Let's Get Indie Games Away From the Idea of a Small Child in a Scary World

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SiskoBlue:

A - Stop with the "end of innocence"/"Coming of age" shit. I feel that 90% of "arsty" foreign films that get awards are basically SCSW. In my experience that all have 3 elements 1. An animal must die. To show that the world is "real" and mortality touches all 2. A naked person, but not glamourous - sexual awakening arty people basically using "sex" as some kind of artistic statement. 3. Old person giving advice.

Can you give me some examples of this, I can't think of any foreign language movies that followed this formula and picked up any major awards (except for maybe Dogtooth but only sort of).

CaitSeith:

Thanatos2k:
Here's a question for you then, does Super Metroid quality as one of these games? It pioneered the bleak world exploration genre.

No, because you're bounty hunter with an armor and arm cannon; and scary world exploration had been already done long before with games like the original Shadow of the Beast games.

Yeah, no kidding. The scariest thing in Metroid is Samus. They finally realized this in Fusion.

fix-the-spade:

Thanatos2k:
Here's a question for you then, does Super Metroid quality as one of these games? It pioneered the bleak world exploration genre.

Well, no. Samus Aran even by the point of Metroid 1 is a famed and feared galaxy trotting bounty hunter. She's the one the Marines turn to when they're out of their depth.

Even losing all your powers (as is traditional) Samus is never played as innocent or lost, it's just a matter of time before she reaches the bottom of the pit and kills the beast residing in it. The tone of the games lacks the vulnerability required for lost innocent child.

On a different note, Heart of Darkness is a game that I both never finished and was utterly terrified by. Surely one of the first million ways to die type of games and very, very hard.

Don't focus on the "innocent child" aspect so much. You start out relatively powerless, in a bleak world that really has no one to talk to and everything is trying to kill you. When I run into a heat room without the Varia suit and start getting roasted I'm not feeling like some capable bounty hunter, I'm freaking out and running for the exits. When I fight an enemy I can't kill without a super missile or power bomb or ice beam or whatever and I don't have them yet, I don't feel powerful.

Samus was the original "powerless child" just wrapped in a character (read: wrapped in a power suit) that made you think you were more powerful than you were even though mechanically you were not. I mean, we're only TOLD Samus is a bounty hunter, in none of the games do we really have her catching bounties...so does the flavor text really make that much of a difference? By the end of the game you're a walking artillery, but you worked hard to get there, just like in most of these Metroidvania games. Hell, Super Metroid plays this trait completely straight by making you fight an unkillable Ridley with your pea shooter and losing and having to escape in the beginning.

90sgamer:

Transdude1996:

90sgamer:
I think the rash of kid-centric games is the result of the age of the game developers making those games. As a thirty-something year old myself, it wasn't until recently I transitioned from 'kids are disgusting, expensive little shit bags' to 'some of them are cute, I might want one.' In fact, my unpublished literature has explored this transition in my life, and I've found myself attracted to media exploring parental relationships with children, such as The Last of Us and The Walking Dead. I found myself even forcing this relationship into Dragon's Dogma, a game not originally intended to be played that way, by making a father/daughter character and main pawn combination.

I'd like to point out that there's also a problem with that trope too. To my knowledge, the parent/child relationships in games are always father/daughter relationships. Outside of perhaps Amy, and maybe the upcoming GoW (If the kid lives past the first act), I cannot think of a parent/child relationship in a game that breaks that formula.

Why is that? What does a father/daughter relationship do to a story as opposed to having the parental figure be a woman, and/or the child figure be a boy?

It might just be the preference of men in general to have daughters. I'm not asserting that's the case, just putting it out there. Speaking for myself, I have almost no interest in siring a boy, but plenty of interest in a daughter or two.

The God of War dynamic being set up is very interesting, however it's clear to me the game is being set up for Kratos to die or go missing very early in the game, and the player takes control of the kid (watch the video and see how and when and for what exp is awarded).

I could believe that, I've heard that couples looking to adopt are more likely to request girls than boys. Personally I don't mind at-all about gender, but I guess little girls are traditionally seen as being more vulnerable and needing protection, which is why developers tend to default to them when designing a parental protector style game.

Gotta question your use of Bastion there Yahtzee. Despite the name and his looks, The Kid ain't no child. Man's old enough to drink at the VERY least.

Not to mention it's not so much about the loss of innocence, most of the characters lost that LONG ago, but rather about moving forward after a mistake or trying to right it even though you probably can't.

kris40k:

Bedinsis:

I should mention that I haven't finished playing Bastion, so it's possible it goes in directions I have yet to experience.

Ok, you get a pass, but everyone else that was saying "Bastion isn't bleak," have you mothers actually beaten Bastion? If you have, you can click the following, but if not, don't:

The game is very dark once you realize what is going on, and why. It is the literal End-of-the-World scenario.

It's got one thing going for it that keeps it from being TOO dark though. Hope. No matter how you end it, you do so with the hope that it'll be better. Yeah, there's the fear of uncertainty, but that's just another part of hope.

Bedinsis:

In Braid, the main character Tim is clearly an adult, as described by the in game text. The very first message is that the princess was kidnapped because Tim made a mistake, so he's hardly innocent.

I ould argue that Braid is a game about the loss of the PLAYER'S innocence, not Tim's. It may be more common these days, but the big twist in that game could really shake up gamers who grew up on Mario games. You go through the whole thing only to reaveal at the end that you weren't playing as Mario. Mario is the knight who stole the princess.

All that time, you were actually Bowser.

Of course, it's more likely that I'm just talking out mah butt here, and the dev was just high off his own farts and thought he was deeper than he actually was.

I'm surprised that no one has brought this up, so I will. Prior to Pixar and Dreamworks, what studio produced an animated movie that competed with what Disney was producing? I'll give you a hint:

image

Actually think about it. The Land Before Time came out back in '88 and, a movie with a similar premise, An American Tail was released two years prior. Both films can be best described as SCSW films. And, these films were the bomb back then. So, given that most of the people developing games these days are in their 30's, or younger, what films do you think influenced their approach to game development?

Though, there is one different between these two films and the SCSW games. Little Foot had friends, Fievel had friends. Heck, Fievel's friend is one of the scary monsters (And, same happened with Little Foot, but that was only in the sequels). Throught the film, Little Foot's pals are stuck in the same position he is. Meanwhile, Fievel is making relationships with people who actually have lived in the "scary world". By contrast, what do these game protagonists have as far as companionship, and could it be a cause of this game premise becoming so mediocre?

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