Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

The difference between subverting and/or deconstructing the genre and just doing it badly lie entirely within the quality of the writing.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Tomo » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:10 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:The difference between subverting and/or deconstructing the genre and just doing it badly lie entirely within the quality of the writing.


It's also likely to be a function of the popularity of the genre, ease of subversion and how established said genre is. RPGs, especially JRPGs have always been full of similar ideas and cliches, but the result of that is nowadays almost none of them take themselves seriously and instead fall down the road of self-parody, often repeating the exact same tropes in a tired plea that if the audience knows that they're doing it on purpose, they won't mind as much.

"Subverting" the RPG genre is almost a cliche in itself.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

Tomo wrote:What? It's a game about a teenage boy who has trouble expressing his emotions.

Yuri is 21... he expresses his emotions perfectly fine... it's just that he is mature, calm, clearheaded and carefree. He Understands people's feelings and their motivations (ex; Sodia, Judith). He doesn't pretend that he has the moral highground, or that his ideals justify his actions (ex; The murders).
Who teams up with a gentle girl with healing powers, who is the last in a line of ancients

Who is a stealth subversion of the innocent princess trope
Spoiler:
she is actually a rebellious princess without ever seeming the part

Her ancestary is ALSO deconstructed;
Spoiler:
Since the major plot events revolving around her ancentary only prove how absolutely horrible the power she inhereted is. The "Chosen One" is usually deconstructed like this in the Tales of games

a pet dog

A pet dog who smokes a pipe and fights with a dagger which he sheaths on his shoulder. Such a huge cliche... :-/
an older guy who everyone calls "old-man" (seriously Japan, fuck this trope)

Tropes aren't Cliches... Everything you've listed now is a trope (half of which are subverted or deconstructed), not cliches. Part of the reason why they call him old-man is because on the surface he ascribes to a Japanese character trope which is the 'Perverted Old Man'... that's why they call him that.
Spoiler:
Which is why he is a subversion, actually a subversion of a subversion because most subversions of the "Perverted Old Man" trope is that it's a cover to hide his true character who is caring, smart and chivalrous. Whereas Raven actually IS a Perverted Old Man... but he is caring, smart and chivalrous all at the same time. Both of these personas are also meant to hide his status as a Death Seeker.

a female ninja type who is in it for the money but warms to them

Huh? Who? You say mage next so I can only guess you're talking about Judith... who isn't a Ninja type at all... nor is she in it 'for the money'...
Spoiler:
She's a deconstruction of 'doing it yourself'

who have to save the world from an unknown evil that last attacked x-years ago in a "great war".

Um, no? They don't.
Spoiler:
Yuri sets off with Estelle and Repede to both chase after the Blastia thief and also find Flynn.

Then they have to stop Well Intentioned Extremist Alexei from Breaking It. After which they have to Unbreak it. There is no unknown evil at all... let alone one that attacked last "x-years ago" in a "great war" the only "great war" that happened was between the Entelexeia and the Humans over the Hermes Blastia. The Adephagos is non-sentient and doesn't have morality, it's essentially a natural cataclysm caused use of the Blastia (Global Warming? Duh. I mean seriously that was the most obvious point of the story and you didn't notice it?)

And of course they're fighting against the teenage main characters childhood friend in places. And a white haired Bishie with a sword.

Flynn and Yuri are 21... the vast majority of their fights are friendly ones. And... yet again... the presence of a white haired Bishie with a sword doesn't a cliche make... ("doesn't a <noun> make" however does a cliche make).
The game play isn't new, every step of the story is predictable, every turn can be seen an hour before it happens, everything from the timing you get the boat, then the airship is ripped straight from the genre as a whole.

You predicted that;
Spoiler:
Yaeger was going to be on a Heel Face Revolving Door? Yaeger participated in the war and was forced to work for Alexei?

That Defeat Meant Friendship?

Both the Republic and Empire are alright, except they have a few problems with corruption.

Seven secret weapons? Optional boss monsters? The "witty" joke about whether or not the same NPC in every town is actually the same person? - What IS original?

Those are staples of the Tales of series... They're not supposed to be original... they're features that carry on over from earlier tales of games. I guess the fact that the Tales of series all use similar battle systems means the battle system is cliche!

Another thing... Not-Original =/= Cliche.

Spoiled to save your life:
Spoiler:
Perhaps you should have a read through here;
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... OfVesperia
Or perhaps next time actually read into the story and dialogue when you play the game so you don't say things so obviously incorrectly like you have above? "Ninja" right... "Unfathomable Evil In a Great Way X Years ago" did you even play the game yourself or did you just read some random person's synopsis and think you have the whole thing down?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... uctorFleet
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... nstruction
Are also helpful, just in reference to the Tales of- series.


ITT: Any use of Tropes or something Not-Absolutely-Original = Cliche.
"Give up here?"
- > No
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"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Tomo » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:37 pm UTC

Yeah, I basically disagree with all of that, bar some minor points like the adephagos - though imo it is made out early on that it's some sort of super demon that appears with blastia overuse, especially with the wall paintings (in myorzo I think?) showing it as having tentacles. And their ages - I honestly thought they were 19 but whatever.

Maybe I've just played more JRPGs/have been playing them longer/am just more cynical, but I think part of what you've posted about the game is a case of you reading too much into it*, and everything good about it has been done bigger, better and years ago. And like I said in my last post, "subverting" the RPG genre just isn't interesting anymore.

But hey, that's why I said YMMV.

Spoiler:
Gelsamel wrote:she is actually a rebellious princess without ever seeming the part


Oh come on, seriously? She repeatedly tries to get the team to kill her to save the world. That's about as pathetic-submissive-princess as you can get.


Spoiler:
Gelsamel wrote:Which is why he is a subversion, actually a subversion of a subversion because most subversions of the "Perverted Old Man" trope is that it's a cover to hide his true character who is caring, smart and chivalrous. Whereas Raven actually IS a Perverted Old Man... but he is caring, smart and chivalrous...


*Like I said. Unintentionally hilarious btw. Or you're trolling.


As for Judith being a ninja, she's the fast, agile jump + flip around member of the group with a personality exactly like Yuffie - I was generalising, not speaking about her fighting style (which is exactly the same as Cid/Freya, btw).

ITT: Any use of things that are uninteresting because they've been done hundreds of times before, especially in a package devoid anything else that could make a game great, such as gameplay = cliche.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

Tomo wrote:Yeah, I basically disagree with all of that, bar some minor points like the adephagos - though imo it is made out early on that it's some sort of super demon that appears with blastia overuse, especially with the wall paintings (in myorzo I think?) showing it as having tentacles. And their ages - I honestly thought they were 19 but whatever.

It does have tentacles and stuff... but they repeatedly call it a cataclysm. Even at Myorzo.
Maybe I've just played more JRPGs/have been playing them longer/am just more cynical, but I think part of what you've posted about the game is a case of you reading too much into it*, and everything good about it has been done bigger, better and years ago. And like I said in my last post, "subverting" the RPG genre just isn't interesting anymore. But hey, that's why I said YMMV.

I'd say you're not reading ENOUGH into it, there is a heap between the lines and if you skim over it it's going to seem cliched because that is the point... the whole point of the Tales series is to seem cliched on the surface so when you really go through the game you're surprised by how much it's deconstructed and subverted. I don't know many games which have a serious plot where Defeat Means Friendship...
Spoiler:
For the final boss

I can list more things that other games don't do "bigger, better, and years ago". But it's late and I need to sleep. But that being said, I don't think Vesperia is the best game ever or anything so of course there are going to be games and plots which do stuff better. I just think it's pretty good as far as video games go and definitely the best out of the Tales Series thus far. Additionally I don't understand what you mean by "subverting the RPG genre" to do that it would have to pretend it is an RPG and then turn into some other type of game... Generally you subvert individual tropes, and tropes (while they might be more prevelant here and there) are mostly genre independant.

Also, JRPGs are probably the genre I play the most. I just don't like it when people say the presence of a trope means it's cliched. Or the character fitting an archtype partially means they're unoriginal (or even further... cliched somehow). Duke may be a White haired Bishie but that doesn't mean he is unoriginal (in fact he is probably one of the most original antagonists I know of).
Spoiler:
Gelsamel wrote:she is actually a rebellious princess without ever seeming the part

Oh come on, seriously? She repeatedly tries to get the team to kill her to save the world. That's about as pathetic-submissive-princess as you can get.

That's why she doesn't appear rebellious... and yet she consistantly and selfishly gets the group to do stuff for her. A good explanation of that is here; http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fridge/VideoGames
Spoiler:
Gelsamel wrote:Which is why he is a subversion, actually a subversion of a subversion because most subversions of the "Perverted Old Man" trope is that it's a cover to hide his true character who is caring, smart and chivalrous. Whereas Raven actually IS a Perverted Old Man... but he is caring, smart and chivalrous...

*Like I said. Unintentionally hilarious btw. Or you're trolling.

Spoiler:
That is only reading into it slightly... it's made VERY obvious by Schwann, and Raven/Schwann's interactions with Duke and Alexei and the rest of the cast.

As for Judith being a ninja, she's the fast, agile jump + flip around member of the group with a personality exactly like Yuffie - I was generalising, not speaking about her fighting style (which is exactly the same as Cid/Freya).

She's not as fast as Yuri in terms of movement speed or Repede (who also jumps and flips, and uses a dagger... and uses the wind to dodge all damage... so really Repede is the closest to a ninja... a ninja dog). She is an aerial attacker so, yeah, she has good jumping and aerial speed, including flips. Her personality is NOTHING LIKE YUFFIE AT ALL. I mean, wow, seriously... Yuffie is a god damn Genki Girl Trickster and Judith is a Stepford Smiling Blood Knight. Also Judith fights nothing like Cid... just because they both use spears?

Also, why all the comparisons to Final Fantasy characters? I understand you don't like Tales of Vesperia but even then it's a bit unfair to compare it to any of Final Fantasy's plot or characters.


Edit: Here is a good article, featuring some Tales of games, about the "Least Obvious, Yet Most Annoying Cliche" http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9024635 It's a good read. I advise it to everyone reading this.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Tomo » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I'd say you're not reading ENOUGH into it, there is a heap between the lines and if you skim over it it's going to seem cliched because that is the point... the whole point of the Tales series is to seem cliched on the surface so when you really go through the game you're surprised by how much it's deconstructed and subverted.


Again, I just disagree. I loved Symphonia - it tackled the same things in a variety of far more effective ways, and did manage to have cliche/trope/whatever* characters without completely losing my interest in all of them within a few hours.

Vesperia was just tired, boring and dull.

We can argue and counter example about wether the game is cliche or subverts tropes, but what both come down to is that it does things that were done before. If you found it interesting, fresh and intelligent, than I'm happy for you, but really the only point of contention here is that one of us thinks those things were handled well, and the other doesn't.

Which is actually what ST said at the beginning of the discussion.

*afaik a trope is a repeated idea and a cliche is a repeated idea that has become boring through repetition? That's the definition I've been sticking too anyway, and is why I'm happy to refer to everything in Vesperia as a cliche, rather than a trope. But meh, you're free to think differently.

** Just read the 1up link. I sort of agree with what it says. Cliches are a term often unfairly bestowed upon the JRPG genre, because as a genre, "young boy saves world" is a fairly central idea. Just as "manly marine fights aliens" is the plot for all FPS games.

Jrpgs are one of my favourite genres, and for the most part I'm fine with them doing this sort of thing, as long as there's something to keep me interested throughout - be that characters, levelling system, battle system, exploring, whatever. It's the mark of a good game that it can rise above these trappings and provide a good gaming experience despite the oft-followed tropes, and I, personally, don't think Vesperia comes anywhere near doing that.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:48 am UTC

Tomo wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:I'd say you're not reading ENOUGH into it, there is a heap between the lines and if you skim over it it's going to seem cliched because that is the point... the whole point of the Tales series is to seem cliched on the surface so when you really go through the game you're surprised by how much it's deconstructed and subverted.


Again, I just disagree. I loved Symphonia - it tackled the same things

No it didn't... Symphonia tackled entirely different things.
in a variety of far more effective ways, and did manage to have cliche/trope/whatever* characters without completely losing my interest in all of them within a few hours.

Vesperia was just tired, boring and dull.

We can argue and counter example about wether the game is cliche or subverts tropes, but what both come down to is that it does things that were done before. If you found it interesting, fresh and intelligent, than I'm happy for you, but really the only point of contention here is that one of us thinks those things were handled well, and the other doesn't.

Which is actually what ST said at the beginning of the discussion.

I would be fine if you just said you didn't like the story for personal taste reasons, or you didn't like the character interaction or what ever. But you said that Vesperia was the "most cliche-ridden pile of drivel I've played in a JRPG." you can't just tag "YMMV" on to the end of that and pretend it's just subjective preference. You have not really given any evidence that Vesperia is cliche-ridden. You say we can argue and counter example but you have not presented a counter example at all.
*afaik a trope is a repeated idea and a cliche is a repeated idea that has become boring through repetition? That's the definition I've been sticking too anyway, and is why I'm happy to refer to everything in Vesperia as a cliche, rather than a trope. But meh, you're free to think differently.

From TvTropes: "Tropes are storytelling devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations."

Cliches are tropes that are so prevelant in narratives that they lose their impact and become meaningless or frustrating instead.
** Just read the 1up link. I sort of agree with what it says. Cliches are a term often unfairly bestowed upon the JRPG genre, because as a genre, "young boy saves world" is a fairly central idea. Just as "manly marine fights aliens" is the plot for all FPS games.

The reason I linked that link is because you were making the exact same types of criticism of Vesperia (and I could make the exact same types of criticism for Symphonia) but that is just dismissing the game outright without looking at what it's really about.
Jrpgs are one of my favourite genres, and for the most part I'm fine with them doing this sort of thing, as long as there's something to keep me interested throughout - be that characters, levelling system, battle system, exploring, whatever. It's the mark of a good game that it can rise above these trappings and provide a good gaming experience despite the oft-followed tropes, and I, personally, don't think Vesperia comes anywhere near doing that.

Vesperia doesn't come anywhere near doing that... yet you like Symphonia?

From an objective standpoint everything about Vesperia is better or improved from Symphonia. It has smoother and improved gameplay. Skill customisation outstrips Ex-Sphere customisation by far. There are more variation of artes. More Hi-Ougis. More Side-quests. More Optional Bosses. More Statistics. More weapons... and it does all this 'More' without becomming overly complex or difficult to understand.

It has better graphics, better sounds and better controls. If we compare their characters and storys I think Vesperia wins out (you have not provided any counter examples, as I said above). Thing is, I can take the same type of potshots at Symphonia;

Lloyd is a ridiculously Idealistic Teenage Idiot Hero who is forced out of his town after it is attacked and burned half down and his friend dies. Also, Luke I am Your Father. But-- like analysing Raven as a dirty old man... it misses the entire point. The entire point of Symphonia is that Lloyd is a brutal deconstruction of how the idealistic idiot hero does not work. He is forced into a situation where no outcome is ideal and there is no way to Choose a Third Option (multiple times) and his growth over the game is part of realising that the best solution is a compromise on the ideal outcomes.

The same goes for all the other characters.... Fanservice Ninja Girl who was actually an assassin sent to stop them but ended up joining their team, Annoying Little Kid (At least Karol grows out of it), A Conflicted Man who uses lechery as a cover for his true feelings (see why Raven is a subversion of Zelos and not a copy of him?), A Chosen One, Emotionless Lolicon with a Huge Weapon, etc. But putting it in these terms misses the point.

Now... as I said it's fine if you don't like the game... But it's a pet peeve of mine when people claim things are cliche (let alone 'Cliche-ridden drivel') when they're nowhere near being so. Even more so when some of the things they base it on are patently false (I generally give people the benefit of the doubt but I am surprised you could make a mistake like thinking of Judith as a Genki Girl unless you didn't play the game at all... I mean one listen to how she talks, her tone of voice, and you'd know she's nothing like Yuffie... but whatever).


Edit: To be honest, I play a LOT of RPGs, especially JRPGs and I don't know a single game with a protagonist like Yuri, or an antagonist like Duke.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Tomo » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:30 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Cliches are tropes that are so prevelant in narratives that they lose their impact and become meaningless or frustrating instead.


Excellent description - that's exactly how I feel about Vesperia. The plot, the characters, the dialogue - everything. And personally I'd say whether or not you find something to be dull/boring/meaningless/frustrating/predictable is entirely due to preference, so I'm not really sure why you keep posting huge chains of "facts" to attempt to prove differently.

It doesn't matter what you think the artists intention was, or what the game is "really about". If the characters aren't engaging, and are downright vile on occasion (Seriously? Karol? Probably my least favourite character in anything); if the plot is predictable to the level that at any point you know the next five hours of story; if cutscenes are dragged out, the same themes are repeated time and time again even within the game to the point of utter tedium (I'm Yuri, I'll go do something on my own so my team doesn't share the burden. Oh no, I'm failing. Oh great, they turned up just in time to help me.) and if the entire package is wrapped up in an unenjoyable battle system, uninspired graphics and a plot to match (Where do we go next? We need to travel through this desert. Where after that? Through this ice cave. Then a forest. Then once you've seen one linear grindfest of a dungeon in every climate we'll get an airship) then you simply aren't going to enjoy the game.

And the thing is, I've played games that do half of these things and I could still find something to like about - usually the plot, or the dialogue. I'm a JRPG fan - I'm willing to overlook a lot of cliche - not tropes, cliche - if there's something to like about the game.

But here, for me, there was nothing.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:03 am UTC

Tomo wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Cliches are tropes that are so prevelant in narratives that they lose their impact and become meaningless or frustrating instead.

Excellent description - that's exactly how I feel about Vesperia. The plot, the characters, the dialogue - everything. And personally I'd say whether or not you find something to be dull/boring/meaningless/frustrating/predictable is entirely due to preference, so I'm not really sure why you keep posting huge chains of "facts" to attempt to prove differently.

Uh, no. Whether tropes are 'so prevelant in narratives that they lose their impact' or not is something that is objective... You can't call something completely original a cliche just because you felt it was. If something is borderline cliche then, sure, there is subjectivity to it. But Vesperia isn't anywhere near being cliche, let alone cliche-ridden and you can't just say that because you disliked it it is therefore cliche.
It doesn't matter what you think the artists intention was, or what the game is "really about". If the characters aren't engaging, and are downright vile on occasion (Seriously? Karol? Probably my least favourite character in anything);

See, I don't mind if you don't like the characters just from personal preference. It's fine that Karol is your least favourite character in anything... the problem is when you suddenly ascribe something that you don't like the label "cliche" just because you don't like it.
if the plot is predictable to the level that at any point you know the next five hours of story; if cutscenes are dragged out, the same themes are repeated time and time again even within the game to the point of utter tedium (I'm Yuri, I'll go do something on my own so my team doesn't share the burden. Oh no, I'm failing. Oh great, they turned up just in time to help me.)

Yuri goes off on his own only one single time. (And from what I remember he doesn't start failing, they just turn up before he fully sets off. But I might be wrong there). In any case... your knowledge of the narrative is pretty poor for a game you insist on calling cliche. It's not poor for you to insist that you don't like it though.
and if the entire package is wrapped up in an unenjoyable battle system, uninspired graphics and a plot to match (Where do we go next? We need to travel through this desert. Where after that? Through this ice cave. Then a forest. Then once you've seen one linear grindfest of a dungeon in every climate we'll get an airship) then you simply aren't going to enjoy the game.

Again, it's fine if you don't personally like the battle system (but then... you wouldn't like Symphonia's either). It's fine if you don't like the graphics... (symphonia again). And it's fine if you didn't enjoy the game. But none of those things are a requirement or evidence for it being "cliche-ridden drivel".
And the thing is, I've played games that do half of these things and I could still find something to like about - usually the plot, or the dialogue. I'm a JRPG fan - I'm willing to overlook a lot of cliche - not tropes, cliche - if there's something to like about the game.

But here, for me, there was nothing.

It's fine if there was nothing you liked about it... but the thing is... there is little to no cliche IN Tales of Vesperia. You can back down from your claim if you want. I'll let you say that you just don't like it personally. However none of your arguments or statements support the idea that Tales of Vesperia is "cliche-ridden drivel" let alone that it has any cliches...

I also find it interesting that you insist on dissauding others from playing it (especially with terms like 'cliche') if, as you say, it's purely subjective.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of playing the game at the moment and I'd rather not continue a discussion with someone who isn't even making the effort to reply to my posts properly and is (possibly) trolling (and moving goalposts...). Sorry if you wanted to continue this but I gotta level up some more.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Tomo » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:20 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Uh, no. Whether tropes are 'so prevelant in narratives that they lose their impact' or not is something that is objective


To me, this seems entirely subjective. If someone had never played/watched/read media from a given genre, I imagine they would find any trope to be totally fresh. Likewise, someone who had seen everything released under a given genre might find the exact same thing to be derivative or predictable, and thus find less enjoyment in it. I really can't agree that cliche is an objective term, and therefore, I won't back down from my argument that Vesperia is cliche in my opinion, as playing through the game I felt I had seen everything before. I have been trying to get across the point that this was my opinion though. I really don't have a problem if you didn't find it cliche, and I've said previously that I'm happy you enjoyed it!

My issue is that you seem hugely over defensive about the game, as if someone finding it cliche would somehow result in a loss of the games worth in your eyes. If it helps, my favourite JRPG is Skies of Arcadia, and no doubt a number of people would find that cliche. But if someone told me they thought it was cliche in parts I'd just think "yeah, it kind of is, but there are some interesting parts and there's a lot to love regardless"

Gelsamel wrote:I also find it interesting that you insist on dissauding others from playing it (especially with terms like 'cliche') if, as you say, it's purely subjective.


At this point I honestly think the other people in this thread should play it! If only to see who they agree with :p

Anyway, enjoy your levelling, I just bought a new shooter and a few beers so I'm going to sit back with girlfriend and shoot some identikit enemies, probably as some sort of space marine with a mission to save the world.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:48 am UTC

Argh, I said I'd level... >.<

Tomo wrote:To me, this seems entirely subjective. If someone had never played/watched/read media from a given genre, I imagine they would find any trope to be totally fresh. Likewise, someone who had seen everything released under a given genre might find the exact same thing to be derivative or predictable, and thus find less enjoyment in it. I really can't agree that cliche is an objective term, and therefore, I won't back down from my argument that Vesperia is cliche in my opinion, as playing through the game I felt I had seen everything before. I have been trying to get across the point that this was my opinion though. I really don't have a problem if you didn't find it cliche, and I've said previously that I'm happy you enjoyed it!


It can be subjective... like the part you left out of the quote said, but it's not entirely subjective. If something is absolutely original or only seldom used then it can't be a cliche because no one can see it often enough to find it cliche.

You keep saying it's cliche but you havn't (or can't?) explain what about it is cliche... Where have you seen this narrative done before? If they're a cliche presumably you've seen them a whole lot in many many other games, correct? Can you name an RPG character that is just like Yuri or Duke.

My issue is that you seem hugely over defensive about the game, as if someone finding it cliche would somehow result in a loss of the games worth in your eyes. If it helps, my favourite JRPG is Skies of Arcadia, and no doubt a number of people would find that cliche. But if someone told me they thought it was cliche in parts I'd just think "yeah, it kind of is, but there are some interesting parts and there's a lot to love regardless"


I'm not overly defensive, as I said before it's a pet peeve of mine when people call things cliche without a shred of plausible argument suggesting that is the case. It's not even like Vesperia is my favourite game or anything, hell I have more hours in Symphonia than I do Vesperia (280 vs 180 or so). I don't expect you to convince me that it's cliche, but you should at least be able to convince me that you yourself find it cliche (as opposed to just disliking it) but you have not really given any examples of how the story, or the characters, or the events, or the narrative was cliche. In which games has this overuse occured? How many games has it occured? Which games did it better? Etc.

Back to grinding...

Edit: 'Cliche in Parts' is a step different to 'Cliche-ridden tripe'.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SecondTalon » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Mild interruption - yes, I'm aware this is not along the same topic as the OP. It is, however, an interesting debate on the nature of subjectivity and interpretation and so on. For now, I have no intention of stopping it or splitting it out, as it does kinda fit in, in a backwards sort of way.

Carry on.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Redjack443 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:53 pm UTC

I suppose they can be a waste of time. Playing games usually doesn't aid you in acquiring any sort of skills which helps you with getting a job and you're unlikely to make any money playing them. There are exceptions (Fatal1ty, Grubby etc.), but they're just that, exceptions. You're also unlikely to be contributing to society in a meaningful way whilst playing games.

Of course, the same could be said for books, music and most other hobbies, yet society generally doesn't see those as a waste of time, because they are accepted to have some sort of cultural value. People still see games as something lowbrow or for children.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby redgrowth » Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:05 am UTC

This is something I've been wondering about for a while because while I enjoy playing video games, it is basically like masturbation for me. I don't form any real memories, but I do get momentary pleasure. I've stopped playing single player games with the exception of F-zero (racing game). F-zero improves my spatial ability and makes me a better driver. If I'm having nightmares I might get up and play some video games for the tetris effect, which helps me fall asleep. That's the extent of my single player games.

I play 1 to 2 online multiplayer games at any given time. It gives me a way to keep in touch with friends. But, what I really like are offline head to head fighting games. I've been playing them semi-competitively for a few years now, and there are real world benefits to trying to play a fighting game at a competitive level. The skills required to be good at fighting games partially transfer to sports, board games, and martial arts. I have a better idea of spacing, so I generally know where to be when playing sports. I'm better at double blind guessing games which again applies to sports (will they go left, will they go right?).

Despite this, I still feel like I'm wasting my time by playing video games. I think part of the reason is that I've played so many video games it is very rare for me to find one that feels new. I also have addictive tendencies. When I do stumble across a "new" video game I play it excessively until I've broken/solved/min-maxed it.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

redgrowth wrote:F-zero improves my spatial ability and makes me a better driver.
You're being facetious, right?
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby redgrowth » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
redgrowth wrote:F-zero improves my spatial ability and makes me a better driver.
You're being facetious, right?

I'm not being facetious. I have an easier time judging space and telling how wide lanes are after playing. I don't drive like I'm playing a racing game if that's what you're wondering.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby whodat4lyfe » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

To me, video games is an experience that I am not able to have in the real world. It is an escape for the problems I deal with in the real world. I get to connect with people all around the world to achieve a certain goal in games. I have found stress relief through video games by doing what I want to do and not be told by others on how to do it. Many people get lost in the virtual world for hours and sometimes days and they do it for the escape of their own reality they go through everyday. I think video games are like extended, interactive movies that we gamers get lost in and I am fine how we can get lost in the virtual reality...

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby LakerLandB » Tue Jul 06, 2010 5:40 am UTC

It's only a waste of time if you make it a waste of time. They provide a form of entertainment and a sense of accomplishment. Sure, one could do other 'more productive' things, but it's not wrong to have some fun. If you enjoy it, then it's not a waste of time.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SirMustapha » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

It is impossible to discuss this matter without defining "waste of time". It is necessary to define "waste of time", and for that we have to define "waste" and "time". We also, of course, have to define "of". And we also have to define "define". Naturally, we have to define "have to", and we have to define "we", and it is mandatory to define " " too.

OTHERWISE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE DO DISCUSS!!

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:02 am UTC

I won't give you a definition, but I will give you an example
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:36 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I won't give you a definition, but I will give you an example


I have no idea of what you're saying. You didn't define "example".

YOUR METHODS ARE COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC!!!

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Magnanimous » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

psion wrote:It depends heavily on context. I mean, video games as a form of media are a waste of time if I want to know about real world policies and events. If you mean video games are a waste of time as an entertainment medium, well, that just doesn't make sense because any form of entertainment could easily be considered a waste of time.
I think you need to elaborate.
infernovia wrote:Define "waste of my time." The reason you can't answer with a why is because you have made a question so vague that it is difficult to.
poxic wrote:Waste of time, first class: filing my belly button lint.

Waste of time, second class: playing a video game.

WOT, third class: learning to play an instrument or write a good essay.

WOT, fourth class: exercising

WOT, fifth class: earning money

So, like, what's you're definition of a waste of time?
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Accountant13B wrote::roll: Nitpicking. There really isn't an argument here, folks: as a form of entertainment, the worth of a video game or games is entirely the individual playing's decision. [...]

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:57 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:I won't give you a definition, but I will give you an example


I have no idea of what you're saying. You didn't define "example".

YOUR METHODS ARE COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC!!!

Hey.

Knock off the All Cap Enlarged Text bit.


I'd say try reading the thread, but..Magnanimous beat me to it. Specifically being that several people have already identified the vagueness of waste of time. Several have then put forth various definitions of what could be construed as a waste of time and what couldn't be, and then applied said definitions to Video Games, with the end result being that the context of the question is what is important. Then we started to wander a bit and I forget where we ended up.

So.. yeah, without putting forth another definition of Waste of Time and merely repeating the already stated fact - that "Waste of Time" is context specific and without a context in which to answer, the question cannot accurately be answered, at least as stated in the OP.... you're retreading ground already well-covered.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:18 pm UTC

Ok, regular sized text now.

Basically I don't see what's so hard about understanding such an intuitive term as "waste of time" and WHY is it so context-sensitive like that, and I'm afraid that most complaints were more pedantic, petty bickering than trying to construct a line of reasoning. Basically "waste of time" suggests doing nothing useful or constructive with one's time, and that would mean video-games not being useful or constructive. I think that's an interesting line of discussion: so why not try to understand why and how video-games can be useful or constructive, instead of criticising the thread-started for not giving a ready, properly chewed and digested answer? That is what I was poking fun at.

I think it heavily depends on the gamer seeing the game as an interesting, stimulating activity. And speaking purely from my personal view, I don't think it happens as often as it should. Many games are distributed and played as "time-wasters", things to do simply to kill time. That's the view our parents had, and maybe they were partially right. Many times I play games for entertainment -- as in getting the same enjoyment and stimulation I get from music and cinema -- but I do know the feeling of playing because of... addiction, perhaps? I'm sort of addicted to getting badges on Kongregate. I don't think that's very healthy, but it's hard to get away from it. Perhaps THAT is a waste of time? I honestly think so.

As for games being art or not, I think that is a dangerous path. Cinema became art out of its own evolution, from how filmmakers understood cinema and what it was supposed to do. Many film theorists say that films are pure entertainment, and the more "pure" entertainment they are, the more artistic they are. It's a pretty bold statement: it says that films are SUPPOSED to be big hits, to drag crowds to the theatre and THAT is what the art is all about. On the other hand there are the filmmakers trying to "inject" art into cinema, as if films are intrinsecally dumb and shallow and you have to make them "intelligent". I think that's dangerous.

And the same is happening to games. I have SEEN people (and I mean game designers) say that any game can be improved by having a story. Would you say that about Minesweeper? Tetris, perhaps? No, I adamantly refuse that opinion. When I play games, I always skip the cutscenes. I want to play a game, not to be told a story. Stories can improve a game if they don't get in the way of playing. It's one thing to integrate a storyline into the game play, and another ENTIRELY to cut up the action with little cutscenes that many times don't do much. And even the "integration" thing is hard to do, and I despise Portal for the completely lame, ridiculous attempt to make it "deep". It's a fucking puzzle game, that's all. If people become obsessed with that idea that games without stories are worthless, then there will be no games anymore: just interactive films, and we KNOW what a disaster they are.

A game, in itself, is already a form of art. There's no need to "inject" art in it: it is the art already. We just need to potentialise the art, to enhance it, not to dress it up in pretty but superfluous and cumbersome clothes. Good playability, dynamics, immersion (and there are MANY things other than "plot" that give immersion to a game), replay value and memorability are, in my opinion, the heart of video-games. I have extremely fond and cherised memories of beating MDK over and over, solely because of the smooth and dynamic gameplay, the imaginative visuals, sounds and atmospheres. I have no idea if there was an actual story arc behind the levels, yet I loved the experience and would enjoy it every bit as much if I played it today. Same thing with all the Civilization games. There was no story: YOU made YOUR story, and it was different every time you played. That is the challenge, and that is art.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
Spoiler:
Ok, regular sized text now.

Basically I don't see what's so hard about understanding such an intuitive term as "waste of time" and WHY is it so context-sensitive like that, and I'm afraid that most complaints were more pedantic, petty bickering than trying to construct a line of reasoning. Basically "waste of time" suggests doing nothing useful or constructive with one's time, and that would mean video-games not being useful or constructive. I think that's an interesting line of discussion: so why not try to understand why and how video-games can be useful or constructive, instead of criticising the thread-started for not giving a ready, properly chewed and digested answer? That is what I was poking fun at.

I think it heavily depends on the gamer seeing the game as an interesting, stimulating activity. And speaking purely from my personal view, I don't think it happens as often as it should. Many games are distributed and played as "time-wasters", things to do simply to kill time. That's the view our parents had, and maybe they were partially right. Many times I play games for entertainment -- as in getting the same enjoyment and stimulation I get from music and cinema -- but I do know the feeling of playing because of... addiction, perhaps? I'm sort of addicted to getting badges on Kongregate. I don't think that's very healthy, but it's hard to get away from it. Perhaps THAT is a waste of time? I honestly think so.

As for games being art or not, I think that is a dangerous path. Cinema became art out of its own evolution, from how filmmakers understood cinema and what it was supposed to do. Many film theorists say that films are pure entertainment, and the more "pure" entertainment they are, the more artistic they are. It's a pretty bold statement: it says that films are SUPPOSED to be big hits, to drag crowds to the theatre and THAT is what the art is all about. On the other hand there are the filmmakers trying to "inject" art into cinema, as if films are intrinsecally dumb and shallow and you have to make them "intelligent". I think that's dangerous.

And the same is happening to games. I have SEEN people (and I mean game designers) say that any game can be improved by having a story. Would you say that about Minesweeper? Tetris, perhaps? No, I adamantly refuse that opinion. When I play games, I always skip the cutscenes. I want to play a game, not to be told a story. Stories can improve a game if they don't get in the way of playing. It's one thing to integrate a storyline into the game play, and another ENTIRELY to cut up the action with little cutscenes that many times don't do much. And even the "integration" thing is hard to do, and I despise Portal for the completely lame, ridiculous attempt to make it "deep". It's a fucking puzzle game, that's all. If people become obsessed with that idea that games without stories are worthless, then there will be no games anymore: just interactive films, and we KNOW what a disaster they are.

A game, in itself, is already a form of art. There's no need to "inject" art in it: it is the art already. We just need to potentialise the art, to enhance it, not to dress it up in pretty but superfluous and cumbersome clothes. Good playability, dynamics, immersion (and there are MANY things other than "plot" that give immersion to a game), replay value and memorability are, in my opinion, the heart of video-games. I have extremely fond and cherised memories of beating MDK over and over, solely because of the smooth and dynamic gameplay, the imaginative visuals, sounds and atmospheres. I have no idea if there was an actual story arc behind the levels, yet I loved the experience and would enjoy it every bit as much if I played it today. Same thing with all the Civilization games. There was no story: YOU made YOUR story, and it was different every time you played. That is the challenge, and that is art.

You would really like this review site. The best-reviewed games on that site put the foremost focus on how the player and world push against each other, which is a less vague way of saying "Good playability, dynamics, immersion". RE: crap said by game designers, I have found that the vast majority of designers suck at their job with a magnitude normally reserved for politics. I enjoyed Portal, because it gave the player a fantastic way of interacting with the world, and the story wasn't so much prominent as it was an excuse to have a witty/terrifying AI mock you over a loudspeaker. Games can be incredibly deep at times, but to have any impact at all, they have to be tightly integrated into the gameplay. Shadow of the Colossus pulled this off well; Bioshock could have too, but devolved into "shoot lightning at the puddle" pokemon bullshit as soon as the exposition ended.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Glmclain » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:41 pm UTC

I'm not smart enough to get into the philosophy of the matter, but I will say this:

Dwarf Fortress is most definetly a waste of time. An awesome waste of time though.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby psion » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

"Waste of time" needed to be defined because otherwise the answer to the thread would be obviously not. The only thing that's a greater waste of time than playing video games is visiting a video game forum. Only since it has been properly outlined has the question been interesting. The OP was absurdly vague.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Belial » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

and that would mean video-games not being useful or constructive.


Toward what?
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:58 pm UTC

Visual Novels are actually pretty cool video games.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby kinigget » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:25 am UTC

psion wrote:The OP was absurdly vague.

Sorry. I wasn't entirely certain what I was asking myself when I wrote the first post. I must say though, leaving the question vague has produced some very interesting discussion.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby infernovia » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:05 am UTC

To me, this seems entirely subjective. If someone had never played/watched/read media from a given genre, I imagine they would find any trope to be totally fresh. Likewise, someone who had seen everything released under a given genre might find the exact same thing to be derivative or predictable, and thus find less enjoyment in it

It depends. For example, I found Crime and Punishment to be an amazing book that kept me turning the page close to every moment I read it. Now, I have seen the plot mechanics used in other stories before, but the depth and breadth of each character and their response to it... it was beyond expectation and completely immersed me. However, his later books (Brothers Karmazov) use the same style and its depth was not able to draw me into it enough, because the style was familiar. But if you hadn't, it will be one of your favorites instantly.

Berserk is another one, immediately immersive, powerful characters that went beyond the whole childish peace crap. The exposition, the glorification were sufficiently beyond the scope of other mangas that it completely drew you in. Ruthless, cruel, calm, desperate, heroic, selfish. Whereas in others, it seems barely vital and more of an advertisement (a sort of a gimmick), there it is a necessary part of the world. But at the same time, the story was familiar though not told quite as complex as this.

Planescape: Torment was an interesting one where I was able to ignore the structure of the responses and get into the character.

Many games are distributed and played as "time-wasters", things to do simply to kill time. That's the view our parents had, and maybe they were partially right. Many times I play games for entertainment -- as in getting the same enjoyment and stimulation I get from music and cinema -- but I do know the feeling of playing because of... addiction, perhaps? I'm sort of addicted to getting badges on Kongregate. I don't think that's very healthy, but it's hard to get away from it. Perhaps THAT is a waste of time? I honestly think so.

Well I quite ENJOY playing my games. Yeah, you will get addicted to some bad stuff, as kids get addicted to sugary salty food, its cheap fun. But hopefully, your taste mature as you get older and you will be able to enjoy the more complicated stuff. Afterwards, the other stuff will strike you similar to some of the movies you loved as a child: bad, overdone, manipulative, stale, stupid, unremarkable etc.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Magnanimous » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:31 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:I think it heavily depends on the gamer seeing the game as an interesting, stimulating activity. And speaking purely from my personal view, I don't think it happens as often as it should. Many games are distributed and played as "time-wasters", things to do simply to kill time. That's the view our parents had, and maybe they were partially right. Many times I play games for entertainment -- as in getting the same enjoyment and stimulation I get from music and cinema -- but I do know the feeling of playing because of... addiction, perhaps? I'm sort of addicted to getting badges on Kongregate. I don't think that's very healthy, but it's hard to get away from it. Perhaps THAT is a waste of time? I honestly think so.
A lot of modern games are just virtual Skinner boxes: press button, enemy dies, get reward, repeat. Farmville is a great example, along with most RPGs... And they arguably aren't time-wasters because their rewards tell your brain to think "fun". But on the other hand, they aren't anything besides a feeling of "fun" that goes away when you stop playing; you might've just built a barn in Farmville, but what did you take away from that experience? The worthwhile games give you something besides a shot of dopamine, usually through interesting gameplay (like Little Big Planet, Deus Ex, Katamari Damacy, Tetris, Shadow of the Colossus, and *ahem* Portal) or a deep plot that you can get attached to. The stories of some games have changed the way I look at life, just like some films and books have; that's more than you can say for the average flash game.

When I'm deciding if a game is really worth my time, I look at my motivation to keep playing. If I want to beat the game just for that feeling of accomplishment, then it's (probably) rubbish... But if I'm beating the level because I want to see what happens next, then it's worth playing.

SirMustapha wrote:I have SEEN people (and I mean game designers) say that any game can be improved by having a story. Would you say that about Minesweeper? Tetris, perhaps? No, I adamantly refuse that opinion.
Tetris got a story, and everyone hated it. :P And the games that have unique enough gameplay really don't need stories; Katamari Damacy would probably have been awesome even if you weren't rolling up things to rebuild stars/planets. But for your average game, story is key, since it gives people a reason to keep playing. If Bioshock had been about a random guy in a generic dystopian city who fought nameless people, nobody would've bought it.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Felstaff » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:43 am UTC

angry dude who spends entire life telling people how much everything sucks wrote:And the same is happening to games. I have SEEN people (and I mean game designers) say that any game can be improved by having a story. Would you say that about Minesweeper? Tetris, perhaps? No, I adamantly refuse that opinion.
Funny you should say that, ADWSELTPHMES, because Minesweeper with a story would be fantastic. Give me a plotless, story-bereft game, and I'll come up with a plot that would literally blow your socks off.

  1. Solitaire? (And by that you mean Patience, because real Solitaire has balls). Down and out guy in Vegas takes up minor gambling at a casino. Wins tiny amounts, over the course of 150 games, incrementally boosting his fortune. Soon gets $100 for that special hooker he always wanted. Suddenly, his funds are wiped out inexplicably when he changes the rule of "draw one" to "draw three". Suddenly the casino dealer can't remember how many games he's won.
  2. Bejeweled? Obsessive-compulsive teen finds secret way to arrange varieties of gems in such a way that they EXPLODE. Uses this knowledge to wreak havoc, i.e. blows wall in jewellery store to steal more jewels. For blowing more stuff up.
  3. Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja? President Ronnie has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?

So yeah, consider your wrong opinion rectified. No need to thank me - spread the word!
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby KrazyerKate » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:08 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:
  1. Solitaire? (And by that you mean Patience, because real Solitaire has balls). Down and out guy in Vegas takes up minor gambling at a casino. Wins tiny amounts, over the course of 150 games, incrementally boosting his fortune. Soon gets $100 for that special hooker he always wanted. Suddenly, his funds are wiped out inexplicably when he changes the rule of "draw one" to "draw three". Suddenly the casino dealer can't remember how many games he's won.
  2. Bejeweled? Obsessive-compulsive teen finds secret way to arrange varieties of gems in such a way that they EXPLODE. Uses this knowledge to wreak havoc, i.e. blows wall in jewellery store to steal more jewels. For blowing more stuff up.
  3. Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja? President Ronnie has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?

So yeah, consider your wrong opinion rectified. No need to thank me - spread the word!


His whole point was that we shouldn't be adding compelling storylines to everything. If I want to hear the story of a troubled teen coming of age through explosive experimentation, I'd bring up Netflix. I just want a little puzzle game to fit on my cell-phone to keep my mind busy while I'm waiting in line somewhere, and every cutscene or story-scroll is wasting my time.

I think I've already sung praises of TF2 in other threads, but I'm going to bring it up again. I love it because it's just the gameplay, nothing else. No cutscenes, no backstories, no character development*. Just creative and interesting gameplay. I'd be a lot happier about the development of video games that attempt to create the next chess or poker than the next Hamlet or Romeo And Juliet.

*The Team Fortress 2 dev. team seems to be adding plot and backstories though. I'm not too happy about that.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Felstaff » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:50 am UTC

Seeing as both types of games exist in abundance, I'm wondering why the complaint was made in the first place.
SirMustapha wrote:I want to play a game, not to be told a story.
...One has a figuratively endless library at their disposal to do this. It's like saying "I want to eat nothing but chicken" and then railing at the world for the fact that cows and root vegetables exist. Next time some vandal scrawls grafitti over Farmer Jack's Barnstormin' Steak House, I'll know it was the guy with a grudge against non-poutry dishes.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:29 am UTC

While SirMustapha seems certain as to what constitutes "art" in gaming and what things do and don't belong in them, I don't see what that has to do with their being a waste of time.

Don't like games that have a fleshed-out story? Stop "wasting your time" with them and stick to flash games on the internet. Problem solved.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby SirMustapha » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:45 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:One has a figuratively endless library at their disposal to do this. It's like saying "I want to eat nothing but chicken" and then railing at the world for the fact that cows and root vegetables exist.


So that means that, if the "games without stories SUCK" trend keeps growing and eventually takes over the whole industry, I'll have to keep my mouth shut because I can still play 10 or 15 year old games without checking out anything new because it doesn't suit me? I'm not talking about cohexistence here; there are many kinds of games out there and they can live side by side happily ever after, but even Flash games are slowly turning into gargantuan, brain-devouring monsters in which a simple, brain-dead puzzle game becomes an Epic Story of wizards and knights and shit. You don't need to look to far beyond Tower Defence games to see that happening.

Magnanimous wrote:Tetris got a story, and everyone hated it. :P And the games that have unique enough gameplay really don't need stories; Katamari Damacy would probably have been awesome even if you weren't rolling up things to rebuild stars/planets. But for your average game, story is key, since it gives people a reason to keep playing. If Bioshock had been about a random guy in a generic dystopian city who fought nameless people, nobody would've bought it.


Your post has forced me to correct myself: BioShock is possibly one of the only games in which I enjoyed the story, mostly because it went along with the game play, and it didn't keep interrupting me all the time. The things I did and the decisions I had to take were creating the story, so when I reached that pivotal plot-turning moment in the middle of the game, I watched the cutscene all the way to the end. It was natural: I was drawn in. BioShock, though the game play, drawed me into the story, and I think I'd even be able to play it while ignoring the story entirely. That is the kind of stuff I can deal with, and when it's well done, it actually enhances the experience.

The thing is, if the game was 100% focused on the action and the puzzles and whatnot and there was no reference whatsoever to the "plot", I would have enjoyed it still; the feel of the game, the atmosphere and the game experience overall were satisfying enough. Of course, if it wasn't for the plot, the game wouldn't have attracted much attention and I wouldn't have convinced myself to play it, I guess. So that's the thing: is that idea that story is necessary to games good or harmful? It's the ongoing trend that worries me, not the fact that there are a bunch of games that force you to watch huge, unskippable cutscenes in order to start playing. If there are people who enjoy that, that's fine.

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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Can you cite something documenting this trend? I'm interested.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby kinigget » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:59 pm UTC

If I may make a point SirMustapha, there is a grand difference between "any game can be improved by adding a story", and "games without stories SUCK". Also, the point you made about Bioshock, how the plot didn't break immersion, that's what game developers (hopefully) are trying to achieve, and it's what Portal was all about. If you'll remember, portal had no cuscenes, the only plot, up until near the end was "get to the end of the test chamber", GlaDos didn't become an antagonist until the end of the test chambers, and even then all she did was mock you occasionally, how is that attempting to make it "deep"?

I wouldn't bring it up, but it just seems so contradictory to everything else you just said.
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Re: Are video games a waste of time? why or why not?

Postby Magnanimous » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:43 pm UTC

I'd like a citation too... I haven't really noticed any increase in storyline focus over the years.

I think we're confusing the works "story" and "plot". There's an important difference between the background information the player gets before starting the game (setting, backstory, mood, starting characters) and what happens in the game itself... Even if you skip all of the cutscenes to just get to the gameplay, most games would be shit without any exposition at all. Compare:

-You wake up in a jail cell, held for a crime you didn't commit, and find a way to escape from your cell. You strangle a guard, take his gun, then fight your way out of the prison and escape as a fugitive into Random City.
-You spawn in an empty room, move through some different rooms, and melee a faceless humanoid. Then you run through the nondescript level and shoot other humanoids until you reach the end.

A fair amount of good games just set you up with a backstory, then really don't bother you much with cutscenes and character development. In Shadow of the Colossus, you basically watch the beginning cutscene, play the whole game, then watch the ending. (There are really short cutscenes between each Colossus, but nothing really happens.) On the other hand, the Metal Gear series starts pretty simple but eventually drowns you in plot. There really aren't that many games that can get away with no story, though, excluding puzzle games.


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