When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

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When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

Yahtzee wants to collectively tell everyone to get off of his lawn.

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Dear EA, how do you make games with boxing gloves on?

(I had to)

Anyway, that was actually pretty interesting.

It's okay, Yahtzee, it isn't just you. The new Twisted Metal really is incoherent in its tone. Carmageddon, on the other hand, started off with the pedestrians going something like, "Those of us who are about to die, we salute you!" Hilarious!

mariofan1000:
Dear EA, how do you make games with boxing gloves on?

(I had to)

Anyway, that was actually pretty interesting.

They weight the gloves with sand, then punch developers until they agree to make dreck.

And that was good, if a little rambling; good tone is what turns entertainment into art, whatever the format. I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

As someone older than Yahtzee - by a whole half-decade, the horror! - I have one piece of wisdom for the masses: Maturity is a texture, not a number. I've been mistaken for 40 and 15 in the same week in different situations. In some ways I'm very mature and in some I'm still not out of high school, much to my embarrassment. The trick is to try improve the spots where being 15 is a bad thing.

And yeah, the biggest market for over-the-top gory not-for-kids stuff will always be kids. It's the draw of the forbidden overcoming any desire for quality.


Thunderous Cacophony:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

It's that thing indigenous Australians play, isn't it? :)

They already have a term that combines dark and edgy, they call it grimdark, its opposite is noblebright.

Why do you link to wiktionary for 'eff and blind'? Half your audience will get what you mean, the other half will work it out by inference, and any stragglers are grown up enough to use google themselves, aren't they?

As for the rest of the article, I remember being twelve and thinking Conker's Bad Fur Day was hilarious because 'it's like Mario but they say "shit"', and... and actually I still think it's pretty funny.

But I think there's certainly a tendency for games (and films, and novels) who want to *appear* to be grown up, to throw in some swearing, violence and sex and think that's all there is to it, when of course true maturity is in the handling of the issues, not just their presence. Adults can make that distinction, but kids aren't often quite so discerning. The irony is, of course, that the attempts to be 'mature' drive away adults, and attract more kids. **cough**MW3**cough**

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Becoming Old Ruins Gratuitous Gaming Violence

Yahtzee wants to collectively tell everyone to get off of his lawn.

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When I was a kid, I wanted desperately to be a grown-up so that I could eat candy for dinner if I so chose. Now, as an adult, I've tried it a few times. Not only did it raise my dental premiums, it just wasn't very good. Knowledge destroys magic, and now that I know what eating candy for dinner is like, the magic is gone.

I think a big issue is that we (as grown-up gamers) are unclear about who developers are making these games for. Are they making them for grown-up gamers, actually trying to create mature titles? Or are they creating that pseudo-mature crap that sells to teenagers and young college kids with disposable income? (Or are they trying to please both?)

When we were teens, we were their target audience... so we really want to believe we still are, I think. But there's a generation coming in behind us that grew up neck-deep in gaming, where we were maybe only waist-deep. We may have aged out of the target demographic for a lot of this stuff... and neither we nor the developers have realized it.

Or maybe too many developers are making games for their "teenage selves." The games they swore they'd make back when they decided in middle school they were going to make video games.

Either way, it seems no one is really clear on what the target age group for a lot of these games is anymore. Thus the wildly inconsistent tone.

EvilPicnic:
Why do you link to wiktionary for 'eff and blind'? Half your audience will get what you mean, the other half will work it out by inference, and any stragglers are grown up enough to use google themselves, aren't they?

convenience is always nice, innit?

I haven't played the new Twisted Metal, but I completely get what Yahtzee is talking about here: I like to call the kind that enjoys itself "dark and edgy," and the kind that he's complaining about "dark and depressing," but it's ultimately the same thing. This is why I absolutely couldn't stand the new Battlestar Galactica, but love the similarly death and darkness filled Zeta Gundam; the former is dark and depressing, the latter is dark and edgy. The former is terrible people doing terrible things and hating themselves. The latter is good people doing terrible things for a good cause, and never losing sight of what that cause is. It's an important distinction.

Age is just a state of mind.

Don't worry Yahtzee, it's only a phase. I turned thirty last year and I'm reading Bukowski now laughing out loud.

You kind of accept the darkness in yourself and everyone. Though I can't imagine your video's any bleaker ;)

EvilPicnic:
Why do you link to wiktionary for 'eff and blind'? Half your audience will get what you mean, the other half will work it out by inference, and any stragglers are grown up enough to use google themselves, aren't they?

Ashcrexl:
convenience is always nice, innit?

Actually the Wiki page just made me more confused. I understand it in context, but what the fuck does "God blind me" have to do with swearing?

Consistency of tone seems to be the main sticking point in this article, and it makes sense. Shifting between two different tones is doable, but difficult, and when it's handled with clumsy, jarringly sudden pacing, it frequently doesn't go over well. While it's true unexpected tragedies come without warning, when you base something, be it a game, comic, tv show or movie, on over-the-top wackiness then suddenly hurl in a dead-serious crisis, it's offsetting. The tone of comedy has to be more subtle to allow for swaps in tone because when it's too overt, the characters usually aren't well designed for showing depth of personality. Suppose they made another Ace Ventura movie and then mid-way through it Ace was confronted by a person who was traumatized by the fact their mother died in an animal attack while camping because she accidentally startled a mother bear with her cubs. Ace trying to handle such a difficult situation with sensitivity and tact would seem jarringly out of place for the man who routinely talks out his butt cheeks.

DVS BSTrD:

Actually the Wiki page just made me more confused. I understand it in context, but what the fuck does "God blind me" have to do with swearing?

blimey = blind me

say it out loud

Thunderous Cacophony:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

D-edgy-ark.

OT: I don't think being an old, 29-year-old man has everything to do with it. I'm 13, and I sold my God of War games a few years ago because I just couldn't play them anymore, I got queezy. I wanted to play them, they're fun, and I like them, but, dammit, ultra-gore is rarely possible for me to stomach anymore. Emphesis on "rarely" of course, since A Clockwork Orange is my favorite movie, and it was about a rapist having fantasies of ultraviolence in the first half, and said rapist not being able to have fantasies of ultraviolence in the second half. However, in God of War's case, it was really pointless. It wasn't goofy, like in Mortal Kombat, it wasn't used to build an atmosphere, like in horror games, it was just kind of there. Well, I digress.

Well, it is what's selling at the moment. Hell JRPG's golden years was exactly when it focused on dark fantasy and none of this teenage hero fantasy with a sprinkle of sexualized teenage girls who will blue ball you harder than a downtown lap dance.

A brief history of Twisted Metal that may explain why they went all dark and edgy.

There have been a bunch of Twisted Metal games over the years and besides this year's version there are two that really stand out: Twisted Metal 2 and Twisted Metal Black and the fanbase is split over which game is better. TM2 was cartoony and colorful, and while it had dark stories they had a lot more humor to them.

Fast forward to TMB the stories were REALLY dark (and really good IMO), and the atmosphere in the game was very gloomy and foreboding, they still had arcadey physics but the rest of it was dark and gloomy on all sides.

So after TMB came out there wasn't a new Twisted Metal for a long time. When one finally did come out it was a direct sequel to TM2. Another long wait passed and when this game was announced it was sort of expected that they'd try to appeal to fans that preferred TMB.

I was expecting it to go very dark so I didn't even notice the switch in tone between gameplay and story.

Interesting enough for this game they made bloodless versions of their stories to try to get a T rating in the states, when that didn't work they just added it back in.

Hmm. A game that is humorous and not grimdark/Degdyark. Violent, but fun... I think you should try Tales from Space: Mutant Blob Attacks. Sure, you eat (many) people in it, but it's all done in a humorous way. One of the most fantastic $8 games I've ever played. I couldn't stop playing until I finished the whole thing.

DVS BSTrD:

Actually the Wiki page just made me more confused. I understand it in context, but what the fuck does "God blind me" have to do with swearing?

It's like saying "Jesus Christ!" or what have you. It is included in the "using the lords name in vain" clause and is therefore considered to be profanity even if it isn't thought of as being particularly rude anymore.

"dedg...whatever" is such a shitty word.

Why not just use "grimdark?" Or does that remind you too strongly of Warhammer 40k, as well as your refusal to review anything related to it because then you'd have to face the fact that it is something that was created by your countrymen and so you can't just blame it on America or Japan as usual?

While we are at the theme WHY don`t you make a BUCKET list *smug self satistaction * ?

dedgyark

HOW did you not say "darkgy"?

It is an utter mystery to me.

I don't know about you guys, but I for one will be incorporating "Dedgyark" into my normal vocabulary. Hell, I review comic books, so there'll be no shortage of opportunities to use it. Especially where the nineties are involved. *Shudder*

The problem Dedgyark faces in video games (and most mediums actually) is that 1) it's used too much too quickly so people get sick of it, and 2) it's often implemented inconsistantly. If you want a Dedgyark video game, making the gameplay be all about cartoon violence doesn't mesh with the dedgyark tone. If the tone is gritty and realistic and dark, so too should be the violence. If you're making a dedgyark comic book, it makes no sense to have characters yelling and shooting progressively larger guns, and have that be the extent of the violent content.

Old? 29 is old now? Poor baby. I'm about to be 37 and I certainly don't feel old. Sure, my knees pop and crackle from years of athletics and injuries, but I certainly don't feel old. Anybody whingeing about being old at twenty-fucking-eight has no idea what old is.

By the way, those opening sentences were enough for me to write off the rest of Yahtzee's article, the first time I've ever done that.

I think all you're trying to say is that you want a consistent tone

217not237:

Thunderous Cacophony:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

D-edgy-ark.

It just sounds like awkward, though; you can't put the emphasis on so many hard consonants. Do I put the emphasis on the D, like in D'Alembert? Do I say "Dedg-yark"? Should the second 'd' be silent, so it sounds more like "Degy-ark"?

Curse you, Yahtzee! There were things I was going to do today, but now I'll spend my time trying to figure this out!

Thunderous Cacophony:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

I guess Yhatzee has not come across the totally fitting term of "GrimDark" to describe all those needlessly grim pieces of media out there. The term is generally used for fan-fiction but i think it is apt as the same straining to be 'mature' and totally missing the point is present.

Now i have to go bang my head into a wall and get rid of all that GrimDark MLP fan-fiction i just read. I'll never look at a cup-cake again.

Thunderous Cacophony:

217not237:

Thunderous Cacophony:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.

D-edgy-ark.

It just sounds like awkward, though; you can't put the emphasis on so many hard consonants. Do I put the emphasis on the D, like in D'Alembert? Do I say "Dedg-yark"? Should the second 'd' be silent, so it sounds more like "Degy-ark"?

Curse you, Yahtzee! There were things I was going to do today, but now I'll spend my time trying to figure this out!

The 'dg' should be pronounced like in dredge. I pronounce it "de-dgy-ark". It flows rather well for a half-assed awkward combining of two words.

Also, fuck you Yahtzee, my cereal bowl is plenty dedgyark! What with the heroin addiction and the murdered family, not to mention the vow of revenge and the slowly going insane.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

Most "dark and edgy" entertainment may try to be grown up, yet is very childish in it's heart, and lacks depth beyond "hey, look, entrails/boobs/entrails covered in boobs(or was it the other way around?)/a dick joke", now, i like a good tragedy now and then, pathos and misery can be very entertaining when done well, but it usually is not.
These days, i prefer a nice happy ending and intelligent story that leads there as well as likeable protagonists.

Happy early birthday! Cause I'll forget in two months...

Yahtzee Croshaw:
But if you want to challenge yourself, make a game that everyone can enjoy.

Wait... Does Minecraft count? The only group of people that automatically wouldn't like it without trying it, off the top of my head, would begraphics enthusiasts and quick-action (~CoD series) players. Other than that, its got something for everyone.

Edit:

Mahoshonen:
...Warhammer 40k, as well as your refusal to review anything related to it...

Would this count?

Edit 2(Redemption-of-the-edit!/working title):

Akalabeth:
I think all you're trying to say is that you want a consistent tone

Pretty much. Although I imagine it is somewhat difficult to manage said consistency within a group of developers (then again, that's the job of the producer, to put together a final product). If the developers in charge of game design give you a wacky pseudo-physics fun fest and the writers hand in a serious grimdark narrative, how would one go about it?

Man I agree. As a 29, soon to be 30 year old I find myself not really into the whole darl/edgy thing anymore unless it is particularly well done. Around this age I find myself getting pretty jaded where all I want to do is play Minecraft, Sim City, and Civilization, and think about how much better of a person I am then anyone who plays anything COD.

Tired of all the anger, blood, guts, gore, edge, dark, nonsense, incongruity, and pointlessly obtuse violence?

There's a simple solution.

Play Journey.

Shit my hair line is higher then that and I am 19. But most people in my family have a high hair line. I don't know why I commented on that it's only kind of sort of related.

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