Jimquisition: Lugoscababib Discobiscuits

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When I saw the title, I thought I forgot how to English.

Zachary Amaranth:

Goliath100:
I want direct examples!! For all the alleged criticism of Bioshock and The Last of Us.

The Tomb Raider one wasn't enough?

Howabout Final Fantasy VII's big spoiler, where even the most devastating move in the game is only a KO, but a single sword is an instant permanent kill because ponies. Hell, most JRPGs do things in the cut-scenes that are impossible(in gameplay) at best, and often fit into this trend because they contradict the gameplay. Or vice versa.

Ludonarrative Dissonance is not about gameplay contradicting story. By that notion any FPS were a character is injured or killed in a cutscene also suffers from LD because they can soak bullets in gameplay. LD is more about the gameplay contradicting the theme of the story, the original example was:

"The story about Bioshock is about how Andrew Ryan's Philosophy is bad."
"The gameplay of Bioshock encourages you to use some of Andrew Ryan's Philosophy in order to succeed."

http://clicknothing.typepad.com/click_nothing/2007/10/ludonarrative-d.html

Does it count as ludonarrative dissonance when in the Dead Rising games, folks can die of a single bullet wound or zombie bite in the cutscenes, but your dude, and the bosses, can take full on machine gun blasts in the face and get chewed on by zombies all day and keep on coming?

That bothered me when I was playing.

Jim, you suit is fucking SWAG. Thank god for Jim.

PunkRex:
The 'WHAT!' at the end had me in stitches.

The argument about Infinate went abit deeper than merely being 'to violent' though Jim. You're right about the fact that Booker is himself an asshole and the people he comes into contact with are also scumbags but it was the fact that Columbia seemed to drop any semblance of a living city at the drop of a hat. The people disappeared, the soilders and air barges seemed to come streaming out of doorways and the fact that plasmids were readily available but barely anyone else was using them.

You were right about the eating rubbish thing though, Booker had money I could have just bought a sandwich.

This is the problem that Jim seems to not be seeing. Columbia isn't some war-torn hellhole or a dying city under the sea, it's a living and flourishing city with it's own laws, stability and people yet you barely ever see any civilians, and even if you do they don't give a shit that a violent and dangerous man is mowing down their family members. That and how willing lowly cops were to just bum-rush a guy armed with a machine gun, a rocket launcher and fire hands.

That and the gameplay and level-design was shit compared to the original Bioshock.

I hath seen the error of my ways O Jim! Forgive me, Lord of Garme Jurnalism, and accept me back into your snarky embrace!

That said, I thought Bioshock Infinite's violence seemed out of place because I felt the extreme, over the top nature of the combat (which rivals Bulletstorm in the sheer amount of gore on screen) didn't mesh well with the story (batshit crazy though it may be).

That and the combat was just kind of shit.

Bioshock Infinite was shit anyways, it was waifu pandering and the shooting galleries were rather boring.

I don't know how people called this GOTYOAT.

I am criticizing Infinite for the way it treats violence and combat.
I have no problem with slaughter or bloody and heinous scenes of destruction and death. Infinite IMO needed more of those.
What it DID NOT need was arena-like battle arenas like in Painkiller(that rely on wave tactics btw), with enemies with such weak CoD-esque AI...
That totally simply devalues the violence I am surrounded by and currently inflicting. They do NOT feel like human enemies or people of any importance. Just video game mobs. Replace them with the Gnaar from Serious Sam and I wont notice except that I might need to change tactics.
Also there are stupidly designed areas like in the shanty-town shop where there were some Vox Populi guarding an upgrade potion. I cant give them any of the 4k gold coins I had to buy it, despite it being a shop and if I set JUST one foot inside their back area, they pull out guns and shoot me...
The Nazis from Return to Castle Wolfenstein felt more well thought out and designed...
As for how to get it right, look at Metro Last Light. Better combat, more violence, none of the problems.

P.S. Why does no one ever pay me any attention :P .

Yet another person misrepresenting an argument he doesn't understand, simply because people hat the gall to not like a game he liked. Dismissing all criticism of Bioshock Infinite and the use of the term "ludo-narrative dissonance" as simple whining about "too much violence" is harmful to games criticism and reeks of anti-intellectualism.

Love ya, Jim.

Okay, yeah, the "ludonarrative dissonance" argument is over-used, and like many such terms ends up being used less because the users have a firm grasp of what it means than because it's likely to engender head-nodding and winning of arguments.

That's not to say there isn't problems with the the violence in B:I, just that they don't necessarily conflict with the narrative.

Consider, though, that early on within Infinite it's explicitly stated that there are ways to avoid violence and that the player might be well advised to consider using them. After that one segment, it's back to area after area where you have to kill every single living soul before it's possible to proceed again.

Narrative dissonance this may not be, but it's still jarring.

Likewise, it's frustrating that the game clearly wants the player to find the violence horrifying- wants you, in a sense, to feel a sense of guilt for the violent acts that Booker commits- but never gives the player any other options (which is indeed arguably far more the point of the thing than the violence itself.)

It may not be exactly dissonance that the increasingly tender relationship between Booker and Elizabeth contrasts with the violence, but it's jarring in as much as it suggests the protagonist is capable of more than brutal violence and self-destruction- the linear dynamic of the game itself just makes any other manifestation of that nature impossible.

I think as more games include characters who could, conceivably, be more than killing machines, the constant reliance on violence as the primary focus of gameplay becomes increasingly tiresome. It's not ludonarrative dissonance, sure. But it's frustrating, stifling, lazy, limiting, deadening... We just need more terms to express that we're longing for something more.

I think the separation between story and gameplay hurts the game when the story is being marked as the selling point of the game, as it was with Tomb Raider. With big words or not, I think it can make you have less fun with said game.

Can someone tell me the name of that painting with "Birds eating naked people"?

bringer of illumination:
So are you just ignoring the fact that the whole "eating from trashcans" thing HAS in fact been brought up several times by several different people?

Your statement that "Nobody spent any time on this" is flat out false.

Honestly, I've never seen anyone mention this at all until Jim's video just now. It certainly wasn't the biggest thing that most people were complaining about. Hell, if even Jim wasn't aware of it, or at least wasn't aware of many mainstream examples of it, then I feel pretty safe saying it wasn't even a big thing that the majority of the gaming press thought to bring up and run with.

Bioshock Infinite is rife with Lubosnasra whatever, and much of it IS related to the violence.

One example is the fact that despite Elizabeth being aghast at the first murder spree of yours she witnesses, she never seems to care after that, not even when you break into the home of some innocent housewife and tear her fucking face off with your hook, Elizabeth just doesn't give a shit.

Aside from your one example there of killing an innocent person (though I don't recall this happening aside from my ending up in some woman's home with police in there ready to kill me and having to fight them when they saw me), it's easily, and quite rationally, explained by the fact that if they don't fight these people and find a way out of the city, Booker will die and Elizabeth is going back to her tower for the rest of her life.

Now maybe you missed the fact that she really, really, wanted to get away from there, but it's not something that was exactly subtly hinted at during the game. So no, I don't agree with the idea that this is dissonant at all. You can quibble as much as you want over the whole thing being a bit rushed, and maybe they didn't spend enough time showing her getting over her initial disgust to ensure their survival, but the reality is that the explanation for why she would continue on with Booker and actively help him is readily explained by information contained within the games narrative.

On a side note, it's kind of funny that Jim can do a whole episode dedicated to why these arguments are wrong, and people are still trying to make the same arguments.

A thought regarding Bioshock Infinite and it's dissonance; could it be that the dissonance is in the fact that the violence is fun? I can't say much about the story, because Bioshock Infinite is probably the most boring game I've ever played for a multitude of reasons, but it always strikes me as bizarre that brutal violence and getting shot up is meant to be a pleasurable experience/challenge. Then again, who would want to play games where you go "OH CHRIST HE'S GOT A GUN," and it feels awful? But that's also a more generalized thought on violence-as-dissonance and isn't really germane to Bioshock Infinite. Also, I found the plasmids and the whole "I can equip boots that burst into flame when I stick a landing," to be more dissonant than eating popcorn out of trash; Booker is basically an enemy of the state or something, right? Who the fuck is gonna sell him a hot dog?

Callate:
Consider, though, that early on within Infinite it's explicitly stated that there are ways to avoid violence and that the player might be well advised to consider using them. After this one segment, it's back to area after area where you have to kill every single living soul before pressing on again.

I remember that part, and I remember it being specifically about strategy. When that message pops up, you're coming right off a gun battle and into a house owned by unarmed civilians. They run and cower, but they won't hurt you or run out and call authorities. I imagine the message pops up because up to that point, you have pretty much gunned down every living soul you come across, and they had to get just a bit in your face to remind you there are other ways to solve problems. And of course the violence continues after that, but the notice was simply saying there are some times when killing isn't necessary. It never made any promises that it would never happen again.

It sort of reminds me of something I heard in the Portal 2 developer's commentary. In a bit toward the end, they said they introduced a few "mini puzzles" before a big puzzle to subtly remind the player about certain mechanics they learned much earlier in the game, but at that point haven't used in a while. This is because even though the player is knowledgable about how the mechanics work, spending so much time not in that "mode" makes them temporarily forget what they can do. So they forget they can layer gels on top of one another, or they forget they can shoot through wire fences, so they had to do something in the game to remind the player about these mechanics and how they work so they don't try to solve the puzzle without them.

So that's more or less how I took that notice. Reminding you that you do have a choice, and sort of reinforcing that overarching theme that reveals itself at the end where you feel all throughout the game your choices mean something, but ultimately they don't.

Dickdatduck:
Can someone tell me the name of that painting with "Birds eating naked people"?

Garden Of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch.
--

OT:
Loved the video. Personally, my problem with the combat in Bioshock Infinite wasn't the violence. It was just that I thought some parts of the combat dragged on too long. Could've used some longer breaks, basically...
Still loved the game in general though.

Also... I want that suit, Jim. Just saying.

Jimothy Sterling:
Lugoscababib Discobiscuits

This week, Jim loads his gun and shoots holes in the argument that certain games suffer from ludonarrative dissonance, just because they're violent.

Watch Video

I am putting in a crumpled piece of paper in the suggestion box:

"Transcript of videos in comments, please?"

It would probably only please five people, screw up the advertising somewhat, and be extra work for you. But, I really want to hear what you're saying in silence on my phone. As in, during Calculus class, when I'm supposed to be paying attention.

To me, in Bioshock Infinite, it wasn't that it was ludonarrative dissonance to me; it was just tonally inconsistent.
You have a serious story, in a well thought out setting. It's touching on some heavy issues, then suddenly it's 1990s style gore circus with gibs, body parts, blood, and heads flying all over the place.

For me gameplay enjoyment comes first and ludonarrative dissonance comes second. This is why I didn't care too much about Lara saying one thing and doing another in Tomb Raider, because the other was quite fun to do. It made no sense for this fledgling college student to stealth choke/gun down/axe murder all these mooks, but when I'm enjoying myself doing it I feel it a bit strange to start complaining about.

Same would've applied to Bioshock: Infinite if the gunplay wasn't complete and total rubbish. That title would've been far better off having been a detective styled game with minimal action, since it would've fit the setting way better, but most importantly so Ken Levine would stop crowbarring flacid shooter action into his games. Seriously dude, stop it!

I knew this episode was a winner the moment I saw the title 'Lugoscababib Discobiscuits'.. and its win was confirmed when Jim showed off his suit's awesomeness. Bravo. Bravo.

Bioshock Infinite's problem is less than it suffers ludonarrative dissonance than it suffers from just straight-up narrative dissonance. Halfway through, after Booker has led a revolution and killed tons of police officers and civil servants, he basically makes the case that violence can never be justified, and that trying to use violence to stop violence is insane(and nothing in the game tries to combat that notion). And during that section of gameplay, we're supposed to find the violence unsettling and want to stop doing it.

Then, five hours later, I'm rushing to save a damsel in distress, any sense that what I'm doing is wrong has evaporated, the game is in no way trying to humanize the people I'm killing, and I'm using violence to save the world...from violence. Christ, the game ends with literally, an infinite number of murder. Literally infinite murder. That's just...inconsistent. And very, very, dissonant.

ex275w:

Ludonarrative Dissonance is not about gameplay contradicting story. By that notion any FPS were a character is injured or killed in a cutscene also suffers from LD because they can soak bullets in gameplay.

That's actually much how it was introduced into usage, so to argue it's wrong is folly.

Besides, your examples are not offering a significant distinction. Gameplay in the above examples distinctly violates the themes given.

This doesn't surprise me at all. Hell, gamers can't be trusted with the term "entitled" and that's not exactly an SAT word.

Racecarlock:

Vault Citizen:

Racecarlock:

Oh man, speaking of people automatically dismissing violence, have you read greg tito's GTA V review? Oh yeah, how dare a GTA game be violent.

He didn't criticise it for being violent he criticised the characters and stated that he thought they didn't have any sympathetic aspects to their character, he gives examples in the review of characters who were sympathetic and violent, one of those beng the main character of GTA IV.

Again, though, I think the new unsympathetic characters are still more relatable because they now reflect the actions that the player will take in the game anyways.

While I don't think that the "score" (whatever that's worth) should've been lowered for that (raised maybe), I am glad it was brought up in the review. At least now I know I wont be playing as 3 tortured souls who shed a tear every time I run over some random slob on the sidewalk.
And as annoying as that was in GTA4, I wouldn't accuse that game of having ludoscaboobidibob discobiscuits because you could play the character that way; try to control yourself so it seems like Niko has a new found respect for life. But really, who wants to do that in a gta game?

I thought Adam Sessler just made up the concept of Ludonarative Dissonance because a word needed to exist then other people started using it.

The LD in Tomb Raider wasn't the violence, its was the fact that you go around collecting arrows, cards, statues and whatever else which has no point to the story.

RTR:
When I saw the title, I thought I forgot how to English.

The thread title is great for demonstrating how dyslexia feels. Not perfect, but great.

I think the real source of some of these stupid dissonance arguments is that some people are unable to separate the characters from themselves.

In Bioshock and The Last of Us, you are playing an established character, one who already has a personality, and their personality and values are VERY different from yours. This isn't Skyrim or Dragon Age - you are not the one shaping their morals or projecting yourself into the game as the main character. You are simply playing through a prewritten and linear story.

You might hate violence, but the character you're playing as does not. Deal with it.

Lilani:
So that's more or less how I took that notice. Reminding you that you do have a choice, and sort of reinforcing that overarching theme that reveals itself at the end where you feel all throughout the game your choices mean something, but ultimately they don't.

That's kind of what I mean when I said that not having real choices was more the point of the thing than the violence. But the idea that that particular scene also amounted to another form of "ultimately meaningless choice" was something I hadn't really considered. Interesting point, thanks.

bringer of illumination:
So are you just ignoring the fact that the whole "eating from trashcans" thing HAS in fact been brought up several times by several different people?

Your statement that "Nobody spent any time on this" is flat out false.

Bioshock Infinite is rife with Lubosnasra whatever, and much of it IS related to the violence.

One example is the fact that despite Elizabeth being aghast at the first murder spree of yours she witnesses, she never seems to care after that, not even when you break into the home of some innocent housewife and tear her fucking face off with your hook, Elizabeth just doesn't give a shit.

Well if that's the case, I'd have to ask if immersion is so important to you, why did you jam your hook into the face of an innocent housewife? To me it sounds like a person giving a second person a glass cup, where upon the second person smashes it with a hammer and shatters it before complaining to the first person about it being broken. If you didn't want it to be broken, then why did you try and break it in the first place?

I was looking forward to the offended press reactions about BioShock Infinite's many themes, and I found it really stupid how they flipped out about the violence.

Booker DeWitt isn't the nicest guy around, that's pretty much estabilished a few hours in.

To bad Bioshock: Infinite's combat was incredibly fucking boring.

Jim you have a custom made Jimquistion suit? Now that is classy.

Anyway all this talk of discobiscuits has made me hungry...

Crazy Zaul:
I thought Adam Sessler just made up the concept of Ludonarative Dissonance because a word needed to exist then other people started using it.

Actually it was Clint Hocking who first coined the phrase.

OT: Why is "LD" a bad thing NOW?
Seriously... Think of all the retro games that involve extra lives, power-ups, no TK (team killing) and such.

I can see where the writer has gone through the trouble of creating a character that completely abhors violence only to have that character be the star of a high octane FPS.

Kinda like "Mother Teresa, warrior princess" or a Gandhi/Rambo mash-up... GANDHO!

Still disagree on Bioshock: Infinite, and it's not because I'm opposed to violence in games per se. I have no problem with Dead Space, for example, and Isaac's deaths are arguably far worse than anything in Infinite.

But Infinite crossed a perhaps indefinable line for me, where the violence was somehow not wholly justified by the story it was trying to tell. Maybe that's also an issue with the combat, which I found clunky, and the shoe-horning of Vigors into the game. Maybe the problem was I didn't enjoy those sections of the game, and so am trying to rationalise the distance I felt between combat and story. Yet that's not to say there wasn't such a distance, and that we aren't right to be discussing it.

For what it's worth, I found Tomb Raider far less dissonant than Bioshock: Infinite, even if I wished Lara's arc had spanned the whole game, rather than half of it.

Zachary Amaranth:

ex275w:

Ludonarrative Dissonance is not about gameplay contradicting story. By that notion any FPS were a character is injured or killed in a cutscene also suffers from LD because they can soak bullets in gameplay.

That's actually much how it was introduced into usage, so to argue it's wrong is folly.

Besides, your examples are not offering a significant distinction. Gameplay in the above examples distinctly violates the themes given.

The example he gave was actually the example given by the creator of the phrase, Clint Hocking. I think the clearest example is Niko Belic. Niko is portayed as a violent man in the narrative, but not a completely insane psychopath. However, the gameplay allows the player to drive down the sidewalk running over people. There's no way to square those gameplay scenes with what happens in the cutscenes or narrative.

Soaking up bullets only becomes ludonarrative dissonance if the game shows the PC as getting severely injured or almost killed by getting shot once. Usually the narrative in an FPS is that the player is basically some kind of Super Soldier. In Half-Life this is specifically addressed by giving you the suit that repairs your injuries.

Ludonarrative dissonance is not generally created because the game world differs from the real world. It's created when the game world as shown in the narrative differs from the gameworld in the actual gameplay.

There's more to it than that, Jim. The thing is that the violence in Bioshock Infinite, in my opinion, is ramped up too high. Killing people takes too much of the game's attention, and that's harmful because it desensitises the player too much to violence.

Booker is a man who's surrounded himself with violence and has made an occupation out of hurting people. We're meant to be intimidated by that, but how can we feel bad about it when it's always the right thing or the only thing to do? Likewise, the people of Columbia we fight aren't Splicers who are mentally broken and desperate on a drug: they're people. Religious extremists and excessively nationalistic, but still people. Yet gunning them down doesn't illicit any sympathy or thought on my end because I do it so very often in the game. The fact that I have killed a human being is trivialised.

It worked fine in Bioshock because the game was constantly aware of how deranged it was, but in Infinite I get the subtle feeling that something is being glossed over. The only time I feel like it worked was in the Hall of Heroes, and that's because we're both exploring the protagonist's violent past and because every enemy we meet is a death seeker.

This is what I feel people mean when they say ludonarrative divebirhence. Sure, the cutscenes are about violence, but are they really about this much violence? I wouldn't say so; Infinite tried being a sincere story about Booker and Elizabeth, about a city with American virtues taken to an extreme, all with a tinge of sci-fi and early 20th century aesthetics. I enjoyed the lulls before the storm in each level when Infinite, because they embodied what the game was trying to be about far more than the constant combat ever did.

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