A Response to A Bit of the Old Up, Up, Down, Down

A Response to A Bit of the Old Up, Up, Down, Down

No Right Answer's Chris Pranger offers a counterpoint to an argument about sex in games.

Read Full Article

Nice piece. I'd agree with most of the points.

But I don't recall a boat in Titanic. That being said I am something of a Winslet fan.

Now that is how you can be derogatory about Anime / Manga without being downright insulting to the whole thing. Previous article writer take note.

I still think even in the Harvest Moon 64 example what this writer found good about it was the sex was not being used to titillate. It was there, but that was just there with no more comment or special treatment than any other part of life. Not sure whether that was an argument for being mature or not though.

Wait Kate Winslet was topless in Titanic?

...

Excuse me.

Redlin5:
Wait Kate Winslet was topless in Titanic?

...

Excuse me.

Exactly this.
And with every other movie that includes a sex scene, normally I won't remember the sex scene after the movie. Except Spartacus, but that thrives on blood and sex so it doesn't count.

The thing is, the narrative you've created is alost entirely self-created. The way we see Shepard talk and react with his companions doesn't show us the relationships. The thought has gone into them, and I can see it;s there, but because all we actually see of the growth between any two people in Mass Effect is, essentially 4 conversations and a loyalty mission, it doesn't feel at all human or natural.

And they are entirely passive, no matter who you are, you can convince any member of the crew (of the right sex) that they are in love with you, even if they're strong upright people and you murder kittens. They don't respond to who you are, or how they see you act in the wider world. They respond to you not saying they look like a hag when they talk to you. If you even care for your crew a tiny bit, you end up with three ladies trying to have sex with you, they are so frickin' passive that you can just say, actually I don't want to have sex with them, I'll have sex the other lady, actually I don't want to have sex with her, I want to have sex with you, and they're fine with it. You can even do this as many times as you like if you feel a bit indecisive.

KotoR 2 was so much superior in every with this. Not everyones motivation was sex, when they got to know you, it was normally that they saw something deeper in side of you, they would respond to who you are, what you did, how much time you spent with them, whether you were a douche to other people. They had interesting personalities to explore as you gradually gained their trust, and you had to work to gain their trust. Because people were more complicated than sex or nothing and because sex wasn't the goal, but often letting you train them to be a Jedi, getting over their deep resentment, and because time was limited you wouldn't really get in the situation of having five people hang off your every whim

In Mass Effect, you remember they exist 4 times and they're yours as you please and the focus is so often on sex over relationship. Even people with whom it doesn't make sense try to get into your pants.

Im an aesthetics man and its because of that I like the look of Catherine. Gameplay and Story are important to me obviously but if a game has no effort in its visuals, music, etc I have no interest. Sex can be a theme like any other subject, the imagery the game digs into really gets me excited and no not THAT sort of excited... although boobies...

On a seperate note, I love me some love sories. Whilst everyone was watching invader Zim and cracking up at how funny Gir was (which he was) I was woundering what a cute couple Zim and Tak would make... even though she was only in one episode... and she hated him for destroying her life... and it absolutely had no place in the story.

I was pretty sure that the box art was responsible for most of the sales for that game. I play games to be told a story. Not for " its just like real life, maan". Which is why I'll spend 8 hours playing TF2 and never consider cod or be multiplayer.

While the audience is a huge factor in the impact of a piece of entertainment, you can't completely absolve the game of any of that. If that's the case, then cinema and books didn't get more refined either as the years rolled on. The big difference with Catherine was that it decided to actively address this topic. If your audience was looking for nothing but sex and titilation, then they'd be horribly bored and disappointed unless they were attracted to sheep. The game is more about the characters and how they handle these sexual themes rather than the sexual themes themselves. That shows a progression in the range of experiences games are looking to tackle. Before this, and your examples exemplify this, we could only have those experiences if they were tangentially tied to something else. We couldn't address sex unless we were fighting sentient machines or running a farm. Games are getting to the point where they don't have to be sprawling epics anymore so they can piggyback a theme. That shows a lot of maturity to me.

Argh wtf man. I just had Mass Effect 2 spoiled for me with no warning.

:(

I was enjoying the article too...

Spud of Doom:
Argh wtf man. I just had Mass Effect 2 spoiled for me with no warning.

:(

I was enjoying the article too...

How is "An even greater example comes straight from Mass Effect. To explain this I'm going to have to get into some spoilers, so skip ahead if you don't want to know some minor plot points." no warning?

Spud of Doom:
Argh wtf man. I just had Mass Effect 2 spoiled for me with no warning.

:(

I was enjoying the article too...

In fairness the games been out for over a year now i think so really its fine to talk about it to talk about it. That and spoilers were warned. Also you care about the game and havent played it. Its great man you really should.

Chris Pranger:
A thirteen-year-old can choose to remember Titanic as that one movie where we see Kate Winslet topless, or they can decide to remember it had a boat in it somewhere. I remember the boat. How about you?

Pssh. Even as a mature gamer, I'm perfectly capable of remembering both. I laugh with an immature glee at bringing Leliana and Zevran to an invitation in my female Warden's bed with a pirate captain, which makes the perverted dwarf at my side faint from such immediate blood-rushing. I feel the meaningful relationship between my male Warden and Morrigan, making the commitment to follow her through the mirror, loving her after all that's happened, and knowing that no matter where she goes, he'd go with her.

Yes, maturity is up to the gamer, great point. Doesn't mean the developers can't guide it down certain paths. Chrono and Marle had a few moments that were more poignant in their 16 bit glory than Dom and whatsherface had in Gears. While the mechanics of the game weren't exactly well-honed, the relationship that builds between Monkey and Trip in Enslaved was, at least on-screen, sexless, but there was evidently so much more emotion to it that you have to realize such things would happen. Think one of the endings of Heavy Rain--you can QTE a quick sexytimes, and end up as a happy family. Or, you can blunder it, and let that awkward moment be the end of their relationship, as it was, and help the ending be different. These decisions on the part of the developer made a game infinitely more emotional and mature than, let's say Fable, where all it takes to find the love of your life is to impress them with your flatulent prowess, or surprise them by tickling them. It's up to the gamer, but there's plenty of ways to guide a decision.

Does Mr Pranger know that the game programmers and designers are not in charge of the box art?

"...but that very argument is undermined by the game's cover. When a mature gamer looks at the cover, they probably see what McLauchlan hopes we see: A game that celebrates temptation and features a character in tune with her sexuality. What many other gamers see is far different: Hey look, some cleavage on a Fapanese character.

...I see the cover and roll my eyes, seeing yet another manic pixie girl, albeit an anime manic pixie girl, tempting me and every lifelong nerd to get a look at her pantsu."

I understand that he has played Mass Effect (because he described his experiences in detail), but has he PLAYED 'Catherine'? I don't remember him saying anything about how sex affected the gameplay or storyline. How can a person argue AGAINST a point if they haven't actually played the game that the point was based on?

(oh, and 'No Right Answer' needs an impartial judge - in my humble opinion)

Great article. There was something missing from the original "A Bit of the Old Up, Up, Down, Down", but I couldn't quite place what it was. Thanks for providing another perspective, one that definitely fits in better with my experience of playing the games.

Susan Arendt:

Spud of Doom:
Argh wtf man. I just had Mass Effect 2 spoiled for me with no warning.

:(

I was enjoying the article too...

How is "An even greater example comes straight from Mass Effect. To explain this I'm going to have to get into some spoilers, so skip ahead if you don't want to know some minor plot points." no warning?

I think Spud may be saying that he was ready for Mass Effect spoilers, but not spoilers for Mass Effect 2.

I'm not saying his complaint is valid, but it's not unbelievable.

UNHchabo:
I think Spud may be saying that he was ready for Mass Effect spoilers, but not spoilers for Mass Effect 2.

I'm not saying his complaint is valid, but it's not unbelievable.

Yeah, I didn't realise the second game was going to be talked about. I'm actually really glad I *didn't* "skip ahead if I don't want to know some minor plot points" because at a quick skim, it looks like the entire second half of the article is about the Mass Effect series.

The reason I haven't played it yet is because I have to live off about $200 a week including all my rent and food. This makes it pretty difficult to buy games, and because of this I think the last time I bought a game that was less than one year old was in about 2009.

BrotherRool:
The thing is, the narrative you've created is alost entirely self-created.

This. Mass Effect 2 has basically nothing in terms of romance subplots. 3-4 conversations (with few exceptions boiling down to "u hawt. Lets fcuk.") and a 15 minute cutscene with no consequences for the rest of the game. Compare it to something like Dragon Age: Origins, Sands of Time, Witcher 2, or Catherine where the "romance" element actually has an impact on part of the plot.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here