Matt's Podcast 4: Can a videogame get you high?

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Turn on (the videogame)! Turn on--the gameThis week, I address a question that I'm sure we've all pondered at some point--are videogames really addictive, and, if so, is that necessarily a bad thing? I'm particularly interested here in what it would take to design a videogame that would "turn you on," offering a comparable experience to taking LSD or even peyote but without the potential side effects. How close are we to developing true digital drugs? Will you be the Albert Hofmann of videogames?

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Links to things mentioned in the show:
PlayStation Nation: Protect Your Child from Video Game Addiction
Doors of Perception
Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Dan Carlin
Trauma on Steam

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ironmaidenrule
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Great Podcast!

Another excellent Podcast Matt, made my drive to work a lot more enjoyable.

I do agree that playing videogames is an excellent and probably the best and safest way to escape reality and zone out into a fantasy world.

I also find if a game is very linear or a story is being rammed down my throat, it can quickly become a boring experience and non stimulating. However, if a game has a great story that lets your mind fill-in the blanks and uses your imagination, then I have a fantastic gaming experience and these experiences stick in the mind more because they are more relevant to me.

Matt Barton
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Thanks, ironmaidenrule!I

Thanks, ironmaidenrule!

I think my next podcast will be about the PROPER way to tell stories in games. I've been having a very difficult time getting a handle on it myself, actually. Part of me thinks that algorithmic storytelling is the only way to go, since that's the only way to make it infinitely replayable. That said, I've always been dissatisfied with the results. It's fun for awhile, but then you start to grasp how the system works. It's like a magic show. At first you're mesmerized; enthralled, can't get enough. WOW! How'd he do that??? But then you start noticing how the tricks are performed (which can be a fascinating stage as you're learning). Then you get to the point where you know exactly how all the tricks work, and it becomes boring.

The other route is a lot more complicated, but I think VERY doable with something like Kinect. The idea is that you can't separate your exposition from your gameplay like in modern games. What I mean by that is the cutscenes aren't REALLY part of the game; they're just sort of there as decoration. A better approach is to make the stuff that happens in those scenes part of the gameplay instead, and I think that is possible with Kinect or similar techs. Even simulator style games could benefit! Just imagine playing the game below, but the hands in the game are mapped onto your actual hands using the cameras.

So instead of showing a cutscene of a guy removing a vent, for instance, you'd just hold up your arms and yank back, like YOU were doing it. Same for opening doors, climbing ladders, etc. I don't know if Kinect is good enough for this yet, but I'd like to have your arms/hands on the screen, so you can touch things in the game, move them, etc. Once we get there, a LOT of possibilities open up for adventure game-style puzzles and actions.
ArcticfoxArcticfox

Yet a third approach is simply to design the story with gameplay in mind. THis might involve introducing several bit characters. So let's say you want to have a cutscene where a village is destroyed by a dragon. Instead of just showing that as a cutscene, perhaps you would briefly control a peasant or boy (maybe even a dog!) in the village. Your mission might be to escape the devastation by avoiding the flames and making your way through the panic. That way you're in there, experiencing it, not just watching it disconnectedly via cutscenes.

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ironmaidenrule
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Imagination

A really like the idea of your second approach, using Kinect or another technology and somehow getting you more involved in the cut scenes/action sequences, it seems to be more closer to the idea of an interactive movie than what has been before.

The best way I can describe a good story in a game is something that is fairly familiar, but is also vague in area's that I am unsure of, what will happen next or the outcome of a particular scenario, quiet often these things are rehashed between the various games and It gets predictable. The only analogy I can come up with is Dante's poem Inferno, I can read the words and interpret them, but a lot of the magic happens in my imagination where I can imagine what the rings of hell must look like, the creatures that inhabit it and quiet often will still have me mulling over these things in my imagination for days and weeks. Not many games can do this, but there are a few that make me think, well what would have happened if that character stayed alive, or what if the game took this path, etc...

clok1966
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First ARTIC FOX!!!! (and lets

First ARTIC FOX!!!! (and lets not forget its brothe Stellar 7!!!) great games.. I want to play it right now just seeing the pictures. Points for all the geek nerd name dropping too.. Red Dwarf, star trek etc..

2nd Drugs.. why MJ is not ok and booze/ciggs are.. well much like killing people in arenas fore entertainm,ent changed.. WE EVOLVED.. booze and cig's where both legal in a time before they where known to harm us. The problem was the years we understood the harm they where an integral part of the econemy. Also the singel persons rights are so big a deal.. we dont live in the age of "the greater good' anymore its "but it holds ME down".. We live in a ME generation now, not a US generation.. We know cigerettes, booze and weed all harm us in some form.. but booze and gigs where both legal.. taking the right away now would "harm" our rights.. to... well.. harm oursleves.. "its my life, if I want to die early its my choice" to bad .. they are so shallow to not understand that all the people around them pay for it too. Drunk Driving, fights, etc becuase of impared judgement. All thse cost us, higher health care, higher insurance costs, I wont evne go into how drinking can effect a family.. AND as an EX smoker.. I can tell you this one is a no brainer.. you can breath anywhere, why are you limiting whre i smoke!!!! its nto fair!!! smoke is HARMFULL, not if's and's or buts, its a fact.. how much harm can vary, but it does harm.. I have no problem with you smokeing around me as long as you dont EXHALE.. by exhaling that smoke I HAVE inhale it and if you where not smokeing I wouldnt. YOU HARM ME by smoking, you harm me by paying extra for me insuracne when you are dying of cancer .....

BUT!!! that was not what your thing was about..

Addiction is generaly releated to harmfull things. We seem to classify stuff that harms nobody but the user as "ok" in stome strange way. I find it sad we are no longer expected to look out for our fellow man, and should let them do as they please as its "their life" the probelm is unless your family is dead, you have no freends and nobody knows you, you live off a stretch of land that no human comes near, you dont use money...... you EFFECT others. Addiction in itself is a harmfull thing.
"Addiction can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it"

So where going with video games.. can you be addicted..Well to me its quite simple, yes. I can point to news about a person dying from sitting playign a game non stop, or children not fed, or marriges ending. While in no way the same as an addiction to crack or meth.. its and addiction, you ahve to judge the 'evil" part of it... small evil, big evil.. still evil.

I am a hardliner.. GUNS are not a problem, people who lack the ability to understand why killing somebody is wrong are the problem.. Video game that sombody plays and dies from playing is not to blame.. the PERSON IS.. We live in a world where every bad mistake, every miss step has to be explained ... he is mentally unstable, its a chemical imbalance, they had a rough childhood, etc.. HOW DID WE MAKE IT the last 10000's of years with the old.. do something wrong pay for it.. which in turn disuaded others from doing wrong? Dont eget me wrong there are people with "real" problems.

Now you talk about a HIGH.. i think anything can give you a high.. a great meal, a great freind, a good deed, a perfect day.. I never relaly believed it .. well till my son was born.. I fell in love.. not lust.. (yes.. i do have a sentamential side.. I am now open game .. I announced it on the net!).

the holo Deck thing.. I do think there is no perfect HIGH.. if there was.. its the paradox. If oyu could live the perfect life in a holo deck.. why would you come out? If it felt real, tasted real, is it real? I think unfortntly Im to grounded.. I would know it wasnt real, and Im the silly ass who thinks a little bit of pain/striff/crap makes the good days that much better. If every day was good, how would you know if ther ewas never a bad day? But that doesnt even come down to the "real LIFE' issues.. you ahve to work.. the probelm with good things is you start to slack on the "real life" things.. and even the best of us has played hooky to do somthing we didnt need to .. but we did cuase we could.. and as you start wanting that HIGH it starts you doing more and more that you shouldnt..

And there is the whole problem.. yes Im over simplifing it.. we are HUMAN none of us could handle the ability to be HAPPY every minute we where not dedicating to life.. you would work you 40 hours and spend the rest in BLISS.. but bliss while in itslef is not wrong.. when you crave it, do anything you can to achive it.. that is the problem and curse of being Human.. we can resist and do the right thing a long time.. but some draws are to big .. bliss or a HIHG that didnt harm you body (or others) is a pretty big thing to ignore.. asnd of course one coudl say wevery minute spend in a helo deck, or video gaming.. you are not interacting with your family.. so you are harning them....

pretty deep stuff..

Matt Barton
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My friend and I in high

My friend and I in high school talked often about heaven. Not the ridiculous heaven of angels strumming harps and the like, but what our version of heaven would be like. Eventually we settled on something like Middle-Earth, where you would have plenty of challenges to face, but always the opportunity of being a hero. I guess for guys like us something like Valhalla is a more attractive vision for an afterlife than just sitting around in total bliss all the time.

I believe it was Robert E. Lee who said something to the effect of, "It's good that war is so horrible, otherwise we would like it too much." Videogames are as close as we seem to be able to get to war without any of the actual danger. I'm sure a holodeck experience might even get us closer...and of course some people would want to play with the safeties off...Would that be suicide?

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ironmaidenrule
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"Sensual" advancments

For some reason I tend to think along the lines that technology is driven somewhat by the Porn industry, there was not a lot of blue movies on Betamax but a whole load on VHS, something tells me this has something to do with that format war, and the whole advancement of video streaming and High Definition technologies is always being pushed and advanced by the porn websites.

So in my world, the use of a holodeck would first be developed and exploited by the adult industry for "Sensual Urges"

davyK
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the buzz of shaving something

the buzz of shaving something off your best time in any sort of time trial mode is most satisfactory.

Matt Barton
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Something about Iron's post

Something about Iron's post just doesn't go well with what davyK said in his post!! LOL

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ironmaidenrule
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Interesting

lol, the concept of a time trial mode on an adult holodeck could be interesting

Matt Barton
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two minutes
ironmaidenrule wrote:

lol, the concept of a time trial mode on an adult holodeck could be interesting

Achievement Unlocked: Two Minute Wonder

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