A Machine For Pigs: Daddy, Please Don't Kill Me

Yahtzee Croshaw

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A Machine For Pigs: Daddy, Please Don't Kill Me

And in five little words, A Machine for Pigs is better written than quite a lot of games.

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lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
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I predict blindingly hot rage.

I liked the article. There's a lot you can learn from just a few words. I doubt this will quell the hatred from the passionate bunch who insist that, because they didn't like it, EVERYTHING about it must be terrible, including the story and writing.

Because people like fighting over Critical Miss, but they don't like learning from it.
 

CrazyCapnMorgan

Is not insane, just crazy >:)
Jan 5, 2011
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It's sad that this article needed to mention GTA V. It seems that the developers have done kind of a seesaw, in terms of overall gaming quality, from 20 years ago - good mechanics (be it atmosphere, music, writing, etc.) and creativity while graphic fidelity wasn't quite what we know it to be now, to the super life-like graphics without the substance behind it. It's nice to hear that some games still retain some of the old qualities.

Kind of ironic, you know, that the closer you get to imitating life through games, the shittier they turn out to be? Wonder what the reason for that is...
 

Church185

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Excellent article, this is the kind of thing that I come to the Escapist for! I really need to get around to finishing Amnesia: DD and pick up this game.
 

Phrozenflame500

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♪English time with Mr. Croshaw♫

Interesting article for anybody interested in why writing is so important in game, particularly horror games.

Strangely, I don't predict rage for Yahtzee's GTA V review, people have kinda gotten used to him bashing popular games. I'm pretty sure they'd be more rage if he revealed he actually liked it.
 

Anomynous 167

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I have to disagree with Yatzhee on his analasys on the word "me". "Me" is not humanising, because to refer to one's self as "me" is to dehumanise oneself to the level of object.

Maybe the speaker was trying to appeal to his father's pity by humiliating himself to the level of an object?
Maybe the fact that person whom was about to be killed referred to himself as "me" is supposed to be some sort of metaphore how the people of [insert place and era here] were treated like objects, and not to be left to become the high subjects of "I"sville.
 

Mikeyfell

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Best Extra Punctuation yet.

I love hearing analysis of good writing (Although I realize how little of it you get in video games these days)
This was cool.
 

Evonisia

Your sinner, in secret
Jun 24, 2013
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Interesting read, though the final line certainly left the best impression despite the fact that it was mostly off-topic.
 

Cpt. Ivory

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This is exactely the kind of article I like to read. So I guess I am the student leaning forward to see the frogs organs better in this case.

I'm looking foward for more articles like this. In this context I also really enjoyed the following:

Yahtzee vs. the JRPG
Male Protagonist
What Sands of Time gets right
The Danger of Dialogue
 

Sicram

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This was very interesting! Good for all kinds of writers and as a GM of an RPG this was very good to learn. Thanks for the free education!

P.S. Mogworld is awesome
 

Muspelheim

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Luckily, I am interested in dialogue writing. Mainly because I'm rather shit at dialogue writing.

But I think I've learned something, now. The frog did not die in vain.
 

StriderShinryu

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Definitely an interesting little article, and well worth the read. It's so easy to pick out examples of bad writing in videogames. Heck, some established series are pretty much built on it (Hello, Resident Evil!). The thing is, the examples of bad writing are so infrequently countered by examples of good writing. Sure you can argue that there just aren't enough examples of good writing to go around, but I'm not certain that would be the case if the positive examples there are were given more air time.

Quite frankly, more articles like this are needed not just to show off writing that works, but also to explain why it works.
 

WhitbyDragon

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More of this please? Maybe a comparative piece, good game writing versus bad game writing picking games with similar game play.

This article also chimed with thoughts on the Mass Effect series I've had recently, I loved the games and thought the writing was good, but the time and effort it took to get the story out of all the characters is a marked contrast to the 5 word intro to Amnesia that was just mentioned. Was it only the choices and personal investment in the story that kept me engaged? It would make sense.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
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I loved this game and this article. I thought a machine for pigs was hands down a better story than DD. Maybe not a better example of game play, but a better setting/story/characters/environment/themes.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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"Being able to convey an idea with as few words as possible is what shows true mastery of the craft."

Yahtzee, I love your videos, even when we don't agree. And on the original "Amnesia" we don't agree. It stuns me that you would make this point in reference to the sequel of a game that broke the truism that one should "show, not tell" as much as the original "Amnesia" did. It felt like every few steps I took, I was being interrupted by some really badly-executed flashback (cue the blinding white light and slow-motion to infuriatingly take my control away!) that just ruined my immersion of the game. I've played text adventure games on the C64 where I've felt like I've spent less of my time reading stuff from the screen.

And even when it's accompanied by voice-acting (which is not always), the quality is really bad. The guy who plays Daniel especially stands out - and that's the main character! But I've played games with bad voice acting before and loved them (anybody remember Edward Diego from the original "System Shock"?) My biggest issue with "Amnesia" is that the method of delivering the story is just so clunky and forced, and the character of Daniel so unsympathetic, I just don't CARE about it.

I'd much rather they'd have simply made a survival horror game that's a 3D version of "Mummies" or "Pac-Man" or something, than what we actually got. That's not to say that I hated Amnesia - far from it, I played it to the end - but I think it's a drastically flawed game. I don't feel that there's really any "stake" to it, especially when you've died once or twice and realised that there's zero penalty for doing so; and as such there's not really any tension. There's a HELL of a lot of atmosphere - the two levels after you exit the elevator machine especially stand out in that regard - but even then the effect is often spoilt by the flashbacks (which aren't even consistent: I noticed at least two "flashbacks" of events that Daniel wasn't even present at: the deaths of the men in the wine cellar and the guy trapped in the morgue.)

I think the original "Amnesia" is a case of fantastic idea but poor execution. If they'd stuck to working to their strengths - the great visuals, soundtrack, and atmosphere of dread - and got rid of the intrusive "storyline" that is so badly integrated into the gameplay that it takes away from it, then I feel that it would have been so much better.

That's my thoughts on "Amnesia". Given what I like and don't like about it, would I like "Machine for Pigs"? I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who's played it.
 

Ibbathon

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Feb 22, 2011
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I'm glad Yahtzee's back to these kinds of articles. I still don't think he needs the joking bits at the end, though. It kinda detracts from the whole.

Also, to hell with pictures, five words are worth a thousand words!
 

Darth_Payn

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Aug 5, 2009
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Brilliant! These are the kind of articles we come to the Escapist for! Real heady stuff here today.
Cpt. Ivory said:
This is exactely the kind of article I like to read. So I guess I am the student leaning forward to see the frogs organs better in this case.

I'm looking foward for more articles like this. In this context I also really enjoyed the following:

Yahtzee vs. the JRPG
Male Protagonist
What Sands of Time gets right
The Danger of Dialogue
If you look around the Extra Punctuation archives I'm sure you'll find something like that.
CrazyCapnMorgan said:
It's sad that this article needed to mention GTA V. It seems that the developers have done kind of a seesaw, in terms of overall gaming quality, from 20 years ago - good mechanics (be it atmosphere, music, writing, etc.) and creativity while graphic fidelity wasn't quite what we know it to be now, to the super life-like graphics without the substance behind it. It's nice to hear that some games still retain some of the old qualities.

Kind of ironic, you know, that the closer you get to imitating life through games, the shittier they turn out to be? Wonder what the reason for that is...
I also noticed the humor and satire of the GTA brand's gone out by GTA IV, when they set it in the modern day AND stopped making your character a blank slate of a person.

captcha: done that
 

Clive Howlitzer

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Jan 27, 2011
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An interesting article but I don't really think a lot of it applies to Machine for Pigs. I don't quite see the horror in that game or the appeal Yahtzee sees in it. Of course no matter how well written a video game is, if its just a walking simulator, I think my annoyance will drown out any positives.
 

AtheistConservative

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May 8, 2011
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This is something that's been bugging me for awhile. The type of horror Yahtzee likes is just a type. It's not the only way to do horror and isn't "best", just like Chinese cooking is not the "best" Asian cuisine.

Slow horror and immortal horror both rely heavily on immersion and a desire to continue the experience. Slow horror like Silent hill only works if the player isn't bored. If you feel bored, all of the "subtlety" will be lost on you and it won't actually feel scary. It just feels like nothing is really happening. It invokes the opposite of fear. Instead of dreading when something is going to happen, you want it to, just to have something to do. Immortal horror, like Amnesia the Dark Descent, where you have no possible way of fighting the enemy, again relies on a player who feels invested in their character so that death has weight. The player also has to enjoy the feeling of helplessness. For many this is offputting, and they see no reason to play because they feel they have very little impact.

In contrast many enjoy fast horror. Constantly dealing with horrific threats is simply scarier for some people. The threat is constant and oppressive. Some find that a monster is more unsettling than atmosphere, and 5 monsters is even more unsettling.