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Difficulty and Duration:What kind of game you want?

Difficulty and Duration:What kind of game you want?  

219 members have voted

  1. 1. Difficulty and Duration:What kind of game you want?

    • A tales of monkey island kind of adventure (easy and short)
      12
    • Difficult and Short (I can’t remember any please help)
      3
    • A broken sword kind of adventure (Long but easy)
      41
    • An old time classic like monkey island 2, Grim Fandango or like Edna and Harvey:The Breakout (Long and [very]difficult)
      163


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Anyway, I think I clarified enough why non rewarding games are not either fun or amusing or entertaining. And you should acknowledge that I did it examining it from both sides. No Challenge is bad! but too much challenge will also drown your entertainment!

Notice, though that in greek, which is my native language and much more older than english, the word "game" originates from the word "child", meaning an activity which is crucial for the development of their character and skills, being entertaining as well, which implies in some way a challenge factor in it.

To the rest I completely agree with you.

I think you're stretching the definitions a bit there - but as I said, it doesn't really matter what the definitions are/were, all that matters is what is meaningful at the moment - and right now it's changing, which is why there's disagreement.

I would challenge the assumption that 'no challenge is bad.' Have you played Journey? The worst thing that can happen to you in that game is you might lose some of your scarf, which means you can't jump as far. This doesn't harm you in any way, really, except that you can fly further with a long scarf, which is pretty fun to do. It's always pretty clear where you have to go, and where it isn't, it's very easy to figure out. Anyway, Journey is a game as I understand it. I'm controlling a character who's exploring a world, running, jumping, climbing, collecting, interacting with the stuff in the world, I want to say I'm not crazy for calling it a game.

Journey would not be improved by more challenge. It would be changed into something completely different, and probably worse, because there'd be all this resistance to getting on with what the game is about, which is this forward-moving journey.

Some games would be improved with more challenge. But we can't go assuming that a certain level of challenge is always good - it might not be. For REDS, I expect a moderate challenge WILL be appropriate, but I haven't seen very much of the game, so what do I know, and what does anyone else know?

Well, they might know that they like challenging puzzles, of course, and that's all fine. I like challenging puzzles too. I obsess over them. But it's 'putting the cart before the horse' to start from the position of wanting hard puzzles and designing a game around that. Let the dots fall where they will.

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Just want to second that challenge, or as it was put "competition", is in no way fundamental to the nature of a video-game. If there were no hostile npcs in minecraft and it was a pure social creative\building experience I doubt most gamers would have trouble embracing it as a game. I don't think there's value in trying to rigidly define what a game is based on what has come in the past. There are virtually infinite kinds of experience possible in digital entertainment, and pinning the whole medium down to past formulas can only bring creative limitation and repetition. In fact I think even the mere adherence to the word "games" to describe our medium creates a limited picture of its capacity in many minds. That said, looking at the nature of games outside this medium we can see that, for instance, kids often play games which have no clear objective or challenge and are more about a shared imaginative\role-play\pretending experience.

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Just want to second that challenge, or as it was put "competition", is in no way fundamental to the nature of a video-game. If there were no hostile npcs in minecraft and it was a pure social creative\building experience I doubt most gamers would have trouble embracing it as a game. I don't think there's value in trying to rigidly define what a game is based on what has come in the past. There are virtually infinite kinds of experience possible in digital entertainment, and pinning the whole medium down to past formulas can only bring creative limitation and repetition. In fact I think even the mere adherence to the word "games" to describe our medium creates a limited picture of its capacity in many minds. That said, looking at the nature of games outside this medium we can see that, for instance, kids often play games which have no clear objective or challenge and are more about a shared imaginative\role-play\pretending experience.

Competition, as already analysed is not an explicit characteristic of all games. As i said there are competitive games and non competitive. But regarding what you call objective you are completely wrong! Every game has an objective or reward which is a better definition. Even childish game. The difference is that in competitive games the objective (e.g., pursue of win or a record etc) is persistent and repetition does not affect it, while in non competitive games the objective/reward may cease to exist (the reasons for this may vary, e.g., the game becomes too easy for the player, or pursued knowledge or skill has been already acquired, which is more or less the same), which in turn means that the game becomes indifferent to the player, so he must move on to another one (or to another level of the same game) with a new pursued reward.

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Oh, indie games aren't 'real'. Forgive me if I choose to ignore any opinion you ever have about anything ever again. If that's the basis that we're going from, then we've got nothing to talk about.

You obviously took some personal offense to my jab at indie games (I did use quotation marks) rather than the issue at hand (difficulty). I think you are biased when it comes to indie games since you apparently consider yourself an indie developer and anything thrown against indie scene you seem fit to take personally (given previous discussions).

I wouldn’t disregard your opinion on anything ever because of that though, nor did I try to discuss indie games with you in this thread, it was merely a side to a point, but have it your way. You ignore me, I ignore you, and we’re both better off.

To go on with the topic…

I don’t think that anyone has a problem with the existence of games like Dear Esther or how you can define them, diversity is good for everyone.

What really bugs people like me is the immense handholding AAA games offer these days (and some indies) in their endless attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Have any of you played LA Noire? You can literally bump your way blind through that game, you can skip half of the game by pressing buttons, if you do that what you got left besides some ‘interactive’ cutscenes?

My personal grief is that with the market shift a niche for challenging games, hasn’t been created and filled, there isn’t stream of upcoming releases for someone like me to watch out for, if something turns out challenging enough, is probably unintentional, nobody markets their games for my demographic anymore, heck we don’t even exist, ‘core’ gamers are the FPS junkies apparently.

I used to think that indie gaming would be my salvation but it ended up being an oversaturated nostalgia filled market with it’s bigger challenge potential stemming from locking you into a room/stage and forcing you to memorize your way out of it, I rather play a Saturn shmup instead.

Kickstarter is my new hope, and that’s why I pledged for this project, though as I’ve said before in this thread, I don’t expect this game to be challenging (regardless of what people voted on the poll) given the developer attitude and past games, but at the very least, I hope it won’t treat me like a moron.

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Anyway, I think I clarified enough why non rewarding games are not either fun or amusing or entertaining. And you should acknowledge that I did it examining it from both sides. No Challenge is bad! but too much challenge will also drown your entertainment!

Notice, though that in greek, which is my native language and much more older than english, the word "game" originates from the word "child", meaning an activity which is crucial for the development of their character and skills, being entertaining as well, which implies in some way a challenge factor in it.

To the rest I completely agree with you.

I think you're stretching the definitions a bit there - but as I said, it doesn't really matter what the definitions are/were, all that matters is what is meaningful at the moment - and right now it's changing, which is why there's disagreement.

I would challenge the assumption that 'no challenge is bad.' Have you played Journey? The worst thing that can happen to you in that game is you might lose some of your scarf, which means you can't jump as far. This doesn't harm you in any way, really, except that you can fly further with a long scarf, which is pretty fun to do. It's always pretty clear where you have to go, and where it isn't, it's very easy to figure out. Anyway, Journey is a game as I understand it. I'm controlling a character who's exploring a world, running, jumping, climbing, collecting, interacting with the stuff in the world, I want to say I'm not crazy for calling it a game.

Journey would not be improved by more challenge. It would be changed into something completely different, and probably worse, because there'd be all this resistance to getting on with what the game is about, which is this forward-moving journey.

Some games would be improved with more challenge. But we can't go assuming that a certain level of challenge is always good - it might not be. For REDS, I expect a moderate challenge WILL be appropriate, but I haven't seen very much of the game, so what do I know, and what does anyone else know?

Well, they might know that they like challenging puzzles, of course, and that's all fine. I like challenging puzzles too. I obsess over them. But it's 'putting the cart before the horse' to start from the position of wanting hard puzzles and designing a game around that. Let the dots fall where they will.

I haven't played journey, but I have read reviews about its gameplay. Well for me its not a kind of game, if it is actually a game, I would be keen to play, though there is a challenge in the game. Its uniqueness and exploring it. But imagine now hundreds that there are hundrerds of Journey clones available. Do you think that after having played Journey, you would consider playing them as well, or would the challenge of exploration have been eliminated. More or less in adventures games, the first you ever play does not matter to be challenging but thereafter it does matter.

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Oh, indie games aren't 'real'. Forgive me if I choose to ignore any opinion you ever have about anything ever again. If that's the basis that we're going from, then we've got nothing to talk about.

You obviously took some personal offense to my jab at indie games (I did use quotation marks) rather than the issue at hand (difficulty). I think you are biased when it comes to indie games since you apparently consider yourself an indie developer and anything thrown against indie scene you seem fit to take personally (given previous discussions).

I wouldn’t disregard your opinion on anything ever because of that though, nor did I try to discuss indie games with you in this thread, it was merely a side to a point, but have it your way. You ignore me, I ignore you, and we’re both better off.

To go on with the topic…

I don’t think that anyone has a problem with the existence of games like Dear Esther or how you can define them, diversity is good for everyone.

What really bugs people like me is the immense handholding AAA games offer these days (and some indies) in their endless attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Have any of you played LA Noire? You can literally bump your way blind through that game, you can skip half of the game by pressing buttons, if you do that what you got left besides some ‘interactive’ cutscenes?

My personal grief is that with the market shift a niche for challenging games, hasn’t been created and filled, there isn’t stream of upcoming releases for someone like me to watch out for, if something turns out challenging enough, is probably unintentional, nobody markets their games for my demographic anymore, heck we don’t even exist, ‘core’ gamers are the FPS junkies apparently.

I used to think that indie gaming would be my salvation but it ended up being an oversaturated nostalgia filled market with it’s bigger challenge potential stemming from locking you into a room/stage and forcing you to memorize your way out of it, I rather play a Saturn shmup instead.

Kickstarter is my new hope, and that’s why I pledged for this project, though as I’ve said before in this thread, I don’t expect this game to be challenging (regardless of what people voted on the poll) given the developer attitude and past games, but at the very least, I hope it won’t treat me like a moron.

Arenegeth, I have also the same hope for this game. But I think kickstarter is our last hope to get back to gaming roots. Why? Because, I think there are too many players like you and me out there, which through this new kickstarter funding thread could express their will about the games they want to play. And, in addition, the have payed for this! And when you pay you have strength. So I think gaming industry involved in such projects will listen to backers requests. It is obliged to listen, otherwise there will be no second time! And if it listens this may spread further to other companies also. However, I also think that companies focused on console games, would never follow. PC gaming is for me our only hope to retain gaming basics, due to its more mature (not age oriented) players basis.

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Competition, as already analysed is not an explicit characteristic of all games. As i said there are competitive games and non competitive. But regarding what you call objective you are completely wrong! Every game has an objective or reward which is a better definition. Even childish game. The difference is that in competitive games the objective (e.g., pursue of win or a record etc) is persistent and repetition does not affect it, while in non competitive games the objective/reward may cease to exist (the reasons for this may vary, e.g., the game becomes too easy for the player, or pursued knowledge or skill has been already acquired, which is more or less the same), which in turn means that the game becomes indifferent to the player, so he must move on to another one (or to another level of the same game) with a new pursued reward.

An objective is a "goal" or "win condition" and is not simply the same thing as "reward".

A game can be open-ended, without a goal or win condition beyond "having a good time", and the reward might be nothing more than the experience of playing.

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Oh, indie games aren't 'real'. Forgive me if I choose to ignore any opinion you ever have about anything ever again. If that's the basis that we're going from, then we've got nothing to talk about.

You obviously took some personal offense to my jab at indie games (I did use quotation marks) rather than the issue at hand (difficulty). I think you are biased when it comes to indie games since you apparently consider yourself an indie developer and anything thrown against indie scene you seem fit to take personally (given previous discussions).

I wouldn’t disregard your opinion on anything ever because of that though, nor did I try to discuss indie games with you in this thread, it was merely a side to a point, but have it your way. You ignore me, I ignore you, and we’re both better off.

To go on with the topic…

I don’t think that anyone has a problem with the existence of games like Dear Esther or how you can define them, diversity is good for everyone.

What really bugs people like me is the immense handholding AAA games offer these days (and some indies) in their endless attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Have any of you played LA Noire? You can literally bump your way blind through that game, you can skip half of the game by pressing buttons, if you do that what you got left besides some ‘interactive’ cutscenes?

My personal grief is that with the market shift a niche for challenging games, hasn’t been created and filled, there isn’t stream of upcoming releases for someone like me to watch out for, if something turns out challenging enough, is probably unintentional, nobody markets their games for my demographic anymore, heck we don’t even exist, ‘core’ gamers are the FPS junkies apparently.

I used to think that indie gaming would be my salvation but it ended up being an oversaturated nostalgia filled market with it’s bigger challenge potential stemming from locking you into a room/stage and forcing you to memorize your way out of it, I rather play a Saturn shmup instead.

Kickstarter is my new hope, and that’s why I pledged for this project, though as I’ve said before in this thread, I don’t expect this game to be challenging (regardless of what people voted on the poll) given the developer attitude and past games, but at the very least, I hope it won’t treat me like a moron.

I don't take it personally, any more than I'd take it personally if you thought I was a weasel made of pastry. It's just so far away from reality that it's difficult to take seriously. But yes, it did irritate me. Your characterisation of indie games as not counting because they're simply updated retro games is ludicrous when some of the most creative and influential work right now is being done by indies. Your insistence on me giving examples of AAA games is puzzling when at the same time you said that at the moment all you are playing is retro stuff - which is the very thing you just compared to indie games which you said don't count. I mean, if retro games are good enough for you now, and you think indie games are like that but modernised (which is simplistic, but let's roll with it), why aren't indie games good enough for you to be counted? So, I don't really know where to proceed from there.

It does baffle me that anyone can be disappointed with the current state of affairs. More types of games (and just more games in total) are being made than ever, in every possible sense. Hard games, easy games, long games, short games, big blockbusters, small indies, stuff for very niche interests, stuff for the mainstream, stuff for casual players, stuff for obsessives. To focus on one sliver of that (AAA) and complain that that sliver doesn't cater to your needs is to miss out on what is, by any measure, the most spoiled-for-choice era of gaming we have ever enjoyed.

So if I sounded grumpy before, then I was, but that is my fuller response on why I found what you said mind-boggling.

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Anyway, I think I clarified enough why non rewarding games are not either fun or amusing or entertaining. And you should acknowledge that I did it examining it from both sides. No Challenge is bad! but too much challenge will also drown your entertainment!

Notice, though that in greek, which is my native language and much more older than english, the word "game" originates from the word "child", meaning an activity which is crucial for the development of their character and skills, being entertaining as well, which implies in some way a challenge factor in it.

To the rest I completely agree with you.

I think you're stretching the definitions a bit there - but as I said, it doesn't really matter what the definitions are/were, all that matters is what is meaningful at the moment - and right now it's changing, which is why there's disagreement.

I would challenge the assumption that 'no challenge is bad.' Have you played Journey? The worst thing that can happen to you in that game is you might lose some of your scarf, which means you can't jump as far. This doesn't harm you in any way, really, except that you can fly further with a long scarf, which is pretty fun to do. It's always pretty clear where you have to go, and where it isn't, it's very easy to figure out. Anyway, Journey is a game as I understand it. I'm controlling a character who's exploring a world, running, jumping, climbing, collecting, interacting with the stuff in the world, I want to say I'm not crazy for calling it a game.

Journey would not be improved by more challenge. It would be changed into something completely different, and probably worse, because there'd be all this resistance to getting on with what the game is about, which is this forward-moving journey.

Some games would be improved with more challenge. But we can't go assuming that a certain level of challenge is always good - it might not be. For REDS, I expect a moderate challenge WILL be appropriate, but I haven't seen very much of the game, so what do I know, and what does anyone else know?

Well, they might know that they like challenging puzzles, of course, and that's all fine. I like challenging puzzles too. I obsess over them. But it's 'putting the cart before the horse' to start from the position of wanting hard puzzles and designing a game around that. Let the dots fall where they will.

I haven't played journey, but I have read reviews about its gameplay. Well for me its not a kind of game, if it is actually a game, I would be keen to play, though there is a challenge in the game. Its uniqueness and exploring it. But imagine now hundreds that there are hundrerds of Journey clones available. Do you think that after having played Journey, you would consider playing them as well, or would the challenge of exploration have been eliminated. More or less in adventures games, the first you ever play does not matter to be challenging but thereafter it does matter.

But I said the exploration wasn't a challenge. I mean, it's a thing you do, but it's not something you're up against, you just do it. You find stuff or don't and you generally move forward, and while there are minor rewards, they don't have very much to do with what makes the game beautiful or interesting, and they didn't really motivate me.

I've played through Journey 5 times, and only one of those times was challenging in any real way (I wanted to get the collectibles, but really it was just an excuse to be in the world again).

If there were Journey clones... I don't know, what do you mean? The controls are basically like a 3d platformer. If there was a game that controlled like that but had a different world to explore in a similar way, sure I'd try it. If they were just trying to be like Journey in their environment and style and world, I might try them but I think I'd notice that they were doing that, and probably wouldn't enjoy it as much.

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Competition, as already analysed is not an explicit characteristic of all games. As i said there are competitive games and non competitive. But regarding what you call objective you are completely wrong! Every game has an objective or reward which is a better definition. Even childish game. The difference is that in competitive games the objective (e.g., pursue of win or a record etc) is persistent and repetition does not affect it, while in non competitive games the objective/reward may cease to exist (the reasons for this may vary, e.g., the game becomes too easy for the player, or pursued knowledge or skill has been already acquired, which is more or less the same), which in turn means that the game becomes indifferent to the player, so he must move on to another one (or to another level of the same game) with a new pursued reward.

An objective is a "goal" or "win condition" and is not simply the same thing as "reward".

A game can be open-ended, without a goal or win condition beyond "having a good time", and the reward might be nothing more than the experience of playing.

You don't read everything I have posted. Rewards can be objective (e.g., a win) or subjective (satisfaction). Rewarding contains both. Please read again my extensive analysis on what characterizes a game.

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Anyway, I think I clarified enough why non rewarding games are not either fun or amusing or entertaining. And you should acknowledge that I did it examining it from both sides. No Challenge is bad! but too much challenge will also drown your entertainment!

Notice, though that in greek, which is my native language and much more older than english, the word "game" originates from the word "child", meaning an activity which is crucial for the development of their character and skills, being entertaining as well, which implies in some way a challenge factor in it.

To the rest I completely agree with you.

I think you're stretching the definitions a bit there - but as I said, it doesn't really matter what the definitions are/were, all that matters is what is meaningful at the moment - and right now it's changing, which is why there's disagreement.

I would challenge the assumption that 'no challenge is bad.' Have you played Journey? The worst thing that can happen to you in that game is you might lose some of your scarf, which means you can't jump as far. This doesn't harm you in any way, really, except that you can fly further with a long scarf, which is pretty fun to do. It's always pretty clear where you have to go, and where it isn't, it's very easy to figure out. Anyway, Journey is a game as I understand it. I'm controlling a character who's exploring a world, running, jumping, climbing, collecting, interacting with the stuff in the world, I want to say I'm not crazy for calling it a game.

Journey would not be improved by more challenge. It would be changed into something completely different, and probably worse, because there'd be all this resistance to getting on with what the game is about, which is this forward-moving journey.

Some games would be improved with more challenge. But we can't go assuming that a certain level of challenge is always good - it might not be. For REDS, I expect a moderate challenge WILL be appropriate, but I haven't seen very much of the game, so what do I know, and what does anyone else know?

Well, they might know that they like challenging puzzles, of course, and that's all fine. I like challenging puzzles too. I obsess over them. But it's 'putting the cart before the horse' to start from the position of wanting hard puzzles and designing a game around that. Let the dots fall where they will.

I haven't played journey, but I have read reviews about its gameplay. Well for me its not a kind of game, if it is actually a game, I would be keen to play, though there is a challenge in the game. Its uniqueness and exploring it. But imagine now hundreds that there are hundrerds of Journey clones available. Do you think that after having played Journey, you would consider playing them as well, or would the challenge of exploration have been eliminated. More or less in adventures games, the first you ever play does not matter to be challenging but thereafter it does matter.

But I said the exploration wasn't a challenge. I mean, it's a thing you do, but it's not something you're up against, you just do it. You find stuff or don't and you generally move forward, and while there are minor rewards, they don't have very much to do with what makes the game beautiful or interesting, and they didn't really motivate me.

I've played through Journey 5 times, and only one of those times was challenging in any real way (I wanted to get the collectibles, but really it was just an excuse to be in the world again).

If there were Journey clones... I don't know, what do you mean? The controls are basically like a 3d platformer. If there was a game that controlled like that but had a different world to explore in a similar way, sure I'd try it. If they were just trying to be like Journey in their environment and style and world, I might try them but I think I'd notice that they were doing that, and probably wouldn't enjoy it as much.

I meant exploring its uniqueness as a game, not referring to area exploration! Though, as you describe it, what would be the difference if didn't control the character but rather was auto-controlled, exploring the world of the game? I do not think that a journey clone could be equally intriguing. But, to be frank, I shouldn't talk of something I have not seen.

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I did read your analysis of what characterizes a game. If the subjective reward of satisfaction is enough to characterize the nature of a game, how is a game distinguished from every other activity one might partake in? Everything a human being might want to do has a subjective reward. I therefore don't think you have offered a functional definition. Eating an apple has reward, and you could even argue that it has challenge (chewing). Does that make it a game? Just offering some food for thought :)

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Your insistence on me giving examples of AAA games is puzzling when at the same time you said that at the moment all you are playing is retro stuff - which is the very thing you just compared to indie games which you said don't count. I mean, if retro games are good enough for you now, and you think indie games are like that but modernised (which is simplistic, but let's roll with it), why aren't indie games good enough for you to be counted? So, I don't really know where to proceed from there.

I’ll give you an example. One of the most recent indie games I played was Dust an Elysian Tail. Wasn’t a bad game (and impressive for one man’s work), but throughout the whole thing I kept thinking, why am I playing this and not the Castlevania GBA games? Why don’t I finally shoot up Super Metroid and I’m here jumping around with a cartoon cat? Why am I here with games which mechanics don’t have the polish and depth, and story and characters who don’t have the charm of the old classics that inspired it?

In other words, why deal with a cheap imitation, when I have access to the original?

I always supplemented my gaming with titles from yesteryear, but now is not supplementing anymore, is my only lifeline, I did play new releases searching for something, both indie and AAA, it wasn’t until 2011 that I couldn’t take it no more.

Retro games are not really ‘good enough’ for me, they are my only option.

Because obviously the indie’s, can’t pick up the slack the AAA left behind. Skyrim was disappointing compared to Morrowind due to how they simplified things.

Where’s my indie alternative? Obviously I wouldn’t expect an indie production to compare to the visuals of Skyrim, but what about Morrowind? That game is what 10 years old now? Too much for a 10 person indie studio? OK how about Daggerfall, any indie games around like that? No, well indie games obviously lack scale, (with like two exceptions) and better yet, instead of just copying Morrowind and adding flying mongooses, or whatever, why don’t the indie developer, that doesn’t have to cater to the bottom-line, push the envelope? Surprise us? Minecraft did it, why can’t nobody else?

I look at AAA because AAA is the place to find scale, I don’t care about the visuals as much about having huge worlds to explore, since the Publisher’s forgot what depth means to cater to grandma’s or whatever their target audience is, and the indie’s are too intimidated or not skilled enough to create some, where can I turn to besides the past? (And hopefully Kickstarter)

Maybe what I say is mind-boggling and you can go on ignoring me, maybe this is my fault for spending so much time and energy in this hobby which lead me in having such a weathered view on things, but given that I’m not the only one who thinks this way, perhaps that’s not the case.

Arenegeth, I have also the same hope for this game. But I think kickstarter is our last hope to get back to gaming roots. Why? Because, I think there are too many players like you and me out there, which through this new kickstarter funding thread could express their will about the games they want to play. And, in addition, the have payed for this! And when you pay you have strength. So I think gaming industry involved in such projects will listen to backers requests. It is obliged to listen, otherwise there will be no second time! And if it listens this may spread further to other companies also. However, I also think that companies focused on console games, would never follow. PC gaming is for me our only hope to retain gaming basics, due to its more mature (not age oriented) players basis.

I really, really, wish you’re right. But since the Kickstarter thing started I got this numbing feeling, that we all paid to have those developers make games for the casual market. But is probably my innate cynicism acting up.

I’m probably less confident about Reds than I am about any other Kickstarter campaign I supported. But in a few short months a lot of the projects I pre-paid for will come to fruition and we’ll see how much we managed to stir things up.

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I did read your analysis of what characterizes a game. If the subjective reward of satisfaction is enough to characterize the nature of a game, how is a game distinguished from every other activity one might partake in? Everything a human being might want to do has a subjective reward. I therefore don't think you have offered a functional definition. Eating an apple has reward, and you could even argue that it has challenge (chewing). Does that make it a game? Just offering some food for thought :)

In my country, we have a word "sophistry", for describing such kind of statements. First of all I never put challenge in my definition, what I said is that a game is a rewarding activity, with straight or implicit competition, that has to be challenging in order to maintain the player's interest and continue be fun, entertaining say it as you wish.

Now, if you could match the activity "eating an apple" with the above description (where is the reward by the way?) and moreover you find challenge in chewing (trully I cannot understand why you assume "eating" a game and "chewing" a challenge and not a game as well) then either something is wrong with your teeth or you are 1 year old, which I do not think is the case, because if you were, you would probably have more structured thinking!

Of course you can organize an "eating apples" contest, where you can compete against others, for example who will eat an apple faster, or who will eat more apples, before vomiting to win a prize. Or even compete against yourself to best your "eating apple" time record. This could be assumed as a game, though will slightly interest most of the people, after a while due to lack of challenge, and not being subjectively rewarding. Unless it is extremely objectively rewarding, which may maintain interest high!!!

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Apparently nobody likes Loom around here. Go figure. If DFA will be as good as Loom I'll be happy enough!

I think Shadow of Memories is a very memorable game. As is don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story. I'm merely referencing examples of games with little or no challenge that stuck with me. Apparently plenty of people think that Dear Esther and Journey are very memorable too.

Certainly frustrating difficulty is one way for a game to take a hold in your memory, but I feel it's an unsophisticated one.

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In my country, we have a word "sophistry", for describing such kind of statements. First of all I never put challenge in my definition, what I said is that a game is a rewarding activity, with straight or implicit competition, that has to be challenging in order to maintain the player's interest and continue be fun, entertaining say it as you wish.

Now, if you could match the activity "eating an apple" with the above description (where is the reward by the way?) and moreover you find challenge in chewing (trully I cannot understand why you assume "eating" a game and "chewing" a challenge and not a game as well) then either something is wrong with your teeth or you are 1 year old, which I do not think is the case, because if you were, you would probably have more structured thinking!

Of course you can organize an "eating apples" contest, where you can compete against others, for example who will eat an apple faster, or who will eat more apples, before vomiting to win a prize. Or even compete against yourself to best your "eating apple" time record. This could be assumed as a game, though will slightly interest most of the people, after a while due to lack of challenge, and not being subjectively rewarding. Unless it is extremely objectively rewarding, which may maintain interest high!!!

Recall this statement you made, which appeared to be fundamental to how you characterize games: "Well the answer is that there are two characteristcs that each one or both define the GAME: competition and rewarding. There is no single game ever, that lacks one or both of these characteristics and to make it stronger it never existed!"

You went on to say that competition can be 'competition with oneself', which is from my point of view more or less the same thing as challenge. As I've tried to express before (and others have shared similar thoughts), I do not believe that challenge, competition etc, is required to maintain a player's interest, to facilitating fun or entertainment. The example of 'Journey' was raised, and I would also point towards 'The Path', and while I can't think of them off the top of my head I have definitely played quite a few "games" (particularly small indie or web games which aimed to experiment with the format) which had no challenge or competition of any kind and simply offered an interesting or somehow engrossing interactive experience, and the interactivity and choice open to the player in many of those cases certainly gave more to the experience than simply an "interactive movie", which would be more like a click-through story. Some of these 'games' were entirely abstract and without any traditional storytelling. As I said once before, there is an enormous, virtually infinite spectrum of possibility in this creative medium we enjoy.

So that leaves reward, and the only point I was trying to make with the apple example is that reward alone is not even close to unique enough to games to use it to define what a game is. There is nothing in this world that a human could be interested in which could not be subjectively perceived as rewarding in some way.

So, to sum up my point I feel that when a characterization or definition of games is based on one element which is not necessary and one element which is ubiquitous to everything outside of games as well, we don't really have any kind of definition here at all in my opinion. Of course we all have different perspectives and many layers of difference in our understandings and experiences of culture, language and so on, so I'm certainly not disturbed by our disagreement, but I felt like sharing my opinion so there it is.

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Your insistence on me giving examples of AAA games is puzzling when at the same time you said that at the moment all you are playing is retro stuff - which is the very thing you just compared to indie games which you said don't count. I mean, if retro games are good enough for you now, and you think indie games are like that but modernised (which is simplistic, but let's roll with it), why aren't indie games good enough for you to be counted? So, I don't really know where to proceed from there.

I’ll give you an example. One of the most recent indie games I played was Dust an Elysian Tail. Wasn’t a bad game (and impressive for one man’s work), but throughout the whole thing I kept thinking, why am I playing this and not the Castlevania GBA games? Why don’t I finally shoot up Super Metroid and I’m here jumping around with a cartoon cat? Why am I here with games which mechanics don’t have the polish and depth, and story and characters who don’t have the charm of the old classics that inspired it?

In other words, why deal with a cheap imitation, when I have access to the original?

I always supplemented my gaming with titles from yesteryear, but now is not supplementing anymore, is my only lifeline, I did play new releases searching for something, both indie and AAA, it wasn’t until 2011 that I couldn’t take it no more.

Retro games are not really ‘good enough’ for me, they are my only option.

Because obviously the indie’s, can’t pick up the slack the AAA left behind. Skyrim was disappointing compared to Morrowind due to how they simplified things.

Where’s my indie alternative? Obviously I wouldn’t expect an indie production to compare to the visuals of Skyrim, but what about Morrowind? That game is what 10 years old now? Too much for a 10 person indie studio? OK how about Daggerfall, any indie games around like that? No, well indie games obviously lack scale, (with like two exceptions) and better yet, instead of just copying Morrowind and adding flying mongooses, or whatever, why don’t the indie developer, that doesn’t have to cater to the bottom-line, push the envelope? Surprise us? Minecraft did it, why can’t nobody else?

I look at AAA because AAA is the place to find scale, I don’t care about the visuals as much about having huge worlds to explore, since the Publisher’s forgot what depth means to cater to grandma’s or whatever their target audience is, and the indie’s are too intimidated or not skilled enough to create some, where can I turn to besides the past? (And hopefully Kickstarter)

Maybe what I say is mind-boggling and you can go on ignoring me, maybe this is my fault for spending so much time and energy in this hobby which lead me in having such a weathered view on things, but given that I’m not the only one who thinks this way, perhaps that’s not the case.

But it's still simplistic to say that indie games are just doing what retro games did, with a twist, unless you are going for such a broad definition of what is a retro-like experience that it becomes meaningless.

Where does Johann Sebastian Joust fit into this? Journey? FTL? McPixel? Dear Esther? Thirty Flights of Loving? Lone Survivor? What retro games are they actually a lot like? That's just off the top of my head, in 2012. If I went to 2011 I could list Spacechem, Atom Zombie Smasher, Frozen Synapse and more - games that do things I haven't experienced before and are very challenging to boot. I'm not saying all those games are one you'd like, but I am saying that you characterise indies in a very limited way.

And what about the ones that are retro-like, but are as complete an experience as anything I played in the Early-mid 90s? Spelunky qualifies. Xenonauts (a fairly explicit X-Com clone but one which brings its own ideas too and is highly detailed). Bastion. etc etc etc. Not everything is some sort of pale imitation.

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In my country, we have a word "sophistry", for describing such kind of statements. First of all I never put challenge in my definition, what I said is that a game is a rewarding activity, with straight or implicit competition, that has to be challenging in order to maintain the player's interest and continue be fun, entertaining say it as you wish.

Now, if you could match the activity "eating an apple" with the above description (where is the reward by the way?) and moreover you find challenge in chewing (trully I cannot understand why you assume "eating" a game and "chewing" a challenge and not a game as well) then either something is wrong with your teeth or you are 1 year old, which I do not think is the case, because if you were, you would probably have more structured thinking!

Of course you can organize an "eating apples" contest, where you can compete against others, for example who will eat an apple faster, or who will eat more apples, before vomiting to win a prize. Or even compete against yourself to best your "eating apple" time record. This could be assumed as a game, though will slightly interest most of the people, after a while due to lack of challenge, and not being subjectively rewarding. Unless it is extremely objectively rewarding, which may maintain interest high!!!

Recall this statement you made, which appeared to be fundamental to how you characterize games: "Well the answer is that there are two characteristcs that each one or both define the GAME: competition and rewarding. There is no single game ever, that lacks one or both of these characteristics and to make it stronger it never existed!"

You went on to say that competition can be 'competition with oneself', which is from my point of view more or less the same thing as challenge. As I've tried to express before (and others have shared similar thoughts), I do not believe that challenge, competition etc, is required to maintain a player's interest, to facilitating fun or entertainment. The example of 'Journey' was raised, and I would also point towards 'The Path', and while I can't think of them off the top of my head I have definitely played quite a few "games" (particularly small indie or web games which aimed to experiment with the format) which had no challenge or competition of any kind and simply offered an interesting or somehow engrossing interactive experience, and the interactivity and choice open to the player in many of those cases certainly gave more to the experience than simply an "interactive movie", which would be more like a click-through story. Some of these 'games' were entirely abstract and without any traditional storytelling. As I said once before, there is an enormous, virtually infinite spectrum of possibility in this creative medium we enjoy.

So that leaves reward, and the only point I was trying to make with the apple example is that reward alone is not even close to unique enough to games to use it to define what a game is. There is nothing in this world that a human could be interested in which could not be subjectively perceived as rewarding in some way.

So, to sum up my point I feel that when a characterization or definition of games is based on one element which is not necessary and one element which is ubiquitous to everything outside of games as well, we don't really have any kind of definition here at all in my opinion. Of course we all have different perspectives and many layers of difference in our understandings and experiences of culture, language and so on, so I'm certainly not disturbed by our disagreement, but I felt like sharing my opinion so there it is.

The main fault in your thought is that you make the assumption that competition and challenge is the same. But thery are not! Challenge is something that describes competition, so a competition can be challenging, but it may not as well! Also, I think you have misintepreted the meaning of reward. Reward, is something that gets you satisfaction, moral or material. Eating an apple does not provide either of them that's why it is a bad example. Of course I agree that satisfation is inherent in different forms to other sections of human life (example work, family etc).

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You are right, there is a difference between challenge and competition, but I stand by my opinion that neither are fundamentally essential to the nature of a game. I don't think I have misinterpreted the meaning of reward. If there were no satisfaction in eating, the less intelligent among us would starve!

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Apparently nobody likes Loom around here. Go figure. If DFA will be as good as Loom I'll be happy enough!

I think Shadow of Memories is a very memorable game. As is don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story. I'm merely referencing examples of games with little or no challenge that stuck with me. Apparently plenty of people think that Dear Esther and Journey are very memorable too.

Certainly frustrating difficulty is one way for a game to take a hold in your memory, but I feel it's an unsophisticated one.

I think a game can be difficult in a sophisticated way. Recent example of that, for example is SpaceChem, which is a very open ended puzzle game where you create increasingly complex chemical-building machines from different parts. It gets very hard to figure out and that can be frustrating, but there are no fixed solutions, so it's a very creative kind of difficulty that requires imagination. Then something like Super Meat Boy is very clever with its difficulty, because it can be very frustrating but it turns all that frustration into a reward at the end when you see all your attempts play out simultaneously. So difficulty can be used as a fine tool, and not just a blunt instrument.

Often it isn't, though, and think adventure games tend to be particularly bad offenders at this (quite possibly because it is so hard to tune difficulty for the sorts of puzzles adventure games have, but some people seem to do it better than others) I would say that most of the times I've been REALLY stuck in an adventure game, unable to progress, completely lost for what to do, there have been two outcomes.

1) I have to give up and look up the answer, and when I find out what it is, the reaction is almost always 'I never would have realised to do that in a million years'

2) I end up trying every combination I can and hitting on the answer by luck.

VERY rarely I find 3) I look up the answer and react 'Oh! Of course! I totally should have thought of that!' - in that case I looked up the answer too soon, expecting it to be a 1).

The best sorts of puzzles are ones which you solve before getting to that giving up/random item combination point. Where you at first don't see the solution, and you try a couple of things and they don't work but then you make an intuitive leap and suddenly realise what you have to do. And once you have the answer you know it's the answer because it makes so much sense now that you've seen things in the new light.

That sort of puzzle is very hard to design, and even when you manage it every puzzle will still be differently obvious to some people and completely obtuse to others.

That said, as I've mentioned before, I think you need to pick the right moments to try to stump the player. It shouldn't be constant, or that will wreck the pacing. But depending on the story you're trying to tell, never having a moment where the player has to really stop and explore and think about the environment and how to negotiate its puzzles might also wreck the pacing. It'll be hard to know what's right for this game before knowing much about the world and characters it's trying to sell to us.

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You are right, there is a difference between challenge and competition, but I stand by my opinion that neither are fundamentally essential to the nature of a game. I don't think I have misinterpreted the meaning of reward. If there were no satisfaction in eating, the less intelligent among us would starve!

Note there is significant difference between satisfying one of yours basic needs and satisfying your spirit, which is mainly what a game provides!

Well what I actually said is that REWARDING is the essential ingredient! Perhaps my english are not very good, and does not describe exactly what I want, but what I remember saying is that "competition applies more to games where you play against opponents", while single for the rest it is something like "competition" against yourself for example.

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But it's still simplistic to say that indie games are just doing what retro games did, with a twist, unless you are going for such a broad definition of what is a retro-like experience that it becomes meaningless.

Where does Johann Sebastian Joust fit into this? Journey? FTL? McPixel? Dear Esther? Thirty Flights of Loving? Lone Survivor? What retro games are they actually a lot like? That's just off the top of my head, in 2012. If I went to 2011 I could list Spacechem, Atom Zombie Smasher, Frozen Synapse and more - games that do things I haven't experienced before and are very challenging to boot. I'm not saying all those games are one you'd like, but I am saying that you characterise indies in a very limited way.

And what about the ones that are retro-like, but are as complete an experience as anything I played in the Early-mid 90s? Spelunky qualifies. Xenonauts (a fairly explicit X-Com clone but one which brings its own ideas too and is highly detailed). Bastion. etc etc etc. Not everything is some sort of pale imitation.

I may have been harsher than necessary on indie games in general, because I feel betrayed by them, since they were my Champion a few years ago when things started to smell bad on the AAA scene.

But the games you mention are not as unique as you think.

First of all Johann Sebastian Joust is not even a video game, is a game which uses video game equipment. Strap a chip into a vibrating dildo (forgive the profanity, but it suits the point well) and you got the same effect.

I actually think that the game is the epitome of the pretentiousness that goes along with the indie scene. They scrap some pixels together and they dare call it ‘art’ the same way some buffoon, takes a dump in a pot, puts it on display on a gallery, and calls it art. Mona Lisa is art, crap in a pot, is crap in a pot.

I’m not suggesting you’re pretentious, but the indie scene is full or pretentiousness and it pisses me off, you got some kids off college pretending they know *beep* while several 30 year-old veterans who *raised* some of us with their games go by the sideline, simply because they not *hip* enough to communicate through the internet. (Many of them are making a comeback with Kickstarter)

I could go in depth on how ‘unique’ some of the games you mention are, but it would be time consuming and at the end irrelevant, since you clearly have your preconceptions about them (what will I gain by pointing out that McPixel is basically Wario Ware Inc. with crappy pixels).

I do want to clear however that I don’t think that all indie games are simple retro imitations, just the vast majority. And the vast majority represents the species, AAA games are not suddenly challenging because Dark Souls exists among them. Even if we assume the games you mention are as unique as you think they are, I can mention 10 indie games (or better yet, have a look on what games are on Steam’s greenlight right now) for each one, which are just that, a cheap imitation with a twist (some of them don’t even bother with a twist).

But I don’t really want to discuss the sate of indie gaming with you because I don’t think you can be objective about the subject, however if you want me to count indie games among the challenging let’s go with that.

When I think challenge and indie, I think of Super Meat Boy, N+ and similar games.

That’s not a lot of variety there is it? I already played some of those indie games and got all the achievements for them where applicable (which usually means done the hardest thing there is to do on them).

Where are my RPG’s my FPS’s, my racing games? My God sims? X-wing-like space fight games, Action games like Ninja Gaiden?

Well there are not many indie games in those genres are there?

I don’t disagree when you say that right now there’s vast amount of games being released for a variety of tastes, but alas not all tastes are represented equally (flight simulators have gone extinct, never was my thing but still) and genuinely out of the box, challenging games is not one of the types of games that is represented.

As I’ve also mentioned before, and I can’t stress this point enough, is not just about pure challenge, is about handholding and linear game design. I don’t need every game to be hard as nails; I just don’t want every game to be simple and condescending towards me.

Even some of the best indie titles (let’s name drop Bastion and Braid) are rather linear in design.

And since there’s already so many easy adventure games out there these days (there’s an entire sub-genre called hidden object games) is it so wrong for some of us to desire an adventure game which is on par with the average difficulty of the Lucas Arts classics?

The Lucas Arts classics were not very hard by any means; they just weren’t condescending towards their players.

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But it's still simplistic to say that indie games are just doing what retro games did, with a twist, unless you are going for such a broad definition of what is a retro-like experience that it becomes meaningless.

Where does Johann Sebastian Joust fit into this? Journey? FTL? McPixel? Dear Esther? Thirty Flights of Loving? Lone Survivor? What retro games are they actually a lot like? That's just off the top of my head, in 2012. If I went to 2011 I could list Spacechem, Atom Zombie Smasher, Frozen Synapse and more - games that do things I haven't experienced before and are very challenging to boot. I'm not saying all those games are one you'd like, but I am saying that you characterise indies in a very limited way.

And what about the ones that are retro-like, but are as complete an experience as anything I played in the Early-mid 90s? Spelunky qualifies. Xenonauts (a fairly explicit X-Com clone but one which brings its own ideas too and is highly detailed). Bastion. etc etc etc. Not everything is some sort of pale imitation.

I may have been harsher than necessary on indie games in general, because I feel betrayed by them, since they were my Champion a few years ago when things started to smell bad on the AAA scene.

But the games you mention are not as unique as you think.

First of all Johann Sebastian Joust is not even a video game, is a game which uses video game equipment. Strap a chip into a vibrating dildo (forgive the profanity, but it suits the point well) and you got the same effect.

I actually think that the game is the epitome of the pretentiousness that goes along with the indie scene. They scrap some pixels together and they dare call it ‘art’ the same way some buffoon, takes a dump in a pot, puts it on display on a gallery, and calls it art. Mona Lisa is art, crap in a pot, is crap in a pot.

I’m not suggesting you’re pretentious, but the indie scene is full or pretentiousness and it pisses me off, you got some kids off college pretending they know *beep* while several 30 year-old veterans who *raised* some of us with their games go by the sideline, simply because they not *hip* enough to communicate through the internet. (Many of them are making a comeback with Kickstarter)

I could go in depth on how ‘unique’ some of the games you mention are, but it would be time consuming and at the end irrelevant, since you clearly have your preconceptions about them (what will I gain by pointing out that McPixel is basically Wario Ware Inc. with crappy pixels).

I do want to clear however that I don’t think that all indie games are simple retro imitations, just the vast majority. And the vast majority represents the species, AAA games are not suddenly challenging because Dark Souls exists among them. Even if we assume the games you mention are as unique as you think they are, I can mention 10 indie games (or better yet, have a look on what games are on Steam’s greenlight right now) for each one, which are just that, a cheap imitation with a twist (some of them don’t even bother with a twist).

But I don’t really want to discuss the sate of indie gaming with you because I don’t think you can be objective about the subject, however if you want me to count indie games among the challenging let’s go with that.

When I think challenge and indie, I think of Super Meat Boy, N+ and similar games.

That’s not a lot of variety there is it? I already played some of those indie games and got all the achievements for them where applicable (which usually means done the hardest thing there is to do on them).

Where are my RPG’s my FPS’s, my racing games? My God sims? X-wing-like space fight games, Action games like Ninja Gaiden?

Well there are not many indie games in those genres are there?

I don’t disagree when you say that right now there’s vast amount of games being released for a variety of tastes, but alas not all tastes are represented equally (flight simulators have gone extinct, never was my thing but still) and genuinely out of the box, challenging games is not one of the types of games that is represented.

As I’ve also mentioned before, and I can’t stress this point enough, is not just about pure challenge, is about handholding and linear game design. I don’t need every game to be hard as nails; I just don’t want every game to be simple and condescending towards me.

Even some of the best indie titles (let’s name drop Bastion and Braid) are rather linear in design.

And since there’s already so many easy adventure games out there these days (there’s an entire sub-genre called hidden object games) is it so wrong for some of us to desire an adventure game which is on par with the average difficulty of the Lucas Arts classics?

The Lucas Arts classics were not very hard by any means; they just weren’t condescending towards their players.

Maybe you don't know as much about games as you think you do.

* Johann Sebastian Joust is a video game. As well as the move controllers it uses, players must listen to the music to know how to behave. Sure, it's a weird method of interaction, and a limited one, and maybe you could reproduce something similar to it with technology, but it's a video game made by people who make videogames. You install it, you use a sort of video game controller, and there are mechanics inside the game which affect what you have to do (music speed, controller sensitivity mechanic)

* Oh, the old 'pretentiousness' chestnut. When there's something that you don't really want to have to consider as part of your hobby, just call it pretentious and that makes everything okay. What in the name of all that is sane is pretentious about JS Joust. At its heart, it's a rather silly game, a lot of fun, and the only reason it is an exhibition game at the moment is that they haven't been able to get it out to platforms (and also it does really well at events and so is a natural fit for that). But the sportsfriends kickstarter changed that.

* I can't even be bothered with the rest. You don't know what you think you know about the games you dismiss so readily. That's all there is to it, really, and it's not an interesting discussion to be having.

Oh, except for one thing - you seem to think that I'm sort of ultrabiased Indie White Knight, but I just like games, of all shapes and sizes. I love indie games, it's true. But I love other games. What I hate is someone buying into this idea that we're somehow impoverished during what is the best era for gaming innovation since the early 90s, like the last 5 years never happened. Some people just need to stop and smell the roses. They might smell a little different to the ones you remember from the Good Old Days, but there's a whole lot to be said for them if you'd stop being so dismissive.

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You may not know this, but some people moded a game controller to control RC cars, some others moded a game controller to control an actual life fire weapon remotely. In Japan, some people put together a robot football (soccer for Americans) game, by remote controlling robots in a mini-football field.

Are those video games too? They certainly sound more video-game like than what joust is supposed to be.

Have you even played the game you so feverishly defend? Given its limited display I doubt if you have.

I haven’t. But I don’t go around name dropping it either.

But obviously there’s no point in arguing Joust with you, if you been paying attention, you probably noticed that the first thing some gamers said when they heard of the thing is “is not a real video game” but I suppose some artsy fartsy types with their head up their bottom know better right?

I’m not sure why you think that I dismiss alternative gaming, Joust notwithstanding, but I never claimed it wasn’t a fun prospect; I just can’t categorize it as a video game.

Am I disappointed with indie games and the way they have turned out?

Sure, I expected way more from people who supposedly have creative freedom.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t or haven’t enjoyed some them, I am open to new experiences, but you have to understand I have a staple of types of games I play, when that is not fulfilled (or in this case watered down) I get grumpy. You want me to change my taste which developed in over two decades of gaming and suddenly take indie games or whatever else is out there nowadays on top of my list?

You know what? Disregard the rest of my post, and just suggest some games to me, indie, AAA it don’t matter. You must have gotten an idea of what I like from my posts, and since there’s supposedly a plethora of games for me to choose from (which I’m apparently not well informed to notice) or do me one better and point out some upcoming releases for me to watch out for. Because right now, there’s really no new releases I’m waiting on AAA or otherwise (except the Kickstarter projects I backed) and that’s damn depressing.

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Have you even played the game you so feverishly defend? Given its limited display I doubt if you have.

Yep, several times, on 3 separate occasions.

To be clear, I think I'm done talking about this with you. You make assumption after assumption, based on very little actual knowledge, and I don't have the investment in this conversation to carry on with it. No animosity intended - obviously it makes very little difference to me what you believe about various things, and I wish you luck finding the games you want. I just don't feel like we can discuss this usefully any more.

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No animosity intended - obviously it makes very little difference to me what you believe about various things, and I wish you luck finding the games you want. I just don't feel like we can discuss this usefully any more.

Well at least we finally found something we can both agree on.

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I would love to have an easy and harder difficulty like in Monkey Island 2 and Curse of Monkey Island

When I was young I used to pick easier difficulty, for some reason. It's kind of weird going back to MI2's easy version now that I'm used to the other version. But it's quite interesting... there are some jokes in easy mode that never make it into the hard mode because of how the puzzles are set up.

Still, it's quite a bit of extra work, having to design corners that can be cut around puzzles, and extra bits to paper over the cracks, and then test all that to make sure it works as intended. I wonder whether it's worth it...

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I'd like it long and hard. Maximum pleasure, please.

Certainly longer than The Cave, and with more voice acting.

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