Jimquisition: Crying Through The Laughs

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Agreed. Walking Dead is getting emotional for me though. I'm not in the business of spoilers, but let's just say I welled up around the time I got the train moving...

Gizmo1990:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.

For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.

I nearly laughed so hard seeing Tidus laugh at the end- I knew something was coming up but to see that along with slow motion- Brilliant.

OT: Yeah I must say, a lot of games try to hard to be 'realistic' where nothing makes you feel like smiling. They start off gritty, or depressing.. and they don't go anywhere until it deepens somehow. I like games that can display the manners of development in positivity, and only have the negatives when the time calls for it. Also the protagonist has to be likable and can relate to us or otherwise it's quite annoying seeing Lightning for example always being so moody. She's kind of the reason why I stopped playing FF13.

I know a lot of people will disagree with this, but I'll say it anyways.

The gaming industry has not yet evolved to the point where they know how to make truly emotional experiences happen within their medium.

This is because they don't understand how to make the player really relate to the protagonist and major characters on screen. If you're playing a videogame in the first place, chances are you're doing it for FUN. Fun, as in you enjoy it. As in you're capable of experiencing joy and happiness. Which, as Jim pointed out in this episode, is something you rarely see in game characters these days. People are complex. People are multifaceted. Therefore how can we relate to something that is seemingly one dimensional?

The only game that actually had any emotional effect on me was God of War. God of War even begins in a way that breaks the mold. He attempts suicide. How many games do something as radical as that? He's lost all hope to the point where he no longer wants to live, but it means that at one time he did have hope and a reason to keep on going. Then as you play the game you see his origins. You see how he came to be the monster he is through his mistakes and Ares' betrayal. You see how he lost everything he loved and seeks redemption at whatever cost. That moved me because I saw the humanity in Kratos. I saw a bit of myself in him and it made me feel sympathetic... Until 2 & 3 took his character in a completely new direction, which rendered him a mindless ball of fury and testosterone -__- But still, it was nice to see that games are very capable of evoking an emotional response. They just don't know how to properly strike a balance yet.

ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny

Easily one of your best episodes, couldn't agree more. I'm an amateur writer that holds this very notion to heart. Tragedy doesn't mean anything if there isn't anything to fall from.

All of my most favorite games of all time fit that formula of high contrast in one way or another. FF9, FF10, Persona 2, 3 and 4, Baldur's Gate 2, Suikoden (most of em), Metal Gear (most of em), etc. Even the darkest stories need their fair share of comedy or happiness. Heck, even Silent Hill 2 has comedic-ish moments to lighten things up (Eddie in the bowling ring, UFO endings).

I think this again has to do with game developers not being very good writers, and the growing sense among the gaming community that every game has to be 100% straight-faced with no signs of light-heartedness in sight, or else people will fear that "GAMES WON'T BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!!!!!" again...

th3dark3rsh33p:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....

Yeah just you buddy. No one on the internet has ever accused Tidus of being whiny.

Seriously, it is never just you. Why do people still start posts this way? It's even more annoying when they are stating a popular opinion after saying "is it just me".

Crono1973:

Gizmo1990:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.

For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.

See I think most people forget that intentionally bad is still bad... It's still annoying, it's still terrible voice acting... I mean the Titus' voice acting through out the game was generally terrible as a rule... I another TERRIBLE scene equiv to that is Titus breaking down at Al Bhed when he figures out Yuna's fate. He was playing it straight and it ended up being over the top melodramatic and just terrible.

Yeah the that was intended argument can't defend that voice acting job... or the terribad writing involved with Titus.

th3dark3rsh33p:

Crono1973:

Gizmo1990:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.

For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.

See I think most people forget that intentionally bad is still bad... It's still annoying, it's still terrible voice acting... I mean the Titus' voice acting through out the game was generally terrible as a rule... I another TERRIBLE scene equiv to that is Titus breaking down at Al Bhed when he figures out Yuna's fate. He was playing it straight and it ended up being over the top melodramatic and just terrible.

Yeah the that was intended argument can't defend that voice acting job... or the terribad writing involved with Titus.

I think the voice acting was fine. You want bad voice acting, see Star Ocean 4 or listen to Vanille for a minute or two. Also, I think that the voice actor did his job and made an intended fake laugh sound fake.

Whatever though, 10 years this laugh has been made fun of as well as the character of Tidus. It won't stop now but it does get more annoying everytime it's mentioned. It would be more effective to use Vanille to display bad voice acting.

Undeadpool:

portal_cat:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).

Boom, done in one. That and

I think the entire Mass Effect trilogy is a good example of what JIm was talking about. The previous two games had their moments of humour, levity and victory. Whether it was cracking jokes with Garrus, or encountering a drunk Volus declaring himself the master of all biotics, you really felt that the world just kept turning while you were out saving the universe.

In Mass Effect 3 that all collapses, and is replaced by a growing sense of dread that hits you harder the more you delved into the previous two games. You really felt that you character was experiencing a cataclysm, especially during the fall of Thessia. Hell, even the colour palette began to mute at that point in the game as more civilisations fell to the Reapers, making it feel that all the life in the universe really was being drained away.

I loved FFX, but the laugh scene didn't bothered me. Yes, it was kind of a WTF moment, but I wasn't bothered by it 10 years ago (damn, I seriously need to get a PS2 soon... so many games I want to replay and so many that I missed).

I played VII and VIII and while VII is definitely the better and my very first RPG ever, I didn't liked it back then. Nowadays, I find it quite charming at places, but I still don't like it as much as it's fans do. IX on the other hand, that's a game that I've never played and I'm seriously considering giving it a try.

As for other games nailing the depression through happiness, there's Guild Wars and it's pre-searing intro, especially if you get used to Gwen, that annoying little girl following you, smelling the roses at each step, it's definitely dishearting seeing your hometown utterly destroyed a few years later.

Also, Half-Life 2 and it's episodes is surprisingly optimistic despite it's shitty (and I mean REAL shitty) setting and I don't mean the generic NPC's lamenting their lives, I mean Alyx herself, her dad, Kleiner and the other scientists cheering for Gordon's return and you can even see their optimism for a brighter future rising.

So because other games have worse actors... This specific voice acting job is excused?

I think the main reason most stories these days, not just in games, always seem to be so depressing is because the real world itself is pretty depressing. Without their being much hope or joy to draw inspiration from it is hardly surprising that a great deal of narratives kind find any to include.

Beyond Good and Evil managed this with flying colors. It's a game where every character is an antropomorphic animals and yet the emotions still gives me chills, that music when you take pictures of kids in crates.

Surprised Max Payne 3 didn't get a mention. Like Yahtzee had pointed out, the game is so miserable that you never feel a sense of accomplishment when you do anything. And when something good does happen, it's like Max is so determined to remain unhappy that he won't allow himself to be happy.

portal_cat:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).

Legion and Grunt for me. Also the Asari Krogan couple oddly made me cry.

th3dark3rsh33p:
So because other games have worse actors... This specific voice acting job is excused?

No, but this laugh scene is brought up way too often when there are far better examples of bad voice acting.

Alandoril:
I think the main reason most stories these days, not just in games, always seem to be so depressing is because the real world itself is pretty depressing. Without their being much hope or joy to draw inspiration from it is hardly surprising that a great deal of narratives kind find any to include.

We're all broke and struggling to pay the bills as prices go up and incomes don't but in my family, there are still plenty of laughs. Life isn't all that depressing.

It's just that the game industry is so hell bent on selling misery to gamers because they don't want to appear kiddy.

Undeadpool:

Amaror:
snip

Gonna agree: I actually thought DA 2 had some better moments, emotion-wise such as

I wasn't that emotional about that stuff, but that has different reasons.

Great episode. Very true. I'm a big fan of dark and gritty stories, so I never understood why I couldn't enjoy Gears of War, but you're right. It never has any ups to juxtapose the downs.

My favorite example is Mass Effect 3.

Probably the most depressing game I've ever played, but I remember it and it worked because it always had that air of hope and levity.
Even though it begins with sadness, it comes up from it.
Garrus and James comparing dicks achievements.
Little jokes made by the squad members on missions.
All the heroic moments like making the Reaper get nom nom'd on Tuchanka.

ME3 SPOILER: EVERYONE DIES AND IT WAS ALL A DREAM.

portal_cat:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).

Mass Effect 3 (and the franchise as a whole) has several times were the crew is just hangs out a jokes around. It isn't always so relentlessly depressing.

Great show as always Jim!

Feel that you kind of misunderstand FF8 though. While you use FF9 as an example of a game that does very well having a positive happy main character whose subsequent meetings with tragedy works very well due to him being so positive and happy (cant argue with you there, FF9 is great!), you cant judge all main-characters by the same standard. I would instead say that Squall is an example of doing it the other way around:

I never felt that Squall was put through any huge personal tragedies during the game. He CAME from a very dark place, with a bad childhood etc, but he was constantly surrounded by friends that looked up to him and a cute girl that liked him. For me, FF8 and Squall was not a game that was trying to be tragic, but a tale of a character that came from such a dark place and finally, at the end, found that he dared to be happy (not quite unlike the journey of the main character or Evangelion, who is similarily accused of being mopy and whiny). I think that is a just as viable a journey for the hero to take, not to be struck by hardship so much but instead finding through the journey that despite what he himself thought at the beginning, he does have the strength to overcome these hardships and be a happy person. I think that sentiment is kind of beautiful.

How would Neku from The World Ends With You fit in? He doesn't start the game mopey, per se, but he does start at the bottom of the emotional scale, isolating himself from others for seemingly no other reason than for its own sake. Yet through the first third of the game, he grows to care about his game partner Shiki, giving some gravitas to the later events involving her.

skylog:
How would Neku from The World Ends With You fit in? He doesn't start the game mopey, per se, but he does start at the bottom of the emotional scale, isolating himself from others for seemingly no other reason than for its own sake. Yet through the first third of the game, he grows to care about his game partner Shiki, giving some gravitas to the later events involving her.

Like I theorized in my previous post, Neku is also a good example of a hero that has another kind of journey than Zidane from FF9, instead being more similar to Squall or Shinji in Evangelion in that they instead come from a dark background but once again learn to trust and be happy. I think Jim kind of misses the point with that kind of emotional journey for the hero, just mistaking it for being a mopy emo downer.

Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\

Someone clearly wrote on the FFX script: "Ha ha ha ha ha!" and then the voice actors read it exactly has written, people with no concept of the sound of laughter...

I saw a lot of Heavy Rain footage in that video. Now say what you like about Heavy Rain but I don't think it deserves to be scrutinised under this particular topic. The first section is all happy rainbows and sunshine purposely to show how low Ethan falls later in the game. I would say they showed the contrast pretty damn well from the characters, to the situations right down to the colour pallet.

Obligatory

. I did it just to see what would happen, and it was like eating a live kitten.

I think DX: Human Revolution did a fine job doing the gradual version. The game starts in a reasonably bright world that gets stripped away layer by layer.

The most memorable example for me is

in Baldur's Gate. Shit gets real quite quickly, after happy-go-lucky prologue of squishing rats and fetching cow tonic. The game continues to have nice highs and lows (Friendly Arms Inn, the fancy Ball, return to Candlekeep).

FFX had great voice acting for the time. I'm playing Lunar 2 right now. You want ****** acting? I'll listen to "the laughing scene" for eternity before I listen to Lunar 2's "actors" again. Xenogears (for what acting there was)was also ****.

FFX destroys those by miles.

A very important topic that a lot of game writers forget most of the time.
I think Mother 3 is the game that perfects this principle, the game is incredibly sad yet incredibly happy at times. The jokes and witty writing enhance the tragic and sad moments.

I think Bioware deals with this horribly, as much as people are saying to the contrary, all their games begin bleakly, Dragon Age with you being exiled, your family death, etc. Sure it kind of lightens up in the middle, but the game is always brooding and I don't like it.
Dragon Age 2 is even worse with half your family dead at the beginning and since most of the characters come off as unlikable, and the Templar/Mage fight is a lose/lose situation, it just takes you out of the game and makes you not care. Same as Warhammer 40K, which is also relentlessly bleak all the time.
Mass Effect also tries to do this, and does it better than Dragon Age, but the tension is never completely broken and it makes me care less for the story and characters.

Games that do break the tension completely and are still bleak are: Max Payne 1&2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Half Life 2, and Persona 3.

BreakfastMan:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\

Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.

ex275w:

BreakfastMan:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\

Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.

I think we all know by now that developers often don't get the memo on a lot of things that are considered obvious by a whole crap-ton of people...

MrDeckard:
snip.

And now some people might not get to feel those awful moments, since you blurted that out unspoilered, good job.

Fucking yes. FF9 is so fucking good I'm playing it right now and it's memorable scene after memorable scene.

I will say that FF8 deserves credit for making a parody of the emo protagonist before it even got popular. I remember laughin my ass off at anything Squall said with my friends. Rinoa is a great character and she always has a great comeback for Squall's mopey, mommy issues bullshit.

BreakfastMan:

ex275w:

BreakfastMan:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\

Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.

I think we all know by now that developers often don't get the memo on a lot of things that are considered obvious by a whole crap-ton of people...

Well then we need for them to get the memo or laugh as they fail to do the obvious things, it's a win-win situation for the audience watching. Either video game stories get better or they are treated as a punchline or as a warning for future games as what NOT to do in a video game storyline.

Richardplex:

MrDeckard:
snip.

And now some people might not get to feel those awful moments, since you blurted that out unspoilered, good job.

1) The game has been out for almost a year.
2) This entire episode and thread are about the sad moments in games, so spoilers should be expected.
3) Several of the deaths I mentioned do not always happen.
4) Despite all of this, I'll still spoiler it, just for you

There, I fixed it.

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