158: Like a Kid Again

Like a Kid Again

"I'd spend hours daydreaming - drawing and writing stories about imaginary creatures and worlds I invented out of thin air. I couldn't take a breath without some absurd creation popping into my mind, begging to be smudged into life via crayons and a piece of paper. At the same time, like many boys, I discovered an ability to turn any appropriately shaped piece of wood, kitchen utensil or cardboard tube into an imaginary gun. I couldn't walk through a forest without mentally reconfiguring at least one branch into a laser rifle I could use to destroy some evil alien monster or, more often, my younger brother."

Read Full Article

Do we really want to reinforce the half-formed ideals of teenage boys?

Do you really think that's what these games do?

You draw a distinction between GTA and Gears by virtue of the former taking itself less seriously - and that seems reasonable - but that's also a weakness. It's a weakness because when creating fictional worlds the setting needs to take itself seriously in order to remain immersive.

What the teenage boy demographic wants is a chance to be a rock hard combat hero in a world full of monsters. Every satirical element, every self-mocking touch, every place where the core concept is diluted with "grown up" concepts of fun is a place where the game fails to deliver that experience.

I'm sure that you still want immersive fictional worlds (and if not, that's sad). That's all this is. And if the particular worlds are not to your taste that's fine, because there are plenty of other options.

Excellent article.

I think, in many ways, this shows that Nintendo realized what many other game developers have not - that spectacular graphics and over-the-top violence are not the only avenues for a great gameplay experience.

Indeed, what makes a game great is great gameplay. It doesn't need to look great. It can just look good. The fun factor is king.

That said, there is nothing wrong with spectacular graphics and over-the-top violence. I'm just glad that developers are now beginning to see that these are not the only kinds of games that can be successful.

I'm not sure how much I think gory violence is going to go out of vogue for people. Maybe have it be a bit more mature and not quite as pointless as Gears...but it's probably only going to get more popular.

I don't have anything to base this on, just an observation Tom Wolfe made a while ago in an essay. Basically, anytime a society inhibits something it becomes sensationalized and popularized in media. For a long time, that was sex. Romance novels, poetry, porn, and constant other topics that celebrated the union of love and passion.

Where are we now, in terms of repression? Wolfe concluded that it was violence. You can't bully, punch, or abuse someone physically and even emotionally now. Sex is back and generally fair game. So the same shift will occur that happened back then. We will popularize and celebrate violence. Action novels, hero worship, and Wolfe's colorful phrase 'gore-porn' will become popular.

I like to think this is healthier than us blowing each other up, but who knows? It makes a good argument for why more games should have sex at least.

L.B. Jeffries:
It makes a good argument for why more games should have sex at least.

Admit it, Jeffries...that's all you're really after, isn't it? ;p

While I'll admit that the author does have a point about the way that the violence in Gears is portrayed (that it's basically immature and rather tasteless) but that dosen't really mean that the people enjoying or developing such games are also immature and rather tasteless themselves. Perhaps it dosen't appeal to your sensibilities, but perhaps it does to someone else's, or at the least, thier sense of humor. As I find myself constantly screaming in my head when I go to the movies lately, "for heaven's sake, give a little credit to the audience!"

Thais:

L.B. Jeffries:
It makes a good argument for why more games should have sex at least.

Admit it, Jeffries...that's all you're really after, isn't it? ;p

Well, lots of games that have sex in them tend to handle the topic maturely. Max Payne 2, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, or...or...Leisure Su-

Damn.

*eats hat*

L.B. Jeffries:
Damn.

*eats hat*

>:D Want some Hot Coffee with that hat?

I'm the opposite really... I can find myself lost in colorful fun games like Patapon and the such, but dislike Mario galaxy for it's over-the-top-lollipop type play themes. Gears of War, on the other hand, is a great action title for me that I do like the the over-the-top-gore. Im only in mid 20s-land, not 30, so things might change by then, but I'm just one to disagree in a neutral manner.

Oh dear god, do i love the Escapist. Just when I thought that the immaturity forced onto the image of gamers by the likes of FoxNews and certain segments of ABC and NBC might have merit-- here comes the 8 people before me, gently reassuring my faith in humanity and our kind.

L.B. Jeffries:

Thais:

L.B. Jeffries:
It makes a good argument for why more games should have sex at least.

Admit it, Jeffries...that's all you're really after, isn't it? ;p

Well, lots of games that have sex in them tend to handle the topic maturely. Max Payne 2, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, or...or...Leisure Su-

Damn.

*eats hat*

What about Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and most of Biowares other RPGs? Or Fahrenheit? And those are just the ones that come to my sleep-deprived mind at 3AM.

Excellent article. I like what you said,"Fascination with gore is replaced with a realization of what the consequences of injury and death really are. Images of war as something exciting for our G.I. Joes to undertake are replaced with the knowledge that when real human lives are at stake, war is a terrifyingly serious subject. Gears` version of war is a childish one, focused completely on the idea that violence is fun and cool while ignoring its graver aspects". Of all the games i have played in my short but sour 18 years of life, one game that takes violence and war as close to reality as possible is the Brothers in Arms series. This game lacks the GI Joe WWII characters, talking about killing nazis and fighting for freedom, a-like Medal of Honor Airborne. This game attaches you to a character, then kills him off in some horrible way I consider myself more mature than the average 18 year old gamer. But i cannot deny that i do enjoy games like gears of war, i enjoy how "awsome" these childish over-the-top gory games are.

Most games that exist are there to fulfill fantasies anyway (Either the game creator's or the player's) and though I agree with some of what you had to say, I just don't feel like it's right to decry any game for it's content, whether it be base or overwhelmingly artistic. It's o.k. if you didn't like it and I understand why, but some people still enjoy being childish, if only every once in awhile.

a great article, i found my opinions shifted, and a new appreciation of nintendo is born in my mind.

It says something when we all compare what a child thinks of a game not intended for anyone under 17.

Think about that.

Aries_Split:
It says something when we all compare what a child thinks of a game not intended for anyone under 17.

Think about that.

I did. And it scared me.

I have to say, though, isn't it possible to like both? It seems most people are swaying one way or another. I can enjoy both for their respective...erm..."qualities".

I can enjoy Wayne's World as much as I enjoy...say...Munich. I have no idea what that says about me (I'm an aggressive teenage guy who wants dearly to hurry and "grow up" already but hasn't quite lost touch of childhood's simple pleasures?), but I guess I'm the kind of guy (see how I use "guy" to try and avoid nouns like "adolescent" or "boy" or other "condescending" words) who could care less, as long as it's fun.

I guess that makes me pretty childish, doesn't it? For you to have any sort of dilemma concerning the ways games are presented, you'd have to be actively thinking about the presentation of the game while playing it.

Does that mean I don't think while playing games? Do my horizons happen to be broader? Or am I too focused on getting to the next level or beating that damn boss to care? Okay, I suppose the last point was the same as the first, but it does raise the point that there are probably some games that are both painfully "manly" and large amounts of fun.

In my case, it wouldn't matter, since I accept both "kiddy" and "ultra-hardgore-beefcake" styles in games, but for those like Mr. LaVigne, does the presentation of the gameplay lower your view of a game considerably?

The article seems to imply that all of our enjoyment from video games comes from an attempt at reliving childhood. It seems to say that the wild imagination which is represented innocently is good, but the aggressive imagination is bad. In my opinion, both are natural the growth of a child, but this isn't the primary issue.

I liked both Galaxy and Gears and for obviously separate reasons, but neither because they reminded me of my childhood. As some other people on here have stated, I'm not 30 but a mere 21, so I'm liable to change. I rarely, if ever, connect a game with my childhood except if it's a long running series of games, like Mario, Mortal Kombat, or Sonic. In these situations, I'm not usually connecting the current ones with my childhood memories so much as comparing the games to their predecessors to see how far we've come.

In addition, I think some games are very separate from childhood, dealing with situation far removed from the understanding of the average child. A kid wouldn't understand the complexities of games like those of the Metal Gear Solid franchise. I think the writer is looking a little too hard for the connection that is actually just a change in video game taste.

Interesting. My response to the article was formed around the assumption that everything in the article was actually fact, rather than opinion. I formed questions based on the points brought up in the article. In fact, I seem to be going off on a slightly different tangent; my post really didn't have much to do with childhood memories influencing opinions on games or the changing of those opinions as time goes on.

BleachedBlind, on the other hand, saw the article as opinion, respectfully disagreed with that opinion, and in his post explained how his opinion may be more valid; frankly, his post was much better than mine.

I should take notes on this.

Dom Camus:
It's a weakness because when creating fictional worlds the setting needs to take itself seriously in order to remain immersive.

I think you're absolutely wrong about this. I've always found the GTA games to be the most immersive worlds that exist in gaming. Bully, another tongue-in-cheek game, could be the most immersive world in a single-player game. Psychonauts is another. THey don't lose immersion because of their humour, quite the opposite.

I don't think game's need to take themselves seriously to be immersive at all. They just need to maintain consistency. GTA's world is so complete, and even though it's jokey, that humour is found in every facet of the game. That consistency makes you feel like the world is complete and you can exist in it.

Games like Gears or Resident Evil 4 take themselves seriously, but when the god-awful dialogue kicks in, you're thrown out of the world they've created. THey're not consistent and that breaks the immersion. The author's point here about Gears characters being all serious one moment and then talking smack like high school kids the next minute breaks the immersion of the game.

Good article and I find myself agreeing. Devil May Cry 4 never felt childish to me because it never tried to be serious, it was a cartoon and nothing more.

Excellent article, however as a fanatic GoW2 player myself, I find you bashing Gears too much, for the sake of, children.

If you ever noticed, this game is meant for 18+, legally. Any self-respecting parent should keep a watch over that. If they don't, THEY do reinforce the immature stereotype themselves, not the games.

And Galaxy was indeed a fun experience but I was put off with it quickly, I rather play Gears. At least I matured enough and knew when I was supposed to buy the game.

 

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