Archive for October, 2017


Bucko posted this video from the fools of Gamespot regarding the difficulty of the new game “Cuphead”, and how it can be problematic for those who simply want to see all of the content for less effort. A.. short description for what the video entails. 

 Let me get this out of the way. No, I have not played Cuphead. I have no interest in playing cuphead. And even if I did, my recent dental expense is preventing me from experiencing such. 

That said, from what I’ve viewed, it’s the type of experience I can readily get from my Metal Slug Collection. There appear to be more boss fights than actual levels, and seeing how long they last, I could see how quickly one would tire of the game. A game of boss fights would have to be exhausting. Ironic as I am a fan of Treasure Inc., a Jdev known for making outrageous boss fights as their main attraction (Alien Soldier, anyone?), but I digress. 

This… “analysis” by a certain Mike implies that Cuphead is doing something wrong by being hard as hell. Pardon my generalization. Afterall, this new generation of gamers are comprised of pussies like him. Nevermind my complaints of DMC3 or Bayonetta (Mr. Catalog). Of course, watching the video is a chore in itself. He uses comparative analysis to try and explain why Cuphead’s handling of difficulty is heavily flawed, but fails to explain why the examples he provides are infact better. You don’t get the sense that he’s actually criticizing the damn the thing. And it’s easy to see why. Not because Cuphead and his examples are apples and oranges (it’s a big reason, though), but merely because he is comparing 2 different methodologies of game design. Cuphead is the Arcade Centric game. Mike’s examples are all Computer Centric games. 

A million years ago, I came up with the concept of Arcade and Computer Centrism Whereby I Defined the difference in the extremes of game design principles. Or if that link is too long-

Arcade Centrism is the mentality of fast-paced action games whether they be shmups, shooters, platformers, or general action games, the goals are usually simple and straight forward. Enemies over there, kill they ass! Arcade games were filled with high risks of loss. You’re always put into positions where it’s easy to lose if you didn’t have the skillz and reflexes necessary to succeed. And people loved this! It’s odd these days to see so many adults and their kids crowd around an arcade machine with their obnoxious yells and screams and cheers. It was much more common back then.

Computer Centrism is the mentality of slower-paced “adventure/Sim” games whether they be FPS, RPG, mystery, or even Strategy games of a sort. The goals were much more complex. You had different objectives to complete. You had people to find, talk to, you had to build troops, solve murder cases, equip gear and spells to stand a fighting chance. You weren’t really put in a position of loss so much as you would be with Arcade games. Computer games were filled with time consuming tasks and puzzles where your mind was more important than your reflexes.

It’s a case of “Muscle vs Mind” when speaking of Arcades vs Computers.

I may have to update this definition as FPS’s are more Arcadey than not…

Now, here’s why this is important. We know Arcade games were, in most cases, deliberately designed to suck up quarters. But I don’t believe this to be the fault of greedy developers. Games in general were recreational activities. Whether they be board games or sports, the idea was that even if you finished playing for the day, you would go back and play it again. Arcade games are treated in the same manner. This time with a cheap price tag. You would go back and play the game over and over. And because of that, you had games with no real endings. You’d just have games with 50-100 levels of increasing difficulty, knowing that the player was never going to finish the game in one day or so. Afterall, you’re in a public space, and other people are waiting in line for their turn.

Speaking of which, this is why Arcade games had such simple controls. They were made so that players could easily rotate without anyone feeling hindered. That way, you could get several people through a single machine one-by-one.

Bottom-line, you’re meant to lose at Arcade games. The bragging rights would usually come from how far you could get before you bit the dust.

Computer games, on the other hand, don’t have this luxury. They’re not designed or treated as recreational activities. They’re more  along the lines of… painting. Yeah, lets go with that. The level of patience and visualization needed to create works of art is pretty massive. But once you complete that one piece, you have the option of either recreating the piece, or making a new one. And you know damn well that after spending so much time working on that shit, you don’t want to go to the same lengths to create the same work. Often, you’ll move on to something else. Kinda like most games you shelve after you finish  the first time. Computer Games are treated like once in a lifetime experiences. They usually lose their magic after beating them once. 

That said, being that it is an experience,  you kinda need to finish it. Computer Games are like movies, in a sense, that you merely interact with the material. You’re at home, relaxing in your chair, no brats to look after, you can literally kick back and chill. You don’t have to share any playtime with anyone else, not that you could being on a keyboard and mouse with convoluted ass controls (practically demands a game to be easy). And because you’re trying to relax, the game doesn’t demand much from you beyond playing and following directions.

In other words, Arcade games are meant to kick your ass. Computer Games aren’t. 

And as tempting as it is to mock the guy for not liking the ass whoopins he got, a part of me can’t blame him. A good chunk of the game, again, looks like boss fights, and those fights run on too long for it’s own good. Learning patterns and having to keep that up for longer than 2 minutes, I personally feel, is asking too much. And we all know the only reason the fights last so long was for the spectacle. The creator was more interested in showing off how wonderful his animating talents were rather than making a game that doesn’t burn you out from cumbersome boss fights. That’s the real problem. Not the actual difficulty. Given that it’s an indy game (I assume), it’s obvious the creator would be more focused on inflating his ego.

What I find concerning is the implication that having to earn your content through effort is a flaw of game design. That it is… exclusionary.  Fucking exclusionary, how about that!? And I suppose paying extra to get the content quicker is just oh so inclusive! The implications are all there for propoganda, hell. If it were a genuine argument, i’d say this new generation got coddled by computer centrism for too long. If you think about all the shitty Nintendo games that get praised by the media and the online twats, they’re all Computer Centric games. 3D Mario, Aonuma Zelda, those cunt ass Pikmin games, and now Fire Emblem. All of that shit, while the arcade stuffs get buried under the bulking praises of computer games. I was shocked at the lack of talk for DKTF. 

RE4’s sliding difficulty scale works not because it is a better way to handle difficulty, but because as a computer game, it is meant to be beaten (and makes for a good way to mask how easy the game is). Not to mention that the cumbersome and retarded control scheme + limited visual information via 3rd person camera necessitates an easier difficulty anyways. Again, an arcade game isn’t meant to be beaten, and your goal would be to prove it wrong. The controls would always be simple enough so mastery isn’t required. 

But eh…. oh well. 

Had Cuphead been compared to something like Contra or Metal Slug, then there’d be an argument. Because those games put Cuphead to shame by not burning out the player through an endless succession of boss fights. But the son of a bitch is only arguing that games should have “unique and creative ways of challenging teh player because not everyone will enjoy having to actually get guud!” Well no shit! They just won’t fucking play the game! Computer Games have coddled the new generation into thinking that all games are just overpriced entertainment to experience once and just dump for the next drug.

I could easily say that they only focus on the difficulty of cuphead because the content isn’t interesting. It’s based off of old 30’s cartoons, a style of animation that literally no one gives a rat’s ass about, starring a character with zero appeal and a lame design, who made a deal with the deal to beat up on enemies who refused to give up their souls, all to sell a game on it’s visuals alone. Because trust me. If the game was actually interesting,  no one would mind the challenge.  They would welcome it as a wall for them to tear down,  believing it not to be a suitable barrier to stop them from seeing the rest of the game. Buuuuuuut because it’s an indy game, the hardcore nerds force themselves to care about it if only to give the finger to the industry. Turning around and complaining about difficulty shows they have no real motivation to complete the game. A direct result of poor content and pussy players. I suppose we’ve all moved beyond being impressed by graphics.

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Yes game. I know Keith David is awesome. Loves to inspire people to accelerate their life for oil and terrorism while moonlighting as a claymation cat. You know What isn’t awesome? Having to run around and deal in several escort missions for the last stretch of the game. 

I suppose im still new to the open world genre as a whole and thus am unable to appreciate the fine qualities these types of games provide, or am playing the shitty ones, but I think there is something wrong with the genre if the industry standard for an Open World game is to run across vast distances to mission objectives time and again.

Saints Row 4. I was busy playing this shit (And Dragons Dogma) for a week before it got old and repetitive. Usually when it comes to games, I tend to fuck around with the mechanics and do as many diversionary activities (side quests, maybe some fetch quests, exploring) before I eventually get bored and go through the main story anyway. And no matter what, the main game tends to be shit. Tedious and repetitive missions seem to be the name of the game. A lot of it because they require far more backtracking than your standard Metroid fare. For one, why the fuck…. do I need to travel to a location, then immediately leave it to find a car, steal it, then go rightthe fuck back… to the original spot!? Stupid shit like this are littered throughout the game, and the length of them miles only get longer and longer as the missions go on. 

Then again, this is practically the same shit you do in Prototype 2, Infamous and the like (not the stealing of cars, yah trolls). It seems as though repetitive missions are the standard…. probably why no one talks about them. You trek from one spot across big ass distances to the next item on the shopping list until you reach the end of the game. Unfortunately, by the time you reach the end game, you’ll be suffering from fatigue as the general desire to explore the world is diminished by the hours of long walks/flights/ W/E.

You’d think with how often developers express interest in open-world crap that they’d do a better job of handling them than to say “here’s your next mission that’s halfway across the world so we can justify having you go 1k miles to see the amount of work we did to design maps of overly intricate areas that are practically indistinguishable from each other!” Perhaps this attitude is exclusive to the games that have cities. Idk. Ironically, I’m starting to think that having a story fucks up the whole program because then you need the characters to be certain places for any logic to be applied to select scenes, restricting you to particular areas until the mission is done. Hell, if that’s the case, it should’ve been a stage by stage type of progression. 

When I think “open world“, I think unencumbered exploration and the freedom to do whatever I please. The idea being that the world is literally “open” to you. There are no travel restrictions. You are free to move about the country! Terraria certainly succeeds at this. Total freedom, unhindered by the conventional beliefs of requiring the player to do something in the game aside from w/e the hell they want. But therein lies the problem. Terraria tends to get boring fast if you don’t know what to do or know what you want to do. If you don’t like exploration, you won’t travel very far out of fear of getting lost. If you don’t like crafting, you won’t bother farming for materials to get new weapons. If you don’t like building things or aren’t very good at that, you won’t spend time trying to reconstruct the land to your whims. And if you’re not into all of the above, this game just won’t do it for you. Some people would rather the developers create the fun stuff to do for them. Afterall, people seem to hate user-generated content on principle as you’re essentially paying devs for a DIY kit. 

So the developers, being the lazy asses they can be, are stuck in a quandary. They have this large and massive world to explore… and practically nothing to do. Course, exploration works best in an outdoor environment. In a city, not so much as everything is copy/pasted. Developers are too obsessed with realism to make unique landmarks in a city, so you get bland areas that you don’t really want to trek through.

So the best things they could do is to create a check list. A game is… honestly not much of a game without some system of progression. Else the game gets boring after a day or two. A system of progression gives the player something to do. And has existed since the good ol’ days, even if it was just keeping score in endless levels. Developers know this which is why they implement these missions to give the player an idea of what to do next. Even Terraria has an SOP that you have to figure out on your own where you have to kill some demonic wall to gain better materials. As well, an SOP works best when you have tangible rewards to go along with those missions. 

But… then it wouldn’t “open-world”, now would it? Cause now you’ve introduced restrictions on the player, you’re telling them that they have to earn the freedom that is supposed to be granted by virtue that the game is “open world”. In SR4, you can’t even undertake certain missions or find certain power clusters without first gaining new powers or completing earlier missions. But again, having to go on an endless succession of missions to gain that open world creates that fatigue. This would be no better if the game were an RPG of sorts (a predatory genre as of late) as the strength of certain enemies and bosses would keep you at bay until you’ve grinded enough experience to take them down.

An open world game opens itself up to nothing but endless repetition.  None of which is actually fun or engaging enough to hold your attention for long. This…. “genre” has overstayed it’s welcome, that or SR4 is shit.

If I were to make an open world game, it would have to be survival horror. The city would be treated as a sort of labrynth, with zombies lurking every corner. You would be situated in the centre of the city, and your only goal is to escape by any means necessary.  There’s no overarching story, it’s merely you trying to get out. Exploration would be purely scavenger based, by which you’d have to brave dark corridors to find supplies as opposed to having a scripted sequence where you need to help survivors that provide no benefit to you. Matter of fact, you’d be free to help survivors so long as they help you fight off zombies.

Something simple. You know?E