The Superhero Conundrum: We must connect to our hero/avatar, but his very (Invincible) nature makes this nearly impossible to achieve via gameplay.
(Regenerating health) has become a convention of the medium rather than an expression of the (game) universe’s logic.
Where does this sensation of vulnerability truly come from?
How much time did you ‘lose’ or ‘waste’ when you got killed?
When gamers criticize (a game for being too easy) what they were really complaining about was their belief that these mechanics failed to provide enough of a time penalty for their mistakes.
Using downed-but-not-out states to keep players on the precipice between life (time well spent) and death (time wasted) for longer, thereby dragging out that feeling of vulnerability.
To Be Continued: Rethinking Player Death (Game Developer Magazine - Brandon Sheffield)
In a scenario in which death essentially means nothing, why have death at all?
The game is basically testing your ability to complete the same actions again and again, rather than your skill. Considering the fact that games are meant to be won, except in outlying cases, it’s testing your willingness to persevere, and not to adapt.
Death is still not so much a punishment as it is a setback—you simply lose a few minutes’ playing time, and probably learn some strategies in the meantime. So why represent this as “death,” why not try to create a game that contains similar challenges to standard games, but completely avoids death?
Almost any time not playing the game is time waiting to play the game—and that’s generally time wasted.
So many games employ outlandish sci-fi or fantasy scenarios that it seems death could be explained away in simple terms—or even better, with some entertaining gameplay. It seems high time that more developers start to confront their own (ingame) mortality.
Justin's Theory of Game Death & Vulnerability
Dimensions of Death
What caused the player to die? Is it clear? Is it the players fault or is it the games?
Can the player easily tell why they died? Is there sufficient information for them to adjust for it?
How much is a player setback when they die? Is it enough that the player can re-approach the situation or is it too much to where it is tedious to get back to where one died (feedback).
What is the cost of dying?
Dimensions of Vulnerability
The Weight of Death
Is the player scared of dying? Is the penalty and loss high?
What is the players state of mind? Has the player been through this area before? Do they know when they are in danger and when they are not?
Are there fail safes? If the player takes a chance can they recover if things go wrong?
If the player faces adversity what are the chances of dying? Can the player gauge the danger?
We have finally returned from our holiday movings about and sat down to discuss the new releases for January. As usual we have still not settled out the kinks with our format, our general ability to make sense, and be entertaining and/or interesting.
We hope you enjoy our sidebars on board games in Vienna, Austria, our experiments with un-funny humor, Carver's love for Excite Truck, and Anime that you've probably never heard of (but damn well should have).
UP COMING RELEASES (Some of which are out already)
In case anyone is wondering where we are. Carver is in the process of moving to Vienna so we are going to take a break until he settles in. We should be back in a few weeks, so until then happy holidays everyone!
Here our second installment presented for your enjoyment. There are definitely still some kinks we have to work out with the recording and editing, but it's improving one step at a time.
This episode we added a new releases section that we hope you find useful. Mostly we discuss Modern Warfare 2, Six Days in fallujah, and our topic, Serious Storytelling in Video Games.
Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (X360 DLC)
New Super Mario Bros. (Wii) Platformer
Assassin's Creed II (X360) Action Adventure
Left 4 Dead 2 (PC) Horror Shooter
LittleBigPlanet (PSP) Platformer
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines (PSP) Action Platformer
King's Bounty: Armored Princess (PC) Turn Based Strategy RPG
MODERN WARFARE 2 (PC, X360, PS3)
Same Triple A Mechanics & Production
Fully Realized Single Player, Coop, and Multiplayer Modes
Feel Free to email us your thoughts, questions, topics you'd like us to talk about, or if you'd just like to continue the discussion. If you are sending anything over a half a page please include a bulleted summary at the top of the email. No emails over 2 pages please.