I live with my wife and 2 children. I have a bachelor's degree from Ohio University. I enjoy sci-fi and write mostly short fictions.

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    The Growth of "Point-and-Click" Gaming.

    As game developers cut costs on flashy graphics and powerful game engines, story, creativity, and unique aesthetics are becoming vital. Consider "The Wolf Among Us" from Tell Tale Games. There is action in the game, of course, but only in a minimalist sense. The game’s strength is in story telling, a signature "look", player choice, and voice acting. Still, at its core, the game is a new take on the old school point-and-click detective games (think Carmen San Diego). Is this a sustainable model? Can these sorts of games and developers continue to compete with blockbuster games like Mass Effect, Halo, etc?

    • I would argue that story and creativity are taking a back seat to flashy graphics, at least for the most part. Consider the Final Fantasy series: the 6th game, originally released for SNES, is widely considered the greatest in the series (right next to its successor, FFVII). Most of the series has incredible depth; each thought-provoking story is an exciting adventure of philosophical inquiry. However, you will notice that this characteristic begins to decline as the series reaches its later games. The number one thing we must consider in answering your question is the depth of the game in SOME defining aspect of the game. For example, games that virtually do not end, e.g. Skyrim, have a very sustainable model even though I've found much better storylines in older 2D games. My issue with the industry is this focus on the architects: building beautiful and realistic settings but leaving those settings devoid storyline depth--the "epic" nature of the adventure seems to be eroding quickly. This critique is obviously rooted in the adventure/RPG genre, since FPS is arguably the most sustainable model, yet not the most satisfying for those of us who grew up considering an array of thought-provoking stories. I can't remember the last time I played a point-and-click game, but I did watch the game play for the game in your example and it seemed like something I would indeed enjoy--an interactive comic. This type of game is considerably cheaper to produce and therefore they would be able to focus on the depth of the story, and with an array of choices that change how the game unfolds, like a text-based adventure, I think it can sustain itself against the mass appeal of the major genres. – Xeades 9 years ago
    • Xeades, you have to remember that providing helpful notes is to provide inspiration or ideas for writers who may take this and write it out themselves. I was guilty of that myself, but we have to keep in mind that if we try to "answer" or discuss the subject, it might satiate any kind of curiosity for another writer to go out and write out the topic. Try to give suggestions as to help someone who might like to write the topic! – N.D. Storlid 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    I think I will. My guess is I’m not the first to think of such an idea. I’ll check through some of the TV articles to see what’s already been done. For now, gotta sleep. Work comes early. Have a good night and thanks for shootin’ the shit. I’m new to the site and it’s a cool welcome into the community.

    The Best Episodes of Lost

    I will. I think maybe the problem was I tried to binge watch it. The story was written and meant to unfold in a weekly manner and I think, with some shows, that is vital. Actually…that’s a decent idea for a topic. Has the nature of television, and television writing, fundamentally changed with the rise of streaming services and binge watching? For example: I tried to watch Orange is the New Black and I couldn’t stand it. I made an honest effort to analyse and critique it honestly and for the life of me I couldn’t do it. I think part of that is the fact that I’m white, straight, and male; clearly not the target audience. But, I believed there was more to it. I challenged my wife to watch season 2 as if it were an old school show. I challenged her to watch it only once a week. I challenged her, and OITNB, to delay gratification. She did so for two episodes and the next week forgot entirely about the show. Mind you, she was obsessed with this show, placed it among her top 5 all time after binging season 1. I submit there is a distinction between shows written with an eye towards weekly delivery and shows written for streaming services. I don’t watch as much TV as I would like, but if you do, maybe I could see if the topic is approved and you could run with the idea?

    The Best Episodes of Lost

    Word. I dunno I just kinda lost interest in the characters. My wife got really into it and watched the entire series on Netflix. Entirely possible I saw more than I recollect. I remember Season 1, I remember the episode I referenced, and I remember liking Sawyer and Kate. Other than that, it’s all something of an Abrams-fueled blur of mediocrity.

    The Best Episodes of Lost

    I approach your question, is the novel dead?, in much the same way I approach the question: what is poetry? We see in modern poetry a dismissal of the rules of rhyme, meter, and the rules of poetry. While this produces some amazing writing (Maya Angelou and Gil Scot-Heron come immediately to my mind), it also muddles the very elements which make poetry as a genre so beautiful, specifically following certain restrictions and manipulating words to achieve a unique aesthetic within those restrictions. To make an analogy: if someone were to run from foul line on a basketball court to the other foul line, take flight, and stuff the ball into the basket, an on looker would rightly describe the act as an amazing feat of athletic prowess. However, if the dunking individual did not dribble and faced no opposition, they would not have been engaged in a game of basketball. Why? Because there are rules to basketball; rules which play a vital role in defining the act itself. Is the novel dead? No, I don’t think so. But readers and writers must recognize that when we expand the definition of a novel without end in some quest for ultimate inclusion, we dilute the meaning of novels until the term means nothing at all.

    Does that make sense? I apologize if I’m rambling, this is just off the top of my head and your article deals with questions I have often asked myself. Good show. Great job.

    Is the Novel Dead?

    I’ll never forget watching The Breakfast Club for the first time. My dad got a few movies he loved (TBC, From the Hip, Young Frankenstein) growing up and he kinda explained all the cultural stuff. That Era and Hughs’ generally produce a strange sort of nostalgia by proxy. Good article.

    John Hughes Remains Relevant: Don't You Forget About Me

    I had trouble getting through any of season 2. Season 1 was exceptional, though. There was an episode in which two characters were buried alive due to paralysis from some kind of spider. I think that was my favorite. Sawyer and Kate were my favorite characters by far. This strikes me as a show that couldn’t quite catch up to its own potential, much like Alias. Is there a trend here?

    The Best Episodes of Lost

    Excellent analysis. I didn’t play the first, but I did purchase the playable comic for the second and was able to make the “big decisions.” In the second, the Paragon/Renegade scores were based on a matrix serving as a zero-sum game. Thus, players were encouraged to play on a consistent side in order to (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) destroy/preserve the Collector base with an intact team. There is a glitch of which one can take advantage during Samara’s loyalty mission in ME2: after defeating Morinth, if one asks Samara if she is ok (or whatever the dialog option is on the upper left) the conversation will end, but Shepard will have the option to stay in the apartment and look around. Doing this gains Shep +2 Paragon points. Going back to Samara and repeating that same process a few hundred times allows the player to fill the Paragon meter entirely, play everything prior to and everything after the loyalty mission as renegade, and complete the game with both meters full, or nearly so.

    Have you ever played Alpha Protocol? If not, you should do yourself the favor. It uses a similar dialog engine as ME, but there are some differences. The most important of which is that AP puts the player on a timer to make their decisions. I highly recommend it.

    Excellent article, H4zel. Always a pleasure to read good writing on a game I for which I have such passion.

    The Role of Choice in the Mass Effect Universe