Non-Violent Game Idea: Puppies in Hell

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You know, Extra Credits did an episode on the idea of non-combat games.
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/non-combat-gaming

And I believe this is an example of how any game idea, no matter how bad sounding it is, can be made into a good game with enough effort. (ok, the game hasn't been made) I'm pretty sure that if it were an average person like me giving this proposal and not a famous internet comedian like Yahtzee, there would be more people criticizing this idea.

It's like that game from that bad series The Escapist quietly killed, Game Dogs or whatever, except it's good.
I was going to say I think it should be 3D so you can angle the puppy throws like grenades, because I keep forgetting you can have a 2D game on a 3D console, or even put it on the PC and use a mouse. Still, 3D could allow for more exploration and should allow for more challenge, for example being surrounded on all sides instead of just in front and behind, although some of the ridiculousness might be harder to swallow, such as the fat one shielding you.
I think the zombie dogs of Resident Evil would've worked just as well as cats-- most people know about painful cat scratches, whereas dogs don't scratch as much or usually have claws as sharp, and have you been bitten by a cat? They may have smaller mouths and teeth but their teeth tend to be sharper and they tend to be longer compared to their bite distance. Going with those claws, of course, also means that it would be nigh-impossible to get something like that off you, so kittens might work better for Yahtzee's idea from that standpoint.

I gotta say, I'd be much more likely to play this game if it involved kittens. Far more adorable in my opinion.

Shjade:

honestdiscussioner:

SilverUchiha:

But cats are more related to demons and evil. Aside from Anubis, I've never really seen dogs used as a force for evil... plus puppy are better for humor in the situation that Yahtzee is describing.
Btw, I'd totally buy this. It sounds amazing.

You've never seen dogs used as a force for evil? Are you kidding me? What guards Hades? A three headed dog! What attacks you in nearly any game where animals attack you? Attack dogs. How are cats related to demons? Dogs and mangy and smelly, whereas cats clean themselves and bury their own poop!

I will admit the game sounds interesting . . it would just be better with cute, fluffy, adorable kitties.

A few things:

1 - Hades isn't evil, therefore guarding it isn't evil. The Elysian Fields are down there, too, y'know.

2 - Attack dogs are trained to do that, and not always for evil purposes. Sometimes you're not supposed to be wherever you are and that's WHY the dogs are attacking you.

3 - How are cats related to demons? Well, aside from the notion of a black cat just crossing your path causing you to be cursed, hard to say.

4 - The idea only works because puppies are generally luffable and non-violent. Kittens, while cute and pettable, have a tendency to claw the crap out of you sooner or later. They're also more fragile, so probably not a good idea to throw them at things. Nothing against cats, I just don't think they'd be as practical a choice for the concept (as if "practical" can be applied to the idea of a game about throwing cute animals at demons to calm them down).

I still disagree. I know of no such instance when normal shaped cats are sent after you, and there are certainly instances of evil dogs being sent after you. The early stages of "The Witcher" has you fighting numerous evil dogs, and the entire embodiment of the sins of the town resides in the form of a dog. That would not have worked with a cat.

1 - Hades isn't evil in classical Greek mythology, but its various interpretations change that up quite a lot, and when they do the dog gets extra nasty.

2. Right, they are trained to tear you limb from limb, and\or drain you of your blood. Try doing that with a cat.

3. That's witches, not demons.

4. They generally don't claw the hell out of you for violence unless threatened. Otherwise it is to climb on you, and it's painful yet adorable . . which should be right up a demon's alley for stopping and cuddling. Puppies on the other hand never seem to shut-up and would get on your nerves, while cats are obliviously playful.

I would absolutely play this game. It sounds both ludicrous and absolutely entertaining.

(Although I have to say, I like cats better. Blehhhh to you, Yahtzee.)

I'd prefer something along the lines of Silicon Valley.

Perhaps a game where you play as a variety of animals confined to a zoo, and you have to utilise separate animals to escape, work through the city and commandeer a ship to escape back to the wild.

gyroc1:
You know, Extra Credits did an episode on the idea of non-combat games.
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/non-combat-gaming

Oh hey, thanks. I didn't know they'd uploaded their old episodes.

I can think of several games that are successful and nonviolent.
The Sims
SimCity
Cooking Mama
Braid
Audiosurf
World of Goo

There are also a bunch of games that violence is there, but only as a secondary thing.
Reccetear
Tropico
Solar

So really, the non-violent game has been done.

But... Picross 3D doesn't involve violence...

honestdiscussioner:

Shjade:

honestdiscussioner:

You've never seen dogs used as a force for evil? Are you kidding me? What guards Hades? A three headed dog! What attacks you in nearly any game where animals attack you? Attack dogs. How are cats related to demons? Dogs and mangy and smelly, whereas cats clean themselves and bury their own poop!

I will admit the game sounds interesting . . it would just be better with cute, fluffy, adorable kitties.

A few things:

1 - Hades isn't evil, therefore guarding it isn't evil. The Elysian Fields are down there, too, y'know.

2 - Attack dogs are trained to do that, and not always for evil purposes. Sometimes you're not supposed to be wherever you are and that's WHY the dogs are attacking you.

3 - How are cats related to demons? Well, aside from the notion of a black cat just crossing your path causing you to be cursed, hard to say.

4 - The idea only works because puppies are generally luffable and non-violent. Kittens, while cute and pettable, have a tendency to claw the crap out of you sooner or later. They're also more fragile, so probably not a good idea to throw them at things. Nothing against cats, I just don't think they'd be as practical a choice for the concept (as if "practical" can be applied to the idea of a game about throwing cute animals at demons to calm them down).

I still disagree. I know of no such instance when normal shaped cats are sent after you, and there are certainly instances of evil dogs being sent after you. The early stages of "The Witcher" has you fighting numerous evil dogs, and the entire embodiment of the sins of the town resides in the form of a dog. That would not have worked with a cat.

1 - Hades isn't evil in classical Greek mythology, but its various interpretations change that up quite a lot, and when they do the dog gets extra nasty.

2. Right, they are trained to tear you limb from limb, and\or drain you of your blood. Try doing that with a cat.

3. That's witches, not demons.

4. They generally don't claw the hell out of you for violence unless threatened. Otherwise it is to climb on you, and it's painful yet adorable . . which should be right up a demon's alley for stopping and cuddling. Puppies on the other hand never seem to shut-up and would get on your nerves, while cats are obliviously playful.

Demon cat monsters were one of the harder enemies in Tomb Raider Anniversary. And don't forget Evil the Cat in Earthworm Jim. Or Catbert from Dilbert.

Also, cats enjoy killing things, and then using them as toys. Not to mention they'll kill something and show it to you as both a trophy and a way to say "I'm better than you because I kill stuff." And they only bury their waste out of fear of predators and a small measure of respect. If your cat hates you, expect a turd at your bedroom door.

As a cat owner, I declare cats to be evil spawns of the underworld. I blame the Egyptians for spoiling them. Their sense of entitlement is genetic now.

Dogs 4 lyfe.

MahouSniper:
I can think of several games that are successful and nonviolent.

I should like to add to this list Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. I guess Tetris and similar puzzle games also count, unless you think blocks slamming down and lines phasing out of existence is violent.

This idea (in my head) literally looks like Plants Vs. Zombies and this level from Earthworm Jim 2:

If this can be made, I don't want Royalties, just A mention in the Credits under "Special Thanks".

OT: A nonviolent videogame would be kind of nice. After playing Bioshock over my holiday (Yay, it's Done!) and killing enough Big Daddies to make me hate myself forever, a nice nonviolent videogame would be kind of cool.

I gotta say, I've gotten really tired of people thinking they're clever by pointing out Christmas' pagan roots. I'm as atheist as the next guy, but by now everyone knows Christmas has ties to paganism and nobody is impressed when you spout it off anymore. I have had more pseudo intellectuals haughtily inform me about Christmas' ironic origins than people who say "Merry Christmas". It's not edgy anymore.

And not to seem overly cynical of Yahtzee this week, but I don't like the game idea either. It's basically just a censored version of a violent game. If you're gonna make a nonviolent video game, don't simply take something that already exists and replace the weapons with puppies. A nonviolent game should actually be based around nonviolent mechanics. When he mentioned he had an idea for a new game, I figured he'd reference Deus Ex Human Revolution's dialogue bosses and expand on that or something.

But being Yahtzee, he can just say "2D platforming shooter with the weapons replaced by four puppies" and thousands will love it when all he's really done is superficially censored violent game.

Entertaining idea, but surely there already are games that feature gratification without resorting violence. Hell entire genres, even. Most good puzzle games are gratifying to play and I don't see many chainsaws in them. You could also say the same about racing games, depending on your perception of what constitutes violence.

EDIT: Also, I just thought of something. While Yahtzee may have spent the whole year warking on about "Shooter Season 2011", this year itself wasn't actually a bad year for non-violence. Think of games like Portal 2 and Batman Arkham City, where all violence is non-lethal, as a result of the enemies all being either robots or simply beaten unconscious, respectively. Then you have games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which placed heavy focus on dialogue boss battles, and also made it possible to go through the whole game and only kill 4 people. Come to think of it, the most violent game I personally played this year would have been LA Noire, where you spend about 70% of the time very non-violently solving crimes.

Windu23:

honestdiscussioner:

Shjade:

A few things:

1 - Hades isn't evil, therefore guarding it isn't evil. The Elysian Fields are down there, too, y'know.

2 - Attack dogs are trained to do that, and not always for evil purposes. Sometimes you're not supposed to be wherever you are and that's WHY the dogs are attacking you.

3 - How are cats related to demons? Well, aside from the notion of a black cat just crossing your path causing you to be cursed, hard to say.

4 - The idea only works because puppies are generally luffable and non-violent. Kittens, while cute and pettable, have a tendency to claw the crap out of you sooner or later. They're also more fragile, so probably not a good idea to throw them at things. Nothing against cats, I just don't think they'd be as practical a choice for the concept (as if "practical" can be applied to the idea of a game about throwing cute animals at demons to calm them down).

I still disagree. I know of no such instance when normal shaped cats are sent after you, and there are certainly instances of evil dogs being sent after you. The early stages of "The Witcher" has you fighting numerous evil dogs, and the entire embodiment of the sins of the town resides in the form of a dog. That would not have worked with a cat.

1 - Hades isn't evil in classical Greek mythology, but its various interpretations change that up quite a lot, and when they do the dog gets extra nasty.

2. Right, they are trained to tear you limb from limb, and\or drain you of your blood. Try doing that with a cat.

3. That's witches, not demons.

4. They generally don't claw the hell out of you for violence unless threatened. Otherwise it is to climb on you, and it's painful yet adorable . . which should be right up a demon's alley for stopping and cuddling. Puppies on the other hand never seem to shut-up and would get on your nerves, while cats are obliviously playful.

Demon cat monsters were one of the harder enemies in Tomb Raider Anniversary. And don't forget Evil the Cat in Earthworm Jim. Or Catbert from Dilbert.

Also, cats enjoy killing things, and then using them as toys. Not to mention they'll kill something and show it to you as both a trophy and a way to say "I'm better than you because I kill stuff." And they only bury their waste out of fear of predators and a small measure of respect. If your cat hates you, expect a turd at your bedroom door.

As a cat owner, I declare cats to be evil spawns of the underworld. I blame the Egyptians for spoiling them. Their sense of entitlement is genetic now.

Dogs 4 lyfe.

Oh noes . . a turd in front of your door. If I dog doesn't like you what does it do? Viciously attack you last time I checked. We had to put down our family dog because it attacked my sister, who wasn't trying to be mean at the time.

You're putting a lot of words in their mouths. They did evolve as predators, so it's not difficult to imagine them being happy they made a kill. They're quite useful for rodent infestations. Dogs on the other hand don't have time to be proud, they just maul up whatever they kill even more.

Do I even have to mention the fact that if you own a dog you have to walk around with a bag of poop? That alone should be enough to discount dogs as the superior pet, without having to mention the dog hair covered towels that weren't anywhere near the dog, the crotch sniffing, the insanely loud and annoying barks that bothers not just you by any neighbor that happens to walk by, the smell, the slobber all over you and your clothes, and the fact they almost never leave you alone.

As a former dog owner, I declare calling dogs evil spawns of the underworld an insult to actual evil spawns of the underworld.

Cats rule and dogs drool. Literally . . . would you like to see the stains?

MahouSniper:
I can think of several games that are successful and nonviolent.
The Sims
SimCity
Cooking Mama
Braid
[...]

So really, the non-violent game has been done.

Oh sorry, but Braid has head stomping, boss fights and carnivorous bunnies. It's hidden behind tricky puzzles but it's still violence... Secondary violence (yeah I'm nit-picking here)

And personally, I think there can never be enough non-violent games.

Where can I pre order? Collectors edition preferably!

I really kinda like the thought of "uncorrupting some hellish Eldrich Abomination Demons with wide eyed whimpering adoreble hugging Puppy Dogs. O.o

It's so out of place, yet the premise alone is something that would make mad sales, and lets be honest, how badass is it to get out of hell, with a small pack of four cuddly and fluffy puppys. :3

If we're doing this, we have to do it properly. That means a proper script as well. Personally, I like the idea of the van driver meeting some ex-cop girl who's just been worn down by years in hell and her tagging along for a level or two, maybe helping with a puzzle mechanic by her being able to throw the puppies further and harder. We see her arc progress in the manner of the game's general theme: she warms up to them and, at some point, becomes angry, maybe tries to take one of the puppies to fight her way out. And then we find out what she did - she left her gun in a drawer and her five-year-old kid shot himself, something like that - and he shows total and true remorse. With that, he disappears, having literally moved on. It could happen when our protagonist is at his lowest ebb - perhaps after a supposed-to-lose fight midway through the game - to give him the hope he needs to carry on. Plus, it stops her from being just the standard love interest.

After the end credits, though, we see the van driver going to heaven and looking anxiously around. Eventually, he comes to this house and rings the doorbell. The door opens and the cop looks at the van driver. Her son looks from behind her knees.

"Uh, hey there, li'l fella. Free puppy?"

They walk in and, referencing the end of Return of the King, the door closes, we pan up, and a little notice comes up:

And life went on.

Puppies aren't cute. They are smelly, dirty, stupid little shits. But hey, I guess not all games are for everyone anyway, and this one, if it existed, wouldn't be for me.

Yahtzee. I'm confused. Normally you are so spot on but this just doesn't do you justice. You have simply replaced machine guns, swords, or holy water with puppies. Does that apply if we make angry birds into fluffy pillows and throw them at children having tantrums to make them go to sleep and dream happily? Isn't violence not necessarily the action but the intent of what one is doing? If you intent to put the demons of hell in their place is that not the same violence in the mind as killing them although the outcomes differ? I believe your subconsciousness wouldn't know the difference. Therefore the gratification would still be the same.

Also wouldn't simulation games fall under this category of gratification without violence. Sure you CAN kill your Sims if you want but that isn't the overall goal of the games. I understand you are making the point that none violent gratification should be able to span multiple genres but throwing a puppy is pretty violent my friend.

I just thought of something: why not use a bunch of stereotypically cute animals?
He has a puppy, a kitten, a... ferret... a rabbit... and a pig. They would have different abilities and cause some kind of rock-paper-scissors element. Pigs only work on certain demons and can find items, cats can use acupuncture to knock out demons or change their mood (don't know how that would work). That kind of thing.

Someone please make that game! PLEEEEEAAAAASE!

*puppyeyes*

To me it feels too much of a superficial change. You've taken out the violence, but it's still basically just combat (the focus of 99% of games outside of the Puzzle genre). It's just another step past the removal of blood and dismemberment from the Australian version of L4D2.
Hang on, I just had an idea of my own: what about a mod for L4D2 (or any other zombie game) where your guns are actually antidote-delivery mechanisms and you go around curing all the hordes?

I'm sensing we're going to be getting some "dog messed on the carpet" or "puppy who chewed on your important dress shoes" like analogies in the coming reviews for things that range from mildly annoying to infuriating about games.

Though, point stands about cats. In fact, a cat in hell already exists. Earthworm Jim, anyone?

This cat hate is weird, because my nonviolent game idea is: cats. You're a cat in a regular town, and the game is all the nonviolent parts of the Assassin's Creed series: rooftop races, chases, platforming to find out hidden doodads, etc. Only you're a cat and therefore adorable.

I would buy this game if they went all out with the graphics, really went serious with it, triple A sort of stuff. It wouldn't be lovably ironic otherwise.

"This just illustrates how dogs are so much better than cats."

Maybe as a videogame device. But after being woken up every other day by my neighbor's incessantly barking dog I sure wish they had a cat instead.

Amusing videogame idea tho, funny read.

I could make this game. Migbt take me a year, year and a half, and all I know is Python. Reminds me a bit of Docomodake, and that was awesome.

Even pokemon snap has shooter mechanics - they are harder to avoid than you think.

Most of all, cats don't give a fuck and aren't really that into cuddling with anything that comes running along.
Rendering them pretty useless against demons.

What happens when the demons get you? Is that non-violent?

Why does it have to be non-violent?
I think a really cool game idea that I would like to play through is basically a big AAA style title like BF3, just from the other perspective.

The player character would be a kid (like 10 or 12) in a city somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever, that gets invaded by foreign troops. And you'd have to flee the bombing runs and close quarter combats between regional and foreign troops as well as looters and possibly other organisations such as terrorist groups.
Your objective: Just get out of this hell!

That way you wouldn't be distributing the violence to hopelessly underpowered minions , you'd be the victim.
I think it would make for a much more compelling experience rather than just shooting thousands of similar looking animated meatbags.
All the life threatening action around you and your inability to defend yourself would probably create a Silent Hill style survival horror experience that gives you constant adrenalin rushes and panic attacks ;)

I admit it, I chuckled at this.

That said, the more serious point about the lack of games without violence doesn't hold any real weight, because such things DO exist and in greater numbers that people might realize or give credit to. Driving games, simulations, puzzle games, hidden objects games, farming games, and similar all don't nessicarly involve much in the way of violence and death. Indeed it can be aregued that the games that spearheaded the current social/casual games movement like Farmville are entirely non-violence and based entirely around creation. I also notice that STEAM has a truely shocking number of expansions for this railroad simulator as they are quite prolific every year, and to me that seems to imply plenty of people do nothing with their computers except use them as glorified train sets.

All of his jokes aside, Yahtzee is not the first one to point out the amount of action and violence in video games, and bemoan the lack of anything else. In light of this point I've seen gamers scrabble to find counterpoints other than Tetris without much success, and really it never seemed like a valid point to me and it's taken some time but after a bit of thought I've found a LOT of counter-points that can be made.

Now granted, most gaming IS violent and action-based, but that can be said for entertainment in general. Action and horror being two of the most prolific forms of entertainment out there accross all platforms. What's more if you look at almost any form of media your going to run into the same problem as anylyzing games. I mean your even your Grandmother's mystery novels typically revolve around gruesome crimes and bringing the perpetrator to justice.

I think the problem is that we have too many touchy-feely moralists, mostly on the lefthand side of the political spectrum, that see humanity's violent nature as something to be ashamed of and overcome, totally oblivious to the simple fact that it's the only real reason we've acheived a civilization capable of such introspection. Indeed I think 90% of the problems we face today politically, socially, and societally, exist largely because of large portions of the most advanced civilizations having grown too introspective and entered into a state of semi-vegatative state of social paralysis brought on by denial and hand wringing.

Violence in the media is a non-issue, if anything we hold it back due to being in denial. Violent media itself is a method of expressing these tendencies within a society without destroying it allowing society to survive without it knocking itself down. That said I think we've tried to wean too much violence out of the civilized world, and that enviroment has lead to violent media being treated as far more of an aberration than it actually is.

This is getting a bit further afield than I intended, but the bottom line is that I think there are issues here, just not the issue usually being addressed. Rather than the media, like games, needing to be defended, those who take entirely non-violent attitudes or who have a problem here are the ones who need to be put into the hot seat.

To be honest I think one big problem with the US, UK, and many other nations is that we have created enviroments of such safety that people have grown complacent and forgotten what it means to be human, survive, or what getting to this point entailed. We are self-critical of our own crime rates, but rarely look beyond our back yards to the rest of the world or at the barbarians that are rallying at the gates. To someone who lives in an enviroment where violence is something that usually happens to someone else and is "common" because you see it on the news frequently, attacking things like the media seems reasonable, and honestly that's kind of the problem. I think it's possible to be too safe and complacent, and to someone that naive (yet ironically thinking themselves worldly) you can see why the media is under attack since it's really the only source of violence 99% of the people ever know. Ironically though I think on a fundemental level violent media is attacked by such people because humans need conflict and thrive on it, attacking the violent media is a way of engaging in conflict while still trying to hold to a high principle.

Can't I just have the puppies? I love puppies. Actually, about dogs, I hate waking up with my little pug snuggled up to my leg. Why? Now, put down your pitchforks, all, and allow me to explain. The reason I hate it, is because that means that I now have to get up, leaving my adorable pug, and go to school. It's too damn comfortable for me to want to leave!

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