Author Topic: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"  (Read 20102 times)

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2013, 10:23:09 AM »
Permadeath Dragon Quest would just encourage extremely conservative play.  It's a game about grinding where the only interesting thing you can do is go after higher level guys for better rewards and that's the opposite of what you should do in a permadeath situation.  It'd become a lot more boring and frustrating without much payoff.

Zelda's better.  It's an exploration game at heart and the lessons learned in one life can help you do better in the next one.  You'd need to change a few things to make it work, but a Zelda-like game could definitely do permadeath really well.

I'm not saying that every game should have permadeath.  Some mechanics don't mix well with it no matter what you do.  But permadeath allows for some huge, amazing things.  There's so much more you can do with choices and consequences in permadeath games.  You can go so much farther with rewarding and punishing your players.  Permadeath can create tension in a way that quicksave games can't possibly match.  It's a shame that most developers won't even consider it.

akeley

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2013, 12:16:37 PM »
Edge Magazine used to be a serious and respectable voice about videogaming in pre-broadband era. It all went downhill in the Noughties, what with their M$ love-in and general decay in quality...but I still do check them out occasionally for the old times sake and some different stuff than that offered by  usual suspects. Just saw an article regarding permadeath on their site.

It`s a strange beast, perhaps not entirely satisfying but there`s quite a few interesting points. It`s also good to see the topic tackled in a major publication. Most disappointing fact for me was that in this rather lengthy write-up they somehow failed to mention even a single "proper" RL (nebulous "roguelikes" placeholder has to suffice) - instead focusing on the predictable modern fare like Spelunky, Don`t Starve, FTL etc. Oh well.

Samildanach

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2013, 01:50:11 PM »
They're using reference points that their readers know. References to actual roguelikes would be wasted on most. I can understand why you disapprove but the way they did it is actually better writing practice.

I appreciated the article's attempts to illustrate that neither perma-consequences nor easy reloadable saves are inherently superior. Each has advantages and drawbacks depending on what the game is trying to be.

akeley

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2013, 08:31:33 PM »
I disagree, the "better writing practice" would be mixing it up - it surely wouldn`t hurt to name check at least one RL like DF, TOME, Nethack etc. EDGE is supposed to be a more serious publication and these games are not at all obscure.

As it is, it`s just another example of the white elephant/poor cousin syndrome that permeates modern journalism when writing about the roguelike genre.

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2013, 03:53:01 AM »
Agreed but you write for your audience. I'm cool with it. I'm sometimes snobby about things but I do realize traditional roguelikers are a nearly insignificant number compared to the overall gamer base.

Samildanach

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2013, 06:37:31 PM »
Agreed but you write for your audience. I'm cool with it. I'm sometimes snobby about things but I do realize traditional roguelikers are a nearly insignificant number compared to the overall gamer base.
Exactly. The writer is a professional journalist and has to make references that the majority of his audience will get. Perhaps when I said "better writing practice" I should have said "more professional writing practice". If you're making your living from writing articles, you bear the audience in mind or you don't last very long.

akeley

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2013, 09:09:26 PM »
So, according to you, "professional writing practice" should be defined by avoidance of facts and pandering to the (quite imaginary btw) general public? Oh boy.

Never mind that you completely ignore the point that, as I said before, EDGE is supposed to be a serious publication, in the vein of Gamasutra or Ars. This is no IGN or some such we`re talking about - if it was it`d be all fine and dandy (sort of). And so I suppose the "audience" really wouldn`t insta-hit CTRL+W, dismayed upon seeing reference to some dreary thing like ADOM, God forbid, and the poor, unprofessional writer wouldn`t have to clear his desk the next day.

In my book, a professional writer in a more upmarket publication, while treading niche waters would stick with the more popular references but would also include the lesser known ones, maybe, dunno, because they`re kinda responsible for the whole affair?

Apart form that, what happened to the educate`em angle? I speak from personal experience - as I said in my first post on this board I avoided roguelikes for decade and a half, and the reason for it is the fact that I just didn`t know any better. I played some Rogue back in the day, but thought it`s just a simple RPG with a novelty of ever-changing dungeons. And so it stuck and I avoided the genre later on - but I`m pretty sure that if some writers concentrated on explaining and promoting the major features - the intricacy, advanced mechanisms, true strategy, emergent gameplay and so on - I`d be back for more. And so perhaps would many others. Instead (not in this particular case) they choose the easy street of tut-tuting at these terrible graphics, silly dying thingy and other populist tropes.

Underestimating the "audiences" as unable to experiment, try new things and learn new styles is quite patronising, especially seeing as the article in question doesn`t talk about some triviality like 1st person vs 3rd, but  quite a niche mechanic - permadeath - to start with. And where does  the "snobbery" comes into the picture? You guys mean it`s snobbish to expect a serious article to relay important facts and examples? Wow, now.

Overall I find this angle utterly depressing and rather surprising - especially seeing as it comes from people on this very board. This kind of apologetic mentality is really not in my nature and something I`d rather not know about - and as such I will contain my interaction here to reading the excellent Announcements thread only form now on.


Paul Jeffries

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2013, 09:58:23 PM »
I think the title of the article is a hint: ''Permadeath just won’t die, but what’s behind the popularity of such a punishing mechanic?"  The whole basis of the article is to explore what it is that makes permadeath a popular feature at the current time, so of course they are going to use recent games with a relatively high level of exposure and mass-market appeal as examples of that rather than older games which - while influential - are still fairly niche.  I don't think it's anything to do with not wanting to frighten the kiddies by waving a crusty old roguelike in their faces, it's just that crusty old roguelikes (not really being all that popular) are poor examples of the phenomenon that the article is talking about.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 10:01:51 PM by Paul Jeffries »

guest509

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2013, 12:37:02 AM »
 I can use more niche articles. This one didn't offend really, but I know what you're saying.

Rickton

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2013, 12:49:26 AM »
<snip?
So wait, you're offended because people here aren't more offended?
Creator of the 7DRL Possession: Escape from the Nether Regions
And its sequel, simply titled Possession

Samildanach

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2013, 02:01:48 PM »
This kind of apologetic mentality is really not in my nature and something I`d rather not know about - and as such I will contain my interaction here to reading the excellent Announcements thread only form now on.
My posts haven't apologised for the article. I don't see anything to apologise for. Clearly some of us have less understanding/experience of journalism than others.

Do you think that, say, Zelda, or Dragon Quest would be better with its presence?  Just curious. 
I can't speak for Dragon Quest, having never played it, but I suspect Zelda would become a huge chore if it included permadeath, being forced to retread the same ground over and over, solving the same puzzles every time. It would probably have to include some form of procedural generation, in which case we're getting into the realms of a real-time roguelike-ish game anyway. Also, the top-down Zeldas (the ones I'm talking about here) tend to have block puzzles and the like, which might be awkward to randomise.

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2013, 02:17:10 PM »
I don't think it's anything to do with not wanting to frighten the kiddies by waving a crusty old roguelike in their faces, it's just that crusty old roguelikes (not really being all that popular) are poor examples of the phenomenon that the article is talking about.

Roguelikes are the inspiration behind most of these modern permadeath games.  It's a huge omission that leaves the audience less informed than they should be.

Paul Jeffries

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2013, 12:47:55 AM »
Roguelikes are the inspiration behind most of these modern permadeath games.  It's a huge omission that leaves the audience less informed than they should be.

Firstly, that's factually wrong; the game the article centres around more than any other is XCOM and its inclusion of an Ironman mode, which evolved from the common voluntary practice of playing the original X-Com without reloading saves to undo troop deaths.  This is an independent development of the same mechanic with no direct lineage to any Roguelike.  Indeed, I used to play it that way myself long before I'd even heard the word 'Roguelike'.  As the OP in this very thread discussed, the concept of permanent death is not a one that was (or needed to be) invented by Roguelikes.  If the article had tried to claim otherwise then it would in fact have been misinforming its audience.

Were that not the case, I might agree with you provided the topic of the article was the history of permadeath or influences on games with permadeath.  But as a I already pointed out; it wasn't - it was about the popularity of the mechanic now.  Older games of comparitively limited popular appeal are not only irrelevant to that particular discussion, their inclusion would only muddy the waters and possibly undermine the points that the article is making.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you on the general principle - I would love to see more games journalists using their position as industry gatekeepers to promote the kinds of games that I myself like.  I just don't think that the criticisms raised of this one particular article are reasonable given the context and aims of the piece.

guest509

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2013, 03:07:59 AM »
You're totally correct here Paul. Perma death, ironman mode, perma failure, these are all game design concepts completely divorced from the roguelike niche. They are appropriate in some genres, for some designs, and did not originate or proliferate with Rogue.

Chess and Space Invaders had the same concepts, for example.

I've already beaten the new XCom without reloads and had a fantastic time. I'm about to bump up the difficulty and give the expansion a go.

Vanguard

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Re: Why I hate the term "Permadeath"
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2013, 09:13:45 AM »
No one is saying that roguelikes own permafailure.