Gaming Pop Quiz: Spring 2012 Edition

Pop Quiz

Did you know we haven’t done one of these pop quizzes since October? That’s half a year. My, how time flies. Things seemed so much simpler back then. There was no Mass Effect 3 debate to keep us up at night. We hadn’t yet played the likes of Arkham City, Skyrim or Uncharted 3. Final Fantasy XIII-2’s ending hadn’t shocked us. And Assassin’s Creed III hadn’t turned on the hype machine to its full effect.

So now here we stand, Spring 2012, and we’ve got a few months of quiet to look forward to while we catch up on gaming backlogs (The Witcher II and Kingdoms of Amalur for me), or enjoy some quality time with the games that currently tickle our fancy (Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3). All while we wait for Diablo 3, Borderlands 2 and then the eventual tidal wave that hits us at the end of the year. It’s an age-old cycle, but one that I sort of love.

In light of that, it’s time for a pop quiz. We wanted to ask you guys some questions that take more of a sit-back-and-reflect stance this time around. As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Answer to the best of your ability. Go!

1. Do you consider games more of an art or more of a service?

2. If you could combine two genres and make one super genre, what would it be and why?

3. In the last 6 months, have more of your “wow” gaming experiences come from big budget titles, or smaller titles?

4. What do you love about role-playing games? If you don’t love role-playing games, what would it take?

5. What is the first thing that intrigues you about most games? What puts most games on your radar?

6. Would anti-used games measures deter you from purchasing future consoles?

7. Soapbox: What gaming issue has been on your mind most recently?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

8 thoughts on “Gaming Pop Quiz: Spring 2012 Edition”

  1. 1. Art. Art, art, art.

    2. Well the thing is RPG elements have been already added to nearly every genre, so that kind of takes the super genre concept for me.

    3. Big. Mass Effect 3, Witcher 2, SW: TOR, and Skyrim were all very big budget.

    4. Story and atmosphere. If a game doesn’t have that it’s hard for me to get invested, and RPG’s continue to deliver. This is why they are easily my favorite genre.

    5. Story concepts or crazy gameplay innovations.

    6. I don’t buy many used games, so no not really. However I would be a more PC dominant gamer (which is something I’m already leaning more to).

    7. The Mass Effect 3 Ending. Over a month after, and I still can’t get it off my mind. I’m more at peace with it now than ever and I’m really excited about the Extended Cut DLC, but I’ve gotten to the point where I hate both sides of the argument. When people preach about artistic integrity and entitled fans, when people expect Bioware to just scrap the last mission of the game and redo it, or when people say they’re going to cancel their SWTOR subscription and never buy another EA/Bioware product again, I swear have a mini internet induced aneurysm.

  2. It’s been too long since the last Pop Quiz. I love these things!

    1.) Games are an artform to me. Sure, there are lots of cheapo games that are just action movies with quick time events, but the games that I’ll love forever genuinely explore emotions, current issues, and universal human concepts. Fallout explores warfare and survival. Shadow of the Colossus explores personal sacrifice. Mega Man explores jumping and shooting. Also, I’d rather games steer towards art rather than services, because thinking of games as nothing more than neat little gizmos will lead to big corporations turn our entire industry into factories for Generic Game 2049.

    2.) I still think there’s room for a lot of advancement in the Shooter-RPG supergenre.

    3.) I had Wow moments from the quality of DXHR’s gameplay and Bastion’s great design, writing, and art style. Big budget set pieces usually bore me nowadays.

    4.) I love being able to make choices in the narrative and also my skill set, whether that’s choosing and refining weapons or selecting and upgrading powers. I also like being to have things that are my own, like naming weapons in Skyrim or customizing my Shepard in Mass Effect. Even just a small variety of choices is fun for me.

    5.) If a game has an innovative design feature or perfects a genre, I’m interested in that. Otherwise, art style or the quality of the writing and universe will usually make me consider buying a game.

    6.) Absolutely. I’m not going to support and industry movement to limit the consumer’s purchasing options. I probably won’t buy a console this next generation.

    7.) I’ve been thinking about non-linear narrative. A lot of games that we love – like Mass Effect, Fallout, and Deus Ex – claim to have a lot of variation in their plot. While they do have a lot of choices, some which noticeably impact a mission, many of their options seem sort of limited. You might get to pick a different dialogue option, but will that significantly impact the entire course of the game?
    What if in Mass Effect 2, you could choose to join Cerberus or stay with the Alliance? What if in Deus Ex 1, you could stay with UNATCO even after meeting with Lebedev?
    Now that I think about, the games I mentioned really do give you many narrative options, especially Fallout New Vegas. I’d just like to see more games give the player options that significantly impact the plot, characters & factions, and universe. I suppose it’s hard to balance thematic consistency with player freedom.
    At the same time, most of Mass Effect’s dialogue doesn’t have that much variation in the story. In a lot of cases, Shepard can say either the Paragon or Renegade line, and the other character will reply differently, but then go into his next line which would be the same regardless, and all that changes is whether you get Paragon or Renegade points. I’d like to see more emphasis in making each dialogue option have some noticeable impact on the world. Not just giving you magic powers or different weapons, but determining which factions gain or lose power in a certain political situation, which characters are alive or are more loyal to you, which way the plot goes, etc.

  3. 1. Neither, and I think the reason gamers come off as such whiny bitches (and I’m just saying that in general, no fingers pointed at any fellow sushians or anyone in particular) is because they insist on placing games into one of those categories. Games are a business for the developers and a passion for the gamers, although even that doesn’t describe them completely.

    2. Man, what hasn’t been done already? I know I tout these games a lot, but Demon’s / Dark Souls really hit all the right buttons. Action. Adventure. RPG. Horror. Very cool (though subtle) story. Even fighting. Seriously, every combination I could think of has been done.

    3. Big budget titles. Dark Souls, Witcher 2, Dead Space 2 (last 6 months for me anyway), Half Life 2 (yes, I waited a while), and of course Mass Effect 3 (though I haven’t finished) have all put me in awe at some point. I haven’t yet played Journey or Fez, though, so I’m guessing they might give me those moments as well.

    4. Knee-jerk reaction, I’d say story. I’ve been a fantasy nerd for a long time and the stories of the old Final Fantasies really pulled me in. But if I think about it, I’m not sure that’s true. I also loved Shining Force, and while there was a story, it was not character related (although I made up conversations between character while I played). I also loved FFXII (which had a kind of strong story with an unsatisfying ending) and XIII (despite its borderline retarded story). I could point to the strong characters in the Witcher 2, but there’s more to love about that game than that. I really think what I love about RPGs is the length. Spending such a huge amount of time with the same characters, often characters you created whether video game choice is an illusion or not, creates a weird kind of bond. So as long as there’s something that compels me to stay (exploration, characters, battle system, mythology, etc.), I love that I’m in it for the long haul…and sorry for the long response.

    5. This is tough. I know that sequels to games I loved are instantly on my radar, but that’s a boring answer. Other than that, I guess it’s whatever game critics are fawning over a year before it’s release date…that’s just as boring.

    6. No. It might make me not buy a game I otherwise would have tried, but I can see why they would do this, and it makes sense. Plus, the increasing quality of dl titles at cheaper prices means I’ll usually have something to play anyway. Plus, if you wait long enough, games drop in price eventually.

    7. Hehe…as if you could’t tell from my answer to #1, I would have to say the loud minority of gamers who make us all look bad. First, there was the Half-Life 2 letter, then that misogynist douche at the Street Fighter competition (far worse, by the way), then the Mass Effect 3 letter, and those are just recent things. I’m convinced a huge majority of people who played ME3 just beat it and moved on (and no, I haven’t beaten it yet). Just as I’m convinced a huge majority of HL2 fans will jump on HL(ep?)3 whenever it comes. And I know an overwhelming majority of gamers aren’t racist, sexist homophobes (even if they pretend to be on TV). These people are certainly the loudest of us, though, and just like so many other things these days (especially in America), I think the reasonable people have to start making themselves known…Jon Stewart 2016!!

  4. 1. Yes? I think more these days a lot of younger gamers see it as a service they are entitled to while others see it as a form of expression and a way to tell a great story with interesting characters.

    2. Probably i would combine a wild west game with Call of Juarez: BIB type of shooting and a deep/fun RPG element. There are so few western games that are good and i would love if something like that came out.

    3. Definitely overall it has been smaller titles lately but the past few months my gaming has been mainly big titles like Mass Effect 3 and going back on Fallout: New Vegas.

    4. I think what draws me to them is the ability to act like a better person than i really am. That and watching a good story unfold because of my decisions.

    5. What intrigues me is the concept of the game and what kind of character you get to play as.

    6. If i owned a console then yes but since i own a PC, 100% of the games I buy are not pre-owned.

    7. Honestly, none. I thought really hard about this and came up with no issue that has been on my mind. It has been filled with thoughts of graduation and movies; i have not even played that many video games at all in the last month.

  5. 1. I’m not sure what you mean exactly by service, but I would definitely say there is a lot of art involved. The final product can be way off mark, but some pieces really shock and move you.

    2. I think Fallout 3 already did. I really disliked RPG’s when I was younger, but bringing in a shockingly “real” world without magic/trolls and adding guns made my tummy and brain happy all over. I’ve since come full circle and spend lots and /lots/ of hours in RPGs.

    3. I guess I would say Alan Wake gave me some of my biggest gaming “wow”‘s as of late, thanks to it’s PC release. I’d love to play Journey, but just have too many things on the go right now.

    4. Haha, answered a little earlier. I’m playing through some old classics right now, went on a binge buying spree of SNES games on ebay. Lufia II, Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger all on the go now for the first time in my life.

    5. A sense of tangibility. I want to be wrapped up and consumed by the experience. If I want a quick time-killer, I’ll drop in some Tetris or some simple flash game. When I’m playing large games, I’m doing it in lieu of reading books or watching movies, so I want the same types of feelings if it’s possible.

    6. I think for collector’s it’s an enormous backfire. Mods and hacks will quickly become available to circumvent this because new copies of old games won’t be made forever, and people will want those games physically in their collection and to be playable. This usually means buying at least some of them second hand years later.

    7. I guess it would be #6, I’m really starting to appreciate having physical copies of things in the age of PC games through steam and music being all digital. Our home is filled with VHS, DVD, BlueRay, Vinyl Records, CD’s, Super Nintendo games. It’s nice to have them all on a disk in my computer, but it’s /really/ nice having them on the shelf for people to ask about and enjoy physically, for real, in their hands.

  6. 1. I would like to think of it more of an art, however, I think it has quite some ways to go in that game development has a large barrier to entry, therefore, making it not quite as accessible to a large number of people. The other issue is that when your bottom line for game development is profit, I think that would impact some creativity. Not to say that artists should produce a product without some form of compensation, but when your goal is to have your product accessed and enjoyed by a large number of people, you normally wouldn’t take some risks that may alienate your product for the sake of artistic integrity. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but what I’m trying to get at is that I think the industry and the consumers have some maturing to do before taking gaming to the next artistic level. Currently, it’s probable more service or entertainment orientated in that it’s goals and broader appeal are more akin to a hollywood blockbuster that a movie you may see at a film festival.

    2. I think we are seeing this already being atempted to some degree with action-rpgs, shooter-rpgs, rts-rpgs, etc. What I think is missing (and to answer the question) is that rpg component that is story and/or character driven to be included/integrated. Many of these games have features like skill increases or stat increases, but rpgs (going back to pen-and-paper rpgs) have largely been about character development and story development and the diveristy of options and outcomes based on your choices and actions. I would like to see thses expanded and all sorts of games (rpgs included).

    3. I’d say mostly smaller titles. I’m more and more impressed as to what they are able to accomplish in these smaller titles. I still get a “wow” feeling with larger titles, but I do somewhat expect to be “wow”‘d in those games.

    4. For RPGs – I love the fact that I’m playing a character that I create and one who behaves the way I choose, develops the skills I want them to, interacts with people the way I want them to, and follows the path I would like them to.

    5. The first thing? It really just comes down to: does it look entertaining?

    6. I don’t purchased or sell many used games, so it would not be a factor in my decision to purchase a console.

    7. I don’t know if this is an issue, but it something I’ve noticed. It appears that the video games industry may be having some difficulty with originality in that it seems the biggest titles coming out or that have come out are sequels. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to play another Elder Scrolls game, or Deus Ex, or Uncharted. It’s just that I feel like most of the games I’ve played or will be playing will be a sequel. I would like to experience newer stories more often. I don’t really mind if the newer titles borrow gameplay or graphics or an engine – I would just like a new world and new story and new character to get invested in. Most of the new games feel like expansions to existing games. And a lot of them are good. But my backlog is filled with sequels and when I think of the games I’ve recently played (ME3, Skyrim, Dead Space 2, Uncharted 3, AC:R, DE:HR, etc) and the ones I hope to play this year (Witcher 2, Max Payne 3, Borderlands 2, Diablo 3, etc.) I just see too many numbers behind the titles of the games. I can see why developers are doing this in light of the success hollywood has had, but I wish there was more original content.

  7. 1. Generally I consider them art, but some games are definitely more of an entertainment service than anything else. I won’t name anything though to avoid pissing somebody off.

    2. I can’t think of anything like this that I would want that doesn’t already exist. Fighting games + RPG has been done, RPG + strategy game has been done, strategy game + action shooter has been done, action shooter + horror has been done, horror + adventure game has been done, adventure game + fighting game has been done… and so on.

    3. Probably my biggest “WOW” from the past 6 months would be from Cry of Fear, which was a non-profit Half-Life 1 mod. So smaller budget I guess?

    4. I’d like for role-playing games to have less distractions like fetch quests and back-tracking and more interesting progression through the whole game. It is starting to feel a lot to me like people make RPGs just so they can artificially pad the game with time wasting quests that could be just as easily summed up in less than a quarter of the time it takes.

    5. The way the game handles. If the game has really good control and feel of the character then I’m probably going to like it.

    6. Yes. I’ve already been heading more in the direction of being strictly a PC gamer. If a console has these measures in place then I would go into boycott mode.

    7. I feel like games are being made more and more to be addicting by nature rather than fulfilling in any way. I find that I won’t get even close to dying in new games that come out. Saint’s Row The Third, Skyrim, Arkham City, just about any modern shooter I never feel like I’m being challenged. I more of feel like I’m playing an interactive movie. Indie games like The Binding of Isaac and The Wonderful End of the World and Jamestown are great challenges that I can build up skill to beat the levels myself with my own learned skills. I don’t want for the game to get easier as I play it as they often seem to. I want for me to get better at it. I guess I just miss being able to rent a game and have no idea if I’ll be able to beat it in a few days and it not having anything to do with the game being super-long. I want a game that makes me feel like I need to overcome a challenge.

  8. 1. I’d like to think it’s all art, but the reality is that while a number of companies do care about the artistic integrity and beauty of their games, there are also a large number of titles that just seem like a more service type game, hell, even some AAA titles, but those will go unnamed to avoid conflict.

    2. Ahh, you ask what I want, but RPG has already been added to everything… All the same, if I could think of something, then it would be Asassin Creeds huge ass maps and vistas with all of it’s free running goodness mixed with a little bit of actual masses of people, plus the first person fantasy action and story of Skyrim. Basically a first person fantasy action RPG with the bustling cities of AC and free running capabilities up to the same standard.

    3. It’s always been a mix for me, the ones I’ve been playing recently are probably larger titles, such as ME3, Skyrim, FF-XIII, Halo: Reach etc. the list goes on, that said they are oly the games I buy, there are many smaller titles I would love to own but I simply lack the money to acquire them, these would include things like Rage, Dynasty Warriors, Star Ocean and more. The games that give me the big WOW are the ones with deep story that catch me unawares, or with incredible views and sights, there have been many in ME for example, like in the Overlord DLC when you see the “aesthetically pleasing view” as the VI puts it, or when you fire the Cain for the first time in ME2, another thing in this strain would be when you teleport to the moon in Portal 2. So basically, achieving the absurd and doing crazy stupid sh*t.

    4. I’d love for more games to hold your hand less, many games these days treat me like a child and it’s rather off putting and just irritates me.

    5. It has to look exciting, and seem to have good characters, I will pay even more extension if it is done by a company that I respect. Story is also a big thing for me.

    6. It will annoy me as it is sort of a tradition for me to go out every year and sell all of my unused games at the store for store credit and then use that credit to buy a few new games, so yes, this will annoy me, will it stop me from buying the new console? Hell no! Because no matter what they do, my proffered publishers and Devs will continue to make games that I will like, and if I refuse myself a console then I will simply sit here on the sidelines dreaming about the day I will play that new final fantasy, or that new Bioware game.

    7. There have been a few issues that have caught my attention as of late. One of the is my confusion at all the hate for ME3 and another is the fact that pretty much every other person to comment on this thread basically wants video games to be more like Mass Effect, this made me smile…

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