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The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year

trophy.jpgFrom my perspective, it's simply because Bayonetta is everything fabulous in a delightful digital package - librarian glasses! butterflies! slinky catsuits! handgun stilettos! - but according to an article written by Jamie Madigan over at Gamasutra there's a whole lot of psychology in play when these debates come up. For one, there's the recency/primacy effect which is...hey, hey, HEY! Don't walk away when I'm trying to benefit your brain over here! Click through the jump and open Wootini's Wii Fit pics in another tab for later.

Are we focused now? Excellent. As I was saying...one of the psychological factors in play is the recency/primacy effect. In a nutshell, the more recently you played something, or when you played something that bookended the year such as something in February and something in December, you're more likely to remember it and put it up for consideration when presenting your case for why it's a much better game than Red Dead Redemption. That poor, wonderful title that debuted in August, however, is more likely to be glossed over and fall by the wayside because it released in the middle of the year, unless you're on the Roman or Byzantine calendar in which case you need to update because it's the 21st century and we use Gregorian.

Another factor is the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is when you pull out evidence for your argument that confirms your preconceived notion while ignoring evidence that counters it. For example, you make the argument that Taco Bell, a fine dining establishment you already enjoy, is a great fast food restaurant because it has cheap prices and tasty gorditas, but ignore the fact they - allegedly! - use "Grade D, But Edible" beef. In other words, you don't try to fairly debate something's merits and flaws, you try to prove you're right.

There are several other psychological factors that rear their heads during these discussions, but I won't reproduce them here because then I'd be plagiarizing Mr. Madigan's work and my momma raised me better than that. Click over to his article and give it a read and see how many of the factors he lists you can identify in the game of the year debates you partake in.

This would be the part where I ask for reader participation by asking you to post your top five or bottom five games of the past year in the comments, but I wanna change it up a little bit. What were your versatile five games of the year? What games did you play that could have gone either way, that had virtues and flaws that balanced each other out to keep them out of the top and bottom and instead are sandwiched between the two?

[via Gamasutra]

7 Comments

link6616 said:

4 heroes of light and resonance of fate are the only 2 that stand out like that for me...

4 heroes has a lot of qualities that make it seem generic and dull... Although once you really understand what's going on and when you aren't running a 1 character party, it's got a sup rising amount of interesting depth... Although it's not for a final fantasy fan for sure.

The other game is Resonance of Fate... Possibly the only RPG where you see some characters watching porn... RoF throws you in the deep end early on, and while the tutorial eases the learning curve, it's by very little. It is possibly the most complex RPG I know of. But the carefree plot can be enjoyable... With the right mind set its a funny, and beautifully complex JRPG lacking a lot of the pretensions the genre often has... On the other had, the plot takes ages to become something more than their daily life, and the combat might be too complex for most...

Shin Gallon said:

I have to be honest, I didn't like Bayonetta. It was too over the top, too silly, too much. It tried waaaaaay too hard to be "awesome" and ended up just being obnoxious and annoying. It's definitely in my "Bottom 5" and I'm glad I played it at a friend's place instead of throwing away $60 on it myself. And Super Street Fighter IV was just as bad as the regular SFIV, probably topping my "games I hated in 2010" list. I didn't play a whole lot of other games I didn't care for in 2010, I'm usually pretty good about picking stuff I'll like (with a few exceptions).

As for a "Middle 5", I'd probably have to rank Dead Rising 2 square in there. Sure, Chuck is awesome and slaughtering endless zombie hordes is always fun, but the entire game had too much of a "been here, done this" feel to it. In trying to be a good sequel to the first game, it ended up being too much of a clone of it. A shame, because before it came out it was top on my "Games I'm looking forward to" list. Others here would include Epic Mickey, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Gran Turismo 5 and the Sly Collection (otherwise great ports marred by stupid, unskippable PS Move warning screens that I don't give a damn about because I'm never buying the Move).

As for my "Top 5" entries, Mass Effect 2 is far and away the best game I played last year, and Rock Band 3 was and still is the best music game ever, let alone from 2010.
That's mostly it, I didn't play a whole lot of new games last year, mostly I was catching up on stuff from 2009 I'd missed or hadn't finished yet. 2011 looks to be a busy (and expensive) year for me though.

Dickie said:

My problem is I'm a cheap ass, so I hardly ever buy games within the year that they release because I'm waiting for the 15-20 price point. However, I did get Bayonetta earlier-ish during a sale and LOVED it. I also LOVED the Viewtiful Joe games, so add to them a kick-ass heorine and major camp, and it's pure gold to me ;)

Charlie said:

Bayonetta was truly amazing and is my pick for the best of 2010... however it was admittedly a very good year for the industry.

Atma said:

I, for one, welcome my new lollipop munching overlords. Bayonetta ruled because it was an over the top love letter to gaming in general, as well as featuring one of the few overly sexy on purpose heroines I adore, because she can handle herself and is always cool and confident. And that is what I'd like to see more of in my gaming women. Easily my game of the year for so many reasons.

Runners up are Etrian Odyssey 3 for continuing to be the best dungeon crawl there is and then followed by Dragon Quest 9 for being the best DQ since 3 and 8.

ghostface29 said:

I prefer "Mass Effect 2" as well (in fact, I am practically legally married to it), but "Bayonetta" was cute in its own way. It reminded me of "Devil May Cry," which is one of my favorite games. I couldn't finish this game, though. The puzzles were a little annoying, and after 20 attempts at one of them, I just gave up. I'll finish it eventually, though.

Ophenix said:

Ok... I'v spent quite a lot of time thinking about Bayonetta and why is it so awesome.
Bayonetta is taking the concept of Theater of the Absurd into gaming. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_of_the_Absurd and you might get what I'm talking about.
The convention is a fetish for each female arch type character. Big boobs? Long legs? Glasses? Sure, choose one. Bayonetta has them all XD
This concept of taking that norm to the extreme is obvious in every aspect of the game. The battles? One long erotic dance with over-the-top kills every 4th kill or so. The hyper-sexualized movement and the overkill cutscenes... This is all the creator's way of showing us what we expect from a game by giving us what we were expecting but in a twisted manner.

There is a classic example in one of the first massive bass fights. You start the cutscene with a giant angle like thingy talking mystical mumbo-jumbo about how she was prophesied to come here and she is a child of destiny. Bayonneta tells him he is ugly, all angles are ugly and she really likes killing them XD
This back and forth between the conventional prophecy crap and Bayonetta's smack-talk is just used to emphesize how much thought was put into the game. At first you look at the screen and wonder wtf? but if you stop and think about it you get that this isn't just absurd, this is absurdity that comes to show you how absurd games really are...

I'm not sure this'll make any sense to anything but I'm just saying, if you own the game reply it and try to think about the "why" of it while you are playing. This isn't RDR or Halo:ReachAround or whatever... This is a game that is more than just great effects and smooth combat, this is a game with a philosophy behind it.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Ophenix on The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year: Ok... I'v spent quite a lot of time thinking about Bayonetta and why is it so awesome. Bayonetta is taking...

ghostface29 on The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year: I prefer "Mass Effect 2" as well (in fact, I am practically legally married to it), but "Bayonetta" was cute...

Atma on The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year: I, for one, welcome my new lollipop munching overlords. Bayonetta ruled because it was an over the top love letter...

Charlie on The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year: Bayonetta was truly amazing and is my pick for the best of 2010... however it was admittedly a very good...

Dickie on The Psychology Of Why Bayonetta Is Game Of The Year: My problem is I'm a cheap ass, so I hardly ever buy games within the year that they release because...

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