How to Talk About Games #3

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lacktheknack:

xaszatm:

lacktheknack:

Dammit, Grey! I'm going to hell for laughing now! D:

...I didn't get it...are we still talking about Nazis or something other horrific event?

I'll let a brilliant game explain it for me...

image

No other game has had the balls to treat the Holocaust so frankly as "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".

Didn't stop me from laughing at the words "skeletons popping out of ovens", though. D:

Ah, okay, I just didn't understand the joke. I do agree that it's a good piece of black humor.

Yopaz:
I think we're on the same page here more or less.

If I say that Tales of Xillia is my favourite game then the sentence would make it clear that I am presenting my opinion and while I could probably give some reasons why that doesn't really matter. If I am to say that it's a great game then I agree that I would need to be able to present a reason other than "it's my opinion". Because I agree that it would be frustrating to go down the line
"This game is so good"
"Why?"
"lol my opinion"

Opinions shouldn't be presented as facts nor be the thing we use when we defend games. If that was the point you were trying to make I agree completely with you.

...More or less, I just get uneasy with the idea that all "opinions" are equally grounded. Democracy isn't perfect, but if 95% of people believe, say, that the new control set-up presented in a later game in a series is a marked improvement in ease-of-use over the controls of a previous offering in the series, there's a much better chance that you'll find the controls to be an improvement as well. The more specific and relatable a presented idea can get, the more likely it is to be of value to others, even if something like "The control system in #3 is better than that in #2" remains, in essence, an opinion.

Here's my beef. Maybe it makes me a dinosaur, but for me, videogames are still primarily about being games, which are primarily about having fun.

Three cheers for wishing to re-brand the medium as interactive narrative, and I'll take thought-provoking introspective cerebral horror (Silent Hill 2) and punch-to-the-gut topical satire-commentary (Spec-Ops: The Line) over the latest attempt to re-animate Sonic the Hedgehog's gruesome corpse EVERY day of the week, but at the end of the day, I actually do want a GAME to PLAY that is FUN and CHALLENGING.

We should absolutely embrace the unique narrative capabilities of videogames, namely the fact that no other narrative medium places you in the role of both the audience and protagonist. And now more than ever, those narratives are in desperate need of depth. But this is where games differ from any other narrative medium, because a game absolutely lives or dies in how much fun it is to play.

If you want art, then don't judge it by how fun it is. The last thing art is concerned with is how fun it is. Games are supposed to be fun. A game that is not fun is no longer a game, it's a chore.

StriderShinryu:

Tahaneira:
Not bad. However. I disagree on one small point. there is one opinion which is almost never wrong: whether or not I enjoyed the game. Oh sure, the details why fall under this, but I can't wait to see people try to belittle my enjoyment using this.

I have to agree with this. It's always a good thing to be able to approach discussion and debate like a mature adult, but it's also very important to keep in mind that not everything is put forward as a discussion or debate. Particularly on forums like the one here at The Escapist, it seems like any stated opinion is viewed as an invitation to argue and debate something. Sometimes people don't know, or don't care, why they enjoy a particular experience, they just do. It's just "fun" or "enjoyable" to them and that's perfectly fine.

That's pretty much how I gauge almost everything.
I almost never tell people something is good or not, I always tell them if I liked it and make it very clear that it's my own personal viewpoint.
I just dive in, whether I enjoy it or not gets sorted out through the unconsciousness of my own personal taste. It simply strikes a chord in me, that's all it is, you don't have to agree with me we don't have to tell each other we're wrong, live and let die.
That being said, trying to defend a game by claiming your opinion is some holy objective viewpoint really makes me want to tear my hair out.

burningdragoon:

Father Time:
I don't get the last bit. So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong? That sounds like one of those 'people' who says "I can objectively prove that this game/band/movie is bad". No you can't.

Saying "it's just my opinion" is not a Get Out of Challenge Free Card for that opinion.

Bingo. Opinions are either justified by facts, which can be wrong, invalidating the opinion, or they can just be unjustified opinions, which are also invalid. Just because opinions aren't objective truths doesn't mean a specific opinion has any merit. If the only reason you have for me to listen to your opinion is that it has no objective merit, then why did you say it in the first place?

You know... I think the whole "Games are art" is the wrong way to look at it. Art, for the mainstream person, is mostly a passively experienced thing. You look at a sculpture, you watch a movie. You listen to music.

Games are more feats of engineering than anything else.

TheBelgianGuy:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.

Agree with this.

Seriously, it was fun and I enjoyed the first strip. The second one was ok too, I guess. But now, by the third one, it's no longer fun but it's becoming clearly preachy and holier-than-thou.

Also, you have no right to call your reader "motherfuckers" to gain their attention. Pro tip.

Mike Fang:
By that logic, they're also never right, they just...exist.

correct. ( from my viewpoint, obviously.. which is the viewpoint of viewing viewpoints, in this instance. )

opinion = viewpoint

viewpoint = perspective

perspective = you see part(s) of something

ok enough with the words! so if you're ignoring some of the picture, literally anything could be true. let's take a stupid example, porno mag with half naked picture on the cover ignore the naked part by folding the picture, ( generate a physical viewpoint ) now it's simply tasteful photography.

opinions and viewpoints, powerful stuff!

This is the third in this arc and I have the same opinion on all of them; the point of view and the way it's put forward seems very simplistic.

Let's not forget that a lot of these arguments are used in the same dick head manner that any other opinion is used. Some people don't know the difference between informed opinion with good arguments and the classic prick opinion that this comic talks about.

Also, I didn't find any of the jokes funny at all and I like Grey's sense of humour, for the most part. But this is all kind of just recycled arguments and points but with pretty pictures. I dunno, guys, this comic seems to be sort of just... Going nowhere with no real point.

But opinions are just that; opinions. They can't be wrong because they ARE subjective. What can be wrong is the facts used to back up those opinions. "I think It's an excellent game" is an opinion. " I think It's an excellent game because it rubs glass in your eyes" is also opinion without a valid argument as to why anyone else should feel the same. "I think it's an excellent game because it has the best control system of any game in the last ten years" is an opinion with a false fact (unless the controls really are that good, I guess). Opinions are kind of difficult. Some people like getting glass rubbed in their eyes. It's when people present opinions as fact that's the real problem. It's something Move Bob is VERY guilty of and it's the reason I pretty much refuse to watch anything that's based on his opinion (his educational stuff is very good, though). So, really, the thing we SHOULD be doing is accepting opinions AND education. Like when an opinion is based on false facts and misunderstandings. Education would help shape a better opinion and we should all be open to that, right?

Seems to me, if we were all less grumpy and quick to argue, things would be a whole lot better.

I want you guys to think for a minute: Someone actually wrote down somewhere, "Three panels, one is Erin snorting cocaine of a cat's stomach, one where she's squaring off against a giant scorpion wearing boxing gloves, and the last panel should be a fat guy wearing an NGE shirt."

Fun can mean many things. Being disturbed and frightened in horror games is fun, even if that isn't the first thing you think about when you hear "fun".

It can be all sorts of things. Skillfully jumping and navigating platforms in Quack Attack is fun. Tearing the beaks off penguins in Dwarf Fortress is fun, in a dark, absurd way. Realising you are utterly alone and hunted in Silent Hill is fun, because of the emotional high.

I'd say "enjoyment" is a better way to describe it, really. I enjoyed something, because it made me feel X, due to Y.

TheBelgianGuy:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.

image

Father Time:
I don't get the last bit. So you're saying that a subjective opinion can be wrong? That sounds like one of those 'people' who says "I can objectively prove that this game/band/movie is bad". No you can't.

I'm sure lots of people have explained the joke already, but..

Subjectivity in and of itself is not a valid defense for your opinions. All opinions are subjective, but some subjective opinions have more merit than others. The strength of your argumentation determines how much merit your opinion has, without argumentation it has no merit at all.

Thus, simply saying that your opinion shouldnot be judged because it is subjective in lieu of actually demonstrating its merit is the intellectual equivalent of masturbating in public. There's no purpose in your publicly expressing that opinion because your failure to actually argue it means it has no merit or relevance to anyone but you. The only purpose of expressing such an opinion is to gratify yourself, rather than to actually engage in conversation.

TheBelgianGuy:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.

better question:

remember when, even in joking, these last few strips weren't necessary for holding a civil conversation?
or better still
remember when gaming on the whole could go more then 10 minutes with out bitching about something?

didn't think so

rhodo:

TheBelgianGuy:
Remember when Critical Miss was about funny comics, not sounding condescending and elitist all the time? Yeah.

Agree with this.

Seriously, it was fun and I enjoyed the first strip. The second one was ok too, I guess. But now, by the third one, it's no longer fun but it's becoming clearly preachy and holier-than-thou.

Also, you have no right to call your reader "motherfuckers" to gain their attention. Pro tip.

Pro tip: It's not a pro-tip if you're not a professional,

...

...

Do I understand it correctly that the last panel is sarcasm? (゚ー゚)

Grey Carter:

Pro tip: It's not a pro-tip if you're not a professional,

...

...

What if you're a GAMEPRO? Is that pro enough?

Sseth:
what a load of pretentious trite, which is a pattern this comic series is taking in general. this comic has devolved into nothing but a vent for the elitist authors and has long lost any real sense of worth.

condescending bullshit.. "BUT LEL IZ FUNY BECAUZE ITS CONDESCENDING AND ELITIST ON PURPOSE LOL"

I fail to see why any reasonable person feels talked down to by these comics. I take it as funny because people really can't be this unreasonable and insecure, right?

....right?

Sseth:
what a load of pretentious trite, which is a pattern this comic series is taking in general. this comic has devolved into nothing but a vent for the elitist authors and has long lost any real sense of worth.

condescending bullshit.. "BUT LEL IZ FUNY BECAUZE ITS CONDESCENDING AND ELITIST ON PURPOSE LOL"

Pretentious trite what?

Zachary Amaranth:

Sseth:
what a load of pretentious trite, which is a pattern this comic series is taking in general. this comic has devolved into nothing but a vent for the elitist authors and has long lost any real sense of worth.

condescending bullshit.. "BUT LEL IZ FUNY BECAUZE ITS CONDESCENDING AND ELITIST ON PURPOSE LOL"

I fail to see why any reasonable person feels talked down to by these comics. I take it as funny because people really can't be this unreasonable and insecure, right?

....right?

hey there brohammed ali it isn't funny when they are being this pretentious, even if being so is the joke in the first place. it's just boring and the shtick is getting old.

Grey Carter:

Sseth:
what a load of pretentious trite, which is a pattern this comic series is taking in general. this comic has devolved into nothing but a vent for the elitist authors and has long lost any real sense of worth.

condescending bullshit.. "BUT LEL IZ FUNY BECAUZE ITS CONDESCENDING AND ELITIST ON PURPOSE LOL"

Pretentious trite what?

this is the 2nd time u quoted me on this site im honored im only making these posts so u'll notice me brosif stalin

Sseth:

hey there brohammed ali it isn't funny when they are being this pretentious, even if being so is the joke in the first place. it's just boring and the shtick is getting old.

Nice edit there. But frankly, I find it funny as hell. I really didn't know that talking like an adult was considered "pretentious" and that I should apparently be offended to by being talked to like one.

I honestly do think it speaks more to the mindset of those who think they are being talked down to, rather than the ones doing the talking.

Reeve:
Whatever you say Grey, I'm still going to go and enjoy my video games anyway... :P

Whether or not something is good or fun is subjective though.

I'm sure there are psychopaths that could explain why murder or stamp collecting are fun, for example. And why the Phantom Menace is a good film. See: Movie Defence Force.

The Phantom Menace /is/ a good film, it just couldn't live up to 20 odd years of hype. Nothing could. Also I have a feeling the extra scenes added to the DVD cut screwed up the pacing (just like they did in the special editions of the original trilogy), but I can't be sure since I haven't seen the theatrical cut since the last time I watched my ancient VHS tape. Even the 3D re-release (which was amazing, by the way) was the DVD cut.

That's all off topic, though :P

OT: I agree with this comic for the most part, but I refuse to believe any game that is not fun is a good game. You want to make something that's not fun, make a movie, write a book, put on a play, I don't care, but a videogame is the wrong tool for the job. Literally every "art" game I've ever played has been either a mediocre platformer with an arty farty story tacked on, or a first person "game" which amounts to a movie with terrible direction, because the "director" is the player. That's what happens when an artist tries to make art without paying attention to the medium they're using.

Holy coke snorting cats, guys. The last panel is not a commentary on whether opinions can be fundamentally right or wrong.

It's saying if your argument falls back on "LOLOPINION" then you are a colossal douche-titan who is not interested in any meaningful debate, so you might as well stand on the table waving your wang about because that's about as effective in progressing the discussion and demonstrating to the other people what kind of person you are.

Zachary Amaranth:
The problem is opinions can be wrong, so it's disingenuous to make the argument as it was presented. Additionally, people have been trained to put opinions against facts as though they are somehow equal. Or even to try and back out of an assertive, fact-like statement.

Even in your scenario, people don't generally treat it like they lost the argument, they treat it like some ace up their sleeve that they can use to save the argument.

"opinion" is up there with "fun" and "challenging" in the way it's used.

Not saying that an opinion is automatically a fact (that is just silly). But to say opinions are wrong. I'm not 100% sure I can agree with that.

Someone on this forum dropped the hittler/jew opinion thing on this forum. Kind of an extreme example I don't want to get into but he does make a valid (if not somewhat extreme point). But one thing can be shown by using his example. Right or wrong in their more extreme meanings are defined by mass opinion. In the west it is wrong to stone a woman to death for cheating. People's/womens rights and all that. In certain countries it is right to stone women to death for cheating. Why is it right or wrong? Matters of mass opinion (and religion and yada yada yada). Don't want to get into this example more then that out of fear of flaming/racism/ban. But it should illustrate my point of view. The norm is set by popular opinion in MOST cases.

Which brings me to my next point. I think all GTA games (except GTA I and II) suck ballz. Why? Because they try to do everything and they fail at everything. Story sucks, gameplay sucks, graphics suck, open world feel sucks,... Most people however like the GTA games. So my opinion must be wrong then.
Here is where it becomes tricky. I can see why some/most people like the GTA games. I can understand the appeal of the game. It is just not the game for me. So it is very true when I say that the game sucks for me. Not when I say it is a shitty game.

But I can flip that scenario around:
Aliens: Colonial marines. I liked that game. It rocked. What's not to like? It's got aliens. It's got exploding aliens. It's got giant mutated pissed off aliens. Lot's of nice guns with which I can shoot the aliens. Automated turrets to help me shoot even more aliens. I'm not supposed to pay much attention to the story so I can just keep shooting at them aliens. Eat flamethrower BITCH! The graphics were not great but neither is my computer. It played the game pretty well. I like that. The end boss fight was kind of shitty but I enjoyed the shit out of the rest of the game. It has a nice replay value for me incase I want to shoot aliens.
At this point most people would declare me insane. General opinion was that the game sucked. It would be more accurate to say: the game sucks for a lot of people. But I'm a person who can never get enough of some casual alien face shooting. So for me it was a good game. My opinion in this is not wrong. I like it for reasons that are not popular but that are nevertheless valid for me.

Last remark: the hitler thing... My opinion is that hitler was not a good man. But don't forget the stoning example + history is written by the winners + the way we were raised. If the germans won and we were raised to hate jews then hitler would have been a hero. I wonder how many flags that sentence is going to set off O.O?

Just MY opinion. Please start telling me why my opinion is wrong ;-).

Zachary Amaranth:

Sseth:

hey there brohammed ali it isn't funny when they are being this pretentious, even if being so is the joke in the first place. it's just boring and the shtick is getting old.

Nice edit there. But frankly, I find it funny as hell. I really didn't know that talking like an adult was considered "pretentious" and that I should apparently be offended to by being talked to like one.

I honestly do think it speaks more to the mindset of those who think they are being talked down to, rather than the ones doing the talking.

i edit it because i decided it was not fair of me to call you defensive as it is not true

anyway talking like an adult does not have to involve being a condescending elitist and if this was a one off thing it would be okay, but Critical Miss has been doing this shtick for 3 comics now and even before then they have been doing these douchey "holier than thou" comic strips that are less funny and more "look at me my gaming tastes are so refined and yours are not" douchbaggery that I dont really think is funny even if they are exaggerating the shtick on purpose

Sseth:

Zachary Amaranth:

Sseth:

hey there brohammed ali it isn't funny when they are being this pretentious, even if being so is the joke in the first place. it's just boring and the shtick is getting old.

Nice edit there. But frankly, I find it funny as hell. I really didn't know that talking like an adult was considered "pretentious" and that I should apparently be offended to by being talked to like one.

I honestly do think it speaks more to the mindset of those who think they are being talked down to, rather than the ones doing the talking.

i edit it because i decided it was not fair of me to call you defensive as it is not true

anyway talking like an adult does not have to involve being a condescending elitist and if this was a one off thing it would be okay, but Critical Miss has been doing this shtick for 3 comics now and even before then they have been doing these douchey "holier than thou" comic strips that are less funny and more "look at me my gaming tastes are so refined and yours are not" douchbaggery that I dont really think is funny even if they are exaggerating the shtick on purpose

But it's not pretentious (adjective: "Attempting to impress by affecting more greatness than is actually possessed"), elitist (adjective: "Believing certain members of society are subject to favored treatment due to perceived superiority") of holier than thou (adjective: "Exhibiting attitube of superior virtue/piety").

Read those definitions and try to apply them to the comic. It doesn't work.

Where did they claim that their gaming tastes are superior? The only fanbase-attack in the comic was at Evangelion fans (because that's their schtick now). He's trying to tell you how to argue your case without being a terrible, awful arguer that only damages the credibility of the object of your affection. And make no mistake, people HATE someone who argues badly. Hell, I argued very badly a mere day or two ago and got utterly smoked and served on a platter with venom.

If you're taking direct offense to the points their making, then either you're not reading them properly or you're actually really terrible at making cases for games you like.

For this comic alone, I could flagrantly disregard it and tell you that Dwarf Fortress is good BECAUSE it's "fun, challenging (oh so challenging) and deep", and then not explain why (mistaking conclusions for arguments), and then make claims that everyone should play (missing the audience) and say the people that can't manage are subhumans who should be trapped in minimum wage hell forever (colossal douche-titan reporting for duty), and then say that it's fun because it relies on the player failing spectacularly over and over again (misrepresenting "fun"), then jabber about how it's excessively deep because it's literally the most complex game in existence, and then finally lean back and say "and it's all my opinion, so you can't critique my arguments."

Gee, aren't you desperate to play yet?

Alternatively, I could take the comic's advice, and tell you that the game is fun IF you enjoy complex, difficult large-scale simulators, it's challenging BECAUSE it's randomly generated and doesn't take the player's current situation or demonstrated skill into account when it spawns Lovecraftian horrors everywhere, and it's not particularly deep, just enormously complex. I can talk about how the game relies on the player to be persistent and have a sense of twisted humor to be truly fun, and warn that impatient or graphics-adoring players should skip it, but it will give a heck of an experience to everyone else.

Which recommendation is more effective?

Yes! That last panel! I am so sick of people doing that!

Complexity is depth. Even this comic proves it.

That plane appears to be going pretty deep.

What a well-informed and rational outlook on how to argue sensibly about video games and provoke civil discussion.

I'd say that we should make this required reading so that the Internet becomes less stupid, but the Internet would probably blow a fuse if asked to act in such a manner.

iseko:
-snip-

Your entire premise seems to be based on the notion that I believe all opinions are wrong or something inane.

A justified opinion is fine, but opinions can be wrong. The already Godwined Nazi card is a decent example. People who claim it didn't happen have an opinion that jives with reality and evidence. They're trying to equate opinion to fact (and often want to treat it as though it has equal weight). That's bullshit.

You like A:CM? Yeah, that's fine. You put forth a solid argument. Do I agree? Well, actually, I have no opinion on the game as a whole. I haven't played it and don't plan to. In part because of bad reviews, but mostly because I just don't like FPS in the first place. And that's an unpopular opinion, too. But there's a difference between something being dissent and something masquerading as an alternative or an instance of false equivalence or whatever.

History is somewhat flexible and our popular culture understanding is often flawed, but that doesn't mean you can throw up any view, shout "opinion" and treat it as valid.

"The jews had it good in concentration camps because there were swimming pools and waterslides[1]" does not gain weight just because you say "opinion" after it.

Or do you think the waterslide opinion actually has equal weight to historical evidence regarding concentration camps? Because it seems like that's your issue.

Yes, your opinion vs mine on a game is fairly equal ground. Even still, there is a foundation and an argument for it. I could say "Aliens: CM sucks," but I have no actual argument to support it. In my case, it would also be bad faith, but that's another thing.

A less atrocity-invoking example would be the opinion that the Earth is flat. Which, like creationism and Reagnomics, some people want taught opposing the "popular" view. And even then, they try and make the same appeal you did, to popularity, even though in this case it's popular due to weight of evidence.

[1] a paraphrased and possibly slightly distorted version of what one of the Prussian Blue girls actually said

Wow. Colossal opportunity missed for a "Hollercauster" Rollercoaster pun.

And I think that's the worst thing I've ever wanted, so I'm gonna go soak my head in acid for a bit. That's probably for the best.

I cracked up at the scorpion with the boxing gloves on.

This series is fantastic, please do more!

It has been a while since I mentioned how much I love you guys. I love you guys!

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