When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

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gyrobot:

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.

The ironic thing here is, for me, is that it's because of 'The Burden of Enlightenment' that makes me uneasy at some of the more popular games today - particularly shooters.

I find it odd we can make games about WWII (and war in general) where the main objective is to gun down anything that moves. WWII was literally hell on earth. The horror and suffering of those years ... War brings out the fucking worst in EVERYONE.

And to be exact, it's not really "dark and edgy" that gets me (although I won't want to consume too much of such media, life is depressing enough as it is), it's the "celebration", "acceptance" and "indulgence" of it.

deadish:

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.

People just want immersive adventure, same as they always have, and sticking it in a modern war scenario is the most 'realistic' way they can do it immersively enough for most people. No different from playing with wooden swords or telling sagas of violent heroes in a longhouse.

Of course, because everything is dark and mature and gritty now, developers like to throw in dead civilians and torture and Modern Warfare's mandatory-one-per-game 'shocking' scene, because that's what everyone else is doing and because they think it makes them deep and meaningful.

And at least for me, it's far easier to go along with all the grit rammed down my throat and incorporate it into the adventures of Sgt. Awesome than it is to pretend it's not there. Hence why the trend will probably continue until people have really had enough, then slingshot back into Lord Perfect fights the ebil demons in time for the next cold war.

.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.

Spiritual Sequel you say? Well i can honestly say I've not herd of that one yet.

The only question is;

image

Games that have broad appeal? That anyone can play?

I wish there was a company that based their whole business model on that.

*Captcha: "stinking rich". Strangely appropos for the money-printers.

LordFisheh:

deadish:

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.

People just want immersive adventure, same as they always have, and sticking it in a modern war scenario is the most 'realistic' way they can do it immersively enough for most people. No different from playing with wooden swords or telling sagas of violent heroes in a longhouse.

Of course, because everything is dark and mature and gritty now, developers like to throw in dead civilians and torture and Modern Warfare's mandatory-one-per-game 'shocking' scene, because that's what everyone else is doing and because they think it makes them deep and meaningful.

And at least for me, it's far easier to go along with all the grit rammed down my throat and incorporate it into the adventures of Sgt. Awesome than it is to pretend it's not there. Hence why the trend will probably continue until people have really had enough, then slingshot back into Lord Perfect fights the ebil demons in time for the next cold war.

Bobby Kotick wanted an industry of fear and pessemism and it is channeled into the creativity of the creators who have been making nothing but depressing stuff.

deadish:
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.

Video games have always been 'consequence-free aggression and violence'. Do you think that those spectacle-wearing goons of N. Cortex or the koopas under the command of Bowser deserved to be slingshot to oblivion or stomped underfoot? Think of the families or the loved ones they leave behind in memor-- OK, I can't type that with a straight face. ^_^

But yeah, the FPS 'war simulator' genre isn't going away any time now. It's been profitable, lucrative, and most notably, reliable for turning a profit since Modern Warfare came out years back, so I don't see why EA and Activision would put their gambit into a new project that might siphon away their profits.

The difference is that back then FPS at least had some sense of Rambo Style Heroism. In the new age FPS, everyone around you dies, your friends, your enemies, innocent people. No one will survive by the end of the MW era of FPS and you will probably die too. But that may be part of the Noughties train of thought which have been pretty bleak as a whole.

ThunderCavalier:

deadish:
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.

Video games have always been 'consequence-free aggression and violence'. Do you think that those spectacle-wearing goons of N. Cortex or the koopas under the command of Bowser deserved to be slingshot to oblivion or stomped underfoot? Think of the families or the loved ones they leave behind in memor-- OK, I can't type that with a straight face. ^_^

But yeah, the FPS 'war simulator' genre isn't going away any time now. It's been profitable, lucrative, and most notably, reliable for turning a profit since Modern Warfare came out years back, so I don't see why EA and Activision would put their gambit into a new project that might siphon away their profits.

Those aren't fellow humans though - and really, you just bob them on the noggy. Not to mention, the main goal isn't the stomping koopas, it's to navigate and make it to the end of the level.

I suppose it's the "celebration" of the war (which in reality is a horrifying event for all) that makes me uneasy.

LordFisheh:

People just want immersive adventure, same as they always have, and sticking it in a modern war scenario is the most 'realistic' way they can do it immersively enough for most people. No different from playing with wooden swords or telling sagas of violent heroes in a longhouse.

But does it HAVE TO involve war, conflict and the killing of people. Don't tell you there aren't other forms of adventure.

This is the thing that depresses me, it seem to be that "war, conflict and the killing of people" is all people can think about these days and how enamored people are with it.

gyrobot:

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.

I don't ever remember Bioware being "light hearted." They've always consistently had humor in their games, but were never afraid to go dark. But there is a world of difference between, say, Imoen trying to deal with her torture at the hands of Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate 2 (an interesting and important part of the story, which happens to be dark), and crazy and constant pools of blood and blood spurts and graphic of a guy hanging from a homemade noose and so on and so forth in Dragon Age (largely nothing to do with the story, just gratuitous dedgyarkness)

No one wants to play JRPGs precisely for that reason. That and because JRPGs keeps blueballing it's gamers

That's why the only Japanese fantasy game series I play any more is Rune Factory. :)

McMarbles:
Games that have broad appeal? That anyone can play?

I wish there was a company that based their whole business model on that.

*Captcha: "stinking rich". Strangely appropos for the money-printers.

You know, my first thought when reading that was Popcap, not Nintendo or EA. Too bad EA owns Popcap now.

DeathQuaker:
I don't ever remember Bioware being "light hearted." They've always consistently had humor in their games, but were never afraid to go dark. But there is a world of difference between, say, Imoen trying to deal with her torture at the hands of Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate 2 (an interesting and important part of the story, which happens to be dark), and crazy and constant pools of blood and blood spurts and graphic of a guy hanging from a homemade noose and so on and so forth in Dragon Age (largely nothing to do with the story, just gratuitous dedgyarkness). That's why the only Japanese fantasy game series I play any more is Rune Factory. :)

Compare BG2 to DA2 and ME3. With Baldur's Gate, it had an aura of hopefullness if you play your cards right. In DA2 and ME3, your only options is how you take your screwover, either acceptingly, sarcastically or kicking and screaming.

And it lacks the M ratedness most WRPGs go for which is seen as a detractor many people.

Don't worry Yahtzee. It's perfectly natural to feel queasy at the thought of watching Hostel.

That movie is terrible.

Oh, and doesn't GrimDark pretty much encapsulate what it is you're tired of, or am I completely misunderstanding that word?
If I'm not, you probably have about a hundred thousand other people informing you of this vital piece of information already. So really, I probably shouldn't even have brought it up.

Angel Molina:

Edit:

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

Would this count?

No it doesn't. I expected a full 5-minute trashing for my free internet entertainment, dammit!

Mahoshonen:

No it doesn't. I expected a full 5-minute trashing for my free internet entertainment, dammit!

Lol, the best of luck to you then.

I think the technical term for dedgyark is GRIMDARK. Always all caps.

Mm, I watched a video-review for Warp and the killings did seem a bit jarring.

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