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Topic: Where's AlexSays?

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Reala

21. Posted:

http://www.nintendolife.com/forums/general_discussion/whateve...

Found that old link while searching the forums and remembered this thread, so it seems its not the first time said user has been missing in action.

there's nothing that's certain... of that you can be certain

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clicketyclick

22. Posted:

Blaze wrote:

http://www.nintendolife.com/forums/general_discussion/whateve...

Found that old link while searching the forums and remembered this thread, so it seems its not the first time said user has been missing in action.

Yes indeed. Life outside the forums confirmed.

Now Playing: Bioshock

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warioswoods

23. Posted:

Oh that's alright, it was just for amusement, believe me. When I say I'm annoyed in that kind of debate, it just means I'm having fun arguing. In any case, it's probably a blessing not to have to defend it in any detail now that the mods have banished the thread.

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clicketyclick

24. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

Oh that's alright, it was just for amusement, believe me. When I say I'm annoyed in that kind of debate, it just means I'm having fun arguing. In any case, it's probably a blessing not to have to defend it in any detail now that the mods have banished the thread.

Well I'm glad my nonsense amused you...

The main point of my reply would have been to point out that "higher" and "lower" only refer to moral worth, which is irrelevant to the discussion. I really wasn't intending to get into any sort of debate about whether Kantianism or Utilitarianism is a better moral theory. Mill classified them by intellectual involvement, and that was really what I was getting at. Nintendo games aren't very intellectually challenging or involving on the whole, while games from some other companies are. Companies focus on different aspects, and players derive different kinds of fun.

The fun you get from intellectual challenges isn't really as visual or discussable as the other kinds of fun, which is why other companies don't talk about it as much and why it may **seem** like other players aren't having as much fun. When people watch a play or read a nice old book, they may look like they're at a funeral, but they're actually having fun. It's an internal sort of fun. And even though they are fun, it's not like you sell a book or a play by saying, "we really wrote this with fun in mind!"

Now Playing: Bioshock

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warioswoods

25. Posted:

But Mr. Mill is indeed making a moral evaluation of these "higher" and "lower" faculties by stating that the greatest good for the greatest number depends on the distinction, and "intellectual involvement" doesn't help matters. It's as if he thinks he can avoid all the real questions that have engaged the tremendously long historical debate on these issues just by starting on the ground of greatest good for the greatest number and then, when forced, has to admit that this necessarily depends on some sort of higher / lower distinction, thereby letting back in all the questions he's dodging...

Anyhow, the bulk of my response was actually aimed precisely at what you're repeating now, this idea that games from "other" companies in fact take place on a higher level of intellectual involvement. First of all, we have no examples to know what you're really talking about, and, more to the point, it's exactly this comparison with something like reading a book that I find tremendously suspect given the unimpressive intellectual and literary content of even those games most lauded for their storytelling.

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Knux

26. Posted:

Is Mr. Mill Eugene's new name? Or is it somebody else?
Most of Eugene's topics turned into flame wars.

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warioswoods

27. Posted:

SuperSonic1990 wrote:

Is Mr. Mill Eugene's new name? Or is it somebody else?

lol

J.S. Mill -- don't ask why it was ever brought up in the first place. To her (his?) credit, clicketyclick prefaced the diversion with a disclaimer about pretense.

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clicketyclick

28. Posted:

Look, the Mill introduction was just an attempt to introduce the concept of different kinds of fun in the most pseudo-pretentious manner possible. Mill's concept of the Right and the Good are wholly irrelevant, because we're not discussing which company's games are more morally worthy; it doesn't even make sense to think about that with respect to games. We're just discussing which are fun.

Do you really want to maintain that Nintendo games' plot and storytelling are as compelling as any other? Even if you don't think video games are at the level of movies, surely you can still see the difference between a clich├ęd "save the princess and collect crap" plot and the plots of games that actually do put an emphasis on storytelling. Nintendo has even said that they come up with the gameplay first and only then make up the story to fit around it. Surely you'll admit you can see that in the end result.

Additionally, Nintendo games really are not challenging as a whole. Punch-outs were always merely about pattern recognition, not strategy. Zeldas are formulaic with very few difficult puzzles and are meant for children to be able to play - even the early Zeldas that were harder were only hard because they depended on mindless trial-and-error. Mario games are probably the least-challenging platformers in existence and I've seen 3 year olds kick ass at them. And now, Nintendo games are going to come with a win button built in.

Nintendo fans frequently speak of their new games bringing up fond memories of their past games, and just the contagious cheerfulness of the games and gameplay. That's the sort of fun that people get from Nintendo games. It's not less valuable unless you're talking about moral matters, but we're not, so there's no need to think that it's an insult.

Edited on by clicketyclick

Now Playing: Bioshock

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AlexSays

29. Posted:

SuperSonic1990 wrote:

@AlexSays-If you had not run out of ideas, then where is that topic you said you were going to make awhile back? :P

I got lazy and then I was out of town a lot and now I've missed my window.

Making a topic now about the certain subject I had in mind would be a little ridiculous.

AlexSays

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clicketyclick

30. Posted:

what was it? :o

Now Playing: Bioshock

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Chrono_Cross

31. Posted:

SuperSonic1990 wrote:

Most of Eugene's topics turned into flame wars.

Try all of Eugene's topic turn into flamewars. Or atleast all of the ones I have read.

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warioswoods

32. Posted:

Oh, it's not the moral dimension that's a problem in the gaming part of the debate, I just found it an odd way to try to justify a distinction between higher and lower that, perhaps just like Mill, you don't do the hard work of explaining or apply it with a coherent and justified conception. Or so it seems to me, anyhow.

I'll have to respond a bit more in detail later, but to be brief: yes, Punch Out! sure is nothing but pattern recognition, like Mega Man and plenty of classic titles (and PO figures quite minimally in Nintendo's history, with a whopping 3 games total). Zelda doesn't usually have puzzles that are tremendously difficult, although stumping the player doesn't seem to be their intent, as the 3D titles are really about exploration, and the puzzles are a matter of forcing you to pay attention, take your time, and asses the environment in each area instead of just plowing through. "Mario games are probably the least-challenging platformers in existence and I've seen 3 year olds kick ass at them." Indeed, they are generally quite easy! Difficulty of that sort, however, is no measure of a game's engagement on a "high" or "low" level.

And here we get closer to the point: "Nintendo has even said that they come up with the gameplay first and only then make up the story to fit around it. Surely you'll admit you can see that in the end result." Precisely. I do see that in the end result, and it's the great advantage of their games. You're essentially saying: "well, the plots in games may indeed be of a lower quality than even your run-of-the-mill weekend movie, but that's still a higher kind of thought / enjoyment than having no story at all, right?" And I'm saying: no, it's not.

First off, this is all entertainment we're talking about, so all those that try to compare any games to a great novel or whatnot are getting pretty far off target. At best, an exceptionally written game plot might have made it into a mediocre sci-fi or action film, but going to see such a film simply isn't "higher" enjoyment. At the same time, you're missing the point in Nintendo games that even a child could enjoy. Perfecting the gameplay, visual style, and overall presentation for a title like Mario Galaxy means giving the player a polished, impeccably well designed experience, and one that certainly evokes a certain childlike wonder at times, but again, that's its strength.

It's sort of like this question: which engages you on a higher level, an average suspense drama you can find on TV any given night, or an exceptionally polished and visually imaginative children's program? I'd say it's the latter by a long shot. Back to Mill, at least Kant does indeed give a very thorough analysis (the majority of his third Critique) of the higher pleasure that we derive from looking at a well-formed work of art, and his description is essentially (although, like everything we're discussing, summarized here to the point of butchering, unfortunately) that one enjoys the play of his or her mental faculties while regarding the well-formed "play" within the artwork's structure and form.

It's a bit like bad opera... when games try to put in everything (attempting to emulate a novel, a movie, and a game at the same time, for instance), they end up with no part being particularly impressive. On the other hand, an abstract and purely instrumental work of music may have absolutely nothing in terms of meaning, plot, etc, but, when exceptionally written, leads to a far "higher" enjoyment than the former, as one's mind plays across the beauty of its form. I wouldn't put Nintendo games on a pedestal that high, certainly, but I would say that higher pleasure in gaming, if we're going to define it, will much more frequently come from something that is ostensibly childlike--yet so well formed and polished as to be sublimely enjoyable--than it will come from the elements you've described, like plot, sheer difficulty, etc.

Edited on by warioswoods

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Ricardo91

33. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

off-topic

Click-girl, I spent a few minutes throwing out a long, mostly coherent response to your J.S. Mill, nonsense, and they went and deleted the thread.

Yeah, it must suck to waste all that free time writing that whole thing, and then getting it deleted.

Oh, and welcome back Alex. You missed out on some great threads that could've used some spicing up! :D

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Adam

34. Posted:

warioswoods wrote:

to be brief:

You have a funny definition of brief. :D

I don't think Clickety ever said that one form of fun is better than the other, just that they're different. Higher and lower don't refer to degrees of fun but the kinds of mental processes that are engaged by the game, which are perhaps inaptly named for this discussion, but that's how they're generally referred to.

Mario, for instance, is about running and jumping. Animals could enjoy as much. It's about instincts. Heavy Rain, however, is entirely about plot and requires the higher level functions of the human mind to enjoy. If I tried to act out a scene from that game with my dogs, they'd probably just look at me funny.

I don't read philosophy or anything though, so I could be completely misconstruing what she's going for here, but I'm enjoying the discussion and thought I'd pop in from off the sidelines.

Edited on by Adam

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Knux

35. Posted:

@ClicketyClick-So you are basically saying that there are different kinds of fun in video games? If that is the case, I completly agree.

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warioswoods

36. Posted:

@Adam

You're so wrong! :p

Mario, for instance, is about running and jumping. Animals could enjoy as much. It's about instincts.

The enjoyment one derives from a good Mario title has absolutely no grounds for comparison to an animal jumping. There's not a direct analogy to be found between the enjoyment of a game like that and the actual activities represented in it. I'm saying that it's the form that matters, not the content on the level of plot and situation. Mario would be enjoyed in fundamentally the same manner even if you were instead controlling some abstract ball of colors in a world that bears no resemblance to anything in reality. The biggest leap (pardon) would be to draw a line from the fact that Mario is jumping to an animal's enjoyment of jumping or movement.

That was the point in the butchered allusion to Kant; there is a higher kind of enjoyment and pleasure that just comes from your mind playing with the structure and form of anything that displays a kind of beauty in how well it is put together. A game is enjoyed in a manner much more akin to music than visual art on the whole, though, as what you may enjoy in it is the progressive unfolding of the levels or worlds, and the way in which these play out in a manner that gives you ample room for childlike exploration or wonder.

It has absolutely nothing to do with instincts. In fact, I'd say that one of the most crucial points of differentiation between a human and an animal is mental experiences like curiosity, amazement, and pure pleasure from the form of a thing (no animal truly enjoys music!). It's not that every Nintendo game achieves this, but to try to put games that have more plot and realism on some sort of higher level with regards to one's mental apparatus couldn't be further off base, in my mind.

There was an interview with the creator of Bonzai Barber on the Nintendo Channel a while back, who also helped to create Goldeneye, and he said something that pointed pretty well to what I'm talking about. I wish I could get the exact words right, but to paraphrase badly: "Goldeneye made sense for me at that time and at that age, but now that I've grown and have a family of my own, I've come to enjoy a completely different side of things in a purer manner, and that is reflected in this game, of which I am enormously proud."

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Adam

37. Posted:

Maybe your enjoyment of games has absolutely nothing to do with instincts, but my enjoyment of Mario is almost all about instincts. Platformers are all about instincts and precision, and refining those skills. I don't understand how you can say that Mario would be enjoyed the same way if you removed all the context and made it an abstract ball of colors and then say it has nothing to do with the skills involved. That seems like a strong argument for instinctual enjoyment. I have no reason to enjoy looking at abstract balls of color otherwise.

Maybe you're thinking of the 3D Mario games, which I guess could be different, but I'd have no room to argue either way there because I don't particularly care about those games from a perspective of wonder or instinctual pleasure.

I'm thinking of the real Mario games, though. If you replace all the art in Super Mario Brothers with bland blobs of color, you'd still enjoy the heck out of the game because of the rush of trying to time those jumps right. The atmosphere certainly adds to it, but it's not the main course. I am not intellectually engaged whatsoever with Super Mario Brothers, but it's one of my absolute favorite games, so that's not a slight against it.

Edited on by Adam

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mrmicawber

38. Posted:

Talk about over thinking.

Some here do not appreiate getting the basics right. Plot and story? Please. Mere pretense. Read a book, rent a movie.

Mario 3 - it does not get any more fun than that. Games of skill, tight control, great level design.

Wii Sports - ditto.

Wii Sports 2 = almost certain ditto.

Nintendo has arcade roots, not Hollywood roots.......

Mario, for instance, is about running and jumping. Animals could enjoy as much. It's about instincts. Heavy Rain, however, is entirely about plot and requires the higher level functions of the human mind to enjoy. If I tried to act out a scene from that game with my dogs, they'd probably just look at me funny.

Your dog could play and appreciate Mario, but not heavy rain. I take it you are joking. The higher level functions of the human mind? Mario has nothing to do with 'instincts' - you are not born with an instinct to hold b to dash and press a to jump. You do not instinctively know that if you fall off the screen you will die. You are not born with the instinct to hold onto a after jumping on an enemies head to fly high in the air. Its a game, darnit! A game of skill designed for fun, with an end goal.

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Oh good, I am neither a gamer or hardcore. Saves me from having to be IGNorant.
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Metang

39. Posted:

Welcome back AlexSays. :)

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Adam

40. Posted:

I never said you were born with it. You know what I meant. You don't plot ahead, you just impulsively jump within a split-second reaction time.

I never said animals could actually play the game, either, but the concept of running and jumping is a basic pleasure that animals can enjoy. Following an unfolding story is not something they can comprehend. Whether you prefer one or the other is completely irrelevant. No one is talking about preference here, so the whole deal about Nintendo having "arcade roots, not Hollywood roots" actually implies that you agree in the divide between these two types of pleasures.

Come on, friends,
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