#1 Edited by Spacetrucking (942 posts) -

Some of Dead Space 2 and Bulletstorm's marketing makes these games look exploitative, with more than just a passing similarity to the way exploitation films are promoted. Wikipedia's article describes them as follows: 

Exploitation film is a type of film that is promoted by "exploiting" often lurid subject matter. The term "exploitation" is common in film marketing, used for all types of films to mean promotion or advertising. These films then need something to exploit, such as a big star, special effects, sex, violence, romance, etc. An exploitation film, however, relies heavily on sensationalist advertising and broad and lurid overstatement of the issues depicted, regardless of the intrinsic quality of the film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploitation_film (It's notable that the page has neutrality & citation issues). 
 
The inherent problem with applying this definition to games is that, since Doom, games have been overtly gory or violent, to the point of celebrating them like exploitation movies. Postal or Splatterhouse are probably the poster boys for this kind of game. There are also multiple cases of sexploitation (BMX XXX, Guy Game etc.) or exploiting big stars (Apocalypse feat. Bruce Willis). I'm guessing if you talk to Megyn Kelly, she would classify nearly every game as exploitative.
 
So yes, if we make this page - there will be headaches in defining it but I think, it would be a good resource. Initially I thought of making this a piddly little list but then, it seemed like a big enough issue to be an actual concept page. 
 
Thoughts?
#2 Posted by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -

It's not a bad idea, but given the nature of video games it seems like it would be hard to classify what is and isn't exploitative.

#3 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11910 posts) -

I would say that to get on this list the exploitation has to be either blatant or intentional. Dead or Alive Xtreme 2? Sure. Mortal Kombat? Sure. Gears of War? Maybe? Dragon Age Origins had a pretty stupid exploitation-esque marketing campaign, even if that had nothing to do with the game itself. Would that count?

#4 Posted by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater: Interesting that you would say "maybe" to Gears. I was thinking about that game as an example too. It's ridiculously violent, but it fits with the aesthetic they built for the world. I'm not sure I would call it exploitative, but I'm sure any "non-gamer" would.
 
It seems to me that there is a natural bias based on the game's quality. While I feel Dante's Inferno using demon babies is tasteless, I was fine with it in Dead Space. Other than me really liking Dead Space and not caring for Dante's, I really can't say why.
#5 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11910 posts) -
@Slaker117: Dante's Inferno has a lot more tits and at some point you apparently see satan's cock. Sooo.... that has more reasons to be on the list than just demon babies. I guess the hard thing would be divining intent. Dead Space is violent, but is that the point? I guess I would also classify God of War on here, because that isn't so much about a story (really, let's think for a second.... Yeah.) as it is about you doing horrible horrible things to greek mythological figures.
#6 Posted by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:
" @Slaker117: Dante's Inferno has a lot more tits and at some point you apparently see satan's cock. Sooo.... that has more reasons to be on the list than just demon babies. I guess the hard thing would be divining intent. Dead Space is violent, but is that the point? I guess I would also classify God of War on here, because that isn't so much about a story (really, let's think for a second.... Yeah.) as it is about you doing horrible horrible things to greek mythological figures. "
Woah. I only played a bit of Dante's till I decided I didn't want to buy it, so I had no idea it had Satan cock. But I would have put it on the list anyway. God of War is crazy brutal and there are those sex mini-games. So yeah... But then I come back to Dead Space 2. There is some crazy messed up stuff that happens in that game. I happen to think it's really well done, and don't want to label it exploitative, or maybe it's just that the exploitation was successful. I don't know, it think it's telling that even the Wikipedia article is marked as subjective. And, when you come down to it, there are a lot of games that are about murdering dudes. And most of those games where made primarily for said murdering, with story really only there as window dressing. So of these games, what aren't exploitative?
#7 Edited by Spacetrucking (942 posts) -
@Slaker117:  @ArbitraryWater: Thanks for your input guys. 
  
To answer the question: 

  And most of those games where made primarily for said murdering, with story really only there as window dressing. So of these games, what aren't exploitative? 

Part of the reason exploitation movies are classified as such is because they use sex, violence or a big star to set themselves apart. They defy genre conventions using these easy ploys. Most games are violent but some use excess violence to distinguish themselves. Dragon Age is a fantasy RPG that uses persistent gore and gruesome decapitations to stand out among many other fantasy RPGs. In that sense, it does exploit violence. Dead Space 2's marketing campaign suggests the game features exceptional violence. I see Isaac's many (enjoyable) deaths as proof of that.  An easy comparison is Legend of Zelda and God of War - the combat in both is essentially hack n'slash but Kratos' uncompromising brutality is what gave GoW its unique identity. It's pretty much the equivalent of a slasher flick.
 
I hope that made some sense. 
#8 Posted by Kyreo (4600 posts) -
@Killjoi said:
" @Slaker117: @ArbitraryWater: Thanks for your input guys. 
  
To answer the question: 

  And most of those games where made primarily for said murdering, with story really only there as window dressing. So of these games, what aren't exploitative? 

Part of the reason exploitation movies are classified as such is because they use sex, violence or a big star to set themselves apart. They defy genre conventions using these easy ploys. Yes, most games are violent but some use excess violence to distinguish themselves. Dragon Age is a fantasy RPG that uses persistent gore and gruesome decapitations to stand out among many other fantasy RPGs. In that sense, it does exploit violence. Dead Space 2's marketing campaign suggests the game features exceptional violence. I see Isaac's many (enjoyable) deaths are proof of that. It's pretty much the equivalent of a slasher flick. An easy comparison is Legend of Zelda and God of War - the combat in both is essentially hack n'slash but Kratos' uncompromising brutality is what gave GoW its unique identity.
 
I hope that made some sense.  "
Well when games do that it is very blatant and I guess it could be it's own category but it's not often and we would spend a lot of time trying to decipher what is subtly exploitative and Exclusively exploitative.  Dead Space 2 is a lot more than appealing gory deaths, despite what Moms are saying. 
 
Interesting thought though.
#9 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

Does a game's marketing campaign really qualify for a concept?

#10 Posted by Skald (4369 posts) -

I don't think this is a good idea. It's a subjectivity minefield.

#11 Edited by Spacetrucking (942 posts) -
@Hailinel: The marketing campaign is just one of the indicators. The game itself is the final proof of exploitation. Anyway, this is more of an open question than a demand. If I was confident, I would've made the page already :p
 
@Kyreo: Yeah, that's why we need an absolute definition - if possible. As as I said earlier, it's definitely a headache. If limiting it to most blatant cases like Postal makes it easier to define, then I'm all for it. At least, it would be a good start. 
 
@extremeradical: Yeah, it could be. But doesn't ESRB do half the work by aggressively labeling games under Blood & Gore (with even more detailed sub-categories for ultra violent games) ?
 
Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated with the California gov., Arnie or Morazzini. Nor may I collecting evidence against violent video games. Just wanted to make that clear :p