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During which part of playing a video game does the actual "playing" occur?

 
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rabesandratan
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PostPosted: Mon 21 Feb - 00:32 (2011)    Post subject: During which part of playing a video game does the actual "playing" occur? Reply with quote



Sonnez Les Jeux Video wrote:
During which part of playing a video game does the actual "playing" occur? Unfortunately, the answer to this question, like the answer to too many other questions, is: It depends. For purposes of this discussion, playing a video game can be divided into the following categories:




A. Pressing the buttons

B. Viewing the short-term consequences of button presses

C. Deciding which buttons should be pressed next

D. Viewing the long-term consequences of button presses






Angband, a Roguelike
Roguelike enthusiasts have long championed that the answer is C only. Consider the characteristics of the genre: a GUI that prizes efficiency of communication above all; unlimited time to decide which buttons to press next; and an input system that prioritizes efficiency over steepness in learning curve. As such, it is no accident that A, B, and D are nigh instantaneous. To entrants in the genre, there is a distressing lack of time between "You swing! You miss!" and "It breathes. You are dead." To devotees, however, it is the hallmark of design.



From this perspective, the similarities between Roguelikes and chess are unmistakable. Although pounding the chess clock is no doubt satisfying and theatrical, there is little doubt that the "play" in chess is primarily in C. As such, aficionados of Roguelikes are burdened with the knowledge that, as with chess, a majority of the population is unsatisfied with C-only play, and the genre is reserved for the niche with the most fervent imagination, the most tenacity to learn a complex interface, and the belief that utilizing both is worthwhile.






Vanguard Princess, a fighter
Fighting fans understand that the simple joys in life are the best. The "play" in fighters resides primarily in A and B. As any mind unclouded with ego can attest, the simple act of pressing buttons, even when taken apart from its short or long-term consequences, is delightfully sensory. If not, why are the buttons colored? Why are they smooth? Why do they click and clack so satisfyingly when mashed to the irritation of arcade owners who must replace them?


That the button presses create such stylish visuals to hold passers by, and their quarters, in a trance is the arcade owner’s solace. Darwin, shown a student computer lab in California, shown a fighter, shown an arcade in any town, and shown a Roguelike would not hesitate in deducing which game evolved from which environment despite an alarming unfamiliarity with any of the above.


RPG addicts tout interesting cause and effect relationships, and the replayability that they provide, as the font of play. As such, an evolving narrative over time is what they crave. The best way to supply their fix is to provide as much substance D as possible.






Guitar Hero hardware
Rhythm game lovers have only recently been satisfied, but the games have exploded with success across all platforms with a fervor to compensate. Arcade games such as Galaga, Centipede, Operation: Wolf, Dance Dance Revolution, and a plethora of fighters have long experimented with input style. Console makers were understandably dubious that many would want to pay for game specific hardware multiple times over. As such, more general non-standard inputs were created such as a generic gun or running pad. However, most arcade inputs were shoe-horned into the existing control pad setup with varying results. Most likely, Nintendo's recent success with varied inputs is a result of two understandings combined: 1) That the A-only demographic is the largest; and 2) That the customers have matured, i.e., those actually spending are the ones playing the games or grew up playing video games. As such, the market will bear much more specific inputs than even currently available. The plastic guitar and DJ inputs will soon give way to piano, violin, and trumpet inputs to those who understand that today's parents recognize video games as tools to shape minds in a way that previous parents could not. Furthermore, considering that the marriage of game and music is not the only way to create an A-only game, the A-only game has not been exploited to its natural boundaries, and it provides the most fertile ground for innovation to those bold enough to satisfy this long-suffering market.





















A only
Rhythm
B only
Zen, FPS
C only
Roguelike, Text Adventure
D only
RPG
A and B
Fighter, Shoot-'em-up, Sport
A and C
Simon and similar games
A and D
Action
B and C
Puzzle
B and D
Relationship Building, Visual Novel
C and D
Adventure, Time Management
A, B, and C
Flight Simulation
A, B, and D
Party
A, C, and D
Driving Simulation
B, C, and D
Management Simulation, Strategy
A, B, C, and D
Platformer





Cave Story, a platformer
The case can be made for all of A, B, C, and D to apply to any genre, but as to the primary source of play, the genres differentiate themselves admirably. Recommended for future study is the extent to which, e.g., fighter fans buy shoot-’em-ups; RPG lovers buy biographies; etc.


While it is axiomatic that different people find fun in different experiences, it is instructive to understand from where the fun emanates. As the future brings more letters to the list, those that realize more genres will be needed will be in the best position for success. As proof, one need only consider the A-only demographic for which deliverance lied in rhythm games, a genre whose recent popularity was not bottlenecked by technological constraints but by inaccurate understanding of the large demographic's desire for play.






Flower, a Zen game





Dudebro II, a mock cover for a parody of FPS games in production











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