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A vicious cycle-The death of gameplay via (cinamatic) experience.


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(Warning-this may be long).


Let me start out by a childhood story. I was at the local Fred Meyer's as a child. So young I had to be held up by my armpits to play the arcade boxes. This game called "Dragon's Lair" cought my eye. I was so totally enthralled with it. I begged my Dad and Uncle to play it. The response (Son, that is not a game, it's just a cartoon you have to put quaters in to watch and hit buttons every once in a while)


Once I got older, and found an old box, I realized they were correct. It was not a game at all.


Several years later, and home/PC gaming was introduced to the CDrom. I remember playing some PC Lawnmower man, and wodered what the hell I was even doing. Just totally on rails. This was right at the start of the FMV hell period in gaming. "Cinimatic" experience played out via a few button presses.


Fast foward to today, and video games are rendered in greater detail, in real time then alot of those old FMV's. But the effect is the same. I just came off of a Halo4 playthrough, and just put the controller down during the 2nd campaign playthrough. Weapon's dissapearing, quick time events, sandcrawler rails section, rooms that you just went through locking for no appearent reason, wave combat, after wave after wave.... Yeah sure, the story was always a linear on rails affair, but the gameplay. It had a wave scenario, or a turret scenerio sprinked in here and there, but the battlfield was emergant. Here is where you have to go-have fun getting there.


The modern military shooters have become a running joke as of late. Even Bioware, the old masters of the RPG has went down this "cinecraptic" experience hell-hole from where gameplay cannot escape. FFS, if I want a cinematic experience, I'll go to the damn cinema!


I love really pretty graphics and the occasional cool as hell cut-scene just as much as the next guy. But where is the gameplay? "Press button to watch next in game scripted sequence". Thats not fun, that's the Dragon's Lair of 20 some-odd years ago with photo-realism esque graphics. Whats the difference? I can turn my head a bit-if I'm lucky? Hack down dude A before dude B?


Maybe I"m preaching to the choir here, but the whole "cinimatic experience" is not just ruining my hobby-video games, it's actually removing the game out of games. They are hardly games anymore.


Give me agency. Create an interesting world, with interesting characters, with good fun mechanics and let me loose. I'm at the point were I'm just going to not buy the latest AAA release and watch it on youtube. At this rate-is there really much difference? 60$ for 7-9 hours of gamplay with little to no replayability? I don't care how pretty it looks, or how well scripted the events are-that is just not very good value for the money.


Sorry-just had to rant a bit. In my opinion, the cinicraptic experience is ruining every game it touches.


Or maybe just like the FMV hell hole of years past-it will die a horrible death. (Here is hoping at least).

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completely subjective. some of us enjoy it, and enjoying it is not mutually exclusive with also enjoying more heavily interactive games. i do respect your viewpoint, however, but it's still something completely relative to each particular player of any given game.


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I personally enjoyed games like dragons lair and braindead 13. Yes they were all about hitting the correct button to live then going on and doing so over and over again but it was still fun to figure out the order to complete things in and how to survive. Now the modern shooters is a bit of an unfair example since those single player campaigns are really intended for added value for the multiplayer. That is the space where those games really take place and there they succeed at being a good game play experience admirably. When playing multiplayer there is no script what so ever and the match is different every time.


You are right that the modern expectations for presentation (graphics and full voice acting) is limiting the scope of game worlds more and more. However that's not strictly a bad thing. Those that escape this downfall are mostly sandbox type games like GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim and the like where they can give plenty of things to do but without much meaning behind those things. Personally I'd rather replay a cinematic game like Uncharted than wander around in Red Dead once I've completed the story skinning coyotes for achievement points.


Even if your path of available options is narrow in a game like Uncharted saying it isn't a game really isn't accurate. It's not a wide open game certainly but is it really all that different than playing a top down shoot em up or a side scrolling adventure game from the 90s? You didn't have any freedom in those games either beyond who to shoot first and jumping, ducking, which weapon upgrade you want, but they were certainly still games.


I guess in the end my point is more choices doesn't always equal a better game. 3D Dot Heroes is basically Zelda a Link to the Past with the addition of levels and character customization and crafting but it all becomes a bit incoherent when played. Sometimes simpler and more streamlined is the better game not the one overflowing with choice just for choices sake.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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The problem is not cinematic experience per se. But the focus put on it and the homogenization it is causing in games.


Bioware and the Dragon Age franchise is a perfect example of this, going from DA:O to DA2. Voiced protagonist and set race, just to make a better cinematic experience. Now while I never play anything else but human, I have to ask what else bio will dump just to get as close as possible to the movie experience.


I enjoyed Mass Effect for what it was, but I don't want to play it forever.


Another way to put it, I (really) love chicken, but I don't want to eat it every day.


Developers are so caught up in the cinematic experience, they are forgetting that they are making a game, and not utilizing the platform to it's fullest.

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Largely agree with the OP ... a lot of the gaming trends - at least in big name titles - I haven't been very fond of.


But I don't think such games should be eliminated or something. Some people like games to be more movie like, or whatever. Just wish there was more variety, more often, instead of the endless parade of clones per trend period - like I always do, in just about everything...not just gaming. ;)

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Well, if they dump as much money into making a game as hollywood does with an average movie is pretty much obvious that they're looking for the same kind of revenue and that they're going to follow the same soulless design philosophy.


Remember, hollywood doesn't make films, hollywood makes money. Big budget games work the same way.



At least we have kickstarter to look forward to. And even a big company will sometimes fund a more artistic project - for prestige if nothing else.

After all, it was Sony that threw down money for Shadow of the Colossus after Ico sales failed to meet expectations.


(Personally though, I feel the Japanese simply have more respect for artistry than Americans)

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.


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Some good points. (Ha, for starters-in a cruel sense of irony, the hand-holding from modern word processors has killed my spelling skills)


Firstly, I guess I came off as promoting a GTA style sandbox or even a Skyrim open world above and beyond all things. That was not my intention. In fact, I have not been able to play more then a couple hours of GTA IV (I don't have a logical reason for this honestly, I played Vice City and San Andreas just fine. For whatever bizzare reason I can't get into it). Those open world games are fine, but you can have a more contained, dare I say even-a more directed gameplay experience without sacrificing player agency and/or taking the gaming away from the gamer.


Secondly-perhaps throwing the modern mil. shooter into the discussion was....unfair? I would agree that the single player portions of that genre have become little more then a giant promotional peace to sell the MP experience on. Maybe at best a pretty distraction. And that may be as much by design as anything else.


Also, I don't think what I've been refering to as the 'cinecraptic' gaming experience is without some merit. Though it runs counter to my argument, I did enjoy the FMV mess that was Wing Commander III back in the day. (Though I will go to my grave proclaiming the original Privateer was the best the series had to offer). Is homogenization the problem? A focus on recent releases on a more cinematic experience? Are wonderful models, animation, and VO's mutually exclussive to the players ability to, if not effect the story, to have some level of agency on how it is paced, viewed, or interacted with? Is it just cost prohibitive to do so? ...../shrug

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