Yesterday I received an email telling me that update 1.3 for Elite: Dangerous would be out in May. I haven’t played the game in a little while, but the new update might very well bring me back into the game.
To me, Elite: Dangerous feels rather like a anti-desolation game. Though the gameworld is vast and empty, traveling the vast expanses of space evoke in me feelings of calm and serenity. Where games like Kenshi and DayZ thrives of despair and abandonment, Elite: Dangerous produces a quasi-zen effect.
I’ve been more than happy just trucking from station to station, selling my cargo and evading the system authorities when I’m carrying illegal goods. The fact that turning my character’s head left or right activates control panels is a nice touch that reinforces your role as a “real” pilot. Sure, I could use hotkeys, but there’s just something about looking around that cockpit.
Update 1.3, however, is aimed at PVP, something from which I usually stay away. However, the update will introduce a revamped faction system where players will be able to directly influence a faction’s goals and objectives. This is something that’s been missing from a game like Elite: Dangerous, and something that I’ve been eagerly awaiting. I’ll probably continue playing the role of a smuggler, but this time I’ll be doing it for the good of my faction, and run missions that directly influence my faction’s growth.
I’ve always love this kind of political aspect often found in space sims and 4X games, and though the update doesn’t really change the how of the game (ie, the way you play), it goes have a subtle influence on the why. Normally, I wouldn’t get myself involved in PVP, however, because it’ll be in the interest of a greater polity, it makes it worthwhile for my character’s story to become entangled with this particular thread.
It’ll be interesting to see how it actually all plays out.
“We Just Want to Make Good Games.”
I’ve been writing a lot for I Search for Traps lately, but through my discussions of table-top RPGs I’ve come across an old question that I’ve encountered when I was studying the world of video games: What is a good game?
On the surface, it’s a simple question, but if you dig a bit deeper, you realize that it isn’t one with a simple answer.
When talking to game developers, “making a good game” is a goal that I often heard. However, difficulties appear when comes time to define, exactly, what a good game is. Part of the answers that I’ve gotten over the years involve terms like “fun,” “innovative,” “unique,” “trend-setting,” etc, which leads me to wonder what is the relationship between a “good game” and innovation.
Part of the problem in answering this simple question is that answers will be intensely personalized. One person’s criteria can be diametrically opposed to another’s, which makes any kind of metric difficult to pin down. If that’s the case, however, why do we keep talking about making or wanting good games, and using that concept as a classificatory category?
To be honest, I’m not really interested in defining a good game. Rather, I’m much more interested in why the discourse of “good games” keeps popping up over and over again in the strangest of places, each time with fairly similar characteristics, which indicates to me that the discourse of good games isn’t really about games at all. Rather, talking about good games appears to be a discussion of boundaries.
Continue reading →