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Op Ed

TechCrunch - The Fun Boson Does Not Exist. Thanks Ant via Slashdot.
Rather than continuing to innovate through measurement, the social sector as a whole rationalised itself into a corner. It knew of a couple of formats of game that seemed to work with measurements (but not really why they worked), knew how to build those, and then continued to repeat the same format again and again. So, just like the gambling industry, social gaming became about who had the best commercial processes in place to push their identikit product around as fast as possible. Farmville really wasnít about Zyngaís genius at replicating Harvest Moon. It was about their genius at getting that game in front of everyone on Facebook faster than anyone else.

But, again just like the casino business, that kind of thinking can only get you so far.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Dishonored Designer Joe Houston On Violence In Games.
In light of the recent gun violence in the U.S. and the resultant anti-game talk that has stemmed from it, itís important as gamers not to simply retreat to the easy reaction, that games arenít a part of the problem. While I think that might be true (after personal examination), I think itís a pity to stop there. Too often we think about what we might lose as players and developers if forced to engage in that conversation, becoming blinded by the fear of censorship. As a result we miss out on more creative and effective ways to be a part of the solution. As players we can stand to expand our emotional palette by seeking out games that challenge us. And developers have a responsibility to answer that demand with games that engage the player with meaningful choices, additional freedom, and ultimately greater personal responsibility.

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9. Re: Op Ed Jan 15, 2013, 02:26 sdgundamx
 
I think this quote from the article is just brilliant:

I donít believe that game violence causes real world violence, but I do believe that it does little to prevent it (emphasis added). And games with meaningful (and potentially distasteful) choice just might do better because they stand a chance of making the player think about what theyíre doing on screen.

I agree for the most part with him and I don't think there's any direct causal link between violence and video games (i.e. because someone played a game they then go out and decide to physically hurt someone).

However, I do think that games do reflect and sometimes reinforce our societal attitudes--one of those attitudes being that violence is an acceptable and even preferable method of solving problems in certain cases (for example, "self-defense" in all of its interpretations).

I would love to see games that get us to question these cultural values and providing more choice is one way to do that. Like he says in the article, you're still going to get people who kill in the game just for the humor's sake (because you can and because it doesn't have an RL consequences) but you might also get people thinking more about violence not just in games but in RL as well.

It would be cool if more games could be fun AND get people to think about real-world issues too. I never played Ultima 6, but I hear lots of older games talk with reverence about the impact that game had on them when they discovered (hidden text: spoiler alert) that the gargoyles they have been tasked with exterminating are in fact intelligent creatures merely trying to defend themselves from the human genocide being inflicted on them. This twist got gamers to think about how we "demonize" our enemies in order to rationalize the violence we inflict on them. More games like that would be awesome indeed.
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 19:23 StingingVelvet
 
jdreyer wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 14:50:
As I've gotten older, I've found myself moving away from the violent options when they're presented. Maybe games like Dishonored are a kind of Rorschach test, with psychopathic personalities being be more inclined to take the more violent route, and empathetic personalities more likely to take the non-violent route?

Or maybe it's more fun to teleport and stab than it is to carry bodies around.
 
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7. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 17:23 The Half Elf
 
So if violent games make us more violent, what does it say about the rest of the genre's?
I'm decent at RTS games, so does that qualify me to lead an army to take over a country? Hell I could just go through the list of games I have on Steam and find out that I could be anything from a race car driver to a theme park builder.

Now if only someone would leave a Formula 1 car somewhere where I could steal it and prove my skills. Oh wait if that happened then they'd be going after racing game developers..
 
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"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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6. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 16:33 Orphic Resonance
 
jdreyer wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 14:50:
As I've gotten older, I've found myself moving away from the violent options when they're presented. Maybe games like Dishonored are a kind of Rorschach test, with psychopathic personalities being be more inclined to take the more violent route, and empathetic personalities more likely to take the non-violent route?

talk about an oversimplification...
 
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5. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 15:30 Asmodai
 
jdreyer wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 14:50:
As I've gotten older, I've found myself moving away from the violent options when they're presented. Maybe games like Dishonored are a kind of Rorschach test, with psychopathic personalities being be more inclined to take the more violent route, and empathetic personalities more likely to take the non-violent route?

I like non violent for the challenge (it's almost always the more difficult way to go), but then I love to cut loose and murder my way through as well...

Given the volume of enemies and the various methods I've used to dispatch them since starting on "Hunt the Wumpus" back in the early 80's, if games caused violent tendencies, I'd be certifiable right now... That I'm a well adjusted (imo) guy with a job, a wife, a kid and a mortgage (ahhh, the Australian dream of owning debt fulfilled), I'd say gaming as my major source of entertainment has made me disturbingly normal...
 
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4. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 14:50 jdreyer
 
As I've gotten older, I've found myself moving away from the violent options when they're presented. Maybe games like Dishonored are a kind of Rorschach test, with psychopathic personalities being be more inclined to take the more violent route, and empathetic personalities more likely to take the non-violent route?  
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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3. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 14:36 jdreyer
 
Farmville really wasnít about Zyngaís genius at replicating Harvest Moon. It was about their genius at getting that game in front of everyone on Facebook faster than anyone else.

And this is exactly why I hate Zynga.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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2. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 13:02 Cutter
 
Violent media may inure people to violence a tiny bit but that's it. The world has always been a violent place and always will be. Remove all the violent media and replace it with sunshine and rainbows and their will still be violence. You want to put a major dent in it then end poverty. That's the only thing that makes a real difference.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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1. Re: Op Ed Jan 14, 2013, 11:42 StingingVelvet
 
The RPS Dishonored thing is interesting. The more player agency you give, the more the violence is on them and not the creators. You're still an assassin with a knife though.

I'm just now getting to the end of my violent Dishonored playthrough and it gets quite preachy.
 
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