- This topic has 13 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 16 years, 9 months ago by Anonymous.
April 5, 2004 at 12:57 pm #3084AnonymousInactive
This is my first thread, and I should possibly provide some background.
I’m not a games developer, or associated with the industry in any shape or form..
I’ve recently become a PS2 owner! After years of watching my brother play games, it was finally time to indulge in the same hedonism…post phd free time!! Hurrah!
Anyhoo..what I’ve noticed, and I might be wrong here, and open to correction, is that the theme of games follow those of mainstream popular culture…i.e. WWII games killing Japenese or German soldiers, the bad guys tend to be those portrayed in Hollywood films – for instance, Central Europe is now getting it (SOCOM2) and the old time foe of Mother Russia still is up there with ‘the bad guys’…it’s only time before games direct their focus to Islamicists and fundamentalism in the middle East!
So much for the EA games – challenge everything!
I would have thought that the digital games medium is the perfect platform to move away from old constraints and push the limits of what can be challenged…One game along this theme, and it did tickle me was the Hooligan game…
Why not assassinate the President? Or organise terrorist suicide missions in the West Bank??:eek:
As game developers, do ye find yourselves restricted to mythical/science-fiction/historically based games? Or is there scope for critical social commentary??
April 5, 2004 at 1:44 pm #11262AnonymousInactive
Its kind of been suggested throughout several threads that there are 2 groups of people that play games. You’ve got the more hard-core gamers who I think would appreciate pushing the limits like you said…seeing something new and different is a quality that I really like.
However, the second group, the mass gaming public, formerly dubbed “joe public”, need to feel the reassurance of playing something familiar because they may not play for long periods of time. These games can be easily familiarised and thus are perferred by publishers. XIII touched on presidental assassinations but with mass gamers being american this may feel a bit unpatriotic and could be seen as not popular. I’m sure there have been some great game designs dumped due to un-“pop culture” feeling.
My 2 cents worth anyway
April 5, 2004 at 2:15 pm #11263AnonymousInactive
Yes I agree in the most part with what you say, however, I would have suspected that the Japanese gaming public is massive too..and games like Medal of Honor (Rising Sun) where the objective is to kill Japs is hardly to their tastes either!!
As I said, I’m new to all this…so if anyone could provide me with a breakdown of the different genres of games…and from there it might be easier to identify where alternatives might be achieved!!
As an aside: I was reading an article today from Asian Times, by Spengler, and the main gist of the piece was about Radical Islam and their ‘victory’ in Spain..the author reverts back to Spanish history to assess the development of religion and anti-muslim and anti-jewish sentiment in Spain..however, with birth rates currently standing at about 1.12 at the moment, Spain is going to have to introduce massive levels of immigration! esp from North Africa!
Anyway, I was thinking about how games can move away from mainstream themes, and started to imagine a game: basically a heretic/witch-hunting game based in Spain during the 1400/1500s – informed by the Spanish inquisition, quests for New Worlds and the lust for gold…but with a focus on the development of religions, knowledge and European history to the fore..
April 5, 2004 at 2:25 pm #11264AnonymousInactive
Medal of Honour = EA = America = Kill Japs and Germans
(i’ll not get going about EA again….)
Look at Nintendo games…none of them deal with these topics. They’re Japanese in the way that MOH is American.
April 5, 2004 at 5:32 pm #11266AnonymousInactive
Medal of Honour = EA = America = Kill Japs and Germans
(i’ll not get going about EA again….)[/quote:1d721d08d4]
That’s why I was so surprised that Battlefield Vietnam in places hints at been anti-war.
And anyway, in allowing players to chose sides Battlefield is by design a lot fairer.
April 5, 2004 at 6:16 pm #11269AnonymousInactive
there was a time when the industry had its own icons (like sonic and mario) they sold games. but now if u have a good licence it will sell well (fifa, LOTR, Harry potter). the game industry is a lot more competive than it was, and so companies prefer to release WW2 FPS ( kill japs/germans just like in the movies) than Rez (you have to play to “get it” type game”)
EA are the biggest publisher cause of this, they know what sells, fair play to them.
but every so often some ones dares to be diffferent, it sells well, and a load of “clone” are released! ;)
i think the las t MOH sold well in japan (Japanese kids kill digital versons of ther fore fathers…..weird)
April 5, 2004 at 8:41 pm #11286AnonymousInactive
Saladin, you might like to try the following sites, but particularly the first for some non-entertainment uses of games – including social commentary, protest, elections, art, etc.
Plus, the recent GDC in San Jose had a 2-day summit on so-called Srious Games: http://www.gdconf.com/conference/seriousgames.htm
Plus… a previous thread on the same topic -http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/community/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=260
April 5, 2004 at 8:45 pm #11287AnonymousInactive
Or organise terrorist suicide missions in the West Bank??[/quote:2a9636167c]
was done as a Flash web game… fun, but in pretty bad taste
Also, there’s full PC game developed in the Middle East in answer to ‘America’s Army’ (popular downloadable free game develod by the American Army as a recruitment tool). You’ll probably find links to both on socialimpactgames.com posted above
Not to mention the mods that allow you take part in (a) the Columbine High School shootings (b) Waco and (c) 9/11…
April 6, 2004 at 8:53 am #11299AnonymousInactive
Not to mention the mods that allow you take part in (a) the Columbine High School shootings [/quote:605b431bd6] Seriously? Thats nasty!
April 6, 2004 at 10:43 am #11327AnonymousInactive
cheers for the info guys
April 7, 2004 at 1:21 am #11414AnonymousInactive
April 14, 2004 at 6:47 pm #11573AnonymousInactive
Games aiming to be “social commentary, protest, elections, art, etc”, should have an entertaining element as is the same with books, films, music, art, etc aiming to be such.[/quote:7c7886b695]
Am partly trying to be provocative here and partly thinking aloud…
As someone who designs and developes games for ‘non-entertaiment’ purposes (education & training) I design them to be games first, education second.
Likewise, the advergames I’ve played and the Howard Dean game are also games first, whatever else second – so they are both entertaining and fulfilling another purpose.
However, could the mods based on 9/11, Waco and Columbine be considered entertaining?
Likewise the art piece done using Quake? http://www.realityfactory.ca/chiselbrain/pw.html
btw haven’t played any of them myself yet, so I can’t comment on that
Another exampe, perhaps, might be the real estate agent in the US who uses the Unreal engine (Unreal Estate!) to build simulations of the properties he’s trying to sell so prospective buyers can view them online – they’re not entertaining.
I agree that some uses of games/game engines may not be games (eg. using game engines to create movies – Machinema – which are not interactive), but I also think that there may be scope to use games (maybe we should come with another word for them then!) for purposes other than entertainment… as the immersion, interactivity and engagement they provide may be of a standalone benefit
April 14, 2004 at 10:46 pm #11577AnonymousInactive
Here’s an interesting one!
A game with no real goals, a bizarre story, no way to win & no way to lose all mixed up with an innovative, intuitive and highly simplified control system…I love it! Mike Oldfield makes games.
“Sir Richard Branson owes all his success to one man: Mike Oldfield, whose best selling 1973 Tubular Bells album literally made Virgin. Oldfield’s chilling masterpiece has since been used as music for everything from The Exorcist to car adverts. His latest work Tres Lunas, is a chill-out album including a demo of Mike’s computer game Music VR.
Mike Oldfield talks tech!”
Tres Lunas (The Game) on Mike Oldfield’s Site:
Very cool game map (demonstrates the scale):
Download Free Demo (10MB BBO):
This is a really great thread…I’ll have to put my thinking cap on and come back with something intelligible to say.
April 16, 2004 at 4:28 pm #11628AnonymousInactive
Anyhoo..what I’ve noticed, and I might be wrong here, and open to correction, is that the theme of games follow those of mainstream popular culture…i.e. WWII games killing Japanese or German soldiers, the bad guys tend to be those portrayed in Hollywood films – for instance, Central Europe is now getting it (SOCOM2) and the old time foe of Mother Russia still is up there with ‘the bad guys’…it’s only time before games direct their focus to Islamicists and fundamentalism in the middle East![/quote:bdf7b3c5c5]
Unfortunately this is for the most part true. The comments you’ve made also touch upon some of the most discussed design & marketing issues in games development. So, not a bad attempt at taking over Skyclad’s role as minister for controversy on GD.ie. ;)
This is (as has been suggested already) really a marketing issue and is as prevalent in film, music or literature at the moment. What is the issue? Make a game that’s trying to do something new? OR make a game that simply leverages itself off an existing license or (as you have suggested) popular culture?
1. Radical game designs or highly innovative designs that don’t hook onto accepted preconceptions are risky!
2. WWII Games and the like are safe!
One thing is certain, games are very expensive and time-consuming to make! Generally speaking publishers go with the safe option to protect their investments. One glance at the full-price games charts will confirm this.
Hardcore gamers appreciate the risky ones (sometimes) & casual gamers don’t. hardcore gamers are in the minority and again the charts reflect this, the games charts that is.
Every now and then publishers and developers take a risk and it pays off and the sad part is that this is where the future of the industry is to be found. REZ is a great example, love it or hate it, it was pushing the boundaries of what we perceived games to be as does Music VR (see above).
So here’s to the risk takers! Sorry for not keeping my promise of saying something intelligible ;)
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