Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

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Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 03 Apr 2015, 20:46

Moved from the LRR chat:

I think video games need a new name. Not just for 'art games' or 'walking simulators' or whatever, but in general. Game is, in the OED, "1. Amusement, sport, fun; pleasure, enjoyment" (and other stuff, all along those lines). Now, sure, words change. That is why literally is now in the dictionary as having the same meaning as figuratively. Which is fine, language evolves, except for the problem as what the heck do I say when I want to say "There was literally blood all over the kitchen."?

The problem is, video games are the only area this is happening in: Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun. So video games are taking a term used in a bunch of contexts and redefining it to mean what they want, screw those who are still using it in the old way.

So I think the whole genre, from Mario to Depression quest should get an overall term. I suck at naming things: Personally, I'd like the classic chemistry answer of "steal a word from another language" or, like the person who discovered agnostic interactions did, outsource it to the classics department; they know all sorts of great terms for everything and it will sound pretty.

Frankly, this seems easier then forcing other genres to all get a new name, and less irritating then having game mean something different when they are on a computer, vs when they are on a table.

Yes, Monopoly wasn't written for fun: That doesn't mean people don't PLAY it for fun, and it isn't marketed as fun, and if you go and ask most non-electronic gamer on the street to define game, I'm betting they mention fun in the first sentence.

(I deleted a long digression on the appropriation of Steampunk for use to describe an asthetic, and a tangent on science fiction and Bat Durston that I can also write out if anyone is interested, but really, you can get the gist of it from this.)
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Ree » 03 Apr 2015, 21:03

"Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun."
Poker, Magic, and a bunch of other card games are played competitively, by people who make their living off of it. Roleplaying games aren't always for 'fun'; I've seen them used to explore consent, being queer in high school, or the challenges of long-distance relationships, none of which can be accurately described as only 'fun'. I've played board games like Icehouse just to engage with its components and how they fit together, bluffing games like Coup or the Resistance to solve big, complicated puzzles, and a bunch of stuff like that.

Moreover, "fun" is hardly an objective concept - while some people might describe the experience of watching Alien as fun, others might call it unnerving or upsetting. And none of those people is wrong.

"So video games are taking a term used in a bunch of contexts and redefining it to mean what they want, screw those who are still using it in the old way"
So? That doesn't affect board games in the slightest, even though you're wrong in suggesting that boardgames are so limited. "Game" is a massively broad word, and has been one long before video games came around - allowing "video game" to be broadly defined doesn't impinge upon the definition of "board game."

Fundamentally, I can't see a reason to object to this other than petulance. If you want to argue that the increased scope of "video game" as a word (which is actually hardly a new thing - video games have been a huge and diverse category since their inception) has serious consequences on the usability of the term, then why aren't games critics the people most vocally on your side (instead of the staunchest defenders of 'video game' as a broad category')? After all, they're the people for whom it's the most relevant; they spend their entire lives discussing, analyzing, and criticizing games.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Nex Vesica » 03 Apr 2015, 21:03

Well, video game is specifically defined as: a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a television screen or other display screen.

That seems pretty straightforward. Even so called "walking sims" and the like still follow that very basic definition, though I guess if you really wanted (and people clearly do) you could argue the "game" part of that. I think no matter what the title is you'll get people doing the whole "X isn't a game" argument. It'd be the same argument just under a different name.

*edit*

I agree with what Ree said. I also just checked the definition for game and it didn't even seem to specifically mention fun. It actually mentioned competition more than anything else. And again, going off of what Ree said I can definitely think of instances where I've played games for other reasons than fun.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Ree » 03 Apr 2015, 21:08

As an addendum - plenty of media have undergone expansions without needing to change their names. Film/cinema never needed to change its name when new techniques, stories, and ideas were introduced. Duchamp didn't make sculpture change its name. Poetry is still called poetry even after Modernism destroyed most pre-existing conventions for it. Hell, things like House of Cards are still called television shows, even though they're not even on television. Why should video games (or games in general) be any different?
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 03 Apr 2015, 21:31

Film did do a name change as it matured. First they were moving pictures, then talking pictures, then talkies, then finally movies. Moving pictures basically implies film is a subset of pictures in general, but we really don't think of them like that anymore. Similarly, video games implies video games are a subset of games in general instead of a distinct artistic medium, which it is rapidly becoming.

Not saying I agree that a change needs to happen, but there is a precedent that as a medium matures as an art form it gets a more distinctive name.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Ree » 03 Apr 2015, 21:42

CamelKnackRambleHort wrote:Film did do a name change as it matured. First they were moving pictures, then talking pictures, then talkies, then finally movies.

But 'film' and 'cinema' are still constant terms for the medium, even if 'movies' (which is, obviously, informal) wasn't always around.

EDIT: I don't mean to monopolize discussion here - I'm just rehashing a lot the stuff that I (and others) said during the chat thing.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 03 Apr 2015, 21:51

Well, film is the name of the actual media capture/storage device itself, and it is my understanding that cinema has similar origins. To me it seems like the video game parallel to those terms would be software or program, while "video game" seems more parallel to "moving picture" to me.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 03 Apr 2015, 21:59

Ree wrote:"Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun."
Poker, Magic, and a bunch of other card games are played competitively, by people who make their living off of it. Roleplaying games aren't always for 'fun'; I've seen them used to explore consent, being queer in high school, or the challenges of long-distance relationships, none of which can be accurately described as only 'fun'. I've played board games like Icehouse just to engage with its components and how they fit together, bluffing games like Coup or the Resistance to solve big, complicated puzzles, and a bunch of stuff like that.

Typically I see roleplaying for such uses referred to as roleplaying WITHOUT the game attached, and that is one of the basis for my opinion. No one refers to roleplaying at a drug training class as a roleplaying game; they just call it roleplaying. Roleplaying games are a subcategory of roleplaying.

Ree wrote:"Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun."
Moreover, "fun" is hardly an objective concept - while some people might describe the experience of watching Alien as fun, others might call it unnerving or upsetting. And none of those people is wrong.


Right, I'd use common usage if I had to make a call on it. Also, this is why I want a new term for ALL interactive computer experiences, so there isn't a need to either expand the definition of game, or to argue on a case by case basis. Movies aren't restricted to something done for fun; they are anything that moves on a screen, but also don't poach a term from another medium.

Ree wrote:"Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun."
"So video games are taking a term used in a bunch of contexts and redefining it to mean what they want, screw those who are still using it in the old way"
So? That doesn't affect board games in the slightest, even though you're wrong in suggesting that boardgames are so limited. "Game" is a massively broad word, and has been one long before video games came around - allowing "video game" to be broadly defined doesn't impinge upon the definition of "board game."


Yes, yes it does. You'd think it wouldn't, but it will take over. Look at Steampunk. It was a cool literary genre that emerged on the west coast of the US. Now you can't have a discussion of it, do a google search, or join a community based on that term without being flooded with things about the asthetic that came out of the New York fsshion scene. (Read The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer for some great interviews on this; they take a much more positive view of the transformation then I do though, even after Bruce Sterling's essay inside made me appreciate the DIY elements more. A more critical take that I like can be found at the front of Steampunk, a short story collection by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMee.) Or how Science Fiction was taken over from the literary genre to the TV one, until just about no one knows the older, very different, definition anymore.

Ree wrote:"Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun."
Fundamentally, I can't see a reason to object to this other than petulance. If you want to argue that the increased scope of "video game" as a word (which is actually hardly a new thing - video games have been a huge and diverse category since their inception) has serious consequences on the usability of the term, then why aren't games critics the people most vocally on your side (instead of the staunchest defenders of 'video game' as a broad category')? After all, they're the people for whom it's the most relevant; they spend their entire lives discussing, analyzing, and criticizing games.


Not true. When Portal (1986) came out it wasn't usually referred to as a video game (Interactive fiction, as I recall), yet it would probably be today. This was the same with a lot of text adventures in the very early days. As video games became more popular they merged in; check out the marketing materials, they don't say game on them anywhere, even though I'd agree that they are games.

Honestly? Game critics suck at naming things. Look at art, literature or music. You can ask most fans and they can tell you the difference between rock and metal in broad strokes. A metalhead can tell you the difference between heavy metal, power metal, death metal and possibly even black metal. There are about a million art genres that I don't understand, but there are entire classes on that stuff. Video games? Oh, video games are complex and there are too many edge cases to have anything but really broad genres. I mean, come on, the best terms we have for about half of games made these days is "Action Adventure" When they get a clearly agreed upon classification system, let me know.
Oh, and these are the same people driving all usefulness out of the term Roguelike. It means LIKE ROGUE. As in, single character, top-down RPG, no time mechanics, almost always some form of procedural generation and/or permadeath. If you told someone that something was a roguelike they'd have a good idea if they should bother trying it, the same way I do if someone tells me a song is death metal or power metal. Now? People refer to FTL and Rogue Legacy as Roguelikes, which are VERY different games. Yes, they take inspiration from Rogue, but Black Sabbath counts freaking blues as one of their largest influence and that doesn't make them blues.
So yes, if game commentators had ANY history of any skill at defining terms, I'd listen to them on this mater.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 03 Apr 2015, 22:07

Nex Vesica wrote:Well, video game is specifically defined as: a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a television screen or other display screen.

That seems pretty straightforward. Even so called "walking sims" and the like still follow that very basic definition, though I guess if you really wanted (and people clearly do) you could argue the "game" part of that. I think no matter what the title is you'll get people doing the whole "X isn't a game" argument. It'd be the same argument just under a different name.

*edit*

I agree with what Ree said. I also just checked the definition for game and it didn't even seem to specifically mention fun. It actually mentioned competition more than anything else. And again, going off of what Ree said I can definitely think of instances where I've played games for other reasons than fun.


But there are things that aren't games. Excel is not a game, as we can tell by the fact the idea of Beej playing it on stream is funny. Solitaire is a game. Therefore, there must be things that are games, and are not games. Therefore as games expand and try new things, there will be a point there will be a program that has the same interface as a game, that is not a game. Rather then argue where exactly the line is, etc. there should be an overarching term for something that looks like a game, and plays like a game, but may or may not be a game. Something with the definition along the lines of "An interactive electronic experience designed to produce mental stimulation, emotion, or provoke insight without producing useful output" or somesuch. (Since Excel can give insight, but it returns a useful output.) This leaves the term 'game' as it is, but gives us a broad term that we can use to refer to the digital version of haute culture and games at the same time.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 03 Apr 2015, 22:15

Ree wrote:As an addendum - plenty of media have undergone expansions without needing to change their names. Film/cinema never needed to change its name when new techniques, stories, and ideas were introduced. Duchamp didn't make sculpture change its name. Poetry is still called poetry even after Modernism destroyed most pre-existing conventions for it. Hell, things like House of Cards are still called television shows, even though they're not even on television. Why should video games (or games in general) be any different?


Sure, but these all had definitions that weren't linked to anything around them. Changing the definition of sculpture didn't change the definition of anything else. Expanding the term 'video game' ALSO has to expand the term game. I don't mind terms CHANGING over time, but I get annoyed when they expand enough to be useless if there aren't terms to replace them. (In Canada sweater has expended to mean any warm overshirt, but I could use 'knit sweater' if I really wanted to be specific, so that one is fine. Steampunk expending to mean anything involving the Victorian period or even just a few gears glued onto something isn't good, as I don't have an easy way to say "The literary genre based around steam tech and low life, used to give political commentary via historical analogy in the same way old cyberpunk gave commentary with science fiction".
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 03 Apr 2015, 22:20

Ree wrote:
CamelKnackRambleHort wrote:Film did do a name change as it matured. First they were moving pictures, then talking pictures, then talkies, then finally movies.

But 'film' and 'cinema' are still constant terms for the medium, even if 'movies' (which is, obviously, informal) wasn't always around.

EDIT: I don't mean to monopolize discussion here - I'm just rehashing a lot the stuff that I (and others) said during the chat thing.


Sure, but Talkie and Moving Picture are NOT around anymore, the medium outgrew them. If you said moving picture today they'd probably think you meant a gif or webm image.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Duckay » 03 Apr 2015, 22:59

Games being used for things other than just fun is nothing new. As previously noted, there are people who play card games (such as poker and M:tG) professionally. There are board games designed to make statements and provoke thought and discussion (Train comes to mind), and many children's board games teach skills (Math or vocabulary) as well as provide enjoyment. This is not unique to video games.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 04 Apr 2015, 00:11

In the case of poker and magic, those were created, and mostly played, for enjoyment. Some people take things to silly levels. Just because a game can be played professionally doesn't mean that is what it was made for. D&D used to have tournaments all the time, but I don't think anyone would say it is primarily a game used for that.

Yes, there are many educational games. You know what the difference between an educational game and normal education is? One of them is designed to be fun.

I can't apeak to the final category, I only know of one game like that (Nuclear War, an old card game), but they sound like odd edge cases. There will always be odd edge cases in any definition. That is fine, they are edge cases. Look at the duck billed platypus for example. The reason I think video games need a new name is that the edge cases are growing so fast. If they grow as a lot of people are expecting them to, in a few years as many art movie style games will come out a year as traditional games. That is no longer an edge case: it is something new and different then what has come before. Really, it should have its own term, but that would be super, super hard, so I say a universal term for ALL things of the type. I mean, it isn't like there is anything special about video games. The term isn't that old, and it isn't even universal (Computer games were a strong competitor for a long time, there have been others that are escaping me now).
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Duckay » 04 Apr 2015, 00:42

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say with your platypus analogy. Can you elaborate?

Furthermore, writing off professional-level game playing as "silly" means nothing to your argument. So you think it's "silly" that people play poker professionally. That doesn't change the fact that it happens, and other people playing for fun doesn't change that professional-level play proves that the game is not played "pretty much only" for fun, which was your original claim. The same goes for educational games. Yes, they are designed to be fun. However, the experience of playing them is not universally fun, and the other elements involved (the educational value) also go against your claim that board and card games are "pretty much only" for fun.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Deedles » 04 Apr 2015, 01:28

I personally find it rather degrading towards the game media as a whole (video, board, roleplay, card) to claim that it's pretty much only for fun. Sure, there are plenty of people who play it for fun, but it's hardly the only reason, because if it was then people would put the controller down and walk away as soon as a game became frustrating, or because a part in the story genuinely upset, angered or scared them.

There is far too much nuance within the games medias to make sweeping claims about what they are for, because not even two people playing the same game will necessarily be doing it for the same reasons. Someone plays League of Legends because he likes hanging with with his friends, while another plays pretty much just Ranked and on his own.

If I were to make any sweeping term about games media it's that its not pretty much only for fun, but that what most games want to achieve is that they want to be engaging, and engaging isn't always fun, that's why we have well loved movies like Schindler's List, and games like Shadow of the Colossus.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Ree » 04 Apr 2015, 05:25

What harm is done by allowing "game" to be slightly broader than it is? Seriously, what bad thing will happen? I literally cannot imagine what's at risk here.

Anyways, it's certainly too late to stop it. "Game" is already massively broadly defined - your assertion that only video games are evolving does the diversity and innovation in the board game (broadly construed) space a huge injustice. Roleplaying games (and yes, I mean games and not "exercises" or "therapy" - things with rules and called games by their designers) are, and have always been, about more than just "fun" for the players. Card games like Tarot have a tremendous history of use in ways that aren't merely "fun". If the idea that "games must be primarily about fun" is central to your argument, you should reevaluate your position; that premise isn't sound.

Canageek wrote:Honestly? Game critics suck at naming things. *snipped*

You seem to believe that music is easily classifiable and that genre boundaries are well-defined. This isn't, y'know, actually true. A great variety of music defies easy classification and bucks genre assignments; this is true of film, literature, pretty much all artistic forms. Art, in general, is not easily classified and that's okay.
My point about games criticism is that, if there really was a need for this clarification, games critics would be the people most in need of it. If, like you're saying, the maturation of video games as a medium makes it difficult to discuss them in analytic and critical ways without changing the name of the form, then the people whose job it is to discuss video games in analytic and critical ways would obviously be having a hard time of it. Except they aren't. Games critics, more than anyone else (besides, perhaps, games designers), are the most vocal advocates of allowing "game" to expand as a term.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 04 Apr 2015, 09:04

Duckay wrote:I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say with your platypus analogy. Can you elaborate?

Furthermore, writing off professional-level game playing as "silly" means nothing to your argument. So you think it's "silly" that people play poker professionally. That doesn't change the fact that it happens, and other people playing for fun doesn't change that professional-level play proves that the game is not played "pretty much only" for fun, which was your original claim. The same goes for educational games. Yes, they are designed to be fun. However, the experience of playing them is not universally fun, and the other elements involved (the educational value) also go against your claim that board and card games are "pretty much only" for fun.


Platypus: Humans have all these nice, clear categories that work most of the time. Then you try and account for the platypus and your work gets harder (i.e. you can't use live birth to define a mammal, which would have been the easy way.) That doesn't mean you give up and stop classifying things, it means you account for a few edge cases.

But that isn't why poker was designed, nor how most people play it. Of the people who play poker in a given week, how many play it professionally? 1%? Less? That isn't the main reason for playing the game. I can define a knife as "A small tool for cutting or stabbing things" and also use that tool for other things.

The fun point is really a digression: What I'm trying to say is "Video games are moving into areas not traditionally defined as games, and thus should get a new name."
Also, I don't think I said pretty much only for fun, if I did that was a mistake. I should have said, includes fun.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Duckay » 04 Apr 2015, 09:13

Platypuses and echidnas both are monotremes, so I guess you actually should have used the platypus as an example of exactly the reverse, of more specific naming conventions. Am I overthinking your analogy? I apologize. It just confused me at first.

Also, my major point of contention was with what you said in your very first post:
Canageek wrote:The problem is, video games are the only area this is happening in: Board games, card games, and roleplaying games are all pretty much only played for fun.


Not "marketed and designed to be fun", nor "a major feature is intended to be fun", but "pretty much only played for fun". I feel that claim is straight-up inaccurate but if you're backing down from that claim, sure. I still disagree that there's really any merit in renaming video games, but I have much less of an issue with your reasoning.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 04 Apr 2015, 09:22

Ree wrote:What harm is done by allowing "game" to be slightly broader than it is? Seriously, what bad thing will happen? I literally cannot imagine what's at risk here.

Anyways, it's certainly too late to stop it. "Game" is already massively broadly defined - your assertion that only video games are evolving does the diversity and innovation in the board game (broadly construed) space a huge injustice. Roleplaying games (and yes, I mean games and not "exercises" or "therapy" - things with rules and called games by their designers) are, and have always been, about more than just "fun" for the players. Card games like Tarot have a tremendous history of use in ways that aren't merely "fun". If the idea that "games must be primarily about fun" is central to your argument, you should reevaluate your position; that premise isn't sound.


What harm? It doesn't have to do harm: It is just technically wrong. I mean, it does make language less precise and lead to things I hate such as you can classify anything as art these days, so it is kind of a useless classification. It is like using upfield and downfield on a Fourier-transform NMR.

Ree wrote:
Canageek wrote:Honestly? Game critics suck at naming things. *snipped*

You seem to believe that music is easily classifiable and that genre boundaries are well-defined. This isn't, y'know, actually true. A great variety of music defies easy classification and bucks genre assignments; this is true of film, literature, pretty much all artistic forms. Art, in general, is not easily classified and that's okay.
My point about games criticism is that, if there really was a need for this clarification, games critics would be the people most in need of it. If, like you're saying, the maturation of video games as a medium makes it difficult to discuss them in analytic and critical ways without changing the name of the form, then the people whose job it is to discuss video games in analytic and critical ways would obviously be having a hard time of it. Except they aren't. Games critics, more than anyone else (besides, perhaps, games designers), are the most vocal advocates of allowing "game" to expand as a term.


That doesn't make any sense: Making something complex doesn't reduce the need for genres, it just adds more edge cases and the need to make new categories. I should be able to pick up a box, read a couple of categories and go "Ok, this is probably like X, Y and/or Z, I should bother/not bother trying it". I can do this for music: If I pick up death metal, I will hate it. If I pick up power metal, there is a good chance I will like it. Sure, there are lots of boarder cases, band that mix of X and Y, and if people do it enough (like say, add blues to rock with a heavier sound) it becomes a new genre.

Sure, it isn't easy, but if I find a band, pretty much any band, I can google their name, see a few genre assignments, and then google those and bam, more songs that are more or less like the one I just listened to. Films have genres as well. I see a movie and it is an art movie, usually it is part of a movement of some sort. If it is a mass produced movie, it usually has a genre of some sort. I don't know about them much as I don't watch many movies very much. Books...*walks into Chapters and looks at all the signs on the walls.* Oh look, genres. Not even going into all the different types of science fiction.

Yet, as SOON as you mention games, oh no, this can't be done, let us keep calling literally anything under the sun a video game without doing anymore work! I'm just going to keep writing reviews and doing game companies PR for them. Bleh.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Deedles » 04 Apr 2015, 10:06

Uhm, I don't entirely see the point of your genre example, because games have genres as well, and those tend to work pretty well for most people. And if someone isn't sure they'll like a game then they tend to google it to find articles, reviews, maybe even a let's play to get a better idea of what the game is like.

What you're describing isn't a problem in video games in large, and the cases where it has been a problem (like with some walking-sims being called 'adventure games' instead) a new genre comes up. See, it isn't the name video games that needs to change, we just need to keep adapting our genres to the new types of games that come out, and that's because video games as a media is still fairly young compared to literature, music and movies.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Ree » 04 Apr 2015, 11:05

Canageek wrote:What harm? It doesn't have to do harm: It is just technically wrong. I mean, it does make language less precise and lead to things I hate such as you can classify anything as art these days, so it is kind of a useless classification. It is like using upfield and downfield on a Fourier-transform NMR.


So this whole discussion is just because you've decided something is "wrong" and must be changed even though there's no compelling reason to change it? I don't know why I thought this was anything other than a petulant grognard whining about art. I'm out - sorry for helping this waste people's time and effort.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby romangoro » 04 Apr 2015, 16:17

So, I opened this thread after reading the title because I've been thinking that "game" is too narrow to englobe all it's englobing these days, but I disagree with most of Canadageek's arguments through the thread, including, but not limited to:

* Media genres, in particular music genres. Personally I think they're mostly capital B Bulshit, one step removed from creating a genre for each band, musician, and even album. Meanwhile musicians just go and play what they like, so what's the use? Finding similar things? Fine, just ask about similar things you might like! The same could be said for any other media including, of course, games. It may be useful for academic discussions of the media, but I don't see nor did I ever see a need for genres.

* "Fun" as a sort of "decider" between what's what. Really? Besides people who play games and/or sports professionally, as mentioned, I'd like you to know that I do a lot of things for fun. I listen to music, watch movies and go to the theatre for fun. I read both fiction and non-fiction for fun. I go to museums, both art, historical and/or whatever for fun. I travel thousands of kilometers for fun. I even cook for fun. In fact, even as a professional programmer I program for fun some now and then. And of course, I play video games for fun. Each and every game I've played, I've played it because is fun. I dropped Skyrim midway through because it was boring, and I had Borderlands 2 right next to it and that was fun. Am I saying anything that's unique to me? I don't think so, and that's why I think that the argument "not all videogames are played for fun, so we shouldn't call them games" doesn't work. All media is consumed for fun, even when each one's definition of "fun" may vary.

* "Video games are maturing, so... ". I don't know if videogames are maturing, are mature or need to mature and either way I don't know if that has/should have/will have any relation with a name change.


But all that being said, I do believe that "games" is narrow for what this madia actually is and has been for at least 10 years. I like to use "interactive fiction" because that's how I, well, interact with most of what I play these days. And I do think it would be useful to distinguish that from things like, say, Threes, Minecraft, Civilization, Dungeon Crawl and other things I play but with which I don't have the "relationship" I have with other things. I don't think there is a clear limit between the two groups, but rather a wide border area where one becomes the other, and that's the complex part.

After writing all that I think I can synthesize this in a "simple" sentence: I have the same kind of relationship with, say, all fiction books, all non-fiction books, all music, all movies/series, etc. I don't have the same relationship with all videogames, and I'd like a few words to represent that.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Alex Steacy » 04 Apr 2015, 23:40

Ree wrote:So this whole discussion is just because you've decided something is "wrong" and must be changed even though there's no compelling reason to change it? I don't know why I thought this was anything other than a petulant grognard whining about art. I'm out - sorry for helping this waste people's time and effort.


Easy now. There's no need to insult someone for having an opinion, even if it's one you (and I) disagree with.

I can at least on some level follow the desire to rename something that is in the process of changing on a large scale, but I don't really feel as though it's necessary or even possible. They're called video games, and as a general term of reference it may not be laser accurate but it works because people know what it basically means. It's also especially difficult to be on board with this idea when no viable alternative name is on the table. The argument really just sounds like "This thing is different now so it should be called something else but I don't know what." Please forgive me for saying that it seems needlessly pedantic.

Also, re: the above genre discussion, please consider these two lists:

[Music]
- Rock
- Classical
- Punk
- Jazz
- EDM
- (etc)

[Video Games]
- Survival Horror
- First Person Shooter
- RPG
- Puzzle
- Metroidvania
- (etc)

We've got no shortage of sub terms to describe with detail different facets of the greater video game medium. For this reason I don't feel any compulsion to change the umbrella under which all of these terms exist.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby RedNightmare » 05 Apr 2015, 10:40

Deedles wrote:If I were to make any sweeping term about games media it's that its not pretty much only for fun, but that what most games want to achieve is that they want to be engaging, and engaging isn't always fun, that's why we have well loved movies like Schindler's List, and games like Shadow of the Colossus.


So much yes! I have been convinced of this for ages. Games don't need to be fun, they need to be engaging. At no point during my time with The Walking Dead game was I having fun. I was engaged as hell though.

OT: I'm also of the opinion that games are such a young media, that I don't want to start excluding anything just yet. Let's see what we can fit in before we start thinking about boundaries.

As for the name. I don't think it needs to change. Video games are evolving and changing to encompass new ideas and new experiences. That just means we need to view the term differently, not come up with a new one.

Also, from a more practical point of view, let's be honest here. It will be impossible to make people suddenly use a different word for video games. The gradual change of the meaning of the word itself is far easier though. Gradual change is always easier than sudden change.
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Re: Video games are maturing, and could use a new name

Postby Canageek » 06 Apr 2015, 14:18

Alex Steacy wrote:I can at least on some level follow the desire to rename something that is in the process of changing on a large scale, but I don't really feel as though it's necessary or even possible. They're called video games, and as a general term of reference it may not be laser accurate but it works because people know what it basically means. It's also especially difficult to be on board with this idea when no viable alternative name is on the table. The argument really just sounds like "This thing is different now so it should be called something else but I don't know what." Please forgive me for saying that it seems needlessly pedantic.
[\quote]

See, that sums up my argument better then I've made it: Video games are changing on a large scale, we should come up with a term that encompasses all of them. (Lets call it a Zop for now. Bonus: No more arguments about something if is a game, it is a Zop for sure.)

Oh, I agree they won't get a name change, just that they SHOULD get one. Should and Will don't really seem to have much to do with each other, in fact, I'm not sure they are on speaking terms these days. People are really terrible about renaming things once a name has been given, which is why, as I understand it, every few years they have to think up a new name for 'art which is being produced right now' since 'modern' refers to a specific time period, as does 'contemporary' as does....

The fact something WON'T ever change,doesn't mean it should. It just means it is on my to do list for changes if I ever gain cosmic power/a time machine/become dictator of the universe.

Alex Steacy wrote:Also, re: the above genre discussion, please consider these two lists:

[Music]
- Rock
- Classical
- Punk
- Jazz
- EDM
- (etc)

[Video Games]
- Survival Horror
- First Person Shooter
- RPG
- Puzzle
- Metroidvania
- (etc)

We've got no shortage of sub terms to describe with detail different facets of the greater video game medium. For this reason I don't feel any compulsion to change the umbrella under which all of these terms exist.



Oh, I agree there are some good video game genres. However: Compare what falls into action-adventure. Lets see, from the first list of Action-Adventure games that came up when I googled (The winner and runners up for that category of award in 2013 on IGN): Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Now, several of those? Probably the same genre. The others? I'd love to propose names, but I am terrible at naming things. (The best name I can think for my own work is Metal-Inorganic Frameworks, which is pretty terrible, even compared to the currently in use Coordination Polymer).
But yeah: Look at Roguelike, one of the best genres for years, due to a very strict, community defined definition. It was top-down, RPG, where you played a single character moving around trying to do some goal. Most people would also add either permadeath (Deletes all your save files when you die, meaning you have to start over from scratch), or random generation to it (or both). Then modern games people got ahold of it, and Rogue Freaking Legacy is counted as a roguelike, despite the fact that it is an action game, has continuity between characters, and isn't an RPG. (Great game, but if I took someone who didn't know games, hid the title, and asked them if it had anything to do with Rogue after playing each, I'm betting they would say no.)

Anyway, that was a digression I probably shouldn't have mentioned, since it doesn't have to do with my main point, it was just to show that video game commentators are not the ones you want to look to for naming things.

Or look at FPS: There are FPS where you zip around at something like 400 kmh and don't want to stand still for any reason. Then there are FPS where you want to grab a chest-high wall and cling on for dear life, poping out only to blow people's heads off. These are both very popular genres, as I understand it, and play very differently, yet both have the same genre title.
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