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    1. Looking for suggestions of investigation-based games

      Hi all, can anybody recommend any games that are mostly investigation-based with little to no combat? A few that I've really enjoyed were Outer Wilds, Return of the Obra Dinn, and The Sexy...

      Hi all, can anybody recommend any games that are mostly investigation-based with little to no combat? A few that I've really enjoyed were Outer Wilds, Return of the Obra Dinn, and The Sexy Brutale. (Two of these have time loop mechanics, and even Obra Dinn has something very similar, but I guess that's not strictly a requirement.) Each one is very story-driven, with complex worlds and events meticulously crafted, and it's your job to figure out exactly how each one works.

      19 votes
    2. What are some casual, kid-friendly games that can be played remotely, over a videoconference such as Zoom?

      I have a friend who's in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. They're currently all meeting remotely, for Obvious Covid Reasons. The kid they were paired with asked if they could play a game like...

      I have a friend who's in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. They're currently all meeting remotely, for Obvious Covid Reasons.

      The kid they were paired with asked if they could play a game like Monopoly or Wheel of Fortune.

      I'm sure there are some amazing games out there that are a) well-suited to be played over Zoom or a similar videoconferencing link and b) enjoyable for an adult and a kid to play together (most likely 1-on-1, but if there's games that could be played with N adults and N kids, those could also work)

      11 votes
    3. What game(s) have you tried to repeatedly get into but ultimately could not?

      This could be a gaming series that is very popular but for some reason or another doesn't resonate with you, or maybe a weird one-off within a genre that you love. What aspects didn't resonate...

      This could be a gaming series that is very popular but for some reason or another doesn't resonate with you, or maybe a weird one-off within a genre that you love. What aspects didn't resonate with you and what could have been done differently that would made it easier to like the game?

      21 votes
    4. What are the oldest games you still regularly play?

      For the purposes of the question, I want to ignore official remasters/rereleases since those are essentially separate, newer full releases. I'm interested in old, original games. Titles that you...

      For the purposes of the question, I want to ignore official remasters/rereleases since those are essentially separate, newer full releases. I'm interested in old, original games. Titles that you can "manually remaster" yourself with mods are fine, since you're still playing the "original" game to some extent.

      Also, "regularly" in the title doesn't have to mean daily/weekly and can instead be "once every couple of years".

      • What keeps you coming back to them?
      • Is your love for the games strictly nostalgia-based, or could an unacquainted newcomer still find similar value in them?
      • If there are any modern games that try to scratch the same itch, do they succeed or fail?
      • Would you want an official remaster of the game (if one isn't already available)?
      25 votes
    5. What games have you played the "wrong" way?

      "Wrong" here can be intentional or unintentional. Maybe you completely missed that a character had a certain ability and got through the entire game without knowing there was so much more you...

      "Wrong" here can be intentional or unintentional. Maybe you completely missed that a character had a certain ability and got through the entire game without knowing there was so much more you could be doing! Instead, maybe you specifically challenged yourself to get through the game without using that ability, seeing if you were up to the challenge! Maybe you activated cheats to cruise through on easy mode, or maybe you accidentally activated a cheat and had no idea that the game wasn't supposed to be that easy (ask me about my FF7 playthrough).

      "Wrong" can also be however you decide to interpret it: counter to the developer's intentions, exploiting the game engine, uncovering a loophole in the game's systems, pursuing your own goals instead of the game's goals, etc. It's not meant to be a moralistic judgment by any means (play any game however you want!) but more just an identifier that you went against the game's standard norms and expectations.

      Tell us what you did "wrong", why you did it that way, and what the outcomes were. Did it make the game more fun or exciting? Did it ruin the game for you?

      18 votes
    6. What are some RPGs that really capitalise on player choice and branching story?

      I keep seeing a lot of complaints surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 that it's not a particularly good RPG, because the story is pretty linear and the player choice doesn't really amount to much. I'm not...

      I keep seeing a lot of complaints surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 that it's not a particularly good RPG, because the story is pretty linear and the player choice doesn't really amount to much. I'm not yet done with the game so I don't know how accurate that assessment is. But either way, with my limited knowledge of programming and game design, I assume that doing this sort of thing well is a significant technical challenge.
      What are some games that rise to this challenge and make the most of player choice and branching story?

      10 votes
    7. How should we evaluate narrative tension in videogames?

      I recently played through 2013's Tomb Raider and it was a delight -- a wonderful reboot that modernized a series whose originals I loved but that are quite dated by today's standards. In the game,...

      I recently played through 2013's Tomb Raider and it was a delight -- a wonderful reboot that modernized a series whose originals I loved but that are quite dated by today's standards.

      In the game, Lara, the main character, is in peril constantly, and she is driven into worse and worse situations in an effort to save her crewmates and friend. The narrative of the game demands immediate action -- any dawdling risks all of the characters' lives.

      Of course, we know that games' timelines aren't necessarily time-driven but character-driven, so it is trivial for Lara to stop at any point in the game and not advance the story. The killers who are prepared to murder your friends will patiently wait around as long as necessary. Furthermore, the game gives you plenty of reason to do so! There are collectibles to find and story and lore bits scattered about the levels that you have to go out of your way to encounter. Finding these gets you more XP and resources which unlock skills and weapons that make the game easier. The game lets you fast travel back and forth to different areas as needed, and I spent a good amount of time at the story's height of tension not resolving that tension by advancing to the climax but by ignoring it and scouring the island for all the things I missed instead.

      I use Tomb Raider as an example here, but I'm sure you can think of plenty of other examples where the game directly incentivize actions that outright subvert its story. What I find interesting is that, on paper, I should care about this discrepancy, but in practice I really don't. In fact it's customary for me to do this in nearly every game I play, as I find that I like "checklisting" and cleaning things up rather than advancing the plot (of course -- do I actually like that, or do I merely like that I get rewards for doing so?).

      I don't have a singular question to ask but instead have some jumping off points for discussion:

      • Is this undermining of narrative tension an actual issue, or is it just part of the suspension of disbelief embedded into the medium of gaming?
      • Have you felt that particular games were made worse due to this issue? If so, why? If not, why not?
      • What games are counterexamples -- games whose narrative tension is not undercut by their gameplay? What makes them work? Does that aspect benefit the game, or would the game be roughly the same (or better) without it?
      • If you consider this an issue, does the "responsibility" for it lie with the developer of the game for incentivizing gameplay counter to narrative, or does the "responsibility" lie with the player for ruining their enjoyment of the narrative by pursuing other goals?

      Also, don't feel limited by these questions or my choice of game and feel free to address anything else relevant to this idea that you feel is important or relevant.

      15 votes
    8. Game soundtracks: Listening to them outside the game and how they impact the game itself

      I was curious how many people on here enjoy listening to game soundtracks outside of the game. I personally love when a game has a great soundtrack as it really adds to the atmosphere and overall...

      I was curious how many people on here enjoy listening to game soundtracks outside of the game. I personally love when a game has a great soundtrack as it really adds to the atmosphere and overall immersion in the game. I also like collecting physical copies of them as well.

      If you do, which ones are your favorite? Personally I love Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy, and Blazblue soundtracks the most.

      19 votes
    9. What makes different hack’n’slash action games distinct and special?

      I’ve been playing Bayonetta on and off for a bit of time, and now that I’m near the end of it (just started Requiem), the genre kinda grew on me, which surprised me quite a bit. I see loads of...

      I’ve been playing Bayonetta on and off for a bit of time, and now that I’m near the end of it (just started Requiem), the genre kinda grew on me, which surprised me quite a bit.

      I see loads of games being thrown in the same bag:

      • Bayonetta
      • Devil May Cry
      • Darksiders
      • Ninja Gaiden
      • No More Heroes
      • God of War
      • several Warriors/Musou games
      • etc. etc.

      So I was wondering what makes any specific game in the general genre distinct and special, and wanted to discuss in this thread.

      My experience with this genre is limited as the Switch is my first ever console, but I will share what little experience I have in a comment.

      P.S. I hope this thread will be a bit more lively than my previous try with the Different types of 3D platformers thread.

      6 votes
    10. What were the most novel, unique, or unusual games you played this year?

      I asked in another thread about the best games you played this year, which is a question that tends to surface highly polished and often highly familiar gaming experiences. This thread isn't about...

      I asked in another thread about the best games you played this year, which is a question that tends to surface highly polished and often highly familiar gaming experiences.

      This thread isn't about "best" but about the most interesting -- games that did something different or odd or tried something new. They didn't have to necessarily succeed at that, and they can be very rough around the edges or even outright bad -- what matters is that they went out of their way to offer something very much their own.

      11 votes
    11. What are some games that work on the player's intent?

      Today I rewatched the Game Maker's Toolkit video on Celeste: Why Does Celeste Feel So Good to Play? I recommend watching the entire video (and all of GMT's other content), but there's this...

      Today I rewatched the Game Maker's Toolkit video on Celeste:

      I recommend watching the entire video (and all of GMT's other content), but there's this fascinating point in the video, around the eleven-minute mark, when one of the developers of Celeste says "It's like working on the player's intent rather than making it a precise simulation".

      What the developer is talking about in this quote are a few hidden features of Celeste that make the game more forgiving. For instance:

      • The player can jump even a few frames after they have left a platform
      • Dashing into a corner will gently curve the player around the corner rather than bringing them to a hard stop
      • If the player tries to jump just a few frames before hitting the ground, the game will recognize their intent and perform the jump automatically once the player hits the ground

      That last point is the most blatant example of what I am talking about. The game "realizes" what the player is trying to do, and allows them to do it, rather than punishing them for being off by a few frames/milliseconds. In this way, Celeste works on the player's intent, rather than sticking to the hard rules of its simulation.

      I think that's a really fascinating and powerful idea, but I would also be very surprised if it were actually something new and unique.

      So I wanted to ask, are there any other games that work on the player's intent? How exactly do they do it? Do they make the experience more forgiving like Celeste does, or are there any games that recognize the player's intent, but somehow make the game more difficult as a result?

      Finally, just because I am curious, in what ways, both in and out of gameplay (such as interface design) could "working on the player's intent" be used to improve game and software experiences?

      18 votes
    12. What's a noteworthy game that you never see mentioned anywhere?

      Maybe it's a random itch.io find; maybe it's a minor title from a long forgotten console; maybe it's a dev project your friend asked you to play test. Whatever it is, you think it's neat, and you...

      Maybe it's a random itch.io find; maybe it's a minor title from a long forgotten console; maybe it's a dev project your friend asked you to play test. Whatever it is, you think it's neat, and you never see it mentioned anywhere.

      Tell us about the game -- what is it? Why is it noteworthy? Do you think it deserves more recognition than it's gotten? Why do you think it's as hidden away as it is?

      21 votes
    13. What 'still/currently/actively in development' games are you following?

      Admittedly the game probably has to have a devlog of some form, otherwise this question is synonymous with "what games are you waiting for?", which is far too generic a question. The game I'm most...

      Admittedly the game probably has to have a devlog of some form, otherwise this question is synonymous with "what games are you waiting for?", which is far too generic a question.

      The game I'm most interested in is Songs of the Eons (itch.io, most active), which wants to be like Dwarf Fortress but a grand strategy game (main post, for context). Obviously they've noted that such a project will have Dwarf Fortress esque development, so waiting is very much in order.

      There's also Hyperbolica (trailer) which I've posted about here somewhat.

      There's also Hytale, Creeper World 4 and to an extent KSP 2, which I like but don't follow that regularly, for not much reason TBH.

      I'd probably also follow Deltarune but Toby doesn't seem to really do dev updates too often.

      So are there any games that you're following as they're developed?

      14 votes
    14. Different types of 3D platformers

      Spurred by this (sub)thread on the topic of 3D Mario All Stars, I thought it would be interesting to discuss different types of 3D platformers, comparing them and perhaps even managing to group...

      Spurred by this (sub)thread on the topic of 3D Mario All Stars, I thought it would be interesting to discuss different types of 3D platformers, comparing them and perhaps even managing to group the similar ones together.

      I hope such a discussion might lead people to try some other games that they haven’t before based on what they have enjoyed before.

      Some example topics, to kick-start the discussion:

      • how the character feels/controls (e.g. their momentum, jump, move-set)
      • audio-visual package
      • story and general ambience/feeling
      • completionist goals
      • specific game mechanics
      • any other reason why one is a “must play” and how is it similar or different to others
      8 votes
    15. What was the first game you ever loved?

      I'm interested in hearing about the first game you ever loved and, more importantly, what it was that made you feel that way. Don't just give me the game title, but tell me the whole love story!...

      I'm interested in hearing about the first game you ever loved and, more importantly, what it was that made you feel that way. Don't just give me the game title, but tell me the whole love story!

      If more than one game fits the bill, that's fine too. I'd love to hear about all of them.

      23 votes
    16. What are some beautiful/brilliant/inventive games that were panned by critics?

      In your opinion, what is a game/what are some games that were inventive/unique/original or just otherwise superb that you feel didn't receive the praise it deserved? Personally, I feel that the...

      In your opinion, what is a game/what are some games that were inventive/unique/original or just otherwise superb that you feel didn't receive the praise it deserved?

      Personally, I feel that the Scribblenauts series (Mainly the first two) are amazingly imaginative games that I don't hear talked about often. I feel that this is perhaps due to its being on the DS, a platform that was sort of mired in shovelware. I hadn't ever seen a game quite as painstakingly made as this one. The developers clearly had fun thinking of all the different ways to solve their puzzles. The soundtrack is also unexpectedly wonderful, and is very reminiscent (imo) of Katamari Damacy

      Edit: I suppose mediocre popular reception would have been a better way to say it instead if critical reception

      22 votes
    17. What are the most iconic video game sound effects you can think of?

      I heard someone with the Sonic "ring loss" chime as their text message alert today and it instantly brought a smile to my face. Just wondered what other sound effects would be most nostalgic for...

      I heard someone with the Sonic "ring loss" chime as their text message alert today and it instantly brought a smile to my face. Just wondered what other sound effects would be most nostalgic for you if you were to hear it in a similar situation, as there are many games/franchises/systems I have little to no experience with.

      19 votes