Stealing From the Next Generation

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Stealing From the Next Generation

Geeks grow up, but that doesn't mean the things they love should.

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I agree wholeheartedly.

I'm tired of this relentless march towards grit and gray, it's just too much. Sometimes, you just need something light and childish. There is no shame.

For example, the new A-team movie. I can already see a problem, and I haven't seen the film. People die.

Now, I didn't watch the A-team as a kid, I thought it was pretty silly, and I was already onto much harder stuff (I watched The Terminator when I was 5, for gods sake), but one of the central motifs of the whole thing is that they never kill anyone. It's almost a cartoon, it's for kids.

But with this new version, they've made it dark, gritty, and to be honest, it looks boring. Even with Liam Neeson there.

So yeah, let's try and keep our childhoods alive just a little longer.

Wallet chains were cool at one point?

REALLY?

I just can't believe such a thing.

Scooby and Shaggy were always strung out on meth. And the new Battlestar (which is what I assume you're referencing) is only about 10,000 times better than the original. Not joking.

In all seriousness, you have a legit point. Trying to rework things that were inherently childish into adult concepts is going, oh how to put this gently, blow. So I agree, to a point. I just want you (and less you because I assume you know this) and everyone else to recognize 2 things:

1) Aiming a story at children is going to restrict your art. Are Wall-E and Up good films? Fuck yes, I loved them. Will they ever have as much brilliance and meaning oh what are my top 3 adult films, say Godfather, Blade Runner or A Clockwork Orange? No, never. Not their fault, but simply aiming it at a younger audience means you have to sacrifice some artistic merit. Want an example from the same director? Look at the difference in quality between Ponyo and Princess Mononoke. (And I liked Ponyo before I hear it).

2) You have to recognize what are already kind of adult themes. People assume that comics are inherently for kids, and that's not ENTIRELY wrong. But it's not entirely correct either. Batman, for example, is not an inherently childish concept. It is, when you strip away a lot of our assumptions, about a 10 year old kid who watches his parents die and, again boiling away a lot of stuff, goes completely off the wall crazy, dresses up like a Bat and starts punching criminals. Is it silly? Yes. Are there already adult concepts and stories working their way in? Oh yes.

Just some food for thought.

Young childhood was fun and awesome and I hope the young kids today can enjoy the same experiences... especially SO THAT THEY STAY AWAY FROM THE MATURE GAMES ONLINE.

Agreed. I'm greatly looking forward to the new mario for some unabashedly childlike fun.
Too many gamers are desperate for their hobby to be taken seriously, and this ironically makes it seem more juvenile when every game they play has some macho no-personality meathead and no plot, because it's for sissies. It's getting very tiring.

I have to say that the trend to "more mature" content is not so fully controlled by fandom. Do we (the fans) want the gritty and gray? Perhaps. But it has much more to do with a bottom line...say Superman with his super-dog. Do you really think that non-fans, say people who casually remember Superman or are just going to see a film would be as open with their wallets about the Superman plus superdog film? Lets face it, as loud as fans are, we have very little say over the content of our entertainment. Look at Firefly, still cancelled, all the on-line petitions...etc...etc... We are the vocal minority, and media companies know this.

The fact is there is more money in a grown-up film. Even Avatar while being PG-13 is hardly soft and cuddly.

As for Batman, there is an entire generation of fan out there now who grew up with the "Dark Knight" and not the "Caped Crusader". I was 2 when it was released in 86. Apart from the occasional re-run of the camp 60's version on a Sunday morning, he's all I've ever known...and well if they tried to return Batman to his less "Dark" Knight I think it'd be an affront to my childhood. What I'm saying here is that just because something isn't aimed for children doesn't mean its not part of their childhood.

Can't really say I disagree with any of this...although I did find that opening bit hilarious once I figured out what it was leading to.

Elesar:
1) Aiming a story at children is going to restrict your art. Are Wall-E and Up good films? Fuck yes, I loved them. Will they ever have as much brilliance and meaning oh what are my top 3 adult films, say Godfather, Blade Runner or A Clockwork Orange? No, never.

Why not?

If only we could go back to the old day. But it seems this is how they want things to move in terms of direction

I hope Darkwing Duck never trades his Gas Gun for a glock.

As someone who recently named his new laptop "Thunderquack" (I inherited the money for it from my grandma, and she liked ducks, so I figured it should at least be vaguely duck-related...), I wholeheartedly agree with this. It can be interesting or funny to see a more mature take on something like that (or, very rarely, a grown up/adult perspective on it (e.g. Superman: Secret Identity, or really most Kurt Busiek stuff like Astro City) instead of the angsty teen version of mature), but not at the expense of losing the original entirely.

Furburt:
I agree wholeheartedly.

I'm tired of this relentless march towards grit and gray, it's just too much. Sometimes, you just need something light and childish. There is no shame.

For example, the new A-team movie. I can already see a problem, and I haven't seen the film. People die.

Now, I didn't watch the A-team as a kid, I thought it was pretty silly, and I was already onto much harder stuff (I watched The Terminator when I was 5, for gods sake), but one of the central motifs of the whole thing is that they never kill anyone. It's almost a cartoon, it's for kids.

But with this new version, they've made it dark, gritty, and to be honest, it looks boring. Even with Liam Neeson there.

So yeah, let's try and keep our childhoods alive just a little longer.

I actually did watch a few A-Team episodes with my dad when I was younger. It was amazing!
It was lighthearted, fun, and just a blast.

I too am sick of this march towards "mature, serious, and hardcore."

I don't mind that these things exist, but do they really have to take my childhood with them? Why can't things be fun and lighthearted? Why can't thing be colorful? Why can't things be silly and funny?

Hell, I'm replaying Maximo right now, and its a blast. The story is about, well its about an evil king who can bring souls back from the dead and tricks a princess into marrying him by making her think her love, Maximo, is dead. Well Maximo charges the palace, and gets killed. But death offers him a proposition, stop the king from stealing his souls, and Maximo can continue to live.

And yet, the game just looks cartoony. Hell, when you have one health bar left, all you wear is heart covered boxers for Christ's sake!

And yet the game is more challenging, more fun, and far more rewarding than most games out right now.

Its a shame really.

Bob, you are so bang on it's not even funny. My wife and one of her best friends were watching me play Mario Galaxy 2 the other night, and she said "Isn't this game for kids?" Hell no, it's for everyone. Just because the goombas don't explode in a shower of blood when you stomp on them doesn't mean it's intended solely for children. People have forgotten that Nintendo cut their teeth on bitch slapping us when we were kids with insane platforming challenges. This game is hard when you start getting to the comet stars and optional challenges. Same thing with New Super Mario Bros. Wii and World 9. I'd like to meet the 8 year old that could get all 120 stars without breaking their controller in frustration.

It saddens me what is counted as maturity.

The funny thing about "mature" content is that it's almost always aimed at a 14 year olds vision of what's mature, making it so there's now two definitions of "mature"

Mature themes are things that can be thought about and discussed, stuff that can have more than one question and more than one answer, and can be talked about between friends and family, all of whom will have a different view on what it means and how much it matters. (for example, the theme of growing old in Up)

Mature content is as shallow and pandering as possible, containing nothing more thought provoking than, "Damn, that's so cool!" or, "Damn, that's hardcore!" and never seeking to be anything more than that. (this is roughly 90% of games right now, and if you don't believe me, try striking up a conversation on the thematic elements of Gears of War)

Fortunately, quality will always find a way to survive, and I have no doubt in my mind that stuff like Shadow of the Colossus or Super Mario Galaxy will have much longer lives than those of Halo and Killzone.

I think the greatest tragedy is that these things aren't becoming more mature but paradoxically more juvenile. The medium and the content should grow up with its audience but not in such a shallow way.

Holy Shit... This is one of the best pieces I have read on The Escapist. Bob I think you are spot on... Although if you want to see a mature version of Mario, we here at The Escapist have something called "There Will Be Brawl"

I have seen things change over the last 30 years, seen comic book stores become the hang-out place for the 20 - 40 somethings and not filled with teenagers and kids. While I like not hearing a bunch of kids high-pitched voices, I do wonder where the medium will be in 20 or so more years. Will it even exist, as the people who are creating these stories are doing so for people in their age brackets, they are not luring the younger youth they way they once did. Although some of that could just be due to the fact that kids are more interested in TV and Video Games.

I wouldn't personally mind seeing the Pokemon game you mentioned, but I wouldn't want the franchise to go that direction. Maybe a re-imagining like they did with the Batman movies. The fact is what got people hooked into these worlds were the light-hearted fun elements and not the dark grit.

look bob, I can see where you are coming from, I grew up with pokemon and WOULD like to see a game like that because the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you were talking about happened to the series.
Before, it was marketed to all ages, keeping a kid friendly style while slipping in jokes for the adult audience and once in a while a serious life dilema, it started to move towards a younger crowd, the pokemon became more like stuffed plushies than actual animals, the more sophisticated jokes feel away for stupid slapstick comedy, and suddenly nobody could take it seriously anymore.
Imagine if they remade district 9 but threw out all of the seriousness, if nearly killing aliens that now have shiny bug like puppy eyes was laughed off by everybody in the movie, because nobody, humans or aliens actually die. Imagine if the alien guns, instead of making people explode, just give them a light shock while a fake valentines heart appears in the chest beating, and afterwards they are only slightly singed. you would really hate and slam that movie while crying about what they've done.

Onyx Oblivion:
Wallet chains were cool at one point?

REALLY?

I just can't believe such a thing.

Hey! I've still got a wallet chain. Okay, okay, fine, I have had the same wallet since I was 14, but at least I know where my keys are. Right? Right?

*crickets*

Yeah, I know, I really need to get a new wallet.

Elesar:
Scooby and Shaggy were always strung out on meth.

It was pot, not meth. Meth doesn't give you the munchies like they had. Meth doesn't make you decorate your van like a hippies. Shaggy and Scooby were potheads.

I think Bob makes some excelent points. It reminds me of my favorite show: Avatar The Last Airbender (in which M. Night Syamalan is making a movie of releasing this July.) The show has some of the best animation I've ever seen, whether it be on Nickelodeon or just American Cartoons in general. All the action is based on real forms of chinese martial arts. Also I can't think of another show that has an even number of female fighters as there is male fighters. They are very beautiful, incredably talented, and they don't have to be complete skanks like so many anime women.

Anyway, I've been trying to convince a lot of my friends in college to watch it so they can get an idea of what the movie will be like. All my lady friends totally are into it, but I have a couple guy friends who will watch it and say "Dude, this show has some great themes, awesome animation, and the fighting with elements is cool. I just wish it were more mature. How come every time someone fights and loses, they just get sent to prison, or banished, and then when someone actually dies, it's something lame like falling off a cliff, or it's off screen."

Now to an extent, I can sort of see where he's comming from. But making Avatar look like every other violent anime out there would take away from the true heart of the show. Avatar is suppose to appeal to both genders of all ages. Not just hardcore mid-20 guys.

Onyx Oblivion:
Wallet chains were cool at one point?

REALLY?

No, he just thought they were.

Wow, nail on the head... But, I shouldn't be too surprised, it was like reading an episode of The Game Overthinker (which for anyone who isn't familiar, Bob does on Screwattack, and youtube).

Elesar:

1) Aiming a story at children is going to restrict your art. Are Wall-E and Up good films? Fuck yes, I loved them. Will they ever have as much brilliance and meaning oh what are my top 3 adult films, say Godfather, Blade Runner or A Clockwork Orange? No, never. Not their fault, but simply aiming it at a younger audience means you have to sacrifice some artistic merit. Want an example from the same director? Look at the difference in quality between Ponyo and Princess Mononoke. (And I liked Ponyo before I hear it).

Here's the thing with that, hardcore/mature/gritty also tend to restrict that art as well. More so, in some cases (read Bob's Robin in the next Batman movie argument). Most of the time, the art is aimed at the 13 year old mentality. It is simply made that way to keep younger children out, making it seem more 'adult' and less childish. The plot is often simple, but that's okay because it is HARDCORE. Even the movies you mention could easily have the violence toned down (with the exception of A Clockwork Orange because that was the point) and still hold up because the gritty elements were only a small part of what made those films great.

SatansBestBuddy:
The funny thing about "mature" content is that it's almost always aimed at a 14 year olds vision of what's mature, making it so there's now two definitions of "mature"

Mature themes are things that can be thought about and discussed, stuff that can have more than one question and more than one answer, and can be talked about between friends and family, all of whom will have a different view on what it means and how much it matters. (for example, the theme of growing old in Up)

Mature content is as shallow and pandering as possible, containing nothing more thought provoking than, "Damn, that's so cool!" or, "Damn, that's hardcore!" and never seeking to be anything more than that. (this is roughly 90% of games right now, and if you don't believe me, try striking up a conversation on the thematic elements of Gears of War)

Fortunately, quality will always find a way to survive, and I have no doubt in my mind that stuff like Shadow of the Colossus or Super Mario Galaxy will have much longer lives than those of Halo and Killzone.

I agree with you SatansBestBuddy. I have long since moved past the need for my geek enjoyment to be mature so I can enjoy it. At the end of the novel A Clockwork Orange, like Alex, I'm somewhat bored by the ultra-violence and this constant need to make things hardcore. I believe it is this arrested development that is part of the reason that keeps video games considered equal to film in our culture.

You know their is a reason why alot of companies are trying to make things more "mature" and why some people want more mature versions of things they grew up with. Its because people grow up and are nolonger entertained by the same things so the companies are trying to get those audiences back. When the A-team first came out that sort of humor and non violence was acceptable and people enjoyed it. However in todays society most people want blood and violence so inorder to actually make money they will cater to those people. As people grow older their tastes change but due to nostalgia they want their old favourite shows to change aswell so they can continue watching them.

NeutralDrow:
Can't really say I disagree with any of this...although I did find that opening bit hilarious once I figured out what it was leading to.

Elesar:
1) Aiming a story at children is going to restrict your art. Are Wall-E and Up good films? Fuck yes, I loved them. Will they ever have as much brilliance and meaning oh what are my top 3 adult films, say Godfather, Blade Runner or A Clockwork Orange? No, never.

Why not?

I think that should be fairly obvious. On one side you have lighthearted childrens movies and on the other side you have movies meant for adults along that explore that darker and more psychological side of things. With childerns movies it will amost always have a happy ending, the main characters always gets the girl and nobody good dies. Now when your working with all that it kind of limits what you can actually do with a movie. Adult movies though like godfather and clockwork orange dont have those limitations and can work with deepers undertones and themes.

If you cant see why a childrens movie wont ever be as brilliant of meaningfull as clockwork orange then well I kind of feel sorry for you, unless of course you are still fairly young.

Bob always tells some kickass stories.
Very nice, Bob. I see several nods to some of your Overthinker videos. You should've brought up how these days the term "hardcore" revolvs around that series of superficial marketing ideas rather than the quality of the content.
It's a shame to see 30 something year olds complaining in some forum about how Super Mario Galaxy 2 looks so "infantile", so therefore by association, crappy.
I grew up with Pokemon, and while I don't really care much for it right now, I wouldn't want it to change into what you described at the beginning of this column. Personally, I conisder myself a geek and a kid at heart and I like it. That's why I'm 18 and I still keep an open mind to things not directly intended for people my age (like a animated movie or cartoon on TV that isn't anime or on Adult Swim) and take a liking to it.
BTW, that evil Pikachu will be keeping me up at night.

This is why I'm a big fan, Bob.

That monster Pikacu will haunt my dreams for years. Thank you Movie Bob!

666Chaos:
You know their is a reason why alot of companies are trying to make things more "mature" and why some people want more mature versions of things they grew up with. Its because people grow up and are nolonger entertained by the same things so the companies are trying to get those audiences back. When the A-team first came out that sort of humor and non violence was acceptable and people enjoyed it. However in todays society most people want blood and violence so inorder to actually make money they will cater to those people. As people grow older their tastes change but due to nostalgia they want their old favourite shows to change aswell so they can continue watching them.

NeutralDrow:
Can't really say I disagree with any of this...although I did find that opening bit hilarious once I figured out what it was leading to.

Elesar:
1) Aiming a story at children is going to restrict your art. Are Wall-E and Up good films? Fuck yes, I loved them. Will they ever have as much brilliance and meaning oh what are my top 3 adult films, say Godfather, Blade Runner or A Clockwork Orange? No, never.

Why not?

I think that should be fairly obvious. On one side you have lighthearted childrens movies and on the other side you have movies meant for adults along that explore that darker and more psychological side of things. With childerns movies it will amost always have a happy ending, the main characters always gets the girl and nobody good dies. Now when your working with all that it kind of limits what you can actually do with a movie. Adult movies though like godfather and clockwork orange dont have those limitations and can work with deepers undertones and themes.

If you cant see why a childrens movie wont ever be as brilliant of meaningfull as clockwork orange then well I kind of feel sorry for you, unless of course you are still fairly young.

*cough* Watership Down. Eh? Prime example of a serious children's film. Anyway, he wasn't saying that children's films can't explore darker or deeper things, he was talking about us as adults expecting the things -we- liked as children to be brought more in line with our tastes as adults, which...is debatable as to whether it works, as a number of people have pointed out, mature often seems to end up as puerile rather than truly mature.

Although, I don't think that media originally aimed at children is somehow sacrosanct either, or that we're 'stealing' anything. As long as the execution is done well, what's the problem, the companies are still going to make games for kids, and games for adults, and games for adults that were once games for kids and back again.

My opinion on this subject is that the developers should, just for once, cater to the older generations and made a more mature pokémon. With a darker tone and a darker story. With a few more scarier and "hardcore" pokémon. I'm not saying to go overboard like your example. Just, age it up to 16 instead of 12.

Here's the thing with that, hardcore/mature/gritty also tend to restrict that art as well. More so, in some cases (read Bob's Robin in the next Batman movie argument). Most of the time, the art is aimed at the 13 year old mentality. It is simply made that way to keep younger children out, making it seem more 'adult' and less childish. The plot is often simple, but that's okay because it is HARDCORE. Even the movies you mention could easily have the violence toned down (with the exception of A Clockwork Orange because that was the point) and still hold up because the gritty elements were only a small part of what made those films great.[/quote]

Ummm, not as much as you think. Feeling that you have to be HARDCORE means that you're just not a good storyteller, so it generally means I'm going to ignore you. There is a difference between Mature and HARDCORE, and I want to make that clear. Simply put, Heavy Rain was mature, Gears of War was HARDCORE. Or, to use the medium on display here, No Country For Old Men is mature, S.W.A.T. is HARDCORE! You understand the difference. If you're being HARDCORE for no other reason than you want to appeal to 13 year old boys, then you're an idiot and I don't want to have anything to do with you.

And frankly no, all of my examples NEED to be violent and mature. The Godfather could have toned down the violence, but it would have killed most of it's effect. It's a mob story...where no one gets killed and it's not bloody? What mob are you thinking of? It would have killed the realism.

And as for Blade Runner, do you think the scenes in which the androids were executed would have been NEARLY as effective if they hadn't been bloody and disturbing.

Again, I agree with Bob and I'm not saying every intelligent story has to be dark and bloody and impossible to take your kids to. But I am saying the conscious decision to make kids your primary audience is going to limit the stories you can tell and how you can tell them. Doesn't mean your movie is going to end up being Apocalypse Now.

I do and don't agree with you. I think things should grow and change or else the will stagnate. However, that is different from becoming grim and gritty, you can make a game more serious and more mature is ways that are far less juvenile than what is normally employed.

But the second part of the problem is that as the properties you enjoyed grow up, new ones need to step into the void. In the world of video games I have not seen any interesting new licenses being marketed to kids now that so many games from the 8 and 16 bit eras have become T and M ratted. I tried to buy a game for my younger cousin for the Wii (the console supposedly for kids and old people) and the only game I could find for him was Super Mario Galaxy (although his parents are a little strict). Back in the NES era games that weren't appropriate for kids me were the exception, now they are the norm and kids only tend to get the dregs of the development teams.

I use "Hardcore" as a sarcastic term. It fits quite well.

pigmy wurm:
I do and don't agree with you. I think things should grow and change or else the will stagnate. However, that is different from becoming grim and gritty, you can make a game more serious and more mature is ways that are far less juvenile than what is normally employed.

But the second part of the problem is that as the properties you enjoyed grow up, new ones need to step into the void. In the world of video games I have not seen any interesting new licenses being marketed to kids now that so many games from the 8 and 16 bit eras have become T and M ratted. I tried to buy a game for my younger cousin for the Wii (the console supposedly for kids and old people) and the only game I could find for him was Super Mario Galaxy (although his parents are a little strict). Back in the NES era games that weren't appropriate for kids me were the exception, now they are the norm and kids only tend to get the dregs of the development teams.

It is possible, only positing here, but, that if people are so enamoured with the old properties that then the companies see no need to put out new franchises. I suppose, the executives think, hey, people are still buying Super Mario Super Awesome Backpacking Adventure XVI in droves. If it ain't broke why fix?

It's like an evil mobius strip.

GothmogII:

*cough* Watership Down. Eh? Prime example of a serious children's film. Anyway, he wasn't saying that children's films can't explore darker or deeper things, he was talking about us as adults expecting the things -we- liked as children to be brought more in line with our tastes as adults, which...is debatable as to whether it works, as a number of people have pointed out, mature often seems to end up as puerile rather than truly mature.

Although, I don't think that media originally aimed at children is somehow sacrosanct either, or that we're 'stealing' anything. As long as the execution is done well, what's the problem, the companies are still going to make games for kids, and games for adults, and games for adults that were once games for kids and back again.

From what you said im not sure if you even read the quote i was replying to with that. If you read what the top part of my post you would see that i was saying something along the same idea as to what you just did. The problem arises when people want games they played as a kid to be more mature then when it comes out they complain that the company ruined it but in fact is it was always crap and something only the mind of a child could enjoy. Their are plenty of things people liked as a kid that they hate when they are older for many reasons and making a more mature version the game is still terrible. Kind of like pokemon, the idea itself is so stupid but children still enjoy it and the very idea of a mature version is just so rediculous.

It is possible, only positing here, but, that if people are so enamoured with the old properties that then the companies see no need to put out new franchises. I suppose, the executives think, hey, people are still buying Super Mario Super Awesome Backpacking Adventure XVI in droves. If it ain't broke why fix?

It's like an evil mobius strip.

Really that arguement is two sided aswell. When the companies see the age their games audience rising they will try and adapt the game to those same people since its more likely that they will but the game then new younger generations.

I am so sick of being told about "maturity". I'm 21 years old and I have to pay for my car, my school, rent, etc. My life forces a bunch of maturity on my shoulders and personally? I think it sucks. Its all responsibility and caution and discretion. Screw that.

I want to wake up at 6AM and watch cartoons while eating Captain Crunch. I want to sleep till 3PM cause I have nowhere to be. I want to spend a few nights a week pretending to be a Knight, or a Time-Travelling Super Solider, or a writer in the Northwest solving a mystery. I want spend 1 night a week rolling dice and laughing, groaning and sweating over the results!

Life has plenty of "maturity" waiting for me that I can't avoid. Shooting aliens till their guts spill out has nothing to do with maturity and everything to do with immaturity, which is what I'm after most of the time anyway. Rape, abortion and racism might be interesting, difficult or important topics, and they have a place in any art medium, but they aren't what I want most of the time.

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