Thursday, September 8, 2016

Vogel's Right: It IS About the Experience

He's right. The power of videogames is that they provide virtual experiences to the player. This is why, as early as the late 1970s, the U.S. military began digging into this technology for training purposes. (The commercial release of the tank trainer, Battlezone is the evidence of this fact.) This trend would go on to include Law Enforcement agencies adapting training films to become interactive exercises, supplementing real-world force-on-force training, which would be fed back to the military in due course, and then used as a recruiting tool (e.g.

So yes, the real worth in the medium is in provision of experience to the player in a manner that allows nigh-direct translation to real life situations. Put this way, it is not hard to see why Vogel argues that they are not art but superior to it.

Play Real-Time Strategy games? You learn how to develop resources, plan and execute a strategy (and change it to adapt to changing circumstances), all under stress. That's leadership training. Play a fighting game? You learn about timing, tactical decision making, how to get inside the other guy's OODA loop, and training yourself to be cool under pressure; that's not just useful for athletes, but for ANY competitor. RPGs? Self-assessment coupled to development planning and implementation, under a paradigm of persistent effort and delayed gratification, often in a team-based environment, while pursing objectives both personal and communal (and learning how to prioritize them). And all of them, to varying degrees, reward persistence over time--the entire Git Gud mentality--as central to defeating the challenges presented.

This is not idle talk. The conversation about videogame design, as with tabletop game design, is in terms of player experience now. Not just the often-cynical tone taken about "retention" and "engagement", but actually getting into the psychology of what experience is and how it works (at varying degrees of competence and sophistication) is a big deal right now because it's making big bucks for those that nail it. In other words, delivering on the experience produces results- results that show up on the balance sheet.

All that SJW bullshit? It doesn't. That's why it gets rejected. Hard. Deliver on the experience players want and profit. Fail and die.

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