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Old 05-03-2022, 05:57 AM   #31
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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Eh, the actual game parts of MtA are perfectly math-heavy, it's just that social expectations of how you're going to play the game are different.
Certainly you have to do math, but that's true of essentially any conventional RPG. Even Amber Diceless requires comparing the Strength or Warfare or Psyche scores of different Amberites.

But a lot of the focus of M:tA is on analyzing what ontological categories different things fall into (is a vampire Life or Matter?) and how different worldviews of different Traditions identify their wonder-working (is it invoking the spirits, or calling on the power of the One God, or rewriting the code underlying the simulation that is the perceived world?). That is, as I say, "closer to philosophy."
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Old 05-03-2022, 10:43 PM   #32
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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If they have rules, a win state (especially if there could be competition) and a fail state, then that's usually a good sign that something is a game.
This definition might need some more work, as there are many non-game things that fit, such as financial markets or a judicial court case.

Perhaps it's that the stakes are inconsequential? Although that rules out gambling and competitive games with prize money.

My feeling is that D&D-like games, that keep score with an XP counter, are more game-like, but many long-running campaigns I've been in that basically follow a continuing story and explore a setting are less game-like (or less competitive, at least).
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Old 05-04-2022, 01:38 AM   #33
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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This definition might need some more work, as there are many non-game things that fit, such as financial markets or a judicial court case.

Perhaps it's that the stakes are inconsequential? Although that rules out gambling and competitive games with prize money.

My feeling is that D&D-like games, that keep score with an XP counter, are more game-like, but many long-running campaigns I've been in that basically follow a continuing story and explore a setting are less game-like (or less competitive, at least).
Well it's a very generalized set, but it might still apply here.
Court cases = lawyers see themselves as players, and the case and clients as the 'videogame level' so to speak.

Same with the stock market and the like, I would guess (since I'm kind of ignorant about those), I bet those have rules to (probably pretend :P to) prevent foul play.

It's mostly to differentiate between just a toy or passtime activity.
"Walk down the street with your arms out to the side" is not a game.
But it can become a game if you compare things like "I wobbled less!"
or "I went faster!", or "I successfully skipped every odd tile on the path AND came in first!"

I was a bit hesitant to post this ruleset, though, because in videogame circles, this can get rather heated. because of the (un)fortunate ways humans simplify things.
And there are many games, especially nowadays with walking simulators and the likes that are really non-games, but still called games because "let's not split hairs"

But hairs do get split when things like "Day of the Tentacle" get brought up.
An adventure game (yes I call it a game too), but one that you can't lose.
If you can't lose a game, then the only way to lose is to quit.
But at least that one, for example, can still be won, and one could compete for the fastest time, but that's third party and, to my knowledge, not part of the game itself.

So basically it's a toy, but it's still a game because, again, let's just call it one and call it a day, it's on the computer, it's a game, it's a computer game. That sort of thing.

It just technically is ...not one :P
It's an electronic toy where you can click on animations and words until its over, either you see the end of the toy, or you get bored or frustrated because it's taking too long for you (after all, you can't lose. You can only take long)
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Old 05-04-2022, 09:25 AM   #34
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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It's an electronic toy where you can click on animations and words until its over, either you see the end of the toy, or you get bored or frustrated because it's taking too long for you (after all, you can't lose. You can only take long)
Are city builders games? They usually don't really have a built in win state, only a set of milestones. They often have obvious lose states (a death/emigration/debt spiral), but that doesn't explicitly end the game.

How about The Sims? There come points where you can definitely say you've lost (Everyone's dead. Even Bella? Especially Bella!), but you can't really say you've won.
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Old 05-04-2022, 10:22 AM   #35
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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But a lot of the focus of M:tA is on analyzing what ontological categories different things fall into (is a vampire Life or Matter?) and how different worldviews of different Traditions identify their wonder-working (is it invoking the spirits, or calling on the power of the One God, or rewriting the code underlying the simulation that is the perceived world?). That is, as I say, "closer to philosophy."
My experience is that the skill is fast-talk: the goal is to come up with an explanation that the GM will buy.
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Old 05-04-2022, 11:18 AM   #36
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It just technically is ...not one :P
It's not a game by the specific definition you're using, no. I recently started playing EVE Online, and it certainly doesn't fit your definition of "game" (there's no win state, although I suppose you could set yourself a goal like "have the highest net value" or "be CEO of the corporation with the most territory" or what-have-you, and the only lose state is to quit playing, given you could literally lose all of your ships, goods, and money but still be able to just start building up again from the free Corvette you can get from any station), but it's kind of hard to not consider it a game.

As for tabletop RPG's, I'd certainly count those as games, even for open-ended campaigns where the only win state is "We're content with how things have turned out and are ready to move on to a different campaign," and the only lose state is "We're tired of this crap - rocks fall, everyone dies, let's nuke this campaign from orbit and move on to another one."
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Old 05-04-2022, 12:55 PM   #37
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Are city builders games? They usually don't really have a built in win state, only a set of milestones. They often have obvious lose states (a death/emigration/debt spiral), but that doesn't explicitly end the game.

How about The Sims? There come points where you can definitely say you've lost (Everyone's dead. Even Bella? Especially Bella!), but you can't really say you've won.
Hair splitting wise, the old games that had 'quests' are probably above the pure sandbox ones.
Theme Park, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital etc, such games tended to have objectives, highest park value in so and so time.
Creating a park in a tiny area so you had to stack things high.
I'm trying to think of city builders having that, though. Can't remember if Sim City had that. I think it had challenge maps, though.

And the Sims are probably not really a game, it's just playing dolls with the contrivance that they need upkeep and your toybox is limited by simoleons.
But in either of these cases, they probably still translate to actual skill, or at least developing somes sense (like the birds playing in the air, which might look just like frolicking but to them it might be testing limits and combat or something)

Management/planning, architectural design, exploring ones taste in houses and people, springboarding stories, or running with emergent hooks based on interactions.
This reminds me of the Creatures series now, a game I preferred, and I call it a game but in reality it was just a terrarium sandbox.
It's just natural to call these things games, but I still agree on a technical level with the people who came up with that set of definitions.
Fail state, win state (even if it's the same 'moment', like getting second place in a race of two people)
And rules.

It has room for philosophy for sure, though. (and flame wars lol, at least on dedicated video game forums)
The heat potential is probably the ambigous word of 'games' to begin with.
Olympic games for example were (and are) pretty intense competitions, yet they are called 'the games' too.

Edit:
Also, Daigoro seems to be proven quite right.
I checked out Wikipedia if they had something interesting on it, and apparently there are a handful of different, more or less major views with various gradation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game#Definitions

Like what denotes a puzzle, for example, as per Chris Crawford:
If a challenge has no "active agent against whom you compete", it is a puzzle; if there is one, it is a conflict. (Crawford admits that this is a subjective test. Video games with noticeably algorithmic artificial intelligence can be played as puzzles; these include the patterns used to evade ghosts in Pac-Man.)

I kinda like that angle, too, but I'm more of the "the three basics" guy.

Last edited by Lovewyrm; 05-04-2022 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 05-04-2022, 08:02 PM   #38
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Default Re: Gaming philosophy conundra

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Hair splitting wise, the old games that had 'quests' are probably above the pure sandbox ones.
Theme Park, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital etc, such games tended to have objectives, highest park value in so and so time.
Creating a park in a tiny area so you had to stack things high.
I'm trying to think of city builders having that, though. Can't remember if Sim City had that. I think it had challenge maps, though.
Thinking about it, I seem to recall Will Wright (the creator of SimCity) didn't really consider it a game. I can't remember the exact terminology he preferred, but I think it was something like "electronic playing environment". That may have been more a way to explain to would-be publishers why "How do you win?" wasn't a suitable question to ask, rather than any philosophical pondering of the nature of games.

It also might be an interesting way to approach thinking about RPGs (optionally minus the electronic part).
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Old 05-05-2022, 04:10 AM   #39
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As for tabletop RPG's, I'd certainly count those as games, even for open-ended campaigns where the only win state is "We're content with how things have turned out and are ready to move on to a different campaign," and the only lose state is "We're tired of this crap - rocks fall, everyone dies, let's nuke this campaign from orbit and move on to another one."
Wittgenstein talked about words as being liked threads of yarn, where there wasn't one single strand that extended for the whole length of the thread, but a series of overlapping strands each of which occupied part of the length. His advice was "Don't ask for the meaning; look at the use." I believe that his specific example to illustrate this point was actually "game."
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Old 05-05-2022, 07:05 AM   #40
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It's not a game by the specific definition you're using, no. I recently started playing EVE Online, and it certainly doesn't fit your definition of "game" (there's no win state, although I suppose you could set yourself a goal like "have the highest net value" or "be CEO of the corporation with the most territory" or what-have-you, and the only lose state is to quit playing, given you could literally lose all of your ships, goods, and money but still be able to just start building up again from the free Corvette you can get from any station), but it's kind of hard to not consider it a game.

As for tabletop RPG's, I'd certainly count those as games, even for open-ended campaigns where the only win state is "We're content with how things have turned out and are ready to move on to a different campaign," and the only lose state is "We're tired of this crap - rocks fall, everyone dies, let's nuke this campaign from orbit and move on to another one."
Yeah, under normal circumstances I wouldn't even bring it up, myself.
It's the special occasion of this thread, philosophy and whatnot.

That said, at the lowest state of chips, the downest they can be, based on the definition I go with, not a game.
But EVE is probably more involved than most games really.
The player run economy alone is a huge ball of yarn.
Then all that PVP, the factions, the subterfuge. There are so many ways to compete, even in meta ways (conspiring against one another using 3rd party communication and all that)

EVE's battles, especially the big ones, are legendary, possibly even more legendary that Ultima Online ones (or at the very least, more bombastic, simply due to the much larger amount of players, graphics, etc)
Certainly has drawn me in for some time, but I'm a penny pincher for online currencies and grind I'm burned out, too.
Watching some excellent tutorials killed the rest of my motivation.

Why would that happen? Why would an excellent tutorial do this?
Because it showcased some extremely potent ways of gaining resources, skill levels, and other goodies.
And I..not wanting to do any of it. Thus, I folded.

So yeah, I myself, in regular speech, call many a non game game too.
It's probably quite human, too (perhaps a point of philosophy, too, even if probably off topic. It's like how we say "stupid computer" and other anthropomorphisms for things that don't even have a mind)

But I also like the mince, and thinking about it.

Oh.
And while EVE and open end RPGs are sandboxes, they often have minigames in them that do have win and loss states.
(In the case of EVE, flying around in a ship to a new 'minigame' might be likened to clicking next in a dialogue that starts the next minigame)
Basic quests, for example. Encounters, all of these things tend to have rules/restrictions, win and loss states.

P.S.:
And while, again, this kind of strict set can seem a bit 'hot' for debates.
I do think that having some strictness can be good if you're a game designer, or modder.

Like when I added up there that flying with a ship in EVE from station to station to pick up new missions, is not really gameplay but more like switching pages in a book.
This might be slightly ... uncomfortable, but if one at least is concious about it, can make games better.
Usually by trimming down fat, waiting times, tedium.

I quite like Mount and Blade 2 bannerlord.
But there are several aspects of it that are not gameplay at all, even though they're dressed up like it.

Smelting down weapons to be reused in smithing, for example.
This is done by clicking a button. One at a time. Which is fine, there doesn't have to be fancy animations for everything.
But the developers don't offer a mass smelting option.

So, you have to needlessly flick your tendons to do this.
And some people even defend it "oh quit being such a baby, just click the button"

In Sandbox games, this could be needlessly slow travel (unless exploration is actually worthwhile, I myself am wary about fasttravel in Elder Scrolls games)
But yeah, again, under normal circumstances I just go along ^^ I just think there's merit to some hairsplitting too.

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