Jimquisition: Think of the Children!

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Frankly I just assume Carl Grimes got his stupidity from Rick Grimes, possibly the most idiotic protagonist I have ever seen.

So, like Ellie from The Last Of Us?

This was a very good episode, An 8 minute length made it a more in depth and well rounded.

It's a weird problem if you think about it. Think of media that revolves around children: The Sandlot, The Goodnies, Stand By Me. Those are all movies, but it still shows that you can genuinely love characters who are kids. It's simple: Make us remember what it was like to be a kid. Don't just show them as the mopey pet the parent has to make dinner for. Show them as the walking fount of imagination and enthusiasm that kids are.

Jimothy Sterling:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video

Hey, Jim, what's your opinion on Carl in the season 3 premiere? I personally liked how he shot things and knew when to shut the hell up.

Jim you raise some interesting points, and it's got me thinking about the fact that children are so often just used as emotional Macguffin's. And how using characteristics of a child, such as their sense of fear, naivety, or selfishness, can make a character fantastic, but children only ever get those characteristics, and inevitably wind up as whiny, and insufferable little brats.

But all those ideas sort ran away from me when I heard,

"Carl Grimes: The one hundred fuck-ups of a four foot burden."

I was genuinely laughing out loud at that one.

There is one film I couldn't watch more than 30 minutes of because of those 2 annoying little fethwipes.

War of the Worlds, the Tom Cruise one.

Those 2 kids in that pissed me off so much I had to turn it off.

Didn't see anyone else post this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh2sWSVRrmo

Good episode as always, and certainly a good point. Now we can see why there's that mod for Skyrim where you can say: "fuck you, brat. I'm not going to let you become Conan". This anoying plage of small pricks have gone so far that they're in one of most beloved games; with this said I know that I'm going to get flames for what I'm going to say next.

DISCLAIMER: I love the Salient Hill saga as much as the next Australian game reviewer, but honestly I haven't seen an advertising for abortion so strong as the fact to interact with some of the children in that town(it's even worse when you read the comics). Silent Hill 2 is still a good game, every character made me feel invested in their own history, except for that twat Laura. Not only she was anoying on her own, but every time I had the bad luck to cross with her, she did every thing she could to piss me off; and Mary pretended to adopt her? Honey, if I did bring you to Silent Hill before you died, What makes you think that I would make my existance more miserable by living with that kid?

Phew, I feel like an elephant just fell from my shoulders.

I have to give a shout out to another good child character, Nanako of Persona 4. Her personality is very well established throughout the course of the game (moreso than almost every other side character, actually) and she's far from helpless. If anything, she's more adult than her father half the time. She still has the quirks of being a child, but they never get to the point where she's annoying for it. She's a very sympathetic character.

But yes, nothing is more annoying than a story using a child as bait without any other justifications for it. Most horror franchises are extremely guilty of this.

Off the top of my head of a game I played for the first time recently, Parasite Eve has that extremely dumb kid of the police officer that kept literally throwing himself into danger over and over again. That is beyond frustrating and breaks all suspension of disbelief. Kids can be dumb, but not that dumb. It's just really lazy writing to get the protagonist in trouble.

Clementine is a great character, I really really like her as a character and I WANT to protect her as Lee.

Telltale has done a terrific job with all the characters, but they really nailed Clementine, something I feared wasn't gonna pan out much early on.

Have to add my voice to the chorus of Mass Effect 3.

But we have to acknowledge, what many consider, to be the penultimate hate-able child;

Wesley "shoot him in to a black hole" Crusher.

But isnt that the problem? You are looking at it backwards. Children ARE nothing but hindrances with next to no character or any reason to feel anything for them (unless of course you made them yourself). The reason it is rare to see it in any form of media when children are used properly is because it is rare when a child is much more than a screaming bag of MEMEMEMEMEMEME!!!! In fact it is so much so that really when you see these "good" examples of children, they are in fact practically anthropomorphizing adult traits into a childs frame. Think about it. Any time you see one of these good examples, you think it is a good example because they are basically acting in a "mature" manner.

I do get it, in a media based on interaction it makes sense to have a char be developed and practical for the continuation of narrative. But that isnt what a child is. They have not yet had time to develop, mature, or be practical. So in media other than video games yes it is perfectly understandable to have whiney little walking STDs because its a more realistic depiction. It is a conflict in games, but that is a problem with gaming so much more than it is a problem with the depiction.

Worgen:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.

This reminds me, there's a distinction here that I think Jim didn't mention outright: that there's a difference between media where all the main characters are children, and where children are characters in a plot centered around adults. In the former, children are frequently written as little adults, perfectly capable of handling all the problems and conflicts the story presents them with. In the latter, the children necessarily have to be less capable than the adults, and how the writer handles the problem of keeping a child character relevant in a narrative where they are not necessary is where many get into trouble.

Also, does anyone know why Jim is wearing bright red gloves like some kind of creepy serial killer?

That thumb nail made the girl look like a dog....

This just reminds me of Arya Stark vs. Sansa Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. Both of them are "problems to be solved" but one of them is clearly proactive about it, while the other is waiting for some handsome knight to save her.

i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?

The best child actors I can think of are the kids from Super 8. They were amazing. This coming from a guy whose previous opinion of child actors was that they had no humour, style, or delivery. Generally, this is true. Child humour is usually only funny to children, and when an adult writes lines for them it usually sounds horrible and fake. If not that, then they give a teenager five-year-old lines or a two-year-old sixteen-year-old lines. It is not really the kids' fault in this case, but it's sooooo annoying. I just learned that anything is possible.
But I will still never teach any class below college without a salary of at least $ 100,000. I just wouldn't be able to deal.

I play The Walking Dead (as of writing, save data was lost in formatting) and I have to say Clementine is indeed the strongest child character I've seen ever.

Duck, on the other hand, is such a fucking tool that forces you to not be able to save a far more useful character really damn early in the overall story, and then his dad has the cheek to get upset with me because I was raging out loud at how natural selection was being denied.

Jimothy Sterling:
Snip

.. . Did, you just use Clementine from The Walking Dead as an example on how developers can do kids right?
You won the "Best Example for This Argument" award, we salute you Jim.

image

OT: Truth be told, no other game has gotten me to acknowledge or feel so close to kid character before then Clementine. She's a child but that's not why I value her so dearly. Jim did an outstanding job with expressing why, and the fact Clementine understands my protagonist without being made to seem clueless, innocent, or dumb. Seriously making kids naive and dumb without the reason behind it other then to make us rescue them for such a mistake is bad writing.

Even though I love Bethesda, and I love Skyrim, they don't get kids right. In fact to make them so negative and unlikable for no reason along with being clones of every other kid in the game makes me resent being around them .. especially the Whiterun Jarl's son.

"Another wanderer to lick my father's boots, good job."

Excuse me for saving you from a soul stealing dragon that would destroy all life and basically protecting Whiterun from the Stormcloaks that tried invading. If that's your definition of licking your dad's boots, then I basically ate the boots as a whole. I did that much for your city kid.

In real life, I have a lot of sympathy for children. In fiction, not so much. Half the time, I'm half-tempted to beg the developers of the game to allow us to kill children in the games just because of how annoying they get, especially games that are open world and all about doing whatever you want (almost, but not really). But again, this is a general problem, not just in games, because all-to-often, executives get it in their head that if a kid is IN something, then that automatically means we're supposed to care... either that or it makes it automatically kid-friendly or the kids will want it or some bullshit, I don't even know.

I have to say, when I first started watching Jimquisition I really didn't like it. Jim seemed to take himself a bit to seriously, and I actually stopped watching for the longest time. That said, his videos over time (And admittedly, seeing him on the Escapist Expo video) have made me completely reverse my opinion. I look forward to these vids every week now.

This weeks was reliably informative and (Well, sadly to be honest) on mark. The development of children as actual characters has been something long neglected and it would be good if people would learn that. Not to mention that, as being a father and a gamer, the fact that shithead politicians think that they should defend my children from the horrors of video games, really gets on my nerves more NOW, than it did back when I was young.

People automatically assume children are little Jr. Consumers who have no grasp of reality, humanity, or the world around them, and should likewise be treated as nothing more than resources to be mined for political favor or sympathy. Anyone who watches a kid grow, should look at these people and inform them of how far up their own asses, they hare stuck. And as was said in the video: If you think that just because a kid is in a form of media, that you should automatically sympathize because: "Oh a kid is being affected, my heart strings are practically being ripped out of my chest right now," I'm sorry but that is just silly. A good dramatic piece should play off of your sympathies by building up the characters to resemble someone you relate to in the broad sense so that you can fill in the blanks. Now, being a parent EXPANDS the sympathies you have to be played on, but that doesn't mean you automatically begin to tear up once anything happens with a kid.

Anywho, Jim Sterling for president 2012: Why? Because are your option any better otherwise?

As soon I read "At least one game gets it right" in the video description I thought of Clementine.

They did a really good job of making me want to take care of her. In that bit in Ep2 near the beginning where they make you hand out three items of food among ten people my first thought was, "Well, actually, that's three food items among nine people because, come hell or high water, Clementine will be getting one."

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.

Reminds me of Shamus Young's Let's Play series. "No children were harmed in our attempts to murder all the children." When the kid died in ME3, Josh's reaction? "Fuck you, Little Lamplight!"

Very good video Jim. I'm not a big fan of your work generally but you're getting much better. If I may offer one observation it is that you consistently use too many words to say very little. It's as if you are speaking impromptu and not writing down an outline before hand. Less is more.

Just a thought.

All of the reasons why poorly written child characters are such a noisome botheration in most fiction are perfectly good reasons why children make for some of the best villains in fiction.

See A Game of Thrones for example of how natural protective instincts towards youth and a naughty child given far too few limits make for a horrific match. Plus it has British accents.

Been meaning to give these a try, just because they're supposed to be really good. But now Jim Sterling (JIM FREAKIN' STERLING, of all people!) is using them as an example of a child's character done well in a video game that ISN'T Psychonauts? I HAVE to try them now. Oh, also:

Roofstone:
OT: I really liked Emily from dishonored, she is obviously sad and scared about this whole situation, but still manages to stay generally upbeat when you are around. As well as trying her best to act her part and stay mature.

One of the few characters that made me want to protect her, simply because she was a good character.

m19:
Princess Emily from Dishonored wasn't too bad either.

I'm not super far into the game yet (just heading to the Golden Cat now), because I bought XCOM at the same time, and have sort of been wrapped up in that, but Emily's first moment in the game wasn't too bad. I started getting a bad feeling around the time I was playing hide-and-seek with her, though.

Not because of anything she did, per say, more because of the subtitles that occurred when we were heading to the area you play in/when I didn't emerge from my hiding spot immediately.

They were:

[Sounds of wonderment]

[Sound of restlessness]

And my thought was "Did you honestly have to caption that? And, since clearly you did, did they HAVE to be so token? Could you not have represented them with a string of letters? Her sound of restlessness in particular was something like "Umm... Nnngh." Would that have been so hard?"

For me, that they boiled her childish noises down to such a science was a sign of bad things to come.

On the other hand, I like how they characterized her curiosity for the sea almost immediately. It's not much, but it shows at least an ATTEMPT at character building, which is more than I can say for most children in video games.

Worgen:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.

What? The Psychonauts kids were some of the most annoying and stereotyped children I've seen in a game. Good game though.

Carl in the comics is SO much better than the tv show version. All the characters are.

It's never going to happen
Children will always be annoying and wander off into the worst possible places in fiction imaginable

Ickabod:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like, only the archetypes that have been established by other writers without children. The writers themselves think that children are annoying and helpless, hence they way they portray them.

Yes, this here. Also, writers often know that parents really do have a sort of gut-churning reaction to protecting kids....I never imagined it as a real phenomenon until I became a parent myself....and I think these writers cop out of actually writing interesting kid characters by playing on this knee-jerk reaction parents feel to kids being put in harm's way. It's incredibly annoying because holy hell I CAN'T HELP IT when I see a kid in distress, even if that kid is otherwise a hollow shell of a character.

Gonna go play The Walking Dead now based on Jim's comments, though!

The Tall Nerd:
i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?

Life does get better though. It sounds like you've had some exceptionally bad experiences....but trust me, its possible to meet decent and thoughtful kids (just maybe not wherever you are unfortunately).

I wholeheartedly agree that Clementine is a great definition to what a child is like and should be like.

image

Too bad you didn't warn them about Duck... you sneaky man.

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.

You know, YOU KNOW, they put that bit in the beginning of episode three to make you get attached to him just to fuck with the player, those sadistic bastards.

camazotz:

The Tall Nerd:
i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?

Life does get better though. It sounds like you've had some exceptionally bad experiences....but trust me, its possible to meet decent and thoughtful kids (just maybe not wherever you are unfortunately).

while i did go though some stuff, i did meet some ok kids, one of those kids is my best friend
thanks but my statement wasn't meant to demonize all kids, my definition of dickodry has a wide range, from a kid being a little mean to a complete ass holes.

so while i am glad you showed concern my comment want as mean as it sounded, i tend to type very angry for some reason.

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