Jimquisition: Lugoscababib Discobiscuits

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That is quite a spiffy coat you have there, Jim.

Wait it's not about gender issues or publishers! Holy shit. Code Red! Code Red!

Wait I know I can make it about gender issues.

You call people dicks and that's a gendered slur that you shouldn't use (even though I don't care about it). I mean if you called people cunts ... I still wouldn't care. Hmm this is going to be harder than I thought. Anyway ...

Some people are seriously acting like excessive violence in a story is always bad storytelling?

That's bizarre. Sometimes excessive violence really helps a story. I like Reservoir Dogs but the movie would IMO be unquestionably worse without a certain very violent scene in it. Why?

Generally agreed with all points presented here. Though on the subject of bioshock, I don't think the violence was the problem, it just seems like gameplay wise it was just kind of a bland FPS. For a game that has such an emphasis on world-building I think it had some missed potential. It could have used more moments like the train station, where maybe you can talk your way out of situations or even get violent when the other party has their guard down. For a narrative that was so layered and interesting, the core gameplay felt shallow by comparison. I don't think it contradicts the narrative, just that it isn't on par with it.

If you cut the intros and outros out of these videos I might be able to stand this guy. Every time I hear them I want to punch something.

I think the problem was with these games that they were hard to dislike in public when came out. The sheer fandom that covered there was simply offending anyone, who disliked any aspects of there "masterpieces". I think that's why they people tried another alternative to express their dislike, through this funny words. But there is such a thing, speaking of the problem, like in GTA IV the protagonist constantly struggling with his old angry self and saying to violence which doesn't really support the typical GTA gameplay.

mjc0961:

Welcome to shooters, you must be new.

Eric the Orange:
I'd be interesting in seeing some of what Jim is talking about here. 'cause the only one I can think of is the EC episode, and there reasoning wasn't just "violence".

Link to the episode for those interested.

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/in-service-to-the-brand

Doesn't surprise me at all that Extra Credits was wrong. Did they talk about how Gears of War is a first person shooter again too?

Then please explain to me, why is Bioshock Infinite throwing waves of enemies(with bad combat AI at that) at the player like an early 90s shooter and make us fight what amounts to a version of Painkiller's arenas? This works for Serious Sam and Doom and Painkiller, but why put it here in Infinite. It was just meaningless, just fluff added to pad out the lenght of the game... and along with the take an rpg to the head enemies, it devalues the violence, it devalues the enemy I am fighting. They simply dont have any weight to them.
The violence itself though, is fine.
Many FPS dont have this problem. Metro Last Light does not have it. Return to Castle Wolfenstein even does not destroy its atmosphere by simply pumping out what amounts to weak mobs.
Along with problems like the shanty-town shop, the stupid stealing mechanic and the way civillians work, how Elizabeth never gets any attention from the enemies (even the Vox populi at the end-game? Not even at least a line?) I see many problems that for some reason get brushed away or ignored. I honestly have heard of people complaining about the way Booker eats everything in such absolute quantities. Heard of some people not likeing the amount of violence and blood and gore. But also heard of people like me complaining about the way Bioshock is a fancier version of Painkiller with less humor and less badass weapons... and a storyline that simply cant exist under such conditions.

Yeah, well, I've always said I don't like Bioshock Infinite because it took the coolest. concept. ever. and turned it into yet another combat-heavy plodathon. The only reason why anyone gives it the time of day is because it had a convoluted story. But I, as a regular hater of Steven Moffat, thought it was the bad kind of convoluted that used contradictions and unexplained plot-holes to appear deep and complicated. But more to the point, the GAME part of the game was slow, straight-forward, and pretty halo-ish.

Not that I'm saying I cared that there was too much violence... I care more that it was a samey tsunami of violence.

Also: What's the Luto thing? This is, very honestly, the first time I've heard that label.

Best example of "Ludonarrative Dissonance" that I can bring up is GW2. The whole time during the actual gameplay of the story arch, the player is doing the dirty work of saving everyone, killing Zhaitan, and so on. However, the entirety of the story has the player as a 2nd fiddle to some twig POS named "Trahern" who takes all the credit and the rest of the NPC's cheer for saving everyone and everything for. So back and forth between gameplay and cutscenes one is saying "Trahern did everything" and the other is saying "the player did everything"

Deathfish15:
Best example of "Ludonarrative Dissonance" that I can bring up is GW2. The whole time during the actual gameplay of the story arch, the player is doing the dirty work of saving everyone, killing Zhaitan, and so on. However, the entirety of the story has the player as a 2nd fiddle to some twig POS named "Trahern" who takes all the credit and the rest of the NPC's cheer for saving everyone and everything for. So back and forth between gameplay and cutscenes one is saying "Trahern did everything" and the other is saying "the player did everything"

Yeah, no, that crap can happen in real life. In fact, that's not a disconnect at all. The only kind of disconnects this Luto thing would apply to is a dissonence between motivations and actions or atmosphere and actions. You know... a character who, in every cutscene, talks about how they hate most everyone alive but then the game rewards you for helping strangers. Or a game that's trying to set up an atmosphere of oppressive horror and then gives you an AK 47 with 360 rounds.

But a situation where some blowhard takes credit for the work you're doing? Not this Psuedo-Science Lutoism.

My problem with Bioshock Infinite is that it didn't have the violence we were promised. In the 2010 demo, Booker walks into a bar serving well-dressed, and supposedly respectable patrons. A couple seconds later, he finds himself on the wrong side of a lynch mob. That is what violence in America was like 100 years ago; an outward veneer of normality and respectability hiding an oppressive culture that reacts with extreme violence on every level when the status quo is challenged. There are parts of the game that handle violence very well: the Raffle Fair baseball stoning; The Fraternity of the Raven area; The self-immolation of that woman on Comstock's airship; the shoot-out at Battleship Bay; the Hall of Heroes interior, especially the introduction of the Motorized Patriot and "dealing" with Slate; Booker's Audition at Fink's Good Time Club; The Battle for Fink Factory; and finally, Emporia and Comstock House are almost beyond reproach. The rest of the gunfights with the Founders and the Vox Populi simply feel like filling, as if the game is afraid that we'd get bored if we aren't slinging lead in every section of the game, which is a shame because all that room could have allowed the player to make his/her own mark in Columbia, like aiding the postman in the 2011 demo (even if it doesn't change the core narrative, it would have aided in selling the deception and granted the player agency), or at least an endless lynch mob or two.

Also, the Heavy Hitters weren't done as well as I hoped they would be. The Motorized Patriot shows up too often, the Handyman doesn't show up often enough, but when he does there's no warning and he always has backup he doesn't need, and the Boys of Silence? Good God why! The Siren was awesome though.

I think you meant perpetrator not victim. Bioshock Infinite was a steaming pile of shit with disjointed gameplay and elements that just didn't belong in the game. It was a wobbling mess of intellectual sounding garbage that didn't realize exactly how messed up it was. When called on it's bullshit however it didn't do the regular thing which was ask for our suspension of disbelief, it just said "Constants and Variables" and then started giving itself high fives and laughing to itself uncontrollably.

The violence felt out of place because of who the people committing the violence were. I had NO such argument to make about the Last of Us, the violence there felt necessary and realistic, despite a bit overkill at the start.

Why are cops, guys with families, a long live ahead of them, who get PAID to do this work, charging at you, a homicidal maniac who is literally their incarnation of the anti-christ, with nothing but a baton? No reason, just the fact that it's a Bioshock game and we had allot of melee units in the previous ones, the same story with the vigours, food system, health kits, different types of weapons (despite the fact you can only carry 2 now and about 3 of em are just variations on machineguns), upgrades for vigours and weapons, etc. Bioshock had them so they HAVE to be in here somewhere.

I will be up front here and don't mask what I say behind Lumobabrive Misnocance, as I already did in the opening but here it is again, I did not like the game, I did not like it one bit. I would have much rather played the game in the E3 demo than this watered down fratboy edition. Where you actual had areas that felt lived in and the violence was way more realistic where you were suddenly stuck in between someone holding a rock and someone banging your head on a hard surface because of who you are or something you said.

However to say there were no problems with the way the violence was portrayed is quite absurd. If you wish to show me that this is totally normal behaviour for a cop show me a video where a cop assaults a bank robbery with nothing but a stick and his giant balls.

Yes it did seem funny mourning the loss of people you just killed in tomb raider during a cut scene then mowing them down with the extreme efficiency of a practiced gamer the next. Thing is however that I preferred tomb raider to bio shock infinite which seemed to me like it was trying to appear more deep and meaningful than it actually was. As to violence in general well... I normally play games as if the main character were merely directed psychopathy and few games have ever changed that.

Bad Jim:

I bought that in the Steam sale and have been playing it over the weekend. I did hear a quip about her having to do a lot of hikes. But I didn't hear anything specific about weapons training.

I figured she was taught the skills relevant to archeology. Long hikes. Living in remote, harsh environments. Maybe learning how to use a gun to keep unwanted wildlife away. But not how to kill dozens of mercs. Not how to use a bow either, that takes years of effort for no forseeable purpose.

There is no one on earth who can kill dozens of mercs in a close pitched battle like games depict. Doesn't matter that Booker for example was an experienced soldier, what he does can only be done by the Terminator. So of course all of that is exaggerated. Point is Lara always had it in her to fight back even if the act itself is exaggerated she just doesn't know that about herself.

In the beginning she has flashbacks to Roth's lessons where he tells her about navigation and using weapons which implies he trained her. And if you know some of the backstory of Roth and what is implied he did with Lara's father (more like dangerous treasure hunts than archaeology), he trained Lara to be prepared for the same danger on these same kind of adventure expeditions which means it was more than self defence from just wild animals. He also believes in her abilities and that she's ready. In the beginning cinematic you can see a cup with her archery club logo so she knows how to use a bow.

Of course it's not realistic and over the top but to say she was never prepared is not exactly true since she was groomed by Roth to do what he and her father did. If you follow the story it's not about a random person being suddenly dropped into the wild.

For some reason I thought Jim was planning to say that Tomb Raider didn't have this issue and I felt like I'd have to disagree. I should have had more faith, Jim is bang on the money. I'd like to see someone convincingly argue that the violence in The Last of Us is an example of ludonarrative dissonance.

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

Talking about people using terms they don't understand is such an ad hominem, strawman argument.

I'd like to express my thanks for something that wasn't about publishers, capitalism or gender issues.

Was this episode all about the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series, having a problem with games? Because I think you mispronounced his name. It's phonetic; Bemupfick Cymbalpock Libblénibber Dingyflambot.

OT: I hadn't heard this term before today, and had to look it up. It's interesting to see terms emerge, purely to fill the void, for the benefit of dialogue about videogames. This is a discussion I have been having, we've all been having, for much longer than this term has been around, and while it's clearly integral to the development of videogame making as a medium, particularly in refinement of it's capacity to craft a narrative into itself, it's good to know that it has been hastily misused and burnt out. Fortunately, this might mean it'll get boring, and make it into the usual "buzzless" lexicon. Then we can have grown up talks maybe.

Camberpotch Bendydick.

Marley:
If you cut the intros and outros out of these videos I might be able to stand this guy. Every time I hear them I want to punch something.

I agree with you. I find Jim's immaturity and obsession with dildos coupled his better-than-God persona to be quite irritating. When Jim speaks seriously, he's quite interesting to listen to and raises some interesting points. (Even though I do not find myself agreeing with them all.)

Still, if you thought Jim's enormous ego was bad - try watching him from his first episodes. Toe curlingly embarrassing stuff. :)

Anyhow, as you seem to be newbie - I'd also like to say Welcome to the Escapist.

Probably doesn't matter anymore, but Chris Franklin wrote a response to the recent anti-ludoshubididubop outrage from gaming pundits like Jim and moviebob.

http://www.errantsignal.com/blog/?p=543

My problem with Infinite when it came to it's violence wasn't that it was too violence, it was that the real violence the characters were experiencing as part of the narrative (Violence that Jim points out here) is undermined by the cartoonish head-sploding violence in the gameplay. We see the characters go through moments of real pain just to have enemies get thrown off the city or killed in ways that more fun/funny than violent or painful.

Edit
Also, It's a good thing that someone posted Christopher Franklin here because I was about too :P

Actually I would say the real problem with ludonarrative dissonance is it misidentifies a problem.

Bioshock Infinite's violence isn't jarring because it breaks theme, it is jarring because it is used as padding to make the game longer.

And this is a very common issue with a lot of games. When people talk about ludonarrative dissonance, I think what they are actually getting at is they are noticing the filler, and getting bored of it.

uanime5:
Smudboy explains what's wrong with the story:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiWzMOLohpMm7SHPvti22PeAUfS13oEfp

Wow...this is everything and much more, why I thought B:I's story wasn't good.

Marley:
If you cut the intros and outros out of these videos I might be able to stand this guy. Every time I hear them I want to punch something.

Oh my Jim, how boring that would be! I hope you realise he's not actually like that.

Pebkio:

Yeah, no, that crap can happen in real life. In fact, that's not a disconnect at all. The only kind of disconnects this Luto thing would apply to is a dissonence between motivations and actions or atmosphere and actions. You know... a character who, in every cutscene, talks about how they hate most everyone alive but then the game rewards you for helping strangers. Or a game that's trying to set up an atmosphere of oppressive horror and then gives you an AK 47 with 360 rounds.

But a situation where some blowhard takes credit for the work you're doing? Not this Psuedo-Science Lutoism.

So is it a change of heart/mind based on the situation risen, or is it persistent throughout (having never played the new Tomb Raider)? I ask because take for example Bionic Domain. In it, the main character plays a by-the-books soldier boy who despises robots throughout the entire story. But, at the end he pulls a 180 and helps a robot escape while simultaneously killing his General in a disobedience of orders given.

I guess I just don't like the word in general because A) it's hard to pronounce and B) it's hard to lock onto specific games that may be grey areas ...oh, and C) name-calling is bad, mkay?

what about people who play the game for the violence?

Spoilers!

The problem with Infinite is that it's not a Bioshock game up until the "Winter Gap". That part should really have been shifted a LOT towards the beginning of the game. Not only would it have solved the atmosphere and gameplay, but also cause the whole plot to fit together better and made the relationship with Elizabeth a lot deeper. Of course it would be on thin line of falling into Hero's Journey and Damsel In Distress cliches, but really Columbia only really Bioshocks-up after that point, the place, the mood, Booker's goal, everything is better than in the entire game, yet it's too short. The game took too long to become Bioshock and it lasted too little.

That and also turn the enemy count down a lot, get rid of the stupid arenas and bring actual stealth mechanics from Bioshock back.

Vamast:
what about people who play the game for the violence?

Well, they obviously don't complain about said violence then, and likely don't care a bit about the story either...

Deathfish15:

Pebkio:

Yeah, no, that crap can happen in real life. In fact, that's not a disconnect at all. The only kind of disconnects this Luto thing would apply to is a dissonence between motivations and actions or atmosphere and actions. You know... a character who, in every cutscene, talks about how they hate most everyone alive but then the game rewards you for helping strangers. Or a game that's trying to set up an atmosphere of oppressive horror and then gives you an AK 47 with 360 rounds.

But a situation where some blowhard takes credit for the work you're doing? Not this Psuedo-Science Lutoism.

So is it a change of heart/mind based on the situation risen, or is it persistent throughout (having never played the new Tomb Raider)? I ask because take for example Bionic Domain. In it, the main character plays a by-the-books soldier boy who despises robots throughout the entire story. But, at the end he pulls a 180 and helps a robot escape while simultaneously killing his General in a disobedience of orders given.

I guess I just don't like the word in general because A) it's hard to pronounce and B) it's hard to lock onto specific games that may be grey areas ...oh, and C) name-calling is bad, mkay?

The dissonance for this specific Ludobad thing has to specifically cover both gameplay and narrative. So, in this situation, of the guy pulling a 180, Ludonarrative Dissonance would only be present if the game's mechanic was somehow built around... actually, no, because they could then just change the mechanics in time with the character's motivation.

I grant you it's a very poor way to tell a story, but it's not Ludonarrative Dissonence.

You have to stop thinking of videogames as -just- a medium for a storytelling. Games are both, and equally, the mechanics that drive the interactivity and the narrative that drives the need to play. Just having stupid changes in one of those isn't enough to classify something as "Ludonarrative Dissonance". All there has to be is a difference between the story or setting that the writers are trying to say and the actual story that the mechanics are telling.

Here's a strong, very straightforward, example:
Mindjack has the main character not knowing what Mindhacking is even though you've been doing it in gameplay all game long.

Actual example would be any Superman game in which you don't just press A to win.

If anything, Lugonerfinive Discoballs exists or is perceived by some gamers because we haven't been able to think of a deeper and more altering gameplay mechanic than killing people. When you're ending lives, you're an agent of something. You're effectively altering the initially present game plan. You might be a noble revolutionary or a grinning sociopath, you might be a freaking murder robot or a mounted gun turret - but you're altering the initially presented setting in a pretty deep fashion.

Considering, killing indiscriminately brings a sense of progress. "I've cleaned out this area so I've made some headway!" is what a lot of single-player FPS players tend to think. Dissonance shows up when the devs get in their heads to discuss issues that go deeper than strictly toppling a regime or vanquishing some sort of foe. Considering that mechanic, you can even expand to strategy games or 4X types. Brokering an alliance with another world power in Civ V basically gets them off of your potential shit list. They've been effectively "dealt with" - they're just not dead or destroyed.

As soon as some complexity gets thrown into character motivations, just flat-out killing adversaries starts to lose its effectiveness. The trash can-rifling in Infinite was dissonant; the violence itself wasn't. Booker was already established as a violent man with a troubled past - what he wasn't established as was a vagrant or a garbage-rifling type.

A non-dissonant game would need to have some sort of almost impossible ludonarrative cohesion.

Or, well, it is entirely possible - but then we're shifting debates and considering what is and isn't a game. Gone Home didn't need elaborate jumping puzzles, and Dear Esther would have been particularly weird if an utterly useless gun and ammo counter had been part of the experience. The main problem is that AAA games with high-concept narratives need to *sell*, and you can't just create a streamlined structure for something that cost millions to produce *and* simultaneously expect to make a profit.

System Shock 2 wasn't dissonant because of its basic theme, it being Survival Horror.
BioShock wasn't dissonant because its basic theme is also Survival Horror - even if the challenge has been considerably lessened.

Infinite's dissonant elements are minor and don't ultimately detract from the experience.

Jim's right, really. The Tomb Raider reboot put Lara through a pretty severe identity crisis. Is she a traumatized young woman who overcomes her fear with some effort, or a one-woman commando?

I hate to say it, but I think Jim somewhat missed the mark here with regards to Bioshock Infinite. From what I could gather, the issue wasn't that the game was violent so much that it was gratuitously gory. That it was putting on a grand guignol spectacle for the player to cathartically revel in that was completely at odds with the rest of the game's aesthetic experience. Booker could have been violent, even brutal, WITHOUT the painstakingly detailed sequences of him clawing someone's head off in a fountain of blood. It felt awkward and out of place, rather than a deliberate contrast. After all, if it was SUPPOSED to intentionally create a moral dissonance that made the players uneasy, the very fact that people identified and highlighted it as a flaw in the game would imply that it FAILED to do so properly.

I first recall this issue, albeit without the overly elaborate techno-jargon description, being raised by Yahtzee in his review of FFXIII with regards to the character of Hope, a whiny, crybaby, sadsack loser who nevertheless picks up his weapon and hurls himself into combat with relish the moment a random battle starts.

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

SOmething some of you including jim might find interesting. I didnt experience this ludonarrative dissonance because at first I couldnt hit shit within the game. As lara I always held the bow too long and would never settle for the weaker half shots often getting myself shot in the process. Id miss so many of those head shots it wasnt funny. it wasnt until later that I had gotten to be a beast with a bow. It was later when Id finally become such a badass that all my past blunders and near deaths(and deaths when you count the retry's) were finally being paid off. So due to my fumbling with the aiming system I experienced probably less dissonance than most.

I actually do have a problem with Bioshock Infinite and the violence, however I don't have a problem with the violence being in the game. I just find it odd that I am playing a character in a story that is taking itself very seriously and trying to draw me in, and trying to make the characters in the story as real as possible, but I don't feel like I am fighting as one of the characters, I feel like I am playing as a psychopath who had a love child with the most efficient soldier ever conceived. My issue is just that the combat doesn't feel like it fits, it feels like you should almost be having to sneak through Columbia, not taking on the armies of the whole city single-handedly. I still love the game and its story, that was just something that bugged me a bit.

That suit jacket is awesome.

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

But really what difference would it make? Ludonarrative dissonance is a big word that an academic came up with because academics like big words to say simple things. The big word for that is sesquipedalian loquaciousness. It's often a means of intimidating those who would argue against your point by making yourself seem really smart by using really big words like saying, "you have fallen into sesquipedalian loquaciousness," rather than saying, "you talk too much using words that are a foot and a half long," which is literally what that term means when you drop the pretense and just use words that everyone can understand.

http://clicknothing.typepad.com/click_nothing/2007/10/ludonarrative-d.html This is the article where the term came from but really it's nothing more than an exercise in verbal masturbation and comes from the fact that games really haven't become comfortable with their own medium yet. This will happen over time as it did with film. If you look at early films from the twenties and thirties when the medium was still young you will notice that the shots are blocked with patterns appropriate for the stage. It was much later with films like Citizen Kane where they started doing things in a way that can only be done with film. Games are currently pursuing film paradigms the way that film pursued the stage paradigm. It takes a few generations before that changes since what you really need, short of a visionary genius which are few and far between, is a generation that grew up with the medium and therefore is starting from a different place.

I don't like terms like this though on the general principle that I believe any argument must be understood and the use of these terms tends muddle comprehension of the idea. An argument is not about winning or losing but about the advancement of ideas. So, as George Orwell said in his rules for writers, "Never use a long word where a short one will do."

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