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Thread: Anything games

  1. #1601
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I guess one of the coolest things about AC was that the devs designed a world that was so complex that they couldn't really anticipate how it would be used and how the player base would alter it. I think that's especially true with templates. The element of users discovering things about the world that the devs didn't intend is a really fascinating aspect of the game. The trading economy is a good example of that, too.

    Maybe AC isn't unique in that regard, but WoW seemed significantly more limited in how it allowed the social elements of the game to shape what it was like to participate in the virtual world.
    Maybe it felt like AC players were altering the world at the time, but I promise you they had absolutely no power to change the world at all. Changes happened to the players. Players adapting to the horrifically bad design didn't change the game, developers designing content for extreme templates did. The developers made all of the changes, the players just adapted to what was provided to them. I also wouldn't characterize any of this as players discovering things the developers didn't intend. The imbalances were always intended. With magic in particular, the developers just thought the deliberate imbalance wouldn't be a problem because they believed some woo-woo libertarian things about human psychology that are obviously false.

    WoW had an integrated economy via its auction house, mostly because the developers somewhat knew what they were doing. AC's players developed commodity currencies because they had no other choice. The only alternative was the official game currency, a fiduciary currency with no limit on supply and no government enforcing it as legal tender. Yes it's cool how AC's players developed this economy, but it's not a feature of AC, it's a feature of humans, and it's not good that players felt they were better off by doing this.

  2. #1602
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    It's worth mentioning that AC's commodity currencies came into existence in February 2000 with the addition of pyreal motes and exploded a month later with small shards. Before then, the only valuable item was randomly generated equipment that had to be directly bartered for other equipment. In a real economy this is considered a bad thing because bartering is inefficient, but in a video game that's actively working against players amassing the absolute best gear, this can be a good thing. It also creates a natural reason for players to want to befriend each other, because you need strong personal relationships and social skills in order to grease a barter economy.

    So, yeah. That was another change they made to the game.

  3. #1603
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    With magic in particular, the developers just thought the deliberate imbalance wouldn't be a problem because they believed some woo-woo libertarian things about human psychology that are obviously false.
    The explanations provided for magic being overpowered was that 1) it cost a lot of credits, and so it should be powerful, given the opportunity cost of not being able to have other skills and 2) before the formula for spells was discovered it took a lot of time to discover spells. Donít forget they also the spell economy had at the beginning, which was intentionally designed to incentivize people keeping the formulae for spells secret. One reason they did that was to try ensure it was still worthwhile to learn magic skills, because of how difficult it was to learn them through trial and error.

  4. #1604
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Donít forget they also the spell economy had at the beginning, which was intentionally designed to incentivize people keeping the formulae for spells secret.
    You mean the thing where exercising an immediate personal benefit caused a small negative externality, leading people to collectively spoil a common resource to their great detriment despite acting in their own rational self interest?

  5. #1605
    Also, pyreals definitely were used as a trading currency. C notes (10,000p) and D notes (50,000p) were a trade commodity for a while. It took a decent amount of work to be able to afford those notes earlier on in the gameís history.

  6. #1606
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Yes it's cool how AC's players developed this economy, but it's not a feature of AC, it's a feature of humans, and it's not good that players felt they were better off by doing this.
    Yeah. I think itís cool that players invented this economy.

    But whatís bad about it?

  7. #1607
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    You mean the thing where exercising an immediate personal benefit caused a small negative externality, leading people to collectively spoil a common resource to their great detriment despite acting in their own rational self interest?
    Well, people effectively cheated by cracking the code of how you cast spells.

    Once you could cast an entire panel of Life, Creature and Item spells buffing made characters effectively invulnerable. The game wasnít designed for that. In fact, to the contrary, it was designed to inhibit it. But then split pea happened. Like, what wouldíve happened if it hadnít? Once it was created, there was no reason for people not to learn the full panel of spells, given how overpowered it was to have all those buffs, despite the fact it inevitably ruined the spell economy. The economy was really designed to influence the spell research mechanic. When split pea fundamentally changed how spell research worked, it broke the spell economy. Shouldnít be a surprising consequence.

    So yeah, innovations of players actually forced the hands of the devs on that front, even if it was a kind of para-game mechanic.
    Last edited by Eversor; 06-20-2019 at 12:05 PM.

  8. #1608
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Also, pyreals definitely were used as a trading currency. C notes (10,000p) and D notes (50,000p) were a trade commodity for a while. It took a decent amount of work to be able to afford those notes earlier on in the gameís history.
    That ďa whileĒ happened well after the commodity currencies were established.

    Trade notes initially cost more than the face value, had to be sold back to the original vendor to get the face value, and didnít stack. Pyreals were themselves heavy and didnít stack high; the hard part of buying a D note wasnít so much saving up the money, as it was having the strength and inventory space to hold 50k pyreals. And there wasnít really anything you could do with pyreals, so relative to the player economy they were under hyperinflation. These were poor stores of wealth.

    They did eventually turn around the pyreal economy somewhat, but trade notes didnít become viable in the player economy until they became stackable. For a long time platinum scarabs were used as a surrogate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Yeah. I think itís cool that players invented this economy.

    But whatís bad about it?
    The bad thing is that there werenít other viable economic options presented to the players. Similar systems could have arisen in WoW, but ultimately didnít because the developers created mechanisms to encourage players to reckon values in a single fiat currency. They also created systems to help match buyers and sellers, and to store wealth. These systems werenít perfect, but imperfect is better than nothing at all which is what AC did.

    If youíre asking about the economic argument: Commodity money has most of the disadvantages of bartering, none of the social advantages, and also inflates the values of the underlying commodities that could be used more productively elsewhere. Thatís not what Iím arguing though; unlike a real economy, inefficiencies in a game economy can serve a useful gameplay purpose. Real people struggling against a system to invent markets is a cool real world academic phenomenon, not a cool game design.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Well, people effectively cheated by cracking the code of how you cast spells.

    Once you could cast an entire panel of Life, Creature and Item spells buffing made characters effectively invulnerable. The game wasnít designed for that. In fact, to the contrary, it was designed to inhibit it. But then split pea happened. Like, what wouldíve happened if it hadnít? Once it was created, there was no reason for people not to learn the full panel of spells, given how overpowered it was to have all those buffs, despite the fact it inevitably ruined the spell economy. The economy was really designed to influence the spell research mechanic. When split pea fundamentally changed how spell research worked, it broke the spell economy. Shouldnít be a surprising consequence.

    So yeah, innovations of players actually forced the hands of the devs on that front, even if it was a kind of para-game mechanic.
    Mental backflips aside, the magic system was designed under the assumption that people would want to keep spells secret (and therefore that nobody would rationally make a program like split pea in the first place). Weíve known for hundreds of years that things like the spell ďeconomyĒ donít work to prevent that kind of behaviour. The entire exercise was stupid and led to an obvious stupid outcome.

    I played a mage before split pea. People had already figured out and shared the taper rotations in beta, the spells were all known. The only obstacle to mastering all of the spells was time and pyreals, and the latter were essentially worthless. Split pea didnít actually change anything.

  9. #1609
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    That “a while” happened well after the commodity currencies were established.

    Trade notes initially cost more than the face value, had to be sold back to the original vendor to get the face value, and didn’t stack. Pyreals were themselves heavy and didn’t stack high; the hard part of buying a D note wasn’t so much saving up the money, as it was having the strength and inventory space to hold 50k pyreals. And there wasn’t really anything you could do with pyreals, so relative to the player economy they were under hyperinflation. These were poor stores of wealth.
    Yeah, that was partially the added value of trade notes. Mage templates generally lacked the strength to hold many pyreals at once, so they'd have to keep the value of their wealth as trade notes, sell them, run around town where it was safe to be so overburdened, buy your components, and so on. A reason why they had added value was because it was actually difficult for many types of character to hold enough loot to be able to bring enough loot into town to buy a D note.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    The bad thing is that there weren’t other viable economic options presented to the players. Similar systems could have arisen in WoW, but ultimately didn’t because the developers created mechanisms to encourage players to reckon values in a single fiat currency. They also created systems to help match buyers and sellers, and to store wealth. These systems weren’t perfect, but imperfect is better than nothing at all which is what AC did.

    If you’re asking about the economic argument: Commodity money has most of the disadvantages of bartering, none of the social advantages, and also inflates the values of the underlying commodities that could be used more productively elsewhere. That’s not what I’m arguing though; unlike a real economy, inefficiencies in a game economy can serve a useful gameplay purpose. Real people struggling against a system to invent markets is a cool real world academic phenomenon, not a cool game design.


    The bad thing is that there weren’t other viable economic options presented to the players. Similar systems could have arisen in WoW, but ultimately didn’t because the developers created mechanisms to encourage players to reckon values in a single fiat currency. They also created systems to help match buyers and sellers, and to store wealth. These systems weren’t perfect, but imperfect is better than nothing at all which is what AC did.

    If you’re asking about the economic argument: Commodity money has most of the disadvantages of bartering, none of the social advantages, and also inflates the values of the underlying commodities that could be used more productively elsewhere. That’s not what I’m arguing though; unlike a real economy, inefficiencies in a game economy can serve a useful gameplay purpose. Real people struggling against a system to invent markets is a cool real world academic phenomenon, not a cool game design.
    I mean, the way to match buyers and sellers in Asheron's Call was to go to Arwic or Qalaba'r or whatever the highly populated town on your server was and spam and spam and spam until a sellers and buyers connected. It was totally a charming feature of the game. The big cities really felt bustling. In many ways a charm of the game was that it was a glorified chatroom with a 3D GUI.

  10. #1610
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I mean, the way to match buyers and sellers in Asheron's Call was to go to Arwic or Qalaba'r or whatever the highly populated town on your server was and spam and spam and spam until a sellers and buyers connected. It was totally a charming feature of the game. The big cities really felt bustling. In many ways a charm of the game was that it was a glorified chatroom with a 3D GUI.
    Which the game punished with portal storms and by destroying the cities where players congregated....

    I mean I get it, yeah, the cities in AC felt more real than the cities in newer games. Iím not disagreeing with you. Iím just saying, give credit where credit is due. That stuff all happened because humans act like humans.

  11. #1611
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Which the game punished with portal storms and by destroying the cities where players congregated....

    I mean I get it, yeah, the cities in AC felt more real than the cities in newer games. Iím not disagreeing with you. Iím just saying, give credit where credit is due. That stuff all happened because humans act like humans.
    Right, and the other thing weíre not disagreeing about is the thing I was saying initially: what I thought was cool about AC was the way that the designers planned and built this virtual world, and then players took advantage of the social elements in the game to add elements to it that the designers didnít intend.

  12. #1612
    It didnít always work. I mean, all those Gharundíim (sic) cities near that big lake that separated Osteth from the Direland... did anyone ever go to those? I did, but not until, like, the last week of the game, when I ran across the road network and tried to visit all the towns I could, to say goodbye to them. I bet the designers had hoped that thereíd be a reasonable equitable distribution of the population to towns, but it certainly didnít work that way. Most of the world was vastly underpopulated and the small pockets where most people aggregated were vastly overpopulated. But I still prefer that real sandbox feel to WoW, which to me felt like the world was fairly linear, as reaching higher levels allowed you to go to new places (also the zones made it feel like you were always inside, even when you were outside). Although admittedly I probably played WoW for only a few weeks before I moved on, so I might be misremembering it.
    Last edited by Eversor; 06-20-2019 at 04:16 PM.

  13. #1613
    I bet there was a somewhat more equal distribution of the population on Darktide. I didnít know anyone on that server so it wasnít ever as much fun as it probably couldíve been, but I admired just how austere PKing forced the gameplay to be. I guess I was just a carebear. I did PK a little on MT, but that generally just meant nothing more than that I was in constant fear Iíd run into another PK.

  14. #1614
    DT seemed like a social nightmare though

  15. #1615
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Right, and the other thing weíre not disagreeing about is the thing I was saying initially: what I thought was cool about AC was the way that the designers planned and built this virtual world, and then players took advantage of the social elements in the game to add elements to it that the designers didnít intend.
    Which goes back to the thing I said that originally started this discussion, the fact that nostalgia for this stuff (vanilla wow, 1990 AC) is rooted in the fact that most of the changes were pretty horrible for the game. WoWís overworld changes were lame and unnecessary. ACís devs changed the game to basically work around what the players were doing, instead of working with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    It didnít always work. I mean, all those Gharundíim (sic) cities near that big lake that separated Osteth from the Direland... did anyone ever go to those? I did, but not until, like, the last week of the game, when I ran across the road network and tried to visit all the towns I could, to say goodbye to them. I bet the designers had hoped that thereíd be a reasonable equitable distribution of the population to towns, but it certainly didnít work that way. Most of the world was vastly underpopulated and the small pockets where most people aggregated were vastly overpopulated. But I still prefer that real sandbox feel to WoW, which to me felt like the world was fairly linear, as reaching higher levels allowed you to go to new places (also the zones made it feel like you were always inside, even when you were outside). Although admittedly I probably played WoW for only a few weeks before I moved on.
    Many of those towns were starter towns, and they did have cool stuff in them. The desert is actually quite dense in POIs but they didnít provide any way for players to discover it.

  16. #1616
    Yeah. The desert was also beautiful, too. I had a lot of fun when I was doing my big explore at the end of the game. Iíd stumble across some dilapidated building with, like, four skeletons in it and some POS sword on the ground, all on a permanent spawn. It was very cool to discover something like that.

  17. #1617
    I think in my case a lot of the nostalgia is childhood for my nostalgia more than anything else. I bet thatís true for many others as well. My AC nostalgia is pretty similar to my nostalgia for Super Mario World, which was one of the first video games I ever got really into. Both felt like so much more than a game. JK, too, of course.

  18. #1618
    What is it that makes a game immersive? AFAIK Minecraft is considered to be a quite immersive game (and I think so too), so realism and graphics definitely aren't it. What is it then?

  19. #1619
    Yeah, I agree that Minecraft is immersive. So I suppose it can't only be nostalgia.

    Some games have that quality where you forget you're playing a game at all. It seems to happen when you're so involved that you can feel fear, or whatever other emotion. There's something childlike about it. Like when you're a child and you play pretend, and you're pretending to do something scary, and you convince yourself it's real and actually feel fearful.

    But maybe that only explains what it feels like to play an immersive game, and not what makes them have that quality.
    Last edited by Eversor; 06-22-2019 at 08:03 PM.

  20. #1620
    I used to really like Rust,too. The gameplay was pretty similar to Minecraft on survival mode. I guess Iím a fan of survival games?

  21. #1621
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    I used to think I most liked open ended exploration games, and while Iíd still say I do, the amount of time I actually play them is utterly dwarfed by open world discrete questing games. Even when those games did offer open ended/exploration gameplay, my in-game time was almost entirely spent completing discrete quest objectives. It took actual analysis to get to the point of recognizing this about myself, and even then it took me a while to jump the hurdles of self preconceptions in order to identify the stuff the games I like actually have in common. (At the lowest point I was getting super abstract about it, like ďall of the games I like have treasure chests in themĒ. Whatever it took to rationalize how self determination/open endedness was the deciding factor.)

    I guess what Iím saying is, primary market research is useless, and thereís no reason to think itís any better just because youíre your own subject.

  22. #1622
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    Eversor, play Subnautica.

  23. #1623
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I guess what I’m saying is, primary market research is useless, and there’s no reason to think it’s any better just because you’re your own subject.
    Trying to explain that someone's perception of their own behaviors and interests does not actually align with their behaviors and interests is very challenging. It makes you sound like an ******* on merit of the argument alone. It does not matter how much the psychologists tell us it's an accurate statement, there's a cultural idea that self-perception is the most accurate perception.

  24. #1624
    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    Eversor, play Subnautica.
    Looks super cool

  25. #1625
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    It's phenomenal. Best game I played in 2018 for sure. Based on what you wrote here:

    Some games have that quality where you forget you're playing a game at all. It seems to happen when you're so involved that you can feel fear, or whatever other emotion. There's something childlike about it. Like when you're a child and you play pretend, and you're pretending to do something scary, and you convince yourself it's real and actually feel fearful.
    I suspect you'd enjoy it, and it's immersive in a particular way that some other games I've thought of as immersive haven't quite achieved (though they may excel in other areas).

  26. #1626
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I used to think I most liked open ended exploration games, and while I’d still say I do, the amount of time I actually play them is utterly dwarfed by open world discrete questing games. Even when those games did offer open ended/exploration gameplay, my in-game time was almost entirely spent completing discrete quest objectives. It took actual analysis to get to the point of recognizing this about myself, and even then it took me a while to jump the hurdles of self preconceptions in order to identify the stuff the games I like actually have in common. (At the lowest point I was getting super abstract about it, like “all of the games I like have treasure chests in them”. Whatever it took to rationalize how self determination/open endedness was the deciding factor.)
    It took me a while to realize I enjoyed walking around and just looking at the world in Skyrim far more than trying to level or do the endless array of boring quests which send you to kill Draugrs.

    Recently been playing WoW on a vanilla private server, turns out your previous post and all was right that exploration and setting were important to WoW. Only the first iteration of WoW successfully made it feel like.. a world, and as you level up you get to explore more of that world. Turns out the perception of scale matters alot, even if it actually means nothing in terms of gameplay mechanics. In a sense, original WoW was actually an exploration game, at least during the initial leveling part. It still kind of is during raiding, because raiding meant seeing the "cooler" deeper parts of the world. Who is going to admit though that walking through a magical forest and listening to calming music is actually a big reason why you find something addicting? Gamers are largely young men, their self assessment is always going to be about how "badass the combat is", never the tingly nostalgia feelings. That's possibly also why I enjoy Oblivion more when I do a no-fast-travel playthrough.

    That's not to say people just want to walk through land with nothing interesting in it. That land being reactive to your presence helps. Conclusion, gamers don't appreciate how much they care about things like setting, instead obsessing over things like gameplay mechanics.

  27. #1627
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    I can recommend Subnautica. Though, you might find there's an issue that it's hard to know wtf you should be doing without reading the game's wiki. If you jump in 100% blind you might have no idea what's going on or might miss how the game's progression is meant to happen.

    For instance, getting a Seamoth ASAP is absolutely necessary. But you won't even know what the hell that is or why you need one until you read about it from outside the game.

  28. #1628

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    Speaking of Blockbuster:

    Attachment 28513
    Over this weekend, I found the video I failed (I think...) to return. It has to be 20 years or so overdue...

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    BE KIND, REWIND.
    Last edited by ECHOMAN; 06-23-2019 at 10:21 PM.
    SnailIracing:n(500tpostshpereline)pants
    -----------------------------@%

  29. #1629
    That's funny. Mine was actually a thrift store purchase. I noticed it when I was going through all the physical media to make sure I had them all ripped. I think I'm going to donate all the physical discs back to the thrift store. I hardly watch them anyway.

  30. #1630
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECHOMAN View Post
    Over this weekend, I found the video I failed (I think...) to return. It has to be 20 years or so overdue...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    BE KIND, REWIND.
    At least. 5 digit SKU; they were using 6 digits even by the time I worked there (prefixed with 33).

    More fun notes, Blockbusters had banks of fast rewinders and didn't charge rewind fees (at least when I was there) so rewinding a VHS yourself was a sucker move. We'd also phone in wrong store returns, so in practice it didn't matter much which store you returned it to (especially if you did it a couple of days early).

  31. #1631
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    https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/...disinformation

    I'm skeptical if the results hold over the long term (give us more grant money!), but interesting nonetheless.

  32. #1632
    So I'm pretty much always late to the party when it comes to games. I think Jon turned me on to Halflife Source awhile back and it's been on my Steam wishlist since. While I was on "vacation" I was notified it was only 99 cents. Finally got on there today to check it out and ended up with some huge valve bundle for under $7.00 and an Assetto Corsa bundle for like $20. I think there's a few hours left if anyone is interested. I've found that the only way to make Steam sales manageable is to add things that I may be interested to my wishlist and just check it out when I'm emailed. I really have no idea how anyone can actually effectively browse the site.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  33. #1633
    I caved and finally bought a Switch. Iíve been playing Mario Odyssey and itís the best Mario game Iíve played since Mario 64. Itís just as magical. The world keeps on surprising you.

  34. #1634
    Ooh, with Half Life that cheap I finally caved and bought all of them. First time I can play that game legally. Although I don't much care for them. I was always more of an Unreal guy.

    I recently finished Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Nice looking walking simulator. But the combat became really boring after a while. By the end I switched the difficulty to easy because fighting was just tedious and not hard. And somehow that actually added to the epicness, just slaughtering everyone in Senua's path.

    Before that I got bored by Deus Ex: Mankind Divided™. I had bought it, because it was a modern Linux game and I kinda liked the first Deus Ex. But then I discovered that it ran like **** on my laptop so I tried to get a refund from Steam. But somehow that didn't work and I didn't have the time to argue with Steam over 5 € so I kinda left it in my library and now I tried it and I'm already bored by all the convulted OMG conspiracies! I guess I never quite liked that in the first game either. So what's left is the gameplay and somehow that's not gripping me either. Perhaps I should try the guns blazing approach instead of stealth, which I usually prefer.

    And now I don't know what I should play next. I got Arkham Knight lying around, tried it once and it kinda sucked compared to the first two. Play Doom 4 again on a higher difficulty. Or I'll just keep grinding through Diablo 2 again.
    Sorry for the lousy German

  35. #1635
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I caved and finally bought a Switch. I’ve been playing Mario Odyssey and it’s the best Mario game I’ve played since Mario 64. It’s just as magical. The world keeps on surprising you.
    Do you have a Wii? That's how I felt about Mario Galaxy. So many new refreshing and fun ideas.
    Sorry for the lousy German

  36. #1636
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    Galaxy 2 > Odyssey

  37. #1637
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    Quote Originally Posted by saberopus View Post
    Galaxy 2 > Odyssey
    Came here to post an essay that amounts to this, yeah.

  38. #1638
    I started playing Galaxy but it couldnít sustain my interest. Maybe I should find a way to play it.

  39. #1639
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    The big difference is between having a game design gimmick and a world design gimmick. Mario Odyssey is an excellent game that did a great job pushing the boring Mario 64 star hunt forward into something more resembling an adventure, but it has an inconsistent visual style and leans heavily on the possession gimmick. Mario Galaxy 1/2 was real gimmicky around gravity, but the player controller felt more "pure" and the levels were designed to give you a good mix of standard 3D Mario and janky planetoid stuff. Mario Galaxy 1/2 feels more like a spiritual successor to Mario 64. In the long term, I would bet on Mario Odyssey being remembered more along the same lines as Mario Sunshine.


    By the way, none of this really matters because Super Mario 3D World is the best 3D Mario game. The Mario 64 line was an evolutionary misstep.

  40. #1640
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    The big difference is between having a game design gimmick and a world design gimmick. Mario Odyssey is an excellent game that did a great job pushing the boring Mario 64 star hunt forward into something more resembling an adventure, but it has an inconsistent visual style and leans heavily on the possession gimmick. Mario Galaxy 1/2 was real gimmicky around gravity, but the player controller felt more "pure" and the levels were designed to give you a good mix of standard 3D Mario and janky planetoid stuff. Mario Galaxy 1/2 feels more like a spiritual successor to Mario 64. In the long term, I would bet on Mario Odyssey being remembered more along the same lines as Mario Sunshine.


    By the way, none of this really matters because Super Mario 3D World is the best 3D Mario game. The Mario 64 line was an evolutionary misstep.
    I liked the Mario 64 star hunt dynamic. Itís reminiscent of an earlier stage in the development of video games. When I think game developers for the first time were building three dimensional spaces, and they had more latitude to experiment with having linear events occur in a non-linear space. Many earlier games deliberately tried to make the spaces non-linear, which meant as a player you had to explore to figure out how to push the story forward. Like even JK seemed more linear than Dark Forces.

    I think they did a good job with kingdoms. Iím surprised by how I consistently intuitively know what the puzzle pieces are and that theyíre going to result in a star. You see a pillar or something, and you know thereís some reason why itís there, but you donít necessarily know how youíre going to get a star out of it, but you fiddle around and eventually you figure it out. Or you notice some ledge that leads to a part of the kingdom you hadnít seen before, and then something novel happens. I can see how itíll get formulaic (does there really need to be a rabbit star in every kingdom?) but for the time being it still seems quite fresh.

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