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Traditional RPG Decline: Is The Culprit A Dwindling Attention Span?

Attention spans are sinking to an all-time low and while one could consider any number of reasons, I firmly believe the primary culprit is the "information age."

The current situation: The constant drive to be plugged in, the suddenly insatiable desire to remain continually updated in regards to the lives of others (despite the mundane triviality of those updates), and the ingrained belief that any information that takes longer than ten seconds to deliver is too slow.

This logically generates a declining attention span, which has become painfully obvious. It's why a film camera can't stay in one place for more than three seconds at a time, why previews are nothing but chaotic, seizure-inducing flashes, and possibly why the traditional role-playing formula(s) have fallen by the wayside. The virtual disappearance of the turn-based mechanic is a common topic of conversation among veteran gamers, those who recall a one-time emphasis on patience, strategy, storytelling, and dialogue.

Today, a game like Vandal Hearts II would be deemed unplayable by the mainstream crowds. It featured a ton of dialogue (and in those days, without voice acting, this meant a lot of reading), and an in-depth turn-based strategy system that was the exact opposite of fast-paced, in-your-face action. There are a hundred other examples of strategy/role-playing titles from the original PlayStation era and PC heyday (mid-to-late 90s) that would be quite simply viewed as "boring" by today's standards. And why? Things just don't move fast enough.

I know we've seen better examples of storytelling since, as the writers in the industry have become more skilled over the past few generations. I also know that increased technology has given us the opportunity to view strong emotion like never before. I'm not saying this hasn't helped. What I'm saying is that in a culture where attention spans have been quickly and tragically erased, any game that "stops" - as all turn-based games did - will cause the twitchy younger generation to have some sort of stroke. And of course, that's a good explanation as to why shooters now dominate.

One could make the argument that because a game like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sells millions, there are still plenty of people out there who can be patient. But that's not a great example, is it? It's real-time; as vast and epic and immersive as that world is, and despite the hundreds of hours it could theoretically absorb with its beautiful and authentic fantasy setting, it's still real-time. You're always moving, always doing something. There's really no pause. You can pause combat to select skills but it's not mandatory. If it were, would it still sell millions? I'm not so sure.

It's not just about shifting industry trends and the fact that technology allows us to implement the same amount of depth without forcing us to stop. It's about how in general, this society has rapidly come to include nothing but those who seek instant gratification. And I'm using the most literal definition of "instant." It's also another reason why non-interactive cut-scenes are dwindling in length; we just can't handle it. We can't sit still for more than two minutes. Hence, we're deprived of potentially fantastic scenes. That picture you see here, of the first meeting between Squall and Rinoa at the ball in Final Fantasy VIII, was brief. But it's an example of what we're losing...nothing blows up in that scene, after all.

Traditional RPG formats still exist. But they're tough to find. Just about as hard to find as someone who can read a book the whole way through.

P.S. Yes, for the uninitiated, that picture is old. FFVIII released for the PS1 in 1999...characters are more realistic today, but that still looks pretty, doesn't it?

Tags: rpgs, role playing games, video games, gamers, shooters, gaming culture

8/5/2012 8:16:12 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (49 posts)

homura
Sunday, August 05, 2012 @ 10:19:43 PM
Reply

It's kind of like this, " If you keep making things in the same style as time goes on, then I think you miss out on the younger audience, and that's something Level-5 really understands. Something I've noticed at my age is that my nieces, my nephews, and my friends' children don't play my games. I ask them what they do play, and it's always Inazuma Eleven. I really do want to have kids like that playing my games" by: Yasumi Matsuno. I miss him. Please make some for the PS3.

here's the link if want to check out the article,

http://www.1up.com/news/yasumi-matsuno-hints-level-5-project

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Lucifer
Sunday, August 05, 2012 @ 10:59:41 PM
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I totally agree with you Ben. This generations attention span is ridiculous. I personally loved ffviii.

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SaiyanSempai
Sunday, August 05, 2012 @ 11:40:27 PM
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I totally agree! And it's not limited to games and it's just getting worse.

Case in point:
My wife and I decided to go to a lion king orchestra concert one saturday morning - Yeah, it's for kids but she likes Disney (and the orchestra) and we thought it would be something fun to do. Unfortunately, they didn't play a single song start to finish! They played less than a minute of each song and they rolled from one right into the other. They went through the entire soundtrack in just a matter of minutes. It was pretty disappointing to say the least.

yeah, I knew it was tailored for kids, I just thought that meant, "we're playing Lion King, not Mozart." What I got was something tailored to an ADD crowd high on sugar and meth.

Sadly, I'm don't expect turned-based goodness like the days of old any time soon. I hope I'm wrong...

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Nerull
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 4:23:51 PM

it's a symptom of mainstream internet and cells being handed out to 2 year olds like candy: a double-edged sword.

a world's worth of information at once will just fry an undeveloped brain like an egg.

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MrAnonymity
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:07:19 AM
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One of few consistencies in the RPG world has been the Tales series (at least as far as formula goes). However... it is incredibly sad to see that only one of many RPG devs is willing to "answer the call" as it were. Saiyan isn't completely off base with his point, either. With a lot of new takes on RPGs, it seems as though we get layers of randomized genres all coated with RPG powder. Even more sad is that the RPG genre itself is being so loosely thrown around, much like the word "love." And "buttcheeks."

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SaiyanSempai
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:25:00 AM

You are 100% spot on, my friend.

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nogoat23
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 1:03:57 AM

Haha, I agree, butt cheeks gets thrown around way too much!

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Ludakriss
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 4:57:55 AM

Yeah. Great examples are Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and even Batman (this gen). All allow you to collect XP for improvement of your character.

Hate, is the emotion I'm expressing as I write this. FPS, that lets you, collect XP. Oh wait, Borders lets you do that. Ehhh, doesn't fit, because it's actually FUN!



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Highlander
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 10:39:02 AM

There are other RPG developers out there who actually make turn based games - Tales of course is not turn based. Nor are the developers of the tales series the only JRPG maker at work. Others include Gust, Compile Heart, IF, Level 5, NIS, to name but 5 I can think of off the top of my head.

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MrAnonymity
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:04:37 PM

The focus is not on turn-based games, but on the RPG genre as a whole. Unfortunately Gust, CH, IF, Level 5, and NIS are largely overlooked by the growing gamer population thus nullifying pretty much anything they have to offer. Don't get me wrong - their contributions are incredible. NIS and Level 5 are two of my favorite devs. However, a generation we - who comment here - embrace a generation that is rapidly deteriorating.

When Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection hit the PSP, I personally felt my having owned the handheld had finally completely paid off. I tried letting my cousin play it and just the graphics alone made him go, "Ha! You're funny! Where's Black Ops?" My point? True appreciation of what we hold dear is failing. Flash and flair are what the mob wants and - clearly evidenced by much of what is currently being offered - what the mob gets.

About the best we can do is hope. I'd say hold our breaths, but I suspect that would effectively kill all of us - the diehard and devout - and no one would blink. Least of all the major devs we try to know and love.

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nogoat23
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 1:03:24 AM
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Too long, didn't read.

Just kidding.

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Ludakriss
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:05:52 AM

Nice! =D

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Qubex
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 2:47:04 AM
Reply

Hard core twitching has taken over... its become a disease...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Rogueagent01
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 2:57:30 AM
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I really don't blame any one thing more than another. To me it is the coming together of several factors that has changed gaming to what it is currently. Attention spans is definitely one of them. So is EA and Activision buying up anyone that builds outside the box and then killing the creativity from within. You also have all of the major devs/pubs being publicly traded which to me is one of the bigger issues, as they have to cater to the investors who rarely know about what they've invested in. Also the shift of the devices we play our games on now, as in the internet connection that we have, we didn't have that on those systems and that is a part of it albeit a smaller part than the others.

One thing is for sure the oldschool game styles that many of us loved will never disappear, but they might become very rare as time presses on.

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 3:16:57 AM
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I think it was more the case of pure necessity than that our attention span were that much better - we *had* to read the text back then cause else we'd understand jack shit of what was going on. You can only express so much with static, one pose sprites. :)

We see much the same if we look at old TV productions like news or gameshows in the 70s and 80s: It's a much slower tempo, there's a lot more "dead time" and longer sequences from the same camera. It didn't in any way benefit the production, it was just how it had to be.

Then, as experience and technology progress, things are going faster and slicker. I don't see this as a consequence of mankind being unable to focus anymore, but rather that mankind has become better at using the medium. Much more is told in a lesser amount of time.

It's obvious that things are far more intense today than it used to be, across all mediums.
But let's be frank here folks: Back in the days, when we had to read a "wall of text", it wasn't always with the same degree of pleasure but more an obligation, wasn't it? Would we, back then, have anything against being told the story through other means than pure text?
I don't think so.

And if I remember correctly I think that on *average* there is a lot - LOT - more content and story being told in the average videogame today than what was the case back then (I am now back in the late 80s/early 90s).

At least, that's how I look at it. :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/6/2012 3:36:12 AM

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Excelsior1
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:53:03 AM

Very interesting points Beamboom. Because of the technology we had no choice to read walls of text. Now I do recall some negative reaction to there being voice acting in FF10 from JRPG purist, It'll ruin the experience and be less immersive they claimed. I think they were plain nuts!! Sure Tidus could be annoying but the voice acting added so much personality to the game!! I loved Auron's voice work. Fit his character perfectly. I know some JRPG purist preffered reading the text so they could use their imagination to for each of character's voices but I struggle going back to games like FF7, and FF8 because of the lack of voice acting. Back in the day I loved the games but the lack of voice acting bothers me.

I have very positive feelings about MGS1. The voice acting in the codec system gave the game so much personality. Grey Fox and Snakes voice work was awesome. Even Colonel Cambell's voice was perfect. One hell of a game with voice acting that was wayt ahead of its time!!! Take that away from the game and replace it with text=zzzz...

The point Ben raises about turn based combat is probably valid. Purely turn based combat is an almost dead genre at least on the consoles. Costume Quest is probably the last game I've played that featured purely turn based combat and it was just a downloadable title.

Hybrid battle systems aren't so bad. I loved Fallout 3's V.A.T.S system for example. I would add that's when the damn game worked on my PS3. That game is great from a game design standpoint and the DLC was some of the best ever if you could get through all the damn freezes and lock ups.hehe. I admit i have thought of launching my PS3 out the window playing it. Firing a long range howitzer shot at Bethesda games has entered my mind as well, oh well, I digress.

Beamboom's third paragraph is spot on. I don't view at is negatively as Ben does, Mankind has just progressed and is able to assimilate imformation more quickly. Is that really a bad thing? I can text and play videogames pretty damn well actually. Believe it or not that takes a lot of concentration and using a lot of my attention span to pull it off. I can do it though with games like DC Universe and Mass Effect 3. sure my gameplay suffers some but i still hold my own and got my teamates back.

By the way I promised my clunky PS3 version of Fallout3 goty edition to somebody but I lost his address. He was from Britian and claimed it first. Please text me your address again. My PSN ID is Jamiecolts. I want to keep my word so please message me and I will send it out to you. No cheaters either. The British guy one fair and square. It's his if I can get his address.
I wonder if Ben could dig through my messages and find the gut that replied when I offfered it.

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 6:22:46 AM

Yeah I deliberately avoided the topic of turn based mechanics, since I quite frankly have no idea what that *is*.

But I don't know... Look at Mindcraft. That's definitely slow gameplay, where you have to sit for hours and hours using what's essentially a design tool to build stuff, block by block.
That game is a *megahit*, also among the youngest gamers. So I don't think necessarily the attention spam of todays kids are that much worse.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 9:57:04 AM

I'm sorry Beamboom, but I've heard the, "oh, we only had longer attention spans because we needed them" argument, and it's just a gigantic excuse. It implies that we never really needed attention spans to begin with, and that is tragically incorrect.

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 10:02:19 AM

I don't see how I was implying that?
What I am saying is more the opposite, how could a game like Mindcraft have a chance of becoming a hit at all, had there been a shortage of attention span these days?

What I am suggesting is that there might be other reasons than shorter attention spans for things being as they are today.

EDIT: I now see how I am understood that way. My first sentence came out a bit wrong. I meant to say something like "we focused on long texts and descriptions because we had to - not because we were able to".
Hope that made more sense :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/6/2012 10:09:59 AM

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homura
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:23:57 PM

@ Beam

By the way, for me it's a pleasure to read those "wall of text" back in the day, maybe some are frustrating to read because of the poor translation, because that's how they told the stories, and you need to really read those text to understand the gameplay, the amount of customization, which reminds me of Valkyrie Profile, haha, but that's why we love the genre in the first place, because of the stories and the gameplay that requires a lot of thinking.

And as you said " We are trained to handle much larger amount of data now. That's what's causing impatience. The earlier pacing is simply too slow for todays minds, so attention is lost due to the brain going idle and drift off". So Ben is quite right "Attention spans are sinking to an all-time low and while one could consider any number of reasons, I firmly believe the primary culprit is the "information age." And developers know this, even those creator of traditional rpg, like Yasumi said "If you keep making things in the same style as time goes on, then I think you miss out on the younger audience", so yeah, TRADITIONAL RPG is in decline.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:40:22 PM

Beamboom: No, I get it now. :) But as homura said, I never found reading those "walls of text" (which were never big enough to be considered "walls") a chore. I LIKE to read.

Not that I'm saying voice acting doesn't add a whole new level of immersion and emotion because, as I said in the article, of course it does.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 12:04:34 AM

@Homura:
I don't think the problem necessarily is a decline in attention span, the case I try to make is that since we today are able to handle more data per second (to put it in computer terms) the speed of the transfer must be higher. The span (ie, the length one is able to focus on one subject or one challenge) is unaltered, it is just required more data during that span to maintain the focus, due to our increased capacity.

Let me try to illustrate:
Let's say someone read a book out loud for you. If he reads too slow and spends like ten seconds on each word you would pretty soon lose focus.
The problem here is not your attention span, it's the speed of the "data transfer". It's too slow compared to your trained ability to receive and process words.

@Ben:
I like to read too! But not so much from a TV or monitor. There I must admit prefer video/audio.
And while they were not walls by themselves, they were bricks that accumulated to a wall :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/7/2012 12:19:57 AM

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homura
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 4:25:50 AM

@Beam

First of all if someone reads a book to you and spends like ten seconds on each word, of course it will be boring even to people back in the old days without computer.

And did you even read the article doode? Ben said "Attention spans are sinking to an all-time low and while one could consider any number of reasons, I firmly believe the primary culprit is the "information age."

To put it this way, we are getting used to the fast paced of life, and kids of today never knew how it is back then and eventually will never liked slow paced traditional rpg of old because they are accustomed to today's fast paced games. And doode developers know of this so they've adapt, that's why Traditional RPG is in decline. Please read the article carefully.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 7:42:00 AM

You are taking my example too literal, Homura. Ten seconds, one second, point is that when the pace is so slow that your mind start drifting, it's not neccesarily due to low attention span.

Kids today can spend an entire day playing nothing but Minecraft, creating castles and ranches with nothing but basic bricks. What do that tell us?

In regards to "reading the article", this is an editorial. It's opinion, speculation, thoughts, ideas. Something to discuss. Not facts.
Noone knows why traditional console RPGs has vanished. Had they at least tried releasing such games but flopped hard, well then we could discuss why. But they've not even tried!


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/7/2012 9:22:31 AM

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homura
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 10:11:03 AM

@Beam

Doode I just pointed out the stupidity of your reading a book example.

Let me simplify, you said "The span (ie, the length one is able to focus on one subject or one challenge) is unaltered, it is just required more data during that span to maintain the focus, due to our increased capacity. In short, kids today if they will play Traditional RPG from back in the day, and read a wall of text for the story will easily lose focus because as you've said " it is just required more data during that span to maintain the focus" and why is that? It's because kids today are much more accustomed to fast paced game. And the span(ie, the length one is able to focus on one subject or one challenge) I believe has decreased because if you only need 10 to 15 seconds back in the day to read those wall of text will be consider by today's kids as too long because again we and the kids of today are much more accustomed in today's fast paced of gaming so that's why RPG Developers will adapt because again as you've said "we today are able to handle more data per second" hence the decline of TRADITIONAL RPG.

And don't use minecraft as an example, it's constructing and it requires constant activity. It doesn't make you stop and read the story in a wall of text.

Last edited by homura on 8/7/2012 10:24:56 AM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 10:25:04 AM

The wall of text part is easy to explain: Audio and video is simply a better way to distribute words on a audio/video medium. There, done. :)

But turn based, slow paced mechanics is more interesting. Sadly, as I've admitted earlier in this thread, I know very little of what turn based RPG is. I haven't played any turn based RPG, ever. All I've played is turn based strategy games.

So I have to base my opinion on what I know about turn based strategy. And, well, there's *plenty* of that going on on the mobile platform. Plenty, also on the top seller lists.

So let me throw a different theory into the mix here:
Could the reason why we don't see traditional, turn based games be something as simple as that it's not a "cool thing" among developers anymore? That ever since the consoles became so powerful with such amazing 3D and real-time capabilities, most developers wanted to embrace these new possibilities and thus turned their back on traditional, low-resource game concepts?

I think that might be closer to the truth here!
Cause with this generation consoles there was a sudden halt of those games. Did the kids dramatically change and lost all mental capacity at that exact year when the PS3 launched? Hogwash. The reason must be found elsewhere! Don't you agree?

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/7/2012 10:26:13 AM

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homura
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 10:48:08 AM

@Beam

We already knew that that's why Ben said in the article "It's not just about shifting industry trends and the fact that technology allows us to implement the same amount of depth without forcing us to stop".

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Ludakriss
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:05:13 AM
Reply

Ehh. Can't say I disagree but, don't fully agree either.

Great examples: Dark cloud series and Star Ocean which both have a seemless and non-impeding action oriented battle mechanic.

But, still fun. OH!

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___________
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 6:28:39 AM
Reply

no, mindless shooters are the decline of the traditional RPG, and thus the decline of attention spans.
everything has to be fast paced these days, all big flashy explosions and it drives me f*cking nuts!
uncharted 2 and 3 a perfect example actually.
99% of people preferred 2 to 3 simply because it was more action orientated.
exactly why we have so few tactical games these days, and allot more michael bay films!
and until people stop whining about it, and actually stop buying the problem games its NEVER going to happen!
everyone whines about RE6 being such a action orientated game, but then how many out of those that are complaining are going to go buy it anyway?
97%?
at least!
as the saying goes put up or shut up!
if your going to do something about it whine all you want!
if your just whining for the sake of whining well.......

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Highlander
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 10:46:11 AM
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Not sure I completely agree Ben, I think the attention span thing is a symptom, not a cause. Besides, as someone that truly does have an attention deficit, I can point out that personally I find turn based mechanics to be entirely engrossing, and can read a book all the way through in a single sitting if I am so minded.

I do think it has to do with the pace of things in the general media as well as life in general. People in general have no patience at all now, they want immediate results. It reminds me of Freemium games. Those game work because they spam the reward cycle in the brain and make those rewards depend on a constant trickle of micro-transactions for new rewards. In a shooter, each victory over an opponent does the same thing. Spamming that reward response. But a cutscene that you watch unfold doesn't do that. Reading or listening to dialog doesn't do that. Combat that you can literally walk away from and come back to 15 minutes later without losing a step, doesn't do that. It's almost like we are lab rats in a massive experiment to see how easily we can be conditioned to require constant stimulus and reward.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:42:22 PM

You'll forgive me, but I have long since questioned the veracity of ADD diagnoses. It doesn't sound to me like you're ADD at all...have you ever thought that you're not, and that how you focus your attention is just different?

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Highlander
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 12:31:28 PM

lol! no problem Ben, I question the vast majority of ADD diagnoses as well. I will say though that I very much *am* ADD, as my psychologist (not just a regular MD) will attest. I went though all the test assessments that they run, and the comment was that I probably have a higher degree of deficit than the test results portrayed because in his opinion, I was applying my coping strategies and logic sufficiently to compensate for my own lack of attention.

No, I do question a lot of ADD diagnoses, but not because of what most people would think. ADD is a spectrum disorder. That means that it ranges from extremely severe to extremely mild. I'm somewhere in the middle with a little lean towards the less attentive side of things.

The trouble I have with ADD diagnoses is that the majority are made by MDs with minimal psychology training or experience. They are presented with an impulsive child, and shortly thereafter make a diagnosis of ADD. The problem is that boys especially are energetic and impulsive and prone to shift their attention and get board. It's part and parcel of a growing brain. Your brain is questing for new experiences and information and so you are impulsive and easily distracted. That doesn't make you ADD.

But teachers and parents seem to have forgotten that boys in particular (and to a lesser extent girls) go through this phase of growing up where their inquisitive nature and ability to control their impulses are not well balanced. But teachers see it as misbehavior and disruption, and parents buy into the same thing. Both then pick the easy target - ADD. They go to the medical profession and the pediatrician who has seen many 'ADD' cases sees another and hands out the ADD meds like candy.

Problem solved, right? Wrong. The kids are not ADD. Oh, well they might be mildly affected, it is a spectrum disorder and if 10% of the population in general are moderate to severely ADD, 2-3 times that number will have more mild symptoms, and more still will have the mildest symptoms of all. But these mild symptoms are not really actionable, and do not affect the person's life. The ADD diagnosis is supposed to be reserved for those who have symptoms sufficiently severe that it affects their daily life.

Most kids diagnosed are simply normal kids with teachers and parents that can't cope with a boisterous and impulsive child that needs to learn some self control. even if they have mild ADD symptoms, they are not nearly severe enough to be medically actionable or merit a diagnosis. But pediatricians and primary care physicians should not be making these diagnoses. Psychologists should with a combination of testing and assessment over several appointments. Without the testing and assessment over multiple sessions, you're labeling normal boisterous behavior ADD and medicating a child because of it.

The flip side of that is the child with severe ADD who literally can't pay attention long enough to save their life. My son is severely ADD, he can't cross the road without someone there to keep him on track. More than once he's stepped into a road without a thought, and been snatched back in time to be missed by an oncoming car he didn't notice.

I've done more than my fair share of research into ADD and how it affects people, and how medications work, or don't. I've learned enough to know that many diagnoses are false positives, or at least very mild symptoms diagnosed as much more severe than they really are.

I have considered that how I focus my attention might be different. I'm not sure that it is so much that as an ability to zero in on one topic. One facet of classic ADD is hyperfocus. ADD patients often have the ability to hyperfocus on the thing(s) that they are most interested in. That state of hyperfocus allows great concentration on one thing, but sadly a total lack of attention on other things. People notice this when an ADD person appears to zone out. The zoning out is either a state of high focus or extreme boredom.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 3:02:44 PM

Thanks, I appreciate the breakdown. I learn something new every day. :)

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 11:00:38 AM
Reply

I came to think of something on my way home from work today: I actually heard a documentary about attention span not too long ago! I believe it was "Discovery" on BBC Radio 4.
But anyway:

The topic were the claim about the shorter attention span. And they said that what has really happened is in fact evolution, not devolution. We are trained to handle much larger amount of data now. That's what's causing impatience. The earlier pacing is simply too slow for todays minds, so attention is lost due to the brain going idle and drift off.

If a teenager from 3-4 decades ago had been timewarped to current day, he or she would have become completely stressed out, unable to handle the amount of data he was exposed to through tv, internet, email, mobile etc.

Kids today are trained to handle enormous amount of data, they *need* that to fully function in todays society, and that's what the different medium have to reflect.

One could say that the broadband to our brain is enhanced. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/6/2012 11:01:49 AM

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Highlander
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:12:50 PM

Hmmm... I think it's actually the opposite. Yes, we are trained (through experience) from an early age to cope with lots of information and often multiple sources. Taking a teen from 30-40 years ago and dropping them into today's society would not work because they lack the experience and training needed to cope. However, we are reaching the upper end of what we can cope with. there is only so much that a Human can keep up with, only so much information that can be assimilated. The result is that we start skimming and deferring analysis.

Headline news on CNN is a great example, it's a constantly revolving series of news bites, that are short and fast paced. There is other information constantly scrolling across the screen. The thing is, that a viewer of that channel will be aware of a great many news stories, but have no in depth understanding of any of them. There is no analysis, only basic facts and conclusions.

Another aspect of this is the inability of people to think about things and come to a decision of their own. I always make fun of the Apple iPhone commercials and now the ones with Siri. All of these commercials seem to want us to view the iPhone and siri as an adjunct to our cognitive process. Need to decide what to eat tonight, but can't make a decision, no problem there is an app for that. Want to remember an appointment? No problem Siri has you covered.

You can see the same thing in academia with subjects such as Computer Science. No longer is Computer Science taught from first principles. The courses are taught at a higher abstract level now, and are almost vocational because they are so targeted at giving people practical skills rather than educating them about Computer Science. There are a handful of courses where you learn to code in machine code, or build an assembler, or a compiler. There are very few where you learn how to build a system from the fundamental blocks. Instead, people want rapid development cycles and learn tools that provide that. So the kids come out of school ready to use their latest tools, but without any of the underlying knowledge. That was all skimmed over and assumed.

If you think if it in terms of an onion, the depth of information gathering has gone fro 2-3 juicy layers of onion, to barely penetrating the thin, fragile dried outer skin of the onion. In other words, today's society is superficial, but fast paced. People know very little about lots of things instead of lots about a few things.

In the game world that translates to people being unwilling to put time into a deep game because they are so used to flitting from thing to thing.

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 12:46:51 PM

I'm not so sure if we are on our way to reach a limit yet. We should not underestimate the human brain. I think we are able to process a lot more info, I believe there's still plenty room for improvement and optimization of data handling.

But everything has a cost. And that cost might be, for example, that we gradually lose the ability to enjoy very old entertainment like old movies, TV series and so forth. That the datarate is too low. Maybe...

But we are drifting slowly into a sci-fi scenario now. Gotta dig that. :)

EDIT: Or... It's not *that* futuristic a scenario, now that I think about it. Cause I have to admit, when I watch a really old movie I do experience getting bored now and then because of the pace. They just never get on with the story, they spend too much time getting a point across.

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/6/2012 12:54:59 PM

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Highlander
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 1:52:57 PM

Fast paced story telling, like fast paced anything, completely skips any nuance. It's just not possible to have a deeply nuanced story or character when story telling is handled at the pace of today's media.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 5:45:51 PM

"If a teenager from 3-4 decades ago had been timewarped to current day, he or she would have become completely stressed out, unable to handle the amount of data he was exposed to through tv, internet, email, mobile etc."

That makes it sound like teenagers from today are somehow more advanced, when in fact they are most certainly NOT. There was a time in this country when Hawthorne's "The House of Seven Gables" was considered teen reading...now, most adults couldn't even handle it.

Just because we're forcing our youth to unnaturally process gigantic amounts of data doesn't actually help. All it has done is impede their capability to pay attention, and completely eliminate other aspects of life that require patience and don't have anything to do with electronics and video screens. It's part of the reason why art of all kinds is on its deathbed.

They wouldn't be able to handle the onslaught of data. That's true. And teens of today would be absolutely lost in any learning curriculum that doesn't rely on iPads to teach the youth.

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homura
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 7:51:34 PM

@Beam

What movie are you watching? Cause I'm curious, a lot of old movies are still much better compared to some of today's movies.

Try Unforgiven(Clint Eastwood), Seven(Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) and The Professional(Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and Natalie Portman) or Seven Samurai(I've only watched the Anime Ver. though still based on the original)

By the way Seven kind of reminds me of Heavy Rain, the ambiance, haha.

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homura
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 8:08:04 PM

@Beam

Come to think of it, forget the movies I've recommended, it might just get you bored, because actually there's a lot of dialogue in them. Haha, just kidding, peace!

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Beamboom
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 11:52:21 PM

@Highlander:
That's only valid if the pacing is *too* fast. I still find lots of nuance and deepness in many of todays movies. Nothing is lost, still the pacing most definitely is higher than back in the days.
And vice versa: The old action and slapstick movies didn't offer more deepness or nuances (far from it...!), they were just slower.

@Ben:
I agree that it may sound like that. It was however not the point of the documentary. Their point was merely to illustrate how we as humans are able to adapt. So teens back then were just as adapted to life as todays teens are today, only that the world they adapt to has changed.
They may not read Hawthorne in their spare time anymore, but instead they easily learn how to program computers, do complicated math or operate advanced machinery.
It's really a compliment to the amazing capacity and flexibility of the human brain.

@Homura:
Seven and Unforgiven are *great* movies! I talk about much, much older movies. Movies from the 50s and 60s. Remember, I am old so movies from the 90s are still considered "recent" in my mind. :)

But the actual movies I had in mind while writing that comment were in fact a mixture of various Elvis movies (who at the time were box office hits and works well as examples of teen movies of that time) and a movie that is considered one of the great masterpieces of the 60s: The Italian Job.
Hate to admit it - every movie buff will look down on me now - but I got bored half way through. It just slender along while the minutes are ticking. They got soooo muuuuuch tiiiiiiime... But back then it was considered an action movie!

Last edited by Beamboom on 8/7/2012 3:47:32 AM

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Highlander
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 12:43:10 PM

Beamboom, I think you are too caught up in a belief that the fast paced entertainment and information society of today is somehow superior to the slower world of yesteryear. "the datarate is too low" too low for who? As for your comments that slapstick is not deep, well of course slapstick is not deep, but if every movie older than 40 years is slapstick, I'll eat a live dung beetle. It sounds like you essentially believe that nuance can be handled at the break neck pace of today's media, and that the media of yesteryear were simply too slow, and that they were no more nuanced. In fact your comments make it sound like you find the media of yesteryear to be less nuanced. I'm sorry, but all of this is basically coming off as you saying old people are slow and just don't get it. Yet, young people are fast and better because they are fast.

That's just plain wrong.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 2:04:11 PM

???
Nowhere do I say that every old movie is slapstick, what an absurd thing to be accused of? Where did you get that?
Nor do I anywhere say that nuance can be handled with break neck pace. And in what sentence exactly do I imply that I think media of yesteryear to be less nuanced?

What I say is this: If we take two movies with equal amount of nuance and depth, the new one likely are set a higher pace. Nothing is lost unless the pacing is set *too* fast -> "break neck speed" is probably too fast in these regards. There is a middle road, you know.

And we see that same thing also with more shallow, simpler movies like slapstick and action movies. Even in those cases we find that the old ones are at a much lower pace - with no added depth or nuance due to the slower pacing. I just try to point out that there is no direct relation between pacing speed and depth.

*That's* what I say.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/7/2012 2:11:19 PM

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Temjin001
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 2:28:05 PM
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Im convinced I'm an anomaly. I love fast action games like VF and NG but also really enjoy boring slow turn-based RPGs. It's probably because I think with both side of my brain =p

..no, really, I do. I'm semi-ambidextrous ;)

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ethird1
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 2:49:50 PM
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Its not just the attention span. The older gamers have lives. We have CHILDREN that we have to take care of. We take our daughters to softball practice and our sons to baseball or football practice. We train them and go to their gams. Dont even get me started on school functions, church functions, and then letting them go on dates and blah blah.

This is one of the many reasons the RPG is slowly losing it's grip on gaming.

I love the rpg. But i just have no time for them as much. I have over 20 rpgs I have not been able to play on my Vita and ps3 and it took me this long to realize I just dont have the time for them anymore.

Short attention span? Sure. But please let me say one thing to all the young kids here, if an RPG is more thrilling than life to you, you are living the wrong life.

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Highlander
Monday, August 06, 2012 @ 3:41:18 PM

LOL! an RPG more thrilling than life? No form of electronic entertainment should be considered more thrilling than life.

Still, I find that I have the time for the games, and my PSP/Vita helps extend that time further. That said, if you get heavily involved in any of the social aspects of a game, it can take a lot of your time. Being a guild leader for instance means sinking a couple of hours a day at least into a game. So even if you have the time for games, you can get caught up in one over another.

I think that there is time for RPGs, if people can spend hour after hour blowing each other away in a shooter, they can spend hour after hour in a fantasy setting with story, character and art to appreciate. They simply choose not to.

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LowKey
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 12:37:12 AM
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Uh oh here comes Low Key lol. Ok so first off the pic of FF8 is the res test for the ps2. And yes it is purrrty. Now as for the RPG genre "dying out" Think of it this way. Think back to the days when u were an avid RPG'er. Think of what captivated you a drew you in. RPGs actually held your attention. Now I wan't you to think about the present RPG genre and think when the last time you picked one up and played and thought. "Well this wasnt what I expected" It is devs you should blame. They make RPGs less enthralling and change too much at once.

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KNG201
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 12:11:15 AM
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Im playing Rainbow Moon and it has a interesting twist in the combat. It feels like Im playing Chess. I really wish we had a real mature / traditional next gen rpg.

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Eangarra
Friday, August 10, 2012 @ 4:05:45 PM
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I have been playing through some old FF series games myself to enjoy the solace of turn based RPGs again. I haven't liked a FF since 9. Ten is probably the last even CLOSE to decent FF game in recent years. I am playing 6 and 9 now just because I miss it. These styles live on but in hand held gaming more often. I would like to see a classic style RPG done with today's consoles but alas the twitch and instant gratification era reigns supreme. At least we have the classics to go back to I guess for us old souls.

Last edited by Eangarra on 8/10/2012 4:06:20 PM

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