Thursday, June 21, 2007
So I skipped out on work, took a PTO day, and went to see a Padres game with my father-in-law. Padres lost to Baltimore 6 to 3. Not a huge sports fan but I like to watch a game from time to time and this was just a great summer day, perfect for heading out to the ballpark. So I dug it alot.
Watching this game got me thinking that it would be sweet if real life sports had some sort of way of applying the fudge factor of a game like Calling All Cars or NBA JAMS, where the game is designed to do some minor cheating in order to keep game scores closer. That would be cool cause every game would be a nail biter. But it would also be cheating.
I also thought it would be great if all umpires were hot women dressed in skimpy outfits. I mean, who is going to argue with a hot woman umpire dressed in a sexy costume? You'd feel like a total ass in the stands yelling: 'Hey Ump! Are you freaking blind! Open your god damned eyes!' Because somewhere in your primal mind- assuming you are a man or a woman lovin' woman- you'd be thinking- deep down: she may be going home with me if I play my cards right and no way in hell am I fucking up my chances!
Been doing alot of work the last few weeks, lots of design stuff that I'm real happy with but has required lots of concentration and focus...so I was just feeling a bit fried. That's probably why I'm blogging so much today; just can't get my head around the next big design task in front of me after having just completed my previous big design task. I think it's important to recharge between challenges; you just know when you need to step back and chill. So that's what I did today. And it was great! I thought I'd come home and be all ready to work again, but now I just want to take a nap. I'm tired.
I'll hit it hard tomorrow!
THING #1- What happens the DAY I post about how Nintendo does not like to let people peek behind the curtain of their game making magic? I pop open the latest copy of GAMES(TM) and see an article showing off the recently opened Nintendo museum in Japan. The exhbit chronicles the history of Nintendo, mainly their video games. And what is sitting there on page one of the article? Sketches from Miyamoto himself, behind the scenes, rare ass sketches of Mario and Donkey Kong from 1979, 1980. These are sketches that Miyamoto did showing how the characters should look and move in the game. So once again, just goes to show: I know nothing. But still, with the exception of that event, I stand by my point that Nintendo- by holding the behind the scenes stuff pretty close to the vest- manages to create stronger, more loved characters/franchises.
THING #2- I was 'dark' when Spidey 3 came out so I didn't get to post this. By the way, 'going dark' to me is a Vegas term for when a show is not playing on a certain day. As in: 'Cirque is going dark on tuesdays starting next month'. Lots of people assumed I was trying to sound like a spy or something when I wrote I was 'going dark'. But I wasn't. So I wanted to clear that up. Cause that would be stupid. But now that I've written this, I am wondering which is worse: trying to sound like a bad-ass spy when, clearly, I am not...or using Vegas show terms to describe my hiatus from blogging. :) Anyway, so I saw this and I loved it:
I mean, that's as close to a real world Spidey encounter as I will ever have. I was at the drive thru at Burger King and I look up and I see this. It's a little small for Spidey, not sure why they didn't go life size. But it was still very cool and I really sat there for a few minutes imagining what it would be like to glance up and there's the real Spidey, staring around, looking for bad guys and whatnot. "Toss me a fry, true believer!" he would say. But it struck me as how- if you saw Spidey in real life- how creepy he would actually be. In the comics, even tho it's an aspect of how others treat him, visually it never came across to me. But seeing him here, I was like, "man, now I know what JJ. Jamison means when he calls Spidey a menace!"
THING #3 (NOTE: I knew I had 3 things to say but I could not find a picture of thing #3, so deal with it)- Finally, Next-Gen.biz had an amazing write up yesterday on games needing to get more meaningful before they are given respect by anyone other than gamers. I thought it was great and thought provoking. I chimed in on the comments section in hopes of getting some other opinions and advice from other designers on the subject but I think I killed the thread (either that or simply no one posts on the next-gen comments section...heck I didn't even know they had one till yesterday). But I thought what I wrote about story in game and emotion in game really nailed my feelings and struggles on the issue. So I 'reprint' it here in hopes that maybe someone has some insight into what I feel is the biggest problem with story and games...oh, and here's where you can find the great next-gen story (I would link but the blogger link Icon is not appearing):
and here is my response to it:
Great article and as someone who has struggled with this issue before (as a designer with my own games and as a player: a game like Facade comes to mind as something I've played that has set its sights on the lofty goals you suggest we pursue), I can tell you that many designers have the intent and some of us lucky ones even have the freedom to puruse the goal of making games matter more than they currently do. The biggest issue I've come up against- besides my clear lack of talent- is the inability to convince players that the fiction matters. Unless you- as a player- make a clumsy self-conscience effort to force yourself to buy into the fiction, you are always aware that the game world is meaningless in any context other than the surface goals given (i.e. get thru the door; kill the enemies). So in Facade, instead of caring about the fate of this young couple's marriage, I just went around and either started messing with things to see what would happen (kissing the man's wife was the very first thing I did, ignoring the fiction of the scenario alltogether because I wanted to see what would happen), or I just focus on how to 'win'. It's not because I don't WANT to care about the story and scenario. I love character stories and political drama and all sorts of 'mature' subject matter when I see it in movies and read about it in books. It's just that- in a game- I simply don't care about anything other than my goals. Until we figure out how- if it's even possible in an interactive experience- to make players suspend disbelief and really buy into the wolrd fiction (while they are playing, not by watching a cut scene), then all of the effort that would go into making players care for characters and situations will be wasted on all those other than the few willing to force themselves into buying the fantasy...and I don't think that is close to even 5% of the folks who go into EB and buy the latest hit title.
Again, loved the write up. It was great and thought provoking. But I would love to see someone address what I feel is the real problem with this issue versus simply telling us designers that the solve is coming up with characters we care about and scenarios more involved than: kill the bad guys! We get that, and some of us have even done it. It's just not working.
Ok, gonna drop the kid off at pre-school then get to work. Talk to ya'll later!