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Old 01-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #14
Eric Bowman
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Re: please rate this op-ed piece: “Cinematic” is not a good thing for games...

Hey Rob,

I have some thoughts on this article. Your argument against cinematic games feels rather forced. Let me give an example:

Quote:
If cinematic games are the future, then game design is over.
Being cinematic is an attribute of gaming's past, present, and certainly its future. Linear storytelling has been around for literally thousands of years. I feel several passionate but overzealous gamers don't want videogames to be tied to these past mediums in any way, but the truth is this is a form of storytelling we've been wired to enjoy for generations. It's the bread and butter of going on an imaginary adventure. How its integration alongside actual gameplay marks the death of game design is something I don't feel you adequately explained.

Quote:
A well implemented control scheme makes a player feel ‘free’ within the games environment. Free within limits. Plug in the game ’Prototype’ and run up a building, and then do a crash-dive into the middle of a crowded intersection. All the parts of that control system have been planned out in advance, physics implemented, etc. Nothing is left to chance. Yet if feels open and ‘free’.

That’s the “freedom” gamers want.
Generalizations like this don't do your argument much good, at least from my perspective. Personally, I don't really care if a game allows me for nosedive off a building. Many, many gamers love Call of Duty games and the Uncharted games, despite them being very cinematic and lacking freedom, and I think they're better games for it. I don't want to make moral choice decisions in Uncharted, because then Nathan Drake wouldn't feel like a real person to me anymore. I like that Drake makes his own decisions, and doesn't have to wait for me to decide where the story goes. I love making decisions in games like Mass Effect, but games like this can certainly coexist with cinematic games. Best of both worlds is the gist, here.

Uncharted lets me enjoy a cool story in great settings, but I'm still glad its a game and not a movie because the action is reliant on me to be completed. I think your article is hurt by making generalizations like this without addressing the elephant in the room, the amount of gamers who love games that LACK freedom.

I think my core issue with the article is that it seems to be based around a threat that I'm not even sure exists. I'm just not seeing a shift away from gameplay in games, but more an expansion of what games can actually offer. This is all a matter of perspective, but to me your generalizations about what gamers want and bleak predictions about how game design is doomed are hard to really rally behind. To summarize, I like that you covered a lot of points on the issue, but I feel it doesn't come together coherently.

But of course, this is all my humble opinion.
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