The emperors new games

This is a phenomenon I observed for quite a while now and I call it "The emperors new games" based on the fairy tale "The emperors new clothes" because the phenomenon is so similar.

The emperors new games are games that look new and great, but in reality they are nothing new or great, in short overhyped games.

Since I'm a game developer I observe the scene, especially the indie developer scene and see what becomes popular and what not. Those "emperors new games" make up a big percentage of all indie games, sometimes also mainstream or AAA games. The are characterized by being supposedly very innovative, intentionally funny, intentionally stupid, intentionally bad quality or intentionally badly designed and because it is all intentional bad, it somehow becomes good. Like there is one innovative idea and the implementation is all just lazy and intentionally bad and because the idea is so great it somehow becomes insanely popular. I don't name any specific games here, because then more people will hate on me than they do now already, so I just describe it as a general phenomenon.

I even had a person commenting me on Uebergame, that the quality is bad and if I had made it intentionally bad, it would have been better, since then I would not have tried to make it good. SO aiming for high quality, failing at it and only achieving mediocre quality is somehow worse, than aiming very low and achieve low. I think this explains the indie developer dilemma pretty good, since you cannot compete with AAA companies/quality you kind of have to aim intentionally for very low quality, because if the quality or art style is so much different from lets say realism, it no longer becomes comparable and you can free yourself from criticism. Of course that is what many developers seem to go for, it also has the great benefit in making production much easier and much less costly. So a win-win-situation basically, less cost, more easy to produce, less criticism, better ratings and more profit. Well it is of course not a win-win-situation, it is a great loss overall, since almost nobody is trying anything good anymore, like aiming for high quality and so the end consumer ends up with overall inferior products.

Now stage two begins and the end consumer also joins the insanity and starts brainwashing themselves into believing that those "Emperors new games" are somehow good instead of seeing them as what they are, just junk and nothing new. In fact most of those games probably would be better of, if they were made as mods for a good game, since then you would not only have the innovative idea, but also the good quality of the game it was modded, good graphics, physics, performance etc. This would be better in almost any way, at least for the end consumer,  but the producer could not make much money from it, since the game he modded does not belong to him. This is where open source would come into play, removing the disadvantages of copyright and even allowing people to make money from their mod as they could release it as a new product and sell it, at least if it is not GPL licensed, which would destroy that concept again.

This phenomenon described here is also a bad side effect of capitalism, since capitalism always needs growth and to sell new products, even if there is nothing new to make. In case there is nothing new to make there is a great solution for that, you can just pretend there is something new. Like repackage something existing in a different style and you have a new product. By making repackaged products or intentionally bad ones you can save lots of production costs and the saved money can be spend well into marketing aka brainwashing people into believing there are so magical great new games, which in reality do not exist. In the fairytale "The emperors new clothes" people were fooled into seeing the nonexistent clothes for real, because they did not want to admit, that they are too stupid to see them. In the games industry there is a similar effect, people like end consumers, reviewers, let's players etc don't want to admit, that their new innovative games don't exist and so they fool themselves into believing they exist. Of course it is just a metaphor, those pseudoinnovative games of course exist, they only don't exist on a meta level as they are just repackaged products marketed as something new or intentionally badly produced and so are missing the supposed innovation or technical progress.

In the gaming culture this all then manifests as people ironically enjoying those "Emperors new games" or enjoying that they are so bad and showing it in let's play videos or on stream. Some also enjoy not enjoying something and make an entertainment out of that. Others just like to hate on something, so they intentionally buy intentionally badly made products and then complain that they are so bad. Overall it is just a weird phenomenon to observe for me so I had to write it down as a therapy for me, since the brainwashing does not work for me I guess and I cannot see the supposed "Emperors new games". As a child I always dreamed of the technical possibilities of future games, but now where I live in the future, things are just getting worse. Instead of using the new technical possibilities to it's full potential, the trend goes to badly repackaging old stuff and only pretend it is new and innovative instead of doing something new and innovative for real. Of course this does not apply to the industry as a whole, but sadly it is a big negative trend that affects probably the larger portion of the industry.

Blog Reference: 

People like to be fooled

In the past I always thought people really mean it seriously, if they complain about bad products or shady business practices from companies and therefore want improvement of the situation. I don't want to go into detail about those shady practices, since there are a lot of them, but in its core it is all about milking as much money from the customer while at the same time spending as little as possible into the development, this results in never fixing issues with the game or just abandoning it straight after it was released and those games that do not get abandoned get filled with microtransactions which results in the game experience being destroyed, since it is no longer a fair game which makes it meaningless to play on a competitive level. Most peopel probably know the problems very well, since they complain about them and even make documentaries explaining all in detail whats wrong.

I watched it for a long time and noticed nothing ever changes, so I decided to take things into my own hands and solve the issue, at least in the small niche I was interested in. My idea was, that if there are so many people who are unsatisfied with the situation on the games market, that at least some will join and make it better, you know, supply and demand logic. Then the most amazing reaction happened after I released my first prototypes and tried to find a team that would help me developing the game further and the thing that happened was absolutely nothing. So either the supply and demand logic is wrong, or there is no demand and people are just dishonest about what they want.

So let's compare the supply in the games industry, on the one hand you have honest companies trying to make good games for a fair price and on the other hand you have companies that are dishonest and only make the games as good as they need to be and then use shady methods to milk as much money out of the customers as possible. Basically the customer has the choice between companies that fool them and companies that are honest to them and it looks like most customers are chosing to be fooled, therefore giving money to those companies and making the bad companies more powerful so they can produce even better methods to fool people and people chose them again and so on.

This is not just theoretical, since there are indeed cases where companies provably fooled people, for example one famous case I will not name promised in alpha access that they will not add microtransactions to their (full price) game and when the game then got released they immediately filled it to the brim with super expensive microtransactions and people loved it. So you may think that straightforward lying to customers is bad publicity and will reflect in loss of sales, but in reality it did not have any negative impact. It is almost as, if people like to be fooled, they may not admit it, but indirectly they like it, additionally they then have a reason to complain and hate on someone else, which seems to give their life meaning and distracts from their own problems.

Psychologically this is a very weird phenomenon and I have not fully figured it out yet, but the facts are pretty clear, people like to be fooled, just the "why" and "how" is not that easily explainable. My main theory for that is the ego-theory, people have an ego and the ego does not like to be wrong, so when an ego driven person is fooled, he will not admit he has been fooled, but then just ignore the fact that he has been fooled and/or rationalize that there is no problem and they wanted it that way anyway. Additionally the ego likes to be flattered, so you can gain ego driven peoples favor, by just making impossible promises (lying) to them that no honest company can compete with and they will like it, they think if they buy the superior product, it makes them also better and the previous explained mechanism will prevent them from realizing they have been fooled. After that there is a longer list of other psychological phenomenons, for example a famous and important one here is probably the sunken cost fallacy. For example if someone paid a lot of money for a product, in this example a video game, he will stick to it and never admit that he may have been fooled and paid all that money for nothing or for an inferior product and again here comes the ego mechanism to back it up since the ego can never be wrong and in ego logic the more money or energy has been dumped into something, the more value it has.

Well these are some of my attempts to figure this out and often when I think about those topics I remember my father always saying to me as a child: "Son, people like to be fooled", when I asked why things are the way they are in this world. So theoretically I knew this fact for almost all of my life already, but often I was in denial about this, because I could not believe it, but now after so many time and life experienced I see it confirmed over and over again and I'm finding more and more proofs for it.

So people like to be fooled, just the question why is more complicated and no I will not fool people just so they like me, since being fooled is stupid and I do not like having stupid people around me.

Blog Reference: 

Games Section

Wollte nur mal eine kurze Einführung zur Spiele-Abteilung hier machen.

Wir spielen und organisieren gerne Spiele und unter dem Spiele-Tab finded ihr dann Informationen darüber. Dort findet ihr dann was wir spielen und auch weiterführende Anleitungen.

Ich mochte immer gerne Computerspiele aber es wurde mir auch schnell langweilig sie einfach nur zu konsumieren, das was am meisten Spass gemacht hat für mich war immer, dass man selber Regeln aufstellen konnte, das Spiel modifizieren und eigene Inhalte erstellen konnte, daher wird dieser Teil der Seite sich damit beschäftigen.

Es ist auch geplant selbst produzierte freie Spiele zu veröffentlichen aber ich weiß noch nicht wie sich das entwickeln wird, da es sehr viel Zeit und Arbeit in Anpsruch nimmt.

Blog Reference: