Video games

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A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor. The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device, but it now implies any type of display device that can produce two- or three-dimensional images.


  • The combination of low culture and high technology is one of the most fascinating social features of the video game phenomenon. Computers were invented as super drones to do tasks no human in her or his right mind (much less left brain) would have the patience, or the perseverance, to manage. [...] Now our robot drones, the ones designed to take all the boring jobs, become the instrument for libidinal extravaganzas devoid of any socially productive component. Video games are computers neutered of purpose, liberated from functionality. The idea is intoxicating; like playing with the help on their night off.
  • Show me your children’s games, and I will show you the next hundred years.
    • Smartbomb by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby
  • There's been nothing proven that violence in video games has an impact. As a parent though, and I'm a parent for a 20-year-old, for a 16-year-old and for a 10-year-old, and so, you know, I make choices everyday for my kids as to what games I think is appropriate for them to play. And, you know, in the end it's up to the parents, it's up to the gamers themselves working with their parents, if they're under 21, to make the smartest choice for the games they play.
  • The government is already involved from an entertainment standpoint. I mean, they regulate a large part of our entertainment. What we're trying to do as an industry is be proactive and drive it much more positively, much more effectively, than the government can, and that's what the ESA is all about[....]We think we're doing a pretty effective job, and certainly from an Nintendo perspective, we think the ESA is the way to go.
  • We wanted to do what Sega had done with the hedgehog and Warner Bros had done with the Tasmanian Devil and find some kind of animal that was cute, real, and no one really knew about… …we loved the word bandicoot.
  • Jason and I wanted to take Donkey Kong Country style gameplay and make it 3D. We called it the “Sonic’s Ass” game. And it was born from the question: what would a 3D platformer be like? Well, we thought, you’d spend a lot of time looking at “Sonic’s Ass.” Aside from the difficulties of identifying with a character only viewed in posterior, it seemed cool. Although we worried about the camera, dizziness, and the player’s ability to judge. When it seemed likely that Sony didn’t have a mascot character of their own we jumped on that too. Essentially we planed for Crash to become exactly what it did – but the fact that we were successful still stuns me. Although we worried about the camera, dizziness, and the player’s ability to judge. When it seemed likely that Sony didn’t have a mascot character of their own we jumped on that too. Essentially we planed for Crash to become exactly what it did – but the fact that we were successful still stuns me.
  • Video game characters aren’t especially subtle, but they are appealing. They need to be visually distinctive, with clear expression of personality traits. Visually, Crash is orange, big head, and gloves. Then on the personality side, playful, resilient, not the brightest bulb, but willing to go the extra mile.
  • It does seem that as games become more realistic they have less distinctive characters. Many current console games now are essentially military. The badass space marine is iconic, but not really distinctive. What makes one different from another?
  • I don’t think it will be better and better graphics. That will happen to some extent, but it’s not important anymore. Part of it will be new business models of allowing certain aspects for free and charging for others. Making this all work in a way that doesn’t destabilize game balance will be a challenge. Integration of even more elaborate social structure is another trend. I think that in the next few years we will actually start to see less of the incredibly expensive monolithic console games. As disks go away new ways of paying are going to rear their heads and this will have a huge effect on the structure of games.
  • Andy Gavin [1]
  • Metal Gear Solid actually had nothing to do with the genesis of Syphon Filter. We had been in development for quite a while before we had even heard of it. The idea originally came from a producer at Sony’s (then) 989 Studios who had written a one page synopsis that he called “Syphon Filter” which had zero meaning, i.e. there was no plot, no character, and no story, just an idea for settings, mechanics and gameplay. From the beginning it was to be a “stealth action” game (in the days before there was such a genre) that focused heavily on weapons, gadgets and stealth. Our goal was to make the player feel like a super spy. Our lead designer back then was pretty heavily influenced by Nintendo’s GoldenEye, which was probably the closest you could come to finding a game like Syphon in those days.
  • It was a hard project in terms of development, for a lot of reasons. There were no, or few, games that we could draw on for inspiration. Most of the team had zero experience making this kind of game: The guys at Eidetic had just made Bubsy 3D, so they had some experience with doing a third-person action game, but Bubsy was a cartoon platformer so it wasn’t much help; I was brought on after the first Syphon Filter prototype was underway (a simple shooting segment in a subway), but my experience to that point was directing strategy games like MissionForce: Cyberstorm and art directing games like Sega CD’s Bouncers. None of us knew anything about making realistic shooters set in a spy world.
  • The original concept of the player becoming a super spy was adhered to pretty closely, but everything else was worked out as we developed. A crazy way to make a game, but a process we made work because our team was only about 13 people. Here’s some examples: the story for Syphon Filter when I was brought on board was all about a group of scientists who had been kidnapped and taken to a huge underground complex where they were being forced to build a time machine by an evil scientist / government. I was hired to be the art director, but I began to offer ways to improve the story to make it more current, more relevant (I had been the art director, writer and designer on my projects at Dynamix, my previous game company). The studio directors liked my ideas and midway through development I rewrote the entire thing, coming up with the idea that the phrase “Syphon Filter” actually was a code word for a deadly “programmable” virus. None of that stuff was new, science fiction and film had explored ideas like these for years, but it was new to games.
  • I’m personally most proud of the story elements. In those days you didn’t see video games dealing with a lot of current topics (bio weapons, terrorism, secret government agencies working outside the law). Remember this was all pre-9/11. And we were doing some things with characters that you didn’t see often in video games: Teresa Lipan, the brains of the agency, was an American Indian female… Lawrence Mujari, the biologist, was an African-American male, Lian Xing, a Chinese female, and so on. We were making a real effort to make the characters as diverse and un-stereotypical as possible. We were also attempting to inject a higher level of realism into the game than we’d seen before.
  • For what it was: the first of its kind, a mix of stealth and action, using real-world, current story elements and settings, realistic weapons and gadgets, with edgy story elements. As anyone in game development knows it’s really hard to be original, to come up with new ideas, new mechanics and new ways of playing. Syphon did all that and spawned a genre; so many games came out after us and were variations on the theme. In many ways, we were there first.
  • John Garvin [2]
  • The formulation of new game ideas involves two aspects: genre and style. As to gameplay genre: on the PS One, good-looking, free roaming 3D seemed impossible. The machine lacked any hardware sorting or clipping, and had a relatively low polygon count. Plus, the AI challenge of creating a camera that didn’t leave players feeling queasy was extremely daunting. So we locked down the viewpoint to improve graphics and focus on traditional Donkey Kong Country-style gameplay.
  • But with Mario 64, Miyamoto showed that free roaming was possible, albeit on the N64 and with no small dose of camera frustration. By the time we began Jak & Daxter in January 1999 newer games like Banjo-Kajooie vastly improved the playability. Clearly, on the PS2, full 3D could be great.
  • Andy Gavin [3]
  • When I try to watch something like The Big Bang Theory that is supposedly geek humor, it can never even hold a candle to spending that same half hour in the Dragon Age writers’ room. Writing is generally a solitary profession and I spent most of my twenties sitting at home in front of a computer churning out scripts and not talking to anyone. It’s an incredible blessing to get to spend every day with funny, intelligent people whom I respect and who care about the same kinds of things I do.
  • At the moment, we are at the end of pre-production and beginning of production, so I am bouncing between outlining new stories and starting to write dialogue for the larger plots that are already developed. But generally, I have about an 80-20 split between doing my own work and reviewing other writers’ work, either in formal meetings or an informal mentoring role. I have certain stories and characters that I am responsible for writing, so I need to keep on top of any other plots that use those characters and make sure they don’t conflict with any intentions for them. Also, all the writers sit in the same room because at any given time, someone is likely to be stuck or come up with something that we hadn’t considered in outlining (like “hey, what do people call the Champion before he becomes the Champion?”) and we’ll have an impromptu brainstorm.
  • If you don’t have a pressing need to make money, do a little time working for tabletop roleplaying games. It’s fairly easy to break in, because they pay peanuts, but you learn a ton about game design from working with dice systems. And since most videogame designers (certainly of RPGs) are huge tabletop game geeks, it’s a great credit to have when applying for jobs. Most people in the tabletop field end up drifting into videogames eventually, since you can live on what they pay you, so you’ll also make contacts who can end up being helpful down the line.
  • So when creating a character in the fore front of my mind is that this character is linked to the game design. So, you know, unlike the character design for an anime or a film or something – when we create a character it has to tie in with the game-play.
So for example, Sonic is invincible while he is jumping. He turns into a ball and has all the spikes around him. So this is a visual representation of what is happening in the game.
And another thing that has influence while creating a character is when I’m creating that character – what I think is cool at the time, of you know, is going around at the time around me in my environment or the industry would have an influence on me and what I think is cool. The overall output of the character design.
In the old days, there wasn’t really like a formal process, but these days when we create a character we ensure to get input from for example SEGA Europe or from the marketing department. We get input from input from various parts of the SEGA business to ensure that this character that we create is something that will be loved by many people.
But having said that, you know, the premise is this character that we come up with – that we are getting input on – there is what I want to achieve with that character and there is that at the forefront. There is this sort of core thing that we are working towards – that I am driving but I get feedback from the various parts of the business to ensure that it is something that will be done by many.
  • Initially, the work centers on the vision of the game, both in terms of the story and the artistic style. Lots of story development meetings take place, and concept artists work to flesh out the designs and environments that will become a living world by the end of development. At the same time, the engine and technology is planned, and early work on the technical design is done.
Once the technical and artistic vision of the game is planned, people can be brought onboard to start the main production work on the game. Artists build the environments, characters, and objects for the game world, and designers write the dialog and start making things function story-wise. The most difficult part of this stage is that everyone is working with partially complete technology, since the game programmers are also working to create the functionality of the engine and game systems. It's a careful sequencing of work that allows us to complete this stage, similar to trying to film a movie while technicians are still building your lights and cameras.
Once the bulk of the work on the game is complete, the bug database starts to take over as the driving force in development. The list of remaining tasks starts to dwindle, and the team works through the enormous task of perfecting the millions of details that will make it a solid game. Quality assurance testers also take center stage, providing valuable feedback about what's fun and what's not, in addition to spotting bugs. Designers work throughout this phase to improve the balancing of the game, making it more fun and exciting with every day.
Once all the bugs have been squashed and the testers are having lots of fun playing the game from beginning to end, the process of submission begins. A strict process of certification must be passed, and when complete, the game is ready for duplication and distribution, on its way to a store near you!
  • Casey Hudson [4]
  • I think the biggest change since three years ago, not just by myself, but Igarashi-san and Suzuki-san have had huge successes on Kickstarter, and that alone is proving that the North American market wants Japanese games made by these creators. We've totally proved that. This is something that the Japanese publishers should have seen long ago, and I think things are changing now because of these Kickstarters, and the publishers should understand that the market wants us to make Japanese games. So, from here, hopefully publishers will make some movements of their own. Hopefully it's not just the three of us, but more Japanese creators can make their own Kickstarter [campaigns] and make their own dreams come true.
  • The one thing I learned throughout this campaign is that, during the normal development cycle, you always have the fear that 'what if this game doesn't do well? What if people don't like this game I'm making?' But, you don't have this fear with a Kickstarter project because you already have, in our case, 70,000 people backing you. These people will love my game for sure, so I kind of feel safe and protected in a way.
  • It's very unlikely that anything could happen outside of Kickstarter. You might not understand this, but a lot of Japanese game creators are salaryman, they're just there to do their work. They're not actually creating the game they want to make because that's the order they're given by their superiors. I have been fighting against my superiors my whole [career] because I want to make something that I really want to make, and not too many people really do that in Japan, because worst case, they can get fired. Without the company's support, you won't even have the money to make the game to begin with. So, everyone just becomes 'yes men' in the company, so that's a really bad cycle, and I don't think it's a cycle that can change just because of a couple Kickstarters. At this point, I can't really say something other than kickstart will change things.
    • Keiji Inafune [5]
  • There seems to be a lot of retro-game nostalgia in recent years. Perhaps it’s because so many gamers have reached that age where they want to look back, or maybe it’s because of how easy it is to tweet out ‘Hey, remember this!?'
  • Greg Johnson [6]
  • I played the Mortal Kombat arcade game in their office for half an hour. I turned to [former Midway Games chief] Neil D. Nicastro and I said, “This is Star Wars meets Enter the Dragon. This is not just an arcade game. This is a whole phenomenon.” I said, “If you give me the rights to this, I promise you I will produce this, not just in movies, but in every medium in the world.” He looked at me and said, “You’re full of crap! It’s just an arcade game!” That began a three-month process of me trying to convince them that it was more than just an arcade game. They didn’t believe it… I finally just wore them down and they optioned the rights to me for an insanely short amount of time, which now I would never do, but it was my first deal at my company.
    • Larry Kasanoff [7]
  • Yoshinori Kitase:: We producers don't think that FFVIII is much harder than FFVII! However with FFVIII, we have tried to bring in a mode of play which requires more active thinking from the players. Yes, you can play it all the way through without thinking much about strategy or combination of energies but you have to move very, very slowly.
However, if you become more involved with the game and think more 'actively', it's much more fun. The harder you think, the better you play. It's wrong to say simply 'easier' or 'harder'...
  • I think girls tend to like RPGs, like Final Fantasy. Girls who play games like that seem to get more of a desire to work in this field. I usually don't think to make games strictly for a female audience, myself, but I think my RPGs attract a larger female audience. Violent, war-themed titles seem to attract an overwhelmingly male audience. I think if companies want to get more girls to play their games, they should keep this in mind.
  • As I'm a woman myself, when I make games, I try not to just have them be male fantasy figures, as people needing to be rescued. I like to make female characters people of both genders can relate to. But we are seeing more strong-willed women in games geared towards female audiences.
  • Back in the day, Sega said we couldn't show our real names, thus everyone went under nicknames in the game credits.
  • Reiko Kodama [9]
  • We always think of the road not taken, of something in the past. 'Wow, what would have happened if I married so and so, or took that job in San Diego…' But you rarely think that each and every second that goes by is one of those moments. Like this second that just happened. And that one. And the one that's going to happen in a second." Potentially, each of these seconds could alter a game in a profound way. Just as they can in life. The easiest thing for us to imagine is that our lives, and the story we are playing, are pre-designed, solid. But neither gaming nor life has to be like that. In both, we can alter and decide in a way that is surprising, ultimately freeing.
  • On a very practical level, we were striving for a deeper and more engaging sense of story and emotional character development for games. We brought character development, production design, animation, and effects from the film industry. We wanted to feel like you were playing not just a challenge, but someone’s fate – someone that you had to be responsible for.
On a more philosophical level, I wanted to take the most pop of pop culture, and convert it into meaningful modern day myths that would have great appeal to a wider audience. We also believed that people could find more empowering messages through gaming. So we targeted the anti-hero as our main character. Abe wasn’t the muscle-bound superhero that you wanted to be – he was the rather pathetic chump that you actually are. It was about rendering the journey out of the more powerless beings that we see ourselves as and at the place we most typically are, which is at the bottom of the global corporate food chain
On a business level, we believed that if we could crack the conceptual goals mentioned above, then we had a chance at establishing a quality brand that distinguished itself by offering its audience a more intelligent – albeit sarcastically ironic – perspective to engage with.
  • While 3D was the big emerging new real time tech of the PS1 era, it didn’t appeal to me at all as I had already been dealing with 3D graphics for a decade before I talked Sherry McKenna into founding Oddworld with me. We knew very well the capabilities that 3D was not going to deliver for console gaming at that time. Instead, we focused on creating the lifelike aspects of the characters and environments. Their animations, their sound effects – we were aiming for it to feel more like film.
  • It was film that was the key inspiration, but from games the most fun I personally had, aside from pure racing and arcade-style games, was the great early side-scrollers like Prince of Persia, Out of This World and Flashback. I loved those games, but most importantly those games made me feel like I was controlling a lifeform more than a piece of art in some challenge contest.
  • The animations, the locked camera, the movie-esque tone and vibe of those games blending story, action and adventure in clever, focused ways engaged me in ways that I found more inspiring.
  • I think the game served a lot of people who wanted to see deeper and more developed characters in games that had more real world relevance to them. I believed, and still do, that the audience wants richer entertainment than they are currently getting.
  • Lorne Lanning [11]
  • It’s not easy, but even for me, if I can’t reduce my ideas to actual data then I’m out of luck. Plus, I feel like the real work of game development isn’t just coming up with ideas, it’s translating those ideas into actual data. If you don’t have those skills, then you’re at the mercy of the programmers when they tell you something can’t be done, and if another planner comes up to you asking how to do something, you won’t be able to help. So you see, it’s really those with ideas (planners) who are most hurt by not knowing anything about data and coding.
And when it comes time to create the actual data, even if you think “oh, well I’ll just have other people implement my ideas, and they’ll add their own flavor to it”, what will happen is that they’ll end up taking control of the work. That’s why planners should be able to handle data. There’s so many software tools available today to make it easier, so its not like you need as much expertise as you did in the old days.
There’s also some planners who are more inclined to art and drawing. I have no skills with art myself, so I really envy those planners who do. And there’s a lot of places where their skills come in handy. We actually do hire some artists who only do “pure” art and don’t touch the software side at all, but for planners, I think it’s best to be able to handle data.
  • Akihiko Matsui, planning; [12]
  • In a way, trying to impress people with design or personality or whatever works to promote movies doesn't work with games because it takes the focus off the player who is supposed to be the star. The more the player is the star, the better a game you have.
  • Back in the 1990s, games rarely provided free camera movement But now players are used to being able to move both the character and the camera; we need to cater to what they have become accustomed to. Also, the pace, the locomotion speed of player characters, is faster now – and the cut-scenes need to be seamlessly integrated, both in terms of graphical style and continuity of action. I had to bear all of this in mind with Evil Within.
  • The horror experience is most scary when the player really isn’t sure whether their character is going to live or die – death and survival need to be on a constant see-saw. If there’s a situation where you’re not 100% sure that you can avoid or defeat the enemies, if you feel maybe there’s a chance you’ll make it – that’s where horror lies. Creating that situation is vital. Also, I don’t want to just stand there shooting dozens of enemies. Die! Die! Die! I don’t have the energy for that.
  • I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects. In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism. I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their independence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.
  • If I had to name the woman character I most disliked in my games it would be Rebecca Chambers. She’s submissive, she’s not independent. I didn’t want to include her but the staff wanted that kind of character in the game, for whatever reason. I’m sure it made sense to them. And in Japan, that character is pretty popular.
  • Shinji Mikami [13]
  • But back then, for example, if you had a big three-billion-yen project, no one knew if it would end up costing five billion, or two billion.
    • Shigeru Miyamoto [14]
  • Yusuke Naora: Isn't it scary to think about the impact a game can have on people's lives? That said, I really admire them for the time, energy and money that they spend on their costumes...
  • Kazushige Nojima: That may be possible, but if there is no script, I will be out of a job! It will not be in the very far future that one character in a story will have full artificial intelligence, but I think it is pretty difficult to make all the characters with AI. That's in the very far future...
  • It's tough to "buy American" when a video game sold by a U.S. company has been developed by Japanese software engineers and packaged in Mexico.
    • Barack Obama. About the worldwide video game market. Quoted in "The Audacity of Hope" - Page 175 - by Barack Obama
  • We said we’d never make a video game unless we really did it hands-on. We’re both gamers, we both grew up as gamers and we both respect gaming as an art form, just like musical theatre so to us it wasn’t just ‘oh go and do something like that’. Once we’d finished Book of Mormon, Stick of Truth really was our other big project, and right now it’s this.
  • All of the team members were affected by HR Giger’s design work, and I think they were aware that such designs would be a good match for the Metroid world we had already put in place. To be honest, I’ve never really been clear on what is or isn’t the ‘Nintendo look’, but as far as we were concerned, we were just projecting another image from within Nintendo – another face of Nintendo, if you like. But yes, it’s a science-fiction game, so…
  • Yoshio Sakamoto [18]
  • Of course another layer of challenge came from the fact that, like most other developers at that time, we were still feeling our way with 3D. Things like camera and character control presented a lot of interesting new challenges and required us to try out a number of approaches before we settled on solutions that seemed to work.
    • Chris Sorrell [19]
  • What’s great about games in particular is that it’s a socially acceptable way for adults to imagine. Take for example a fantasy that has you as a big, burly weapons expert. You run through buildings gunning down bad guys, saving the day and becoming a hero. “If you start telling all your coworkers that you just imagined that, they’d think you were certifiable.
Games can be art, and they can be significant and all the glorified things that we want them to be,” Swift said. “But if you ask a kid if their toys are important, they’ll say yes, and please don’t take them away
  • It feels like the gamers are finally in charge of our games. I like that. I trust that crowd so much just because of our Kickstarter campaign. We never approached our audience this way. Usually we make a game and it’s like we gift it to the players. But this time the players gifted us with the ability to make the game. And like all of my successes, PencilTest and the Kickstarter backers lifted the ceiling off of me. I hope I’ve done everyone right. I really want to honor the investment people have made in this game. It’s important that it succeed and it’s important that this model work for other games and developers too.
  • Work hard. That’s the thing that most people who love games and animation may not realize about what they’re seeing. It requires an ugly amount of work. You have to dedicate your life to it, but I believe almost anyone can learn how to make games and animate at a competent level. I don’t believe in following your dreams and going into too much fairy dust about the arts. Sure, it’s fun, but there are many times it’s not fun and you still have to do it.
    • Doug Tennaple [21]
  • Games are still considered to be in the sub-culture category, coming under movies, coming under manga or comics or animation, especially in Japan. So, hopefully we'll be able to establish our own position that can be established as a culture.
Even in Japan, I don't think that the game culture is established. So, probably the users are kids in school, even adults, I'm not sure up to which age they are. For example, my father will watch movies but games don't appear in his life at all, I think that that's sad. Even though we can create something really good, our parents wouldn't be able to understand what we do.
  • Nobuo Uematsu [22]
  • I think making Jade Empire a 360 launch title would have been massive. That's a really specific example, but we made a choice, and there are a lot of factors that go into these choices and you can't revisit them. But it's interesting, because it reminds me of what's going on right now with analysts saying that game sales are down because people are waiting for new consoles, and we released Jade Empire into that kind of window. In retrospect, it would've been great to put off a bit and polish the game a bit more.

See also[edit]

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