Jimquisition: Think of the Children!

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

I'm glad to know people don;t hate children charachters becuase they are children...

they hate them because they are lazy and poorly implemented

so yeah...sorry ME3 but theres no denying yoru kind of guilty of that...

The Walking Dead was a perfect example to use in a discussion like this.

In fact, when Jim said there was one game in particular that did the child character right, TWD was my first guess. Reminds me I still need to get Episode 4.

Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

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.

Well, thank you for responding!

I have to admit that Duck does have a charm about him but, as you more or less point out (or I hope you meant), the biggest point against him in my book would be:

Finally, I do remember a child character from a videogame I do like, Nanna from the excellent El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. She is a warm and loving character and even befriends one of the Nephilim. Anyway, that totally wasn't just me looking for an excuse to bring up El Shaddai to someone who might enjoy it. I'm rambling, aren't I? Anyway, thank you for responding!

Jim's red gloves scare me.

Callate:

SonOfVoorhees:
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.

I always wondered why anyone was so incensed by the inability to kill children in Skyrim. And then...

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

GRRRAAAAAA die you little...

100% agreement on that. My friend thought that I was "wrong" for wanted to kill kids in a game (has only been a desire in Skyrim). However, the sandbox/immersion aspect of the game is really halted when my Brotherhood assassin has to take lip from some brat on a street corner. I'm surprised the uppity bastards didn't get mentioned in the video.

OT: Good video all around. You could easily do a extension of this video on how we're supposed to care about a character because she is the shoe-horned love interest. She has boobs, right? So, clearly she's compelling and makes total sense for a character to pursue, regardless of how annoying/shallow/useless they are.

Clementine from The Walking Dead and Nanako from Persona 4 are the only two child characters in games that I actually care about and feel sympathy for them.

Jim, I am mildly surprised that you didn't mention Final Fantasy IX in this episode. Considering that it is one of your favourite games and has great kid characters.

I had my fingers crossed when he started talking about the one game that got children right because I was going The Walking Dead game, The Walking Dead game, please be The Walking Dead game...

And Jim delivered.

But.... I really enjoy the Walking Dead TV series :(

I can't agree with this. I also can't agree with how people are reacting to the child in ME3, which was a giant fucking obvious plot sign that said "Hey, Earth is fucked, here's how we're going to make Shepard REMEMBER that Earth is fucked. Because, all throughout his star campaign children don't just get mercilessly blown up in front of him without even a second thought."

A child is not a small adult. A child is a child. To pretend otherwise is mental. A PERSON, sure, but a very impressionable, very dependent on conditioning and environment, and generally innocent. A shitty adult is someone who's so desensitized to the world they have the gall to call children just some little shits who wet the bed every now and then. Humans are the product of their environment, if you want children to be strong and not helpless, you're not going to find too many outside of borderline fantasy. When the "child stereotype" is being used, it's not because a child is like a grown woman or a grown man, they aren't out there to prove anything to you. They ARE helpless, or scared or otherwise. They have trouble because they haven't made the mistakes to learn anything from yet.

And as far as not being invested in a plight of a parent in search of their kid: no. It's the same thing as every other "____ in distress", except this one makes sense. Just because you don't have emotional attachment to a character does not mean you can't sympathize with such a loss when the parents are losing their mind over THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER. You can't sympathize WITH THE KID, sure, but that's the thing you should be complaining about. A parent who isn't upset about their kid being stolen is utterly freaking ridiculous. It's how NORMAL people work, because normal people get upset about their offspring suddenly up and vanishing.

If you need more exposition on a child, sure, ask for it. If you want more diversity in some child characters, yeah, fine. But don't pretend for even a second that they aren't what they are the majority of the time: fairly simple, fairly helpless, and have very little personal motivation that wouldn't already relate to a known conflict within the family. Values and personality types all come from somewhere, and that all can be covered, again, in exposition.

EDIT:
And I'm not saying there's no value in this, but this ridiculously aggressive view of the matter is just... bothersome. A plea for good characters I can understand, but kids innately aren't that good of characters. The only thing you can gain from them most of the time is how they learn to approach new issues which the medium they're put in is presented. Some can be portrayed as little shits or melodramatic because those types of people exist. To not acknowledge that is... well, lying to yourself?

Ferisar:
I can't agree with this. I also can't agree with how people are reacting to the child in ME3, which was a giant fucking obvious plot sign that said "Hey, Earth is fucked, here's how we're going to make Shepard REMEMBER that Earth is fucked. Because, all throughout his star campaign children don't just get mercilessly blown up in front of him without even a second thought."

A child is not a small adult. A child is a child. To pretend otherwise is mental. A PERSON, sure, but a very impressionable, very dependent on conditioning and environment, and generally innocent. A shitty adult is someone who's so desensitized to the world they have the gall to call children just some little shits who wet the bed every now and then. Humans are the product of their environment, if you want children to be strong and not helpless, you're not going to find too many outside of borderline fantasy. When the "child stereotype" is being used, it's not because a child is like a grown woman or a grown man, they aren't out there to prove anything to you. They ARE helpless, or scared or otherwise. They have trouble because they haven't made the mistakes to learn anything from yet.

And as far as not being invested in a plight of a parent in search of their kid: no. It's the same thing as every other "____ in distress", except this one makes sense. Just because you don't have emotional attachment to a character does not mean you can't sympathize with such a loss when the parents are losing their mind over THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER. You can't sympathize WITH THE KID, sure, but that's the thing you should be complaining about. A parent who isn't upset about their kid being stolen is utterly freaking ridiculous. It's how NORMAL people work, because normal people get upset about their offspring suddenly up and vanishing.

If you need more exposition on a child, sure, ask for it. If you want more diversity in some child characters, yeah, fine. But don't pretend for even a second that they aren't what they are the majority of the time: fairly simple, fairly helpless, and have very little personal motivation that wouldn't already relate to a known conflict within the family. Values and personality types all come from somewhere, and that all can be covered, again, in exposition.

EDIT:
And I'm not saying there's no value in this, but this ridiculously aggressive view of the matter is just... bothersome. A plea for good characters I can understand, but kids innately aren't that good of characters. The only thing you can gain from them most of the time is how they learn to approach new issues which the medium they're put in is presented. Some can be portrayed as little shits or melodramatic because those types of people exist. To not acknowledge that is... well, lying to yourself?

I am not sure I follow you. You are telling that is wrong for people to react negatively toward an obvious plot device, as you call it yourself? It is manipulative, that's why a child was picked for that role, and that's why people don't like it, because it's cheap.

A child is not a small adult, but mature children aren't so rare, either. Also, children learn quickly, and can adapt better than adults to a lot of situations, even if they lack the physical strength required to survive alone. Children throughout history had to partecipate to wars (even today, children are forced to be soldiers in several countries), there are slums in this world that have children survive as thieves, pickpocketers and beggars. Of course, if we talk of children from 0 to 7-8 years, it's unlikely for them to be able to do everything on their own, but you are selling them short if you believe that they are as helpless as you make them to be (also, you don't necessarily need to learn from mistakes, but this is another story).

I can't talk about Heavy Rain, so I am just going to say what I think Jim meant with that: in a game, players take an active role, unlike in movies, so to motivate them to act, you must give them something to care about. If the child doesn't get to play a big enough role in the game, the players won't be able to relate on the matter on a personal level. The fact that you can push your personal experience to substitute for the inadequacies of the plot doesn't make it a good plot, and in fact it cuts a lot of people from establishing a connection with the narrative. I don't think the point here was being unable to relate to the parents, but the fact that the sole driver of the narrative was someone (the child) we didn't know or cared about.

I just don't know what kind of children you have been around, or if I was blessed, but even the most whiny brats show clear signs of intelligence and initiative, even if in a roundabout, manipulative way (the child that cries because he wants a toy and you said him no, do so because they expect to get what they want when they cry, as this is what they are used to. If their parents are level-headed, he will learn the lesson soon enough, and won't cry for something like that forever. Children grow as long as their parents allow them to). You can also reason with kids, they aren't all so self-centered that they won't understand that context matters.

Also, this is fiction. Even if such a portrayal was the correct one (and I don't think it is), there is the matter that such "characters" won't make for an interesting narrative. They become just "obstacles" put in the way of the true characters, as they have to deal with them as well as with the task at hand, and frankly, add little to nothing to the whole. Not all kids should be "small adults" as you said, but the other end of the spectrum isn't good at all, either.

I generally agree with you Jim, but regarding Heavy Rain, we aren't supposed to feel sorry for the kidnapped child but for the parent who's child was kidnapped, and frankly you dont need a good characterization for the child in order for an empathetic person to feel the pain of a parent who's child is gone.

Callate:

SonOfVoorhees:
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.

I always wondered why anyone was so incensed by the inability to kill children in Skyrim. And then...

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

GRRRAAAAAA die you little...

image

Pretty much the best reason to use the Skyrim Nexus mod site instead of Steam.

Allot of posters mention Psychonauts as a good example of children, I however found them to be pretty adult-like in personality.

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 could just imagine the writer of those scenes jumping around shouting "ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" on an endless loop after they were first shown (+1 internet to you if you get the reference)

Hmm... I do kind of take issue with a couple of your examples of bad child characters though, in the case of Dawn, she's a teenage character firstly, and secondly she was meant to be portrayed as an annoying teenager initially, a trial for Buffy to deal with and eventually come to protect after their mother died and they were all the other had left. Flawed characters can exist, it all comes down to how they are framed, to borrow a concept from the Nostalgia Chick. It also helped that Dawn later grew as a character, particularly in the seventh season.

Plus there was that whole "she's a mystical energy ball given human form" thing, which would pile on top of the usual teenage drama of kleptomania and not being emotionally mature enough to handle a death in the immediate family a fair bit of legitimate existential angst, which she eventually came to terms with.

Plus with the Dexter kids... well how are they to know he has important serial killer business to attend to?

Make no mistake, I didn't like children when I was one, but some kids out there, both real and fictional are more mature and likable than plenty of real/fictional adults...

dessertmonkeyjk:
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.

Duck thinks you're totally awesome.

Well said. And they're always given converstation lines that really really are annoying.

I hate children in fiction since the first time I watched a film with kids when I was three years old. To the point when I saw Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith, when Annakin goes to exterminate the children of the Academy I jumped out of my seat, arms to the sky, shouting "HELL YES! YES! YESSSS!! THAT'S WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!!". Well, I didn't, but only managed to restrain myself in the last millisecond before doing it with the help of my nearly pathologic shyness.

SonOfMethuselah:
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.

That's... how closed captioning works. Would you also have a fit if they did a [Sounds of phone rining]?

If you're hard of hearing [Sound of restlessness] is a lot better than "Umm... Nnngh" as it brings with it a context and connotations.

My favorite kid in games has the be Ezio Auditore from AC2 (not brotherhood or revelations ) .
He was a lost child that grew up in front of me to become a great man .

Personally, I don't think Clementine is much realistic. I don't feel much for her, I don't dislike her nor do I like her, and my actions are based on the group as a whole, I seldom put her needs in front of anyone else's; that's because I don't see her as a real kid, her actions are weird for a child in a world full of zombies, she's brave where not even adults would be. On the other hand, I do feel "something" for Carl, I see the kid as legitimate, granted, in the second season he pissed me off, but still he was a CHILD, that whole deal about going around with a gun after a stuck zombie, I hated that, it was stupid of him to do that, but it was also very child-like, this ignorance of danger/feeling of immortality, what child doesn't want to be a badass and thinks it's so easy to be one? It's typical naughty behavior, it's like throwing rocks at a house's window, simply because it makes you feel good and you're somehow pissed. Carl is torn apart in world full of zombies, it's natural that he freezes in fear at times, and that he tries to impress SHANE (for Shane's his role model much more than Rick) by any means necessary, those crazy events took hold of a whole group of adults and brought them to their knees, it's only expected that ANY kid will feel the same: plus the dreadful element of ignorance and no real grasp on the ways life and morality.

The perfect episode.. mentions of the walking dead and buffy in the same episode. YAY

The escapist needs to release a "Vote Jim Sterling for president"tshirt as well

"Carl Grimes

The 100 fuckups of a four-foot burden."

Actually made me piss my sides.

But have you watched the premier of the new episode? Kid seems to have grown up a lot over the winter.

Redd the Sock:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

You think that is bad? In my country, they are going to ban advertisement in kids shows time, because they are "impressionable and need our protection". Not only its a scapegoat, it makes all the series based around toys (like Transformers, Thundercats, Pokemon, Bakugan, etc) basically illegal. Granted, some are not good, but illegal?

What are they going to replace it with? Government founded advertisement... Because that sounds so much better.

If anything, I hate the precocious children stereotype more than the helpless kid one. Its not so prominent on games as it is on movies and books, but I can't handle them anywhere. You know the ones I talk about. The Juno/Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close kind of kid, who is deep and introspective (sometimes close to autistic) and more competent, mature and insightful than most adults around him.

The reason I can't take them is because they are completely idealized and completely unrealistic. Say what you wish about the kids of Heavy Rain, but at least they and their routine felt real. Monotonous and boring, but real. I don't know how many children you know, but I know far more that are not small philosophers and are not as competent during crisis, than those that go around Central Park at night, talk like they memorized the Encyclopedia Britannica and help adults "open their hearts"...

Carl will hopefully be less of a brat in the 3rd season.
Also is there anyway to cut the episode length Jim? I really enjoy it but I usually end up mousing over to another page 6 minutes in.

btw about clem
all you said is true but oh my god episode 4 she saved my ass like 3 times!!!
she is an amazing character in an amazing game :)

teh_gunslinger:
That's... how closed captioning works. Would you also have a fit if they did a [Sounds of phone ringing]?

If you're hard of hearing [Sound of restlessness] is a lot better than "Umm... Nnngh" as it brings with it a context and connotations.

If you think that was a "fit," I'd hate to know what you extreme hyperbole you attach to a REAL fit. Murderous rage, perhaps?

Abandon4093:

Redd the Sock:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

Jim, I know you like this girl and all and I've let you finish, but Ken from Persona 3 is just SOOOO much better in my opinion. From the get go, he's already a benefit to the party. He's also one of the first characters that has deep traumatic issues troubling him and sorts it out first. He starts off wanting to be one of the big boys and constantly saying "I won't hold you back", which he doesn't, but still he wants to try harder to protect others. He's also the most NORMAL character in Persona 3 and is just the sweetest, caring thing I've ever seen.

Seriously, I don't get how you can hate Ken. I know there's a whole cult wanting his head for some inane reason but seriously as soon as Ken joined I was there wanting to make him a cup of coffee and effing talk about his problems. Ken Amada, look it up.

Redd the Sock:

Abandon4093:

Redd the Sock:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

RJ 17:

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 [snip].

One of my favorite lines from that movie:
Ripely: "This little girl survived all on her own for a week without any military training at all!"
Hudson: "Well fuckin' put her in charge!"

Did Hudson have a single line in that movie that wasn't solid gold?

"Game over, man! Game over!"

In a way I agree with this episode but what about Cheryl from Silent Hill 1? I can't help but feel like she is an exception to this problem. She seems to be more of a symbol than a actual character. A symbol of her real character alessa gillespie who's character is hinted at through out the game.

I have to say for kids outside of games I think "Rue" from "The Hunger Games" kind of does a rather fantastic job. She is a massive presence in the books even as a very small roll and make you swear vengeance on her life.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here