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  1. #1

    Question Family vs Mature...Defining a Good Game

    In the Wii thread one of the other users made a point that really set my brain on fire.

    Before my ponderings run wild I would like to say a little about myself so noone gets the wrong impression. I am 26 married with a 2 year old son. At the same time my media shelf is home to some of the most graphic films and games of history. I am a firm believer in freedom of expression and in no way agree with any of the spew that comes out of Jack Thompson's mouth or anyone of similar opinion.

    With that said, why is it that we attach this stigma to family games? Some how if a game or console is intended to be fun for everyone in can't be taken seriously. Nintendo has fought with this for a very long time.

    Why does a game have to be violent or drop F-bombs to be considered a Real game? Are we that ashamed of still playing video games as we get older that we have to indulge in "mature" content to feel better about it?

    Don't get me wrong. As I stated above I love horror movies and adult subject matter or storylines but why is it that we dissmis family entertainment? Is it really mature of us to turn our back on light hearted fun and up beat story in exchange for drugs, violence,tragedy and vulgar language?

    I have just as much fun watching pixar films with my son as I do watching dawn of the dead with my wife. All the same I have a blast playing Katamari Damacy and Mario galaxy between GTA4 runs. A great example of something that screwed up the gaming community was kingdom hearts. Everyone ripped on it being a diseny game and how it was going to be crap cause of fluffy family diseny characters. Then it came out and it was one of squares greatest works. No One could argue what a fantastic game it was.

    So what do you think? I would really like to get some deep phycho-social discusion on this subject. Lets see if we can get to the bottom of this bias.

  2. #2
    Retired Administrator
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    Jul 2007
    The problem is reversed. Rockstar says in interviews that they are only willing to release what they feel is the best of the best, and that is why they release so few games. How ever you have games like "Polar Express" that appears as if it was made in 12 hours.

    Often "Family" games have a much lower production value because they know that mommy is going to buy it anyway. Since Billy loved the movie we will get him the game.

    Games now generate more money than movies so why should the best games not have billions spent in development?

    The tl;dr version. Family games often have a lower production value thus are assumed to be horrible. While games like Grand Theft Auto invest tons of time and money.
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  3. #3
    That's an excellent point. So then same as with movies or music genre or target audience really has no impact on quality. Rather time and effort put into the end product. Similar to the stigma placed on movie to game titles. They have a popular license so they turn out a crap game cause the license will sell it.

    Then by that token do you think that games like kingdom hearts and mario galaxy where budget and talent is present could be accepted by the gaming community on same level as GTA?

  4. #4
    Retired Administrator
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    Jul 2007
    If the game is good people will buy it. There are always those who bad talk a game simply because. (IE me and World Of Warcraft) If you were in our IRC chat when Mario Galaxy was release you would know a ton of users enjoyed it very much. Part of the reason games like GTA get taken so seriously is due to the media pressure against them. Even if you don't play GTA you view it as an attack on your past time, thus there is more publicity and people talking about it.

    Mario and Kingdom of Hearts each have their followers, but a large percentage of video game users are 12-16 who may get the "I'm not playing that kids game" mentality. Add that to the Percentage of users who enjoy killing stuff such as yourself and you wind up with GTA being a more popular game. Simply by it's target demographic. The simplicity and shortness of Children's games make them less popular then the epic long games that require more dedication than your average 8 year old.
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  5. #5
    Master is My First Name Arisato-kun's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Woofcat makes a very good point. The vast majority of family based games have a bad production value. There are however some games that could be enjoyed by families and have a very good production value. And when I say family game I mean a game that can be enjoyed by and not offend anyone. All sports games could be considered family games for example because they contain no questionable content.

    Most likely one of the reasons that most people look for and defend adult games over family games is that need to stop being a child. With the target demographic for most games being in the teenage area most of the audience has a mentality of "I am an adult now and I should finally be allowed to be exposed to this content ."

    Plus there is the fact that adult games generate far more publicity over family games. Think about it. When was the last time you saw a Mario game on CNN? Now think of the last time you saw GTA or Manhunt. What people don't realize is that making a big deal out of these games only encourages more people to buy them.

    Now I myself do not buy games solely based on media hype but there are some who do. I think that people shouldn't buy a game based solely on hype but on production value as a whole. Sure family games don't have good production value most of the time. That's because a developer has never really tried to make a GOOD family game because it will most likely not generate revenue. Gaming is an industry and they go for the content that will sell the best and get the most hype.

    Whoa sorry for the long post (no one will probably read this anyways >_>) but you get my point. If people could just try and seriously look at different games before they buy them instead of just blindly following hype they could find both family and mature games that would be good. Both can coexist in this world. ^_^

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  6. #6
    Senior Member zeroLT's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Family vs Mature....Defining a Good Game.

    A good game is defined by personal taste and general opinion of the public oddly enough. To me, Family games are usually simple and not very complex, and a Mature game to me, has more involving gameplay and story elements that you just dont see in family games. Something that you dont see a family game is a epic story line that has you all excited about a sequel (God of war 2 has a awesome ending btw is make you yearn for God Of War 3) you dont really get all that excited of a Mario Party game or a sequel to the Sims. At least I dont.

    I have my own reservations about a system like the Wii, comprised mainly of family games. So i am a bit bias as anyone can tell from the Wii thread I started. I think that a family game can be fun, dont get me wrong, but I feel that there is a peak in the amount of entertainment someone can get out of a family game. A mature game like COD4 which has a good multiplayer component, you can get a whole lot more out of it simply because
    I believe that no matter how good you get at that game, there is always someone better then you out there.

  7. #7
    I think in order to further this disscusion we should take a closer look at the way we define a family game.

    Do we strictly go by the ESRB rating. A game that contains no grahpic violence, sexual or drug references and clean language. In essence No Offensive Content. Which would open the classification to many more games that are quite good.

    Some of you have made comments sujesting that a family game is one that is simplistic in gameplay and story, making it aproachable and playable by any member of the family yet generally dissatisfing to hardcore gamers.

    This second classification would remove such titles as zelda, dragonquest, blue dragon, and kingdom hearts from the family genre.


  8. #8
    Hayashida kamiyama85's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    in an octopus' garden with you
    man, i really do miss all the discussions

    why must games be classified at all? to put the ones you like in one corner so you can cheer them on and boo the ones in the other? maybe having a general idea about a game and pre-judging it can help sort out the ones you want to try and those you dont, but limiting yourself to things you think you like can stop you from trying things and loving them.
    its the same for music, film, and anything artistic. i listen to so much different music i cant say toxic is a bad song, even if i dont like britney spears. its just how it is.

    as with gta, they pump alot of cash into it and it has awesome graphics and music, it has playlength, but the story is pretty much the same everytime and the gameplay hasn't evolved at all, so i can't call it a good game, because i have contrast from games on the commodore 64, amiga 500 and the n.e.s, when it was what they did with the graphics, music and gameplay that made games unique and fun.

    choosing games based on production value is also silly because your limiting yourself to a whole world that could be good. i don't care how much money they put into spiderman 3, it was far from good. i know films are different to games in respect to production value, but still, a high ratio of cash leads to a high ratio of opinion, which isnt always right for you.

    i'm not defending the themes of alot of childish games, but by the same token, the themes and offensiveness of gta and cod aren't exactly raw, i'd say more overdone
    Last edited by kamiyama85; 05-24-2008 at 12:39 AM.

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