Wednesday, February 4, 2009

LBP: Play or Game?

I know for my friends around the office this will probably light a spark, but I do agree with most of this review. The professionally made levels are good, the user content is not and in the end, why am I playing? I enjoy singular moments of fun, but most of gaming revolves around achievements. (Not those points next to your gamertag on Xbox Live, but real successes and failures in a game) This brings up the fundamental difference between play and gaming. Play has no long term goals and effects. It's what children do to pass the time, hang out and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Gaming is about competition, rules, winning, achieving and the traditional "human" condition that drive the majority of the species to business, sports, politics, warfare and punching each other in the face.

My experience with LBP was very similar to my experience with GTA. I played it up until the point that I saw what it had to offer and then, feeling I had achieved the experience, I moved on. Neither appealed to me as a space I wanted to stay in and neither made me hope for new, unique experiences to come.

So is LBP a Play space or a Game? Secondly, is GTA a Play space or Game?


  1. Well, I think the answer to this is obvious...

    They are games.

    The better question is at what point do they stop being games? If games are about competition, rules, winning, achieving and the like then both GTA and LBP do that. But, like any other game, if you exclude online play then this runs out after a certain amount of time and gives way to personal challenges and general dicking around. One of my favorite games to pass the time is Skate (I haven't gotten Skate 2 yet) and my favorite thing to do in Skate is to ignore all the challenges and just tool around town. I still have a game with rules (like don't slam into shit or make an ass of yourself) and I still have achieving (again, don't make an ass out of yourself) but it is self-motivated.

    I think another way to look at a game like LBP, GTA or Skate is to be happy they game you an "end game" of sorts.

    Oh, and in an effort to remove any validation from my argument... You're a dick. Ha!


  2. Totally unrelated to the topic:

    1-2 month early reviews : What the F ?

    So street fighter 4 and Killzone 2 both got pre-reviewed a month or two before their actual release dates.

    Good or bad and what happens when they start reviewing 6 months earlier?

  3. Mokuu: I don't know. I wondered about that too.

    Back to the topic at hand...

    I think what Patrick is getting at is whether or not the game carries a sense of purpose. We've touched on this a couple of times with other titles on the podcast.

    Mike, I have to kind of side with Patrick on this-- LPB is lacking it, and I have to begrudgingly agree that most sandbox games (GTA included) -tend- to lack it signifcantly. To be fair, the most recent GTA had a much greater driving purpose than most sandbox games do (unlike it's other lauded, often purpose-free game Crackdown, which people literally just dicked around and never seemed to get much 'purpose' done), but it still lacked enough for me.

    At the end of the day the question becomes how much purpose you, as a player, need in order to be engaged in your medium. Patrick sounds like he needs a lot; Mike seems to be less so.

    I'm probably leaning more towards Patrick's tastes on this one.

  4. I think you are missing my point. My point is that even a sandbox game like GTA has a purpose. The purpose is proceeding through the story. LBP's purpose is getting through the levels. Once that is exhausted, all these games become only sandbox. The sandbox is optional up until that point. You can play GTA and LBP as a linear start to finish game. That's actually my greatest criticism with GTA, that it's not sandbox enough in my opinion.

    Purpose is a hard thing to define. I would say purpose comes from how attached you are to the character's plight and is separate from challenges that are provided. We can only really judge it based on goals and achievements provided by the designer. LBP, GTA, Crackdown... they all have those and you can play to complete all those objectives, if you so choose.

    I think this could actually be our next discussion topic.


  5. I gotta side with Mike there.
    My experience with GTA 4+Saints Row 2 was mostly getting through the story to get a conclusion. I did enjoy the side mini games but seeing as they aren't -Forced- upon me and i didn't need to do them in order to finish the game, i didn't spend alot of time messing around town and went for the story straight away.
    Both games had very interesting storylines btw.

    One thing that keeps making me tick is when people keep referring theses types of games as overall Sandbox play rooms yet theses games do have storylines and endings as "main goals". I cant seem to understand why the games are picked up simply to mess around to a certain point, then the game is not fun anymore, Patrick definitely isn't the only one, ive got a couple of friends who have that same habit.

    Generational thing?
    Are we too quick to pass from game to game?
    Did we like it?

    I don't remember anyone picking up Super Mario Bros 3 then putting it down after getting the raccoon tail.

    Maybe certain persons have alternate goals when they play their games. Or its just not "their" type of games.

    Maybe i should cut down on the espressos cause i might be over thinking this o.O;;