Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Never Give Up…

Posted by deckard47 on May 16, 2009

So I watched the first half of Galaxy Quest lat night, having watched the new Trek movie last week, and Wrath of Khan this week. I’d forgotten (as I always do), what an amusing and apt satire of original Trek, its characters and especially its actors Galaxy Quest is. Plus it has Sam Rockwell as a hilarious Redshirt. How could I not enjoy that?

In gaming news, the Mass Effect 2 media push has me running back to the original game, to get my nice (re: doesn’t put the Rachni Queen to death) Commander Torry Shepard through the game. I’ve decided (I know you care) that I’ll be working with Wrex and Tali as my crew, to back up my Vanguard. I’ll be perfectly balanced, and I’ll avoid any silly, annoying NPCs (hello, Kaiden, as always). Exciting, as always. Making a play for my Mass Effect time is he twin Tower Defense threat of PvZ and Defense Grid. I should just drop the notion that this kind of game isn’t as deep as other games I’m playing. When you compare the writing in Defense Grid, which is pleasingly whimsical, to the writing in Stalker, say, there’s no comparison. I know this shouldn’t be a surprise to me, that “light” games can still impress me in ways that more serious, long games can’t, but it’s hard to break old habits. Oh, and I just watched that new Among Thieves footage again. Combat looks amazing. I want to do those stealth skills and terribly smooth slide-in to-cover moves right now. Hurry up Drake!

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12 Responses to “Never Give Up…”

  1. Sam said

    Okay, someone, probably you, needs to write at article about tower defense and genres asociated with “casual” games and whether some forms are inherently simple/unsuited to narrative/not worthy of consideration on the bases that serious games are. If I could do it, I would.

  2. To back up what Sam said, if you wanted to do that you could look at how Jesper Juul did his paper on “the form of the match-3 game” and use roughly the same format for the form of the tower defense game.

  3. Oh and most serious games ARE casual games. It’s a genre, you know. I think you meant “long-ass.”

  4. Sam said

    I grew up playing 15-20 hours to complete FPS/RTS games, so “long” does feel “real” to me (although nothing like Tom’s mysterious devotion to RPG length/complexity).

  5. No, I mean, in videogame genres “serious games” are something very specific: games sponsored by companies or political organizations outside of the game industry, usually for training or information dissemination/synthesis. Most of them look and play like casual games.

    • Sam said

      So then the question: have there been crossover hits, in either direction? I can’t see the Dunkin’ Donuts training sim being tons of fun, but maybe they’d surprise me.

      • One of the weird things is that, because usually a serious game is distributed solely via intranet within the company that made them, they’ve become weird cult hits. My professor made a Cold Stone Creamery training sim with accurate ice cream viscosity and texture, which basically educated people on how to scoop and measure properly and the economic effects of over- and under-scooping. Since nobody but Cold Stone new hires can play the game (apparently its the most popular and effective training material the company has), video game nerds go batshit crazy emailing him and trying to get access to it after hearing about it from their friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few people who had interviewed for a job there just to play the game.

        So there’s one example. Usually they’re boring as all hell though.

      • But it raises the question, you know, how much more fun would a traditional casual game like Diner Dash be if it had accurate plate physics and gastronomics?

      • deckard47 said

        This is what happens when I leave the blog alone: you start talking about ice cream viscosity and plate physics. Really though, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Think of what a sweet gardening sim Plants vs Zombies could have been. I’m sure, like all games, only a few are great, but it amuses me to think of a secret Ice Cream scoping cult following.

      • Blargh, I need to actually play Plants vs Zombies. I have this weird thing where I can’t play a game that everybody is talking about until months after they’re doing caring. Must remedy this.

  6. Sam said

    I’d read about the coldstone game in a slate article awhile back. That’s your professor? He’s like a rockstar amongst the hardcore gamer/franchise training set. And, having looked at your blog, has you editing academic books of a sort I didn’t even know existed. Maybe i’m in the wrong academic subfield.

    • deckard47 said

      You are! You need to quit grad school, buy a van and go on the road with me. We’ll tour, offering freelance, impromptu reviews and op-ed pieces on video games to random towns. You’ll be the highbrow, I’ll be the low.

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