The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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dunpeal2064
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by dunpeal2064 Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:07 am

I suppose I fall into the category of enjoying Skill Games.

My forte would be Shmups (particularly of the danmaku, or bullet hell variety), speedrunning, and Beatmania IIDX.

Self-improvement is a huge part of this. My first "skill game", if you can call it that, was Guitar Hero. My friend brought the game over and played on the hardest difficulty, and I thought it was impossible. He left it over for the weekend, and I probably played 20 hours that weekend. When he came back, I was playing the same difficulty he was, and we were able to co-op some of the hardest songs in the game. It made me happy, and I could see the joy in him that someone actually gave the game a chance, which for some reason made me even more happy.

Once I discovered shmups, it was pretty much over. :lol:

Its really hard to explain why playing these games this way is fun, why losing over and over is enjoyable, and particularly that we aren't trying to show off. This isn't a way to wave an e-peen, this is a genuinely fun way to approach... well, anything!

I think the aspect I enjoy the most is segmented learning. Its something I do on the guitar, to improve my Rubik's Cube speedsolving, and to learn and perform well in shmups and speedruns. Take a small, 15 second segment of something that just seems impossible, practice it, understand it, and that feeling when you go "holy shit I think I get it.... I DID IT" is unbelievable.

Stringing those learned segments together, and creating a run, whether it be in a speedsolve, music piece, speedrun, or score attempt, is just... I don't know how to explain it, but its so personal. Its such an extension of my capabilities, and I can always clearly see where to move forward, what to learn next, while being able to constantly appreciate what I have already learned.

There are a few reasons why Danmaku shooters in particular are my favorite when it comes to Skilled Gaming, but what really makes them appealing to me is that the developers made these games with the intent of them being played like this. When I speedrun Sonic, I know I am breaking the game, I'm not playing it as intended, and I could very well run out of things to learn, hit a "ceiling" of sorts. With Danmaku shooters, I know the game is going to play well throughout, no matter how hard I push it, and in fact the games tend to get better the harder I push into them. I know that the ceiling for these games is ridiculously high, and that means that I can learn more, and make more use of what I have already learned. It feels like a never-ending battle, and that is really great to me.
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Erik_Twice
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by Erik_Twice Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:05 am

dunpeal2064 wrote:With Danmaku shooters, I know the game is going to play well throughout, no matter how hard I push it, and in fact the games tend to get better the harder I push into them.

I think this is a great way of putting it, thanks Dunpeal :)

I really think that truly great games get better and better the more you play them, while any game that grows worse because you engage with it wasn't actually a great game in the first place. The more I play Netrunner or Team Fortress, the most interesting they get and I think it's the same for many of these shmups.
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dunpeal2064
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by dunpeal2064 Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:56 am

Thanks man!

I actually downloaded Netrunner purely due to your enthusiasm regarding the game. Its, uh... got a bit of a barrier to entry, but I'm slowly getting the hang of things :lol:
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by marurun Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:38 am

I gotta admit, I don't think of some of these kinds of games as "skill" games. For stuff like Danmaku, I think of them as memorization/perfection games. Many of them are highly patterned, and the game coaxes you into replaying, replay after replay, to master the patterns. I would actually consider a "skill" game to be one that lacked patterns as much as possible and relied solely on reflex and assessment of novel situations.
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by Erik_Twice Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:41 am

dunpeal2064 wrote:Thanks man!

I actually downloaded Netrunner purely due to your enthusiasm regarding the game. Its, uh... got a bit of a barrier to entry, but I'm slowly getting the hang of things :lol:

Hahaha, well, if you are playing through OCTGN, yeah, it's going to be difficult since you not only have to learn how to play the game but also how to use the online interface.

I would lend you a hand but it doesn't work on my computer so I can only play in person :lol:


marurun wrote:I gotta admit, I don't think of some of these kinds of games as "skill" games. For stuff like Danmaku, I think of them as memorization/perfection games. Many of them are highly patterned, and the game coaxes you into replaying, replay after replay, to master the patterns. I would actually consider a "skill" game to be one that lacked patterns as much as possible and relied solely on reflex and assessment of novel situations.

I don't think being pattern-based makes them less skillful. Even if we accept that these games are based on memorization, which I don't agree with, that's still a skill as much as reflexes can be.

Also the players themselves will complain about a game not "having skill" a lot, hence the name :lol:
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dunpeal2064
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by dunpeal2064 Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:50 am

In a Danmaku, there is certainly a high level of route memorization, but I do think some skill comes in, in that its very rare that you just float through your route. You have to be able to think on the fly to adjust to whatever minor mistakes you might make, and the varied differences those can impose in the run. If you are pretty far into the game, and have a good score going, you also have to be able to judge risk and reward and execute things on the fly so that your score counter doesn't just stop on a dime.

Basically, you have to be familiar with the game to even play it, but that familiarity does not equate to an easy run. Thinking and executing ideas on the fly is very challenging, and you often have to dodge patterns in ways you didn't plan, only going off of how things normally work for you, which enemies you can spot on screen, whether they are aiming at you or around you, how many enemies you can kill while not flooding the screen with an undodgeable amount of suicide bullets, etc.

and yes, this is assuming that actually figuring the "puzzle" of each bite-sized chunk of a game is not a skill within itself. Similar to a musician, them performing might not be skill based, but creating that performance took a lot of skill. I look at high level Danmaku play similarly, even down to what you do with the mistakes, which is one of the more important aspects of live musician play as well.
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:36 am

I'm shooting for a <3 hour no-death run of Ys I. No joke.
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by Opa Opa Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:40 am

What version?
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:43 am

Excellent question. Probably Chronicles (PSP or PC). The may PS2 port may be a possibility but I haven't tried that one out yet.

<3 hours would be impossible with most 8-bit versions (I think) due to their overall slower pace.
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Re: The Skill Gamers

by marurun Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:56 pm

Erik_Twice wrote: don't think being pattern-based makes them less skillful. Even if we accept that these games are based on memorization, which I don't agree with, that's still a skill as much as reflexes can be.


This argument you make, and Dunpeal also makes, pretty much states that almost any game requires skill. Danmaku and the like aren't necessarily games that require more skill/skills to play. They just require lots of memorization and familiarity in addition to player reflex and assessment skills. They are harder, but I don't know that that means more skills. Honestly, I think the games that require the most skill are competitive games. Any game where you and your opponent rely on the same basic set of in-game skills and game mechanic knowledge is, IMO, more skill-based than any other kind of game. Because it's not you against a fixed opponent driven by an RNG. It's you against another human mind with variable skill sets working within a shared mechanical environment.
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