Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Videos Games – 11/20/2012

This week Adam, Norm, and Will discuss video games. From time spent mastering Millpede as a youth to lunchtime Unreal Tournament deathmatches at ILM to The Path, Adam discusses his video gaming predilections, and discusses what he does and does not like about modern videogames.

Comments (57)

57 thoughts on “Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Videos Games – 11/20/2012

  1. The games I’d recommend are mostly your more “artistic and simple” downloadable games.

    Recommendations:

    • Flower
    • Dear Esther
    • Journey
    • Botanicula
    • Limbo

    If some combat is ok then games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are still in my opinion really beautiful games. Perhaps the building experimentation side of games like Minecraft and Terraria would appeal? If Adam would just prefer stupidly large worlds to explore then perhaps games like Morrowind/Skyrim since cheats should be readily available to make you invincible. Games to perhaps show off how good visuals in games have gotten perhaps a couple of examples such as Witcher 2 or Battlefield 3. Games with interesting settings like Dishonored or Bioshock might appeal to the Adam as well?

    That’s all that comes to mind atm, will add more if I think of any.

    EDIT: If he like puzzle solving, can’t go past Portal and Portal 2.

  2. I’m surprised he didn’t mention having played Half Life, as I seem to remember him talking about maybe doing a simple Gordon Freeman costume as a less-limiting Comic-Con outfit.

    I totally get Adam’s affinity for exploration, it has always been my primary drive for playing games. I’d always try to explore every corner of the game’s universe and find all the easter-eggs, which is why my favourite games of all time are the N64 Rareware games, where there was always really good, hidden stuff.

  3. Turn the difficulty all the way down and skip the first quarter of an hour and I reckon Skyrim sounds a good bet.

  4. Please please PLEASE have Adam play Braid. It’s not and open world for him to explore in the content sense, but the exploration of time and physics in that game is simply one of the most compelling experiences I’ve ever had with a computer.

  5. I totally see the kids being jerks after playing video games. One o the things I have noted in myself is how much my mood changes after 15 minutes of Quake. It raises my blood pressure, makes me sweat a little, and I’m definitely more aggressive.

  6. Okay! I’m a total geek, but I’m so bad at playing games… I’m totally like Adam on Tomb Raider and Raven! Dieing and restart a level is a real downer for me… BUT, Portal and Portal 2 was a delight! I loved the characters and the dynamic of those games! There’s not much to explore, but I love those puzzles! In fact both games are not nearly long enough!!! You can have so much fun in co-op mod in Portal 2!!! I would love to see Adam play that!!

  7. The first thought that came to mind was ‘Skyrim’, which is a bit of a cop out because that’s what I was playing until recently.

  8. If Adam’s more interested in exploring worlds than in combat/puzzle solving, he may find Proteus interesting (provided he’s ok with the art style). I’ve only played with it for a bit, but it seems fun to explore.

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask since the “books” Still Untitled (if you ever go back to that topic) what Adam (and Will/Norm) made of Anathem and Reamde by Neal Stephenson, given that you discussed Cryptonomicon. I loved Anathem, and the world he created in it, but I know a lot of people didn’t. I liked Reamde a lot less – so much so that I didn’t finish it.

  9. My dad bought me Myst, and we played it together and I wanted it to be a better game but it was beautiful (at the time) When Riven came out, I snatched it up and got really really into it. I moved on, of course, to Exile, later. But the truth is, I can’t rave enough about these games. They helped shape my aesthetic as an artist. I still have a notebook somewhere stuffed with D’ni and pictograms and made up devices. My handwriting, to this day, is still based on Giffordshand, i think it’s called, the in-game font. The soundtrack, the SFX… incredible…

    *sigh* That’s my rant. And Revelation was beautiful as well.

    But End of Ages and the other ones got too “magic-y” for me.

  10. I think that Skyrim with some sort of invincibility turned on would be right up Adam’s alley.

    Also, Stanislaw Lem really is a fantastic author. I’ve only read The Futurological Congress thus far, but I’d love to read more of his stuff.

    I don’t know if the same guy did all his translations, but Michael Kandel did that one, and he did an incredible job.

  11. Seen a lot of these recommended already, but here’s my list of games that I think would be good for Adam to try given what he talked about in the podcast.

    • Journey
    • Flower
    • Skyrim
    • Portal / Portal 2
    • Kerbal Space Program
    • Braid
  12. I think it would awesome to do some videos with Adam running around in a game. I know it’s less of a open world but in the ways of art design, and story telling it is one of the best. The Walking Dead by Telltale…It’s not even a difficult game. Would be curious about his decisions that have to be made. Some could “play it” and he could just choose the choices.

    Seen a lot of these recommended already, but here’s my list of games that I think would be good for Adam to try given what he talked about in the podcast.

    • Journey
    • Flower
    • Skyrim
    • Portal / Portal 2
    • Kerbal Space Program
    • Braid

    Agree with everyone of these games. Great games.

  13. A lot of the same games are getting tossed around, and I’ll throw my hat in the ring to support several of them:

    Flower – wonderful ambiance and world to explore, also no way to lose

    Portal / Portal 2 – Amazing story with good, solid, puzzles which aren’t too frustrating (depeding on who you are)

    Braid – Delightful mind-bending game mechanic(s), great ambiance, can be explored (but not beaten) without collecting all the puzzle pieces

    I’d also like to add a completely different type of game in order to turn Adam’s “explore the world” desire on it’s head a little bit: Civilization V. It’s a builder game, and the exploring is less about a physical place or environment, but how human interactions and history, cultural development and environment are incredibly tangled. Our world and history have happened one way, but this game opens up the borader possibilies that can be explored by the player.

  14. I think based on his preferences Journey is a must, I would also add the Mass Effect Trilogy, if you can maybe get around the gameplay in the first one. Maybe Deus Ex: Human Revolution again if the challenge is taken out of it.

    I would add my weight to Mass Effect. BioWare has done stellar work with RPGs that you can wander around in and do tasks at your own priority, plus they look gorgeous (on the PC). Mass Effect 3 even has a mode to turn off the shooter aspect and JUST do the role playing. (Plus, Mass Effect has a multiplayer for coop, old-school-LAN-party type play.)

  15. I think that Skyrim with some sort of invincibility turned on would be right up Adam’s alley.

    On the PC that’s as easy as typing tgm into the /console (toggle god mode), but lowering the difficulty all the way might be enough. The game has quick saves and fast travel so death isn’t a big factor, and getting “reset” as it were gives you an opportunity to set off and explore an entirely different area.

    I totally agree that they should show him Portal & Journey too. Maybe Minecraft, though I can’t imagine he has not checked that out yet.

  16. Now that I think about it, as someone mentioned earlier in thread STALKER seems like a good choice. A genuinely beautiful and also disturbing game world. Problem is the game is really quite hard, although that only adds to the atmosphere. Maybe with god mode,or watching someone like Norm play it first to get a handle on it. Brilliant stuff, though, would love to see Adams reaction to that world.

  17. Knytt

    it’s an indy platformer with a massive open world. The massive open world has small pockets of civilization, suggesting a larger backstory that is never actually explained. The goal is to collect a few spaceship bits scattered throughout the world, though you can do so at your own pace. You have one button to jump, and one button to point you in the direction of the nearest piece. It’s an exploration game in it’s purest form.

    Other games that have already been suggested (in order of most exploratory)

    Minecraft – Journey – Wind Waker – Dear Ester – Mass Effect – Limbo – Portal – Braid

    to be honest, Limbo, Portal, and Braid aren’t about exploration…but they are just as brilliant as you’ve probably heard.

  18. I see pretty much everyone has suggested Journey here and I agree. I have a suggestion though. If Journey is one of the games he’ll get to explorer, it should be without having the online play aspect explained to him. I’d love to see is reaction when he finally realizes what’s going on. 😉

  19. Portal 1&2: great puzzles and the second one has more of an exploration feel imo but there are elements of that nearing the end of the first.

    Kerbal Space Program: Make awesome rocket thingies and send them to space! (hopefully.) no real way to lose and you get to make awesome stuff. Plus if you can build a decent enough rocket and pilot it well enough you can explore other planets and moons.

    Amnesia the Dark Descent: There isn’t really any combat and while he might not like it when it starts getting more intense later in the game I really like the sense of exploration and they way they set up the mood and such in the earlier parts of the game.

    Legend of Grimrock: maybe… it has combat but the whole point of the game is exploring a vast forgotten underground area combining great visuals with old school aesthetic.

    Minecraft: A practically infinite world to explore but it does get a tad repetitive after a while. While there is combat he could also have other people as bodyguards.

    Psychonauts: Probably wouldn’t work due to the amounts of combat and such but I feel it needs to be mentioned because of the sheer weirdness of exploring peoples minds.

  20. Tell Adam about Amnesia, Minecraft, Skyrim, and Morrowind. All of those games have something that falls into his criteria. Amnesia because he was interested in The Path, and it seems to be the go-to for non-combat creepy atmospheric games. Minecraft because duh and because it might be one of the few games he might let his kids enjoy. Skyrim and Morrowind because they’re all about exploration and because of the ways you can cheat on the PC.

    Morrowind will probably require the most amount of work since there are a few mods you’ll want to install to bring it up to modern standards (such as land LOD which allows for a far view distance without the slowdown) but it’s the most surreal looking of the Elder Scrolls worlds.

    edit: Oh, and don’t forget Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Back To The Future.

  21. [Doh! Spent 15 minutes or more composing a comment and when I hit submit it showed up as an empty comment! Not showing up in the form when I hit the back button either. Weird. Oh well, I’ll rewrite.]

    I agree with SchwartzChamp and others who suggested Portal. If Adam has played it I’d like to hear his thoughts, and if not he should try it. My preferences seem very similar to his and I was surprised how much I loved Portal. The problem solving is “fair” not “frustrating” because it’s logic-based, and while there is death, do-overs seem plentiful. Most of all, I really became engrossed with the main character’s quest for freedom; as you get towards the end and start to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” there’s just an incredible sense of accomplishment and liberation.

  22. I’m sure Will was thinking of World of Warcraft when thinking about massive environments. Certain areas of that game are some of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a video game. If you logged Adam into a max level account on a non PVP server, I’m sure he’d enjoy wandering around for a while.

    It’s just a pity such an awesome environment is in game that is totally useless to anyone that is time poor. I never got a character above level 35-40 or so.

    If Adam did enjoy multiplayer deathmatch type games like unreal, surely he should check out Team Fortress 2. Has he seen the “Meet the” characters videos? I’m sure he’d really appreciate the 1960s stylistic elements of the game. Would also be interesting to get his thoughts on how Valve have opened up their props development to the masses, and have rewarded the community with a cut from the MannCo profits.

    As others have mentioned, Portal is a must. Physics, storytelling, puzzle solving, cool guns, what more could you ask for?

  23. And here I was thinking that in 2012 nobody would write JS that would cause “next [comment page]” to delete everything I’d written, and I was wrong.

    Paraphrasing time!

    Lots of good suggestions here, surprised at a few missing.

    Adam is probably an Explorer on the Bartle scale. I get the feeling Adam is also going to want to go off-script as soon as a game lets him do so, and that any game that doesn’t let him do so will quickly become boring.

    I’ve only played Journey and Ico in passing, but both seem like really good fits.

    Skyrim seems like exactly what they were asking for. Its got so much content and such a massive and intricate environment –remember Blackreach?– I’d be surprised if Adam didn’t at least find it interesting. The combat system is not good, especially if the player has nothing invested in slaying dragons or the rival faction, but it does have ample cheat codes to help alleviate that.

    I am wondering if Adam likes gameplay systems that are simply less combat oriented than those of Tom Raider or Skyrim, namely I’m wondering about Civilization V. There isn’t a world there to explore per se, but between running the Manhattan Project, building le Louvre, and watching Montezuma and Alexander go to war with each other I wonder if theres enough content there to discover anyways. LA Noire and Portal are other games that I’m wondering the same thing about.

    I’m a little bit afraid of just how much combat many of the other suggestions are couched in: Bastion, Half Life 2, Assassins Creed 2+, Fallout 3, Dishonored, Bioshock, STALKER, and Mass Effect, all have fantastic fictional backdrops to them, but their primary focus is still killing things.

    The Legend of Zelda always seems to be unique in these kinds of discussions. Why is it so magical to find a cow at the bottom of a perfectly cylindrical hole in the middle of a field, a cow that when sung to gives you a bottle of milk –and the thing you were stoked about wasn’t the milk but the fact that you got another bottle. I think Zelda might be a lot of fun for Adam, especially as a family thing, but it might also just be a bizarre disappointment. Because so much of the Ocerina of Time experience is hidden in players guides and forums, I probably would suggest one of the more curated games such as Skyward Sword, the previously mentioned Wind Waker, or Majora’s Mask. This is assuming though that Adam is willing to play through those combat systems… (or go fishing).

    my .02

  24. Totally want to reiterate some of the games mentioned previously: Journey, Flower, Portal, and Braid.

    Also, I’ll add a couple:

    Echochrome: very cool use of perspective for puzzles, and very “arty” in an Escher kind of way, which I think has massive appeal for a engineering-type like Adam.

    Everyday Shooter: an oldie but a goodie (in terms of this generation of games), and also very old-school (for gaming in general) in style. Adam said he’d played things like Space Invaders and Millipede. This isn’t too far off from that, but certainly an evolution in terms of brilliant HD visuals, and excellent use of music. Plus, it was made by one dude. How much more “Indie” can you get?

    Just Cause 2: I realize this may not be everyone’s favorite game, but it is a massive 3D world (albeit very repetitive) with some fun hidden easter eggs (inspired by things Adam has mentioned liking, such as LOST) hidden throughout. And the grappling hook/parachute combo is a really fun, and unique, way to explore. Plus, you’ve also got planes, boats, and cars. And it’s decidedly less notorious for being “rapey” or offensive in general than something like GTA, while still giving you the option to blow stuff up and be play an action star.

  25. I would suggest Skyrim for the open world, crafting with armor, wepons and potions. Plus the music and landscape is incredible.

  26. The games I’d recommend are mostly your more “artistic and simple” downloadable games.

    Recommendations:

    • Flower
    • Dear Esther
    • Journey
    • Botanicula
    • Limbo

    If some combat is ok then games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are still in my opinion really beautiful games. Perhaps the building experimentation side of games like Minecraft and Terraria would appeal? If Adam would just prefer stupidly large worlds to explore then perhaps games like Morrowind/Skyrim since cheats should be readily available to make you invincible. Games to perhaps show off how good visuals in games have gotten perhaps a couple of examples such as Witcher 2 or Battlefield 3. Games with interesting settings like Dishonored or Bioshock might appeal to the Adam as well?

    That’s all that comes to mind atm, will add more if I think of any.

    EDIT: If he like puzzle solving, can’t go past Portal and Portal 2.

    You’ve pretty much nailed it.

    I’d add LA Noire onto that list as you can skip the combat sections and driving but Dear Esther, Flower and Journey all sound ideal for him.

    I also think he’d love the world of Bioshock but the combat could be severely off-putting.

    At least with Journey and Dear Esther, those are games that he can finish in a single sitting and it would be great to watch his reactions to those on a live-stream or something.

    EDIT: Also, Machinarium is a perfect choice as it’s a great mix of puzzle and beautiful point and click with a gorgeous world to explore. Plus, it has the Vinny seal of approval.

  27. I agree with most of the other suggestions, I’d only add Mass Effect 3. You can play it in Story Mode, and jumping in without playing the first two will give it an action movie feel, or maybe a “Fall Guy” feel.

  28. I think Jamie should try Little Big Planet 2. Especially the building site of it is insanely extended i think he also would enjoy the community levels with al the weird and wonderous levels. the whole game has that DIY vibe going on.

  29. All the games mentioned above and

    • Heavy Rain
    • Shadow of the Colossus
    • Journey
    • Batman Arkham Asylum / City?

    The first BioShock, if you could disable the “Game” and make Adam experience that world, and the Big Daddy character for the first time could be epic (perhaps he could play it on easy. I know i was blown away by the immersive nature of that game.

    And if it wasn’t for all the glitches Fallout 3 would be pretty cool.

  30. I’m really happy you guys have finally gotten to talk with him about this because ever since I found out I always wanted to hear him address directly his very specific relationship with video games. I’m someone for who video games is deepest and most central to my experience and the one constant I’m proudest to keep throughout my life. I say all this because I’m very passionate about this and would be remiss not to give my 2 cents.

    I think it’s super fascinating that his reference for video games, ultimately anyway, is old Atari computer stuff, arcade games like Pong and Millipede, and later on Myst/Riven and Tomb Raider. I do love that Unreal Tournament was in there as well, which is a good reference point for what is one of many core strands to gaming’s history and culture that people might ignore in favor of focusing on the “higher” culture games when suggesting to non-gamers what to play. I’m also glad that Adam has a great attitude about them and knows what he loves about them, little as he is invested in them overall.

    As far as games that might appeal to Adam specifically, Will hit it when mentioning the rise of indie games in the last 5 years accommodating people like Adam directly more so than ever before.

    As people have mentioned I think Journey and Skyrim are a must, and if you want to dig a bit deeper you can bust out Dear Esther and Fallout 3 to highlight indie vs. AAA examples if huge open worlds to explore that are fictional. Minecraft would be a fascinating game to explore with Adam for reasons I think are self-explanatory. Oh and Red Dead: Redemption might get a good reaction from Adam if you have a save at a point where the character is out in the open. If Adam loved Tomb Raider, I would also recommend Prince of Persia (2008) and Assassin’s Creed II as great games with emphasis on character climbing and exploration that are really well done.

    I wonder how Adam feels about story and choice based games. Certainly game stories could be better but my experience and reverence for a lot of game stories is well founded. Maybe that’s now how he would be appreciate soaking in a world and its characters but I think game’s are actively growing in that respect and there are a good number of games that have provided amazing characters and compelling stories. Anyway, I’ve rambled for long enough, time to keep moving.

  31. i’d think that Silent Hill 2 would be a good fit as at the game has a good use of exploration to help build tension, not to mention its general awesomeness.

  32. As people have mentioned I think Journey and Skyrim are a must, and if you want to dig a bit deeper you can bust out Dear Esther and Fallout 3 to highlight indie vs. AAA examples if huge open worlds to explore that are fictional. Minecraft would be a fascinating game to explore with Adam for reasons I think are self-explanatory. Oh and Red Dead: Redemption might get a good reaction from Adam if you have a save at a point where the character is out in the open. If Adam loved Tomb Raider, I would also recommend Prince of Persia (2008) and Assassin’s Creed II as great games with emphasis on character climbing and exploration that are really well done.

    Yes! Prince of Persia (2008) is an excellent game and you cant’ die so it would be perfect.

  33. Some of these suggestions just don’t make any sense in the context of Adam being a person that doesn’t want to deal with the gameplay aspects of games. Seriously, Final Fantasy VII? That’ll probably just put him to sleep. I’m sure Will and Norm can lead Adam in the right direction though.

    Some of my suggestions:

    Journey (Playstation 3) – Nothing really but exploration. Make sure you’re online when you play it though.

    Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery (Android or iOS versions, I’d stay away from the PC version) – Make sure you have around 6 hours to play the whole thing through since it’s something that you just zone out to.

    Machinarium (PC, although I believe there are iOS and Android versions now) – A point and click adventure game that never gets too hard, with a beautiful steampunk-inspired art style.

    Botanicula (PC) – By the same makers of Machinarium; another point and click adventure game with a really unique style and worlds filled with plant life.

  34. Adventure games are always great for anybody!

    Buy the Summerbatch, whole heap of awesome adventure games like “Barely Floating” in one package. For 5 bucks i think it was.

  35. Will, have you happened to see Indie Game the movie. I swear, it sounds like you’ve seen it.

    Pretty sure he has considering the fact that his voice plays a prominent part in the Super Meat Boy section when they show one of the Giantbomb videos…

    Also, Fez would be another fantastic addition as would Super Brothers: Swords and Sworcery. Both are prime examples of games that harken back to another time visually but feel incredibly modern and have wonderful, beautiful worlds to explore and no real fear of death.

    Dropping Adam into mid-game Red Dead would also be fun to see him travel around Mexico which is stunning.

  36. Ryan mentioned an interesting point in the last Giant Bombcast. It’s really hard to spot someone who loves games these days. The medium is is spreading out to the point that you don’t even need to play anything GTA, Call of Duty or Mario to love games. Someone who only plays Dance Dance Revolution all day could hate every other game on the planet, he/she is still a “Gamer” (ugh, don’t like that term).

    I think Adam need to find his own favourites amongst all the genres out there. Some of the games have exploration, some puzzles, some story, choice, characters, some are arcade and some are extremely realistic.

    And there are further subdivisions to these categories.

    If I would introduce games to a guy like Adam I would go directly to Civilization 5, Proferssor Layton or Portal for the fast get-in-get-out type of intellectual gameplay (not saying those games are fast, but you can enjoy them in small chunks).

    For more exploration and fiddling I would recommend Minecraft, Terraria, Kerbal Space Program, Universe Sandbox, Dwarf Fortress (Not actually Dwarf Fortress, but something similar).

  37. I’m glad I’m not the only one to think of Prince of Persia (2008). Adam seems to not like dying and if I remember correctly that game only has 21 battles (5 for each sub boss and one for the final boss). There are no other enemies in each level if I remember correctly. The majority of the game is about exploring these really fantastical and unique environments, such as The Vales which is very leafy and jungle like but built on ballons in the sky. There are collectables dotting the paths that are available to take so you can’t get lost and it shows you where it’ll be possible for you to reach if you just look around for ways to get there. It’s open world so you can just explore. The player character is accompanied by a magical companion that will save you every time you would have died, whether it’s from falling when exploring or from failing in combat. It seems like the perfect game for Adam. Most of these other suggestions require a bit more fluency in the language of games. Even Flower is definitely a game that requires you to recognize what a level flyover or shining light means in terms of what players are meant to do. People unfamiliar with games don’t see these subtleties and have trouble figuring out what to do because of it.

  38. Adam if you like exploring and a high learning curve try Egosoft’s X series of games. You never have to fight unless you want to and there are over 200 solar systems to explore.

  39. My recomendations

    Exploration games:

    • Skyrim
    • Journey
    • Minecraft

    Story games:

    • Dear Esther
    • The Mass Effect series*
    • Spec Ops: The Line

    *I don’t want to start a flame war, but think about the entire series right up until the end, and ask yourself how much that series made you think about your actions. Legion’s mission in ME2 is enough to qualify the entire series at that. Scratch that, all of Legion’s missions are the most moving moments in my video gaming history. The Mass Effect series isn’t just good gaming, it’s good Science Fiction.

    Also, a few comments on the video.

    The Halo and Call of Duty series may seem fairly empty to a lot of people, but I want you to take that and look at the Maker community. How many of the new young makers hang out with their group to play those games socially? Take that idea and look at the replica community. How many more people are brought into that community searching for how to make their own Mjolnir armor like Master Chief? Take that idea and look at the entertainment industry. 343 just wrapped up one of the most amazing Sci-Fi mini-series that’s come out in recent history, and it was distributed online for free entirely through Youtube, and it was about the Halo universe.

    Alright, so those series aren’t exactly breaking grounds in the field of philosophical debate, but they’re outstanding at creating a huge community around them and drawing in people who aren’t really gamers.

    Also, on the kids after they’ve been playing shooters. Those games have a very dense network of stressors built into them. When you have to play highly reactive games like that, particularly in a multiplayer setting, it’s not uncommon to walk away either irritated or angry. It’s a natural reaction to an unnatural stressor. Add to that the high number of “skinner box mechanics” in those games that are there to make you want to push past the stressful parts, and it’s not exactly the best environment. It means they’re likely walking away from a stressful situation, still stressed, and out of an environment that’s constantly rewarding their subconscious, so it’s harder to get them to do something. The “skinner box mechanics” applies to television as well. It’s built to reward you subconciously and to get you to continue to watch. What that means for anyone undergoing that kind of subconcious bombardment is that they’re constantly looking for that reward system in everything they do, because it’s being subconsciously weighed against TV programming and movies which give rewards for no effort at all. It’s why the mice that were allowed to hit the food button or the button that sent shocks into their pleasure centers would do that to the exclusion of everything else.

    Also, while the publishing side of the gaming industry has many faults, the idea that it exists is pigeonholing all games into the Call of Duty/Halo mold is just ridiculous.

  40. Find it interesting that Adam’s kids become “jerks” when playing games, although sounded like TV had the same effect? So not sure it’s something about the nature of the entertainment, or an aggressive nature of the games/shows?

    When I was 12-13 I remember playing lots Civilization 1, C&C Red Alert, Simcity, and later Starcraft 1 and I find it hard to imagine that those would make kids aggressive, at least not any more so than tom & jerry cartoons..

    From the podcast and comments here it sounds like the majority of games are shooters/RPGs or platformers, with a light sprinkling of off-the-wall indie stuff. But getting older I’ve mostly lost interest in anything other than strategy games. I want to use my brain an explore mechanics and systems, and find that infinitely more interesting than the crap stories in games which I’ve realize always bore me at this point. Even the “best of the best” (Bioware?) I think we can agree are pretty bad at stories. Dragon age was such cliche junk I gave up once the gameplay became repetitive.

    Although from the sound of it I don’t think Adam would care much for strategy games either. His tastes are a bit… different, especially from my own.

  41. Also, on the kids after they’ve been playing shooters. Those games have a very dense network of stressors built into them. When you have to play highly reactive games like that, particularly in a multiplayer setting, it’s not uncommon to walk away either irritated or angry. It’s a natural reaction to an unnatural stressor. Add to that the high number of “skinner box mechanics” in those games that are there to make you want to push past the stressful parts, and it’s not exactly the best environment. It means they’re likely walking away from a stressful situation, still stressed, and out of an environment that’s constantly rewarding their subconscious, so it’s harder to get them to do something. The “skinner box mechanics” applies to television as well. It’s built to reward you subconciously and to get you to continue to watch. What that means for anyone undergoing that kind of subconcious bombardment is that they’re constantly looking for that reward system in everything they do, because it’s being subconsciously weighed against TV programming and movies which give rewards for no effort at all. It’s why the mice that were allowed to hit the food button or the button that sent shocks into their pleasure centers would do that to the exclusion of everything else.

    I think that does sound like a likely explanation. That the nature of those games are more to blame than the concept of games overall. As i mentioned above I played a ton of Civilization 1 and simcity as a kid, and i don’t think it made me particularly aggressive. (Perhaps just a little bit when I wasn’t allowed to play anymore..)

  42. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I work as an Environment Artist on Star Trek Online. If Adam would like to just wander around our worlds, I’d be happy to hook him up.

  43. I’m with you on Mass Effect. Assuming Adam could let himself be absorbed by the story. All he’d need to do would be set all the combat settings to their easiest setting, because then the games are pretty much a walk in the park thus allowing him to focus on the beautiful exploration and story components. Getting him willing to invest the time it takes to really sink your teeth into the ME universe might be hard though. It’s got a pretty big entry barrier, taking about 6 hours just on the set up alone (assuming you fully explore the Citadel and do the early side missions). But once you’ve got your team built up and go get Liara, the whole universe becomes super engrossing. It might be a little linear during missions, because once you start you’re locked into the mission to completion, but it’s got the openness aspect built into the Universe exploration and the fact that you can do your missions in nearly any order.

  44. I’m sure some of these have been recommended already, to think of them as additional votes:

    The Elder Scrolls games (with Skyrim being the most recent and best.)

    The Fallout games (Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vagas are most recent, the earlier ones have pop culture humor I think you would like.)

    If you can take the time commitment of a MMO, Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic or EVE On-line.

  45. Wow, where to start….

    Dear Esther (looks beautiful, you basically spend time wandering about an island)

    Minecraft, could be a somewhat nostalgic experience based on the low resolution art style. Since you arent to much into combat and dying, try getting some practice in on peaceful and then play on a higher difficulty.

    Amneisa: The Dark Decent, I actually know the ends and outs of this game from this game as a custom story designer. Its very atmospheric, I dont know if you are into horror but this could be a lot of fun for you if you are.

    Oblivion and Skyrim and hell maybe even Morrowind you would enjoy to. All fantasy based, swords magic travel by horse and all that good fantasy stuff.

    Take a look at these titles. I highly recommend them all

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