GWJ Conference Call Episode 151

Conference Call

Batman: Arkham Asylum, WoW Cataclysm, Wet is Terrible, Seven Questions, Your Emails and more!

This week Michael Zenke joins us as we formulate seven questions that must be answered well for a game to be considered good. Don't forget to submit your own question for the list! We also announce the upcoming live show this weekend! If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Anxious Tedium" - Ouranos OST (Tom Quinn) - http://thomashquinn.googlepages.com - 0:27:44
"The Way Your Journey Ends" (Tom Quinn) - http://thomashquinn.googlepages.com - 1:01:01

Comments

LarryC wrote:

There is only one ultimate question that a game has to answer right and that is:

"Is the game FUN?"

And the correct answer to that is, "Yes, very much so."

Every other question is secondary to this question. If the game fails at this question, its answers to any other question are moot.

Yes. So let's ask the secondary questions.

I can't help but feel like a single yes/no question is a bit of a cop out. It might be effective and useful, but doesn't make for stimulating conversation.

I'm not so sure about "fun" as a catch all term for gaming. Am I having "fun" when I'm deep into a CiV IV game and wrestling with town settings and sliders? It's definitely not "Wheeeeeee!" fun, but I AM lost in the experience and losing track of time.

People keep talking about "fun", but I think that's selling the idea of what they're going for here quite short. Fun is terribly subjective (as is what makes a game "good") and can be applied to anything. It's just too vague for it to be the "only" question that needs to be answered. I see this argument all over the internet when talking about how Nintendo makes "fun" games while games on the 360, PS3 and PC aren't about "fun". That's absurd.

Coming up with specific questions to determine what makes a game "good" is really just a way of dissecting what makes a game "fun". They're pretty much interchangeable terms and what this 'cast was about was taking a closer look at specifics in games to determine where something fails or excels and why you may or may not find a game "good" or "fun".

fun: what provides amusement or enjoyment
good: of a favorable character or tendency

If it's enjoyable, then yes, it counts as "fun." Things we try to characterize games as being - "engaging," "immersive," "compelling," are all, IMO, just borne out of a desire to avoid the catch-all "fun" for one reason or another.

While it may not aid a designer in fleshing out all the details of a game, it certainly helps in weeding out the parts that are detrimental. If a game's fun-factor is starting to wane without any hint that it is for the sake of a more fun design down the line, then the game's design has gone astray.

garion333:

That's all well and good, but I think that once you go into technical game aspects rather than focusing on "fun" to begin with, then you start to go astray in asking the questions.

"What makes for a good game?" is a significantly less expansive and less interesting question than "What's fun to do?"

"I don't want to call myself a genius, but... I'm a genius!"
-Word from the Wise

As for the seventh question, I think it should be something along the lines of "Does the game's ending sit with you long after you've beaten it?" Good examples include BioShock and Phantom Dust.

Finally, Cataclysm! I hope that, for posterity, they keep Old World for those that want to explore it one last time. Perhaps use of some sort of time-travel explanation, like in Dragonblight....

I understand what you're getting at, Larry. I for one would probably classify GTAIV as a good game, but I didn't really care for it and didn't have much fun with it. In that way, they failed on the fun factor (for me).

Good does not need to equal perfect and fun doesn't have to equal good. Meaning, I can have fun with a game that I don't think is particularly good. Assassin's Creed would be a good example of that (for me).

I think Lobster pretty much made my point. Let's make those subsequent questions so in the future we have better tools to describe what we like about a game and why we found it fun or good. In the end, however, "fun" and "good" are completely and utterly subjective and by having questions to answer, we can better explain to people or compare notes with people instead of simply saying "Madden is fun."

I'm currently running circles in my brain and am no longer sure what point I'm trying to make. Moving on.

Rat Boy wrote:

Instead, you shrieked like a harpy and made Corey die laughing. *golf clap*

*hangs head*

Incidentally, bringing up GTAIV makes me think of a question:

7. Do the actions you take fit within the context and goals of the game?

I'm not necessarily saying that games, in their entirety, have to have complete ludo-narrative harmony. (paging Wordsmythe...Wordsmythe to the white courtesy phone, please)

I'm just saying that a game can certainly become less engrossing* if you can't easily reconcile the actions you're taking in the game -- e.g. gunning down hundreds of innocents -- with the overall goal of the game.

[size=9]* intended to replace those crazy subjective and reductionist buddies, "fun" and "good", in any continued discussions.[/size]

garion333:

No, sir. Let's not.

The problem with listing just seven questions for everything and then saying "fun is subjective," is that we forget "fun," and that is as bad in talking about games as it is in designing games. This is a failing with the majority of game reviewers today, which is why we have such awful coverage of awesome Wii titles - they don't have fun with it, so they think it's okay to just stick with that.

It's not.

"What makes GTA IV good?" is really better phrased as "What makes GTA IV fun?" and while the answer might be subjective, it is a valid one for those who find it fun. That is precisely what I'm getting at here. If a game is fun, then it succeeds at doing the most important thing, and the better it is at doing that thing, the better a game it is. A game that's loads of fun is a good game, and it cannot be defined as being bad. A game that fails at providing any kind of fun fails, and it cannot be said to be anything other than a bad game.

If you're having fun with a game, how can it not be good? Clearly, whatever it isn't doing right is immaterial to how it makes itself fun, or the main mechanic is so fun that you forgive such shortcomings. For instance, Tetris doesn't have a story. It has no clear, overarcing goal. It has no context. The presentation is primitive. In so many of these ways, it is an utter, utter failure.

But it is, perhaps, one of the most important games in gaming history.

Because it is fun. And because it offered such a different way of making fun, it generated a whole genre of OTHER games that derived from its core design, and they were also fun as a result.

Therefore, the way to make good, original games is to ask, "What makes a game fun?"

"We cannot answer that because the answer is different for every person!"

Again, nonsense. "What is your name?"

"We cannot answer that because the answer is different for every person!"

Clearly, because whole groups of people find a game fun in very similar fashions, there are very broad characters that influence how people find enjoyment and how games can foster it. A game like Settlers of Catan is mainly powered by the social aspect of trading and deceit. Putting one over your peers is very, very fun. Tetris taps into another kind of fun, while COD taps into another kind of fun, still.

Asking how your game is fun and what kind of fun it seeks to engender is more important than asking whether it has shiny graphics.

Certis wrote:

I'm not so sure about "fun" as a catch all term for gaming. Am I having "fun" when I'm deep into a CiV IV game and wrestling with town settings and sliders? It's definitely not "Wheeeeeee!" fun, but I AM lost in the experience and losing track of time.

Well, that's fun, then, since you are enjoying it (if you weren't you would stop, yes?). I think of "fun" as a measurement of how enjoyable something is. Playing Batman is top notch fun. Doing laundry is just not fun. Now why something is fun is a totally separate question. I think this, like Larry C wrote, is the correct way of pursuing this is:
1. Is it fun?
2. If yes; it's a good game. Why is it fun?
3 - 9. (insert your other questions here)

LarryC wrote:

If you're having fun with a game, how can it not be good? Clearly, whatever it isn't doing right is immaterial to how it makes itself fun, or the main mechanic is so fun that you forgive such shortcomings. For instance, Tetris doesn't have a story. It has no clear, overarcing goal. It has no context. The presentation is primitive. In so many of these ways, it is an utter, utter failure.

I would disagree. Tetris does have a clear, overarching goal, though it is implicit: achieve the highest score you can before the screen fills up with blocks. And there are social or competitive components to that goal as well: achieve the highest score among my friends, or earn a higher score than That Guy, etc.

The presentation is sparse, but it does exactly what it needs to and it does so in a way that the player feels completely natural in taking all of the required actions in playing the game. You know exactly what your score is at any given time - the display of the next piece foreshadows what is going to happen next. Also, don't forget the music of Tetris (on the Game Boy, at least), which holds some very hummable melodies.

In many ways, the purity of Tetris's design allows it to give "correct" answers to all of these questions. The goals are simple and immediately approachable. By clearing lines through multiple means (one line or a full four-line tetris) under varying contexts (at the bottom or "oh crap near the top"), the player is paid off sufficiently throughout the session. There are never any pointless obstacles or any contextual mysteries about what you're doing...and all of the actions that you're taking fit perfectly within the quest for the ultimate goal: score as many points as possible.

Ozymandias:

I disagree. I know for a fact that people play Tetris without any regard whatsoever about score. Indeed, many people are even surprised it has one. Score is a side-objective, a fake sub-mission you put it to fool people into having fun when their own prejudices would prevent it. If Tetris on your iPhone did not have score, would it prevent you from enjoying it? I don't suppose so, because I know it is of no consequence to many of my acquaintance. In fact, many such games were sold as "Brick Game" standalone devices in East Asia, with a score tally no one really paid any attention to.

Basic Tetris that spurred its popularity with the computer crowd was done with ascii characters - without music, color, or score.

At the point where you're justifying answers to questions in a manner that makes Tetris good, you're beginning to render such question useless. If we can answer them two ways, each with reason, then it's not a very good series of questions, is it?

1. Is it fun?
2. If yes; it's a good game. Why is it fun?
3 - 9. (insert your other questions here)

Pretty much it, yes. "Am I enjoying myself? Yes, ok ... why?"

"Because it's fun" may be true, but it's hardly satisfying if you're trying to narrow down what you like about various games. That's what the seven questions are for. Just considering what's important to you as a player tends to lead to more enjoyment because the appreciation is deeper. Maybe I'm crazy, but it's the primary reason why I do a weekly podcast and participate in the forums.

Certis wrote:

I'm not so sure about "fun" as a catch all term for gaming. Am I having "fun" when I'm deep into a CiV IV game and wrestling with town settings and sliders? It's definitely not "Wheeeeeee!" fun, but I AM lost in the experience and losing track of time.

My problem with a question about fun is that one could just as easily ask, "Is the game good?" The point of this exercise, I believe, is to break down the separate elements that make something "fun" or "good."

By itself "fun" is a vague feeling of abandonment and/or concentration. It is a response to successful elements in a game. But I don't feel like it's an extraordinarily good descriptor for what makes a game good. Fun and good are married, but it's in the pre-nup that the best bits can be broken down.

LarryC wrote:

I disagree. I know for a fact that people play Tetris without any regard whatsoever about score. Indeed, many people are even surprised it has one. Score is a side-objective, a fake sub-mission you put it to fool people into having fun when their own prejudices would prevent it. If Tetris on your iPhone did not have score, would it prevent you from enjoying it? I don't suppose so, because I know it is of no consequence to many of my acquaintance. In fact, many such games were sold as "Brick Game" standalone devices in East Asia, with a score tally no one really paid any attention to.

Okay, point taken regarding the potential irrelevance of the score, so let me take another swing at defining the goal for Tetris: keep blocks from filling up the screen for as long as possible. And, from that standpoint, it primarily appeals as a mental exercise...because the goal is simple, but each attempt at that ultimately futile goal is different and the task becomes increasingly more difficult as time passes in the game.

LarryC wrote:

Basic Tetris that spurred its popularity with the computer crowd was done with ascii characters - without music, color, or score.

I think there's a reason that the word "engaging" was chosen for presentation in that question - it implies that the presentation has value to you, even if it's not necessarily "pretty." Primitive as those ASCII characters may be, they appropriately conveyed the ebb and flow of what was taking place in the game...and I would be surprised if a player didn't feel themselves becoming a little more frantic as those blocks became increasingly faster and faster.

LarryC wrote:

At the point where you're justifying answers to questions in a manner that makes Tetris good, you're beginning to render such question useless. If we can answer them two ways, each with reason, then it's not a very good series of questions, is it?

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at - are you suggesting that Tetris isn't a good video game, but people play it anyway? And, if that's the case, doesn't that situation raise the question of why people are pouring so much time into this game?

OzymandiasAV:

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Okay, point taken regarding the potential irrelevance of the score, so let me take another swing at defining the goal for Tetris: keep blocks from filling up the screen for as long as possible. And, from that standpoint, it primarily appeals as a mental exercise, because the goal is simple, but each attempt at that ultimately-futile goal is different and the task becomes increasingly more difficult as time passes in the game.

The goal is really the basic mechanic and premise at the same time. At that point, what differentiates one from the other, and is it really a goal, in the sense that we mean in other ways?

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I think there's a reason that the word "engaging" was chosen for presentation in that question - it implies that the presentation has value to you, even if it's not necessarily "pretty." Primitive as those ASCII characters may be, they appropriately conveyed the ebb and flow of what was taking place in the game...and I would be surprised if a player didn't feel themselves becoming a little more frantic as those blocks became increasingly faster and faster.

In other words, "does it foster fun?" It's no more meaningful than the second question, "why is the game fun?"

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at - are you suggesting that Tetris isn't a good video game, but people play it anyway? And, if that's the case, doesn't that situation raise the question of why people are pouring so much time into this game?

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

LarryC wrote:

The goal is really the basic mechanic and premise at the same time. At that point, what differentiates one from the other, and is it really a goal, in the sense that we mean in other ways?

No, actually, I feel that they're quite separate.

Premise:
- Keep 'dem blocks from fillin' up the screen as long as you can

Mechanics:
- Blocks will be arranged and delivered to the game world in different four-block variations (tetrads), which will fall down at a specific rate
- Players will have control over the tetrads until they reach the ground (rotation, movement, ability to force them to fall faster)
- Whenever blocks comprise a line across the screen, that line of blocks will be destroyed and all blocks above fall down immediately.
- As the player destroys lines of blocks, the rate at which the tetrads fall will increase

LarryC wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:

I think there's a reason that the word "engaging" was chosen for presentation in that question - it implies that the presentation has value to you, even if it's not necessarily "pretty." Primitive as those ASCII characters may be, they appropriately conveyed the ebb and flow of what was taking place in the game...and I would be surprised if a player didn't feel themselves becoming a little more frantic as those blocks became increasingly faster and faster.

In other words, "does it foster fun?" It's no more meaningful than the second question, "why is the game fun?"

That reduces things a bit too much, I think. In Tetris, the presentation is certainly not the standout feature, but it's important that it conveys (and, in you consider controls, collects) information effectively and doesn't get in the way of the core mechanics. If it didn't do that, the game wouldn't be good/fun/whatever.

LarryC wrote:

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

I think those factors are more important than you realize. Though it may seem impossible, you can screw up Tetris if you don't deliver those aspects of the game effectively. And discussing the qualitative differences between a bad version of Tetris and a good version of Tetris...or the differences between Tetris and Wet...can help inform our choices in gaming, as well as decisions in future game design.

LarryC wrote:

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

So what does make a game fun?

garion333 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

So what does make a game fun?

Shiny graphics.

This podcast was one of the best-worst you've ever done. Controversial. Stimulating. Pedantic.

Keep it up.

LarryC wrote:

"What makes GTA IV good?" is really better phrased as "What makes GTA IV fun?" and while the answer might be subjective, it is a valid one for those who find it fun.

I don't think that works. I've already played several games this year alone that I would describe as good but weren't fun (like The Path) as well as quite a few titles that I had fun with that were certainly not good. As games as a medium continues to mature, this is bound to increase, just as there are already plenty of films and novels that are great but can't be described as enjoyable at all.

Furthermore, some games like WoW contain people who play it out of an obsessive-compulsive streak, out of sheer boredom, to be challenged, out of a sense of duty to others, etc.

While I think in part this is merely an argument in semantics (your definition of "fun" appears to be in a much broader sense than most other people here, which is why there's a conflict), the fact remains that further discussion is warranted. However you phrase it, what makes GTA IV good/fun still needs to be explained, and I believe that is the entire point of this exercise being proposed. You seem to be arguing that those questions aren't able to take a completely subjective experience and mathematically deduce the exact formula for making a "good" game, but I don't think that was the intention anyways. It is merely a starting point for deeper conversation. Otherwise, saying "this game is fun and trying to explain why is impossible" leaves much to be desired.

Demiurge wrote:
garion333 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

So what does make a game fun?

Shiny graphics.

Tits and Explosions.

kuddles wrote:

While I think in part this is merely an argument in semantics (your definition of "fun" appears to be in a much broader sense than most other people here, which is why there's a conflict), the fact remains that further discussion is warranted. However you phrase it, what makes GTA IV good/fun still needs to be explained, and I believe that is the entire point of this exercise being proposed. You seem to be arguing that those questions aren't able to take a completely subjective experience and mathematically deduce the exact formula for making a "good" game, but I don't think that was the intention anyways. It is merely a starting point for deeper conversation. Otherwise, saying "this game is fun and trying to explain why is impossible" leaves much to be desired.

Right. I think LarryC's definition of "fun" answers nothing and leaves us back where we were in the first place trying to figure out why we play games.

I think before going any further, Randy Smith's series of columns on fun in Edge, which I've linked here for your convenience, already do a great job of hammering out what fun means, why it's not necessary for a game, and what a Not Fun game would be like (engaging! compelling! etc): What’s Fun Got to do with it ?, Further Investigations Into The F Word, Bad Ideas For Games That Aren’t Fun, and What Does It Take To Make You Care?.

Obviously the first thing I think about when told games should be fun is, What about serious games? The Path is already a great example. There's nothing about video games that requires fun of them. A video game is just a system, a model running on a collection of rules with objectives. What suggests that "fun" is a necessary component of that system?

Fun seems to always mean "gratification": enjoyment, pleasure, satisfaction, amusement. Kuddles also does a good job of listing reasons other than fun why people are compelled (drink!) to play games. But I think games as a medium (not every one, of course!) would do well to not chain themselves to this criterion of "fun", and by doing so will really elevate the (get ready) art form (drink!). This is basically what Smith writes about: when games shed the goal of fun, they can tackle other treatments of their subjects, and we the players can have other, broader and deeper experiences with those games. Then we'll need an equally broad and deep way of thinking about and discussing them.

In my country the only games that are fun are those that support socialist principles espoused by the Communist Party. In other words, Selfless Proletariat Saves Cadre's Daughter From a Well probably wouldn't be fun unless you understand the game's context, in which case you realize it's a stunning masterpiece.

Which brings me to my other point--at the risk of being harmonized for mentioning other art forms, one must remember that Schindler's List and Titanic were not fun movies to watch, nor is my Little Red book of Quotations (tragic, lousy, and supremely inspiring, in that order). And yet billions have watched or read them. Shouldn't the same be true for games? Do people play Flight Simulator 10.0 because it's fun? Or IL-2 Sturmovik on the highest realism settings? I tried it, and thought, wow, reality sucks. Good thing I live in my own fantasy world. But obviously I can still recognize that they are well-produced games that appeal to a certain group of people.

Fun is also subject to the ravages of replayability--I find it hard to play the single-player campaigns of most games twice, as it's just not as much fun the second time around (Unlike commanding millions to produce low-quality steel and starve to death, which never gets old).

Therefore, it can only be rationally surmised that if we're looking at what questions a game needs to answer well to be considered successful or good, fun is only part of the equation.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Which brings me to my other point--at the risk of being harmonized for mentioning other art forms, one must remember that Schindler's List and Titanic were not fun movies to watch, nor is my Little Red book of Quotations (tragic, lousy, and supremely inspiring, in that order). And yet billions have watched or read them. Shouldn't the same be true for games? Do people play Flight Simulator 10.0 because it's fun? Or IL-2 Sturmovik on the highest realism settings? I tried it, and thought, wow, reality sucks. Good thing I live in my own fantasy world. But obviously I can still recognize that they are well-produced games that appeal to a certain group of people.

Made me think of . . .

IMAGE(http://onlinespielen.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/realityworstgame.jpg)

Michael Zenke wrote:

On the video thing: What I was doing was keeping my hands firmly clamped over my mouth so that I wouldn't say anything dorky about The Old Republic. Cory thought that was humorous, and my apologies for making things confusing. I just didn't want to open my flapping maw and have something stupid and fanboi-ish pop out. Again.

You nervous about Old Republic becoming the next WAR? You did carry the banner for that one.

garion333:

garion333 wrote:

So what does make a game fun?

That's the crux of the problem, isn't it? The reason I don't think any of the GWJ's list questions are any good at the moment is because they're essentially iterations of the question, "Is it fun?" My point in pointing out Tetris is that given that the game is fun, you WILL find a way to say "yes" to all or most of the questions, even if you're trying to justify saying that ascii characters moving down a screen is effective presentation.

A more productive question is, "In what way are games fun, and what particular ways is this game fun?"

A game like COD or Boom Blox taps into our need and fascination with influencing the world - a primal need to confirm our interaction with reality and our potency in it. "Look, I can do this!" We do one little thing, and the canvass of the world changes before our very eyes. The more it changes, the better we feel. For that one instant where our little pinky is changing reality, we feel like God.

For this kind of fun, visual graphics are very important, because the entire foundation of our satisfaction is based on seeing our power to change reality unfolding onscreen. A screen filled with exploding ascii characters isn't as fulfilling as seeing realistic explosions. Killing random mooks isn't as satisfying as killing a hated enemy we know intimately, because the enemy we know intimately looms larger in our reality.

For a game like Tetris, the fun is found in figuring out a 2-dimensional orientation problem - very much like stacking blocks when we were very young - except repeated over and over and with various shapes, and with each shape influencing the succeeding problem. It's quite complex even when the graphics are extremely basic. It's the older person's shape sorter. When we clear out blocks in grand fashion, we feel like geniuses. While reality alteration is also happening in Tetris, the essential fun is not in influencing reality but in solving a mental problem - the satisfaction is based on mental affirmation, not visual feedback, so making it in ascii doesn't dampen its power.

What is the point in studying games like this?

Well, the point is that you want to advance the game or just deliver a good game in ways that matter. I don't really care if Tetris is in HD. However, Puyo Puyo and Bejeweled are slightly different and more complex mental problems - an upgrade in a way that matter to the game's method of delivering fun. Putting in funds for high-def brick-realistic Tetris is a royal waste of resources.

On the other hand, putting in time to develop character and do high-def explosions isn't a waste of time with shooters and such - because the visual feedback is an important and essential part of what makes such a game fun.

Another example - Mario Galaxy. Many journalists and gamers say that this game would have been so much better on a more powerful platform. Little Big Planet argues otherwise. The essential fun in a platformer is in navigating a problem environment with a character using specific physics-based solutions. He usually jumps. Maybe he has a grapple hook or some magnetic attach ability. Whatever he does, the environment present a navigation problem, and we get satisfied when we see the solution, and execute it. Mario Galaxy isn't more fun than Super Mario Brothers, really. I know because I just played them back to back, and I honestly can't say that I had more fun with one than with the other. Level (puzzle) design is more important in a platformer, especially a pure platformer, than graphical power.

Similarly, it is kind of pointless to complain about the lack of conflict and violence in a game like Anno: 1404 (or Zen Bound, for that matter). It's a city-building game. It fails to provide that kind of fun because it's not even trying. It's trying to provide an altogether different kind of satisfaction.

When we ask ourselves whether a game is good, the first thing we ask is "Is this game fun?" and then "What kind of fun is it trying to provide?"

PyromanFO wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
garion333 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm suggesting that most of the questions in Certis' list are meaningless - they are ultimately not what make the game fun, but are add-ons that we like to think make the game fun, but really aren't.

So what does make a game fun?

Shiny graphics.

Tits and Explosions.

Since when did Michael Bay hijack Pyroman's account?

I was trying to compose a question about unpredictability because the games I enjoy the most all involve encounters that evolve dynamically depending on how random elements play out but I realised that some games are classics because they are exactly the opposite i.e. so predicable that they can be mastered through feats of memory and repeat play. There are also games in the middle ground that are predicable and really don't involve chance in any meaningful way. I guess in the case of those games it comes down to how that predictability is hidden or how other aspects of the game outweigh the predictable elements.

lol I like the comment "Lore generally applies to WoW"

awesome podcast guys, loved the couple pokes at Rabbit.

plus Corey and Zenke on the same podcast! WOOTZ!