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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
megpie71

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megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (9Dr1)
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 01:46 pm
http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-6-most-ominous-trends-in-video-games/

Just read through that one, and yeah, I agree with the author: the range of games available is decreasing by the year. I've been playing various computerised games for years now (since I was about fifteen or so) and quite honestly, the console gaming range these days is pathetic compared to even the variety available five years ago. Ditto the range available for PC gamers.

This is becoming a common problem across multiple media, where the amount of money required to provide content means the investors are less and less willing to take risks with what they have, so they're only willing to provide a new version of something that's already been proven to have worked. Their justification for this is "everyone liked it". There isn't any money being spent on the smaller, niche markets - instead, colossal amounts are being poured into efforts to capture the eyeballs of the One True Demographic (which appears to be 15 - 25 year old, white, middle-class, suburban, heterosexual, Christian-raised, American males).

The rest of us, unfortunately, get to spend our lives looking through shelf after shelf of what "everyone likes", searching vainly for something even vaguely different to the endless loop of FPS; FPS; oh look another FPS; and gee, did you realise there was an FPS here? We're never asked whether we might want something different. (See multiple previous rants re: choice of salt-and-vinegar crisps or vinegar-and-salt crisps when what I'm actually looking for is barbecue flavour.)

Why I'm not interested in online or 3D gaming )

If there's a game company exec out there browsing around haphazardly, looking for inspiration, here's what I want out of a game (and even though I may be a rare bird as a 40 year old heterosexual, female, Australian gamer, I'm not the only one):

* I want a good story - something that catches me and keeps me interested. Give me plot twists, give me character interaction, give me a reason to keep playing the godsdamned game past the first five minutes and the second cutscene. If you're not sure how to do this, get hold of the writers for the Final Fantasy series and ask them, because they certainly have it down to a fine art. Bioware also appear to have writers who can tell the difference between a plot and a hole in the ground.
* I want gameplay which is consistent. There are four buttons on the average console, and I'd prefer to be just using those. I should not have to remember the equivalent of the emacs macro set (look it up) in order to be able to defeat the second mini-boss.
* I want gameplay which accepts that not everyone is a hyperactive teenager hopped up to the eyeballs on caffeine and energy drinks with the reflexes of a greased ferret on crystal meth. My visual processing and verbal processing are slower than average to start with - they're only going to slow down more as I get older (and I'm part of Generation X, the first gamer generation). So have stuff which doesn't rely on pinpoint pixel perfect accuracy, or exact timing, because otherwise I'll get fed up and switch the game out.
* Oh, on that "growing older" thing, and the slower-than-average verbal processing speed - give me subtitles, and give me a way to turn off the fucking background music (for verily, background music on constant repeat is the number two reason why I'll give up on a game; no subtitles is number one these days, because I don't like trying to guess my way through games).
* Make the game in third person perspective (Third person omniscient if at all possible). I'm one of those weird people who finds First Person perspective (whether shooting or not) makes me nauseous. I get motion sick, because my eyes are telling me I'm moving, but my body is busy saying I'm sitting right there on the couch. I had enough of motion sickness as a kid for a very similar reason (scenery says I'm moving, body says I'm strapped into a seat in the car) to find the combination distasteful. Given the opportunity to avoid it, I will.
* Give me the option not to have to hear about online/multiplayer content if I don't want it. This is something I'm finding slightly annoying in games like Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Little Big Planet - there's such an emphasis on the online stuff that I feel somewhat left out because my PSP doesn't connect to our household wireless network (not a deliberate choice on my part; rather an inadvertent choice on the part of my partner, who opted for a secure network rather than one the PSP could participate in). So I don't play those games much.
* Have a pause function in the game. I'm female, and most of the time I'm the only person home. This means I have to be able to put the game on hold while I do things like answer the door, go to the loo, answer the phone or stir dinner. If there isn't an easy way to put the game on hold (even if it's just ducking into character menu mode), I'm going to get annoyed fairly quickly.
* Don't worry so much about making the next version of whatever everyone else is busy selling. If we want any of the famous franchises, we know where to find them. To be honest, the only franchise I'm really all that sold on is the Final Fantasy one - because they very rarely make sequels. Instead, each new FF number is a completely different plot, a different set of characters, a different world to every other Final Fantasy game. Most of them are mediaeval-style worlds, but there's a few futuristic dystopias thrown in there (FFVII, FFVIII, FFXIII) and the characters from one Final Fantasy plotline generally don't interact with characters from another (Dissidia is a special case of pure fan service, ditto the Kingdom Hearts games).
* Oh, here's a thought: have the guts to try risking a tragedy on the market. Not everything has to end all happy and smiley. Take a hint from Square Soft (now Square Enix) - their big breakthrough game for the English-speaking market was a tragedy: Final Fantasy VII. (No, really, the plot of FFVII is a revenge tragedy of a type which wouldn't have been out of place on the Jacobean stage).

What's On Meg's Consoles, and Why )

Basically, my preferences can be summed up thus:

* If you're going to give me a story, give me a flamin' story. Make it long, make it convoluted, make it tricky to understand - if I'm playing the game to get through the story, I'll come back and play it again to catch the bits I missed the first time (I re-read books for the same reason...). Of course, make sure that the vital plot points are made clear, but the little subtleties can be skipped over.
* If you're not going to give me a story, then give me something I can make a story out of myself - even if the story is just "How I beat the crap out of this next opponent". But don't give me a story which is so scanty it puts some of the costumes on the female characters to shame.
* If you're going to offer eye candy, have some which is suitable for a het female (or maybe even a gay male) to ogle as well. Yes, most of the gamerbois out there won't like it. Did I mention I'm not a gamerboi? It might just be worth doing a little market research and finding out precisely which proportion of the electronic gaming market these days is composed of members of the One True Demographic (see above for description) - I've a feeling they're a smaller proportion than they think they are.
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 10:04 am
Okay, it's been three weeks since the major meltdown, one week from the mini-meltdown which was averted by immersing myself in FF:Dissidia to the point of obsession (I'm now dreaming Dissidia battles... time to cut the playing down a bit). I'm vaguely sane at present (which reminds me - meds!) and hoping to stay so, even though the universe appears to be trying to make me go completely bonkers. My give-a-damn still isn't, so I'm currently behind on cooking, cleaning and doing anything other than levelling up characters on the PSP.

Dissidia is ... interesting. I've managed to get one character up to level 100 (Cloud) and I'm working on my second (Squall). Discovered that the guy who's voicing Squall isn't the same guy who voiced him in Kingdom Hearts, which says a lot about my hearing, doesn't it? The story mode is sorta fun, although there's a limited amount of enjoyment I can get from it (mostly because I get bored by running through the same thing over and over) - so far I've found the best fun comes from running through story mode for each character once, then coming back and doing it again after they've levelled up a bit (I ran Cloud back through his on level 80 or so, which was a bit like swatting flies with a sledgehammer... for some reason I got a perfect score for section completion after that; Squall went back through at level 30). So far I've beaten Chaos once (he's a right whatsit to beat - three-stage boss, so you have to kill him three times rather than just the once) and seen the final little FMV cutscene, which is cute.

I think one of the things I like about Dissidia is they have the age balance right for Cloud and Squall. One of my pet peeves in KH fandom is that people tend to assume Squall is older than Cloud (probably because Squall has a deeper voice). In fact, it's t'other way round - Cloud starts his game at age 21, while Squall is a good four years younger at age 17 - and if you assume each game took 1 year to run that has Cloud ending up at age 22, with Squall coming in at age 18. Advent Children takes place 2 years after the initial Final Fantasy game, so in Advent Children, Cloud is at least 23. Dissidia Squall looks younger than Dissidia Cloud, which makes me feel all is right with the world again. And yes, I am a picky fangirl.