Games to play and not to play

This article has been bubbling in my mind for quite some time, and I’ve decided to steam it off. There are games that you must play, like Mario or Contra. Then there are games that you play (Counter Strike, AoE). Some games you wish you could play (Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry). Games you should play (Braid, Minesweeper, Spore). And finally come the games you must NEVER play (Farmville, World Of Warcraft, Mafia Wars, School Of Magic and the like). Why this categorization? Because I recently decided to leave School Of Magic on facebook after a week long affair where I reached lvl 15, and was about to get into “thick of things” as they say. Why? Because I realized that SOM is not a true game. A game is supposed to be entertaining, and indulgive. If it tells me to do something, I must do it because I take interest in it. Not to get ahead of my peers. I recently came across an article by Jonathan Blow, my favourite game designer (Braid). He opened my mind to the fact that “A Game is a form of art”.

You may not agree with this statement right now, but consider James Cameron’s Avatar, which looks so close to real, yet is live 3d. It does look kind of gamer-ish, doesn’t it? And we all agree that cinemas, and literature are a part of our culture, part of our art. But as movies get closer to games(Resident Evil, Prince Of Persia), the same is happening the other way around. Games are becoming a part of our art culture. Games like Bio-Shock, and Fear portray the doomed versions of our future. The designer behind these games did not just say, let’s make another FPS, where you kill everything that moves (that was Doom 1,2 by the way). They decided to create a realistic storyline, and a better game play. That is as innovative as it takes to get the feel of the game to the player. Let us now take up some of these categories I defined quickly.

Games You Must Play
These are the kind of games, that each of us has played. They remind us of how we first stared at that green background trying to figure out the next play in Solitaire. Or the joy of ducking under the dragon and touching that axe in Mario. These games still remind us about the giant leap that the gaming industry has taken. For Dave, Wolf-3d, Roadrash, we have reached graphics quality that surpasses HD (Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2)
Games You Play
Skip this if you aren’t a gamer. If you’re one, well you know the games I’m talking about. Nothing beats taking a frag with a deagle. Other than maybe shouting 14 before all those AoE games. Its the thrill, and excitement, and your love of the game that keeps you glued to the seat. I won’t call these games entirely unethical, because the game play here is fair enough, and exciting. You know what you’re doing, and why. And its not just because of that score, or frag. It is also because of the satisfaction that you get after that frag.
Games You Wish You Could Play
Sometimes you Graphics Card isn’t all that powerful, or you just can’t find a torrent/download link for the game. Sometimes 10GB games do seem big. And sometimes, as in the case of FIESTA, the game hasn’t been launched for PC.
Games You Should Play
These are the games that really matter. That form of the core of my “games are art” theory. Games like Braid, Osmos, Minesweeper, Prince Of Persia (not all), Tomb Raider (again not all parts). These games take you into their own world, where you get to learn, listen, think, and observe. Where you play the game because its exciting, and fun, and you want to play it. Not because someone is offering you a “level up” if you click on a button.
Games You Should Never Play
If once is not enough, I repeat, Stay away from these games. Please, these hacked up versions of the same code, or sometimes game idea, do not deserve to be called as games. Mafia Wars, Restaurant, Cafe Shop, and all of those mindless facebook games come here. And so do War Of Warcraft, Travian, NFS Pro Street(that was just a bad game). These so-called-games
  1. do nothing to entertain you
  2. offer you nothing but just-another-level-up
  3. never “teach” something (play braid, you’ll understand what I mean)
  4. have nothing interesting

Then what is the reason that they are so hyped, and most played MMORPGs? The reason is lack of better games. Lack of games that exist on facebook and is not-another-clone-of-mafia-wars. Lack of games that adhere to strict design ideas. Do not take me wrong. There are some serious game designers who are talented, but the truth is that they are forced to make what sells, and what sells is Mafia Wars. Unfortunately. And these people are forced to work for such games. Wasting their talent on such mindless games. And if all of this wasn’t enough read this quote by the CEO of Mafia Wars :

I knew that i wanted to control my destiny, so I knew I needed revenues, right, fucking, now. Like I needed revenues now. So I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this zwinky toolbar which was like, I dont know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it. laughs We did anything possible just to just get revenues so that we could grow and be a real business…So control your destiny. So that was a big lesson, controlling your business. So by the time we raised money we were profitable.

Read the entire story on facebook gaming scams here. And if you’re with me, try picking up some better titles instead of playing these nonsense games on FB

Welcome Aboard The Nautilus

This is my first real post on my brand new blog at wordpress, and quite seriously, I’m thrilled to get a new start. I hope this project would flourish unlike many of the other things I took up (Kasiasi, Papercut,…). I have not yet completely given up on Papercut, and I really liked the Google Sites interface, but posting online, and editing it takes time. So this is my first attempt at publishing offline edited work, using Windows Live Writer. I’ll try to use other options as well, and let you know which I like best.

Now for some blogging stuff. What’s happening aboard the Nautilus? What is the Nautilus, and who is Capt. Nemo ? Let me answer these these three questions in my introductory post first. It all began in Kota, when I was a JEE student vying to enter the holiest institutes of the country, the IIT. And what I was doing there was, well studying and playing Age Of Empires, with my two best friends, Sankalp (aka General Hendrix) and Shundi (aka DR. Lecter). And our trio was one of the most feared AoE clans in Kota. We were playing together in perfect team play, and knew every counter there was to know, and every fact in the guidebook.

There was just a little flaw, I didn’t have a name. I used to play under various names, like Godfather, Eragon, and of course Harry Potter, but none of these stuck, and I was still nameless. I was like Maerad in the The Gift, looking for her true name. That night I went sleepless, and searched my inner soul for my True name. Both of my teammates already had titles (one doctor, and other a general), so I decided I would get one as well. And after storming by brain for all the books I’ve read, and all those movies, I settled for Capt. Nemo. Where did I get the name from? It was from a book called “20,000 Leagues under the sea”, by the immortal master of Sc-Fi, Jules Verne. The character of Capt. Nemo was one of most mysterious you could ever see. And one of the most brilliant. And I got it when I’d read it for the umpteenth time, Capt. Nemo wasn’t an enigma. Just because he didn’t fit into the definition of a hero doesn’t make him a villain. I could go on and on about the character, but that would take up space, which I’m determined to use to answer the other 2 questions.

So what is the Nautilus. I call pretty much everything I own, the Nautilus. Why? Because that was Capt. Nemo’s masterpiece. His submarine, and the very first, at least on paper.And my room and my laptop are labelled as Nautilus . And this blog is the path that I follow “Aboard The Nautilus”. That brings me to the third question, what I’ve been doing lately?

Lately I’ve been playing around with PHP a lot, and mind you it is really cool. I might post some of my experiences with PHP later on. And the reason I’ve been playing with PHP is because I’ve been working on my own website(its not exactly mine, its under Web Designing Section, IITR, but I’ve written 95% of its code). I’ll be launching soon, under a limited beta, so keep watching. I’ve also been working on the second issue of Criitique, an e-magazine for the youth. With kick-ass articles you are sure to like it. Do check it at Playing Age Of Empires is now a daily affair for me now, and I’ve been working my way up and down my timings. For those interested, my timings currently are “13,20,35 with 27,28-29 pop. I’ve been tweeting a lot, and I still don’t know why the twitter fad isn’t catching up in India. Twitter is fast, and easy, so why don’t people use it? Any ideas? Let me know.

I’ve also got to study, with my end sems coming up, and this seems to be the time to do it. Got any more brainstorming ideas to work on? Wanna work with me? Join the fun Aboard The Nautilus

As an update, Windows Live Writer refused to connect to my blog and I finnaly used BlogDesk to publish my post. And I also tried Qumana, and wBlogger, and FYI, none of them work.