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Thread: Points: What Purpose Do They Serve?

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    Default Points: What Purpose Do They Serve?

    This is something I've been thinking about for awhile.

    If it isn't a sports game, points really don't matter.

    Agree? Disagree?

    Think about all the other genres and what's required to accomplish the game:

    RPG's- The object is to advance through the game.
    FPS's- More advancing.
    Beat'em Ups- Yep, advance.
    SHMUPS- Again, advance.
    Platformers- Ditto
    Fighters- Beat the crap out of your opponent.
    Puzzle games- Solve the puzzle.
    Racing games- Finish before everyone else.

    The first time any of us played Super Mario Bros. it was all about the points. Grab the flagpole, collect coins, jump on Koopa Turtle's shell for 40 seconds straight, and set off fireworks at the castle. Nowadays, just about everyone playing that same game can beat it without losing no more than two lives. So what good is collecting points if we don't need them?

    Somebody stated that they could beat Gradius III without losing a life. Although I remain skeptical of such a claim, it just goes to show you that scoring points is nothing more than extra work for the CPU.

    "Well points earn extra lives!"

    Good point (no pun intended), but extra lives also come in other forms. What does an extra life in Bionic Commando look like? A doll dressed like the hero. So, scoring points is once again redundant.

    You know the initals of the legendary gamer that gets the highest score in just about every game? He/she goes by the name of AAA. Obviously people understand the futility in high scores so, they just rapidly mash the button, putting AAA in scorer's list.

    Your thoughts on scoring points?
    Never use a long word where a short one will do.

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    (formerly PC Kwaj)

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    Authordreamweavervisionar yplusactor Arcade Antics's Avatar
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    I am a big fan of point-scoring games. Call me a Greedy Point Master™ if you must.

    Points are what the old games are all about. Inscribing your initials in the #1 spot gives you bragging rights AND is a great way to impress the chicks.

    I'd rather win Smash TV with 200,000,000 points than with a mere 180,000,000 points.

    My two points.
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    What Arcade Antics said. Where is the joy of knowing that you've completely beaten your closest friend into the ground with double his points score, if there were no points?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MankeyMan
    What Arcade Antics said. Where is the joy of knowing that you've completely beaten your closest friend into the ground with double his points score, if there were no points?
    What game (other than a sports game) is there that requires two competitors to score more points more than the other?
    Never use a long word where a short one will do.

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    Authordreamweavervisionar yplusactor Arcade Antics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PC Kwajalein
    What game (other than a sports game) is there that requires two competitors to score more points more than the other?
    Do you mean two-player simultaneous play? If not, then pretty much ANY game.

    If so, then...

    Joust
    Smash TV
    Total Carnage
    Wizard of Wor
    Narc
    Double Dragon
    Final Fight
    Gauntlet

    and many, many more...
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    Nice list, but competing in those games comes down to who can stay alive longer. If two people were playing Double Dragon for example, the better of the players is the one stays alive longest. The other games are like that too.
    Never use a long word where a short one will do.

    --George Orwell

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    Authordreamweavervisionar yplusactor Arcade Antics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PC Kwajalein
    Nice list, but competing in those games comes down to who can stay alive longer. If two people were playing Double Dragon for example, the better of the players is the one stays alive longest. The other games are like that too.
    I disagree. I've played many rounds of Joust where the other player stayed alive longer than I did.

    BUT, I had more points, so I WON.
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    Just about any time you can incorporate points into a game, it makes it more fun. If you don't like points, then you can just ignore them. I loved the points in SSX Tricky.

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    I'm definitely pro-points.

    You *could* sit down with me and declare victory in Ms. Pac-Man, say, just because you went through more screens. But, if I spent my time eating four ghosts per power pellet (and I always *try* to), and I have a higher score at the end, well, I'd still argue that I played the game *better* than you did.

    Anybody can ignore the point scoring prizes and worry only about using power pellets for cleaning up dots. But the truly good player nails it all. IMO of course.

    Of course that's classic gaming at it's finest. In todays games you don't see scores as often but they're still used. In Monkey Fight you get more points for knocking out someone with more power ups. So I could knock off less monkeys than you but still win because of points because my knock offs were tougher.
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    Into the dust, for all things have an end

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    Sure, it's great to say that you can finish <fill in the blank shmup>. But in primitive shmups there was no ending, and often no or very few progress indicators to use for comparing your advancement to other players'. Hence, score was a good way to rank players. I suppose you could try to advance without shooting any enemies, which would yield close to a zero score, but you're not likely to get far.

    In the middle period shmups, the addition of bonus score items added another dimension to gameplay, forcing the player to choose between risky maneuvering or chickening out.

    In the modern shmups, more innovative scoring systems, typically based on item collection or chaining, make a huge difference, gameplay-wise, between playing (just) to finish and playing for score. But then, maybe only "hardcore" players play for score these days.

    To some degree, these same factors may apply to beat 'em ups as well. So I disagree with you on shmups, and maybe beat 'em ups. As for the rest, I can't say I disagree with you. And AAA dominating the high score boards? I'm not sure you can equate failure to enter initials with "score is worthless".

    Oh, and do let me know when you solve Tetris.
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    For the most part I like points, one exception for me. In Tengen Tetris its about the lines cleared in my opinion. If there were a tie in the lines cleared then I would consider score. Although that usually won't happen, I also happen to be a player who likes to " go big or go home " so I am going for as many Tetris's as possible.

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    Oh, okay. I see your points

    I just wanted to get a few responses about points.

    So, to sum it all up... it's a measure of skill, not accomplishment?

    Thoughts please.
    Never use a long word where a short one will do.

    --George Orwell

    (formerly PC Kwaj)

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    I feel the opposite on this one. I feel a game without a 'points' system makes the act of replaying insignificant. Points are a guage of the persons' Prowess of a game, and Points inspire competition, which is the most important factor of a person's desire to replay a video game.

    If a person challenged me to finish a game that he had recently beaten, and I went ahead and also finished the same game to prove to him I could do it, but the game had no way to gauge my ability to win, what would have been the point? With the addition of a scoring system, I could have strived to score more points to prove that my technique of winning the game was better than his, much like Nature Boy points out.

    I used to make frequent trips to the local arcade to see if I still held fast lap times on San Fransisco Rush, and if I didn't have the top times, then I put my money in the machine to try and beat the current times. Without this unique scoring system(in this case a timer), I would not have even bothered replaying Rush at the arcades and the arcade operator would have been out some money.

    My view is that Points offer unlimited replay value to a game thru competition. And the question that I ask is "what is the purpose of a game without points?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by PC Kwajalein
    Oh, okay. I see your points

    I just wanted to get a few responses about points.

    So, to sum it all up... it's a measure of skill, not accomplishment?

    Thoughts please.
    I'd say that it's a measure of BOTH skill AND accomplishment.
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    Ladd Spencer (Level 17) Captain Wrong's Avatar
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    Default Capt's soapbox...

    I disagree with you 100%. (I'm talking mostly about shmups in my rant, but you can change it to most kind of games and still get the point.)

    With unlimited continues anyone can advance to the end of a Shmup. However, only the skilled can get the mega points. This is why every mainstream review of any shmup that comes out bitches about "it's too short." No one left in the mainstream gaming media understands how to play shmups anymore.

    I've never seen shmups as a race to the end sort of thing. In fact, I'd say I haven't "beaten" 75% of my shmups because I play for points. Sure, the end bosses are fun and all that, but it's more fun to me to rack up an outrageous score than just whack the continue button to get to the end.

    That's just it. Points are a measure of skill, something which just isn't that importaint in modern gaming. Points are the true measure of progress in a game. Anyone with time on their hands, cheat codes, guides, Gane Shark, etc. can "beat" a game, meaning get to the ending. Only through tracking your score can you gauge your master of the game. Reaching the end is not the same as mastery.

    Modern games, however, seem to equate reaching the end with mastery. Why is that? Have gamers gotten lazy? (Perhaps.) Is it a plot to get you to buy more games? (Could be, after all, games with points have infinite play value, you can always try to beat your old score. If the end is the goal, once you've reached it, what's the point in doing it again?) Is this a byproduct of the death of the arcade? (Probably.) Or is it just that we've gotten so concerned with everyone feeling good about them selves that we need to have games where skill isn't a factor so anyone who wants to win can? (Hmm...)

    Maybe I'm a dinosaur. That would explain why I have little to no interest in current consoles or games. Maybe my way of thinking about points and skill as being a vital factor in games is more about me being a product of the 80's and hanging out in arcades. Maybe I'm just out of touch.

    All I know is this, I'd rather spend hours trying to beat my high score at Robotron or Battle Garegga than see the ending of any Final Fantasy or Mario Sunshine.

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    I think points are a measurement of skill. I mean I can probably last pretty long in say After Burner by just dodging bullets, but that's not being skillfull. Flying into the fray and racking up points AND staying alive through many missions is showing both skill (the racking up of points) and accomplishment (getting through X number of missions).

    I think the "points" of today are measured more in percentages than anything. If you look at FPS games (like I'm playing Jedi Outcast on XBox) some have a tally of how well you did: accuracy, body part shots, etc. But on the whole, yeah, it's all about finishing the game ever since the NES. However modern games do give some extras to try and strive for like multiple characters, secret areas, game modes, videos, etc. that players need to unlock by being especially good at playing the game, either with accuracy or being able to finish a level in X amount or time or what have you. Or be patient and play the game through.

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    Cap'n Pringles raises a huge f'n point there, that "advancement" doesn't mean jack in a game with free continues (if you're a low-down sumbitch that would take advantage of them). So what I meant earlier is that it's great if you can beat the final boss of a shmup or a beat 'em up in 3 credits, or 1 credit, or one life (and then maybe do it again on the second loop).

    But anybody who "finishes" a game by credit-feeding and then declares it to be too short or easy needs to be set up the bomb.
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    yeah im pro points. it shows how better you are than the other person. but seeing points in a newer game is just plain scary
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    SELF-COMPETITION. That's what the point of points was for me in old games. First I'd get 1000 in Space Invaders. Then 2000. Then 2200. And so on. Each time I tried to improve my previous score and improve my skills. I even created a logbook to record my all-time best scores.

    And also during the holidays, it was always fun to gather the family around and compete against one another... just like a game of Monopoly except we were playing Pac-Man instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcade Antics
    I am a big fan of point-scoring games. Call me a Greedy Point Master™ if you must.
    I have a Point Master joystick but I've never heard of Greedy Point Master. Is that by the same company Dishwasher?

    I'm also pro points as well. It's a measure of achievement in any games.
    Another day, another dollar... wake me when it's payday.
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