I Beg Of You, Do Not Play The Line

//Every fiber of me wants to post this without a spoiler warning, but I’m not actually capable of being that much of a dick. Spoilers ahead//

You may have heard that Spec Ops: The Line is an interesting game, and it is. You may be considering playing it. You may even have bought it. I am here to save you, and the whole of Dubai from that reckless action. You must not Play Spec Ops: The Line. I have already travelled down that dark path, and all I can do is send this message back to you in the hopes that I can redeem myself. But I know that I can’t. This is all I can do.

Your mission in The Line will not go as planned. You will burn 50 innocent people to death, you will destroy the remaining water supply, and you will kill the entire 33 platoon, who are only there to help. You will get your squadmates killed, you will doom the region, and you will be blamed for every drop of blood spilled as you work your way through Dubai. Not just by the developers, not just by the people within the game. By yourself.

“Surely there must be a way around those things” you might say. “They can’t design a game that gives me the ability to commit terrible acts without at least giving me some choice. I have paid 60 (or maybe 30) dollars, why would Yager want to punish me and all of those innocent people for supporting their company?”

But there isn’t. There is not choice that you can make within the game that will prevent you from killing thousands of people needlessly. Whether this was to make a point, or to grab headlines, or merely out of sadistic pleasure, I don’t know. What I do know is that The Line traps you and forces you to do terrible things. Perhaps you will choose to put the blood of Dubai on Yager’s hands. I leave that to you, and your god if you have one, to sort out.

Whether or not you blame the developer, you are still making the choice. I am warning you now, you have no excuse. At the very end of the game I was reminded that my original mission was recon and nothing more. That I was to exit the region once I found survivors.It's too late for me, but you can select that option from where you are sitting. Don’t put the disc in your console. Don’t download the game from Steam. The only way to save Dubai, is not to play.

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Edited by nintendoeats

//Every fiber of me wants to post this without a spoiler warning, but I’m not actually capable of being that much of a dick. Spoilers ahead//

You may have heard that Spec Ops: The Line is an interesting game, and it is. You may be considering playing it. You may even have bought it. I am here to save you, and the whole of Dubai from that reckless action. You must not Play Spec Ops: The Line. I have already travelled down that dark path, and all I can do is send this message back to you in the hopes that I can redeem myself. But I know that I can’t. This is all I can do.

Your mission in The Line will not go as planned. You will burn 50 innocent people to death, you will destroy the remaining water supply, and you will kill the entire 33 platoon, who are only there to help. You will get your squadmates killed, you will doom the region, and you will be blamed for every drop of blood spilled as you work your way through Dubai. Not just by the developers, not just by the people within the game. By yourself.

“Surely there must be a way around those things” you might say. “They can’t design a game that gives me the ability to commit terrible acts without at least giving me some choice. I have paid 60 (or maybe 30) dollars, why would Yager want to punish me and all of those innocent people for supporting their company?”

But there isn’t. There is not choice that you can make within the game that will prevent you from killing thousands of people needlessly. Whether this was to make a point, or to grab headlines, or merely out of sadistic pleasure, I don’t know. What I do know is that The Line traps you and forces you to do terrible things. Perhaps you will choose to put the blood of Dubai on Yager’s hands. I leave that to you, and your god if you have one, to sort out.

Whether or not you blame the developer, you are still making the choice. I am warning you now, you have no excuse. At the very end of the game I was reminded that my original mission was recon and nothing more. That I was to exit the region once I found survivors.It's too late for me, but you can select that option from where you are sitting. Don’t put the disc in your console. Don’t download the game from Steam. The only way to save Dubai, is not to play.

Posted by ch3burashka

This is tantamount to creepypasta.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

You should listen to that spoiler-cast GameSpot did with Jeff Gerstmann and the guy who wrote the game.

Moderator
Edited by nintendoeats

@MooseyMcMan: I will, in a month when I have a commute again. I don't really want to think about that game anymore for now.

EDIT: Which is why I'm probably going to wind up writing more about it.

Posted by cloudnineboya

ok i will not

Online
Posted by Rattle618

I killed them... I killed them all.

I didn´t feel too bad about it though, I guess Im a psychopath.

Posted by falserelic

Its just a game dude.

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

It's a videogame. You do realize you're not actually killing people, right?

Posted by DoctorWelch

Um...you do know that it's a video game right? You aren't actually killing those people in real life.

I thought this was going to be a complaint that the hype about the games somewhat fucked up story development over time isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Instead you're acting like it's this big deal. So now I'm thinking maybe the fucked up story development is actually meaningful in some way. Either way I'll probably never play this game, but it's interesting to see people making a big deal out of what seems like the whole "No Russian" mission taken to the next logical step.

Posted by Hairy_Fish

I think the developers have done a great job if they made a shooter in 2012 were you are uncomfortable shooting people. Unfortunately this thread has only made me want to play it more.

Posted by Phatmac

I implore people to avoid this and play it for themselves. Just buy it for cheap or rent it and experience what it does right. It isn't a great or even good game, but it does what it intends to do with great effect.

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

@DoctorWelch said:

Um...you do know that it's a video game right? You aren't actually killing those people in real life.

Hey! You stole my line!

Posted by DoctorWelch

@PrivateIronTFU said:

@DoctorWelch said:

Um...you do know that it's a video game right? You aren't actually killing those people in real life.

Hey! You stole my line!

Hey! You stole my line!

Posted by nintendoeats

The previous is intended as a commentary on the concept of a game in which the only sensible player choice is to stop playing it. It is the developer intention that we react with disgust at out own actions, I am merely following their goal to its logical conclusion.

Posted by Revan_NL

Good god man, what have you been smoking? Must be some killer weed, or did you sniff The Line?

Posted by casper_

im kind of more interested now as its very rare for a game to put you into morally upsetting situations

Posted by TheHumanDove

ok I will turn 360 degrees and walk away

Posted by Kaiserhawk

I'm more offended by a 4-5 hour campaign.

Posted by Animasta

hope you didn't play Nier then

Edited by nintendoeats

@Kaiserhawk: The only way it could have been longer is if they gave you more upstanding American soldiers to murder.

Posted by jorbear

K

Posted by casper_

@nintendoeats: im not sure what you want from the game. would have rather it have been the standard clear cut good guy shooter where you murder thousands of people but there are no moral repercussions? you have no choice in those games either. this game is clearly a reaction to those kinds of stories in games and whether or not it is well done i think its a good thing to shake up the status quo a bit.

Edited by CornBREDX

I'm surprised you haven't listened to the Podcast they did on Gamespot as you seem to get what they were going for.

I think the game is great, and more games should attempt to challenge the player to think about real world issues. I worry a little that means they would get more preachy, and that is possible. But in the end all I care about is stories I enjoyed. Spec Ops the Line is one I don't think I'll forget, much like Apocalypse Now, Platoon, or Black Hawk Down. It has things I can relate to (not entirely but the moral I guess? I dont know how to explain myself, bleh) and is a story I appreciate.

Whenever you do listen to that podcast, your mind may or may not be blown. That's all I'm gonna say.

Posted by nintendoeats

@casperhertzog: I am on record as saying that there is a bond of trust between players and designers. By forcing the players to do things, and later punishing them for it, Yeager has violated that trust. Interesting as that may be, It's something recommendable only as an academic exercise or commentary, and not as an entertainment product.

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

@DoctorWelch said:

@PrivateIronTFU said:

@DoctorWelch said:

Um...you do know that it's a video game right? You aren't actually killing those people in real life.

Hey! You stole my line!

Hey! You stole my line!

You got peanut butter in my chocolate!

Edited by Morrow

@nintendoeats:

Its just a game dude.

It's a videogame. You do realize you're not actually killing people, right?

Posted by nintendoeats

@CornBREDX: I'm pretty sure that I know EXACTLY what they were going for. They achieved it beautifully. But I ask you: do you believe that they should have wanted to do it at all?

Posted by SoldierG654342

You couldn't have failed more miserably at trying to convince me to not play this game.

Posted by CornBREDX

@nintendoeats: Based on real life experience, and the amount of military shooters these days- in my opinion yes. I think they should, but is the gaming populace ready to question these things? I dont know, some seem to be open to it. Others don't.

Posted by _Zombie_

Nah. Unlike yourself, I don't take video games so seriously. I'm still gonna play it when I get the chance.

Posted by nintendoeats

@CornBREDX: A fair position. Approximately as cynical as my own if I'm honest >_>

Posted by BraveToaster

I want to read this to see your reasons for this, but I don't want to spoil the story if those reasons aren't good.

Posted by casper_

@nintendoeats: i dont know man i guess i'm willing to accept that you and i have differing opinions as to what is considered an "entertainment product". as for me it can be anything that is stimulating in an intellectual and/or emotional way. i really do think you are missing out though if your concept of art or "entertainment products" limits them to be things that never challenge your preconceived notions about the about the world or the form which they are part of.

Edited by nintendoeats

@casperhertzog: It's a bit more complicated than that if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant that The Line exists. It's interesting, well made, and actually accomplishes what it sets out to do. Where I get into difficulties is actually saying "this is a game that you should play." It is screaming out for you not to play it. It turns you into the thing that it hates. By choosing to play it, you are basically willfully becoming that which it is built to criticize.

And that makes it EVEN MORE interesting. Because they are interactive, video games have different sorts of limits. It's one thing to see somebody in a movie or book do bad things, it's quite another to do them yourself. At what point does that become unacceptable on a developer's part? What if somebody made a (profit-seeking) game that searched the internet for pictures of your family and then demanded that you shoot them to progress? Would that be acceptable practice?

Posted by CornBREDX

***For anyone reading this- just know I get spoilery- You are warned*****

I wish this thread had a spoiler tag =P

@nintendoeats: I would counter your comment here:

@casperhertzog: I am on record as saying that there is a bond of trust between players and designers. By forcing the players to do things, and later punishing them for it, Yeager has violated that trust. Interesting as that may be, It's something recommendable only as an academic exercise or commentary, and not as an entertainment product.

Maybe it's just perspective, but when you watch a good movie is the director wrong for making you believe the focus was not actually a good person and lied to the audience about that as much as he does to the characters within the story?

Is not that act of betrayal one that all of us can relate to and also upon reflection opens us up to understanding a greater sense of the world?

In my opinion it's a good thing because it forces us (often subconsciously) to discuss something we wouldn't necessarily discuss or think about. In this case, the fact that Americans can and do terrible things- not just to our enemies but also to ourselves. I feel the responsibility lies most on how the story is unfolded and what the conversation it creates is more so then if they do things subversively. That's what I think anyway.

Posted by Landon

Gonna watch a lets play right now.

Posted by Ares42

@DoctorWelch said:

Um...you do know that it's a video game right? You aren't actually killing those people in real life.

I thought this was going to be a complaint that the hype about the games somewhat fucked up story development over time isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Instead you're acting like it's this big deal. So now I'm thinking maybe the fucked up story development is actually meaningful in some way. Either way I'll probably never play this game, but it's interesting to see people making a big deal out of what seems like the whole "No Russian" mission taken to the next logical step.

It's not. Anyone with any sense would come to the same conclusion that (thank god) several other people in this thread has come to, it's just a game. And like any other shooter out there it does a pretty damn good job at reminding you you're playing a game. How anyone would get emotionally affected by the game without being completely ignorant or pretentious about it is beyond me. The game has good character development and nice twists and turns etc, but you're still spending an awful lot of time sitting behind some random waist-heigth object and popping out to try to get headshots.

Posted by nintendoeats

@CornBREDX: There is a big difference between interactive and non-interactive media as I said above. However, there might be another interesting point here: I'm NOT American and I've lived in Qatar (which is quite a bit like Dubai, and will be the subject of a later blog post). That makes for a pretty big perspective change. Maybe it is healthy for an American to play The Line, especially one with leanings towards military action. Of course that attitude risks getting a bit racist, and it's not as though there aren't Canadians who want to "bomb the bastards". Granted, I can't think of any that I've met...but I'm sure that they exist.

Posted by casper_

@nintendoeats said:

What if somebody made a (profit-seeking) game that searched the internet for pictures of your family and then demanded that you shoot them to progress? Would that be acceptable practice?

this helps me understand your stance much better. while i do believe that it would be acceptable practice (and possibly valuable to society in some way) it is one that i personally would not be emotionally prepared/want to partake in.

Edited by CornBREDX

@nintendoeats: I suppose, but what I really mean to reflect is that subversion is not wrong because its used in a game. I mean- it's been done before, but never to this degree (not sure, but I don't think anyone would debate that).

Wherever your from doesnt entirely matter (having been to alot of parts of the world, including yours =) I know cultures may change perspective), if you've lived through something where you had to do things because of what was in front of you, and understand that choices are much more grey and can not always align with your morals- some anyway may understand why this conversation is important (I think even you agree with that).

You say because it is interactive this makes it much more diabolical they would do that, but in so doing you hated you were forced to and then are already part of the conversation- even if it's to the extent that you think it should not have been done and want to dissuade others from experiencing it.

I guess where we disagree is I think games can be more, and can start this level of discussion, and you (possibly) would rather it did not.

Posted by nintendoeats

@CornBREDX: On the contrary, I think we're on different paragraphs on the same page here. I take video games very VERY seriously. In fact, I'm working towards being a game designer and narratives are my primary interest. That's why I think that it's important to realize that making a game in which you criticize the player for doing things that you made them do is a design choice that needs a lot of discussion. In fact, this post really is more of a criticism of that design choice than an actual warning (though jeez, shit in that game is FUCKED UP).

I completely agree that this sort of thing is important and worth discussing. Where I have an issue is that this specific implementation has to be used very sparingly. We've done the experiment with The Line, now we should learn from that and only use that specific tactic when it's really necessary.

Posted by CornBREDX

@nintendoeats: Ya, I believe we are in agreement for the most part there. My only difference to you is I think it was done well in the game and you (just from what I understand) think they actually "crossed a line" and did not need to.

I'm still unsure if the revelations in the spoilercast would mean much to you but I would like to hear your thoughts again after you have heard it.

I don't have much more to add anymore, but I enjoyed this discussion =)

Posted by nintendoeats

@CornBREDX: We are very much on the same page. I will make the spoilercast a priority and report back upon completing it.

Posted by Klei

@nintendoeats:

It's Yager, not Yeager. It's also a fiction reminiscent of The Heart of Darkness. It's also a good game, and... only a video game.

Posted by nintendoeats

@Klei said:

@nintendoeats:

It's Yager, not Yeager. It's also a fiction reminiscent of The Heart of Darkness. It's also a good game, and... only a video game.

So it is, I know, and I think that video games are better when you treat them as important things.

Posted by Klei

@nintendoeats said:

@Klei said:

@nintendoeats:

It's Yager, not Yeager. It's also a fiction reminiscent of The Heart of Darkness. It's also a good game, and... only a video game.

So it is, I know, and I think that video games are better when you treat them as important things.

Also, by the end of the game, you very much have a choice to decide the outcome of the Hell created ( even if not entirely ) by Walker.

Posted by nintendoeats

@Klei: Howso? From what I could tell you were only able to decide between killing yourself or not killing yourself.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

It's a videogame, you sound like you have issues discerning reality from fiction.

If you don't want people to play the game, just tell them it's a horribly generic modern military third person shooter snorefest. That's what put me off after playing it for a bit.

Posted by nintendoeats

@rebgav:Yeah, I don't think that any of that has any impact on my point.

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