Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Screenshot 

It's been suggested by critic emeritus Gene Park, staff critic Matthew Kaplan and others outside of the GC community, that adding more interactive choices/decisions to the popular PlayStation 3 title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, would change the very thrill-ride nature and universal appeal of its gameplay. The argument is that the inclusion of such choice would result in something that was "not the point of the game".

Gene insists that: "…I've followed the game's development through media and it's been said time and time again (even in the game's in-game documentary) that the purpose of the game was never going to be about player choice, but providing the same experience for all players."

I disagree with this logic of thought for multiple reasons.

1. Games are by nature subversive

As indie game developer, Jason Rohrer, so eloquently expressed on the A Life Well Wasted podcast, games defy authorial control because they require player initiation and persistent participation. No matter what vision or parameters the game developers decide to impose on players, ultimately the gamer is free to do as he or she chooses within the construct of the game. As Jason remarks "you can play Mario just by standing there if you want to or jumping up and down over and over until time runs out. You don't have to go all the way to the end and that's a complete game of Mario."

Whether or not a game is linear by design or tries to impose authorial control doesn't mean a player doesn't make decisions. The act of moving forward is in fact a player decision. As I played Uncharted 2, I always preferred to use the grenade launcher due to its bigger punch. I would try to horde it at every opportunity and save it for tougher situations, but it always seemed like a constant struggle to keep the weapon because the game wouldn't give me enough ammo, insistently dropping all kinds of other weapons instead. Uncharted 2 worked against what I wanted to do in favor of what it wanted me to do and that didn't feel particularly gratifying. I understand that there's plenty of room for games that don't require choices and there's nothing wrong with the developers making such design decisions, but you would think that a more progressive and praise-worthy game design would acknowledge this inherent dynamic rather than fight against it.

Gene argues that such an acknowledgment in game design would go against "providing the same experience for all players." I believe this is another fallacy, which leads to my next point:

2. Gameplay experiences are interpretive

"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is a sinister song about the obsession and control, but is largely thought to be a haunting love ballad by the masses and later reinterpreted as a commercially crass memorial tribute to Biggie Smalls by P. Diddy. There isn't one correct interpretation. They are all valid readings depending on who is doing the interpreting. Video games are no different from music and any other art form in that its artistic, cultural and personal context is malleable.

The ending to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty holds a deeper meaning for me as a New Yorker because the 9/11 terrorist attacks are something that impacted my life firsthand and the Wall Street Washington Memorial featured prominently at the end of the game is a symbol that I was intimately familiar with having walked past it so many times throughout my life. The development of MGS2 predates the events of 9/11, but that doesn't change its historical and cultural significance in my mind.

So the notion that Uncharted 2 is able to provide the exact same gameplay experience to every player and every player will derive the exact same meaning from the game, is simply unattainable since we all interpret the game differently based on our own world-view (Alex Raymond's feminist readings of Chloe and Elena in Uncharted 2, for example). Again, there's nothing wrong with the developer, Naughty Dog, attempting a one-size-fits-all model, but you would think a more thought-provoking and artful game would allow for more player interpretation rather than minimizing it.

3. Linear games with choice(s)

As part of this blog post, I wanted to provide three case studies of linear games that did provide choices to the player without having altered the nature or integrity of its game design and instead improved it tremendously.

Case Study #1 – Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge

The Choice: Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge is a 17-year old SNES light-gun game made up of 11 boss battles whose game mechanics are a close cousin of Punch-Out. Prior to the final stage, the game plays out close to what one might expect given its genre and premise. It isn't until the final stage that the game interjects an interesting dilemma to the player. The final boss uses the player's mission handler as a shield and the player has to choose between shooting and killing the handler to expose the final boss' weak spot or taking the more difficult road to victory by shooting around the handler.

The End Result: The subtle and seamless inclusion of choice in the final boss battle made an already exceptional game that much more memorable and unique for its time and genre. Rather than disrupt the traditional light-gun design, the choice only served to enhance the gameplay experience because players had to make an in-game moral decision whether or not the handler should be sacrificed and those who defeated the boss without harming the handler, felt more heroic and rewarded for doing so.

Case Study #2 – Super Mario Bros. 2

Super Mario Bros. 2 Character Selection Screen

The Choice: At the start of each stage, the player is able to choose between four characters, each with their own characteristics: Mario (well-rounded), Luigi (highest jump), Princess Peach (floaty jump) and Toad (strength).

The End Result: Rather than change the DNA of the side-scrolling platform genre, the inclusion of character selection in SMB2 was an evolution that made the game more exceptionally diverse and replayable since each stage could be approached differently by each character. Giving each player-controlled protagonist unique traits also started a legacy of memorable Mario character designs and gameplay characteristics that endures to this day.

Resident Evil 4 Merchant ArtCase Study #3 – Resident Evil 4

The Choice: Unlike previous Resident Evil games, the player had the option to purchase and upgrade weapons through the colorful Merchant.

The End Result: At the time of release, the Resident Evil franchise was thought to be creatively stagnant and in need of a serious make-over. While giving the player the choice in weapons and upgrades wasn't the only thing that was progressively overhauled in the trademark survival-horror series, it was an integral part in allowing a more personalized gameplay experience and gave the sagging franchise the creative boost it needed to stay relevant with gamers. The weapon choice feature is still a part of the latest entry in the series.

* * * * *

In each of the vastly different case studies above, the inclusion of choice only served to improve the gameplay experience and make the game more distinct. So I'm not quite sure why this wouldn't apply to Uncharted 2 and how choice would irreparably alter what makes Uncharted 2 what it is. It's also funny to note that contrary to its reputation, Uncharted 2 is not a non-stop by-the-seat-of-your-pants roller-coaster ride that it's purported to be. Sandwiched between some of the game's explosion-filled action set-pieces are some tactical stealth- and puzzle-based stages where the player has to dial down the adrenaline and put on a thinking cap. So is thinking somehow inconsistent with the notion of decision-making? Don't the two usually go hand in hand?

I've maintained throughout this ongoing debate that I don't think Uncharted 2 is a bad game by any means and it's certainly notable for its technical implementation, visual design and character performances. I just think that a game that is deemed the best of what video games have to offer in 2009 should contribute more to interactive design because that is what makes video games unique as an art form. To suggest that any game would be better without choices is simply backwards thinking.

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui

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73 Comments on "The fallacy of universal authorship in games (and why Uncharted 2 isn’t GOTY)"

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Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]1) Is it reasonable to expect players to play the game on the higher difficulties in order to get the experience your describing? Keep in mind, while playing on normal, I *tried* to employ stealth and sniping at every opportunity that presented itself and very rarely was it effective beyond the sequences designated as such.[/quote] I think it is perfectly possible to get the experience I had on the normal difficulty. Certainly you will need several play-throughs in order to try out and experiment with different approaches. But I could have easily chosen any of those options I… Read more »
Gene P.
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Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
Chi, a large chunk of the Nepal levels can be accomplished through stealth, from the getgo after the two trucks crashing you can take out all three enemies without anyone noticing. There’s another section with a bunch of masks on the wall where you can take out a number of enemies in stealth. All of the enemies before the helicopter area can be taken out with stealth kills. At the beginning before Shangri-La, you can be stealth all the way up until the turret section. There are several encounters afterward that could be stealth only. Even again in Nepal, after… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K]Oh, c’mmon, Chi. Others have made these arguments before, although I fully support Fuchal’s articulation.[/quote] I said that Fuchal made some of the “strongest arguments thus far”, not that no one else tried to make them. Fuchal was the only person who made his case with two detailed examples that included the train stage (something no one cited to date). [quote=Matthew K]You’re starting to flip-flop a bit here. If it’s a stealth section of the game, then it’s too derivative of other games, but it’s also not a big enough portion of the game.[/quote] Where’s the flip flop? Where… Read more »
Gene P.
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Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago

[quote=Matthew K]

Oh, c’mmon, Chi. Others have made these arguments before, although I fully support Fuchal’s articulation.[/quote]

Thank you Matt, for saying this. And I thank Fuchal especially for his articulation. I definitely appreciate it. He’s very well spoken and I agree with everything he’s said.

But really, it’s just been another way of saying more or less the exact same stuff you and I had been saying all this time.

And yes Chi, there are numerous instances (many not obvious) where stealth could’ve been used. The train isn’t the exception. It was pretty much on par with several other levels.

Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]It only popped up again here because I was getting back to an older comment you made.[/quote] Mea culpa? I thought that was the topic of this entire blog post. [quote=Chi Kong Lui]Can I start using TNWIS for “That’s not what I said”? If that’s not an acronym, it should be. ;-)[/quote] Sorry, you are correct there. I meant to say, “You do not think it as well crafted as we do.” [quote=Chi Kong Lui]Funny you should say that because that’s what I’ve been struggling to discuss since the start. ;-)[/quote] Gotta’ disagree with you there. You’ve been… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]Fuchal, thank you for sticking with this discussion and I believe you’ve made some of the strongest arguments thus far and that’s really what I’ve been hoping for. To your credit, there’s not a whole lot for me dispute, but the I do have a couple of counter points: 1) Is it reasonable to expect players to play the game on the higher difficulties in order to get the experience your describing? Keep in mind, while playing on normal, I *tried* to employ stealth and sniping at every opportunity that presented itself and very rarely was it effective… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K]I think we’re at the point where we can truly reveal the wizard behind the curtain here and say that “GOTY” is a completely contrived contest. Fun to talk about, yes, but it just doesn’t hold up to extended analysis.[/quote] 100% agreed. I’ve been slowly veering away from it in my latest comments. It only popped up again here because I was getting back to an older comment you made. [quote=Matthew K]So let’s pause at the comment above that one… that you disagree that UC2 was well crafted.[/quote] Can I start using TNWIS for “That’s not what I said”?… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]I personally wouldn’t downgrade my appreciation of Flower due to its length and relative size. It may have been a shorter experience, but I got so much more out of it intellectually and emotionally than so many games this year and like you, I would applaud anyone brave enough to make that case. So why didn’t I pick it? On our podcast, we had a separate category to recognize Flower. Consequently, I felt less conflicted in selecting a more conventional choice for my GOTY.[/quote] I think we’re at the point where we can truly reveal the wizard behind… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]A good example of not being pigeon-holed into game play throughout most of UC2 is the train section. On my first play through using the normal setting, I employed the obvious method and proceeded to shoot my way through the centre of the carriages with an assault rifle and cover. On my second play through I clung to the outside of the train for most of the time and pulled enemies to their death or stealth killed them. On my third play through (on the hardest setting), I took my time and Solid Snaked most carriages by watching the enemy… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K]To extend this analogy back to the subject, however, I would still argue that if we’re talking about what makes for the “best of the best,” the problem with 2009 is that there simply wasn’t any game that fit THAT bill. There was no Shadow of the Colossus, in my humble opinion (if Flower were a full-fledged game rather than something of a demoscene, maybe that would have fit the bill, but as is, it was a beautiful and wonderful sliver of game).[/quote] I personally wouldn’t downgrade my appreciation of Flower due to its length and relative size. It… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]I never said that either of the women should be treated as a reward or accessory for Nate. That’s taking what I said way out of context. One critcal point you don’t mention is that Nate does make a choice. He chooses one girl over the other. The only issue here is whether or not the player should have a hand in the authorship of the game by deciding who Nate chooses. This isn’t an option in movies or books. This is what makes video games unique and special as an art form.[/quote] There was no suggestion on… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]I think you make a valid argument about making scarcity a gameplay element, however you also inadvertently supported my point about the grenade launcher. You agree that we as players make such concisous decisions to horde weapons for preference and strategy, but its something the developers never acknowledge because there’s no need to horde weapons. Inveitably, enemies will drop something servicable for you to use and you never need to save any particular type of ammo because when you reach the boss battles the game will give you the exact weapons and ammo you need to complete the… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]The women of UC2 do not fall into this category, because the women in UC2 are defined people in of themselves. To mix and match them with your choice of T-shirt or handgun would be to reduce them to the level of accessories to Drake. And this is largely defined by the game genre of UC2.[/quote] I never said that either of the women should be treated as a reward or accessory for Nate. That’s taking what I said way out of context. One critcal point you don’t mention is that Nate does make a choice. He chooses one girl… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]By limiting the weapons system to stock weapon attributes and load-outs, Naughty Dog have ensured you make conscious decisions about what tools you will take, what tools you’ll leave, and what tools you’ll horde for possible use later on. By itself, this doesn’t make UC2 any different to say Gears of War, or Tomb Raider, or even games in other genres like Call of Duty/Modern Warfare.[/quote] I think you make a valid argument about making scarcity a gameplay element, however you also inadvertently supported my point about the grenade launcher. You agree that we as players make such concisous decisions… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
I didn’t want to create one long post in reply, hence I’ve made a separate reply to your post which discusses UC2’s female characters. With regards to choosing which of the female characters Drake devotes himself to at the end of the game, I kind of feel you miss the point to having these women in the game. I also think you don’t understand the character of Drake. As the player of Drake you rightly have the choice of what weapons you use. You have the choice of how you use them. Of if you even use them. You have… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
Thanks for the reply, Chi. And thanks for pointing me towards that post you made. With regards to the weapons system, I don’t think having a Role Playing style weapons system similar RE4 would contribute positively to UC2. Whilst I agree it may add an element of interaction and extra authorship, it would in fact sacrifice an already existing element of player choice. And one that is, in fact, greater. By limiting the weapons system to stock weapon attributes and load-outs, Naughty Dog have ensured you make conscious decisions about what tools you will take, what tools you’ll leave, and… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]I was hoping you would answer my earlier question as to what you hold as your GOTY for the previous 2-3 years. The question may have slipped past in the wave of other excellent responses on this thread.[/quote] My apologies for not being able to respond sooner. I do want to respond, but there’s so much to discuss in this thread and only so many hours in the day. 😉 I will respond to past GOTYs part later. [quote=Fuchal]I understand that you feel there wasn’t enough ‘choice’ for you in UC2, and I appreciate the other games you state which… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
Chi, I was hoping you would answer my earlier question as to what you hold as your GOTY for the previous 2-3 years. The question may have slipped past in the wave of other excellent responses on this thread. In regards to the article itself, you present some interesting points about how games can offer different forms of interaction. Yet, you fail to address the title’s claim that UC2 can’t be GOTY material due to a lack of ‘interaction.’ I understand that you feel there wasn’t enough ‘choice’ for you in UC2, and I appreciate the other games you state… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
(Due the size of this comment, I’ll only be addressing the first part of Alex’s comment for the time being.) [quote=Alex R]Uncharted 2 is an action game with believable, human female characters–women who are proactive, smart, and independent–who act like actual adults when it comes to love and romance, and neither of whom ends up dying. This is deeply meaningful and important for me, as well as for other women I know. And please don’t make the mistake of dismissing this as a “women’s issue” and therefore not as important as any other aspect of the game.[/quote] Adding to ckz’s… Read more »
Alex R
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6 years 6 months ago
I would appreciate it if you didn’t dismiss my points by saying things like “my idea of innovation goes beyond having a character saying “Boom” after he shoots a barrel.” That’s not what my point was. What’s important about that moment is Drake says “Boom” BEFORE the player pulls the trigger. This is an important distinction. Afterwards would be a simple scripted event. Saying it before is predicting the player’s behavior. And that was but one detail out of many. There are also the ones I mention in my review: the notebook, which gives the player amusing insights to Drake’s… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Alex R] ckzatwork: and that’s why I don’t like UC2, because it is universally praised for presenting absolutely nothing fresh, except helping the medium approach the most prosaic perceptions of what film language is. Matt K: Neither product is really innovative in the design/thought sense. Sorry for being vague in who I was addressing, but these were the comments I was reacting to. And, just to be absolutely clear, that second-to-last sentence was not intended as a dig in any way. I am genuinely unsure whether such changes to the game development landscape “count” as innovation as far as GOTY… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago

[quote=ckzatwork]I’ve just reread my post and want to apologize to Matthew. I sound like an offensive asshole.
[/quote]

I very much appreciate the apology (which I only got to read after submitting my previous comment, sorry). But I hope you can see after my clarification that I’m not trying to argue for a more limited perspective.

Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]You lost me Matthew, when you compared Flower to something from a demoscene. You have a thin and conservative view of what games should be and, as such, continually diminish the weight of experimental games (and art) – you did it with The Path, for instance. Why should I not consider Flower a full-fledged game? Because it doesn’t offer 16 hours of repetitive gameplay? Because it’s cheap? Because there is no scoring system? Give me a valid reason and I’ll shut up. Meanwhile, I’ll still believe that your orthodox thoughts are dangerous in the sense that they don’t award liberated… Read more »
ckzatwork
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ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
I’ve just reread my post and want to apologize to Matthew. I sound like an offensive asshole. Alex, my idea of innovation goes beyond having a character saying “Boom” after he shoots a barrel. I would find it more innovative if the barrel wasn’t there in the first place. I find the detail you speak of to be futile, having the power to transform the experience into a juvenile spectacle. Women have been portrayed as adult and independent characters that don’t get killed in games like Enemy Zero, Phantasmagoria, Indigo Prohecy, Beyond Good and Evil, Syberia, The Longest Journey, The… Read more »
Alex R
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6 years 6 months ago
ckzatwork: and that’s why I don’t like UC2, because it is universally praised for presenting absolutely nothing fresh, except helping the medium approach the most prosaic perceptions of what film language is. Matt K: Neither product is really innovative in the design/thought sense. Sorry for being vague in who I was addressing, but these were the comments I was reacting to. And, just to be absolutely clear, that second-to-last sentence was not intended as a dig in any way. I am genuinely unsure whether such changes to the game development landscape “count” as innovation as far as GOTY is concerned,… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Alex R]Okay, I was going to stay out of this conversation, but it’s pretty frustrating to read everyone saying Uncharted 2 isn’t innovative and brings nothing new or fresh to the table. ***** And maybe y’all don’t care about those things, as critics, I don’t know. But to say it brings nothing new to the industry, to the medium, is simply wrong.[/quote] Alex, first let me say that while you haven’t commented much during this debate, I’ve always appreciated what you have posted because you’re one of the few commenters who would address my ideas/questions directly rather than tangentially. That… Read more »
Alex R
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6 years 6 months ago
Okay, I was going to stay out of this conversation, but it’s pretty frustrating to read everyone saying Uncharted 2 isn’t innovative and brings nothing new or fresh to the table. Uncharted 2 is an action game with believable, human female characters–women who are proactive, smart, and independent–who act like actual adults when it comes to love and romance, and neither of whom ends up dying. This is deeply meaningful and important for me, as well as for other women I know. And please don’t make the mistake of dismissing this as a “women’s issue” and therefore not as important… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
You lost me Matthew, when you compared Flower to something from a demoscene. You have a thin and conservative view of what games should be and, as such, continually diminish the weight of experimental games (and art) – you did it with The Path, for instance. Why should I not consider Flower a full-fledged game? Because it doesn’t offer 16 hours of repetitive gameplay? Because it’s cheap? Because there is no scoring system? Give me a valid reason and I’ll shut up. Meanwhile, I’ll still believe that your orthodox thoughts are dangerous in the sense that they don’t award liberated… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui]That doesn’t stop many people from enjoying Rockwell’s work and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s not a whole lot to appreciate and analyze intellectually as critics and historians.[/quote] I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with this (at least in terms of the comparison to Uncharted 2). Where we are in agreement–and really the reason for me making the comparison–is that Pollack (and, say, Shadow of the Colossus, although I’m really just plucking that comparison right out of my butt) is definitely a work that requires more interpretative work on the part of the audience. Obviously,… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago

Chi,

I’m curious as to what your personal GOTY titles were for the previous few years?

D

Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Gene P.]Short response: You once again completely ignore my main point, the fact that you are bringing up unrelated features from other games into UC2.[/quote] My original suggestions didn’t come from other games. They were based on my reaction to playing Uncharted 2 and within the context of what the game was proposing to me. Your argument suggests that Uncharted 2 would be a completely different game, but my blog post proves otherwise. If you disagree, then tell me why you believe the game would be different and is that a good or bad thing? [quote=Gene P.]But I don’t know… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K]I don’t think there’s a reason to dismiss either kind of painting as not contributing to the medium. It all really depends on the aims of the artist… and on the viewer’s end, what the individual viewer is searching for… how the viewer wants to be affected. And it’s likewise easy to see the range of opinions… how some call Rockwell “feel-good hokum” and others call Pollack “self-indulgent” and “pretentious.” But I don’t think anyone would argue that one sort of painting should be mistaken for the other… that Rockwell should have scribbled over his emotional, photo-like scenes or… Read more »
Gene P.
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Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui] I think I said this already: UC2 is probably a 7 or 8 rating for me, which is in essence a 3-star rating. I’m all for variety in games. I just think that a higher level of critical thinking needs to be applied to UC2. Despite how it appears (as was the case with GTA3), I’m not trying to stand in anyone’s way of enjoying UC2. However, if someone truly wants to appreciate UC2 as a cultural artifact, they need to step up their game. Anything less is a disservice to the said art object because weak… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Gene P.]You insinuate in your reasoning that Uncharted 2’s qualities make it somehow less than a video game, which Matt has already said in his blog post (which feels like ages ago already) that it is simply not true. I’m going to assume that that is not what you are arguing, because I do respect your critical thinking.[/quote] Many of my comments were misread as to imply that UC2 is lesser game than the ones I juxtaposed it to. That wasn’t my intension, but I can see how that may confuse people. And when I said that watching a movie… Read more »
Matthew K
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6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Chi Kong Lui][quote=Matthew K]- A “roller coaster” is a roller coaster because it has highs AND lows, not just highs. I would hope you also can acknowledge that even non-interactive, quiet, and slower sequences can be thrilling and exhilarating in their own right. Or perhaps you didn’t actually enjoy the Metal Gear Solid titles as much as it would seem…. I found every moment of Uncharted 2 to be thrilling, even when the action on-screen had slowed. Also, your insinuation that the game is NOT merely a one-sided shooter goes against some of your previous criticisms of the game.[/quote] Which… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K]- A “roller coaster” is a roller coaster because it has highs AND lows, not just highs. I would hope you also can acknowledge that even non-interactive, quiet, and slower sequences can be thrilling and exhilarating in their own right. Or perhaps you didn’t actually enjoy the Metal Gear Solid titles as much as it would seem…. I found every moment of Uncharted 2 to be thrilling, even when the action on-screen had slowed. Also, your insinuation that the game is NOT merely a one-sided shooter goes against some of your previous criticisms of the game.[/quote] Which criticisms are… Read more »
Justin
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Justin
6 years 6 months ago
I think a lot of people take criticism of Uncharted 2 as criticism of all heavily scripted games. I think there’s a fine line between a “sublimely linear” experience (to quote Micheal Abbott, I really love that choice of words) and something more akin to playing Halo cooperatively with my overbearing cousin Charlie. Consistent level design and rules should indicate where I should go next, not a gaudy “Hint,” prompt. Yes, game, I know where you want me to go, but I’m not done here, and I’m holding the controller, so piss off. Furthermore, poorly-implemented stealth levels used to be… Read more »
Fuchal
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6 years 6 months ago
I think you peeps have made some great points regarding humour and serious subject matters. Although I tend to lean towards the side that humour can be a powerful weapon against repression and violence, I totally get where the authors of some of those links are coming from. I think that if it is done tastefully, and not glib and never at expense to the victims and never seeks to forget what has happened, then humour can be a potent force. It will often break down social taboos enabling more people to discuss and take serious such horrendous acts. I… Read more »
Alex R
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
No, I definitely agree with you there. I guess a good guideline is, if you haven’t been there or haven’t experienced this horrific thing (whatever that happens to be), you probably shouldn’t joke about it, because you don’t really understand. (Where “you” is the general “you”, naturally.) It also depends on the target of the joke. Too often it is women and rape victims who are the target of the joke, which is really messed up. But if the joke targets rapists or people who victim-blame or whatever, that’s challenging that behavior. Amanda Hess has written quite a lot on… Read more »
Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
Hey Shane, Thanks for taking the time to respond to the debate. [quote=Shane]I do think you need to take this out of the forums because your opinion on people being gay or not, is completely irrelevant to the fact that the line is CLEARLY a joke against gay people, and i find it absurd that you feel the need to defend it simply because you like the game.[/quote] My argument/s thus far haven’t been my opinion on whether someone is gay or not. In fact, I don’t understand who you feel I am arguing is gay or not – the… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
Guest
Chi Kong Lui
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]To avoid further derailing, I will continue this conversation with Fuchal through e-mail if he is willing to and has the time to put up with me. 🙂 I wonder what Chi makes of all of this. I’m betting he is waiting for someone to go berserk with UNCHARTED2 IZ GOTY.ITZ DA BEST GAME EVA, so that he can reply with NOOO! YOUREZ WRONGz!ITS DA DEMONZ ZSSOUL, and I will kick back with YOUR BOTHH WRONGZ. ItS MaKINarIUM![/quote] I think its perfectly actually since my second point was gameplay experiences are interpretative. For those wondering why I haven’t been more… Read more »
Richard Naik
Guest
Richard Naik
6 years 6 months ago

[quote=ckzatwork]
I wonder what Chi makes of all of this. I’m betting he is waiting for someone to go berserk with UNCHARTED2 IZ GOTY.ITZ DA BEST GAME EVA, so that he can reply with NOOO! YOUREZ WRONGz!ITS DA DEMONZ ZSSOUL, and I will kick back with YOUR BOTHH WRONGZ. ItS MaKINarIUM![/quote]

Hey now, no need to drag Machinarium into this 🙂

Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Alex R]Something to think about regarding rape jokes.[/quote] Thanks for the link Alex. It reaffirms my cautiousness in declaring any rape joke to be funny, even the “South Park” episode I am referring to. To be honest, I can’t recall a single rape joke outside of the “South Park” one that I’ve honestly laughed at. I don’t disagree with anything the author says. For certain. At the same time, I just want to throw out the viewpoint that people deal with the dark extremities of life in many different ways. Some go to church. Some do drugs. Some drink. And… Read more »
Shane
Guest
Shane
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]Again, I think all interpretations of the game, and of the line in question, are valid. I don’t think anyone has to defend themselves if they felt it was offensive. You can only read the text using the cultural baggage you carry with you. Same goes for me. And I certainly appreciate anyone who takes the time to post their views so coherently on a board which is not in the native tongue. As I say, their grasp of English, however poor one might say, is vastly better than my non-grasp of their language. I guess the angle I was… Read more »
Alex R
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]To avoid further derailing, I will continue this conversation with Fuchal through e-mail if he is willing to and has the time to put up with me. 🙂 I wonder what Chi makes of all of this. I’m betting he is waiting for someone to go berserk with UNCHARTED2 IZ GOTY.ITZ DA BEST GAME EVA, so that he can reply with NOOO! YOUREZ WRONGz!ITS DA DEMONZ ZSSOUL, and I will kick back with YOUR BOTHH WRONGZ. ItS MaKINarIUM![/quote] I don’t think it is derailing to discuss what we have been discussing. You and I have certainly kept our opinions civilised… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago

To avoid further derailing, I will continue this conversation with Fuchal through e-mail if he is willing to and has the time to put up with me. 🙂

I wonder what Chi makes of all of this. I’m betting he is waiting for someone to go berserk with UNCHARTED2 IZ GOTY.ITZ DA BEST GAME EVA, so that he can reply with NOOO! YOUREZ WRONGz!ITS DA DEMONZ ZSSOUL, and I will kick back with YOUR BOTHH WRONGZ. ItS MaKINarIUM!

Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
I certainly don’t want to state someone’s argument as being something it is not. That would be unfair and, more to the point, unhelpful to this conductive discussion. My posts were largely in reply to two of ckzatwork’s previous posts describing his/her view of UC2’s elements: post 1 and post 2. Although I disagreed with these summations, which is an aesthetic difference I am cool with, I did feel they were also implying that UC2’s creators possessed these negative qualities. That is something I guess I had an issue with. As for being a defendant of ND, I am not.… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Fuchal]Again, I think all interpretations of the game, and of the line in question, are valid. I don’t think anyone has to defend themselves if they felt it was offensive. You can only read the text using the cultural baggage you carry with you. Same goes for me. And I certainly appreciate anyone who takes the time to post their views so coherently on a board which is not in the native tongue. As I say, their grasp of English, however poor one might say, is vastly better than my non-grasp of their language. I guess the angle I was… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
Fuchal, I totally get where you’re coming from, it’s the same perspective I’m from. That line totally just whizzed by me and I didn’t even notice it really. If anything, I might agree with Matt K’s interpretation of it, like Drake not wanting to be too confrontational and just shrugging off an off-color joke, particularly since Drake himself already knows the realities of what it’s like to be in a Turkish prison. Plus I’ve never seen Midnight Express. I do know the Turkish prison line though, and there are homophobic connotations to it. It’s not a commonly heard “joke,” at… Read more »
Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
Again, I think all interpretations of the game, and of the line in question, are valid. I don’t think anyone has to defend themselves if they felt it was offensive. You can only read the text using the cultural baggage you carry with you. Same goes for me. And I certainly appreciate anyone who takes the time to post their views so coherently on a board which is not in the native tongue. As I say, their grasp of English, however poor one might say, is vastly better than my non-grasp of their language. I guess the angle I was… Read more »
Alex R
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

The line made me uncomfortable because, not knowing the context or reference, it came across to me as a prison rape joke. Prison rape jokes are pretty much always a nasty mix of homophobia, misogyny, and making light of sexual assault, three things I am not fond of, to say the least. Perhaps I should have at least mentioned it in my review, considering one of my points was about how the game avoids offending. It’s a dark spot on what is otherwise a rather egalitarian game.

peeled currently
Guest
peeled currently
6 years 6 months ago
“What ‘issue’ are you talking about?” I apologize for not making myself clear, Fuchal. I’m not an English native speaker and my inarticulate writing can get pretty messy. I was answering to your possibility of someone from ND commenting the dialogue – you will now understand that to me they would never respond to it. It has nothing to do with the legitimacy of having homosexual leads in games. Again, sorry for making you extrapolate and bring subjects to the table which were not there. “Why is it ‘homophobic’ for two people to reference that?” The best I can say… Read more »
Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]2 Developers will never address this issue. They will deny it to their death, specially Naughty Dog, whose work and image is seen as extremely “safe” and “politically correct”.[/quote] What ‘issue’ are you talking about? Homosexuality or homosexuality in prisons or homophobia? What exactly are they ‘dodging’? And why does having a heterosexual man as a lead mean they are dodging something? Should there be more homosexual leads in games? Maybe. But just because a developer decides to use a heterosexual male doesn’t mean they are dodging anything. Wouldn’t it be better to have a larger representation of minorities who… Read more »
ZippyDSMlee
Guest
6 years 6 months ago

The point of a game is what YOU the player make of it not what the devs slap together and and give a fancy name to….god I miss Code breaker and Game shark…….ah simpler times when you could make a medicore game enjoyable…..

ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
1 The Midnight Express scene is not homophobic. Far from it, in fact. You can watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guCGGjrYHUo (and to everyone else, i would like to point how these 2 minutes of film making are light years ahead of at most cinematic videogames try to achieve regarding human emotions). 2 Developers will never address this issue. They will deny it to their death, specially Naughty Dog, whose work and image is seen as extremely “safe” and “politically correct”. 3 What could that dialog refer to then? What is “that kind of thing” that happens in Turkish prisons? I can… Read more »
Fuchal
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork] Flynn: Well, you may fancy that kind of things, but I don’t. (laughs) If you’ve seen Midnight Express, you will recall a sex scene where the protagonist shares an intimate shower with a cell mate. Because of that short and tender love affair, Turkish prisons gained this reputation during the 80s for being “infected” with homosexuals. And that’s where this tasteless dialogue comes from.[/quote] I’m interested in where this link has been made explicit by the game makers? I understand and respect that as the reader of the text you feel this line is homophobic, even if I don’t… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]as you know, the community is constantly accused of being counterproductively preoccupied with homophobic behavior. So, it is with great appreciation that I thank your thoughtful insights, Gene.[/quote] You are very welcome. You helped me remember that I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to meet and work with Cleve Jones. He said to me if he had known that while he was working for Harvey Milk that he’d still be fighting for gay rights in 2009, he would’ve gave up and been sleeping with women by now. 😛 All in jest of course, and I feel blessed to have met him.… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
I’m happy to know you’re an advocate for gay rights, Gene, and easily comprehend why you didn’t get the camouflaged gay joke. Like you said, you’re straight and can’t possibly uncover all the subtleties of discriminatory humor that targets people with a sexual orientation different than yours. When I heard the dialogue, I remembered thinking, boy those Naughty Dogs sure are naughty, but they will get away with it. No one will get it. Midnight Express is a long forgotten film and gays represent roughly 7% of the gaming community. What are the chances of having a gay male gamer… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
Like I said, it initially didn’t raise any red flags for me, and although I am straight, I am an advocate for gay rights in Hawaii. After I was initially laid off in the media, I signed on pro bono as a media consultant for the movement to get a civil union bill passed in our state Legislature. I was proud to be a part of it (although it ultimately failed the issue should be revisited again this session), and would gladly participate again if I was not beholden to my nonbias role of a journalist again. I’m also pretty… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Matthew K][quote=ckzatwork] Flynn: Well, you may fancy that kind of things, but I don’t. (laughs) If you’ve seen Midnight Express, you will recall a sex scene where the protagonist shares an intimate shower with a cell mate. Because of that short and tender love affair, Turkish prisons gained this reputation during the 80s for being “infected” with homosexuals. And that’s where this tasteless dialogue comes from.[/quote] (Speaking of interpretation…) I think this is open for interpretation, and while you make a compelling point as to how this can be taken as offensive, I would argue that: A.) Flynn is supposed… Read more »
Matthew K
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork] Flynn: Well, you may fancy that kind of things, but I don’t. (laughs) If you’ve seen Midnight Express, you will recall a sex scene where the protagonist shares an intimate shower with a cell mate. Because of that short and tender love affair, Turkish prisons gained this reputation during the 80s for being “infected” with homosexuals. And that’s where this tasteless dialogue comes from.[/quote] (Speaking of interpretation…) I think this is open for interpretation, and while you make a compelling point as to how this can be taken as offensive, I would argue that: A.) Flynn is supposed to… Read more »
Matthew K
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Louis F.]However, as a game that openly delegates a certain, limited but crucial role to the player, while taking upon itself the bulk of the narrative duty, I believe Uncharted is a success according to its own fairly modest terms, if not especially constructive to the medium as a whole (and thus possibly not a legitimate GOTY).[/quote] Again, I think this is beautifully stated. I think it’s really about the perception of how certain games “aspire” to be something more than the sum of polished parts (or are at least injected with a certain amount of creative enthusiasm for the… Read more »
Matthew K
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Gene P.][quote=ckzatwork]No, Matthew. This isn’t the official site of U2 hatters. This is the place where some people managed to see beyond postcard vistas, technological fetishism, narrative writing worthy of a sequel to The Mummy, ad aeternum mind-numbing explosions, derivative gameplay, fascist shooting, homophobic innuendos, the annulment of challenges to reach casual gamers and Chloe’s ass mathematical shots.[/quote] See. As much as I vehemently disagree with this summation of the game, this is a critique well within reason of the game, and I say this with no intent of being facetious. (Well except for the homophobic part. I really don’t… Read more »
Louis F.
Guest
Louis F.
6 years 6 months ago
Personally, I really enjoyed Among Thieves (as well as Drake’s Fortune) for the space it allowed me to play in. At any given moment, I felt that several options of movement and engagement were offered, and appreciated the need to improvise and adjust to the situations. No ammo left for the grenade launcher? Oh well, the opportunity will arise again ; let’s try something else instead. The games were constantly imposing constraints and varying sets of parameters, but the act of dealing with them always felt distinctly “mine”. I guess the same could be said for most of Gears of… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=Gene P.](Well except for the homophobic part. I really don’t recall that at all but I could be wrong. And may I suggest, ‘assmatical’? ^_^) [/quote] Sorry for transcribing the text and posting it here, but I started doing it immediately after I read your comment, Gene. Flynn: Relax? Relax? Have you ever been in a Turkish Prison, mate? If we get caught, they will lock us up and throw away the sodding key, you do realize that, don’t you? Drake: Better than you do. Flynn: Well, you may fancy that kind of things, but I don’t. (laughs) If you’ve… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago

Oh nevermind ckzatwork. Just remembered the Turkish prison line, although I didn’t interpret it as a homophobic line at first. But I definitely see the context, it just kinda flies by so fast. Thanks for pointing it out.

Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
[quote=ckzatwork]No, Matthew. This isn’t the official site of U2 hatters. This is the place where some people managed to see beyond postcard vistas, technological fetishism, narrative writing worthy of a sequel to The Mummy, ad aeternum mind-numbing explosions, derivative gameplay, fascist shooting, homophobic innuendos, the annulment of challenges to reach casual gamers and Chloe’s ass mathematical shots.[/quote] See. As much as I vehemently disagree with this summation of the game, this is a critique well within reason of the game, and I say this with no intent of being facetious. (Well except for the homophobic part. I really don’t recall… Read more »
Gene P.
Guest
Gene P.
6 years 6 months ago
Chi thanks for airing out your thoughts. Just wanted you to know that I certainly appreciate the amount of thought you are putting into this discussion. However, I have to say you are defending far more than I am criticizing. If I wanted a good summation of why Metal Combat, SMB2 and RE4 were good games, I’d probably point to this post right here. Otherwise I have to echo Matt’s comments and wonder why you just didn’t choose similar games like Gears of War, or even Ico, two games that do not provide narrative choices within the gameplay, and two… Read more »
ckzatwork
Guest
ckzatwork
6 years 6 months ago

No, Matthew. This isn’t the official site of U2 hatters. This is the place where some people managed to see beyond postcard vistas, technological fetishism, narrative writing worthy of a sequel to The Mummy, ad aeternum mind-numbing explosions, derivative gameplay, fascist shooting, homophobic innuendos, the annulment of challenges to reach casual gamers and Chloe’s ass mathematical shots.

Matthew K
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
I just wanted to add that as hostile as the above may come across, it’s really only a response to the ideas presented here… not the writing or even to your actual position. Again, I respect the position of those arguing that Uncharted 2 shouldn’t have been GOTY. I can easily see that there are problems with the game (it’s definitely not perfect), and if a game like Metal Gear Solid 4 or Fallout 3 had come out this past year, I would have laughed at anyone arguing Uncharted 2 should be GOTY. 🙂 Well, maybe. But the point stands,… Read more »
Matthew K
Guest
6 years 6 months ago
After three or so blog-style posts and reviews discrediting Uncharted 2, the overly defensive comments in my post, and even a podcast, I think this is piling it on a little thick, no? This may start to be known as the official site of “Uncharted 2 Haters.” 😉 Well, in any case, I obviously disagree with your post for many reasons, some of which include: – A “roller coaster” is a roller coaster because it has highs AND lows, not just highs. I would hope you also can acknowledge that even non-interactive, quiet, and slower sequences can be thrilling and… Read more »
Cybrmynd
Guest
Cybrmynd
6 years 6 months ago

Great piece, I read the whole thing and enjoyed it. Specifically the last statement, which means a lot if you consider what many people see as a great game. The stealth and puzzle statement you made make a lot of sense, and I never thought about it that in that light.

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