Sunday, October 2, 2016

The figurative and literal dumbing down of video games

I barely play video games these days, and part of the reason is that I disapprove of publishers shoving a political agenda down my throat. Just look at The Last of Us or Uncharted 4! A related reason is that since gaming has become part of the mainstream there are just too many idiots involved in it. Case in point: look for a gaming forum online, or go to YouTube. You'll be surrounded by people who are unable to write properly or make a coherent argument, and then there is the SJW plague that has infested gaming journalism.


As a consequence, I avoid Western big budget games more or less completely. I also think very little of "indie games" made by talentless hacks with purple hair who fuck SJW "journalists" in order to get press coverage (cf. Zoe Quinn), or hacks who create "pixel art" games, not knowing that they know nothing about the art style they think they are aping. This is just a side note, but here is an example:


When I was a kid, gaming was a niche hobby. In Germany, a game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System cost up to 180 DM (yes, this was what you had to pay for Mortal Kombat II), which is around 90 Euros --- in the early 1990s. That's equivalent to around 150 Euros today, if not more. If your family didn't have much discretionary income, gaming just wasn't something you would have gotten exposed to. It was a luxury.

Fast forward a decade, and people could play "retro games" on their computers for free, using emulators. Because the average Joe has no real interests and is clueless, he used emulators with default settings, which resulted in something like the picture above on the left. The picture on the right he would have seen on a CRT TV, or if he had set up the emulator software properly in order to approximate the output of a CRT TV. Years later, plenty of Joes apparently started producing their own "indie" games, and with it came a flood of "pixel art" that looks like a caricature of the style two-dimensional games had back then. If you're interested, look up, for instance, Hyper Light Drifter as a modern example, and then the highly detailed genuine pixel art of games like Dodonpachi or Metal Slug.

But where am I going with this? Well, what else comes with the unwashed, uncritical masses? Uncritical thinking. By now we all know that video games are sexist and objectify women. Yet, in basically any game you can find, your task is to shoot down hundreds of white men. For some reason this is never a problem. Well, they are men, and they are white, and they have all the privilege in the world, so what's the big deal anyway? In the last few years, the discourse shifted considerably from the question how fun a game and its mechanics are to the artistic vision or the political statement a game makes. Games were no longer about developing particular skills but about how many hours you needed to sink in in order to see the credits. Failure was no longer even an option. Game X takes 20 hours to complete, even if you are a low-IQ leftist. In the olden days, if you didn't bother to properly learn a game's mechanics, chances are you would never complete it. In fact, in many older games you would encounter a wakeup-call boss that showed you that you had two options: getting your act together, or pester mommy to buy you yet another game. Today, we have video game journalists who can't even control an avatar in 3D space, like in the infamous DOOM clip from Polygon or esteemed gaming journalist Jim Sterling who rated one of the best action games of the last decade a 4/10 because he was too lazy (stupid?) to learn the controls. But, hey, if you write about games for a living you don't need to be able to play them properly, right? You even get to talk badly about a video game because it is "too gamey". What a time to be alive.

These days, it's apparently enough to have been exposed to leftist propaganda to be qualified to have an opinion. Considering how fantastic Resident Evil 4 was, I had been looking forward to the sequel. I didn't like it. What I liked even less was that there was suddenly a debate about Resident Evil 5 being "racist". It is set in Africa, and, for a change, you don't mow down white dudes, but black zombies. You are playing a white dude, so killing black dudes is racist. Makes sense, right? Years later, The Witcher III came out. I hadn't played an RPG for years, and since my impressions were good, I bought a PlayStation 4 just for that game. I liked it. What I didn't like was that you couldn't look for information online without coming across idiots who were bitching about the fact that a game set in Medieval Eastern Europe doesn't have representatives of a bajillion races and trannies by the bucketload in it.

After finishing The Witcher III I took a break from gaming for a while, but now that it's getting colder in my corner of the world, I've been looking for something new to play. I came across Mafia III, which is what inspired me to write this post. Through watching some footage online, I learnt that this game has a black protagonist who gets to kill lots and lots of white people in very gruesome ways. I saw another clip in which the hero was shooting a bunch of KKK members in the back. I was wondering whether this game was supposed to be a power trip for black guys, and SJWs, and feminists, and lesbians. According to online sources, Mafia III is supposed to use "racism as a gameplay mechanic", and they meant that the protagonist apparently is exposed to unpleasant reactions by characters in the game. Presumably you get to hear the N-word once or twice. The creators, however, seem to be completely oblivious to the implications of the behavior of the protagonist. If a white guy shooting down black zombies in Resident Evil 5 is bad, it surely is even worse to have a black protagonist massacre white people in Mafia III. Apparently this is an opinion you're not supposed to have. Well, I better look for some new Japanese games, then, because I take great mechanics and an excuse plot over the Western recipe of mediocre mechanics and a plot with an SJW stench any day of the week.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Keep in mind that comments are moderated.
(Also, if you’ve got a comment that is off-topic or only tangentially related to this article, then please post in the most recent Open Thread. Thank you.)






34 comments:

  1. I 100% appreciate you making this post, as it speaks to me. Gaming is fun and important to me, and I've felt this way for a long time about the incorporation of political views.

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  2. Unfortunately it's not just video games. Politics is now leaking into sports. It used to be at one time a sportscaster would be fired for bringing up politics since it was against policy, but now turn on ESPN and that's pretty much all they talk about, like how some coach is racist or some player feels his rights are being infringed on, etc. We also now have the politics leaking into the NFL with players taking a knee during the national anthem, etc. and the whole political statement made by the muslim fencer in this year's summer olympics, etc. The problem is the media glorifies all of this. They used to never show the singing of the national anthem at a football game on television unless it was the Super Bowl, but now it seems like they're showing it all the time just to see if players will take a knee and make them the central focus.

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  3. What is this pixelart you speak off? Roguelikes is where it is at. My most hated enemy will always be the '&'.

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    1. I'm aware of that genre, but haven't played any rougelike myself yet. Tales of Maj'Eyal is on my Steam wishlist, though. (Yes, I know that the developers offer a free download on their homepage.)

      What does '&.' represent? Is it Medusa, two enormous snakes, or a fire-spitting dragon?

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    2. Playing lots of ADOM, huh? There's lots of really shitty roguelikes out. A few good ones I would highly recommend:
      Dungeons of Dredmor
      Desktop Dungeons
      Faster Than Light
      Tales of Maj'Eyal
      Dungeonmans

      They're probably around $5 a pop these days

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  4. Aaron, I agree with you full-heartedly. Apart from severe dumbing down, social justice garbage is slowly creeping into video games. Large developers are seriously prioritizing the "inclusion" and "proper" portrayal of victim groups (blacks, LGBT, women) over such minor details like gameplay and overall enjoyment.

    As an example Mass Effect 3, a game that was rushed straight into oblivion by publisher, a game with one of the worst endings in video game history, a supposed role-playing game with no dialogs, exploration, proper quests, choice or skill system, a 2012 AAA title that literally had low quality 2D sprites straight from the first Doom STILL managed to include gay and lesbian squad mates, plenty of politically correct homosexual romances and even a transexual companion(!). The developer apparently focused on including this crap, instead of making a good game.

    As for Mafia III, one of the main mobster villains (Uncle Lou), the one the player black guy slices into pieces, bears an uncanny resemblance to one particular New York businessman.


    http://video-game-break.com/new-mafia-3-villain-shows-an-uncanny-resemblance-to-donald-trump/

    They are not even trying any more.

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    1. I was aware of the drama surrounding Mass Effect 3. That RPG series had been on my watch list, but I preferred waiting until that trilogy concluded before jumping in. In the end I didn't. I wasn't even aware of the SJW bullshit. What kept me from purchasing was the nonsense surrounding the ending, which apparently took almost no decisions of the player into account, even though the original promise of the developers was that your decision in even the first game would have repercussions in the last one. Oh, and I was furthermore incredibly put off by the decision to include that chick who became famous for licking a Sony PSP, Jessica Chobot. It's mind-boggling that this hack built a "career" off that.

      That Mafia III story arc is highly distasteful. I guess any resemblance with living persons is purely coincidental. Well, that's another publisher to ignore from now on. (The only upcoming Western game I consider purchasing is Rise of the Tomb Raider on PS4, but considering that Crystal Dynamics chose to give Lara smaller tits and generally made her a lot less sexy I'm on the fence.)

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    2. Play Mass Effect and its sequel. Skip the 3rd one.

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    3. If you think the Mass Effect 3 debacle was bad, check out one of the designers for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

      http://heatst.com/culture-wars/mass-effect-designer-manveer-heir-hates-white-people-and-wants-the-world-to-know/

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    4. Tomb Raider Reboot (first one) was excellent. Yet, there were some characters that were SJW (a fucking black masculine woman and a pussy feminine mangina). I enjoyed it anyway. I plan to buy the sequel too.

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    5. The gameplay of the Tomb Raider reboot is fantastic. I really liked the difficulty spike at the end, but maybe that was only because I didn't bother much with upgrading weapons. I enjoyed it very much on PS3, and just started a playthrough on PS4. I don't recall much of the story, to be honest, but remember that the males seemed weak and feminine. I don't like the forced diversity of the cast, but I'm down with putting a hot Asian chick in it.

      About Mass Effect: Andromeda. That article was ridiculous. I think I'm better off ignoring Western big budget games from now on. Still crossing my fingers for Rise of the Tomb Raider, though.

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  5. Gaming never appealed to me. I don't really know anything about its subculture and memes either.
    Yet this was interesting to read. That the effect of PC thinking and SJW infiltration has evrn permeated this part of the entertainment industry is quite telling. It seems as if intellectual self-castration is visible more or less anywhere.

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    1. Reader of this BlogOctober 4, 2016 at 5:03 AM

      Nice comment - i agree, I'm not into gaming but this discussion of PC-ism and SJW agenda being plastered into games is intriguing to read.

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    2. Yeah, it is. Still, my favourite of any sorts has always been CHESS. Preferreably played with a wooden board & figures. I do concede, that digital versions also have their advantages, though... ;)

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  6. How do you feel about strategy games and the total war series?

    I've always enjoyed that. Same goes with Cossacks

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    1. When I was a kid I liked playing Age of Empires, but I don't quite recall whether I played the first or second one. The Total War series is on my radar. I know people who love them and play them religiously, but I have yet to dive in. I may get Total War: Medieval II some time soon, though.

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  7. One of the fora I still frequent is RPGCodex.net, which is famous for honest and harsh critiques of modern games. They have a very lax moderation policy, which leads to overall a very anti-SJW, anti-feminist atmosphere. It's funny how sites with a lack of moderation usually skew that way while neverending, high-handed moderation is required to keep up an SJW atmosphere.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I also go there when I want to find which games to play. I trust the reviews of the users there. Plus, it's so old school, thematical forums seem to be dead nowadays, or maybe I'm missing them somehow. Seems like everyone just uses social media nowadays.

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    2. It seems that social media has been undermining forums. That's a change for the worse, though, as discussions on Twitter or Reddit tend to be rather shallow.

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  8. I am a big fan of the Total War series. I had a hard time getting into most RPGs anyhow, and when they add in the whole SJW angle it is bound to detract from the actual game.

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  9. Btw, the current generation of consoles is pure garbage. I have the PS4 since 15 months and barely 10 good games on it, of which only 3 are PS4/current-gen exclusive (the others are remasters of PS2/PS3 games).

    FFVII Remake looks like emo-trans-gay-weeaboo-feminine bullshit.
    FFXV too.
    FFXIII already starred a masculine strong independant bitch as the main protagonist.

    What's next ? GTA VI with a transsexual protagonist where the goal would be to slaughter white hetero males ?

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    1. Mafia III has the "slaughter straight white males" angle covered, so the next GTA certainly needs to up the ante.

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    2. Wow they completely butchered that series. Mafia I was one of the greatest linear story-driven games.

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  10. Have you tried any in the Dark Souls series? I can only recommend it! Hard as hell the first time you play it. A bare minimal tutorial area, no minimap, almost no instructions of how most things work... and no pause button :)
    The games lore is complex and profound, if you play it casually you will encounter a straightforward story on surface, but scratch a little below and you will find the meaning of your quest changes entirely ( including hidden bosses).

    If there is any social or cultural message in this game beyond killing monsters, it is that

    (SPOILER ALERT):



    You cannot trust the gods, they will manipulate you.

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    1. I bought Dark Souls on Steam some time ago, but haven't played it yet. However, I tried both Demon's Souls and Bloodborne. The former was a bit too janky for my taste. I got pretty annoyed when my character clipped through a waist-high wall and suddenly found himself surrounded by a bunch of enemies in a courtyard. Unfortunately, I find the art style of the latter unappealing; off-putting, in fact.

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  11. I personally think the emulator period of videogames was the "silver age". At that time it was even more a niche "market" than playing current videogames on PS1/PS2/N64/Dreamcast. Nobody knew what was that and it felt like you just discovered the Holy Grail.

    Also, when you showed them what you just discovered, most people reacted : "what's that shit ? look at the graphics, that's not a videogame !"

    You could also finally play videogames that were only released in Japan (or also USA, but not in Europe). Also, games were in english, so it was even more "edgy" lol (I'm not from english speaking country).

    And then companies understood they could make a lot money of old videogames, so now you have to pay 5€ to play Super Mario Bros 1... And nowadays everybody is "fan" of "8-bits", which absolutely doesn't feel the same at all as playing the original 8-bits games either on the actual 8-bits consoles or the emulators.

    (I had a Sega Master System as a child and always wanted to play NES, so the emulator period was heaven.)

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    1. Yes, that time was pretty great. Thanks to emulators I was able to play through Final Fantasy III (VI), Chrono Trigger and some others. Being not from an English-speaking country, this dramatically improved my vocabulary, so much so that some of my English teachers didn't know how to handle me. I had one who thought that "peasant" was a word I just made up, for instance. (Note that German English teachers are pretty mediocre. They are not even required to spend time abroad during their education.)

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  12. Imo there's good games around, you just have to look around a bit. Most of the mainstream games are trash, with some exceptions (like The Witcher, great series). Probably the best games come from less known developers - don't get me wrong, alot of indie stuff is bad, but there are some gems out there. I don't know how much you like the old school style of RPGs such as Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate, Fallout etc. but Age of Decadence is a recent game that even outshines these games - player choices matter alot, and your playthrough is severy limited by the type of character you play. The graphics are a bit outdated since it was in development by a few guys since 2005 or so.

    If you like complex management games (like Civilization), I hear Stellaris is not bad, or it's less known rival, Distant Worlds.

    Another great indie game is Faster than Light. It's not story driven, but it has some interesting spaceship and crew management mechanics that, combined with random events, create an interesting experience each time you play through.

    If you're into multiplayer games, Battlerite just came out and is praised by PvP veterans. It's basically an arena game with a pool of different heroes that supports 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 modes.

    I'm not even into games that much anymore, I'm sure there's alot more good stuff out there. It ain't all that bad.

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  13. Sleaze, have you ever played the Shenmue (1 and 2) series on the sadly gone, but missed, Dreamcast? The next instalment is currently in development after a 12 year hiatus. It might rekindle my love affair with video games. I hope.

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    1. I used to be a proud owner of a Dreamcast and really liked Shenmue (and its sequel). Shenmue II was the first game I "binged" on. After the Dreamcast, I took a long break from that hobby because I found mainstream gaming culture too shallow. By the way, if you like Shenmue you may enjoy the Yakuza series. I only played the third one, though.

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  14. Finished The Witcher III a few months ago - took me a long time but it was well worth it. Never encountered such a well written story and well constructed lore in a video game before. Sunk many hours into the game. The characters are also brilliant.

    Definitely agree that video games are being dumbed down these days. Just look at the disappointment that Fallout 4 was. Not an RPG at all.

    These days I've been playing Dark Souls III - did not fall in love with it at first. Now I'm addicted. If you're after a true challenge with fantastic combat and a huge sense of reward/achievement after playing, that's my pick. Enjoying it more than the Witcher III - which had rather disappointing combat.

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  15. The last of us was an amazing game..

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    1. Not to me. The story was atrocious, and so was the gameplay. The mechanics itself were rather poor, but what annoyed me to no end were those utterly trivial puzzles that had you move objects from A to B so that you could progress.

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  16. Good post that reminded me of this video:

    https://youtu.be/jPqwDGXxLhU

    Also you should checkout IsThereAnyDeal.com. You can import your Steam wishlist and it will email you when a game in your list is on sale. You can set it to email when it goes down to a certain price.

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