Marokai's forum posts

#1 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

It baffles me that this argument is simultaneously arguing about "artists shouldn't be given a pass just because it's expressing a message they want to express" (which I think is a misrepresentation of what people are actually saying, but okay) as being a "selfish concept" while the criticism of the scene rests on nothing more than not wanting to upset people, because all art should apparently be concerned about the feelings of anyone it would theoretically offend... but this is somehow not a selfish concept. I fail to see a meaningful logical distinction between the two things when it comes to accusations of selfishness, one is just appealing to the sensibilities of more people and thereby saying those feelings should have more weight than the feelings of the artist.

Moving on, I think there's a crucial self-contradiction in what you're saying. You repeatedly and rightly say that there should be open and quality criticism of games, but you're also saying that on principle I cannot call a hurtful or damaging scene needless, that I couldn't even call a scene needless when it causes traumatic rape flashbacks in victims.

I don't think many people are arguing that people can't think something is hurtful or needless, but merely that an artist shouldn't be so harangued about what is ultimately a subjective thing that they feel compelled to remove it from the game so as to not offend people. This ultimately gets us into the "they're taking away our games" thing. You're not saying things like this should be censored... just so socially ostracized that they feel compelled to not offend people for fear of backlash. Which... I don't find a very big practical difference between.

This is an example of art punching down, not up.

Okay, an artist is conveying a message, why does that mean we shouldn't point it out or fight back against it when it hurts people or spreads gross ideas?

This is what I was calling Randian, the idea that it's okay to hurt and damage and mislead as long as you're saying whatever it is you want to say,

I feel like these arguments are happening from a separate reality where this scene is actually way more violent and tasteless and pointless than it actually is. Where is Hotline Miami 2 punching down? What about the scene, which is meant to satirize the nature of exploitation movies throwing in sex as a cheap thrill, where no actual rape occurs, is "spreading gross ideas"? What about it is meant to "hurt and damage and mislead" outside of your personal interpretation of the scene? This argument is centered around the foundation that this scene is some cheap, violent rape scene meant to throw middle fingers at rape victims when that's not at all what it is. If it was that, I would be right there with you being skeezed out by it, but the descriptions of it, and the outrage surrounding it, in no way befits the actual contents of the scene or the message behind it!

The way people are reacting to this scene, or at least the arguments that are being used, are behaving as if this scene is specifically to make fun of rape victims or something, which is a complete misrepresentation of what's going on. That's where I get a little offended at the "Randian" accusation. Ayn Rand's own M.O. was total selfishness. I would understand if the scene was a juvenile "ha ha! rape! remember how this feels??" jab that tried to hide under artistic freedom (which it still should, principally, but would at least be legitimately repulsive) but the only way you could think that about this scene is to completely miss the point, because that's not the actual intent.

It's just so weird to me that multiple people are now dismissing something as Randian when the principles behind the idea are no different than the lefties in American society that inspired the free speech movement and led to people like George Carlin battling right-wing obscenity standards.

Look, every piece of art can offend anyone, for any number of reasons, legitimate or not. The issue that I and many others take with the outrage over this scene in particular is that there's a lot in society that's really awful and really gross, that are more or less frequent than rape is, and if you accept that the door should open to "not going there" on one particular issue, there remains no logical argument for why outrage over literally anything else can't be considered just as valid. Should we "not go there" when it comes to gang violence? Or domestic abuse? Or religion? Any scene in a video game where animals are casually abused, should this be off limits because it's "not taking the issue seriously enough"? All forms of media don't grant the "appropriate seriousness" to certain issues, largely because life doesn't grant "seriousness" to every issue.

That art can be so widely interpreted is amazing and is what I love about living in a free society that doesn't impose a certain code of values and behaviors on its entertainment. But what one person or another interprets about a scene is not automatically granted more legitimacy than what I feel about it, and immediate deference shouldn't be given to those who are offended about something just because they feel offended. This is simply not rational. I think everyone is free to say what they want about Hotline Miami 2, insofar as they don't want to prevent its existence, in which case I have a problem. But in the end, if people see a piece of art they dislike, they are not obligated to experience it. The only way we have a free society is by the collective understanding that not everything is meant to suit our personal sensibilities and that we walk away from things we don't like instead of trying to snuff it out. That's just the only place this discussion can reasonably end.

@brodehouse: This is not a campaign for anything other than piety. They are not asking you to be less violent, because you're already not violent. They're not asking you to stop raping, because you're not raping. They're not asking you for anything but to prostrate and show how pious you are, usually by financially supporting them. And while the upper and middle classes fall over themselves to earn the most community respect, the lower classes can't afford to; this demonstrable lack of piety is used as justification for their derogation in polite company. I dealt with the demands and commands of privileged, pious hierarchs my entire childhood; I won't do it as an adult. I especially won't buy into this neo-Protestant work ethic shit about "doing better". It means the same thing it always did; fall in line.

As someone who follows politics a lot I would throw "we must do better" right in the "stump speech" bin. A lot like when people talk about "change" or "comprehensive reform" or "having a conversation." It sounds nice, it makes people feel good, and means jack shit.

#2 Posted by Marokai (3176 posts) -

I'm far more interested in this than their other games.

#3 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

At some point I was literally blocked by Brianna Wu in the aftermath of something I said in response to someone else about her blog. Like, she literally had to be pro-actively looking for something to block. I can understand where the worry comes from I suppose, but...

#4 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

The arguments that violent media leads to desensitization and facilitation of violent acts flies in the face of all empirical evidence we have on the subject, and for that matter, so does the argument that sexualized media leads to violence against women. If these things were true there would be a corresponding increase in crime, sexual and otherwise, and this has just not been the case. In the largest individual market for video games (the United States), access and mainstream attention to violent video games has been increasing for decades, and crime has careened. Media in general grows increasingly sexual, and access to sexually explicit content (outright porn and otherwise) is greater than ever, while rates of rape and sexual assault fall steadily for years. (Hell, the rate for incidence of rape in the US is down something like 80% since the late seventies.)

The generations with easiest access to media that we've all been told desensitizes us and facilitates contagious acts of violence, the generations with greatest access to sexually explicit media, are some of the least criminal, least sexually violent, most socially conscious and liberal-minded groups of people since we've kept comprehensive records. As far as I'm concerned, people can take their theory-crafting and stuff it. The only way you could contradict this is to start arguing that there's a wildly snowballing number of millions of unreported crimes influenced by all of this, and that these things are influencing us on some sort of deeper level that the lamestream media and the government can't measure or quantify, and at that point you're into unfalsifiable hypothesis territory that would be thrown out of any legalistic or scientific setting.

#5 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

So, he wants to be able to play a game designed for "women gamers", and then play Gears. He can do that now, but the games for "women gamers" right now are short, narrative based games for PC. You will not have fixed his problem until you spend as much making Gone Home 2 as Naughty Dog will spend making the Last of Us 2. Because budget is determined by social expectations and not by determining market size and profitability.

Like, this is what I keep coming back to in my head. There's strikingly little actual debate when it comes to the merits of "Should there be good female characters in video games?" When presented with this question more than nine out of ten people are almost certainly going to tell you yes. Yet, in the consternation over why there aren't more games with prominent female characters written into the narrative, this outrage seems to keep getting directed at fellow gamers, most of whom, haven't done or said anything wrong.

The object of your outrage should be made at the individuals making these decisions in game development offices, because the cold hard truth is that video games are a business, and business is determined by market realities. The inconvenient truth in this debate is that this really isn't some sort of Quebec-in-the-50's "Our people are the waterboys of their own country" situation. When it comes to the core of the traditional gaming market, it really isn't 50% female. No business worth their salt would be ignoring such a market if it existed for the types of games they were making. Women make up a huge portion of the market for mobile and social games, and a healthy chunk of the market for most MMOs, but when it comes to the Naughty Dogs and the Rockstars of the world, the folks who are gaming by the light of the TVs their Ps4s are hooked up to at 2am are predominantly male and that's just where the mainstream attention is. There is no crime that ordinary duders have committed in this, no sin they need to atone for, this just became a business reality a couple decades ago and that's where things got stuck.

I think when you look at the sections of the game industry as they are on their own (rather than combining everything together and getting very disproportionate statistics) video games are "fair." I mean, to say otherwise would be to believe video games are actively unfair, which I don't think a person could genuinely build a rational and logically consistent argument for. The markets that are predominantly male have products catered toward the interests of a predominantly male audience and the markets with a very heavy amount of women gamers (handheld, mobile, MMOs) are getting their interests catered to as well. I would enjoy more female characters in the "traditional" gaming space, (I just rolled a new female character in Knights of the Old Republic a day ago!) but I think the arguments come from when the game industry is accused of being actively antagonistic and violent toward women that I just don't think is true.

@sweep said:

@junkboy0: And you can disagree if you want, but when was the last time you saw a black protagonist, male or female, in a game that didn't have fully customisable characters? Franklin in GTA V for his 3rd of the game? And that's about it, really.

The default dude in Crackdown is black, I think. There's also AC: Liberation (black female), two black playable characters in Resident Evil 5 (though only one if you discount DLC), Lee and Clementine from Walking Dead, either Left 4 Dead games, FF13 has a black main character and party member (and a large chunk of the narrative), one of the main playable characters in Dead Island is a black dude. I'm sure there are others. And that's only if you're strictly discounting character customization, which is in a lot of games. (And discounting sports games, as they're based on real people, usually, and lack narrative.) The situation isn't exactly this dire, though your point is taken.

#6 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

@slag: Playing 1 is the best way to appreciate 2 because the sequel is such a categorical improvement. I can't think of anything about it that isn't better. It looks better, it plays better, the magic system works better, the animations are better, the army battles are more like Fire Emblem on a grid instead of just rock-paper-scissors menus, the music is better,the story is better, the world is grander, and on and on. Every single thing I can think of about that game is just better. And unlike so many JRPGs, Suikoden 2 doesn't have a slow start. Shit gets real immediately. I love, love, love it.

#7 Posted by Marokai (3176 posts) -

I played Suikoden 2 for the first time in 2009 and absolutely fell in love.

#8 Edited by Marokai (3176 posts) -

The PS4 version addresses both of those issues, and I’ve stuck with my mouse and keyboard since upgrading. FFXIV’s gamepad controls are about as good as they could possibly be, but the nature and complexity of MMOs is such that the flexibility of the keyboard and mouse make me feel significantly more capable and nimble. I can target quicker and more consistently, assign important spells to the keys immediately surrounding WASD, type messages in the midst of battle, and navigate menus (particularly multiple simultaneously-opened menus) much more gracefully.

It's funny to hear this, because I'm pretty much doing the opposite; I grabbed the PC version and am stubbornly sticking to gamepad controls. I've spent hundreds of hours using a controller in this game and just simply can't un-learn how to play the game with it after so much time on the Ps3. Each time I've tried using mouse and keyboard controls I've felt so much slower, which is odd considering as a Scholar I also have the fairy to tote around, but I just can't bring myself to play any other way.

It’s my impression that MMO design essentially requires a large degree of filler – if they were streamlined the way most contemporary single-player games are streamlined, people wouldn’t stick around, and achievements wouldn’t feel weighty. I’m starting to catch glimpses of the various currencies, reputation meters, and timers governing access to end-game gear, and while I’m not yet sure if they’ll be enough to keep me hooked, I do think I understand the design motivations behind them.

Upgrading your Relic will break you, because it broke me just by looking at a list of requirements. Getting the Relic was actually really fun, and upgrading to ilvl 90 took no time at all, but after that the bullshit starts, where you have to start farming for items from (literally) a dozen different zones by doing FATEs and just hoping the item you need drops. It can take hours per item, and that's probably the easier part compared to what comes after. I'm getting my weapon to ilvl 100 and saying "fuck it" to the rest. I have more important things to focus on in that game.

I quickly threw Regen on the tank, crossed my fingers, and cast an 8-second (an eternity in the context of a boss fight), MP-expensive Raise on him.

Duder, level up THM to 26 for Swiftcast, I can't recommend it enough. I don't know how I would get along without it at this point. (also, neener neener, Scholars rarely ever run out of MP)

#9 Posted by Marokai (3176 posts) -

Again I think this proves that the American market is more loyal to price than to brand. Good on them, though. Maybe this will get Sony to step up their game.

#10 Posted by Marokai (3176 posts) -

I'm also disturbed by the amount of people who say "rape is a serious thing to be handled with care" and thereby implicitly stating gun violence is somehow not serious or doesn't affect peoples lives as severely. Over 100,000 people in the US each year are injured or killed by guns, and each of their lives and their family's lives are hurt by this. I've had multiple people hold guns aimed at me and it's a horrifying, pants-shitting moment that sticks with you and makes you feel queasy when you think back to it, but I feel no desire to hold game developers to an obligation to treat everything as deathly seriously as an after-school-special.