Jimquisition: Think of the Children!

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Your point at 3:54 is very troubling and you should have that looked at. Saying "Children are just basically shitty adults," is messed up. CHILDREN ARE NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS. (That's psych 101.) Treating or thinking of them as such is not just unfair to any child, or adult, but perverse. Your outlook on them is not very healthy and admittedly might be skewing your views. I hear that you are aggravation at Carol in Walking Dead, but I completely disagree with your view of him.

Ickabod:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like

Yeah, that's not the problem. Like, at all. You don't need children to write compelling children and you don't start writing them just because you have them.

Like that shitty kid in ME3. God I hated him.

I know he's supposed to be representative of greater loss, but they could have used anyone for that role, but they chose a kid, because it's the easy out.

It would have been much more effective to see people Shepard knew and cared about in the dreams, instead we chase a kid through a forest until he catches on fire for...reasons.

Legion:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.

Agreed.

Several hundred thousand innocent batarian civilians murdered by Shepard to slow the reapers down (and still have everyone ignore you and waste the time you bought in blood)? No biggie!

A single human kid dies? Shep gets nightmares.

Ugh. I'm pretty sure that's just something their marketing had concocted to give the demo an explosive end. I sense a conspicuous lack of a writers' touch in that Earth prelude. On the other hand, Tuchanka and Rannoch are awesome.

As a parent, I applaud you.

Now if we could just get them to stop making "scary child" horror movies;
children aren't scary...
not in that way at least.

Irridium:
You know, I used to care about children. Used to not hate them.

Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to bitch you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.

So thanks, Bethesda. Thanks for making me hate kids in games.

Oh, and Retro-City Rampage is available on GoG as well. So if you want it without DRM and some extra stuff like the soundrack, go GoG.

You can actually sell those kids them into slavery. It's possibly the darkest act you can commit in the game but if you despise them that much, it might be worth it.

God, I hated Dawn. There were times I wanted to murder the actor playing her just so she would be gone from the show.

Shiro No Uma:
Saying "Children are just basically shitty adults," is messed up. CHILDREN ARE NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS. (That's psych 101.) Treating or thinking of them as such is not just unfair to any child, or adult, but perverse.

Very much agreed.

Jim makes a great point about the laziness of (non)characterization, but you can't simply write children as interesting miniature adults with a few quirks ('frail', 'emotionally clutching', etc). As much as media may sometimes portray it, they simply aren't neurologically capable of the psychology required to fully interact in a way that a (selfish) adult wouldn't describe as 'shitty', or at least 'annoying'. And before anyone does, please forgo the 'but I know a little kid who does' speech, and research statistical averages. Exceptions do not make the rule.

Also, portraying them as little adults can get pretty creepy, frankly. And it also seems that Bethesda delights in making the children in their games as grating as possible.

Jimothy Sterling:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video

What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!

There are a lot of good kid characters creators should research if they want to create a kid. Kids like Calvin, Susie Derkins, the whole Peanuts cast sans Rerun in comics are varied kids. The cast of Earthbound and Okamiden in videogames are pretty decent and not annoying. The point is treating them with the same seriousness as an adult, kids can be as capable as adults sometimes, if a bit simpler in their thought processes.

In terms of Mass Effect 3, I think that Shepard's emotional torment at the kid is moreover his distress at actually not being able to save someone. That sends him on the stress spiral where he has to come to grips with the idea of galactic triage. Granted, that makes a bit more sense if you play a paragon Shepard and didn't do the Arrival DLC but still.

On another note, am I the only one that was kinda insulted by Modern Warfare 3's "shocking moment"? It felt like the developers were telling me that they think the only way to get me to care about a city full of civilians getting hit with nerve gas was to have a American family and a child in particular die from it? I hope I'm not the only one.

Yeah, child characters are normally really shit. I watched the crapfest Insidious the other day, I didn't care for shit because the whole story was just "save this little boy from the demons!".

I fully agree with you on Clementine. The only mass-anger-over-a-trivial-thing I'll be fine with in gaming is if ANYTHING bad happens to Clementine in the last episode. I don't think I'd be able to handle it if she died. Still hope it's a possible outcome though.

Zachary Amaranth:

Ickabod:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like

Yeah, that's not the problem. Like, at all. You don't need children to write compelling children and you don't start writing them just because you have them.

True. What about thinking what they were like as children?
That is an easy way of writing a child character. Just think, if I was a child and was put in that situation what would I do? and write that.
Whenever someone whines about children, they should be reminded that were children themselves once.

ex275w:
There are a lot of good kid characters creators should research if they want to create a kid. Kids like Calvin, Susie Derkins, the whole Peanuts cast sans Rerun in comics are varied kids. The cast of Earthbound and Okamiden in videogames are pretty decent and not annoying. The point is treating them with the same seriousness as an adult, kids can be as capable as adults sometimes, if a bit simpler in their thought processes.

I think Calvin is a fucking prick, I'm seriously annoyed to oblivion by him. Even from a young age, I have not been able to stand most children cartoon characters. Winnie the Pooh is retarded from the earth the moon and back, all of Astrid Lindgrens characters are obnoxious little fuckers.

The phrase "think of the children" makes me want to puke, because it's used as the rallying cry of parents lobbing the government(s) to enact legislation so that they won't have to think of their children. (in other words, do their parenting for them)

A little more on topic, this is why there are mods that allow you to kill children in games like Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc.

So, then, guess we'll have to see how The Last of Us turns out. Not sure where the cut off age for "children" is, but guess she is supposed to be 14 and doesn't seem like the typical annoying as hell teenager.

image
Oh look, more posters here to lick Jims boots.

Yeah... last night I was watching a re-run of the second season of The Walking Dead series... and I was reminded, like if someone hit me in the head with a rock (or a kick in the nuts), why I fucking hated that season and almost made me hate the entire fucking series... women and children.

Seriously, I don't have anything against children and women (Aliens being the perfect example of both superbly done), but it's like if the writers of the TWD series were lobotomic monkeys with a grudge for women and children.

The day Lori (and hopefully Carl) get killed will be the day I fucking get off my chair to start dancing and screaming in joy like a little girl.

The game on the other hand... I fucking love Clementine...

Did anyone else notice that the baby's head was dented in at the end and then suddenly back to the semi-normal creepy fake baby head after the plug?

OT: yea yea good episode blah de blah de blah...

But Jim, TWD also had an insufferable child who'se only real accomplishment was

Should have showered him with your attention as well.

Dragon Zero:

Jimothy Sterling:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video

What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!

I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.

Heh, this reminds of an old sport in Scotland called Midget-Tossing, but it was banned because of Health & Safety.
Or it could be a legend, I'm not sure which...
But I hope it's true!

Jimothy Sterling:

Dragon Zero:

Jimothy Sterling:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video

What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!

I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.

I liked Duck because he went from a rambunctious little idiot to taking much more after Clementine by how the situation dictated he must and the time they spent together while still remaining unique. Though his first introduction had me sighing in frustration because I thought he was going to keep getting into such trouble, on top of that I really liked Ducks poor victim. =/

Jimothy Sterling:
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.

I was actually going to comment saying I was surprised you didn't mention him, if only because he was initially a pretty good example of the worst one can do with children characters.

I liked the kid in Borderlands 2 voiced by that crazy youtube girl

Falseprophet:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex (about 1:00 in the clip below):

Which is why I hated the opening to Alien 3 all the more...

OT: Interesting. I may need to play The Walking Dead after all, which I haven't yet because Adventure games are always a little too obtuse for me to enjoy.

SonOfVoorhees:

Irridium:
Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to bitch you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.

So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.

While you couldn't kill them, the game didn't actually make you have to save them or force you to care about them either, you could be pretty nasty to kids in fallout 3 and you could also be good towards them, depending on how you felt.

This one kid in rivet city especially, you could manipulate him into running away into the wasteland even. That's pretty much sealing his demise.

As for the little lamplight ones, the mayor was an asshole and so were a couple of others but I generally liked the rest of them, they didn't seem quite as annoying...and you could always extort the mayor by threatening to blow up their cave if you were annoyed by him XD.

To be honest I hated clementine with a passion.
I actively tried to get her killed, I mean she's not as bad as "CARL STAY IN THE HOUSE" but the fact that i had to protect her at all times was annoying. I also disliked the fact that everything I did came up with "Clementine has noticed" or "Clementine is scared". I can understand the "actions have consequences" etc but she felt like some outside critic constantly judging me and to be honest not doing much.

KeyboardSnorlax:
I liked the kid in Borderlands 2 voiced by that crazy youtube girl

Tiny Tina?

The one voiced by the head writers sister?

I want to say that there's the reverse side of the coin, something like Little Lamplight, since I haven't played the Walking Dead games, that kids can have character outside of "help us, we're in trouble", and still be annoying pricks, but that's still better than being relegated to a plot device. All of the kids in Little Lamplight have somehow carved a life out for themselves, surrounded by deathclaws, yao guai, raiders, and the other horrors of the Capital Wasteland, and those that survive manage themselves quite well. They might be insolent little shits, but there's kind of a reason for that, and they're actually competent, training each other, helping each other survive.

The Jarl's kids in Skyrim, however, could do with a good "training lesson" with the legendary Dragonborn.

I'd start by teaching them about Shouts...

"Cuz of the baby"...
Yeah, because of that child I will and shall vote Sterling 2012!!!

On the subject: Ashly of RE 4 fame.
OMFG, she's supposed to be an older teen and cultured, but she's more like an infant that was unfortunately dropped on her head... Five of six times... :\

Well, at least she kept out of the way by hiding in a bin most of the time.

If we are having a contest for "worst children character in a videogame ever", I am going to vote for Hope from Dreamfall: the loungest journey. Never before I felt someone was using a child so poorly to get some sort of emotional response from me, and was left feeling hollow as the trick was way too transparent for me. Seriously, it's 100% manipulation, it adds nothing to the plot, it's just a diversion (but then again, I feel like Dreamfall is all about faking to have an idea, while you are just making stuff up as you go along, with this being just another example of bad writing while the game is full with them).

Edit: sorry, I meant Faith. I can't believe I called her Hope... But now that I think of it, I hate her, so maybe it's not that surprising.

While I am glad Jim talked about good child characters, I'm kinda dissapointed he didn't rip into the whole TINK UF TEH CHILDRENZ!!!1! mentallity and all the idiots who do stuff because of it.

Best child actor ever?

Ya know, from the title of the clip I expected a rant about parents against violent videogames or Australians against violent videogames or [insert watchdog group here]. This was a pleasant surprise, and something I completely agree with. I don't play videogames so that a child can get in the way of my slaughtering the demonic masses. As a rule I simply cannot relate to children in any way, shape or form and so cannot play games where they are at the forefront. I don't want a little person to protect. I want to rip the evil slug from their chest to get my Adam and go on my merry way.

NinjaDeathSlap:

Legion:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.

I think the dreams were less of a reflection of Shepard's grief over that one kid in particular, but rather what that kid represents. Shepard tried to save him, and failed. Now, he/she's tasked with saving the whole Galaxy, and is terrified they'll fail there too. The kid becomes symbolic of everyone who has died, and are still dying, and the hopelessness that Shepard feels going up against that when he/she sees themselves failing to save even a few individuals.

It's just my interpretation, but I don't think it was as simple as 'A child has died. You haz a sad now!'

If anything, that makes it feel even more idiotic to me. It feels like a ham fisted way to force emotion into the game, rather than actually giving us genuine reasons to care. Even with this interpretation, they are still trying to use a characterless child to create emotion and depth into the game, but in many cases they just succeeded in annoying people.

Agreed, most child characters really need some work put into them. Luckily, for me I seem to dodge all children as support characters of late. When they're main characters, at least they try to be witty and independent.

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