Killing is Too Easy

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llafnwod:

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?

Yes. "Blame the audience, not the author" I agree with that wholeheartedly. Goes along with the idea that if you don't like something don't buy it. Don't add to it's audience.

Jadak:
Snip

The point of any punishment including life and the death penalty for a crime isn't revenge, rehabilitation, victim compensation, or even removing a dangerous and/or disruptive element from society, despite what the people who are responsible for doling out these punishments tell everybody. The point of the punishment is prevention, it's about scaring people so shitless about being punished that they won't even consider performing a crime, much less actually do it. If tomorrow society collapsed and punishments like jail or the death penalty could no longer happen, despite what those same people would say otherwise if asked prior, the vast majority of people would start stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, raping, and killing everybody else (many post apocalyptic games like The Last of Us are built on this point). It's the FEAR of punishment that allows society to even exist to begin with, to avoid descending into anarchy. Sure, many people will be falsely convicted and punished, including being executed, but this is an unavoidable cost of something that society can't function without.

OT: Violence is the go-to solution for most everything in fiction and games in particular not only because it's easy for the developers, or because humanity just inherently loves violence, but because it's probably the ultimate escapism. Hurting and killing others has always been the ultimate taboo throughout human history, even cultures that have allowed it set limits as to when, how, and why, so being allowed to witness and in games partake in violence in fiction allows us to be able to do something we never would be able to do otherwise without facing great consequences, and thus get out of our boring, mundane lives for a while. We spend most of our real lives interacting with others, trying to convince them to do what we want or to not do something, and otherwise avoiding physical conflict whenever possible. As a result, in our entertainment we love to see and partake in physical conflict because we would never be able to do so otherwise, something that's no only so different from our everyday lives, but something heavily frowned upon. We don't care much to talk our way out of or otherwise avoid conflict or see others do so in our fiction because that it isn't really an escape to do or see in our fiction what our real lives are like.

I think the real issue is that in fiction and games especially violence is the only solution to anything and everything, and we also don't want to see in our fiction the same crap over and over again, it gets boring. Even the ultimate escapism gets tiresome after seeing it for the 50,000th time.

Iron Criterion:
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.

I see where you are coming from, but a long time ago, most movies and fiction books were also only considered as something to watch / read only for enjoyment. The thing is, that when a medium does mature creators become more confident about the expressive capabilities of their canvas, and begin tackling concepts that were previously unthinkable to the audience.
This is a phenomenon present in art as a whole.
The last of us is not the first game to do this, not even close, In fact the whole survival horror genre is arguably not designed solely for enjoyment. The situation has evolved and as I mentioned in another forum, Videogames are somewhat transcending their "game" status. They are gradually leaving behind most of their formal and mechanic requirements, to become something else.

Now it is not unlikely to find a movie that is very dark and delves in complex issues without ever leaving a feel-good sense in the viewer, and although a lot of people avoid that sort of experience, there is a huge audience craving the ideological clash. Games already begun doing this, not meaning that they are abandoning FUN, there will always be enjoyment, but they are no longer tied unavoidably to supplying rapid gratification.

immortalfrieza:
The point of any punishment including life and the death penalty for a crime isn't revenge, rehabilitation, victim compensation, or even removing a dangerous and/or disruptive element from society, despite what the people who are responsible for doling out these punishments tell everybody. The point of the punishment is prevention, it's about scaring people so shitless about being punished that they won't even consider performing a crime, much less actually do it. If tomorrow society collapsed and punishments like jail or the death penalty could no longer happen, despite what those same people would say otherwise if asked prior, the vast majority of people would start stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, raping, and killing everybody else (many post apocalyptic games like The Last of Us are built on this point). It's the FEAR of punishment that allows society to even exist to begin with, to avoid descending into anarchy. Sure, many people will be falsely convicted and punished, including being executed, but this is an unavoidable cost of something that society can't function without.

That's assuming the only thing stopping people from looting, stealing, killing, and raping is the death penalty, which is clearly not the case. The concept of the death penalty being used to "scare" people is also false as places that do enforce the death penalty, at least in the US as far as I know, have about the same crime rate as other places without the death penalty. If it worked as a deterrent, Rick Perry wouldn't have had to enforce it for over 200 people already.

Now, I do agree with your statement of "It's the FEAR of punishment that allows society to even exist to begin with", though that is not specific to the death penalty, unless I've been reading your comment wrong this whole time.

canadamus_prime:
Yes. "Blame the audience, not the author" I agree with that wholeheartedly. Goes along with the idea that if you don't like something don't buy it. Don't add to it's audience.

Then I mistook those for sarcastic air-quotes. Rock on, meng.

Good read. Some interesting thoughts on the situation.

It's hard for me to take killing seriously in most FPSs- in part because a) so frequently they don't even bother using different textures for different enemies of the same "type", or more than a small rotation of same, and b) playing multiplayer re-enforces the idea that "death" within the context of the game world is more of an inconvenience- being put in a penalty box, rather than the end of mortal consciousness.

I haven't played The Last of Us or Uncharted, as I don't own a PS3, so I can't directly relate on that account

I will relate something about the recent "Walking Dead" DLC, "400 Days", though that did bother me for different reasons, though spoilers apply.

The 'Last of Us' sure has a lot of defenders that come out of the wood work every which way when someone speaks ill of their game.

For the love of god Yahtzee, we aren't killing people. We are pointing pixels that put pixels into other pixels. There is so much fundamentally wrong with this argument I don't know where to start. Joel and Tess were going to talk to the smuggler because they needed to know where their shit was. They killed him because he tried to have them killed. They killed the first guard because he refused to let them talk to the smuggler and then he pulled his weapon and threatened them.

You're intentionally doing this stuff for the site traffic now, aren't you?
image

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...

That sounds awesome, it reminds me of another game that has a similar theme, Fullmetal Daemon Muramasa
It's basically about a guy who has a sweet mecha, but his mecha comes with a curse, every time he kills someone he hates, he must also kill someone he loves



If you have free time, you should read this guy's translation of it

Steve2911:
"Killing humans in a game to establish that our character has completely lost it, as in God of War and Spec Ops? Like it. Player-protagonist disconnect, very effective storytelling tool. Go nuts."

This is exactly what The Last of Us is about, and the fact that you don't seem to understand that is baffling to me.

In order to disconnect from something you have to connect to it in the first place. Showing the protagonist as Joel is shown from the very start doesn't allow for a disconnect - it just shows them as an unrepentant sociopathic killer, a mindset most of us can't get into. Now if they had shown us Joel acting as a normal person would have been acting at the beginning, then giving us a situation so bad that Joel accepts that being a ruthless killer is really the only way to survive would have been better. In that case we get to relate to him, only to have that relationship disconnected - which is what Yahtzee means in that quote. Both Kratos and Walker are shown as normal(ish) people at the beginning of their stories; Joel isn't.

All in all, good thought-provoking article Yahtzee. Now that I think about it it's kind of amazing how many games give us a choice as to how we play, then force us to kill when in a fight.

Jumplion:
Snip

You kinda have been reading it wrong. The death penalty is merely one of countless punishments that act as a deterrent, by itself it would never be enough to scare people into never committing a crime, even if it were used in excess. There are a myriad of punishments that when used effectively in conjunction reduce crime. The more effective those punishments are at creating fear, the better they are at acting as a deterrent.

I've also heard that "countries that don't have the death penalty have just as much crime as those who don't," before and it just doesn't hold water. That argument is a single cause fallacy, it assumes that the death penalty itself doesn't make a difference in crime because crime in various countries is roughly equal with or without it, but such an argument fails to take into account the countless other factors besides the death penalty that affect crime in each of these countries that could cause the number to even out, and it also assumes that this means that countries would be better off if they never had the death penalty, something that's impossible to determine. Either way, it's not really valid evidence one way or the other whether the death penalty is effective or not. The only way that such a line of reasoning would be valid is if every country on Earth had the death penalty simultaneously for say... 10 years, and then all dropped it simultaneously and compared the numbers, and even that would be affected by way too many factors to list.

We like violence because we hate each other.

And I like my media violent, because senseless violence is fun and people suck.

immortalfrieza:

Jumplion:
Snip

You kinda have been reading it wrong. The death penalty is merely one of countless punishments that act as a deterrent, by itself it would never be enough to scare people into never committing a crime, even if it were used in excess. There are a myriad of punishments that when used effectively in conjunction reduce crime. The more effective those punishments are at creating fear, the better they are at acting as a deterrent.

In that respect we agree to an extent, and if you include "social suicide" as one of those punishments, I would agree completely. I apologize if I misread your comment.

I've also heard that "countries that don't have the death penalty have just as much crime as those who don't," before and it just doesn't hold water. That argument is a single cause fallacy, it assumes that the death penalty itself doesn't make a difference in crime because crime in various countries is roughly equal with or without it, but such an argument fails to take into account the countless other factors besides the death penalty that affect crime in each of these countries that could cause the number to even out, and it also assumes that this means that countries would be better off if they never had the death penalty, something that's impossible to determine. Either way, it's not really valid evidence one way or the other whether the death penalty is effective or not. The only way that such a line of reasoning would be valid is if every country on Earth had the death penalty simultaneously for say... 10 years, and then all dropped it simultaneously and compared the numbers, and even that would be affected by way too many factors to list.

That, however, I think is kind of bs. You can see with states that once had the death penalty but then removed it, crime had not changed significantly regardless of its enforcement. The argument isn't that the death penalty has a significant effect, but rather that it doesn't have a significant effect, and the removal of it in states that once had it should be enough to see that result. If you say "there's too many variables to determine anything", then we can't determine whether people like ice cream or not because it depends on the season, how the ice cream is made, what flavor, what brand, how it is served, waffle cone or cup, etc... I would assume that the studies that both of us have seen would have the courtesy to correct for any variable anomalies.

Regardless, if you'd like to talk more about this topic feel free to PM me as it's probably best to keep from clogging this thread from ancillary topics.

kael013:

In order to disconnect from something you have to connect to it in the first place. Showing the protagonist as Joel is shown from the very start doesn't allow for a disconnect - it just shows them as an unrepentant sociopathic killer, a mindset most of us can't get into. Now if they had shown us Joel acting as a normal person would have been acting at the beginning, then giving us a situation so bad that Joel accepts that being a ruthless killer is really the only way to survive would have been better. In that case we get to relate to him, only to have that relationship disconnected - which is what Yahtzee means in that quote. Both Kratos and Walker are shown as normal(ish) people at the beginning of their stories; Joel isn't.

Erm...yes he is. That's the entire point of the prologue section. It's a fairly short sequence, but crucial for exactly the reason that you described. Even if you don't think the sequence was effective (for some reason; it's one of the best scripted sequences in a recent game, IMHO), please don't pretend that they didn't try.

Unless, of course, you haven't played or watched the game at all and are relying on the incomplete information Yahtzee provided and out-of-context video clips to make your evaluation. That does seem to be going around on this thread.

Now while I do think that Yahtzee has completely (and bafflingly) misunderstood the game, and that LOU did a fine job at contextualizing it's violence in the exact way the games Spec ops was mocking didn't, I also think that it would have been better served if it had had less fighting and more peaceful activities like hunting and quiet exploration/travel through the environment. The story covers several months and skips time on several occasions; why did every episode the action slowed down to explore involve at least one firefight? It seems that Naughty dog just couldn't quite let go of the instinctive urge to pad every level out with enemy encounters that it acquired while making Uncharted games (Pittsburgh level, I'm looking at you).

I think his argument would stand up better if EVERY media wasn't full of people talking about death and violence or simulating it in their own ways.

I personally enjoy my media violent as I am a violent person and it gives me a safe outlet for things.

I know right? there's no sport in it! I mean, shit, people crowd up and run for the same exit so i'll i have to do is keep stabbing or shooting and even when one on one unarmed it only take 75 pounds of force to collapse a throat or even pocket sand. Do people not understand the importance of being inshape and learning how to fight?
And don't even get me started on the how easy it is to enter city hall and-

*reads rest fo the post*

oh im sorry i was thinking of something way different.
NEVER MIND, NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!!

And Yahtzee demonstrates yet again that he entirely misses the point of violence in The Last of Us. Case in point, he thinks that Joel is meant to be a likeable everyman character.

In order to demonstrate that the developers failed horribly at their task of making Joel out to be a pure-hearted and divinely sanctioned protagonist, Yahtzee references what is essentially the very first thing we see post-apocalypse Joel and his partner do, which is go hunt down a fellow gangster/smuggler who stole from the pair and brutally execute him.

Apparently, the idea that the developers set the stage with that piece to establish that Joel was NOT supposed to be a likeable everyman completely slipped his mind.

DjinnFor:
And Yahtzee demonstrates yet again that he entirely misses the point of violence in The Last of Us. Case in point, he thinks that Joel is meant to be a likeable everyman character.

I'll challenge your unfounded projection with my own:

Yahtzee demonstrates he got a firm grasp on the points of violence in The Last of Us. He doesn't think that Joel is meant to be a likeable everyman character. He's bothered by the fact that the Killing in the serious setting without anything changing.
Joel starts as an A-hole, is an A-hole in the middle and an A-hole at the end. Nothing learned nothing gained.

The walking dead was better.

Now prove me wrong.

----

I've seen several people saying that Joel wasn't meant to be related to. Then two posts after that there is someone that says he is.

In short Yahtzee didn't like Joel as a character in this setting and that is probably why he didn't enjoy the game.
The violence just got him doing a little re-evaluating of the use of violence.

Animyr:

Erm...yes he is. That's the entire point of the prologue section. It's a fairly short sequence, but crucial for exactly the reason that you described. Even if you don't think the sequence was effective (for some reason; it's one of the best scripted sequences in a recent game, IMHO), please don't pretend that they didn't try.

Unless, of course, you haven't played or watched the game at all and are relying on the incomplete information Yahtzee provided and out-of-context video clips to make your evaluation. That does seem to be going around on this thread.

Oh. I haven't played or watched gameplay videos (until just now), but I had watched a friend play. During that I asked him how far in he was and he said he was at the beginning - but he was obviously past the prologue and apparently didn't feel the need to mention it. So I went back and watched a walkthrough of the prologue (and up to Robert's death) and it kinda blows my argument out of the water.

That said I'm still on Yahtzee's side. There were parts where the game presented killing as the only option when others were available. Case in point: the guard in the beginning. He verbally threatens you. He ends up dead (he didn't even have a weapon that I could see, his friend did). The protagonists could have just wounded him, but instead they kill him. Why? Because he might have sought revenge by sending thugs after them (or coming after them himself)? His boss tried that and it didn't work. Another example: Later you run across two of Robert's guards on patrol. It's a stealth section where the patrolling guards are walking away from you. They get killed. Why? The first guard had buddies and may have been a threat, but these guys were leaving without knowing you were there. The game could have easily allowed us to let them go, but it had us kill them instead. And all for a stupid tutorial about stealth kills from behind. If they had put the guards in a place where it was absolutely necessary to kill them in order to proceed I could have let it slide, but it didn't. That right there cemented my loathing of the "everyman heroes" this game had (I actually wanted to kill Tess myself long before that to be honest. She was a pain). Then when our protagonists where threatened with death I was supposed to care? They killed people for just getting in their way(!) so I saw it as just deserts (desserts? I can never remember...). Plus, the world is presented as a place where "kill or be killed" was the top law, so why should I care when the nature of the world temporarily turned against the protagonists? In a serious character drama when you hate every side it just doesn't work.

All that just because the game forced you to kill. That's what I think Yahtzee was getting at.

Yet more people telling Yahtzee he's 'missing the point'. He isn't missing anything, and has made it clear two weeks in a row now what he doesn't like about 'The Last of Us'. In a world where humanity is on the verge of annihilation, the idea that human lives would be even less valuable then they are in the real world is a worrying thought. Joel himself single highhandedly kills more people than the infected that are supposedly the single greatest problem facing them in that time. Yet on he goes, executing people that appear to be innocent in the first 20 minutes. What this does is absolutely destroy the credibility of the world, and lessens the impact of the single most important point in the narrative; the infection.

Instead of being shown how the infection is tough to control, how it continually ruins lives and how the infected might ravage people out in the wilderness trying to survive, we're only given the tiniest of glimpses, and then it turns into run-of-the-mill third person murder fest, where, surprise surprise, humans just simply hate one another.

This alone renders the notion that we aren't even suppose to like Joel in the first place mute, but that itself is a lie. Naughty Dog wholeheartedly wants us to identify with Joel as the guardian angel of Ellie, the protector of the most important person to the world, who would do anything necessary to keep her alive because it's 'what we would do'.

I don't know about you, but shafting the entire human race because of the actions of a few in the American South seems like an ignorant and selfish act.

RapeisGenocide:

In a world where humanity is on the verge of annihilation, the idea that human lives would be even less valuable then they are in the real world is a worrying thought.

Why is this bad?-It's supposed to be worrying. They explained why society ended up this way. Not buying the explanation or arguing it's not convincing enough is one thing but to pretend they didn't even try to address it is misleading or completely missing the point.
And what a stupid argument anyway, for example during a war when law and order fall apart crime increases. Murder, theft, rape...criminals, opportunists, desperate people don't sit around contemplating the value of life.
See Mad max, reign of fire, fallout, Game of thrones, book of eli, three kings or any actual war in the middle east.

Joel himself single highhandedly kills more people than the infected that are supposedly the single greatest problem facing them in that time.

First of all the writers are aware he kills a lot of people, it's addressed, even worse Joel admits to being like those bandits. So killing bandits are the least of your moral worries.
As too the amount of people killed; That's called ludonarrative dissonance. I also have a problem with this in all games but it is particularly jarring here; So many other steps are done to show realism -in crafting, resources, healing, combat that it's a shame area's of the game have hordes of human enemies.
Counting the human enemies and saying Joel killed exactly '100' doesn't really reflect the story- you have to take into account that 99% of games use this trope to pad gametime& pacing.
Yes it's still a major flaw in this game/story and should rightly be addressed. but how does Yahtzee's positively reviewed Bioshock infinite get a free pass, when you are shooting authorities in the face. Or Spec-ops:the line (which I and Yahtzee both like) where you kill half of Dubai. Oh that's addressed in the narrative and themes you say? well so is TLOU.

Yet on he goes, executing people that appear to be innocent in the first 20 minutes.

Have you played the game. Joel doesn't execute anyone in a cutscene until the half way point. It takes 20 mins for Tess to shoot the first guy in the head. and when they finally get their man it is Tess who kills him again, but not before explaining to the player why she killed him. Moments earlier an official executes someone on the street. It's purposely done this way so you are introduced into this brutal world without having to initially kill anyone.

What this does is absolutely destroy the credibility of the world, and lessens the impact of the single most important point in the narrative; the infection.

I think the infection is the least important part of the entire story. The infection is just the setting, it is what sets up everything to be post-apocolyptic. There could of been actual zombies, or dragons, or the aftermath of a war. That same character driven story could work.

Naughty Dog wholeheartedly wants us to identify with Joel as the guardian angel of Ellie, the protector of the most important person to the world, who would do anything necessary to keep her alive because it's 'what we would do'.

Not every story is going to hit everyone's sweetspot. Something like 90/95% people identified with it or were able to emphasise.The other 5/10 could not. Seems about right. (meta-critic isn't the most accurate of sources but still)

I don't know about you, but shafting the entire human race because of the actions of a few in the American South seems like an ignorant and selfish act.

Well yeah, that's what we are supposed to discuss after finishing the game. Everyone has a different opinion.
Are you a parent yet...well when your 14 year old girl is the cure for mankind tell me how easy it is to send her to her death.

And this entire argument (maybe not you but other people) of the protagonist needing to be likeable or needs a ridiculous arc is lost on me.
In a story there's often a protagonist with a certain personality with motivations in whatever setting. It's interesting to see what happens, it doesn't have to be good, we personally don't have to like the decisions, as long as it's logical to the character

What should be being discussed is weather this can be relevant for games. Can controlling someone that is as awful as Tony Montana work in a character driven video game? (GTA don't count)
Not omg his not likeable (I'm going to ignore the fact his not supposed to be) so I don't like him and the game is bad.

And the reason killing is cheap is because it's easy to do. video game Stories are often made to somehow justify violence...not the other way round.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZM2jXyvGOc

The killing people in these games is not exactly what is being called out in these games, it's the sheer quantity of people you kill to the point that by the end of the game the protagonist is a mass murderer having killed so many it numbers in the hundreds.
The amount of killing in both Boishock Infinte & The Last of Us feels out of place (it is of course the easiest way to crate an obstacle to be overcome but it's a archaic piece of gaming that seems to persist) i can't see how either Ellie or Elizabeth could possibly sympathies with Booker or Joel. both BI & TLoU really needed alternative solutions to killing everyone that becomes an obstacle. They were brilliant games & i enjoyed the stories they told despite this problem but it is a problem in games like these. in COD or BF it's a core part of the game & makes sense given the setting, i can't say the same for bioshock infinite or the last of us, these games should have made us feel torn every time we killed. I'll leave a link to an Extra Credits episode that that covers similar problems http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzkS0mt3B50

immortalfrieza:

Jadak:
Snip

The point of any punishment including life and the death penalty for a crime isn't revenge, rehabilitation, victim compensation, or even removing a dangerous and/or disruptive element from society, despite what the people who are responsible for doling out these punishments tell everybody. The point of the punishment is prevention, it's about scaring people so shitless about being punished that they won't even consider performing a crime, much less actually do it. If tomorrow society collapsed and punishments like jail or the death penalty could no longer happen, despite what those same people would say otherwise if asked prior, the vast majority of people would start stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, raping, and killing everybody else (many post apocalyptic games like The Last of Us are built on this point). It's the FEAR of punishment that allows society to even exist to begin with, to avoid descending into anarchy. Sure, many people will be falsely convicted and punished, including being executed, but this is an unavoidable cost of something that society can't function without.

The point of the punishment isn't prevention because if it were then the statistics regarding the death penalty would mean that nobody ever used one. There is strong evidence that introducing the death penalty INCREASES the murder rate it doesn't decrease it.

Having the death penalty doesn't seem to make any real difference to the kind of people who commit cold blooded murder because it doesn't seem to stop them. It also promotes the idea that killing is a legitimate way of getting rid of a problem.

It's about revenge and vindication. "This person was a irredeemable bad and there's nothing we could have done for them, their crimes are nobody's fault but their own".

I don't know about you but no situation would ever make me go around raping people, I would steal to survive and possibly even kill for defense (though I don't think I'd be able to make myself do it if I had time to think about it) but rape doesn't get you anything. The law isn't the thing stopping me from raping, killing and stealing I simply don't want to!

I felt the same thing while playing the Saints Row games. The PC kills tens of thousands of people. Which is totally fine. It's fun and is written into his character.

When I'm meant to give a shit that one of his friends is dead, it falls terribly flat.

EXos:

DjinnFor:
And Yahtzee demonstrates yet again that he entirely misses the point of violence in The Last of Us. Case in point, he thinks that Joel is meant to be a likeable everyman character.

Joel starts as an A-hole, is an A-hole in the middle and an A-hole at the end. Nothing learned nothing gained.

People still keep forgetting that 20 fuckin years have passed,unlike in the Walking Dead.Joel starts off as a normal single father->20 years later he is a survivor (or an "asshole" if you can't grasp the fact everyone in the world has to be to a degree)->he becomes a father by the end.

Sure,there are lots of kind,selfless people present who weren't assholes during the 20 years,you can see exactly how they're living now:

Bucketface:

i can't see how either Ellie or Elizabeth could possibly sympathies with Booker or Joel. both BI & TLoU really needed alternative solutions to killing everyone that becomes an obstacle.

Ellie doesn't know the world as we do,she grew up in the quarantine zone where people are being executed,sometimes on a daily basis (for being infected mainly),think she'd be more used to deaths by now.She's met the infected also before meeting Joel.You're right about Elizabeth though,she spent her entire life locked up in that tower.

Eh, I really don't have any kind of association with killing in games and killing in real life. No correlation whatsoever. I know from the start that it isn't real and so it doesn't translate into me walking into real life situations and considering choking someone out. If it did, then I'd agree.

As such, I realize that the character's motivations are real motivations. It's me controlling lines of code into changing the arrangment of other lines of code.

Of course, there are times when that control is taken from me and it's the character behaving that way (Hitman shooting his old friend before giving her a chance to talk). Then the blood is on their hands and I begin to not sympathize with them. But basic gameplay mechanics where you need to get from point A to point B with people in between trying to stop you with their gunds? I don't care. They are little more than an obstacle. I do not think of them as people and I doubt most gamers really think of it either.

Yahtzee, however, makes a living considering things like this. His poetic nature would also draw him to consider what he's doing on a higher level than just tearing down obstacles. So I understand why he'd come to this conclusion as well. But it isn't the same for many of us.

Yeah, I feel the same.

I recently replayed Ace Attorney and went. "Damn, it's nice to play a game where the main character is a nice person and not violent in the slightest!"

I tried playing Skyrim like I would actually act, so I only killed in self-defense. And then I had random people attacking me in the wilderness for no reason. Come on, you have the 'Speech' skill, let me talk my way out of this.

Eternal_Lament:
I don't think I agree

I've seen this attitude more and more of "Oh, why do games make me kill?" and I can never get behind it. Why? This is going to make me sound odd, but it's the gods honest truth. The folks over at Rage Select put it best: on some basic level, whether we like it or not, there is something intrinsically fun about killing in games. Maybe it's because we're used to it, but on some level there is some satisfaction in it. It's something that's easy to quantify as a measure of success, and easy to also understand the consequences of actions (not talking morally here, rather "What happens when I do X?") To me it's just something that I am willing to expect or accept if it is presented to me. You can have fun non-violent games, I'm not saying games are only fun when they're violent. I'm just saying that the intrinsic fun in killing in games is something of a shorthand for progression and success, sort of how a health-bar is a short hand for survival, even though in the context of the story it can seem ridiculous, even with in-cutscene deaths.

As for The Last of Us...I think this is because of the confusion as to what constitutes a regular protagonist. The folks over at Spill I think gave a good assessment in that "If you think of Joel as a traditional hero, you may feel off or angry during parts of the game. But if you view Joel not as a hero, not even as an anti-hero, but a borderline villain? That's where everything fits together." That's honestly how I look at The Last of Us. I understand Joel's situation, and I understand why he does the things he does. He's still a villain though, in so much as his intentions, while sound and understandable, are ultimately dark, and sometimes evil, in nature. I don't see the killings in The Last of Us as "Oh, in this world life is so cheap that you're lucky if you only get three near-death experiences a day." I see the killings as the means that Joel understands the world, and that for him it's not just what will you do to survive, but what will you do to live? The game has never been one about the survival of the human race for me, but rather an understanding of what one will pay in order to do more than just survive and actually live, to have a life, to feel alive.

At first I thought that the last Hospital section was your standard "Stealth game needs action section, RAWR!" but as I thought about it, I realized that maybe it's because it represents the very thing I was discussing, living over surviving. If all this ever was for Joel was a means to survive, he would've just left before starting shit, resigning himself to Ellie's fate. Let's say for arguments sake that he stays and wishes to save her, but is still concerned more on survival. His shoot-out sections would be considered reckless at best, suicidal at worst. I think, on some level, it sort of shows that for Joel he could simply sneak and survive, but it's no longer enough for him. If he does a shoot-out, he may be reckless, he may get hurt, he may even die, but at least he's living. I think, on some level, Joel enjoys the killing. I'm not saying he's a psychopath who gets a thrill from seeing people die, rather I think it helps him cope with the surviving/living conflict. I think when he's with people he cares for, whether it's Triss or Ellie, his purpose on living has to do with them, but when alone or his relationship with others starts to crumble, I feel that's when he becomes the most reckless and is more likely to kill, because for him, that's the only way he knows how to actually feel alive. It doesn't justify his actions, it doesn't make him sympathetic, and it doesn't serve to make him a hero. What it does do is show a villain that, on some level, disturbs us, and one we would be eager to call out on, if it weren't for the fact that, like Joel, things start to feel panicked, rushed, and tense when things get chaotic and we start having to kill. Like Joel, it can feel fun. Like Joel, we start to feel alive.

You sir, have nailed it.

K12:
Snip

And the reason you don't want to is because you were born and raised into a society where those things are harshly punished, if you didn't, you'd in all likelihood do so those things all the time, probably without even thinking about it. If you were suddenly thrown into a world where doing those things was necessary to survive, you'd do them. Reluctantly perhaps, but you'd do them eventually, or end up dead yourself.

kael013:

Oh. I haven't played or watched gameplay videos (until just now), but I had watched a friend play. During that I asked him how far in he was and he said he was at the beginning - but he was obviously past the prologue and apparently didn't feel the need to mention it. So I went back and watched a walkthrough of the prologue (and up to Robert's death) and it kinda blows my argument out of the water.
That said I'm still on Yahtzee's side. There were parts where the game presented killing as the only option when others were available. Case in point: the guard in the beginning. He verbally threatens you. He ends up dead (he didn't even have a weapon that I could see, his friend did). The protagonists could have just wounded him, but instead they kill him. Why? Because he might have sought revenge by sending thugs after them (or coming after them himself)? His boss tried that and it didn't work. Another example: Later you run across two of Robert's guards on patrol. It's a stealth section where the patrolling guards are walking away from you. They get killed. Why? The first guard had buddies and may have been a threat, but these guys were leaving without knowing you were there. The game could have easily allowed us to let them go, but it had us kill them instead. And all for a stupid tutorial about stealth kills from behind. If they had put the guards in a place where it was absolutely necessary to kill them in order to proceed I could have let it slide, but it didn't. That right there cemented my loathing of the "everyman heroes" this game had (I actually wanted to kill Tess myself long before that to be honest. She was a pain). Then when our protagonists where threatened with death I was supposed to care? They killed people for just getting in their way(!) so I saw it as just deserts (desserts? I can never remember...). Plus, the world is presented as a place where "kill or be killed" was the top law, so why should I care when the nature of the world temporarily turned against the protagonists? In a serious character drama when you hate every side it just doesn't work.

All that just because the game forced you to kill. That's what I think Yahtzee was getting at.

First of all, you keep saying "forced" but LOU isn't an exercise in player choice (though you can sneak past many enemy encounters) so I don't think it's fair to hold the lack thereof as an intrinsic fault in the story. It's not the sort of game where you do as you would do in the situation. It's a character study of Joel (and Ellie, but we're talking about Joel) and while people often sneer at linear games, LOU is linear for the right reason: so we can experience things as the character does, and do as he does.

On that note, Joel is not an everyman hero like Drake, who is carefully designed-in his appearance, his speech, in the music that plays as he swings into battle-- so that we admire him and feel empowered by playing as him, yet still see ourselves in his down-to-earth temper. He's a character we're undeniably intended to root for in all that he does and all that we do as him. The character backfires when we can't bring ourselves to root for him even though the game clearly expects--indeed, needs, as escapist entertainment-- us to.

Yahtzee seems to be alleging that this is what happens in LOU too and the more I think about it, the more it astonishes me how thoroughly the typically insightful Yahtzee misunderstood it. Joel is given sympathetic traits and relatable motivations, sure, but the game never, ever demands that you support or applaud his violence (beyond perhaps, a baseline of being willing to play further). Instead it tries to show how he became this way, and why a person might come to do what he does. Yahtzee's mistake, I think, is that he thinks the game is trying to rally support and adulation for Joel when all it really wants--indeed, all it needs-- from the player is understanding. Whether or not you actually support Joel as a result of this understanding is entirely up to you. The game itself gives no explicit judgment. It doesn't play triumphant music as he slashes somebodies throat open. Many characters feel uncomfortable or outright afraid when around him. Ellie, who Joel cares deeply for, winds up clearly damaged by her association with him, at least on some levels. Joel himself avoids talking about his violence, as if he doesn't like to think about it. It's an uncomfortable story that presents a deeply flawed character as he is, and lets you decide how you feel.

I'm baffled by this, really. Naughty dog, of all people, made a game where the violence of the gameplay is reflected in the character's personality, and suddenly Yahtzee cries "for shame" and says it's only okay for protagonists in violent games to either be entirely justified or clearly evil/crazy? He actually kind of implied that the player should be explicitly told how to feel about the character, and he's is the last person I expected to balk at a violent game daring to have a morally ambiguous protagonist, especially after his reaction to Spec ops. Or that he'd at least acknowledge the attempt before explaining why he thought it didn't work. But instead he seems certain that Naughty Dog is certain that they made a slightly darker iteration of Drake in Joel, to which I can only respond with a really hard facedesk.

And you, it seems, have happily judged the game and its characters even though, by your own admission, you've only seen a few of the scenes and watched them out of order. I urge you to do yourself a favor and finish watching through the whole game, in sequence, before coming to a final conclusion, much less trying to persuade people. If you still think that Joel is an irredeemable monster at the end and you wish he died slowly, fine. That's a perfectly valid response. Unlike Uncharted, LOU leaves you entirely free to conclude that. As it is, it seems to me that you (and others) are trying to convince people who actually watched/played the whole game that you actually understand it better than they do 'cuz you read a Yahtzee column. A disingenuous column which, I think, has done the game a disservice.

World War 3 will probably start on the Internet as an online game between officials of several countries. Mark my words.

" And again, that's fine if we're supposed to laugh at this character or consider them a selfish bellend, but not in a protagonist in a serious work. "

I take issue with this, mostly the serious work part at the end.

If you were playing a remorseless killer who
a. knows they're in the wrong and
b. doesn't care (like say Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal),

does that automatically make it a not serious work (and yes I know it'd be hard for a game a with a serial killer clown who's head is on fire to be taken as seriously as Oscar bait but he was the only such protagonist I could think of from video games)?

"Rather than consider games full of killing to be in the wrong, here, I might invite you to consider what is wrong with our society that such games find a large audience. "

That's a little unfair, a game as big as the Last of Us has many many elements to it that people may find appealing.

As an example, I had a friend who owned a copy of San Andreas, but he didn't like going around killing pedestrians. He liked the game mainly because of the planes he could fly around the place.

balladbird:

fairness where it's due,

There's a video (two) of Joel torturing and murdering two blocks while making a witty quip on the same page you made that comment

To try and help you identify witty quips in the future i'll define them.

A stament who's presents ins unnecessary to the person it is being said to. With reinforces the sayer superiority in a comic (hard to define) manner
e.g. say good night before knocking someone out

M920CAIN:
World War 3 will probably start on the Internet as an online game between officials of several countries. Mark my words.

I had an idea for a game like this.

In the future highly accurate simulated wars are waged between allies as a form of military exercise but also for fun/competition.

So now we can see who would win in a war between U.S. vs. Canada and Germany or whatever.

While we should eventually get to the point where we can have AAA games not focused on killing, I think it's important to not stop making the cathartic mass-murder games like Saints Row, GTA, Fallout, Skyrim, and so on. Because we LOVE violence. It's at our very core, and to not have those experiences will just repress our desire for inflicting violence. Looking at the crime rate as compared to the rise of violence in media the two (while not objectively related) show a trend that as one goes up the other goes down.

For me, at least, having that release of violent games made times when I wanted to lash out much easier for me. I think it may help many others as well.

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