Saturday, June 25, 2011

Genre: How We Should Define Games

We've established that genre doesn't work for games as a viable system for defining them, a more specific and informative system is needed to fulfill  its purpose. We need to not only talk about the core feature of the game (first person shooting, platforming, etc.) but also other features that effect gameplay.

Assassins' Creed is a game often described as action-adventure, now redefined by me as adventure sandbox; however, as we talked about yesterday even adventure sandbox doesn't do a good enough job differentiating for the consumer the difference between Assassins' Creed and say, Red Dead Redemption. So we'll breakdown the key features in Assassins' Creed (Brotherhood, specifically) and re-redefine its genre to be helpful without being overwhelming.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Genre: What does Genre Really tell us?

The thing about genre is it tells you relativity nothing about the game itself, look at two mainstream FPS, Call of Duty and Halo. The games are the same genre, have a mostly shared audience but the games themselves have almost nothing in common: COD has guns based on real weapon models, Halo doesn't; Halo is set in the distant future, COD isn't. So what does genre really tell us, well they are both in the first person perspective and feature shooting stuff, but even the shooting is different. COD features iron sights, a realistic approach to aiming where you hold down a button to look down the sights and aim, where Halo features a more classic 'from the hip' approach to aiming found in old fashion shooters like Doom. But even those traits are quantifiable (meaning you can describe them in a manor that can be taken as fact), still other differences between the two games include graphics, physics and countless other software differences; as well as opinions like personal preference and overall playability.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genre: What is an Action-Adventure game

Gaming is an innovative industry by nature, with every game the way we make games improves along with the quality of the games themselves; but through this innovation we also push boundaries and push into new genres, and when these new games are hard to define, we often lump them in as 'Action-Adventure game.'

Wikipedia defines action-adventure games as, you guessed it, a game with the qualities of an action game as well as an adventure. It defines an action game as a game that requires quick thinking, skill, and reflexes; while adventure titles feature puzzle and role-playing elements that need more careful planning as well as a story centric gameplay. Now that seems fair as a definition until you realize that every game on the market features opportunities for planning and story as well as fast paced combat encounters. The action-adventure genre literally covers every game out there (with the exception of a few purist adventure indie games.)

The main difference between adventure games and easier to define RPGs is adventure games don't give the player as much choice. Adventure games might feature open worlds, branching paths, etc., but every playthrough is more or less the same, where as an RPG features varying storylines and encounters based on your choices.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Genre: How do we define games?

All art forms use genre to sub-define themselves; movies, books even television shows all use genre to help consumers choose which product to buy. Gaming itself is built off of several 'core' genres:
First Person Shooters and Third Person Shooters (FPS e.g. Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War)
Real Time Strategy games (RTS e.g. Starcraft, Age of Empires)
Platformer (e.g. Mario)
Role Playing Game (RPG e.g. Final Fantasy, Zelda [Zelda may be arguable but we'll talk about that tomorrow])

But genre is not a perfect system, and we often see it limit the potential of games. When a producer green-lights a game, they often do it based on genre; if they are producing an FPS and the product is very heavily based on puzzle elements they are less likely to produce that product because they are worried that their core FPS community won't be as interested in that game. That game may have been really fun, and the puzzle elements may have helped the game sell better, but the studio is afraid to cross genre lines. This is why FPS/RPGs are generally not FPS/RPGs but rather FPS with a dash of RPG on the side (Borderlands, Mass Effect 2).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What is Mage Gaming?

Well after yesterday's cheesy introduction I decided to tell a little more about what I plan on doing here, but first introductions. I'm Z00q0001 (aka zooqooo but a lot of people just call me zoo) active on Xbox live and a couple different internet forums. I love to game and I have an Xbox 360, Wii, an old DS and a shoe of a computer (no PS3). You may have noticed that the posts are copywrite Energy Plumber Productions, that is an old failed machinima company of mine that was going to make a show but never got around to it, however I still use it as my 'business' moniker.
Here on Mage Gaming I'm going to talk about several different topics. My posts will be daily (though later I might make them weekly) and discuss topics like game genres, game development theory and maybe review a game or two. Not AAA titles mind you, but rather XBLA and indie developments.
My first 'real' post will be on genres and will be posted either today or tommorow, I hope to see some followers by then

Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcome to Mage Gaming

Video games, that is a hot topic these days. Some fail to take the industry seriously, thinking of it as mere toys. While others play games not knowing what world of people  worked on each piece of it. Here at Mage Gaming, I strive to delve deeper into the meaning of not only games, but the gaming industry as a whole, and help show gamers what is really happening when you plug in that controller and put in that new game.