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Thread: What new games are "immersive sims"

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Genre is used to talk about a limited class of experience within fiction. This term we're batting about doesn't really funnel down to or operate like that.
    Why doesn't it operate like that? It has conventions just like any other genre. What makes it so different from 'metroidvania' or 'RPG'?

    If 'immersive sim' doesn't work for you, maybe it would be easier to talk about '451 games'?
    Last edited by Starker; 19th May 2017 at 15:26.

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Any game in which 451 appears as a conspicuous number - usually but not necessarily a keycode - early on? Interesting.

  3. #53
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Why doesn't it operate like that? It has conventions just like any other genre. What makes it so different from 'metroidvania' or 'RPG'?
    That's the point. Genre conventions are tonal - you have horror, which talks about a certain kind of experience, or you have adventure, or you have hack 'n slash, or you have a shooter. 'Immersive sim' doesn't really talk about the tone the game's trying to evoke, it talks about the production ethos and what that's meant to generate. I don't know if you're following on from the same base I'm using, which is Spector's Deus Ex post-mortem. We've since taken the term and run with it, but I don't think it was ever meant to be used as a genre descriptor.

    Also, the 451 code: nah. Didn't henke just post about Mafia 3 having it?

  4. #54
    Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief, System Shock 2, Thief 2, Deus Ex, Arx Fatalis, Deus Ex Invisible War, Thief Deadly Shadows, Arx Fatalis, Dishonored, Dishonored 2, Prey. All of these games share similar characteristics in that they're a.) first person b.) are "immersive" in the sense that they have interacting simulated systems that work together to form a consistent, "believable" world and c.) allow the player to use various tools to interact with that environment in ways that the designers didn't necessarily intend or predict.

    I dunno, I feel like this is a genre that isn't that hard to figure out. Assetto Corsa or Euro Truck Sim may be simulations that are immersive, but that doesn't make them immersive sims because that's not what that genre identifier means. Stuff like the Elder Scrolls or ArmA or Penumbra include some of the genre's defining characteristics without committing to them entirely. Deus Ex HR and MD share some of the genre's characteristics but were clearly designed with specific ways of completing the games objectives in mind. Thief 4 features traps that a reasonably fit adult of Garrett's size/build could simply avoid by jumping over them, but he can't because it's not an immersive sim.

  5. #55
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Hah, Wikipedia states: 'The term "immersive sim" may also be used to describe the game design philosophy behind the immersive sim genre, which uses interacting, reactive and consistent game systems to create emergent gameplay and a sense of player agency.'

    Well, that clears things up a whole goddamn bunch. I guess we're all correct. Party?

  6. #56
    "Rick Lane of PC Gamer noted that while earlier games The Elder Scrolls series were not immersive sims, the change from a class-based to a class-less, skill-based system in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006) transitioned the series to an immersive sim.[1]"

    That's also from wikipedia and is funny to me because a.) if he actually said that, it's factually incorrect (Oblivion was still class-based) and b.) I'd consider Oblivion the first TES game that started incorporating im-sim elements but that's not really related to that dude's reasoning in any way.

    Also: "The origin comes from both System Shock games which use it as part of the first door codes seen in the game" Yeah, that's not really it. It's a reference to LGS using that as their security door code (which was a reference to the book, but that's kind irrelevant here).

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Hah, Wikipedia states: 'The term "immersive sim" may also be used to describe the game design philosophy behind the immersive sim genre, which uses interacting, reactive and consistent game systems to create emergent gameplay and a sense of player agency.'
    Of course. The reason these games share so many similarities is because of shared game design philosophy, but it is those similarities that form the conventions for a genre. And each new game in the genre adds to the conventions or modifies them, sometimes drastically. Living genres are always in flux.

    Also, genre conventions can be about more than tone -- they can be about mechanics, they can be about style, they can be about the subject matter, they can be about the form... Just think of the still life genre or epics, for example.
    Last edited by Starker; 19th May 2017 at 17:55.

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    That's the point. Genre conventions are tonal - you have horror, which talks about a certain kind of experience, or you have adventure, or you have hack 'n slash, or you have a shooter. 'Immersive sim' doesn't really talk about the tone the game's trying to evoke, it talks about the production ethos and what that's meant to generate. I don't know if you're following on from the same base I'm using, which is Spector's Deus Ex post-mortem. We've since taken the term and run with it, but I don't think it was ever meant to be used as a genre descriptor.

    Also, the 451 code: nah. Didn't henke just post about Mafia 3 having it?
    "Genre" rarely means "tone" when used in the context of games. It is used for things like horror, but otherwise "Game genre" is usually used to refer to gameplay mechanisms and/or player POV: First-person shooter, third-person shooter, side-scroller, platform game, real-time strategy, turn-based strategy, etc. It's not always the best system for classifying games, but we're kind of stuck with it. I think "immersive sim" is an example of a more nuanced classification that can be more useful than those other terms, at least among people who agree (roughly) on a definition for it.

    Those terms were more useful in earlier days of video games, when games were almost purely about game play mechanisms.

  9. #59
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    As video games have matured as an art form, their genres have also become more diverse. Certainly game mechanics are one of the most visible features due to the nature of the medium, but for example 'spectacle fighter' is as much about style as it is about mechanics, enough to distinguish them from regular beat-em-ups.

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: on the socio path
    The term "role-playing game" is pretty meaningless too and could just as well be a descriptor for immersive sims. Which might be preferable since saying "I play immersive sims" sounds horribly pretentious

  11. #61
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    RPG mechanics kind of migrated into almost everything.

  12. #62
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    All right, folks. Fair enough. I think we can all safely agree that video games classification, at this point, is a mess.

    Starker, Weasel: I agree that for games this has now become more complicated and mechanics were included (metroidvanias et al.) as time went on. Genre essentially means 'style' if you look at the etymology and general usage of the term, and you can use mechanics to define a game's style, but this doesn't work all the time. My initial point was that an immersive sim can be a horror game or a stealth game or an action game - it has to be something else along with being an immersive sim - and that doesn't sound right for classification unless it works as a genre superset or (ugh) meta-genre.

    And yeah, the conversation over 'What is an RPG?' is about as involved and predates 'What is an immersive sim?' by a fair margin. Hell, I think we've had a few threads on that topic as well years ago in GenGaming.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 20th May 2017 at 01:01.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    I think the theme / tone of any game should be a separate classification from the mechanics, rather than trying to blend the two into one thing that you label "genre."

    Compare to other art forms, for example books:
    A book can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be one story or a collection. It can have illustrations or not. It can be a play /screenplay or not. With all these types of classifications, I haven't even mentioned theme or genre. A historical fiction mystery play doesn't need a unique all-encompassing word to describe what type of book it is, you can just list all of those separate classifications.

    In other words, a "stealth immersive sim" game can be called just that, essentially defining it in two different dimensions at once.

  14. #64
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Genre does not work very well as a classification system. A genre is more like a fuzzy label that describes a set of conventions than a neat little box that defines what a game is. And, like Weasel said, there are multiple ways to define a set of conventions.

    And as for whether 'RPG' is a meaningful descriptor, why wouldn't it be? Just because it's not precisely defined does not make it meaningless. To borrow from Wittgenstein, a concept with blurred borders is still a concept. For example, is it meaningless to point to a general are and say, "Stand roughly there"?

    In fact, at the risk of sounding pretentious, it might be helpful to think along the lines of Wittgenstein's family resemblances in this case.
    Last edited by Starker; 20th May 2017 at 02:54.

  15. #65
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I don't think I said 'RPG' was a meaningless descriptor. The context is it's up for debate as to where the boundaries begin and end. If you've got nebulous qualities to something, by definition there's always going to be differences of opinion as to what fits the description and what doesn't.

    As for genre convention: I think it's time we figured out a proper taxonomy instead of the kludge we currently have of lumping everything together, but that's just me.

  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    "Proper taxonomy" kinda seems to presuppose that there is such a thing as the Platonic Ideal of an , though, and that's just not the case. We're looking at a bunch of games after the fact and trying to find a label that allows us to compartmentalise those games. That's fine, but the edges are always going to be fuzzy, because the games come before the genre, and all too often the argument seems to start from the position that there is such a thing as THE immersive sim, when actually these definitions are descriptive and not prescriptive, and the things being described aren't going to correlate 100%. I fully agree with Starker in this respect that 'family' resemblance is a more helpful way of looking at these things - and also to accept that some of the criteria we posit here are personal preference, not absolutes, because again, genres are not inherent, they're a categorisation we impose after the fact. Discussing whether something that's third person can or cannot be an immersive sim is nerd masturbation, because there *is* no correct answer.

  17. #67
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I fully agree that going that far is intellectual masturbation, and I've said as much in my earlier post with the MGS 5 example. What I'm after is a nice, concise way of referring to these things without having to go over what these things are in the first place. That doesn't mean that there should be a Platonic Ideal, but as far as definitions are concerned, if we've retrofitted 'genre' to encompass mechanics with fuzzy interconnections between theme, style, and motive, that kind of category classification is getting a bit too noisy. It's not about prescribing what an experience should be, it's about just organising what we've got in a slightly better fashion (IMO, of course). Separating this stuff out like Weasel mentioned seems to be a good starting point.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 20th May 2017 at 06:56.

  18. #68
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Can we just talk about games again? Instead of a whole page about semantics.

    although I do indeed like to masturbate intellectually.

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I don't think I said 'RPG' was a meaningless descriptor.
    Abysmal did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I fully agree that going that far is intellectual masturbation, and I've said as much in my earlier post with the MGS 5 example. What I'm after is a nice, concise way of referring to these things without having to go over what these things are in the first place. That doesn't mean that there should be a Platonic Ideal, but as far as definitions are concerned, if we've retrofitted 'genre' to encompass mechanics with fuzzy interconnections between theme, style, and motive, that kind of category classification is getting a bit too noisy. Separating this stuff out like Weasel mentioned seems to be a good starting point.
    Again, if it's classification you are after, I don't think genre is a good tool for it. Certainly, you can draw borders, but those are going to be useful for you and you alone, especially if they don't line up with how other people see the genre. Not to mention that genres change over time.

    Also, some conventions are more and some are less negotiable. Portal is not going to be a first person shooter even if you technically do run around with a gun. You can't just take a game and start to check off boxes to see whether it belongs to a genre or not, you have to look at how it works within the conventions of the genre. A funny movie with romance in it is not necessarily going to be a romantic comedy.

    Regarding first person, you can definitely argue that this is a tradition more than something intrinsic to the genre (like it is for first person shooters), but even so, there's a good reason for the tradition. Third person view reveals the artifice of the game, something that immersive sims aim to minimise. You are watching your character perform actions, you can swivel the camera to look around corners, NPCs interact with your character instead of you, etc.

    I'm not going to say that third person view is an outright disqualifier, but I think that it makes a good case to argue that it's more of a game with immersive sim elements.

  20. #70
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Also, the 451 code: nah. Didn't henke just post about Mafia 3 having it?
    Indeed, it's showing up all over the place. Neon Struct, Spirits of Xanadu, Gone Home, Firewatch, Mafia 3. Doesn't say anything about whether the particular game is an immersive sim or not, it's just a message from the developer to gamers "hey, check this out. See how cool we are for having this here? And see how cool you are for noticing it? Yup, we're all PRETTY COOL. "

  21. #71
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    so when is the actual game "451" coming out.
    holy shit i just blew my own mind

  22. #72
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    wait i am not that flexible

  23. #73
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    ffs RPG is purely referencing d+d and other assorted pnp rulesets. So you have stats, levels and xp. There is nothing else. Morrowind was the last true rpg.

  24. #74
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I think it's best to just list what major elements a game has.

  25. #75
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Pennsylvania
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    wait i am not that flexible
    The key is going in through your nostril.

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