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dwgill

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@thehbk said:

I started to think back... why didn't I get to play as Snake in MGS2? Why are the bosses in MGS2 so fucking lame. A fat guy on roller skates? A whiny chick who wants to die? A vampire? Sure MGS1 had a psychic but it didn't seem lame he could read minds, as a character he was neat. Sniper Wolf was probably my favorite. And Snake most of all, dude was badass. That Tanker mission was perfect and just pissed me off that we missed out on a great Solid Snake experience. I started to hate what MGS became later. Just trying to be crazier and crazier and making no sense. MGS3 and 4 just made it worse. Guy made of bees, fighting a ghost, a retarded plot about the Boss defecting that makes no sense from a just get it done perspective. Playing as an old Solid Snake who is not as cool as an old Clint Eastwood. And the twist in the story about the Patriots. Dumb. And now MGS5 with robot arms and disappearing chicks who dont talk. It just pushed me away. I think MGS1 is something special. It had the right mix of crazy and espionage story telling. Military sprinkled with some fantastical elements and great characters. Kojima sucks at telling stories and I think he just got lucky with MGS1.

This just makes me feel that MGS1 is just a crazy lightning-in-a-bottle synthesis between 1980s American action films and quintessential anime self-serious flamboyance. Does that make any sense to anybody else?

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dwgill

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I just want to say this is really cool and thank you for making it because hey it's really cool.

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@corevi said:
@nickhead said:

I agree with her video series feeling rigid, but also it seems appropriate. I've only watched a few parts, so I'm not well versed. The most recent ones, (I think were the "women as background objects"?), were pretty interesting. I played a fair amount of the games she talked about, and never noticed the problems she discusses. For the most part, very informative. Just occasionally they felt somewhat exaggerated.

A good example was something from Far Cry 3. She showed a clip of a man harassing a women (a prostitute) for not giving him money or something. I recently played the game, saw this happen, and yes it was a background tidbit. But the setting of the game was this hellish island where the natives are ruled by pirates. Prostitution would almost certainly exist and be terrible. Am I wrong for thinking it was...appropriate? I do feel her point is important though.

That's my problem with her videos. She presents situations without giving proper context and condemns them based on what they are in a vacuum, not how they fit into the game as a whole.

I feel the critique is still warranted even in context, however. The overruling issue she wishes to here highlight is that the very ludonarrative vernacular which we are actively using to articulate that a setting or context is "hellish" or otherwise dystopian is excessively dominated by images of female suffering and exploitation. The problem isn't that Far Cry 3 employed a portrayal of severe female degradation to communicate the fallen state of its setting; the problem is the sheer ubiquity of such scenes across games in general and the relative paucity of depictions to the contrary.

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#6  Edited By dwgill

@brodehouse:

Going forward, I think it would be useful here to distinguish both the sincere & earnest engagement & exchange of ideas from the mere consumption of media & stimulation through entertainment, and the parts of our identity we'd truly consider core from the elements we'd dismiss if push ever came to shove.

But if I may indulge a tangent for a moment, I find it interesting that we as a society at least seem to be moving towards this disposition that what religious belief one possesses is a purely genetic inclination, where his or her preference in media and pop culture is certainly only the product of an abstract, isolated individual's preference. So far as I could be religious, it would be because I must have 'inherited' it from my parents, but my appreciation for Lady Gaga and Air Force Gator would be exclusively because I am an abstract, idealized individual, free from outside influence or bias, having preferences almost platonic in their purity. Setting aside the sarcasm, with apologies if I offended there with, I mean only to here suggest that it is not a little disingenuous to dismiss religion and politics as something so predetermined and immutable for us as to render them factors over which we have no control while at the same time heralding pop culture as our one true expression of radical freedom. Indeed, let me remind you we are discussing a medium and its associated industry which drops millions and millions of dollars on advertising as readily as one does the metaphorical hat, and every one of those dollars directed towards effecting an interest in individuals like ourselves. Why do you think the #jointheconversation buzzword is so prominent? These industries have made billion dollar businesses of manufacturing this passion and resonance and the community which that passion creates and the identity which that resonance instills.

Now understand that I do not mean to delegitimize the sincerity of our appreciation for media. But don't for a moment suppose it is meaningfully less genetically fallible than the tacky old immutable identities you may or may not be inclined to dismiss. In the end, I am still left convinced there are things more worthy than others of being elevated to the core of our identity. I seem to have given the impression that resonant ideas and moving mediums of expression are not worthy of being considered significant. I apologize for my failure in communication. Let me clarify my thoughts on identity.

There are some elements of our experience which I would argue are so central that to remove them would compromise our very conception of ourselves. That is to say, X is so important to me that I would have a enormously hard time recognizing myself as the same person without X. It is very easy to see how race could fit this sort of quality, since altering one's race would so transmogrify their life experience thitherto—in America, at least. You might dispute how well nationality fits this bill, but I would caution against mistaking any identity as insubstantial sheerly for being difficult to articulate. I was reading George Orwell's essay England Your England recently. He's writing in the middle of the blitz, perhaps at a time where England has never been more struck by nationalistic fervor, and still he struggles enormously to articulate this general sense of Englishness:

Then the vastness of England swallows you up, and you lose for a while your feeling that the whole nation has a single identifiable character. Are there really such things as nations? Are we not forty-six million individuals, all different? And the diversity of it, the chaos! The clatter of clogs in the Lancashire mill towns, the to-and-fro of the lorries on the Great North Road, the queues outside the Labour Exchanges, the rattle of pin-tables in the Soho pubs, the old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning – all these are not only fragments, but characteristic fragments, of the English scene. How can one make a pattern out of this muddle?

But talk to foreigners, read foreign books or newspapers, and you are brought back to the same thought. Yes, there is something distinctive and recognizable in English civilization. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain. It is somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes. It has a flavour of its own. Moreover it is continuous, it stretches into the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature. What can the England of 1940 have in common with the England of 1840? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece? Nothing, except that you happen to be the same person.

Anyhow, I suppose what I mean is to question just what it looks like for a hobby or medium to legitimately overtake someone's identity to the degree a lot of these historic institutions have in the past. I will not call Socrates irrational for being so devoted to a resonant idea, nor will I ridicule Renoir for finding a medium of expression so compelling. But I do not think we have yet seen what the gamer equivalent of these sorts would be; the kind of person so transfixed by the medium that he could not have existed at any point prior in all of history, or at the very least it would have been a tragedy had he been so prematurely born. At the very least, the demographic of hostile and abusive 'gamers' of which we see these many writers decrying and dismissing as toxic do not constitute any such example. They have not found what there is to find sacred in video games, and instead they have sanctified their mundane and vulgar qualities.

P.S. Apologies in advance for issues in spelling, grammar, and word choice. It's midnight here, and I have 5% battery left.

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In habitually labeling oneself as a 'gamer', you're establishing that as a predominate part of your identity. In my estimation it is this specific, pronounced identity that various writers have been recently dismissing in various outlets, and not simply the population that happens to partake in the activity of playing video games.

Personally, I find no value in making a hobby a core part of my identity. Indeed, I would need to be convinced it is not almost always deleterious to promote something so trivial as playing video games to a level of significance typically reserved for religion, gender, politics, race, nationality, etc.

It's safe to assume everyone on this board is incidentally a gamer, but I would worry about anyone here who would say he is in part or whole essentially a gamer. Because the moment games become that important is the moment critique can become blasphemy, and a video series on demographic representation can become as obscene as someone defacing the visage of your holy prophet.

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#8  Edited By dwgill

Is it me or has the podcast started running consistently longer since Brad became host? That alone makes him great in my book.

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What is Studio Ghibli without Miyazaki anyway?

They've certainly had very worthwhile films without Miyazaki manning the helm. Whisper of the Heart is probably one of my favorite films in any category, but unfortunately I understand the director for that work passed away shortly after its release. Also, I'll go to bat over From Up on Poppy Hill (directed by Miyazaki's son) any day, although that one has the advantage of Miyazaki himself writing the script.

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It seems like going on without Miyazaki is going to be inconceivably hard for the studio. From the outside looking in, Ghibli looks very much to fit the mold of those companies carried to success seemingly on the sheer force of their founders' personality/grit/genius/etc. Apple's going through that right now, and things would quite turbulent for that company if it didn't have a couple billion dollars to cushion things.

But hey, Disney had to figure out what to do after its founder died too, and things have certainly worked out well for it. I don't think it's a given Ghibli's going to close down or fade away into irrelevance, but doing otherwise is certainly going to be an exercise in threading the needle.