Author Topic: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup  (Read 4944 times)

Vanguard

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Re: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2013, 10:41:02 AM »
They claim difficulty and challenge is not the same thing, quoting Kirby's Epic Yarn, a game that is impossible to lose. I can only say that that game HAS NO challenge BECAUSE it has no difficulty.

There's still some degree of difficulty in Kirby's Epic Yarn.  Avoiding damage in any given encounter could be seen as challenging even though the damage never accumulates into any greater consequence.  Finding all the collectible items could be seen as challenging as well.

Reaching the end of the game, on the other hand, is hardly challenging at all because of the player's immortality.

Etinarg

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Re: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »
I just hoped it would help understanding each other to see that challenge is not the only one goal in gaming for people.

I think this is a weird statement. Don't take this as a personal attack, just my observation, but...
What do videogames offer that books, movies and music do not? Interaction (gameplay)! If the gameplay isn't fun, why bother? Early games were challenging. People liked being challenged. Challenge = fun (then). Games that weren't challenging were seen as failures. Being boring was a cardinal sin.
If an unchallenging game is fun to you, consider Visual Novels, or go for a medium that dispenses with user input entirely (movies/books/music).

I want to respond to the highlighted part first. I don't like to be challenged. I like to have it easy.

There seems to be a misunderstanding here, it seems you assume that I'm stuck with roguelikes and that I'm complaining. I'm neither. It very long (>15 years) that I regularly played roguelikes, and I'm pretty sure I would enjoy a visual novel.

I just wanted to point out that challenge isn't the only thing that people are interested in - but the term "challenge" has been interpreted in a much wider sense in this thread than I had in mind initally. More or less that everything can be a challenge. Well it can, but then the term "challenge" becomes a bit useless for discussion [1].

So, if we talk entertainment in games that is not challenging (in challenge = threat to the PC's life):

- building, construction: Be it building an equipment set, a monster trap, traffic routes, gardens or social connections. There are many ways "building" and "construction" can be employed in games and they are quite entertaining to some people. One can argue this is also a challenge, even if it is, it's a very differnt sort of challenge than what people mean when they call a roguelike game "challenging".

- exploration, gaining knowledge: It can be difficult, and difficult seems to mean "challenging" to some people. I didn't have this connotation in mind, but again, it's challenging in a different sense than in roguelike games.

Maybe we need to distinguish "violent challenge" like in roguelikes, where the players character is challenged for its life, to "challenging" as in "difficult task, but failure has no harmful consequences to the game".

I had the second sort in mind, which can be used to build entertaining or interesting games, too. Well, as I wrote in the initial posting, not to interesting to all people but to some. And I think it's important to understand that there are people who do not think that the lethal challenge of a roguelike to the PC is fun.

Maybe to put this in the right perspective: I have been playing roguelikes fairly extensively somewhen between 1995 and 1998. Later my interest in playing shrunk, but I stayed around to see what happens in the genre, sometimes I dabbled in game making or game modding. So if you send me to visual novels, I feel a bit surprised, because that came out of nowhere, but I assume it could be something of interest for me. These days I'm neither much of a developer nor a player in the roguelike field.

Edit:

[1] There is a culture growing that wants to relable every problem as a challenge, but that is just trying to hide the nature of the thing behind a word with a more positive attitude. At least in industry this happens.

Edit 2:

I'm not a native English speaker, so it's dififcult for me to choose the right words with the exact meaning. I hope I still could explain my point.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 12:33:40 PM by Hajo »

Vanguard

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Re: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2013, 01:29:09 PM »
I would never have guessed you weren't a native English speaker.

I want to respond to the highlighted part first. I don't like to be challenged. I like to have it easy.

I respect that.  You know what you like and you're honest about it.

- building, construction: Be it building an equipment set, a monster trap, traffic routes, gardens or social connections. There are many ways "building" and "construction" can be employed in games and they are quite entertaining to some people. One can argue this is also a challenge, even if it is, it's a very differnt sort of challenge than what people mean when they call a roguelike game "challenging".

- exploration, gaining knowledge: It can be difficult, and difficult seems to mean "challenging" to some people. I didn't have this connotation in mind, but again, it's challenging in a different sense than in roguelike games.

These sorts of things can definitely be challenging, just as much as a combat situation can be.  That isn't to say that they always are, but they can be.

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Re: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2013, 03:43:00 PM »
Maybe to put this in the right perspective: I have been playing roguelikes fairly extensively somewhen between 1995 and 1998. Later my interest in playing shrunk, but I stayed around to see what happens in the genre, sometimes I dabbled in game making or game modding. So if you send me to visual novels, I feel a bit surprised, because that came out of nowhere, but I assume it could be something of interest for me. These days I'm neither much of a developer nor a player in the roguelike field.

If you're not too attached to being able to provide input, Visual Novels really might be worth checking out, if you can find one that matches your interests! Wasn't assuming you were "stuck" with RLs or complaining, heh.

Maybe I've been too hung up on my narrow view of what constitutes a game.
The previous thread got me thinking about videogames, when a game's a game, what counts or not as an actual bona fide videogame, things like that.
Videogames are unique in that you can play them and I guess it really does say something about me that I want gameplay to be challenging. MY favorite sort of games require you to provide input better and faster untill you win or die, and that's how I like it. That's the sort of challenge I seek.

And THAT type of challenge disappears very quickly when you can save/load at will.
And THAT's why permadeath is very important for some types of games.

Dwarf Fortress is a game that's not about all that. It's a game about a different type of challenge;
Construction, management.
But you don't get savestates in DF; you can't return the world to a previous state to avoid a mistake you'll make in a possible future. In effect, you have permadeath+save restrictions.
And that makes DF's challenge real, to me. And having a "real" challenge lets me find the game fun.

This line of thinking won't work for games that would rather just tell a story, but I can't help but stand by my previous statement and question;
-Other genres (Visual novels, movies, books etc) do it better, almost always.
-What does being able to provide input add to the experience? (I'd have liked Xenogears just as much if it'd been an anime series.)
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Vanguard

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Re: Why to play games - permadeath discussion followup
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2013, 05:37:08 PM »
Dwarf Fortress is a game that's not about all that. It's a game about a different type of challenge;
Construction, management.
But you don't get savestates in DF; you can't return the world to a previous state to avoid a mistake you'll make in a possible future. In effect, you have permadeath+save restrictions.
And that makes DF's challenge real, to me. And having a "real" challenge lets me find the game fun.

Another facet of this is that Dwarf Fortress tells a story, and any storyteller worth their salt understands the need to make things happen that their audience doesn't want.  Without that, there's no tension.  And in Dwarf Fortress,  the inability to save maintains that tension.  Your favorite dwarf dies, and they're gone.  They'll never come back.  Deal with it.  That's why Dwarf Fortress stories are exciting and tragic and dramatic.

It's no coincidence that the absolute worst stories are those where the author projects themselves onto one utterly successful and well-liked character.  That's what you get in "story" games with manual saving - the player is the best at everything, never fails, and everyone loves them.

I'm with you though, ever since I started playing shoot 'em ups I've become so disillusioned with other games.  Victory is a foregone conclusion.  The only question is how much time I'll have to invest to make that happen.  And that sucks.

No one has a problem with the possibility for failure in a competitive multiplayer game, but you put it in a single player or cooperative game, and suddenly the whole world thinks you're insane.  I think the gaming public is too used to badly designed games where you just suddenly die for no reason, but it's ok because you saved before.  They can't fathom playing those games without their safety nets, and they're right - those games would be horrible without them.  But there are better games where that isn't necessary.