Author Topic: GDC 2010: The Game  (Read 5902 times)

StephenM3

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GDC 2010: The Game
« on: March 14, 2010, 08:47:44 PM »
Well, this is certainly one of the more confusing things to come out of the convention.  Here I am, not at the convention, trying to piece together an idea of the thing from all these little snippets and reports on twitter, various blogs, etc.  And now, this.

What sorts of things are you guys doing down there?

In all seriousness, however... the whole "absurd, confusing game, that isn't pointless, but you just don't understand the point because you're supposed to figure out the point" phenomenon is one aspect of the indie games movement that I have trouble getting behind.  Probably because I, as an onlooker of indie games rather than an active participant (yet.  I'm working on this) am rarely if ever "in the loop," but I just feel frustrated and made fun of when I encounter something like this.  I even convinced a few people to come over and try this thing out with me, but they predictably left after a few button-mashing sessions that ended with a seemingly random result.

That said, the visual effects are really cool, and when I randomly press buttons to see what sorts of patterns emerge, it's rather interesting.  But that purpose would be best served by a well-labeled set of sliders, and that's obviously not what's going on here.  The competitive framework intrigues me, but I'm not someone who is satisfied being curious with no eventual payoff.

If it's some sort of metaphor, then it's over my head, probably because I'm not at GDC.  If it's supposed to look like a metaphor but isn't, then I guess I'm back to my feeling of being made fun of.  I... I really don't know. 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2010, 08:53:09 PM by StephenM3 »

StephenM3

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Re: CDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 08:52:58 PM »
Now that I think about it... More than anything else, this reminds me of the half of increpare's creations that I don't get.  When his stuff clicks with me, or I feel I understand it, or it gets some sort of emotional response, then it's marvelous.  But when it's seemingly just obscure and internal, I feel vaguely insulted and alienated, not from anything in the game but from the creator himself.

I feel like a relevant question, somewhere in this subject, is:  "If it's not for a general audience, why are you giving it to one?  If it's not for me, why am I looking at it?"  But now I think I'm far off topic, and making a few too many assumptions.  This is a line of thought for another day, or at least another thread.

Mostly I want to know what's up with GDC 2010, The game, because as I said the wave patterns are fascinating.

Wow, I've written far too much on this.

Josiah Tobin

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2010, 10:11:11 PM »
I haven't played this, but I agree with what you said regarding the pretentious/artsy/"you-tell-me-what-it-means" sort of indie games. I've tried and tried to understand and appreciate them but in the end they always just make me feel stupid, or left out of some wonderful joke I can't comprehend, which really is not a good thing for a game to make you feel (I believe).

There was one game posted on TIGsource awhile back that had a huge multi-page barrage of positive reactions, but when I tried it all it really was to me was a boring, vaguely nonsensical adventure of a vertical line wandering around a world of strangely mutating/mirroring vectors or polygons or something. Perhaps I didn't understand the brilliance because I'm not a genius math student or gifted programmer? I don't know.

I love surreality and abstract concepts a lot of the time, but it seems like they're often being taken way too far in these arstier-than-artsy indie games to the point where I just swear most of the positive comments are from people who judge its quality by how little sense it makes. ???

Just adding my rant to yours. :P

~Josiah

StephenM3

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2010, 10:50:34 PM »
I don't think GDC 2010 is actually a pretentious in any way, but it reminds me of a certain kind of pretentious game in that I don't understand it in the slightest, and there is no attempt whatsoever to make it understandable.

On further thought, I'm going to assume the best, since Terry has always been incredibly good at this, in that when his games mean something, they communicate

This is probably just something silly and meaningless that I'm looking at way too hard.  But I would appreciate an explanation either way.

Oh, and the game is found here (terry twittered it a couple hours ago): http://bit.ly/adVXFP

Josiah Tobin

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2010, 11:12:06 PM »
Huh. Yep, I don't get it :viridian:

~Josiah

Shasharala

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 11:33:36 PM »
Yeah, I don't get The Game so far either... X_X

Terry

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 05:39:26 PM »
I guess I'm back to my feeling of being made fun of.  I... I really don't know.

... when it's seemingly just obscure and internal, I feel vaguely insulted and alienated, not from anything in the game but from the creator himself.

Oh dear :(

I think I should point out first of all that I treat these 3 hours jams as fun time - I use them to make something self indulgent, to try out something that might be interesting but probably won't be, or just to amuse myself. In fact, it's fair to say, I think, that I really don't make them for a general audience. I usually don't even post them to my site unless I happen to like the result, and even then sometimes I don't bother!

I have no plans to post that game to my site. I made it as a joke, and it's one that most people don't get, so it doesn't seem worth sharing. Here's an explanation, for what it's worth:

It's called "GDC 2010: The Game" because I'd played Cactus' Gamma IV game simply called "Gamma IV: The Game" the night before. It seemed appropriate!

It was made in two hours, most of which I spent working on what ended up being a plasma generator. I used to have an interest in graphic programming and hadn't done one of these in years. I ended up combining four wave patterns to get this effect, and was in the process of tweaking them when I realised I was running out of time... So, I made it interactive. The four players are controlling one wave each, varying the wavelength, frequency and intensity of each wave (intensity should probably be amplitude). The players can see that they're affecting the game but probably don't really understand how, which is where the joke ending comes in - the game ends every couple of seconds, and a winner is randomly chosen from the participants!

I'm sorry if this makes you feel alienated; that's really not my intention with games like this.

... I agree with what you said regarding the pretentious/artsy/"you-tell-me-what-it-means" sort of indie games. I've tried and tried to understand and appreciate them but in the end they always just make me feel stupid, or left out of some wonderful joke I can't comprehend, which really is not a good thing for a game to make you feel (I believe).

There was one game posted on TIGsource awhile back that had a huge multi-page barrage of positive reactions, but when I tried it all it really was to me was a boring, vaguely nonsensical adventure of a vertical line wandering around a world of strangely mutating/mirroring vectors or polygons or something. Perhaps I didn't understand the brilliance because I'm not a genius math student or gifted programmer? I don't know.

I worry about this reaction! (and the game you're talking about is Mirror Stage, I think)

I genuinely love it when a game makes me feel something other than entertained. I don't necessarily care if I always understand what it's about. And I really hate your use of the word "pretentious" in that post.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 05:44:33 PM by Terry »

Timmaah!

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 07:37:25 PM »
The players can see that they're affecting the game but probably don't really understand how, which is where the joke ending comes in - the game ends every couple of seconds, and a winner is randomly chosen from the participants!

Haha - neat. I thought it was some kind of rhythm game, and kept trying to play it as if I was 4 people! :vermillion:

And I honestly cannot fathom how someone could feel personally affronted by something like this.

StephenM3

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2010, 08:31:44 PM »
For what it's worth, my fears are definitely not confirmed.  I would have assumed a random winner in the first place, except that when absolutely nothing is done, no winner is declared! Clever.

When I encountered Gamma IV The Game in the TIGS post yesterday, suddenly this game made a lot more sense.  I stopped trying to figure out how it might possibly be a metaphor for the GDC, as a start.   ;D   

The thing that had me worried before was that there actually was a logic behind the victor.  In general, games should give you some sort of instructions, unless they're designed with cluelessness in mind, like a Towlr, or a game about discovering something.  And when something is a Towlr, it should say so up front! (Otherwise I consider it disrespect to the player).  As a fun, quick little thing, though, this is harmless and enjoyable, and the plasma generator is really very cool!

When made this thread, I was having a pretty bad day.  This was much more dramatic than necessary!

Josiah Tobin

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2010, 06:19:18 PM »
Terry: Ah, I'm sorry-- I definitely hadn't meant to insult with my post, or anything of the sort (if it helps, I tend to overuse 'pretentious' in general, perhaps in the wrong contexts ;)).

I think perhaps I just react badly when something receives universal praise but I just can't even comprehend what makes it compelling it no matter what angle I look at it from (this is a little different from something I don't entirely understand but love anyway, for example a game like Killer7 or somesuch). Though really, this was a small 'jam' game with only one person commenting on it, so I really have no excuse for my rant up there-- my apologies! I think I had just been reminded of the thread for Mirror Stage-- that was the game I mentioned, by the way-- and got a little carried away. No hard feelings, I hope? :)

I am curious, though, what you mean by a game making you feel something other than entertained-- could you possibly give an example? I always kind of saw 'entertained' as a kind of umbrella for a variety of different emotions when it comes to games.

~Josiah

EDIT: Now I'm really worried I've offended you deeply, Terry. :( I'm quite sorry, it was out of line for me to go off like that in my first post in the first place.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 05:26:48 AM by Josiah Tobin »

Shasharala

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Re: GDC 2010: The Game
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2010, 10:41:32 PM »

Haha - neat. I thought it was some kind of rhythm game, and kept trying to play it as if I was 4 people! :vermillion:

And I honestly cannot fathom how someone could feel personally affronted by something like this.

Haha, I did the same exact thing, trying to play it and press all the buttons at once and figure out how to "win".
Then I'd just say, "Ha!" I'm player 4 and I figured it out!  :viridian:"
Problem is that I never could seem to get any player to win. XD