June 7, 2007

Half-Life isn't that great.

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Yu-Chung Chen said...

... so it does boil to this: I need to play it to properly talk about it.

The not-talking part might be the proof that Nintendo is right about not giving Twilight Princess voice acting.

I might be biased here (as a Nintendo fanboy) but I did speak in first person when I explained tasks in TP to my girlfriend. With God of War I used "he" and "Kratos".

Did I mention that "Kratos" sounds a bit like "head of the penis" in Chinese (龜頭, gui tou, pronounced Gu'ey tou)? It was actually my girlfriend who wondered a bit overhearing a cutscene.

Yu-Chung Chen said...

PS1. typo: it does boil DOWN to this.

PS2. too bad you can't edit a comment.

PS3. Nice to see that Blogger is unicode-compatible and got my Hanzi right.

Krystian Majewski said...

He also looks a bit like the head of a penis.. ;-)

Yu-Chung Chen said...

Don't mean to hijack your topic, but regarding the whole "mute hero" thing, here's an interesting (though not entirely new) blog post I stumpled upon today.

It's about how Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is probably specifically made "racially ambiguous" to provide as much self-projection from the player as possible. Our favorite comic theorist Scott McCloud is being cited too - the same part I cited him for my paper on virtual characters, too!

Krystian Majewski said...

Interesting post about "Beyond Good & Evil". I did't notice the ambiguity. However, I have some objections:

I don't think the ambiguity improves the way people identify with a character in a game. Mario is a fat italian plumber, Sonic is a Hedgehog, Samus is a robot renegade cop, Kay is a cat - they all work great despite being very well defined.

I would go even further: a well defined, "alien" character might be even something especially interesting. Playing a game is always also some kind of Role-Play (in the psychological sense). It is always intriguing to be someone else for a while. It works better if the person is REALLY different from you.

Taco said...

I find it surprising that someone who calls himself a "Game designer", if not praise then at least acknowledges the pinnacle of exactly that, game design, half-life was.

Putting aside that the controls, guns, and graphics were top-notch, also forgetting that its AI was cutting edge for games at its time,
It comes down to the combination of

Scripted events (Sound, Animation)
Level Design
First Person Perspective

Being actively used as storytelling techniques, which REALLY set it apart from its peers.

You can argue back and forth weather or not the plot was predictable/lame or how little you enjoyed the guns, monsters etc, thats just your personal preferances, which you are allowed to have, even on the Internet.

But as a game designer you should be able to spot the intelligent Choices the makers of the game have made presenting it to the players. Meta-game that shit.

Initially what you come off as in your post is that you just want to be special and decided to not like half-life before you played it.

Well, you are not.(see:Halo fanboys)
And if this anonymous poster does convince you, then maybe 51 Game of the year awards will.(Hint: There is a REASON(see:game design) a lot of people like this game.

Oh and though Half-Life 2 was not as pioneering as Half-Life, it is still a extremely enjoyable game for the EXACT reasons Half-life was, and then some.

Krystian Majewski said...

You obviously seem to be attached to that particular game. I'm sorry for hurting your feelings. No reason to get personal, though.

As I wrote in my Post, I haven't seen in Half Life anything which I haven't seen in other games of that time like Jedi Knight for example. This applies especially to your list:

Scripted events (Sound, Animation)
Level Design
First Person Perspective

It doesn't seem to me like you've mention any unique aspect of the game. Maybe you could get more precise for me - what exactly was so unique and groundbreaking about the "Level Design" or "First Person Perspective" of Half-Life?

The last thing you mention is the classical example of an Argumentum ad populum. Please come up with with actual arguments.