Administrator wrote:I'm always intrigued by these games that are mechanically minimalistic, but use basic gameplay to tell a compelling story. I'm not an expert on these sorts of games, but I've seen a couple via streamers (RetroPrincess' stream of The Bunker immediately comes to mind), and these sorts of games can be amazing. I think that indie developers can take bigger risks and wade into more controversial subject matter than the bigger companies can touch, and these story-telling sorts of games are an arena where indie studios can shine.
Yeah, it's a really interesting subject, since it really leans on how gaming itself is just one element of a video game, much like audio-visual presentation, or narrative. You can have a video game like Tetris, which is minimal on the latter two, but 100% focused on the game aspect, or ones like the Telltale Walking Dead games, which have very limited gameplay, but heavy cinematic and narrative elements. In between you can find things like RPGs, which can have complex gameplay and complex narrative. And all of these elements can tie together differently, too.
Some games like Undertale really heavily link their narrative to gameplay, while others, say Metal Gear Solid, puts it more in cinematics. Still others like the Talos Principle do neither, and just throw it into a bunch of audio and text logs.
What's really interesting about the minimal gameplay games is seeing just how they deploy the game aspect. Have they justified telling their story in this medium? With the Walking Dead games, for example, you are part of this ongoing story, told in a very linear and cinematic way, and your gameplay is responding to people in conversations, and making choices that could have consequences. Though the game has to end up in the same place no matter the choices, it does remember the things you do, and they affect how people treat your character. I found that minimum gameplay really helped to engage me in the story, since it tied me to the consequences in the way that a movie can't. When you watch a horror movie, it's easy to detach yourself from the characters, but the Walking Dead games invest you by their nature.
Unfortunately a lot of people still misunderstand this, and only buy games for the game aspect, with everything else being a perk. Admittedly, the naming doesn't help, since a game is a game, so you would expect gameplay focus. In reality, though, video gaming is perhaps the most complex medium out there, and gaming is just a part of it.
My interest level is very high, and I've added this to my "list of games to someday explore if I ever have free time again".
This is one of the only downsides of being a game developer. Don't get me wrong, I desperately love what I'm doing, but whenever I get free time, I need to spend it away from the monitors and keyboard, because I can only spend so many hours a day sitting in a chair and wailing on keys. There are so many incredible, deserving indie games out there that I really should be playing, but I just don't have the opportunity to experience them at this stage in OC's development.
I mostly get to do my gaming during breaks from school, myself. Unless it's the Binding of Isaac, which at this point is just sorta zen, and I use it to focus on other things, haha. I guess the bright side of having to wait is that, in the mean time, all of these interesting games will pile up, and you'll have a lot to go through once you have the time.