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

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Fri Nov 18 01:38:47 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Sean Howard spake thusly...

> Preconceived notions are the enemy of experience everywhere. Even
> mundane things can be significantly altered by it. There was a
> thread in the WoW boards about a girl who took issues with the
> hanging men Halloween decorations because a relative committed
> suicide by hanging himself.  Preconceived notions always color the
> situation, and I think that a good expert would provide some sort
> of intelligent hindsight to make these notions somewhat smart.

> I had an interest thing happen this night. I watched "I Spit On
> Your Grave" with a commentary by Joe Bob Briggs. I'd seen the
> movie before but considered pretty much pure garbage, but with his
> insight, I started seeing things I didn't before. Now, I consider
> the movie almost righteous, which is completely opposite of the
> stuff Roger Ebert has written about it. It's still a terrible
> movie, but it's now the good kind of terrible.  That's what I
> think experts can bring to the table. They don't tell you what to
> expect, but better how you interpret what you saw.

Interestingly, gamasutra's "Most Underrated Games" article is now


If someone doesn't like a game (or does like a game) then no one
should rightfully expect to reverse that opinion, "because I said
so."  But if we can provide reasons, a director's commentary if you
will, then we may be able to expand their range of value points, and
provide additional yardsticks to judge with. They may still not
agree with your opinion of the game (or film, or song, or whatever),
but hopefully they may now understand it.

We lack decent yardsticks for games. This is what the role of the
"Philosopher Kings"/experts/connoisseurs would seem to be. Not to
define what is good or bad, but to explain how to tell what is good
and bad.

> I'd say that the biggest selling point is fandom, but games don't
> just magically start in fandom. They have to graduate to there
> from one of the other categories. You won't buy Makai Kingdom on
> sight if you hadn't also like Disgaea, which was bought because of
> the cult following. You can be fan of particular genres (I'm a
> tactics junkie, myself), but the more exposure you get to a genre,
> the more discerning you become (I no longer buy all tactics games
> once the genre became commonplace).

> Fandom is a complex webwork of connections, but it's self
> contained.  Fandom rarely introduces new experiences to the
> web. Even if you bought Arx Fatalis because it was like Ultima
> Underworld or Morrowind, you've essentially still just bought a
> first person immersive RPG. Becoming acclimated to new genres and
> experiences requires good experiences from outside that fandom -
> for most people, this is done through hype (perhaps because they
> are at the World of Warcraft interest level and can deal with
> shallow, appealing games because they don't ahve the time ... or
> intelligence... to think about them).

Any introduction to a new concept or subject should ideally start
with "shallow," visceral versions. Gradually depth and subtlety can
be introduced at a speed appropriate to the inductee, Most of us
have been playing games of various genres for a long time (over two
decades personally, for example), and so we wonder at the "lack of
depth" in games that appeal to the "mass market," and ask why we
haven't moved on from such games. We have. But a lot of people
haven't - they've only just begun the journey.

What we are lacking, however, are more types of journey. Complexity
and depth isn't the only goal. Breadth is also desirable.

[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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