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Do you prefer finite arcade games or endless ones? [roundtable]
 
Or some combination? (Or do you not even care?)

I always feel better plunking down money for an endless arcade experience (or at least one that has an endless mode or some kind of satisfying multiplayer). That might just be my psychosis, though. I've always disliked consumables, in every form. In games, in real life, everywhere (actually, I can't think of any other examples). If I have to spend money, I'd rather buy, like, a comic that I can keep forever than a nice dinner, which will be gone within a day (maybe two or three, tbh). Even if I never, ever read that comic (which is a very likely possibility).

It's why I haven't bit on any of the Bit.Trip games yet (along with several other short, linear WiiWare and XBLA titles that look otherwise enticing). And why games like Yoshi's Touch and Go and Aura Aura Climber and Mr. Driller make me so happy. That promise of infinite fun, doled out a bit at a time (I'm not sure if Aura Aura's Endless Mode is truly endless, though). Games that are linear, but still packed with content, also feel justified, though.

Now that I think about it, this is an inversion of how I used to behave at actual arcades. I preferred finite, level-based games, because it felt like I was progressing somewhere. When you bring those games home, though, spending $10 on a linear, 4-hour experience without much replay value seems a lot less enticing.

Anyway, who else is fucking pumped for Spelunky (XBLA)?? Yeah, dawg!!

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Posted: 04/04/10, 18:23:55
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I thought about that, finite games with scoring systems. But many modern scoring systems are honestly kind of shitty and unbalanced (if they exist at all), and without seamlessly integrated online leaderboards, I don't feel much motivation. Trials and 'Splosion Man and Mario Kart Wii handled it pretty well. Friend leaderboards are a great idea.

Scoring can definitely be a fun way to extend a game's life, but it's hard to predict when you'll be able to get a good rivalry going. I was never too big on competing with myself. That's why I hate golf.

By 'endless', I didn't mean that I want to play a 10-hour game (that sounds like my idea of Hell). I meant something that I could always jump back into for an engaging, slightly variable/emergent experience. There is definitely a balancing act with the length of these types of games, since an overly-long arcade game just becomes tedious. After a while, you kind of just want to die.

You said "endless with generic stuff thrown at you", but what if the algorithm for developing the levels was really intelligent and tight, to the point where it almost felt like someone had designed the level? Randomness would make the scoring less rigorous, for sure, but I still like my puzzle/arcade games to at least have some kind of endless mode, even just as a secondary feature (as in Aura Aura Climber). Like I said, that might just be psychological, my desire to never 'finish' a game and always leave something to look forward to.

I really find the WarioWare concept fascinating. It's such a brilliant spin on the arcade game. It's lost some of its novelty, but, man, what an interesting design. It doesn't get nearly enough credit. I'm not sure about the extent of its influence, but who cares?
Posted: 04/04/10, 19:33:27  - Edited by 
 on: 04/04/10, 19:37:24
Yea... Pikmin 2 sucks.
Posted: 04/04/10, 21:15:56
Yea, I need to try Pikmin NPC. I probably won't try #2, but maybe if I really like the Wii mechanics, I'll give it another shot. Is it even out in the US though?

I'm actually working on a game right now that is going to have a lot of randomly generated content, which I'm not a fan of but is pretty necessary for this idea, and I've been thinking a lot about how it can be done in a satisfying way. Haven't gotten to any algorithms or anything yet, but I'm sure it's going to be tough.
Posted: 04/04/10, 22:18:41
What platform are you using to develop the game? What's your eventual target?

Simbabbad said:
I think it's a shame you didn't play Bit Trip games because they're not random. To me that's really like not playing Rez, or so much other masterpieces. In fact I'm not sure I see the difference between Bit Trip and so many other games worth playing out there.
Well, because they're brief and not random. Plus, aren't they all kind of memorization-based? I get a lot more pleasure out of mastering a game's mechanics and using them in kind-of-emergent ways than in memorizing a path through a stage and executing it like a robot. There are exceptions, and I enjoyed the Beat demo. I would actually like to play the games (especially Runner), but my fridge is full, my WiiWare and VC wishlist is long and strong, and I'm trying to actually finish the games I have before I buy more. (Who can say how long that will last?)

I'm not too big on Rez, either. The aesthetics are cool, but I was led to believe that the music was tied in more intimately with the gameplay, to the point where playing differently would generate appreciably different music. That turned out to be as over-exaggerated as the 'create your own spells' in Eternal Darkness (although Dungeon Master pulled it off years before). Plus, I've never really enjoyed that Panzer Dragoon "Hold a button down, sweep over a bunch of stuff, and then let go of the button" gameplay. I tend to prefer stuff based around action and immediate response, like "Press a button and shit happens".

Like I said in the other thread, I haven't tried Spelunky yet, but I know it is supposed to be a more platform-y take on the Roguelike. I found the crazy emergence and unpredictability and surprisingly balanced play of Shiren the Wanderer (and Rogue) quite entertaining, so I'm interested to see how that style fares when applied to other genres.
Posted: 04/04/10, 22:19:09  - Edited by 
 on: 04/04/10, 22:21:58
@anandxxx

Game Maker. Right now, I'm putting aside any ambitions of actually selling it or anything, but maybe as it becomes more realized I'll start thinking about that. I pretty much started it because I don't have much to do here and my girlfriend works all night. I was surprised at how fun programming can be, but also can hurt my head like I haven't felt since calculus or something.
Posted: 04/04/10, 22:29:00
In general, I think as a kid I preferred games with endings, but I always was able to enjoy games that went on forever as well, like Asteroids and Frogger and such. I think now I still like both, but if I had to choose one over the other... I'd probably go with games with endings. Although I guess the thread is specifically about arcade games, rather than games in general. If it only applies to arcade games, then I guess there's no real difference to me. Endings are nice to reach, as they offer a sense of accomplishment, but it also can be fun simply to be able to place a really high score after a long session.
Posted: 04/04/10, 22:54:20
I wonder how competitively score-based games fit into the whole gamer psychology, Skinner-box kind of thing. I wonder if some people consider them a cynical way to extract quarters. Games in actual arcades, that is. Bringing them into the downloadable space changes up the context.

@Jargon
Oh, Game Maker. I messed around with that one day (at work). I made a Kid Icarus WWII shooter by messing around with one of the templates.

You know what could be an interesting venture? Starting a company that tracked songs for the Rock Band Network. Indie songs, terrible mainstream songs that Rock Band would never ask for, crazy songs that shouldn't even be attempted...

I think all you need is an XNA account.
Posted: 04/04/10, 22:56:49  - Edited by 
 on: 04/04/10, 23:00:34
@anandxxx

I'm not using the drag and drop stuff, I'm writing all code. That makes it a lot harder but a lot better.
Posted: 04/04/10, 23:00:09
Yeah, making a quality platformer within that template seemed pretty tough. It was fun playing around with the physics, though.
Posted: 04/04/10, 23:02:13
Is Game Maker easy to use/viable/cheap? I've always been somewhat interested in game design, though I haven't been patient enough to actually learn that much about it I went to computer camp a couple times, and one time I used 3D Game Maker (don't know if it's related to that or not) to make a 3D platformer game called Willie the Tomato. I also own RPG Maker on the PSX, but I never really made much progress with designing my own RPG, and its options seemed severely limited.
Posted: 04/04/10, 23:10:40
There's a free version that you can mess around with. I would recommend just doing the tutorials on the YoYo games website and seeing how you like it. But that just teaches you the drag and drop stuff which, like I said, is a lot more limited than dealing with code. But it can work, depending on the type of game you're making.

If you want to use code, you need to buy the Pro edition or whatever and that's 20 or 30 bucks.
Posted: 04/04/10, 23:16:47
Oh, cool. I'll check that out sometime then. I often have game ideas that I like, but I have no way to express them most of the time. Maybe I could try out some of them with this :-?
Posted: 04/05/10, 00:58:09
I generally prefer arcade games that have an actual ending to them, or at least give you a 'YOU BEAT THE GAME!' type of ending, even if they loop back to the beginning at the end...if that makes sense.
Posted: 04/05/10, 02:38:00
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