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If Heavy Rain Wasn't A "Video Game," Beyond Won't Be, Either

In my opinion, I put Heavy Rain in the top five games of the generation. Some might take issue with that, but not because of the ranking.

No, they'd take issue with the fact that I called Quantic Dream's masterpiece a "video game." Perhaps they'd say it can only qualify as one of the top 5 "experiences" of the generation, or something like that.

I've heard this argument in full and I'm still not sure I understand it. We all operate on preconceived notions and preset operational definitions every day of our lives. To say Heavy Rain wasn't a video game only means you compared it to what we traditionally accepted as video games in the past, and concluded that it didn't fit. But of course it's a video game. It uses a video screen and you play it, even if you're not blowing things up; you do control it, which means it isn't passive. So it ain't a movie.

But this isn't good enough for some, who are already saying Quantic's new project, Beyond: Two Souls, isn't a video game, either. Why? Too smart to be a video game? Let's not admit that, shall we? The future of this industry is unknown, but you can bet that visionaries like the guys at Quantic Dream will push gaming in a more artistic direction, where players will explore moral, ethical, and philosophical concepts. And it's also true that the developers themselves have said Heavy Rain is part of a new genre; a standalone "intellectual adventure" of sorts.

Obviously, though, it still has to fall into the "video game" category. Beyond could push things even further, though, and maybe the lines will become even blurrier. I'm just wondering how many people will start going, "Yeah, but it's not a game." ...way too many for my liking, I'm sure. I'm worried that by eliminating these titles from the "video game" category, we're eliminating the chances we have of making this industry appear progressive and mature. Yes, let's kick out the games that prove we're about more than guns and death. Good plan that.

Related Game(s): Beyond: Two Souls

Tags: quantic dream, beyond, beyond two souls, heavy rain

7/18/2012 8:59:55 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Kingnichendrix
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 9:31:51 PM
Reply

It is a video game, it is in fact a game that is played by electrically manipulating images/video produced by a program which is projected onto a screen or display.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 9:32:13 PM
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I think HR generally makes for some pretty poor "game" play. Because, well, there isn't much game to it's play. And if we start looking at it from that perspective the common reoccurring arguments against HR and yes, already even for Beyond, even from editors of other pro game sites, loathe or negatively reflect on the boring, on rails, repetitive feel of QD's QTE sequence after QTE sequence.

I don't feel that way, really. I think when it's not looked at as a game with rules for winning and losing, it can be more easily felt as interactive story telling that doesn't really need gaming to define itself. I see the QTE;s as more of a way to heighten a players level of awareness and response to the drama and action as the story unfolds.

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Axe99
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 5:29:33 PM

It depends how you define gameplay though - the vast majority of games are repetitive. The player has a bunch of things to do, some choices to make, some button-pressing challenges that they can fail or pass. If that's not a game then we're going to have to strike a lot of other games off the list as well ;).

I think the issue here was that it was done differently. The button-pressing challenges weren't what people were used too - but the Mass Effect and Dragon Age stories, and most RPGs, have plenty of sequences that are, gameplay-wise, almost identical to the nature of Heavy Rain (walk around, press a button to move the story on, watch conversation/text box, walk around some more) - but because we're deconditioned to it, we see no issue with this at all ;).

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duomaxwell007
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 9:42:04 PM
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Well i can see why people say Heavy Rain isnt a video game (Which I dont agree with) but think of it like this Ben.. Metal Gear solid had lost of long cutscenes and plenty of gameplay in between, you moved around, you shot a stuff, you had boss fighting, and even game with no shooting (the original monkey island games for example) have plenty of gameplay and interaction.

now lets say MGS4 removed all the game play and the game was 90% one long cut scene with quick time events throughout... would you call that a video game? You know what Id call it? An interactive movie (those did exist in the earlier DVD days)

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Temjin001
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:06:21 PM

yes, I've actually "played" MGS4 a good 3 to 4x or more when I look at only what I've done from a game play point of view. The first time through I watched every cutscene. After which, I just wanted to go through each level in whatever order and just play the game for it's game play. MGS4 is great like that. It has superb stealth action play and also fantastic cinematography. It earns every discrete review criteria without having to assume outside contributing variables, with no extraneous grey area criterion that breaks grading rubrics from what I can tell.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/18/2012 10:06:51 PM

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 9:43:08 PM
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Ben,
Where's the "10 thumbs up" button????

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:20:28 PM
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You can call them a fantabulous interactive tension building pay for your mistakes gamepad controlled drama for all I care, all I know is I love it and I hope it does take gaming in a new direction.

It bugs me when people say it's just a series of QTEs though. To call that assessment inaccurate is an understatement.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

firesoul453
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:24:32 PM
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I'm not %100 sure what it is

but I do know I enjoyed it very much!

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bebestorm
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:24:53 PM
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I can see why some say its not a video game because of the gameplay is QTEs. Interactive Drama is perfect name for it. I appreciate games that are outside the box like Catherine and L.A. Noire. I expect Beyond to be even better than HR especially the writing. HR was fantastic but in the end I didn't really care about the characters.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:30:04 PM

You musta done something wrong, after working so hard to keep everyone alive I definitely cared about what happened to them in the end.

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bebestorm
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 11:10:23 PM

I played it three times because of the various endings one died in my first playthrough.

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cLoudou
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 12:29:53 AM
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During the Comic Con panel, Cage mentions that you will be in control meaning it will feel more like a video game than a movie. Anyways, Beyond should be fantastic be it video game or "movie" it should be quite the experience. BEYOND!

Wait, " Play Beyond". You think Sony knew of its existence since launch or just pure coincidence?

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BikerSaint
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 2:04:21 AM

I see what you did there, LOL

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Excelsior1
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 2:13:17 AM
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I liked Heavy Rain and thought it was pretty unique BUT I understand not everyone feels the same way. I've heard this game ripped into by some of my fellow gamers. Why am i brushing my freaking teeth in a VG? That's SO boring. At least give me something interestng to do. it kind of reminded of me of some of the complaints I've heard against MGS4. if I wanted to watch a movie blah, blah. Why am I watching a person fry eggs? hehe. Only Hideo knows that i suppose. I do think Hideo needs to hire a great editor. Somebody to yell "cut".

I was there for the narriative in both games but I guess some gamers put more emphasis on actual gameplay. Lengthy cut scenes like those in mgs4 are difinitely on their way out. I think games like HR are a completely different genre than say mgs4 though. Games like HR probably will never have mass appeal because of the style of gameplay though. Yeah, there are many who will never touch a game like HR because they don't think it's VG or they put more of a premium on gameplay.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/19/2012 2:14:56 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 8:50:14 AM

To the toothbrush people I say hey pay attention to all the games you play, many have a menial task to do just to teach you the gameplay mechanic.

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Excelsior1
Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 11:15:49 AM

hehe. There is a lot of toothbrush people. I've heard some complaints about it for sure!! We'll just call them the "toothbrush people".

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 2:35:38 AM
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Claiming Heavy Rain is not a video game is nonsense! It requires your attention to interact with all the action sequences through QTE. Which I personally found to be very tense at times. But it is not just that, there are many parts where you walk around investigating areas and talking to people.

It is a game, simply because it is interactive, a game doesn't need to have you shoot everything in sight or collect coins.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 8:51:40 AM

Yeah you have to know whats up or face what happens, I can never get off all of my fingerprints at the store even when I'm paying attention to what we touch because the pressure to hurry up frazzles me.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 7/19/2012 8:52:20 AM

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Temjin001
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 9:47:06 AM

THe part where I had to climb through electric fences drove me nuts. Imagine what that have been like using the KINECT. I'd hurt myself.

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PharaohJR
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 3:37:34 AM
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i consider it a VG. it had a different approach to controll of interaction combined with a thriller, drama atmosphere....... it reminded me alot of shemnue but the qte & controll was more in depth with ds3. i didnt own a copy my bredren let me borrow it with yakuza so i didnt get to see the other endings.

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homura
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 5:31:50 AM
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Heavy Rain is a video game, for me it feels like an adventure game or novel game from japan just much more better because of the graphics and interactivity. A western style novel games from japan. hehe... I like the ending in Heavy Rain where Ethan and Scott is the only left alive in the last chapter, the boy and the aquaintance of scott is also alive, the girl he saves from drowning with him in the car, i forgot her name, that's my favorite ending in heavy rain.

Last edited by homura on 7/19/2012 5:33:52 AM

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___________
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 6:15:26 AM
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your in control of the characters, YOU decide what they do, you control the story.
there for its a game!
just because its different and does not fall into the same category of other games does not mean its not a game.
just because your pressing buttons to a rhythm does not mean its not a game!

movies are very linear and restrictive in your involvement.
you dont have movies that let you choose a or b, you dont get a say in what happens in a movie.
and because of that, because your passive you dont get sucked into it as much as you will a game.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 6:45:14 AM
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In a way who cares what they think. HR was a videogame plain and simple and Beyond will be as well, those who want to consider it something else can have their say, it doesn't mean their right.

I've heard/read people say that God games are not videogames and the same with the old school Text Adventure/RPG games not being videogames. I just laugh at those comments simply because they want to limit what a videogame is and that to me is thier problem not ours. Videogames have an almost limitless horizon in which to define themselves and the developers get to choose not us.

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Temjin001
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 9:58:27 AM

I think the problem is the term game means a lot of things in video games. Before video games, when people just played "games", the term was less arbitrary. The earliest video games were simple electronic representations of physical games. When I think of game, I think of a series of rules with winning and losing. There doesn't have to be a theme. There doesn't have to be a story. It's just fun with logic. Video games for quite some time have been mixing conventional game fundamentals in with a bunch of other elements. The term video in videogame pretty much means a butt load of added elements in conventional games.

I don't feel strongly either way. But I'd like to see our medium mature with more defined and concise ways of expressing the content we engage.

but oh well, they're just THOSE video GAMES. You know?

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AcHiLLiA
Thursday, July 19, 2012 @ 11:25:36 AM
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I'll definitely put Heavy Rain near the top, it was a unique "video game" experience.

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