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“I don’t think I like Prestige Games”

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DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
i didn't get "everyone who likes these games is a moron" from the blog post as much as "a lot of people who enjoy these games don't think critically about them" which is so obvious it's almost not even worth saying. and there's a difference between getting inspiration and making a bland derivative work, i'd offer control as a good example of the former.

really when you get down to it all he's saying is that a lot of big budget games try to Say Something Important but are compromised by bad writing and having to include so much that's considered essential to modern blockbusters. set aside the specific games he likes and doesn't like and that's a point i think most people on this forum would agree with.
thank you, that's a big part of what I was getting at. When I write the followup, the main thrust of my article is going to be "I really like games where all the mechanics work together to form a cohesive whole, and I don't think a lot of 'prestige games' do that." Like, if you want to try to Say Something Important and fail, okay, well, you tried and that's admirable. But if you're throwing in pointless crafting systems or XP systems or whatever just because other games have it... is your game BETTER for that? I feel like so many of the Big Prestige Games are messy designs, you know?

Like, The Last of Us isn't just a really cliche story told adequately at best, it's also a game with really poor stealth mechanics, a huge lack of encounter variety (compare it to a game like resident evil 4!!! just the fuckin oven guy alone is so much cooler than any encounter in TLOU!), weak gunfeel, and so on. I feel like a lot of these games kinda suck at the core gameplay. Bioshock Infinite has 2x as many guns as it needs, God of War utilizes a loot and skill system that doesn't benefit its story (that's why I said I want to see that team approach the same idea with a zelda style progression system in mind), and Red Dead Redemption had you mash A to sprint, which is physically painful. Max Payne 3's level design only worked in New York, where you had enough space to shootdodge well.
 

Kazooie

Member
Jul 17, 2019
221
It’s a game made by Sony or has Sony marketing associated with it.
Like GTA? I do not think this is a fair assessment of what he wrote. A prestige game is a game that tries to emulate story ideas and presentational concepts from other highly regarded (non-video-game) media and does not put a strong focus on gameplay, to the point of offering sub-par mechanics and gameplay concepts that do not make much sense for the game. Examples named are GTA, RDR, Uncharted, Last of Us, God of War and Tomb Raider (current variant). It is not exactly an attack on Sony, but a critical discusion of a certain type of games. I feel that the article is too long-winded for an actually pretty simple point, but I do not agree it is an attack on one specific game company.
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,818
This article feels like a random thought that was captured as it happened and never refined.
 

Serpens007

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,416
it's not. it's a game with inconsistent characterization, that apes sam peckinpah without really understanding him, that uses the housers' shitty misanthropy to no real affect. It's a game where you have a cliche sequence of a Native American character going "white man doesn't understand nature, that bear would not have attacked if not fired upon" but also in the game, bears are super super aggressive entities that will absolutely murder your fuckin horse.

Rockstar is great at ~performance~ and ~dialog~ but they are terrible at narrative; there's nothing Red Dead Redemption does narratively that is new, interesting, or brilliant. It's all cribbed from elsewhere, and it's never as good. A friend just linked me to a really cool video showing how the early train robbery from RDR2 rips off the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and, like... yeah, rockstar's version is shit in comparison.
I said earlier that paying homage shouldn't be seen as ripoff. And that it depends on the intent behind and excecution. Red Dead series are full of homages to classic western. I mean, it's a genre that isn't very often touched in the games industry. I think that the first Red Dead did a cool thing using the morale mechanic with the story, while RDR2 is all about a changing society. I think that is a whole other discussion though
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,893
The Ocean
User Banned (5 Days) - inflammatory point of comparison and hostility
nah, several people in this thread are absolutely sony fanboys and they're willing to lie about me and my motivations to do it. a resetera staffer did it on twitter to david fucking jaffe.
I had a resetera mod tell David fuckin' Jaffe that I was such a good writer I was using my good writerly skills to make good games look bad.
Keep on digging that self-important ditch. You’re the equivalent of a video game community Trump where you’ve no flaws, no flaws ... and all you’re able to do is reflect are your own shortcomings as a human as you’re in able to empathise with others.

“I’m the smartest guy in the room but nobody can see it” got old years ago.

Throw in a few “I’m actually dying” or “I’m about to be made homeless” self-pitying whines along with whatever withering illness you've claimed to have since the early Kotaku years and this can be your next blog post:

“I’m Doc, and Resetera is wrong about video games. Halo and Gears are the best in the space, and I’ve had a lot of time to play them as I’m close to living out of a box in the alleyway.”

And who gives a shit about which mod said to David ducking Jaffe about your writing. Let it go.

You’ve had a lot of constructive feedback and some fair discussion on your points in this thread and you’ve conceded exactly no points. You’re unable to see the value that others place in these “prestige games” as you label them because you’re unable to glean anything from them entertainment value wise because you are trying to view everything through the lens of an auteur, a critic one step above everyone else.

Just accept that for every game you love, someone else will hate it. It’s ok to like different things - the difference is they’re not calling you an idiot for it.
 

TheModestGun

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,503
So there's a couple reasons for that.

There's the obvious: I wrote it in a single draft, just trying to work out a problem. What you're seeing is an intimate look into the inside of my head about two hours before I went to sleep after a long week, with me trying to talk my way through some thoughts. When I write the follow-up, I think it will probably come across better.

There's the less obvious: i started writing it because some guy on twitter had been stalking me for a while. He was apparently upset about a joke tweet I made with the phrase "true evil 😔" regarding Sony's decision to shut down driveclub a day early. He had gone through dozens of my tweets to find anything negative I might have said about sony and was yelling about it. I was somewhat pissed at him. I was pissed at the guy who DM'd me a picture of phil spencer's hand up a man's ass because I said "crackdown 3 is really fun, I like it more than sad dad games."

Then there's the real problem:

I don't actually know how to be an expert at something and see people who aren't experts in that thing say people shouldn't want more.

Expertise is... a thing you develop out of passion, right? Let's say you're an expert in astronomy, right? You're Carl Sagan, and you love science so damn much because it shows us how big the universe is. then some guy comes along and says "fuck to you and all that time and passion you put in, carl sagan, the world is flat and also the universe is a hologram or some shit"

It's like, hey, here's someone directly trying to say "you shouldn't be passionate about this." I don't really know how to talk about a problem I see--people settlign for the gas station pizza of video games--without coming across like an elitist. When they say "objectively, this gas station pizza is the most important pizza, fuck all the other pizzas," it's like, damn, as a pizza connossieur, i have a TON of pizzas I love and want to talk about and it sucks to have people try to shut that all down for stuff that isn't great. We should be more ambitious, dammit



maybe it's because people pay me money to write video games for a living, but I absolutely do not believe that games started taking story development into much larger consideration after 2009. I just don't. I don't think that's possible and I think that's an ahistorical perspective, I'm sorry. Cinematic games date back to Mario 64, with the 'modern' form originating with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Very few games of last gen can trace their roots to Uncharted 2. Based on average dev time, any games inspired by Uncharted 2 wouldn't have come out until 2012, a year before the generation ended.
Alright, well that’s fine. We don’t have to see eye to eye on it but I also think you are getting your timeline on some of these games releases wrong. Modern Warfare came out the same year as Uncharted. I wouldn’t argue that Mario 64 is cinematic at all, its barely even telling a story.

Bottom line, mid 2000’s and after was when I REALLY started seeing games where story was front and center with fully acted high quality production value. Uncharted was at the forefront of valuing those things. And regardless of how you feel, I ALSO thought the encounter design of UC2 was highly engaging. Enough so to play through it on many occasions.

My problem is not that you don’t enjoy them. It’s that you don’t seem to trust that people did find them significant and enjoyable on their own merits, and not as some sense of validation. Regardless of your status as a professional writer in the industry, that doesn’t mean you have some insider knowledge as to what drives people’s tastes and enjoyment.

I enjoyed the games you are criticizing because I find them to be very compelling and also accessible.
 

xxracerxx

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
16,414
I am not disagreeing with you, but just so I know what we are talking about, what portion(s) of the article do you see as attacking people's intelligence?
It's the general tone against those that enjoy the games more than the criticism.

Want to see a well written article on "prestige"? Read this:

This is everything the OP is trying to say, but concise and isn't belittling the consumers of said entertainment.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
This article feels like a random thought that was captured as it happened and never refined.
that's exactly what it was. i have a medium, i wrote some stuff down because i didn't feel well enough to play ace combat 0 any more that day, i clicked 'publish' and that was it. medium posts to twitter. somehow it blew up??? i don't get it. i was writing something I hoped some friends of mine might be able to talk to me about, it was a stream of consciousness piece and nothing more.

I said earlier that paying homage shouldn't be seen as ripoff. And that it depends on the intent behind and excecution. Red Dead series are full of homages to classic western. I mean, it's a genre that isn't very often touched in the games industry. I think that the first Red Dead did a cool thing using the morale mechanic with the story, while RDR2 is all about a changing society. I think that is a whole other discussion though
I don't think they pay homage, personally. This is why I used the cargo cult terminology. A friend of mine was telling me about cargo cults, said one thing that makes them fascinating is their misunderstanding of cause and effect. They see an airplane land at a runway, so they think building a runway summons airplanes to them. So they build a runway.

Rockstar does a lot of that with their narratives. It's why you can dig really deep into any of their stories and the stuff just falls apart. You have scenes that imitate really good movies, and in aping the movies, you can conjure up emotions in people familiar with the thing you're copying, but if you want to actually generate that emotion, you have to put the work in inside of the work itself.

There are brilliant things in rockstar games. Horse balls, "you eat babies!" in undead nightmare, the way the buffalo herd will die forever if you kill them all, never respawning. There are a lot. I love that one guy is basically just the devil himself, coming to collect. But the actual storytelling and a lot of the mechanics don't really mesh in a satisfying way, and I think that's worth discussing.

Alright, well that’s fine. We don’t have to see eye to eye on it but I also think you are getting your timeline on some of these games releases wrong. Modern Warfare came out the same year as Uncharted. I wouldn’t argue that Mario 64 is cinematic at all, its barely even telling a story.

Bottom line, mid 2000’s and after was when I REALLY started seeing games where story was front and center with fully acted high quality production value. Uncharted was at the forefront of valuing those things. And regardless of how you feel, I ALSO thought the encounter design of UC2 was highly engaging. Enough so to play through it on many occasions.

My problem is not that you don’t enjoy them. It’s that you don’t seem to trust that people did find them significant and enjoyable on their own merits, and not as some sense of validation. Regardless of your status as a professional writer in the industry, that doesn’t mean you have some insider knowledge as to what drives people’s tastes and enjoyment.

I enjoyed the games you are criticizing because I find them to be very compelling and also accessible.
Modern Warfare was built on Call of Duty 1 and 2, though, games which were made by former members of the Medal of Honor team, which was created by Stephen Spielberg, who wanted to make a video game about D-Day as he was filming Saving Private Ryan.

A lot of what you're talking about is technologically driven, not inspired by any one game. For instance, motion capture was something that Starbreeze was working on really heavily because of their connections with Hollywood and the Riddick films, and the first fully motion captured game was The Darkness. I know one of the guys who helped get that whole game made, I think he produces movies now or something.

That shit's wild. There's so much out there that's worth learning, and I really worry that if we just kinda.. assume history is based on the games that are popular, we actually do ourselves a disservice. Uncharted 2 came too late in the gen to define it; Modern Warfare had much more of an impact and was directly following from the Xbox 360 launch game Call of Duty 2.

It's the general tone against those that enjoy the games more than the criticism.

Want to see a well written article on "prestige"? Read this:

This is everything the OP is trying to say, but concise and isn't belittling the consumers of said entertainment.
this is what happens when someone writes an article for publication, intended for mass readership. I do this kind of thing to. The blog post was just a blog post for funsies when I was too tired to game that day.
 

Viceratops

Member
Jun 29, 2018
1,819
Like GTA? I do not think this is a fair assessment of what he wrote. A prestige game is a game that tries to emulate story ideas and presentational concepts from other highly regarded (non-video-game) media and does not put a strong focus on gameplay, to the point of offering sub-par mechanics and gameplay concepts that do not make much sense for the game. Examples named are GTA, RDR, Uncharted, Last of Us, God of War and Tomb Raider (current variant). It is not exactly an attack on Sony, but a critical discusion of a certain type of games. I feel that the article is too long-winded for an actually pretty simple point, but I do not agree it is an attack on one specific game company.
You would have a salient point if it wasn’t the same author that called the PS4 the “basic bitch” console and admitted that he didn’t ask the publication if he could say that because he thought they would say no.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
The core idea that wide audiences are propping up these games out of yearning for artistic validation of the medium is highly specious but probably worth pondering none the less.

The part people are laughing at -aside from the horrific writing- is how this conclusion is clearly derived from reasoning backwards. Starting from ' I don't like these games for reasons', and reasoning backwards from there. All to arrive at the conclusion that multimillion-selling blockbuster games designed to appeal to the widest possible audience are only feigning merit, artistic or otherwise.

There's a kernel of discussion in there, but one shouldn't be surprised that its overshadowed by this delightful train wreck of a post.

All that aside, I think this is a lot of scrutiny for a blog post. It just happens to be one hell of a blog post.
How else would you reason though? You experience a game, see how you feel about it, and then look back on what made you feel that way. In a larger context, you could consider multiple games you didn't enjoy (or did enjoy), and see what they share and come to conclusions about general trends you dislike/like.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
It's the general tone against those that enjoy the games more than the criticism.

Want to see a well written article on "prestige"? Read this:

This is everything the OP is trying to say, but concise and isn't belittling the consumers of said entertainment.
I will read that later, thanks for responding.
 

RedSwirl

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,371
On originality and these games being derivative, didn't Doc's blog post say it wasn't about being original, but rather execution? On that front he's just saying these aforementioned games that ape other media simply don't do it as well.

I’m not saying there is no strategy to DMC games, I’m not even saying that that type of game isn’t good, but I’m saying that that level of systemic complexity, where to feel I’m taking full advantage of the systems I have to learn a bunch of inputs (and the inputs are primarily where the variety comes from) rather than being able to grasp the mechanics instantly and instead can focus more on less arbitrary conflicts (rather than strings of inputs) like reading where enemies are, using the environment to my advantage, juggling which enemy types need priority, etc isn’t as appealing to me. Add on to the fact that I feel like God of War and the ND games are more tactilely satisfying to play, and have adventures that are full of peaks and valleys and interesting settings that oscillate the player’s experience rather than being pure mechanical exercises is just a more appealing notion to me because there are fewer barriers between the artifice of the medium and my engagement with it. Dismissing them entirely as dumb movie rip-offs that have no regard for gameplay is a reductive and silly argument.
Really? When it comes to input complexity and combos and all that, DMC is actually on the lower end of character action games. The older God of War games probably had more combos than DMC. I could understand not wanting to memorize a bunch of button inputs if you were talking about Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta, but by and large the DMC games focus on more utilizing the systems: dealing with different enemy types, using the environment, etc.

Where I can see the difference in appeal is that God of War and Uncharted do tilt more towards puzzles and have bigger storylines.

I have said multiple times if TLOU was a movie it would be a direct to bargain bin dvd release, as a book probably fan fiction level. It’s effectivness isn’t due to the stories greatness, it’s because no book or movie has ever made me have to bond with the characters like that through controlling them and interactivity.
This is kind of the opposite of how I felt about TLOU. None of the connection I felt with the characters came from the interactive part. The interactive part of TLOU to me felt like an entirely ordinary third person action game -- one that wasn't as varied or interesting as Uncharted 2. I felt like a TV miniseries version of TLOU could've delivered pretty much the same experience.
 

Matt

The Terror that Flaps in the Night
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
2,457
So there's a couple reasons for that.

There's the obvious: I wrote it in a single draft, just trying to work out a problem. What you're seeing is an intimate look into the inside of my head about two hours before I went to sleep after a long week, with me trying to talk my way through some thoughts. When I write the follow-up, I think it will probably come across better.

There's the less obvious: i started writing it because some guy on twitter had been stalking me for a while. He was apparently upset about a joke tweet I made with the phrase "true evil 😔" regarding Sony's decision to shut down driveclub a day early. He had gone through dozens of my tweets to find anything negative I might have said about sony and was yelling about it. I was somewhat pissed at him. I was pissed at the guy who DM'd me a picture of phil spencer's hand up a man's ass because I said "crackdown 3 is really fun, I like it more than sad dad games."

Then there's the real problem:

I don't actually know how to be an expert at something and see people who aren't experts in that thing say people shouldn't want more.

Expertise is... a thing you develop out of passion, right? Let's say you're an expert in astronomy, right? You're Carl Sagan, and you love science so damn much because it shows us how big the universe is. then some guy comes along and says "fuck to you and all that time and passion you put in, carl sagan, the world is flat and also the universe is a hologram or some shit"

It's like, hey, here's someone directly trying to say "you shouldn't be passionate about this." I don't really know how to talk about a problem I see--people settlign for the gas station pizza of video games--without coming across like an elitist. When they say "objectively, this gas station pizza is the most important pizza, fuck all the other pizzas," it's like, damn, as a pizza connossieur, i have a TON of pizzas I love and want to talk about and it sucks to have people try to shut that all down for stuff that isn't great. We should be more ambitious, dammit



maybe it's because people pay me money to write video games for a living, but I absolutely do not believe that games started taking story development into much larger consideration after 2009. I just don't. I don't think that's possible and I think that's an ahistorical perspective, I'm sorry. Cinematic games date back to Mario 64, with the 'modern' form originating with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Very few games of last gen can trace their roots to Uncharted 2. Based on average dev time, any games inspired by Uncharted 2 wouldn't have come out until 2012, a year before the generation ended.
Absolutely not. Expertises comes from experience, education, and repetition. “Passion” has little to do with it, outside of contributing to motivation.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
You would have a salient point if it wasn’t the same author that called the PS4 the “basic bitch” console and admitted that he didn’t ask the publication if he could say that because he thought they would say no.
You're holding a grudge, because that's a comment I made on era about an article I wrote for fun. You're also willfully misinterpreting it, because it was a reference to the collegehumor sketch.

You just want to be angry about a non-issue.

The PS4 is absolutely the basic bitch console. Sony even made a video bragging about how it was a really simple, predictable device.

Absolutely not. Expertises comes from experience, education, and repetition. “Passion” has little to do with it, outside of contributing to motivation.
Very few people become experts in things they aren't passionate about.
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,408
thank you, that's a big part of what I was getting at. When I write the followup, the main thrust of my article is going to be "I really like games where all the mechanics work together to form a cohesive whole, and I don't think a lot of 'prestige games' do that." Like, if you want to try to Say Something Important and fail, okay, well, you tried and that's admirable. But if you're throwing in pointless crafting systems or XP systems or whatever just because other games have it... is your game BETTER for that? I feel like so many of the Big Prestige Games are messy designs, you know?

Like, The Last of Us isn't just a really cliche story told adequately at best, it's also a game with really poor stealth mechanics, a huge lack of encounter variety (compare it to a game like resident evil 4!!! just the fuckin oven guy alone is so much cooler than any encounter in TLOU!), weak gunfeel, and so on. I feel like a lot of these games kinda suck at the core gameplay. Bioshock Infinite has 2x as many guns as it needs, God of War utilizes a loot and skill system that doesn't benefit its story (that's why I said I want to see that team approach the same idea with a zelda style progression system in mind), and Red Dead Redemption had you mash A to sprint, which is physically painful. Max Payne 3's level design only worked in New York, where you had enough space to shootdodge well.
The thing is these are games first and foremost .
Even if they try and tell a story there are still going to add stuff which they think will make the game play fun \ better.
Now how good game play is and what make it fun is subjective but a story or cohesive as whole should not be put above anything else.
 

Tomeru

Member
May 7, 2018
209
i don't give a single shit about the games he criticizes (i liked uncharted 2 a lot) or the ones he personally likes (a lot of which look like shit to me), i just think his point is salient and in fact the incredibly virulent personal reactions coming from people here proves that they are in fact the kind of people who feel personally validated by the media they consume
Sounds to me like you adress this blog post as something you'd like to read as opposed to what it actually contains.
 

Kazooie

Member
Jul 17, 2019
221
You would have a salient point if it wasn’t the same author that called the PS4 the “basic bitch” console and admitted that he didn’t ask the publication if he could say that because he thought they would say no.
So if someone at any point writes anything strongly negative about one console for whatever reason, then anything the person says can only be judged through that lense?
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
The thing is these are games first and foremost .
Even if they try and tell a story there are still going to add stuff which they think will make the game play fun \ better.
Now how good game play is and what make it fun is subjective but a story or cohesive as whole should not be put above anything else.
and the problem I have with prestige games is that a lot of them copy elements of better films and games to create a package that doesn't do anything particularly well, but thanks to the large budget and the artistic expectations layered on them, they're praised as being better than they are. Didn't Uncharted 2 launch with controls so bad they had to be patched, for instance?

Sounds to me like you adress this blog post as something you'd like to read as opposed to what it actually contains.
that is what it contains. the creator of god of war and the author of the article agree with them. you're projecting.
 

Qwark

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,878
this is what happens when someone writes an article for publication, intended for mass readership. I do this kind of thing to. The blog post was just a blog post for funsies when I was too tired to game that day.
No offense, but I hate this excuse and you've used it repeatedly. You published it publicly, it doesn't matter if it's a blog or an article. Own it. I don't know what else to tell you, if you don't want public discourse, then don't post it publicly.

Good lord, respect your work and pull yourself out of the pity party.
 
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btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
It was a good article and highly relevant to this thread. I think if you read the blog post in OP and ignore some of the more crass wording it brings up much the same point.

To be fair to the author, they were not writing an article for a press outlet, but rather this was just a blog that happened to blow up, as they have mentioned multiple times. So if it is not as succinct or neutral in tone I can understand why. I think the point it makes, and the point in the article you linked, are both very similar and extremely valid.

Also, I just want to say that it seems to be developing into a decent conversation with a lot of the more recent posts in this thread, so kudos to those who have contributed (including you xxracerxx) even if they disagree with each other.
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,408
and the problem I have with prestige games is that a lot of them copy elements of better films and games to create a package that doesn't do anything particularly well, but thanks to the large budget and the artistic expectations layered on them, they're praised as being better than they are. Didn't Uncharted 2 launch with controls so bad they had to be patched, for instance?
No that was U3 .
The things is you have to show that is the reason why thoese games are praised as being better than they are.
Which is always going to be subjective since not everyone going to like the same thing .
For eg a lot of people love the gameplay of the new GOW even if the can see the faults of the game.

It was a good article and highly relevant to this thread. I think if you read the blog post in OP and ignore some of the more crass wording it brings up much the same point.

To be fair to the author, they were not writing an article for a press outlet, but rather this was just a blog that happened to blow up, as they have mentioned multiple times. So if it is not as succinct or neutral in tone I can understand why. I think the point it makes, and the point in the article you linked, are both very similar and extremely valid.
In this day and age does it really matter if it's a blog .
When you have blogs ,youtube etc etc bigger than press outlets .
Plus if you write for press outlets sometimes your name will also carry more weight .
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,200
How else would you reason though? You experience a game, see how you feel about it, and then look back on what made you feel that way. In a larger context, you could consider multiple games you didn't enjoy (or did enjoy), and see what they share and come to conclusions about general trends you dislike/like.
I see where you're coming from, but I see a post ostensibly starting from the presumption these are prestige games (?) and thus largely overrated, cargo cult culture, et al. Meanwhile, all signs point to someone who who doesn't like these super successful games for reasons and is salting it out by creating the pejorative and ill-defined prestige game category just for them.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
No that was U3 .
The things is you have to show that is the reason why thoese games are praised as being better than they are.
Which is always going to be subjective since not everyone going to like the same thing .
For eg a lot of people love the gameplay of the new GOW even if the can see the faults of the game.



In this day and age does it really matter if it's a blog .
When have blogs ,youtube etc etc bigger than press outlets .
I think it matters in terms of how a piece is structured and written. I am sure if you were to make an argument on here it would be written in a completely different manner than if you were to make the same argument in the NYT or some similar large publication.

I see where you're coming from, but I see a post ostensibly starting from the presumption these are prestige games (?) and thus largely overrated, cargo cult culture, et al. Meanwhile, all signs point to someone who who doesn't like these super successful games for reasons and is salting it out by creating the pejorative and ill-defined prestige game category just for them.
How would you structure the argument to not appear that way (assuming you as the author are genuinely not just "salty," but rather trying to make a valid point)? Assume that you truly believe there is a problem with a certain group of games and you wanted to bring this criticism to the public without appearing simply biased against a given developer, or genre, or whatever I am not asking this in some rhetorical asshole sort of way. I am more curious as to how you would approach the problem if you had to do the same. It could help inform the author.
 
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Tomeru

Member
May 7, 2018
209
and the problem I have with prestige games is that a lot of them copy elements of better films and games to create a package that doesn't do anything particularly well, but thanks to the large budget and the artistic expectations layered on them, they're praised as being better than they are. Didn't Uncharted 2 launch with controls so bad they had to be patched, for instance?
What does that even mean? Am I wrong in thinking those games are good? Am I wrong in praising them because they provided some of the best moments in my gaming life?

What do you want to convey here?
 

Matt

The Terror that Flaps in the Night
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
2,457
Very few people become experts in things they aren't passionate about.
That’s an absolutely ridiculous (and very privileged) thing to say. The vast majority of people are experts in things they aren’t passionate about, and the vast majority of peoples’ passions are in areas they are not experts in.

Do you think most people who work in an Amazon fulfillment center are passionate about packing boxes? Do you think the average bus driver gets up every morning energized to shuttle people from one location to another? No, but they could very well be experts in shipping operations and bus driving.

“Passion” is a feeling. Expertise is a level of skill that comes with, like I said, education, experience, and repetition.

No amount of passion makes you an expert.
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,408
I think it matters in terms of how a piece is structured and written. I am sure if you were to make an argument on here it would be written in a completely different manner than if you were to make the same argument in the NYT or some similar large publication.
No because my name would be part of how people look at me and my value .
It to easy to trace stuff back in this day and age and people don't forget .
Truth is that is how people get in trouble on twitter thinking public perception don't matter .
 

Matthew77

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
2,846
Massachusetts
On originality and these games being derivative, didn't Doc's blog post say it wasn't about being original, but rather execution? On that front he's just saying these aforementioned games that ape other media simply don't do it as well.



Really? When it comes to input complexity and combos and all that, DMC is actually on the lower end of character action games. The older God of War games probably had more combos than DMC. I could understand not wanting to memorize a bunch of button inputs if you were talking about Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta, but by and large the DMC games focus on more utilizing the systems: dealing with different enemy types, using the environment, etc.

Where I can see the difference in appeal is that God of War and Uncharted do tilt more towards puzzles and have bigger storylines.



This is kind of the opposite of how I felt about TLOU. None of the connection I felt with the characters came from the interactive part. The interactive part of TLOU to me felt like an entirely ordinary third person action game -- one that wasn't as varied or interesting as Uncharted 2. I felt like a TV miniseries version of TLOU could've delivered pretty much the same experience.
As someone who has dedicated most of their 42 years watching/reading/playing/listening to horror and being a big part of horror culture I just wasn’t very impressed by TLOU as just story. I also must add I spend half my gaming time on pinball and online multiplayer and skip cutscenes through the majority of games. Lots of games I even just mute my TV and listen to podcasts, been doing that with Darksiders 3 and Batman:Arkham Knight. A game really has to hook me with the interactive end for me to even pay attention and that’s why TLOU is notable to me, same as say SOTC or Soulsborne.

But I am not going to say anyone is wrong for feeling different since it’s all subjective and that opinion on TLOU is my contribution to the controversial opinion thread because I know most don’t share it with me.

But I don’t hold it against you or modestgun for disagreeing and I definitely not going to compare you to first year film students for it, hell I wouldn’t bash on first year film students.

That’s my biggest issue with all of this is the pretension and condescending attitude about others that don’t share the same taste or interact with media different than the author.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
that was 3, weirdly. 2 felt great.
My bad, I misremembered.

I personally don't think any of those games feel great (Uncharted 1 was, funny enough, the last Naughty Dog game I loved because I could forgive its shortcomings; similar to how I love mass effect but not mass effect 2, because ME1 feels ps2-gen, but ME2 feels like a bad Gears of War, so I have to hold it to a higher standard), but I did a whole stream of Uncharted 2, 3, and The Last of Us this year, and I'm in the process of streaming Uncharted 4 now (but I moved across the state so I haven't got my setup figured out yet). After that, Lost Legacy, then who knows? A dev friend wants me to stream my first time playing Ico, so maybe that

No offense, but I hate this excuse and you've used it repeatedly. You published it publicly, it doesn't matter if it's a blog or an article. Own it. I don't know what else to tell you, if you don't want public discourse, then don't post it publicly.

Good lord, respect your work and get out of the pity party.
As someone who actually gets paid real money to write professional sounding articles for work, there is a very, VERY clear delineation between the work I do on my personal blog, which is intentionally personal and idiosyncratic, and the work I do for major publications, which I write a lot more focused and seriously, and then work with editors on to polish. I have been doing it professionally for around seven years.

So when people try to make me look bad by going "this is shit his article is trash he should have written something like an article published in fucking ESQUIRE," that's a stupid standard and I'm always going to be clear about the fact that this article was always intended to be informal.

I see where you're coming from, but I see a post ostensibly starting from the presumption these are prestige games (?) and thus largely overrated, cargo cult culture, et al. Meanwhile, all signs point to someone who who doesn't like these super successful games for reasons and is salting it out by creating the pejorative and ill-defined prestige game category just for them.
Okay.

Let's back up.

My logic here went like this: "hmm, I do not like this popular game. Why is that? Is it because I'm a contrarian? No, because I like several popular video games. Okay, so is there something about my tastes that make me not like the subject matter? No, because I like the idea of [max payne 3, cowboys, indiana jones, etc]. Alright... are there similarities between the games I don't like? Huh. I think there is."

I went from there.

I don't really think it's a leap to say "hey there is a subset of games that are created in a certain way and I don't think that methodology is good and I think the praise it gets is outsized."
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,818
that's exactly what it was. i have a medium, i wrote some stuff down because i didn't feel well enough to play ace combat 0 any more that day, i clicked 'publish' and that was it. medium posts to twitter. somehow it blew up??? i don't get it. i was writing something I hoped some friends of mine might be able to talk to me about, it was a stream of consciousness piece and nothing more.



I don't think they pay homage, personally. This is why I used the cargo cult terminology. A friend of mine was telling me about cargo cults, said one thing that makes them fascinating is their misunderstanding of cause and effect. They see an airplane land at a runway, so they think building a runway summons airplanes to them. So they build a runway.

Rockstar does a lot of that with their narratives. It's why you can dig really deep into any of their stories and the stuff just falls apart. You have scenes that imitate really good movies, and in aping the movies, you can conjure up emotions in people familiar with the thing you're copying, but if you want to actually generate that emotion, you have to put the work in inside of the work itself.

There are brilliant things in rockstar games. Horse balls, "you eat babies!" in undead nightmare, the way the buffalo herd will die forever if you kill them all, never respawning. There are a lot. I love that one guy is basically just the devil himself, coming to collect. But the actual storytelling and a lot of the mechanics don't really mesh in a satisfying way, and I think that's worth discussing.



Modern Warfare was built on Call of Duty 1 and 2, though, games which were made by former members of the Medal of Honor team, which was created by Stephen Spielberg, who wanted to make a video game about D-Day as he was filming Saving Private Ryan.

A lot of what you're talking about is technologically driven, not inspired by any one game. For instance, motion capture was something that Starbreeze was working on really heavily because of their connections with Hollywood and the Riddick films, and the first fully motion captured game was The Darkness. I know one of the guys who helped get that whole game made, I think he produces movies now or something.

That shit's wild. There's so much out there that's worth learning, and I really worry that if we just kinda.. assume history is based on the games that are popular, we actually do ourselves a disservice. Uncharted 2 came too late in the gen to define it; Modern Warfare had much more of an impact and was directly following from the Xbox 360 launch game Call of Duty 2.



this is what happens when someone writes an article for publication, intended for mass readership. I do this kind of thing to. The blog post was just a blog post for funsies when I was too tired to game that day.
Oh hey! Thanks for replying.

I hope you didn't take that too personally, and you're absolutely right it is a medium article which is pretty much built for stream of conscious rambling and I enjoyed reading yours.

And I don't mean to thread whine at all, I just don't see any real foundation here to base a discussion off because the point is a little muddied.

I think OP posting it as the source of the discussion was a mistake, especially when the notion of a prestige game (even given your attempt to define) feels nebulous... but then a discussion is happening, so it sparked something.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
No because my name would be part of how people look at me and my value .
It to easy to trace stuff back in this day and age and people don't forget .
Truth is that is how people get in trouble on twitter thinking public perception don't matter .
I am not saying the core of the argument would be different, just the way you deliver it. If the way you present information doesn't change for different audiences, that would be really odd.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
Oh hey! Thanks for replying.

I hope you didn't take that too personally, and you're absolutely right it is a medium article which is pretty much built for stream of conscious rambling and I enjoyed reading yours.

And I don't mean to thread whine at all, I just don't see any real foundation here to base a discussion off because the point is a little muddied.

I think OP posting it as the source of the discussion was a mistake, especially when the notion of a prestige game (even given your attempt to define) feels nebulous.
I'll define it better in the next article. Noticed a lot of people not understanding that 'prestigious' and 'prestige game' are two different concepts, so I want to get that clarified. I've actually had some fun talks with people at naughty dog and santa monica studio about my article, so that's been interesting.
 

Qwark

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,878
As someone who actually gets paid real money to write professional sounding articles for work, there is a very, VERY clear delineation between the work I do on my personal blog, which is intentionally personal and idiosyncratic, and the work I do for major publications, which I write a lot more focused and seriously, and then work with editors on to polish. I have been doing it professionally for around seven years.

So when people try to make me look bad by going "this is shit his article is trash he should have written something like an article published in fucking ESQUIRE," that's a stupid standard and I'm always going to be clear about the fact that this article was always intended to be informal.
I know, you've posted that multiple times as well. We get it, you're a writer. Just show some pride in your work and stop making excuses for it, that's all I'm saying.

Also please get another metaphor besides the gas-station pizza thing.
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,818
I'll define it better in the next article. Noticed a lot of people not understanding that 'prestigious' and 'prestige game' are two different concepts, so I want to get that clarified. I've actually had some fun talks with people at naughty dog and santa monica studio about my article, so that's been interesting.
I'd like to see your thoughts refined. PM me a link if you remember when you do.
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,408
I am not saying the core of the argument would be different, just the way you deliver it. If the way you present information doesn't change for different audiences, that would be really odd.
I mean that would depend on the topic and audiences.
Truth is the gaming audiences not that different no matter where they reading stuff lol.
 

Sparks

Senior Games Artist
Verified
Dec 10, 2018
337
Okay.

Let's back up.

My logic here went like this: "hmm, I do not like this popular game. Why is that? Is it because I'm a contrarian? No, because I like several popular video games. Okay, so is there something about my tastes that make me not like the subject matter? No, because I like the idea of [max payne 3, cowboys, indiana jones, etc]. Alright... are there similarities between the games I don't like? Huh. I think there is."

I went from there.

I don't really think it's a leap to say "hey there is a subset of games that are created in a certain way and I don't think that methodology is good and I think the praise it gets is outsized."
So your jump was, "it's not ME that's the problem, it must be the games then and everyone else must be wrong, that's it."

I feel like you heavily underemphasize the power of context, bias and personal experiences that weight into the MOST subjective medium in the world. Which is what people have issues with, when you start talking overly objectively about a super subjective idea, it's degrading and pathetic. Especially someone that has very little experience of creative writing in the game industry.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
608
Rochester NY
I mean that would depend on the topic and audiences.
Truth is the gaming audiences not that different no matter where they reading stuff lol.
Haha, I see what you are saying but I'd say posting on the way point forums (or if the name has changed since they became vice games, that) versus posting on reddit would yield completely different responses.
 

RoninChaos

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,188
Stopped reading after a while. So TLoU is bad because he could predict some story related stuff? My guess is 95% of all narratives are predictive or already told. What is more important in my opinion, is the way the story is told. I prefer a well written story with good acting and loving characters over a bad written original story with surprising plot twists but dull characters.

ND games don't re-invent the wheel story wise, but they tell their stories wonderfully and besides that, they usually set new graphical benchmark and have insane amounts of small details you don't even notice when you're not paying attention. If you think these kind of games are "soulless husks that only exist to make money", then you have no clue what you're talking about.
Agreed to an extent. I don’t know that streaming a game while talking to people on discord is going to provide the kind of emotional response the game was going for. Certain games, like movies, will give you back what you put into them. Just like how you’re supposed to pay attention in a movie, you should pay attention in a game of the main draw is the story. Not talk on the phone or be on discord.

Kinda feels like you’re missing the point here, Doc. I bet that the point is more big budget games should have a critical eye on them that goes deeper than “look at these production values” but it doesn’t come off that way.

And btw, what makes bioshock great is the twist couldn’t have been done in any other medium.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
I know, you've posted that multiple times as well. We get it, you're a writer. Just show some pride in your work and stop making excuses for it, that's all I'm saying.

Also please get another metaphor besides the gas-station pizza thing.
Look, I have a blog that is intentionally messy and informal and people give me money to post there. I don't know what to tell you. It's intentionally very different than my more buttoned up formal work.

I'd like to see your thoughts refined. PM me a link if you remember when you do.
will try

So your jump was, "it's not ME that's the problem, it must be the games then and everyone else must be wrong, that's it."

I feel like you heavily underemphasize the power of context, bias and personal experiences that weight into the MOST subjective medium in the world. Which is what people have issues with, when you start talking overly objectively about a super subjective idea, it's degrading and pathetic. Especially someone that has very little experience of creative writing in the game industry.
Well, it started as "I have a problem, what are the common threads involved in my problem?" And I realized after a while that it was because a lot of these games followed really similar structures in terms of patchwork narratives, extremely expensive presentation, and superfluous mechanics. And I thought that was an interesting phenomenon worth writing about.

I have more experience writing in the industry than you think. ;)

Agreed to an extent. I don’t know that streaming a game while talking to people on discord is going to provide the kind of emotional response the game was going for. Certain games, like movies, will give you back what you put into them. Just like how you’re supposed to pay attention in a movie, you should pay attention in a game of the main draw is the story. Not talk on the phone or be on discord.

Kinda feels like you’re missing the point here, Doc.
lots of people have stated that naughty dog games are special in part because you can play them with other people around who can enjoy them as much as someone would enjoy watching a movie, so I put that to the test.
 

vbwh

Member
Jul 24, 2018
1
I never try to argue with someone who did or didn't enjoy a game/move/book I loved/hated. There's no point. The thing either gave you a fun/emotionally gripping/otherwise engaging experience when you played it, or it didn't. If I didn't enjoy it, no amount of reading other people's opinions on it is likely to change that. If I loved it, no negative retrospective can ever take away from that. My tastes diverge so drastically from DocSeuss' that his opinions are exceptionally unlikely to be relevant or useful to me.

I scrapped a prior draft of this post because it felt like I was trying to "defend" some particular games and movies, which as explained above, would be a complete waste of time. All I'll say is:

* If I champion a game I like, maybe I'm not doing it because it "Makes Me Feel Valid". Maybe I'm doing it because I Enjoyed Playing It and I think that Others Are Likely To Enjoy Playing It Too and I would like to See More Similar Games Be Released.
* If I enjoyed a movie, maybe I literally just enjoyed watching it. Maybe it isn't because it makes me feel smart or otherwise validated in some way.
* I'm glad I'm not a critic (game, film, or otherwise). It seems to severely impact one's ability to enjoy mass market entertainment.

Out of curiosity, what are your 4-5 "S" games?
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,408
lots of people have stated that naughty dog games are special in part because you can play them with other people around who can enjoy them as much as someone would enjoy watching a movie, so I put that to the test.
Doc who are these a lots of people .
Some people on message board or few reviewers is not lots when these games sell millions of copies .
I think certain aspect of looking at things get blow up more than there really are .
 

RoninChaos

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,188
Look, I have a blog that is intentionally messy and informal and people give me money to post there. I don't know what to tell you. It's intentionally very different than my more buttoned up formal work.



will try



Well, it started as "I have a problem, what are the common threads involved in my problem?" And I realized after a while that it was because a lot of these games followed really similar structures in terms of patchwork narratives, extremely expensive presentation, and superfluous mechanics. And I thought that was an interesting phenomenon worth writing about.

I have more experience writing in the industry than you think. ;)



lots of people have stated that naughty dog games are special in part because you can play them with other people around who can enjoy them as much as someone would enjoy watching a movie, so I put that to the test.
The last of us isn’t that game, bro.
 

Mr.Vic20

Member
Oct 31, 2017
108
Hating popular things is timelessly cool. Then you get older and you wonder why you had such strong feelings over basically nothing.
 

TheModestGun

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,503
Look, I have a blog that is intentionally messy and informal and people give me money to post there. I don't know what to tell you. It's intentionally very different than my more buttoned up formal work.



will try



Well, it started as "I have a problem, what are the common threads involved in my problem?" And I realized after a while that it was because a lot of these games followed really similar structures in terms of patchwork narratives, extremely expensive presentation, and superfluous mechanics. And I thought that was an interesting phenomenon worth writing about.

I have more experience writing in the industry than you think. ;)



lots of people have stated that naughty dog games are special in part because you can play them with other people around who can enjoy them as much as someone would enjoy watching a movie, so I put that to the test.
I think people would be willing to give you more credit if it weren’t for the fact that you are simultaneously using “I’m a professional” as an appeal to authority and “it’s just a blog.” As a shield from people pointing out the flaws in your logic.

I think you have an interesting premise, but the conclusions sound too much like “it’s not that I don’t get it! It’s that everyone else is lying about genuinely thinking these games are great out of insecurity!” Which is a very suspect claim. You are telling me that a majority or even a significant proportion of reviewers and gamers who bought these games are just trying to be validated and didn’t ACTUALLY love these games?

You’ve tried to appeal to authority multiple times in this thread. I’m just not buying it. I don’t care if you get paid to write. Your perspective on the value of games isn’t any more valid or invalid than the general public AND OTHER CRITICS MIND YOU, that have found lots of enjoyment and value in these so called “prestige games”.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,690
I think people would be willing to give you more credit if it weren’t for the fact that you are simultaneously using “I’m a professional” as an appeal to authority and “it’s just a blog.” As a shield from people pointing out the flaws in your logic.

I think you have an interesting premise, but the conclusions sound too much like “it’s not that I don’t get it! It’s that everyone else is lying about genuinely thinking these games are great out of insecurity!” Which is a very suspect claim. You are telling me that a majority or even a significant proportion of reviewers and gamers who bought these games are just trying to be validated and didn’t ACTUALLY love these games?

You’ve tried to appeal to authority multiple times in this thread. I’m just not buying it. I don’t care if you get paid to write. Your perspective on the value of games isn’t any more valid or invalid than the general public AND OTHER CRITICS MIND YOU, that have found lots of enjoyment and value in these so called “prestige games”.
I don't think people are lying out of insecurity, I think that wanting to believe something is important because it has the affectation of importance is fascinating behavior.

Did you ever watch Jurassic Park? You know that line where the guy asks the kid if the night vision goggles are heavy, and the kid says yeah, and the guy says "then it's expensive, put it back"? You know people actually put weights in products to make them feel more expensive? There's actually a whole field of product design that goes into how to make things FEEL prestigious and expensive. In film and TV, there are things you can do with lighting/costume design/set design to make a tv show 'feel' more important and serious. Like, comedies tend to use what's called "high key" lighting that's very broad, it covers basically everything in the scene. If you want a show to feel more serious, you change the lighting.

I care a lot about the subtle psychological impact of those things on people because I care a lot about How This Shit Is Made.

Like, I dunno, you know how Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had those really fascinating 12 FPS animations for Miles at the start, but as he 'became' Spider-Man in his universe, his animations became more fluid until he was animated at 24 fps? I love those little details.

Wanting to know how this happens in games is something I think is super interesting and worth talking about, but I fully recognize it isn't for everyone.

All of my blog stuff is very nitty gritty "how people react to video games, how we think about games" stuff, it's very much informal but super super nitty gritty. It's not something I expect a mass audience to read, it's one of those things I write primarily for dev friends so we can argue about it.

As for the 'appeal to authority,' it's more like, hey, I have people saying "this is very poorly written, you're shit, why isn't this like an article in esquire" and it's like, hey, I actually DO that. This is most emphatically NOT THAT. This is like telling a chef who gets home and makes a box of mac and cheese that all he cooks is garbage. Like, dude, I work in a 4-star michelin joint all day, no way am I gonna treat my personal space like that too. I want people to recognize the difference between formats and the intent behind the writing instead of making really shitty comparisons.

I feel like a lot of people are treating this piece like something they'd read on Kotaku or something, and I can say, as someone who has written for Kotaku, I would have written it very differently for that specific avenue. This is a piece primarily meant for designer friends to read, it was not expected that it would become this popular. You aren't the target audience, the people who want to know about things like the ins and outs of the animation of Into The Spider-Verse are the target audience. It's technical nerd-out shit, not an article meant for people who like arguing about metascores on forums.
 
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LordBaztion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,801
Lima Perú
In retrospective, it's crazy how long it took me to accept that I don't need my games to be elevated to art or, in any case, to be flawless cohesive holistic pieces. I guess I nedded to justify myself that games are not a waste of time. I guess spending less time with games aliviates you from that pressure.
 

TheModestGun

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,503
I don't think people are lying out of insecurity, I think that wanting to believe something is important because it has the affectation of importance is fascinating behavior.

All of my blog stuff is very nitty gritty "how people react to video games, how we think about games" stuff, it's very much informal but super super nitty gritty. It's not something I expect a mass audience to read, it's one of those things I write primarily for dev friends so we can argue about it.

As for the 'appeal to authority,' it's more like, hey, I have people saying "this is very poorly written, you're shit, why isn't this like an article in esquire" and it's like, hey, I actually DO that. This is most emphatically NOT THAT. This is like telling a chef who gets home and makes a box of mac and cheese that all he cooks is garbage. Like, dude, I work in a 4-star michelin joint all day, no way am I gonna treat my personal space like that too. I want people to recognize the difference between formats and the intent behind the writing instead of making really shitty comparisons.
And that’s fair enough, I would just be wary of how liberally you use that line of thinking.

I get the idea of someone “wanting a thing to have significance” but I just don’t think your average or mainstream consumer of media or games even thinks in those terms. I think it’s a fruitless path to go down for your premise because you can’t really intimate what’s in people’s souls as to whether how they are enjoying it is because of pressure or assumed significance.

Maybe I would take the angle of analyzing what aspects don’t appeal to you more in depth and why they don’t appeal to you and specifically how they contrast with the games that attempt similar things but aren’t “soulless”.

For instance Gears 5 and The Last of Us since you seem to have a pretty passionate opposite reaction to both games. Although personally I reject the premise that Gears is more effective in leveraging its gameplay to emphasize the impact of its story, but that’s neither here nor there.

The validation aspect is a dead end especially when lobbed at the general public and not fellow critics and media and really just sounds like plain old gate keeping.
 
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