Saturday!

Kellogg's – "Merry Christmas" (Commercial, 1980)

So I get home on Thursday night and see that Steam has the latest and greatest Doom on sale for $20. Now there’s no way in heck that I’m going to be paying $60 for a Doom game but… well…

A question for those of us who are a certain age: Remember the 90’s? Remember going to the computer lab and the first time you saw Doom?

Golly, I sure do. I now know that it was the first couple of minutes of the first level and in those minutes, I saw exactly what the game was going for. First Person Shooting. Open levels. Tons of monsters. Tons of environmental hazards. I totally thought “OH MY GOSH I NEED TO PLAY THAT GAME WHAT IN THE HECK IS IT CALLED”.

(I now know that Wolfenstein 3D came out a year previously but that one never really made it into the computer lab at the college.)

Playing it at home for the first time was an absolute trip as well. Holy cow, how many types of weapons *ARE* there? Holy cow, barrels blow up? Holy cow! That thing just jumped out! Holy cow! I wish this game had a jump button! I’m sure that those of you who are a certain age also remember those same things. Well, a handful of folks in my private life have told me that the latest and greatest Doom video game has up and recreated that “Holy cow!” sensation and made first person shooters *FUN* again.

So, on Thursday night, I saw that Doom was on sale. For under $20. I started the download and had visions of playing it on Friday night and having a bit of a review ready on Saturday morning.

Anyway, it’s still downloading. I have to go and take the car for an oil change.

I’ll review it next week.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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47 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. I’m playing Civ 6. I’m looking at Overwatch and wondering if I can really manage to keep up while playing an FPS. I would love to be part of a group playing a game, but PUGs can be pretty judgemental.

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  2. Apparently, I’m going to be playing Doom, whuch I was balking at paying $60 for. So when you put up the review, I shouuld be able to chime in with my thoughts of how it plays and how it compares with the sequel to the Shadow Warrior reboot.

    My friend who has played FPS games with me since the 90s is home for the holidays, so I expect heavy rotation for the next few days.

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  3. Not sure what I’ll play next, fecking Steam has damn near everything on sale, so $80 later, I have way more to explore than I expected to have.

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    • Yeah, we had the conversation where Maribou asked me if we owned the newest King’s Quest game and I said that I didn’t… but, since I’m going away to Doha again for a couple of weeks very soon, do we want to have it?

      “YES!”

      So I go back to the Steam store and see that King’s Quest is on sale… as is Ticket to Ride… as is Technobabylon and Last Hope – Tower Defense and Coin Crypt and, well, she checked on my Doom download for me when I came back home between errands and said “Did you get all those?”

      “BUT DEAR THEY WERE ALL AROUND FIVE BUCKS”

      “I wasn’t judging!”

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      • When games hit the $5-$15 sweet spot, I’m very inclined to buy. I will occasionally spend more, if it gets good reviews and/or it’s from a team that has rarely left me feeling buyer’s remorse.

        I have to admit, Steam adding the “recent reviews” rating has been awful nice. Let’s me wish list a game that looks interesting but appears to still be suffering from beta disease. If the recent reviews are better than the overall, I’ll spend some time reading through them to see if people feel like a previously fatal flaw has been adequately addressed. Likewise, if it’s on sale, a good run of recent reviews might indicate that the game was overpriced, and the current sale has it in the sweet spot.

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      • Holy cow there’s a new King’s Quest. It’s a year old! Why didn’t I know this? Targeted advertising, you have failed me again!

        Actually, what’s failed me is that no one seems to know what the hell ‘adventure’ games are so random crap keeps ending up in that category on Steam. *Redneck Rampage*? Really? H1Z1? Uh, no. Those were in the *first two pages* of adventure games on Steam.

        You know, I find it much less offensive to know that adventure games are dead, as a genre, than that. I mean, I always insisted they weren’t dead, publishers were just idiots…and time has proven me right there, so yay.

        But even so, if adventure games actually were dead, okay. I could live with that without being upset. Things die. If they only lived on in action-adventure games, well, I could have lived with that. Or, hey, maybe adventure evolves to just automatically include action, so they’re all action-adventure, fine by me.

        What really really pissed me off, and still does, is when people, presumably people *in the industry*, literally don’t know what the adventure game genre *is*. Just scrolling through the list on Steam annoys me. Super Ninja Hero VR might, indeed, be a very amazing VR-FPS, but is *extremely unlikely* to be an adventure game.

        Of course, it doesn’t help that Steam, inexplicably, doesn’t seem to try to police these categories at all.

        Incidentally, there are almost *twice* as many games under ‘adventure’ as ‘RPG’, which is astonishingly impossible to anyone who pays any attention to the market.

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          • See, yet another actual adventure game (Assuming it’s really like Neuromancer) that I didn’t know about *because idiots have filled up the adventure game category with non-adventure games*.

            Anyway, yeah, I bought it.

            I wish there were better filters at Steam, including reverse filters. If I could turn off RPG, for example, that would rock.

            And, yes, there are legitimate adventure-RPG games, like Neuromancer in fact, but the vast majority in there are total nonsense, they’re just straight up RPGs.

            Not that I have anything against RPGs, some of my favorite games are RPGs, but categories do not exist to tell us what is best, categories exist *so we can find things*, and having probably *half* of ‘action’ games also listed as ‘adventure’ is not helping anyone find anything.

            Point-and-Click seems to help, but there are adventure games that are not under that. (I assume.)

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              • I don’t actually have that one *legally*.

                I’ve played it before, and I have a pirated ScummVM archive sitting around somewhere that I know has it in it. I’ve been buying any of those games whenever they appear on Steam(1).

                OTOH, I think the reason it’s free is actually that the game was released as *freeware*. Sorta weird for me to have a pirate copy of it.

                That said, maybe I’ll get it off GoG. Nice thing about GoG is they actually *know* what adventure games are.

                1) Not that I play them, I just want to register ownership of them because a) I can afford it now, being an adult, and b) the more adventure games owned by people, the bigger the prospective market is so more get made.

                Although I did replay Day of the Tentacle the other day. And one day I really am going to play the Monkey Island series, which I have never done.

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        • After writing that post, I decided to check and see if anyone *else* was annoyed by this, and googled ‘Steam does not know what adventure games are’.

          I did not find any articles about that, but I did run across *this* truly astonishing page:

          https://www.slant.co/topics/6323/~adventure-games-on-steam

          There is literally *one* adventure games on that list: Firewatch.

          It’s mostly full of RPGs, but there is a goddamn multi-player melee fight game, a VR sword-fighting game, and an *MMO* on that list.

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          • I do not define ‘adventure’. I define the genre of ‘adventure game’. Adventure games are a genre of games, and trying to figure out what they are based on the meaning of the word ‘adventure’ is basically where this nonsense is coming from.

            It’s akin to trying to classify every movie as a ‘romance’ if it has a romantic interest in it, or calling a rom-com where someone runs to intercept a wedding an ‘action’ movie. The dictionary definitions of the words used to describe a genre do not define the genre. Well, at this point dumbasses with no sense of history have basically rendered the ‘adventure game’ genre unfindable under all the crap they mis-labeled into it, because they think ‘Oh, this has adventuring in it, it must be an adventure game’.

            And, frankly, there is no better resource on the adventure game genre than Wikipedia, which explains everything perfectly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_game

            To quote the differences between that genre and action and RPG:

            Combat and action challenges are limited or absent in adventure games,[15] thus distinguishing them from action games.[7] In the book Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design, the authors state that “this [reduced emphasis on combat] doesn’t mean that there is no conflict in adventure games … only that combat is not the primary activity.”[5] Some adventure games will include a minigame from another video game genre, which are not always appreciated by adventure game purists.[16] Hybrid action-adventure games blend action and adventure games throughout the game experience, incorporating more physical challenges than pure adventure games and at a faster pace.[17] This definition is hard to apply, however, with some debate among designers about which games are action games and which involve enough non-physical challenges to be considered action-adventures.[12]

            Adventure games are also distinct from role-playing video games that involve action, team-building, and points management.[7] Adventure games lack the numeric rules or relationships seen in role-playing games, and seldom have an internal economy.[18] These games lack any skill system, combat, or “an opponent to be defeated through strategy and tactics.”[5] However, some hybrid games exist here, where role-playing games with strong narrative and puzzle elements are considered RPG-adventures.[19] Finally, adventure games are classified separately from puzzle video games.[7] Although an adventure game may involve puzzle-solving, they typically involve a player-controlled avatar in an interactive story.[20]

            There are, of course, hybrids. A lot of RPGs have clue-hunting mysteries that function like adventure games (Albeit ones that hold your hand.), and Neuromancer had a weird setup that had you playing an adventure game in the real world and an RPG in the virtual world, IIRC.

            And there are very few ‘pure’ adventure games out there, most have, at minimum, some sort of quicktime events. I just played the Batman adventure game, it was full of them. Dreamfall, a decade ago, was criticized for having *combat*, even if it was basically ‘Keep pressing attack over and over’.

            But even in the old days, you’d have timing critical parts in a few places, like ‘Had to walk somewhere while a guy on screen is looking the other way’. I’m not some sort of purist guy, like I said, if we agree that ‘adventure’, now, is what used to be called ‘action-adventure’, I’m okay with that.

            What I’m not okay with is, like, *Fallout 4* being called an adventure game!

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            • And people not knowing what adventures games are is fine. The genre had barely existed in the US for almost two decades.

              But it’s pretty inexcusable for *game developers* not to know literally the second video game genre too exist, and the genre that most video games were until the 90s. It’s like a car designer calling a wiper fluid sprayer a ‘carborator’. That…was an actual thing, guys, and that’s not it.

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              • Adventure games are essentially puzzle games.
                More advanced games that have more than one answer don’t get to call themselves adventure games.

                (Check out Desktop Dungeons! That wasn’t supposed to be a game at all, but it’s still a fun playthrough).

                Oh, neither was Dear Esther. How the hell that can be called a game, let alone an Action/Adventure game….

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                • More advanced games that have more than one answer don’t get to call themselves adventure games.

                  Wrong.

                  For the most obvious example, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which had two or three ways to solve most problems.

                  For another type of example, Maniac Mansion and Bureau 13, both of which allowed you to select different sets of starting characters with different abilities, which required different solutions to things.

                  Oh, neither was Dear Esther. How the hell that can be called a game, let alone an Action/Adventure game….

                  You do not understand the difference between something being an ‘action-adventure’ game, which means it’s an adventure game with action elements, and something winning in a category for ‘Action/Adventure’ game, which means it’s an action *or* adventure game.

                  Dear Ester is an adventure game. More specifically, it’s an adventure game in the fine tradition of Myst, aka, a completely pointless game that results in people wandering around aimlessly looking at the pretty graphics and reading to try to find a backstory because there’s no actual story going on. (It’s an ‘adventure’ ‘game’ in much the same way that ‘The Starving Games’ is a ‘comedic’ ‘movie’.)

                  Critics *orgasm* over that sort of thing. They’ve always thought actually *playing* video games was silly and diluted the purity of the experience.

                  Actual human people, luckily, appear to have gotten over that sort of thing, so we didn’t get another Myst outcome. (Myst, and Myst’s success, was the game that, accidentally, scared publishers away from adventure games in America for a decade, because first they canceled all their existing development to make Myst clones, and then when the clones failed they were like ‘Well, no one must want adventure games’, forgetting they had, you know, been selling them for almost two decades quite successfully.)

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                  • Okay, if you’re going to call me wrong on that point, go play Desktop Dungeons, you’ll enjoy it.

                    Myst had puzzles. There was gameplay. Dear Esther didn’t even have jumping.

                    [I’m fairly certain you don’t know many critics. A good critique of videogames is contained within The Stanley Parable. And then Tycho and Gabe trolled the hell out of it with their webcomic. Masterstroke that.]

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                    • Myst had puzzles.

                      Puzzles that absolutely no one could figure out. Wait, no. Not ‘figure out’. Plenty of adventure games have near-impossible puzzles.

                      Myst had a fairly unique situation in which none of the puzzles had any sort of obvious goal. Sometimes interacting with things made other things happen. Interesting. These valves control the water, okay, now…what? What…what am I trying to *do* here? Anyone? Any clues at all as to how progressing here works at all?

                      There was gameplay.

                      No, there were things to do. A ‘game’ implies some sort of actual goal, or sub-goal, that you were attempting to progress towards.

                      Not only did none of the individual puzzles have any sort of obvious goals, and you basically had to poke things until they worked, but the goal of the actual game *itself* was not obvious.

                      The goal, in case people do not know, was *not* to collect all the pages from the various books. The goal was to figure out that *both* of the brothers were bad people (Which was easy enough to figure out) and then…figure out how to do something else, something which the only indication of is two torn pieces of paper you are allowed to read (but not keep) much much earlier.

                      Granted, that can also be qualified as a ‘twist’, and it’s fine if it makes sense and it’s like ‘You’ve been doing the wrong thing the entire game, now do this other thing to fix it!’

                      But the problem in Myst is, once you figured out you didn’t want to let *either* of the brothers out, you were basically stuck object-hunting the entire damn universe. And somehow figuring that *that note* was true.

                      Dear Esther didn’t even have jumping.

                      Myst didn’t have jumping either!

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                      • David,
                        Gameplay is interactions that the player can do. Even a metal floor (thank Thief for that one).

                        I wasn’t trying to say that Myst was a good game, it wasn’t.

                        But it wasn’t a bad game because most of it was unmotivated. It was a bad game because you didn’t really WANT to explore. ADOM has plenty of “let’s see what’s here”, without much motivation behind it. Hell, Magic Candle had people playing half the bloody game doing completely irrelevant shit because the open world was just awesome.

                        It’s okay to have a world where it’s “Hey, I’m here. Learn about me.” Thing is? With Myst you didn’t really get that sense. The puzzles didn’t have enough “hey, you’ll get some reward for this” going on.

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                        • Gameplay is interactions that the player can do. Even a metal floor (thank Thief for that one).

                          I know what gameplay is, I was kidding. Mostly because you implied Dear Ester didn’t have it.

                          Dear Ester has gameplay. It just doesn’t have any problems to solve.

                          Myth *had* problems to solve, technically…it’s just that the vast vast vast majority of people made absolutely no progress towards solving them, except maybe cheat-sheeting their way into the various books.

                          Or, to put it another way, Dear Ester is an *honest* Myst. It’s Myst without the pretense of puzzles. People play it solely for the graphics and atmosphere and some slight backstory, *just like they did Myst*. But it’s not *pretending* there are some puzzles you should be solving, because it turns out that people who buy those sorts of games are perfectly fine without solving any puzzles.

                          See also: Firewatch, which does have ‘puzzles’, but who really cares?

                          But it wasn’t a bad game because most of it was unmotivated. It was a bad game because you didn’t really WANT to explore.

                          I don’t really understand you’re saying here. People actually did want to ‘explore’ Myst, mostly to look at it. What they didn’t have any motive to do was solve any puzzle, because it often wasn’t clear what *was* a puzzle or what, exactly, ‘solving’ it would require.

                          It’s one thing to have puzzles that are *hard* to solve. It’s another to have puzzles where the solution state is not obvious. Especially since Myst had an annoying habit of having things happen *offscreen* (Which was possibly a graphics limitation, but they could have had some indication.), so even if you stumbled across the solution, you wouldn’t know and you’d immediately *unsolve* it.

                          With Myst you didn’t really get that sense. The puzzles didn’t have enough “hey, you’ll get some reward for this” going on.

                          Exactly.

                          Combined with the fact that many of the *progress* you made on them was incredibly hard to detect. It would be some slight *sound* on another screen, or something moving in some other room somewhere, just all sorts of things.

                          Basically, Myst’s puzzles can be summed up as: There is a room with three interconnected dials on it. When you turn one, the other two turn, but in different ways, so you can play with them and eventually get any combination. The turning appears to be do nothing at all, and in fact there is nothing obvious there that you *want* to happen. What you do not realize is that, halfway across the island, a hidden doorway opens when you turn the dials to ‘2’ ‘2’ and ‘5’. This is indicated by a message telling someone to meet someone else at that door at 2:25 on yet *another* part of the island, and the fact the door and dial both have the same symbol in their decoration.

                          That is *not* an actual Myst puzzle (Unless it is?)…but it would fit right in with the sort of stuff you were expected to do in Myst.

                          This is not to say that other adventure games always have ‘logical’ solution to their puzzles…but in other adventure games, you can usually *see* the problem and try to make progress towards it, and, failing any logical thing to do, just brute force solutions or work on some other problems.

                          Which resulted in Myst *basically* being purchased as an atmospheric game that people wandered around. Which is fine, people do buy that sort of game. And players ‘misuse’ games all the time, taking some part of the game design and ignoring the rest. *guilty look at my current Fallout 4 save, which is about 30% into the plot despite having almost a hundred hours of playtime, and has massive complicated settlements that I’ve spent literally days building*

                          It was, of course, a problem for all adventure game publishers to freak out and think that was the future of adventure games, but that was hardly Myst’s fault.

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                          • I couldn’t really get into Myst.

                            I did enjoy doing an Escape Room with a bunch of friends. (Which included, IIRC, several codes — including a knock code for a hidden safe), secret panels, a number of padlocks and combinations whose keys were hidden in other puzzles….

                            10 people attacking a room full of problems is a lot of fun. :)

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            • Sorry, I meant “Adventure Game”.

              When I think of that genre, I recall “Beyond Good & Evil”, which might be better classified as ‘Action Adventure’, since there was fighting, and vehicle driving. But it was still very story driven & had a lot of situation solving.

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              • When I think of that genre, I recall “Beyond Good & Evil”, which might be better classified as ‘Action Adventure’, since there was fighting, and vehicle driving. But it was still very story driven & had a lot of situation solving.

                I know nothing about Beyond Good & Evil, but I find it very unlikely that a major US game publisher in 2003 deliberately made an adventure game of any sort.

                Reading the Wiki page, it seems like the game has a health bar and a major goal is to keep it from depleting. Likewise, you earn money and use it to buy things.

                That, right there, pretty much defines it as ‘an action game with perhaps aspects of adventure games'(1) and not ‘adventure games with some action’. You don’t worry about your *health* in an adventure game, at least not in general.

                I.e., it’s an adventurey action game, not an actiony adventure game. In fact, I’m not even sure what adventure aspects even exist.

                I am not sure why anyone would think of that game as representative of the genre.

                Oddly, there was a 3D adventure game sold in 2003, a very rare *not* point-and-click one, for consoles. It was Broken Sword 3, the most annoying Broken Sword game to play for exactly that reason. It sold like crap.

                1) Or, rather, more aspects than expected. There are almost no action games that don’t have *some* things that first showed up in adventure games, like inventory or dialog trees.

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                • so, Deponia?

                  Sorry if I seem to be struggling here, I’m much more of an action game player*, so I lack the definitional reference.

                  *probably because I remember Myst, and how much I hated it, and that it was billed as Adventure.

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                  • so, Deponia?

                    Yup, that’s squarely in adventure game genre, and even harkens back to the tradition of the *comedic* adventure game like Space Quest and most LucasArts things, instead of the more serious stuff that the import market generally was generally doing after the death of adventure games. (Longest Journey, Still Life, Broken Sword)

                    Note the Deponia series is, of course, made in Europe, where publishers will still sell adventure games.

                    Sorry if I seem to be struggling here, I’m much more of an action game player*, so I lack the definitional reference.

                    Oh, like I said above, it’s fine if *players* don’t know what it is. The genre was basically dead from ~95-ish to ~2010, living on only in European imports and Japanese ‘visual novels’. If you weren’t playing PC video games before 1999, and didn’t luck into some Telltale thing or something, you probably have no idea.

                    I just get annoyed when the *game industry* forgets what the genre is!

                    *probably because I remember Myst, and how much I hated it, and that it was billed as Adventure.

                    Did you…really just mention Myst in my discussion about how adventure games aren’t made anymore in America? Totally without knowledge or prompting? Heh!

                    Myst was an adventure game. In fact, it was the adventure to end all adventures…literally.

                    It was the black swan event, the adventure game that wasn’t like other adventure games, and was literally the best-selling game of all time for almost a decade, until The Sims.

                    It is, to this day, the best selling adventure game *of all time*. The series is also the best selling adventure series of all time. There’s a statistic out there, and I can’t find it, but at some point it was estimated there was something like 1 purchased copy of Myst for every three or four computers *in existence*…and, by sheer math, because of the numbers of home computers, at least a quarter of the people were playing it on *work computers*.

                    The problem was, all the game publishers *immediately* learned the ‘lesson’ of ‘Hey, let’s copy Myst’, trying to move forward in a direction none of the studios had ever seen before.

                    None of the games currently did rendering. Almost all of them were side-based point and click, besides a few innovative 3D and FMV stuff. None of them had worlds without people. All their stuff was completely different than Myst.

                    And *everyone was buying Myst*. The publishers freaked the hell out.

                    Granted, no one was actually *playing* Myst as a game, they were all wandering around in a daze looking at rendered environments and graphics they had never seen before, and cribbing notes how to get to the other worlds to see them.(1) But they were *buying* Myst nevertheless.

                    Some of the publishers gave up on adventure games, some tried to get studios to make Myst clones, others tried, disastrously, to at least make their cartoon-y games more realistic.

                    The *smart* ones, at least, let their studios finish their existing games, which is why you have games coming out years later. Some studios even managed to keep going with adventure games, and keep their current publisher, but would eventually run into trouble, or need a new publisher, and ‘No adventure games’.

                    Meanwhile, Myst continued to sell at *amazing* levels. Like, levels the gaming industry had literally never seen before. Impossible levels.

                    So *all* of the studios eventually, by 1999 and usually earlier, gave up on adventure games, even the companies that had totally dominated the market just a few years earlier and had extremely popular existing properties. No one would fund them. No one would publish them. It was total and utter stupidity, because Myst had broken everyone’s expectations…or at least, their minds.

                    1) Some of my snark about Myst is justified, it really is a sorta pointless and undirected game once you get past the absolutely stunning graphics for 1993. Remove the graphics, and, while it does a few other original things, all those things are stupid and never caught on.

                    But some of my snark is, admittedly, me being still a bit angry at it *two decades later* for events it had absolutely no control over.

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        • Back in the 80s, “adventure game” referred to two largely distinct genres, depending on whether you were talking about PC games or console games. On PC, it meant a game with very light if any action elements, where you went around collecting items and using them to solve problems your character faced. On consoles, it meant games like Zelda which had moderate action elements, but with a heavier focus on exploration and puzzle-solving than straightforward action games.

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          • Apparently the new term for console-style adventure games is “action adventure.” Back then they were just called “adventure” games, though. Consoles had few if any PC-style adventure games, so a distinction wasn’t really necessary.

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          • Zelda isn’t an adventure game *or* an action-adventure game. It’s firmly classified as an RPG now. Technically it’s an ‘action-RPG’ instead of a turn-based RPG, but all RPGs are action-RPGs nowadays, so that’s a pointless qualifier.

            To explain the classification logic of Zelda and other console proto-RPGs at the time: It had puzzles and interactive dialog and other things that clearly make it not a straight action game, at least not at the time. But RPGs *hadn’t been invented*, or at least, no one noticed what they were doing with Zelda had almost-direct analogies in pen-and-paper RPGs.

            So they called them ‘adventure’, a genre that did have puzzles and interactive dialog. (And didn’t feel the need to specify ‘action’ at the time, because all console games had action…that lack of specifying action would have gotten them run out of town on a rail in the PC adventure game world.)

            But that’s not a PC vs. console difference. If Zelda had shown up on PC at the time, it probably would have been called ‘action-adventure’. There simply wasn’t the genre of RPGs(1), or at least not a genre that anyone understand as a genre, and adventure was the closest fit. Even Rogue, the *first RPG*, was called an ‘adventure’ game at the time.

            Even now, the difference between RPGs and adventures can be pretty slim, especially for RPG that let you solve things without combat. You can build every single aspect of an adventure game, throw in leveling and more combat, and you have an RPG…and it’s really *leveling* that is the difference, not combat.

            RPGs started letting you buy things, like in Zelda, but eventually moved to more abstract ‘experience points’ letting you buy ‘skills’. Of course, adventure games had always had the option of making people ‘buy’ things, and even sometimes had the player *choose one thing* over other things. But they were specific required things, you would get the money specific ways, and you couldn’t grind and keep getting new things.

            So there’s a clear distinction…if you can keep ‘upgrading’ your character repeatedly in a manner of your own choosing, it’s an RPG. Otherwise, it’s (probably) adventure…or maybe just action.

            Or, to go to a more meta-level: When new mediums are invented, genres are often somewhat vague and confusing, and only get solidified until later.

            In fact, video games, oddly for such a new medium, have *much clearer* genres than other things. Mostly because video game genres are actually *gameplay differences*, which can be measured objectively. (And so probably should be called ‘types’ or something instead of ‘genre’, but whatever. It’s like classifying TV into ‘episode’, ‘miniseries’, and ‘made-for-TV movie’. Those are real classifications, sure, but calling them *genres* would be weird. But that’s how we do video games genres.)

            Whereas other sorts of genres are often subject or tone, so can be endlessly argued about. (For fun, google ‘anti-folk music’.)

            Which is why the mis-classification into adventure annoys me. It’s not, like, some weird difference of opinion, it’s people literally not knowing what adventure games *are*. ‘Oh, this games feels like an adventure, I’ll tag it adventure’.

            1) Which is weird, as RPGs are literally the *third* invented video game genre. The invented order, if anyone cares, is ‘wandering around a grid trying to kill things'(2), aka, Star Trek and Hunt the Wampus, ‘adventure games’ with Colossal Cave Adventure, and then ‘RPGs’ with Rogue.

            2) We don’t really have a good name for that genre because almost nothing is in it. Text-based turn-based action is the best term, regardless of how paradoxical that sounds.

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    • Oh yeah, Steam (and PS4 sales) are really killer.

      I picked up Saints Row 4 Re-elected and Borderlands: The Handsome Jack Edition for like 10 bucks total on PS4, and then nabbed Stronghold Crusader II, Zubmariner, The Longest Journey, and Pillars of Eternity on Steam.

      My wife recently got a new laptop and finally got a Steam account, so I set it up to share my library with her — as the list of available to borrow games showed up her only comment was “Holy crap, how much have you spent?.

      She hasn’t even seen my Good Old Games library!

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      • I just looked at my Steam account, almost $1K.

        Significantly more than I ever spent on games prior to getting a Steam account. Steam (with easy to use reviews & getting sale notices for wishlist games) is the single biggest reason I stopped pirating games.

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  4. I got my girlfriend’s nephew (age 8) Munchkin for Christmas. He seemed interested for one game. I am seeing the extent that 8 year old kids are obsessed with Pokemon. He was into Pokemon last year. He seems super into it this year.

    Pokemon was after my time as a kid so I am a bit in awe of the levels of obsession for all these card games. Singapore has a resort island called Sentosa. Sentosa is currently hosting a “Pokemon Research Center” thing. To get access, you pay to enter the Aquarium and an extra 7 dollars. The 7 dollars gets you one ticket to game with Pokeballs. You can use four machines that reveal a characteristic of the Pokemon in the ball like the sound it makes or the shape. You then guess the Pokemon. Additional guesses or turns cost 5 dollars each. Plus there was a gift shop. I got my girlfriend’s nephew two little Pokemon figures. Each cost 7 dollars.

    My reaction to this was Nintendo created a great racket. Pokemon seems to be going strong for decades now. When I was a camp counselor in 1999, all the kids were obsessed by Pokemon. Those kids would be in their mid 20s now.

    I don’t know why people go into selling narcotics when there seems to be much more profit in coming up with something that kids are obsessed with like Pokemon and then milking their parents for all their worth. Plus you are less likely to end up in prison or killed by rivals.

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  5. I picked up Orwell from the Steam sale. It had good reviews and an interesting premise. You belong to a big brothery type organization investigating terrorist activity. You investigate suspects by looking for relevant information on public web pages as well as in their private communications. It wasn’t too long, but interesting and engaging as things unfolded. I’ll probably play it again to see how much the choices the player makes actually influence events.

    I initially thought it was a different game I saw the trailer for some time ago, but that’s not out yet.

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