[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Sean Howard squidi at squidi.net
Wed Oct 5 03:16:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

"Amanda Walker" <amanda at alfar.com> wrote:

> I agree on My Little Pony, but I don't agree that "a good game is
> a good game".  There are some with broad appeal, but in general,
> one person's "good game" is another person's "waste of time."

> ...

> "good game" is subjective.

That's like saying a "good movie" is subjective, and yet somehow,
despite my wife not being able to sit through it without falling
asleep 10 minutes in, The Seven Samurai is a "good movie" and Dude,
Where's My Car? is not.

The reason for this is because we have a more complex way of
objectifying movies than we do games. The Seven Samurai uses
excellent composition, visual metaphors, a well structured plot, and
superior acting. Dude has...  um... pot. It's funny, sure, but
there's nothing more to it that we can judge as being a "good

Now, I'm of the opinion that all movies are entertainment
regardless. My father won't watch anything but Lawrence of Arabia or
Remains of the Day because he feels that "good movie" is all
encompassing judgement of a movie. Me? I like good movies and bad
movies just fine. However, I understand quite well why a good movie
is a good movie and why that's important. It's not like the two
things are interchangable. Sometimes, you want to watch Dude,
Where's my Car? and sometimes, you want to watch the Seven Samurai -
but make no mistake about it, objectively speaking, while
entertainment may entertain you, they are not all created equal.

So, how do we judge WoW? How do we say whether or not it is a "good
game" based on anything other than our own enjoyment? This is why I
think we need some honest critical review in the game industry. Real
hard asses who are impossible to please with extensive understanding
of the breadth of games as well as their history. If we had a dozen
of these critic superstars that actually had some freaking insight
into gaming every once in a while, it wouldn't take long to develop

But instead we've got propaganda magazines that spend most of the
pages in previews, praising things they've never played, only to
give it a three paragraph review once it comes out saying that it
sucked and giving it an 8 (because magazine reviews only go from 6
to 8, with 9s reserved for high profile works like Halo and Fable,
regardless of actual quality). The reviews in the magazines out
there aren't just critical in the wrong ways, they aren't even
consistant or accurate.

We need some real, live critical review out there of something more
substantial than art and sound, and we're not getting it. That's why
something like Mortal Kombat can even remotely be considered a good
game.  I mean, people enjoy playing it, but when you can uppercut
your way through the whole game, it makes Dude, Where's My Car? look
like a deep mediation on life...

- Sean
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