PYF game design/history essay videos

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PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Mon May 25, 2020 7:48 pm

I've been watching a lot of these lately thanks to YouTube recommendations, combined with the fact that I find the subject fascinating. Here's one that popped up yesterday:



I found it amusing that even back then, there was a tendency for the industry to rally behind already-popular ideas. Nowadays the excuse is that even established genres can be a platform for telling unique stories, but back then there were no stories and they still just ripped each other off left and right. Also, even then, innovation was driven by people who actively wanted games to be about something other than violence.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 1:05 am

Oh man yes, the golden age of arcades was rife with inspirations, copycats and (like KC Munchkin) outright ripoffs. Looking back we might speak of a “genre” of maze-chase games being created, but really, we’re talking about a period of five years, tops — this was less an artistic movement than companies saying “Pac-Man is huge, let’s do that”. Because Pac-Man had perfected the concept at the same time it invented it, and it never stopped being popular and outlived all its imitators.

Though that’s not to say the imitators weren’t sometimes interesting in their own way. I remember one called Make Trax. It’s Pac-Man but instead of clearing dots, you’re painting the floor of the maze, and one of your enemies is an invisible man who leaves footprints so you have to repaint those areas.

More broadly, the general mechanic of powerups that turn the hunted (i.e. the player) into the hunter, was really common after Pac-Man pioneered it. Donkey Kong used it, as did Q*bert, which in a lot of ways is just Pac-Man on a pyramid.

(The video mentioned “How to Win at Video Games” and I owned a copy of that.) :memories:
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 1:14 pm

And yeah, appealing to women players was a thing back then too. IIRC Centipede and Frogger, both of which were solid games that didn’t rely on “guns ‘n’ cars” appeal, had a lot of female fans. Neither were as elegant as Pac-Man, though, and neither had Pac-Man’s sense of character. Frogger himself was barely a character and it wasn’t clear what your Centipede guy was even supposed to be. Meanwhile Pac-Man named all its characters and put them in little skits.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 1:27 pm

Oh hey, Game Maker's Toolkit. That's a good channel.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 2:01 pm



We had Thayer’s Quest in my local arcade and years later I bought Shadoan without realizing it was connected to it at all.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 2:14 pm



this is a long one, but i find it utterly fascinating how hard it is to define a video game and thus find the first video game
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 2:21 pm



This is also a good one from the same channel (and the video that actually led me to this channel), it's about the infamous Polybius and where and how the urban legend sprung up.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 2:32 pm





Errant signal is currently talking about the "children of doom" or in other words, the history of the FPS genre.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue May 26, 2020 2:45 pm



He also made a interesting video on the history and mechanics of the Tony Hawk games.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Gloomy Rube (?) » Thu May 28, 2020 4:00 pm

DaikatunaRevengeance wrote:
Tue May 26, 2020 2:14 pm


this is a long one, but i find it utterly fascinating how hard it is to define a video game and thus find the first video game
Heckin I was wrong! :twonk:

Last I heard, Space War and Tennis for Two were the "first games" heck. :twonk:
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Thu May 28, 2020 4:04 pm

Same.

The video is quite something, isn't it?
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Gloomy Rube (?) » Thu May 28, 2020 4:05 pm

It is. I'd seen the polybius video before but this one was new and heck it's full of revelations
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:51 pm



I remember playing a bunch of Gremlin games, but i wasn't aware that the company was that old.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:02 am



While I was watching the Gremlin video, I remembered i watched a video by Kim Justice in the past. Matt talked about this in his wha happun years later, but I feel this one is a bit more detailed.

This being Duke Nukem, expect some crude and NSFW things.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Jill (?) » Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:54 am

The pioneer of the removable game cartridge (among other things) who was nearly forgotten by history:



It is somewhat upsetting that I had never heard of him until recently, because one can plainly see how his loving contributions to the very medium of video games had a gigantic rippling effect on its future.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:09 am

I heard about him a few years ago, but even then very little. He definitely deserves more attention.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:03 am

The other series I watch a lot is Design Doc.



He has a whole sub-series where he shows examples of good and bad UX design in games, too.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:35 am

Oh right, and former Extra Credits guy Dan Floyd has a channel devoted to analyzing game animations. My only complaint about it is that it doesn't update nearly often enough.








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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:46 am



This one popped up on my homepage just now. I remember when the Wii was first announced, thinking this could be the future of game controls—not just because of the superior aiming capabilities but because it's inherently easier to memorize a control scheme that consists largely of imitating the movements you want your character to perform. Imagine an FPS, I thought, where you make a shotgun-cocking movement to reload or throw grenades by flicking the nunchuck up and forward. And then it ended up getting almost zero ports of third-party titles, so we had very few opportunities to see what that might be like.

...I really do need to get around to playing Call of Duty: World at War and GoldenEye on my Wii.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:59 pm

Imagine an FPS, I thought, where you make a shotgun-cocking movement to reload or throw grenades by flicking the nunchuck up and forward.
You can do this in VR games. Half-Life: Alyx is a good example, all the guns in the game have reloads intended for them.
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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:41 pm

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:43 am

The comparison to Smash was interesting because I was drawing similar comparisons to Team Fortress 2. A game that's technically about winning but was intentionally designed to be just as fun to lose, and increasingly reliant on pushing character customization, dancing, and cynical cross-promotion (Batman: Arkham Knight anyone?) Except in TF2's case, a lot of the latter stuff happened by accident. Valve repeatedly called the game a test bed for experiments, starting with the whole idea of regular content updates in the first place. I remember occasionally hopping on one of my usual servers only to find that the people there decided they'd rather spend the match just hanging out, chatting over voice chat, spamming the handful of taunts that existed at the time, and occasionally attempting human totem poles because that's pretty much all you can do in that game besides kill each other. I remember the custom "vote map" that My Little Mercenaries would switch to after every match that was basically an MLP-themed playground with a giant voting machine attached to it. Valve never intended any of that. Even the massive proliferation of new cosmetic items felt more like the result of not wanting to leave out any community-made content that looked competently made. Though maybe that's just what they wanted me to think.

The industry, of course, learned a lot from TF2. But Fortnite feels like the product of studying it religiously and treating every superficial aspect of it as the main attraction. So much so that the game itself really does feel like an afterthought. I mean, it was cobbled together in two months out of recycled assets from a completely different game, purely on a desire to cash in on a popular trend, so no surprise there. But seriously, the sheer amount of extra stuff that has nothing to do with the core gameplay almost makes you wonder why the game itself is even there. Or at least why it has to be this particular game. Because another thing I started being reminded of was MMORPGs, with their salad-bar approach to quests—and more specifically WildStar, which had a similar cartoony aesthetic and a specific emphasis on catering to all four quadrants of the Bartle square. (They even had trailers showing how each of the four types of players could engage with the game.) I haven't played either one, but it seems to me that WildStar was a game built on top of a platform while Fortnite is a platform that grudgingly shares a room with a game.

But again, no surprise, because Fortnite isn't the product of a design doc. It's built entirely out of monetization schemes and ideas stolen from other, better developers. And dancers.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Mechanical Ape (?) » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:11 pm

Jacob Geller is a fantastic essayist. His videos are less about the nuts-and-bolts of design and more about how those designs contribute to theme, but they're worth watching and I hope they're on topic for this thread.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:29 pm

Here's something novel for a change: A Jimquisition episode that's not about how some company or person connected to the industry is scum.



It ties in well with that Fortnite video because he makes an explicit comparison between the tie-in possibilities. And it reminded me of something I've talked about before: Monopoly. You know how Monopoly has a million rebranded versions, many of them involving properties aimed at young children, despite being a horribly unfun game based around a premise that kids have no interest in? That's due almost entirely to how easy it is to reskin. The spaces on the board are named locations, the pieces are monochrome figurines of irrelevant objects rather than differently-colored identical pawns, and there's not one but two decks of cards featuring colorful descriptions of various happenstances that your character can find himself in. If you own an IP with at least eight characters and a wide array of iconic locations, the reskin practically designs itself, even if the premise of becoming a real-estate mogul makes absolutely no sense in that context. And because very few people even realize that the locations in vanilla Monopoly are real places (specifically ones in Atlantic City, NJ), so replacing them with stuff people actually have heard of makes it more appealing, if anything. Though they might just play it once and then leave it sitting on the shelf as a signifier to guests of What-I'm-Into, like an overcomplicated Funko Pop.

And Fortnite is kind of like that. Most of the costumes make zero sense in the context of a 50-person battle to the death, even before any of the tie-in ones are taken into account. Even the namesake base-building mechanic is more a holdover from the original design doc than something anyone would have consciously chosen to include. And of course there's all the sidequests and events that detract from the supposed focus of the game. None of which matters because the actual central focus of the game is encouraging players to give Epic their money. So why not get in bed with every media company on the planet and throw in costumes of all their most popular characters, to the point where it looks less like the product of actual game designers and more like Loading Ready Run?

And to their credit, they've made it work. From the beginning, they took the cobbled-together nature of things and made it part of the aesthetic. That's why you're carried in on a flying blue school bus, and why one of the skins is garishly-colored tactical gear coupled with a Wish.com knockoff mascot head. It comes across as "Penguin of Doom" quirky-for-quirkiness'-sake, rather than an attempt to disguise the cracks in the walls.

But I've also said that if somebody were to come along with a new board game, with a simple, generic, family-friendly premise (most new board games invented nowadays tend towards the nerdy side of things), that's easy to learn and actually fun to play, but is also intentionally designed to have elements with proper names that can be easily swapped out for other ones... well, it just might unseat Monopoly as the king of tie-ins. And that's what Fall Guys is. It's the that-hypothetical-game to Fortnite's Monopoly.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:07 pm

New Frame Plus dropped one absolute unit of an episode this week, looking back at the entire Sonic franchise and analyzing how its animation has gotten better and worse over the years. Warning: It's exactly as long as you think a video covering 25 games would be.


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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:55 pm

This video is ostensibly a critique of StarFox Zero in particular, but it's really more of a followup to the Wii one, talking about the problems the WiiU had and how Nintendo's attempts to salvage or vindicate it mostly ended up making it even worse.



One thing I had completely failed to realize until now was that the Wii remote lacked any kind of gyroscope, and that that's what the WiiMotionPlus was (I'd just assumed it was just for reducing latency). I assume the WiiU-branded remotes, at least, had that built in, for what little good it did anyone.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by Pocket (?) » Mon Aug 02, 2021 3:12 am

We probably already knew that real, working VR devices existed in some form as far back as the '90s, but you might not have known about anything specific. Here's the history of one of the more successful ventures.



Also, the term "internauts" needs to make a comeback.

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Re: PYF game design/history essay videos

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Mon Aug 02, 2021 5:08 am



Having known very little about Peter Molyneux (and by extention Bullfrog and Lionhead) before his slide into infamy, this was pretty interesesting.
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