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Topic review (newest first)

2022-05-16 11:51:34

"Quake 9"? WTF is Quake 9? Do you mean a hypothetical future game? That would be so far down the line! For now, after 26 years I'd be happy with the real Quake 2 we never got...

2022-02-23 02:20:50

Excellent example in the realm of 'digitalism', is a game called 'BABA IS YOU'. It is a hacking/coding inspired puzzle, embracing retrograde dungeon-roguelike aesthetics and a 'Sokoban' playstyle.

While simplistic in appeal, 'BABA IS YOU' is an ocean of creativity and fun, with amazing depths.

What appears particularly remarkable about 'BABA IS YOU', is how it translates coding nuances and possible absurdities - as I imagine them - into greatly accessible gaming experience. Although perhaps not entirely true if to claim that anything in 'BABA IS YOU', is possible - it just seems so, from a mechanical perspective. Objects and functions - by decree of a player - change places, transmorph, shift; even the identity of a protagonist, can be switched. The notion of "YOU" in the game, is negotiable. The constants, are mostly few.

Nevertheless, one crucial condition, ultimately is binding - namely, the condition of what is "WIN"? Exclusively "YOU", can "WIN" - the rest, is an experimental journey.

In 'BABA IS YOU', the subject of player interaction, is a set of stage-relevant rules. These rules, are given in the form of code-like statements - hence the title: 'BABA IS YOU', in which three 'Sokoban'-esque blocks, put in proper order within a chain, solidify the protagonist condition: "BABA" + "IS" + "YOU".

Nominally, you play as a cat-like creature named 'BABA'. This may change, though, through reconfiguration of the statement; bringing other elements or excluding some.

In 'BABA IS YOU', the player needs to re-write the stage rules, in order to achieve the goal - the process, is fun and oft absurd simultaneously; like trying to prove a real life statement true or false by changing the syllables, so that eventually, an entirely different statement arises - which paradoxically, emerges as a completely valid method, in the end! Such is the crazy world of 'BABA IS YOU'.

Aptly, in the game, there is no need to write anything or dabble in the actual code of any kind; everything is playable and player-friendly. Pushing the word-blocks around and experimenting with their configuration, may lead to various outcomes; useful or not.

In the titular condition of "BABA IS YOU", random disconnection of said blocks, leads to a "crash" - reversible - as the game, that moment, becomes deprived of any player-controlled entity; therefore, there is no operable "YOU" anymore. Player interaction results, are immediate. 'BABA IS YOU' is a puzzle game with strong emphasis put on strategy and logistics of execution.

In terms of 'digitalism', 'BABA IS YOU' represents an extreme vein, in which actual game mechanics - or a subset of these, to be precise, responsible for stage-relevant mechanics - are fluent and subject to change. Such vision, could potentially imply that the game world, is unstable and to a degree, it is unstable - but in most proper, enjoyable way. The only permanent rules in 'BABA IS YOU', apparently are those responsible for the protagonist movement and the thresholds, keeping the program together. Other category of permanent rules, is the "grammar", dictating how to properly shape conditions, which the player learns by trial and error.

'BABA IS YOU' successfully shows how in the realm of 'digitalism', an extraordinary idea - especially an idea of minimalist character - can thrive, without excess energy spent on superfluous means.

2022-02-20 05:39:50

I tried 'Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number'. Last thing I would have thought, is that this game - which I was doubtful about, initially - should captivate me primarily with the story. The story, is very good - a bit 'Pulp Fiction' or 'Amores Perros', if that was your kind of thing, but very good.

Technologically, narratively and - in my opinion - by the subtle virtues of design, better than the original 'Hotline Miami', the 'Wrong Number' brings a comparably elevated gameplay difficulty level, which may - and certainly will - aggravate potential novice players.

Both games - the first and the sequel - maintain almost exact gameplay formula, albeit - unlike the first 'Hotline Miami' - the 'Wrong Number' does not essentially employ an insta-death rule in all instances regardless.

Narratives in both franchise installments, contain a good degree of mystery or obscurity, although I assume what they universally tell about, is this: escapism, disconnection from reality, side effects of choices taken. Apparently there is a thing to being a human and a desire to break free, somehow - to go beyond. The 'Wrong Number' particularly emphasizes the theme of mental health; blurring of line between dream and reality; facts and thoughts; psychedelic and medicine; you and me. Life is a pipe dream - life is a movie.

What 'Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number' does exceptionally well, is how it stimulates the senses; it makes you go "wow" once you get the hold of it - like an old car, revealing a sport-grade heart, hidden underneath the mask. The synth-heavy and progressive soundtrack, is amazing - just listen. The gameplay, is fast and furious - not specifically tight but very satisfying in the way how it feels; in the way how camera shakes accordingly to the relevant gunfire; in the way of sharp and adequate soundscape; in the way how map tints in reaction to protagonist placement; in a plethora of trades only contemporary avant-garde game design, could have brought to the table. 'Hotline Miami', is not an old-school game.

'Hotline Miami' ooozes with style - it is far from "woodenary correct".

The visuals, are less than simple - they are crude, but they are what they need to be, in order to achieve the result - decorated with modern post-processing effects. One color in all of different ways, dominates the field sooner or later; which is the color of blood and gutter. 'Hotline Miami' revels in brutal imagery, depicting a world of social decay; it is a gaming franchise building career on the premise of brutality, which reminds me of certain classic 'DOOM' mods, not related. Some players dig it, some less so; little brutality helps to animate the action for sure.

'Hotline Miami' is an example of "digitalism" done right and I value that. I think the top-down shooter genre - which the 'Hotline Miami', is a representative of - shows it can just handle any good, operable game idea; making me disagree with those possibly claiming the genre to already be passe, with future belonging unequivocally to the first person view formula, in particular as the "VR" technology, ascends.

Some say games are temporary, but technology is forever. Let me disagree with that as well.

What does it have to do with 'Quake'? In the context of this thread, discussing certain ideals in theoretical game design, I gave few examples for what I understand as "visceralism" and one example for what I deem "digitalism" - the difference between the two which, has lately become my main subject here. Arguably, if to think about it, the extreme end of "digitalism", are abstract symbols without organic association - it is maths; therefore the most "digitalistic" game, is to be sudoku. The most "visceralistic" game, in turn, is to be war. Is digital gaming as we know it nowadays, not something between?

'Quake' is a game released in the year 1996. It is not a spiritual successor to 'DOOM', but it is another legitimate milestone in the world of first person view action games. Some claim 'Quake' to be THE milestone in the world of first person view action games. Either how, 'Quake' brought us closer to something - to something we consider good in gaming. I believe the evolution line of 'Quake' and all of action shooters developed by the old 'id Software', belongs in the "visceral" mindset. I believe that if 'Quake' as a franchise, is ever to take a next step, it needs to step up from the realm of abstract "digitalistic" arena shooters and embrace the effort. 'Quake' and 'Quake 2' were groundbreaking technological achievements; spearheading, is part of what defines 'Quake'.

The question is, practically speaking, whether "visceralism" in game design, addresses only big budget games and grand developer studios? Simultaneously, what I believe, is that it is not about the graphics - the graphics help, yes - but it is about the details summoning the feel, because the feel, is a foundation for immersion and immersion, is paramount. Even empty world, if immersive enough, is worth living in - because the story, ultimately, is written by the imagination of a player. It is all about the desire to be there.

2022-02-05 23:53:55

After long enough time of waiting in my humble library, I have finally given the 'OUTLAST' a try. What is my opinion of that game? It is by all means a gaming experience to be had; it is an experience to enjoy or "enjoy"; it is more of a good experience or even of a good story, than of a good game. In fact, I would not really recommend 'OUTLAST' as a game, to a conventional, competitive gamer. 'OUTLAST' is almost like a musical piece or an act, turned to digital game - if you like 'Black Metal', that is.

The game puts great emphasis on viscerality and intimacy with the gameworld. The gameworld, is rich and detailed, finely crafted - albeit feeling "copy & paste" quality at times. The engine in work, is 'Unreal 4' or 'Unreal 3', which provides decent, modern enough features for visual impression and gameplay characteristics, without though being a maverick neither in terms of performance, nor slickness, I believe.

Much like 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.', the 'OUTLAST' puts high priority on intimacy between the player and the gameworld, via the protagonist link - while the protagonist, is represented by two essential features. One of these features, is a tool of immersivity - which I shall discuss further - while another, is viscerality dynamics.

I think it is fair to bring 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.' and 'OUTLAST' both in the same league, even if their approach towards the priority of immersiveness, differs. 'OUTLAST', essentially embraces a formula known as "walking simulator". It means that, despite being a first person view game, it is not a shooter. You cannot fight back, even though there are opponents, trying to kill you. You can run, you can hide and you can maybe evade somehow, but you cannot fight back. Some people enjoy it, some cling their teeth. Notwithstanding, the game, does have a goal and a set of challenges, to define victory or loss, which makes the thing a journey, rather than a stroll.

The flesh element - the "viscerality" - is highly present in 'OUTLAST', as far as digital games go that I know of. It is remarkable in the movement dynamics, in the way how protagonist visually reacts with environmental geometry; it is present in the fluidity - or heaviness - of motion. It is present in the sound of heartbeat, in the sound of breathing, in the occasional visual distortion caused by trauma, in the soft swaying of view. From many angles, it attacks your cognition. "Viscerality", is about being tied by the bonds of flesh and knowing it - or being constantly reminded of that; it is about celebrating the timing of flesh, as opposed to the abstract immediacy of "digitality".

The other key manifestation, through which the protagonist brings player the experience, is an iconic camera-corder; a tool, through which alternative world perception, becomes accessible - in few different modes. While the basic camera-corder mode, may work indefinitely, the night-vision mode, depends on battery lifetime - the batteries, are collectibles in the game and need to be loaded into the camera, much like ammo into the gun, if we spoke about some tactical shooters. Question: what weapon is most suitable for a journalist? Both the camera-corder function modes, allow for a digital zoom, which is beneficial - but not crucial - feature in the game.

Trivia: in 'DOOM 3' - which was released nearly a decade before the 'OUTLAST' - there was a parameter, called "battery" or "batteries". I could not link this parameter to any known practical game function. I speculate that the flashlight, at some stage of game development, was meant to work within battery lifetime limit - with batteries, being collectibles, like it is in 'OUTLAST' - which I think, in 'DOOM 3', could be detrimental.

Even though in 'OUTLAST', the protagonist does not utter a word - unlike protagonists in 'Prey' [2006] or 'SOMA' - he is not a card blanc type of player avatar. The protagonist, writes a journal, through which his perspective upon the events witnessed, becomes known. Mechanically speaking, the journal, is updated via the camera-corder, in such way that only events captured with the camera lens, become discussed in the journal.

Having said all of that; finally, what is 'OUTLAST' about, in my opinion? Philosophically speaking, in one word, it is about escapism - it is about the mind, painted in the colors of flesh. It is also about the rite of passage and learning how to live again; it is about resurrection. I could also say: it is about life and death.

There are things about games like 'OUTLAST', 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.' or 'DOOM 3', which make me wonder about the common traits of their appeal to myself. I figure out, beyond "viscerality", it must be something between these:
1. Worldscape darkness; tactical meaning of light.
2. Superb soundscape quality; defining the world in terms of sound.
3. Gameplay mechanics emphasizing tunnel vision and hunting mindset.
4. Extreme detail and quality in worldcraft, combined with rewarding secrets.
5. Zoom mode, best provided via dedicated equipment, as part of tactical gameplay.
6. Finely expressed atmosphere of suspense, dread, euphoria, rage, mystery or sorrow.

What kind of experiments does a dead doctor perform on living patients?

2021-11-27 08:07:28

What is "singularity"? It is the ultimate clash of paradox. If there was a virtual reality matrix so perfect, that it mimicked the sensual reality, to a degree of confusion - connected to a virtual reality gear, that became so feasible, widespread and popular, that people, practically transited into living solely within the virtual reality, through the use of said virtual reality gear; what would have become of the sensual reality itself?

We would live on a map - a map, that matches the landscape it is supposed to describe, with such precision, that the map, resultantly has become to ourselves the landscape it was supposed just to describe. It could start with cars, portraying the road image on a car front glass - now turned to a big monitor - so that to give a driver clear information, diminishing the risk of failure due to changing weather conditions or human perception issues.

Chaos factor, such as animal collisions, should be calculated in and likely evaded, through a highly advanced observational system - most probably, operating from space - cooperating with equally advanced GPS, marking every move and physical change around the road. Not all roads would be available with such service at start, but eventually - everything.

In the end, going back to reality, would be like going on a trip to another dimension; a dimension less predictable and maneuverable.

Some say that on a cosmological level, the amount of computing power, required to properly emulate the sensual world, roughly equals the amount of matter within the same universe, capable to be employed in relevant computational processes for the task [theory is philosophical rather than scientific].

In other words: you need a universe, to generate a universe. Life, indeed is tautological - the purpose of life, is life.

What if we had two exact copies of the same world, each drawing the other, redundant? What would happen, is probably - the singularity; an acting paradox, like a gap between, which would consume both the pretenders.

If there were two copies of the same world, available at your hand - one evolutionary, one artificial - which one would you choose, knowing the other, due to laws of economy and nature; eventually, should collapse and turn to nothing, leaving you only with the instance chosen? What would make you choose what you think, you chose? What would be the difference?

I think, the difference, is all in our minds - like in everyday life, it is not really about what is "better"; it is what we believe, is to be right. Belief, makes all the difference - but it is the game we play. That is why, power struggle, is a struggle to control the belief; because belief, drives choices.

2021-11-26 08:55:39

Digital games, are meant to exhibit the technological capabilities of contemporary age, in a way understandable to the public. That, used to be a paradigm.

Even though the classic purpose of "showing how far can we get with what we have" is not gone and will not be gone, as long as technology advances - despite the changes, throughout the time, one thing, has remained constant in the landscape - the games, are still meant to "wow" you.

Ways and means to "wow" the recipient, have diversified - as the gaming medium, became more widespread and popular - assuming manifold contexts and layers, to achieve the effect. For example, to those aware of the original, an old game, can "wow" with how well it may be restaurated and brought back. Open source communities, can "wow" players worldwide with excellence or usefulness of a project done with little to no budget at all.

Independent games, crafted by solitary developers or small studios, can "wow" with extraordinary and creative ways of design, possibly giving rise to new trends in the field. Minimalist games, can "wow" with interactive story intricacies and impressive complexity of universes created. Puzzles, may "wow" with clever challenges and a sense of intelligent completion.

Ultimately, a community around the game, may "wow" with enthusiasm and love for the project, bestowing a deeper reason to remain involved. Players, may "wow" developers with constructive feedback and diverse contribution. Developers, may "wow" tinkers with pliability and accessibility of the game technological aspects.

If a gamescape, does not "wow" you - it is likely not worth of your time.

2021-11-25 00:00:40

I imagine that young people, who lack yet an extensive or "viscereal" knowledge of the world around them, tend to do better with appreciation of "digitalism". This, gives rise to the question of formative influence, the consumer media - overly simplifying an image of reality - could have over children. On the other hand, adults - unless channeling an experience through the lens of sentiment - easily become turned away, if a thing, defies their definitions of reality and therefore, what is worth of personal time and energy investment.

Ultimately, an adult - the way I see it - is a person, who would most likely ask: how will this, enhance my chances in the race of survival and success? In leisure, taking the time to simply rest or meditate; expand own intellectual horizons or just chill out - could make for a more attractive option, than to put effort into processing of boldly artificial information, investing own self in a dimension, which superficially, does not bring any explicit profit - unless, it does bring one a profit; but such, are few, rather than many cases. People forget that gaming, is actually an effort; it does require one to "do" something - it costs energy. The rest, is reward estimation.

Someone said that a successful game, under contemporary conditions, should primarily address the young audience - justifying the stance with sheer merit of commerce, minding how the young and the adults, prefer to spend whatever the money they have - and I think this to be true; but while addressing the young people, one ought to remember that the task, is eventually to give a constructive example.

There are games and there are meta-games. Meta-games - "games above games" or "games to play game" - speculatively a thing of adults; focus mainly around life narratives and life practices, such as building certain facades and appearances in front of others. To a degree, it is a game of liar. Likewise, contemporary gaming industry, in the meta-game of success in commerce they play, fail to show their young audience, a constructive example of adult, socially responsible behavior.

I think the latter, is the ultimate, toxic influence, the gaming world, suffers nowadays.

2021-11-23 17:44:47
OneMadGypsy wrote:


That was an interesting read. Do you have a space, more proper than quaddicted, where these philosophies are collected and preserved? I'd probably subscribe (or whatever) if you do.

No, I create whatever places, I am not worried about preservation of anything, neither do I aim to capitalize on it.

2021-11-23 16:13:16


That was an interesting read. Do you have a space, more proper than quaddicted, where these philosophies are collected and preserved? I'd probably subscribe (or whatever) if you do.

2021-11-23 07:06:25

Exemplary game that exhibits an intriguing compromise between the "visceral" and the "digital", is 'Distance'. 'Distance', is a racing-like platformer, featuring very "digital" physics and controls - quite unlike your stereotypical image of a racing game - but a very "visceral" core theme, alongside with world presentation, yet with a "digitalistic" aesthetic wrapping to it. It also has killer soundtrack. The game, in my view, does bear some 'Dead Space' vibe, to you fans out there; quite like a missing rib.

The base story concept in 'Distance', tells of a "digitalistic" world, that becomes infected with an alien virus, behaving much in a "visceral" way.

The game itself, is rather unpolished, but it is done with love for what it has.

The 'Distance' project is our path to life among the stars.
We aim to push teleportation further than ever before.
Earth is behind us.
Remember her, learn from her, go beyond her.

To move forward, we must bury our past.
The 'Distance' project, is our path to life and death.
We aim to escape our loop and expand to new horizons.

The path ahead, gives us purpose.
The sequence, is nearly complete.
Remember that pieces form the whole.
All paths lead to the door.

Origin of the infection source is unknown.
The infection appears to be simultaneously technological and organic,
with a chaotic and unpredictable spread.
Nanotechnology, is assumed as the building block for the virus,
though when observed closely,
the underlying material, is still undefined.

2021-11-23 04:43:10

I wonder whether the upgrowth of "visceralism", dwells in the field of digital games?

What kind of matrix, then?

Who knows, what the future holds?

Maybe we still need to find out, how do we get there.

I do not believe the technology, is an apex to mankind.

I think there is a lot to being a human, that we do not yet understand.

Does it mean the "visceralism", becomes inoperable in the matrix of digital games? It rather only means, the outcome, is always going to be restrained by technological limitations and common availability of technological medium, which sometimes, may appear exclusive and niche.

While ourselves, being owners of "visceral" bodies, it seems paradoxical we should need the most advanced equipment, to experience a portrayal of "visceralism" in the digital matrix.

2021-11-22 19:04:45

Returning to the case of "viscerality", while it is more constructive to understand the term independently; minding the way we likely are wired - perhaps the notion, becomes more clearly visible or even benefits, when put in a dualistic frame of reference; against a thing contrary. The thing contrary to "viscerality" or "visceralism" - in the field of game design paradigms - I would call "digitalism".

While I do think of "digitality", theoretically, to be a more friendly solution in terms of digital game making, it unnecessarily exuberates with a more relatable observation, for a human - the final product recipient. I speculate the human, always "translates" a "digital" observation, into a framework making better sense within the organic range of categories, which - I believe - oscillates towards the "visceral" way of representation.

Eventually, why to make arguably a more difficult, "visceral" game, rather than just choose a more developer-friendly, "digitally" inclined perception? I think the purpose, is to ultimately give the player less "background homework" in terms of "translating" the individual experience, to organic and familiar - but still imaginary - lifelike matrix; therefore, to make the game experience, tad bit more immersive; if that is the goal.

"Visceralism", furthermore, is to be considered an improvement vector - as the technology, unfolding, gives rise to the means, allowing to better mimick and portray life authenticity in gaming - the "visceral" ways, refine. In turn, "digitalism" - while undeniably also likely to evolve along with the unfolding of technological revelations - is hypothetically more prone to stagnation within the realm of attachment to own grooves; the "digitalist" design trajectory, seems also maybe less rooted, but more arbitrary and abstract.

Not to state, however, the latter, could not happen to a "visceral" way of thinking - ultimately, a digital game, is a "digital" creation and there certainly comes a moment, when a bulk of ambitions in the field of digital life-mimicry, best become restrained, for the sake of enjoyability and doability altogether. "Digitalist" design, certainly has an opportunity to gain upper hand, when simplicity, easiness and readability, are rewarded. Beyond that, "digitalism", suggests better degree of freedom, when it comes to artistic flexibility.

In the end, it is pointless to proclaim one superior over the other - "visceralism" or "digitalism" - regardless. Both, need to find proper balance, in order to simply fashion a good product, while unmistakably, from both sides of the spectrum, excellent products, may emerge.

2021-11-18 16:00:47
OneMadGypsy wrote:
triple_agent wrote:
roxvile wrote:

Quake 9? You are all going to play it inside the metaverse.

I guess it means some kind of bad forecast?

I think it was a facebook "meta" reference.

Well, better "meta" than "meth", I guess.

2021-11-18 14:44:30
triple_agent wrote:
roxvile wrote:

Quake 9? You are all going to play it inside the metaverse.

I guess it means some kind of bad forecast?

I think it was a facebook "meta" reference.

2021-11-18 14:42:23
triple_agent wrote:
roxvile wrote:

Quake 9? You are all going to play it inside the metaverse.

I guess it means some kind of bad forecast?

I think it was a facebook "meta" reference.

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