Electron Dance
30Apr/1811

Discussion: Derezzed

From this month's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Add to this heady mix the sense that Rezzed, once a unique sidequest for those who liked off-the-beaten-track stuff, was becoming more establishment with every year. Amazon and Argos, for Chrissakes, had a presence on-site.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

Download my FREE eBook on the collapse of indie game prices an accessible and comprehensive explanation of what has happened to the market.

Sign up for the monthly Electron Dance Newsletter and follow on Twitter!

Electron Dance Highlights

Comments (11) Trackbacks (0)
  1. That Magic: The Gathering essay you linked to would have been better without all the racism. :(

  2. “Stephen’s Sausage Roll ❤” – finally you have given in to the temptation…

  3. Hi Kirsty, I’m guessing the bit you’re referring to is about the diversity of Magic but I took that as suggesting it was a problem of systemic (capitalist) causes to bolster the overall theme that the capitalist backbone of Magic taints everything. Still, that was just a couple (?) of paragraphs on a murderously long essay. I think it took me over half an hour to get through it.

    Hi Alan, I can’t remember if I awarded SSR the coveted Black Heart before or not :) But I broke the Great Tower after receiving petitions from various individuals that it was much ado about nothing. I have only cracked one level in the new set but to be fair I’ve barely played it since.

  4. Discussing things is so much easier when you have a critical vocabulary! I went back to this discussion, and the problem is that Steed had not yet taught us about the “Turn 1 Dick Move”! So I said levels where “you can’t take a single step wrong” when I meant “levels that are full of Turn 1 Dick Moves” (and Turn 35 Dick Moves) and you thought I meant levels that automatically solved themselves, which was, er, not it.

    This reminds me of our longrunning Threes vs. 2048 discussion, where one of the strengths of Threes is you have to make every move count, BUT another way of looking at that is that Threes has Turn One Dick Moves and Turn Later Dick Moves which is part of the reason why folk who are just looking for something to do on the train gravitate toward 2048.

  5. Matt

    Ah, what we need now is a paper with the graph “Turn N Dick Moves: Player frustration vs N”. I guess Turn 1 Dick Move is going to become our new DUCK PENIS. That one, I’m sure, still causes perplexing looks to newcomers.

    I have to say, though, although I admire Threes because every move is important, I gave up on it because it of the Six Match problem: starting a new game, going through that epic journey to see how far you could survive… I just couldn’t do it any more. In contrast, 2048 is just too boring to me.

    But Dissembler is my *perfect* puzzle game. I mention it because it has that perfect blend of 2048’s relaxing zen movements and Three’s PAY GODDAMN ATTENTION. One of these days I’ll quit you, Dissembler, but not today.

  6. I think we need two dependent variables–what’s the turn number where you screw yourself over, and what’s the turn number where you realize you’ve screwed yourself over.

    What you say about Threes is interesting because it means my complaint about Six Match wasn’t quite on the mark. I was talking about it as an endless struggle to best yourself where you never know whether your best is any good, and that doesn’t seem quite right for Threes, which does have an end (though it took three years for anyone to reach it) and also has specific goals; even beyond the score you can see new numbers. But I suspect that these new goals aren’t grainy enough. That is, getting to 384 doesn’t feel that much different from a harder version of getting to 192. (I could very well be wrong about that point!) So even though there’s an end, you’re not likely to reach it, and there aren’t enough different kinds of goals on the way to the end to keep you engaged. I quit Six Match after I was sure I’d seen all the different types of things (and got one of those dice things that count down when you make a match next to them all the way from six down to zero, and seen that that wasn’t a Final Boss).

    For me with 2048 it’s not that it’s boring–sometimes tranquilizing is OK, that’s why I just played a game to 1024–it’s that it’s boring for too long. I might play 128 on a three by three grid. I feel like I should be able to program 128 on a three by three grid just by looking at the 2048 source code, or failing that do something in PuzzleScript. (If PuzzleScript requires a player I could have an invisible player on an invisible D-pad.) Though 2048 does have a bit of a mode switch for me, in those moments when you can’t just do up-right-up-right anymore and you have to dash around frantically trying to restore your board.

  7. Having just played too much 2048 and a couple multidimensional variants: There’s a distinction between being able to screw yourself on turn one and how much you can screw yourself on turn one, which only applies to endurance games and not to puzzles with discrete solutions. (Well, in a puzzle with a discrete solution I guess you could do something at turn one that forces you to do something trickier later.) The restore-your-board moments in 2048 are kind of interesting but they come too late in the game. The problem is finding a middle ground between an early game where you can doom yourself and an early game that doesn’t matter at all–you have to pay a little attention, and you can create problems for yourself, but it should be possible to have the chance to clear those problems away.

  8. I just finished to read chapter I and II of your book (The Weapons of Progress, GOODWIN, Joel), very interesting discussion, having a lot of space to interdisciplinary content. I think this area (anything related to video games) has much to mature in terms of s
    elf conscience. Reading your book, this seems more clear to me, in fact the economic aspects are fundamental. Like the old question “video games ca be art”, philosophically speaking, if an artist make a product, understanding product a object with function and utility, then no, it cannot be art, after all, artists make art. But thinking in a economic perspective, the market of art, the art not seems a “product” but as a work like “work of art”, even if is indeed a product, remitting to “oeuvre”, “opus”, something unique, special and different. Thinking of it, making art cannot be industrial, as art itself has to be “different” to aggregate value, in terms of supply and demand, higher the demand and lower the supply, the price goes up, since these products (for example van Gogh) are irreplaceable, having no substitute, the price can easily inflate as time pass, that the demand will not decrease. It is not random that pieces of art can be stocked like gold, because his demand’s variant of price has fewer elasticity in this type of market. We are not talking about necessary goods, like energy, meaning that even electricity having the same properties in a house A and house B, the demand will not decrease for the change of price. All this reasoning is of course simplified, from my own limitations evidently, but also because we are considering fewer factors and variables, so we can start to analyse this market.

    A product in market which has the exact same qualities as the other, in the possibility of another product of another offerer, like two product exactly the same, two copies, one is the perfect substitute of another, the price cannot be exceptional, so the profit is “zero”, meaning there is no monopoly over the market, not just because of the perfect substitute, but because there is no barrier for the consumer to buy and other firms to participate of market. Even that, a producer would want to increase the production when the price are high and costs are low, meaning more production, more profit. The fact the every unitary product is different from another, would be the same to say that every grain of rice is difference from another. The digital market is tricky. I will play with some thoughts, to provoke some debate, obviously this is not my absolute thinking. Distorting this theory of the difference of products, another way to see is that the copy is a product itself, and the digital copy X, at first, are not offered from another competitor, officially, the copy of the product X is offered by the same producer, independently of the “store”, directly, indirectly, being the same product X, which come from the same owner, the income is the same. But for the same time the digital product X, the copy, when is bought, becomes then digital product Y. Strange that this thought can be, a digital product would to compete with himself, since every copy replace the previous, disaggregating the value, thus increasing the elasticity of the variants of price on demand, facilitating more and more the access for other consumers. Which is not a consumption of products that has a unique use, like eggs, it can be used again for a long time, expanding the time of his utility.

    Getting back for the market of digital goods, in the case of “software” (old term nowadays), one solution would increase more factors that aggregate value for the product, one is been the product a service, like antivirus, charging monthly or annually, or providing one product with constant updates and new content, or even restricting the access the consumer (user), making the copy unique by security measures, newer ultrabooks with UEFI, the bios substitute, already does that, not allowing for starters any changes in the operational system than the original pre-installed from factory. Thinking of that, restricting the uses for the consumer, it is in a certain way attempt to monopolise, creating a particular market, as Steve Jobs did with Apple, now restricting the liberty of the user more and more, not only in terms of interaction, but in hardware, accessories or maintenance, that can only be provided from the Apple itself. Beyond that, a simple and clear example is iTunes, Apple Store, mini markets “inside” the product, which again, strict rules of control. But I think every new release of a new apple product, constant these days, decreases the value that other time was a big event, remembering of iPod from the first release to the second, the hype was huge, and only a iPhone announcement really could increase the value of Apple, making clear the importance of the “differential” depending of the market circumstances, since even the very presence of Steve Jobs was sufficient to higher the demand. Of course, we are not counting the slave labour from Chinese factories or even the African mines from which many minerals that produce many important digital components came from, making the costs of production resources very low. Of course this is just one aspect of the final profit, depending inclusive the one of many strategies of firm, the bigger the company, more complexity the business and private juridical relation will have.

  9. Pedro!

    If I remember rightly the economic term is “nonrivalrous” goods which means more than one person can use it at the same time. Of course, corporations have been working very hard to turn back the clock on digital goods and make them “physical” and even “perishable” in some cases.

    What fires me to write the book is to address how many aspects of the digital market can be ascribed to systemic issues – that this is what a market is about. Any solution to pricing etc that relies in people just being good is going to fail without regulation. That is not to argue for regulation but to highlight you don’t get the anarchy and free love and art while expecting money to roll in.

    There is anger to be wielded but many of the arguments are shortsighted. This is the point of the book, to strip away the simple bullshit and expose the complexity of the digital market and it’s self destructive inevitability.

    It starts on economics but ends up in questions of cultural values and art and who we want to be. Who we want to speak for us.

    It is a grand plan but it is one I’d like to finish.

    Matt, I’ve noticed your comments too, but another time as I’m about to head into Chris Bateman’s book launch.

  10. Okay I’m in. I’m going to write a comment in here because I’m a sad case who came without friends and I’m standing alone drinking a pint.

    So, Matt, I wonder if the question of the turn N dick move is not where you get screwed – but your in ability to save yourself? Perhaps that is the wrong approach. Many, many puzzles are about dead ends and fuckups. Infinite games (Spelltower, six match) are roguelike – how far can you go. Threes as a roguelike, it even has an end :) Whereas defined puzzles are usually are about discovering the sequence through whatever means necessary. That’s not about saving yourself.

    So you know there’s this dichotomy we’re wrestling with. The infinite, unsolvable (you called it score attack) vs the finite, normally designed, solvable puzzle.

    I’ve got very burned out with Six Match. The work of the game became more than the rewards at the end of the tunnel. Its not about really about dick moves but labour.

    Hmm. There must be some way of putting the dick move on a more rigorous basis… something to do with consequences of your actions.

  11. @Joel

    I look forward to read your book! I wonder how much politics can be in a game.

    On the other hand changing the subject, I think this is a media that has a great pedagogical potential, children or grown up. It should be more explored.

    Another thing. An article about thought experiment, it doesn’t talk about video games, but is suggested its use in this process:
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/thought-experiment/


Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

No trackbacks yet.