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Lies, Damned Lies, And Gaming Statistics

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the above-average-amount-of-arms dept.

Privacy 40

Thanks to the IGDA for pointing to a recent Chris Crawford-authored piece discussing the unreliability of statistics that reveal an ever-more diverse gaming public. The piece cites a recent Entertainment Software Association study and suggests that, because they don't reveal their methods or sources, "...the ESA results are unscientific. We can't place any confidence in them because we have no idea what they really mean. It doesn't matter how representative the sample is or how large it is or even if the researchers wore white lab coats." The ever-controversial Crawford goes on to argue that "Games people are smarting about the tawdry, unhealthy image that their industry suffers", and then offers a way out: "What's especially sad about this is that the solution to these problems is obvious: start making respectable games."

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First Slashdot Troll Investigation(And First Post) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7384921)

The last few months I have been doing some research into the trolling phenomenon on slashdot.org. In order to do this as thoroughly as possible, I have written both normal and troll posts, 1st posts, etc., both logged in and anonymously, and I have found these rather shocking results:

  • More moderator points are being used to mod posts down than up. Furthermore, when modding a post up, every moderator seems to follow previous moderators in their choices, even when it's not a particularly interesting or clever post [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]. There are a LOT more +5 posts than +3 or +4.
  • Logged in people are modded down faster than anonymous cowards. Presumably these Nazi Moderators think it's more important to burn a user's existing karma, to silence that individual for the future, than to use the moderation system for what it's meant for : identifying "good" and "bad" posts (Notice how nearly all oppressive governments in the past and present do the same thing : marking individuals as bad and untrustworthy because they have conflicting opinions, instead of engaging in a public discussion about these opinions)
  • Once you have a karma of -4 or -5, your posts have a score of -1 by default. When this is the case, no-one bothers to mod you down anymore. This means a logged in user can keep on trolling as much as he (or she) likes, without risking a ban to post on slashdot. When trolling as an anonymous user, every post starts at score 0, and you will be modded down to -1 ON EVERY POST. When you are modded down a certain number of times in 24 hour, you cannot post anymore from your current IP for a day or so. So, for successful trolling, ALWAYS log in.
  • A lot of the modded down posts are actually quite clever [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org], funny [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org], etc., and they are only modded down because they are offtopic. Now, on a news site like slashdot, where the number of different topics of discussion can be counted on 1 hand, I must say I quite like the distraction these posts offer. But no, when the topic is yet another minor version change of the Linux kernel [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org], they only expect ooohs and aaahs about this great feat of engineering. Look at the moderation done in this thread [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org] to see what I mean.
  • Digging deep into the history of slashdot, I found this poll [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org], which clearly indicates the vast majority does NOT want the moderation we have here today. 'nuff said.

Re:First Slashdot Troll Investigation(And First Po (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7385006)

I have to ask why I'm bothering, but the fact that some weirdo has modded this troll up means I somehow can't leave it alone.

"A lot of the modded down posts are actually quite clever [slashdot.org], funny [slashdot.org], etc., and they are only modded down because they are offtopic"

Yes, thats true. And absolutely right. Wander offtopic, and you'll get hit with the modstick, and thats the way I like it; /. is enough of a mess as it is without having to deal with the wandering nature of random people repeatedly posting things they thing interesting irrespective of the topic at hand.

Re:First Slashdot Troll Investigation(And First Po (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7385015)

you want to know something?

you are a loser, a jerk, and fucking homo. suck my anus you human bidet piece of shit

you fucking god damn geobbels georing mixture of communist and fascist motherfucker, CENSORSHIP fucker!

This is just another example of spineless crap moderation here on /. Slashdot has denigrated. The users are little terrorists in thier own right, raising 'jihad' (to use a loser term - understood best by losers) against intellect and those without populist opinions. Your sweaty thirteen year old fingers clicking away on your Microsoft and iMac mice legislating mediocrity. Redundant? Troll? Flamebait? Whatever. Most probably vexing because its true.

Mao Tse Tung, Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Pinochet, Mussolini, Marshall Joseph Tito, Slobodan Milosevic, Idi Amin, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Juan Peron, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ferdinand Marcos, General Suharto, Pol Pot, Fransisco Franco, and certainly the worst of the bunch, SLASHDOT's editing/moderating [read: censoring] "community"(*) ALL AGREE on ONE THING:

CENSORSHIP WORKS!

(*)Note, the word community used often on Slashdot, this is referring to a proto communist commune.

So, you busy little plebian proletariats, get busy, you have some censoring to do! FUN! Do the bidding of your fat, undisciplined masters who never subject themselves to peer review.

Good job you little neo-commies. Don't want to hear the other side, shoot the fucker in the head as an ENEMY OF THE STATE [In this case anyone who seeks to improve the sad state of /.].

A few haikus to commemorate the sucktitude:
Crack Pipe Moderators
Crack smoke wafts though air
Dumb shit moderator!
Try to suck less, please

The Humorless Moderator
Crack smoke wafts through air
Humorless moderator!
Why do you hate me?

The Proletariat
Slashdotting Commie
Moderator fears new idea!
Censor him quickly

The reason China blocked Slashdot is that when Jiang Xemin saw at how good "The Editors" at Slashdot are at suppressing the community, he knew that if more of his party members saw this degree of suppressive efficacy, he would be deposed, for the good of the people, of course, in favor of Rob Malda as the all new supreme dictator and premier of China.

Get busy moderating this down, you little pack of obedient prefects of the corrupt state! You are the vanguards of purity, and dissent is not allowed!

There are an inordinate number of +5 Funnies that wouldn't get a laugh at a hyena ranch. /. it's like what you get with any nonprofit oligarchical organization. They tend to be run like the Chinese Communist Party, i.e., they just can't abide anybody who actually wants to belong to a democratic organization. How many nonprofits hold elections where there's only one candidate? And the reason is simple. They don't want anybody getting into office who actually disagrees with them. They are, after all, agenda based organizations. Sadly, Slashdot leans just far enough in that direction that it's easy to mistake them for Linux/Open Source proponents, anti-MS zealots, believers in the superiority of the engineering mentality, or other related biases. I'm not sure this is more than a perception, but it really wouldn't bother me if someone suggested they change their name to Slantdot.


MODERATORS Crack smoke wafts though air - Dumb shit moderator - Try to suck less, please
KAZAA Fuck R I A A - Network sold behind their backs - Stupid fucking cunts
Slashdot, Where Editors come to SUCK (C) (R) ?
HAIKUS
Haiku: to the Slashfags. Fuck slash editors - The cumlicking fags they are - I shit upon them
TACO pondering GOATSE: I stare at the goat - His huge gaping ass so wide - And I want to eat
Haiku: The ancient haiku: - Flame Taco and CowboyNeal - With lame poetry.
CowboyNeal A mountain of fat, - butt cheeks jiggling like Jello. - What an odd poll choice!
CmdrTaco Watching Pokemon - With cum stuck on his goatee. - Newbie loser scum.
Stinky Kathleen Fent Cockeater Taco, - Proposing to Fent online, - I fingered her too.
Rob Malda and Kathleen Fent Chubby breasts, fat ass - Distract us from Rob's boylust. - But they both suck cock!
Taco Tuesday: Too much mexican. - Angry poo, firey hot. - Where's my antacid?
CHOAD licking Taco: Malda in the dark - Swallowing chode for profit - He rips his anus
Fuck KATZ Katz is a Jew - michael is a Mormon - Or is it Timothy?
Martini Fuck off That is fucking good. - I nearly spilt martini - On my nice trousers.
Slap my Ham, rub it off, fuck Spank fast wank it hard - Jerk that dick to Pokemon - Party at Taco's
GOAT I just came again - looking at the goat-see man - more kleenex required
Cock BIRD The Dead Penis Bird - Nailed to the member always - Never falling off
BSD Stare into the night - Sun is setting on your sys - BSD *NOT* dead
Michael Michael User Simms - Sifting through all our comments - Censoring bastard
Klerk Trolltalk hard to read - Information desires - Wideness for us all
Cobalt Really tired now - Off to masturbate to sleep - See you at the day
Humorless Moderator Crack smoke wafts through air - Humorless moderator - Why do you hate me?

=============
The last few months I have been doing some research into the trolling phenomenon on slashdot.org. In order to do this as thoroughly as possible, I have written both normal and troll posts, 1st posts, etc., both logged in and anonymously, and I have found these rather shocking results:


More moderator points are being used to mod posts down than up. Furthermore, when modding a post up, every moderator seems to follow previous moderators in their choices, even when it's not a particularly interesting or clever post . There are a LOT more +5 posts than +3 or +4.

Logged in people are modded down faster than anonymous cowards. Presumably these Nazi Moderators think it's more important to burn a user's existing karma, to silence that individual for the future, than to use the moderation system for what it's meant for : identifying "good" and "bad" posts (Notice how nearly all oppressive governments in the past and present do the same thing : marking individuals as bad and untrustworthy because they have conflicting opinions, instead of engaging in a public discussion about these opinions)

Once you have a karma of -4 or -5, your posts have a score of -1 by default. When this is the case, no-one bothers to mod you down anymore. This means a logged in user can keep on trolling as much as he (or she) likes, without risking a ban to post on slashdot. When trolling as an anonymous user, every post starts at score 0, and you will be modded down to -1 ON EVERY POST. When you are modded down a certain number of times in 24 hour, you cannot post anymore from your current IP for a day or so. So, for successful trolling, ALWAYS log in.

A lot of the modded down posts are actually quite clever, funny, etc., and they are only modded down because they are offtopic or an unpopular viewpoint. Now, on a news site like slashdot, where the number of different topics of discussion can be counted on 1 hand, I must say I quite like the distraction these posts offer. But no, when the topic is yet another minor version change of the Linux kernel, they only expect ooohs and aaahs about this great feat of engineering. Look at the moderation done in Open Source centric to see what I mean. Notice any people taking shots at errata present in Open Source software get slaughtered.

It is a well known, proven by poll FACT indicates the vast majority does NOT want the moderation we have here today.

Re:First Slashdot Troll Investigation(And First Po (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7385024)

nevermind the fact that one can simply change their preferences so that offtopic posts dont go unnoticed. fucking losers, its time for you pathetic amateurs to get off the internet and stop eating you fat, ugly white boys.

It's nice to see people complaing (2, Insightful)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7384932)

Numbers are critical to a game's success and in the past the industry has got the shaft in tracking sales for the most part. The industry-dominating NPD TRSTS don't even include Wal-Mart. Who's fault is that? No idea, but we really need to start modeling Japan's method. Each week they have it down pat.

Re:It's nice to see people complaing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7386668)

That's because Walmart doesn't release numbers to anyone!

tsarkon reports - greased yoda doll in GEEK ASS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7384961)

let me a hollah to all the fat sexless mother fucking pukes that promote gayness and fucktitude on SlashCRAP! WHOOP WHOOP

now for the feature presentation; groung control to maj... i mean, greased yoda doll!

GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP DAVID BOWIE!
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Take your ass grease pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God's love shove up you
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Shove Up
This is Ground Control to Yoda Doll
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose butts you tear
Now it's time to leave the suppository if you dare
"This is Yoda Doll to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm stinking in a most peculiar way
And the ass look very different today
For here am I sitting in an ass can
Far inside the butt
My face is turning blue
And there's nothing I can do
Though I'm past one hundred thousand bowels
I'm feeling very still
And I think my buttship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I ream her very much, she knows"
Ground Control to Yoda Doll
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you hear me, Yoda Doll?
Can you....
"Here am I floating in my ass can
Far inside his Moon
My face is turning blue
And there's nothing I can do."

GNAAggers Unite. join the fucking GNAA niggers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7384994)

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G_____________________________________naann_______ ________G
N_____________________________nnnaa__nanaaa_______ ________A
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A_____________annna_nnnnnan_aan_aa__na__aa________ ________*
G____________nnaana_nnn__nn_aa__nn__na_anaann_MERI CA______N
N___________ana__nn_an___an_aa_anaaannnanaa_______ ________I
A___________aa__ana_nn___nn_nnnnaa___ana__________ ________G
A__________nna__an__na___nn__nnn___SSOCIATION_of__ ________G
G__________ana_naa__an___nnn______________________ ________E
N__________ananan___nn___aan_IGGER________________ ________R
A__________nnna____naa____________________________ ________S
A________nnaa_____anan____________________________ ________*
G________anaannana________________________________ ________A
N________ananaannn_AY_____________________________ ________S
A________ana____nn_________IRC-EFNET-#GNAA________ ________S
A_______nn_____na_________________________________ ________O
*_______aaaan_____________________________________ ________C
um, dolor. Nunc nec nisl. Phasellus blandit tempor augue. Donec arcu orci, adipiscing ac, interdum a, tempus nec, enim. Phasellus placerat iaculis orci. Crasa sit amet quam. Sed enim quam, porta quis, aliquet quis, hendrerit ut, sem. Etiam felis tellus, suscipit et, consequat quis, pharetra sit amet, nisl. Aenean arcu massa, lacinia in, dictum eu, pulvinar ac, orci. Mauris at diam tempor ante ullamcorper molestie. Ut dapibus eleifend ipsum. Nam dignissim.
Pussy Shit fag

* F U C K - H E A D -L O S E R -R A P I S T ! ! * [goatse.cx]
AcccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccS
S /ccccc\ccccccccccccc\cccccccccccc/cccc\cccccccH
S|ccccccc|ccccccccccccc\cccccccccc|cccccc|ccccccI
|ccccccc`.ccccccccccccc|ccccccccc|ccccccc:cccccT
F`cccccccc|ccccccccccccc|cccccccc\|ccccccc|cccccH
Uc\ccccccc|c/ccccccc/cc\\\ccc--__c\\ccccccc:ccccE
Ccc\cccccc\/ccc_--~~cccccccccc~--__|c\ccccc|ccccD
Kccc\cccccc\_-~cccccccccccccccccccc~-_\cccc|cccc
Icccc\_ccccc\cccccccc_.--------.______\|ccc|ccccM
Ncccccc\ccccc\______//c_c___c_c(_(__;cc\ccc|ccccO
Gccccccc\ccc.ccCc___)cc______c(_(____;cc|cc/ccccT
*ccccccc/\c|cccCc____)/cccccc\c(_____;cc|_/cccccH
Dcccccc/c/\|cccC____ FUCKERHEADks ASS c/cc\ccccE
Icccc|ccc(ccc_C_____)\______/cc//c_/c/ccccc\cccoR
Dccccc|cccc\cc|__ccc\\_________//c(__/ccccccc|cc
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Lcccc|cc\_cccccccccc___\ccccccc/_cccccccccc_/c|cU
ECcc|cccccccccccccc/cccc|ccccc|cc\cccccccccccc|cC
ccc|ccccccccccccc|cccc/ccccccc\cc\ccccccccccc|cK
Dccc|cccccccccc/c/cccc|ccccccccc|cc\ccccccccccc|E
Iccc|ccccccccc/c/cccccc\__/\___/cccc|cccccccccc|R
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* F U C K E R * F E L C H E S * A N U S ! ! ! ! *

Respectable Games? (0, Flamebait)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385183)

BS. I don't give a shit if games are respectable or not - I want fun games, that's all.

Re:Respectable Games? (1)

pocopoco (624442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385280)

I thought the same thing before reading the article. However, he isn't saying "tawdry" games shouldn't be made. He's saying that in addition to catering to mainstream wants for things like violence more artistic/off-the-wall/take-a-chance-on-the-concept games should be made which will ultimately benefit the industry for various reasons he outlines afterwards.

Re:Respectable Games? (1)

manazeal (721306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7387768)

I belive that we should give a chance to new ideas the game biz is turning into a rehash of the same old crap over and over.

Re:Respectable Games? (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389358)

You know that, I know that, probably every remotely sane gamer on the planet knows that. Unfortunately it isn't you, me or sane gamers who say which games get made - the blame lies with the publishers, and they tend to be run by suits who haven't got the faintest clue about anything other than counting cash. they certainly haven't got a hope games-wise. And while these ... individuals are in charge, expect more of the same.

Aye, there's the rub. (3, Insightful)

fuzzdawg (671742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385286)

If you look at the most popular games of all time, (I have in mind Tetris, Final Fantasy, Unreal Tournament, GTA, Pac-Man, The Sims, WarCraft, Mario, well, you get the idea . . .) they are all fun. That's the point. But they are all respectable in their own right.

The reason violent and brutal games are fun is because games involve conflict, and the most basic type of conflict is physical violence/confrontation. It is also the easiest type of conflict to understand, and resolve. (Guy is in my way, kill him)

It is much easier to make a game where you have to kill all your enemies, as opposed to make them loyal and win their friendship and love. And besides, most of us do the more complex task in our daily lives anyway.

As far as comparing books and film to video games, the problem is interactivity. A person doesn't make choices in the two proven genres, but games are participatory. The future of game development is going to be intresting, because current game sales have been based on improved technology; not improved gameplay. (ex: UT v UT2003) The proven game genres are going to have to take a back-seat, and be modified to make some fresh ideas. Who would have thought games such as The Sims would have been so successful? What the game business needs is innovation, not this repetitive stagnation.

How that is going to come about has yet to be seen -- I don't have any ideas just yet.

Re:Aye, there's the rub. (3, Informative)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385720)

If you look at the most popular games of all time, (I have in mind Tetris, Final Fantasy, Unreal Tournament, GTA, Pac-Man, The Sims, WarCraft, Mario, well, you get the idea . . .) they are all fun. That's the point. But they are all respectable in their own right.

Almost half of those games don't even rank in the top 20, while games that do (Half-Life, Myst) aren't there. Mario accounts for about 25% of the top 20, though.

It is much easier to make a game where you have to kill all your enemies, as opposed to make them loyal and win their friendship and love. And besides, most of us do the more complex task in our daily lives anyway.

Civilization (and most of it's sequels and derivatives) can be played this way. Obviously, though, it has a more niche appeal than the others. Of course, a handful of the top selling games involve no conflict at all, such as Tetris and Myst.

As far as comparing books and film to video games, the problem is interactivity. A person doesn't make choices in the two proven genres, but games are participatory.

This is also why games tend to get hit by controversy and that controversy tends to stick better than it ever did with music, movies, and books. This is also why controversy stuck with pen & paper RPGs. Still, it has little to do with whether or not they can be considered art, as that's a matter of the people working on them treating them as such.

The future of game development is going to be intresting, because current game sales have been based on improved technology; not improved gameplay. (ex: UT v UT2003)

As far as I knew, UT outsold UT2003, and Unreal outsold UT. Half-Life outsold Quake 3 by quite a bit. Super Mario Bros 1 outsold all other Mario games (though SMB3 is the best selling game never officially bundled with hardware). Doom 3 might be the exception, if it does well, because it has a better name in the mainstream than Quake. There are far more non-gamers that played Doom than Quake.

The proven game genres are going to have to take a back-seat, and be modified to make some fresh ideas. Who would have thought games such as The Sims would have been so successful? What the game business needs is innovation, not this repetitive stagnation.

As with anything else, the stagnation will remain. Movies certainly suffer from it, music suffers greatly, and books slightly less so, but still to a degree. Occasionally there are those rare games that surpass the current genres and/or bring in mass appeal. I am much happier to see Half-Life on the 'top selling games of all time' charts than Myst or the Sims, because it shows that an existing genre can appeal to the masses with some effort on the part of developers. Too many people are complacent to keep doing the same old things, to try to develop something cheaply that will bring in quick cash. The Sims is actually a solid example of this, as once the actual game took off they kept turning out expansion packs that required very little change to the game itself, and brought in tons of cash. Of course, Valve is nearly as guilty with Half-Life, turning out a dozen or so versions of the game over the past 4 years and selling mods developed by fans of the game (though, of course, those fans made a pretty penny in most cases, too).

People tend to go too far into the mindset of 'we need something completely new' instead of realizing that we just need people to tell new stories and create technology that tells the stories better. Even Half-Life's story was fairly derivative of the rest of the genre, with only a few twists and changes, but the technology they developed to tell the story made it a best seller. Of course, Quake 3 was considered better from a technological standpoint, but it's technology was focused around flashy eye-candy rather than story-telling, which is why it came nowhere near the sales numbers.

On the other hand, what are the SMB games really about? Those are the best-selling games of all time, and their story is paper-thin at best, just an excuse for some quick action with the only real objective being to get to the end of the level. Every time you get there, a new level is there for you to do the same. There's no need (in the first SMB game) to defeat a single enemy, you just have to get past them. It's only in the later SMB games that you actually have to defeat some of the enemies (usually bosses), but in SMB1, the best-selling game of all time, you simply had to get past Bowser to save the princess, and then you started another level and tried to get to the end (and some of us flipped both the score and the life counter, just because we could).

Re:Aye, there's the rub. (1)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388178)

the stagnation will remain.... and books slightly less so, but still to a degree.

heh, right... until you go browse the romatic novels. My wife picks up 10 to 20 of them from the local library every week and I swear they are all the same book with just the character names changed.

Re:Aye, there's the rub. (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388380)

heh, right... until you go browse the romatic novels. My wife picks up 10 to 20 of them from the local library every week and I swear they are all the same book with just the character names changed.

Exactly. The same could probably be said about many other genres, but the effort required from one individual to create a book is usually greater than the effort from any single individual to create something in any other medium. Some writers are more prolific than others, some are more formulaic than others, but overall it's one of the most direct forms of media, coming from the author to the reader with little intervention (depending, of course, on the level of involvement from the editors), and even the most derivative of works will often have a voice that is unique to the author.

Given that I've never read a romance novel, I really can't make any claims about them, except that I've never seen anyone actually defend them as being anything more than what everyone claims they are. Given that many authors in that field use psuedonyms, I don't think many of them are given to delusions about what they're writing, either, unlike say John Romero (and his marketing staff) when his team was developing Daikatana.

Re:Aye, there's the rub. (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388435)

oops, pseudonym, not psuedonym, but at least I wasn't completely off (like I originally feared after I hit post and before I looked it up to make sure).

Anyway, many people make the same types of accusations about sci-fi and horror that are often made about romance novels, and it's easy enough to find certain authors and a number of examples that would prove the point that these genres tend to be highly derivative, but the true names in the fields tend to be either very original or bring their own voice to the field in a way that makes the story their own.

Re:Aye, there's the rub. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388673)

There's good reason SMB1 outsold the others. It was a widely distributed bundled deal. You get the NES plus SMB1 and Duck Hunt. We're all familiar with bundling, aren't we?

Re:Respectable Games? (1)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7387923)

Maybe for "respectable" we should substitute "age appropriate." There's a lot of "E for Everyone" games out there that are NOT for everyone. My seven-year-old sees that "E" and knows that's the only kind of game I'll let him play, but he's also learning that just because it's an "E" doesn't mean Dad will let him play it. I'd like to see way more games appropriate for elementary school kids.

I was hoping the Xbox would change things, that it's being so much like a PC would make it easy to port existing kids PC games to the Xbox. So far, that's not happening. Microsoft publishes the Magic Schoolbus games for the PC, but have zero interest in porting them to Xbox; if they won't do it, why should Humongous or The Learning Company port theirs? Not that all kids games have to be educational, but do they have to be about killing other characters? Even Spider-Man does it -- the whole game is about the hero beating up other characters (and it's "E"). So far the only console games I've found that fit the bill are either racing games (and many of them are violent purely to appeal to teens) or insipid (Blinx - who, buy the way, attacks other characters). So even though our household has an Xbox it turns out it's mostly for Mom and Dad; the kids turn to the PC for their games. I guess we bought the Xbox about seven years too soon.

Re:Respectable Games? (2, Insightful)

easychord (671421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389794)

I'm going to sound like horrible Nintendo fan saying this, but you could have bought a Gamecube instead. At least, Nintendo *try* to make games for all ages.

I don't see why you would have problems with games like Mario Sunshine, Pikmin or Super Monkey Ball.

Re:Respectable Games? (1)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389905)

You may be right, and with the recent price drop on the Gamecube... I'll ask Santa :-)

The scientific perspective (1)

neglige (641101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385366)

To sum up the essay by Crawford, he complains that the published results [kensei-con.net] are not scientific. Unfortunately, an original document doesn't seem to be available from the ESA site [theesa.com] , so all we have are a number of websites quoting/summarizing the results. This, of course, is not scientific, since important background information, e. g. definition of terms, is lacking (as Crawford notes correctly).

To be reliable, any measurement or experiment must be repeatable

So far, so good - but this, however, does not mean that they have to published. It would be nice, though. But the repeatability could also be made sure by peer reviewing the experiment. Of course I doubt that the research article was peer reviewed :)

Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics ... (0, Redundant)

milosoftware (654147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385373)

... Delivery Dates and Benchmarks.

Surveys of your friends (2, Interesting)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385447)

This is why you can't take surveys of your friends. If I did the same thing, I'ld get the reverse results, because almost everyone I know plays games more than they read books or go to the movies. Granted, maybe the people I know are wierd since most of them never see movies, but no wierder than his friends, many of which said 'never' to the video game question.

He does make a good pointabout how the ESA survey is flawed, but then he tries to make his survey sound better, and then he falsely accuses the game industry of being 'tawdry'.

For every Betty Bigtits there's a Mickey Mouse [movie]

There are plenty of Mickey Mouse games, way too many I'ld say. Go to Gamestop, look at the PS2 shelf, and count how many Disney games there are. Then count how many "Betty Bigtits" there are. There's one that comes close, BMX XXX, and it's probably not on the shelf anymore because it sucks. It was the game equivalant of "Gigli" for its popularity. There's no other games (Right now, the Lesuire Suit Larry series and the Atati porn games count as much as a 20 year old porno) that come close in terms of 'tawdryness'. Ok, there's Dead or Alive beach volleyball, but there's no nudity, and, unlike any porn movie, it provides fun besides just looking at the girls (girl who played it for months talking her!).

Finally he talks about how the game industry doesn't have enough independent games. While this is a problem, it can't be solved just by telling the game companies to support independent people. Where a book, or even a movie can be made by someone on their own, a game, a full-fledged mainstream competitive game, cannot be. Anyone can write a book, and, to a lesser extent, make a movie that could be competitive (watch "Clerks" sometime, you can tell that the guy had no money when he made it, but it's still a movie you'ld rent from Blockbuster like any other, unlike an independent game you'ld pick up because it's cheap). Untill any random person can make a game, there will be no good independant games.

Typo (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385458)

(girl who played it for months talking her!).

'her'='here'

Re:Typo (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7386075)

'here' is pronounced 'her'

-Nelly

Re:Surveys of your friends (1)

Oddly_Drac (625066) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385905)

"Ok, there's Dead or Alive beach volleyball, but there's no nudity"

I did read somewhere that the next WWF/E game will have a mode where you disrobe your opponent, but I don't like wrestling and I doubly dislike wrestling games.

Re:Surveys of your friends (0)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 10 years ago | (#7390024)

It's going to be the popular "bra and panty" mode...I think first one to be stripped loses (girls only) Wrestling fans want to clarify?

Re: Tawdry is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7386145)

"Tawdry" doesn't mean it has to have full out nudity. He's talking about how alot of games have rather juvenile sexualization of women.

Example: Was it really necessary to add big metallic nipples to the main female character in "Freaky Flyers"? How many girl gamers would be automatically turned off by such imagery on the cover of a game?

How about "Big Motha Truckers"? First it's got a stupid title that only a 16 year old male would get a kick out of, and then smack dab in the middle of the cover art is a chick with big tits. Again, instant turn off to most females.

"Outlaw Volleyball": Check out the game trailers and that's all I need to say.

If guys really need wanking material, why not just rent a porno instead of making such stupid games?

Re:Surveys of your friends (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388182)

"unlike any porn movie, it provides fun besides just looking at the girls"
Oh, I know something fun to do while watching a porno that doesn't involve just looking at the girls...You want to know what?

There is a pretty big indie games scene. (3, Insightful)

illumen (718958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385495)

Very interesting article :)

"""The games biz has nothing like this; we have hobbyists who slap together amateur efforts, and we have big-time people who develop the mainstream products. There's nothing in between, which is one reason why the games industry is so creatively stagnant."""

I do not think that is so true. There are a few independant groups which make wildly popular games. eg Doom, snood, various other 'indies'. Over the last few years the indie game scene has really taken off. I think these people make games for a lot of people not into the mainstream games. For example many of them make games which will run on many computers, not just the latest ones.

A game like snood, for example has gotten very wide public attention(In the multi millions). I've meet a number of non gamer types who have played it. The same with the doom/quake series of games. People who didn't normally play games at that time gave it a go because it was so interesting.

Indie game developers can also afford to make games which do not sell lots of copies, because they are running more efficient businesses. For example instead of making 3-5% of each copy sold they can make 70-90% of each copy sold, and generally make games with much smaller budgets. They rarely do not sell as many copies as the publisher distributed.

Take a look at the igf.com, dexterity.com/forums/. From there you will find lots of indie games, and evidence of such a scene. Check out gametunnel.com, indiegammer.com for reviews of indie games. There are really good original games in there, but also a number of crap games(like other indie, and publisher funded entertainment areas). Also check out ludumdare.com where there are occasionally 48 hour game making comps. Some very interesting ideas have come from there.

Something like the Harvey Keitel effect*1 in pulp fiction is happening in other indie games. One occurance is where one/some of the makers of ufo XCOM are selling a game: Laser Squad Nemesis, http://www.lasersquadnemesis.com/.

*1 Harvey Keitel effect - Having a big name giving more reputation, expertise and funds to an almost unknown group, drawing more attention to it. Like what happened in pulp fiction with Harvey Keitel. Because people knew he was on board, other people agreed to work with them.

Have fun!
holepit.com [holepit.com]

Re:There is a pretty big indie games scene. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7385521)

Although he was in Pulp Fiction, I think you're talking about Reservoir Dogs which came out before PF. I don't think you're getting John Travolta and Sam Jackson because *gasp* Harvey Keitel signed on. Please learn what you're talking about :)

Re:There is a pretty big indie games scene. (1)

illumen (718958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385580)

Maybe it was Reservoir Dogs :) I think Quentin Tarantino said it about PF though. Couldn't find where he said it though, so I can't check.

However neither of them were popular at the time of PF; John Travolta and Sam Jackson. Samuel Jackson was pretty much unheard of, and John Travolta was having a big slump in being in big movies at the time. Harvey Keitel produces movies, in that way he is more of a force, not just his appearance in the movie.

Anyway I think the point is that if there is a bigish name making something, then it leads to other people taking notice, and it can snow ball from there.

Have fun!
holepit.com [holepit.com]

Re:There is a pretty big indie games scene. (2, Interesting)

tigermonkey (670142) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388602)

I do not think that is so true. There are a few independant groups which make wildly popular games. eg Doom, snood, various other 'indies'. Over the last few years the indie game scene has really taken off. I think these people make games for a lot of people not into the mainstream games.

Yeah, but wildly popular in terms of those who have access to the 'Net, and know where to look. How many indie games do you see sold in mainstream stores (like the big retailers) or even specialty stores (like EB or Gamestop)?

Most, if not all, of the games stocking the shelves are from established publishers, or from large corporations (primarily, Microsoft, but once upon a time, IBM did sell games); until indie games can be picked up with some frequency at some place like Target or EB, I don't think indie games will be able to assume a 'mainstream' presence, and I think this is what Mr. Crawford was talking about: making the smaller games more visible at retail level.

Using movies as an example, big studios do distribute smaller, more experimental films; there are also new studios which are willing to take a chance (IFC Films springs immediately to mind). The situation in video games is not the same: either a large publisher is publishing your game, or your game gets buried in a 'shovelware' pack.

Without a big game studio behind an indie game, I don't think the good indie games are going to get the kind of exposure that, say, an indie film or indie music group/album would get. You have whole channels devoted to promoting new, not necessarily mainstream music (MTV2 springs to mind) and new, not necessarily mainsteam film (IFC and Sundance, for example); in the gaming world, you're limited to something like G4...which will only talk to you if you're a big studio or a console developer (at least, I haven't seen a game from, say, Garage Games or Matrix Games on that channel yet). And I think there is enough of a game-playing public which doesn't log onto the Internet religiously which will miss out on the indie game scene, unless they somehow find out where to look for indie titles...

And if a big studio's PR/marketing efforts got behind some kind of clearinghouse for indie titles or some kind of collective of smaller game studios, I think that the gaming public-at-large would have a much better idea of where to start looking for indie games...as well as improving visibility on the retail level.

monkeynova

Re:There is a pretty big indie games scene. (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389344)

'There are a few independant groups which make wildly popular games. eg Doom, snood, various other 'indies'. Over the last few years the indie game scene has really taken off.'

Using Doom as an example isn't saying much. As for Snood, other than my brother who got the game via Spyware, I don't know anyone who played the game in my workplace, in my group of gaming friends, or any one in my family. Saying that a 'million' people downloaded it doesn't mean a 'million' different people played it.

VERY few 'indies' manage to barely scrape together a few hundred dollars and usually go the way of Freeware. Why? Because no one has the time, the money, or the willingness to sift through all the crap because less-than-crap is the best there is for 'indies.'

Errr... what? (2, Insightful)

DarkZero (516460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7385581)

This person seems to be witnessing a completely different reality than myself and all those around me. We've either discovered travel between parallel dimensions or one of us is nuts.

There's another consideration here: why are such polls so common in the games biz? It's not just a marketing slant; everybody in the games industry passionately believes this nonsense. Question this dogma and you'll be regaled with anecdotes of unlikely friends and relatives who are avid game players:

Who passionately believes this? Not only are these statistics the biggest joke on every video game message board, chat room, or website I've ever visited, but if I remember correctly, even gaming magazines like EGM or TV shows like X Play have laughed them off. They're nothing but marketing propaganda and I have yet to see anyone take them to heart outside of a couple of ignorant, overzealous bloggers.

What's especially sad about this is that the solution to these problems is obvious: start making respectable games. There is absolutely no technical or design reason why games have to be so tawdry. Sure, the primary market of adolescent males much prefers the violent rebellious stuff, and the industry can continue to make billions supplying this market. But the games industry needs to learn a lesson that the movie industry and the book industry learned long ago: you gotta push the noble fringe. Every year there are dozens of high-minded movies that get funding. Most lose money, but a few break even. Hollywood is willing to fund these efforts for three reasons:

1. They support the image of cinema as an art form worthy of respect. Sure, Hollywood makes tawdry movies; moviemakers are certainly not above showing some skin to boost sales. But while there are plenty of individually sleazy movies, Hollywood's output taken as a whole is a healthily heterogeneous collection. For every Betty Bigtits there's a Mickey Mouse; Koyaanisqatsi played just down the road from Debbie Does Dallas.


See, this is where we really get into that "parallel dimension" stuff. This man appears to be from a world where games like Grand Theft Auto make up the majority of the titles available. A world where there is no Ico, Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker, Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, Sonic Adventure (and soon Sonic Heroes), Smash Bros., Crash Band--- y'know, I'm gonna stop here, because with every platformer review I've read lately complaining about the "glut of platformers" in the vein of Ratchet & Clank and Wind Waker pushing out all of the other cutesy platformers that are worthy of being played, I could go on for several paragraphs.

This author is apparently also from a world where the top ten list for American game sales isn't frequented by sports titles and platformers, but rather all of these "tawdry" games. In short, a world where BMX XXX sold more than two copies and returned copies of Enter the Matrix aren't cozying up next to E.T.: The Extraterrestrial for the Atari 2600 in a New Mexico landfill. A world where the game that GTA3 dethroned as the king of the North American sales charts for months on end was another tawdry, bloody game, rather than Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. And, finally, a world where no one has tried out unusual, nonviolent games like Disaster Report (Zettai Zetsumei Toshi) and watched them fail miserably along with Ico, Rez, and Ikaruga, or occasionally watched them soar, like Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, Dance Dance Revolution, or this little unknown game that's only released a couple of expansions... what was it called again? Oh yeah, "The Sims". I heard that game sold a couple of copies.

I live in a world where there are not only plenty of respectable games, but at least as many of them as the bloody games. The only place where that differs is in the media, where nightly readers/viewers were once regaled with equally innacurate depictions of the comic book and movie industries, and where the only thing that will change that is the passage of time.

Re: Shakespeare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7386284)

He's just pining for more of a "cultural" form of game. Like a Shakespeare vs Stephen King. There are too many Stephen Kings in the game industry. Also too many Mickey Mouses.

Re: Shakespeare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7387691)

Er... Shakespeare himself was, in his day and age, a 'Stephen King' in terms of your analogy...

Re:Errr... what? (1)

John Gaming Target (721410) | more than 10 years ago | (#7387162)

Ico, Ikaruga and Rez were not failures. They didn't become big hits, but their shipments sold out and just try to find used copies out there now. You'll have a hard time because the people that bought these games love these games and are hanging on to them.

But I will agree with one thing. Ikaruga is fantastic.

Cris Crawford (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 10 years ago | (#7386747)

For those who don't know who this guy is, he wrote some ground-breaking games way back when.
Eastern Front for the Atari 800, Balance of Power for the early Macintosh, and others.

He's also written extensively [erasmatazz.com] on game design.

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