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[16+] Do Games Sugar-Coat Real Life?

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  1. King_Tetiro

    King_Tetiro Active Member

    Howdy folks! Small heads up, this is an mature conversation as it discusses mature themes. So do respect the comments made here :)

    Me and my hobbyist dev team are finishing up an RPG and starting another for Android. And one of the things we're striving to do in the RPGs we develop is make them real. I don't mean in the sense of gorey bloody graphics. I mean in the sense of the issues the characters face.

    First up, any of you Tomb Raider (2013) fans should know about this.

    Whilst it was controversial, I felt it was a shame that the island attacker wasn't trying to rape her. Why? Because it's realistic. Surely if an attacker was going to kill Lara, what's to stop him trying to rape her? Answer. The media. Playing it too safe.

    If you look at all the following, you rarely see it that much in comparison to over things

    • LGBT characters
    • Sexual Nature
    • Abortion
    • Slavery
    You see my point. Whilst we know these issues (or in the 1st example, characters) exist. But why don't they? Simple, because the media likes to play safe. Look at Nintendo for example. It's recently been made apparent that one of their games had a bug which provided same-sex marriage. Great news right! Right? Wrong...

    Rumor: Nintendo Ending Gay Marriage Bug in Popular Game

    Even when the media looks bright on such things, the developers play it safe. And in turn end up scorching people. In this case, gay gamers. (Though I don't know how this example is going to end as it's recent news)

    Where's the risk that influenced great games?

    • Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear
    • Giygas from Earthbound
    • Flea from Chrono Trigger
    These are 3 perfect examples where the developers went beyond the safe zone and produced fantastic characters. Well done to them! Heck me and my team are going ballsy with risk. Do you know that the only thing that I've seen in a decade get risky was the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who? And that's not even a game!

    So what do you think? Does the gaming industry play it too safe these days regarding controversy? Are there any boundries where crossing them is too far? (like the Tomb Raider "rape") What would you want to see finally get covered?

    And finally, would you like to see games that risked controversy to produce a story?

    Let's hear your thoughts!

    alostpacket likes this.
  2. dibblebill

    dibblebill Well-Known Member

    Bioshock: Infinite approached one of your points but shied away from others. Maybe if Clive Barker made games (better than Jericho) we'd see more of the first two, possibly three.

    Silent Hill also approached the topic of abortion a few times. Overall, though, you are right. Games are increasingly shying away from these topics as a whole- EVE Online, again addresses only a few of these in its fictions.

    I would love to see games that risked controversy in a way to advance teh story.

    I see it as a fear to 'cross the line' and risk confrontation with the modern likes of Jack Thompson and other groups and politicians who are already trying to regulate games and censor them because they cause violence. As a retail employee in the electronics department, I saw a dozen parents a month who wouldn't buy their kid some fantasy game because "It has devil worship and it'll make you violent" then go get them Grand Theft Auto. "You can play this until I get home after school." Gaming companies, I believe, are afraid of what these parents and politicians will do to them in courts if they broach these topics.
  3. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Well-Known Member

    I'm all for making games mirror the real world more. I think it'll happen too. I never played the Tomb Raider game, so I can't say one way or the other on that.
    And while not making a point towards any of your bullet points, Heavy Rain does touch on some pretty big topics. I enjoyed that.

    As far as nintendo ... I guess I'm indifferent. I mean, they were correcting an error in the code. I'm not sure they are or were making a statement on sexuality. Ifthe game had originally allowed same sex marriage by design and they changed it, then I'd say it was a statement. This just sounds like Nintendo is fixing a software bug.

    And good luck with your game! :)
  4. King_Tetiro

    King_Tetiro Active Member

    And this is why I'm happy my game stores require a proof of age on such games :)

    Though getting back to the discussion, where the heck is the censor on the news then? Surely out of all the bad media, the news is the worst? It's basically promoting the realism of humanity. You never hear a complaint on "The news was far too violent for my taste" do you?

    In my opinion, screw the parents and politicians. If they can't control the kids properly to play games in accordance to their age, why should game developers have to limit their scope?

    In fact, in our next RPG, we're going to cover aspects that aren't usually seen

    • Depression
    • Disability
    • Crime (And not in the active sense of Grand Theft Auto, but the passive sense like in Persona 4)
    Now that's risk! That could cause controversy in people. I think that as long as it's relevant to the story, you can get away with anything! (Out of curiosity, what's everyone's thoughts on covering those 3 aspects?)
  5. dibblebill

    dibblebill Well-Known Member

    I can't disagree at all. Also, violence in the news serves a PURPOSE (I won't get political on precise purposes here, but we cannot deny it serves one), if even one of simple ratings and sensationalism. People don't wanna hear good news. In video games, the same content is called "pointless". I'd personally love darker, but deeper stories that are far more realistic. I wish one of the big studios or publishers would take it to task and risk it all with some new ideas and titles. Then again, I'm completely anti-censorship.

    Also, the news IS too violent for my taste. Mostly because I don't feel we show enough GOOD things on the news that are happening, though I'd be hard pressed these last few years to find any.
  6. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Well-Known Member

    I actually had this discussion this week with a local developer. The question, "where is the line . . ." was the general theme. Believe it or not, the company lawyer is also wondering about the location of the line.

    In my view, some games are violent because the developers want to sell games and they think violence sells. Or they are violent because the developers think we want violence.

    And then we have angry birds which is not really violent, just wildly popular. Violence has its place to be sure and I think it must be believable rather than gratuitous.

    Perhaps we do love our violence. The current crop of TV shows and movies show we seem to like our violence. Trust this: I know a writer's assistant what talks of a show that was vastly more violent than even cable will tolerate.

    My guess is it would be greenlighted if those behind the throne thought there would be more cash comming in than fines, complaints and such. Lines are drawn and it seems games are so mainstream, their violence is part of a larger discussion.

    I say create the game and forget what I or the public thinks. Perhaps you will be lucky and CBS Evening News will do a report on how ultra violent your game is and you will sell vast numbers of games.

    We certainly do not want a game equivalent of The Hayes Office telling us what to make, produce and sell.

    I read in Time or Wired about a game developer that is making vast amounts of cash. Like millions large per week or some such large number. Their games are not violent.

    Candy Crush is said to be more popular than Angry birds. This tells me be it Android or iOS, there is room at the top and games do not need to be violent and the number of violent titles on our shelves tells me we do need some violence.
  7. King_Tetiro

    King_Tetiro Active Member

    I think the line is when it becomes "senseless". Like being gory for the sake of it. You can achieve much better touches on realism by using psychological tricks. Like the Weeping Angels in Dr Who

    And I've noticed today that it really is down to parents being irresponsible that there are complaints or influences. I was on the bus today and I heard a kid (no older than 12) talking about how he stabbed a guy to death on Assassin's Creed. You know! A game that's rate 6 years above his age!

    Our game isn't more violent than a normal RPG. It's just darker and more controversial. We don't need senseless violence to tell a story. Just a load of mind-blowing and mind-f******
  8. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    IMHO Angry Birds actually IS violent, but it is masked in cartooney-ness. Sort of like the violence of looney toons.

    Anyways, I cant think of a game where rape was a part of the game (other than the story, ex: Skyrim). Slavery was a big thing in the Fallout games. Cannibalism too.

    Violence abounds though.

    Though surely this is partly do to the fact that violence is "action" - so it translates well into a game format. And actually this doesnt bother me too much. The only time I found a game that crossed the line was one cinematic I watched where someone was killed and the fear and pain of the victim was too real to watch. (some fantasy game I forget)

    Anyway slowly I think more sex is coming to western games (Witcher 2) but from what I understand Japan at least has a significant sex video game market.

    I think it will just take time. I remember the amount of nudity they used to show on HBO when I was a kid and compare that to Game of Thrones, and you can tell things have changed. It's just slow going.

    Personally also, I feel these taboos are excellent outlets for people. I think they generally provide the opposite of what politicians complain about. I think they provide release, escapism, and most of all, they provide a safe way for people to explore these taboos vicariously, instead of committing some crime in real life.

    As for the same-sex stuff, I think BioWare has done an excellent job in this department.

    Anyways, kudos for the interesting topic.
  9. King_Tetiro

    King_Tetiro Active Member

    Actually that line sounds pretty uncrossable. I'd be surprised if that really crossed the line. Can you go into further details on it?
  10. dibblebill

    dibblebill Well-Known Member

    I think video games SHOULD cross those lines. I've seen mroe than a few games where the impact of a villain or hero's action was only driven home BECAUSE of the pain and suffering another character went through, and the plot was that much better for it.
    alostpacket likes this.
  11. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande? VIP Member

    I'd rather not, sorry. The brutality of it disturbed me (torture,fear,etc). There is violence, there is emotion, then there is just disturbing. This was disturbing for no other reason than shock value (the game had no plot).

    But this was for me -- where that "line" is.... is something that is different for each person. Frankly I was surprised it even bothered me. As someone who played fighting games since Street Fighter and shooters since Half Life, I've seen my share of graphic stuff. (and, well, the internet)

    I would imagine that you could think of the most disturbing imagery you have seen (game/movie/picture/news/whatever) and understand what I mean by "crossing the line".

    I agree with this but the best portrayals I have seen of this are when they don't show the violence. Instead they show someone's reaction to it. That ties in better with plot and is a more powerful storytelling device (for games/movies) IMHO.

    Basically I guess I'm saying this:

    There's a reason they (generally) don't show humans really dying on the news, and I'm OK with that. I'm also OK with violence in games, but the best games, don't just exploit violence/brutality. The best ones know how to tell a larger story.
  12. dibblebill

    dibblebill Well-Known Member

    I can't disagree with that last bit. It really needs to tie in. Its like my gripe about sex in movies- frequently its in there as a selling, not plot, point and I just roll my eyes at it and wait impatiently to get past it.
  13. King_Tetiro

    King_Tetiro Active Member

    Completey agree. I think that darker content needs to be related to the story. For instance, Celes's attempted suicide in FF6. It was woven into the game's story really well

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