I have been wondering about what to write about for a while, with the first 2 posts of this blog which I want to slowly turn into a weekly blog done, my mind was emptied to an extent. I couldn’t sit down and focus on a particular part of a game or anything with regards to design. As I pondered along the lines about why I had nothing in my head I began to wander around in my own mind, which I do very often, but now without much purpose. I am recording my mind as I think. This is pretty much a rambling on various topics and as I think I write.
Yeah, I feel lost, lost in this endless process of deep thinking about games. I like Bravely Default, should I write about that. But here’s the thing, I view Games as an art form, due to my computational media background. This means to me any thoughts whether superficial or deep about games is subjective, there cannot be facts about what makes good games, well at least to me. I know people will argue otherwise and try to show me some facts, but all I will say is that those facts are merely a common perception due to general similarity between most human psyches. Games are an art form, and any and all views on them are subjective. I remember…Its like,… now for something completely different.. Monty Python.
That reminds me of something I was thinking of in relation with Bravely Default as well, narrative in games. I was recently thinking about content delivery via gameplay which led me to rediscover Janet Murray’s book ‘Hamlet on a Holodeck’, really good book. I keep going back to the idea of narrative as platform agnostic, but as one anime famously quotes ‘it is important to understand the differences in media.’. This anime (Seitokai no Ichizon) was a light novel that was made into both an anime and mange simultaneously, so that statement makes a lot of sense as the opening of such a series, as the author had always intended for the seireis to break into various media. So how do you disperse content in games especially educational content, without banging ‘LEARN’ on the heads of students. I do remember that Extra Credits did a piece on that once….
I feel like I need a tether, something to anchor me to a topic. The importance of limitations – I get it now; they give me a walled room, maybe with a ceiling, that I can explore every nook and cranny of. This may lead to new discoveries and innovation inside of the box. In this open ended thinking of whatever is not very…whats the word… dunno. I now have a new found love for themes and structure and order and anchors, especially limitation-anchors. I understand at this point what many people say when they focus and innovate within an enclosed space, I have always felt that openness is the place to innovate in but now at this point in time I feel the enclosed pastures of grass is where the mind can do its best deep thinking. Anything that limits you, impedes you gets in you way is a good thing, it helps you grow harder, better, faster, stronger (I love that song (Daft Punk)) by innovating within that space, gives you a goal an aim a target to shoot for and work towards, this deep thinking foray is not really good for me who is so unfocused. I mean really when I want to discuss a game I discuss what I like and don’t like and that means I will like most games, I am addicted to games. I cannot fathom why people claim that sports games are pointless or that shooting games are overrated. I say sure fine that’s your opinion, I still buy every Call of Duty and almost every FIFA and NFL, as I said game commentary is subjective, there is no right or wrong it is a critique. Also I love RPGs…
So back to RPGs like Bravely Default, I am excited about the resurgence in the JRPG genre. Final Fantasy 15 looks amazing, Bravely Default was a smash hit. Fire Emblem and its unique battle mode were superb. But most of all the one game that I feel that brought about this resurgence was Ni no Kuni, play it. This game really worked on strengthening its strengths. Its battle system was near perfect, I say near because art is subjective and I feel as though it could learn from other summoning RPGs like Shin Megami Tensei with regards to strategy, but again that’s my opinion.
Its also interesting that this resurgence is in countries outside of Japan (the J comes from Japanese). Japan has become a mobile-game market. The success of DeNA is proof of that, as is the testimonial failure of the PS Vita in the Japanese market. Phones, Phablets and Tablets have taken over this country. It has led to some really bad ports of some of my favorite final fantasy games.
Is it possible that we have entered a new era of technology, with tablets having reached a state where they can completely replace computers. I do not mean the iPad, the iPad still needs a Mac computer to generate content and cannot support itself, but look at the Surface Pro3. I know no one buys Surfaces, but that’s just because Microsoft has bad marketing, look at how they messed up the XboxOne. The Surface Pro 3 is A4 paper size, we all like that size, why?, maybe because we grew up with almost all paper that we print on being that size, most notebooks are also that size and most folders and binders are for that size. We like it, the size ‘feels’ good. Anyway it has an i5/i7 Intel processor which can compete with most major laptops. It has the full Windows8.1 suite which also works very well with touch based computers in my opinion. So it is perfect. To me if iPad and Samsung don’t start moving towards these laplet (like phablet) architecture they may lose out. Also a lot of developers who work on Windows have slowly been shifting to the Surface Pro3, I mean A4 size who can resist, it also comes with a pen like thing…think about it, pen and paper.
So with the new waves created by new technologies like the laplets, the hololens, google glass, etc; will come new people attempting to become the hottest, hippest, coolest, something-est surfers riding the new waves of technology. What these surfers bring to their fan-bases will be amazing to see. I do want to just sit back and observe the surfing competitions, but a part of me wants to go out and ride the waves, see what they feel like, see where they might end up, will they end up as large as a internet tsunami or will they merely be a slight increase due to global warming (up to technology hahaha). There has already been a large push to the whole second screen gaming style. Nintendo had it before anyone, they were just to early.
I have also notice an interesting merge between VR and AR. This is leading to ‘Virtual’ artifacts entering into the ‘Real’ world. Dilad screens and Programmable matter may as well be the future. Imagine opening a Dungeons and Dragons box and all it has is this sand like programmable matter. Out of this sand like matter the entire map is built out into the world around us, we now have a true coexistence of the virtual and real words creating immersion as we have never seen it before.
I guess it should be interesting to design games to convey some content in this space of ever changing technology, but also the indie scene has been really growing and most of the games coming out of this Kickstarter indie craze are a bunch of NES-esque games. I wonder what that could end up being….
And here I take control of my wandering mind and end this blog else it will go on forever; (I think a lot, INTP or whatever). Maybe I will let my mind wander again for a Train(s) of Thought #2 maybe not, we’ll see.