Why we read

The critique industry is a large and important part of today’s society. However, not many people see it that way. Many people today see the critique industry as a group of people who are paid to whine and complain about games or films that didn’t meet their standards. Austin Walker has written an article that hopes to reveal the true intent of film and game critiques. He states that critiques do not directly intend on changing what they critique, but instead say what they believe and hope that maybe someone will listen to them and agree with them. He speaks about some of his own experience with poor feedback on his reviews. He wrote one review of “The Witcher 3” in which he stated that he’d liked to see more people of colour in the game. He was then attacked by the masses of the internet accusing him of trying to spread his american culture across all foreign things because “The Witcher 3” has Polish and Slavic heritage. The situation he ended up in is like an internet minefield, but he handled it well by writing that he understands what it is like to be on the receiving end of the tidal wave that is american culture. He ended by saying that it’s tough unpacking issues like this but sometimes reviewers get so close to game that they like that they see the flaws. But this doesn’t make them love the game any less.
In the game design industry, game critiques can be both a helping hand and the hand that drags you down. There is an abundance of helpful points within the critique world that game designers can use to better their games. But there is also a risk of taking what is written in a review personally, to have your hard work pulled apart isn’t always a fun easy experience.

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Dys4ia thoughts

Dys4ia is an interesting, short game. It’s a game that describes a person’s experience with hormonal therapy. It appears to be a way for the creator to vent their frustration with how the world treats them and it uses interesting mechanics and aesthetics to convey the frustration the the player. The game is made up of a collection of short sometimes uncompletable minigames , most with no end or an unobtainable end. The game uses large pixelated text to tell the story as the player progresses through the minigames. However, the creator has timed the transition between the minigames to break the flow of gameplay. This has been intentionally done in an attempt to  cause frustration or at least disorientation. By doing so the player is able to somewhat relate to the creators frustrations. Timing is an important piece of game design from what I have seen and it is important to consider the way it can help convey your desired motif. Another case where timing is made use of is in Halo. The designers of halo specifically chose the time between sniper rifle shots to allow the player to have flow between kills. If the player was able to fire more times per second then they would feel disoriented and not get the satisfaction from a kill, but alternatively if they can’t shoot fast enough they can feel powerless and would most likely choose to not use the sniper rifle. You can see more detail here: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1012211/Design-in-Detail-Changing-the. Timing is obviously something that makes or breaks a game. I can make a game fun or make people regret buying it. Timing is difficult to get right the first time as the video says, but I hope that when I need to choose the timing of a situation that I can go with my gut to match the intended purpose.

Emotional motions

This week I watched “The Night of the Hunter” made in 1955 directed by Charles Laughton. I thought it was a great film with an unusual story line, but what I loved most about it was the way it used one song to communicate both terror and hope. The song is a Hymn called “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” written by Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrJ3WKNeeRA&noredirect=1 or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91IAwfdRX6A. In the scene in the second link it shows the antagonist and the hero singing together, one calling on the lord for help and the other trying to strike fear into the hearts of the children he hunts. I loved the way the film used the song to tell a key piece of the story without shoving it in your face. I’ve seen this done before in the video game “Life is Strange: episode 1”. It uses a song called “Santa Monica Dream” (listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrfVaPNMCM8 ) to describe the emotions the character “Chloe” is going through after the disappearance of her best friend and possible lover. The song speaks of a woman’s dream of a future with a man that is now gone, Chloe dreamt of running away to L.A with her lost friend and now is stuck in a dying town with no escape. I absolutely love when a story can be told with a song, this is because of the way sound can bring forward emotion much quicker and simpler than words can and often without people even being aware that they are being told a story. That’s the beauty of songs in film and video games, it really immerses the player/viewer. I would love to one day be able to find songs that will perfectly describe an emotion I am trying to put across in a video game, because I am in awe of how well other people can.

Doom Thoughts

The original Doom, made by id software, is not an easy game. But it’s the difficulty of Doom that gives the game its charm. It took around 10 minutes to find the controls to properly play Doom and it took about 2 hours to get used to them. Looking left and right came easily and I eventually learnt that control fired the equipped weapon. However, figuring out how on earth to open a door was very frustrating, I spent most of the ten minutes running around the first room thinking I had missed something. I also eventually found the strafing keys and the sprint button after progressing through the entire keyboard one key at a time. After finding the controls, the next hardest thing to do is to try and aim. This is because aiming in Doom is very difficult to adapt to after coming from modern FPS mechanics. With no vertical rotation and with the horizontal rotation being stuck to a collection of large segments, the distant enemies are extremely difficult to kill without wasting precious ammo. Navigation is also difficult in Doom. The player has an extremely large amount of inertia and rotating the camera takes so long, you really have to pray that there isn’t a guy with a shotgun behind you because it’s going to take you thirty seconds to see him after he shoots you. The last thing you need to get used to in Doom is the positioning of the controls on the keyboard. This was probably much easier for people playing around release since they had nothing else to compare it to, but for me coming from many FPS games that all have a very similar control scheme, it’s gonna take some serious getting used to. I found that my ring finger and pinky would regularly lose the strafing arrows and I would end up being murdered in a corner in my panic. But I can’t blame id software for their controls or their choices surrounding Doom, They had nothing to base their control scheme of and were part pioneering FPS games for the world.

While Doom is frustrating it was very fun to play through the first episode, Knee-Deep In The Dead. There was an immense amount of satisfaction when I was able to complete the levels I would repeatedly get stuck on or when I would successfully clear a room of enemies without taking a single hit. I would get a great sense of excitement and joy when i stumbled across a secret (which was rarely might I add) and i felt that was able to finally beat the level this time. I found that, while the goals were difficult at times to achieve, they were quite simple to understand and helped guide me through the game. When I would find doors that required the red, yellow or blue key to enter i knew that they were important and that I’d need to find the key to continue. Rather than having an abundance of doors and rooms with no direction to go, I had simple direction and explanation for challenge. Lastly i was really impressed with the way the enemies interacted with each other, if one accidentally shot the other, they would completely forget about the player and start fighting one another. Overall it was a great experience and I would be willing to purchase the rest of the game and play through it.