Jimquisition: Innovation - Gaming's Snake Oil

Jimothy Sterling

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Innovation - Gaming's Snake Oil

There's nothing wrong with a game that innovates. There's everything wrong with a game that goes out of its way to innovate without reason.

Watch Video
 

alphamalet

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Jim,

I don't think many people are on the other side of this issue.

Innovation for the sake of it is bad. It will usually lead to something frivolous that is not properly implemented within the system it exists.
Doing the same thing over and over is bad.
Finding a good balance between the two to keep something fresh yet familiar is usually good.

If people praised innovation for the sake of it, like you postulate in this video, then gamers everywhere would have praised the Wii for its "innovative" controls. That obviously didn't happen.

This sort of seemed like a non-issue to make a video out of.
 

jehk

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How do you feel about the Persona series? Looking at the evolution of Persona 3 to Persona 4 to Persona 3 Portable to Persona 4 Golden is a great example of the balance alphamalet is talking about.

Also, I think I'm the only person who loved Mirror's Edge.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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THAT'S NOT INOVATION! You're just using a bunch of other people's props! U FAIL!
Also get poor Willem Dafoe some clothes!
alphamalet said:
Jim,

I don't think many people are on the other side of this issue.
Not on the escapist at least.
 

BlizzardJakkal

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Singularity had problems with graphics, bugs, and other stuff

Darksiders is a stretched game with a paper thin story, especially second part.

Not good examples Jim.
 

Shameless

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I think the word you're looking for is ambition, innovation should come when someone tries to achieve something that had never been done before for a reason, otherwise it'll be a gimmick like the wiimote.
 

Canadamus Prime

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Jun 17, 2009
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I'm reminded of the saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

Incidentally you know what JRPG battle system I really liked? The one from the Star Ocean games.
 

Andy Shandy

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jehk said:
Also, I think I'm the only person who loved Mirror's Edge.
Trust me, you're not. I love it too. I don't think there are many more experiences in gaming better than going full pelt in that game.

Anyway I agree, Jim. Innovation can be all well and good, but only if it is backed up by quality as well. And like you said, just because something doesn't innovate, doesn't inherently make it bad either. Call Of Duty for example. Doesn't exactly change much from game to game but I still really enjoy them because they are fantastic "popcorn games" to play.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Arrrghhh; Jim what are you doing?

Jim!

Stop making Mirror's Edge look like an example of a bad game!

STAHP!!

Ehrm. Also, Zelda does include some pointless innovations; the last two were on the goddamned Wii, weren't they?
 

xEightBitPlayerx

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Fun has always been first and foremost for me playing a game, if I'm not having a good time while playing or at the very least intrigued to where the game is taking me next, then it doesn't matter how much it innovates, it's going back for a trade in.
 

Azaraxzealot

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Innovation isn't seen nearly enough in this industry. And I mean "good" innovation that changes the way we look at games. At the time, Gears of War was innovative, Mass Effect was innovative, Bioshock was innovative, Borderlands was innovative, Mark of the Ninja was innovative, and I would say Darksiders was innovative (who else has mashed core mechanics of other games together and done it WELL like Darksiders did).

But if we don't praise games for trying new things then we get situations where Dead Space has a cover system and co-op and micro-transactions.
 

DRTJR

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Whilst I agree with Mr. Sterling's thesis, with out frivolous innovation we would have never got the absolutly off the combat system in Chrono Cross, which is awesome.
 

Username Redacted

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jehk said:
How do you feel about the Persona series? Looking at the evolution of Persona 3 to Persona 4 to Persona 3 Portable to Persona 4 Golden is a great example of the balance alphamalet is talking about.

Also, I think I'm the only person who loved Mirror's Edge.
Loved? Probably. Liked? Probably not. I liked Mirror's Edge. I would have liked it a hell of a lot more if:
-It had had a better, more robust story.
-It had eschewed it's terribad combat system. Or failing that decided if it wanted you to be the aggressor or if you should be avoiding combat.
-It hadn't forced me to hold the Dualshock 3 perfectly parallel to the ground and perfectly still to avoid countless splatter deaths.

I'm sure there are a few others things things but it's been a while since I played it. You might notice that item #3 is pretty much innovation for innovations sake. My reflexes are excellent but my hands are not so steady and any mechanic that kills me 10+ times during the goddamn tutorial that's introducing said mechanic can fuck right off.
 

Fappy

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There should be an age gate for the Willem Defoe nudity. Even though it's a mere avatar for the man himself most mortals don't have the fortitude to gaze upon the beauty of Defoe's natural form.
 

drisky

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We may not need to call in innovative game good, but we should pretty much always talk about them. When a game does explore new ideas we should at least pay attention to it and find out if it is a good idea. If the idea is good, then even if the game as a whole is bad you can start asking for a game that implements the idea better. If the idea is bad at its core, then we've learned something form the experience. This system of at least trying is how we get those games that lift from several sources and are polished well. Innovate games don't need to be more praised then old ideas with more polish, but they should diffidently be more acknowledged, for better or worse.
 

snave

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On the topic of that, if someone wants to innovate input mechanisms, the place to do it is on the phone/tablet. Sticking a virtual joystick/buttons onscreen and saying "Well, if you don't like it, its not our fault, because extruding screens aren't invented yet." is refusing to innovate in spite of necessity. Same goes with reducing all forms of motion down to one button or platformers to infinite runners to simplify controls: you have a full touchscreen, think of a way to use it.

I just can't get over that on one side of the home/portable fence, everyone is burning piles of money on desperately trying to innovate where it isn't needed, and over on the other side everyone is desperately trying to avoid innovation where it is needed. The irony is astounding.

jehk said:
Also, I think I'm the only person who loved Mirror's Edge.
I'm also in the camp of people who loved Mirror's Edge (PC), but only up to about the halfway point. The rubbishy, superfluous combat systems (allegedly forced in by a publisher wary of committing 100% to innovation) made some parts near the end close to unbearable.
 

Costia

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Innovation as a marketing buzz word is bad. If you make something innovative just so you can write it on the game's box is pointless.
On the other hand if you want to try some new ideas to see if they work better than the well tested ones - i think its great even if it fails.
I don't see anything wrong in innovation for the sake of innovation. If it's a bad game don't play/buy it. But i can't blame anyone for trying something new they thought was a good idea, even if it turned out to be wrong.
I think that the problem is that the current marketing techniques try to sell you "innovation" as a feature, a "thing" of its own: "buy this game because its innovative". That's BS. You should buy the games you enjoy, and it doesn't matter if its a new idea or another reboot. Games shouldn't be judged by the "amount" of innovation (or lack of it) in them.
As for innovation itself, I don't see why you would rage about unsuccessful games that tried something new. They tried, they failed, who cares?
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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jehk said:
Also, I think I'm the only person who loved Mirror's Edge.
I loved Mirror's Edge as well, it's still the best current gen 3D platformer IMO because it shines where platformers should, which is level design. I actually thought the game wouldn't work because I've always hated platforming in 1st-person. However, the demo sold me on the game in just minutes. I don't even see Mirror's Edge as that innovative to be honest, it's just a really great platformer at it's core. It's just different mainly because it seems like 3D platformers have died off for the most part.
 

CManator

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I dunno Jim, a few games have been saved by fresh concepts, or at least made tolerable. I liked Mirrors edge even if it was difficult to play. LA Noire was boring outside the investigations, but those were enough to keep me hooked.

Yeah, don't just throw ideas into a pot and expect a winner, and of course not everything needs to be a new idea. But even bad ideas have their place as cautionary examples, as well as stepping stones towards improving the innovation.

Besides, innovation has become a buzzword now, of course the devs will overuse it, advertise it, and hide behind it.
 

Something Amyss

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alphamalet said:
I don't think many people are on the other side of this issue.
They appear on here daily, calling for innovation and complaining about the stagnation of games.

Jim also kind of gave examples of games that were praised or panned on their so-called "innovation" or lack thereof despite any other qualities.

I'm not sure more examples are needed.

Oddly enough, "innovation" is one of the justifications Nintendo fans do make of Nintendo products, which runs afoul of Jim's Zelda statements. Of course, they attach such gimmicks external to the core concepts, which may be a saving grace here. Your mileage may vary. Personally, I find Nintendo's style of "innovation" to be tiresome padding.