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I'm probably just getting old here, but I find video-game and movie plots of recent years way too complex and overwhelming.

I'm less than two hours into Cyberpunk 2077 and I've already met like 15 different NPCs. I barely remember anyone's name or backstory and it all becomes a blurry mess.

The game expects me to make life-and-death decisions and I'm like "wait, have I met that guy before?".

Yeah... getting old.

@antifuchs

I actually wish games were a lot, lot shorter. Strip away all the repetitive side missions, focus on a story you wanna tell, and make it 20 hours *max*.

@fribbledom @antifuchs I'm able to usually play 10-15 hours max. After that it can happen, that I can get back to the game after a year and I have to start over, because I don't remember anything.

@Mac_CZ

That also happens to me a lot more than I'd like to admit 😄

@antifuchs

@Mac_CZ @fribbledom @antifuchs I don't remember who said this (some game reviewer?): Games need an "adult mode" that you can select when you start a game that basically goes "here's a recap of the story so far, your current quest, and relevant NPCs. Do you want a quick walkthrough of the controls?"

@fribbledom yes, extremely same. Shorter games with punchier & better stories. Cut the content.

@antifuchs @fribbledom I want short(ish) punchy games that I end up getting back at again and again.
If a game is good an 5-8 hours campaign can make me spend 60 and more hours on the thing.

@Primo
Having an optional sandbox you can play in next to the story sounds good, and I guess most games try to do that, but then you have this thing where you interrupt some urgent, high-stakes drama for an inconsequential sidequest, and it kills the mood. Or sidequests are not inconsequential, but than you kinda jave to do them. How about a game where you can go play around _after_ the main quest, if you like to? Or separate play modes?
@antifuchs @fribbledom

@antifuchs
To be honest i'm in the total opposite mind. I don't care what's the story about. If the gameplay is good and the feeling great, i'll play it countless hours (tetris anyone).
But i bad gameplay with a great story will be a complete pain in the ass to me.
@fribbledom

@fribbledom @antifuchs I don't mind longer games in theory. In theory.

But it's rare to find one that is long because it's a tightly woven, laser focused narrative whose nuances cannot be compacted any further.

What I'm saying is that stuffing your game with side missions does not make it Brothers Karamazov

@fribbledom Few years ago I noticed that what really matters to me is the ratio of fun times to not fun times you can have with it.

And the longer the game the more likely that ratio is awful.

They're just more likely to be "compelling" i.e. inducing compulsive urge to play them which does not correlate with actually having fun as much as people think. At least in my experience.

@fribbledom or maybe the writing makes the characters forgettable? (I have no experience with that game, but this happens too often, especially with high-hype games)

@JennyFluff

Possibly, yeah. I must admit that's something Rockstar Games is doing really well. Some of the GTA missions and characters are just so memorable, almost akin to classic movie scenes.

@fribbledom "All you had to do was follow the damn train CJ"

yeah.

@fribbledom @JennyFluff CP2077 has these too. I heard from many players that some of the site stuff is much better than the main storyline.

I also think that since CP2077 is an RPG and so it's somewhat expected to have many conversations, lots of characters, etc.

@fribbledom I feel the same way about mechanics. I kind of just want 2 or 3 mechanics or puzzle types I can put my all into mastering. Recent RPGs are hellbent on giving you 3000 possible play styles.

Also, for Cyberpunk in particular, you know that whole cutscene where suddenly you're best friends with Jackie? The intent was for that to be playable...to get it shipped they yada-yada-yada'd over that entire relationship so don't feel bad there...it gets better.

@badtuple @fribbledom This. There are games with so many distinct skills that unlock that I can barely remember what combination of button presses and gestures activates which skill when I'm actively playing the game. If I come back a year later there's no way I get back up to speed without just completely starting over.

@fribbledom
You're not getting old. I've lost interest in crime shows because it starts jumping around, dude steals a neighbor's rake which leads to probable cause to have his house raided, and by the time the commercials are over I wonder how that dude ended up in jail.

@fribbledom Out of curiosity - what are you running that game on? Is it playable?

@unfa

Actually a "basic" Xbox One X (*not* the new Series X). I've noticed a few minor glitches here and there (objects popping into place mostly), but it's absolutely playable.

So far I get neither the hype nor the hate the games receives. Mind you, I didn't start playing before the Christmas patch (v1.06) though. I imagine it's been a lot worse before.

@fribbledom Movie plots: sadly they are not that complex. But I also think not every movie has to be like The Irishman, with over 3 hours, and gazillion of happenings. Tbh recent years, I have enjoyed movies like A Quiet Place or Venom. 90 minutes fun in two different genres, with simple stories, but really good characters.

@fribbledom Xenoblade Chronicles walks that line. There are around 20 or so main characters throughout the entire 100+ hour game. You get introduced to 5 early on, but the focus is on a couple.

A good amount of the story is also only there when you dig for it. Subtle hints in dialogue and what characters do, things like that.

It's pretty good. :-)

@fribbledom I don't think the plots are complicated enough, but are instead just hundreds of simplistic fedex, escort, and busy work jobs crammed together to pretend to be complex.

Also, rarely do these side quests have impact on the main stories. They are episodic and isolated for a brief rush of dopamine when they finish.

@fribbledom As I've been playing games, I used to write a retrospective of the features that I liked in games (because I might write one again, some day).

Like Satisfactory's build list that lets you put the ingredients list and what you want to build on the HUD. Or Graveyard Keeper's character list *with the quests for each one* or FF7's programmable NPCs for battle.

But, a Babylon 5 level plot would make my day. Cohesive and integrated from end to end.

@dmoonfire @fribbledom In general, optional side quests are there just to pad out gameplay, and often a place to gain xp if you're finding the main quest too challenging. I was really surprised at how short the Borderlands main story was when I did a main-only run... but in that game, there is a lot of supplemental story unpacked in the side quests. You don't learn the depth of a major NPC's insanity without a couple side quests.

@CarlCravens @fribbledom But in that regard, a side quest ends up being a combat filled visit to the NPC's wikipedia page.

I want when side quests have a material impact on the main story. I know, that doesn't really make it a side quest but I like when actions have impacts on the world so you doing X monster hunting quests changes how the final dungeon works, or something like that.

Occasionally, you'll see that in Fallen London. One plot opens up options in other plots that weren't obvious.

@fribbledom I often feel that games these days try too hard? I'm not playing Cyberpunk, but thinking of other games here. They pretend to offer meaningful choices that turn out to be anything but. They pretend to be complex, but really aren't. They try to be confusing and overwhelming to hide the fact that they're really quite shallow.

Then again, I'm old too. I still better remember characters from Planescape: Torment than e.g. Mass Effect. 🤷‍♂️

@fribbledom I'm still in my 20s but I also felt overwhelmed by Cyberpunk 2077's (IMO) awesome story (with other video-games/movies it isn't a problem so far). Glad it's not just me... :)

The good news is that remembering the (important) characters (and their backstories, relevant decisions, etc.) seems to get easier (though that might change again and I'm still forgetting minor characters due to the sheer amount of (side-)missions and characters).

But the in-game "Database" really helps (briefly describes all relevant characters) and I started taking quite a few notes including a labeled character relationship graph (can really recommend that though I might be taking the RPG experience a bit too far... :o xD).

@fribbledom
Those life-and-death decisions may reduce the number of characters you have to remember. 😉

@fribbledom in the case of Cyberpunk, there *are* cases where you have to make life-and-death decisions while you never met the guy before. But it's ok. There are other cases where the guy magically comes back to life when needed.

@fribbledom The games are getting old. Critics are expecting them to be mature... and complex :)

@fribbledom
Try going through life with prosopagnosia (face blindness).

My whole life is "wait, have I met that guy before?"

@Photorat @fribbledom Seriously? Me too actually! In fact I got scolded just today for looking at someone I know well 3 times yesterday and not actually seeing her! Don't know how you do it, but I try to find one characteristic of a person that I can remember. Mostly for me, being highly in tune with sounds and music, is remembering their voice. The gal yesterday never said anything too me...

@GoatsLive
Yes! It has been difficult at times. It has impaired my social life in many ways. I already have a few other social skill deficiencies, so this just adds to it.

The very first time I meet someone, I look for distinctive clothing. That gets me through the first day. During that time, I'm looking for a unique facial feature that I can anchor on (then hope that I can link that to the other things I know about the person).

@Photorat Part of the reason I've always been a hermit, and happier around farm animals quite frankly. I actually managed to work as a deputy sheriff for awhile with it, but really had to work on writing down descriptions as I saw people, not after the fact as I just could not!

@GoatsLive
I just prefer animals to humans. 😄

I've had the same experience. I have always avoided jobs that would expose me to a constant stream of new people.

I discovered that voice is critical. There was a guy I was acquainted with. I encountered him unexpectedly. He looked like a thousand other guys I didn't know. As soon as he started talking, his face did a weird transformation, and suddenly I recognized him!

@Photorat I've been told it is likely why, as I grew up, that I always preferred more Rubenesque ladies. All my girlfriends were always big girls, as is of course my wife of near 40 years. I just find it easier to remember a general body shape over a face.

@GoatsLive
Interesting. Until a couple of years ago, I didn't realize how important voice was in my recognition ability. I wonder if body shape is also something I'm using.

I have a superb sense of direction. I didn't realize that I was using the fact that the sun is in the southern sky until I went to Chile. It took me a couple of days to figure out why I kept going east when I meant to go west, and vice versa.

@Photorat My direction sense is great as well. Indeed back when I was still sailing the Gulf of Mexico or flying one of my aircraft, I never ever got lost, always know/knew where I was and what direction home port was!

Sound has always been key for me. I was a classical musician, flute, but my hands don't work well enough anymore. I can also easily relate sounds to actual visual waveforms. I can edit audio all day in Audacity, with the audio turned off, just "hearing" the waveform!

@GoatsLive
Impressive.

I once read about a guy who could tell you which piece of classical music was on a vinyl LP just by looking at the distinctive shape of the grooves.

@Photorat Not surprised about that at all. The human brain never fails to amaze me. Even mine, broken from M.S. and face blindness 😁

@Photorat I'd always wished I was a painter or sculpture, just because of my love of the large female form. Engineering ended up being my strength though, and serves me well. I follow a lot of talented artists here on Mastodon though, as I really enjoy other's interpretation of the human form.

@GoatsLive
My favorite form of photography is the fine art nude. Primarily female, but I don't recoil in (mock?) horror the way most men do when they see a really artful male nude.

I have dabbled in it myself, but I've lacked the ambition to pursue it much.

I would not have been able to make a living at it. My aesthetic is 180 degrees from Helmut Newton [Vogue] and of course anything remotely erotic.

BTW, I prefer thinner females, but all bodies are beautiful. You just have to see it.

@Photorat LOL Yeah, my autistic adult son is an accomplished artist, and at 34, spends a lot of time doing computer animation of tasteful female nudes, ALWAYS very thin.

I've always been an art lover. Didn't live far from the Ringling Museum in Sarasota for 30 years and spent hours and hours enjoying their collections. Where I live now I'm just 30 minutes from the Salvador Dalai museum. Always a wonder too.

ringling.org/

@GoatsLive
I'm troubled by the predominance of thin bodies in the media.

I had never heard of the Ringling. I know this is an ignorant statement, but I would have expected it to be filled with clown paintings!

I like all art, but I discovered that my favorite museum was SFMOMA. It's partly because they have a large photography collection. But also I like some modern art. It's OK to laugh and ridicule bad modern art (there's a lot of it), but I like the energy and originality of much of it.

@fribbledom I feel that stories in the last decade have gotten more bloated with unnecessary details and very little in the way of communicating what is important and not.

Not that old movies were good at the whole "reminding the audience who someone who seemed like a background character is" but there seems to be this trend of presenting everyone as a supporting character and then having a dozen of those to try and make you feel like the story is more expansive than it really is.

@fribbledom My friends bought that game but with the bugs on PlayStation they stopped shortly. As a group we started Ghost of Tsushima and love it. I agree some games with too many characters and stories loses me.

@fribbledom Or maybe those characters aren't so interesting to begin with.

Sometimes I (stupidly) fear I'm getting too old, too, but there's been a few recent games where I've cared A LOT about the NPCs and these have skyrocketed to my favorite games list... I've learned that's become a priority for me, with games.

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