Jimquisition: Innovation - Gaming's Snake Oil

Assassin Xaero

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I hate to pull this card, but Singularity would have been better if it was less of a port. If I remember right from whenever I played it (maybe a year or two ago), "Use" and "Reload" were the same key. I can understand that on a console since there are a limited amount of buttons, but they could have taken the time to fix it for the PC version (it got really annoying).

Not nearly as annoying as Gears of War 2 though. Jacking up the controls for the sake of jacking them up? I wish they made 2 and 3 on PC so they were at least playable (or is there a way on 360 to switch the controls to the "standard shooter controls"?).
 

MichaelMaverick

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Oh bugger off, The Path isn't trying to be innovative, it's an art game built around exploration and unprecedented levels of atmosphere. I don't know exactly what your perpetual beef is with this game, but it has no place in this discussion.
 

T3hSource

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debigcheez said:
It feels like Jim is bashing innovation itself in this one.
Indeed, that's what I felt too. His message could be lost or misinterpreted by some people because of that.

Innovation for the sake of isn't good, innovation from necessity is a good thing(looking at Metal Gear Rising: I don't speak Engrish).
That is a lesson dvelopers must learn in order to be successful. Now if they weren't constantly pressured by publishers to make their product sell the "the masses" and give them more freedom to tweak the game for the best experience for the certain player, not every single player.
 

ohnoitsabear

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I think the word "innovation" has become such an overused buzzword that it has basically lost all meaning. I mean, there are so many games where they talk about how innovative it is, when it's really not. Basically, I think the gaming world needs to stop using this word.

I think the bigger issue here is not whether or not a game innovates, but whether or not a game does anything different. If a game doesn't offer me a different experience than something else I could be playing, then I probably won't see a reason to bother. If a game offers a unique experience, then it will probably be much more memorable and enjoyable than one that doesn't. And if a game is unique, then I am much more willing to overlook flaws (although a game's flaws should never be free from criticism), because a unique game is going to be inherently more interesting to play than one that isn't.

And being different doesn't necessarily mean innovation. Look at Twilight Princess, for example. Ignoring motion controls, the game doesn't really innovate from the standard Legend of Zelda formula, but it offers many things, such as the wolf mechanics, the very well don companion character, and the overall darker tone, that make it unique from other Zelda games.

Now, don't get me wrong, just because a game doesn't do anything significantly different doesn't mean the game has no value (I love the Pokemon games, for example, and I won't try to argue that they're substantially different from one another). It's just that if most games don't offer anything different, then gaming will start to get really boring, really fast.
 

Gizmo1990

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drisky said:
Gizmo1990 said:
Hard to disagree with all that. Also really nice to see some love for Lost Odyssey. I love that game, to me it is the only good Jrpg to come out this gen and as a FF fan it was nice to enjoy a Jrpg for a change as I am of the opinion that each FF after X has been the gaming equivalent of Dog shit.
Going off topic here, but I disagree considering this past generation gave us Tales of Vesperia, Valkeria Chronicles, and World Ends With You. There is a lot of good out there when you stop holding Final Fantasy as the benchmark.
I will give you Valkeria Chronicles. I am ashamed to admit that I forgot about it and I loved it just as much as Lost Odyssey. I felt very 'meh' about Tales of Vesperia but I did not get very far into it before my xbox died and by the time I got a new one ,my friend had sold it. I have not played World Ends With You due to it being on the DS and I have not played a handheld since I got a Gameboy Colour [insert years here] ago.

And I long ago stoped using FF as a benchmark for anything but at the time it was all I had to compare Lost Odyssey to.
 

BartyMae

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Mr.Tea said:
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?
Twilight Princess was on the Wii as well as the Gamecube. Want to guess which version didn't suck?

I still think Mirror's Edge is a good game. Stop showing it when you're saying the worst things about innovation! >_>
 

Machine Man 1992

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I thought Singularity was "Meh" for the same reason I thought Halo was "Meh" and that's the weapons that sound like cap guns wrapped in bubble wrap. The TMD was an underutilized central feature, and the whole game had this eerie uncannyness to it, like I wasn't really there, like I wasn't really part of the game.
 

Beryl77

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This is one of the few videos where I disagree with pretty much everything you said. I personally always prefer change over things staying the same even if it means that it could get worse. I never liked the saying "if it's not broken, don't fix it."
Yes, this produces a lot of crap but I simply get bored really quick of things that stay similar or even the same for too long. To take one of your examples, this is why I've only ever played two Zelda games and was too bored to finish a third one that I had started.

Sure, it produces a lot of crap but good things will come out of it as well and I like that much more than sticking with what works. So yes, I don't think it's bad if they innovate too much just for the sake of it compared to too little.

Also, most of the examples you used for games that are good because they didn't change much, [sub][small]are kinda, not so good games in my opinion.[/small][/sub]
 

Lazy Kitty

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I am disappointed...
Because he didn't say "Are you my mommy?" while wearing the gas mask...

On a more serious side.
Well, it's true what he says.
Innovation for the sake of innovation is kind of like every minister of traffic or whoever is responsible for that stuff adding more traffic signs and lights for the sake of adding them, just so nobody can say they didn't do anything.
 

anthony87

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Fappy said:
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.
Have you seen Antichrist? There's your age gate.

Ugh....watched that with family so I did. Most uncomfortable experience ever.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Hey Jim, what's up with the lack of Love for the Last Story?

That was a good game with good gameplay. It's weakest point may have been the story but that's just because it was simple, that did make it bad hell that doesn't make it lacking either.
The story was more character driven and those characters had more depth than the one from Lost Odyssey, that made it overall more entertaining. But that's just my opinion, isn't? :p
 

Zhukov

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I don't think I could disagree much harder.

Yeah, innovation isn't guaranteed to produce something good, but without the failed experiments along the way we don't end up with the good things that innovation can produce.

Also, those examples... yeah.

Darksiders was soulless, dull and failed to even imitate other games well. Ni No Kuni? Seriously? And what's this... fucking Singularity? Jesus. I'm drowning in unremarkable over here, someone get me a shot of innovation, quick! If that's the kind of sludge that an inspired lack of innovation produces, then I say bring on the failed experiments.

I had more fun with Mirror's Edge than all of those combined. Hell, I'd rather play The Path than some of those games.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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You know, i could never bring myself to agree with the "Zelda is the same game over and over again." sentiment. I will admit that Mario has gotten kinda repetetive since Galaxy/New Super Mario Bros. But Zelda? Well, they build on the same basic structure as it is expecter from a game of the same series but all of them have fundamentally different key gameplay features. Ocarina of Time was first one in 3D. Majoras Mask had its 3 days cycle. Wind Waker had its sailing and it's island based world. Twilight Princess had it'a transformation into a wolf and it Dark World/Light Worlds structure. And Skyward Sword, while i didn't like it, had it's sky world and of course motion controls.
 

BreakfastMan

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Daystar Clarion said:
This is why I couldn't stand Spec Ops the Line.


I don't care how 'good' the story 'is' if I have to trudge through mediocre shooting gallery after shooting gallery with crappy controls.

yet somehow, this bad gameplay is 'subversive' and 'adds' to the experience.

No, it doesn't, it's just fucking boring.
Well, you know, except for the fact that Spec Ops wasn't really innovative, considering the only original thing in the game was it themes and overall message. But, if you want to keep banging on about how much you hated the game and how everyone else should too, even if it doesn't make sense, go right ahead. :D

OT: Good ep. Jim, but I am not certain how I feel on this issue. While innovation isn't necessarily desirable, the same can be said for lack of innovation, and I do think that one needs to make a certain amount of changes to a franchise over time to prevent it from becoming stale. Innovating for the sake of innovating isn't really bad, in my eyes, you just need to actually pull off your innovations for it to work. :\
 

lancar

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I have to agree with you Jim. Pretty good examples, too.

I loved Darksiders, and thought it was great to finally have a zelda-like game on the PC. Even if Darksiders 2 didn't quite draw me in like the first game did, it was still a really good series that had great potential.

Singularity was very predictable, but both the gunplay and level design was solid and thoroughly enjoyable. With a lower pricetag, it probably could've done better than it did.

I never played mirrors edge, but everything I've read about it makes me think it's pretty boring.

I'm looking forward to trying Ni No Kuni later, when I borrow it from a friend.
 

Milanezi

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I really wish Jim would stop his attempts at being funny (like him dressing up like whatever at the end), he ends up looking like one of those very poor taste MTV VJ's who wish they're turning out to be intellectual marvels full of cynicism...

More to the point, I might not agree with all games he used as an example (Mirror's Edge remains as one of my favorite games, it gives me a very soothing feeling) but that matters not. Fact is, "innovation" is something you don't try to hard to create, it's a like a burp, it just comes out. You don't sit everyone in a brainstorm and say "people, we need to innovate our next game", you'll probably end with ideas that: a) didn't innovate anything at all if you look deeply into it; b) shows off as something that was "forced into existence", giving a vibe of incompletion (as much as I love Heavy Rain, I felt that mood there); c) things that didn't need changing... change, often for the worst (Vita force feeding touch controls where they're not due).
The game must entertain, that's all, if it's gritty and all gray filtered, but you're having fun, than the game reached it's objective. Sometimes shit will happen, and all of a sudden a game will do a given thing for the first time in gaming history, and that will be an innovation, but that happened spontaneously, maybe because they needed a way to convey a character's feeling to the player (in the first God of War, the quick time events were excellent in making you feel like you were Kratos himself putting all his strength to bring down a boss with style).
And yeah, Singularity rocked!
 
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BreakfastMan said:
Daystar Clarion said:
This is why I couldn't stand Spec Ops the Line.


I don't care how 'good' the story 'is' if I have to trudge through mediocre shooting gallery after shooting gallery with crappy controls.

yet somehow, this bad gameplay is 'subversive' and 'adds' to the experience.

No, it doesn't, it's just fucking boring.
Well, you know, except for the fact that Spec Ops wasn't really innovative, considering the only original thing in the game was it themes and overall message. But, if you want to keep banging on about how much you hated the game and how everyone else should too, even if it doesn't make sense, go right ahead. :D

OT: Good ep. Jim, but I am not certain how I feel on this issue. While innovation isn't necessarily desirable, the same can be said for lack of innovation, and I do think that one needs to make a certain amount of changes to a franchise over time to prevent it from becoming stale. Innovating for the sake of innovating isn't really bad, in my eyes, you just need to actually pull off your innovations for it to work. :\


I just don't get why everyone loves the damn thing :D
 

Jimothy Sterling

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PsychedelicDiamond said:
You know, i could never bring myself to agree with the "Zelda is the same game over and over again." sentiment. I will admit that Mario has gotten kinda repetetive since Galaxy/New Super Mario Bros. But Zelda? Well, they build on the same basic structure as it is expecter from a game of the same series but all of them have fundamentally different key gameplay features. Ocarina of Time was first one in 3D. Majoras Mask had its 3 days cycle. Wind Waker had its sailing and it's island based world. Twilight Princess had it'a transformation into a wolf and it Dark World/Light Worlds structure. And Skyward Sword, while i didn't like it, had it's sky world and of course motion controls.
Glad to read i'm not the only one to think this, people just like to hate (for lack of a better word) on familiarity or formula (or something).
 

pretentiousname01

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Ni no kuni was a giant pile of over hyped mediocrity. you could remove everything pertaining to the white witch from the story and vastly improve the overall experience. Only one small hitch would need to be re-written (left out due to spoilers) and several other factors needed more work. An overly verbose font of verbal diarrhea. Honestly how long did you play that you continued to read each and every give/take heart text?
 

Mahoshonen

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I don't think the issue is so much with developers innovating for the hell of it. Afterall, experimentation is needed to find out what the Next Big Thing is going to be, and so of course for every diamond there's going to be a lot of dirt and run-off. I can kind of see that reviewers praising a game just for being innovative can paint a skewed pictures, but, again that's always a subjective matter. So if someone thinks that the new idea makes a game worth it, that's his or her opinion. A common consensus may form for a game that's held up as a classic or booed off the stage, but not always.

As for the other point-that games are critized for 'not being innovative,' I think the real problem is that it's too easy a comment to make. Almost anyone can say that they don't like the latest Call of Duty game or what-have-you because it's too 'formulaic', but that doesn't tell us anything about what he has a problem with.