1/26/09

Putting the Game Before the Book, Part 2: Revenge of Bone

So hey, did ya hear? Blogs of the Round Table are allowing another post for this months theme! Yeah. Sweet, I know. This allows significantly more pontification on my part, with an air of legitimacy!

But wait! This fever/nausea! Will it spell doom for our intrepid blogging hero, in his quest to make the most awesome blog posts of all time? Yes.

Yes it will.

No seriously, you don't wanna be anywhere near this blog bro/bro-ette. I got like a mad case of sore throat/fever/nausea. It might be contagious.

But before you go, I was gonna probably talk about Bone. You know. BONE! Seriously, have you not read it? It's fucking sweet. Like ridiculously sweet. It's goddamn intimidating is what it is. While you got all these postmodern/dada/whatever-they-want-to-call-themselves-I-don't-give-a-fuck-anymore shitheads, and other fucks running around putting toilets in museums, or Brillo pads, or whatever the fuck they're doing now, I don't give a rat's ass, the thing is that you got THEM over THERE, with their MUSEUMS and CURATORS, and DEGREES and shit, from FANCY COLLEGES with their fucking TWEED JACKETED-PROFESSORS* and whatever other goddamn stereotypes you wanna perpetuate, I don't care, the point is that THEY are over THERE. You can't tell, because you can't see me, put I'm pointing off in some random fucking direction, it doesn't really matter, the point I'm trying to get across is that there are so far removed from REAL SHIT that they think they matter.

No wait. I think that's my point. Yeah. Yeah it is.

You got all these fucking shitty ass artists going nowhere and calling it POST-MODERISM** and whatnot, or SNARK, or whatever, I really don't care, the point is that they're stupid, and noone loves them. Oh yeah, people will buy their shit at auctions and whatnot, and they'll put that crap up in their fancy houses and sip FINE WINES and be all CULTURED and shit, but those fucks don't love the artist. Shit, they don't even love the art! They just love the STATUS, the DICKHAT, if you will, of having POST-MODERN or CONTEMPARY art in their emtpy lives, so that they can pretend that they have some kind of soul to thier existence. After all, they're involved in CULTURE.

Enter: Bone.

Bone is so goddamn intimidating, in much the same way that Shadow of the Colossus is intimidating. Both of those works are just so...

...calm...

Think about that. In this fucking ''POSTMODERN'' age with the fancy ''INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY'' when was the last time you actually some a real thing that was...

...calm...

?

No really. I'm not saying that our lives our over saturated with advertising, even though they are***, I'm just saying that there's not alot of calm in our lives. Now sure, some people blame the Internet, or TV, or whatever, but I propose something more simple; this is the way it's always been, only know someone actually bothered to write it down.

So anyway, you got our non-calm***** culture, our way of life if you will, and then you SotC, and Bone.

You see, one of the symptoms of this whole culture shit, is that so much of our art is also non-calm. Now some can pull this shit off. Like Bangai-O Spirits. Bangai-O Spirits can pull off not being calm. It's a fucking game ALL ABOUT blowing shit up. That's not a terribly calm activity******. But some shit, some shit just can't. It gets all neurotic and shit, and starts worrying and stressing about difficulty level, and about 'flow' and about 'are there enough power-ups?' and 'do we have an ice level?' and just stupid shit that gets them off track.

But Bone? Nah man. Bone ain't like that. Bone knows where it came from. Bone knows where it's going. Oh it's tense at times. At times the reader feels panic about what's going to happen next. But the piece as a whole doesn't stretch itself like most videogames, save SotC, do. It doesn't try so hard, and it doesn't make you feel almost bad for not liking it. Bone just does it.

Loving videogames sometimes feels like loving your kids kindergarden scribbles. Sure, Timmy couldn't color in the lines. So the kid likes blue. Big deal. I mean, come on, we should encourage creativity right?

And so you do. You just encourage little Timmy to just keep on bringing you those scribbles and whatnot, knowing that one day he'll grow out of it, and start bringing home better scribbles, till he moves on to stuff he really cares about, or finds that scribbling is what he loves, and just becomes and animator, or whatever.

But games, games feel like they're just not trying anymore. I mean Timmy, Timmy tries ya know? He's your kid, he wants to make you proud. But videogames, man, they do really even give a fuck about us anymore? I mean really. Another World War II shooter? Kingdom Hearts 2? For real? Are the serious? I mean, have these fucking developers played SotC? Have these shit-humping publishers even seen...like...shit, even fucking Dead Rising. Seriously, have these shit-for-hearts motherfuckers even once seen sum GOOD GAME DESIGN? Ever?

...oh shit, I was supposed to make game. Crap.

Okay so, Bone the Game...you know what? FUCK IT. To me, Bone isn't about the story*******, or the art********, or the characters*********, or any of that shit. It's about the aura a work of art can project. That self-assuredness without being a dick, that calm without being aloof, that relaxation while being tense. That's Bone. And I don't want to make ONE game that exhibits those traits. I want a million fucking games with those traits. I want to sing about those kinds of games from the rooftops, I want to run naked through the streets shrieking about those kinds of games, I want to cry myself to sleep playing those kinds of games, I want to SHOVE those kinds of GAMES under the NOSES of EVERY SINGLE SON OF A BITCH WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND VIDEOGAMES AND TELL THEM THAT THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT.

Also, 'Inside the Actors Studio' has Conan O'Brien on, and there's no way in hell I'm gonna miss that.

Peace!



*Note to self: Get tweed jacket. And monocle. And pipe.
**GOD DAMN I HATE THAT FUCKING WORD SO MUCH!!!! MODERN MEANS PRESENT! HOW CAN SOMETHING COME AFTER THE PRESENT!!?!?!? IN COMING AFTER THE PRESENT, I BECOMES THE FUCKING PRESENT
*** They don't have to be, just do what I do and watch PBS. Seriously, Bill Moyers has the fucking biggest balls in journalism this side of Jon Stewart. And Kieth Olbermann. And Rachel Maddow****
****On an unrelated note, I am GAY FOR RACHEL MADDOW. Your regularly scheduled footnotes section will now return.
*****NOT anti-calm, mind you!
******Note to self: Make game where blowing shit up is calming.
*******Which is incredible.
********See: *******
*********See: ********

EDIT::::

There already is a Bone videogame...crap. But wait! It's and adventure game! So I probably WOULD hate it, since the whole genre was merely a placeholder to begin with! So there.

1/14/09

Update

My 360 Red-Ringed
Got Wii Fit.
Megaman 9 could be better.

1/6/09

Putting the Game Before the Book

Putting the Game Before the Book What would your favorite piece of literature look like if it had been created as a game first? In a time when bits of Dante’s Divine Comedy are being carved out and turned into a hack-n-slash game, I find myself longing for intelligently designed games–games with a strong literary component–not merely literary backdrops. So rather than challenge you to imagine the conversion of your favorite literature into games, I challenge you to supersede the source literature and imagine a game that might have tried to communicate the same themes, the same message, to its audience.

Another month, another Round Table. The joy cannot be contained!

So hey, this one is about LITERATURE, SO YOU KNOW IT'S FUCKING SERIOUS. So hey, let's go. Favorite book eh...hmm...

1984. Yeah, 1984. Either that, or Malcolm X, and I, as a stupid white dude, really shouldn't touch that from a game design perspective.

So, what's 1984 about? Most people would say 'Big Brother' and be done with it. These people would also make a game that's basically MGS on an endless mode, with a never-ending city that one constantly had to avoid police and the like in.

BUT 1984 IS NOT ABOUT BIG-FUCKING-BROTHER*. If you think 1984 is about Big Brother, there are two (2) possibilities

1) You have never read 1984. SHAME ON YOU. YOU CALL YOURSELF A CITIZEN OF A DEMOCRACY!?!?!11/?1*****
2) You have read 1984, and are merely and idiot. SHAME ON YOUR ENGLISH/LITERATURE TEACHERS.**

1984 is about LANGUAGE***. It's about how the easiest way to control thought is by making the thoughts you don't want thought IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT TO WORDS. If you don't have the WORDS for something, you can't TALK about it, and if you can't talk about your idea, you can't get it anywhere at all, can you****?

So now, we're not talking about Big Brother anymore. Forget it. Fuck the fucker. He's gone. We've moved on to LANGUAGE. So now, how do we make a game about language?

Lot harder now. Can't just rip off Kojima on a good day now, can we? Can we? No. We can't. This calls for some hard work. Some perseverance. Some INNOVATION.

Some motherfucking game design, bitches******.

So hey, make a game where you make a language. Not hard...right? I mean, first we would have to make some kind of system for understanding all current languages...aw shit. Sounds like some linguistic major shit.

You know what? Fuck it. 1984 is about Big Brother.*******

Lets go back to MGS endless, cause that just sounds awesome. I mean really, that's what I always hated about MGS. They just started moving so far from the STEALTH aspect. And moving through world. Man, that was some bullshit. I mean, look, just LOOK at how Snake moves. Does that say 'STEALTHY!' to you? No, it says 'I can't think of a better way for this dude to move, because my design is based off of a top-down MSX game.' Now I'm not saying that bringing ye-olden games into the modern age is a bad thing, but REALLY? You can't update the design to accommodate some better animations? REALLY?

So that'll be 1984. Just you, running through an ideally endless, randomly generated city, avoiding detection. But...what happens when you get detected? I mean, that's the REAL problem isn't it? Making the game react in a way that is internally consistent. So how, about when you get found, you can't take cover anymore. Instead, you character just starts running around and pissing his/her pants. Your control of them rapidly deteriorates as your avatar's panic rises. Like, you can point them in a given direction with your stick or whatever, but man, they're running so damn fast you can barely control the fucking camera, let alone that actual character!

...

Yeah. That sounds kinda nice...but it's not 1984...

Okay, back to language. 2-players. They agree on a 'neutral' sentence, pulled from the headlines or something.

'Today in the United States, there were widespread anti-abortion protests.'

So each player is given a position on this issue, and now has to make the headline support their cause, changing 1 word at a time. So the pro-abortion dude would have to make the headline say something like

'Today pro-life supporters rallied in support of human life.'

Okay fine, the first sentence has 9 words, and the second one has 8, but you see where I'm going right? You see, the problem with this is that while it kinda gets at some of the themes of 1984, it does so within the framework of a pre-existing language. There is no real potential for making up your OWN language to convey your OWN ideals, as given to you at the beginning of the game.

So maybe a game, where people are given a set of ideals, some words, and they each take turns shifting the language more towards their ideals?

But how would you measure that? Maybe you're given some kind of criteria for what words the language HAS to have, and you're given bonus points for having certain words...

But then, you've got the language, but not the applications of it. At this point, we're almost TO abstract.

So you would need two games running in parallel. One where people are making the language, another where people are using it. This would almost necessitate teams.

Oh shit! I accidentally arrived at an RTS I always wanted to make! Where each faction has both a commander and a resource-gather person. So like, in our language example. The language former person would be playing this kinda slow, tactical game where each move must be made carefully, because everyone uses the SAME language, and you only get one chance a round to change the lexicon as it were. But the other dude, he's playing this more intense game where the language in question is actually being used, and he needs MORE FIREPOWER CAPTAIN!

So hopefully you'll get this kinda nice tension within the team and between teams across both games.

So yeah. 1984, made into a party game, meets chess.

Huh.

I think I lost something in the translation...




*But that game idea is solid. Really, endless modes in general are solid.
**After all, it's not your fault you're an idiot...is it?
***Yes, it's BOOK about LANGUAGE. And you thought Kojima was self-indulgent.
****Incidentally, this is a HUGE problem in gaming, but that's for another post.
*****NOTE: Ignore this sentence if you don't live in a democracy.
******I wish to apologize to my female readers for that one. I was merely attempting to sound like a action-movie-hard-ass. Man, that was a lot of hyphens.
*******No, it's not.