Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EPISODE 61: "Bells & Whistles"

UPDATE (AGAIN!) As it turns out, Shigeru Miyamoto is NOT retiring and may not even be changing his "official" title within the Nintendo corporation. They are now calling the Wired article that began this (apparently false) reporting - which is now being blamed for Nintendo's stock price taking a two-point hit today - the result of bad translation.

Think of this as a brief respite between "big stuff," as the very NEXT episode (next Friday!) features both a controversial topic and the introduction of a new character. Technically, this week has the "live" debut of Jack Lieberson: Ninja Senator, though he's been seen and heard before. Enjoy!

77 comments:

Jason said...

Great episode, I really hope that you continue this format of Plot, Overthink, Plot. The episode flowed really well.

obviousBIAS said...

Symantic quibble:

I don't think restraint is the right word. Lets go back to the Mona Lisa; do we think Da Vinci was tempted to paint an additional background for viewers to overlay at their pleasure, but then found restraint? Methinks no. One issue that makes this a less than perfect analogy is that the painting was commissioned, but even with that fact my bet is that Da Vinci had some artistic final vision in mind and had no interest in going anywhere with the painting besides that. More broadly, my bet is that in most cases people(s) who produce art do so with that intention, and that the bells and whistles are kept out not by restraint by design.

obviousBIAS said...

"not by restraint [but] by design".

... proofreading

Anonymous said...

I was really disappointed when I found out that "Six Days in Fallujah" wasn't being made. I thought that we would finally get the opportunity to see if games could be seen art. Experiencing the battle interactively, if done correctly, could have provided a way of presenting the subject unique to the genre of video games.

Evilkinggumby said...

Yay I finally got to see the video! I have to say, after the holidays, I am likely going to snag an advantage pass to save myself some of this headache hehehe.

I do get what you are saying about the lack of iconic characters in games where the main character is a custom created avatar by the player. What ends up happening is everyone plays the game and their iconic character is a very personal one that fits the ideals of the player. I don't see this going away though considering that the video game industry is first and foremost a business. Add to that the fact it is part of the global economy, a system dependent on people BUYING MORE STUFF so that the consumer driven world continues to grow and spread. It's the old 'He who dies with the most toys wins." idea. It is impressed on so many people in so many cultures: having nice stuff, having nicer stuff, having a lot of stuff is a sign of prestige, power, and social acceptance. It is better to live well off and have more than you may ever need than to choose to live like a pauper and own very little. It's a very "me" centric system, where the consumer looks out for "#1" and so through various economic, social and psychological means is being taught to focus on themselves and their own prosperity.

Now if the system is beating that idea over consumers heads, then it makes sense for gamers to want to customize games how they see fit. Create content for them, customize characters, change the story based on how they want to play the character and have the character view morals.

I have been knee deep in game Mod culture for years and I have watched it grow more and more like this. I have seen how gamers have gotten so comfortable with being able to mod games (no matter the system) that they will refuse to play a game, no matter how awesome, if it can't be changed to suit their personal desires. Now I realize this sub culture is not mainstream, far from it. But I also recognise that the very pattern it has created within itself is also aparent and growing in mainstream audiences too.

I do think it is possible to have the player fabricate their avatar and still have a game end up artistic and iconic. Has it happened? Doubtful. But there have been plenty of great stories and movies about the hero being a typical "everyman" character (like Roddy Piper in They Live..lol) that could still be great stories and experiences despite the lack of an iconic main character. to hinge whether a game can be art entirely on how iconic the avatar is seems.. short sighted.

Creating a game where the avatar is universally (or as close to an equivalent as possible) aimiable to players is a crap shoot. FFX on the ps2 has folk who loved it and hated it, many times hinging on how they felt about the main character and his personality(i.e. the fact he had a voice and a personality at all). Earlier, FF games had more typical "silent protagonist" types whose personality was more projected by the player than painted in by the developers. Heck I shudder to think this all comes back to Metroid Other M to some degree... Would Metroid suffer if Samus became a character where you could completely customize the suit, change her facial features when not armored up, and you could set what her voice/responses were(a la Mass Effect) ?

Effectively I don't see the custom avatar concept going away, because it saves any risk of gamers hating the MC and thus passing up a game. It allows gamers more empathy potential and so perpetuating the egocentric lifestyle impressed to them. Since it's a business first and foremost, the idea of foregoing such things in the name of art will likely rarely, if EVER, happen. And that depresses me to no end.

Aiddon said...

Ah yes, some of gaming's biggest problems. This is again why I love Nintendo so damn much since they never release a game unfinished.

Also, I do find the lack of new iconic characters to be irritating. instead of trying to make an actual character that the player can identify with and guide developers instead turn their narrative into an ego trip with the player being the center of its universe. And oddly enough this leads to a severe dichotomy: due to the nature of games choices MUST be limited to a very generalized set of decisions in order to further a narrative. So saying a game offers "freedom" is like an oxymoron or a contradiction. As such, I never actually identify with Commander Shepherd or ANY of the Bioware protagonists.

Also, the player-customized avatar has also inadvertently led to a plethora of very blandly designed protagonists. Seriously, whatever happened to a guy growing his hair out or getting a proper beard or shave instead of lazy stubble

tehwaffleman said...

Please stop with the 'storylines', I beg you, I don't want to complain because its something different from before, but because it's >bad<. Whenever you do a joke you have terrible timing and the jokes aren't that funny either? A ninja senator ad... yes, and? What's the joke? I mean Ivan and Commissioner Bunny, seriously? I can understand you want to do something different, you see the TGWTG-crowd do their stuff and wanting to emulate that, but they drag on way to long and so tangentially related to the episode's subject that it becomes jarring. The whole Ninja-storyline was like nails on a chalk-board, it was embarrassing seeing you jump around. Sometimes I just think this is some elaborate trolling on internet review shows, but I doubt it.
You're good at editorials, not so much drama, please just do the talking and not the acting.
You're always telling us to make our voices heard and this is me making me heard: Stop with the storyline segments, they're not funny or interesting.

Jannie said...

The thing is, this argument really doesn't go anywhere. Even IF you somehow convinced an entire generation of gamers who are used to having free reign to give all that up for...what? Art? Who's art? For what purpose?

I mean besides destroying online multiplayer. Because God only knows we must destroy EVERY vestige of modernity in gaming.

I don't know why you're arguing against character customization but I'd remind you that the "iconic" look of most old characters is almost purely because of graphical limitations and was never intentional, that includes Mario. No one at Nintendo honestly intended a fat plumber to be a gaming icon (in fact he's not even supposed to BE a plumber, originally he was a ZOO KEEPER in Donkey Kong) so whatever happened after that was pure chance. It was just as likely that, say, Alex Kidd could have taken off...who knows in some alternate reality it did.

The fact is that gaming is moving a direction where online play and interaction, DLC and story driven gameplay will be the norm. The future is set for more Mass Effect or Modern Warfare games than mascot titles; this year the two biggest games released, indeed the two biggest games ever, were Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim. Both of them completely the opposite of "restrained", one almost entirely focused on multiplayer and the other built on giving players the most freedom possible. These games are the future of gaming, and this generation is going to remember them as fondly as our generation remembered Mario...a character, mind you, who hasn't been relevant in fifteen years. Gaming is evolving, you can't hold it back just because it scares you, or because of some misguided attempt at "art".

But even then, the question becomes, why? Flip the script: just because you CAN make games art, doesn't mean you SHOULD. I mean, who says that somehow that would make them better? In reality the GAMEPLAY of a game is the most important element, and anything that hamstrings gameplay is inherently bad. That is why a game with great graphics and a deep story but shitty gameplay (like most Final Fantasy games, for example) are derided for it but a game with great gameplay and shitty graphics and story (i.e., StarFox 64, one of my favorites of all time) is considered a classic.

Unless and until "art" becomes important to how you play the game, not the other way around, why should it even be a consideration? Games are GAMES not art, just like the Mona Lisa was not meant to be enjoyed interactively, i.e. you can't paint it yourself.

That's another thing: you can't compare games to a painting, since paintings are completely separate forms of "entertainment" if you want to call it that. People can stand around and discuss the Mona Lisa all day but in the end its just a drawing of a woman smirking at you for no discernible reason.

And that's the key phrase, no discernible reason. It can "mean" anything you like it to--maybe she's smiling cause she saw a hot guy and she's trying to put the moves on him; maybe she's smiling cause she just ate a great sandwich; maybe she's smiling cause someone painting her told her to.

I doubt anyone including Di Vinci knows and if you asked them, they'd probably say "who cares, it's just a painting of a woman". Because that's all it really is, and anything else is just hearsay.

Jannie said...

An aside:

You all need to stop whining about the story. It's funny and fun, so just let Bob do his storyline.

I mean come on, "Ninja American Community", really? That's not funny to anyone else but me?

biomechanical923 said...

Great episode, Bob. You're doing a much better job of balancing the story with the substance.

I just wanted to quickly comment about your point that developers should stop adding features just to get a few more players. One hard truth of the gaming industry (and the movie industry is that nobody is ever TRYING to make a cult game (or movie) because they don't really care how many used copies get sold in a gamestop.

Pat said...

Glad to see you're implementing the Linkara formula. It's working a lot better for you.

My only other technical criticism is that the part of your acting that you should focus on is your physical presence. Your line delivery is fine, but your body movements feel very stiff and unnatural. I think the problem is that you spend too much time standing in one place and occasionally moving your right arm in a particular way based on the character you're portraying. It might help if you found excuses to give your characters something to do with their hands. Just a thought.

As for the actual content of the video, I really liked it. You made a really good point about how games like CoD hurts the credibility of a game like Fallujah. My only slight quibble is that I think the blank slate protagonist works if the designers/writers manage to make you feel like the DIY protagonist is an actual character. I think the Mass Effect games do this very well by giving the character his/her own voice and by giving their actions repercussions and continuity. But in games like Elder Scrolls, the character creation doesn't feel like it matters outside of the game mechanics.

Evilkinggumby said...

@Pat - the reason for the stiffness in this episode is to poke fun at typical "PSA" ads and stuff from ad campaign commercials during election season. If you watch most local (and sometimes national) ads for senators or lawyers or whaever they use the stiff stupid arm motion body language a lot. I actually laughed to see him knock it down to such a base limited action.

Though those inside films were TERRIBLE video quality, which makles me think he's going after cheap public access commercials more than national candidates.. lol.

Mads said...

ObviousBIAS:
You're right. Formally, the word to use is not restraint, but constraint.

The mono lisa was constrained by the limits of painting at the time.

Here, Bob could say that, he feels like video game developers should restrain themselves from piling on features; that they should place constraints around the player.

Here's the problem: Every rule in every game is a constraint.

Take chess. The rules of chess are effectively constraints; the interesting dynamic here, of course, is that the constraints _give_ freedom to games. The limits of the constraints do to, of course, but the constraints themselves are key.

For instance, you can only move one piece, then your opponent gets a move. This constraint is the root of the immense freedom of relevant choice enjoyed by chess players.

@ Bob

But what I wrote above also has implications. Millions of hours have gone into talking about and looking at the Mona Lisa, sure, but it pales by comparison when compared to the amount of time people have spent playing or discussing chess. The game itself, the abstraction of pieces and rules, is one of the best works of art in human history. It's countless permutations of play express things individually and as a cohesive hole.

It doesn't have a protagonist, no, but it does have a narrative, just as missile command does...

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/narrative-mechanics

And missile command is art.

Chess is a multiplayer game, too.

And many artistic movies have been characterless.

The weak point of your argument is when you say that multiplayer can't be art because it's 12 year olds capturing a flag.

But that doesn't describe all multiplayer. It's a falacy to put it like that, which wouldn't be important except it's the crux of your argument that it is multiplayer that causes this.

It isn't even the looser constraints or ability to mod.

Look, I agree with your general point: Great game balance comes from intelligent constraints. You put features opposite of constraints, which is also logically false (if you have regressive features that merely make interaction more complex without loosening any of the overarching constraints, for examples), but I take it as your general point all the same.

But several key tendencies in your video are incorrect.

Also, Cmdr. Shepard is a fucking awesome character.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkz4K9SMwWU&feature=related

Tell me, exactly how is mario _ever_ better characterized than Shepard here? Just because it branches and people haven't all had the same experience doesn't make the character any less meaningful, just less easy to pin down within conversation with other people. But thats irrelevant if Shepard was awesome _to you_.

So again, your example of a CYOA book doesn't prove a damn thing about the stuff you want to talk about. Maybe the customization and choice means theres much less cultural longevity and traction, fair enough, but that's all you've proven: That has absolutely no impact on the characters as you experience them.

I think you're being too easy on yourself when you write these, not really overthinking it enough. And fundamentally, you could really do with reading up on some computer game theory. Ludology vs. naratology, all that jazz. Might be boring and academic, but you wouldn't be making all of these false assumptions about the medium.

Sylocat said...

The "Ninja Anti Discrimination Society?"

Don't you mean the "Game Overthinker Ninja Anti-Discrimination Society," or "G.O.N.A.D.S.?"

vlademir1 said...

Those "bells and whistles" are sometimes essential functionality, specifically when they provide a narrative or experience that would be impossible otherwise.

Portal 2 is a great example of using multiplayer to further the narrative in a way you couldn't in the core singleplayer format.
Bethesda illustrates this in terms of expansions and DLC... most of the time. You don't need the added content, but it can make the original narrative richer by providing different elements and view aside from those in the core form or, as with most MMO expansions, provide more of an ongoing serial narrative.
Modding support is a little different, in that it's best functionality is in helping to build the next generation of game and level designers (with the occasional foray into coopting game rules and engine to tell a totally different story than the one presented), with the trade off of officially letting people cheat if they so choose. It does also provide a way to not have to expend so much on official expansions and patches that add highly requested functionality, as typically there's a mod that adds it before a company can get the funding and OK to work on implementing it.

Zobo said...

I am fine with your conclusions in that episode but your argumentation is just awfully wrong.

First for those who are saying that games aren't art I'm sorry but you're wrong because that debate is over now. The most recognize definition of art nowadays is that something is art when it's considered as art by many great art establishments. So with the exhibition about games that is about to open at the Smithsonian museum of american art, and the exhibition Game Story at Le Grand Palais in Paris, we can officially say that video games are art (plus I'm studying video games as an art form for my master's degree in art history and it was approved by many art historians!). So if games are recieving patches fixes expansion packs, DLC, etc it doesn't make games less a piece of art, actually it makes it more like other art forms

You never can say that a piece of art is finished unless you are the artist yourself. The great masters like Leonardo Da Vinci (who painted de Mona Lisa) actually rarely finished their works. It shows in their paintings when you get a close look you can see that it was altered many many times. Often we even find 2 or 3 versions of the same painting by the same artist. So if we see their paintings as finished products, it's because 1. They didn't had the choice to stop working on it because that painting was a command and it was due for a certain date. Or 2. They died so they couldn't make any more modifications to their painting.

You also seem to forget that character creation can be a vital part of making a game a piece of art. A game exists and is a piece of art only when it played. As much as a movie is art only when it's viewed and a song is art only when it's listened to (or played). So if you want people to play your game you must answer to their needs, and that's what industry is doing, if people like character customization they will put some character customization tools in their games, it's as simple as that. The problem is not the industry then, it's what the players wants, it's what the players consume.

But after all I agree with you, DLC that you must pay extra fees for even though it was already in the game is wrong, the disparition iconic characters is sad, and multi-player isn't always a great feature.

JeffBergeron said...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Image-Dadd_-_Fairy_Feller%27s.jpg

This is called the Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, by famously insane painter Richard Dadd.

You can't see it on an JPG unfortunately, but you can see on the actual painting that parts of it were redone so many times that bits of paint exhude unevenly from the canvas. However, what you can see in the JPG is that it's completely covered with obsessively minute details, and Dadd still considered it unfinished by the time he died. Is this painting less of an amazing work of art because of that? Of course not.

So no, I don't think games are less of an art because of patches and DLC.

Smashmatt202 said...

First comment on Shigeru Miyamoto:

It's good to see him go back to his roots, and go back to designing games instead of being a producer and such. At least I think that's what's going on...

Super Michael O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smashmatt202 said...

Anyway, about the new episode...

What does "Paid Public Service Announcement" even mean, anyway?

I don't give a crap about ninjas, they can be good or evil or whatever, pirates are where it's REALLY at, yo!

You know, I thought Jack Liberson would be thinner than that... You know, like in his pictures.

You know, I sometimes come to the Game Overthinker to LEARN stuff, not to be told blatant lies about American history, just for the sake of incredibly lame humor.

I'm glad I'm not the only one (besides Yahtzee) who doesn't give a flying fuck about online multiplayer! Then again, I haven't played many games with DLC... I think the only one I've played was Mega Man 9, and I haven't even bought the DLC for it yet!

This sounds like a confusing argument... I'm still on the fence about DLC, and I don't really care either way because I haven't played that many games where more stuff can be added AFTER the game was released... I'm also not sure about a game being better WITHOUT DLC, although feature overload could mean too many useless choices that I will never use...

Wait... Oh GOD, it just hit me... Adding DLC with the claim to make it "better"... That sounds suspiciously similar to what George Lucas said about the original Star Wars trilogy...

I get where Bob's coming from now. If something it's broke, don't bother trying to fix it. If the game's already good, adding extra DLC features aren't really going to make the game any better. In fact, it may make it worse...

So basically, Bob is looking at DLC and adding patches to games from an artistic standpoint. If games are art, then they wouldn't need anything added to them. Personally, I'm okay with the idea of remakes/re-releases, as long as they improve on a few things, and not JUST the graphics...

I also HATE the idea that cames can be released that are just half-assed and the developers are all like "we'll fix it in the next patch". This COULD be because of scheduling, but I feel it's mostly to do with laziness and lack of discipline.

OH, I just recently watched a Jimquisition episode on YouTube where Jim was defending his friend who didn't like the idea that the Taliban was going to be playable. Even though he himself didn't mind that, and thought it would be fun/interesting, he admits that he doesn't have any friends or relatives in Iraq now, so he admits that he understands where his friend comes from. He really hated how disrespectful gamers were acting toward that guy, a guy saying that he probably won't play the game because it made him feel uncomfortable. Yeah, yet another sign of how immature we can be.

It's amazing how similar that video was to this... Here it is, for those who are interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY2ogQo785Y

Dammit, I really need to finish playing through BioShock! I'm just no good at first-person shooters, though...

So, I'm sorry for going back to Metroid again, he claims that Mario and Mega Man have enough character revealed about them to know who they are and what they're like. Why can't the same be said for Samus? Was there not ENOUGH said about her? Or is it impossible to use her actions to define her?

I wonder what Jack Liberson meant by "the darker side of video games"? Then again, judging from his name, I think it's pretty obvious.

It's funny how we keep going back to the Sharkcade, even though, judging from the comments I've read about that episode, no one really seemed to give a crap about arcades anymore. Sorry, Overthinker.

"The RetroThinker Show"? I hope the RetroThinker isn't just a carbon-copy of the Overthinker, or another overweight dude...

Aqua said...

I like how someone said Mario hasn't been relevant in 15 years when for the last half a decade he's been the face of the console putting the monetary beat-down on the 'Core-Gamers' console. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't like what Nintendo's doing right now, and I actually USE my PS3 as opposed to my Wii these days, but... yeah, Mario's pretty fucking relevant right now, especially what with half of Nintendo's money coming from his games...

Anonymous said...

Miyamoto retiring? More like demoted.

Good, he wanted us to play 3D Mario games than develop 2D games. Even though 2D mario sells tens of millions more.

He made Anouma head of Zelda development since then the series has become a joke and gets crushed in sales.

Then head designer of the 3DS...oh boy losing Nintendo 900 million dollars especially after the success of the DS and Wii his lucky to keep his job.

Such a pity the last two games he directed are not that great either.

Aiddon said...

yes let's pretend like they'd dare demote the father of modern gaming. Also, $700 mil of that $900 mil was due to exchange rates, something which EVERY Japanese company suffered from.

Aaron said...

@ Jannie

Mario hasn't been relevant in 15 years? What planet do you live on? Mario 3d land sold 1.1 million copies in the past month and not to mention a ton of 3ds systems.

Anonymous said...

@Aiddon

Nintendo themselves admit there selling the 3DS at a lose, the price cut isn't causing them to increase in profit, they have to lower the price to sell and it happens to be losing them money.

They were very cocky about the price. Iwata admitted he raised the price based on hype alone. It back fired on them, hard.

You think Miyamoto is untouchable?

The guys who founded Infinite Ward who make Activision billions got fired.

No one is untouchable in the gaming industry.

He isn't the boss/owner of Nintendo and he certainly ain't leaving Nintendo because he knows he won't be taking those franchises with him. So he gets the ""small jobs""

Just like Yu Suzuki.

Aiddon said...

@Aaron

One where logic and reason were never developed. In an odd coincidence, all of Nintendo's critics seem to have that in common. Plus Skyward Sword is the fastest-selling Zelda of all time.

Jannie said...

Yes it sold 1.1 million copies.

And Skyrim sold many times that.

And Modern Warfare 3 sold many times more than that. In twenty-four hours.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but Mario games will ALWAYS sell, but that doesn't mean they're relevant. What matters is not if Mario sells well (they will, always, sell well) but if they actually have any IMPACT on the industry.

Skyrim, for example, is already shaping up to be the standard for open world RPGs that future games will strive to become--the RPG version of WoW, which is the standard that all MMO games wish to become.

And while I know you hate to hear this, Modern Warfare is officially the biggest media franchise of any kind ever in history. Since you brought up sales (I didn't) by your logic it should be "superior" since it sold more copies. Which is odd because all the FPS bashers constantly tell me numbers don't matter so apparently they only matter when you need them to.

And what's wrong with criticizing Nintendo, they surely must have flaws, nothing is perfect. Or am I just wrong because you say so? Are you honestly suggesting that there has NEVER been ANY mistakes made by Nintendo ever?

What kills me is that Nintendo has done some great things in the past, like bringing Motion Control to fruition and rebuilding the games industry after the 80s crash, but fanboys like you ruin that legacy by reinforcing this nonsense Big N hero worship.

Jannie said...

Actually let's explore this because I have been told, by you same people, that it doesn't matter if a game is popular only if it actually relevant. I agree.

SO why are you bring up sales?

See you can't have it both ways. If sales make a game relevant then Mario is not, and Modern Warfare and Arkham City are. If sales are meaningless and popularity even more so, then that still renders Mario mostly pointless today since other games have surpassed those games in terms of technology and story and character evolution.

So which is it:

Sales are meaningless, and only content matters.

Sales matter, and therefore content is meaningless.

You can't champion the number of sales a game has and then turn around and say the exact opposite when it suits you. Well...you CAN but then you'd be a hypocrite.

And frankly this cuts both ways in other respects too. I'm sure if I said that World of Warcraft were far, FAR more relevant than Modern Warfare, Mario and Skyrim combined (it is, by the way) then people would scream at the top of their lungs about it.

But the reality is that WOW has made more money and influenced an entire genre and gaming system (PCs) in ways that any of the above never could hope to, and has ten million dedicated players at any given time.

So even from the perspective of future impact on the industry, Mario is still being left in the dust by PC gaming, which is, thanks to cloud gaming and new innovations like free to play MMO games, rapidly becoming a hub of gaming culture once again. In many ways far more so than even the huge console juggernauts today like MW3.

In other respects I could easily make a convincing argument for, say, Duke Nukem being far more influential. It basically was the template for an entire generation of FPS games and directly led to the rise of the current, aforementioned FPS juggernauts like the COD, Battlefield and Medal of Honor. In many respects it was the original prototype of the massive financial Godzillas that we know today, and was somewhat revolutionary even in terms of like the Build engine and the content. So in that respect even Duke can still be somewhat relevant today, in a stretch.

Aiddon said...

eeeyeah, Nintendo isn't too happy about Wired screwing up on that. Or at the very least at least making the title seem a lot less titanic than it really is. Gaming journalism, the bottom of the barrel.

Anonymous said...

@Aiddon

What achievement is that? When you have other games come out the same time and crush the Zelda series in sales? ""Oh but its the fastest selling Zelda..."" What about Skyrim that triples Zelda's sales in a week?

Its not a bragging right to spend 5 years developing only to have the competition curb stomp you.

Jannie said...

LOL Update:

In actually reading up about Skyward Sword, I find that it only sold about 900,000+ copies not 1.1 million in the first week of release.

That's total: Europe, America and Japan.

Comparatively it sold none-too-well in any region individually. It was blown out of the water by similar RPGs Skyrim and DX Human Revolution, in fact Skyrim had as many people playing it on Steam the first DAY than Skyward Sword sold in Europe (over two-hundred thousand).

Now, of course, I want to remind you I didn't bring up sales. I was discussing the actual merits of the game and the quality thereof. But since you bring it up...

Keegan Anderson said...

Great video. I've been watching the show for probably a year now - found it back when Extra Credits gave you the nod. I plan on going into game design as a career, and this was definitely a perspective that I hadn't heard. It gave me a lot to consider so I appreciate that. One of my personal favorites of yours. I wish you luck with the next one.

Mads said...

Oh, and here's another wonderful observation. You posit the question:

"
Was Star Wars more secure in it's destinction as an important piece of vital cinematic history before George Lucas started to rework them? Or after?
"

That's a great question, because the answer isn't the obvious one; it obviously rides on the "Han Shot First" change. That's the target of the question, so we're supposed to say "OH Well there's this great example right here of how the work being finished would've clearly benefited the first star wars movie, so obviously it was before! And that's a great example, so it might hold for many other things that being finished generates artistic merit! Derp!"

But hold on. There was a time when Star Wars was only a single movie, and noone knew if there would be a second one. Some probably enjoyed the franchise more when it was just A New Hope, but everybody must surely agree that Empire and Jedi both extended and solidified the distinction.

So leaving Star Wars _not_ finished in the first place was fundamentally key to insuring the distinction in the first place. Indeed, reworking Darth Vader from being just another bad guy in a black suit to being the protagonists father (thus retconning the change into the first movie) was something that happened after the first movie was released. A new hope wasn't viewable in its final form without this vital piece of information. Of course, Leia being Lukes sister even _further_ changes the interactions that happen in the first movie, where Vader inadvertently tortures his own daughter.

Clearly, both of these are the result of Lucas starting to rework the narrative of the first movie. In other words, Star Wars was without a doubt more secure in the distinction you speak of after Lucas started to rework them.

Zobo put down the reasoning a lot more succinctly, but Bob, you didn't even get your leading example right. WTF man.

Phobos said...

Good video Bob, being an older gamer like you, I agree with most of the video. It is why I used to like the Battlefield games. Until recently, there was not a single player component, only multi-player. I like that this was what you were buying and there was not an idea that the multi-player was bolted on. Or in the case recently, a dull single player game was added to a mainly multi-player setup.

Most games that have multi-player I never bother with that part. The idea that the single player narrative has been hijacked by the multi-player part, a part I am never going to play, annoys me.

I am a PC game and I do love the aspect of being able to mod and change things, but I agree that the games that have most affected me and have lasted in the memory the longest are the ones with tight narratives and characters.

iNs1d3tRip said...

As always, you have a general good idea, but then you say something really dumb: "all great works of art have one thing in common. They're finished." So fucking stupid...

The Illiad, The Odyssey, and probably the best example of all, The Canterbury Tales.

All of these works are "unfinished" in one way or another. The Illiad and Odyssey (arguably) because of the errors of moving from oral tradition to written tradition. The Canterbury Tales because, well it just was never fucking finished.

There are many tales that are left unsaid, and even though most of the tales within the fragments make sense, looking at the work as a whole makes your head explode. It would be one thing if this was some half decent work of art like the Mona Lisa, but this is the fucking Canterbury Tales. Definitely one of the greatest works of literature ever created, and IT IS NOT FUCKING FINISHED.

Look, I agree with you that these mods and shit are fucking bullshit. But your reasoning against a reliance on them is fucking stupid.

Aaron said...

@Jannie

Speaking of putting words in someone's mouth, I never bashed any FPS. I happen to like the COD games and have played Oblivion as well(haven't gotten to Skyrim, yet). But, to say that mario isn't relevant, when his character is nearly the sole reason that nintendo is selling 3ds consoles, and his face is plastered on hundreds of different t-shirts and collectibles, is ludicrous. Go ask any seven year old that games if they know who Mario is, then ask them to name one character from Skyrim or COD.

I'm no Nintendo fan boy either. The last console of theirs that I owned was a SNES. If it weren't for Mario though, the 3ds would be a failure. Sounds pretty influential to me...

Joe said...

Maybe the Miyamoto news is exactly what they say it is, or maybe he's been made madogiwazoku like Gunpei Yokoi. Guess we'll know if he has any creative output in the coming years.

Jannie said...

@Aaron

Well I wasn't directly referring to you, but to Aiddon, when I said FPS bashers. But fine, so you're not an FPS basher, ok, I'm sorry but you're still wrong.

Skyrim HAS no main character, you play as you, because it is a role playing game. By definition a GOOD role playing game lets you play a role (says the LARP wench) and not play as some pre-defined character. It may let you chose classes, but realistically it wouldn't be role play if you didn't play a role. That sounds kind of circular, but it's true. Skyrim is like a good, well-done D&D game where players get to make their own character and lead them through the world on their own terms, not by the overarching terms of some distant creator.

And modern shooters have characters but the characters are difficult to define because they're actual...characters. Mario isn't a character he's a face on a t-shirt. He has no voice, no opinion, never says or does anything of worth, he exists solely to sell games and nothing else. His personality and character hasn't evolved or learned or developed at all since the very earliest days, with the sole exception that we've all agreed for some reason he's from Italy now. Why? Because fuck you logic, that's why!

Characters from, for example, Gears of War are actual characters with actual personalities that develop and evolve over time. They cannot be easily defined or slapped on a t-shirt because there is no quick-setting meme ready for them like "fire flowers" or "ooh, tanooki suit!" or whatever. You can't just stencil a Locust Warrior onto a t-shirt with some witty catchphrase like those obnoxious Drybones shirts with GAME OVER written on them. When actual characters are involved they require actual thought and knowledge of the series.

Mario does not. Because Mario isn't even really a series, it's a brand that you buy. When some sweet little old grandma wants to get her grandkids a new toy, she knows only two things: he likes games; this Italian fellow is a game character. And that is why Mario will always sell. It's a brand, like a Big Mac or a Bud Lite, it's something known more for the name associated with it than what it is. In recent games, they've stopped even trying to have context for the Mario adventures--back in the day, Super Mario World or Mario Land tried to at least devise some flimsy excuse for all of this nonsense, now in Galaxy for example, King Koopa just shows up with a fleet of starships and starts killing shit. Why? Because narrative coherency is for womenfolk! Real men don't need story arcs or three-act structure.

There is a difference between being relevant and being popular. A game cant completely bomb and still be influential but it can't just EXIST with no context either. This is why I say Mario is no longer relevant, because he's not a game he's a brand of games which are vaguely related to each other, like Zelda or Kirby, there is not now and possibly never has been an attempt at coherency, continuity or characterization.

Mario will always sell. And any system he is on will of course sell. From a marketing standpoint it's brilliant, but that doesn't make him influential. It makes him a brand name, and brand-loyalty is not relevance. Influencing other games' design (like WOW, Halo, Cod, or yes Duke Nukem) THAT is relevant. And the last time Mario did that was Mario 64. Since that time how many people have looked to Mario games for the next big leap in gaming? None.

They look at Skyrim, or Arkham City which was the most critically acclaimed game of the year, or Halo which created an entire genre of game (online multiplayer shooters) or Half-Life which revolutionized an entire genre, or Duke which CREATED a genre as we know it...that is influential, that is relevant.

Jannie said...

P.S:

Let me put it this way. When was the last time that a Mario game came out, sold seven million copies in a week, and immediately became the new standard by which games of it's genre will be judged?

Cause I can tell you the last time that happened with COD and Elder Scrolls.

Like I said I'm pretty sure that happened with Mario 64, which make no mistake was HUGE fucking triumph, but that was, what, 1995? 1997 at the latest? That was it, the last time Mario actually MATTERED. That was the last time the news reported on Mario games. That was the last time people looked to Mario as a leader in the industry.

Nintendo has fared much better itself, revolutionizing gaming just a few years ago with the Motion Control craze that's looking to be a permanent feature in consoles for the foreseeable future....but then again as I understand it that's really Miyamoto's doing not Nintendo itself, but then again that could just be fanboy hero-worship.

Aaron said...

@Jannie

All good points. But you said Mario was IRRELEVANT, which is simply not true. Is he LESS relevant today? Yes, I will concede that. But, he is influential in the fact that he brought back a dying console. How many developers are now looking to the 3ds as a viable platform for making games that can be successful? Mario is carrying the water for almost an entire platform, making a place where other developers can sow some seeds. If not for Mario, NOBODY would be making games for the 3ds. If that isn't relevance and influence, I don't know what is.

Sidebar: Halo didn't create modern online mutiplayer, it only popularized it on consoles. That honor belongs to Quake.

Aaron said...

@Jannie

" That was the last time the news reported on Mario games."

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/11/18/nina-in-new-york-occupy-super-mario-land/

Is CBS a big enough news source for you?

Anonymous said...

@Jannie

The last time Mario sold big was the News Super Mario Bros series on the DS and Wii (both in the twenty million range.)

Those games alone on there own sold more than all 3D Marios ever made.

Mario can be a Juggernaut and highly relevant powerhouse seller like the competition but the 3D design decisions hold the series back. 2D Mario fans want 2D Mario.

Again that can be blamed on Miyamoto, him willing to refuse to even make a 2D home console Mario for nearly 18 years is unacceptable from a business standard.

Even after the record breaking Christmas for the Wii when NSMBWii was released. He straight away went back to developing a 3D Mario...despite NSMBWii easily outsold both galaxy games combined.

Its obvious the main problem with Nintendo is there not tapping into there main market and money maker, arcade style pick up and play games.

There making what they feel like and its hurting them in sales because its not what the market wants.

Just like moviebob with his storylines...

Anonymous said...

Love your show Bob.
I wold like to say that multiplayer can have a story. Jest ask played who played an exciting game of starcraft how it went. I don't know how many times my Girlfriend has told me how she almost beat her brother at mario kart.
I can also tell you my dungeons and dragons character means more to me thin any character that has ever bin.

joeverlander said...

Hey Bob, I love your show, here's my two cents.

I appreciate that you are a film maker and not an artist, but art has moved on waaaay past stagnant and "complete" works. There is a huge appreciation for changes over time, and all of the finest contemporary fine art have no traditional "completion". Paintings made with living plants, decomposing pieces, performance work, and most importantly work created by audience interaction. Even the YBA in the 90's were all about trapping time. Really, you can't judge a contemporary art (which games are) by a traditional piece in a completely different medium.

In light of this, the dlc or mods of gaming make it no less art. Rather, it gives gaming another defining characteristic by which it can be considered a serious art work.

As for restraint? Restraint is liberating. It clearly defines the framework in which you appreciate your experience.

joeverlander said...

Oh, when I said "film maker and not an artist", I meant in the scholarly way, of course.

Eefan said...

I'm not a hater or anything, I like your show but personally I am not interested in these storylines before and after the well crafted content in between. I have seen a million times that more successful shows get straight to the point as soon as possible. As a general rule an intro should never be more than 30 seconds long. You plot intro is 2min 30seconds and it is just too long to hold peoples attention never mind confuse any new viewers and potential fans.

Aside from that I wish you luck and I just want to see you succeed more than anything.

Mads said...

"
Halo which created an entire genre of game (online multiplayer shooters)
"
@ Jannie

Uh...forgive me, but that was doom. You know, the first 3d shooter to be distributed through the internet?

Which was quite the feat since the internet as we know it didn't exist, but it still managed it.

If that's too old and featureless, then it was Quake. If not quake, it was quake 2. And if not quake 2, it was most assuredly quake 3.

Halo popularized console-based shooters, if it did anything at all; it solved the first person shooter on a gamepad problem well enough to actually move a significant amount of games for the first time in history.

Also...duke nukem...created a genre? Zuh? Which one.

Duke Nukem 3d is a doom clone. A really good one, but a doom clone all the same.

I agree with your general point though.

@ Aaron

Please describe mario without describing his profession, his clothes or his ethnicity.

If you can't, then surely he is the flattest character ever, and if Kellog's Tony the Tiger had been in all of the games Mario has been in, then he would be just as relevant as Mario.

In other words, Mario, the character, didn't sell those DS's. Mario the brand did. He's a mascot, an adorable and memorable stand-in for the statement "this is a nintendo flagship platformer".

And the games themselves, according to Jannie, don't offer up anything remotely relevant, just something popular.

I can't weigh in on the last part as Nintendo doesn't release games on the PC and that's the only platform I use regularly enough to form an oppinion, though it culturally appears to be true.

Mike said...

I disagree with this video so completely I can't post my response as a comment, I have to leave a link to my own blog where I go into my arguments in an appropriate level of detail:

http://genrenonspecific.blogspot.com/2011/12/response-to-bells-and-whistles.html

Kindberg said...

Shouldn't this be called "Episode 61"? :)

Antonio Black said...

I have to admit, making Jack Lieberson basically Bill Clinton in a ninja mask is a nice touch...since it has a lot of nostalgic value for people like me that were part of Generation NES.

As always, an engaging and thought provoking piece of work. Keep it up Moviebob.

Hyrabethian said...

Speaking of Bioshock, hey Bob what do you think of the new one that's coming out? From what I've seen it's really going to dive into the whole subject matter of American Jingoism and every ugly facet of the American culture.

Personally I"m so stocked to see it come out I can't control myself...:P

Hyperme said...

"What achievement is that? When you have other games come out the same time and crush the Zelda series in sales? ""Oh but its the fastest selling Zelda..."" What about Skyrim that triples Zelda's sales in a week?

Its not a bragging right to spend 5 years developing only to have the competition curb stomp you."

Expect Skyrim and Skyward Sword are:

-On different consoles
-Different Genres
-Different Styles

It's not unfesible to assume the two games are targetted at two fairly different groups. TV-watchers aren't a single blob, and neither are game players.

Also how do sales affect subjective merits of game? Like gameplay and art and all that other fun based stuff.

lordlundar said...

Just out of curiosity: what game is that at 10:53 in the video?

Mads said...

@ Hyperme:

Already adressed it in the dovahkids comment section:

"
Releasing opposite of Skyrim is not so much a problem in terms of audience, as it is a problem in terms of coverage.

Skyrim is a game massive in scope. All the other games that were released during the same week got pushed away by reviewers focusing on Skyrim.

The obvious excitement around the game in the gaming press must also have been a huge distraction for players.

Even if many players only have access to the wii, every single reviewer has access to something that plays Skyrim, and every professional reviewer is doubtlessly going to try it out; it's a must, since it's such a phenomenon.

Also? I suspect that the cross-section of gamers between Skyward Sword and Skyrim encompasses a lot of Skyward Swords playerbase, simply because Skyrim will doubtlessly appeal to many of the Skyward Sword players, regardless of different genres and consoles.
"

El Pibe Progre said...

Where's episode 61?

toosoo said...

Personally i think its more a problem of the producers thinking you need these bells and whistles to be a good game when in truth all it need is to be fun and intresting

Mechmoon said...

If I could bring up Portal 2 for a moment.
Maybe this is because of my limited experience on films, books etc. but I haven't ever been moved as much as I was when I finished that game. The multiplayer was a nice aside with a little extra character development to boot.
This argument actually works with the "blank slate" character too, because as you play you discover that Chell is a real person. The mystery of who your player character *is* is an important part of the experience.
I see no reason a game can't have a fun multiplayer based in the same world. All a game needs is to leave the main plot out of it (or tangential to it). Think of the Old Republic, it's entirely separate to the Starwars films, but allows players to learn about the Starwars universe and feel involved with it.
I'll also cite assassin's creed: brotherhood. The multiplayer is not needed, but you get an insight into Abstergo and their efforts at training up an army. The one shot of a room *full* or animus(es) is the only look we've had into the templars. And it's terrifying on a meta level. It reinforces and helps build the in-game universe, while offering a framing device that helps the multiplayer games feel less contrived.
My point is that while the multiplayer itself cannot be art, there is no reason it has to devalue the main story to offer fun. It can in fact add more depth if it's done right.

Aaron said...

@Mads

Mario likes racing, playing tennis, baseball, basketball and ultimate fighting. His brother is almost always by his side. He's had a steady girlfriend for a long time(Though there was a stretch of time that he cheated on her). And he's an avid runner.

Anonymous said...

@Jannie

Mario is relevant. His games (and games like them) provide a vital service. Gaming for pure fun. Not every game needs a storyline, fleshed out characters, or anything like that. And in some cases, those things are a detriment to the game. Mario is not broken. He doesn't need fixing.

I love Mario. I also love Gears of War. Both are relevant, both are fun, for different reasons.

As for the episode, I'm glad there are others that don't care about online multiplayer.

Jannie said...

Gaming for fun is of course a vital part of gaming, one that the "Games as Art" crowd seems to forget. But that doesn't make it relevant or influential or important in the long run any more than Bejewled or Peggle is.

Not every game NEEDS characters and a story arc to be fun, obviously, nor do I espouse that. But you also DO need those things if you're going to claim to be anything more than just a time waster. If we are saying that's what Mario is, fine, but then we can't also turn around and say that Mario is this deeply important, releveant character since we're at the same time admitting he HAS no character. And he doesn't, by the way, have a character.

It's actually interesting to compare Mario to a contemporary: Sonic the Hedgehog. Not only is Sonic a more developed character, and his games more coherent from a narrative perspective, the attempt to at least--in recent games--develop a kind of continuity and story arcs allows Sonic and his stable of characters to be far more developed and "realistic" than their Nintendo equivalents.

And in the end, in a lot of ways, Sonic had a far more impactful effect on gaming than Mario did. In the heady days of mascot game popularity, how many games were "fast animal fights anti-environmental douche"?

A lot.

How many were "fat human guy jumps on people"? Outside of Nintendo? Almost none.

Sonic had more impact on the genre than Mario did, because people felt Sonic actually EXISTED while Mario was just a name on a box. Sonic has gone on to spawn a whole generation of characters which ammount to little more than "fast animal" while Mario is mainly associated with the successes of Nintendo NOT the character.

Mario 64 was a triumph...for Nintendo, and game design. The character remained as empty as ever. The Wii was a huge triumph...for technology, and Casual gaming. Mario was a side-note to the whole affair who would have easily not been missed. Nintendo itself was a triumph after it single-handedly rebuilt the industry after the 80s crash...Mario was just the brand that they did it with.

Without Nintendo, if Mario had been produced by any other company, he'd have been long forgotten. But because he's associated with Nintendo, a company which is itself far more successful than it's creations in almost every respect, he's well known. It's easy to forget that in the 90s, Sega was doing way better than Nintendo, and it could have easily gone the other way. Hell for the longest time Sony was way ahead of the N.

Nintendo is what we really mean when we say Mario, the "character" is at bet just their production logo made manifest.

Smashmatt202 said...

Speaking of Bejeweled and Peggle, I've been playing Plants vs. Zombies a lot lately! REALLY addicting game, and I like the visuals, even if they are relatively simple.

Jannie said...

There are a lot of Casual games that are great, or otherwise Indie type games that are great.

Bastion, for example, is downright loveable. Infinity Blade, which by the way I'm playing right now BTW, is fucking crack.

THOSE, I predict, will turn out to be influential in the future, if only because they're both excellently done.

But of course there are sucky items in every game genre that ruin it's image for the world--example: FarmVile, which can go suck on a fuck; or those awful shovelware minigame compilations that the put out on the Wii and the Wii Fit bullshit can die in a fire though.

I have no problem with Casual games or even Indie games--they're a clarion call for shitty developers to shovel off minigames and artsy crap like Braid and the Path that don't mean shit but think they do...but if done right (i.e., Bastion, Infinity Blade) with actual production values, story arcs and satisfying gameplay they can be as good as any other game.

Mads said...

@ Aaron

Clever response, but it all concerns itself with what he appears to do, not who he is. Would you say he's more of a dashing rogue, or a stoic warden. Is he gruff or charming.

A mans man or a ladies man.

Is he vain or practical about his looks. What's his humor like, is it high or low-brow.

Is he an idealistic hero, or a reluctant one.

I bring up the question because a certain Mr. Plinkett used it to illustrate how weak the characters of the Phantom Menace were in comparison with the original trilogy characters. How everything surrounding them was incredibly superficial.

I'm sure you will agree that among Mario's attributes, a well established personality is not apparently there.

MovieBob said...

Applying the Plinkett/TPM character-description model to the Mario games (or to ANY game that isn't fundamentally cinematic on a narrative level) is unfair to the point of absurdity.

TPM is a fully-scripted movie whose characters are (theoretically) supposed to be three-dimensional and able to 'answer' those basic questions. The Mario games are more closely compared to early cartoon shorts: The main characters are purposefully broad archetypes who rarely speak (and certainly not "out loud") in full sentences and are designed to be instantly identifiable in their roles ("hero," "monster," "princess," etc.)

Jannie said...

Bob:

That's nice.

I have no idea what a "TMP model" is (I assume something like the Hero With A Thousand Faces?) so I can't say that's my intent.

MY contention is that when the most you can discern about a character is that they're a fat human guy who likes to play tennis and has a girlfriend kidnapped regularly by a dragon, that's not a "character", that's the basic description of a situation a character may be in.

Also that doesn't even make sense because that's not even true of "early cartoons"--many of them had at least SOME attempt developed characterization, usually for the villains but they had actual motivations and story arcs even if they were short or nonsensical. Bluto, for example, had a rather coherent motivation and arc to the character: originally he and Popeye were friends, but then Olive came into the picture, and he wanted to fuck her but she wanted to bone Popeye, so he tried to kill his friend. This is retold in various ways, in at least three different shorts, but basically the thrust remains the same--they were bosom buddies till a woman got between them. Which is sad because, wow, not an attractive woman even. What douchery.

At any rate, many of the older Mickey Mouse cartoons involved in some form or another some combination of Mickey, Donald and Goofy working together as a duo/trio and trying to basically never have to work. The result of this is that they ironically get put through the wringer, doing more to NOT work then if they'd just get jobs, hence Goofy's original catch-phase "Oh, the world owes me a livin'" which he used to hum as he was doing his level best to be as lazy as fuck.

I could go on over to Warner Brothers buy my point is, that standard you're describing never existed. These characters always had lives and even families outside of the shorts they appeared in, and character arcs which--while admittedly short and kind of silly--were integral to the characters.

Anyway...it's only today that we look back and think of them as such lifeless nobodies because WB and Disney don't want to show those old cartoons where Mickey and Donald and Goofy are basically Travelers trying to bilk Pete out of his money or where Porky Pig and Daffy Duck are effectively con-men doing everything short of robbing people to get by or where Tom is trying to get laid and Jerry is cockblocking him out of spite because they used to be friends before a dame got between them (yes this happened, seemed to be a running theme in the 40s-50s that women were a danger to national unity or some such).

And anyway, even if that WERE true, you have no right to crow about it. "My favorite character is immune from logic and critique because he has no story arc or character evolution to speak of" is not a defense it's an admission of defeat, and even if it WERE a proper defense it's still a bad once since it still is openly admitting that Mario is not just a poorly conceived character but a NON-EXISTENT one. Which is precisely what I said: he's just Nintendo's logo made manifest, he has no actual purpose anymore other than as a brand mascot. He's like Sugar Bear only less interesting and with racially insensitive voice work.

I really don't give a shit if someone enjoys Mario games. Mario 2 was one of my favorite games of all time (ironically, not actually a Mario game) and Mario Galaxy was great fun. Super Mario World even was fun and innovative. That's all fine. But don't pretend that those games couldn't have been made with literally ANYONE and been the same. If you replaced Mario in each of those titles with Alex Kidd or Kirby the games would be completely unchanged. Because Mario has no impact on his games. Because he's a brand, not a character.

Jannie said...

PS:

I just realized "TPM" was referring to Star Wars movies. Not a fan of Star Wars (or Trek) so I have no idea what the hell TPM means.

What is that short for "The Prequel Movies" or something? Is Plinket a writer for the series or whatever?

Anonymous said...

@Jannie

Bob was responding to Mads. And "TPM" is short for "The Phantom Menace", or the first prequel movie. Plinket wrote an article that basically detailed how bad the characters in the prequel were compared to the original characters.

Mads said...

@ Bob
I absolutely agree with you. It isn't fair to expect Mario to live up to those things; that's not his purpose. It is be design that he is a shallow, archetypical character.

It's the gameplay and the interaction that's supposed to draw you in, not Mario's depth of character.

I'm not laying on criticism of Mario here, I'm attacking the viewpoint that mario, as a character, is relevant or important. His role is, sure, the hero does play an important role in many works of fiction, even if the specific incarnation isn't always important.

The topic was, is Mario relevant, and my point is, he may be, as a brand. The games he stars in may be, because of their level design and interaction mechanics. And I think you're right, the role he repressents is certainly relevant.

But he isn't relevant as a character; not the same way Bayonetta is. So is it absurd to use plinketts methodology here? I guess so, but considering it was a reductio ad absurdum argument I posed (with a specific purpose, no less), I'm not sure I should take that as a criticism?

Mads said...

@ Jannie

Also a good analysis of why Mario is distinct from the 50'es cartoon shorts...though in my minds eye, neither Mario or Bugs Bunny are well established.

Of course, I think I can answer considerably more questions about the bunny...

As I said earlier, that doesn't mean the gameplay is irrelevant, and I said I couldn't comment on whether it's relevant myself...:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeVlobc5UaM#t=3m41s

But these guys certainly felt like the gameplay was relevant, distinct and original. At 11:10 they talk about innovations, and it seems like the level that builds itself as you explore it may have been part of the inspiration for bastion?

Aqua said...

Relevant
Adjective: Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.

Matter at hand: Video games.

Therefore, Mario = Relevant, reguardless of how much or little character developement.

Side note: Video games trying to be art recently denied me my Survival Horror game with Dinosaurs. Artistic Video Games can kiss my ass for the next decade. Fuck you Telltale Games.

Mads said...

Aqua:

girls = money * time
time = money
girls = money^2
money = root(evil)
girls = root(evil)^2
girls = evil

This is obviously a logical falacy..which is what happens when you introduce the idea of absolute equality into natural language. There's this little thing in languages called context sensitivity. The same words mean different things in different contexts. That's also why dictionaries tend to list additional meanings, and you must figure out which one is right based on context.

If you should like to know more about the logical boundaries of languages, and what you can and cannot do, you can go here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formal_language_theory

Either way, your dictionary lookup of the word relevant doesn't take the context in which the word was originally used into account; as such it's, ironically, irrelevant.

Aqua said...

Irrelevant perhaps, but my point still stands. Mario is nothing if not relevant whenever the discussion of video games is opened.

Anonymous said...

Having trouble viewing the video :/

Anonymous said...

Ummm,*raises hand* I remember the main character of a choose your own adventure; Tohno Shiki.

Mr. Ellaneous said...

You've made the claim that you don't care for overly long posts, so here's a video rebuttal for you, instead.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ Mr. Ellaneous

Wow, that's really good! I hope Bob sees that!

Mr. Ellaneous said...

@Smashmatt202 Thanks, fellow poster!