Strategy = Top PC Game Sales

QuarterToThree Message Boards: Free for all: Strategy = Top PC Game Sales
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, August 2, 2001 - 06:07 am:

Just looking at the recent top 10 ending July 21

1. Diablo II Expansion Set: Lord of Destruction
2. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000
3. The Sims
4. The Sims House Party Expansion Pack
5. Diablo II
6. RollerCoaster Tycoon
7. The Sims Livin' Large Expansion Pack
8. MechCommander 2
9. Age Of Empires II: Age of Kings
10. Tribes 2

Pretty much the same list last month with a few new games. Whats the news? nothing new. For pc games it looks like Strategy is king. Only Tribes 2 is the action title on this list. Pretty much the rest is Strategy and one flight sim and the usual Blizzard behemoth seller.

So why are we seeing umpteenth more action titles to come out? It looks like Action is dead on the pc and looking for a home on the console imo. Not that i want that to happen, since i still think "fps shooters" are best on a pc... but maybe they arent as big a deal since the Doom days... except for maybe the Tom Clancy games.

I'm surprised that games like Black and White and Tropico are doing relatively well... they've been hovering around the top 10 - 15 since release a few months ago beating out action titles like Counterstrike, Tribes 2, Undying, Blue Shift etc etc

Maybe joe and jill consumer actually LIKE strategy and slower paced games than we think! I for one am glad that strategy is at the top 10. Strategy games are the lifeblood of pc gaming. Anyway... I dont think ANY action game in the near future will ever top the sales charts as much as The Sims and RCT have...except maybe a Blizzard title.

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, August 2, 2001 - 06:15 am:

heres an august top 10 from 1999 and 2000 around August... based on this, friggin Roller Coaster Tycoon is KING!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey great game, Sawyer deserves it!

1999 august

1 * Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Gold Edition Red Storm Entertainment, Inc. $23
2 * MP Roller Coaster Tycoon Hasbro Interactive $29
3 * Starcraft Havas Interactive $36
4 * Sim City 3000 Electronic Arts $41
5 * Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2 Activision $19
6 * Half-Life Havas Interactive $42
7 * Hoyle Casino 99 Havas Interactive $25
8 * Star Trek: Starfleet Command Interplay $50
9 * Need For Speed 3 Electronic Arts $18
10 * Monopoly Game Hasbro Interactive $19

and then 2000 august

1 * Diablo II, Havas Interactive, $51
2 * The Sims, Electronic Arts, $43
3 * MP Roller Coaster Tycoon, Hasbro Interactive, $26
4 * Who Wants to Be a Millionaire 2nd Edition, Disney, $19
5 * MP Roller Coaster Tycoon Corkscrew Follies Expansion Pack, Hasbro Interactive, $18
6 * Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Disney, $10
7 * SimCity 3000 Unlimited, Electronic Arts, $37
8 * MS Age Of Empires II: Age of Kings, Microsoft, $45
9 * Unreal Tournament, Infogrames Entertainment, $25
10 * Centipede, Hasbro Interactive, $10


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Thursday, August 2, 2001 - 02:31 pm:

Sorry, you'll have to define what you mean by "strategy." I'll give you AoE2, MC2, and RCT, but that's only 3 out of 10.

The thing I notice more than the genre mixture is the low number of development houses represented. Seems like Blizzard and Maxis have the list locked up, with the MS publishing machine making the occasional inroads.

- Alan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason_cross (Jason_cross) on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 02:22 am:

According to NPD, strategy games have over 25% of the PC games market, by far the largest chunk. They even have like 23% of the overall market (including consoles) according to the IDSA's annual report issued in April I think. In the overall market, Action and Sports games are much larger than on the PC alone, due to the influence of consoles.

Looking at just the top 10 can be misleading. What if games 11-40 were mostly RPGs, for instance? That's not the case, but you can't go ONLY by the top sellers, which fluctuate.

>give you AoE2, MC2, and RCT, but that's only 3 out of 10.

The Sims is a strategy game (for lack of a more suitable genre) and SimCity is definitely a strategy game. That makes 6 of 10, vs. 2 RPGs, one Sim, and one Action title.

It's a 3-to-1 advantage over the next nearest genre.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Chet on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 03:30 am:

Wouldn't the sims be a simulation? I think that is a more valid genre placement for it than strategy.

Chet


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bruce_Geryk (Bruce) on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 06:09 pm:

"Wouldn't the sims be a simulation?"

According to this review of The Sims by a gaming academic, yes!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason McCullough on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 08:22 pm:

Bruce, you're going to make our heads explode with that stuff.

'One of the most controversial features in The Sims is its consumerist ideology.'

*sssssshhhh*

'Is ergodic parody possible at all?'

*boom*


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bruce_Geryk (Bruce) on Friday, August 3, 2001 - 09:03 pm:

I have to admit: I'm oddly fascinated by that entire Game Studies site. Much like the Alan Sokal hoax several years ago, it blows up the whole idea of criticism for its own sake, and does it in spectacular fashion. It almost doesn't matter if it's a hoax. I am pretty sure it's not, but I've emailed the head Norwegian for confirmation.

Btw, I saw Sokal speak at the University of Michigan in a panel debate about the hoax. The humanities people attacking him were absolutely (unintentionally) hilarious. I'd love to see a panel discussion with the contributors to Game Studies. My favorite is this instruction to authors:

"Proposed articles should be jargon-free, and should attempt to shed new light on games, rather than simply use games as metaphor or illustration of some other theory or phenomenon."

It's just all too good to be true. Yet it is.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - 10:19 pm:

I don't think the Games Studies site is a hoax. As a matter of fact, I think it's pretty interesting. We may not get some of the terminology but mocking things we don't understand doesn't put us nearer to any understanding.

I've seen really pretentious discussions about games before at an Eyebeam-Atelier roundtable with game designers, professors and 'artistes'. While most of the game designers tried to relate ideas on a practical level some of the other commentators really just went on in a very ridiculous, unintelligible, fashion that appeared clearly designed to display their own intellectual prowess for all to see. Yawn.

Still, it will be places like the Games Studies site and Eyebeam-Atelier's new Games Division that might just generate some desperately needed new thinking about our craft.

Here's what Eyebeam-Atelier has to say about it's new division (http://www.eyebeam.org).

"The Game Division will fulfill a niche in the gaming and digital arts communities by reinterpreting, reconfiguring, and reimagining digital games outside of a commercial context. Eyebeam's Game Division will be a vital resource for individuals interested in pursuing the alternative production, education, and critical discourse on games. The Game Division will create non-commercial projects that will unite critical theorists with game developers and students to develop inventive cultural products and critical discussions on games without the pressures of salability, mass production, and marketing. Through critical discourse, cultural production, and education, the Game Division will foster new dialogues and exchanges on issues facing the past, present, and future of games."


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - 10:34 pm:

Alright, so maybe the Games Studies site is a bit pretentious. Nevermind. :) But I will stick by the idea that these sorts of forays aren't entirely useless. Some of the writers seem to have an agenda other than furthering their own careers through creative use of questionable language.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - 10:47 pm:

Ah, I found the Eyebeam gaming roundtable site.

http://www.eyebeam.org/replay/

Last post. Going away now... :)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 02:35 am:

Academics always get poked at, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes just because they're easy targets.

Games as something deeper than mere diversions? I don't know if they'll ever be the equal of works of art. I've yet to see a convincing example or argument that will sway me to the idea that audience participation can be guaranteed to result in an artistic experience. And that's what the basic recipe of a game is, right? The audience gets to step in and direct the action, flow, narrative, etc. Imagine if the audience got to decide if Hamlet should fight Laetres? How would you bring the drama to a head if he declined?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By mtkafka (Mtkafka) on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 06:53 am:

That site doesnt seem to be a hoax. Also whats with his Sims Wifebeater? what the f*ck is the guy thinking?

Also, i kind of chuckled half way through another article on that site with this qoute...

Figure 6: A Typical Wumpus World

http://cmc.uib.no/gamestudies/0101/bringsjord/index.html

harhar! I couldnt understand that article... Im stoopid.

etc


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 07:20 am:

Wow. I think my brain actually hurts from that article, Kafka...

I think it's interesting, but it's kind of hard to say for sure...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 08:12 am:

Mark: The Beats used to say that all art was solely in interpretation of the viewer. Street theatre is also about tearing down the third wall, love it or hate it, and bringing the audience into the piece.

Still, I don't think that's what the 'art of gaming' is about entirely. I'm probably not qualified to define art outside the usual Warhol witticism that it's whatever you can get away with but lack of qualification has never shut me up before.

I think there's an inner life, a system of balances and movements, within any game. Like an intellectual mobile. These are the thought processes generally experienced when problem solving. The most perfect of these lead to a state of perpetual mental motion and total immersion. The all night session that you thought was only a few hours old. There are as many ways to achieve this state as there are games that have done it to gamers and not every game will affect every game player the same way. Art is subjective after all, right? Still, I think we could find better ways to catagorize this effect than we currently have.

Games can also be critiqued for content and meaning outside the the study of pure form. In many cases games are simulations on some level and fidelity to subject, interpretation of subject, are especially valid.

Frankly, I think games are still in the cave painting stage. We may not really begin to understand the art of it for a long while.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 09:38 am:

While I was in grad school I took a course in Zen just for yucks (I'd read all of the Zen and the Art of Archery and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, etc. books, plus some more mainline Zen books, and had also studied Buddha and Buddhism - hey, it was the 70's. ) I had the pony-tailed professor that you might expect for such a course in the 70's. The class was filled with wide eyed students who took everything this prof said as profundity. I thought he was full of prentitious self important BS, and he was really digging the adulation of the students (particularly the ladies.) So I decided I'd have some fun. Each of us had to give a talk on Zen and "something." So each student got up and spoke on the Zen nature of a leaf, the Zen nature of air, etc. I got up and talked about the Zen nature of this assignment, and I just babbled the most BSiest of BS, trying to make up the most ludicrous crap I could. When I was done, I got a standing ovation and the proffesor had tears in his eyes, and declared that I actually "got it." For the final exam I also made up the most ridiculuos collection of crap I could, and not only did I get an A and have the prof read my exam to the class, he had it published in the school literary paper. My buddies and I got a huge kick out of that (they knew what I was doing.) I still have the Blue Book of that exam.

This game analysis web site very much reminds me of that class. I keep looking for an article from Chauncey the Gardener.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Chaunce the Gardener on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 10:27 am:

I like to watch.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 02:05 pm:

Are games art? Sure.
Do they include weird meta-game structures on purpose? Probably.
Do they embody higher meaning? Probably, but not intentionally. I'm sure developers get inspiration from all kinds of sources.
Do I care? No. 'Nuff said.

- Alan


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:19 am:

Games are as much art as anything else, I think. Like Brian said, art is subjective. What may be art to Tom Chick may be foolishness to me, and vice versa. I would never claim that every game had "art-like" qualities, though I could probably argue that if it came right down to it, but some of them certainly do. Ultima Ascension, visually, qualified as art, if you ask me. Baldur's Gate II? That's art in it's purest form.

And you should watch one of my buddies build his town in Warcraft II. That's art.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bruce Geryk on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 01:19 am:

"Baldur's Gate II? That's art in it's purest form."

I'm interested -- what is your definition of art that BG2 is its embodiment?

I guess the thing that bothers me about the "games as art" question is who cares? Why is this so important? Someone in another thread made the point that he took games seriously because of "finances." I spend at least as much money on mountain biking equipment every year as I do on games, yet I don't expect Mountain Bike magazine to develop some kind of philosophical manifesto about riding a bicycle. It's an escape, just like computer games. I'm comfortable playing computer games for what I get out of them. They don't have to be universally recognized intellectual pursuits for me to enjoy them. French onion dip isn't good for me, either, but I enjoy it with potato chips when watching football.

I think that a lot of people want to turn games into art to justify their time investment. If you feel "guilty" about spending so much time playing games, then do something else! If you'd rather play games, then super -- do it. It isn't illegal (yet) so knock yourself out! There are a bunch of films that make me think very hard about various philosophical issues. There are exactly zero games that make me do this. Does this make games illegitimate? I hope not. Or I'm going to have to return those Time pedals I bought last week for my Bianchi Grizzly. Everything should serve a purpose, however limited. There doesn't have to be a Nobel Prize for Games to make them be legitimate form of entertainment. Why put everything on a pedestal? Ye gods.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 01:43 am:

It doesn't bother me so much, one way or the other. Whether or not games are considered art really doesn't have any impact on whether or not I play. But, to me, at least, some games do qualify.

What do I consider art? That's a tough question. You describe movies that make you consider various philosophical issues, but I'd argue that this is not the exclusive definition of art (and I realize that you weren't saying that it is), so the fact that games don't make you do the same thing doesn't make them "not art." To me, I suppose, about anything man-made that seems to me breathtakingly beautiful (and not necessarily just visually -- there are other forms of beauty as well) strikes me a kind of art. The Mona Lisa doesn't so much get me thinking about philosophical issues, but seeing it makes me appreciate the care, patience, and dedication of its creator. Not just because it's beautiful to look at, but because it's breathtaking. Once, every so often, a game comes across to me that transcends expectations, and that seems like much more than a game when I'm playing it. That, to me, qualifies it as art. A game that is unbelievably superior to its "peers" in one particular area might qualify as "art" in that field (as in my "Ultima: Ascension - Graphically" example.)

Saying that Baldur's Gate II was art in it's purest form was, admittedly, melodramatic and exaggerated. What I should have said is that, artfully speaking, Baldur's Gate II is the embodiment of "video game art." To me, anyway.

And I realize that, ultimately, it makes little difference. But somebody else brought it up, and so I got to thinking about it, and I think that some games do qualify as art. If you don't, then that's your prerogative. You might know of a particular sculpture that is, to you, the embodiment of art, and I might think that it looks like something I might stumble across in my attic and throw away.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 01:47 am:

Or, for a more succinct answer:

Art, to me, is anything that I can look at, and not have any clue how on earth somebody could create something so stunning. Many games (many paintings) are impressive, and I couldn't duplicate them, but they don't blow me away. When I come across something that seems impossible to create, then that qualifies as art.

At least, that's the closest one-sentence definition I can come up with.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Mark Asher on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 02:46 am:

I agree with you Bruce. There seems to be this constant push to elevate aspects of pop culture and label them as art. Ed Fries at Microsoft wants to make games into art. Hey, just focus on making sure they're fun to play.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 02:53 am:

So, Mark, do you really not think any games qualify? Ignore the fact that there's such a "push" to elevate them for a sec.

Try this: Imagine the "perfect" game. The game that you think is absolutely ideal, in every way. The game that you know is not possible to make.

Now, imagine that somebody made it. If you were playing this game, would you not consider it art?

If not, then I guess, to you, games will never be art. And, you know, that's cool. But I don't agree. Not because I want to "elevate them to some higher level." I just think some of them qualify, on their own merit. But, I've made that abundantly clear, so I'll shut up now...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 08:26 am:

Guilty. I'm the guy who said that I'd rather see serious articles, maybe even insightful ones, in computer game magazines rather than goofy ones because I put some gravity in the money I spend. That's not the whole story, obviously, but it was a good enough rationale before I'd had my morning coffee.

But I don't feel guilty about playing games. What I do feel is a profound frustration sometimes that so few folks outside the hobby have any idea of the creative effort behind and evocative power of computer games. I really do believe that when computer gaming does appeal to a more popular base there will be more profitability and demand for more interesting titles. Perhaps they don't sport the biggest sellers but we're seeing what niche publishers can do through online sales alone. When we get to a point that a few good guys with a good idea can put up a website and live or die by thier own product then we'll be getting somewhere.

Right now when I get into discussions about why more games don't suck it usually ends up on a "it will take too much work" or "it will never sell". Hell, I'm looking at some really advanced flight sims in development now, perhaps the most advanced since Falcon 4, being developed by hobbiests and retirees - at least one group vows to donate any profits to charity of all things.

I truely think of game design, in general, as a craft rather than an artform. Product is created for profit but asthetic appeal (no matter how debased one might consider the relative appeal of certain titles) to the buyer and a degree of functionality are essential. The production process demands some creative, artisanlike, ability. On that note, there's a store near my home called "Is It Art?" which sells handcrafts. The point is well taken though - where's the line?

Am I wrong to look at Falcon 4 and see genius in the structures there? I see more genius in the simple but powerful dynamics of an X-Com, if not the actual subject, than in most contemporary 'artworks'.

I suppose I wouldn't be surprised if I was in a bicycle shop and I heard someone, marvelling over a particularly well designed bike, say "It's a work of art!" Is it art? Maybe. But I don't suppose that fascination would last. A work of art is something that can be revisited and continue to reveal new pleasures or insights. These don't have to be tangible or easily described things. If you really start thinking too hard about The Sims it can become very creepy. I didn't even snicker when I read that essay on the games study site about the worship of consumerism.

Most classic games also can be endlessly revisited. Can anyone think of a title that's universally considered a classic that doesn't have either random maps or dynamic elements? Aren't these the titles, aside from multiplayer games, those which have the most enduring fan bases?

If you asked a chess master whether the design of chess was an act of art and he said "no" I wonder what I'd think then. But I doubt that would be his answer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jeff Lackey on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 09:43 am:

"Most classic games also can be endlessly revisited. Can anyone think of a title that's universally considered a classic that doesn't have either random maps or dynamic elements? Aren't these the titles, aside from multiplayer games, those which have the most enduring fan bases?"

I just purchased the XCom CE. I'm playing XCom UFO (1) again, and it still just blows me away how they got it "right", from the simple ability to rename the soldiers to allow you to personalize the battles, to the eerie nighttime encounters, to the decisions you make in research, base placement, etc. Simple graphics, simple sound, superb gameplay. Say it again: simple graphics, simple sound, superb gameplay. How many classics fall into that category? Civ 1 and 2. XCom. Nethack. JA2. How many games today have superb graphics, superb sound, and poor gameplay?

Games as art: I have been in awe of the creative skills of game programmers since the Apple 2 and Ohio Scientific days. I learned 6502 assembly back in 1980 or so, then played Cyberstrike from Sirius and just laughed at the thought that I could do that. I played Choplifter and realized that Gorlin was awesome. Played Kareteka, with the first dramatic cutscenes I recall in a computer game, and saw that computer games could tell a dramatic story. I can't even imagine programming a game like Falcon 4, Combat Mission, or BG2.

But I still think the web site in question has no clothes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Dave Long on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 11:15 am:

Games are art in a different form. They combine a lot of the same skills needed to produce traditional art and as man-made things with artistic qualities, they have every right to be referred to as such.

If we take the first three dictionary.com definitions of art, we can easily apply this to games...

art (ärt)
n.



I honestly think some of the railing against games as art comes from those that just don't want some part of popular culture referred to as art. Because it's "popular", it cannot be "art". That's simply bullshit.

Michael is correct (in my eyes) when he refers to something like BGII as art. The backgrounds themselves might be considered fine paintings were they not part of a game. But combine those with the artistic musical scores, the character interaction and a game system that ebbs and flows with the player throughout his experience and by all that's Holy, you have art. It may not fit neatly into the box of picture, sound or performance because it combines all of these things to produce an experience influenced by player interaction, but it most certainly is artistic in its design.

--Dave
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bub (Bub) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:04 pm:

Art has grown to become one of the loosest definitions you'll find today. I'm not sure if I consider any games I've played to be "art". But I do think a collection of code that can, somehow, come together into something beautiful, memorable, and most of all, playable, is, arguably, an art form. And that it takes a rare talent to make a great game. Possibly even an artist to make the whole.

Aside from the fact that games are made up of art (sometimes gorgeous and inspiring pictures, music, story, writing) it's rare they come together in any form that's truly artistic.

Still, I think we're all much better off when we just think of them as games.

-Andrew


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:43 pm:

I hope I get a chance to see "Made" before long, but, as several of you know, the family really limits the chances to get out and see anything other than kids' films.

However, I did get to see my favorite DVD of the summer so far, John Boorman's 1981 "Excalibur." Just beautiful, and Nicole Williamson was a great Merlin. Wagner's Gotterdammerung also fit perfectly for the soundtrack. Of course, I don't know if the DVD was actually released this summer, it's just when I finally got hold of it. :)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:45 pm:

Sorry for adding that to the wrong thread, that's what I get for trying to do too many things at once. :(


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 02:23 pm:

I liked Excalibur too. Wasn't it Nigel Williamson, though, as Merlin? I have a terrible memory for actors. And some of the music at least was Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, "Oh Fortuna" to be precise I believe. Or not; I'm woozy from the heat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 02:59 pm:

No, his name is Nicol. Althoug I spelled it wrong--there's no "e."

You're right about the music, it's just that I felt that the Twilight of the Gods stuff was especially effective for setting the mood in the title sequence and, of course, those incredible shots of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred in front of that blood-red sun.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 04:01 pm:

Nicol. Only the English could come up with a man's name like that :-).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bill Hiles on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 04:59 pm:

Actually he's from Scotland....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Robert Mayer on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 05:11 pm:

Nicol. Only the Scots could come up with a man's name like that ;-).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bub (Bub) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 05:30 pm:

Nicol is pretty amazing in Excalibur, what a weird, weird laugh he's got. I really admired Boorman for casting Merlin totally against "type".

I liked the movie, but I still wish he'd cast some sort of actor in that Arthur role. (That was probably cruel, but all I remember is his reliance on bugging his eyes out when he should have been acting.) ;-)

-Andrew


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Jason Levine on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 05:56 pm:

Yeah, Nigel Terry was pretty stiff (Hey, Robert, there WAS a Nigel in the movie!:)), but the story was really told from Merlin's perspective anyway, and Nicol and Helen Mirren as Morganna had the only two roles that required substance.

Trying to cram all of Le Morte D'Arthur into a feature-length film is pretty much an impossibility, and objectively there are several scenes in Excalibur that don't make any sense unless you're familiar with the story beforehand. For example, why does Lancelot suddenly reappear for the final battle? What's Guenevere doing in a convent?

What stands out to me about Excalibur is its incredible imagery. Sure mirror-finish plate mail is ridiculous (and a whopping anachronism given the era when Arthur supposedly lived), but Boorman uses it to such great effect--especially when it appears tarnished after the fall of the Round Table--that I don't care.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Bub (Bub) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 06:17 pm:

Y'know, my memory of Excalibur is very reminiscent of my memory of David Lynch's version of Dune. Both are great-looking, interestingly cast, epic stories... that are WAY too big for a single film. Both are films I liked, but probably mainly for the respect they show their source, and because I was so intimate with the source material.

I've been sort of worried this is going to happen again with Fellowship of the Ring. Thank God they're doing it in three films.

-Andrew


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Michael Murphy (Murph) on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 11:39 pm:

Well, to jump back to the art thing just for a sec, and then I'll get out of your way: I'm glad to see that there are some people around here that agree that games can, potentially, be viewed as art. That said, Andrew's probably right -- we're probably better off just viewing them as games.

Granted, it makes precious little difference in the grand scheme of things, but for a bit I thought I was going to have to go head-to-head with Bruce, Mark, and likely Tom myself! ;-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message  By Brian Rucker on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 10:02 am:

The fact is, in fairness, that if I really cared much about 'art' as a concept I'd be offering my opinions on why most art is crap on a site dedicated to the subject. Seeing games as having merits, intrinsically, beyond simply being products to be discussed and understood on the most superficial levels is something worthwhile, IMHO. Anyone can probably make an argument that anything can be art (especially if you start getting into strange territory like 'found art' or ultrarealism - the abstract framing of the conceptual process of the artist or the interpretation of the viewer as art itself have been the basis for 'serious' if unintelligable artworks in the past).

If we got into a real discussion (argument?) about whether games are art or what art means we'd end up sounding like the guys over on the Games Studies site. Why infringe?

Still, when I see folks raving over drone-games and clone-games and panning brave if dysfunctional new worlds I gotta ask myself how many people are getting the implications of new ideas (or even old ones) in game design. Even more telling are the new games that totally miss the boat and are so underdesigned compared to classic titles it hurts.

One of my conclusions is that the conceptual tools we use to understand and analyze games, to quantify and qualify them, must be insufficient. There seem to be few common, well defined or nuanced, references to deeper underlaying structures.

We have giants in game design but it seems we require taller ladders to stand on their shoulders.


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