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Comment count is 17
Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2019-02-23

Few observations on Arcade week.

We are nostalgic about these games.
Some of them look great, they are literally a spectacle.
A lot of them have terrible and/or linear and/or derivative gameplay.
This game is a great example of all 3.

This whole spectacle / marketability above game design is what resulted in a couple of decades of pure shit games during the rise of the consoles. Where big companies hired people who had studied media/film and who didnt understand the medium of games at all to make derivative safe good looking profitable titles.

The big companies are still doing that, but the market is now big enough for good real games to also be made. Just like music / film etc nowadays. They have specialised. U have the insanely insipid commercial shit, and the good stuff made by weirdos

So, I admire and am inspired by these great arcade games, but they were certainly the inspiration for the decades of shit, so I also view them as like a cautionary example.

tethercat - 2019-02-24

I like this. This is a good wrap-up of Arcade Week.

Five for you.

Two Jar Slave - 2019-02-24


Two Jar Slave - 2019-02-24

My question for Purple Cat is: have arcades ever NOT privileged spectacle over gameplay? With all the advances in gameplay that have been discovered/developed over the last 20 years, have any of them reached arcades? Growing up, arcades always stood for amazing-looking shallow gimmicks. Is it different now?

Assume I'm not talking about the fighting game genre, which is the exception for some reason.

SolRo - 2019-02-24

Arcade games have to be shallow by design. They're supposed to give short re-playable bursts of entertainment. The business wouldn't function if the games were designed to be 3+ hour experiences.

I think Japan might be the only place where there's any significant money being put into developing arcade games. My theory is that the urban density, access to mass transit and lack of rampant car ownership (and expense of it) in Japan keeps local markets (and arcades) viable. Whereas in America going to an arcade at this point in time requires getting parents to drive their spawnlings a good distance from their suburban tract home to the closest D&B or Bipedal Rat Arcades

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2019-02-24

@Two Jar Slave
I am just re-writing my above thing except with more detail, this should answer ure question.

Its fine for arcade games (or any game) to be shallow.. A lot of the games posted this week are just pure fun action, which is great!

They still are working with the medium and not against it. Using the unique strenghts of the medium, interactivity and player volition.
A pure action game is highly interactive, like John Romero said to me when I was chatting to him about this*, in doom u press one button and *immediately* the game responds really intensely. Doom was inspired by highly interactive, high feedback arcade games of the 70's.

The problem, is when the consoles started dominating the the home games market.
1st of all the move from little pc's like C64 to consoles really limited what the user could do. They could no longer mod or make their own games on their game playing system.
But the biiig problem was as I said above. Before games were made by mental loners in their bedrooms, all the games were different and innovative, lots of them were shit, but lots of them were mindblowing. People were creatively pushing the medium forwards.
When the consoles took over, the big corps hired people to churn out profitable games. There were no game design courses at the time** So they hired professional people who had 'media' degrees, who had learned all about marketing and the elements of drama, characters, story. Elements not suited to the medium of games. These people had no interest in the medium, they'd have been better off writing plays.
So They took the spectacle, cool graphics, and marketing ideas from the arcades, but forgot to take the actual good interactivity. So u have a couple of decades of games that are half cutscenes, or quicktime events, invisible walls etc. They cant actually embrace the strengths of the medium cus it would mess up the pre-determined story they have written with shitty writing 101 stuff like characters arcs and whatnot.
The sad thing was that the indie scene basically died during this time, the market wasnt big enough to support both scenes. A lot of great innovative game makers ended up emigrating and making shit for Sony or whoever.
The good news is that the indie scene is coming back, the market has gotten big enough to diversify, just like film and music, into the bland commercial shit, and the actual spicy good stuff made by people who are trying to work with the medium, or at least have a few original ideas.

*just throwin' that in there ;)

** There are now but they are shit. I have never worked with anyone who did one. Everyone I have ever worked with did some form of CS, not game design.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2019-02-24

Also as a result of the decades of console shit, u have a generation of people who never experienced anything else. They just think thats what games are, weakly interactive films basically.

Xenocide - 2019-02-24

The indie scene is ascendant at the same time that the big AAA spectacle games seem to be faltering. We seem to be reaching the point where not even the Call of Duty games can sell enough to offset their massive production costs. While those companies blow $100 million making a single title, indie titles like Night in the Woods, Undertale, or Stardew Valley are selling millions with 5 figure budgets.

What's more, they're moving consoles, too: the Switch in particular seems to be finding success as a platform for indie titles, and Nintendo is really leaning into that. I think we'll see bigger publishers trying to figure out how they can capitalize on that, because their current model of releasing the same lootbox shooters once a year seems to be wearing thin for them.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2019-02-24

I think kids who grew up playing Minecraft will help ushering in a new era of good popular games.
They actually know the difference between a computer game and a film.

I've heard they're playing Fortnite now..
Which looks quite meh.. But at least its an actual *game*.

SolRo - 2019-02-24

The big AAA games still make massive profits that far surpass their production costs.

Any issue you might have heard Is whining from stock analysts. Because these games are now put out by publicly traded companies there is an expectation from CEOs, boards and shareholders of unsustainable perpetual growth. If CODBEEF 3 made 1 billion in profits then CODBEEF 4 needs to make at least 1.1 billion, and so on until the 50th game has to take all the money on the planet. This is also why there’s so much season pass shit and gambleboxes and cosmetic stores because there’s only so much money you can make from the initial box sale.

The Mothership - 2019-02-24

I never played this, but goddamn, how did one even play this fever dream of a game?

SolRo - 2019-02-24

Dirk Saves A Woman-Shaped Squeak Toy

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2019-02-24

'positive female role model' tag ?

Nominal - 2019-02-24

This game enslaved women for 20 years until a joyless marketing schemer told everyone it was sexist.

Xenocide - 2019-02-24

Well I'm sure your plan to complain about her for another 20 years will put women back in their place.

Gmork - 2019-02-24


Raggamuffin - 2019-02-25

Dirk adventures through his own mind in an effort to defeat his repressed sexual attraction to fat women

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