FACTPILE IS BACK!!!
CLICK HERE TO SEE FOR YOURSELF
Take a Tour of the Admin's Mancave

"That's a game mechanic."

Designated Debating Area! As Well As Expanded Mayhem!

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Authors

"That's a game mechanic."

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Wed May 28, 2014 1:33 pm

For those of us whose favorite fictional character above all the rest falls under the genre of video games may bump into the issue of game mechanics along the way. In this thread, I wish to address the assertion, "That's a game mechanic." To go by a useful saying, "He who asserts must prove." Because I mostly hang around FactPile when it comes to debating about fictitious characters, I have seen at times people say, "That's a game mechanic." Even I am guilty of this, but observing others say it without any basis whatsoever has shifted my way of thinking. So I ask myself, "Can this person prove it's a game mechanic?"

It's not enough to assert this, but to prove it. I'm of the opinion now that not all game mechanics are inherently incorrect to use, as long as there is a basis for it. And not simply just a basis, but a justification for why one thing is a game mechanic and the other is not. Let's say person L is a proponent of Link and let's say person P is a proponent of Pit. L has been given evidence that Pit can fall from great distances, as observed in the final battle between Pit and Hades. This may demonstrate Pit's durability. So L can and will try to demonstrate that Link is just as durable.

L: "I can demonstrate Link's durability by diving off the bridge leading to Gerudo Valley. When he hits the ground below off to the left of the river, it will hurt him, but he will not have died."

Simply put, L is trying to prove that Link will not break his bones, let alone die, and thereby demonstrate that even though it will hurt Link, it will not incapacitate him. P might address this by saying, "That's a game mechanic", but why is it a game mechanic? What is the difference between Pit's fall and Link's fall? P, and others like him might say it's a game mechanic because it occurred during game play. This, of course, presupposes that game play and game mechanics are synonymous. It also presupposes that any other evidence is worth considering, except game play.

It seems from my time on FactPile and other sites I've read at make it so that something like cut-scenes supersede game play. P could have said, "Pit's fall occurs during a cut-scene. Link's does not." This is true, but more needs to be said for it to be persuasive. Why is it that cut-scenes seem to supersede game play? Probably because during cut-scenes, game mechanics do not occur. The same can be said of textual evidence. Without the risk of game mechanics, one might suppose it gets closer to what the developers are trying to actually present.

Does the fact that something is not game play, necessarily mean it's any truer, or that it's a stronger form of evidence? I suppose that depends. In the case of Metroid, the information given about planet Zebes' gravity has been discussed thoroughly. The gravity of Zebes, based on its mass and diameter should give it 960 g. EnigmaJ has addressed this by demonstrating visual evidence. If one should accept EnigmaJ's argument, then one has questioned the validity of textual evidence. So then it seems that something like textual evidence is not stronger than game play.

Of course, visual evidence doesn't seem to be any better. In this image, the Joker is next to an explosion, which would actually have at least blown him back and possibly caused burns on him, but there's nothing of that sort. So what's the point of demonstrating this? It's to demonstrate that game play is not at the bottom of the tier when compared to other types of evidence. This would mean that there must be another way of determining what's strong evidence and what is weak evidence.

Going back to the dispute between L and P, P could come up with several reasons as to why Link's fall is unpersuasive. He might tell L that realistically, Link would have broke his bones or died. This may seem unconvincing. Why apply realism to fiction? Yet, everyone here as at least applied some realism to fiction. To prove this, I could ask if you think Link could take an arrow to the head without being incapacitated or killed. If you think Link can do this, then would you also apply this to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, where an arrow to the head against enemies will not kill them? If not, then you're being inconsistent and this can be used against you in future discussions.

We must be consistent with our way of thinking. To do so, we should put aside our biases and consider the evidence for both sides before determining who the winner is in a match. This seems easiest when two characters who are presented are not characters we know anything about. There is no attachment for one character over another, just new data to be collected and determined what the outcome would be like. Does this mean if your favorite character is facing off against another character, whom you either know nothing about, or don't like, that you shouldn't already choose a side? Not necessarily.

I know a lot of things about Samus, so for me, choosing her over the other would be the natural thing for me to do. What should be done, of course, is you should consider the possibility of this new opponent being capable of defeating your favorite character. What I personally like to do is consider strength, speed, durability, reaction time, weapons and armor. By breaking it down this way, I'm taking information at its barest and then determining who I think would actually win.

While P might have said to L that this is the reason why Link wouldn't survive a fall of that height, L could respond by pointing out that in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (if this is his Link of choice), Link took no damage when he dropped down to fight King Dodongo. This is seen again before he faces off against Bongo Bongo, and again in Majora's Mask when he's going to fight Gyorg. If P's argument was that one was a cut-scene and the other wasn't, then P must concede to L's point, since P holds that cut-scenes supersede game play.

P could probably bring up the fact that a Deku Scrub tells Link that as he's falling from high areas, that he can prevent injury by rolling, and this does not occur in the cut-scenes. By doing so, P has presented an inconsistency between visual evidence and textual evidence. One could assume perhaps the Deku Scrub didn't know Link didn't need to roll if he fell from a high area, but this would still say the textual evidence was wrong.

Another point could be that Pit is an angel and Link is not. Link is a Hylian, and in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, Link is referred as a "human" more than once. So we might attribute our frailty as humans to Link, where this would not be the same for Pit. Because we don't know Hylian physiology or how similar it is to humans, however, it may be used to prove Link is different and thereby possibly stronger than ordinary humans. No doubt, even if this was evidence, it would be weak and would need to be proved. After all, Link grows weary, he can be wounded, he breathes, he cannot survive extreme temperatures, much like humans. This would be a stronger case than, "Link is a Hylian, therefore, we shouldn't attribute human frailties to him."

Of course, Pit demonstrates the same problems. He grows tired after running a while, his wings will begin to burn after five minutes of flight, he makes it clear that the lasers are hot, so perhaps Pit, too, should be attributed with human frailties. To be consistent, P, if he used the aforementioned argument against Link, would have to apply the same to Pit. By withholding information, especially if it is deliberate, P is being dishonest and is only concerned with trying to prove Pit would win against Link. For P not to be biased, he must be apply any logic to Pit that he applies to Link.

Whatever the reason may be, P cannot simply dismiss L's evidence on the basis that the fall occurred during game play, especially with the other types of cut-scenes, if P truly feels that cut-scenes are a stronger form of evidence. But let's think about Link's heart containers. These are supposed to be a game mechanic. That's what hit points fall under, but under that game mechanic, there are things that can be extracted so as to be treated as true, even outside of game play. In several manuals for different Zelda games, heart containers make mention that these increase Link's life force.

I do not know how to define life force, but I've been under the impression that it may just be another way of referring to vigor. The great fairies in OoT and MM tell Link to return to them when battle has made him weary. When his heart containers are low, and if he's standing still, he'll lean over and pant. We see that consumption of food or drinks, or even sitting or sleeping will restore his heart containers. At the same time, at least in OoT/MM, one of the great fairies grants Link defensive strength, which, as I would understand, applies only to his tunic and nothing else. This interpretation is based on Link's mail upgrades in A Link to the Past.

In Samus' case, energy tanks have been seen as creating an energy shield around Samus, even before Metroid Prime was released. The official Metroid Prime Web site made note that energy tanks increased Samus' shielding, allowing her to take punishment longer than before. Then in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, when Samus awakens after 1 month of being in a coma, is restored her second energy tank so she can test out the hyper-mode. Finally, this is demonstrated in the first cut-scene in Metroid: Other M where energy tanks are an actual thing, and then proved further when, after saving, is told, "Shield restoration complete."

Just recently, in the debate between the Mario universe and Adventure Time universe, I believe it was Alpha or Omega who presented the effects of certain badges in one of the Paper Mario games. I said to him that we can retain the effects, but it would be difficult to determine something like boosting hit points. Then with Negative Zero in the Match Aide, the same issue came up. Lifeup will restore Ness' health, but it doesn't say exactly what it does, only that it restores a certain amount of hit points. I feel that we should not simply say, "It's a game mechanic" and be done with it. Whoever asserts this must prove it. If the argument is persuasive, then it shall be granted as such.
Mea quidem sententia
Ready For Action
 
Posts: 1635
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby John-117 » Wed May 28, 2014 2:18 pm

Just to nitpick, Link might be a bad example, considering that he is a different person in every game.
Deathtanker wrote:Okay a ninja sniper, who has no tongue and is cold blooded, with a sniper rifle that fires ice bullets and cloaking within a vacuum.

The One Sin in a nutshell.
User avatar
John-117
Utopia Warlord
 
Posts: 2373
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:37 am
Location: SSF Slums.

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Alpha or Omega » Wed May 28, 2014 2:36 pm

I just want to mention one thing.
It's probably accurate that heart containers represent vigor like you said.
/
If you lose enough hearts to hits in A Link Between Worlds, Ravio takes away Link's items(that he rented).
When you restart the game, you lose all the items that were rented and you would have to go back to rent it(or buy it). This implies that Link simply falls unconscious when he loses all his hearts in the heart container. Ravio supports this since he knows about it and says that he will take all rented items back if Link loses all hearts. This especially important since Ravio is an alternate version of Link.
Image
"Darn-sung, dang-busted, horse-thievin', alien control panel which can't nobody work proper!" - Vigilante
User avatar
Alpha or Omega
Zombie Eater
 
Posts: 4608
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:33 am
Location: On the Move

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Soulerous » Wed May 28, 2014 7:06 pm

I've been thinking about this lately too, for reasons that may or may not be apparent.
User avatar
Soulerous
Labled Incurable
 
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:23 am

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Wed May 28, 2014 8:44 pm

I understand, John-117, but I think when we're specific, it's not too much of an issue.

Alpha or Omega, thank you for telling me about what occurs when Link loses his heart containers. So far, I think this interpretation of heart containers is consistent from what I've observed.

Soulerous, I didn't know that. It seems Negative Zero agrees.

I didn't realize I wrote so much! Goodness!
Mea quidem sententia
Ready For Action
 
Posts: 1635
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Tarbel » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:17 pm

Just a note about the Joker scene, it could have just not been a very concussive explosion and more of a conflagration. Then the fact that it was raining could have lowered the heat intensity of the flames as well as provide some level of heat resistance to the fire since Joker was wet.
Tarbel
Check My Brain
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:22 pm

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Riverlia » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:36 am

The issue with using game mechanic as a representation of a character's ability is, well, it's not only only there to represent the character, but also to make the game interesting and clearable while hiding the system limit. Famous example in the other direction would be supposedly physical gods being unable to go across water bodies or waist-height fence.
A lot of thing was also arbitrarily assigned by the programmer without considering the logic behind it. Example would be the wackiness of using in-game number, where rock bursting attack can be assigned 40 damage while star-destroying attack is merely 9999; or builds that lead to "invincible" characters (like FFtactic max brave min faith ribbon build :lol: ).

To actually use a characteristic of the game not supported by cut-scene, script or other story-telling narratives, one need to be sure that the characteristic in question is mean to represent the actual capability/limit. This is easy enough for general things like "Alex Mercer can mimic even clothes", "FF characters can cast Thunder" or "Snorlax can use Hyper Beam".

When we get to thing like "exact limit by cal from gameplay", "no falling damage", "invincible vs something", "can A really tank B's attacks" or "can he use this ability this way instead", then it's no longer so easy.
Yeah, it's clear the character was supposed to be able to fall a long distance without damage, but is this supposed to hold true for all falling distance in the game, or the programmers simply did not bother coding the highest height in the game differently? Was it just to avoid making the game too easy, or a character who can turn into bat was really unable to fly all the way to the end of the stage instead of platforming? Was Phoenix Down and Phoenix really capable of resurrection, or was it just healing unconscious people?
The burden of proof here, is to prove that these details are usable, not something arbitrarily assigned that inflate or deflate the character's capability.
In these cases, "it's a game mechanic" is not a positive claim, but pointing out that one have not assert the credibility of his/her proof yet.
Riverlia
FactPiler
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 12:37 am

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Fri May 29, 2015 10:32 am

Riverlia wrote:The issue with using game mechanic as a representation of a character's ability is, well, it's not only only there to represent the character, but also to make the game interesting and clearable while hiding the system limit. Famous example in the other direction would be supposedly physical gods being unable to go across water bodies or waist-height fence.
A lot of thing was also arbitrarily assigned by the programmer without considering the logic behind it. Example would be the wackiness of using in-game number, where rock bursting attack can be assigned 40 damage while star-destroying attack is merely 9999; or builds that lead to "invincible" characters (like FFtactic max brave min faith ribbon build :lol: ).

To actually use a characteristic of the game not supported by cut-scene, script or other story-telling narratives, one need to be sure that the characteristic in question is mean to represent the actual capability/limit. This is easy enough for general things like "Alex Mercer can mimic even clothes", "FF characters can cast Thunder" or "Snorlax can use Hyper Beam".

When we get to thing like "exact limit by cal from gameplay", "no falling damage", "invincible vs something", "can A really tank B's attacks" or "can he use this ability this way instead", then it's no longer so easy.
Yeah, it's clear the character was supposed to be able to fall a long distance without damage, but is this supposed to hold true for all falling distance in the game, or the programmers simply did not bother coding the highest height in the game differently? Was it just to avoid making the game too easy, or a character who can turn into bat was really unable to fly all the way to the end of the stage instead of platforming? Was Phoenix Down and Phoenix really capable of resurrection, or was it just healing unconscious people?
The burden of proof here, is to prove that these details are usable, not something arbitrarily assigned that inflate or deflate the character's capability.
In these cases, "it's a game mechanic" is not a positive claim, but pointing out that one have not assert the credibility of his/her proof yet.


I feel you failed to actually address what I was arguing. I'm not saying we should use game mechanics. I'm saying we should strip away the game mechanic while retaining what it represents. In other words, 9,999 HP is a game mechanic, but taking other factors into consideration, such as possibly possessing an energy shield, or being very durable is not. The burden of proof isn't on me because I already made my case against those who assert, "It's a game mechanic". The burden is on anyone who wants to call anything in game play a game mechanic and leave it as that. Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
Mea quidem sententia
Ready For Action
 
Posts: 1635
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Friendlysociopath » Fri May 29, 2015 1:47 pm

Riverlia wrote:The issue with using game mechanic as a representation of a character's ability is, well, it's not only only there to represent the character, but also to make the game interesting and clearable while hiding the system limit. Famous example in the other direction would be supposedly physical gods being unable to go across water bodies or waist-height fence.
A lot of thing was also arbitrarily assigned by the programmer without considering the logic behind it. Example would be the wackiness of using in-game number, where rock bursting attack can be assigned 40 damage while star-destroying attack is merely 9999; or builds that lead to "invincible" characters (like FFtactic max brave min faith ribbon build :lol: ).


I always considered that (The Faith part) just an extremely effective feat of willpower, to be able to completely disbelieve in magic to the point of it not working on/for you.
User avatar
Friendlysociopath
Voice of the People
 
Posts: 4117
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:24 pm

Re: "That's a game mechanic."

Postby Riverlia » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:06 pm

Mea quidem sententia wrote:
Riverlia wrote:The issue with using game mechanic as a representation of a character's ability is, well, it's not only only there to represent the character, but also to make the game interesting and clearable while hiding the system limit. Famous example in the other direction would be supposedly physical gods being unable to go across water bodies or waist-height fence.
A lot of thing was also arbitrarily assigned by the programmer without considering the logic behind it. Example would be the wackiness of using in-game number, where rock bursting attack can be assigned 40 damage while star-destroying attack is merely 9999; or builds that lead to "invincible" characters (like FFtactic max brave min faith ribbon build :lol: ).

To actually use a characteristic of the game not supported by cut-scene, script or other story-telling narratives, one need to be sure that the characteristic in question is mean to represent the actual capability/limit. This is easy enough for general things like "Alex Mercer can mimic even clothes", "FF characters can cast Thunder" or "Snorlax can use Hyper Beam".

When we get to thing like "exact limit by cal from gameplay", "no falling damage", "invincible vs something", "can A really tank B's attacks" or "can he use this ability this way instead", then it's no longer so easy.
Yeah, it's clear the character was supposed to be able to fall a long distance without damage, but is this supposed to hold true for all falling distance in the game, or the programmers simply did not bother coding the highest height in the game differently? Was it just to avoid making the game too easy, or a character who can turn into bat was really unable to fly all the way to the end of the stage instead of platforming? Was Phoenix Down and Phoenix really capable of resurrection, or was it just healing unconscious people?
The burden of proof here, is to prove that these details are usable, not something arbitrarily assigned that inflate or deflate the character's capability.
In these cases, "it's a game mechanic" is not a positive claim, but pointing out that one have not assert the credibility of his/her proof yet.


I feel you failed to actually address what I was arguing. I'm not saying we should use game mechanics. I'm saying we should strip away the game mechanic while retaining what it represents. In other words, 9,999 HP is a game mechanic, but taking other factors into consideration, such as possibly possessing an energy shield, or being very durable is not. The burden of proof isn't on me because I already made my case against those who assert, "It's a game mechanic". The burden is on anyone who wants to call anything in game play a game mechanic and leave it as that. Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.


You mean the question about how one has to prove something is just game-mechanic? That's like saying someone have to prove something from a manga is a manga.
Game mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay.
Anything in a game that is not the main plot, scripted, cutscene, in-universe text, etc is game mechanic.

Game mechanic is not always false, obviously some are true, like if Samus has access to a space ship in the game, we know she has access to a spaceship, if a person can learn lightning spell naturally, it's safe to say s/he has lightning affinity.
So, why is game mechanic often used as a dismissal despite it partially reflect how the world work?
Because there's are still several arbitrary things in it at the end of the day.
Out of such a mixed pool, If you want to use it to quantify something, you has to first prove it's one of those 'representing how things are' cases, a positive claim. The fact that it has to happen to advance the plot at all or mentioned in quest/codex are, for example, good reasons to accept a mechanic.
You cannot spin it around and ask someone 'prove that this part of the game is not (arbitrary) game mechanic'. One does not have to prove heart container is a game mechanic, because it is. Whether it can be used to quantify something or not, however, is up to the one who want to use it to provide.
Saying someone having more heart containers mean having more vigor than someone with less is logical enough, and all the things you mentioned should qualify the fact that it represent vigor/stamina/health. Saying that having 4 of them mean 4 times a human's vigor/durability? Now that's not fine, because you have yet to prove that they are a 1-1 scaling and not some arbitrary number.

A good example of both usable and unusable game mechanic is Disgaea:

Several characters commented on level in story, which mean level is in fact an in-universe indication of power. Characters of the same class with higher level is stronger than someone with less, canonically. If you make a topic about a lv 9999 Maoh vs someone, you can scale off Maoh below his level and put him in the galactic level easily. Similarly, you can gauge character power by their default level. lv 1200 Laharl in scripted event destroyed a planet? That mean it's reasonable to say another Maoh who start out at default lv 1500 can do the same and more.

You cannot, however, prove that Laharl is lv 9999, even if he's at that level in your game, because it's not necessary for him to reach that level to clear the story, and his default appearance in latter game put him at 1200-1500 levels. You also cannot say that level 2400 Maoh mean someone can (only) destroy 2 planets, because you don't know the scale ratio of level in Disgaea.
Riverlia
FactPiler
 
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 12:37 am

Next

Return to FactPile Arena

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest