On Sunday I decided to finally get down to publishing an article I’ve been working for over a month on. During this month I was burgled, I had to take up work experience and I started working on a Source engine mod. I did it though. Maybe I’m slightly smug in saying I’m dead proud of what I’ve achieved, I wrote over three pages of notes and research and played 19 games (not to completion). I stand by every single one of my points.
You might not visit my DTOID blog, P*N page or any of those doodads often enough to know I’m the guy who thinks Just Cause 2 is better than Heavy Rain. I’m the apparent ‘elitist’ who pokes games and tells you why they’re wrong, apparently.
I got a good amount of response from my article; some very valid points were made. Some ironically showed how stupid and impatient gamers can be.
I still even stand by my statement I made before the article (I didn’t write it down): I am one of the stupidest gamers of all time because I point out all my flaws. I already honestly know I won’t change because of what I’ve admitted. I don’t even believe I’ll change anyone’s perspective or make anyone agree with me.
I’m contradicting myself here because it seems some people agree with me.
This is sort of a hybrid of a sequel-extension and a response to the previous article. I think that maybe some of the comments I got just showed how stupid some people can be. I know stupid can be such a strong word but I feel it’s very necessary.
I’m going to start with comments from Platform Nation:
First off, I fail to see how attesting to the fact that gamers (and you) are “stupid” is going to make anyone change their minds. Berating anyone (even for a point) is simply feeding into the negativity and the ignorance you wish to do away with.
You’re slightly right here but I just wanted to explain why people can be so stupid. I even said outright near the end of the article that I doubted anyone would change because of what I wrote.
We’re ignorant for not supporting more “art games,” yes? So that means we should drop everything and turn our undying attention to games such as Braid, Flower, etc. simply because they MUST be the only games capable of making someone like Ebert understand where he is wrong?
Of course not; we shouldn’t drop the mainstream or else the industry would (theoretically) collapse. We shouldn’t turn our full attention to artgames all the time because, as you’ll say later in the comment, some of them are just disguised in thin layers of promise. In fact, they promise to make you sit in a corner holding your knees and trying to figure out the metaphors.
Did you ever stop to think that Ebert isn’t wrong and that his opinion is not the be-all and end-all of video game culture? So he doesn’t find games to be high art. That’s no skin off my nose. I don’t respect the man any less for his opinion. There are plenty other well-educated and highly respected individuals the world over who praise the medium as it should be praised, and not only because of “arthouse” games such as Shadow of the Colossus or any of the examples you’ve mentioned here, but even from mainstream games that you seem to be so fervently against.
He is wrong, he’s very very wrong. He doesn’t realise the potential that games have been pointing to since the beginning of this millennia. I do care what Ebert thinks because he is a collective; he has hordes of readers who will obey his every command. They’re not biased towards him they would just take his word over my own. Ebert is old and probably will never live to experience a ‘gamer changer’ as it’s been billed, I doubt he’s much of a gamer anyway.
I am not against mainstream games, I’m just against the idea that all we are is an industry that takes mainstream over indie and does not hold them equal. Neither should come before the other.
Did you ever stop to think that people purchase “mainstream” titles because they find them fun? Personally, I can’t get into Braid. I’m not interested in whatever message it’s trying to convey, and I don’t think its mechanics are worth drooling over. Why can’t Flower simply be a relaxing, casual adventure rather than an epic social commentary on life and pollution and loneliness and the pain of being human? It’s a game. When you come right down to it, all of the games you mentioned and all of the big-budget titles are simply video games.
I would argue that Flower can work both ways. It can be whatever you want it to be. I do not seek artistic expression within videogames, I just absorb what they have to offer. Flower was relaxing at the same time it was expressing the human condition; it mixed into this middle-ground that changed my thinking for some time.
If you find greater meaning in them via your own methods or if they were intended to hold greater meaning, that’s fine and dandy. But why must we only herald games from independent creators? Are you saying we should also stop seeing big-budget movie releases that are capable of producing original and moving narratives simply to support the little guy? And what about independent publishers? Should we only support them too so we can forget about the big guys since they’re obviously incapable of producing anything other than cashmongering drivel?
We shouldn’t give indie games slack. If they fail as a videogame then they fail as a piece of art in my book. Let’s just take for example when a game such as Flower comes along. What if it had awful gameplay mechanics but exhibited the same social commentary. It would fail as a videogame and wouldn’t be a videogame that is art; just one with art in it.
I’m not saying this should be one giant movement, all I am trying to say is that the big massive publishers already have more than enough financial support.
I don’t doubt that mainstream games can exhibit the same conventions as arthouse or indie games can. Heavy Rain (as hard as it is) came from Sony, a largely big-budget publisher, and it was given a huge advertising campaign. I think Heavy Rain, personally, is overrated but the arty videogame side of it has potential.
In case you haven’t noticed, “indie” is not always synonymous with good or insightful.
The amount of times I’ve been tricked into this is unbelievable. “The Path” and “The Graveyard” were telling small little ten minute stories and going for five bucks on Steam. I decided to delve into these and it was a complete waste of time. In “The Graveyard” it was supposed to highlight the immobility and slowing of pace of when you become older. It started off okay, you play as an old woman, but it’s so small and compact that it only has one layer of interpretation. As a videogame it fails its objective and as an expressive form it barely does anything.
If you don’t believe me just browse the indie section of XBLA and tell me how many of those games were as “artsy” or “touching.” I’m willing to bet next to none.
I don’t think the actual indie section of XBLA offers indie games, I’m talking about actual XBLA releases such as Braid.
But that’s not only due to their budget, is it? That’s because their game ideas or their execution sucked. If your idea sucks and your gameplay sucks, the game is going to suck regardless of how much money or notoriety is backing it. Whether you’re an indie dev or not, if your ideas aren’t worth anything the game won’t be either, and no 8-bit graphics or gimmickry is going to change that, neither is a bloated, “philosophical” story.
I agree. If you sticker yourself as an artgame you have to prove it.
In the end, let games be games. If gamers are so ignorant to you then don’t choose to classify yourself as one. Or just stop being so negative about the state of the industry and support it the ways you find appropriate.
This is a way I find appropriate. I want to highlight the negative aspects of our industry, as I already highlight the positive elsewhere on the site.
Gaming is becoming more and more a part of socially-acceptable activities and it’s going to change whether you like it or not, just like music, books, and every other form of entertainment.
I believe it’s going to change for the better.
They have their struggles as well. But complaining and heralding yourself above the rest of those of us who have enjoyed the hobby for years is not going to change a thing except how much we respect you, which right now is not so much.
I don’t herald myself about the rest of you. I’m not Jesus, I don’t see the holy light that no one else sees. I’m a writer who just wants to share his opinion. I’ve researched it and I’ve made up my mind. I don’t value my life or existence, I’m not smug. I think I’m a horrible writer who contradicts his very self with every article he writes.
I don’t really care how much you respect me, or anyone else for that matter, I just care for people like you.
I care for people who actually take the time to reply instead of swearing it off with personal insult (as I usually get).
Graphics are important; they are just as important to a game as gameplay. To say that it is not important is to undermine all the technological steps that the industry took to get where it is today. Some of the best games on the wii have great gameplay and graphics. (tertiary qualities: one cannot be greater than the other; they simply are)
I disagree entirely. Back in the PS2 era, where my writing flower was developing, I didn’t really care for the graphics. If you want to take about presentation then I say that the atmosphere does matter but that doesn’t entirely rely on technological steps.
Piracy: that IS a big issue to overcome. I found out that even wiiware titles can be hijacked! The nintendo DS is even beyond that point. I barely know anyone who has legitimate games anymore; I try to sell my old games and get scorn for “overcharging” things that are available for free.
I see companies such as Ubisoft putting the piracy lock and chains around their games with systems such as DRM. Pirates can easily get past them and all it really does is hurt the actual consumer.
To counter this, I think that the next wave of consoles will simply be more involved in their online facilities. You hack- you get banned and cannot connect.
Given the trend, we may get a hybrid generation of solid disks and digital distribution.
My final thought? Ever since dreamcast fell, the games that were in arcades and on consoles have been replaced by these interactive war movies.
Shadow of the Colossus. That is all.
ur probably some person who was a indie developer and failed because no one bought your product, so u are pissed at the world for not buying your lame game and now you are just backing up indie developers with there games, so u can make some $$$. you might fool other people but no me! aahahahahahahahahahahahaha….. now your probably trying find way to defend your article from what i said but you cant because its the truth! ahahaha
I’ll take this comment as a stepping stone to explain my involvement in actual game development. As I said at the start of the post, I am developing a Source mod but that will be available free of charge.
If I was an Indie Developer I wouldn’t be writing for the best damn websites on the web; I’d probably have a personal blog.
Just google me 🙂
Very interesting article. I agree that, while most gamers do seem to try to defend the notion that games are art/games make you smarter/there is anything good about games, most (myself included) don’t buy as many of these as we should. I have also seen too many “FIRST!” and “@soandso, u suck” comments to believe all gamers are smart. However, I will contest your notions that there are no gaming sites that cover the little games like “Sleep is Death” and that there are no good gaming magazines without “PS3″, “360″, “Nintendo”, or some other manufacturer reference in the title. I am currently a member of Gamesradar, and a subscriber to Game Informer (GameStop’s magazine), and I would say both cover almost every game, mainstream or indie, and are never biased (for example, two of the latest news articles on Gamesradar were your standard review for “Halo: Reach” and “A Halo-hater’s review of Reach”)
I didn’t say “ALL WEBSITES ARE BIASED LULZ”, I think I even cited Destructoid as a place of intellectual discussion. I’d include Gamesradar in that pool too though.
But I would still say there are more biased/poddycocking magazines/publications/gaming websites than actual honest ones.
Also, whenever a Gamesradar article gets my brain pumping, I often prefer to write a detailed explanation of why I like/hate what the author says rather than just saying “U LIE!”, so I often take apart someone’s article piece by piece.
Good. You’re less stupid than me. STILL STUPID BECAUSE YOU DON’T SUPPORT ARTGAMES GRRRR.
(sarcasm :D) thanks for taking the time to comment.
[b]i mostly agree with you about we gamers being stupid.
but being a fanboy doesn’t have to mean that you are stupid too.[/b]
I think that when you only take one side, then you do reside yourself to being less of an observer who has a full panoramic view of the situation.
i’m a SONY fanboy, but if i act low and like ignorant person then i’m just showing other people that all the SONY fanboys or girls are dick head jerks.
I’m not saying they’re stupid in the way they manage their language or use of coherent sentences, I’m saying that they’re stupid just of how biased they are. We are a multi-formatted industry and whether you like it or not, we need to get along.
[b]i have met many SONY and MS fanboys and fangirls whom acted very good for a fanboy or fangirl.
this just depands on how mature is that person.
and lets be hounest, don’t you care about graphics?[/b]
how much is the chance of you buying a game which has a bad graphic for current generation?
i personally care alot about graphics and atmosphere’s design.
i don’t know, maybe i’m a moron, but hey, we all have our opinions.
and as Swedish people say: opinions are like people’s ass, everybody has one
Opinions are like games, PS3 has none (joke).
I only really care about atmosphere and design rather than actual photo-realism.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Any entertainment industry will be plagued with two extremes. I guess there are actually more than two extremes but this post highlights opposite ends of the spectrum. “Elitests” like Mr. Hardisty and Mr. Ebert vs “average gamer/movie goer”.
I’m a writer; that’s all I am. I don’t value myself above the average Joe, I just see games differently. That’s not a smug statement either. In fact I’d rather see them different.
I don’t see them any better than you do.
Elitests watch/play a product with an insightful eye, looking for the nuances of a story and a need to be emotionally moved by what they are participating in.
I gave a good review for Splinter Cell Conviction; do you think I wanted it to make me cry?
They deconstruct every aspect and truly believe that there needs to be thoughtful meaning to every detail.
Enter the other guy… The average guy. He is looking to be entertained. He is looking to escape. He wants to see stuff blow up, he wants to snipe fools from across the map while his buddy has the flag. He doesnt want to question his morality or ponder the meaning of life the way Roger and Nathan do. Guess what, there is nothing wrong with either side. There will always be a separation and a sense of bitterness between the “elitest” and the “average joe”.
There’s apparently a war between the writers and the readers; or the elitists and the average Joe. I don’t play games to change my way of thinking, I don’t seek for that to happen all the time. Yes, I do want more games that change my scope of thinking but if that was every game then the industry would be pretty boring.
If one of us had to cease to exist then I’d just the elitests anyday. We don’t need to bother trying to argue that games have more meaning than entertainment! That’s not what games are for.
Fun isn’t enough.
Your article almost made me cringe to death.
How are you still typing.
Seriously? So one person stating that “Just Cause 2 is repedetive shit” makes most gamers stupid?
It was a collective example, there are hundreds of thousands like it.
And why are you so concerned with punctuation and good grammar?
I’m not, I’m concerned that gamers can manifest a valid opinion without resorting to personal insult.
I’m sure you’re aware that it is quite possible to present a good point without any of those. So because you don’t believe graphics is an important part of gameplay, that must render anyone who believes so more stupid than you are?
If people want to argue that graphics are an integral part of the game then I’ll listen and hear the argument. I’d sacrifice my point if you want them to be valued on the same level of gameplay, but not in the sense most people see it. I’d value atmosphere over photo-realism anyday.
I’d also say I’m more stupid than you because of the mistakes I’ve made.
Put your hands up. Slap yourself in the face? Really? How bored were you when you came up with this article?
Not much. I thought that was my ace in the hole ;(
Do you understand the concept of “preference?” Do you not understand that it’s okay for people to like things that you might not?
Of course I do; but it’s not exactly enough when people call me gay and that I’m wrong without explaining why. Preference could be moulded into the same as subjectivity.
And then the rant about Indie games which went on for too long with nothing tangible being said.
I don’t get it. I outlined the point that indie games is where new sparks of innovation will fly, not within the confines of mainstream. I said that I myself are too stupid to support them financially, and that we need to strike a balance.
Though there are some things in the article that I do agree with, as a whole though, this article is a whole lot of “FAIL.” And you should try editing your article again, I caught a few misspellings here and there and I know you don’t want people quoting those rare cases and declaring you stupid as a result.
I ran it by two Platform Nation editors and it was 3000 words long. We’re not the most professional of sites so there’s bound to be a lot of mistakes. I already said too that I think I’m a horrible writer.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
These comments came from Destructoid:
Wow. This blog puts me in a state of shock. First, it’s crazy to think that someone out there can possibly type more than me :P. Second, I had to stop because unlike every other blog I come across, I didn’t want to read the rest because it would be pointless. And third, this will probably be my shortest comment ever…
You can’t fight Stupidity with Stupidity. Whatever point you were trying to make with this blog, I’m not interested in because you seem to ramble either just as much or more than me. At the very least it makes me understand why long pointless posts are long and pointless, and I’ll try to sculpt mine better. Thanks =p
I think I take this more of an insult than anything else. I don’t doubt your sincerity but I feel that your heart is in the wrong place. I don’t think the whole of the article was pointless and I don’t think I rambled on. I was definitely not stupid in the way I conveyed my opinion.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment
Way too long.
First draft was 5,000 words; this is around 3,000 words.
Way too short 🙂
i can appreciate both a mainstream game and a indie game. This is a generalization of gamers being stupid. the same can be done with any group by quoting the few that fit that description.
LOL you cried over a game
Good that you can appreciate both, but do you actually buy indie games? Do you buy the innovative titles. I don’t.
You’re maybe right the generalization, I did put it into sub-categories though – “fanboys”, “elitists” etc.
Okay, so I cried and you haven’t. Doesn’t matter, way videogames are. They can be interpreted in a bazillion different ways.
Sorry… but I disagree with most everything you’ve written here. My response in full would likely be longer than this enormously long rambling blog, so I won’t punish you by writing one, however I will say I think your age is showing with much of this. I thought you seemed very young from what you’ve written, and checking your sidebar shows you are indeed quite a bit younger than myself (I’m 48). It seems that your experience of gaming history (and even the present) is colored by that lens.
This was a really interesting read though.. even if it did make me feel old. Oddly, I think with age you start to see more of the beauty around you. Gaming today is truly wondrous when you’ve been around to see it’s full evolution. The fact that people even CAN write words and communicate with each other from far away places is also something I find amazing. While some of those words are spewing hate… others are filled with beauty and can touch the heart. Gaming… it has touched so many people and the depth and breadth of gaming today is astonishing – so many varieties of games, all of them so readily accessible.
Meh… people have always been stupid… it’s part of our charm and what makes life interesting.
I think this comment shocked me more than any other. More so because of the actual age.
If you look around the articles I’ve written then it’s usually 50:50 with me complaining about gamers and then me talking how amazing videogames can be.
I – and most people here – don’t fall under many of the categories of stupidity you outlined here, but I agree that out in the wild, untamed interwebs lie untold amounts of slobbering fools who do.
I am guilty of ignoring promising indie games (I still haven’t got World of Goo or P.B. Winterbottom yet) in favour of OMG NEXT MARIO/ZELDA GAME OMG, and for that I do hang my head in shame. Shame of being a big stupid stupid-head.
Also, you are abnormally articulate especially considering how young you are.
Since this was from Destructoid, I don’t hold any bias but, I knew there’d be more intelligent responses.
Yes you should hang your head in shame you big stupid stupid face! It’s a trend that none of us can beat, I only wanted to highlight it.
And thanks for the compliment; I think I’m a horrible writer.
I disagree as well from what I read. I think it’s negative and you’re looking at one side of the coin through a cynical light.
There’s nothing special about your fandom of choice. People are people. You either thicken your skin, learn to love ’em and be positive (Protip: This will lead to good company) or be a negative cynic (Protip: This will lead to bad company).
Gamers aren’t stupid. They’re human.
As I’ve said before this isn’t the only stuff I write. I think it’s brilliant given that we do support innovation within our industry. Just not enough.
I wrote some other things about great games and the greatness of our industry and other things beginning with ‘great’.
By Iron Dragon
So wait… Your argument is that gamers are stupid for not buying art games? Even if we don’t care if games are art? What?
My argument is that gamers are stupid for not supporting them enough. I don’t care if you think they’re art or not, have your fun, I just want people to see both sides of the coin really.
I buy and play games to relax and have fun usually. Not to seek some deep meaning from them (Though sometimes I want that). I don’t think gaming for fun or entertainment makes me an idiot.
I never said “GRRR GAMES SHOULDN’T BE FUN.”, games should be fun before anything else. I just want more double-meaning games rather than mainstream entertainment outlets.
I know what I’m buying and I like what I’m buying. Just like the people who buy Call of Duty buy it and play it because they enjoy it. Do I think it’s a poor game? Yes. Thus I personally didn’t buy it… But at the same time I understand other people love it. It’s what they enjoy.
Let them be then.
Do I wish every game could be as well made as Shadow of the Colossus, God Hand, or whatever? Sure, but I realize that’s MY ideal world. Other people aren’t stupid for wanting different things or having other opinions. They might be stupid for being misinformed or illogical in their reasoning, but if they genuinely enjoy Call of Duty 10: Zombie Hitler… Who are we to say no you shouldn’t enjoy that and label them as stupid for it?
I wouldn’t label them stupid, because they’re not open to the idea of artgames. They’re not stupid, just misinformed. The article wasn’t written for them in mind.
And hell no, if everygame was as well made as Shadow of the Colossus then the world would be pretty damn boring.
That’s just being elitist, not intelligent. You’re no better than the console fanboys. You’ve just instead become an art game fanboy arguing your opinion is fact.
If I’m brutally honest then the sparks of innovation we get from indie games or small titles always becomes a fire in the mainstream titles. For a while, Rockstar Games could be classed as an independent company. They’ve now involved into an independent publisher and developer, but I think what changed them was GTA III. It was a small title, at the time, and completely engulfed the average idea of a free-roam.
I doubt you’d get that today.
I don’t value my opinion over yours, I think I’m stupider than you for example.
I’m a writer, by the way, I have to argue my opinion as fact or else I’d be out of a hobby/semi-job.
Also as a side note I’d argue graphics can be important to game… Not everything but still important. Would a game like Jet Set Radio be in some of our hearts forever if it wasn’t cel shaded or had a different style? Even with titles like Bad Company 2 or Crysis… The foliage in the environment can create new gameplay opportunities for stealth.
I think that those aren’t graphics, just style really. The foliage in Crysis and the water effects add to the atmosphere of hyper-realism.
By occams electric toothbrush
I take issue with any group of people that make their passion into an exclusive niche where if you don’t know the right games/albums/books/etc, you aren’t cool. Be a fan of the thing you love but don’t be an asshole. Use your passion to teach others and share your love of something. That’s one of the many reasons I love coming to Destructoid. People share and discuss, but rarely do they act like pricks about games. Anything that makes it elitist is weak shit in my book.
I’m going to echo myself here and say I don’t value my opinion over anyone else. I’m just putting my opinion across and allowing discussion to flow. I really don’t like it when I’m hailed as an elitist and people think I think I’m better than everybody else.
Truth is I don’t want to be Nathan Hardisty. Depressing statement but a while ago I was told that when you start writing about games, you see them different. Maybe not always for the better.
I’ve written about how brilliant games can be, how bad games can get and also how us gamers are the very next step in social evolution.
If that’s elitism then God strike me down.