Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Zuntata Time

Sunday, October 06, 2013

They killed teh ninja!!

On a cheap hate tour against Flawer, I read parts of a boring thread at neogaf whatever.
Found two clever remarks by VillageNinja (who got banned, wonders...)

Flower is the gaming equivalent of a bag floating in the wind.

    some people don't get it

Things with the emotional power of a screensaver also put me to tears, I'm with you.

Emo Art Emo Art Emo Art Emo Art


Chineez guy : "A neva siin geen staf biifo-or in san-gaï, so a went to califoorna an itwaz biootifol, an zen a wan-ted to mek aaaat in gaimz."

Are trees and windmills prohibited in China or something?

Increasing paid app revenue : sales boost pro tips

How ? By selling 'em on CDs.

There's an already old but still interesting post by Phil Chung at, titled The REAL Reason Why People Won’t Pay for Apps, wherein Mr Chung tackles the reasons which, according to him, would explain why paid apps don't sell and why IAPs do. I'd like to return to the paid app portion of his post for a moment.

Apps aren’t tangible

Probably one of the most logical reasons surmised as to why people don’t pay for apps is that apps aren’t a physical thing. Once you pay for it, you can’t “hold” it. It’s almost like it doesn’t exist in the real world.
Yet they ARE tangible. You interact with it (sometimes more than you interact with people physically around you). You touch it. You swipe left-swipe right-swipe up-tilt left. Perhaps it is just pixels on a screen. But how does that interaction make it any less “tangible” than a piece of paper, or some Lego? The hardware is tangible, and provides a way to interface with the app, but the hardware is useless without the apps.
Think about it. How many physical objects do you carry around with you EVERYWHERE you go? Your keys? Wallet? How about those 58 apps you have installed on your phone? Ya, you carry those around too.

Here's the point. Even if you don't always carry your physical objects with you, you know them to exist and be relatively easy to find and grab. They're easily identifiable subjects, associated to ideas in a way the mammal brain is used to. It is visible and really tangible. Yes, tangibility is the key here.
When it is invisible and obscure, virtual, you naturally don't trust it easily. You feel a pinch of ruse being at play, even if it's pure prejudice and unsubstantiated. You need something concrete, or close to the illusion of concrete.
Hence why I refer to the CD. Most people have never come to grasp what's really being sold when they buy CDs. They never pay attention to the licence agreement and all that jazz. They just think they buy an object and it is theirs, everything on it included. That couldn't be farther from the truth but this admiteddly complex idea has never been shot to bits before the dawn of demat data acquisition.
If anything, this assumption has just quietly migrated to the new generation of consumers, as seen with Bruce Willis' (perhaps bogus) case of the donation of his iTunes music library on his will.
The question was raised nonetheless: even if you have never been at odds with the idea of consuming music largely through next generation delivery methods, old ideas still have a tough skin.

Buying an app is a risk

There is some merit to this, and in fact, it’s related to the solution I propose at the end of this article. Buying an app IS a risk.
People will spend time reading reviews, poring over screenshots, watching gameplay videos and getting opinions from their friends before buying an app that costs as much as a pack of gum. Sound illogical? Imagine you’re in the checkout line at the store and you spy a candy bar that looks good. Nine times out of ten, you just pick it up and buy it. If you saw someone stand there, Google the candy bar on their iPhone, then go on Twitter to ask their friends’ opinion, then look for pictures of the candy bar, it most likely would become the next internet meme. Yet, when it comes to apps that are priced the same, it’s completely normal.
So, yes, buying an app is a risk, but so is buying anything else for the first time. Yet that doesn’t stop people from doing it with most other goods and services.

It is quite an unfair comparison to make here. Food is easily bought on impulse because it is a basic need, and most consumers simply don't want to waste time trying or thinking about it. Even if they know that the food on racks at the local store is generally tasteless, they still wish and pray it were and will often times come out of the store with the bag filled with insipid vegs.
Add to that the assumption that what is sold there should be of good enough taste and that, in the end, it's still some food so the satisfaction is still predictable, should explain why people are easily enticed to buy cheap food. In fact, they know that salty and/or sweety cheap food provides massive amounts of pleasure (and we're not getting into the domain of additives, for which there's nothing alike in videogames).

How the heck are game companies supposed to achieve that? When in the best case scenario, fun activities will be considered third degree needs (for psychological reasons), and 99.99% of the time relegated to light entertainment (futile desires), on which you have literally no info at all about the intrisic quality of the product you're eyeing, since it's a complete fabric, nowhere remotely natural and generally new.

That's why clones of match-3 of Pro Evo Soccer are at an advantage here, by the way.

I also need to add the obvious point here : appollution.
There's too much crap on those stores (and let's not even get into the problems of app validation on Android and the very dangerous apps someone may download even if they looked totally legit).
From there, you bet someone might be a little pricky about shelling out on some unknown app.

>>> Sell your app on CDs, with a well known "seal of quality" imprimatur!

Free is the expectation (& people are cheap)

It didn’t take long after the App Store opened for the race to free to begin. Developers realized that you could get thousands of downloads by giving away your app, trying to sell it for even $0.99 was a huge struggle. And it’s true. In fact, I would argue that even if app prices could go as low as $0.02, you would still get far fewer downloads than if it were free.
Free was a great way for developers to get exposure for their apps. The unfortunate side effect was that as more and more apps went free, it became the expectation. The market value. Probably the second biggest reason why people leave negative reviews for an app (besides that the app is just plain bad), is that it costs too much (which in most cases is $0.99). So people would much rather download free apps, it’s clear. However, I don’t think that means that people won’t pay for apps.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding value in something. There are thousands of apps in the App Store, most of which were built by developers you’ve never heard of before, so value can be a rare commodity. Why do you think people are more apt to buy games that look like games they’ve already played? Because they’ve previously found value in something similar
Don’t think people will pay for value? Look at Apple. Why would someone pay full price for something when you can get a similar product for half the price (i.e., iDevice vs. Android)? Because people are willing to pay the extra for the value they perceive in a product. Why do people back projects in Kickstarter when they are nothing more than ideas? Value.
People are tight with their money in general, until you show them something of value. At that point, watch the money fly.
So onto my solution…

Oddly enough, in the domain of paid apps, rising the price to what implies a product of quality, and not something produced within the darkest recesses of some chinese sweatshop, may help sales a lil' bit. Sure, you're not going to compete with free apps, but since when are we talking about free apps?

Yup, that's all.

Oh, as for his idea of demos, I guess a limited form of cloud gaming would be the way to go?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

So what is a game? Don't ask Kellee Santiago

Here's stuff for a new article. It's a reply to some comment posted in Kellee Santiago, dreadful Avatar of VGA.

The comment in itself isn't particularly original, nor stellar might I add, but it nonetheless remains a good excuse to clarify a position about what the question of video games and art.

So basically, here's the anonymous comment:

You know nothing of art, whether it be film, literature, or games. What makes a game is its interactivity. The fact that you must play it. Unlike every other medium, nothing will happen unless you pick up the controller or football. Art can not be so easily defined, but most consider it to be the intentional composition of elements around a sole idea. All parts of a game must serve the overall thematic idea before they can ever be art. Most don't with the exception of perhaps a few exceptions. Many of those exceptions are indie titles. Kellee Santiago does make games that are also art. The playability makes it a game and the mechanics complete focus on the games overall purpose elevates it further to art status. Whether or not the game is challenging doesn't define it as a game.
3 January 2013 04:20

You vermin didn't even listen to your priestess' litany. She doesn't even claim to make games first, dipshit:
thatgamecompany sucks at making games
Therefore, I would obviously beg to differ on who really understands art here. As now, I can tell that you're still crawling in a cesspool of ignorance and idiocy.
Perhaps one day, when you'll know how it feels to be like a deity, you'll start to see what I mean. Because real gods do beauty and complexity, they don't do vomit and feces. They're ruthless but they know how to reward those who are willing to be part of their intricate universes, those ready to do their best to stand above others, as champions.
See, if we want to consider what makes a game artful, then we need to really understand what a game is. It's not the paint. It's not the pixels. Aside from the overall consensus that fun has to be part of it, what is absolutely clear is that the closer you get to throwing dice, the farther you are from a real game.
The nature of a game isn't primarily found in its prettiness (the visual -and even auditive- coating), but in the perfection of the challenges put forth by the rules and how players can literally bond with the game, in a way that is almost biomechanical. There's something promethean here, get it?
The creator and the player are complementary to each other, the maker and the subject. You can't pretend having a good game with mediocre designers and weak players.
Or perhaps you can, but it would be stuff for amoeba.
For the real matter at hand here, we're talking about playful and real challenges, in a complex ballet where the hero, the player, reads the game, learns it, faces difficulty and fights. The fluid complexity put into motion becomes a beauty in itself as the player is symbolically sweating in beating the monsters animated by the electronic cogs of the code.
There is no challenge without both real obstacles and the mastery of play that is required to give life to the game. You cannot cheat on that.
Such concepts are entirely absent of TGC's games, which are dumbed down, pussified kindergarten occupations pretending to be mature about something they completely ignore. They're almost non-games made for hipsters, themselves pretending standing above the masses, and they progressively lead the militant cohorts into a the new age of gaming stalinism, where you could "democratize" the capacity to create good games, and therefore artful games, merely by hiring a bunch of inspired graphists. TGC's software is at best defined as flashy interactive experiences. Proof being that Santiago can't even define what a game is, and gets all her priorities wrong. It's quite pathetic.
And let's not stop here.
You speak of interactivity.
Oh yes, such a thing is essential. But pick Flow, Flower, Flowerer, Journey... it turns out that most of the code that is ran owes more to noise, a simplistic batch, than anything meant to orchestrate meaningful play.
Santiago claims to have embedded interactivity at the heart of their so called games. Sure? Despite her claims, said interactivity is absolutely minimalistic. So what are we left with? Video and music. The cables that support part of the interactivity if you want, and that's all. Fuck that, let's watch a movie, with some real plot if it's not too much to ask for.
Santiago and pals focus on the *video* aspect and completely forget the *game* one. Visuals and sounds constitute a vital wrapping, but a game is first and foremost defined by its mechanics. Those who make good games know that, and for some reason they often found to be the wisest of the lot, not bothering people with silly debates on what art in games should be, nor fighting for a two minutes of exposure on a soapbox. Wise, the blokes at TGC aren't. They're absolutely oblivious to the fact that video is the adjective, yet they treat it as the main substance. As long as they remain so deluded, not only they will keep putting the industry at risk and make it bomb (and all varieties of crooks will keep raising them as new prophets according to a rinse and repeat template already used for the establishment of modern art), but real game designers will have to oppose them with all they have if they honestly care about the reason of their very existence.
The truth?
As it is, there's barely any gaming to be found in the sum of TGC's software collection, their products just stand a notch above those abject apps you can buy on the appstore produced by Gree or Pocket Gems, all pretending being games.
TGC sells empty shells in game booths, golden eggs with rotten flesh inside.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

TGC : Be careful what you wish for...

... you may receive it.

Taken here.

I've been a dedicated follower of indie game maker thatgamecompany since their beginnings, and they've never disappointed with their releases. But things are about to really ramp up for them.

The Santa Monica-based company has just ended their game deal with PlayStation, and now they've raised $5.5 million from Benchmark Capital. Benchmark are the guys that funded Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, and more recently, Meteor Entertainment, the folks behind the awesome upcoming free-to-play title Hawken.

What to do with all that freedom and cash? Why not make more games for more platforms, reaching out to wider audiences? Founder Jenova Chen tells GamesBeat that he wants to "spread out" now, and that the funding will enable TGC to develop and release games independently.

"We got so many emails from fans saying they wished they could play our games on other platforms," Chen said. "We make games for human beings, not just gamers. Young, old, men, women, and from all countries. We want to change the concept of what a game is and show society what a game can be."

Chen confirmed that a new title is in the works, and it will definitely be a cross-platform game.

Oh boy no, you are not going to change what a game is. You certainly can't, for this is so above your abilities.
Your enterprise will fail.
Not only because anyone sane enough working in the video game industry will soon enough call you on the preposterous and pedantic bullshit you produce, and will properly militate so the debilitating heretics you are will never get the chance to confuse people about real gaming.

But also because you simply don't get what a game is.

Your "games" have constantly moved towards a movie-like experience (and a shallow one, at that), almost entirely passive, devoid of any challenging experience, so much that we honestly find more gaming in one second of Tetris than in the entirety of all your pretentious and pseudo games combined.

Try to get that once and for all: A game provides challenges, encourages players to try several strategies and makes sure said options are even, so as to be relevant and making sure that the game's rules are interesting, engaging and above all, not broken.

You and your female partner have been deceptively shy of coding any real game mechanics into your products (let's not call those games, they don't deserve that name).
You're just one notch above the shitfests of DragonVale and iOS abominations ever farted to life by Pocket Gems (mind you, the iOS platform is quite the perfect place for such shitty software).

Your heresies barely contain any meaningful choice to be made at all. You shun difficulty. You're limp and spineless and you want to disguise that pathetic weakness of yours as art. Your abortions solely sell on how nice and charming they look. But the truth is that they're all empty, and your entire rhetoric is pure pretense.
Your animated and barely interactive applications are not games.
They're fake.
You are fake.