Killing is Too Easy

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Jadak:
But for or this one, I'll make it easy, let's say serial killers, or let's go all out and say we've got a racially motivated serial child rapist/muderer (let's say, crazy white southern redneck sterotype who rapes and murders black children - no, handicapped black children, maybe gay, gotta max out the hate motivated crime factor) . How are people guilty of such a thing in any way worth keeping around?

It sounds like this guy pilots drones for the CIA in Afghanistan. We like to blow up Afghani toddlers with drone strikes.

What if you got the wrong guy? We've got a list of 142 death-row inmates that have since been exonerated.

The whole justice system in the US is bunk as it is, busting white-hat hackers for more years than a typical murder or rape, and sentencing possession of cheap drugs far more severely than possession of fancy expensive drugs. (e.g. crack cocaine vs. powder). Rich guys get off while poor guys never have a fighting chance. We can't trust them to fairly give out traffic citations, let alone decide who lives and who dies.

You sound terribly angry, like you want to kill somebody, but justice is not revenge, and no state should be in the revenge business. The US is in the revenge business by way of the war business, but it really shouldn't be.

238U

theuprising:

mike1921:

wombat_of_war:
two scenes really stood out to me. the first was the scene where you nuke megaton in fallout 3. its mostly done for shits and giggles and its disturbing and messed up to say the least. far more personal was call of duty 4 where torture and executing someone wasnt even discussed just an accepted part

Fallout3 is a game in which you have a choice though. There's a difference, a significant one, between a pre-written character in a linear game doing shit to cause you to not like them or a character that you created doing shit that makes you not like them because you made them do it. If you didn't want to play a psychopath, don't make your character nuke a city. in Fallout you get to be a dickhole but only if you want to

DVS BSTrD:
If that dumb ass really wanted to survive, he wouldn't have screwed them over in the first place. And if he was justified in trying to kill them then they were justified in fighting back. He didn't even have the sense to try and defend himself. I don't think it makes them hypocrites, it makes them the ones who survived. Like Han Solo: Other then the fact he's willing to transport fugitives who just happend to be the protagonists, we have no proof that he deserves to live any more then Greedo. It's that the hero DOES kill, it's what that killing accomplished that makes a difference.

The idea is that the protagonist isn't supposed to be a shitbag who tortures and kills people who ceased to be a threat unless it's intentional.
Greedo wasn't begging for mercy, and Greedo seemed to be a very real threat. Whether Han shot first or Greedo, I'm pretty sure he intended to shoot or was ready to.

there's no reason to kill robert though other than revenge. You probably don't get what I am saying and are probably for the death penalty, but revenge is totally pointless. A completely pointless thing just done so people can feel better about themselves and justify terrible acts.

...Why are you quoting me? I'm against the death penalty and I don't know what I said would possibly prompt what you're saying

Jadak:

No, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Is there some reason you want these people alive and imprisoned instead? Am I supposed to be in favour of keeping them around?

The determining factors regarding which crimes and circumstances merit such consideration is certainly up for debate, as is the standard of evidence required, and that's all fine for a different discussion that quite frankly, I don't know where I'd draw the line on.

But for or this one, I'll make it easy, let's say serial killers, or let's go all out and say we've got a racially motivated serial child rapist/muderer (let's say, crazy white southern redneck sterotype who rapes and murders black children - no, handicapped black children, maybe gay, gotta max out the hate motivated crime factor) . How are people guilty of such a thing in any way worth keeping around?

They're a blight on society in a way few would debate. A cancer cell in the organism that is society that is best cut out, a rapid dog that needs to be put down.

They're human beings!
They had a mother, they experienced joy, sadness they have a preference jam or honey. They lived every single day for twenty years or more.
I'd love to live in a world where the only people who committed (serious) crimes were inhuman monster that never felt sad or shame never had an unpleasant shit after eating spicy food.
And you might sleep better at night think that the people that committee atrocities are a different species but it's bullshit a lie you tell yourself to feel better.
We're all made of the same stuff like it or not.
And anyway points moot. Only human are legal responsible for there actions if this guy was as inhuman as you think he wouldn't be legal responsible for his actions
He'd be sent to an institution.

abdul:
[quote="Article"]

Show me ONE example from the game where the protagonists are not killing out of self-defense.Also you actively chose to kill everyone instead of stealthing through where it was possible,clearly the game's fault.

Well, there were these two guys....

Granted, they did try to kill Joel, but he didn't really NEED to kill them. Don't see why Yahtzee didn't used that example instead of Robert's death.

What I don't get is how people are saying the game is trying to make Joel look like a hero.

0_o Did you see what he just did?! If that's the hero, I'd hate to see the villain.

I feel like recently a lot of triple A games have been going with the whole "your character is an unsympathetically killer" thing. Bonus points if they do it partially to survive. I know that it's a more convenient and easy personality to write because violence and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly, but I think a game where the main character has more of a conscious and tries to follow morals could be interesting, too. And not in one of those games where you choose to be good or bad, either.

I think it would be more compelling to see a character honestly trying to be a good person, but then have all of their good intentions twist around and blow up in their face, rather than a character that kills selfishly and indiscriminately, but hey they like kids.

abdul:

Cool story,except the guy tried to kill Tess first and she even says they might've given him more time to make it up to them if it wasn't for that.

Holy shit, I don't know why you used that to defend the game. It just sounded like those two were the heads of a mob gang. "Where's our guns?" Did they place an order for some nukes too?

So guy-on-ground had to make a tough decision on which gang he was going to give his guns to... so whoever he chose, the other gang was going to come and kill him. She didn't open with her expressing disdain for trying to be killed, she didn't ask him why, it was just "where are my guns". Tess really came off as evil, and the whole "I would be nicer if you hadn't tried to kill me" thing was just her justifying her actions. And that's nothing new, gang leaders having been saying cliche'd nonsense like that for ages.

I saw nothing else there but a girl who was going to kill a guy because he stiffed her on her gang's equipment; I'm watching a mob boss getting revenge.

---

I've seen a lot of people comparing this to Scarface or American Psycho. You all realize that those are movies about a a mob boss and/or a psychopath, right? So scarface is less about rooting for the protaganist and more about experiencing the detereration of a criminal; American Psycho was less about rooting for the protaganist and more about experiencing the deteriation of a madman.

And it's worth noting that THEY BOTH LOSE. In the end, all of their poor behavioral choices lead them into a bad place. We get to watch these unlikable people ultimately lose.

But even in other cases, when the lead starts out as a mass-mudering douche, there's usually some kind of redemption. A point when the person suddenly realizes that they've gone off the deep end and then work to become better or more normal. Or even to punish themselves. This is where Spec Ops: The Line comes in... the point in Spec Ops was to show us just how far we've all been going. And, in all but one of the endings, he loses. He learns the dark truth about himself and it destroys him.

Do we get to see that in Last of Us? Not really. The guy acts just as selfish throughout the entire game.

The point here, is that he's a muderous, greedy, self-centered, asshole villain who learns nothing and changes nothing. If there were a lession to be learned that would be alright, but there isn't. He starts as a villain, ends as a villain and wins as a villain. Then tie that into how gruesomely they murder people.

This is why I HATE the Boomers in Fallout: New Vegas. Those assholes happily glorify the dozens if not hundreds of wastelanders they've killed and continue to kill. Why the hell should I try to help them? Not to mention that they have the nerve to blame YOU after one of their love interests is killed coming to their camp (though to be fair, you do have to send her yourself). Can you tell I hate those fucking hypocrites?

Also, you're thoughts on how to "solve humanity's problems" are completely and utterly retarded. If you place value on humanity, then completely killing off half of its population should be a pretty bother. Not to mention it wouldn't solve much, since the causes of war, hunger, or other hardships would still be very much around. Class inequality, escalating conflicts, and just plain old greed is always going to be present in our species, so if you honestly want to solve our problems, work on reforming our societies to minimize the harm these inflict, instead of just ending it entirely.

Playful Pony:
In Fallout New Vegas I immediately went for the life-loving diplomat, and only took a life when it was absolutely necessary.

You can actually complete the whole game without killing a person or even a creature. Even beat a bunch of sidequests too (Crazy, Crazy, Crazy and Come Fly With Me are SO MUCH BETTER this way). I HIGHLY recommend you try it!

Mr_Terrific:

Not only that, how about not spoiling the game, and if you (you as in Yahtzee, not you Lovely M) are, how about a little context?

No spoiler warning as this section was already spoiled by Yahtzee...

Take the killing of Robert. Tess pipes Robert in the leg and eventually shoots him in the head. If you played that section of the game without any context, Tess and Joel would seem like monsters. But here's where Yahtzee's gripe with ND games falls apart. He never gives you any context, on the end result...and Lol...wait till they show their intentions? Please.

So with context.....The first time you meet Tess, she's been beaten up and escaped death. Robert and his men didn't simply steal a few guns and leave. He almost killed Tess as well and who knows what other bad things he tried with her in a screwed up world like tLoU. She didn't beat up herself.

So why did Yahtzee ignore that part? Because this soapbox would look like another I hate Naughty Dog games rant? Of course...

And the Last of Us is a poor example as you can skip almost all combat with humans..

Well said.

I think the indication in the game was that Robert had stolen their guns a long time before he sent those guys to kill Tess.
But your point stands regardless. The context is that he stole their supplies, and considering it's a post-apocalypse those WERE VERY important supplies. And talking wasn't an option considering it's a rule-by-force world.

Aiddon:
TloU is a game that wants to have its cake and eat it. It really wants you to identify with Joel and sympathize with him, ultimately he's really just a douchebag lunatic no better than the people he's killing. And before anyone says "that's the point" I'm just gonna say this: NO. Anyone with ANY writing experience will tell you that most of the time when a protagonist comes off as more of an asshole than the people he's against then it's mostly because someone screwed up.

Like him as the protagonist or not, I'd say it was intentional. He's a tragic hero with a tragic beginning instead of a tragic end. With tragic heroes you can be able sympathize them and despise them.

I don't think they screwed up, it was pretty clear to me. He lost his daughter and became ruthless, but later becomes ruthless for the sake of protecting Ellie rather than just his own survival.

Aiddon:

Instead of getting a complex protagonist we really just get an incongruous one. The "it's supposed to be like that" argument is one used as a last resort by people who realize that they've made an asshole protagonist

When you argue "he's an asshole." You're saying "I didn't enjoy seeing this asshole as a protagonist."
When people say "that's the point" they believe you're criticizing the story as itself, not evaluating your personal enjoyment.

You can acknowledge that it's the point, but you're allowed to say that it's irrelevant to you because you didn't like it.

I had a whole thread about this.

Imp Emissary:

abdul:
[quote="Article"]

Show me ONE example from the game where the protagonists are not killing out of self-defense.Also you actively chose to kill everyone instead of stealthing through where it was possible,clearly the game's fault.

Well, there were these two guys....

Granted, they did try to kill Joel, but he didn't really NEED to kill them. Don't see why Yahtzee used that example instead of Robert's death.

I dunno,what were his other options? Leaving them in the cabin to starve to death or if he releases them,they would've warned the town.It's not like Joel kidnapped two random guys,minutes ago they were trying to gut him.I think it was justified but that's just me.

Uriel-238:

It sounds like this guy pilots drones for the CIA in Afghanistan. We like to blow up Afghani toddlers with drone strikes.

What if you got the wrong guy? We've got a list of 142 death-row inmates that have since been exonerated.

The whole justice system in the US is bunk as it is, busting white-hat hackers for more years than a typical murder or rape, and sentencing possession of cheap drugs far more severely than possession of fancy expensive drugs. (e.g. crack cocaine vs. powder). Rich guys get off while poor guys never have a fighting chance. We can't trust them to fairly give out traffic citations, let alone decide who lives and who dies.

You sound terribly angry, like you want to kill somebody, but justice is not revenge, and no state should be in the revenge business. The US is in the revenge business by way of the war business, but it really shouldn't be.

238U

I addressed the point about the justice system in my post, and as I said, that sort of stuff is for another discussion, my point was merely addressing where my beliefs ultimately rest, in the absolute sense of crime vs punishment. Application of such things is something else entirely, and I agree that the justice system is garbage and not even close to fair enough for such punishments to be applied appropriately.

So, to restate what I was saying originally, my post was less regarding whether the current legal system has either the credibility or integrity to implement such systems and more of a response to those who would argue against killing for the sake of being against killing, on morale grounds or what have you.

Pebkio:

abdul:

Cool story,except the guy tried to kill Tess first and she even says they might've given him more time to make it up to them if it wasn't for that.

Holy shit, I don't know why you used that to defend the game. It just sounded like those two were the heads of a mob gang. "Where's our guns?" Did they place an order for some nukes too?

So guy-on-ground had to make a tough decision on which gang he was going to give his guns to... so whoever he chose, the other gang was going to come and kill him. She didn't open with her expressing disdain for trying to be killed, she didn't ask him why, it was just "where are my guns". Tess really came off as evil, and the whole "I would be nicer if you hadn't tried to kill me" thing was just her justifying her actions. And that's nothing new, gang leaders having been saying cliche'd nonsense like that for ages.

Actually she does start with that,but that's done in-game before the cutscene.Robert starts shooting as soon as they open the door.

edit: hmm,I actually didn't watch the video till the end I linked (only checked if it's the right one,my bad).It has half the length of the original (other half is spoiler though),but now that I did,I can see why it looks that bad with the way it abruptly ends on a bit different tone than the original full cutscene,especially if you know nothing about the event that preceeded it.

Mr. Q:
I felt the same way Yahtzee did with the Tomb Raider remake. The slaughtering of the island dwellers got out of hand when, further into the game, Lara sounded less like a woman trying to survive and more like a lunatic killing everything in her path. I would have sympathized with both the protagonists and antagonists if they were developed better. Lara's killing of the islanders would have had more impact if there were less of them and you learned more about each individual from items you found on their person (A photograph of an islander's family he longs to see again, a keepsake of someone's love he may never see again, a journal of an islander pouring his heart out on his losses, etc.). Such little details would have made Lara struggle for survival more complex when she realizes that the people after her were victims of the island's magic shenanigans wanting to return home.

And yet they still try and kill her on sight anyways so your point is moot. I do understand the yearning for some more personal details, it would have added some depth....but at what cost? That would have turned the game into something else entirely, a spec ops-ish game. Would we want that in an adventure game?

Tomb Raider slightly justifies the actions of the player by
1.trapping them on the island so there's no way to avoid conflict with the solari (unlike in uncharted where Drake murders people solely for treasure, with plenty of chances for him to just drop the hunt for the macguffin)
2.Make every enemy attempt to shoot lara on sight, negating any chance to talk to them, and turning the scenario into a survival against man and the elements game.
3.Almost every scenario/mission in the game features either: Lara being attacked and/or escaping capture, or her rescuing someone and/or acquiring an item necessary for survival on the island. (It should be noted that there are no enemies in the optional puzzle solving tombs)
4. Make every death lara/player suffers as brutal as possible to emphasize the take-no prisoners aspect of the enemies and obstacles.

At this point self-defense and rescuing people who lara cares about kind of negates any criticisms of ludo-narrative dissonance (or campster's idiotic claim that she is a sociopath by the game's end). In the end it's about lara's journey, not the player and his/her relationship with it.

gjkbgt:

They're human beings!
They had a mother, they experienced joy, sadness they have a preference jam or honey. They lived every single day for twenty years or more.
I'd love to live in a world where the only people who committed (serious) crimes were inhuman monster that never felt sad or shame never had an unpleasant shit after eating spicy food.
And you might sleep better at night think that the people that committee atrocities are a different species but it's bullshit a lie you tell yourself to feel better.
We're all made of the same stuff like it or not.
And anyway points moot. Only human are legal responsible for there actions if this guy was as inhuman as you think he wouldn't be legal responsible for his actions
He'd be sent to an institution.

***skimming through sentimental garbage for relevant parts***

"I'd love to live in a world where the only people who committed (serious) crimes were inhuman monster that never felt sad or shame never had an unpleasant shit after eating spicy food. "

There we go, that was part of my point, and way I gave an extreme example. Whenever this type of discussion gets brought up, people get so caught up in where to draw the line without ever addressing what I feel is most important. What do you do in the situation is that extreme? The guilt undeniable, the monstrosity of the acts unquestionable?

Sure, there's all kinds of issues that can come into play in any real case, but how can anyone be expected to decide on the finer points when they can't even decide on an absolute, one sided scenario? That's why I start at the worst, as you called it, take an inhuman monster, one where you have no doubts and can unhesitantly deal out any punishment.

With that done, you have a baseline for your beliefs. Can you kill then? Do you still believe in rehabilitation or arbitrary imprisonment? Regardless, with that decided, you can know, with certainty how you believe the worst of the worst should be dealt with, and you can build up from there rather than jumping into the middle and being uncertain about anything.

Of course, the 'asylum vs death' is a worthy discussion all on it's own and adds problems all over the place, but that's an aspect for another day.

Ok..... And?

I stand by my position. These are not people. These are polygonal AI's and scripted algorithms that only exist for the players amusement and whims. To desire to not revel in their every little mental and physical contortion and try to anthropomorphize them is to rob these virtual lives from the only purpose to their existence.

And really to a greater degree this sort of thinking baffles me. Like most of our entertainment media, games act as a form of escapism. Gaming is perhaps one of the greatest forms of this. It allows us to experience a little taste of what it is like to do things we cannot do outside of that media without having to suffer the consequences of it.

Knowing that IRL society demands you behave in accordance with social expectations, which essentially means behaving on the line of "good" To comply with social contract, to submit to notions like selflessness are virtues, and that anything less than good behavior is intolerable and can get you punished be it criminally, politically, socially, emotionally, etc.

So why would anyone WANT to be the good guy ever? Why play into the role that is expected of you? Does that not squander the aspects unique to gaming? What was the point? Why even bother with the extra layers of effort needed to make it a game at all? If the experience amounts to the player escaping the world where they are expected to "play nice" So that they can enter a world where they choose to be nice, what was the point of dilluting the experince inherent in real world complexity to experience the same under a far more restrictive and simple set of variables?

Honestly, such an alien concept.

I can understand why one would critisize games like Modern Warfare for not having a "non lethal" option, but to me it seems like killing in TLoU goes perfectly along with the themes and the setting of the games. Bear in mind that I still haven't actually played the game, so take my opinon for what it is.

Jadak:

gjkbgt:

They're human beings!
They had a mother, they experienced joy, sadness they have a preference jam or honey. They lived every single day for twenty years or more.
I'd love to live in a world where the only people who committed (serious) crimes were inhuman monster that never felt sad or shame never had an unpleasant shit after eating spicy food.
And you might sleep better at night think that the people that committee atrocities are a different species but it's bullshit a lie you tell yourself to feel better.
We're all made of the same stuff like it or not.
And anyway points moot. Only human are legal responsible for there actions if this guy was as inhuman as you think he wouldn't be legal responsible for his actions
He'd be sent to an institution.

***skimming through sentimental garbage for relevant parts***

"I'd love to live in a world where the only people who committed (serious) crimes were inhuman monster that never felt sad or shame never had an unpleasant shit after eating spicy food. "

There we go, that was part of my point, and way I gave an extreme example. Whenever this type of discussion gets brought up, people get so caught up in where to draw the line without ever addressing what I feel is most important. What do you do in the situation is that extreme? The guilt undeniable, the monstrosity of the acts unquestionable?

Sure, there's all kinds of issues that can come into play in any real case, but how can anyone be expected to decide on the finer points when they can't even decide on an absolute, one sided scenario? That's why I start at the worst, as you called it, take an inhuman monster, one where you have no doubts and can unhesitantly deal out any punishment.

With that done, you have a baseline for your beliefs. Can you kill then? Do you still believe in rehabilitation or arbitrary imprisonment? Regardless, with that decided, you can know, with certainty how you believe the worst of the worst should be dealt with, and you can build up from there rather than jumping into the middle and being uncertain about anything.

Of course, the 'asylum vs death' is a worthy discussion all on it's own and adds problems all over the place, but that's an aspect for another day.

How about actual reading my comment next time. you might learn something.

Um... so what I got out of reading the article is that Yahtzee's main problem is that he's getting older, and the storytelling medium that he enjoyed for being exclusively mindless and cartoonish as a kid has matured into something capable of telling adult stories with anything from moral shades of gray to outright unsympathetic protagonists.

I mean, that's not what he's saying outright, but from his selection of examples makes it pretty clear that it's not violence that's bugging him so much as stories with moral ambiguity or a morality that doesn't line up precisely with his own. Which is certainly a legitimate reason to dislike a video game, but presenting it as some sort or universal moral decay rather than a simple matter of personal taste seems kinda disingenuous. Many people _prefer_ literature that shows them a different viewpoint than their own or challenges their normal world a bit, this is the problem with the basic pro-censorship argument used in the article in the first place: the purpose of literature is not necessarily to perfectly reflect our own preconceptions back at us in a comfortable way. Much of it should be a bit uncomfortable, that's how you know you're getting something from it.

Short version: sometimes you're not SUPPOSED to 100% sympathize and agree with the character you play. Adult stories (like, actual adult, not '90s x-treem whatever) have protagonists with flaws that can go deeper than Twilight-level blank-slate clumsiness stuff. Video games aren't 1950s funny-books exclusively anymore, some are closer to an actual novel in complexity and themes.

"Blame the audience, not the author." I got to remember that one.

canadamus_prime:
"Blame the audience, not the author." I got to remember that one.

Let me see if I can generalize that. "Blame the demand, not the supplier." Hmm.

llafnwod:

canadamus_prime:
"Blame the audience, not the author." I got to remember that one.

Let me see if I can generalize that. "Blame the demand, not the supplier." Hmm.

Makes sense to me. Even if what what the author (supplier) was putting out was crap, it wouldn't go anywhere if it didn't find an audience (demand).

Uriel-238:

Jadak:
But for or this one, I'll make it easy, let's say serial killers, or let's go all out and say we've got a racially motivated serial child rapist/muderer (let's say, crazy white southern redneck sterotype who rapes and murders black children - no, handicapped black children, maybe gay, gotta max out the hate motivated crime factor) . How are people guilty of such a thing in any way worth keeping around?

It sounds like this guy pilots drones for the CIA in Afghanistan. We like to blow up Afghani toddlers with drone strikes.

What if you got the wrong guy? We've got a list of 142 death-row inmates that have since been exonerated.

The whole justice system in the US is bunk as it is, busting white-hat hackers for more years than a typical murder or rape, and sentencing possession of cheap drugs far more severely than possession of fancy expensive drugs. (e.g. crack cocaine vs. powder). Rich guys get off while poor guys never have a fighting chance. We can't trust them to fairly give out traffic citations, let alone decide who lives and who dies.

You sound terribly angry, like you want to kill somebody, but justice is not revenge, and no state should be in the revenge business. The US is in the revenge business by way of the war business, but it really shouldn't be.

238U

You must be a lot of fun at parties.

Yeah this is basically why I felt so detached from the narrative in Far Cry 3 and the Tomb Raider reboot and didn't really give half a toss about anything going on. It's such a ridiculous contrast between srs character arc and being an unstoppable one-man-army with infinite regen health inbetween story missions - from the very start no less.
No, the semi-automatic nature of a pistol does not count as making the character vulnerable, it still kills in a couple hits tops.

Otherwise I agree with MrBtongue, I think we're been iterating violent action gameplay in general and shooters especially so frequently it's the way to go for AAA titles that want to play it safe. I mean it makes to stick to something proven to work so well, that's already been explored and experimented with so frequently, and something that can give casual players a good amount of shooting in a quick session.

I will say tho I only saw a Let's Play of The Last of Us (due to no PS3), so while I can't speak with any sort of authority about that game, it did seem like every character except maybe the goons was a cold-blooded one-man-army. Girl could barely wait to cap her first guy it seemed, except for that one moment where she readily stabbed a bloke but didn't think he'd be killed as well. Weird moment-to-moment contrast between "grown up too fast" and "childish naive" for me in that scene.

When you're just wading through corpses and expect the player to take it seriously, then it usually just produces W40k-style grimderp for me. There's exceptions like the self-aware Spec Ops or to a lesser extent Prototype (since the MC feeling natural as a walking catastrophe is part of his characterization/amnesia plot twist). Maybe I didn't feel as strongly about The Last of Us because I was running most of the gameplay in the background and alt-tabbed usually for story segments.

/rambling post just before bed

I agree with you on how out over reliance on mindless killing is detrimental to good storytelling. It's difficult to have an altruistic hero who at the same time mows down hundreds of faceless mooks. The main way most games try and resolve this ludonarrative dissonance is by making your protagonist a dark and gritty anti-hero (see Call of Duty).

I do think, however, this over reliance on violence is also detrimental to the development to new gameplay styles as well. See that Mrbtongue video that was posted earlier on how LA Noire shifted from a game about being a post-crime investigator to a game about shooting dudes in the face so suddenly.

That's not to say violent video games can't exist, it's just that they shouldn't be the only type of game to exist.

Jim_Callahan:
Um... so what I got out of reading the article is that Yahtzee's main problem is that he's getting older, and the storytelling medium that he enjoyed for being exclusively mindless and cartoonish as a kid has matured into something capable of telling adult stories with anything from moral shades of gray to outright unsympathetic protagonists.

[...]

Short version: sometimes you're not SUPPOSED to 100% sympathize and agree with the character you play. Adult stories (like, actual adult, not '90s x-treem whatever) have protagonists with flaws that can go deeper than Twilight-level blank-slate clumsiness stuff. Video games aren't 1950s funny-books exclusively anymore, some are closer to an actual novel in complexity and themes.

I think what he's saying comes closer to "the violence is still as cartoony as ever in its quantity, that's why I can't take the narrative nearly as serious as it wants to be." Being a one-man-army and not giving a shit isn't a character flaw, it's a superficial "badass" trait at best and an ignored part of his function as a player insertion at worst.

It's basically what he criticized in Dead Space, when limbs fly around in all directions at the slightest provocation it doesn't feel nearly as gripping as having to saw off your finger in Heavy Rain bit by bit. Cartoonish one-man-army style gameplay suited cartoonish simplistic stories from back in the day fine, but now narrative is on Hollywood-levels and gameplay-wise devs can't find something fitting. For an impactful narrative involving violence, killing is too easy.

Same reason why he can't take 40k serious.

This is probably what bothers me most about the Assassin's Creed games. Every time I sneak into the mansion/fortress of an old rich guy to murder them while they're not looking it just feels wrong, especially when it's a character who's just been introduced minutes earlier who'm I've never had time to develop a distaste for.

It's one thing to kill a guard who's actively trying to kill me as well, but another to kill a person who's only goal is surviving my attack.

It doesn't help that the Assassins come across as an extremist domestic terrorist organization.

Jim_Callahan:
Um... so what I got out of reading the article is that Yahtzee's main problem is that he's getting older, and the storytelling medium that he enjoyed for being exclusively mindless and cartoonish as a kid has matured into something capable of telling adult stories with anything from moral shades of gray to outright unsympathetic protagonists.

I mean, that's not what he's saying outright, but from his selection of examples makes it pretty clear that it's not violence that's bugging him so much as stories with moral ambiguity or a morality that doesn't line up precisely with his own. Which is certainly a legitimate reason to dislike a video game, but presenting it as some sort or universal moral decay rather than a simple matter of personal taste seems kinda disingenuous. Many people _prefer_ literature that shows them a different viewpoint than their own or challenges their normal world a bit, this is the problem with the basic pro-censorship argument used in the article in the first place: the purpose of literature is not necessarily to perfectly reflect our own preconceptions back at us in a comfortable way. Much of it should be a bit uncomfortable, that's how you know you're getting something from it.

Short version: sometimes you're not SUPPOSED to 100% sympathize and agree with the character you play. Adult stories (like, actual adult, not '90s x-treem whatever) have protagonists with flaws that can go deeper than Twilight-level blank-slate clumsiness stuff. Video games aren't 1950s funny-books exclusively anymore, some are closer to an actual novel in complexity and themes.

No he likes boishock infinite, hell his favourite game is Silent hill 2. Both of those games have protagonists that are at best morally grey.
What he said he objects to is the way it's handled in this game is these no pay-off.

they treat Joel as moral prefect he don't end the game crippled by guilt or vowing to do better. And the game always portrays Joel as justified.
It doesn't even make a big deal out of him killing people half the time he makes a witty joke as he does it.

No protagonists don't have to be "good" but we do have to be behind then, especially in a game where you are the one driving the plot. If you want the protaginst to fail because they repulse you, or you can't sympathies with there aims then the game won't work.

The problem with video games like The Last of Us, comes from the very nature of the medium. Games are, by design, played for enjoyment - now that's not to say they can't be emotionally engaging, challenging, etc; but ultimately we feel some enjoyment from playing them. When you are playing as the villain/anti-hero problems arise in that if we are forced to commit terrible acts as part of the gameplay, we don't necessarily feel bad - in fact we possibly enjoy it if the gameplay is designed to be fun. So we have a situation were we are forced to play as the villain and identify with them, whilst not fully comprehending the gravity of their actions as it becomes lost in translation due to the enjoyability of the gameplay.

If The Last of Us was a book or movie, then the story would work as we are experiencing events directly through the eyes Joel without the visceral thrill of actually playing the game. That's my two cents anyway.

Marik Bentusi:

Jim_Callahan:
Um... so what I got out of reading the article is that Yahtzee's main problem is that he's getting older, and the storytelling medium that he enjoyed for being exclusively mindless and cartoonish as a kid has matured into something capable of telling adult stories with anything from moral shades of gray to outright unsympathetic protagonists.

[...]

Short version: sometimes you're not SUPPOSED to 100% sympathize and agree with the character you play. Adult stories (like, actual adult, not '90s x-treem whatever) have protagonists with flaws that can go deeper than Twilight-level blank-slate clumsiness stuff. Video games aren't 1950s funny-books exclusively anymore, some are closer to an actual novel in complexity and themes.

I think what he's saying comes closer to "the violence is still as cartoony as ever in its quantity, that's why I can't take the narrative nearly as serious as it wants to be." Being a one-man-army and not giving a shit isn't a character flaw, it's a superficial "badass" trait at best and an ignored part of his function as a player insertion at worst.

It's basically what he criticized in Dead Space, when limbs fly around in all directions at the slightest provocation it doesn't feel nearly as gripping as having to saw off your finger in Heavy Rain bit by bit. Cartoonish one-man-army style gameplay suited cartoonish simplistic stories from back in the day fine, but now narrative is on Hollywood-levels and gameplay-wise devs can't find something fitting. For an impactful narrative involving violence, killing is too easy.

Same reason why he can't take 40k serious.

I had a similar problem with Homefront. The game tries to make you think that you're a small part of something much larger with the whole cell based resistance system, which is a fairly cool idea, but it was completely undermined by the fact that you still faced and killed regular-fps numbers of enemies.

Like, I'm just a small but critical part of a larger effort, but I'm destroying entire squads of enemies several times per mission, and every difficult task falls in my, the person who is most critical to the plan for our cell, lap. Also the game was generally kind of shit.

canadamus_prime:
Makes sense to me. Even if what what the author (supplier) was putting out was crap, it wouldn't go anywhere if it didn't find an audience (demand).

I uh... yeah. That's exactly what I was saying. Thus "blame the audience, not the author" is pretty good advice. Was I incorrect in assuming your initial remark to be sarcastic?

Rossmallo:
That bit you mentioned about with the death sentence...I never thought of it that way before, and wow. I'm now even further against the death sentence.

Anyway...I've very recently discovered a game that focusses on this "Killing is too easy" thing - Undertale. It's only a demo, but it made several poingiant points. If you haven't played it and want to, it's a lovely little RPG, give it a go, but DON'T click the spoiler. If you've either played it or don't care...

You think that's terrifying? Try

OT: I've always gotten mad at games, particularly AAA games, for having retarded A.I., despite the millions of dollars being pumped into graphics rather than teaching bots how to act like something other than mindless cannon fodder. This article made me think, well... Maybe there's a reason developers don't want to make a game where the 'bad guys' are anything other than mindless drones, albeit not a good one. Even as we stop shooting faceless demons and start shooting faceless Russians and Arabs and Americans, lots developers don't really want to give their players a reason to think "Wait, why am I doing this again?", since it's just plain-ass easier give players dumb bots who will happily line themselves up like ducks, rather than act with any sense of self-preservation, or fear when their comrades are being slaughtered around them.

As Yahtzee said, this makes sense in goofy or non-serious games such as TF2 or Serious Sam or Deadpool, where it's pretty much said from the get go "You came here to have fun, so fucking have fun", and less so much in games such as COD or Battlefield or Spec Ops: The Line (which was the point in the last one). Am I really expected to take shit seriously when one minute I'm gunning down dozens of idiots trying to run through a narrow doorway, the next the game shunts me in front of a wounded soldier and screams "YOU ARE NOW SAD, BECAUSE THIS MAN IS AMERICAN, NOW HERE'S A COMPUTER SO YOU CAN BOMB SOME MORE IDIOT RUSSIANS."?

Using Batman Arkham City (which of course has no killing on your part) as an example of how games could make enemies seem more human and less mindless: sneaking up on inmates causes them to panic in a hilarious fashion when they turn around, but after that they should be begging for mercy, not deciding it's a good idea to punch the freaking Batman. During a brawl, thugs could have noticed when you're just toying with them (i.e., casually countering all attacks without returning your own), or decide to make a break for it when you wipe out the rest of the mob. Hell, we had games from over a decade ago with enemies who knew how to run and call for backup when overwhelmed (e.g. Thief), how can this be so hard? Small things like these would make games a lot more authentic than any number of polygons being crammed into the character models.

Here endith the rant, and I have a good feeling that I've gone VERY much off topic, but I can't really be bothered editing this any further. Good article and all, I guess.

Infernal Lawyer:

Rossmallo:
That bit you mentioned about with the death sentence...I never thought of it that way before, and wow. I'm now even further against the death sentence.

Anyway...I've very recently discovered a game that focusses on this "Killing is too easy" thing - Undertale. It's only a demo, but it made several poingiant points. If you haven't played it and want to, it's a lovely little RPG, give it a go, but DON'T click the spoiler. If you've either played it or don't care...

You think that's terrifying? Try

OK it's simmered in my magnificent brain just long enough to spurt out in this post exactly why I find this column so backwards. I knew there was something familiar about it, but I could not put my finger on it at first.

I'm generally on the same page as the spirit of the article. Not the bits that call out Last of Us so much as the general tone. What jostles my flaps, to steal a line from the author, is the vessel by which all this sudden good will toward man is delivered.

This smacks of the kind of "do as I say" message mongering that old washed up rock-n-rollers use to do years after their poignancy has long since faded. Like Ozzy Osbourne after YEARS of drinking himself stupid shows up with a song about the evils of drinking and how it can destroy you or Alice Cooper singing "Hey Hey Hey Hey, Hey stupid" at people who would dare to do the same shit he had made his living doing only with less elaborate stage shows.

Yahtzee I've been here from the start in 2007. I'm a long time fan. And while I appreciate the fact that getting older lends itself to wisdom, you've been going on about killing hookers and hobos and your fellow man for over 5 years and reaping the rewards of it all. And having people cheering you on the whole way. You have made every possible joke at the expense of stabbing, strangling, or whatever other horrible means to dispatch another human being as casually as the joke can be made only now to show up and shake a finger.

It's fine to try and share your wisdom now that you're a bit older. Even a good thing if handled properly. But don't blame the games and don't cast a disapproving stare at the people who you've been marketing the same thing to for years without end. It's a bit incongruous for a man who once merrily quipped that he couldn't cum if the body didn't twitch to show up and start gabbing on about how casually GAMES regard the sanctity of life when that particular arrow lies handily in your quiver as well.

Jadak:
But for or this one, I'll make it easy, let's say serial killers, or let's go all out and say we've got a racially motivated serial child rapist/muderer (let's say, crazy white southern redneck sterotype who rapes and murders black children - no, handicapped black children, maybe gay, gotta max out the hate motivated crime factor) . How are people guilty of such a thing in any way worth keeping around?

Because now you are now literally defining the value of life to what you see fit, and that leads to a whole plethora of issues. When we deem one life unworthy of living, what is suitable for living? Should we kill homosexuals? After all, several countries enforce the death penalty for them. What about Black people that are statistically more likely to commit crimes due to a racist system. Some people think even a single murder should be punished with death, do we now enforce the death penalty to every murder despite context? Hell, Dante's Inferno puts people who commit fraud on some of the lowest levels of hell. Since we've defined some life as worthy of living and some not, clearly there must be different levels of value for people. Poor, homeless, sickly people are not as valuable as rich, young, healthy people, so therefore there is no reason to help those in need as their lives are not valuable.

This is not a slippery slope argument. This is exactly what you are doing by deciding what lives are worthy and what aren't. And I would rather not have one person decide who lives and who dies.

This isn't even going into how rehabilitation and treating humans, because make no mistake they are humans, decently within our prison systems (Europe's got it down pretty good) is a much more effective method than the current system of tossing anyone undesirable

But, of course, this is all off topic and something to discuss in another thread. To connect this topic to the current one, the value of life, whether it's treating every life with dignity or willfully slaughtering those "unworthy", is not a very common topic in games. Personally, I think The Last of Us does delve into this topic to an extent, mainly in "is it even worth it trying to survive in this world", though not particularly into the specific theme of the fragility of life and death.

gjkbgt:

It doesn't even make a big deal out of him killing people half the time he makes a witty joke as he does it.

fairness where it's due, I've played through the game twice now, and not once did I ever hear Joel crack a joke after a kill. early on, when he had tess or bill with him, there would sometimes be conversation after a scuffle, but it was generally of the breathless "thank god that's over" variety than any sort of action movie bond one-liner. Joel ain't nathan drake.

as to the article, I honestly wish Yahtzee had simply stated some of these opinions during his review of "the last of us" proper. Now I see that it's not that he ignores the fact that moral ambiguity and an unpleasant main character are what the game was going for, simply that he can't enjoy a game with no likable characters. not a sentiment I agree with, but it's a whole heck of a lot easier to understand and respect than semantics like why they don't use the word "zombie" and random uncharted comparisons.

Darth_Payn:
You must be a lot of fun at parties.

Depends on the party. You should have seen me when Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door to teach me about the meaning of Christmas.

Really, I just want people to actually be informed, and think about things critically. We humans do have a tendency to ignore evidence that disagrees with our current positions.

Jadak:
I addressed the point about the justice system in my post, and as I said, that sort of stuff is for another discussion...

No. You discussed the notion that our justice system is less than adequate, but then you went on to fabricate a villain that should (according to you) be eradicated, but you didn't address how we know he's guilty. In the real world, we never are certain. Evidence beyond reasonable doubt has too often proven to be wrong.

I'm sensitive to this particular detail because of the war on terror. Those who advocate enhanced interrogation have done so on the basis that we only torture terrorists. We don't have a terrorist detector. Nor do we have a guilt detector, even for crimes as heinous as raping children and bombing government buildings. There are assuredly innocent men detained at camp X-ray.

If we did want to go into hypotheticals, let us imagine, then, that we could truly rehabilitate the guy. Our treatments are ineffective now, but lets say we make some major advancements in psychiatry in the next fifty years, and can fix what's wrong in a convict's head that made him aberrant. Should we do this? Or should we still mix him the ultimate cocktail?

238U

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