GAMEBOOMERS provides you with all the latest PC adventure computer games information, forum, walkthroughs, reviews and news.

GB Reviews

Latest & Upcoming Adventure Games

GB Annual Game Lists

GB Interviews

BAAGS

GB @ acebook

About Us

Walkthroughs

free games galore

Game Publishers & Developers

World of Adventure

Patches

GB @ witter

GameBoomers Store

Big Fish Games Homepage
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#1130789 - 11/05/17 05:45 PM General Question about Game "Themes"
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
You can't help noticing how 95% of Casual Games fall back on the same clichés over and over: Demons, witches, possessed or insane people, mythological figures come to life, magical totemic items that control behavior, characters turning into animals, outer space "infections," other-dimensional creatures crossing over via time portals, and so on. It is almost exclusively a magical universe out there in Casual Gameland.

The games with real protagonists operating in a recognizable human environment (like a Dana Knightstone or Angelica Weaver game) are pretty rare on the ground. There may be lip service played to your character being a "Detective," but this seems more of an effort to avoid referring to the player by gender than it is an attempt to ground the game in real life.

So I'm curious what everyone else thinks: Is this trend because most players prefer games with magical or demonic undertones or is it simply a convenient trope for game designers to fall back upon rather than dealing with contemporary world issues or creating a "real" story that is engaging?

Top
#1130810 - 11/05/17 10:36 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
GuybrushThreepwood Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 4522
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Dana Knightstone (I'm playing one I missed now) deals with ghosts and keeps going backwards into the past. Actually I'm not playing it at the moment as I never play games involving anything remotely horror on Sunday. Or watch horror movies on Sunday.

Most casual games the player character is female. Rarely does a game give me a choice to be my actual gender (male). And then all it means is I get an occasional picture of the character I'm playing and its a man not a woman for a change.

Even when they don't specify gender you can tell by the glimpse of the hands that its female.

I just played a game that incorporates what ever profile name you use in the game in one brief scene. And I always use my first name and I've never heard of any women with my first name so it was odd seeing my name appear in the game when I know the character is a woman.




Edited by GuybrushThreepwood (11/05/17 10:36 PM)
_________________________
Currently Playing:
Adventure Game: Broken Age
Casual: Redemption Cemetery: One Foot In The Grave
Darkside: The Witcher

Top
#1130827 - 11/06/17 08:07 AM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
Sparkle Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 1587
Loc: Canal Fulton, OH
Since many developers are in Eastern Europe, it appears they draw on legends and myths from that part of the world. I can see that popular sci fi movies and video games also influence storylines. Also, to comment on Guybrush's assessment, I've read that the audience for casual games is primarlly female. Just appealing to the majority I guess. As a female, I really wouldn't mind if the protagonist in these games was more often male. There are a few series in which this is the case. I see the games as more like movies, so the gender of the protagonist isn't something that I notice that much.


Edited by Sparkle (11/06/17 08:13 AM)

Top
#1130872 - 11/06/17 01:49 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Sparkle]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Sparkle, I hadn't thought of the fact that many casual games are coming out of Eastern Europe and that they might fall back on their own mythologies and legends for ideas. Interesting.

Like you, I don't pay much attention to gender when I'm playing the game, either. Since we seldom "see ourselves" while we are playing these first person games, it only is noticeable if the character speaks a lot. As for the kinds of "action" things the character does in a game, I was always a tomboy and an outdoorsy sort of gal, and wouldn't find climbing a cliff with ropes or handling a hang glider to be beyond the normal scope of things for me to do. So this doesn't throw me out of the story, either.

I would like to see more creativity begin to enter into these games, though, at least in terms of the story line. I get tired of the witches-demons-supernatural-fairy tale monster thing and periodically have to bail out on the casual genre for months at a time due to the repetitive and derivative nature of the plots.

Top
#1130878 - 11/06/17 02:59 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
Jenny100 Online   content
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38343
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Reenie
Is this trend because most players prefer games with magical or demonic undertones or is it simply a convenient trope for game designers to fall back upon rather than dealing with contemporary world issues or creating a "real" story that is engaging?

I don't think it's a "trend."
It's been like this a long time.
One of the main reasons people play games is for escapism, so "dealing with contemporary world issues" when you've already had quite enough of them in real life would not be desirable in a game. The last thing I want to see in a game is more suburban sprawl and litter by the road.

"Magical" can refer to a lot of game types. I don't like it when it's too "silly" or you have some silly "magical" helper. But there's also "steampunk" which could be considered "magical" since it uses technology that wouldn't work in real life.

I don't care for "demonic" though ghost stories can be OK.

I used to like the "Dana Knightstone" stories but I don't think they make them anymore. I've got 5 of them.

Like "magical," "ghost story" can encompass a lot of things, from the Dana Knightstone type where you help the ghosts of the past, to something more like "demonic" or Lovecraft-inspired where there is some unspeakable horror you must vanquish.

I want to go somewhere else in a game -- not modern day.
Historical would be OK -- an investigation like Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie. Unfortunately many game developers don't know the difference between 20 year old technology and 300 year old technology, so it's essentially "magic" masquerading as historical -- which gets really annoying.

Top
#1130880 - 11/06/17 03:01 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 27438
Loc: United Kingdom
The gender of the protagonist really doesn't bother me but I do agree there have been "enough" variations on the same themes yes

I, too, would very much like to see more realistic stories being played out by more realistic characters but having said that, there are some gems amongst the "demons/fairies/witches" offerings that I do like to replay at times laugh
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

Top
#1130885 - 11/06/17 05:01 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Mad]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Oddly enough, I stumbled upon a new game today called Fright Chasers: Dark Exposure. If it is a series, I only discovered it today, and have only played the Demo so far, but I think I may buy this one the next time there is a sale. Yes, it has some other-dimensional weird stuff going on as a guy seeks to bring his wife back from the dead, but the story is contemporary, not set in Atlantis or some ancient Norse island in the fog, involves no vampires or witches or demons, and the puzzles are pretty innovative. So it can be done! happydance

Top
#1130886 - 11/06/17 05:15 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Jenny100]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Sounds like "trend" was the wrong word for me to use, Jenny? Should I have said "tendency," instead? Would that have made more sense? Anyway, all I mean in that regard is that I would love to see more variability and diversity in themes and protagonists. When we read a new book, it is not always on the same subject as the last one, nor do we always go to the same kind of movie every weekend. When we play a game, we don't necessarily want it to be the same as the last one or two ~ or hundred. "Variety is the spice . . ." as the saying goes.

Top
#1130887 - 11/06/17 05:23 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 27438
Loc: United Kingdom
I should perhaps clarify that the "more realistic stories being played out by more realistic characters" that I would welcome doesn't necessarily require they be in a "present day" setting smile
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

Top
#1130891 - 11/06/17 05:43 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Mad]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Absolutely agree! I understood that from what you said. I've enjoyed the Victorian London ones that have come out recently. But then, I love Jules Verne and steampunk and all that. Wouldn't mind one that took place during the Wild West or the Renaissance or something Victor Hugo-ish, really just about anything else but the vampire/witches thing. There is SO much unplumbed ground for stories!

Top
#1130897 - 11/06/17 06:26 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
Jenny100 Online   content
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 38343
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Reenie
Anyway, all I mean in that regard is that I would love to see more variability and diversity in themes and protagonists.

I think we'd all like more of that.

Originally Posted By: Reenie
When we read a new book, it is not always on the same subject as the last one,

It might be the same genre though. Someone who likes science fiction will probably choose a science fiction book, someone who likes mystery stories will choose a mystery, someone who likes historical novels will choose one of those. There can be quite a lot of variety between books in the same genre. I'm not sure if that's possible for games.

Originally Posted By: Reenie
When we play a game, we don't necessarily want it to be the same as the last one or two ~ or hundred. "Variety is the spice . . ." as the saying goes.

No we don't want "samey" games. That doesn't mean there can't be variety within genres, but I don't see it so much with games as with books.

Top
#1130916 - 11/06/17 08:28 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Jenny100]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Maybe I'm the oddball, but I vary my reading considerably. In the last month, it was a series of essays by Harold Bloom first (still working on that one off and on), the next week was an anthropologist's field report on the Kung people of Africa, the week after that was a layman's book on physics, and now I am reading and Agatha Christie mystery. It is more engaging to vary subject matter than to read the same sort of thing over and over. happydance

Top
#1130955 - 11/07/17 10:02 AM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
8dognight Online   content
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 482
Loc: deep south
I think one pragmatic reason for the horror/fantasy/supernatural settings is the that nothing has to make sense so lazy developers and publishers can crank out schlock. Glowing rune battle using magic eye or glove amulet? No problem this is the schlockian universe, not the Sherlockian.


Edited by 8dognight (11/07/17 10:02 AM)

Top
#1130976 - 11/07/17 11:10 AM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: Reenie]
8dognight Online   content
Settled Boomer

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 482
Loc: deep south
I also think sameness arises from publishers and developers mistaking the kinds of algorithms that make for high rankings and up next status on Google and You Tube for what players consider stellar in a game universe. The two are not identical. I want games whose unique qualities run the risk of disqualifying them from that formulaic, algorithmic mass production line.

The closest comparison that comes to me is literary. One is Harlequin’s over and over tried and true ironclad formula; the other comprises discrete novelistic achievements in many genres, think the best of Jane Austen and Stephen King. I have read Harlequins and will admit to once making a tidy sum writing for Silhouette. When I want a literary world to get lost in and savor, I need more than Harlequin.

We can journey back to the 19th century and make the same comparison between penny dreadfuls with titles like Oliver Twiss and serialized novels by Charles Dickens like Oliver Twist.

There used to be something called a plot wheel. I saw a photo of one once in an essay that included advice on what not to do. You could spin the patented wheel and get the next step in plot development. This was from the era of the joke that “Lincoln’s Mother’s Doctor’s Dog” is a title that would top the sales charts because those four nouns denote things Americans love and buy stories about. I fear the plots in casual games are generated the same way using algorithms. Word salad combos like Lincoln’s Mother’s Doctor’s Dog produce bad melodrama when comedy is the approach more likely to work, only comedy is hard.


Edited by 8dognight (11/07/17 11:18 AM)

Top
#1131053 - 11/07/17 06:54 PM Re: General Question about Game "Themes" [Re: 8dognight]
Reenie Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/01/00
Posts: 3337
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
I love all you wrote, 3dog! Made me laugh at the same time as I was shaking my head in "Sad, but true" recognition, even though I have never read a Harlequin book.

I do love these little games, though. Buying one is a lot like buying an "Airplane book" before getting on one of those loooong flights to Europe or Asia when you have to have something splashy and trashy to keep you engaged until you land on the other side. Sometimes, a serious book won't do that after several hours of flying. Same with these little games. If I want to relax on the weekend, I don't necessarily want a Stephen Hawking game. ha ha

However, it would be great if they could vary things a bit more. Maybe still use their plot wheel as you described, but with more pizza slices in it than just the four or five they fall back on with most games. I tried out the Demos on three different games this weekend and all were basically the same, which made them boring and indiscriminate. I didn't buy any of them. It makes me really appreciate a game that steps outside that small plot wheel!

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  BrownEyedTigre, Marian 

Who's Online
Key: Admin Global Mod Mod Staff  )
11 registered (kazzmo, curly, Draclvr, CanukDenis, Darlene, Marian, 8dognight, Jenny100, colpet, judith), 159 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Newest Members
Marinus_Louis, tuna, danait13, mozkito314, LeonDaydreamer
8972 Registered Users