Designing Police Quest V.

Caught in your own cuffs? Need a hint? Or just want to talk about Police Quest - this is the place to do it!
Rath Darkblade
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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Rath Darkblade » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:46 am

That sounds good, Tawm. :)

I once wrote a top ten list of Sierra games that shouldn't be made. My PQ entry was called "Police Quest XVI: Let's Scarf Doughnuts and Beat Up Transients". ;)

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:11 am

To be honest, the only way I could stomach another PQ game is if it really confronted the violence and racism of the police and what that means for "good cops". After Open Season, they'd really have to do a lot to rehabilitate the PQ brand.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by MusicallyInspired » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:38 am

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adeyke
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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:22 am

To be clear, I'm not inherently opposed to games simplifying moral issues in order to let the player be a hero. If I were, I'd have to more or less completely write off the fantasy genre, where kings can be good and noble without anyone needing to examine how unjust hereditary absolute monarchy is or what living conditions the peasants of the time would have, and where some sentient beings are 100% okay to kill by the dozens, since they're just inherently evil. And PQ1-3 did have that sort of heroic morality. Sonny Bonds is absolutely a good cop, and the major theme of those games is that police officers must do everything completely by the book. Violating those protocols tends to give a swift game-over, while following them lets the player be swept through the plot of the game.

There's just a disconnect when a game like that is simultaneously trying to realistically depict a contemporary setting, where things are a lot more complicated than that.

Also, Open Season happened, so making another PQ now would feel a lot different than making it as a direct follow-up to PQ3.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:44 pm

adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:22 am
To be clear, I'm not inherently opposed to games simplifying moral issues in order to let the player be a hero.
Yeah, if I am designing a game - I would stray away from even trying to hint at my own beliefs or "social justice warrior" stuff.
adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:22 am
Also, Open Season happened, so making another PQ now would feel a lot different than making it as a direct follow-up to PQ3.
Yes, but in this fictional world of game design in this thread, where we get to work on the games... I think folks who are familiar with Police Quest would probably not scream at the fact that it didn't follow Open Season, and instead, went back to the original trilogy of Police Quest.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:16 pm

All art is political. Even if you're not actively trying to put your own beliefs into it, your base assumptions (which you might not even think of as beliefs) and values will still inform the work and can still read from it. Now, you might be able to intentionally make the art say something you yourself disagree with, or you might make it convey the idea that the status quo is just fine or that there's no need to care about things, or you just might give it the same politics as other works in the genre. However, those are still political statements. What you can't do is make art that's truly apolitical and that doesn't convey any such meaning.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:01 pm

adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:16 pm
All art is political. Even if you're not actively trying to put your own beliefs into it, your base assumptions (which you might not even think of as beliefs) and values will still inform the work and can still read from it. Now, you might be able to intentionally make the art say something you yourself disagree with, or you might make it convey the idea that the status quo is just fine or that there's no need to care about things, or you just might give it the same politics as other works in the genre. However, those are still political statements. What you can't do is make art that's truly apolitical and that doesn't convey any such meaning.
I wouldn't say all art is political - however, I would say that all art is up to interpretation of the person viewing (hearing, playing, etc).

For example, Richard Adams who wrote Watership Down (which, ironically, I am currently re-reading as of last night) had this to say about his own book:
Wikipedia wrote: It has been suggested that Watership Down contains symbolism of several religions, or that the stories of El-ahrairah were meant to mimic some elements of real-world religion.

When asked in a 2007 BBC Radio interview about the religious symbolism in the novel, Adams stated that the story was "nothing like that at all." Adams said that the rabbits in Watership Down did not worship, however, "they believed passionately in El-ahrairah". Adams explained that he meant the book to be, "only a made-up story... in no sense an allegory or parable or any kind of political myth. I simply wrote down a story I told to my little girls". Instead, he explained, the "let-in" religious stories of El-ahrairah were meant more as legendary tales, similar to a rabbit Robin Hood, and that these stories were interspersed throughout the book as humorous interjections to the often "grim" tales of the "real story"
Also from another site:
Richard Adams wrote: In the 40-plus years since its publication, Watership Down has been assigned all kinds of different meanings by readers who think they know what it’s really about. Theorists often latch on to the folkloric elements of the story, or attempt to interpret it as a religious allegory. Adams rejects these efforts: “It was meant to be just a story, and it remains that. A story—a jolly good story, I must admit—but it remains a story. It’s not meant to be a parable. That’s important, I think. Its power and strength come from being a story told in the car.”
So while, for him, he intended no political or religious intent, people took something else away from the book and made it "political" or "religious" in their heads.

But what I was saying as avoiding political views (even of my own) in my fictional Police Quest V was addressing this:
adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:16 pm
To be honest, the only way I could stomach another PQ game is if it really confronted the violence and racism of the police and what that means for "good cops". After Open Season, they'd really have to do a lot to rehabilitate the PQ brand.
In regards to addressing Police violence, racism, etc.

It's just something I'd avoid in my own game, if I was to design Police Quest V.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:04 pm

There's some truth and some nonsense in that.

It is true the audience will always bring their own beliefs and values when they interpret a work of art. So different things will mean different things to different audiences. For a simple example, a story might have completely different meaning to a child who's not yet able to pick up on subtext. Or it might mean something different to a person whose life experiences allows them to better empathize with a particular character. Art is a collaborative communication between the artist and the audience. So when arguing about the meaning of a piece of art, you might say that you have a different interpretation, or that you don't think the text supports some interpretation, but you can't meaningfully just say that some interpretation is flat-out wrong.

And what you definitely can't say is that some interpretation is wrong because the artist says that's not what they meant. Once the work has been created, the artist's job is done. The communication is then between the artwork and the audience. The artist doesn't get a veto power over the interpretation. They can at most say what meaning they meant to convey, not what they actually did.

This actually ties into recent controversy. There's this whole thing where game creators will outright deny that their game is political, even when it blatantly is.

And sure, your hypothetical PQ5 could avoid addressing those issues. However, you just have to be aware that, in not addressing them, your game would still be making a statement about them.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:34 pm

adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:04 pm
And sure, your hypothetical PQ5 could avoid addressing those issues. However, you just have to be aware that, in not addressing them, your game would still be making a statement about them.
If someone draws that conclusion, that's on them. ;)

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:04 pm

I don't see how assigning blame is at all relevant. If someone draws that conclusion, then that's what they've interpreted the game as saying, and that's what they'll mention when discussing the game. If you're okay with that, great. However, if you actually don't want people coming away from it with that interpretation, you should design the game in such a way that the interpretation is unlikely (e.g. by actually addressing the issue or by making it clear that the game is an aspirational image of how things should be rather than a realistic depiction of how things are). If you just point out that the message the game has conveyed isn't one you intended, that's not something to be smug about.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:40 pm

adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:04 pm
I don't see how assigning blame is at all relevant. If someone draws that conclusion, then that's what they've interpreted the game as saying, and that's what they'll mention when discussing the game. If you're okay with that, great.
Not blaming them. Just saying they're the ones pulling out whatever message they think is there. All I would care about is that I made a game that entertained people and that they enjoyed it. I'd quote the previous Richard Adam and say, "Whatever [political/religious/etc message] saw wasn't my intention. I just wanted to make a jolly-fun game!"

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by adeyke » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:29 pm

But again, all art is political. The choice of what is represented, how it's represented, and what is omitted all says something, whether its creators wants it to or not (and whether they admit it or not). I suppose if you just wanted to make an entertaining game, something purely abstract like Tetris might not be as loaded (though I'd argue there are still a lot of messages even in that). If we're talking about a story, however, with characters, plot, conflict, and so on, there's going to be a lot that it's saying. And if it's such a heavy topic as crime and how the state deals with it, that's even more the case.

Also, the mere existence of these forums puts lie to the idea that games are mere entertainment. If they were just something to enjoy while playing but then stop thinking about, we wouldn't be talking about them these many years later.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:09 pm

adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:29 pm
But again, all art is political. The choice of what is represented, how it's represented, and what is omitted all says something, whether its creators wants it to or not (and whether they admit it or not). I suppose if you just wanted to make an entertaining game, something purely abstract like Tetris might not be as loaded (though I'd argue there are still a lot of messages even in that). If we're talking about a story, however, with characters, plot, conflict, and so on, there's going to be a lot that it's saying. And if it's such a heavy topic as crime and how the state deals with it, that's even more the case.
Right, and I go back to - if someone were to get a message (whatever it may be) out of it, that I didn't put into it, that'd be on them. I am not saying they "should or shouldn't" - because, as a developer/writer/creator of said fictional game scenario, my end goal would be just to make a game people would enjoy. If they got something else out of it, whether negative or positive in regards to some "message" - then more power to them; it's certainly their right to interpret the game however they may.
adeyke wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:29 pm
Also, the mere existence of these forums puts lie to the idea that games are mere entertainment. If they were just something to enjoy while playing but then stop thinking about, we wouldn't be talking about them these many years later.
Right, but for the most part - what we discuss is not the political/religious/etc., messages that we are or are not getting out of these games.

I think if you play a game, then stop thinking about it - the game has, in some way, failed (in my opinion). I'd want to develop a game where people finish the game - and they want to talk about it. Whether it's the great story, the plot twists, the well developed characters, the art in the game, the music in the game, etc.

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Rath Darkblade » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:33 am

Yikes. :shock: I didn't know this at all about Daryl Gates. At the time of the Rodney King trial, I was 16 and preparing for senior high school, and wasn't even aware of Rodney King or the L.A. Riots. Having read the article that adeyke linked to, I can quite see why some Sierra employees would have prefer not to deal with Daryl Gates.

Daryl Gates' conduct at the time reminds me of J. Edgar Hoover's during the 50s and 60s - the time of the Selma March, the Civil Rights movement and so on. I was not surprised that Gates rallied against journalists, commissions, and interference from political authorities, but I was more than surprised that he advocated a return to Proposition 19 (i.e. the Prohibition laws). As a student of history, it became obvious to me that with Prohibition, the USA shot itself in the foot - not only crime-wise, but economically as well. When alcohol became illegal, no-one but gangsters and outlaws benefited from its manufacture, distribution, and sale. We can't stop human nature; if someone in a neighbourhood somewhere wants a pint of beer, he'll get it - legally or illegally.

As for police misbehaviour, the obvious question - the one that everyone has been asking since the days of Juvenal in his Satires, in the early days of the Roman Empire - is this: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards? That is, when the police break the law, who will police them? Who should have the power to stand up and tell the emperor that he has no clothes on? (Or, as Lisa says: Who will police the police?)

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Re: Designing Police Quest V.

Post by Tawmis » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:42 am

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:33 am
Yikes. :shock: I didn't know this at all about Daryl Gates. At the time of the Rodney King trial, I was 16 and preparing for senior high school, and wasn't even aware of Rodney King or the L.A. Riots. Having read the article that adeyke linked to, I can quite see why some Sierra employees would have prefer not to deal with Daryl Gates.
Don't worry - I live(d) in San Diego at the time; and probably because of my youth - I was, of course, aware of the riots (because, while not nearly as bad, obviously as things up in LA), there was some local trouble in San Diego. But, because of my youth - I was blissfully ignorant of Gate's stance on things and the things he had said. (I was too concerned listening to Heavy Metal and trying to be cool to worry about anything else!) :lol:

The article adeyke posted, is the same exact link Jasef had posted back in Jan of this year.

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