The Game OverThinker - Episode 59 "Bat-Slap"
This time the OverThinker goes knee deep into the alleged sexism in Batman: Arkham City.
Congrats to The Game OverThinker! He is now part of the Advantage Program! You can support him and his show by upgrading to an Advantage Membership. Along with bonus content and higher quality video you also score NO ads! Woo hoo! Upgrade here - http://www.screwattack.com/advantage. Select "The Game OverThinker" in the drop down menu to support The Game OverThinker!
I completely agree we are in an immature medium. I honestly typically refer to M as massive blood, swearing, sex, and drugs. Now there are some games rated M that show these things and do something meaningful with it. I mean I have seen very few R movies out of personal preference, but damn some of them hit home. Those movies show us what happened back then as close as they can and you feel the pains of what happened.
Games are meant to be fun, documentaries are meant to be educational and though provoking. The two mediums are pretty different I'd say. Games will always fundamentally be required to be fun else they will never be played. Now to have a game be fun and bring up really thought provoking discussion will be quite hard since thought provoking dialog will play second fiddle to the game being fun. Only in the RPG types of games is any real type of dialog really important and scrutinized. And to be honest where are the strongest RPG games made in.....Japan. Guess what, JRPGs all have moral lessons built into the plots like every Disney film does. At the same time that question gets largely glossed over because is never really discussed by the gamers. Instead we discuss plot and game play. Hardly ever do we have discussions about morals and ethic issues raised in a game. So I wouldn't blame developers too much. The content is out there to get the discussions going. It's just we as gamers largely ignore the issues like people don't discuss the morals of the latest Pixar movie. Instead we talk about how fun it was to watch the movie and to play the game.
I find the point about game developers often simplifying the war in the east is an interesting one, with which I have a strange familiarity. I did an essay recently for school, in which I detailed many of the same points. I also did a little bit of research. Did you know that, while HALO is rated M, and is completely fictional, many games based around this conflict with no plot, and where you mindlessly kill the "paki bastards"(quoted from one of these such games) are rated Teen? I find it interesting that taking a massive cultural, military, and economic issue and simplifying it down to "shoot the bad guys" is acceptable to show to teen audiences. Who, speaking as a member of said group, are less likely to recognize these subtle but important differences between pointless and useless violence like in many of the games centered around the eastern wars and the necessary, and well entitled violence that comes with self defense, such as in HALO, and in worldly defense, such as in any game involving world war two or one.
I believe blood and gore to be unhealthy to watch to much of, due to desensitization. we want to understand that murder is murder, sure. There`s no question of that immediate danger. However, the long term dangers of simplifying such a dumbfoundingly complex issue with many layers of reasoning and issues down to such infantile and simple terms, and then marketing them to the most impressionable game market, seems like a much greater issue. Why? Because if this becomes the norm, the world`s most popular hobby next to sex and texting will be marketing the concept of violence solving problems as the proper method. Not even HALO or COD does that. HALO still has a plot enough to have other means be the primary conflict resolver, and just needs violence to achieve the goals set through thought and logic. In Call of Duty, I can't say I have much experience. However, as most of the series is based in World War Two, we know the logic and reasoning already well enough to understand the violence's purpose, and we know perfectly well that any non-justified violence is meant to show the brutality of the situation. Since a better part of the public, and most teens, are fairly uneducated about the eastern wars, this simplification of purpose in terms of violence and war could lead to severe problems in future generations in issues similar to this should this trend continue in both gaming, and into other mediums.
This is not to say that some eastern based conflict games aren't good. I'm certain that somewhere, there is one that focuses on the importance of the issue. Or at least, I hope to whatever god will listen that there will be. However, with the recent stagnation of gaming in the war and fps genre, I don't think that these will be easy to come by. Though Hollywood has indeed managed to focus on the true issues(much to my satisfaction), Gaming is not such a fixed entity. Rather than being basically one entity, and as such generally following much of the same beliefs and formulae, gaming is much more fluid. There are many Hollywoods in gaming, from Nintendo to Microsoft to Apple, and they all have target markets and beliefs. As such, we can assume that they will respond differently to an event like this, which has so shaped our society today. Unfortunately, this means we'll be dealing with a lot of action oriented, no plot eastern themed shooters. I just hope the general public won't buy in, and will force a change. God forbid they don't. COD MW4 is just something I don't want to see.
So in summary, the video game industry/community demanding to be taken seriously as a medium, but refusing to accept the innate harshness that that implies and throwing a temper tantrum any time it happens, is almost identical to a 12 year old claiming that they want to be treated like a adult, but then whining about how 'unfair' it is any time an adult actually holds them to the same standard that the rest of are every day. Seems like an accurate comparison to me.
Video games have moved out of their infancy, discovering what they are and how the world works, ie. Pong and Pacman Era", and childhood, experimenting with what is provided and what can be created, ie. The "Golden Age" up to just recently, and now moves into the teen years, learning if what you have discovered/created has any actual application in the "Real World". And in order to to discover the answer to that, you must ask what is, in my opinion, the most painful question of all:
What is the purpose of video games?
Gaming obviously still has growing up to do. The best way is to include more people into the medium which has already begun. Sure there will be bad apples and sure great games will have bad elements, but these will be overshadowed by the massive amount of games which are oriented to everybody rather then one particular group.
you know what bob!? you're just upset because you couldn't find a plastic katana, so screw you!
It's been a while but I remember there were people making thoughtful counter arguments to the hulk critic. Yes there were trolls, but those show up on controversial articles all the time, like in news articles about politics. It's kind of low that you'd characterize them all as whiners just so you can make yourself look better than everyone.
Hey, MovieBob i would have watch all these episodes alot sooner if you mentioned them on the escapist!
The only thing I would like to bring to this discussion of our medium is the Metal Gear Solid franchise. In general the series focuses on the deep connection between war, big business and how that effects the world. Now I'll stop right here and say now that I haven't played the series myself because I never got into it or even heard of it when I was younger, but I've had many indepth talks about it with my bestfriend who has. They are huge commercial successes and focus on what gaming as a whole seems to ignore. I agree most games as of late don't come close to this, but it is fair and should be brought to light that there are some games that do and should be taken seriously.
So, Mr. Overthinker, I really want to thank you about bringing up issues of sexism in gaming. It is actually really important issue for me being a female gamer. I'm really you have looked so closely at this issue in several of your episodes. Do I take offense to the word bitch? Yes and No, depends on the intent. I really don't mind if someone says "Sup, Bitches?" cause quite honestly in that context it's almost gender neutral. If someone called me a bitch with the intent of being mean spirited then I would take offense to it. Quite honestly I can't comment about the game cause I haven't played it yet. I do think the industry has taken strides to include more girls in mainstream gaming with some strong female characters. Even still, the industry does have a ways to go in eliminating sexist attitudes. I feel that the more the industry does to make gaming accessible to both men and women, the video gaming community will be better off (and the industry will be better off cause then they'll be tapping into an under utilized market) To be fair as well, you mentioned that there was a lot of blatant sexism in Batman comics anyway. The developers stuck closely with the source material (so not to piss off fans of the franchise), so I assume that is a good part of the reason why the sexism may seem so apparent.
Very good point, well said.
Knights of the Old Republic 2 is kind of like the gaming versions of Apocalypse Now. It dealt with the aftermath of two wars, as well as the effects those wars had on both the galaxy and those who fought in them. The whole story is pretty much about a veteran who's trying to cope with the trauma caused by war.
Fallout: New Vegas deals pretty heavily with war and politics as well.
I agree with this episode, why can't we play a game that is not actually trying to be fun, we should aks for a more complex and ground breaking expirience. We should expand our needs from exploitions and big guns to let the games, no longer be called games, this is a media that deserves do much more than the title of a simple game, if we agree to play a shooter that all the way to the end made us feel like we're doing something wrong, to the point that play it could make us cry then we could have a better more serius media on our hands to the point that it could be called a form of Art
OverThinker has a point (actually many) if the fans of the industry want it to be taken seriously, they have to accept the good with the bad.
As for the "politically correct" portion; Here's a question for you... Why can you use the word BITCH in a T rated game but not the word FAG? Answer= BECAUSE IT'S WRONG! But it that is true... then why isn't bitch wrong to? It's not about political correctness; It's about context. If you're making a T rated game then you should think about these things as you go; Whereas with a M rated game, the question isn't "should I?" but "How often?"
Personally I don't think that Gamers really know what they want and that's the real problem the industry faces.
Actually, FPSes have presented a more complex and nuanced view of the war on terror, Modern Warfare certainly did. If you have any objections about it, it's the fact that it's story got lost in the shuffle of the multiplayer (which sort of fits in your 61).
For the record, I liked Katanas before they were cool.
Good episode BTW. I personally wouldn't mind playing a FPS that gave a message or had an anti-war meaning. I think it has potential, but I sadly don't think it would become mainstream. :(
warcraft 2 sound effects = i came buckets
also on the matter of a serious shooter , im actually very positive that gamers would welcome a modern shooter that has a message to send or one that just portraits the grusom realities of war , the problem in that regard isn't the gamers , but rather the public outrage that has come out effectively shutting down attempts to do so if you can find extra credit's 6 days in fillujah episode they did a great episode about this (it doesn't seem to be on yt so idk if you're still able to see it or not....)
I like how you show a picture of Link when talking about the "automatic must defend the medium mode." This came out before GT's review of Zelda SS so you couldn't have known about the fury they unleashed after giving the game a score of 9.1. Agree or disagree with the score, but at least WAIT UNTIL YOU PLAY THE GAME! (The review came a week before the release) I do think many gamers must learn to respect others' point of view. Thanks for the great episode.
I've already played a game that takes the medium seriously called L.A. Noire. Some criticize it for being just an interactive movie, but I see it as a masterpiece in gaming. And those who do criticize a piece of work for showing that the medium is ready to mature and be taken seriously in the mainstream are the same people who just refuse to grow the hell up. I may be one who does fancy an engaging FPS or action game like any other gamer, but I do appreciate when game developers work on a project that obscures from immaturity found in most games and create something with a great deal of meaning and merit. I believe L.A. Noire is proof that gaming and gaming culture can change for the better.
With that posted, as a gamer, I'm willing to take whatever criticism that comes our way and take it with a mature and professional manner. I have no need to be defensive for my pastime. If there is something wrong that needs to be changed, I'm all for it. I want our passion to be taken seriously just like any medium, but we can't ignore the cons that come with our culture. It's time to grow up and show that our culture is ready for change.
right on bob