#1 Posted by frankatank (12 posts) -

Has anyone noticed the increase of mental disorders being emphasized in video games today? Whether it is amnesia or insanity, I feel like there is an increase of these ideas in video games, and it really adds to the depth of characters, and can help gameplay. Do you guys feel the same way? The one I really want to play is Amnesia Dark Descent and Farcry 3. Any other games people recommend?

#2 Edited by Vigil (231 posts) -

I haven't noticed many games that contain "mental disorders" recently. I think being scarred of the dark whilst surrounded by deadly ghost's is pretty normal.

#3 Posted by Rorie (2697 posts) -

All I know is that the drugged-up sections of Uncharted 3 were pretty annoying. But I guess that's a different story.

Staff
#4 Posted by Juno500 (382 posts) -

Amnesia has been a cliche in video games for a very long time, that's a bad example.

#5 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4594 posts) -

For its lack of gameplay quality, I felt that Manhunt 2 handled "fucking crazy people" rather well. As did the OG Manhunt did well handling sociopaths.

#6 Posted by Bishna (334 posts) -

As a person with a "mental disorder", I am torn. Sometimes it seems they only add a mental illness to a character as a sole defining feature.

But I do like it sometimes when it is used as a gameplay mechanic like in Amnesia, even though its way to fucking scary for me to play.

#7 Posted by Zenogiasu (192 posts) -

Dead Space 2 also explores themes of insanity, and for good reason: you'd be going batshit crazy if you went through what Isaac did on the Ishimura in the first game. I remember reading that Dead Space 3 will continue to delve into this kinda stuff.

For my part, I'm glad that mental issues are a bit more prevalent in the industry. I do think they're often misrepresented and exaggerated for the sake of entertainment, though. Like in Uncharted 3's hallucination section (though this can also be classified as "Drake just straight-up tripping balls" rather than a "mental issue")--he was still running around and shooting things, whereas in real life he'd probably be a vomiting, quivering mess crumpled up in a corner. It was more like a superpower than a genuine handicap, which makes it a tad unrealistic.

But for a game like Dead Space, it's good to see because it adds that human element, which was clearly an important goal for the people over at Visceral. It's wholly unbelievable that an average person like Isaac would be able to wade through piles of mangled corpses and wrestle with manifestations of his own horrid nightmares, and then be totally chill about it. In contrast, look at Nathan Drake, who has the blood of hundreds on his hands. But no stress disorder, no regrets!

Both approaches have their place in the industry (I certainly don't want every single one of my FPS games to be like Good Will Hunting), but games that approach them seriously are certainly refreshing.

#8 Posted by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -

I'd like to see a game that dealt with body issues: anorexia, body dysmorphia, etc. I think that'd make for some pretty powerful stuff.

#9 Posted by Halos_god (160 posts) -

@Jrinswand said:

I'd like to see a game that dealt with body issues: anorexia, body dysmorphia, etc. I think that'd make for some pretty powerful stuff.

Siamese Twins

#10 Posted by Questionable (619 posts) -

We need more character flaws in general. Weird disorders, fetishes or addictions could be great tools to make characters come over as more believable.

Right now villains always feel like they resort to the same 2 flafors, those with a total lack of conscience and psychopaths.

#11 Posted by frankatank (12 posts) -

I suppose I also see@Questionable said:

We need more character flaws in general. Weird disorders, fetishes or addictions could be great tools to make characters come over as more believable.

Right now villains always feel like they resort to the same 2 flafors, those with a total lack of conscience and psychopaths.

This is so true. I feel like game characters need to have more depth and more detail in general. It would also make them seem more human, maybe see their pain, a huge benefit. I wonder though if game companies are afraid of offending anyone though. Many people take things so personally, and might find it inappropriate to be playing as a character feeling these mental or physical pains. Villians would be an interesting take, what if in a way you would sympathize for them while your goal is to destroy them? It would definitely add to the overall aspect of the game.

#12 Edited by dabe (299 posts) -

I would like to see more overweight people or characters of differing sizes in sprawling RPGs (see Skyrim, Deus Ex etcetera). I'm also aware of the premium on character modelling. I'm also not overweight in the slightest.

As for the mental disorder thing, I think a lot of games that implement them seem to do it rather neglectfully & don't really flesh out or treat the character traits with respect or nuance. Then again, video games & writing...also they don't tend to tie them into the gameplay mechanics too well (Amnesia being a decent exception to this theory).

#13 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

@dabe said:

I would like to see more overweight people or characters of differing sizes in sprawling RPGs (see Skyrim, Deus Ex etcetera). I'm also aware of the premium on character modelling. I'm also not overweight in the slightest.

As for the mental disorder thing, I think a lot of games that implement them seem to do it rather neglectfully & don't really flesh out or treat the character traits with respect or nuance. Then again, video games & writing...also they don't tend to tie them into the gameplay mechanics too well (Amnesia being a decent exception to this theory).

This, I would like to see better characterized over weight people. Rather then just for laughs.

#14 Posted by frankatank (12 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

@dabe said:

I would like to see more overweight people or characters of differing sizes in sprawling RPGs (see Skyrim, Deus Ex etcetera). I'm also aware of the premium on character modelling. I'm also not overweight in the slightest.

This, I would like to see better characterized over weight people. Rather then just for laughs.

Whenever I think of overweight characters in video games, I always think of my character in Fable 2, considered an "evil" corporate fat character. But that would be interesting and nice to see more diversity in character appearance as well. I'm tired of the fit and tall stereotypical male character. Where is my Tyrion Lannister game!?!

#15 Posted by NTM (7266 posts) -

Isaac Clarke?

#16 Posted by Yummylee (21259 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

For its lack of gameplay quality, I felt that Manhunt 2 handled "fucking crazy people" rather well. As did the OG Manhunt did well handling sociopaths.

This is exactly what I came in here to say.

#17 Posted by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

@Bishna said:

As a person with a "mental disorder", I am torn. Sometimes it seems they only add a mental illness to a character as a sole defining feature.

Ditto. Gaming industry's forays into mental illness is mostly loosely defined "crazy". Usually manifest in a pop culture (mis)understanding of schizophrenia. It's not representative at all of the actual realities of what mental illness entails. Although I should qualify that previous sentence by stating that I can only speak for my perspective with my own particular disorders. Granted the entire entertainment industry has been missing the mark in this area for ages now, it's not like gaming is alone in misrepresentation.

#18 Posted by BBAlpert (1372 posts) -

@HerbieBug said:

@Bishna said:

As a person with a "mental disorder", I am torn. Sometimes it seems they only add a mental illness to a character as a sole defining feature.

Ditto. Gaming industry's forays into mental illness is mostly loosely defined "crazy". Usually manifest in a pop culture (mis)understanding of schizophrenia. It's not representative at all of the actual realities of what mental illness entails. Although I should qualify that previous sentence by stating that I can only speak for my perspective with my own particular disorders. Granted the entire entertainment industry has been missing the mark in this area for ages now, it's not like gaming is alone in misrepresentation.

Same with OCD. Sure, it CAN manifest in some people as an absolute need for everything to be meticulously organized/clean/whatever, but a lot of it is much more subtle. I think this little PSA expresses, far better than I ever could, the sorts of obsessive and compulsive behaviors I live with.

But again, showing something as subtle as that in any medium is extremely difficult.

#19 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

Amnesia has been used in almost every JRPG ever. It's one of the biggest tropes of that genre.

#20 Posted by BBAlpert (1372 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

Amnesia has been used in almost every JRPG ever. It's one of the biggest tropes of that genre.

It's one of the biggest tropes, period.

#21 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@BBAlpert said:

@DoctorWelch said:

Amnesia has been used in almost every JRPG ever. It's one of the biggest tropes of that genre.

It's one of the biggest tropes, period.

True.

#22 Posted by Hunkulese (2646 posts) -
@frankatank TF2
#23 Posted by GalacticGravy (544 posts) -

In media in general "schizophrenia" generally means "multiple personalities." I know three people with different varieties of schizophrenia and none of them have multiple personalities. According to them, multiple personalities is one of the more rare symptoms of schizophrenia. It hurts them that, should it be revealed that they are schizophrenic, people just assume they are these bat shit insane people with voices and other personalities in their heads.

#24 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Jrinswand said:

I'd like to see a game that dealt with body issues: anorexia, body dysmorphia, etc. I think that'd make for some pretty powerful stuff.

I don't think it really would. Maybe as a thing that happened to exist in a world that would still exist in pretty much exactly the same way without it it could add depth but that's it. I wouldn't want a game focusing on it. Leave that to the touchy feely cable networks, and keep it out of my games. Not much interesting interaction there.

#25 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

I just wanna play a character who is completely bat shit insane, 100% paranoid schizophrenic, psychopath. And granted, Manhunt/Manhunt 2 but I want the mental disadvantages of the character to have an actual effect on gameplay. Say like loosing control temporarily, or blacking out and regaining consciousnesses someplace else. I haven't actually played a game like that, nor do I know of one. We've had our fair share of insane villains, but protagonists...hmmm. Google time.

#26 Posted by BBAlpert (1372 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

I just wanna play a character who is completely bat shit insane, 100% paranoid schizophrenic, psychopath. And granted, Manhunt/Manhunt 2 but I want the mental disadvantages of the character to have an actual effect on gameplay. Say like loosing control temporarily, or blacking out and regaining consciousnesses someplace else. I haven't actually played a game like that, nor do I know of one. We've had our fair share of insane villains, but protagonists...hmmm. Google time.

That sort of thing comes into play fairly heavily in certain respects in one of the Penumbra games (one of the first two, I think). I generally find a lot of the ways games tend to express the unreliable narrator pretty contrived, but I felt that this game had some interesting surprises.

Also, if you like adventure games, you might like Sanitarium. To say much more might spoil some of it, but the setup is that a guy gets into a car crash, wakes up in an asylum, and shit just goes bananas.

And of course there's always Eternal Darkness, but that's less clinical disorders and more the designers coming up with clever ways to fuck with the player.

#27 Posted by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -
@MordeaniisChaos said:

@Jrinswand said:

I'd like to see a game that dealt with body issues: anorexia, body dysmorphia, etc. I think that'd make for some pretty powerful stuff.

I don't think it really would. Maybe as a thing that happened to exist in a world that would still exist in pretty much exactly the same way without it it could add depth but that's it. I wouldn't want a game focusing on it. Leave that to the touchy feely cable networks, and keep it out of my games. Not much interesting interaction there.

Okay, the fact that you believe eating disorders and other body issues are strictly for "touchy feely cable networks" just goes to show what little you know about the subject. Obviously you've never had any real first-hand exposure to anybody who has dealt with such all-consuming, life-altering issues or you wouldn't make such comments.
 
Besides, I wasn't thinking about body issues belonging to a game's protagonist, though that could undoubtedly produce some pretty interesting results, but rather more along the lines of an indie game that deals with body issues metaphorically, a la The Marriage, The Binding of Isaac, and countless others.
#28 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@BBAlpert: Thanks for the suggestions man, penumbra looked interesting, but then

The game is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft

That's a deal breaker right there. Sanitarium's a bit too old for my tastes, but I'll definitely give Eternal Darkness another look. So, thanks again.

#29 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -

@Jrinswand: I think most video game protagonists suffer from anorexia. I never see them eat.

#30 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Jrinswand: You mean the touchy feely cable network equivalent of games? There's nothing wrong with emotion driven content, I just don't generally enjoy it in my games. It could make an interesting side thing, but being anything more than something to flesh out characters in a game like GTA, I would find it unapealing, just because most games take place in a situation where that wouldn't make sense, especially the games I prefer. When I want emotion and philosophy, the last place I want to go is a video game, MUCH LESS one that focuses on said things entirely. I don't really enjoy that stuff. If you want to get into psychology with me, the only way is to go directly into the study of the human mind, not metaphorical or mopey story telling. Which can be good, don't get me wrong, it's just not a way I enjoy interacting with that concept. It's nothing to do with thinking it shouldn't be covered and everything to do with the fact that it has no place being the focus of anything but an indie game driven entirely by the emotion of it. I play games to play games, not to investigate human illness. And I think most people would agree that video games are poorly suited for it. It can be interesting as an experiment, but not as anything sustainable really. So don't get all defensive. I know people with conditions like the ones you mention, I love people very dearly who struggle with those issues. I don't need a fuckin' video game trying to explain "what it's like" because it can't, won't, and shouldn't. And I don't really think it should try, really. It's not the right medium, and it's not the right goal.

I'm a really downer on indie games like the ones you meantioned that don't bring good gameplay to the table without all of the bullshit philosophy that gets shit for. As a writer and a reader of classic literature, I just don't find anything interesting there. You want to consume some interesting shit about the human mind? Pick up a book by any number of dead Russian writers.

#31 Posted by Jrinswand (1695 posts) -
@MordeaniisChaos: It sounds like you just come to games for something different than I do. I think you're wrong in saying that there's no room for anything other than just pure gameplay mechanics in a game though. Games are capable of being much more than just straightforward, shallow frag fests, you know.
#32 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Jrinswand: Oh learn to read, come on. I said very clearly that I just don't go for games that are ONLY trying to be edgy, emotional, or philosophical. I love a good story, characters are very important to me, and I think emotion has plenty of place in games. My favorite games are my favorite because of the connection I felt to characters. But when a game is just a vehicle for a message? I don't enjoy it. Especially when it's a pretentious message from someone who doesn't really understand it in the first place.

#33 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

I'd love to see a form of disorder or something incorporated into a main character in a game where it is completely irrelevant to proceedings (I.e a character trait along the same lines as wisecracking or smoking fools)

I'm thinking something like it turning out the Baird is a klepto in the new Gears game, and is just reaching out and randomly grabbing things off people's desks and shop shelves and what not as you walk through the environment.

That example is obviously a little facetious, but hopefully gets the point across. It could be an interesting way of adding nuance without bashing people over the head screaming "THE PLAYER CHARACTER IS CRAYCRAY"

#34 Posted by frankatank (12 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair: It would be could to see a character have a disorder and have it just be who he is, and not have it relate to gameplay necessarily, but just to add depth. That is a really cool idea.

#35 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4307 posts) -

I think its retarded