Metroid Prime Symbolism! Phazon explained

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I had ended up subscribing to your channel after the Minecraft video, and I watched all of your Zelda: OOT videos too. Metroid Prime 3 was the first game you reviewed which I hadn't had the fortune to play myself (since I don't have a Wii), but even so it didn't disappoint at all.

One of the big issues the Escapist regularly tackles is that of games as art, but I feel like you've really dug into it in a way I haven't seen here before, and I've got to say that I really enjoy it. That kind of symbolic analysis is always open to plenty of interpretation, and even though it's entirely possible that you've read too far into an issue here or there you always make such a compelling case that it doesn't matter. Not only that, but the fact that you've brought this level of analysis to these games really elevates the discussion. The "games as art" argument from my observation had tended for the most part to stick to certain games which are almost unarguably works of art, whether from the narrative perspective (like Bioshock) or aesthetic perspective (like Flower), but if someone else has been analyzing these games which are created in the more classical Nintendo style I haven't seen it.

The point being, I feel like you're really on to something here. The in depth narrative analysis of games is something you have lead me to feel the debate has been really neglected. While in the past I would have looked at games like Zelda and Metroid Prime and said that they had "some artistic elements," mostly from an aesthetic viewpoint, it now seems like they have a kind of narrative depth which I hadn't previously ascribed to them. The growth of a character has always been one of those elements which we view as elevating the novel, but I've never seen someone really dive into why it's valid in a game as well.

I am curious as to whether or not you're at all familiar with the work of Joseph Campbell? If not, he's the author of The Hero with 1000 Faces, which gained some fame after George Lucas used it as the basis for the narrative of the original Star Wars series. That's not really the point though. Campbell was a mythologist, and if you've ever wanted to hear someone lay out just why the stories from our myths (whether the Greek, Judeo Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or even Native American) are so profound, Campbell's the man to go to. If you're not familiar with his work, you might find that it'd give you some new ways to analyze these games symbolically. He's got some really good lectures on Netflix (10 hours worth in an excellent film series called Mythos). If nothing else he'd be a good name to reference when you do the "pretentious wine drinking" bit. Which is hilarious already by the way.

Anyways, keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more of your videos in the future!

Kpt._Rob:

Anyways, keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more of your videos in the future!

Thanks muchly, bro :D I'm actually very familiar with Joseph Campbell, and he certainly is a good pretentious thing to reference.

I'm glad you're enjoying the show, and strangely enough your comment made me realize how popular a bioshock analysis would be. But yeah, I think all sorts of games have a lot of potential subtext, even the ones you'd never suspect. I'm glad you liked the new episode despite not actually playing the game yet; I've had quite a few people say that. Though I am a bit sad at how many people haven't played this game XD

Think if I search Joseph Campbell on Netflix I'll find those lectures first? Cause that sounds interesting.

False Nobility:
Holy crap. I had no idea Metroid had that kinda crap going on, but all that makes to much sense.

Dude...you kinda changed the way I look at these things. I like. And your really very funny and have a good voice for this sort of thing. I'll look at your other reviews.

Thanks dude. And yeah, most people wouldn't look to this franchise for the subtext, which made this kind of a fun topic.

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Also adding an update to the main post after this.

Kpt._Rob:
I had ended up subscribing to your channel after the Minecraft video, and I watched all of your Zelda: OOT videos too. Metroid Prime 3 was the first game you reviewed which I hadn't had the fortune to play myself (since I don't have a Wii), but even so it didn't disappoint at all.

One of the big issues the Escapist regularly tackles is that of games as art, but I feel like you've really dug into it in a way I haven't seen here before, and I've got to say that I really enjoy it. That kind of symbolic analysis is always open to plenty of interpretation, and even though it's entirely possible that you've read too far into an issue here or there you always make such a compelling case that it doesn't matter. Not only that, but the fact that you've brought this level of analysis to these games really elevates the discussion. The "games as art" argument from my observation had tended for the most part to stick to certain games which are almost unarguably works of art, whether from the narrative perspective (like Bioshock) or aesthetic perspective (like Flower), but if someone else has been analyzing these games which are created in the more classical Nintendo style I haven't seen it.

The point being, I feel like you're really on to something here. The in depth narrative analysis of games is something you have lead me to feel the debate has been really neglected. While in the past I would have looked at games like Zelda and Metroid Prime and said that they had "some artistic elements," mostly from an aesthetic viewpoint, it now seems like they have a kind of narrative depth which I hadn't previously ascribed to them. The growth of a character has always been one of those elements which we view as elevating the novel, but I've never seen someone really dive into why it's valid in a game as well.

I am curious as to whether or not you're at all familiar with the work of Joseph Campbell? If not, he's the author of The Hero with 1000 Faces, which gained some fame after George Lucas used it as the basis for the narrative of the original Star Wars series. That's not really the point though. Campbell was a mythologist, and if you've ever wanted to hear someone lay out just why the stories from our myths (whether the Greek, Judeo Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or even Native American) are so profound, Campbell's the man to go to. If you're not familiar with his work, you might find that it'd give you some new ways to analyze these games symbolically. He's got some really good lectures on Netflix (10 hours worth in an excellent film series called Mythos). If nothing else he'd be a good name to reference when you do the "pretentious wine drinking" bit. Which is hilarious already by the way.

Anyways, keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more of your videos in the future!

Link seems like he equates to the 'hero' in a typical sense, but does Samus? She doesn't seem to fit the mold since she starts out as a badass and only changes so much, and doesn't have a mentor in anything besides Other M, which I think we all now consider to be non-cannon.

Well, she still certainly seems to represents a heroic ideal. Are most works subconsciously based on these kinds of tropes? Or is it intentional? It's interesting to think about that creative process.

Overusedname:

Kpt._Rob:

Anyways, keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more of your videos in the future!

Thanks muchly, bro :D I'm actually very familiar with Joseph Campbell, and he certainly is a good pretentious thing to reference.

I'm glad you're enjoying the show, and strangely enough your comment made me realize how popular a bioshock analysis would be. But yeah, I think all sorts of games have a lot of potential subtext, even the ones you'd never suspect. I'm glad you liked the new episode despite not actually playing the game yet; I've had quite a few people say that. Though I am a bit sad at how many people haven't played this game XD

Think if I search Joseph Campbell on Netflix I'll find those lectures first? Cause that sounds interesting.

Yeah, a Bioshock analysis would be really cool. There's so much going on, but since most of us (myself included) have only a vague understanding of what Objectivist philosophy is, so a lot of the subtext is easy to miss even when you know it's right there in front of you. A well researched video would be really cool, I'd love to feel like I actually understand Bioshock, instead of just feeling like I appreciate the fact that I know there's something there to understand.

And yeah, when I just checked the lectures, which are titled Joseph Campbell: Mythos, were the second thing to come up. And they're available for streaming, so you wouldn't even have to wait for a DVD. When I watched them I couldn't stop, they're all packed with so many interesting ideas that they're impossible not to be drawn in to. Campbell's an excellent lecturer, and ten hours worth of lectures explaining his ideas still hardly seems like enough time.

Coolshark:

Link seems like he equates to the 'hero' in a typical sense, but does Samus? She doesn't seem to fit the mold since she starts out as a badass and only changes so much, and doesn't have a mentor in anything besides Other M, which I think we all now consider to be non-cannon.

Well, she still certainly seems to represents a heroic ideal. Are most works subconsciously based on these kinds of tropes? Or is it intentional? It's interesting to think about that creative process.

I would wager that Samus would fit very well into the archetypal hero of the monomyth. It's worth remembering that Campbell's discussion of heroes included religious figures like Jesus and the Buddha, people who didn't necessarily have to grow into being who they were, but instead were by their very natures embodiments of their mythic ideal, so I don't think it represents a big issue for Samus to already be Samus at the start of the game. It's worth remembering that any one game about Samus would be only one part of the Samus mythos as a whole, so even if it were necessary that she had grown into her role, we can assume that is covered in another legend.

And while some contemporary authors have intentionally based their works on these types of tropes, for the most part they arise again and again in works all through history because there's a genuine profundity in them. The Monomyth is about how to live, and how to die... it's about how to be human. What Campbell theorizes is that these ideas have been so pervasive in our storytelling because they speak so deeply to those things which we all share in common as human beings. So I would say that they probably appear subconsciously time and time again because they address those issues which we, as a species, have been thinking about for as long as we've been around.

Overusedname:
snip

I may have to look into getting that HD rerelease bundle. You make the games sound very interesting.

Kpt._Rob:

Yeah, a Bioshock analysis would be really cool. There's so much going on, but since most of us (myself included) have only a vague understanding of what Objectivist philosophy is, so a lot of the subtext is easy to miss even when you know it's right there in front of you. A well researched video would be really cool, I'd love to feel like I actually understand Bioshock, instead of just feeling like I appreciate the fact that I know there's something there to understand.

And yeah, when I just checked the lectures, which are titled Joseph Campbell: Mythos, were the second thing to come up. And they're available for streaming, so you wouldn't even have to wait for a DVD. When I watched them I couldn't stop, they're all packed with so many interesting ideas that they're impossible not to be drawn in to. Campbell's an excellent lecturer, and ten hours worth of lectures explaining his ideas still hardly seems like enough time.

Awesome. I might even be able to persuade a teacher to show some of it to the class. I'm actually majoring in game design with a minor in writing so...yeah. It's pretty relevant. I'll certainly tackle Bioshock at some point, though I need to beat it all the way first.

Binnsyboy:

Overusedname:
snip

I may have to look into getting that HD rerelease bundle. You make the games sound very interesting.

I love convincing people to try underrated titles. :3 Glad to hear it.

Coolshark:

Link seems like he equates to the 'hero' in a typical sense, but does Samus? She doesn't seem to fit the mold since she starts out as a badass and only changes so much, and doesn't have a mentor in anything besides Other M, which I think we all now consider to be non-cannon.

Well, she still certainly seems to represents a heroic ideal. Are most works subconsciously based on these kinds of tropes? Or is it intentional? It's interesting to think about that creative process.

I agree with Rob's response, though I can see why some would consider growth into the role to be a key part of a hero's development. In a way, Samus does obtain new powers, weapons and skills with each game, so she does grow stronger. But yes, she's a very independent heroine for the most part. But like Rob said, she still fits a 'selfless, brave and heroic' ideal.

I also enjoyed the Zelda review, but I find it interesting how fast you got better at this. Not that the Zelda stuff is BAD, but I can tell you made use of your experiance in the Minecraft and Metroid videos. Very cool.

False Nobility:
I also enjoyed the Zelda review, but I find it interesting how fast you got better at this. Not that the Zelda stuff is BAD, but I can tell you made use of your experiance in the Minecraft and Metroid videos. Very cool.

Good to now I'm getting better, then. Thank you again. :)

Overusedname:

I agree with Rob's response, though I can see why some would consider growth into the role to be a key part of a hero's development. In a way, Samus does obtain new powers, weapons and skills with each game, so she does grow stronger. But yes, she's a very independent heroine for the most part. But like Rob said, she still fits a 'selfless, brave and heroic' ideal.

In the whole 'Hero of a thousand faces' archetype, is the hero typical an ideal or an everyman?

I guess you're suggesting it's the former, which makes sense. One of the big inspirations of the hero archetype is likely Jesus, and he was portrayed as rather flawless by all account.

Heroism is akin to godliness, or at least it's trying to be. That's the vibe I get from a lot of stories.

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