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Jul 13 2010
By: LightJak007 Last Guardian 13339 posts
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The effects of modern influence on video games

8 replies 1230 views Edited Jul 13, 2010

What is really true across the board when it comes to something creative, it is always influenced by something at the time. I make music sometimes and what I hear usually on the radio or from my own playlists influences me on most of the songs I create. Same thing goes for game developers and they usually put that type of influence in their games. 

 

One of the biggest examples I can think of lately is the emphasis on third person "over the shoulder" shooters. Uncharted, Ghost Recon, and many other games are starting to adapt this type of gameplay made popular in recent years. It seems that this is the main connection to how video games evolve over the years. Everything is influenced by something and that is how we are able to get new types of game engines and new ways to play games. Although over-the-shoulder gameplay isn't necessarily innovative, it does have a direct influence on game development and a lot of games are adapting it.

 

Influence goes many ways though, and cultural influences affect development as well. Japanese customs don't match up with western customs and vice versa. When you play a Japanese-influenced game, you'll notice the differences in the art style, the gameplay, the story... everything down to the music is culturally influenced in some way. Western games are easy to spot out, we can look at a game with a lot of action and online multiplayer capabilities and immediately say it was made in the US/Canada. It doesn't mean that all games are this way, but a majority of games developed in North America are like this. Same goes for Japan, everything coming from them aren't all RPG's and crazy looking characters. 

 

To take it the other way around, how to do video games influence us, as a culture? I personally don't think that video games have a direct influence on who we will become as people. Video games do have certain values and moral that we can learn from but I don't think many people will get violently influenced by certain video games. I've played GTA and it didn't make me into a violent sociopath but a lot of people seem to think that games can affect children in that way but I think there are other factors to consider. All that should come in another topic.

 

As a society, video games are our way outside of reality and a way to just chill out after work/school. Why waste perfectly good technology on science or improving medication? We can has video games! (joke) A ton of people either play games or watch TV mostly for play time and then hopefully some of you go to the gym afterwards, but generally, video games play a huge part in our lives after work. It is a social activity for most and it is relaxing enough to get a break from working. 

 

Influence is a very interesting aspect of gaming development and it affects nearly everything in one way or another. I don't doubt that our preferences in video games can also have to do with influence around us. To me, it is that hidden thing in our lives that we don't really think about but it happens to be a huge factor in everything we do.

 

To conclude, here are some questions I would like you all to answer:

 

  • What kind of examples can you think of that influence gaming development or our habit of playing video games?
  • How does culture affect video game development?
  • Do you find yourself conforming to our culture's influences at times?
  • Anything else you would like to add. Remember, your opinion matters! 
I look forward to reading your responses!
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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 14, 2010

"My kids are learning bad habits from video games" I have heard this argument from parents countless times and It is something that can argued from both points of view. Just because video games have become a much bigger worldwide phenomenon that does not mean that it is effecting everyone, but when something this big is worldwide you cannot deny there will be some effects.

 

Parents always say that kids should not play violent games because it will make them criminals. Although shooting a guys head off in a shooter isn't exactly educational I cannot really see many kids thinking it's a good idea. Violence in games is a big problem however you want to spin it. But I don't see why it won't be considered by the population as just another thing that we do. It's like saying booze will make everyone an alcoholic. Sure some will drink a lot, but that doesn't mean we will all get in a car and driver after. (Man I'm just full of those aren't I? :smileyvery-happy:)

 

But if it really effects the brains of people it's hard to tell as of yet. If there will be any long turn repercussions we will find out later in the future when this generation grows up.

 

Cheers, Brrnout




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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 14, 2010

 


Brrnout wrote:


Cheers, Brrnout


 

Even though I didn't really mean for this topic only to be about the effects of video games on children or people, I still appreciate the response, I love you man.

 

Violence is definitely a big issue but putting the blame on video games is going a little too far, in my opinion. I say that because out of all the people I've known who play video games, it never affected them as a person in a violent way. They might have been more lazy though. :smileytongue:

 

This is just a personal observation though, it's not like I psychoanalyze everyone who games.

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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 14, 2010

What kind of examples can you think of that influence gaming development or our habit of playing video games?


I like your example of the OTS perspective in games. Ever since the success of Resident Evil 4 was apparent among the gaming community, it seemed like more and more games took after this approach. Another game that popped into my head as I read your second paragraph was Dead Space and Dead Space 2.

 

Another example that I can think of comes from thatgamecompany. If I remember correctly, it was the CEO of the developer that talked with a man that had gone to the moon. He said that no matter your background or beliefs, whenever you visit the moon, you notice how small we really are as you look toward Earth. thatgamecompany's next game, Journey, is looking to give the player this same miniscule feeling as their character attempts to traverse a desert and its obstacle to get to a light shining atop a mountain. It's a great example of culture directly influencing a game and I can't wait to play it.

 

Of course, many wars, especially during the WWII time period, have influenced developers time and time again. There are dozens of these reality-inspired titles already out and more are to come. Homefront, a game about North Korea invading the United States, is currently in development, for example. Yes, they haven't actually invaded the United States, but many aspects of the game are influenced by things found in real life. IGN talked with one of the developers and he said that they have realistically predicated, in four steps, how an invasion like this could occur. It's a game built from the ground-up on our everyday political goings-on (I hate that expression. :smileyvery-happy:).

 

Lastly, I think our competitive nature has greatly influenced games. Just look at Trophies and the way they're integrated into gaming. We have a Trophy counter, a percentage/level, and the ability to compare with others. I've seen quite a few people that won't even purchase a game if it doesn't have Trophies or will be hesitant on buying if they're too hard to obtain.

 

As for what influences us to play games, I think it's mainly what you have already stated. We just want to chill out and do something that we normally couldn't do. I always enjoy getting away from my everyday, occasionally boring lifestyle to shoot Chimera to death, race down the road at 100+ mph into oncoming traffic, or ride a horse into battle. Many feel the same way and want to experience what they can't in reality.


How does culture affect video game development?


Culture affects development in many ways but I think one of the most influential factors within the industry comes from our need of always wanting more at a faster rate. I live in the United States so my thoughts tend to center around the country, and from what has been sadly evident for years, we're a place that loves to spend and spend and spend. I think that a lot of developers recognize this and try to exploit this materialistic attitude and therefore release a lot of mediocre titles that they know we will buy.

 

And again, I liked the examples that you provided. Western games tend to be about shooting and Japanese games tend to center around a role-playing atmosphere. The artistic styles are different, the voice acting is different, the gameplay is different. In short, it's easy to see the differences and this is cool because it shows how diverse cultures can produce completely different things.


Do you find yourself conforming to our culture's influences at times?


Honestly, not really. If a game is good, I'll play it, regardless of whether or not it has been accepted by the public. An example that instantly popped into my mind is our fascination with multiplayer in games. It seems like everyone wants it anymore and many will go so far as to not even play a title if it doesn't support MP. I strongly go against this way of dictating a purchase and definitely don't think that every game needs multiplayer.

 

I'll do my own thing, no matter what is happening around me. Sure, I might give a game a chance that I might not have otherwise if it's receiving so much praise, but again, if I end up not liking it, I won't continue to play it just because others are.


Anything else you would like to add. Remember, your opinion matters!

 

I personally don't think that video games have a direct influence on who we will become as people.

 

I think that this statement could go either way. I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that violent games don't make people violent. Heck, many of the games in my collection would make my grandma shriek in disapproval but I'm one of the most laid-back people you'll meet.

 

On the lighter side of things, I don't see how this sentence could be any more incorrect in my life. For about four years now, I've known that I've wanted to work in the industry. Games are the only thing, other than the obvious friend and family response, that "move" me. They're my passion and have helped make me into who I am today and will continue to influence my life. Soon, I'll be heading to college in another state, leaving behind the only town I've ever known. My family and friends will be hundreds of miles away as I essentially change my lifestyle in order to learn more about games. And, if everything goes according to plan, I'll move even further away to California or North Carolina to work at Insomniac Games. I don't see how their influence could be any more direct than that.

 

Anyway, great topic, LJ.

 

Edit: Here are the articles that I made reference to in my replies in case anyone is interested in reading them:

 

Homefront: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/110/1103512p1.html

Journey: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/110/1100163p1.html

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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 14, 2010

LightJak007 wrote:

 


Brrnout wrote:


Cheers, Brrnout


 

Even though I didn't really mean for this topic only to be about the effects of video games on children or people, I still appreciate the response, I love you man.

 

Violence is definitely a big issue but putting the blame on video games is going a little too far, in my opinion. I say that because out of all the people I've known who play video games, it never affected them as a person in a violent way. They might have been more lazy though. :smileytongue:

 

This is just a personal observation though, it's not like I psychoanalyze everyone who games.


Sorry sometimes I start talking about one thing and then before I'm done I am talking about something totally different :smileyvery-happy::smileyvery-happy:


Cheers, Brrnout

 




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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 17, 2010
  • What kind of examples can you think of that influence gaming development or our habit of playing video games?

     I've been gaming for a very long time and I've seen many games influence the industry. Dungeons & Dragons inspired an entire genre. Starting with games like Wizardry & Ultima, these Western developed games inspired the Japanese to develop Dragon Quest and then Final Fantasy. All 4 were influenced by Dungeons & Dragons (pencil & paper) Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest gave rise to the RPG genre. The West moved towards Action combat within the RPG realm and the Japanese followed suit. The West eliminated Random encounters and the East followed closely. The East developed story telling in video games into an art form. The West is catching up.

 

     In the early 90s Doom and Wolfenstein gave birth to the First Person Shooter genre. Console games quickly adapted that style as well. For some reason, American gamers are stuck on WWII inspired warfare conflicts, despite many other wars that could have been used. I'm honestly surprised there aren't any games (legit games and not flash games) that aren't based in Afghanistan where you hunt down the Taliban.

 

     The move towards more competative gaming has influenced a lot of people to pick up gaming. While I dislike Trophies and Multi-player, these two aspects of gaming have led a lot of people to play if for no other reason than to say they're better than someone else. Online multi-player gaming does allow for people to meet people in places they've never been and often form online friendships due to online gaming.

 

     The more casual nature of the games on one system has greatly influenced older people to pick up gaming. It can bridge the gap between generations. When I was 11, my mother didn't play video games with me. But having grown up gaming, it allows me to play games with my daughter. My mom and step-father picked up a PS3 so that my daughter can play when she visits them and oddly enough, they enjoy watching her play her games.

 

     I still play video games for the same reasons I played them when I first started. I play to escape reality. I play to keep myself from hurting others (can't go to jail for killing someone in a video game). Video gaming has been a life-raft on many occasions for me. I don't play games for others, I play them for me. That's probably one of the biggest reasons I don't enjoy Trophies or multi-player. Those are competative reasons for gaming, something I don't care about. Gaming isn't about being better than someone else. At least, not in my view.


  • How does culture affect video game development?

     In the 80s when I was growing up, culture deemed that playing Video Games was A) for children and B) for geeks/freaks/nerds and other social rejects. In the 90s, the common gaming stereotype was late teen / early 20s, fat or sickly scrawny, wearing thick eye glasses and living in Momma's basement. The Playstation quickly broke many of the gaming stereotypes when it was released in the mid 90s. The PS2 pretty well established that gaming was here to stay and that more people played games that weren't geeks. Now gaming is considered to be acceptable by the bulk of the population.

 

     Our culture has shifted over the years and video games certainly reflect this in many ways. In the early years of gaming, it was taboo (here in the US) to include religion, nudity, blood/gore or other sensitive topics (like Nazis) in video games. The Dragon Quest and Breath of Fire games contained non-Christian dieties and those religious references were made into generic, non offensive non-denominational references. The Wolfenstein game contained Nazis and Hitler but those were altered into generic bad guys (although it was easy to read between the lines.)

 

     With gaming having grown up over the decades, once unheard of concepts like nudity (God of War) and gore (most shooters) are now common aspects to video games. For better or for worse that trend is likely to continue.

 

     The internet began it's quick rise in the 90s as PCs became more of a household item than before. This led to people wanting to play with and against each other. Home consoles were slow to adopt online multi-player and sadly the market has become over saturated with bland common MP games. It seems the bulk of gamers want only MP and could care less about solo experiences.

 

  • Do you find yourself conforming to our culture's influences at times?

     After so many decades of gaming, I have adapted to many things that I don't like about gaming, but to say I've conformed is ridiculous. I still don't care for voice acting in video games (I'd much rather read sub text). I don't care for MP in the bulk of my games. And I still want to thwack the people responsible for Trophies and Achievements in gaming. I still can't grasp why anyone feels they need to prove their deeds to others nor why they need someone to tell them what goals they should strive for in gaming. But, I understand these heinous concepts are here to stay like voice acting and multi-player. I don't have to like them and I will rant against them, but the alternative choice is to stop gaming.

 

     The only way I'll be done with gaming is when they pry the controller from my dead hands. (My wife and I joke that they'll find me one day dead with a controller in my hand and a Final Fantasy game on the television.) I can deal with things I don't like so that I can enjoy what I do like.

 

  • Anything else you would like to add. Remember, your opinion matters

 

     Every generation of gaming brings with it new ideas, new influences, new wants by gamers. Not all of those changes will be embraced by the "older" generations of gamers. Sometimes a concept is ahead of it's time. The PS2 had a Hard Disk Drive that very few developers embraced or took advantage of. Today all home consoles have HDD. Blu-Ray was a huge risk for Sony, yet that difference puts them ahead of the others. For all of the benefits of Blu-Ray it did hurt them in the process. It made their system more expensive at first glance, which is what most people look at.

 

     It still remains to be seen whether the motion sensing concept is more than just a fad. True, all three will have it by year's end, but will developers be able to make the most of it yet? 3D televisions and games are on the way as well. But will it become as much of a reality as HD? Only time will tell as to how well these new concepts play out over the course of the rest of this generation and the next.

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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 17, 2010

When I look at the state of the Video Game Industry these days I think of the Rocky Movies; everything now is being revamped, rehoned and all done to hell several times over in order to ride that wave of whats hot these days...

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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 18, 2010

I am probably the wrong person to ask when it comes to cultural influences on video games. I use American spelling (there is a little tidbit for some of my fellow Canadians), I listen to European music, and I play Japanese video games (I think that answers your third question). Where did these preferences come from I hear you ask? I do not have an answer for you. I seem to be far less likely than most individuals to dismiss a video game because it does not appeal to my “cultural preferences” or whatever that is supposed to mean (this is not limited to video games). I have actually heard people dismiss video games such as Bayonetta on the notion that they are “too Japanese” or something of that nature and comments like these often leave me speechless for a few moments. If individuals allow development locations and cultural influences to dictate their video game purchases then they will be missing out on many enjoyable video games...

I have long held the view that video games are by-products of our environment (not the other way around as some politicians would have you believe). When I say our environment of course I mean the influences that we choose to surround ourselves with and not necessarily what is in our immediate environment (the media for example). I say this because I do not listen to a lot of Canadian artists or watch a lot of Canadian television programs (among other things) despite my current location. Some individuals (I am not mentioning any names) spend a lot of money in an attempt to promote (and probably enrich in the process) Canadian culture and I do not even know what the hell this is supposed to constitute (at its core). Entertainment is entertainment. Just because a form of entertainment is supposed to appeal to individuals from a certain location or culture that does not necessarily mean that it will appeal to those individuals. With that being said, I think a lot of developers are looking at what is successful and following suit regardless of the cultural influences that are at work...

 

Anything else you would like to add. Remember, your opinion matters! 

 

I cannot say that I have a strong desire to increase my trophy level or initiate online multiplayer sessions with individuals. I do collect trophies (everyone does) and I do play video games online with others (it can be a lot of fun) but those were never highlights of a video game for me. Is it North American custom or something to compete with individuals online and earn more trophies than them? Back when I used to play Resident Evil 5 Versus online with random individuals I preferred to play with Europeans and Asians merely because they were less likely to turn a Slayers match into a Survivors match. Why do you suppose this is?

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Re: The effects of modern influence on video games

Jul 21, 2010

 


SweetPoison13 wrote:

I am probably the wrong person to ask when it comes to cultural influences on video games. I use American spelling (there is a little tidbit for some of my fellow Canadians), I listen to European music, and I play Japanese video games (I think that answers your third question). Where did these preferences come from I hear you ask? I do not have an answer for you. I seem to be far less likely than most individuals to dismiss a video game because it does not appeal to my “cultural preferences” or whatever that is supposed to mean (this is not limited to video games). I have actually heard people dismiss video games such as Bayonetta on the notion that they are “too Japanese” or something of that nature and comments like these often leave me speechless for a few moments. If individuals allow development locations and cultural influences to dictate their video game purchases then they will be missing out on many enjoyable video games...

I have long held the view that video games are by-products of our environment (not the other way around as some politicians would have you believe). When I say our environment of course I mean the influences that we choose to surround ourselves with and not necessarily what is in our immediate environment (the media for example). I say this because I do not listen to a lot of Canadian artists or watch a lot of Canadian television programs (among other things) despite my current location. Some individuals (I am not mentioning any names) spend a lot of money in an attempt to promote (and probably enrich in the process) Canadian culture and I do not even know what the hell this is supposed to constitute (at its core). Entertainment is entertainment. Just because a form of entertainment is supposed to appeal to individuals from a certain location or culture that does not necessarily mean that it will appeal to those individuals. With that being said, I think a lot of developers are looking at what is successful and following suit regardless of the cultural influences that are at work...

 

Anything else you would like to add. Remember, your opinion matters! 

 

I cannot say that I have a strong desire to increase my trophy level or initiate online multiplayer sessions with individuals. I do collect trophies (everyone does) and I do play video games online with others (it can be a lot of fun) but those were never highlights of a video game for me. Is it North American custom or something to compete with individuals online and earn more trophies than them? Back when I used to play Resident Evil 5 Versus online with random individuals I preferred to play with Europeans and Asians merely because they were less likely to turn a Slayers match into a Survivors match. Why do you suppose this is?


 

  Well, most people I know spell things the American way.  I only do it as a way of asserting my culture, but to be honest, I'm the same way in that I don't watch very much in terms of Canadian tv.  I do listen to some Canadian music, but I listen to a lot more American music.  The reality is, we can't deny the American influence on our culture.  Sure, we have a handful of cultural traits, but a lot of our entertainment does in fact come from south of the border.  In fact, I can't think of a single Canadian game developer.  There's likely a Canadian branch for some major companies, just so they can make our instruction manuals bilingual, but the games are still exactly the same.  I've always wondered what to point is of having instruction manuals in French when you can only play the game in English.  I think that's the biggest insult to those who only speak French, since unlike European code, games being bilingual isn't a priority in Canada(though to be selfish, as an English speaking gamer, I'm glad it isn't).  Anyways, the fact that I'm a gamer at least acknowledges that I've been influenced by the US in some way. 

 

  Then again, culture all over the world is influenced by contact with people outside of one's country.  Anyways, in general, I think there have been a lot of cultural influences on gaming.  For example, here in NA, I think the general gaming population has gotten older, hence why we are seeing a lot more M rated games, whereas in the past, the market was flooded with E rated games.  And with an older audience, it's likely far less important to censor certain content in games, plus a game restricted to an older audience can do really well, whereas in the past, maybe a move like that would limit a game's potential sales.  Online social networking has become very popular in the last decade, and aside from the obvious example of being able to check Facebook on a game console, do you think something as simple as knowing which of one's psn friends are online would be as big a deal if social networking wasn't popular?  I think the whole reason online gaming took off was because the general gaming population, much like the population in general, at least has some interest in the social networking trend.  And, I think the marriage of something like gaming, once considered to be an anti-social activity, with social networking, was a brilliant move, since I think it makes a surprisingly great pairing. 

 

  How about music in games?  I think video game music deserves more credit for making symphony/orchestra music relevant to a modern audience, even if that audience is gamers.  On the flip side though, it's worth mentioning that I have noticed that modern music has had a significant influence on modern video game music from the last couple gens.  The Mirror's Edge soundtrack comes to mind, particularly the Still Alive theme song, which even has its own music video.  This is of course in addition to the obvious move towards including vocals in video game soundtracks.  Music games are an obvious elephant in the room that I think needs to be addressed, though I think that's a genre that speaks for itself without me having to go into any detail about it. 

 

  As has been brought up already, trophies likely play into the competitive nature of our society as a whole.  I think modern culture has had more of an effect on gaming than is immediately obvious, and modern influences are particularly evident.  Would gaming have evolved into what it is now, without any cultural influence?  I don't think it would have.  But I think it was inevitable for gaming to become more mainstream, and in doing so, it has in my opinion set itself up to become even more influenced by culture, since a bigger portion of the population is picking up a controller.  And I don't think gaming and culture have ever been completely separate entities, as even when gaming was something that only appealed to a select portion of the general population, that portion of the population had its own impact on gaming culture.  Anyways, my post is long enough without getting into Japanese games and how they're affected by Japanese culture and even Western culture, and there are some examples of cultural influence on games in NA that I haven't mentioned(like movie based games), but I just thought I'd share some of my thoughts on culture and gaming. 

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