Oh sure, there are people who disagree with the serial comma—people who say it is optional or unnecessary.
Well, those people are dirty Communists. Stalin never used the serial comma. Castro never uses the serial comma. The New York Times discourages the serial comma. Need I say more?
Strunk and White foreva, bitches!
"Games tell two stories: the story story – the narrative story that's the sum total of a game's cutscenes and dialogue; and the gameplay story – the story described by the actions the player takes in the game world."
I'm of the opinion that *good games* do not make that dichotomy, and that IF choices are presented to you, they are never contradictory of what the characterization would imply. You have a simple solution for this problem: if you're going to give us choice, make it fit with the character, or simply give us a blank slate character so that there's no problem. Don't just give choice because its the current flavor of the month and its supposed to make your game "complex."
This is why I have such problem with Red Dead Redemption.
Marston is forced by the government to return to his old life–which he had abandoned in the wake of having a family. So, off he goes to do various spoilery things…a time during which he reminds you, at every point that he can, that even though he's being forced to commit heinous acts by the government, that he's really a changed man at heart. He is, as the title might have suggested, seeking redemption.
Your "choices" always/often come down to do I kill this person or not? I appreciate the ability to choose what I do in any given situation as much as the next person–I mean, I champion games like Dragon Age and Fallout every chance I get. Still, I think the fact that you're given a chance to choose what Marston does undermines the entire point of the game: Redemption. It's in the title! Should I really have the opportunity to kill an entire town, to hogtie a whore and lay her on train tracks?
Why do you have the option to be evil? It shouldn't be an option. It doesn't serve a function. If John Marston was actually looking for redemption, then they should have restricted our choices. I can't kill a town and then cry about how I'm a changed man the next scene.
People have told me that it still works, though–I mean, a man like John Marston has probably committed bigger evils than we are capable of during the game, no? That being said, someone like him can't just turn around and all of a sudden embody that changed man in a heartbeat. He's sure to slip into his old habits, and, with the things the government has asked him to do, it's probably easier to get rid of any internal conflict by attempting to embody the psychological and moral makeup of a natural-born killer. Right?
Wait. Hold your horses.
That implication would mean that John Marston is capable of moral complexity. Do you really think its moral complexity that would allow me to have a Marston that is all over the place? That. Is. BUNK. If this game believed in moral complexity then we wouldn't be subjected to the mechanic which quantifies your honor. By this very measure, there is no such thing as moral complexity in the game. You either have honor, or you don't. We can tell you how much you have by giving you an arbitrary number.
This would have all been avoided had they not chosen to characterize Marston as heavily as they did.
"You see? This is the type of news that gets me excited about the future of video games.
I have spent many hours toiling with the editors in Timesplitters, Far Cry: Instincts, Far Cry: Instincts Predator, and Far Cry 2. Halo 3's forge wan not even close to being near as diverse as any of those editors, so I didn't put nearly as much time into those as I did the others.
My friends and I spent countless nights downloading "get-to-the-end" maps in the far cry games. These map varients had nothing to do with the actual gamplay that the devs intented, but instead were cleverly (and sometimes not so cleverly) created maps designed to test the players first person platforming skills. My friend and I had a blast no matter what map we played, either we enjoyed a great map, or enjoyed making fun of the shitty ones. We would lose ourselves with the never ending supply of new maps to play, not noticing the darkness in the sky slowly creeping back into morning light. And those nights Iwill always remember.
As much as I love my Xbox, I went out of my way to buy a PS3 for LittleBigPlanet. Sure, there are other great games for Sony's platform, but I truly wish to support games that support creativity in its user base. LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers are steps in the right direction, and that direction is what I think is leading us into a new era of video games.
I can't wait for the day when lackluster-$60-6 hour-one-time-playthrough-games are gone and done with.
I want a game that can be enjoyable and different each and every time I come back to it. The more options that devs give the players, the more replay value (and monetary value) the game has.
Think of your average console shooter. Hell think like a big name game like Gears of War 1. This game came out years after Halo 2, and it didn't even have a 10th of the options per gametype that H2 had. You couldn't even change the gametype without quitting out and making a new lobby. You couldn't start a ranked room with your friends on your team without searching through a list of games. In fact it's only in current games that we are starting to see a standardization of Halo 2's party system.
So far, first party Microsoft has Kodu and... well thats it in terms of games designed with user creative content in mind. This is more of what MS needs, and what players want.
I don't knock the great single player games, and never will, but it's time for devs to start looking at the community they are trying to pitch their games to.
The community for Halo is so large and energetic. I so some amazing things crafted with the original Forge mode, and that wasn't even close to what I'd call a very good editor. With Halo: Reach, it looks like users might take the creativity many notches further. And for this I am excited.
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