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  1. #2361
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    It's another of these things where there wont be an ideal system, even if you abolish private schools then there will be a natural geographical imbalance where people who can afford to live in affluent areas will benefit from the attached school which will be likely to have higher quality teaching (this sort of tiered effect can already be seen in some areas). Of course this is mainly a problem in cities which are perhaps compact enough that you could enforce schools to take in a certain portion of pupils from less affluent catchment areas or there might be some other clever way around this.

    For me I grew up in an area which was remote enough to have one choice of school, then there's an extent where quality of the school is determined by how good the head teacher/staff are and will always vary up and down a bit. Think it worked well enough though there was a wide range of ability of kid there who have gone on to a wide range of different jobs/lifestyles, seems fair enough to me.

  2. #2362
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    Calling it now, Zephro and ChippyTea are one man's attempts to solve the war within himself via the medium of a single thread on the RPS forums. It's like our very own version of Fight Club!
    I was thinking it's more Smťagol/Gollum.
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  3. #2363
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    So, having THOUGHTS about videogames that might best go in this thread, and one of the many, many reasons that I think we need more women in videogames. We've covered all the basic ones, like 'it's the right thing to do' and stuff, and either you agree with that or you don't.

    So now I'm gonna give another reason why it bugs the snot out of me.

    I hate Strong Male Characters.

    Of all things in this world, there's few things more stultifyingly dull than JUSTICE HONORMAN. A plain fact of this videogame industry is that not only are most games shoddily written, they are whole new levels of bad when it comes to writing male characters. Absolutely absymal. I look forward to videogames with more women characters simply because those games tend to have characters that aren't about how rectangular their jaws are or just how big their boner for honour, duty, justice, and the american way is. It's horrific. I might even be writing with a sort of hyperbolic tone, but I'm reasonably sure I mean this entirely. I actually look forward to women characters more because on the whole they're just better written.

    And of course, exceptions exist. There's so many videogames I don't doubt plenty of exceptions exist. But by and large I'm rarely surprised when I see a stereotypical beefcake and he's dull as fucking dishwater. And he's apparently meant to narratively and emotionally carry the game. Snore.

  4. #2364
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    So, having THOUGHTS about videogames that might best go in this thread, and one of the many, many reasons that I think we need more women in videogames. We've covered all the basic ones, like 'it's the right thing to do' and stuff, and either you agree with that or you don't.

    So now I'm gonna give another reason why it bugs the snot out of me.

    I hate Strong Male Characters.

    Of all things in this world, there's few things more stultifyingly dull than JUSTICE HONORMAN. A plain fact of this videogame industry is that not only are most games shoddily written, they are whole new levels of bad when it comes to writing male characters. Absolutely absymal. I look forward to videogames with more women characters simply because those games tend to have characters that aren't about how rectangular their jaws are or just how big their boner for honour, duty, justice, and the american way is. It's horrific. I might even be writing with a sort of hyperbolic tone, but I'm reasonably sure I mean this entirely. I actually look forward to women characters more because on the whole they're just better written.

    And of course, exceptions exist. There's so many videogames I don't doubt plenty of exceptions exist. But by and large I'm rarely surprised when I see a stereotypical beefcake and he's dull as fucking dishwater. And he's apparently meant to narratively and emotionally carry the game. Snore.
    I think that's more becasue it's the default character than anything else. Writers who take on female leads typically are actively moving away from the default character archetype. I think there are as many examples of male leads who are not Justice Honorman as there are examples of good female characters and perhaps more.
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  5. #2365
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I think that's more becasue it's the default character than anything else.
    The question you should be asking yourself is, then, WHY IS IT THE DEFAULT CHARACTER.

    All these games want to be viewed as art but are fucking phoning it in with paint-by-numbers asshattery that exposes not only their intellectual apathy but also their moral bankruptcy.

    And I'm honestly surprised that you're saying, "but there are good female leads too," considering we just watched three videos that pointed out in no uncertain terms that, no, really, there aren't. Not like we have Brooding Crew-Cut White Male All-American Action Hero Man.
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  6. #2366
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    The question you should be asking yourself is, then, WHY IS IT THE DEFAULT CHARACTER.
    Calm the hell down. I wasn't excusing it. I was musing. I think I've said plenty on the matter so jumping down my throat about excusing bad female characters when I've made the exact argument you're making countless times in this thread is just silly.

    I wasn't arguing against Serenegoose's premise for posting. Just playing around with the structure of the idea. Further, I think bad tropes are problems of aggregate not problems of the specific. A bad trope does not a bad character make. Also my point was that I believe, differently than Serenegoose according to that post, that there are just as many non-boring male characters as non-boring female characters--they're just both outnumbered by boring male characters. I know very well that last bit is a problem and I'm very, very interested in why it's a problem hence me still being in this thread.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 23-08-2013 at 10:19 PM.
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  7. #2367
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post

    All these games want to be viewed as art but are fucking phoning it in with paint-by-numbers asshattery that exposes not only their intellectual apathy but also their moral bankruptcy.
    Not that I don't want characters other than mr action man but telling story is not the only form of art. A game could have a dire story but still be artistically made in the level design department/music/world building. Not that I am saying the likes of call of duty qualify for any of that :p

    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I think I've said plenty on the matter so jumping down my throat
    But Nalano fills the loud internet moral authority figure found on most forums who shouts others down even if they are agreeing with him O.o
    Last edited by Lone Gunman; 23-08-2013 at 10:26 PM.

  8. #2368
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Gunman View Post
    Not that I don't want characters other than mr action man but telling story is not the only form of art. A game could have a dire story but still be artistically made in the level design department/music/world building. Not that I am saying the likes of call of duty qualify for any of that :p
    I think it's safe to say that graphical fidelity intricate enough to allow me to count the sweatdrops on my enemy's brow is the art direction equivalent of BCCWMAAAHM, to say nothing of the staples of gritty urban warzone and medieval fantasy Wales for level design.

    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Calm the hell down. I wasn't excusing it. I was musing. I think I've said plenty on the matter so jumping down my throat about excusing bad female characters when I've made the exact argument you're making countless times in this thread is just silly.
    You sure? You came out and said that when they do female characters it's explicitly to break the norm. They're still working within the confines of the norm. It's the same thing where you see the inevitable evolution of one token trope to its opposite token trope - of submissive women, for instance, to dragon ladies.

    With our BCCWMAAAHM, its male opposite is the mysterious anti-hero and its female opposite is the ultra-snarky sassy chick. Both of these are hackneyed and overdone, which is kinda the point of the intellectual apathy argument: These asshats are so far behind the times that even when they think they're doing great things it comes off as trite and dumb. Tomb Raider and Far Cry 3 come to mind.
    Last edited by Nalano; 23-08-2013 at 10:36 PM.
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  9. #2369
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I think it's safe to say that graphical fidelity intricate enough to allow me to count the sweatdrops on my enemy's brow is the art direction equivalent of BCCWMAAAHM, to say nothing of the staples of gritty urban warzone and medieval fantasy Wales for level design.
    So what are you saying? That all games look the same?

    @Nathanh

    You make good points and I don't actively hate anyone who does what you say. I just wish things were fairer. I am a but ideological about stuff, just part of who I am. I need hope that things could be made better because other wise what would be the point?
    Last edited by Lone Gunman; 23-08-2013 at 10:37 PM.

  10. #2370
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I think it's safe to say that graphical fidelity intricate enough to allow me to count the sweatdrops on my enemy's brow is the art direction equivalent of BCCWMAAAHM.
    Doesn't that depend entirely on the style? Fidelity alone is a small piece of the pie. Roman statuary didn't always take especially artistic liberties with it's subject matter, though 3D scanners require a lot less skill than a chisel to manipulate. Point being, an artistic touch is perfectly compatible with high-fidelity graphics. It just usually doesn't come along for the ride.

    I'm also fairly sure artistic level design isn't so much about the aesthetic as the integration between the navigation mechanics, the available paths, the enemy placement, and on and on. Aesthetic integration is more important to level design than aesthetic originality.
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  11. #2371
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Gunman View Post
    So what are you saying? That all games look the same?
    I'm saying they suck in other aspects, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Doesn't that depend entirely on the style?
    Oftentimes fidelity is mistaken for style. I can no longer tell AAA MMMs apart anymore.

    Other times flashy effects are mistaken for style. I've played MMOs enough to know that after a while everything just looks like a rave party on acid and there's no actual information on the screen except in overlays that display buttons and health bars.

    There are very few games on the market with actual style, simply because there are very few developers who pay attention and don't rely on tropes like crutches.

    I was reiterating and emphasizing the fact that this intellectual and artistic bankruptcy is also moral bankruptcy and saying "they're just unaware of the context" is not only blindingly obvious but ultimately no statement at all as it implies that they haven't yet been educated to said context when in fact they have and thus have no excuse. It's not just blindness; it's willful blindness.

    I'm not shouting you down because I think you're wrong of heart, I just think your tactics are ineffective and your musings need to be brought up to speed so that they may be effective.
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  12. #2372
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    You sure? You came out and said that when they do female characters it's explicitly to break the norm. They're still working within the confines of the norm. It's the same thing where you see the inevitable evolution of one token trope to its opposite token trope - of submissive women, for instance, to dragon ladies.
    I think we've miscommunicated. My point was not that it's done in order to break the norm. But that it is often done in norm-breaking context. Mirror's Edge is an excellent example. When you make a super serious shooty-bang, there's extra pressure to fall into hackneyed male character types instead of hackneyed female character types. When you leave that space intentionally, there's less to pressure you into having a male lead.

    Bad characters are here to stay. And it's not because all writers are intellectually lazy; it's genuinely quite difficult to make characters that feel original and interesting even as a professional who does this sort of thing on a regular basis. It's all relative and the standout characters that really move us are ... well, always going to be rare standouts no matter what the state of the medium's baseline. Short of only perusing the top .01% of all media, you're going to encounter repetitive tropes and hackneyed characters. This isn't always a bad thing so long as the success of the product does not rely on how original and innovative the characters feel and how far they stray from archetype. Sentimentalism has it's place. Camp has it's place. Archetype has it's place. This might seem very trite, but your complaints were also trite so I'm not sure what you expect.

    Oftentimes fidelity is mistaken for style. I can no longer tell AAA MMMs apart anymore.

    Other times flashy effects are mistaken for style. I've played MMOs enough to know that after a while everything just looks like a rave party on acid and there's no actual information on the screen except in overlays that display buttons and health bars.

    There are very few games on the market with actual style, simply because there are very few developers who pay attention and don't rely on tropes like crutches.
    I agree, but I don't think there's a solution to that. I don't think we're ever going to have a medium that's mostly high quality stuff. Calling this artistic bankruptcy seems naive to me. There's room for improvement, and there are social and moral complications involved in terms of how women interface with games both in-fiction and out. Not sure there's much point in decrying how generally awful all games are, though. Constructive criticism usually needs to be more specific. If we want the whole medium to evolve we can't very well say "fix everything" because then we're not setting priorities.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 23-08-2013 at 11:17 PM.
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  13. #2373
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I don't think there's a solution to that. I don't think we're ever going to have a medium that's mostly high quality stuff. Calling this artistic bankruptcy seems naive to me. There's room for improvement, and there are social and moral complications involved in terms of how women interface with games both in-fiction and out. Not sure there's much point in decrying how generally awful all games are, though. Constructive criticism usually needs to be more specific. If we want the whole medium to evolve we can't very well say "fix everything" because then we're not setting priorities.
    "Try to subvert / rework / deepen tropes" is a priority, is it not? Change and inspiration can come from many levels, not just precise, technical, or narrow ones. We'll always have less cream than watery milk, but I think it's defeatist to accede to this reality because we don't have a pithy plan of action for improving things. Broad condemnation can be effective especially in people's formative years; I encountered such criticism in my youthful "fuck everyone" phase and it shaped my current worldview. See also interesting industry veterans' opinions of Old Man Murray; reactions to its sweeping excorciations led many to deliberately try trend-bucking.

    What is e.g. "just throw more polys at it" if not a form of bankruptcy? What are a hundred fungible yarns in nationalistic shooters? These towel-tossing / money-chasing "fuck it, it works" norms are perhaps inevitable given the state of our culture, but that doesn't mean we should bow to cynicism and accept them unless we have pithy, granular critiques. Does it? Maybe I'm just a dolt.

    "The baseline is shit, ya'll; get used to it." No, I say! Fuck that! Allow me to consult my dictionary of cliches for the appropriate aphorism. Here we are:

    There ought to be some upward with our onward.

    Adapted with due credit from James Russell Lowell:

    "New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
    They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
    Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
    Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
    Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key."


    That was about slavery antecedent to the American Civil War but it's applicable to any shit norm, I would say. Lowell, fwiw, was an inspiration to Mencken, who inspired countless American writers and is now inspiring me.
    Last edited by Jambe; 24-08-2013 at 03:23 AM.
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  14. #2374
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    The question you should be asking yourself is, then, WHY IS IT THE DEFAULT CHARACTER.
    We've been over this. Because the lead is also usually a fighter of some sort, and those were overwhelmingly male through the ages.

    You, of course, will call that patriarchal brainwashing or something equally ridiculous. But the truth is most games simply borrow heavily from the real world. You might as well ask WHY DO I ALWAYS PLAY AS A HUMAN or WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE SWORD AND THE AK47.

    And why is he usually "justice honorman"? First of all people generally don't want to write rapists and murderers. Second of all evil raises age rating which lowers sales.

  15. #2375
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Bad characters are here to stay. And it's not because all writers are intellectually lazy; it's genuinely quite difficult to make characters that feel original and interesting even as a professional who does this sort of thing on a regular basis. It's all relative and the standout characters that really move us are ... well, always going to be rare standouts no matter what the state of the medium's baseline. Short of only perusing the top .01% of all media, you're going to encounter repetitive tropes and hackneyed characters. This isn't always a bad thing so long as the success of the product does not rely on how original and innovative the characters feel and how far they stray from archetype. Sentimentalism has it's place. Camp has it's place. Archetype has it's place.

    [...]

    I agree, but I don't think there's a solution to that. I don't think we're ever going to have a medium that's mostly high quality stuff. Calling this artistic bankruptcy seems naive to me. There's room for improvement, and there are social and moral complications involved in terms of how women interface with games both in-fiction and out. Not sure there's much point in decrying how generally awful all games are, though. Constructive criticism usually needs to be more specific. If we want the whole medium to evolve we can't very well say "fix everything" because then we're not setting priorities.
    I see: Now I understand where you're coming from.

    You speak from a position of utter complacency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mohorovicic View Post
    We've been over this. Because the lead is also usually a fighter of some sort, and those were overwhelmingly male through the ages.

    You, of course, will call that patriarchal brainwashing or something equally ridiculous. But the truth is most games simply borrow heavily from the real world. You might as well ask WHY DO I ALWAYS PLAY AS A HUMAN or WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE SWORD AND THE AK47.

    And why is he usually "justice honorman"? First of all people generally don't want to write rapists and murderers. Second of all evil raises age rating which lowers sales.
    You, on the other hand, remain a goddamn moron. Why the fuck are you still here?
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  16. #2376
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    "Try to subvert / rework / deepen tropes" is a priority, is it not? Change and inspiration can come from many levels, not just precise, technical, or narrow ones. We'll always have less cream than watery milk, but I think it's defeatist to accede to this reality because we don't have a pithy plan of action for improving things. Broad condemnation can be effective especially in people's formative years; I encountered such criticism in my youthful "fuck everyone" phase and it shaped my current worldview. See also interesting industry veterans' opinions of Old Man Murray; reactions to its sweeping excorciations led many to deliberately try trend-bucking.
    I don't think it's defeatist to accede to "shit happens," so long as we're willing to exert pressure in the opposite direction. I'm not against what your saying exactly. Let me see if I can put this differently.

    The reason I don't think it's defeatist to accept that most stuff is going to be sub-par is that I don't mean it in a "90% of everything is awful becasue people are awful" way. I mean it becasue we're comparative by nature. We acclimatize. If everyone wrote like Marquez, Marquez wouldn't win a Nobel Prize and we wouldn't be very impressed by his writing because we'd be used to it. 90% of everything being kinda boring and/or bad isn't necessarily an artifact of shit performance by most people. It's a phenomenon of measurement that runs even deeper than the phenomenon of quality.

    So I think there's a second step we have to take. I don't think we can just say "this could be better, so let's shoot for the stars." Or even "this is a crap norm, let's do better." I think we have to look at why the norm is crap, and whether or not there's a more efficient way to elevate the aggregate than changing the norm. Taking into account that todays "good enough" is tomorrow's "this is a crap norm," and throwing out a developmental model of progress because developmental narratives don't make sense to me, I'm left wanting a bit more than "this is crap and everyone does it, so everyone's crap and we should fix that."

    I don't think "boring but high fidelity graphics", for example, meets a suitable standard of crap-for-crap reasons compared to "all of these protagonists are boring white nationalist pricks." I'm not concerned by the first one. I think there's a place for games that don't have a particularly definitive style. A lot of high-fidelity games are very messy and boring, but I think a number of them work quite well without ever being "artistic." They look nice, they look functional, and I don't think they're edging out artistically interesting games. I think we have a lot of passionate artists in the gaming industry and while I'd like to see more of them get bigger budgets, I don't see a case for general artistic bankruptcy.

    I simply disagree, there. I have more reasons for disagreeing, but it boils down to us looking at the same things and considering them of different importance and different quality.

    You speak from a position of utter complacency.
    I don't feel that way, but as you will. I'm not happy with the state of gender in games, I'm not happy with any number of other things. I don't, however, see the AAA blockbuster as inherently bad. I don't think high-fidelity "photo-realistic" graphics are a bad thing. I dislike the idea that simply because something is cliche it is bad and I don't think that it's possible to create original stories without cliches over and over en masse as an industry made up of independent entities that are not precisely controlled by a single creative overseer.

    I don't think it's defeatist or complacent to recognize that in any medium taken as aggregate, you're going to have an average and that average is going to seem disappointing. That doesn't mean we shouldn't change anything, but changing things isn't going to make anyone necessarily happier unless we think very carefully about how and where we exert creative change. Simply fixing everything that looks kinda boring or bad will lead us somewhere, but not everything that's "wrong" with mainstream gaming can be traced back to ethical and moral issues that, for any given person, have clearer "correct" answers. Fixing everything that's kinda bad and kinda boring doesn't necessarily lead us to something better. It simply leads us to a different status quo in which most of everything is kinda crap and kinda boring.

    We don't have the same taste, but as a critic I have just as many complaints as you do. I just don't believe they necessarily translate into missions for change for the industry as a whole. I don't think that makes me complacent, because it's not that I'm uninterested in change and criticism. I had lots of problems with the Mass Effect series, but I don't think it was on the whole a bad series. I guess, if anything, I'm an optimist. Feel free to insert naive if you want to. I have a much higher (lower?) standard for calling things bad and worthless, and am less willing to condemn anything in broad strokes. I'm as willing to enact change and speak for change, but less willing to condemn.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 24-08-2013 at 05:55 AM.
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    I feel like demanding an artistic improvement from the entirety of a medium is a recipe for bitter disappointment. Even people who try to make really good art fail, and it's completely possible (perhaps even easier) to make a lot of money just aiming for mediocre. It's a perfect recipe for Sturgeon's law. Which probably makes me even more defeatist and complacent than Gwathdring.

    Promoting equality might result in a few more JUSTICE HONORGIRLS, but I don't think it'll make the characters much better from an artistic perspective. I'd still call that a win, as long as it's not presented as "Look! This is the one lady in the world who's masculine enough to fight evil! In her three-inch heels and ultrocleavage!"

    And why is he usually "justice honorman"? First of all people generally don't want to write rapists and murderers. Second of all evil raises age rating which lowers sales.
    The claim that videogame protagonists are not murderers seems a bit strange. White man kills everything in front of him to save fridged lady is such a clichť, future archaeologists will think we worshipped the stubbly bastard.
    Last edited by Grey Cap; 24-08-2013 at 09:53 AM.

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    I hate to agree with gwathdring but 90% of everything is always going to be shit for exactly the reasons he laid out. Its not like this is unique to games. All media are 90% shit. Hell even many top quality shows have a ton of crap in them.

  19. #2379
    Quote Originally Posted by Mohorovicic View Post
    And why is he usually "justice honorman"? First of all people generally don't want to write rapists and murderers. Second of all evil raises age rating which lowers sales.
    Ermm... you can still create a "good" character who doesn't just spout patriotic propaganda. WHy exatcly must a protagonist always be morally squeaky clean? Have you checked the age rating of Cod? The biggest selling video game. *roles eyes*

  20. #2380
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Gunman View Post
    Ermm... you can still create a "good" character who doesn't just spout patriotic propaganda. WHy exatcly must a protagonist always be morally squeaky clean? Have you checked the age rating of Cod? The biggest selling video game. *roles eyes*
    Or say the main characters of all the greatest works of 20th Century fiction. Remember there are only 2 choices. Either a thing is true or something utterly opposite but extremely stupid. Nothing in between can exist.

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