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Gaming Clichés That Need To Die

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the quick-time-events dept.

Games 416

MojoKid writes "The PC and console game industry is in desperate need of an overhaul. With skyrocketing costs to develop games, consumers aren't going to accept $80-$100 game titles, especially not with mobile game prices in the 99 cent — $4.99 range. Not to mention, how games are designed these days needs some serious rethinking. This list of some of the industry's most annoying gaming clichés, from scripted sequences to impossibly incompetent NPCs, and how they might be solved, speaks to a few of the major ailments in modern gameplay with character and plot techniques that are older than dirt."

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So... (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825029)

You want them to make games much more complex--with completely destructible environments, near limitless borders, better AI, more complex NPC's, etc.

But you also want them to be CHEAPER? Okay.

And you complain about how long it takes to develop a triple-A title, so I guess you also want them SOONER too, huh?

Perhaps you would also like to have them hand-delivered to your house by Natalie Portman in a bikini? Hell, sure, why not!

Re:So... (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825075)

I think that when Natalie Portman delivers my super-cheap beyond-triple-A game to my house, she should be covered in hot grits. And naked. And petrified.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825457)

If she had to show up to your house like that, she would be petrified.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825529)

Hell, *I* am petrified by just reading that.

Re:So... (-1, Redundant)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825689)

I like that I was modded Redundant instead of Offtopic or something. Fair enough XD

Re:So... (0, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825701)

Ewww..... have you seen Natalie naked (or bikinclad) lately? Just like Carrie Fisher, I'd prefer she stay covered up.

Re:So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825923)


Re:So... (-1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825083)

Sad thing is, the only thing holding game devs back is shit console hardware.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825225)

That explain why PC only titles tend to be even worse than cross-platform ones!!! Oh wait... no it does not.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825273)

They still make PC-only titles?

Re:So... (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825359)

Unfortunately, only RTS and some MMO's get the PC only treatment. When others did however we got games like FarCry/Crysis. Admittedly not exactly the best in story, But you had the whole island to explore, nearly without borders, almsot completely destructible environments (Tunring on strength and punching a house to rubbe was one of my favorite things to do in Crysis). AI and NPC's dont need better hardware, so that falls short here. As soon as these games got console ports, the little good they had was gone.

Re:So... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825453)

There are some multi-platform games that aren't given the shit treatment on the PC.

Battlefield three has an elevated experience compared to the console versions.

Re:So... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825493)

This is true, thats because BF3 was developed for a PC, then ported to the consoles. A rare treatment these days.

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825759)

This depressing discussion makes me want to dust off the "PC" known as the commodore amiga (or Sega genesis; very similar hardware), and play some games that were actually FUN to play. And now thanks to the internet: free! (No wait; they were always free.) Screw spending $70 for modern crap. Besides I've only played about 20% of the amiga library.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825379)


Re:So... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825945)

They still make PC-only titles?

So, how much luck have you had playing Starcraft II on your PS3?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825419)

Yep.. 'swhy PC games are free of these issues. Oh wait. Also, that's why console game AI is so frequently bad. The hardware. Has nothing to do with the shitty code used to make the AI, which would run just as shittily on a brand new ivy bridge.

If graphics are all you care about, then yeah, maybe console hardware is shit. But if graphics are all you care about, go rent a movie. You'll be happier.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825489)

Well, you ignore PC gaming with your comment so I assume you're only considering consoles, due to them having static configurations that ease some of the development burdens.
So your view is that devs are being held back because the set hardware they develop for isn't changing to keep up with the times fast enough?

Yeah, you're right, probably should make it so consoles are easier to upgrade. Maybe standardized connectors on the main board so you just plug in a processor, ram, non-volatile storage, media reader, graphics processor, sound processor, input devices, and networking? And of course you should have the system software easily upgradable to take better advantage of advances in software technologies and driver bugfixes.
Current controllers are quite limiting too, they should definitely offer a 103-button controller for text input, and a separate motion sensing controller with a couple buttons of it's own (use an optical beam and sensor on the bottom of it to read the motion of the surface it rests on, that would fix the current motion controller issues).

Re:So... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825625)

Nice sarcasm. Also I'm wondering: How have consoles fallen behind PCs? The PS3 and X360 are producing HDTV quality graphics with flawless sound. There's very little room for improvement. They are at the highest audiovisual-resolution possible.

Anyway..... consoles used to come with expansions for extra RAM or additional corprocessors, but those expansions were barely supported. The gamemakers naturally targeted their largest market (the stock console with no expansion).

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825729)

I should hope they could produce "HDTV" quality, PC monitors have been doing it for well over 10 years now.

Re:So... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825709)

It would help if the console actually started with tech that was actually current and not 2 years old. []

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825615)

Wrong on so two levels.

He assumes that hardware is a limitation to bot-AI.

Content and complexity are what makes games cost so much. The only thing limited by consoles is the graphics. Your GBA has more than enough code-space, memory, and processing to have a really detailed fight-flee algorithm.

And he assumes all game devs work soley on consoles.
  Look through the IGF finalists. Look through the humble-bundle games.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825777)

Actually it's more a combination:

#1 - trying to make games run at OMG FUCKING HUGE RESOLUTION and OMG FRAMERATE are big ones. You want 120 FPS at 1600x1200 or higher? Well shit, there went a ton of calculating power. Even if your video board is handling the rendering, you still have to calculate collisions and other factors on CPU.

#2 - trying to make AI work is fucking HARD. Sure, you can code it to be perfect, and constantly win because it never misses, but then you're just replicating the kind of shitty experience you get on the Call of Duty and Halo servers full of aimbots and lag-hack cheaters. Make the AI miss too often, or make too many obvious mistakes, and it looks bad. The sweet spot is hard because inevitably, players figure out how to "trigger" the mistakes of the AI and then the game seems easy. And that's just FPS AI. RTS AI and anything involving team dynamics (like CTF), it gets even harder.

#3 - programming and dumbing it down for consoles. Compare: Deus Ex, Deus EX: Invisible War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The first, on PC, programmed for gameplay over graphics = phenomenal. The second, programmed for the console and graphics over gameplay, = a steam pile of shit. The third, programmed for console but for later gen consoles and with an eye towards trying to redeem the franchise's gameplay? Somewhere in the middle, good game, but still not up to the gameplay quality of the first.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825115)

If they are delivered that way, I don't care what they cost. But yes, sooner, please.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825307)

Trust me, give her some time to lose the baby weight. You DO NOT want to see that in a bikini right now.

Re:So... (2)

uncqual (836337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825571)

Thank god I read this comment just as the doorbell rang - I won't answer it. Yes, it could be FedEx, but best not to take chances.

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825177)

Exactly, this is obviously written by someone who doesn't know much about game developent, or how to break out of clichés.
If you want to read on how to evolve games from someone competent I recommend the Dev Blog [] from Frictional Games. (The dudes that made Pnenumbra and Amnesia.)
The have spent a lot of time thinking about how to avoid clichés, even if they aren't always succesful.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825327)

I'm not an unreasonable man; you can forego the bikini if you like.

Re:So... (3, Funny)

jm007 (746228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825339)

In the spirit of helping out, I'm willing to beta-test the delivery system for free.


Re:So... (0)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825363)

Yes, I would.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825369)

No, he's saying that instead of spending tons of money making games LOOK and SOUND better, they should spend that money on making games PLAY better.

  -- 77IM

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825441)

That's too hard. It's much easier to just throw another few million at the developers and tell them to make more detailed models. Major publishers are terrified of making games that don't play exactly the same as the last big hit.

Nethack (4, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825401)

You want them to make games much more complex--with completely destructible environments, near limitless borders, better AI, more complex NPC's, etc.

Like Nethack!

But you also want them to be CHEAPER? Okay.

Nethack is free!

And you complain about how long it takes to develop a triple-A title, so I guess you also want them SOONER too, huh?

Nethack will be available twenty-five years ago!

Go Nethack!

All joking aside, roguelikes exhibit this kind of complexity, yet it takes quite a bit of time for them to develop that complexity (tangent: are roguelikes gaming wine?), and that's with ascii art. Once you have graphics, you lose the justification for "use your imagination" and have to have different graphics for the 9000 different objects in the loot table, etc.

Also most people don't really have the time for that kind of game unless it's the only game they play.

That said, I wouldn't mind!

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825405)

Alternatively they could stop making the same tired 1st/3rd person shooters with the exact same set of escort and assault missions played out across a costly yet unimaginative set of levels, and instead come up with a new game concept that doesn't need NPC AI, complex physical simulations, and destructible environments.

Pacman has none of those things and it is still better than 99.9% of the shit that gets released these days.

Re:So... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825953)


Most modern games I find boring unless it has a really strong story (like the offline Final Fantasy games) to keep me involved. I grow tired of level-after-level of FPS that eventually blur together.

Re:So... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825429)

Beat me to it..... yes all the suggestions would increase development time and cost.

IMHO if the problem is expensive artists..... just have a few on staff. True the worlds my be a little more pixelated but so what? Im not paying on hundred for a game. Heck right now I only pay nineteen typical.

On the other hand maybe Im just being too cheap.
If NES games cost fifty then todays game would natualy be ninty one through dollar devaluation.....

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825477)

>> Perhaps you would also like to have them hand-delivered to your house by Natalie Portman in a bikini?

And tell her to bring beer.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825645)

And tell her to bring beer.

...I thought it was hot grits?

Re:So... (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825505)

Want? Yes. Expect? No.

But just because we won't get everything we want doesn't mean we shouldn't identify common failings in games and suggest some possible solutions.

Re:So... (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825523)

I get your point, but TFA actually does list at least one cliche that could easily die AND not (significantly) increase cost: NPCs without self-preservation instinct.

I really can't remember how long it's been since I've actually seen an NPC run away.

Re:So... (1)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825627)

Minecraft animals do this now. The monsters just want your brainz.

Re:So... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825795)

The first 2 Fallout games would do this. If an NPC got wounded, they would run away.

Re:So... (2)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825829)

The more I think about that list, the more fond I am of the Mount & Blade series.

The world needs more sandbox games. One makes the story with freedom and imagination. Create a simulation and let it run, tweak the fun/boring/grinding elements.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825893)

I've seen it done on custom NWN servers just fine although some people thought it was frustratingly annoying: both when the monsters ran away and when they coordinated to kill you efficiently.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825947)

Fallout 3. Human NPCs will run away once you beat them within an inch of their lives. The problem is that is only a temporary reaction, they will eventually come back for more (with much less of a health pool). I would prefer that NPCs make the early decision of whether or not their chances of success are worth the risk and avoid confrontation when they determine that an attack is too risky. A game could even have NPCs initiate a different type of encounter with the player when they determine that an attack would fail.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825577)

Yeah... because all of those things are "programming" and not lots of voice work/art.

The article is saying that games have gone the of films. Shit. Expensive. Bland. The money men turn more and more to punishing their own customers rather than making good products.

Re:So... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825601)

But you also want them to be CHEAPER? Okay.

if the major game publishers weren't so damn greedy, they would already be cheaper -- and still make a respectable profit (if the game was worth anything to begin with).. but no.. they just have to make their money back, and then some, the first 3 days on the market, thus the $60+ price tags

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825643)

You took everything way out of context to the point of turning your post into a whiny bitch fest. Either that or youre so dense you have absolutely NO idea what that article was even about and instead of actually reading it you just skimmed the headline and took the pretentious road and started saying shit you had no idea what you were talking about.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825653)

I've mentioned this many times before. We're going to have a bubble burst here pretty soon.

I've heard it stated the entry level for a AAA title is $15 million, with the average AAA game costing $25 million to develop. Some games like GTA IV cost north of $100 million.

Very few console games sell more than 1 million copies. For instance, only 25 titles have ever reached that mark on the PS3. []

NES games cost $50 back in 1985, which is over $100 in today's dollars. We expect far more from a game now while we're willing to spend far less, and yet consumers constantly complain that games are too expensive.

Now, I hear rumors today that EA is about to be bought out. Do people realize game developers often work 80 hour weeks without paid overtime? Do they realize developers keep going bankrupt?

Sure, EA is the devil and people may relish in publishers going bankrupt, but without developers we don't have games. I'd rather not see all my favorite developers out of work.

Re:So... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825955)

O)ne problem, EA is a publisher, not a developer.

EA just sets the Profit margin of 75% and the deadline of "Yesterday" so devs have to cut things short.

Re:So... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825711)

Cars get faster, safer, cheaper.
Computers as well. Even if the game stays the same on better hardware it should run better and do more with less effort.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825815)

I think the point of the article was that so many resources have been thrown into making games prettier and with bigger booms, but some of those resources should be redirected into other areas. NPC's in particular- I don't think it would be all that hard to clean up some of their most silly behavior, which will prevent you falling out of the world's immersion. Destructible environments could be enabled by having most of the heavy lifting done at the engine level. A lot of the complaints were also just about designers using their noggin a little bit- don't make a player watch a major event unfold "helplessly" through a glass window when he is armed to the teeth, or make a chain link fence some kind of impenetrable wall.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825857)

Well said. You get what you pay for. I for one, wouldn't think twice about paying $100 for a game that I could play for 20 hours (or 200 hours). At 20 hours, that is $5/hour, which is a lot cheaper than many entertainment choices.

Not everybody is a geeky teen living in their mom's basement with no job except the 20 hours/week you get at McDonalds.

Graphics and sound are now a cliche (5, Funny)

finlandia1869 (1001985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825123)

I'd say that burning too much time and money on graphics, sound, FMV, and voice acting at the expense of mechanics, plot and bug-freeness has become a cliche in and of itself.

Obviously the solution is to go back to text-based gaming. OK, fine, EGA and the PC speaker.

Re:Graphics and sound are now a cliche (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825409)

It always surprises me how big budgets are for "AAA" titles when those budgets involve huge outlays for things like licensing technology (the notoriously bad Havok physics engine, graphics engines like Unreal, or audio engines like FMOD... Hell, there are even engines for MENUS... and guess who owns Scaleform? Autodesk! Enjoy haggling licensing terms with those sharks). Frequently all these huge cash expenditures look like checking items off a list without even questioning whether or not it would be cheaper to just build the damn thing in house (and as an added benefit license it when you're done).

Just look at Hawken. They did something amazing in an indie space without ever once having to blow cash on something they didn't need.

Re:Graphics and sound are now a cliche (2)

Swarley (1795754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825695)

Physics engines. I've seen too many otherwise excellent games absolutely crippled by their lazy reliance on a physics engine for things that don't actually work well that way. Watching enemy corpse ragdolls fly across the room is hilarious. Watching your valuable health, ammo, XP pickups sail over impassable barriers because some retarded dev decided that it would be "so super cool if those things had physics" is much less awesome. It's so easy to just click the "apply physics" check box without even thinking if it's going to make your game more fun or worrying about what it's going to mean for gameplay.

Print/All one page link (0)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825161)

Here. [] Wish they'd just do that in the summary.

Tower Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825211)

About a half-hour of watching the travesty that is "G4" (the rotted remains of TechTV) is enough to convince me that the whole "tower defense" cookie-cutter needs to be destroyed, with prejudice.

It's almost like modern games are picked from a checklist of approved "genres." "Tower Defense" would be one of them.

So, wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825239)

I'm not supposed to be looking for a successor to Portal2, Just cause2,GTA4,etc?

Next page? Nah. Next site. (1)

egandalf (1051424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825261)

Sorry, I got to the point where I had to click on the next page to continue reading the article and bailed. It just wasn't interesting enough to put up with that.

Re:Next page? Nah. Next site. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825485)

You could just click on the print version [] .

Re:Next page? Nah. Next site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825783)

I gave up on the next page and came to slashdot for that link, but it didn't work.

Scripted Scenes
Conveniently Indestructable Objects
Mandatory Success
Fetch Quests & The Chosen One
Oblivious NPCs

Geometric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825269)

I like how the article describes the cost of making a game is rising exponentially, when the graphic they show below describes it as geometrically.

And I'd like a pony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825279)

As an engineer who's been in the game industry for 7 years at this point, this just reads like another one of those articles that was written by people who know less than nothing about what it takes to actually get a game to market, less than nothing about the sort of engineering issues presented by ejecting these so-called "clichés", and on top of that wants you to solve all of these nearly intractable problems without affecting the price of the game.

Sure, and I'd like a pony.

Re:And I'd like a pony (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825451)

It costs money to avoid unskippable cut scenes?
How about this, let me skip all the bullshit logos at the beginning of the game and we can call that already a huge win. Then you go look at halflife and see how you can not have cutscenes. The Portal series would also be good for you to check out.

Re:And I'd like a pony (1)

rykin (836525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825649)

From my experience, the unskippable logos at the beginning are actually there because the game is loading and they're nicer to look at than a progress bar. For example, Halo 1 for the Xbox: if you deleted the opening.bik it would display a Loading #% screen instead of the openng video.

Re:And I'd like a pony (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825763)

Nice to look at once, maybe twice, but not every time I load the game. I'd rather look at a progress bar.

Re:And I'd like a pony (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825883)

From my experience, the unskippable logos at the beginning are actually there because the game is loading and they're nicer to look at than a progress bar.

That'll be why the disk light stops flashing while it's playing the 'We paid megabucks to license the Whatsit Engine' video and why the game loads much faster when I can skip through those videos.

Re:And I'd like a pony (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825851)

It costs money to avoid unskippable cut scenes?

We paid Famous Hollywood Actor X $20,000,000 to record that inane and repetitive dialog explaining things you don't care about and you are damn well going to get our money's worth!

To paraphrase Aliens, when I'm playing an FPS the only thing I want to know is where's the next thing to shoot. I don't give a damn about the silly story the game company made up to explain why I'm shooting them and I certainly don't want to be forced to listen to a twenty minute history of the war between the H'azafa and T'fasdgatwerty before I get to shoot something else.

Re:And I'd like a pony (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825913)

I won't claim to know anything about getting a game to market.

But I also have proof that knowing how to get a game to market doesn't mean you know jack shit about making a decent game. Just go look at any new game shelf; more than half of it is utter garbage, and for the console du jour, upwards of 80% can be hacked together crap.


Here's my list: (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825289)

- Make the story good. I still go back and play my SNES RPGs. Why? Good stories.
- Let me skip cut scenes. Always always always. If I'm going back through the game, or redoing a part, etc, and you make me watch the scene, you're pissing me off.
- Look at what people get addicted to these days: draw something, angry birds, minecraft... it doesn't have to be some super beautiful in-depth game.

Re:Here's my list: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825563)

- Make the story good.
- Look at what people get addicted to these days: draw something, angry birds, minecraft...

/me facepalms

/me sighs deeply

/me prepares for another generation of shallow games made by committees and focus groups

Seriously, could you try NOT being your own parody of what gamers want for even ONE post?

That's not even wrong... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825297)

"Exponential cost curves are, by definition, unsustainable over the long term."

Which definition is that now?

The monkey who wrote TFA says a lot of dumb things that you can almost agree with, but it boils down to "developers need to cut down their costs by making games with more content and better technology in less time."

Cracked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825337)

Did someone dig up an old article?

Biggest Clichés (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825341)


I think a new game controller layout with possibly random input response would really freshen up the gaming genre.

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825427)

It's a feature I could really live without.

Mandatory unskippable middleware ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825435)

The players don't fscking care whether your games use physics engine X as opposed to Y. It's not as if we get a say in the matter or use that information as a basis of our next purchase.

Right, that'll work. (5, Interesting)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825483)

Show me a $5 mobile game with the depth and length of a good AAA title, and I'll agree there's no point in spending $60 for games (where did the $80-$100 figure come from? Only collectors' editions cost that much, and even they are often less). Also, it has to have good controls. Not "well, this is pretty good for a mobile game", but actually good. I've bought all of five games on my iPhone. Two were terrible (Scribblenauts, Angry Birds), two were ports (Chrono Trigger and Vay), and one was a decent time-waster (7 Words). Certain types of games can work pretty well on a phone or tablet, but it's a small subset of what works on PCs or consoles. And, unfortunately, the games that work well on mobile devices don't seem to be the same games as the ones I actually want to play.

The first poster did a good job pointing out that the added complexity the article wants will cost more, not less. I would like to point out that these cliches aren't universal, but there are problems with trying to "solve" them. I'll use "mandatory missions" for my example, alongside the article's example of Wing Commander.

Wing Commander allowed you to progress through the story while failing every mission. Your ending would suck, but that should be expected. It was a neat idea. There were a two major problems with that, though. Orion discovered that most people never saw the "failed" paths, because people would restart missions until they succeeded. People want a sense of accomplishment, and failing a mission doesn't give that. The other big problem was the added complexity. When they set out to make Wing Commander II, they wanted a much larger, more expansive plot. It became much too difficult and costly to create all the possible branching paths, cutscenes, and script if they followed the same formula as Wing Commander. So they cheated. There are less branching paths than in the first one, but the result is a game with a better-structured story.

There's also a side issue with allowing players to fail missions: You can game the system. If you just want to see the good ending of Wing Commander, all you have to do, IIRC, is play four missions. For every other mission, just eject as soon as you have control of your ship. Want to see the bad ending? Just eject on every mission! You can finish the game in just a few minutes, this way.

I also feel like allowing a failed mission takes something away from the experience. It's more realistic, but what's the point of beating that really hard level if you can just fail it and move on to the next one?

In the end, as I mentioned earlier, and as others have as well--I'm not sure how adding complexity is going to somehow magically drop down the price of games, or make them shorter to develop. I would also like to point out that games right now are cheaper than the SNES or N64 days. Heck, even NES games retailed at $50, and that's before you take inflation into account. I'm not sure where this "gaming is too expensive these days!" myth came from.

Re:Right, that'll work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825705)

Uhmm....technically its only 1/5th of the game, but the new Walking Dead game's first episode is 5 bucks. And although they did use the same game engine they did for their Back to the Future game(possibly graphics engine too), they at least redid all the textures to give it a unique Walking Dead kind of comic feel to it. Very awesome game, 5 dollar price tag, and it was fun to play. It is very easily possible as long as people stop raping others on license fees. I understand the need to make money off of your product, but hey try this. The game and graphics engine you designed for your game, its yours for 5 years. For that five years(hell, maybe even a shorter time period, I'm not a big gamer or expert, but I'm pretty sure most profits on a big game are made when it first comes out anyway) you own them, you can license them or hold them and be like, mine, not yours. But after that five years, its public domain. So either you can be a risky company pushing the boundaries and reaping the proportionate reward for being a pioneer and designing your new engines constantly, or you can play it safe and make a fun game you know will sell with existing older engines. Its not like anyone's making millions off PS2 now adays, but its still got games out there generating revenue for people. Time to reorganize, if we're gonna have new shit every year, lets start taking that into account with profit-gouging and patents.

Re:Right, that'll work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825747)

Yeah, the "cliches" were all interesting, nice to have things. I didn't read the introduction, but if that was complaining about the cost of games, it seems totally unrelated to the bulk of the story.

Re:Right, that'll work. (1)

RykerrK (1898308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825781)

Actually, I believe they were alluding to the prices of games on the horizon; this is the rumored prices of games, brand-new, for the consoles currently being developed.

You know. The fully-digital game distro consoles. Where everyone no longer has the ability to resell. And don't physically own anything they purchase.

Yeah. Those games. Because $80 for that isn't the privilege we deserve... but the privilege we need.

Re:Right, that'll work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825797)

Show me a $5 mobile game with the depth and length of a good AAA title, and I'll agree there's no point in spending $60 for games

Binding of Isaac on steam. Game only cost $5 and I;ve got over 60 hours in it. Seen new DLC will be coming out (which is only $2 btw) and I'm sure many more hours will be added to that.

Open Source Art Resources (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825519)

"Tube" (a movie) is doing it. Why can't studios? Re-use the art assets from game to game, or release them for free so others can use them/upgrade them.
If the cost is because of incredibly high art expenditures for detailed worlds, then the cost has to go down somehow.

I;m sure someone from the game industry can give a few more insights than my layman's notions, though.

Re:Open Source Art Resources (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825609)

Having a bunch of games that look the same sounds awful to me.

Original NES (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825533)

from scripted sequences to impossibly incompetent NPCs, and how they might be solved

You must be under the age of 30 to say that. The original NES, the first major standard ever created, thrived on making games that were cheap, painfully difficult (Battletoads, anyone?), and wasn't advertisement supported. The reason the industry is suffering is the same reason everything turns to crap: Money.

Producers have gotten the notion in their head that they don't just expect profit, that it's an inalienable right. Take linux for example; There are hundreds of command-line based programs that are there, for free, that can be combined and manipulated to perform almost any basic function. In the windows world, I'm expected to pay $30 for an application that can rename multiple files at once. It gets worse when they see dollar signs in advertising revenue.

Imagine Super Mario Brothers if it were made today; The entire first level would be a tutorial where it cheers everytime you press 'A', gives you an 'achievement unlocked' after you stomp 10 goombas, and at the end of the level asks you to 'upgrade' to a Premium Mario that would start every level in 'fireball mario' mode for only $9.99. Especially in MMOs -- microtransactions now mean you can buy levels, gears, whatever you want. Some guy who slaved through all the levels gets no respect when some 14 year old with daddy's credit card comes in, curb stomps him, and then steals all his hard-earned equipment, which he just drags to the trash anyway, because hey, I can just buy it with real money. ha ha!

Good games are about personal achievement, and being difficult enough to be a challenge without becoming tedious. Good games are intuitive and don't require a three hour introduction, and they are immersive experiences; You're thinking about your next move, not wondering if there's any way to unlock that next level without spending a weeks' worth of groceries on upgrades.

No... Money is what ruined games; Businesses don't look at it as providing entertainment anymore, it's revenue, it's eyeballs for advertisers.. they aren't selling a product anymore: You are the product of the modern game. And it shows: The quality of modern games is shit.

Re:Original NES (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825693)

...In the windows world, I'm expected to pay $30 for an application that can rename multiple files at once...

Search for the free program named "RName-It". You can rename multiple files, add/replace sections of multiple filenames, add sequential numbers to multiple filenames, etc. It's an awesome program.

Re:Original NES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825751)

The Atari VCS predates NES by a number of years.

The "industry" isn't suffering, it declares record profits year after year. So what if a few stinker titles flop. That's life! The publishers have no right to vast profits. Gaming has all but destroyed the music industry by taking disposable income away from them.

The quality of the modern game is hardly shit, irrespective of your chosen genre. Go and play old 8 or 16 bits, they're fun for a bit and get boring very fast. If you aren't into today's games, you won't be into yesteryear's either, just living off fond memories. So what, you're no longer a gamer. Piss off and do something else you miserable git.

Re:Original NES (4, Informative)

Yosho (135835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825849)

Imagine Super Mario Brothers if it were made today;

I know it doesn't make as good of a strawman argument, but I think it'd probably end up a lot like, oh, New Super Mario Bros. []

Re:Original NES (0)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825863)

Some guy who slaved through all the levels gets no respect when some 14 year old with daddy's credit card comes in, curb stomps him, and then steals all his hard-earned equipmen

If you want respect, stop playing so many goddamn video games!

Re:Original NES (2)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825935)

Producers have gotten the notion in their head that they don't just expect profit, that it's an inalienable right.

The video game industry has always been about maximizing profits. Nintendo games weren't that cheap back in the day and people would waste money on crap all the time.

DLC is a new cliche that needs to die. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825567)

DLC is fast becoming a gaming cliche and needs to die off. Everytime you buy DLC you tell developers.....

I want to pay more than 60 dollars for my game.

I want to buy something that I will never own. I will pay for content I cant trade, sell, or give away.

I want my games chopped into small pieces and sold me to seperately over the MSRP price of the main game.

I am fine with paying for a inferior product because DLC is never as good as the original.

I want to pay for something that more than likely wont be availible to me in 5 or 10 years if I want to go back and play it.

I want features sold as dlc. Like how tecmo is selling a difficulty setting for ninja gaiden 3 as dlc.

I want endings sold as dlc. Like how square is selling the ending for final fantasy 13-2 as dlc.

I want content on my game disc I paid for to cost me extra. Like how capcom sells on disc dlc as extra.

I want content on day 1 that should be a part of my game I bought. Like how bioware put content out on mass effect 3's first day.

Every single time you buy DLC you are telling developers and publishers that. Now DLC is almost expected for everything and becoming its own cliche.

Re:DLC is a new cliche that needs to die. (2)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825841)

Preorder bonuses and special editions

Everyone knows there will be plenty of copies available on release day, so there's no reason to preorder. But Gamestop needs to lock people in (and collect a bit of cash early) so they get the developers to add special preorder bonuses. Preorder today or you won't have all the shiny gear to show off in multiplayer. While you're at it, why don't you pay an extra $50 for a poster, and some dogtags and a cheap statue, all in a bigger box with foil highlights.

incredibly dumb article. (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825613)

leaving aside the fact that it argues for more realism and complexity that consumes less resources and costs less (i.e. MAGIC), it also rails against a lot of the elements that make games, games. be careful what you wish for.

do you really want open-ended plotlines where the player truly controls the direction of the plot? there are real problems to that approach. dramatic fiction (which is a huge element to the appeal of, say, RPGs) depends on a cogent story being told. one thing must logically lead to the next. stakes should rise as the game progresses. events should build to a climax. that sort of thing. if you give the player true agency in their decisions, you have to actually program a compelling story for every possible choice. assuming finite resources, the problem here ends up a choice between either coding a tiny number of "alternate endings", or giving the player a large number of plot-inconsequential choices. personally, i'd rather have one great story than a handful of prefabbed ones riffing on the same theme. and i dislike games that pretend they're giving me a choice when all roads lead to the same place anyway. it's a silly dance. if your'e making a game where the story element is important, tell a good story. the choose-your-own-adventure books were fun when i was a kid, but so incredibly limited in narrative potential. games shouldn't try to emulate that model.

another stupid gripe from that article concerns indestructible objects and other walls and limitations designers wisely implement in order to keep things actually fun and balanced. games are not intended to simulate reality. levels are carefully balanced to provide a stimulating challenge. pac-man would not have been improved by letting him smash through the walls of the maze. the best games, of course, do a good job of blending the walls of their maze into the scenery. but those same walls exist in every game, in the form of unkillable NPCs, an out-of-order staircase, or a thousand other incarnations.

Re:incredibly dumb article. (2, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825765)

"incredibly dumb article"

^ This is the most accurate thing that can be said. The article was the dumbest thing I've read about gaming in a long, long time. The thesis: "Games are too expensive so you should add exponentially more complexity to make them cheaper" is obviously a non-starter. And yes, the indestructible objects item was a low point:

"Ideally, let's just get rid of invulnerable structures, period... Giving players the freedom to re-shape terrain does create certain challenges, but not as many as you might think. There's a reason why soldiers in the real world don't go around firing rocket launchers inside of buildings or hurling blocks of C4 at the opposing side.... At the same time, destructible environments open up more avenues for players to experiment and have fun inside the game."

Translation: Players must be able to blow up literally everything, including entire buildings. It's OK because even if you spend the colossal effort to make it possible, players won't do it because there are drawbacks. Except that players definitely will do it because it's fun.

Totally incoherent.

What an idiotic article (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825675)

Scripted sequences exist for a reason and some of the greatest games ever used them heavily. This is like saying hollywood should stop using the soundtrack.

Video Games Have Crashed Before (4, Insightful)

deweyhewson (1323623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825723)

People seem to forget, or never learned, that the gaming market has crashed before; in the 1980s, to be precise. And why? Because loads of shovelware titles were being released to capitalize on gamers' increasing willingness to buy them, while development costs were skyrocketing, and every other game was a ripoff of another title that came before it. Sound familiar?

Eventually all the bloat collapsed in on itself and the market for video games nearly died.

Personally, I'm of the opinion another video gaming crash may not be such a bad thing. The price of games is already many times over that of other forms of media (would you buy a typical book or movie for $60?), while development costs are starting to outpace even most big studio movie productions. Ingenuity and creativity are among the casualties, while developers and publishers are trying every way under the Sun to extract as much money as possible from customers, from activation limits, to invasive DRM, to serious considerations to kill used game sales (a first sale right that extends to every other product on the market, yet gaming companies seem to think they, somehow, should be a special exception). Financially, the market is booming, while creatively, it is dying.

Without the gaming crash of the 1980s, we never would have had Nintendo. I'd like to see what major boons would come out of another crash.

Everyone's missing the real problem (1)

RykerrK (1898308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825835)

...That being the needless pagination of the source article. Three paragraphs, next page?

Nah. I'm cool.

Bring Back "Game Over" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825873)

There's no such thing as "Game Over" anymore. Its always unlimited tries and if you plug away for enough hours you will eventually see the ending.

I miss the days where seeing the ending was kind of a big deal because it was something you achieved rather than simply eventually got to because you played for long enough.

$100 game with MIT certificate (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825885)

Something that's escaped all of the online courses is learning through gamification [] .

In real life, learning is growth - we learn something, it's useful, then we incrementally learn something more useful. There's a reward at every stage.

In online courses, there is no reward - instead of pursuit of goals it's a continuous escape from penalties. It's the exact opposite of what makes a game fun. The MITx "Circuits and Electronics" course is exactly this way: it's a continuous stick instead of a carrot. Get the homework done before the time limit.

Video games are typically a series of tedious, repetitive tasks. They're also structured to give the player a reward for progression - and as a consequence, the player has fun (Everquest comes to mind). Slot machines are the same way: tedious repetitive actions which have no benefit to the player whatsoever - except that the tasp one gets from hitting a minor jackpot is enjoyable enough to be worth the cost.

I would happily pay $100 for an online course structured as a game, something which would teach me something. For example, the "Circuits and Electronics" course could be structured as a bank account (a game score) in which the "player" (student) could accrue money by completing assignments presented by the system. Accrue enough money and the system would unlock the next level of study materials - proceed to the next chapter.

Add some color and the entire journey would be pleasant and rewarding.

Example: A mad scientist wants to get his lightning-moat working, and he believes there's a problem in *this* circuit (shown) where the designer got the transconductance calculation wrong. He offers $20 Mechanicsburg dollars for the right answer. You need $70 more to gain the title "advanced minion".

I would pay $100 for that in a heartbeat.

Their AAA cost numbers are too low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825889)

$20 million is cheap for a modern AAA game. Most of them cost more like $40-$70 million, with a similar amount spent on marketing.

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