From PewDiePie to the Ludonarrative Dissonance of Entwined

From PewDiePie to the Ludonarrative Dissonance of Entwined

Entwined

Hello, Escapist readers! As part of our partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we'll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let's hit it!

At Midnight Resistance, Owen Grieve animatedly challenges the idea that public criticism of game design is tantamount to censorship of game developers.

You may have heard of this term "ludonarrative dissonance," which most writers define as being when a game's story is contradicted by its mechanics. The origin of the term actually uses "narrative" in a broader sense, like themes or ideology. So it'd be more accurate to say that "ludonarrative dissonance" is when a game's mechanics teach a lesson opposite that of its themes.

It so happens that this week's Errant Signal video (by Chris Franklin) expertly captures the real meaning of ludonarrative dissonance as it applies to the recently released Sony exclusive Entwined: when a game's "big picture" themes about love and freedom are at odds with its mechanics, which keep the characters apart.

At First Person Scholar, Meghan Blythe Adams interviews LIM and Space/Off developer Merritt Kopas and it's pretty great right off the bat:

I think there is a push among, I guess, critical consumers of games towards this politics of representation, of wanting images that reflect who we are and that's important and that's really valuable, but I think that the risk there is that we come to believe that if we just have perfect representation, everything will be fine and that's the end goal. It reminds me of the ways that the politics of inclusion manifest in other spaces, so things like the acronym LGBTQ-whatever, it's this idea that if we just get the right combination of letters, everyone will be included. And you can't possibly, that's a fantasy. And in ways, that's one of the promises of or impetuses behind words like queer, it's this word that in ways encompasses things but also leaves a lot of room. I think abstraction [in game design] does the same thing.

Paste's Maddy Myers offers the most compelling argument yet that written journalism and criticism is a dying medium, something she suggests is no better exemplified than through Youtube celebrity PewDiePie.

Want more? Be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!

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PewDiePie should by no means whatsoever be taken as a 'serious' figure in the gaming industry and community. He is nothing more than an overgloirified court jester and to suggest that he is anything beyond that in terms of 'creativity' or 'humor' is reading into his content and sense of humor 'way' too much.

Popularity is not equivalent to quality of work, this has been a fact for the longest time. So trying to analyze him as anything other than a tool for game publishers and developers to market their product OR for other businesses to attempt to construct a similar tool (as horrible as it would be to see TWO of this kind of PERSON) is absolutely pointless.

on a more objective note, a recent "game theory" video speculates that a lot of pewdiepie's spread has to do with his videos being listed in two different region video pools on youtube since he moved across the atlantic, and that those videos (and let's play videos in general) come out often and are pretty long compared to more structured content shows, which are favored by youtube's popularity rating system (quantity of videos, length of time people spend watching those videos, plus let's play videos tend to be watched in consecutive chains since they're series) and would have given him a big edge over many other types of streams

while not the sole reason for his success, it's probably a significant factor in his HUGE success

Kyogissun:
PewDiePie should by no means whatsoever be taken as a 'serious' figure in the gaming industry and community. He is nothing more than an overgloirified court jester and to suggest that he is anything beyond that in terms of 'creativity' or 'humor' is reading into his content and sense of humor 'way' too much.

Popularity is not equivalent to quality of work, this has been a fact for the longest time. So trying to analyze him as anything other than a tool for game publishers and developers to market their product OR for other businesses to attempt to construct a similar tool (as horrible as it would be to see TWO of this kind of PERSON) is absolutely pointless.

Creative and humor in the same sentence as the name pewdiepie that is an oxymoron if i ever saw one.

...so if the writer is making the argument that other Let's Players and journalists hate PewDiePie out of jealousy, then why exactly would regular gamers also express hatred towards him? I doubt it's just out of jealousy. At a certain point, there's such a thing as over analysing a subject. Yes, hypothetically it could be jealousy. It's also much simpler, and more likely, to say it's just because the quality of PewDiePie (and actually most LPers for that matter) is kind of shit.

Always good to see Errant Signal getting more popular, also, I think that PewDiePie article is a little much. The guy is a metro-sexual lets play version of Jackass, his fan base is young and therefore 'passionate' but I find his videos kind of annoying.

I'd have more respect for Errant Signal if he stopped shoe-horning in ultra-leftist SJW ideas into his analyses. Of course, he does make good points now and then. But the article by Owen Grieve only reinforces my worry, yeah...sure some people argue censorship, other people argue you're making a big deal out of nothing and strong-arming creators to the point that they won't even bother trying to make female characters in the first place.

There are no hard and fast rules of what you must or must not put in your game. All I'm saying is that, as an adult human being, you have to accept responsibility for the work you produce. If you choose to fill your game with oppressive shit, you are telling the world that you approve of oppressive shit.

Yes. Because if I make a game where women are raped, I definitely approve of women being raped?
If I make a game where the protagonist is racist, I definitely approve of racism?

No, that's stupid. Use your mind. There's a reason people celebrate the works of Lovecraft and Conrad as art, yet do NOT celebrate the ideals presented in them.

_____

PDP should just not be mentioned alongside anything gaming related. He's an intentionally-retarded youtube moneywhore.

People just seem to hate whatever is popular because they themselves don't like it, if it wasn't popular they would simply not care for it.
I think this especially applies to what is known to be popular with girls, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Twilight. To me it just seems that boys cry louder then girls, I would guess its because more males appear on video/game forum type sites like this.

Just my guess, whatever..

I was wondering how long it'd take before the PewDiePie bashing would start, and it began with the very first post. Well done.

The video about Entwined is completely off base in the sense that there is no "ludonarrative dissonance". It's a game about "love" that fails to convey anything about "love" (in the opinion of the video maker). People really go out of their way to shoehorn that whole concept into games they should like but don't seem to. It's OK if you don't like it, you don't need some mega intellectual reason to not like something. You can say, "It's pretty, it seems like it should be fun, but it's not fun".

Baresark:
The video about Entwined is completely off base in the sense that there is no "ludonarrative dissonance". It's a game about "love" that fails to convey anything about "love" (in the opinion of the video maker). People really go out of their way to shoehorn that whole concept into games they should like but don't seem to. It's OK if you don't like it, you don't need some mega intellectual reason to not like something. You can say, "It's pretty, it seems like it should be fun, but it's not fun".

The words "ludonarrative dissonance" don't even appear at all in the video.

I don't know why the article author decided to use the word. It isn't ludonarrative dissonance really and it seems there just for the sake of being buzzwordey.

As with the PewDiePie article I'll chime in with it being shit-tier garbage. First it trys to claim that people who hate PDP are homophobic because some people on the internet use "gay" as a pejorative sometimes. Then it states that PDP is popular because all the other popular YouTuber's are misogynist and PDP attracts the girl's crowd (no really, he makes that argument). And finally it trys to make the argument that people hate PDP because they're "jealous" of him even though he previously points out that people generally don't mind other popular YouTuber's as much as they hate PDP.

All in all a terrible, nonsensical article.

Denamic:
I was wondering how long it'd take before the PewDiePie bashing would start, and it began with the very first post. Well done.

Not surprising that people would want to set the record straight since the article insinuated that disliking PewPewDie is akin to homophobia as opposed to the many other reasons people have given

I don't mind PewDiePie, actually I don't see why he is all that bad. If I remember correctly a few years ago Fred was the biggest internet celebrity even though all he did was shout nonsense in a very annoying high-pitched voice. There was plenty of hate for him too.

But that article I just read is so off base. Claiming Pewdiepie is popular because all other gaming channels and news sites are sexist is no different than saying 12 years a Slave won the academy award because all the other movies were racist. Even if girls are the main demographic of PDP, where is your evidence that girls don't watch other Let's Plays and gaming news sites? Where is your evidence that these channels push women away? How are they even pushing women away?

Phrozenflame500:

Baresark:
The video about Entwined is completely off base in the sense that there is no "ludonarrative dissonance". It's a game about "love" that fails to convey anything about "love" (in the opinion of the video maker). People really go out of their way to shoehorn that whole concept into games they should like but don't seem to. It's OK if you don't like it, you don't need some mega intellectual reason to not like something. You can say, "It's pretty, it seems like it should be fun, but it's not fun".

The words "ludonarrative dissonance" don't even appear at all in the video.

I don't know why the article author decided to use the word. It isn't ludonarrative dissonance really and it seems there just for the sake of being buzzwordey.

I stand corrected. First impressions do matter.

I've read the article, but I don't know what it's trying to say; that writing to demographics is bad? Writing for pay isn't fun?

Maybe it's because I was thrown off by seing that guy's face. I can't believe how hard it is to avoid hearing about or seeing him.

Saucycarpdog:
I don't mind PewDiePie, actually I don't see why he is all that bad. If I remember correctly a few years ago Fred was the biggest internet celebrity even though all he did was shout nonsense in a very annoying high-pitched voice. There was plenty of hate for him too.

But that article I just read is so off base. Claiming Pewdiepie is popular because all other gaming channels and news sites are sexist is no different than saying 12 years a Slave won the academy award because all the other movies were racist. Even if girls are the main demographic of PDP, where is your evidence that girls don't watch other Let's Plays and gaming news sites? Where is your evidence that these channels push women away? How are they even pushing women away?

Much in the same way that media companies and whatnot tried to push Fred as 'the next big thing for money making', many are trying to do that with PDP nowadays. Even Telltale Games has resorted to using this 'tool' to promote their product.

But the problem is that his fans, analysts and critics try to push this guy as being something more than that. That he is some kind of visionary or someone who tapped into an under-utilized market and discovered something truly genius. They want to make him out to be more than what he actually is... The very thing I described earlier.

He is a means by which money is moved, generated and influenced by from what I can understand. From a marketing and financial standpoint, I won't lie, I seriously would like to see the charts and graphs when it comes to the finances he was involved in.

Anything beyond that is completely devoid of substance though. Because again, this would suggest that he is anything other than a marketing tool.

Saucycarpdog:
I don't mind PewDiePie, actually I don't see why he is all that bad. If I remember correctly a few years ago Fred was the biggest internet celebrity even though all he did was shout nonsense in a very annoying high-pitched voice. There was plenty of hate for him too.

But that article I just read is so off base. Claiming Pewdiepie is popular because all other gaming channels and news sites are sexist is no different than saying 12 years a Slave won the academy award because all the other movies were racist. Even if girls are the main demographic of PDP, where is your evidence that girls don't watch other Let's Plays and gaming news sites? Where is your evidence that these channels push women away? How are they even pushing women away?

What about all the genuinely great female lets players? Hell i think 'lets player' is a bit of an insult to some of the hardworking people who provide video content, commentary and also cover events. Look at Kim Richards (Yogscast), someone i think is a great games journalist. She also recently spoke at length about the false line drawn between print and video journalism which is really worth a read since she has a good perspective on both.

Having an article supposedly about how print journalism is dying (nice lead in there escapist, it's not really about that mostly, it's more of a "Everything is sexist!" piece) is kind of funny when it's so poorly thought out and has such an unappealing style that meanders so oddly. Talking so much about "Tumblr, fan-fiction and deviant" does not help things either. She presents no actual evidence comes across as yet more ill-informed social justice blogging. Like i said many people have spoken much better and more eloquently on the issue ( Without the half thought out SJW bullshit) of print vs. video and Pew Die Pie is the WORST example to give since there are many many good actual games journalist who work in video.

Here's a bunch of adults reacting negatively to PewDiePew because they are obviously sexist, homophobic and jealous.

Bonus: Rape jokes!

Edit: If you want LPs that are actually funny without being annoying/gimmicky/incoherent, check out Nerd3.

I read owen grieve's article and I mostly agree, but I do think that there's nothing wrong with second guessing the reason why a game sucks.

Ahh PewDiePie the pot noodle of youtube it looks like a good idea until you watch it.

His content is of very poor quality and i could not stomach more than 2 mins of it before i had to turn it off.

Yes traditional media is on its way out quickly especially so for games but mr pot noodle has nothing to do with it.

I've had a lot of fun from watching PDP on youtube, especially in some of his horror videos. He's just a youtube comedian, there's not really much else to it.

I don't find his videos to be that funny, but I have nothing against the guy and I'm genuinely happy that he can make a crapload of money doing something he likes. It's not like he's harming anyone in the process.

That being said, can the people who claim to hate the guy just shut the fuck up already? I get it, trust me. I come here so that I can discuss things that are more interesting than this. I swear - I would pretty much never hear anything about the guy if it weren't for the folks jerking off to how much they hate the guy.

As for the article - I don't think it's jealousy. It seems to be a thing where people hate something if it's popular and it's something they don't like.

Burchy22:
People just seem to hate whatever is popular because they themselves don't like it, if it wasn't popular they would simply not care for it.
I think this especially applies to what is known to be popular with girls, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Twilight. To me it just seems that boys cry louder then girls, I would guess its because more males appear on video/game forum type sites like this.

Just my guess, whatever..

I don't know about volume (audible or quantitative) but I think people hate what's popular when it exists in place of what they wish were popular. I do have a particular hatred for Justin Bieber and Twilight, but it's largely because they are so transient. They're the tween version of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan*: You will almost certainly outgrow it, and when you do those content creators will almost certainly never have anything to offer you ever again. So to me the whole thing just looks like a money sink that could be better directed into providing long-term content creators for young girls during and after those formative years.

*I have no qualms with Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, just an example.

OT: My personal feeling on the Great PewDiePie Debate aside, I don't think anyone, least of all himself, sees him as anything other than an entertainer. He's a pretty average guy, so he's a reasonable barometer, but I don't think anyone is looking at him thinking that his content is a reasonable substitute for critique.

 

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