Just…. out of curiosity… why do people put so much stake into gameplay, not so much as a factor of why people enjoy games, but as the be all, end all that matters and as the sole reason that people buy video games in the first place?

It’s no secret that Nintendo fans, or rather the idiot Mario fans, have infiltrated the Sonic fandom by the numbers, so much so that I have to wonder how the SA3 Facebook page is still so active when it’s clear the majority of it’s members talk like this.

Stubborn, dismissive, typically never wants to hear shit. A clear case of arrested development. The majority of responses could be summed up as “I don’t care if you hate it. I enjoy it and that’s all that matters” How any fan page can last this long with a bunch of complicit zombies who bitch and moan at any hint of criticism is anyone’s guess, but that’s neither here nor there.

Horse’s ass reasoning aside, this talking point of “gameplay” is an overused talking point of the Nintendo fandom. And I’m willing to bet that’s all it is. Talk. Let’s…. entertain this argument. Suppose gameplay is all that really matters. That it’s all people look forward to in a game. If so… and I realize these are all vacuum sales…

These results should come as no surprise. NSMBW is purely a gameplay experience. Content is non-existent for the most part. It’s unbridled success is all the proof that the Nintendo fandom needs to validate their claim that gameplay is indeed king. Hell, even the questionable success of Wii Sports further proves this. Why, to them, NSMBW is a peerless masterpiece of craftsmanship that Nintendo had concocted. Tinkering with near perfection right down to the smallest deta-

Ahhhh shit

I had been browsing some forum posts from seven years ago on who preferred NSMB to Galaxy. The results were nearly one-sided in Galaxy’s favor.

There was only one person that mentioned NSMB, and….

Hot damn! Even mentioning that you like NSMBW better was met with subtle hostility! “Or because he didn’t explain why he thought that way like everyone else did, fucktard!” No one else got the response he did. It was almost unanimous that Galaxy was the superior title. 

And you know what the best part is!? They listed more content reasons than they did gameplay in determining why Galaxy was the better title! 

How is this possible!? A successful videogame that exemplifies the talking point of gameplay… is euphemistically shunned by those that worship gameplay!?

The answer lies with Sony. See, when the gamecube was announced to not have any console features aside from just playing games while PS2 and Xbox were boasting about DVD playback (big deal back then) and online functionality, many were looking at Nintendo like a dissappointment. But, to defend their buying choices in a last ditch effort to save face & their egos, they went on a pride parade declaring that gameplay was more important than DVD and internet functionality. And for the first 2-3(?) Years, it seemed like the gamecube would do alright regardless. Then… Windwaker happened. The deplorable content of that game literally drove away what little install base Nintendo had. All because Link looked like shit. The same old excuse was used to defend that game as well, even to this very day when no one returned for the HD remaster.

You see, the talking point of gameplay evolved out a defense mechanism. No one was talking this gameplay shit when it was known that PS1 could play music CDs. The concept of 3D graphics was on everyone’s minds. Who knew that such a lauded concept could’ve come from the insecurities of a fanboy?

Despite all of this, allow me to make a bold assertion and say that… yes, gameplay IS an important element of a good game. Afterall, why the fuck wouldn’t it be? It is a game, so the gameplay should be polished as to make the game playable. What is suspect is the notion that it is the most important element, which is laughable for one reason. Gameplay is a tool of immersion. 

If you’re buying a Spiderman game, for example,  you’re not buying  it to experience some fantastic gameplay mechanics.  You’re buying it because you to be fucking Spiderman. You want to take control of his powers, his fighting skills, his web swinging through Manhattan…. you’re buying for content reasons. The job of the gameplay here is to make you feel like you’re Spiderman. If it fails to do that, then the gameplay is faulty. Like say a Superman game where you take damage from bullets. You could say this is a beneficial gameplay mechanic as it makes the game challenging… but you won’t.  You’ll be saying “this is goddamn Superman! Why is he taking damage from bullets@?”

And lets be real. You’re not buying a Star Wars game for interesting gameplay mechanics. You’re buying to live in the Star Wars universe. To become a Jedi knight. At this point, you won’t be thinking about gameplay, you’re thinking of living in this fantastic universe. As such, the gameplay should be….decent enough that you can experience this world without too much headache. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

I bring up the 50 Cent/Okami examples frequently to illustrate this. People cared more about playing some dumb rapper than some intricate caligraphy brush. Now if you want to say gameplay is important,  you go right ahead. People need the game to be playable and polished enough, no one is suggesting otherwise,  but unless you’re talking about shit like Tetris or some other puzzle game that has no face to get attached to, you won’t convince anyone of gameplay’s significance. Something like Tetris (gameplay only) is seen as something to pass the time. It’s not considered a game to be invested in. It has no content outside of the blocks it gives you. Probably why no one gives a shit about Puyo Tetris.

Sonic the Hedgehog is noted as the fastest thing alive, so of course you’d look toward games that promote a faster pace, and lets be real. It’s why people praised Unleash’s daytime acts and demonize the nighttime acts. Ine was faster paced, the other slow as shit. It’s also why everyone hates Lost Mind. Sure it plays well, but it isn’t Sonic.

Why do you think people hated that Fox McCloud was given a stick? It didn’t make the game bad by default, but it’s a scifi series based off of Star Wars, you’d expect less Zelda and more Jet Force Gemini in this case. RE5-6, horror series feels too actiony, fandom outraged. Not necessarily bad gameplay, just innappropiate contexts. The gameplay is at the mercy of the content.

Lets think about this logically. Legend of Zelda, here you have an elf with a sword and shield described in every single game as this chosen hero. Instead, the majority of the games have you running around as some errand boy solving childish riddles. The gameplay fails here not because it’s no good, but because it refuses to put the player in a situation that makes him/her feel like a fucking hero. If the game is telling you that the only way to prove your worth is to swim around and catch tadpoles, the game is a failure on all accounts because that makes no goddamn sense. There’s no immersion because the priorities were shifted to the gameplay. It is/was the core of Miyamoto’s philosophy to divorce gameplay from content. You can’t simply do this. Gameplay is at the mercy of the content. Has been for a very long time.

  I mean, this guy wanted to be a toy maker, yet he denies the foundation of imagination. His philosophy of game design is dangerous and irrational, yet the fanboys and the industry encourages this nonsense. Gameplay in and of itself shouldn’t be the be all, end all. It’s clear the Nintendo fandom doesn’t believe this shit. Otherwise they wouldn’t have bitched about Call of Duty for so many years simply because they were military shooters.

Sadly, we now live in a generation where all sectors of game design, whether it be the toxic industry or the pretentious indies, believe in divorcing gameplay from content. It leads to many products feeling hollow and unremarkable. The industry focuses on  online multiplayer, often where the military shooter premise is an excuse. Hell, I remember an ad for a fallout game, I think these pasty teabags were in a college classroom and… I don’t recall that ad explaining what the fuck the game was about. At all, it was all about playing with friends over the internet. 

I recall a conversation with a friend who recommended dark souls tp me because it’s super challenging. I played Shinobi back in the day, a challenging game is nothing unique. I ask him what the game is about. He never said why… or I don’t remember all the details, but he constantly went on and on about the difficulty and shit.

Industry games, especially those of the west, have gotten shallow focusing on superficial mechanics and multiplayer gameplay. Indie games are no better as they follow the loonacy of Miyamoto’s philosophy down to a T. That’s why you don’t see me talk about indie games often, it’s all one big gameplay show off contest between what might as well be college students. The only indies with a brain or 2 are those who’ve worked in the Industry prior to the kickstarter age (Wayforward and Inticreates to name a few).

Good gameplay is fine and dandy, but it rarely takes priority over what people are interested in. No matter how fantastic your gameplay is, no one will play it if the content isn’t there. The developer of Cave Story learned that the hard way.