So, as we mentioned last time around, in addition to the Mystery Blogger award from Red Metal, we were nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by master of the mental science, bloggess extraordinaire, and dominator of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Athena. Ran out of time to get my response together for that last week, so let’s address that now.
Rules for the Sunshine Blogger award are:
Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
Athena is a woman of impeccable taste and decision-making. And also she likes Dragon Age. Thank you very much, Athena, for this recognition. I appreciate your consideration.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
1. If you could change one thing about AAA gaming, what would it be?
This is one of those somewhat trendy business management things, but I would increase the focus on Human-Centered Design. For a quick 101-level summary, the philosophy there is that generally, there’s three directions most people start from when designing a new product. There’s the business side, which seeks to build things that are economically viable, the practical side, which builds things you’re capable of doing, and the human side, which builds things that people want to use. Any product you release has to satisfy elements of all three spheres to be successful, but when you’re just in the early stages, planning things out, you typically start in one of those spheres mentally and move into the others after you’ve started prototyping and actually testing those projects out. Whichever one you start with has the biggest influence on what shape the product tapes. I get the feeling that a lot of AAA gaming starts more in the sphere of seeking financial viability rather than something that’s going to have an impact on the end user, and I’d like to see that shift.
2. Do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?
Absolutely. Pineapple and onion pizza is one of my favorites.
3. Is there an article on your site that you would write differently, knowing what you know now? Which one?
Eh, don’t think so. I can’t think of anything I’ve written that I wouldn’t stand by. Some of them I’d have plenty to add to, my opinions might have changed on a few, but I can’t think of any that I’d re-write.
My post about being unable to identify as a player in my professional life, though, I feel that one I’d have the most to add to with the way time has shaped up.
4. What’s the weather like near you today?
Warm and sunny. Which has been the case most winter. And that’s a problem. I live in an area where the economy strongly relies on the ski industry. So while parts of the country has been absolutely dumped on, we’ve been pretty dry. Our slopes have spent a lot of the season green. Without snow, we haven’t been getting our usual tourists, which has slowed the economy, which has made my job in workforce development a bit more interesting than usual.
5. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?
Waffles, typically. Evenly cooked all over, crispy instead of floppy? Yes please. Pancakes are good too, though.
6. Is there anything about your gaming hobby/habits that you don’t like?
The time available, mostly. As I mentioned in my last post, I am a multi-faceted individual, with multiple interests and responsibilities, and it’s hard to fit them all into a given day. It’s usually not until 9:00 p.m. That I’m able to start playing something, and I’ve only got a few hours to spare for my favorite pasttime. Even then, I often find myself combining activities, such as playing and exercising or playing and listening to something at the same time, if the game is of a kind to allow for that, just to fit in everything I want to before the day’s over. It’d be nice to have a few more hours added to each day so I can deal with that.
7. Do you have a preference between JRPGs and western RPGs?
No. I don’t typically think in terms of genre much, but both can deliver absolutely fantastic experiences. I feel like there’s a lot more half-assed JRPGs than WRPGs out there, but if you reach the heights of both, both genres can be great, and they can be great in very different ways. What I’ll play really depends on my mood.
8. When does an open-world game begin to suffer from open-world bloat?
I think it’s really a factor of time and engagement. When you’re spending a noticeable amount of time doing things that you just check out from, such as travelling through an empty and uninteresting locale, grinding boars for your quest to collect 20 pig asses to craft your Sword of Pork Butt, *ahem combat in Planescape Torment cough cough*, and you’re not actually paying full attention to any of it, I would say that that’s when open-world bloat starts to kick in. Experiences should be engaging. They should cycle mental energy through you. When they stop doing that, when you’re just checking the boxes and checking out, that’s when they start losing you.
9. What is the most memorable line of dialogue in a game?
I’m not a big quotes guy, but I am rather fond of “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”
No? You want something meaningful? How about Tales of Phantasia’s “If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.”
Still not satisfied? Fine, bonus round. “Only a jackass can change the world.” Probably my favorite moment from Final Fantasy X-2.
10. Quick! You have 3 seconds to grab one game from your collection. Which one to do you grab and why?
3 seconds?! Oh no, what am I… Persona 4. That’s also my desert island game, my game that describes me, my 8th degree of Kevin Bacon, etc. I think everybody has a work that truly means something to them. That’s special to them, no matter what the quality is. That there’s a connection there beyond just the work itself. Persona 4 is that for me, for reasons I went over in my last post. Persona 4 is my game of games. It’s the one where context has transcended context, and it has touched me and my life in a way few others have.
11. Do you collect anything? What is it?
Can you collect memories? If so, that’s it for me. I enjoy novelty, building up new experiences, trying new things out. I am more apt to do something if it gives me something new to learn or an experience I hadn’t tried before. There’s a lot to life, and although I’m never going to experience even a fraction of it, I would like to build up as much experience as I can.
Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
Again, nah. I’m just not that social. I don’t think I even have eleven friends. And all the people I would nominate either don’t really jive with the social awards or they’ve gotten one recently because we’re all part of the same circle. Sorry.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
I don’t know what the award logo is. A quick Google Search shows about a hundred different logos. So you know what? Here:
And that’s me! I hope you all enjoyed me talking about myself as much as I did. And it was a lovely break over a week when I spend half of it away from my writing computer. We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled content in the near future.
Time is certainly the biggest hurdle when it comes to gaming. I too am forced to multi-task. Sometimes I will play Hearthstone whilst also listening to a podcast and also eating dinner.
When I can play games and work at the same time, then I’ll be in a good place.
I like that you ended up taking a different approach when asked what you would change about the AAA industry. I went for what I would change from an artistic standpoint, while you tackled the design aspects. I’m glad you too didn’t go for the easy answer of lootboxes. I’m sure I’ve said this in the past, but I am still really surprised that the AAA industry has gone on as long as they have with their current business model. They’re keeping themselves afloat with a series of short-term victories, but unless they fix that aspect, it’s not going to be pretty when that bubble bursts. Granted, I don’t think it would be nearly as awful as the infamous 1983 crash because the medium is more of thing now than it was then, but the effects will be visible – even from those who aren’t enthusiasts. The way I see, it a shift will occur – whether the AAA industry likes it or not.
Yeah, lootboxes, wasteful DLC, all those player-unfriendly monetization choices, they’re symptoms of something, not the cause. And yeah, a lot of them are in response that the business model of the AAA industry just isn’t naturally sustainable, so they’re looking for alternative sources of income to prop up what they’ve got, and so the user gets lost.
I think a crash, in the long run, would actually be beneficial for the industry. Shake up that model they’ve built themselves into, ideally get them to start making something that doesn’t require them to sell five million copies just to break even. Going to be horrible for a lot of people when it happens, but the shift should make the industry as a whole a lot healthier.
I love your comment about Human-Centered Design. While businesses do need to make money, I agree that it’s, you know, the people that the product connects with that makes that happen.
And Sword of Pork Butt might be the next name I use when I get to craft a weapon, just FYI. Now I’m going to fail to make a pun about that being your ninth degree of Kevin Bacon.
Also, I really like your idea about collecting memories. Those are, by far, the best things to collect in life.
Thanks for playing along with this!!
I love when I learn about things in super professional conferences and publications and trainings and get to turn around and apply them to my own nerddom. Fun times.
Shall the Sword of Pork Butt be showing up in your Skyrim run, then? I would fear the enchantment you’d put on it.
Absolutely! These are fun! Thank you for tagging me!
Human-Centered Design, eh? 🤔 Oh wow, I learned something in a blogger tag post… thanks for the knowledge! Much better than tagging more people, haha.
See, here I thought I was just throwing a bit of my ego out there, but there I am educating people as well. Glad to provide!
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