Jimquisition: Crying Through The Laughs

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because I'm a rocket man
Rocket....... man
Burning out my fuse... here... all alone

Space Odyssey is sadder though

Vanitas likes Bubbles:
I agree but there is one example I can show that disproves this. Spec Ops: The Line is downright miserable from the very beginning but it still managed to poke an emotional reaction from me.

The reason Spec Ops: The Line worked was because every event, no matter how miserable, is a foreseeable consequence of your own actions, making you able to blame yourself, feeling terrible about terrible things. The problem with this is that it requires really good writing; you can't just make a game depressing from start to finish and expect it to work, and must figure out how to prevent the player from ceasing to care about a story that was depressing to begin with. While depressing stories can work, they require better writing than most games are given at this time.

Spec Ops:The Line is certainly a good example to look at for trying to avoid such things however, and if Spec Ops changes the trend of how the writing of the story of games is performed, I certainly won't be displeased.

Gizmo1990:
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.

I always felt that Tidus was laughing horribly on purpose as so he could make Yuna laugh. He was willing to make himself look foolish as that was the easiest way to get her to smile.

I think what gets me the most is that people think that this new trend where stories need to be nothing short of perpetual downers is some how more realistic while also believing that that characters being happy, laughing and acting sincere is some how childish and naive.

And it's not just the plot that suffers but many characters are written as shallow and empty gloom machines who do nothing but argue with each other and mope about. They constantly blur the line between anger and despair to where you assume that anger and sadness always go hand and hand yet when someone cracks a joke or a smile we criticize the character for not being serious or for being unrealistic.

So I guess my concern is that this isn't so much a problem with video games but with society itself for being so cynical as to think that doom and gloom is realistic while attacking happy and hopeful stories and characters as being childish. If that is the case then there is something seriously messed up with the world.

I'm glad Jim brought up Final Fantasy X. That game is charged with a variety of emotions but gets a bad rap because everyone would like to believe they would handle the main character's situation better than he did.

Entitled:
Sounds like Jim needs to try some Nakige visual novels. That is basically a whole genre based around that principle, with a light-herated, comedic first act, a heartwarming romantic second act, and a third act that will make you cry.

WARNING! IT'S NAKIGE, WITH AN "A". UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD ANYONE TRY THE "NUKIGE VISUAL NOVEL" GENRE, WITH AN "U", OR DO AN IMAGE SEARCH FOR "NUKIGE".

Such amount of capital letters needs a search... fires up vpn, virtual machine and so on and then google & bing.... OK that kind "do not" ahem that is just evil..
(checked wikipedia and Nakige="cry game" if the curious wants to know..)

And I do agree with Jim lots of games are just depressed at all times some small gleams of emotional games do exist, not that I can mention them now but still... And good comedy (ie not plain slapstick..) would make a lot more games actually emotional I've read a book (or two) that makes me care since I see both good times and bad times. It can be simply boiled down to: happy go sad and then go happy again, and you're done!...

That "laugh" why? Oh why? Please make me unhear it!

Sheo_Dagana:
I'm glad Jim brought up Final Fantasy X. That game is charged with a variety of emotions but gets a bad rap because everyone would like to believe they would handle the main character's situation better than he did.

...Which is massive B.S. on their part, since just about everybody from the real world would snap and slip into a deep depression if not outright kill themselves after spending an hour in Spira, and that's if the Fiends didn't get them first.

Jim, did you foresee Graham's answer to the 'what's your favorite guilty pleasure game?' Because you threw in that stupid laugh SOOOO much.

Still, good points on the episode. I agree that when you can't tell how someone feels because... well, they never showed no emotion to begin with, it's hard to care when something happens. I've recently started Gears 3 and didn't realize Marcus was supposed to be upset about the whole dad thing until it was specifically mentioned.

thejackyl:

mraustindude19:
Whats the game where the pig fried its self?

Illusion of Gaia for SNES - I recently replayed it after beating it when I was like 11 or 12, and I don't remember getting chills from any scenes from it when I was younger. The entire 2nd half of the game (From Angel Village) sets a different pace than the first half.

Thanks.seems fun. will check it out

What's the song playing during the first minute or so of the video?

While this was a good video, I don't agree that you need laughter to generate tragedy. It can certainly help things along and make them more memorable, but brooding characters still illicit an emotional response akin to tragedy with the right kind of artistic touch.

One of the best ways I've seen this done is through discovery moments usually told in flashbacks. Although present in famous films such as Citizen Kane, my personal favorite example of tragedy befalling a brooding protagonist is in Godfather 1 & 2 (spoilers to these movies to follow). Michael Corleone is never a "happy" character. There's a seriousness to him at all times even before tragedy strikes. He's a former WWII veteran who doesn't wish to be connected to his family's mob life. His desire to protect his father and family at all costs lead him to a dark path that results in the murder any perceived threat to his family that he has such devotion to. This includes a few close friends and even his older brother, Fredo, after he was revealed to have given vital information to a party that endangered Micheal, his wife, and his son's lives at the beginning of the second movie.

At the very end of Godfather 2, there's a scene which takes place prior to the event of both movies where the family is preparing to celebrate the beloved Godfather's birthday. While his family chat about the recent Pearl Harbor bombings, Micheal announces that he's signed up to fight for the greater good. Every member of the family is upset by this except Fredo (he's willing to give his life for someone that isn't his "blood", which is dismissed as stupid). The close of the scene shows Michael drinking at his family's table without his family.

What this does is really ties the tragic events of this character's life together and serve as a punctuation to what we've seen, granting context and realization. When Micheal tries to do the "honorable" thing by avoiding the mob life, his family rejects him. When he takes over the family business, it results in the destruction of his family. Ultimately, his idealism is his undoing, which is what makes it so tragic.

I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.

Respect to FF 8? FF 8 is almost as bad if not more so than FF 13, I honestly can decide which is worse. FF 8 introduced the absurdly stupid Draw system, GF conjunction and the stupidest weapon ever conceived by man the Gunblade.

SoMuchSpace:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.

Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.

Jimothy Sterling:

SoMuchSpace:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.

Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.

Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.

One thing I said to a friend about FFIX when Zidane goes emo was something like, "He's been happy the entire game, he's allowed this."
Not exactly a great point but I though it a relevant piece of testimony. FFIX had almost everyone go through little happy sad arcs. Steiner was almost the anti emo, but I don't think he was ever sad, just serious.

SoMuchSpace:

Jimothy Sterling:

SoMuchSpace:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.

Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.

Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.

Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.

Jimothy Sterling:

SoMuchSpace:

Jimothy Sterling:

Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.

Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.

Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.

You're referring to the Half Life series as a whole.I get what you're saying, but only in the context of Episode 2, i don't think it' really applicable.

-The whole tone of the first half is extremely sad because the player is uncertain if Alyx will live
-When you do revive her, The GMan pops up and reminds you that you are merely the pawns of his chess set, and that everything that is happening is because he has been controlling it
-The advisors have hatched and have become much more of a threat than in their incubation stage
-The combines are marching towards the last base of the resistance with al they've got - one strider and the whole mission is bust
-Judith Mossman could be under the combine imprisonment, they could very well be torturing her to reveal information about the resistance
-The Borealis : we're unsure what it does, but constant reinforcement makes us feel that it should be destroyed

There's maybe 3-4 happy interactions, but even after the final battle is over, you have to go save Judith, and then that moment happens.

My point is this - The overall setting of Ep2 is bleak and sad.In fact the pfirst half has been the lowest feeling of despair and loss you've ever been given by the series.It ends as whole, tragically.You seem to say that in order for the sad thing to wrok, we must be given a montage of an hour of alyx, eli, kleiner and barney hugging and smiling each at each other.Sadness works depending on how much you bother to delve into the story of the character.You weren't invested in Eli, therefore you didn't find what happened to him sad.I was, so i did.The whole happiness needs to be there so that we notice sadness is just...strange.

-

SoMuchSpace:

Jimothy Sterling:

SoMuchSpace:

Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.

Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.

You're referring to the Half Life series as a whole.I get what you're saying, but only in the context of Episode 2, i don't think it' really applicable.

-The whole tone of the first half is extremely sad because the player is uncertain if Alyx will live
-When you do revive her, The GMan pops up and reminds you that you are merely the pawns of his chess set, and that everything that is happening is because he has been controlling it
-The advisors have hatched and have become much more of a threat than in their incubation stage
-The combines are marching towards the last base of the resistance with al they've got - one strider and the whole mission is bust
-Judith Mossman could be under the combine imprisonment, they could very well be torturing her to reveal information about the resistance
-The Borealis : we're unsure what it does, but constant reinforcement makes us feel that it should be destroyed

There's maybe 3-4 happy interactions, but even after the final battle is over, you have to go save Judith, and then that moment happens.

My point is this - The overall setting of Ep2 is bleak and sad.In fact the pfirst half has been the lowest feeling of despair and loss you've ever been given by the series.It ends as whole, tragically.You seem to say that in order for the sad thing to wrok, we must be given a montage of an hour of alyx, eli, kleiner and barney hugging and smiling each at each other.Sadness works depending on how much you bother to delve into the story of the character.You weren't invested in Eli, therefore you didn't find what happened to him sad.I was, so i did.The whole happiness needs to be there so that we notice sadness is just...strange.

-

Yes, but it's an episode. It's built from a plot and characters that have already been established. They've been developed, and this is them at their lowest. This does not disprove what I said. The characters have sunk lower than was established previously. This is different from characters that start miserable and never go anywhere else.

You know, overall I like FF9. Not my favorite, but I like it. There are 4 things that irritate me about it though:

1) It plods along. It feels like the characters are wearing lead shoes when they move. Not the worst of it I seen (Legend of Legaia is FAR worse) but it still feels sluggish.

2) The end boss. Ahem, spolers coming up:

3) The forced PlayOnline focus. Now this is more related to people like myself who have no issue using strategy guides and the like but most of the information and anything relevant to what a guide should have forced you to look up online. Now this was at a time where net speeds weren't nearly as fast as they are now so it was a pain at best with no alternative. And if you want to use the guide now? Better find an archive of the info because Square cut it out long ago.

4) Quina. Never fond of that character really. Any time I had an option not to have her, I took her out of the party.

Jim,

What your messing was driving home this time reminded me of a point Yahtzee had made before, and that is juxtaposition. In his point however, he was analyzing the pacing of action sequences in (i think) his review of Modern Warfare 3.

Great and well articulated point though, Jim.

I'm always struck by how poorly people rate character is how "Gloomy" or "Emotional" characters are in games.

Some of the best writing in history have men who out right CRY because they've lost their strength/wife/gold.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, his equal Enkido cried because he lost his superior strength just from integrating into human society. And cried harder at the idea of frighting Humbumba, the guardian and monster of the Cedar forest. Yet he is regarded as a very deep person, and very much human by philosophers and masters of literature.

One of many African gods created man by a mistake while drunk and wept for days at his mistake due to the fact that they were flawed. Yet this made him more human in the eyes of many.

In the Ramayana, Rama worried and cried and wept when his wife was taken from him by Ravana. A monster that kidnapped Sita.

These characters have shown tears, for causes large and small. Yet they have been praised for years. And people complain about Squall who keeps people at arms reach because he lost his sister and don't know his parents? And even turned down as an option for adoption because he was difficult to handle due to his cooping?

Or that Hope is "whiny" when for Christ sake, he watches his mother -die in front of him-? Are you kidding me? How is a child whiny after watching their mother die? Most people who are adults and see their parents pass naturally can fall into post traumatic stress.

And even Lightning, she was acting that was because she was afraid. She didn't know what to do with a death sentence of a slow and gradual nature or one that comes swift and painful by a hail of bullets. The character is literally put in a hellish situation. How do you expect her to react?

Honestly, I can't help but feel that video gamers should have no weighed opinion that could even be found to have any value on how a character is written without even understanding how human relations, mythology, social interactions work.

It's so true about FF9 that I almost die of your reasoning...

FYI, I almost die of laughter because of Jim while I was watching the Escapist Expo... Thank god for you.

Ironic that That Laughing Scene comes up, cause it's specifically Yuna and Tidus talking practicing laughing to cover up when they feel sad.

You definitely nailed this one Jim. As a huge FF fan I would agree with everything you had to say about those games. Final Fantasy IX is an underrated gem. The Square of today has completely forgotten how to make likable characters with actual story arcs.

The series is in decline now. I'm hoping falling profits will be the 'kick up the ass' Square sorely needs.

so i think the better version of this story arc that a guy is cheerful and all and then gets all his hopes and dreams crushed, is that we have a depresed and lonely(aka standard) kind of hero that the further in game we go gets more hope. we work for that hope and cheerfulness then the villain comes and crushes the guy. to a point lower than his starting point.

Why isn't the sound working?

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DarknessInducedAudienceApathy

Why is it so hard to understand that old world thinking does not apply to new world problems? Juxtaposition and liberal practice will mix shit up the way we need them to.

Thanks, Jim. Final Fantasy IX is my favourite FF game.

...and...oh dear, the laughter. I played through Final Fantasy X lots of times, and I really like it, but....I forgot how painful this is to watch.

I liked the way this video was going but I had to exit out of it pretty early on and avoid reading any comments in this forum topic, for fear of multiple unwarned spoilers.

Sylocat:
I wasn't expecting him to name any FF games, least of all FFX. Although, and I have to put on my flame suit, I think FFX-2 did this as well.

...

...

...

I'll pretend i didn't read that.

OT: great video , but why the assumption that every game wants to be tragic? I think FF8 was trying to do the oposite of being tragic, i would argue that Squalls developpment in the game tries to show that people shouldn't be apathetic. The story works it's way from the bottom up.

As opposed to FF13 where it was doom and gloom until the very end. Hell even the ending was bitter sweet if not downright gloomy.

The best example of this I can think of is actually from tv. How I Met Your Mother is not a perfect show, but it has done tragedy well. Specifically with the characters Marshall and Barney. Both of them are unreasonably happy (in their own ways), and seeing Marshall lose his dad or Barney struggle with his choices regarding women is the only really powerful thing in the show. Because Ted is whiny and kinda depressing most of the time, and Robin is cold, I find I care a lot less when bad things happen to them.

As a Mississippian I have to say

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!

Jim...I...I think I love you.

That was a really strange laugh. I have no idea what to make of it.

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