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Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Articles

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How do you make the perfect video game?

The video game industry was stuck in a holding pattern until the recent rise of the indie game studio. The AAA studios know what to pump out to make money, but the majority of games released today lack the evolution and inspiration that games had during the first wave of 3D games in the late 90s early 00s. The rise of the indie game studio has brought minimalism and creativity to the gaming audience. With the exception of very few select titles, there seems to be no growth in the creativity in the industry.

Great games seem to rise from a consubstantiality between plot and gameplay. Bioshock (2007) is a classic example of this. The seamless integration of artistic vision, new gameplay methods, and story telling that questioned the nature of linear gameplay.

This begs the question: is consubstantiality in gameplay and creative innovation all you need to make a perfect game?

  • It could be helpful to bring up Destiny, which drew ire because it "could have been better," in some nebulous sense. – Kristian Wilson 3 years ago
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  • To whoever picks this up: be sure not to confuse creativity with the perfection. There are many games that innovated in a way previous games did not, but ended up being an imperfect game. Also important to bring up would be to define what a perfect game would be. This one's a biggie. Best of luck to whoever picks it up. – Austin 3 years ago
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  • I think "perfect" is a tricky word to navigate for whoever chooses to write about this. It's so concrete and universal that it is certain to draw some ire for certain readers and players. I completely agree with Austin in how he says to define what a perfect game would be. It might be more helpful to shift the focus on the opposite end...identify what's making these AAA studio games lack innovation and what other companies can take away from those failures in making more successful games. – Giovanni Insignares 3 years ago
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Latest Comments

Do you mean the disease or reason for zombification?

Zombies: The Undying Genre

Nice article. It is art. And we are getting to a place where it is admired as such, but it is art that transcends business as well. Cool thoughts man!

Indie Game Development: An Art of its Own

Awesome article. I feel that way every time I play a game. While not calling you wrong I would like to provide a stretchable defense to the Bioshock series. While you didn’t mention the original violence was used as ubiquitous symbolism in both games. ***SPOILER*** The first is more obvious and excusable because you were technically not in control of your mind ***SPOILER OVER***. Infinite also does some of this genre bending self awareness because it is using the violence of the characters towards you as a way of illustrating the immense perverted control Comstock has over his people. ***SPOILER*** The fact that you end up as comstock at the end of the game means that Booker is not a good guy and you have effectively killed these people an infinite amount of times. ***SPOILER OVER***. I think this shows Levine’s distrust of senseless violence without completely acceepting it, but still using it to create a game that the current crowd will love. Thoughts?

Video Game Violence and Narrative Dissonance

I actually don’t have much of a critical response for you. Great overview, but I’d love to see you dive into depth a bit more and attempt answers for some of the questions you posed. Love the Nuremburg trials reference, that was brilliant. Would you say your stance on doing bad things in games is caused by us not being able to do them much in real life, and being drawn toward the option that has little reprucussion on our lives outside the game?

Moral Gaming: The Importance of Decent Games

I actually don’t have much of a critical response for you. Great overview, but I’d love to see you dive into depth a bit more and attempt answers for some of the questions you posed. Love the Nuremburg trials reference, that was brilliant. Would you say your stance on doing bad things in games is caused by us not being able to do them much in real life, and being drawn toward the option that has little reprucussion?

Moral Gaming: The Importance of Decent Games

I enjoyed your inquiry to whether games and novels are comparable by comparing their attributes. Games and writings are not comparable enough to do so. They do share these common threads but they are so different. The game is still such an illusive genre to define that we have sub categories and sub sub categories and so on, just as writing does.
I think games shouldn’t be compared to stories as much as they should to writing in general. You can try to compare a textbook to video games. Compare and contrast learning objectives in some educational games, but then say that zombies are not educational so games aren’t as good as books. Though then you shed light on the fact that the genres aren’t intertwined and therefore should be left to develop, because who knows, one day games could very well be studied as an artform like novels. I see it happening in the next 15 years.

The Role of Stories in Video Games

There are a number of points that you make that both disagree and agree with. To start I do not believe that Cage would have ever said anything along the lines of “emotional depth is directly proportional to polygon count” as you stated earlier. This would be a completely ignorant thing for Cage to say and seems to me to be reading too far past his words. There is no doubt that more realistic faces can lead to us being more emotionally involved with the characters and that can really only acheived by higher polygon counts.
I loved how you mentioned indie games to counter this point though. There are so many indie games that are just dripping with raw emotion that don’t need faces to make them more emotional. However, I think it would be hard to say that they wouldn’t be more emotional if they did have hyper-realistic faces that emoted well.
As humans we are very predisposed to study human faces and there is nothing we can do about it. There are dozens of psychological studies that show how important faces are to our brain and how much information our brain can glean about someone just by looking at them. This realism is being argued as a more effective way to create more intense emotion in games.
AAA titles do spend much more money nowadays on style and not on quality, and that makes the casual gamer somewhat of a pawn, but honestly, these pawns like playing chess the same way on different boards. So vote with your money, support indie developers, and help them become able to compete with the AAA companies, because indie developers are the future of the genre that will not waste our time and money. So let’s give them more polygons and keep supporting their brilliance and then AAA won’t stand a chance.

But also Bioshock Infinite… So good. Elizabeth’s facial expressions killed me they were so real.

Three Reasons Why AAA Gaming Should Stop Worrying About Photo-Realistic Graphics

I think you provided a fantastic overview of the genre of the collectathon. A question I’d love your thoughts on is: how could the collectathon evolved with the games industry to keep itself as a core gameplay design? Those games used to be epic, but I don’t know if I would immediately say that they’re no longer so great because they’re outdated. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Nintendo Collectathon: A Genre of the Past