When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

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Formica Archonis:
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? :)

I think it's a didgerydoo (botched spelling FTW) that you're thinking of.

nyysjan:
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.

Exactly. The whole obsession with "maturity" is fallacious. Maturity is measured by behaviors that are associated with age, and this is a purely descriptive measurement. In other words, there is nothing in the concept of 'maturity' that entails that we ought to be mature, or that maturity is a good thing. Some psychological aspects that we leave behind in childhood are no doubt 'bad' by most standards: children are often greedy and lack sympathy. But this doesn't mean that every trait that we lose through the process of maturation is a bad thing. For anyone who disagrees, I suggest you read some Wordsworth. The loss of wonderment about the world around us is the greatest tragedy of old age.

nyysjan:
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.

Agreed. The very striving to be mature is itself a symptom of immaturity. It is the child's wish to be all grown-up. It is bad because it often makes the work hollow. Often things are only "dark and edgy" for the sake of being dark and edgy.

I think the main reason for Yahtzee's malaise in response to "dedgyark" in general (aside from the incongruity of tone in TM) is that it has become so common place that it is no longer dark or edgy. We've been desensitized. Frankly I've never really had much use for overly somber works, whether they be in literature, theater, television or video games. I understand that it might be cathartic for some, but I just have too much of a tendency to see the absurdity in life. French existentialists typically crapped their pants when faced with this absurdity, whereas I find myself siding with Nietzsche in that I find it to be liberating. The "downside" is that I can hardly take anything seriously for very long. Thus I prefer dark humor to dark tragedy, but to each his own.

Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.

What?! Ben was born in the 80's? I thought he was an old man!

If I ever meet him, I can call him 'kid'.

lol

OT: I haven't played the games mentioned, at least for more than an hour, so I have yet to see any dark and edgy anything for gaming. Well, I did play a good amount of Condemned, I thought it was good, not dark and edgy. Wouldn't Amnesia fit the bill?

You know, your last paragraph made me think about one way that video games are very different from movies: If an adult sees a poster for a G-rated film (by anyone other than Disney), they'll assume it's stupid kiddie crap. But there are plenty of E-rated games that they will gladly pick up and play. Maybe it's because nostalgia for the games they played as kids is such a core part of why adults play video games in the first place, whereas seeing movies is something people of all ages just do. Or maybe it's because the idea of games - not video games, but games - as innocent entertainment for all ages is so ingrained in our culture, whereas the various video game rating systems and the reasons they exist have only been around for a couple of decades. I mean, even now if you told someone that a card game or a board game isn't appropriate for kids, their first reaction is probably going to be "Why? Is it some nerdy intellectual thing?" not "Why? Is there sex and violence and swearing in it?"

Steve the Pocket:
You know, your last paragraph made me think about one way that video games are very different from movies: If an adult sees a poster for a G-rated film (by anyone other than Disney), they'll assume it's stupid kiddie crap. But there are plenty of E-rated games that they will gladly pick up and play. Maybe it's because nostalgia for the games they played as kids is such a core part of why adults play video games in the first place, whereas seeing movies is something people of all ages just do. Or maybe it's because the idea of games - not video games, but games - as innocent entertainment for all ages is so ingrained in our culture, whereas the various video game rating systems and the reasons they exist have only been around for a couple of decades. I mean, even now if you told someone that a card game or a board game isn't appropriate for kids, their first reaction is probably going to be "Why? Is it some nerdy intellectual thing?" not "Why? Is there sex and violence and swearing in it?"

That reminds me; I recently found out that one of my favorite Magic: The Gathering illustrators[1] did a XXX rated comic that was popular enough to get a short lived trading card game based on it[2]. Considering the time frame we're talking about, I have to wonder how many Pokemon TCG playing kids asked to buy the card game with the goofy looking characters, only for their parents to be horrified when they found the pornographic art.

[1] Phil Foglio
[2] That would be XXXholic, not Girl Genius, which is his current, non-pornographic webcomic

I had a big giggle at the Pingu / Akira crossover part.

I'm 23, I assumed you were physically in your twenties, but mentally about 3,000.

And yes, the best hook of any game I've played so far is when Tanner realises he can do crazy shit and starts having fun (in his own mind) in Driver:SF

Scrumpmonkey:

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.

Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.

This is a point I REALLY want Yahtzee to continue noodling about. Because it's a point that a lot of media producers these days are struggling to get, and we really need them to get it.

The connection between "dedgyark" and "grimdark" is well-pointed out, though I always think of grimdark as a Warhammer 40,000 thing. You know, "In the GRIM DARKness of the 41st millenium there is only war!" Except there isn't only war, and it doesn't appear to be either grim or dark. It appears to be a twisted pre-adolescent sort of grim darkness, where on one hand silly space knights in technicolor armor battle all the time, you also have a curious absence of women unless they come in the pre-approved designated areas and everything is decorated with skullz like the masons ran out of concrete and had to plug the gaps with the first round object they could find. It ends up being just silly and juvenile. It reminds me a bit of the "pretensions of maturity" Yahtzee mentioned in his review of the Witcher.

Personally the grimmest, darkest thing I've ever seen in entertainment was the UK Office season 1 episode 6 when Tim starts talking about pies. Not a drop of blood, not a hint of danger and violence, not even a swear, but it's incredibly dark because we wonder for a moment if a character we know and have grown to sympathize with isn't losing his soul. But moreover it feels dark to most people I know who've actually worked because it's a situation we can imagine and relate to. Giant reality-bending monsters who murder thousands of virgins every day before they brush their teeth isn't exactly something I can relate to. It hasn't come up in my daily life much.

Anyway, I really hope Yahtzee keeps banging on this drum because it's a point that needs to be made and he has the exposure to actually get people to hear it.

Somehow, I'm reminded of this:

It is interesting that dark and edgy is in many cases often the opposite of being mature.

How could you not have mentioned Saint's Row 2? Humanity has few enough good think-tanks in it's roster without you shorting out.

deadish:
Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.

Please don't remind me.

Ironically, out of all of the things that try to be 'edgy' and 'dark to capitalize on an audience, some of my favorites are from Japan, the same place that simply won't go that route with their JRPGs (although Versus XIII does look to be going down that route, and if it's about as mediocre as FFXIII, then I'm ready to say that FF is dead). An anime, Mirai Nikki, is possibly one of the 'darkest' and 'edgiest' things I've seen, and the way the story is structured makes it... um... good. Like... really good. It's one of the best things I've seen this year. (To any Escapist anime fans out there, seriously, go find and watch Mirai Nikki. It is amazing.)

But, seriously, stuff like Mirai Nikki and Bokurano are only good because of the way they're presented, the stories that they're telling, and the fact that they are genuinely good at telling, in the end, A DARK AND DEPRESSING STORY.

Because apparently people try to continually mix 'dark and edgy' with 'humor' or 'badassery', and most writers are... very, very poor at doing that. Listen, either hire a decent storywriter and write a dark and edgy story about the human condition and some kind of deep, complex, moral issue and give us some kind of insight, or embrace the 'action movie popcorn' of most summer blockbusters or the 'dark comedy' of many successful games such as GTA, Saints Row, and MadWorld. But, for the love of god, don't mix the two. THEY. DON'T. GO. TOGETHER.

AT ALL.

(Especially given some of the things that have 'tried' to be this and failed. I'm sorry, writers of CoD and Battlefield, but you aren't winning some kind of award for impressive and captivating story. In fact, it's kinda saddening when I can safely say that Halo: CE had a more coherent and interesting plot than you had.)

"...so miseryguts types like War in Darksiders enacting fast-paced action violence just don't appeal to me."

I get the impression he doesn't know there's a Darksiders 2 on the way yet. I am SO looking forward to his review of that, especially because it contradicts the joke that he did while reviewing the first one (that playing as Death would make things too easy). His review of the first game was one of the best ZPs ever in my opinion.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

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

Read Full Article

I encountered a game that was too dark and edgy, a D&D game of all places. The point was when a pc wizard was knocked out, captured and raped by a corpulent female ogre. Too far, way too far; and the dm liked it too, judging from the look on his evil little face. The wizard had gone into a part of the ogre keep solo, disobeyed the party plan, but that was still too far. We tried to save him, my pc died in the attempt. Fortunately, he was not raped.

Real and nasty can be cool, but for games there should always be a bit of fun and at least some dark humour.

.No.:

Scrumpmonkey:

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.

Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.

Oh God. That depraved bit of...I don't even know. It's enough to send me running away from all MLP fanfiction as far as possible. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THAT?? D:

OT: That's fascinating, how someone like Yahtzee can grow queasy with previously-enjoyed violence. I suppose it indicates that "true" maturity detests such gratuitous fare...but my question is, how exactly is something deemed gratuitous? We've established that bloodshed in the context of black humor and darkly campy funfests is appropriate, as it is in serious, realistic works. But what about the violence in something like, as someone mentioned previously, God of War ? Is the gore too over-the-top? Is the context right enough to make the kind-of-grimdark-y stuff okay? I'm just wondering where guys like Yahtzee draw the line. :/

Katatori-kun:
This is a point I REALLY want Yahtzee to continue noodling about. Because it's a point that a lot of media producers these days are struggling to get, and we really need them to get it.

The connection between "dedgyark" and "grimdark" is well-pointed out, though I always think of grimdark as a Warhammer 40,000 thing. You know, "In the GRIM DARKness of the 41st millenium there is only war!" Except there isn't only war, and it doesn't appear to be either grim or dark. It appears to be a twisted pre-adolescent sort of grim darkness, where on one hand silly space knights in technicolor armor battle all the time, you also have a curious absence of women unless they come in the pre-approved designated areas and everything is decorated with skullz like the masons ran out of concrete and had to plug the gaps with the first round object they could find. It ends up being just silly and juvenile. It reminds me a bit of the "pretensions of maturity" Yahtzee mentioned in his review of the Witcher.

Personally the grimmest, darkest thing I've ever seen in entertainment was the UK Office season 1 episode 6 when Tim starts talking about pies. Not a drop of blood, not a hint of danger and violence, not even a swear, but it's incredibly dark because we wonder for a moment if a character we know and have grown to sympathize with isn't losing his soul. But moreover it feels dark to most people I know who've actually worked because it's a situation we can imagine and relate to. Giant reality-bending monsters who murder thousands of virgins every day before they brush their teeth isn't exactly something I can relate to. It hasn't come up in my daily life much.

Anyway, I really hope Yahtzee keeps banging on this drum because it's a point that needs to be made and he has the exposure to actually get people to hear it.

Yeah, you get it. I'm getting a bit tired of the its so dark and full of skulls it is intensely adolescent, too. Check out the art for the warhammer fantasy rpg, it looks like everyone is covered in a thick layer of shit. The shading, it is just odd.

I've been playing games and running dnd games for a long time. I'm starting to move away from edgy and dark, and more into fun, comedy a bit of madness/weirdness with a touch of the dark and real definitely in the setting.

In the grim future there is only war, and never a good cup of tea and a moment's peace.

CBanana:
Somehow, I'm reminded of this:

It is interesting that dark and edgy is in many cases often the opposite of being mature.

Magnificent, exactly on the (dark and gritty) ball.

Hrm, well I can see it happening to some. Over time of running over countless hookers, and kill shotting d00dz by shoving a shotgun up their ass some people become so desensitized to it that it becomes about as enjoyable as going to a strip club after visiting a happy ending massage parlor then going home to have a good lay with your girlfriend. After you get to a point of sensory overload you simply cannot be compelled to continue to give a shit.

Others, fall prey to the "leave childish things behind" syndrome and as such simply desire that level of separation because it gets to a point you feel like either your still a child, or your an adult bordering on psychopathy.

None the less, my approach is that of very sage advice I heard when I was young. "If the music is too loud, then youve done gotten too old" Same is true for me for video games because I have yet to hit my threshold of tolerance. Ive never had a video game successfully leave me with a feeling of being disturbed and honestly Im wondering if I was born into it too early because at the pace it is going fostering adult themes into gaming, by the time something truly offensive and disturbing could take place in a game, I long have been dead.

Im talking the ending of the film "May" distressing (for those of you who have seen it, and those who havent, Go watch it!) I honestly cannot think of anything in any video game that even comes close to the awkward feeling that ending gives.

Panda Mania:

.No.:

Scrumpmonkey:

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.

Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.

Oh God. That depraved bit of...I don't even know. It's enough to send me running away from all MLP fanfiction as far as possible. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THAT?? D:

It was apparently written by a Black Ops player, who wanted to troll another who was a fan of MLP. He set out with the goal of making something even worse then Cupcakes, and succeeded.
I personally haven't read it, and never want to.
If I did read it, I'd probably be turned off MLP in general.

Dark souls did dark and edgy well, by not trying too hard, making a believable and thoroughly messed up world, and making all the npcs insane.

Speaking as a 40 year-old gamer, approaching 41, who has been playing video games for over 32 years, now, I would guess that your problem is, indeed, due to age. Basically, you're maturing and realizing the whole "dark and edgy" thing for what it really is, the mentality of a 14-year-old playing at grown-up. I would guess you're probably tired of such games that take themselves so seriously, as if they had the depth of the Mariana Trench, when in reality, they are as shallow as watery film on pavement after a brief drizzle.

These are just my guesses. So, take them with a grain of salt. But, isn't funny how our perceptions and values change as we age? How battles we once thought were so important, suddenly, are no longer important (some become down-right farcical). How we can suddenly find ourselves on the other side of the fence of a debate or point-of-view, and, yet, we'll have no idea how or when we got there. Isn't it funny how a few spins of the clock can change the world so much?

For change, just add age.

deadish:
Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.

The situation was the complete opposite back then. Remember Valkyrie Profile, Parasite Eve, Ogre Battle and FFT? Dark Fantasy, the quality of the JRPGs declined when they made the switch so to speak. If they go back to the Dark Fantasy roots, the JRPG Genre may still redeem itself.

And part of the reason why Americans are less optimistic I'd call this 'The Burden of Enlightenment'. It's not that the world actually is getting worse, it's that as the sum total of human experience and knowledge grows we as a (western) culture become more aware of the flaws in the world around us and cast our view backwards through lenses rose-tinted by our past blissful ignorance.. and so we come to the conclusion that things Were very much better in the past and the future is an inexorable slide into shit.

Thunderous Cacophony:

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.

If anything I know about the english language is true, then I'd say it's dead-gee-arc. And now I am far too tired to post anything else actually relevant to the article so I bid you all adieu.

Now, I haven't seen the latest game, of course, but if Yahtzee is stating that Twisted Metal as a whole (as in the series in its entirety) is not black comedy, then I simply must disagree. Twisted Metal defines laughter at the misfortune of others, either by way of your competitors or something that eventually happens to your own character. The real issue? Not everybody finds the same thing to be funny as others. Comedy is hit or miss. Again, I haven't played the latest game, but I get the impression that it simply missed him, which is a shame.

Funny thing about yathzee's realization over his dying interest in Dark and edginess is that it technically has nothing to do with age and everything to do with time. When he was young he had an inherent interest in such material. But it was similar to the way to where a child might laugh at the simple utterance of the word butt. It used to be funny but after changing over time the same material has a new context that no longer amuses him.

A shift of perspective one could say. Take me. When I was kid I was terrified of gore and violence. I remember being afraid of running into ghouls in kingdom hearts (yes I was a little dandy wasn't I?). For whatever reason I abhorred gore and was fearful of certain things related to it by proxy. As time passed I overcame that fear because despite that I really liked action and adventure. But I never really stopped hating gore. I detest Zombies and ghouls of it's like with a passion and find games like mortal kombat and twisted metal to be really awful on an aesthetic level and I'm genuinely afraid of anything that intentionally strives to be in the horror genre.
Time made me more favorable to certain things but it didn't change other feelings as well.

A third example just to grasp all the straws is Brad Jones AKA the Cinema Snob. He's a man who loves horror and gore. He's liked it since he was young and has gone so far as to add to the genre with his own spins. But he has standards. Namely He appreciates practical effects and detest most digital work. One could say time didn't change him at all. He became maybe a little pickier and harder to please but he's still the guy who's favorite movie is Caligula.

Time has made yahtzee a hard person to please. He wants a very particular type of execution. How he feels about this or that entirely depends on how that product presents itself and it can be in such a way to where he could contradict himself praising it or insulting when compared to his experience with past things. That's why he didn't like Twisted Metal. They didn't do it the way he liked for it to have been done.

nyysjan:
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.

I don't remember seeing blood for the sake of blood.

I mean one of the main characters is a serial killer but he's been in the series since the start and it'd piss off a lot of fans if he wasn't in it.

There's a story about a guy who's stuntman dad died in a horrible crash while trying to do a huge jump on a motorcycle. You see the helmet flying through the air all beat up and cracked but never see the body.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
I'm going to be 29 this year, just under two months from the time of writing.

Wait, I'm going to be 29 this year, just under two months from the time of writing. My god! I'm Yahtzee!

EvilPicnic:
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.

It's yet another classic example of cargo cult thinking. People see something mature that happens to have violence, nudity, or whatever. They then try to replicate it by simply giving it a similar appearance by including plenty of violence, etc., without ever understanding that that's not what actually made it mature in the first place.

Adults can make that distinction

Well, some adults can. Sadly, I'm not convinced it's even the majority.

Ashcrexl:

blimey = blind me

say it out loud

Ooh, so that's what it stands for. I always assumed that it's just a made-up word without meaning.

I never understood the gore love either, I'm 15 and things like Saw and whatever just make me sick.

|:

What it comes down to is a noted difference between, "I am going to tell a story about dealing with a difficult, violent situation, and there will be some grim details to underline the setting" and "I am going to throw some blood and gore into this for no other reason than to make it look cool."

I remember playing Dragon Age Awakenings (the DLC to Origins) and finding not one but two quests where the main point was to discover some guy you didn't even know killed himself (over his girlfriend, in both cases). There was no point, no connection to the broader storyline, not even an opportunity for banter with party members, just--"hey, let's be depressing for no reason." Or "let's be depressing because I am a video game writer who clearly just went through a bad breakup" anyway. Actually, I hope that Bioware employee is in therapy now. Anyway. I've played games where things can be grim and even graphically violent, but it felt right as part of the story (various moments in the Fallout games, for example). But I've played more games (and watched more movies and read more comics) where they just add some kind of blood or death or depressingness just to be shocking. And that's just a version of big fat ol' lazy writer syndrome.

Kudos to the Daria link upthread. Says it all.

Father Time:

nyysjan:
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.

I don't remember seeing blood for the sake of blood.

I mean one of the main characters is a serial killer but he's been in the series since the start and it'd piss off a lot of fans if he wasn't in it.

There's a story about a guy who's stuntman dad died in a horrible crash while trying to do a huge jump on a motorcycle. You see the helmet flying through the air all beat up and cracked but never see the body.

ummmm, what?

I am not talking about twisted metal, or any other specific game/movie/tv series/comic/book/cartoon/other, but the more general trend of some parts of entertainment industry (especially so comic books and computer/console games) trying to be "gritty" and "mature" and "dark and edgy", and doing so by being as juvenile as possible.

Anytime you buy a product that has "mature" rating on it, i'd give you good odds that the content will be pretty juvenile (but it will probably contain blood, boobs or swearing).

DeathQuaker:
What it comes down to is a noted difference between, "I am going to tell a story about dealing with a difficult, violent situation, and there will be some grim details to underline the setting" and "I am going to throw some blood and gore into this for no other reason than to make it look cool."

I remember playing Dragon Age Awakenings (the DLC to Origins) and finding not one but two quests where the main point was to discover some guy you didn't even know killed himself (over his girlfriend, in both cases). There was no point, no connection to the broader storyline, not even an opportunity for banter with party members, just--"hey, let's be depressing for no reason." Or "let's be depressing because I am a video game writer who clearly just went through a bad breakup" anyway. Actually, I hope that Bioware employee is in therapy now. Anyway. I've played games where things can be grim and even graphically violent, but it felt right as part of the story (various moments in the Fallout games, for example). But I've played more games (and watched more movies and read more comics) where they just add some kind of blood or death or depressingness just to be shocking. And that's just a version of big fat ol' lazy writer syndrome.

Kudos to the Daria link upthread. Says it all.

Bioware has long abandoned the days of light heartedness. No one wants to play JRPGs precisely for that reason. That and because JRPGs keeps blueballing it's gamers

ThunderCavalier:

deadish:
Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.

Please don't remind me.

Ironically, out of all of the things that try to be 'edgy' and 'dark to capitalize on an audience, some of my favorites are from Japan, the same place that simply won't go that route with their JRPGs (although Versus XIII does look to be going down that route, and if it's about as mediocre as FFXIII, then I'm ready to say that FF is dead). An anime, Mirai Nikki, is possibly one of the 'darkest' and 'edgiest' things I've seen, and the way the story is structured makes it... um... good. Like... really good. It's one of the best things I've seen this year. (To any Escapist anime fans out there, seriously, go find and watch Mirai Nikki. It is amazing.)

But, seriously, stuff like Mirai Nikki and Bokurano are only good because of the way they're presented, the stories that they're telling, and the fact that they are genuinely good at telling, in the end, A DARK AND DEPRESSING STORY.

Because apparently people try to continually mix 'dark and edgy' with 'humor' or 'badassery', and most writers are... very, very poor at doing that. Listen, either hire a decent storywriter and write a dark and edgy story about the human condition and some kind of deep, complex, moral issue and give us some kind of insight, or embrace the 'action movie popcorn' of most summer blockbusters or the 'dark comedy' of many successful games such as GTA, Saints Row, and MadWorld. But, for the love of god, don't mix the two. THEY. DON'T. GO. TOGETHER.

AT ALL.

(Especially given some of the things that have 'tried' to be this and failed. I'm sorry, writers of CoD and Battlefield, but you aren't winning some kind of award for impressive and captivating story. In fact, it's kinda saddening when I can safely say that Halo: CE had a more coherent and interesting plot than you had.)

As a niche product, I don't mind so much.

And it's not really the "dark and depressing" that gets me, although personally I won't want to watch too much of it, it's the consequence-free "aggression and violence" these games seem to promote.

I'm for freedom of speech and all, but it kinds of depresses me at how popular (unrealistic) "war simulator" games are. Maybe I'm just getting old.

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