if it’s not 13 takes you’re cancelled, bub
I want to be clear, for every potential take I’ve listed here I’m not intending to dunk on the discussions or the people discussing them except to say that they’ve been discussed before and it would be nice if (general you) you’re going to bring them up that you at least look like you’ve done your homework and acknowledge that.
I feel like we talk about whether single-player games are dead at least annually at this point.
This is one of the seven lights.
Yeah I definitely wasn’t wanting this to be a dunk-fest on games communities, but was more wanting to identify what these repeating arguments are, and perhaps WHY they are, and possibly even how we might better have those discussions.
I think at the heart of it is that these questions of difficulty vs approachability, and ludology vs narratology and many others brought up are largely unanswerable, and so come up again and again without a clear winner.
I definitely feel it’s worth exploring what these discussions are, and I apologize if my initial comment came off as insinuating the discussion up to that point had been a dunk-fest, as that wasn’t the case!
I do feel it’s a good opportunity to try and see why these discussions progress at such a glacial pace.
I think part of it has to do with just how many voices are in the discussion. Now, this is a good thing in the long run, but getting everyone on the same page, so that everyone is talking about the same thing even, just takes so long. One of the best points I read in the last couple of weeks on the intersection of difficulty and accessibility was a tweet with 44 retweets. For the points made in that tweet to make their way into the forefront of the discussion it will likely take a while.
Another limiting factor I believe is just how slow game development is in comparison to other mediums. Just as important as discussion around games is how games respond to that discussion. How much longer are we going to be using Celeste as the example we cart out for understanding difficulty vs accessibility and not conflating the two? It could be a while as many of the games it will influence in this regard likely won’t be out for a bit. Of course, patches change the speed of response a developer can have to discussion around a game, but that doesn’t garuntee anything. To an extent, games conversation can only progress as fast as games account for that progress. That’s often a slow advance.
- Single-player games are dead/These three games prove single-player games are not dead
Aware this was a bit - but it did remind me of a tweet I saw a few weeks back from @haydencd on Twitter. To quote him:
Game Industry Arguments Calendar:
- J: DLC bad?
- F: Review scores?
- M: GDC, too expensive?
- A: Dark Souls easy mode?
- M: E3, pointless?
- J: Are games ART?
- J: Why no summer releases?
- A: BioShock Infinite?
- S: Loot boxes?
- O: Crunch, bad?
- N: Violence, too violent?
- D: What about porn games?
Is the MMORPG Sandbox vs. Themepark (Eve Online vs. WoW) discourse just that?
Ah yes, the famous thirteen takes of video games:
- Is Breath of the Wild a REAL Zelda game?
- What’s the correct Zelda timeline theory?
- Does the original Legend of Zelda still hold up today?
- Which character should Link marry?
- Is Ocarina of Time just a ripoff of A Link to the Past?
- The Wind Waker: Zelda more like CELDA
- Should there be a female Link?
- Is top-down or 3D Zelda better?
- What’s the deal with Tingle?
- Did linear games like Skyward Sword ruin Zelda?
- Is Twilight Princess just a hackneyed remake of Ocarina of Time?
- Majora’s Mask: the best Zelda game or the worst?
- The Zelda CD-i games - should we acknowledge their existence?
This is one of the tricky things, especially because there can be a tendency, if you’re not from a particularly academic background, to collapse a discussion into legitimate/illegitimate views. This can happen at the time or after-the-fact, but some stances (no matter how well-defined!) can make someone a target for dismissal, either on that particular issue or in general.
Sometimes, that’s very valid, but, sometimes, it’s simply that someone is out of step with the current consensus. That isn’t inherently bad. The discourse might loop back around to them in a few years – maybe their interpretation on a given issue is a little ahead of its time or has yet to find an audience.
This helps build on an issue that Walker highlights for me:
This is a lot of why this conversation is frustrating. The debates do advance (the discussion around Sekiro is very different to the one that emerged when Dark Souls 2 came out), but it’s never with reference to what happened before.
Even if we were to recognise where opinions have constructively advanced, would we do that with good grace and recognition that people can change? Or would we be seeing people calling folks out on Twitter for having bad takes five years ago?
I’ve often wondered if it would be merited or helpful to write up on-the-one-hand explainers for this kind of discussion. I’ve a personal predeliction towards seeing the best in other people’s arguments (and I do think there’s a lot to be said for engaging with the best version of your opponent’s arguments!), but I’m not sure we, as a culture, are here for it. It’s very easy to look at it as centrism and dismiss anyone who disagrees with you as wrong out of hand.