Worth Reading: Rethinking Frame Rates, Shady Steam Codes, And More

Worth Reading: Rethinking Frame Rates, Shady Steam Codes, And More

It's a special Monday edition of Worth Reading, thanks to yours truly running out of time on Friday afternoon. But let's kick this week off right by inviting debate on some of the most contentious topic around: frame rates and the price of a video game.


These are paragraphs I might otherwise dedicate to celebrating The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask on 3DS, but there's been plenty of wonderful coverage about the world of Termina on Kotaku. It's nice to finally work for a publication that appreciates one of the best Zelda games ever made! Majora's Mask, you are finally having your moment. We are having our moment!

It's a little weird, though. Majora's Mask, like so many other older games, has gotten a bit crusty over the years. Smartly, Nintendo has done far more than merely update the graphics for Majora's Mask, the company has actually altered the gameplay. That's more effort than we usually see from these updates, but it smartly recognises the advancement of game design and how those without nostalgia might be prevented from enjoying an otherwise terrific experience.

If Majora's Mask had been released with nothing more than tweaked visuals, I don't think as many would have paid attention. Sure, I'd be giving the game another playthrough, but how many others? I'm doubtful. Even if the core of Majora's Mask hasn't changed, the prospect of any changes has likely given others a reason to try and understand Majora's Mask this time.

Whatever the reason, I'm happy.

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Worth Reading: Rethinking Frame Rates, Shady Steam Codes, And More

Until a few years ago, I only played on consoles. I had a PC growing up, but as an adult, I never got around to building my own. Especially during the waning years of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as the machines were pushed to new extremes, I got used to regularly crappy frame rates. The frame rate conversation is a heated one, but Gita Jackson invites a new dimension to the debate in her latest piece, in which she criticises the industry for chasing Hollywood for the wrong reasons and not considering how frame rates can inform design. There are a few points I'd take issue with — people often change field of view to combat nausea — but Jackson outlines plenty of thoughtful observations about gaming's relationship with frame rate.

"AAA game developers don't seem to have paid any attention to these conversations. AAA is going to need to choose which framerate would best suit the story they want to tell, but it doesn't look like they have even thought about that. As long as the consumer demands both a high framerate and Hollywood-style storytelling, game developers will continue to try and fail to deliver both, no matter how nonsensical the final product may appear. In the first person-perspective, when you see a lens flare, is the implication that your head is a camera? The world may never know. I think the only way to move past this without seeming like a luddite is to ask how this phenomenon is going to change the way we read the moving image."

Worth Reading: Rethinking Frame Rates, Shady Steam Codes, And More

If there's a more heated conversation in games than frame rate preference, it's the one over value proposition. Games are expensive, so it makes sense people go out of their way to buy them cheap. Look at the response to Valve's regular Steam sales! I've never purchased a key from a shady corner of the Internet, but I can understand how people might find their way there. How did the keys get there, though? Thankfully, Charlie Hall spent some time tracking one particular key. What he finds isn't revelatory or damning, but it's awfully interesting.

"Online, he goes by a handle designed to put some distance between his storefront and his real-world identity. We'll call him "R". In reality, he's a young entrepreneur living in Italy. Polygon's key for Gravity Ghost was one of dozens of keys he has up for sale at his page.

R told us that he makes between 1,000 and 1,500 Euros in total revenue per month on his store, or between $US1,100 and $US1,700. During the holidays, he says, that can rise to more than $US2,200 per month. We asked if this was his full-time job, to which he responded, "Something like that." We can't really be sure if his store on Kinguin is his primary source of income.

From the perspective of consumers, the sale of grey market games makes sense. Sometimes people receive games as gifts, or as promotional offers and either do not want them or do not need them. Promotions like Steam discounts and Humble Bundle sales are timed offers, and invite those with the means to make speculative purchases, investments of a sort, where game keys are farmed with the intention of selling them later for a profit."

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    That's an embarrassing tweet from Warren Leight, the showrunner for Law and Order: SVU. He's basically saying that only men are complaining about the episode, while women are praising it. One of the tweets in reply, from a woman, sums it up:

    Thanks for erasing the identities of all the women who are also snarking about that train wreck.

    60fps should be the standard. If you've ever played it, you know exactly why. It's silky smooth by comparison and feels so much better in every way. Once you've seen it, you go back to anything else and wonder why it doesn't feel good anymore.

    Price of games:
    They're probably too low (on sale, grey market, everywhere except Australian retail). I literally own more games than I have time to finish, even if it's all I do for the rest of my life.
    I'll fight to the death over the injustice of the Australia Tax because it really is inherently unfair, but as far as lifting the price for everybody? I could get behind that.

    People complain about pirates playing games they never buy when I find myself buying games I never play. How's that for ass about backwards? I'm not complaining that I can fill a library with good (and dubious) quality gaming for the rest of my life, but there's obviously something pretty fucking wrong there.

      I've played plenty of 60fps games but I still don't feel like sub60 is a dealbreaker. The "30fps = cinematic" thing has become a running joke but there is a kernel of truth to it. There can be an element of "fakeness" to a game running at high fps (kinda like the Hobbit movies), especially when it doesn't match the aesthetic of the game world.

      Of course for some games 60fps is a must, but for others a compromise can be reached between fps and the detail of the game world. As the article says "As long as the consumer demands both a high framerate and Hollywood-style storytelling, game developers will continue to try and fail to deliver both".

        For me, I blame the style of story telling. For me, games are immersive experiences, ones that I lose myself in, becoming a character. If the framerate is "cinematic" (24fps is cinematican but whatever) I'm not in a new reality, I'm watching a movie, a worse experience IMO.

        Having said that, some games are great like movies. For example, Tomb Raider was an amazing cinematic experience, absolutely loved it.

        First Person - Highest FPS
        Third Person/Cinematic - 24/30 FPS
        Everything else - 60 FPS

        Boom, I've solved the debate. Where is my medal and 144Hz monitor?

      That last bit says more about you than anything else.

        Yes, well... This is 'no buying games 2015' for a reason. BUT! I am not alone! After all, somewhere around 37% of games purchased on Steam go uninstalled.
        That's not a small percentage.

          I don't even play pc games but I still have ~250 games on Steam somehow. Not the publishers or devs fault though.

            Yeah, they're just competing. It's only their fault in that there's so many of them to compete with and that drives the price down. The fact that much of what they 'compete' with is pure crap is... unfortunate.

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