Author Topic: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy  (Read 4230 times)

RylandAlmanza

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Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« on: June 28, 2013, 07:46:21 AM »
Watch this before responding please: http://youtu.be/uepAJ-rqJKA

(Sisclaimer: I'm pretty drunk, so if this post makes no sense, I'll edit it tomorrow)

I think this video makes a lot of good points on how we categorize games as opposed to how we should be categorizing games. We define games based on mechanics instead of aesthetics.

To refresh your memory, here are the eight aesthetics defined in the video:
  • Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure
  • Fantasy: Game as make-believe
  • Narative: Game as drama
  • Challenge: Game as obstacle course
  • Fellowship: Game as social framework
  • Discovery: Game as uncharted territory
  • Expression: Game as self-discovery
  • Submission: Game as pastime

It seems to me like roguelikes generally only satisfy challenge, and possibly submission with some exceptions. As far as discovery goes, it is true that the dungeons are randomly generated, but I feel this more just goes towards making the game more challenging since you will generally come across the same things either way, just in a different order. I feel there are exceptions, such as brogue, which satisfies sensation very well in my opinion. What aesthetics do you think roguelikes satisfy, and what aesthetics do you think they CAN satisfy.

(Disclaimer 2: drunk)

Darren Grey

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Re: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 09:16:06 AM »
Discovery and Fantasy are big elements too. And of course just Submission.

The problem with Challenge is that it's a very universal thing for a range of experiences. Roguelike challenge is very different from Super Meatboy challenge. This is why we have genres which characterise the experience differently, lumping together things with similar features that tend to produce the same end gameplay.

eclectocrat

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Re: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 01:36:36 PM »
I like roguelikes for the hybrid fantasy-narrative and challenge. I love to create a story and mood based on my condition in the game. Surviving close battles gives me a feeling close to traditional pen n paper encounters.

Vanguard

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Re: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 03:04:03 PM »
Roguelikes are totally a good source of drama.

Like, yeah the static story of the game is usually bare bones, but that isn't the point.

When asdfjkl the level 37 dwarf fighter meets his end at the hands of some evil wizard, I'm 100x more distraught than I'd be if a main character in a "normal" game died during a cutscene or whatever.

eclectocrat

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Re: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 03:31:26 PM »
When asdfjkl the level 37 dwarf fighter meets his end at the hands of some evil wizard, I'm 100x more distraught than I'd be if a main character in a "normal" game died during a cutscene or whatever.

This x 10000. I play my character with a sense of self-preservation, and it makes for great "stories"

Vanguard

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Re: Which Aesthetics of Play can Roguelikes Satisfy
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 05:46:59 PM »
That sort of thing also gives more weight to the choices you make.  In most modern WRPGs, they give you comically black and white moral choices, and since there's no danger, the only reason to do evil is for its own sake.  So most player avatars wind up either 100% spotlessly good or cartoonishly evil.

In a roguelike, where there's real danger, you might find yourself doing terrible things not because you want to, but because it's the only way to survive.  The whole thing feels more real.  The villains aren't cartoons out to ruin people's lives because it's funny, they're pragmatists trying to survive in a difficult situation.  And the heroes are well and truly heroic.  Their sacrifices were genuine.  Their courage is real.

It'd be great if mainstream developers picked up on that, but I won't hold my breath.