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Games VS Other Media.
Probably quite an appropriate topic given how most people here are tending towards other media recently =).

So, how do you feel games (PC or console I suppose, SIGH) compare to and stand up to other media?? Do you feel they are progressing well?? Are they getting the respect they deserve, if any?? Looking at games around, do you feel proud to be a gamer?? Do you think the future is brighter or dimmer for other games compared to other media??

(By other media I guess I include films, tv, magazines, books, comics, music....)

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Music 
definitely rules in my life. i find i can listen to it anytime. i reckon music is in my pc or hi fi about 12-14 hours a day if i am at home. movies is a good way to relax, much more constructive than tv.
games are like books atm. havent got anough time because i cant "switch" off after a day at uni. hope to report on that once i start my 1 yr placement in sept ;-) 
R.P.G. 
What exactly do you mean by story? Do you mean like immersiveness, or atmosphere? I would think even dr. blob's organsim, has a story in that sense. how much more of a story does HL have then dr blob? 
What I Meant By Story 
I meant a game that exists solely to convey a story, instead of a story that exists solely to further the immersiveness and atmosphere of the game.

Almost every game has a background story, and most games have some sort of story that unfolds as you play (even the card game Poker has a story, and it changes everytime you play!). Some stories like the ones in Doom and Quake are barely present or even relevant. Even though I have not played it, I suspect that Enter the Matrix exists primarily to tell a story instead of give you a fun gaming experience.

/me decides not to continue rambling on about further irrelevancies. 
A Bit Of A View... 
I started this topic mostly because I am often really damn impressed by games. I look at their reputation - nerdy, time-wasting, violent, shallow, meaningless - and then I look at some of the games I've been playing - immersive, action-packed, visually superb, imaginatively themed, fun, atmospheric - and realise just how good gaming can be, and how it's reputation is increasingly outdated.

As a form of entertainment I believe they are at least worthwhile as other media, as not only can they rival other media in terms of technical prowess, immersive qualities, and entertainment value, but they are interactive and require action, skill, control on the player's behalf. 
 
Well, I've heard it stated a lot recently that the game industry now makes more money than the movie industry. So I suspect that those who still adhere to the stereotypical view of gaming are in a gradually diminishing minority.
Movie makers have clearly realised this so now, not only do we have movies based on games and games based on movies, but we actually have game/movie simultaneous development and release i.e. Matrix: Reloaded and Underworld. 
Movies Vs Game Money 
Think I read that the game industry does indeed make more money than the movie industry does but only before money made from vhs/dvd sales are counted (or something like that anyway). So while there's some truth in that statment wich has been used pretty much recently the game industry still has some catching up to do before it can fully live up to that claim. 
- - - - - - - - 
Yeah, I thought there was some sort of qualification like that. Still, it surprises me that it's true to the extent that it is. Cinema is over a century old and is also a more accessible experience; games require a lot more decisive input from the player.
I think it's great that games have moved so far into the mainstream - people have to take me seriously now when I tell them about mapping :P 
Duh 
I still dont tell anyone exept other gamers that I am mapping 
 
I look at their reputation - nerdy, time-wasting, violent, shallow, meaningless

how much you want to bet that there are quite a few people even here, that think this to some extent? They may enjoy their games, but that doesn't mean they don't think they're nerdy, time-wasting, violent, shallow and ultimately meaningless.

Anyway, I live in Canada, and every time I go to some conference, public speaking or really pretty much anything, the speakers always say the same thing, and it irritates me. Namely, they always say that "Canada is just-as-good / better then the US", or that "Canada is the next big thing!", or something to that effect. It is my experience that if you have to tell people that you're the "next big thing", then you probably aren't.

Ah, I'm just tired of inferiority complexes...
---------
RPG on story in games:
/me decides not to continue rambling on about further irrelevancies.

Why is it irrelevant? I find this a highly captivating issue. And you seem to think that it will be the major reason for the degradation of the next generation games. I think that's pretty relevant.

I recently came across a great little blog, http://grandtextauto.gatech.edu/ , which has had quite a few topics based around this very issue. check out "How to Destroy Possibilities" for starters:

http://steel.lcc.gatech.edu/grandtextauto/archives/2003_05.html#000008 
"Irrelevancies" 
Why is it irrelevant?

I was tempted to blather on, but I felt that I had already made my point, and thus I dropped in that phrase which had poor usage of words.

Thanks for the web link, that's cool. 
What Makes A Story? 
I meant a game that exists solely to convey a story, instead of a story that exists solely to further the immersiveness and atmosphere of the game.

Is it as clear cut as that? HL was your example of a game with story, in your first post. If we compare Quake with HL, I find it very hard to say that it's HL with more story. Both have a hero, who the player has control of throughout (ie: no cutscenes). Both are a series of sequential levels. Levels in both are pretty much just a series of events. Both make use of scripting; enemies always start in the same spots, Quake has monsters falling from ceilings in ambush, HL has scientists getting maulled. Both have climaxes, and denouments. HL may have a more verbose story, to Quake's tacit story, but is it only the word count that makes a story?

I find it very difficult to distiguish which game exists for it's story, and which game has the story as only background. And more to the point, I find it hard to say that HL is a worse game, specifically because of it's story. 
Sophistic 
 
Heh, Classic Qmap. 
no need to argue or prove points. no need to post, really. 
Correlation Of Story And Linear Gameplay 
I was hoping to draw the distinction between "games" that are mostly linear (Half-Life for example) and games that aren't (Dr. Blob's Organism, Poker, Tetris). Quake, I feel, is in a sort of middle ground because some levels are quite non-linear, but overall it is more linear than the end of the spectrum.

"Games" that are meant to tell a story (such as Half-Life) tend to be more linear than games that aren't. Of course there are exceptions (such as the brilliant Deus Ex) which tell an intricate story and yet are highly non-linear.

I don't know why I didn't say this earlier. 
Could Be Either Way 
Fallaout and many other RP games
are story-based, but have no-linear progression.
Shouldn`t mix tetris-like games in here. They are just random, not non-linear. 
 
R.P.G.:
so, how much is what you're talking about part of the game design, and how much is in the level design?

speedy: Fallaout and many other RP games
are story-based, but have no-linear progression.


spaghetti story? 
Design Of Playable Spaces 
so, how much is what you're talking about part of the game design, and how much is in the level design?

Most of it does indeed have to do with the design of the playing space. Thus arcade-style games that play out in seemingly infinite possibilities have greater replay value than a linear level in First Person Shooter #27. However, these arcade-style games have a story which is not integral to the gameplay, so it is easier to create non-linear playing spaces than for story-driven First Person Shooter #27. But because FPS#27 places more requirements on progression and events in that gaming location (level) than the arcade games, it is limited in its ability to create the non-linear experience.

(Have I started to repeat myself yet?) 
Yeah, 
I suppose I'm dragging this out a bit much. I'm kind of bored I guess.

Anyway it just seems to me, that your beef has very little to do with the story elements of a game, and much more with linearity, and limited interactiveness (which are also rather nebulous concepts, I admit). You like games like GTA and Deus ex that have arguably a whole lot more story then HL, which you dislike because it has too much story.

Now, I'm not trying to argue with you about what games you like, that would be pointless, if not just plain wrong. But I figured it would be useful to try to better articulate why you like/dislike a paticular game. anyway, I guess we can stop this now. 
One More Try 
your beef has very little to do with the story elements of a game, and much more with linearity, and limited interactiveness

To some extent, I agree. I began to realize this while forming my earlier arguments, but I still believe that too great of a focus on the story leads to poorer gameplay. Part of what makes GTA and Deus Ex so appealing is that the story is not primary in their qualities; the story is just one of the many qualities. GTA has immense exploration and lets you play for hours on end without even going near the story, and Deus Ex uses the story as a means for the player to interact with the game and increase the nonlinearity.

I would also like to clarify that I don't dislike HL. I think it is a good game, but I find it lacking. It was fun the first time through, but playing the game over again doesn't add to the experience since it is always the same. It becomes less like a game and more like an action movie. (I think this is where I came in the first time.) Thus the primary purpose in playing the game a second time is to see the story unfold, instead of play a game (and I mean the more traditional sense of a "game" that plays out different each time). So when the primary purpose for playing the "game" is to see the story, it becomes less meaningful and a lot less fun (Perhaps that's a better way to state it than "story = bad"). If I want to see a story, I'll watch a movie or read a book, not play a so-called "game" which exists solely to let me play an action hero in a nonlinear and noninteractive scenario.

Cheese and beer for all! 
Poo 
poo 
Not So Much The Story As... 
...how constrained you feel in the use of available player space and time. Are you free to go back to visited sections etc. or are you on a timeline. A story premise is needed even if the story is nothing more then a hostile alien invasion.

On my newer machine, I've been playing 'newer' games (if you can call AvP2 newer) and on my older machine, older games like Q1 and Q2.

MoHAA, AvP2, Unreal 2, Undying, etc. are great games and are more like interactive movies because the stories are advanced in smaller increments and more frequently within levels through the use of cutscenes, sub-missions and eavesdropping. However, your choices on use of the player space is limited because often the denser content requires smaller spaces and the actual path taken will be very similar from player to player. Games like these feel like interactive movies.

On the other hand, DooM, Quake, Quake 2, Duke 3D and Wolf3D (the first) often advance the story only after you have finished a full episode and have killed a boss. There is the start point, to tell you why you're there and the end point - the victory text screen that tells the outcome of your actions and where you're headed next. Between these two stages, you only have level names to give you some sense of where you are. The story tends not to be progressed or is progressed in a less prominent way (Q2-F1 key) so the the game feel can step up to the front. On my old box, I finished playing through Q2 again. It was fun because it feels like a game and you can run about the empty levels looking for secrets or just check stuff out after killing the threats. You feel less boxed in then you would playing an interactive movie and that can be more relaxing.

Don't know if that adds much to the discusion. I'll always want my old games just to enjoy them as I used to since the new generation of games, while impressive in sophistication and experience, don't always draw me back for a round or two just for the hell of it.

Games that don't fit the top two categories: Deus-Ex and System Shock 2. 
Answer To Original Question 
Of all the media that I can think of, gaming is evolving the fastest but I think that's because it is young compared to other media and it is surfing the technological development wave which is fast too... but you know that.

I find it more difficult to find good movies then good games. There are some out there but I've been sitting on free movie passes (a gift) for too long waiting for something that interests me. (I do want to see the LoTR's though).

On the way down, IMO, TV is in decline wheras other media are stable or improving (really general comment here - I'm no qualified commentarian - I'm just Scraggy). I say that because TV seemed like a valid entertainment medium in the 70's (when I started watching) where you would watch and follow shows but now with an obvious desperate need to supersaturate the viewer with marketing (ads appear beside the end credits, ads appear in banners beneath while shows are running, a nominal TV hour seems to have a huge proportion of dedicated commercials compared to how it felt before) the TV viewing experience is almost completly devoid of immersion - something that games, books and movies can offer far better. I'm not a TV watcher - it has never really meant much to me.

I hope to game as long as possible. I'm not too far from 40 either and there's not too many people who share my interest but when you do hook up with people either live or on-line, I think there's plenty of evidence that gaming has a bright future as long as some creativity and invention remain and yield per invested co-orporate dollar isn't allowed to corrupt this process in the preponderance of cases.

Here's a question. Music has a broad range from being profit-generating drivel to true excellence and everything in-between. Movies are the same - there are some amazing inventive but non-commercially successful productions and then there are some big-budget profit generating productions that are designed against a marketing master plan. Could gaming titles eventually cover this kind of spectrum - from poor but creative content to hugely well produced but not necessarily the most inventive produsts? Not to say that commercial viability is inversely proportional to quality but could there be an 'indie' gaming underground out there? Will it make the next Q1?

Blah, blah, blah. I'll shut up now (it's a sick day for me.) 
Yes 
[...] could there be an 'indie' gaming underground out there?

Yes. In fact, I think it's already there; though it's probably not as relatively large as the indie movie scene. Witness Cube and Serious Sam (although SS was eventually made into quite a commercial product, it started out as a group of Croatians just making a tech demo with their own resources, AFAIK).

The Underdogs has a list of games that were not commercially successful or were otherwise underrated by the press. Some stuff there might fit into the category of "indie" games. http://www.the-underdogs.org/ 
Nerdy 
People are always looking to put something down to build themseleves up. Games are an easy target. They are also most often played by those without excessive amounts to do. Movies, etc. at least have a pseudo-productive aspect of pure relaxation. Games don't produce anything tangible and use energy.

It's a matter of emphasis regarding story vs. active play. Ideally both could be strong, but there are still limits, story gets in the way of extremely active action gaming and vice versa, plus high challenge means some will never see the end of the story. Practically, a full combination is rare or nonexistent. The best combinations are still not much a of story, but the story helps drive the game and increases immersion. But then, most stories are pretty simple at the root, it's just a matter of how one gets from point A to point B. In gaming, much of this part of the story should be provided by the game itself, not the text -- even if it makes the text look weak. 
Indie Games 
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