Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Games Suck Because Gamers Don't Like Games

If you can't lose it's not sportsmanlike, and it's boring. Winning a rigged game is a chore, not playtime. When you first throw the cheats on in a game, yeah sure it's fun, but ultimately if you can win a game by standing there and waiting, it gets old fast. 

You can tell gamers don't like games from things like the Darkest Dungeon mod classes. They're all, without exception, overpowered. You have a choice of mildly overpowered and wildly overpowered. You get gamers to like your class mod by making them win without effort. Then they say things like, "Modded DD is so much fun," which makes it sound like they just added a few unusual mechanics. In reality they're trying to make you think they like unmodded nontrivialized DD when they plain don't.

They don't like games, they like the social effect of games. Want to be a gamer without having to be a player. They want the cachet of the "hard" game, but don't want to actually play a hard game. In many cases, don't want to play at all. If you've ever run a book club you know getting them to actually read the book can be like pulling teeth. Without special circumstances, getting three people to all play a game is the same way.

In fact even Red Hook gets in on it; the plague doctor is a wildly OP mod class, except she comes standard in the base game. 

The problem game companies face is that gamers don't like games but don't want the rigging to be obvious, for obvious reasons. They want the cheats to be default but to not feel like the cheats are default. "Wow you almost lost there!" Without actually ever losing. No matter how objectively bad you are at the game. It's a smoke-and-mirrors industry. 

Don't ask me what's going on with "RP"G players who say they're in it for the story. Really? You wanted a story and you turned to a video game of all things? Shakespeare isn't good. You have to search hard to find a dedicated novelist who is barely passable. (Single-author stories are bad nearly by definition.) "RP"G player: "Those assholes have it too easy. I want a story explained by text boxes in scenes of under two minutes." 

You know, when the NPCs repeat themselves verbatim every time they're poked, it really pulls me into the game. How about you? I especially like how in non-Chrono Trigger you have to sit there and listen to their entire word-for-word repetition, like a good little boy.

Maybe ""RP"G players are easily distracted and it never occurs to them to use a story format that isn't designed for 10-year-old attention spans. Maybe they're really arrested at 10 years old. Very puzzling. 

Exception: puzzle gamers seem to like puzzles they're actually bad at. I'm not 100% sure though, since I'm not a huge fan of puzzle games (too restrictive and artificial) so I don't play them, so I can't tell if the puzzles are hard because they're hard, or the puzzles seem hard because I'm a rank amateur and the folk I watch playing them are idiots. 

My pet peeve is object permanence. There's hardly any game that doesn't play like a fever dream. You drop a thing and it ceases to exist. You blow up a mountain, but if you scroll it off-screen it magically re-appears. Alternatively you fire a nuclear bunker-buster at a wall and it makes a 'dink' noise and pastes a scuff mark on it. You beat the boss and they join your party, but lose every single one of their boss abilities, with no explanation. 

There are no normie games. (Maybe peggle and other barely-games.) There's crazy-folk games and hardcore games. Mostly crazies. Luckily for the games industry, America has no shortage of cracked minds.


Dharmicreality said...

The advancement of AI hasn’t kept up with the advancement of graphics. Result: photorealistic graphics with absolutely dumbass AI. Puzzle games require no significant AI and hence tolerable.

Alrenous said...

Creating AI 100x better than current AI is nearly trivial. Just have to, like, actually teach the computer how to play. It doesn't occur because there's no demand for the game to win against the player.