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Video Games: Countless Hours Wasted, Countless Hours Enjoyed

 
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Video Games: Countless Hours Wasted, Countless Hours Enjoyed
 PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:23 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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If we have a thread for this, I apologize. But I didn't know anywhere to talk about games in general, and not just Star Wars games. So here we are!

Main reason I brought this up at the moment was to discuss water levels. Does anyone else just hate water levels in video games? They give me the creeps, and I hate them with all my being. I think it has something to do with not being able to see the creatures lurking below. The dreadful creatures that will come up and drain your health bar with a single crunch! And blub, blub...down you go. I'm normally very calm when I play video games, but the water levels have always bothered me, and I get extremely tense when I'm playing them. I'll provide some examples:

1. Sonic - Not for the creature factor, because you can see what's around you. But because of that dreadful drowning music. Confused

2. Half-Life - Those shark things scare me to death! I panic whenever they get near me, and I literally turn off the game whenever I get to a part with water. Give myself time to calm and center...time to prepare.

3. KOTOR - Manaan is one of my favorite planets, but those Firaxa sharks, for all their pixelatedly challenged selves, freak me out. Especially when they start chomping at you from behind! Sad

4. Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II - The game I'm currently playing. All this waterness on Kyle's dad's farm thing is creeping me out. I have no desire to play it right now other than to get past the water levels! And there I was, swimming through the water for a long period of time, finally beginning to trust that the creators of this particular game didn't put any dastardly beasts in the water, when all of a sudden...! Giant tentacles appear out of nowhere and kill me! Shocked

And that, my fellow Cantina members, is why I don't like water levels.

I don't really understand it...I'm a decent swimmer, I'm not normally scared of water, and I don't have a paranoid fear of sharks or other sea creatures. So why do they scare me so much? I don't know, but I can only guess it's because of what you can't see in the water, and it's a different environment. Your character doesn't behave the same underwater, so reacting to attacks is harder, and you die easier. Confused

Anyway, how about you guys?
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 PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:23 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Well for me it is undead. Those guys really freak me out. That doesn't stop me from playing games like The Elder Scrolls or Zelda but I really try to avoid the undead whenever possible in those games.

I think the reason is that undead tend to require very different methods to kill and/or have abilities the living don't which makes them more lethal. Additionally, they can sometimes be rendered to look very freaky. With regards to the Elder Scrolls anyway I also found caves with undead also tended not to produce much in the way of loot so that the cost of maintaining your weapons and health potions would usually exceed the value of any loot -- further reasons I really hated undead.

1) Smash Bros Melee (yes that's right): on the single player story mode there is a side scrolling section where you fight nothing but ReDeads. That used to freak me out a lot, even though they didn't look scary at all. I really hated that level, possibly because I wasn't great at the game initially so I would frequently have them grabbing on and leaching away health while making a freaky roaring noise.

2) Zelda: The Wind Waker: Even though the ReDeads are real cartoony looking I did not like how they would scream and attack you. I especially didn't like how if you went through a load door before their bodies disappeared they would respawn when you entered the cell again. It didn't help that they were always lurking in the darkest areas of dungeons.

3) The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind: my beef is mainly with the bone walkers in that game. For the graphics they really made them look scary and since the game is played in first person you really get to see them once they get close. Because melee weapons are most effective in that game it meant it happened often. Spells were somewhat risky since undead typically have immunities and/or abilities to reflect them back at you. Range weapons could only do so much good, needed repairs very often, you couldn't recover shots you missed and you only had a small percent chance of recovering your arrows meaning it would be almost impossible to carry enough ammo.

3) The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion: Better graphics and zombies that really do look like zombies. At high levels undead typically require around 20 arrows to kill and often you can't recover them so bows still aren't usuable for an entire dungeon of undead. Magic can be very risky against high level undead who can either reflect it back at you or absorb it to give them extra mana to cast spells at you. Overall not fun, and because they don't usually carry weapons, often unprofitable.

Now with the last game I found a way to make undead caves more fun: I downloaded a mod that allows you to recruit NPCs as allies. It may sound crazy but I find myself far more confident having "someone" exploring with me and psychologically trick myself into thinking I'm not alone. Even though I also use a creature mod that adds additional baddies (including some very scary sounding ghosts) I do much better.

As for Zelda games I find just turning the volume down real low and playing music I like on my stereo helps immensely. I guess my mind is able to enjoy the music more than it dislikes the undead so I do fine (I'm sure having the volume low so undead noises are very quite also helps).

And finally Smash Bros Melee. One of the trophies I unlocked in the game is a ReDead. Basically I just spent a little time each game looking at that trophy (sometimes zooming in on the face). I did this until their appearance no longer scared me and just made me uncomfortable. Combined with getting better at the game allowed me to do just fine fighting them.

This all being said I'm never going to buy games like Resident Evil. But I have found ways to make it possible for me to fight the undead when they come up though I still try to avoid them as often as possible.
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 PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:46 am Reply with quote  
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  Jedi Joe
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Wow Mara... I see you have a little case of virtualhydrophobia... Laughing (Yes, I know that pun was comparable to what you would find in a Batman or Spider-Man movie... Deal with it. Razz )

Salaris, I'll have to agree to a point. I've never played a true zombie game, but the Bando Gora on Star Wars: Bounty Hunter are pretty much zombies, and they gave me the creeps when I first played through it...

My big pet peeve on video games, is how modern games start flashing at you. I mean, my friend brought over his 360 one time, we played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and wow, all those flashes and screen blurs were giving me a headache... Confused

But then we played Halo 3 and I loved it. Much more easy on the eyes. Very Happy


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 PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:53 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Oh man those flashes I forgot about that! I might actually hate those more than zombies.

That reminds me of the 007 game Agent Under Fire. Automatic weapons could pretty much cause a seizure. NPC aim is unreal in that game and if they got an M16 or something you would pretty much be so blinded by the flashes that you couldn't return fire. With very few exceptions I don't buy any FPS games now unless I can demo them first because of those flashes.
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 PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:56 am Reply with quote  
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  kurtdc
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Well I hardly play any of the action games anymore. I'm a guitar hero/rock band addict. And now that I've hooked up the Wii to be able to download songs I've gone nutty with the Rock Band music store. I had to buy a new SD card(since the Wii itself has a small memory) just for the songs.


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 PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:26 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Water levels bother me because most of the time you have an air meter you have to deal with. I hate levels where you have a timer, be it a limited time under water while you're holding your breath, or some bomb ticking down. Plus visibility is usually terrible underwater which always gives the enemies the advantage and makes loot nearly impossible to find.

Treasures of the Deep would be one of the exceptions to the Water rule though. The entire game was underwater so visibility was pretty good and you didn't have to worry about running out of air too much because you had scuba tanks or a sub. I really enjoy that game, just swimming around under water and looking for treasure. Pretty relaxing in the early levels.

Morrowind would be another exception because you could cheat either by walking on water or enchanting an amulet so you could breath underwater and cast off rays of light thus eliminating all problems Very Happy Oblivion allowed the same thing but there was more water in Morrowind.

Soul Reaver would be the final exception because in that game you could switch to the spirit world and water became gas and didn't restrict you any. Ah, now that was a fun game. I miss it.

As for zombies, I've got no problems with them. I rather like zombie games, but I prefer dumb slow zombies. For scare factor, the last Doom game was pretty good. That flashlight idea was excellent for tension.
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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:10 am Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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So I was just reading an article on the devious workings of the video game design world, and I found it extremely interesting. Here are some snippets I found worth sharing, which I completely understand. I don't have a ridiculously obsessed attachment to video games, not like this article is talking about, but I do enjoy them. So I certainly can understand and sympathize with these obsessions. Anyway, check it out:

So here's the big question: Are some games intentionally designed to keep you compulsively playing, even when you're not enjoying it?

Oh, yes. And their methods are downright creepy.

----------------------------

If you've ever been addicted to a game or known someone who was, this article is really freaking disturbing. It's written by a games researcher at Microsoft on how to make video games that hook players, whether they like it or not. He has a doctorate in behavioral and brain sciences. Quote:

"Each contingency is an arrangement of time, activity, and reward, and there are an infinite number of ways these elements can be combined to produce the pattern of activity you want from your players."

Notice his article does not contain the words "fun" or "enjoyment." That's not his field. Instead it's "the pattern of activity you want."

----------------------------

...they're designed to keep gamers subscribing during the periods when it's not fun, locking them into a repetitive slog using Skinner's manipulative system of carefully scheduled rewards.

Why would this work, when the "rewards" are just digital objects that don't actually exist? Well...

Most addiction-based game elements are based on this fact:

Your brain treats items and goods in the video game world as if they are real. Because they are.

People scoff at this idea all the time ("You spent all that time working for a sword that doesn't even exist?") and those people are stupid. If it takes time, effort and skill to obtain an item, that item has value, whether it's made of diamonds, binary code or beef jerky.

There's nothing crazy about it. After all, people pay thousands of dollars for diamonds, even though diamonds do nothing but look pretty. A video game suit of armor looks pretty and protects you from video game orcs. In both cases you're paying for an idea.

----------------------------

The Chinese MMO ZT Online has the most devious implementation of this I've ever seen. The game is full of these treasure chests that may or may not contain a random item and to open them, you need a key. How do you get the keys? Why, you buy them with real-world money, of course. Like coins in a slot machine.

Wait, that's not the best part. ZT Online does something even the casinos never dreamed up: They award a special item at the end of the day to the player who opens the most chests.

One woman tells of how she spent her entire evening opening chests--over a thousand--to try to win the daily prize.

She didn't. There was always someone else more obsessed.

----------------------------

The easiest way is to just put save points far apart, or engage the player in long missions (like WoW raids) that, once started, are difficult to get out of without losing progress.

But that can be frustrating for gamers, so you can take the opposite approach of a game like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where you make the levels really short so it's like eating potato chips. They're so small on their own that it doesn't take much convincing to get the player to grab another one, and soon they've eaten the whole bag.

----------------------------

Why reward the hamster (player) for pressing the lever? Why not simply set it up so that when he fails to press it, we punish him?

Behaviorists call this "avoidance." They set the cage up so that it gives the animal an electric shock every 30 seconds unless it hits the lever. It learns very very fast to stay on the lever, all the time, hitting it over and over. Forever.

Why is your mom obsessively harvesting her crops in Farmville? Because they wither and rot if she doesn't. In Ultima Online, your house or castle would start to decay if you didn't return to it regularly. In Animal Crossing, the town grows over with weeds and your virtual house becomes infested with cockroaches if you don't log in often enough. It's the crown jewel of game programming douchebaggery--keep the player clicking and clicking and clicking just to avoid losing the stuff they worked so hard to get.

----------------------------

As others have pointed out, the point is to keep you playing long after you've mastered the skills, long after you've wrung the last real novel experience from it. You can't come up with a definition of "fun" that encompasses the activity of clicking a picture of a treasure chest with your mouse a thousand times.

This is why some writers blasted Blizzard when WoW introduced a new "achievement" system a couple of years ago. These are rewards tied to performing random pointless tasks, over and over again (such as, fishing until you catch a thousand fish). No new content, no element of practice, or discovery, or mastery was included. Just a virtual treadmill.


There's more, but those were just the best parts. Don't know if anyone here is obsessively addicted to video gaming, but goodness! I can certainly see how those traps would fell people. I've especailly fallen into the "No Stopping Points" or "Extremely Short Level" pit. I would always tell myself, "Well I'll stop playing when I reach a stopping point." But generally they're ridiculously far apart, or they don't even really have them! And then the other scenario, where I say, "Well, it's so short. I'll just play one more. One more. One more. One mor..." And I never stop. So...creepy, don't you think? They design it around our instinctive reactions. We can't necessarily help it (well we can, but only if we realize what's going on), and they're capitalizing on that! But I guess that's how the game is played. No pun intended. Confused
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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:11 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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I've read that before somewhere. And it is creepy. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to video games, but I do get into certain games from time to time. Depending on how good the game will also determine how long I play it. When Elder Scrolls III Morrowind first came out, I played it for a straight month. Nothing else. Eat sleep play. Of course I also had a broken collarbone so I had a good excuse.
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:33 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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Oh video games, how you plague my life with your awesomeness Smile

Zelda: This is without a doubt my favorite video game franchise. I have owned and beaten all the games at one point or another, but Majora's Mask has a special place in my heart due to how intricate it was and how much fun I had with it. I started when A Link To The Past came out on Super Nintendo and haven't looked back. I'm super excited about Skyward Sword Next year Very Happy

Metroid: Another favorite of mine. While I came in to this one late with Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes I went back and did Super Metroid and updated to games like Metroid Fusion. I cannot wait for The Other M which is out here soon!

Mario: Will never be better than Super Mario 64 but other classics like the original Mario Bros. and spinoffs like Yoshi's Story or Luigi's Mansion have kept the franchise interesting. The Mario Galaxy games are wonderful editions and I'm loving the way they're going Smile

Halo: I suck at this one, but I love playing regardless. Its just too much fun for me.

Merio Party/Smash Bros. First off, can anyone tell I'm a super Nintendo geek? Very Happy But anyways, I love these when the guys come hang out in my dorm room because they aren't hard, they're just fun. Bunch of guys crowded around these games and bowls of Ramen, what could be better!?

Rock Band/Guitar Hero: These are just plain fun, and while I can play most of this on real instruments the songs on the game can require more skill because its precise instead of musical. Its a pain but man is it fun with a full group of people.

That's my fav's ya'll Smile
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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:52 pm Reply with quote  
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  kurtdc
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When I was just on vacation the resort had an xbox room. So playing many Rock Band songs was me on guitar, some 13/14 year old girl on guitar/bass and my seven year old on drums.

This place was pretty awesome, there were like 50 plasma screens each with an xbox attached to it.


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