly. But if I for some reason have decided "This game needs reviewing"... I'll go on.

When I play games to review them I'm not playing them to enjoy them. Occasionally I will review a game I enjoy. But that's not really the same thing.
post=153376
Yeah, but I am not bombarded with FF7 advertisements and magazine front-pages and clipshows in the local Gamestop and whatever-else, like I was back in 1997.


Well I suppose you're right there... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARn2o4IsnJY
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