View From The Road: Seen It All Before

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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View From The Road: Seen It All Before

Some game elements just don't need innovation.

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Galad

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Nov 4, 2009
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It's true, and I thought of this exact thing a few days ago when I heard that Blizzard might not be looking for innovation in Starcraft II
 

StriderShinryu

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Dec 8, 2009
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Great article. I applaud innovation when it actually moves things forward and/or provides a new quality experience but innovation or change just for the sake of saying you did something different is pointless. Many people are quick to call most post-WoW MMOs WoW Clones because they have hotbars, highlighted quest givers, etc. but in reality these systems were around long before WoW. They are there because they work and because they make sense to both people familiar with the genre as well as those who are new to it.

This topic brings to mind the current debate over motion controlled games. Sorry motion control fans, but motion controls just aren't better in any way for playing 90%+ of the types of games that people like to play. Just because motion controls are the new shiny doesn't mean they are better than the established method.
 

erbkaiser

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Jun 20, 2009
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Glad to see this article. Innovation does not mean reinventing the wheel over and over again -- it should mean introducing something new, not done before.
Most games that depend on some weird new gimmick fail precisely because of that gimmick -- one good example is FPSs which seem to feel the need to introduce 10 more guns than their predecessor or direct competitor, as if that is what is needed, whereas a truly innovative FPS introduces some new mechanic (like Half Life 2's gravity gun was when it came out).
 

GRoXERs

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TVTropes addiction is a hard thing to fight. You brave, brave man.

Three weeks dry, and still having trouble not looking up every anime and tv show I think about.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Hopeless Bastard said:
Ugh... that was hard to read. "Lack of imagination is good! Hooray for genericness in all aspects of gaming!!"

People demand innovation and such because established systems get old. Fast. Once any amount of tension is removed from a shooter because it uses a cover system, and you know exactly where you're going to have a firefight by the placement of chest high walls, and you know as long as you're in cover mode behind a chest high wall, you're all but invulnerable, its time for something new.

But that doesn't mean people want change for the sake of change. They want developers to spend time and effort on something other than graphics. Back in the golden age, the wheel was reinvented with every new IP, and in some cases, with every sequel. Sometimes the new wheel only had 3 unequal sides, but who gives a fuck? It was new and figuring out how it rolled used to be most of the fun.

But then halo gained extensive popularity for being a functional console shooter (thanks to auto-aim systems and dumbed down controls), and established a braindead majority who view gaming as vicarious masturbation with no cleanup. So, hooray for accessibility through familiarity! Hooray for lazy game design! Hooray for unreal 3 engine! Hooray for mediocrity!

I also wasn't aware that before halo, there were no caps on ammunition and shooters had an infinite variety of weapons to pick up. Must be my failing memory.
So you want to change things not because they need changing, but for the sake of changing them. See, I can generalize too :)

My point wasn't that everything needs to be generic. It's that by using what's common, what's accepted, and what works for a lot of things, designers can focus on changing things that MATTER.

Man, the rules for chess haven't changed in, like, a thousand years! Where's my innovation?
 

Gigaguy64

Special Zero Unit
Apr 22, 2009
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I love your Article.

I dont understand peoples need for everything to be "Innovative' these days.

i have friends who hate many games just because of how similar it is to another.

A good example is Fire Emblem and Yggdra Union, both games are very Similar, and that's a good thing.
Both have many different elements that set them apart from each other.
But they both have many things extremely similar.
The combat system is one of those thing.
Both are Unit/Class based Strategy games.
Playing YU i felt like i was playing a Darker Fire Emblem..and i loved it.

It took a system that i was familiar with, did just a little bit of tweaking and made a game that i regret selling to this day.

So i don't care if a game has elements just like another, as long as it is a good game that lets me use something familiar to have a fun experience then its a good game in its own right.
And just like you said, some things don't need to change.

And don't worry, we all have TV Tropes issues.
And that's not a bad thing either.
:3
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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Why fix what isnt broken. As long as it does what it is meant to do then you have no problem! Its all about the user!
 

randommaster

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Xandus117 said:
I agree with this article. I'd rather play a generic game that's good over an innovative game that's crap any day.

[Ed note: John Funk has a TV Tropes problem.]
Don't we all? [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourLife]
Stop preemptively stealing my jokes! Are you happy? [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Msl57Xfl5u4] Are you?!?!

Nice article. The point needs to be brought up every now and then when people criticize things simply because they share elements with other things that are similar.
 

rsvp42

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Hopeless Bastard said:
Once any amount of tension is removed from a shooter because it uses a cover system, and you know exactly where you're going to have a firefight by the placement of chest high walls, and you know as long as you're in cover mode behind a chest high wall, you're all but invulnerable, its time for something new.
Yeah, so you vary the types of cover being provided to make sure that it fits with the environment in a naturalistic way, you create tension in novel ways other than "oh I'm being shot right now," and you stay true to the materials i.e. wood won't stop bullets for long, stone can be chipped away, and metal can eventually be blown away. If the cover system in a game is cheap and it sucks, it's not because it's a cover system, it's because the designers didn't do it right.

It really shouldn't even be called a "cover system" because it's just "what you do when you're getting shot at." We might as well call pulling the trigger a "firing system."
 

Twad

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Nov 19, 2009
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They might work, its all well and good, but its no reason to be lazy/unoriginal just because they do.
There is always a way to improve things in a way or another. Or maybe make up for it by making the content around the -thing that work- better since you can focus more on them.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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Apr 2, 2008
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While I agree with the article for the most part, I think we can all agree that there are some cliches that games could really do without. Doors that will only be opened with one key and can't be blasted open by a rocket launcher, anybody?
 

vallorn

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Nov 18, 2009
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GRoXERs said:
TVTropes addiction is a hard thing to fight. You brave, brave man.

Three weeks dry, and still having trouble not looking up every anime and tv show I think about.
you managed to quit!?!? How!? im still looking at the Borderlands page right now! (its hilarious)
 

Mysnomer

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Nov 11, 2009
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TV Tropes is not an addiction or affliction! It is ENLIGHTENMENT! Those who tell you otherwise are trying to horde its precious information. Read TV Tropes [http://www.tvtropes.org], it's for your own good.
 

Vuirneen

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TV tropes is something that cruel people inflict on others to suck several hours out of their day.

It usually takes a few hours to close the final link, although, afterwards, I'm well entertained.