The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Erik_Twice
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Erik_Twice Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:05 am

I think that was a very fine post, Ds.

dsheinem wrote:-Roger Ebert was a deservedly respected film critic throughout his life and a generally thoughtful writer on a range of subjects. He was never an "old man shaking his cane" or some such - that's dismissive of his age and ignorant of his work. I also think, as a critic of a medium with qualities to which so many game developers have admittedly aspired in their own work, his opinion does and did matter to the discussion of "are games art?"

I actually like Ebert as a critic, and value the discussion that was had despite my dissapointment with his articles, I simply think the response to his article reeked of the usual "Mainstream-senpain noticed me" that I so much despise. :lol:

Erik_Twice, you keep mentioning "the press" (their supposed role in the HM2 stuff, their response to Ebert, etc.), which is bringing this discussion much closer to the whole GamerGate thing than I am trying to suggest with the OP.

That seems fair. I mainly cited the press because it's the most visible part of this, and (IIRC) it was what sparked the Hotline Miami 2 debate. They were also a key driver of the complaints towards Lara Croft (2014) dropped sexual assault subplot and other minor examples. I really didn't mean to get into my beloved "game press sucks" bandwagon, sorry :lol:

What I do wonder is: How does this tie with other changes games suffer based on player outrage? It's common, for example, for games to get balance patches not out of design but out of player complaints (Eg. Nerfing the already weak Pyro in TF2) or for player complaints to drive a significant portion of design in roleplaying games (Editions wars). How do these changes compare to each other? I think there's something interesting here.

Exhuminator wrote:So saying "movies were this after 43 years" versus "video games are this after 43 years" is illogical because it assumes the two mediums were equal from a technological perspective to start with, and they most certainly were not.

While I do think that technology has expanded the kind of games that can be made, I don't think games have to "catch up" to film when it comes to artistic merit, specially since most games I would consider artistic masterpieces aren't particularly dependant on technology.

Everyone has his own list, but I think I can get at least 50 games of AFI's Top 100 quality without reaching or being hopelessly niche and filling the list with shmups. Most games wouldn't be particularly modern, either.
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Jmustang1968
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Jmustang1968 Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:07 am

dsheinem wrote:
The larger point is that games have always had artistic merit, even if the status hasn't been bestowed upon them. The general public saw film as art within 20 years or so. In ~45 years, gaming doesn't have that same respect, despite having produced many titles that clearly have artistic merit.


I think a big reason for this is that games were, and still are by some, seen as for kids and are toys. Film was an extension of theatre which was a widely accepted adult entertainment and was treated as such from the beginning.

Film also has more obvious artists in the performers and directors. For the most part, the developers of a game are anonymous and the average gamer will typically just identify the developer company if at all. Recently, gaming developers have been getting more recognition, but beyond the more hardcore, they arent very well known.
So the point I am getting at, is that it is easier to identify art if you have a recognizable artist.
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dsheinem
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by dsheinem Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:09 am

Jmustang1968 wrote:
dsheinem wrote:
The larger point is that games have always had artistic merit, even if the status hasn't been bestowed upon them. The general public saw film as art within 20 years or so. In ~45 years, gaming doesn't have that same respect, despite having produced many titles that clearly have artistic merit.


I think a big reason for this is that games were, and still are by some, seen as for kids and are toys. Film was an extension of theatre which was a widely accepted adult entertainment and was treated as such from the beginning.

Film also has more obvious artists in the performers and directors. For the most part, the developers of a game are anonymous and the average gamer will typically just identify the developer company if at all. Recently, gaming developers have been getting more recognition, but beyond the more hardcore, they arent very well known.
So the point I am getting at, is that it is easier to identify art if you have a recognizable artist.


Yup, completely agree on all points.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Exhuminator Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:19 am

dsheinem wrote:The general public saw film as art within 20 years or so. In ~45 years, gaming doesn't have that same respect, despite having produced many titles that clearly have artistic merit.

I am saying the general public would not have seen film as art within 20 years, if film had been as hindered by technological presentation as games were after that same amount of time. A film from 1910 versus a game from say 1990, contrasting their relative abilities to present their content convincingly is night and day. The crude pixels of earlier games were not palatable to the general public as a form of artistic expression, nor convincing enough as a form of story telling via the human condition. Film had a huge leg up in this regard being photographic regurgitation of reality unhindered by technologically crude representation such as video games contended with for most of their existence as a medium thus far.
I think a big reason for this is that games were, and still are by some, seen as for kids and are toys. Film was an extension of theatre which was a widely accepted adult entertainment and was treated as such from the beginning.

Yes this was another key advantage right from the start that films enjoyed, yet video games did not.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Gunstar Green Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:50 am

A big hurdle for "games as art" is that they're an active media and not a passive one. They're still not something that everyone chooses to experience or understand while anyone can sit in front of a movie and appreciate it at least on a surface level if not a deeper and more analytical one.

There will obviously come a point where no one alive will remember a world without video games and that may be when perceptions begin to change. The progress that has been made so far is already impressive in my opinion. Comic books took far longer to gain any kind of critical respect.

I was watching the "React" channel on Youtube because I get a kick out of the videos where they have kids respond to retro games and such. They also have an "Elder's React" and recently they played the beginning of "The Last of Us" with almost all of them finding the game unexpectedly engaging and moving.

The gaming community doesn't do the overall perception of video games any favors either, but it's growing older and more varied every day. Respect is coming, and it starts with the enthusiasts who already see the merit in the art form.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Forlorn Drifter Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:28 pm

I think the biggest factor, for me, is that it comes down to whether the developer wants to change the game. If they see something, and decide to change it themselves, that's cool because it is their product. If something is changed because the publisher pushes for it, or purely because of fan outrage, it gets muddy for me.

In the Mass Effect case, I have no issues because the change was implemented through DLC. If you didn't want the change, you didn't get the DLC, and thus the original version was intact. I don't know what is considered canon at such a point, but the developer chose an option that allowed both versions. What they originally created, their intention, and what (in this case) a large portion of fans wanted.

On the Pillars of Eternity case, things can be a bit skewed, in my mind. Mostly due to the fact that it is claimed the tombstone "was not vetted." I have a feeling it was vetted, but they either didn't see the joke the way it was taken by those who were upset, or just claimed that to keep their butts out of the hot water. I understood the joke as talking about a womanizer who made a mistake (the idea of what the mistake was isn't well given either- there's a lot of possibilities), and in a way got a taste of his own medicine. The womanizer felt used by a man, the type of thing he couldn't stand, yet he consistently did to the women around him. It came off as more of a joke about the womanizer's insecurity to me. Upon reading why people were upset, I came to understand why they were upset. I just find it very hard to believe this wasn't checked before hand, I think they just understood the joke differently, and covered their butts when they found out that they didn't think too much into it.

But Pillars of Eternity is also a game where racism, slavery, misogyny, and the option to kill a child is present, so it isn't completely out of the question that such an off kilter joke could go by without any thought.
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MrPopo
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by MrPopo Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:58 pm

As a programmer I find it very easy to believe that it wasn't actually vetted. There are a lot of these messages throughout the game, and it would be very easy to just import them into the game resources using a script.
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Ack
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Ack Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:02 pm

MrPopo wrote:As a programmer I find it very easy to believe that it wasn't actually vetted. There are a lot of these messages throughout the game, and it would be very easy to just import them into the game resources using a script.


As someone who works for a corporation, I also find it very easy to believe it wasn't vetted.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by Luke Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:16 pm

MrPopo wrote:As a programmer...


Ah-Ha! It all makes sense now.
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Re: Changing plot content of games based on player outrage

by MrPopo Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:18 pm

Luke wrote:
MrPopo wrote:As a programmer...


Ah-Ha! It all makes sense now.

Are you just now realizing I'm a software developer?
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