Jimquisition: Innovation - Gaming's Snake Oil

Gizmo1990

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Oct 19, 2010
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anonymity88 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.
I still think XII is excellent and prefer it to X. As for this gen, Lost Odyssey is a truly awesome JRPG and I'm sad that I missed it when it first came out, I'm even sadder that I have to start the game from scratch because some bastard stole my old xbox which meant bye bye saves. -_-
purifico 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.

Aaaawweeee((( I am probably the only person who loved the shit out of FF12 and thought that it was one of the better JRPGs to come out on PS2
I enjoyed the combat and it was by far the best looking game on the PS2 but the story was just a badly done Return of the Jedi rip off and that kind of killed it for me.
 

sageoftruth

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wulf3n said:
sageoftruth said:
just as long as it's not a free pass.
Is that really a thing though? Now I don't really read/watch too many reviews, So take my argument for the ill-informed statement it is, but I've never really seen any reviewer ignore a games flaws just because it was trying something new.

Sure most are more lenient, I am too, but that's because they're trying something that's never been done before, it would a miracle to get it right first go, whereas a game that doesn't try anything new has no excuse for being mediocre.

Taking the Mirrors Edge example, most reviews I read pointed out the clunky controls, issues with platforming from a First-Person perspective, and the oddity of including player usable guns, some rating it higher because of the unique experience it provided.
True. Most innovative games that are horrible otherwise are often called "disappointments" or "wasted potential". I guess the more common issue is flat out rejecting a game because it is not trying something completely new. I didn't always agree with Jim's game examples, but I do agree that a lack of innovation can be compensated for by taking existing ideas and doing them well, or even better than the original.

Still, it's easy for people to discount games that don't use new ideas, since it leads people to assume that the developer is trying to make money without putting forth any effort. It's hard not to blame them too, since it's often infuriating when that sort of thing does happen.
 

anonymity88

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Gizmo1990 said:
anonymity88 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.
I still think XII is excellent and prefer it to X. As for this gen, Lost Odyssey is a truly awesome JRPG and I'm sad that I missed it when it first came out, I'm even sadder that I have to start the game from scratch because some bastard stole my old xbox which meant bye bye saves. -_-
purifico 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.

Aaaawweeee((( I am probably the only person who loved the shit out of FF12 and thought that it was one of the better JRPGs to come out on PS2
I enjoyed the combat and it was by far the best looking game on the PS2 but the story was just a badly done Return of the Jedi rip off and that kind of killed it for me.
Yeah the story isn't great, but then again FF games never have what I'd call stellar stories. It has Balthier and Fran though! A better double act than Tidus and Yuna!
 

PhiMed

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YES!!! Singularity and Darksiders are AWESOME!!!

People overlooking them simply because they were too similar to something else make me want to spill used motor oil on their dress shirts. By all means, let's disregard every crime drama ever because they're too similar to the Godfather.

If you have an entertaining experience to present, please do so. I'm here to be entertained. If you have simply borrowed the best parts of other games, that just means the developers have good taste.

Thank you, sir.
 

grumpymooselion

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May 5, 2011
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Thank you for saying all this, especially the stuff about JRPGs - the amount of developers, and fans, trashing JRPGs for being turn based, as if that's a bad thing, have infuriated me for quite a long time. The push to make them into action games, or these weird, nearly non-functional, action-turn based hybrids has ruined more JRPGs than I can think of, just look at Final Fantasy XII - so much potential wasted on a semi-not-really-time battle system and executive meddling with the creative decisions of the game.

I still like XII, especially with the Zodiac Job system, I much prefer it on a story and character level to FF entries like X and VIII, but X or VIII, even with VIII's moronic Junction system, were better on a battle system level (though, oddly, they are all overshadowed by X-2's excellent battle system, which evolved X's battle system to its logical, glorious, conclusion). If there were a way I wanted to see Final Fantasy battle systems go, it would be a mix of Final Fantasy Tactics (with heavy influence from Disgaea) and Final Fantasy X-2's (with nods to Parasite Eve and Vagrant Story) battle systems.

Doing something well is more important than doing something new. Yes, if you can do something 'new' and 'well' then great, but at the end of the day put the 'doing something well' before the new any and every time.
 

carnex

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As usual Jim misses target by a few hundred miles. More and more he loses any connection to reality.

Inovation without purpouse, i would argue, does not exist. Inovation for sake of inovation is great if you ask me. Maybe person who has great idea can't really create great game. They make flawed game or even god awfull game but that inovation is seen by others. Someone will see it and use it in good game. If there was no public display of that idea, that other would not see it in the first place. Someone else would eventually get the same idea but nobody knows how long that would take. It is exactly why inovation for the sake of inovation is one of the main sources of lifeblood for our medium, and in every medium ever invented. Take Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein or Isak Newton. None of them actually had knowledge, ideas and drive and went with it. Some of their works they themselves ustilized but most of uses were done by legions of people who followed in their wake. And while this analogy really reaches over distances its most forcefull one I could make.

How media is looking at inovation and how they treat games that do inovate is completely different subject and deserves to be put on the wall for carefull examination and critique. But inovation in itself is a goal in itself.
 

lowkey_jotunn

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Feb 23, 2011
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Not sure why you chose Mirror's Edge to bag on ... it's just a platformer. It copied ideas wholesale from Mario Bros, Sonic, Rayman, 'splosion man or whatever else. The only change it made was to try it first person. Limiting their "innovation" to 1 gimmick (First Person view) allowed them to create a sprawling landscape with a very deep feel to it.

The game's story mode is fairly short, you can easily beat it a few times inside a weekend... but in that short time frame they were able to weave a compelling narrative about a corrupt city, big brother watching, "who can you trust," the lawless couriers who ferret secret packages to and fro.

They were also able to spend a lot of time working out a control scheme that, while jarring at first, becomes very intuitive as you play through it. Just like we shouldn't praise a game for innovation alone, we shouldn't damn a game for innovation, just because it might move us out of our comfort zone.
 

Mangue Surfer

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If I have to choose between a meh game without innovation like Singularity or a game just ok but with some innovation like The Last Story, that will be the second for sure.
Just being honest.
 

Colt47

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I can't really agree completely with Jim on this one. The industry needs games that attempt to buck the trend to know what can work to begin with. Even if it is just a small thing like changing up the style of visuals or experimenting with a new type of movement. If a game can't even give a bit of an emotional or gut response beyond abject boredom what does it matter if it has the best production values money can buy?

On the other hand, I do agree with Jim that a lot of good titles got overlooked due to the excuse of not being "innovative" enough. This pretty much describes Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Singularity, and few others.
 

ManInRed

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Innovation is often a trade off for depth, since if a game requires a player to do something so brand new then teaching the player this replaces challenging the player with further exploring an old concept. So while doing something different can be a good thing, the further away from concepts that have already been explored you go, the simpler and shallower your game becomes.

There are two classic inventions: something that solves an existing problem or the unique combination of existing ideas. When inventing to solve a problem in a game, you are still building on an existing type of game. Mirror's Edge for example is a classic action game, like Mario or Sonic, but it tries to solve the problems with doing action/platforming from a first person perspective, mainly through allowing the player to see their own body from that point of view.

Its also important to consider a game is a piece of art and not a tool. No niche in art is ever completely filled, and it makes no sense to avoid something that was done before if it fits with the game you are trying to make, and if what was done before was a good thing. Imagine if film makers stop making Zombie Horror movies after Night of the Living Dead because it had been done before - I mean sure its great that we have Zombie Hack and Slashes, Zombie FPS, Zombie Adventure Games, Zombie Sandbox Games, Zombie RPG's, Zombie Sport Games ...but you know, we can still make another Zombie Horror Game. Like the films, there is a lot of ways you can handle this concept to give an audience a new perspective.

I think innovation gets a lot of clout because first, technology folk are involved and really like that sort of thing, and second because gamers complain about games seeming too repetitive and similar. However, its important to put that complaint in context that it's often because games remain so simple and safe that the experiences all bleed together, and adding some gimmick is not going to fool most players. Changing things that will effect the player's experience are often very simple, but at the core of what you're planning to deliver to them.

Here's a fun lesson in innovation, the first party RPG came around 1986-87 -how long do you think it was until RPG's have battles where each unit in the ally/enemy parties took individual turns while everyone else waited? I mean that's the game play most people think of when someone mention a JRPG. And it only took, oh, about 10 years to come about. This came after many RPG's that had combat when units did not wait to take turns and could even free move around battle field with no pause. But turn base combat allowed for greater depth in the interaction of timing and turn advantage, and fuel so many ideas that it became the new standard method of play. Of course, no one thinks of turn base combat as an innovative idea, even when it came out. And the best invention to game play, the things that will revolutionize genres, are often just as subtle as that. You feel like it should have been there all along, so you don't get shocked when it appears.

The last bit about invention and creativity is that innovation does not overcome limitations, in fact limitation help people invent new ideas because it gives them something to focus on. Stealth game play was made cause old system couldn't handling too many smart enemies on screen. Horror games came from the uncanny valley of graphics in that generation, not to mention its use of load time and limit field of vision were both inspiration for furthering tension in these games. Tetris even came about because Alexey Pajitnov could only fit in seven shapes into a game. The less a creative person has to work with, the more interesting they use what they got. Audiences do not want innovative art, they want interesting art. Innovation becomes ordinary, interesting is timeless.
 

shadow skill

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Mirror's Edge's main problem is that they stupidly used an FPS layout for a platformer. They forgot that the controls should fit the game they are making. There is a very good reason why games like POP don't use the stick layout of a game like Gears of War. Ironically the game is much easier to control on PC in part because you can just put strafing very,very far away from any of the useful actions for motion and you have more fingers to use so you can react more easily to enemies.

As far as innovation or rather invention for the sake of invention (Invention is what leads to innovation.) guess what alot of things people try just are not going to work the first time even if the idea is otherwise sound.
 

LifeMakesMeLOL

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May 12, 2012
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Singularity is one of the best FPS games of this generation? Are you high?

I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion or whatever, but I got Singularity through Gamefly last year and all it did was rip off a ton other AAA shooters and add a gimmicky time manipulation gadget. It wasn't a bad game by any means, but even after watching all three endings I was left thinking, "meh."

I just don't get how something like that could even begin to hold a candle to something like the first Bioshock, Spec Ops, or even COD4's campaign.
 

chikusho

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Even if you would consider Mirrors Edge to be a steaming pile of shit (which I don't, for the record), their core concept has since been used to create much smoother movement, climbing, jumping and multi-leveled traversal in numerous FPS games since.

Even if you hate the game, innovation for innovations sake _is inherently valuable_ because even if it doesn't completely deliver in the first product, it opens the possibility for improvement, or someone else to pick up where they left off.

Also, if innovation for innovations sake turns out to be completely crappy and not work, that will probably deter others from attempting to use the idea.

Win, win, win. The only real loss comes from the overhyping you mentioned, and people get burned.
 

Aardvaarkman

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Jul 14, 2011
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Jimothy Sterling said:
Yeah and you can outline the plot to the Shawshank Redemption in five minutes.
Right. So, if it only takes five minutes to outline the movie's plot, why would choose to stretch it out to 30 minutes? That's essentially what you've done here. You've taken something that needed approximately 30 seconds to one minute, and padded it out to over six minutes. Why?

Seriously, why did you feel the need to repeat the exact same thing approximately a dozen times?
 

Jirachi

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Mar 25, 2013
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Really i agree that the idea the innovation has some kinda of magic ability to make a game good is silly.
But zelda is not a good example of a series that keeps the core gameplay in tact while innovating.
3 of the the last 4 zelda games had terrible controls,and bad exploration.
The bad exploration is really because the were modeled after a certain other zelda game but that games only problem was the exploration(and no i don't mean tp)