Something small, just on flash or some other program, I just really want to break into the industry and Iím looking for some other brains who want to do the same. There are a few guidelines because Iím kind of looking for a certain kind of person, so hereís the scoop:
1.) My video game influences consist of: Earthbound, Braid, Today I Die, Bit.Trip, Beyond Good & Evil, Chulip, Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, No More Heroes, Psychonauts, Flower, Final Fantasy VII, Shining Wisdom, ToeJam & Earl, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, Spyro, A Boy and His Blob, Kirby, and Iíll stop there. I think itís important to have similar interests in video games so we can have the same vision of the game.
2.) I want to create a video game that innovates on gameplay mechanics in a unique and interesting way. (Be as innovative as you can: creativity is the key)
3.) I assume that weíll both be programming, so we should figure out what program to use beforehand.
4.) Email, AIM, Skype, and mail are all viable sources of communication, I will leave you with my e-mail and AIM screen name:
It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything and that's for several reasons. Mainly, I've been busy staying in touch with the people I love and working two jobs, not to mention I have hobbies and whatnot. But in more significant news, one of the head honchos over at Square-Enix advised us gamers to download Final Fantasy VII from the Playstation Network and keep busy playing that...for now. Obviously a Final Fantasy VII remake has been sought after since like...three years after the freakin' game originally released for the Playstation, and more and more hype began to saturate the masses as Advent Children, Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus, and Before Crisis came out, now the New Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Playstations and complete editions of Advent Children...well I digress.
I have always been right in the front lines chanting that I want a Final Fantasy VII remake...and until I really thought about it earlier today, that's always been one of the dreams that I had hoped Square-Enix would unveil. See, I've realized something about games, or anything in general. I've realized that certain games, I will use games for my example considering that's my main focus, convey very, very, very particular feelings, emotionally, to gamers. Everything from the subtle music quality to the color pallettes used throughout the game all build this emotional vibe. Some things are so discrete that we can't even outwardly convey them. Creating a remake of Final Fantasy VII, even given they decided to literally just regenerate all the old settings, music, and whatnot, would still not have the absolute feeling, that I got when I first played as Cloud as he hopped out of a train and aided AVALANCHE in their first trek to blow up a Mako reactor.
I love games for that, they represent a certain time in life when they were important to the developers or gamers. Like whenever I play Heavenly Sword or Uncharted, I get taken back to when I got my Playstation 3 in the fall and it's just an exhilarating feeling.
I'm still digressing, heh. Moving on! I think I'd almost be just as satisfied with a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, not that I want that...at all, trust me. But I just won't have the same feelings I get playing the original even with it's terrible looking game play graphics. Honestly, that's probably the only part that dated horribly. But see, given a game's faults, or aging difficulties, it still captures, or at least captured a certain feeling at the time when you played it. Even games that appear to be devoid of any real emotional attachment can induce similar responses, such as Uncharted, which is more of an action game than anything else.
Beyond the less complex ideas that, "Dark colors create a more melancholic experience." or "Upbeat soundtracks keep a fast-paced feel." there are underlying factors that take place without you or I to identify them by. Events, settings, and music that speak to some of us in certain ways that can't be duplicated and by enhancing them, you might lose the true sensation it gave in the beginning. Actually, I think a huge factor in how we feel the games we play is in the introduction of new settings, characters, and events. You may have seen an action sequence before, but you've never seen one under these conditions. Though it is a stretch, I do believe we, or at least I, attribute games in their entirety to feelings dependent on where I am in my life, who I'm with, and every other aspect of my life. It's another way to escape our real world. Kind of empathize with a character or just let a game completely envelope you. Let it be the thing you talk about with your coworkers for the next few days. Isn't that another great part about games?
I suppose I could be the only one who devotes this much time in identifying these hidden feelings. Maybe I'm that emo kid in the corner who swears nobody understands him. Haha, but I feel that I'm not the only one. No wait, I can't be the only one...if you could focus your attention below please, bingo!
In conclusion, I've realized that maybe I just don't want a remake, it may not benefit me in any way. I suppose it'd be relatively cool to witness some of the cooler or more dramatic moments in HD with a 32" LCD television. But would it really regenerate the feelings I have for the original? Not a chance in hell. Regardless of what Square-Enix does, the result will still, inevitably, remain the same: I will either fork over sixty hard-earned dollars to them in the event they make it, or I will dole out that same amount of cash for something else they create...in the end, they win.
I just wanted to address one thing before I begin my hot, muggy, and otherwise, miserable Sunday afternoon. More and more often I'm finding indie game developers speak on behalf of the current gaming trend and how it's steering towards "pointless killing" and blaming the developers for "treating the players like morons". Now I only put those two statements in quotations because those two arguments have been repeated numerous times. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with these statements on most fronts, but at the same time I think some of these developers have taken a beautiful vision, and turned on their fellow brethren and basically said, "Okay, you guys aren't mature enough anymore, we're not friends."
I hate, well hate is a strong word...yeah okay, I pretty much hate all the repetitive space marine, World War X, elves, dwarves, and goblins games and any other setting that's been beaten so many times that I just couldn't care less about them anymore. This doesn't mean that I think all games should be some "spiritual, uplifting, emotional ride" and if you end up killing an enemy then it instantly amounts to some variation of a senseless killing game. I believe we, as gamers and developers, should use a teeny bit more creative juices in making our games. Take a look at Earthbound, No More Heroes, and Beyond Good & Evil. Those games didn't break any huge genre boundaries, they didn't address huge emotional issues, and they weren't even meant to be taken too seriously, but they were a hell of a lot of fun and had interesting characters, designs, and stories. Earthbound was in the midst of about eight trillion other RPGs of it's time on the SNES and because it's lighthearted, "boy with a bat" theme, it totally stood out in my heart. In no other game....well RPG, heh, have I beaten snakes, rats, and gang members from The Sharks with a baseball bat, frying pan, and bottle rockets. Instead of walking through lavish castles and dungeons, I was waltzing through a freakin' mall! It was this huge breath of fresh air and, to this day, Earthbound is one of my favorite games.
The main point I want to get across is that games originally were essentially based on the enjoyment it brought kids, adults, families, whatever and occasionally there was definitely a sense of competitive sport thrown into the mix (ie. high scores). I say we should like games for whatever reason that appeals to us, the players. Just because there are a thousand Gears of War, Call of Duty, and God of War ripoffs, doesn't mean our entire industry is one huge failure. If you like being a space marine, go ahead and kill some aliens (just don't ask me to play with you, I'd rather rot in hell, heh, sorry guys.). Get this, I was reading an article about a game developer who doesn't even like games anymore because of the route it's going down. That is pretty absurd and I think he's one fellow who has taken this, "indie game revolution" and turned it sour by pointing too many fingers and taking himself a tad too serious. We've made some huge advances in our games and I hate to see people push it too much. We're still young in our generation of gaming, let us get older, wiser, and more comfortable with our medium. Things will get "better" and more "emotionally evocative". I recently played through Heavenly Sword and though it lacks a long, deep story with meanings and emotional rides, it looks gorgeous, the few characters that are in the story are very unique, and the boss battle at the end was freakin' amazing! Also, a good chunk of the game is spent fighting baddies who are harder to kill then just one quick swing of the blade because of the "stance" system, and the story doesn't really get boring because of it's brevity and the amount of nonstop action that's going down. Overall, I loved it. It's not trying to be Braid. I'm okay with that, even though there are parts in Heavenly Sword that were a bit emotional and thought-provoking like when Nariko realizes that, "once you accept death, you're free." I thought that was pretty neat.
I'm just afraid the indie developers are becoming a little too spiteful as a whole. Obviously not everyone is, but from what I've seen, it's becoming a trend. I actually almost succumbed to that mindset not long ago. I started playing all these extremely emotional indie games and began to resent other games. I realized that when all is said and done, sometimes I just like to have fun. Sometimes I just want to look at Travis Touchdown and be like, "Damn, even though he's a a walking hard-on who eats, sleeps, and breathes Asian girls in cat ears, he's still the coolest guy ever!"
Case and point: yes, there is a good chunk of games that we've seen eighty other times, and yes, I don't like seeing them on store shelves either, but I think games are sometimes taken too seriously. I don't just want a shit ton of Flowers, Braids, and Today I Die's, I'd like a whole canvas of games that I can enjoy for whatever reason I find at the time. I love games for a plethora of reasons like their stories, characters, zany and twisted themes, the way I can escape the real world for a long gaming session, total social gatherings, nostalgia, anything. Isn't that what's so amazing about games? No other medium is so versatile. Sure you can watch a movie with someone, but you can't interact and alter the other persons experience. In the end...can't we all just get along?
This one's going to be short. Back when Afro Samurai was early in production, and it was only "word on the street", I had saw a small article in my issue of PLAY magazine. PLAY magazine, by the way, is, in my humble opinion, the best game magazine I've ever had the privilege to read. It's a more indie magazine with good core beliefs on the gaming industry. Anyways! I see the first screenshots and art pieces. A month later I get a lowdown on the music and gameplay. A month later I'm salivating on my magazine so I couldn't really read anything beyond that, but it was apparent that I wanted to have this game. The artwork, the style, the sheer thought of playing Afro through his journey to avenge his father gave me the idea that it would be a worthy sixty-dollar purchase. Well, before anyone jumps on me about how "this was amazing, I have no idea what you're talking about, dumbass." Just please understand this is my opinion. I've spoke with numerous people who loved it, hated it, or...I guess never played it. The graphics: amazing. The story: short, semi cliched, but nevertheless, pretty sweet. The voice overs: perfect. The music: like nothing I'd ever heard before. It was in the repetitive gameplay, the terrible camera angles, the fact that (at the time) I couldn't alter the x-axis from being introverted. The blasted loading screens got annoying. I think there were only three different types of bad guys throughout the whole game, that I had played anyways. One other thing I didn't get was the fact that you could "level up" but because there was no health bar, experience gauge, or any stats of any kind, you had no idea what was being leveled up. I assume you gained more life, and maybe your attacks packed a bigger punch, but how the hell should I know? I got that same sense of false hope that Stewie had in that skit where he played with the voice function on his Macintosh.
I don't know. I just didn't feel it was ready to come out. Double it's length, spend a little extra time changing up the look, at least, of the baddies. I would maybe recommend losing, or at least utilizing all those combos in the select menu, because aside from the "ricocheting bullet" combo and the "stabbing the head" combo, I made it through just fine with button mashing. Like I stated previously, I desperately wanted to love this game. I did, but the amount of things that grew way too annoying over time just laid the beast to rest. Like, I will probably pick it up years down the road and play it out of denial, but for now... Thoughts?
Ok, so I just recently played Passage. Go play it right now.
No it's fine, I will be right here when you get back...
Wasn't it freakin' awesome? I love how you have no idea what's going on until you figure out like...four minutes in that you are aging. I love how you never quite know what the little chests do, or what that countdown is for. Hell, you barely even know if you're going to right direction.
Now couldn't all of those things relate to life in general? I know that I'm not certain where I'm going in life, aging seems to sneak up on the majority of us, and I didn't even know there was a pixelated damsel to snatch a ride with until further reading. The craziest thing?...She makes it so you cannot enter certain paths. There are too many messages being portrayed that I might need to sit down and play a couple more times. Even then though.
Oh yes, back to the actual meaning of this blog. I think it's the ambiguous nature of titles like Passage, Braid, and Today I Die that help drive the message that the artist intended, not to mention also anchor the player to the game. Like in Braid, you spend however long it takes to work each theme to your advantage to complete the level. It sort of creates this bond of sorts between you and Tim. Look at Passage, you don't even know what's going on until you notice the hair on your head starts to recede. There's always a point in games like that when "it just clicks". If you knew what happened in Passage at the end, or halfway through, or that you could find this girl avatar to follow you, but you'd be barred from certain areas...there wouldn't be that sense of feeling.
So, I say, throwing in some obscurity as to what the player must do next to further his/her gaming experience gives you moments like when you turn into a tombstone, or your character suddenly floats to the top, dissipating all the evil demons in the sea.
Tell me what you think.
Oh and the picture of the cat...he's a cute lil' guy.