What makes features make a RPG? e.g. character creation, choice making etc.
I’ve seen a good number of arguments between game fans about what is and isn’t an RPG, but the actual answer might be a bit disappointing. They want to be able to point at a game in an argument and definitively say “That’s not a [insert genre here]!” And they argue about this constantly, when what they are really saying is “I don’t like [insert game here], so I am going to say it is not [insert genre here] in order to make my dislike seem more legitimate.” While a lot of hardcore (and argumentative) players want genres to have a hard and clear set of criteria, the reality is that they aren’t. To understand this, we should go back to where they originally came from. The answer lies in two words: Shelf Space.
In the beginning, long before any kind of digital distribution, video games were sold from wholesalers to retailers and put on the shelves in brick and mortar stores. No matter what you’re selling, be it video games, kitty litter, or shampoo, the retailer will want to put similar things together. That way, the customer will intuitively grasp the similarity and be more likely to buy the products he or she wants. This helps the customers find things, as well as suggests other products to the customer that he or she might like. So this is what began the idea of video game genres. They are roughly categorized onto where they would be sold by a retailer, and they are done pretty haphazardly by employees quickly.
Video games tend to have far too much bleed-over to ever have any real hard classification system. It’d be way too easy to find examples of games that defy any set of established rules you have, which is why most of us on the development side don’t even bother. Instead, we often use a general and simple set of rules to determine whether a game is of a specific genre. This doesn’t preclude a game being part of multiple genres either. We generally leave it up to the retailers to do the final call when they are putting games on shelves. So here are the (rough) general guidelines:
Does it involve shooting enemies or a first-person perspective? Shooter.
Does it involve playing a real-world sport of some kind? Sports game.
Does it have experience points and levels? RPG
Is it online-only? MMORPG/Online game.
Is there manipulation of blocks involved? Puzzle.
Top-down view with lots of little selectable things? Strategy.
Race tracks and vehicles? Racing.
Skybox in first person? Flight sim.
Plastic instrument? Music.
One person on the left fighting another on the right, with health bars up top? Fighting.
An 80s classic that old people would recognize (e.g. Pac-man, Centipede, Galaga, etc.), or a game with 8-bit aesthetic? Arcade.
Didn’t fit? Action/Adventure.
And that’s really it. Can games get more than one “yes”? Sure. Most of the time, nobody on the development side really cares. If you want to say your game is an RPG, go ahead. If you want to say it has “RPG Elements”, go ahead. We rarely bother trying to classify things because we know that there are plenty of games that break any hard set of genre rules - and as more games come out, it will continue to do so.
Another day, another ad for something ahead of its time. Meet GameLine, the download service that brought Atari and Commodore games to you through your phone line. Downloading a game with a a phone line is laughable now (or traumatic, if you were a ‘90s kid) now that we have more widely-available broadband but for a long while, things like this was as good as it got.
As the ad describes, owners used a special cart (plus an expansion, for C64 users) that hooks up to their phone. You were charged, of course: playing one round of a game would cost you 10 cents. (Talk about really bringing home the arcade experience!) Not only that, but the ad claims that owners were also tied into a ‘network’, where they could play in competitions for prizes: how it worked, I don’t know.
As antiquated as this is I’m actually impressed: based on what I’ve been so far, this may be technology’s oldest example of online gaming and digital distribution! (And game industry scalping, if you want to be a smartass.)
Thanks for your answer to the question on online multiplayer. If you do not mind going further into this, does the money from ps+ or xbox live actually go to servers or game servers to improve things like reliability? Do you feel that paid console online is bad or good for the industry? If I understand you correctly, you state console makers if they go back to making online free those costs would be pushed on to others such as publishers, causing issues. Is that correct?
Does the money from ps+ or xbox live actually go to servers or game servers to improve things like reliability?
XBL and PS+ don’t actually run the game servers. Game servers are handled by the respective game’s publisher. What XBL and PS+ do is provide a platform that handles matchmaking, game invites, digital distribution, financial transaction support, activating and validating software keys, tracking achievements, and providing a messaging service and friends list.
That said, XBL and PS+ have performance indicators that the executives are watching - stats like percentage growth, revenue earned, marketing data, user engagement numbers, and so on. The money they earn through subscriptions and digital sales is, in part, channeled back into the service to continue maintenance and improvement. This means reliability, yes, but also things like better performance or quality of life features.
Do you feel that paid console online is bad or good for the industry?
I don’t think a paid console online platform is necessarily good or bad. It’s just a value proposition - here are a bunch of services that Sony and Microsoft (and soon Nintendo) are offering to you at a given price. You can decide, like me, that the annual cost isn’t worth it and not subscribe to the service. Or you can decide, like many friends of mine, that the value is there, and pay for the service. There are clearly enough people out there that view it as a worthwhile exchange. Who am I to tell them that they shouldn’t?
If console makers go back to making online free, the associated costs would be pushed on to others such as publishers, causing issues… right?
It is certainly one possibility. Other ways could be lowering costs for maintenance or development, selling advertisements, or selling user data to advertisers. Any sort of online gaming platform could do this. In fact, they could be doing any or all of these already and you’d probably never know.
You're delusional if you think a video game will just disappear from existence. As long as ISO rips exist, as long as emulation exists, as long as piracy exists video games aren't going to just vanish. "Archiving" is not as sacred and pressing issue as it was in the past due to the very nature of digital storage and digital video game distribution, as well as emulation itself. This "GAMERGATE IS DESTROYING THE FUTURE/HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES" is a bunch of fearmongering bullshit.
the very nature of digital-only games makes archiving them even more important than it was before.
without discs or carts we are dealing only with data; data that is ultimately in the hands of companies who care more about profit than they do the history of the medium.
ESPECIALLY considering roms and iso’s, including their distribution, is largely illegal
is there even an ngage emulator? has anyone even ripped every single ngage game? I say mentioning a well known and well advertised console that no ones cares enough about to save.
Tell me, how do you plan to play journey in 50 years? you know we still haven’t perfectly emulated the SNES, right? but somehow we’ll just magically have perfect emulation of the PS3 by then. and we’ll be able to do play it online just like the developers intended? … sure.
you wanna pretend that because Sony ported Shadow of the Colossus to the PS3, or because nintendo threw Mario 64 into an emulator that games are no longer in danger of being lost?
bullshit. 1) those aren’t the original games 2) the emulation isn’t accurate even when they are the original games 3) the ones that are released are released based on profit.
Call me when i can play ubisofts pick’n’pile .. with the original controller. call me when MS releases breakdown on Xbox Live.
hell call me when we can all play the original Goldeneye on our fancy new consoles. one of the most popular, best selling games of all time and we can’t play it because of copyright laws and three different companies owning the rights.
i mean lets not even talk about the pile of old games EA is sitting on and doing nothing with.
And these games i’ve mentioned aren’t even obscure; they’re by companies still operating, most got physical releases, most were reviewed well, most sold well too
but you wanna pretend the games that no one cares about that are released right now are still gunna be playable in 50 years? hell 20?
like come the fuck on, all ur thinking about is the popular games, the ones you care about, the ones that make money and have names behind them.
you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about at all and if you actually gave a shit about gaming and it’s history anything that increased the likelyhood of us losing it should worry you to hell and back.
but you dont care about archiving because you dont care about the medium.
in conclusion: gamergate is destroying the future/history of videogames and u suck
Aren't VALVe pretty much self sustaining due to Steam and for many of the same reasons as Blizzard? In addition, they don't have to worry about shareholders hounding them about delaying their releases. Or is there more to it?
It really isn’t the same with Valve unless you mean “both get huge amounts of money from something they made”. Unlike Blizzard’s extremely zealous brand management, Valve has no problems trying out new things. If you look at their track record from the past 7 years, you’ll see them adding in (or purchasing) new IPs and gameplay on a pretty regular basis (some of which are hits, some of which aren’t):
Left 4 Dead (2008)
Alien Swarm (2010)
In addition, they also have branched out in other directions - Steam Greenlight, Steam Early Access, the Steam Box, and so on and so forth. Remember, Blizzard gets by with it’s extremely zealous brand management. They are super careful about what they put out with their name on it. Valve, on the other hand, isn’t like that. They’ll try new things and if they don’t work out, it’s ok. They’ll try something else instead. Blizzard doesn’t do this - they are very careful to tightly control their brands and leverage them. So why is Valve the other exception to the rule?