Let’s do some word association. Ready? I’m going to say something, and you tell me the first video game that pops into your head.

Video game.

What did you think of? Would you consider this the gamiest game that you’ve ever gamed? Why? Discuss!

Thursday, 6:15 pm – Albert

I like how we have an intelligent guy on our site.

So. Yeah. Video Games.

I someday shall play Spec Ops: The Line as soon as i’m done bashing zombies in the head with weapons… someday. Maybe.

In current news: Net Neutrality Prevails!

Wednesday, 3:43 pm – Gavin

When I think “video game”, I think of a cultural entity that has multiple key components:

  1. Interactivity – the player has meaningful input into the game.
  2. Rules and systems – scripts, codes, and general overarching laws that govern how you interact in the medium, are comprehensible to the player, and are equitably applied to all participants.
  3. Loss states – an understanding of what happens when the application of the rules and systems, manifested as challenges, are not met.

In my mind, games have either competitive antagonism (player vs player, player vs CPU) or systemic antagonism (game’s systems establish challenges that the player must meet, but there is no antagonist deliberately trying to defeat you).  To me, it’s the difference between Doom and Tetris.  Nobody is trying to defeat you in Tetris; it’s just that the challenges get more and more difficult.  It’s the difference between rock climbing and hockey.

The purest example of a game that I can think of is Pong.

  1. The player has control over one artifact – the paddle.  The paddle is the device that not only fosters interactivity in the game, but also prevents the loss state
  2. Paddles move at specific speeds and are specific sizes.  The ball moves at specific speeds and the ball rebounds in a logical, intuitive manner.
  3. A loss state is achieved when the ball touches the far end of the screen, behind your paddle.  You have the means to prevent the loss state, but if you don’t, then the loss state is achieved.

I can’t think of any game that applies those concepts as purely and as cleanly as Pong.

In the colloquial sense of the word “gamey”, there are other factors at play, but I’d note that these are more personal and more ambiguous:

  • Fosters creativity
  • Encourages problem-solving
  • Encourages the player to enjoy themselves
  • Subverts expectations of reality
  • Allows for unique interpretations of the rules to produce emergent gameplay

So, you could take a game like Just Cause 2, or Super Mario World, or Zelda: A Link to the Past, and you’ve got a game that hits on all of those notes.  Of course, it’s always interesting to see unique interpretations of the rules.  What is the loss-state of Gone Home, or Dear Esther?  Is it purely systemic, such as falling into a pit or running out of health, or is it something more difficult to parse, like not experiencing the payoff to the story?  Certainly, Spec Ops: The Line took an element of that when it was beating you over the head with the concept of player agency.

Tuesday, 6:24 pm – Albert

Tetris is a good representative as the video game. For some reason once I read the previous post I thought of Pong. So maybe Pong? But then again these days I find that when I think of gamiest games I think of the Lego Games or Minecraft. Mainstream, gamey games for gamey goodness that everyone can game on. Although most of the “Video Games” that I play are trying to become so immersive that they are intentionally trying to not let the player remember they are playing a game — unless you are like playing Saints Row or something.

Speaking of games, I’ve been playing MANY games: Darkest Dungeon (Early Access), Dying Light, Offworld Trading Company (Early Access) and Mafia II. Two Early Access, One 2015 and one 2010. A quick synopsis:

Darkest Dungeon – Painful, brutal, rogue like game. Graphics are lovecraftian and display amazing atmosphere. The narrator/commentator while you plunge through dungeon after dungeon is incredible. The basic premise is that you take over your family’s estate and below it are dungeons which have monsters. You gather adventurers (who are disposable) and you task them with quests and equip them. It is turn based and each dungeon is random. If you like something like Sunless Sea, Dark Souls, FTL, you’ll most likely like this game. While I have not played many of those games this game has really hooked me. You do just a little better each time.. and when you feel like you’ve accomplished something and you are making real progress — then disaster happens. You miss a hit and then everyone dies the next round. Real fun for the whole family kinda thing. My first time playing I did not bring enough torches which let the darkness make my enemies stronger, I ate all the food and my survivors were still hungry and loss morale and got stressed. Their stress rose until they were fearful, paranoid, and abusive. I lost control of them to their madness and somehow managed to kill the enemies I encountered although I lost 3 of my heroes. My last one became a masochist and killed himself since he had low health. The End.

Dying Light – Dead Island II. Best coop I’ve played in a long time. This game is just overall fun and the skills you achieve make putting time into this game worth every second so far. There is nothing like drop kicking a zombie off a rooftop. Definitely play this if you like FPS (i.e. mirrors edge) and zombies.

Offworld Trading Company  – RTS with no combat. You basically just rush to get resources then it becomes an economy simulator. Raise and lower prices. Hoard. Sabotage others. It’s basically real life.

Mafia II – It’s a 5 year old game people. It’s about the Mafia. You’re Vito (of course), and you rise through the ranks with your fat friend. You kill people and do gangster stuff. Pretty good so far! The story is broken into chapters and I haven’t really tried to play the open world aspect… I feel it’s kinda a closed open world really… I mean the city feels alive but there is no Roman asking you to go bowling so i’m not really sure if it’s open world if you can’t do side random stuff. Bring on Red Dead 2 so I can play poker and liars dice all day longggg..

Tuesday, 4:17 pm – matt

If I were to think of the greatest representation of what a videogame is I would have to say Tetris? I say that with a question mark because it can change depending on how I think of the question, would Mario be better since it contains story elements lacking in Tetris? Is a story the thing that defines a videogame? Not sure anymore.

Tetris for me is the greatest challenge of hand eye coordination. Play solo and try to continually improve upon your high score or challenge a friend and dump your cleared lines onto their screen. I love Tetris.

Monday, 3:00 pm – Ricky

I’m late! Mmmm, late…