JayHitcher's forum posts

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#1 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -
@hailinel said:

@jayhitcher: Cool. I'll check it out. If you're interested, here's a Giant Bomb blog post I wrote on Megami Tensei a while back. Not nearly as analytical as your piece, but you might find it interesting for whatever purpose. I don't know why my post is duplicated as the first comment attached to it, though. Must be some sort of weird data error.

It's a good piece! It does a solid job explaining the roots of SMT.

It's still really weird/interesting how much the franchise owes to some pulp horror novels from the 80's.

#2 Edited by JayHitcher (21 posts) -
@hailinel said:

It really is a good read. You really captured the ideas behind the game quite well and it makes me want to read more of your work.

Thanks! I publish all of my stuff over at thestereogram.com if you wanna follow me there. We've got a twitter too.

In terms of SMT stuff the only other examples are the first piece in this article series and this thing I wrote for Comics Bulletin a long time ago. I like to think I've gotten better at writing since then and I kinda want to revisit that subject sometime.

#3 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

Thanks for the compliments, guys!

@karkarov said:

@hailinel said:

@gillman said:

Why did you post this in the forum? This is sort of more of a blog or review then... conversation?

It is a blog. They can be cross-posted to the forums.

It is a good blog too. Though I have to fault the statement "Wizardry style JRPG". The first person dungeon crawl was invented in the west, not Japan, and Sir Tech the creators of Wizardry were based in Canada. Yes a Japanese company called Acquire I believe now owns Wizardry and no one in the west makes first person dungeon crawls anymore really... (unless you want to count Europe as the west) but it is what it is. First person dungeon crawling is not a product of being a JRPG.

So @jayhitcher all nit picks aside my hats off to you, great read, and very well written. Best SMT blog I have seen in awhile.

Yeah, that was my bad on that. When I said Wizardry-style JRPG I meant JRPGs directly influenced by Wizardry. "Early JRPG" might be a better term since it catches the elements of JRPGs heavily taken from Ultima and Wizardry while denoting that it is directly post-Wizardry/Ultima.

#4 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

I'm surprised the discussion has gotten this far and no one's mentioned other services like IndieGoGo that do the same thing but allow the project to keep money given to them (at a higher percentage cut, which is then lowered to around the Kickstarter amount if the project goes over its goal).

Honestly, I'd rather use IndieGoGo at this point because it's not nearly as cluttered as Kickstarter is, and it allows for the Kickstarter all-or-none funding model along with its unique flexible funding model.

#5 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

I read an IGN article today. Yeah, not the best of ideas. In it, the author argues that, no matter who it offends, games shouldn’t be restrained by the “thought police” that “the offended” make up, that things like Tomb Raider’s (supposed) exploitative use of sexual assault and Six Days in Fallujah’s setting in the then-still-ablaze Iraq War shouldn’t have been allowed to change the products because people were “offended”, because if games don’t “push the envelope” they’ll never be as well-accepted as other mediums.

Well, of course games should have the same standards of other mediums, as almost every games journalist has been so desperately pleading for practically since “game journalism” has been a term, but that is why the author’s argument is so poor. Yes, games should be able to push the envelope and explore issues that other mediums have, but they are not free from criticism in how they approach said issues. Just because someone takes offense at the treatment of an issue in the game, they are not invalidated as a critic of the game; they are not members of some “thought police” that want to keep the issue out of the medium entirely. There are methods of treating these issues intelligently. What is being defended here is the ability to exploit or belittle the issues for the sake of controversy.

Let’s take Tomb Raider, for example. The author argues that the “offense” over Tomb Raider was because one of the developers merely “alluded” to an instance of sexual assault in the narrative.

Have you ever seen an episode of Law & Order: SVU? How about the movie The Accused? Why are games held to an entirely different – and completely hypocritical and unfair – standard?

They’re actually not! Surprise, surprise. The thing about The Accused is that it doesn’t exploit the issue of rape. It’s treated extremely seriously, is shown to have horrific effects upon the victim, and so on. Law & Order: SVU, generally but not always, uses it in the same manner, and when it doesn’t, it is scrutinized just as much as it is with Tomb Raider. Law & Order has been treading that ground for decades, so the people who have argued against its issues have become less and less vocal as the years have gone on. It’s also quite strange for him to write that games are the only ones held to this with the controversy over Daniel Tosh’s “rape joke” still fresh in our minds. Criticism of how artists treat issues of this nature is not limited to games.

Tomb Raider’s problem is that its use of the concept is not, from everything the developer has said, treated seriously. The game’s narrative is supposed to show how Lara progresses from an average college student to the rough-and-tumble pseudo-archaeologist she is in the earlier entries of the franchise. With Crystal Dynamics’ statements on said story, on how they’re supposed to convince the player to want to “protect” Lara (instead of even treating her as a player character), the use of sexual assault in the narrative comes off as heavily exploitative and unrealistic. It is in there as a device to make Lara a stronger person, because, of course, rape victims end up stronger from the experience. Just ask them. There is no way to tell for sure since the game isn’t out and we don’t know the full narrative arc or the exact treatment of said issue, but it was controversial and people were offended because it is a poor use of the concept.

As a counter example, we have L.A. Noire, which treated the issue in much the same way Law & Order: SVU does, without being exploitative. It wasn't controversial because, guess what, it wasn't exploitative.

Games should be able to tackle the same issues as other mediums, I agree, but when they tackle them poorly, they are allowed to be criticized as such. That’s not being some member of a “thought police,” it’s free speech, just as much free speech that is granted to the people who are making games like Tomb Raider and Six Days in Fallujah.

The Benjamin Franklin and George Orwell quotes in the article apply to both the creators of the games (or any artistic medium) and their critics. They have the liberty to make stupid, offensive tripe, and we have the liberty to criticize them for it, as well as not support what they create.

I believe a comment on the article by user “Hatfieldnate” sums up the article quite well:

“George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.”

Your inability to grasp the irony in using a quote about being able to say things people don’t want to hear, while complaining about people saying things you don’t want to hear, is both amusing and idiotic.

If there is anything that can be gleaned from this article, it is that, as bad games journalists have been both clamoring for and denying in their great self-victimizing ways, games are still as valid a medium as everything else. Tomb Raider is now on the same level as 70’s sexploitation films and a shitty comedian.

Will we someday have a game with mainstream success that will tackle these issues intelligently? Probably, yes. Once we get more intelligent writers working on mainstream developers and we stop being locked up by, not the “P.C. Thought Police,” but the people who merely desire more sex, more gore, and more controversy in some bid to make the medium appear more mature to a benevolent cultural lord who will finally give us the unneeded honor of being a part of a group of mediums under the meaningless label of “art".

There are risks that come with “pushing the envelope.” What comes out of doing this is often very good at its treatment of its content or it’s exploiting it poorly. When it does the latter, it deserves criticism.

Such is the world of free speech that we live in.

#6 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

Excellent write-up, Patrick.

For all of the excellent projects that have been getting funding through Kickstarter, there've been quite a few scams and blunders along the way. Mythic: Gods & Men comes to mind, as well as The Arkh Project (though the latter doesn't involve Kickstarter, it's the same deal with people without game-making experience without an actual design doc asking for money, along with a whole other group of... unsavory things related to the team and their use of the money).

Kickstarter is a great service and all, but it'd be great if the people who worked for it were willing to be more helpful in terms of recommending whether or not someone should actually start one (as they did when they intervened with Fullard).

At the very least, David Liebe Hart's got funded, and that's the probably the best thing Kickstarter will ever do.

#7 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

I remember when there used to be a crappy little arcade here in backwater Paris, Texas. Yeah, there were a ton of crappy redemption machines and a stall for exchanging for them for plastic spider rings, but playing and watching other people play (and eventually beat, in a memorable marathon session) Gauntlet Legends was a formative experience of my childhood.

Luckily there's still a pretty great arcade down in Austin, near the UT campus: http://arcadeufo.com/arcade.php

It's fairly expensive, especially if you're playing a lot of Wangan Midnight and Pop'n Music, and it's a really compact hole-in-the-wall joint, but they've got a great selection of games, including two PS3 fighting game cabs, four linked SSFIV cabs, Pac Man Battle Royale, BlazBlue, Arcana Heart, DJ Max Technika, and DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu. Can't wait until college so I can bum around there more often.

They have tourneys and stuff there every so often, and they even brought in dudes like Justin Wong for one or two. I don't really care much about fighting games, but I love going down there and playing rhythm games or continuing to work on 1CC'ing DoDonPachi.

#8 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

@depecheload said:

I'm glad Ryan apologized, but as someone else here mentioned, Patrick dropped "Tranny" a few months ago and no one seemed to care. Also, Brad said Jeff played "like a little bitch" in the3D0 TNT.

Maybe they all need to exercise a little restraint when it comes to that stuff.

And to the people who say others are being too sensitive..shut up.

You never had to go to high school and get called that word ALL DAY everyday for four years. You never had worry about hearing that word when walking down the street, worrying that a kick to the head (or worse) was going to follow, and you never had to hear your parents yell that at you when they decide that what you are isn't good enough for them anymore. That word has too much weight for a lot of people.

Ryan, of course, didn't mean any harm when he said it, but a lot of people don't want to hear him say it, so I appreciate that he copped up to it and apologized. We've all said he we knew was wrong after the fact. He's a bigger man for apologizing.

I completely agree.

#9 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

@acethesuperhero: Yeah, I completely agree that it's out of ignorance, and that I'm sure if more people knew about it it would've gotten as much attention.

Patrick's not really less of a good person for it, it was just a mistake, and he wasn't aware of what he was saying.

This whole thing is just bumming me out because it's really showing the unfortunately small amount of awareness of that word being a slur.

#10 Posted by JayHitcher (21 posts) -

I find it rather strange that this situation has swelled up to this point, yet when Patrick used "tranny" in the Chrono Trigger Endurance Run, no one else spoke out about it. I don't think Patrick meant to harm anyone in that situation, in much the same way that Ryan didn't either, but I completely agree with Ryan that yes, context is meaningless in this situation, and I'm glad he's addressing the issue so well; yet at the same time, it feels somewhat hypocritical considering that.

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