Jimquisition: Crying Through The Laughs

Jimothy Sterling

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Crying Through The Laughs

Most games are depressed and miserable, but are they truly tragic? Of course not, otherwise there wouldn't be a video asking such a deliberately leading question. The trouble with most games today is that they rush to the sadness without first giving us the happiness.

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portal_cat

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what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
 

gardian06

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Jim like Tom Cruise there are things that even the "greatest" can not do.

so basically video games don't understand this thing from theater, literature, and film. called a story arc that is typically more of a valley then a hill, but still an arc.
 

Gizmo1990

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So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
 

anthony87

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Goddammit Jim! At least warn us before you put up that laugh so that we have a chance to brace ourselves or hit the mute button or something. Ugh....even after all these years it still makes me cringe.

Anyways, about FFIX, I'd always wondered why that bit with Zidane mentioned in the video always had such an impact. The first time I played it I was all "Holy shit....Zidane is pissed!" and it's one of the scenes from the game that's stuck with me through the years. The bitchin' soundtrack for that section more than likely helped too.


That riff!
 

Something Amyss

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DVS BSTrD said:
Tragedy is when Aerith cuts her finger
Comedy is when Lighting falls into an open sewer and dies.
Stop! You're killing me!

I'm not sure if my death is funny or tragic, though.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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Apart from all the bullshit "thank god" stuff he says....seriously Jim, its boring. Stop doing that. I agree with you. You bond best with a character when they joke or are having fun. You easily become and identify with the character. If you watch the movie Apocalypto - they make jokes and act nice, so when the enemies treat them like shit you are 100% with these guys. Your saw them happy, shared there jokes, and this negative stuff....you want to fix it so they are back to happy.
 

esperandote

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I was thinking of Silent Hill the whole video and then it was mentioned :) of course I'm always thinking about silent hill and kof.
 

GAunderrated

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Great video as always Jim. Hopefully more games will actually cater to more than one emotion so I can actually care when they pull the end of the world card out of their ass like the other 20 developers did in the same year.

captcha: fairy tale

Yeah something like that captcha. Or even a greek tragedy done right.
 

themilo504

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Personally I think the best example of this is mother 3 and really the entire earthbound series does amazingly same for the mass effect games they can be very dark but they tend to have many funny moments so it?s only worse when something horrible happens.
 

templar1138a

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I'll take your word for it with the Final Fantasy games. I have zero interest in them.

Here's an example of a game I've played that supports your idea.
The death of Hawke's mother was the most tragic moment I've seen in a game. There were plenty of light-hearted moments throughout the whole game that, at worst, had undertones of worry, sadness, or dread in order to offset the deaths of his family members and some of the other tragic moments, such as killing off Merrill's entire clan in self-defense.
 

BabyFaceJer

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Great episode, Jim. I totally agree with you. I think a really good recent example of tragedy done right is the Walking Dead game from TellTale. Just like the comic book it is based on, the story is peppered with sweet and calm moments that really make you connect with the other characters. And like Jim said, it is because of those happier moments we become all the more nervous when conflicts within the group arises, and we are devastated all the more when the group gets torn to bits by the undead.
 

The White Hunter

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God I need to finish FF9 :z of all the PS1 FF's it deserves that HD remake the most imo, it's so much fresher than the other mope-fests (though I do like 7 and 8).
 

Andy Shandy

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HA HA HA HA HA!

Anyway, I do agree. I'm glad you showed The Boss (albeit briefly) as well as Metal Gear Solid has always had that wacky, fourth wall breaking humour mixed in with the tragedy in the games as well.
 

MonkeyPunch

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God, the end of that video. I'll have nightmares for sure.

Also, I must say I find it irritating when people only use "emotional" uniquely when it comes to sad things.
I've had this argument a fair few times already.

Emotional is any emotion. Sad or happy or anything in between.

/Stupid things that irritate me #87
 

Scrustle

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Damn you Jim, why did you have to put that bit right at the end with Tidus while I just took a mouthful of a drink? I almost choked at the hilarity.

On a related topic, Jim likes FFX? I would have thought he wouldn't like that one.

Maybe I should have another stab at getting in to JRPGs...
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Scrustle said:
Damn you Jim, why did you have to put that bit right at the end with Tidus while I just took a mouthful of a drink? I almost choked at the hilarity.
Amen. Nearly suffered death by granola bar myself when "the laugh" started.
 

Sylocat

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I wasn't expecting him to name any FF games, least of all FFX. Although, and I have to put on my flame suit, I think FFX-2 did this as well.

Another one that (more objectively) rates a mention is Super Paper Mario, which is easily the darkest and most frightening Mario game ever made, but balances out its darkness with the customary Paper Mario wacky-subversive humor... and a very interesting gameplay change-up. But when it gets sad, it gets sad.

And of course, dare I mention it... LoZ: Majora's Mask.
 

Amaror

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templar1138a said:
The death of Hawke's mother was the most tragic moment I've seen in a game. There were plenty of light-hearted moments throughout the whole game that, at worst, had undertones of worry, sadness, or dread in order to offset the deaths of his family members and some of the other tragic moments, such as killing off Merrill's entire clan in self-defense.
Hmm i am not sure i agree.
Don't get me wrong, it was sad, but by no means was it "the most tragic moment in a game". The reason is, at least i, couldn't really get me to care for hawkes mother a lot. Sure you get to know her a bit, but it is just not enough. The same goes for hawkes sister and brother. One dies way too early to even know the character and the other one gets pulled out of the game not that much later.
And Merril and co. I would probably care about those incidents if they would not involve the hurt character being really, really stupid.
I am sorry, merril, but if you hadn't persisted on summoning that demon, something the whole world told you would be a bad idea, than this wouldn't had happened, you fucking retard.

For me the most tragic moment in a video game was in To the moon. That one made me actually cry. I am not gonna spoil it, because if you played the game, you know what i am talking about.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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This is why I used to love Bioware games. Even their current gen games like Mass Effect 1 and Dragon Age: Origins did that right.
 

SpaceBat

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Apart from the entire episode being good, I'd like to thank you, Jim, for stating one of the many, many reasons as to why Lightning is a terribly written character.
 

Mortamus

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Pretty much this. This is exactly why I can't get into FF-XIII.

For anyone that went to the Expo on day one, Jim's ability to emulate that laugh is uncanny and incredibly entertaining.
 

PunkRex

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Gawd I love FF9, but ya know what Jim, Squall was actually alright... IN KINGDOM HEARTS. He actually learned to be part of a group and freaking emote making his little tag team with Cloud all the more badass!
 

Undeadpool

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portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
Boom, done in one. That and
Mordin got me legitimately choked up.

Amaror said:
templar1138a said:
The death of Hawke's mother was the most tragic moment I've seen in a game. There were plenty of light-hearted moments throughout the whole game that, at worst, had undertones of worry, sadness, or dread in order to offset the deaths of his family members and some of the other tragic moments, such as killing off Merrill's entire clan in self-defense.
Hmm i am not sure i agree.
Don't get me wrong, it was sad, but by no means was it "the most tragic moment in a game". The reason is, at least i, couldn't really get me to care for hawkes mother a lot. Sure you get to know her a bit, but it is just not enough. The same goes for hawkes sister and brother. One dies way too early to even know the character and the other one gets pulled out of the game not that much later.
And Merril and co. I would probably care about those incidents if they would not involve the hurt character being really, really stupid.
I am sorry, merril, but if you hadn't persisted on summoning that demon, something the whole world told you would be a bad idea, than this wouldn't had happened, you fucking retard.
Gonna agree: I actually thought DA 2 had some better moments, emotion-wise such as

Anders' betrayal. It wasn't "sad" per se, but it was devastating emotionally. And Merrill's entire arc with the mirror really got to me, but that's partially because she was, in my opinion, an amazing character.
 

Entitled

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Sounds like Jim needs to try some Nakige visual novels. That is basically a whole genre based around that principle, with a light-herated, comedic first act, a heartwarming romantic second act, and a third act that will make you cry.


WARNING! IT'S NAKIGE, WITH AN "A". UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD ANYONE TRY THE "NUKIGE VISUAL NOVEL" GENRE, WITH AN "U", OR DO AN IMAGE SEARCH FOR "NUKIGE".
 

The Material Sheep

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Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
 

Jimothy Sterling

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
I agree. I always hated the annoying little bastard. If you want to see tidus and that game torn apart you should watch Spoony's FFX review. It is hilarious.
 

Tanneseph

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I don't know if you read these (I often don't!), but I wanted to tell you that I thought the video was particularly good this week. So many weeks I think you are on the -cusp- of something great, but just miss it by simply restating your point over and over. This week you did a great job of giving supporting evidence from multiple games, which does a lot to improve your otherwise solid points. As you jumped from game to game, you were inspired to hit the different sides of your theme. Very nice.

(Sorry, if I sound like a teacher it's because I am. But I love video game analysis, and love it when you're -on-.)
 

roushutsu

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
You're not alone. Tidus is the FF hero I hate the most. Any sense of tragedy was completely lost to me when it came to him. Half of the time it felt like he was complaining about everything. Yeah he was an upbeat character like Zidane, but I found Zidane to be FAR more endearing and likable in the long run. However, I could sympathize and feel for Yuna's tragedy much for what Jim had stated. Not once did Yuna complain about her pilgrimage and always focused on keeping everyone's spirits up, so seeing her break down before Tidus decides to make out with her really tugged at my heart strings. The tragedy worked for her, just not for him.
 

Grimh

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Yep. You're right.

Not much more to say really, other than I fucking love Final Fantasy IX.
My annual playthrough of that is coming up. I always play it around my birthday as a special gift to myself.

October can't come fast enough.
 

GloatingSwine

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
I think the problem is that the writing can't reconcile him being a stuck up jock ("Star player of the Zanarkand Abes" and all that shit) with him also being a whining crybaby with massive daddy issues.

I mean maybe this is supposed to be a clue that he's only a pretend person, but even then he's supposed to have been from an internally consistent simulation space, so he should be an internally consistent personality, and he isn't.

Anyway, who cares, FFX stole all its best story elements from Grandia and Grandia 2 (To the extent that I basically had every major twist figured out from the Mi'hen highroad because I played Grandia and immediately recognised it).
 

The Material Sheep

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roushutsu said:
th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
You're not alone. Tidus is the FF hero I hate the most. Any sense of tragedy was completely lost to me when it came to him. Half of the time it felt like he was complaining about everything. Yeah he was an upbeat character like Zidane, but I found Zidane to be FAR more endearing and likable in the long run. However, I could sympathize and feel for Yuna's tragedy much for what Jim had stated. Not once did Yuna complain about her pilgrimage and always focused on keeping everyone's spirits up, so seeing her break down before Tidus decides to make out with her really tugged at my heart strings. The tragedy worked for her, just not for him.
I agree... and Honestly I felt I would have enjoyed FFX so much more if Yuna had been the main character. She had a character arch that I at least felt was deserved... at least in X. In X2 it was about her wanting to get her only sense of self importance back from the dead.
 

TheSteeleStrap

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Agreed. Walking Dead is getting emotional for me though. I'm not in the business of spoilers, but let's just say I welled up around the time I got the train moving...
 

Epona

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Gizmo1990 said:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.
 

Killing_Time

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I know a lot of people will disagree with this, but I'll say it anyways.

The gaming industry has not yet evolved to the point where they know how to make truly emotional experiences happen within their medium.

This is because they don't understand how to make the player really relate to the protagonist and major characters on screen. If you're playing a videogame in the first place, chances are you're doing it for FUN. Fun, as in you enjoy it. As in you're capable of experiencing joy and happiness. Which, as Jim pointed out in this episode, is something you rarely see in game characters these days. People are complex. People are multifaceted. Therefore how can we relate to something that is seemingly one dimensional?

The only game that actually had any emotional effect on me was God of War. God of War even begins in a way that breaks the mold. He attempts suicide. How many games do something as radical as that? He's lost all hope to the point where he no longer wants to live, but it means that at one time he did have hope and a reason to keep on going. Then as you play the game you see his origins. You see how he came to be the monster he is through his mistakes and Ares' betrayal. You see how he lost everything he loved and seeks redemption at whatever cost. That moved me because I saw the humanity in Kratos. I saw a bit of myself in him and it made me feel sympathetic... Until 2 & 3 took his character in a completely new direction, which rendered him a mindless ball of fury and testosterone -__- But still, it was nice to see that games are very capable of evoking an emotional response. They just don't know how to properly strike a balance yet.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny
 

Elyxard

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Easily one of your best episodes, couldn't agree more. I'm an amateur writer that holds this very notion to heart. Tragedy doesn't mean anything if there isn't anything to fall from.

All of my most favorite games of all time fit that formula of high contrast in one way or another. FF9, FF10, Persona 2, 3 and 4, Baldur's Gate 2, Suikoden (most of em), Metal Gear (most of em), etc. Even the darkest stories need their fair share of comedy or happiness. Heck, even Silent Hill 2 has comedic-ish moments to lighten things up (Eddie in the bowling ring, UFO endings).
 

MB202

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I think this again has to do with game developers not being very good writers, and the growing sense among the gaming community that every game has to be 100% straight-faced with no signs of light-heartedness in sight, or else people will fear that "GAMES WON'T BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!!!!!" again...
 

Epona

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
Yeah just you buddy. No one on the internet has ever accused Tidus of being whiny.

Seriously, it is never just you. Why do people still start posts this way? It's even more annoying when they are stating a popular opinion after saying "is it just me".
 

The Material Sheep

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Crono1973 said:
Gizmo1990 said:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.
See I think most people forget that intentionally bad is still bad... It's still annoying, it's still terrible voice acting... I mean the Titus' voice acting through out the game was generally terrible as a rule... I another TERRIBLE scene equiv to that is Titus breaking down at Al Bhed when he figures out Yuna's fate. He was playing it straight and it ended up being over the top melodramatic and just terrible.

Yeah the that was intended argument can't defend that voice acting job... or the terribad writing involved with Titus.
 

Epona

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Crono1973 said:
Gizmo1990 said:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
For IX you had to scream "hurry the fuck up", the game was so slow.

The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.

As for the video, I agree. I don't know what else can be said though.
See I think most people forget that intentionally bad is still bad... It's still annoying, it's still terrible voice acting... I mean the Titus' voice acting through out the game was generally terrible as a rule... I another TERRIBLE scene equiv to that is Titus breaking down at Al Bhed when he figures out Yuna's fate. He was playing it straight and it ended up being over the top melodramatic and just terrible.

Yeah the that was intended argument can't defend that voice acting job... or the terribad writing involved with Titus.
I think the voice acting was fine. You want bad voice acting, see Star Ocean 4 or listen to Vanille for a minute or two. Also, I think that the voice actor did his job and made an intended fake laugh sound fake.

Whatever though, 10 years this laugh has been made fun of as well as the character of Tidus. It won't stop now but it does get more annoying everytime it's mentioned. It would be more effective to use Vanille to display bad voice acting.
 

Kmadden2004

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Undeadpool said:
portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
Boom, done in one. That and
Mordin got me legitimately choked up.
I think the entire Mass Effect trilogy is a good example of what JIm was talking about. The previous two games had their moments of humour, levity and victory. Whether it was cracking jokes with Garrus, or encountering a drunk Volus declaring himself the master of all biotics, you really felt that the world just kept turning while you were out saving the universe.

In Mass Effect 3 that all collapses, and is replaced by a growing sense of dread that hits you harder the more you delved into the previous two games. You really felt that you character was experiencing a cataclysm, especially during the fall of Thessia. Hell, even the colour palette began to mute at that point in the game as more civilisations fell to the Reapers, making it feel that all the life in the universe really was being drained away.
 

Rad Party God

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I loved FFX, but the laugh scene didn't bothered me. Yes, it was kind of a WTF moment, but I wasn't bothered by it 10 years ago (damn, I seriously need to get a PS2 soon... so many games I want to replay and so many that I missed).

I played VII and VIII and while VII is definitely the better and my very first RPG ever, I didn't liked it back then. Nowadays, I find it quite charming at places, but I still don't like it as much as it's fans do. IX on the other hand, that's a game that I've never played and I'm seriously considering giving it a try.

As for other games nailing the depression through happiness, there's Guild Wars and it's pre-searing intro, especially if you get used to Gwen, that annoying little girl following you, smelling the roses at each step, it's definitely dishearting seeing your hometown utterly destroyed a few years later.

Also, Half-Life 2 and it's episodes is surprisingly optimistic despite it's shitty (and I mean REAL shitty) setting and I don't mean the generic NPC's lamenting their lives, I mean Alyx herself, her dad, Kleiner and the other scientists cheering for Gordon's return and you can even see their optimism for a brighter future rising.
 

Alandoril

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I think the main reason most stories these days, not just in games, always seem to be so depressing is because the real world itself is pretty depressing. Without their being much hope or joy to draw inspiration from it is hardly surprising that a great deal of narratives kind find any to include.
 

TwiZtah

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Beyond Good and Evil managed this with flying colors. It's a game where every character is an antropomorphic animals and yet the emotions still gives me chills, that music when you take pictures of kids in crates.
 

Kurt Cristal

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Surprised Max Payne 3 didn't get a mention. Like Yahtzee had pointed out, the game is so miserable that you never feel a sense of accomplishment when you do anything. And when something good does happen, it's like Max is so determined to remain unhappy that he won't allow himself to be happy.
 

Ken_J

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portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
Legion and Grunt for me. Also the Asari Krogan couple oddly made me cry.
 

Epona

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
So because other games have worse actors... This specific voice acting job is excused?
No, but this laugh scene is brought up way too often when there are far better examples of bad voice acting.

Alandoril said:
I think the main reason most stories these days, not just in games, always seem to be so depressing is because the real world itself is pretty depressing. Without their being much hope or joy to draw inspiration from it is hardly surprising that a great deal of narratives kind find any to include.
We're all broke and struggling to pay the bills as prices go up and incomes don't but in my family, there are still plenty of laughs. Life isn't all that depressing.

It's just that the game industry is so hell bent on selling misery to gamers because they don't want to appear kiddy.
 

Amaror

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Undeadpool said:
Amaror said:
Gonna agree: I actually thought DA 2 had some better moments, emotion-wise such as

Anders' betrayal. It wasn't "sad" per se, but it was devastating emotionally. And Merrill's entire arc with the mirror really got to me, but that's partially because she was, in my opinion, an amazing character.
I wasn't that emotional about that stuff, but that has different reasons.

Merril and Anders seem to be the big two here.
I didn't really felt anything from Anders, because the Character was ruined for me from the start of the game. I grew to love Anders and Justice in Dragon Age - Awakening and the moment i met him in Dragon Age 2, he just isn't Anders anymore(HE DOESNT EVEN HAVE A CAT). Same goes for Justice, or should i say Vengeance. What a way to ruin two awesome characters at once. Through that i wasn't even that suprised when anders blew up the church.
I have no problem with characters betraying me but, for gods sake, make it reasonable. Why did he blew up the church? The fucking Templar main base wasn't that far away! That would have been understandable.
This is the main reason why i did not feel with the two characters, i explained Merril in the post you quoted. They just both act like incredible retards.
 
Aug 1, 2010
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Great episode. Very true. I'm a big fan of dark and gritty stories, so I never understood why I couldn't enjoy Gears of War, but you're right. It never has any ups to juxtapose the downs.

My favorite example is Mass Effect 3.

Probably the most depressing game I've ever played, but I remember it and it worked because it always had that air of hope and levity.
Even though it begins with sadness, it comes up from it.
Garrus and James comparing [s/]dicks[/s] achievements.
Little jokes made by the squad members on missions.
All the heroic moments like making the Reaper get nom nom'd on Tuchanka.

It made things like Thane, Mordin, Miranda and Kelly's death so much more powerful.

[h1/]ME3 SPOILER: EVERYONE DIES AND IT WAS ALL A DREAM.[/HEADING]
 

newdarkcloud

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portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
Mass Effect 3 (and the franchise as a whole) has several times were the crew is just hangs out a jokes around. It isn't always so relentlessly depressing.
 

Kekkonen1

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Great show as always Jim!

Feel that you kind of misunderstand FF8 though. While you use FF9 as an example of a game that does very well having a positive happy main character whose subsequent meetings with tragedy works very well due to him being so positive and happy (cant argue with you there, FF9 is great!), you cant judge all main-characters by the same standard. I would instead say that Squall is an example of doing it the other way around:

I never felt that Squall was put through any huge personal tragedies during the game. He CAME from a very dark place, with a bad childhood etc, but he was constantly surrounded by friends that looked up to him and a cute girl that liked him. For me, FF8 and Squall was not a game that was trying to be tragic, but a tale of a character that came from such a dark place and finally, at the end, found that he dared to be happy (not quite unlike the journey of the main character or Evangelion, who is similarily accused of being mopy and whiny). I think that is a just as viable a journey for the hero to take, not to be struck by hardship so much but instead finding through the journey that despite what he himself thought at the beginning, he does have the strength to overcome these hardships and be a happy person. I think that sentiment is kind of beautiful.
 

skylog

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How would Neku from The World Ends With You fit in? He doesn't start the game mopey, per se, but he does start at the bottom of the emotional scale, isolating himself from others for seemingly no other reason than for its own sake. Yet through the first third of the game, he grows to care about his game partner Shiki, giving some gravitas to the later events involving her.
 

Kekkonen1

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skylog said:
How would Neku from The World Ends With You fit in? He doesn't start the game mopey, per se, but he does start at the bottom of the emotional scale, isolating himself from others for seemingly no other reason than for its own sake. Yet through the first third of the game, he grows to care about his game partner Shiki, giving some gravitas to the later events involving her.
Like I theorized in my previous post, Neku is also a good example of a hero that has another kind of journey than Zidane from FF9, instead being more similar to Squall or Shinji in Evangelion in that they instead come from a dark background but once again learn to trust and be happy. I think Jim kind of misses the point with that kind of emotional journey for the hero, just mistaking it for being a mopy emo downer.
 

BreakfastMan

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Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\
 

Proverbial Jon

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Someone clearly wrote on the FFX script: "Ha ha ha ha ha!" and then the voice actors read it exactly has written, people with no concept of the sound of laughter...

I saw a lot of Heavy Rain footage in that video. Now say what you like about Heavy Rain but I don't think it deserves to be scrutinised under this particular topic. The first section is all happy rainbows and sunshine purposely to show how low Ethan falls later in the game. I would say they showed the contrast pretty damn well from the characters, to the situations right down to the colour pallet.
 

4173

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Obligatory
killing Mordin in ME3
. I did it just to see what would happen, and it was like eating a live kitten.

I think DX: Human Revolution did a fine job doing the gradual version. The game starts in a reasonably bright world that gets stripped away layer by layer.


The most memorable example for me is
Gorion's murder
in Baldur's Gate. Shit gets real quite quickly, after happy-go-lucky prologue of squishing rats and fetching cow tonic. The game continues to have nice highs and lows (Friendly Arms Inn, the fancy Ball, return to Candlekeep).
 

Strife2GFAQs

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FFX had great voice acting for the time. I'm playing Lunar 2 right now. You want ****** acting? I'll listen to "the laughing scene" for eternity before I listen to Lunar 2's "actors" again. Xenogears (for what acting there was)was also ****.

FFX destroys those by miles.
 

ex275w

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A very important topic that a lot of game writers forget most of the time.
I think Mother 3 is the game that perfects this principle, the game is incredibly sad yet incredibly happy at times. The jokes and witty writing enhance the tragic and sad moments.

I think Bioware deals with this horribly, as much as people are saying to the contrary, all their games begin bleakly, Dragon Age with you being exiled, your family death, etc. Sure it kind of lightens up in the middle, but the game is always brooding and I don't like it.
Dragon Age 2 is even worse with half your family dead at the beginning and since most of the characters come off as unlikable, and the Templar/Mage fight is a lose/lose situation, it just takes you out of the game and makes you not care. Same as Warhammer 40K, which is also relentlessly bleak all the time.
Mass Effect also tries to do this, and does it better than Dragon Age, but the tension is never completely broken and it makes me care less for the story and characters.

Games that do break the tension completely and are still bleak are: Max Payne 1&2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Half Life 2, and Persona 3.
 

ex275w

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BreakfastMan said:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\
Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.
 

BreakfastMan

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ex275w said:
BreakfastMan said:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\
Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.
I think we all know by now that developers often don't get the memo on a lot of things that are considered obvious by a whole crap-ton of people...
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Fucking yes. FF9 is so fucking good I'm playing it right now and it's memorable scene after memorable scene.

I will say that FF8 deserves credit for making a parody of the emo protagonist before it even got popular. I remember laughin my ass off at anything Squall said with my friends. Rinoa is a great character and she always has a great comeback for Squall's mopey, mommy issues bullshit.
 

ex275w

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BreakfastMan said:
ex275w said:
BreakfastMan said:
Sorry, but um... Duh? This is pretty basic story-telling stuff you are commenting on right here. Did people really need this pointed out to them? 'Cause I thought most had already realized this. :\
Well it doesn't seem that many developers got that memo, since the later Final Fantasy games, Gears of War, God of War, and David Cage games all fit into this GRIMDARK pattern.
I think we all know by now that developers often don't get the memo on a lot of things that are considered obvious by a whole crap-ton of people...
Well then we need for them to get the memo or laugh as they fail to do the obvious things, it's a win-win situation for the audience watching. Either video game stories get better or they are treated as a punchline or as a warning for future games as what NOT to do in a video game storyline.
 
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Richardplex said:
MrDeckard said:
And now some people might not get to feel those awful moments, since you blurted that out unspoilered, good job.
1) The game has been out for almost a year.
2) This entire episode and thread are about the sad moments in games, so spoilers should be expected.
3) Several of the deaths I mentioned do not always happen.
4) Despite all of this, I'll still spoiler it, just for you

There, I fixed it.
 

Thedutchjelle

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A reference to Illusion of Gaia! Didn't expect that. That game was very good though. It's sad scenes were indeed sad, or atleast they were to me when I was a young gamer.

Never did any of the FF games so I have no idea what's that all about :p
 

Rob Jacobs

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portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
It was sad because it was a poorly written, terrible scene.
It didn't matter if you romanced thane or how nice you were to him, you get the same generic prayer (that actually makes zero sense in the context).
Mordin dying, now THAT was something.
 

Richardplex

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MrDeckard said:
Richardplex said:
MrDeckard said:
And now some people might not get to feel those awful moments, since you blurted that out unspoilered, good job.
1) The game has been out for almost a year.
2) This entire episode and thread are about the sad moments in games, so spoilers should be expected.
3) Several of the deaths I mentioned do not always happen.
4) Despite all of this, I'll still spoiler it, just for you.
1) 6 months and a bit actually, and I could ruin Spec Ops the line by saying it's been out for a whole .
2) Jim doesn't do spoilers that not everyone knows about, and by that I mean have entered it-was-his-sled level of knowledge like Aerith's death, and didn't actually mention ME3. By that logic, I'm not allowed to enter anything discussing sad moments unless I've seen everything that might have a sad in it ever.
3) True, but the first 2 happen if they are alive, or if some very specific circumstances are met. But despite all that
4) is true, so thank you :>
 

Fr]anc[is

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Good to see you are still capable of putting more effort into something than just copy pasting facebook comments and calling it news Jim.
 

wwmcfar

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They're letting Elton John into Mississippi, really. Maybe they think it's a lynching.
 

Punch You

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I guess I'm te opposite to most people when it comes to FFX. I thought Tidus was reasonable in his whining. I mean, he was forced out New York City and sent to Afghanistan (Moving from a culturally and technologically advanced city to a place obsessed with religion and shuns technoogy).

Daddy issues? It's one thing having a horrible dad, but having a dad you hate and everyone else glorifies? Ghandi's son committed suicide, you know.

I also think Auron is a boring, flat character.
 

Triaed

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That applies to people too. There are a few out there that they are always so gloomy that when something "bad" happens to them, like they lost their job, or flunked school, etc is difficult to feel bad for them.

That is not to say that one is not empathetic; in a true "tragedy" I am there for them... but I just try to avoid being sucked into their misery.
 

GamemasterAnthony

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I definitely agree with this. Any amount of brevity, regardless of how tragic the situation, can help nail the emotion home a lot better and make the tragic parts stand out and work better.

Actually, this could work in reverse too if done correctly. Take a look at Portal. This has some very dark imagery, yet comes off as very lighthearted and not to be taken too seriously. The pitch-black humor (as Yahtzee calls it) really helps bring the humor home while still retaining a sort of eerie feel.

Butthead of "Beavis and Butthead" said it best: "You've got to have stuff that sucks to have stuff that's cool."

Soviet Heavy said:
DVS BSTrD said:
Tragedy is when Aerith cuts her finger
Comedy is when Lighting falls into an open sewer and dies.
Mel Brooks directing Final Fantasy? I like it.
I am the Gamemaster, and I approve this idea. In fact, I am picturing such a game...and it is AWESOME!!!
 

SoDaRa

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Throughout the whole thing I couldn't help but think about Chibi-Robo. The game is overall very happy, but when its sad it really hits hard. Yet, I've always loved how the game never wallowed in its dark themes, but used them to instead to accent the main moral, spread the happiness.
 

ItemCrisis

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I am really glad that FFXI is featured in this video. Not only is it one of the most interesting and sprawling story lines in the series, it is also the most underrated FF game. Garnet losing her bloated, power-hungry mother is tragic, Vivi's feelings toward death mirror our own (and he is missing from the end sequence/or so it seems), and Zidane goes through a wash of emotions.
Is it the art style that puts people off?

Nice to see you this weekend, Jim. Thank (insert deity of choice)for you.
 

Morghuk

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I'm probably not the first to mention this.. and i'm expecting the trollfire...

but

i'm guessing the US version of FFVII had a different spelling for Aeris' name... threw me for about half a second... then i couldn't help but think "did he just mispronounce that? surely not."

well.. i suppose it's not the only change square made when they published it on both sides of the pond.
 

Elyxard

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Morghuk said:
I'm probably not the first to mention this.. and i'm expecting the trollfire...

but

i'm guessing the US version of FFVII had a different spelling for Aeris' name... threw me for about half a second... then i couldn't help but think "did he just mispronounce that? surely not."

well.. i suppose it's not the only change square made when they published it on both sides of the pond.
The original US version of FFVII was spelled Aeris, but in all the followup material (Advent children, Crisis Core, all the other sequel stuff) that it was "corrected" to be "Aerith" to be a more accurate translation of the Japanese name.

Personally, I still resent the change. Aeris was perfectly fine to me.
 

Shoggoth2588

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Final Fantasy 9 was my all-time favorite in the Final Fantasy series. The ending always makes me tear up to a certain degree because of how overwhelmingly happy the ending of the game is. Final Fantasy 6 was another one that had happy, slappy moments interspersed between extreme sadness (fucking Doom Train) but I don't think that counts as much since it came out on the Super Nintendo: a console in which half of the player characters were neon personifications of happiness.

Dammit Jim, I fucking love you and your videos! We all know you surpass us Jim in every way Jim: THANK GAWD...FOR YOU.
 

uluviel

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I think contrast is really what's important. A tragic moment in an otherwise happy game will have a lot of impact, but so will a moment of happiness or hope in an otherwise depressing world.

I may be in the minority, I really liked the character of Anders in Dragon Age 2, and was really disappointed when he blew up the church, because I thought that meant there was no way he was going to live to see the end of the game, and if he did, he would run away and he may as well be dead when it came to Hawke & co. But then not only was Hawke offered the chance to spare his life, but Anders can actually stick around if you play your cards right.

So while the ending is very depressing overall, that little moment when Anders asks if Hawke will following him into hiding made me ridiculously happy.
 

Xisin

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The Tall Nerd said:
ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny
I have to disagree with you. A person can not be sad without also, at one point, being happy. It is impossible to always be any one emotion, no matter that person's background.
 

Trishbot

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Lost Odyssey, Shadow Hearts, and Final Fantasy IX are all brilliant examples of great RPGs that told emotional stories, filled with humor, sadness, fear, despair, anger, warmth, love, and resolution.

That's one of the reasons I despise FF13. Lightning is such a bland character (as are most of them in the game), and I'm baffled she's the "poster girl" for the game (and 13 series). She only can respond with violence and scowls, like that abomination of a Wonder Woman TV pilot. It tries so hard to make her "strong" that it makes her utterly unlikable.

Even Cloud in FF7 was a lot of fun; snowboarding, going on carnival dates, crossdressing as a woman... And then Square emo'ed him up in Advent Children, where he complains about how awful his life is (remember, he lives with TIFA) and they had to dedicate an entire song at the end called "Cloud smiles" to the time he actually does smile. When SMILING is a big deal, I think the character and creators need to lighten up. A lot.
 

GonzoGamer

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Most other gamers need to get some better standards then. Everyone talks about how amazing and mature Heavy Rain is when the only test of maturity it passes is if you're able to get through the first hour without writhing on the floor whining "I'm board!"
Which I was not able to do.
R* does this too (lately) where there's always some "tragedy" at the climax that I really couldn't care less about.

I think that they just need to be a bit more selective about what games need all that melodrama.

What game do I think does it right? Katamari Damacy: I'm having a great time but begin to cry when I realize all the kittens and schoolchildren I rolled up will be immolated in order to create a new star. I hope the people who live under that star appreciate all the sacrifices that were made.
 

orangeapples

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And don't get people started on XII...

Actually, I don't know if anyone showed any emotion in XII. It was a whole lot of "okay, well, lets do this now." In that game, the only person I felt anything towards was Judge Gabranth.
 

karamazovnew

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FF9 is by far the most tragic game I've seen to date. The game's a masterpiece, on so many levels. You're perfectly right Jim, but don't limit yourself to the main characters. Remember that what pushes you to love, cheer and cry for the characters is also the slow unveiling of the gloomy truth about Gaia's history and fate. There's nothing more heartbreaking than understanding the pathetic and ultimately doomed struggle for survival of the lighthearted and innocent inhabitants (including the main characters).

After Atomos destroys Linblum, what was cute becomes tragic. You can never look at this cartoony world in the same way. You begin to love it and you begin to share the will to protect it. Think Aeris being killed over and over again. And the more the characters resist the ongoing destruction, the more tragic they become. It's not just dotted moments, it's a continuous spiral. That's why it's so memorable. By the end you start to shed tears in the midst of that funny music, everytime Vivi says something. Heck, I can't even see a picture of Vivi without "getting something in my eye".

But tragic is not the same thing as depressing. FF9 is the type of story that makes you smile while your eyes tear up. FF9 sometimes make me think about "La vita e bella". The first time you see it, you laugh at first, you cry at the end. The second time you see it, you smile and cry from the very first joke.
 

BehattedWanderer

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"Oh, there's something after the credits! Wonder what it will be? *beat* OH DAMMIT WHY??" Gotta love a game that knows how to use emotions and juxtaposition of happy and tragedy for greatest effect.
 

ZexionSephiroth

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Hey Jim, I just want to Note, that You're analyzing Final Fantasy XIII Backwards...

Yeah, Final Fantasy wasn't about Tragedy... it was about finding hope where there is none. (And then consequently turning your back on destiny, only to sneak up behind it and stab it in the back).

FFXIII has a general atmosphere of despair, as you put it, but that makes it so much better when everybody is happy at the end... or in the extremely minor moments of levity in the lead up.

Now I'm not going to say it was done perfectly, not by a long shot (Several hours where nothing contributes to anything)...

But I am trying to illustrate that the flip-side of what you're saying is probably also true.
 

loc978

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Lufia/Estpolis... there was a game series that knew tragedy.

Illusion of Gaia did a pretty good job of it too, yes.

FFIX? I guess you had to be more invested than I was.

Oh yeah... Final Fantasy Tactics, also (the PS1/PSP game, not Advance, you cretins). That one had rollercoaster timing for its happy/sad flip-flops. Gut-wrenching, really.
 

johnnyLupine

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roushutsu said:
th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
You're not alone. Tidus is the FF hero I hate the most. Any sense of tragedy was completely lost to me when it came to him. Half of the time it felt like he was complaining about everything. Yeah he was an upbeat character like Zidane, but I found Zidane to be FAR more endearing and likable in the long run. However, I could sympathize and feel for Yuna's tragedy much for what Jim had stated. Not once did Yuna complain about her pilgrimage and always focused on keeping everyone's spirits up, so seeing her break down before Tidus decides to make out with her really tugged at my heart strings. The tragedy worked for her, just not for him.
Tidus wasn't so bad, perhaps he wasn't the best character but he certainly was not the worst, without tidus would there have been any of those quiet, slightly unsettling moments where his ignorance reminds the group of the pilgramage's ultimate goal? that he is so upbeat while everyone else tries to put on a brave face works really well as a part of the story and it is perhaps made better by the fact that on our first playthrough we are as clueless as Tidus himself, the moment of revelation has a decent payoff because suddenly all nagging thoughts we and perhaps he had up until that point finally make sense.

Id really like to be origional and come up with a character to dislike which Jim did not bring up in this video but because you can choose to ignore Quinna for much of the game and since s/he is not a major character they can get away with not being overly fleshed out im going to have to call Squall out on his angst as well, I can't really blame his character alone for this but I really struggled to get into the meat of that game.
 

MPerce

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Insightful and entertaining as ever, Jim. Well done.

Another game that nails the use of comedy to create good tragedy later is Persona 4. There are entire sequences that are completely useless to the main plot, but get you to care about the characters through comedy, like the field trips, and the stay at the inn, and tons of other bits that would take forever to list. Then, when a certain.....thing....happens near the end, it is AGONIZING in how sad it is because you've seen all of these characters in a number of funny and happy moments together.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Fr said:
anc[is]Good to see you are still capable of putting more effort into something than just copy pasting facebook comments and calling it news Jim.
Only you are calling it news. I'm calling it fun.

Get it right at least. <3
 

TJC

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HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW

Also, thank God for you, Jim, for bringing in (ever so shortly) Mother 3 which is pretty much a perfect example of your thesis so far.
Another game everyone should've played but no one did :C
Sad sad sad :c
 

thejackyl

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mraustindude19 said:
Whats the game where the pig fried its self?
Illusion of Gaia for SNES - I recently replayed it after beating it when I was like 11 or 12, and I don't remember getting chills from any scenes from it when I was younger. The entire 2nd half of the game (From Angel Village) sets a different pace than the first half.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Anyone else love the fact Jim tags himself twice below the video?

And that laugh... It haunts my dreams.
 

hermes

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I liked that he showed Heavy Rain. The first couple of chapters on that game added so much gravitas to everything that comes later because of the effect Jim mentions. If the game started after his family was crumbling apart, he would have been yet another mopey protagonist, but his tragedy is more effective because we get to see him when he had a happy family.
 

CheckD3

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I'd post a video of laughter for the end, but I don't need to, you already did it.

I feel like you should have talked about Heavy Rain a bit, since you used it a lot in your video (clips of it at least). People complained about how long and drawn out the opening is, and it does get tedious, but at the same time, one could argue that it's setting up the tragedy...a bit TOO well, but compare the set of the house of the opening, and when we see Ethan again next. The colors around, the mood, the music, I even think it was raining. The way he looks, you feel for him, and understand the character THAT much more based on the juxtaposition of the two Ethans, and it makes scenes like the Lizard challenge THAT much more intense.
 

hermes

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th3dark3rsh33p said:
Was I the only one who was annoyed with Titus for being a whiny little prick? That he deserved all his hopes and dreams being blown to bits for being a self important whiny water polo celebrity? Just me? Oi....
He wasn't so bad. I liked that he was (as we) a pilgrim in a strange land, it makes discovering stuff about the world a lot more dynamic when it justifies the exposition.
And, more to the point, not all characters need to be austere and gritty badass (that's what Auron is for)...
 

scw55

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I thought the end of Bastion was emotional because it was bitter-sweet.

It was sad because you had two choices:

Reset the world so it wasn't destroyed (risk the problem happening again) but never have met your friends on your adventure.
or
Fly the Bastion off to new places, with your newly found friends but leaving everyone you once knew dead.

I do like contrasts in games. The graphic style of Bastion was cartoony but the themes were bleak.
 

Catfood220

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thejackyl said:
mraustindude19 said:
Whats the game where the pig fried its self?
Illusion of Gaia for SNES - I recently replayed it after beating it when I was like 11 or 12, and I don't remember getting chills from any scenes from it when I was younger. The entire 2nd half of the game (From Angel Village) sets a different pace than the first half.
Or Illusion of Time if you are European, I loved that game when I was younger, I wish I could play it again but it is one game that has never been re released and that makes me sad.

To be fair the game was pretty sad all the way through, like the ship that is fine and then you go to sleep and it turns out to be a ghost ship, or the guy that gets eaten by a fish and later communicates by banging on a cave wall, says he's ok despite being eaten by a fish. And the ending is the most bittersweet thing ever.

Hey, thejackyl, are you named after the villain from the game?

Thanks Jim, I didn't think I could love you more, then you post a picture from this game. You sir are awesome. Good luck in your new career as the new Elton John.

Anyway, I've written a lot so far so sorry for that but before someone brought up Illusion of Time/Gaia, I had a point to make. I've said so many times that the funeral scene in Valkyria Chronicles has made me cry before. And I think the reason for that is that Isara is such a strong, happy character who finally gets Rosie to stop being a ***** and see that her views are misguided and then is killed off. First time I saw that it was such a shock, then Rosie sings at the funeral, tears were shed. Ok, yeah its a bit cheesey as RPG's tend to be, but I still found it to be a moving part of the game.
 

RJ 17

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Sorry Jimmy my boy, but I must protest. Every Final Fantasy after and including 8 (possibly even 7) has been progressively shittier than the one before it. I see your point about the emotional state of games, but your argument falls flat due to too many references to an officially dead and failed franchise. "It's neither dead nor failed! They're still making games and they're awesome!" FFXIII 1 through 3 beg to differ. Yes, they're still making games, but blast a turkey with a shotgun and it'll keep running and flopping around for a bit...doesn't mean it'll be getting up and flying again any time soon.

The death of Final Fantasy occured when they decided to exchange CGI movies, better graphics in general, and voice acting for the good writing of the past (FF's 1 through 6 and including the original Tactics).

That said, if you play piano half as well as you can ride an exercise bike in your underwear, you could out-perform Elton John any day. :3
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Xisin said:
The Tall Nerd said:
ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny
I have to disagree with you. A person can not be sad without also, at one point, being happy. It is impossible to always be any one emotion, no matter that person's background.
i didn't say show one emotion , im saying mistaking someone having a life of shite, and being a serious and kinda pessimistic person because of it for being emo and having one emotion is bad.

also that pic doesn't make sense , you never EVER compare pain, no one wins. that pic isn't a justification for any argument

i know these are game characters we are talking about, but there are plenty of real life people, someone of which i know, would try and hurt you ( i don't condone violence because of words by the way) if you even suggested that they way they are now, because the horrible stuff they have been though, is some how wrong because there are people in Africa with no water.

mental scars run deep. not everyone gets better, not everything gets better and you showing people in Africa in another crappy situation in no way shape or form solves the problem.

i understand some of these game characters are whiny sure, that makes sense. the others if they don't wanna smile, fine i don't care , there lives suck, sucked, and for intensive purposes will continue to suck.
 

Darth_Payn

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Why does "emotional" have to mean depressing? Is "happy" not an emotion anymore? Yes, like all of you, that bit from MGS3 with the Boss got me down, but that's to have me (the player) feel what Snake felt, and it was balanced out by the funny radio talks with SIGINT and Para-Medic, and the cheesy Bond-theme song. And I dare you NOT to feel anything at all from playing Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, especially the parts with Bumblebee and Metroplex.

I have a message to all the game devs who insist on making everything so grim 'n' gritty start to finish:
http://youtu.be/ly1al4K3u2M
 

Howling Din

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Tidus' laugh in that bit does sound clumsy, and forced. But do you know why? Because it was, objectively, a clumsy and forced laugh. He wasn't laughing for ordinary reasons, he was trying to kill his dreary mood. To say it was a problem based on bad voice acting is to take the scene out of context.
 

Kae

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Lose 1d20 sanity points.
Nice to see you showed Mother 3 as an example, that game does tragedy perfectly, you really do feel for the characters when something bad happens, and though some of it is kinda predictable the fact that most of the game is so happy, cheerful and full of bizarre humour makes the tragedy even more noticeable, not to mention the way the characters act feels so real, my mind was blown with the opening act, seriously that game is awesome.
[sopiler= BUT >Ending SPOILERS!!!!<]Does it only have 1 ending because the one I got was kinda depressing, pffft, everybody dies, and I replayed that battle a shit load of times and chose all the different answers I could and I still only got that ending.[/spoiler]

Also about Elton John, Why wasn't he at the olympics?
Seriously I was waiting for him to show up during the entirety of the opening and closing ceremonies.
 

thiosk

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Dammit, now I can't post the laugh thing anymore and giggle at all the responses going (OMG HOW HORRIBLE I FORGOT ABOUT THAT PART).

Now it won't be new and fresh anymore.

Thank god for jim :(
 

Katya Topolkaraeva

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loved that last bit with with Elton john. awesome. have fun! don't cry too hard if he forgets to give you your rightful inheritance!
 

BeeGeenie

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Quite possibly the best Jimquisition ever. Well done, sir. Well done. I never even liked Zidane much, but you're so right. He's much more interesting than Squall could ever dream of being.
 

Evil Alpaca

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I'm surprised no mention of Call of Duty.

The Modern Warfare franchise seems to be a great example of how to and how not to create an emotional scene.

The time in the first modern Warfare where the player climbs out of the downed helicopter after the nuke goes off was a moving scene because it ran counter to the all powerful super soldier fantasy the game had been building the entire time.

The subsequent versions show how the franchise stumbled upon the quality of that scene since they kept trying to recreate it, often through the exact same manner (i.e. killing the player.)
 

Aeonknight

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For the record for those who didn't play or just don't remember... Tidus' laugh was supposed to be that terrible. It was supposed to be forced, awkward and just... all around wtf.

There's your context for the scene, hopefully it helps it a little bit.

back to the topic, good episode jim. Emotional variance is the only real way to create a living, breathing character in a game.
 

carpathic

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portal_cat said:
what about Mass Effect 3? It was really sad when Thane died (or at least it was for me).
I went there too...and my jubilation at getting to kill Kai Leng...that fucker had it coming.

I am still mad about ME3, but it certainly did some things so incredibly well!
 

Xanadu84

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This was a great episode. Normally, the style he uses (He acts like an overly confident, arrogant ass) makes it so that when I disagree with him, its grating and insufferable, and when I agree with him, it feels like a shallow, back slapping ego trip on my part. I know he is just playing a character, but the sense is still there. But this episode didn't seem to have that, and the point seems pretty much indisputable: I don't see many people disagreeing with the idea that you need to establish a baseline, happy status quo to appreciate a fall into tragedy. That's pretty straightforward character arc. So yes, this is a wonderful episode. Its a huge, glaring deficiency in game storytelling that fixing could improve tremendously.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Gizmo1990 said:
So glad you mentioned FF IX. It is easily my favorite FF game and one of my favorite games ever. After VII and VIII it was nice to have a main character who did not make me want to shout 'Cheer the fuck up!' at the screen after every sentance.

And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
It is intentionally bad, because of how forced it is in the story. Honestly, it is MUCH worse in Japanese.
 

CardinalPiggles

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templar1138a said:
I'll take your word for it with the Final Fantasy games. I have zero interest in them.

Here's an example of a game I've played that supports your idea.
The death of Hawke's mother was the most tragic moment I've seen in a game. There were plenty of light-hearted moments throughout the whole game that, at worst, had undertones of worry, sadness, or dread in order to offset the deaths of his family members and some of the other tragic moments, such as killing off Merrill's entire clan in self-defense.
In my play through, Bethany died. It was one of the saddest things that has ever happened in any game I have played because I tried so damn hard to save her and I couldn't. It makes me sad just thinking about it.

On the other hand I didn't care much for Fenris' plight because he was always a mopy jerk, so there.

Now I remember why I loved DA2.
 

shadowstriker86

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lets not forget final fantasy 6! no im not gonna spoil it go look it up! ....alright here's an example: cyan's family and the humor before it
 

likalaruku

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I laughed my ass off the first time I saw Aerith die; never liked her or any of the other softhearted female protagonists from FF7 on up. Also laughed at the death scenes in Megaman X4 & Devil May Cry, but voice acting like that, who didn't?

Sir Jim Sterling John....Nah, Sir Jim John. That just rolls right off the tongue.

That laugh could replace waterboarding as a method of torture.

Well, I guess I know why FF9 is the only one Spoony hasn't taken a dump on.
 

camazotz

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Eh first Jim Sterling where I did not see his point, namely because I find most of the JRP dramedy he labels as example of the emotional investment done right to be poor, strained and unrealistic...I can't buy into it if its too ridiculously juvenile, fake or otherwise out there, which most JRPG storytelling is. On the other hand I was seriously saddened about Dom's storyline to contrast with GoW, his poster child for "one emotion"....but damnit, at least it does that one emotion Right. On the other hand there are plenty of other titles out there that do a bad job of this (i.e. Homefront); I just happen to think GoW is actually an example of one that does it well (for me, and other GoW fans, obvious YMMV).

I'll concede I was moved by poor Aerys dying in FFVII but lighting has not struck twice on any JRPG for me ever since, and probably because FFVII was relying on the player to fill in part of the voice and interaction, being mostly scripted text with no voice acting.
 

Caffeine_Bombed

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Might be a bit bias, as FF VIII is my favorite, but I disagree with the Squall comment. Yeah he's the classic 'loner' character (because of Ellone, etc) but to me he came across as more of a 'get the job done' sort of guy. He does actually have some great moments with his squad, not to mention his fairly significant attitude change during and after the space sequence. He's not miserable throughout the entire game, he's just a bit of an ass. What about Cloud and all his "I don't care about the planet" crap?
Also, I know it's at the very end but whatever, that final shot of Rinoa turning and Squall's smiling back at her gets me every time.
 

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Punch You said:
I guess I'm te opposite to most people when it comes to FFX. I thought Tidus was reasonable in his whining. I mean, he was forced out New York City and sent to Afghanistan (Moving from a culturally and technologically advanced city to a place obsessed with religion and shuns technoogy).

Daddy issues? It's one thing having a horrible dad, but having a dad you hate and everyone else glorifies? Ghandi's son committed suicide, you know.
Crono1973 said:
The laugh scene in FFX gets so much hate that it is now good. In other words, it is not as bad as people say it is so that puts it squarely on the good side rather than the bad side. People don't seem to comprehend that it was MEANT TO BE A FAKE LAUGH and therefore it sounds like a fake laugh.
The Tall Nerd said:
ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

This^ It's actually kind of nice when you go to a thread and find out that people have already said most of what you're going to say.

People always hold the FF10 laughing scene up as a prime example of awful voice acting and terrible writing, when it's actually the direct opposite when viewed in context, an example of great writing with well done voice acting, because it's a fake sounding laugh in a situation that warrants it.

I actually like the fact that Cloud, Squall, and Lighting are cold and brooding, because they are not only soldiers, which you'd expect to be no nonsense types, but also go through one moment of tragedy after another, each worse than the last, the fact that they're not in fetal position crying their eyes out most of the game considering what they all go through and still hope to find some sort of happiness at the end of the road despite this is exactly what making them such strong and compelling characters. On top of that, these characters do gradually get less cold and brooding as their respective games goes on, and are fairly happy by the end because they actually have a reason to be, that's called CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, which is something people commonly overlook.

I don't know about everybody else, but I just HATE characters that are upbeat and optimistic without fail despite destiny sending them through the meatgrinder continuously without end. How can I or anyone identify with a character that doesn't at least constantly complain their lot in life if not sometimes break down completely despite endlessly going through things that would drive most real people on Planet Earth gibberingly insane?

I think a character is written best when a character is written either like Tidus was, having a pretty good life for the most part and thus is upbeat most of the time, but when they go through crap, they complain about it (whining would only be if someone complained constantly with no justification or long after the justification warrants it) and/or mope for a while until circumstances cause them to not have reason to, or being the opposite, having a constantly crappy life but being willing to be happy for at least a while in the rare moments things DO go well. In other words, for me characters are best when they act realistically, which since Tidus, Squall, Cloud, and pretty much all the main characters of FF13 do exactly that, and despite this are hated for it, I guess that's one of the deadly sins of gaming.

About the OT, that is technically true Jim, happy moments in games can make the otherwise extreme tragedy the protagonists go though all the more effective at drawing emotions out of us, but it isn't a requirement, it's just one possible way of achieving that feeling of connection. A game can be constantly gut wrenchingly depressing as well, it just needs the protagonist or protagonists to have a goal for them to a achieve, a hope spot, something that drives them, that will give them happiness or at least make things better than they are. Even if they never actually make it, if the protagonists have this and continue to strive for it despite the sadness of what's going on around them, then their determination causes us to become emotionally invested in it because we WANT to see succeed, and more than that, we make it happen. Then when something happens that makes it look like it will keep them from making it, it has a strong emotional impact on us, the players. A good example of this would be Shadow of the Colossus, a game that begins depressing and only becomes more and more so as we kill the innocent titular creatures, all to save a woman that the protagonist Wander loves, and he succeeds, but ends up paying a high price for it, so it even ends on a depressing note. Despite this, Shadow of the Colossus is considered a very emotionally moving game.

The real problem is not how much tragedy there is, but how well that tragedy is presented, and the gaming industry as a whole is doing a crappy job of making tragedy work.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Entitled said:
Sounds like Jim needs to try some Nakige visual novels. That is basically a whole genre based around that principle, with a light-herated, comedic first act, a heartwarming romantic second act, and a third act that will make you cry.


WARNING! IT'S NAKIGE, WITH AN "A". UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD ANYONE TRY THE "NUKIGE VISUAL NOVEL" GENRE, WITH AN "U", OR DO AN IMAGE SEARCH FOR "NUKIGE".
I used Google image search. I regret nothing.
 

thejackyl

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Catfood220 said:
Hey, thejackyl, are you named after the villain from the game?
Yeah, I've used this screen name since than. I was kind of disappointed when he finally appeared though. I was expecting something more out of him. Oh well, when you're 10 EVERYTHING sounds awesome. Even someone you only know by a 16-bit jackal head pinned to a wall.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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The laughing at the end? What The Hell... was that?

I never played the game, so if someone could provide context; Was it supposed to be a sarcasm laugh or genuine laughter?
 

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Possibly controversial addition: Zelda: Twilight Princess. At least for me.

Although it is somewhat darker than other games in the series, for the most part at first the game is still pretty light-hearted, especially given Link's success in saving the world. That changes after you finish Lakebed. Zant appears after you get the third Fused Shadow, says some threatening things to Midna, then forces her into the light world - basically condemning her to a slow and agonising death...

...and throughout, this is playing:


What happens next is something I refuse to give away, even inside a spoiler tag. Suffice to say, it defies at least one very major convention (this is Nintendo and you'd think they don't defy conventions), and it's something that somehow never got spoiled for a guy who's seen Touhou ending details.
 

Cid Silverwing

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I think people keep missing the forced laughing shit in Final Fantasy X.

Tidus and Yuna did it as an incredibly awkward attempt at cheering up despite the whole doomsday business with Sin and the Final Summoning and all that jazz. Then they started laughing for real and... No one mentions it again?
 

loa

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Why do people keep bringing up ff7 when talking about drama as if the death of aerith was the most sad thing they have ever seen?
is this really the pinnacle of tragedy in video games? Cause that would be rather pathetic imo.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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anthony87 said:
Goddammit Jim! At least warn us before you put up that laugh so that we have a chance to brace ourselves or hit the mute button or something...
Bloomin' ninjas!

That laugh is just so forced it's kind of scary... It's more of a forced evil laugh than a forced happy laugh!
 

Archer666

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A shame he didn't mention Nier. It strikes every point he makes and ends up being the best game ever in terms of story.
 

surg3n

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I never liked Final Fantasy, it's too story based and offers very little player freedom.

In adventure games with heavy plots, yes emotion diversity makes a big difference, but gamers aren't sitting with their maw open, waiting on some emotion being fed to them by some videogame writer. These days gamers can feel a connection with the game they are playing, get that? - PLAYING! - We are playing the game, not the other way around. If some chick gets stabbed, I might feel bad for her, or I might laugh my ass off, I might even mock her a bit.

We have to be able to convey our own emotions before emotions implanted by whatever media. A good game can make you react emotionally, or it can inspire the player to form their own emotions - a good game does not need to shoe-horn emotion into the gaming experience. We make our own experiences in the games we play these days. Maybe you played DayZ and killed hundreds of zombs and saved survivors lives and helped people - then some greasy bandit snipes you in the face from a mile away... if that shit doesn't make you want to cry, Final Fantasy sure as hell wont. The denial of justice is one of the things that can adversely affect mood, that tends to be inflicted by ourselves, other people, random elements - not storyline. Maybe writers need to push the envelope, give characters more depth, give them defects and failures and even embarass them - make them more human... that could be something that M$, Apple, or Sony spend $50mil developing (HA!), or it might just be a character you think is your friend telling you to F-off. We don't think in straight lines, we think in tangents and branches and everything but a straight line.

I guess basicaly my point is that it takes more than some bint getting stabbed to conjure emotional response these days - Hell, we've played GTA4, someone get's whacked every other mission. It takes more than deciding between riches and a dead dog, or just a dog (damn you Molyneaux!). We have to be able to experience the emotions for ourselves, storyline can point us in the right direction, but gaming has evolved, and sandbox gaming especially has evolved exponentially outside the realm of normal boring old RPG's like FF Umpteen.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Jim,
I'm a hardened catholic.

And under no circumstance are you to stop the "thank God for me gimmick". It amuses me to no end. From the bottom of my heart and soul. Back on topic, you really do nail it some times.

I try explain this to War hammer fans who like doom and gloom, non fucking stop. The horrible problem with doom and gloom, if it's constant it's not despair. it just is.

The down side of your video? Crap, this feels like a rant that needs to be applied to alot more crap than just video games. It needs to be applied to anime, movies, and other forms of entertainment (if such exist yet escape my mind right now).

See, it's videos like these that make damn easy to fallow Jim blindly lol.
 

Xisin

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The Tall Nerd said:
Xisin said:
The Tall Nerd said:
ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny
I have to disagree with you. A person can not be sad without also, at one point, being happy. It is impossible to always be any one emotion, no matter that person's background.
i didn't say show one emotion , im saying mistaking someone having a life of shite, and being a serious and kinda pessimistic person because of it for being emo and having one emotion is bad.

also that pic doesn't make sense , you never EVER compare pain, no one wins. that pic isn't a justification for any argument

i know these are game characters we are talking about, but there are plenty of real life people, someone of which i know, would try and hurt you ( i don't condone violence because of words by the way) if you even suggested that they way they are now, because the horrible stuff they have been though, is some how wrong because there are people in Africa with no water.

mental scars run deep. not everyone gets better, not everything gets better and you showing people in Africa in another crappy situation in no way shape or form solves the problem.

i understand some of these game characters are whiny sure, that makes sense. the others if they don't wanna smile, fine i don't care , there lives suck, sucked, and for intensive purposes will continue to suck.
Wait...what? I don't recall comparing anyone's pain to each other.

All I said is that a person can not project just one emotion. That even though Cloud and Squall had terrible lives, that would not stop them from smiling sometimes. That's it.

The picture is of people smiling during a bad situation. It's not a Susan Sarandon ad. I don't think you should get that much connotation from any one picture and I'm sorry that you misconstrued it. I certainly am not implying that someone's pain is meaningless because someone else feels it also.

Just saying everyone smiles.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Yeah, that explains why everytime I come up to Zulf in the final part of Bastion it really fucks me up. Watching him on the ground, knowing why he did it, how he was before (a polite, young gentleman)... I never could leave him behind. I think I'll never play through that particular part because I'll never be able to leave him behind.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Xisin said:
The Tall Nerd said:
Xisin said:
The Tall Nerd said:
ehh, i find when people make this argument against characters like cloud or Leon, the expect them to be happy. why? clouds life is complete shite literally from sun up to down shite mentally scarred shite. why would they be happy, i understand tidus or zadane they never had to be a super soldier engineered for battle having to work for a company that is destroying the planet then having them lie to you and having your girlfriend killed, or under a beyond corrupt murderous government. oh im sorry should they smile should they be jokey, no one asks this of Bruce Wayne or wolverine.why not be happy though all that melancholy that they have the moral compass to do the right thing. and atleast those two dudes have something to do at the end of the day , alot of these characters are left as misplaced murderers in a world that doesn't need them anymore

I understand jims point lightning was a rather good one, but why expect happiness from character who's life is shit. If they do get a bit nicer,like for example wolverine, its nice but you don't expect it and nice but it aint necessarily going to happen to everyone, not everyone who goes though shite just gets happy or even gets better, thats life sometimes people just dont get better. i understand happier stories, but the final fantasy examples were kinda... eh. i could have though of better ones, ryu hayabusa, riku (in the begging of kingdom hearts) and many others.

People call these characters whiny but let me ask you lets take a notoriously dark back story, if you were made as a weapon of mass destruction, and your existence had gotten everyone you had grown to love killed, you were frozen and then revived decided to give everyone a benefit of the doubt and do the right thing for a world who dealt you a bad card, and then though the incompetence of another who is supposed to help you , you almost die and loose your memory just have it brought back by someone who had a hand in your creation showing you how vile your insides actually are, then finding out that being is basically your father, and then having to kill him.

no one, no effing one, would be smiling , his life is a pile of shite on shite wheat and to expect a happy moment is completely insane, showing your complete misunderstanding of the character. they don't have to be happy but learning to be better people is what is important, or descention into madness if that's your thing.

aside from all that jim has a point and the video was funny
I have to disagree with you. A person can not be sad without also, at one point, being happy. It is impossible to always be any one emotion, no matter that person's background.
i didn't say show one emotion , im saying mistaking someone having a life of shite, and being a serious and kinda pessimistic person because of it for being emo and having one emotion is bad.

also that pic doesn't make sense , you never EVER compare pain, no one wins. that pic isn't a justification for any argument

i know these are game characters we are talking about, but there are plenty of real life people, someone of which i know, would try and hurt you ( i don't condone violence because of words by the way) if you even suggested that they way they are now, because the horrible stuff they have been though, is some how wrong because there are people in Africa with no water.

mental scars run deep. not everyone gets better, not everything gets better and you showing people in Africa in another crappy situation in no way shape or form solves the problem.

i understand some of these game characters are whiny sure, that makes sense. the others if they don't wanna smile, fine i don't care , there lives suck, sucked, and for intensive purposes will continue to suck.
Wait...what? I don't recall comparing anyone's pain to each other.

All I said is that a person can not project just one emotion. That even though Cloud and Squall had terrible lives, that would not stop them from smiling sometimes. That's it.

The picture is of people smiling during a bad situation. It's not a Susan Sarandon ad. I don't think you should get that much connotation from any one picture and I'm sorry that you misconstrued it. I certainly am not implying that someone's pain is meaningless because someone else feels it also.

Just saying everyone smiles.
that's kinda what the picture implies, that's another reason that pictures like that are bad for arguments, they are a very broad statements pictures say a thousand words a thousand is a lottta words and most of the time to much for what your trying to say, so unless the picture is exact, these types of situations can come up

on another note i see what your saying, but smiling isn't always a sign of happiness, cloud and Leon could be plenty happy, they could just no show it in their face, but in their actions, and thats where the emotion needs to me.

and sorry, alot of people use the "because your not starving in Africa everyone everywhere else isn't really sad, and needs to calm down" thing and it makes me wanna hit them, i don't because i'm lazy and as i said before i don't condone violence over words, but its mighty stupid
 
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I agree but there is one example I can show that disproves this. Spec Ops: The Line is downright miserable from the very beginning but it still managed to poke an emotional reaction from me.
 

I.Muir

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because I'm a rocket man
Rocket....... man
Burning out my fuse... here... all alone

Space Odyssey is sadder though
 

Madmonk12345

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Vanitas likes Bubbles said:
I agree but there is one example I can show that disproves this. Spec Ops: The Line is downright miserable from the very beginning but it still managed to poke an emotional reaction from me.
The reason Spec Ops: The Line worked was because every event, no matter how miserable, is a foreseeable consequence of your own actions, making you able to blame yourself, feeling terrible about terrible things. The problem with this is that it requires really good writing; you can't just make a game depressing from start to finish and expect it to work, and must figure out how to prevent the player from ceasing to care about a story that was depressing to begin with. While depressing stories can work, they require better writing than most games are given at this time.

Spec Ops:The Line is certainly a good example to look at for trying to avoid such things however, and if Spec Ops changes the trend of how the writing of the story of games is performed, I certainly won't be displeased.
 

G-Force

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Gizmo1990 said:
And I had forgoten how bad the laugh scene from FF X was. I love the game but that really is one of the worst things I have ever seen. Although it is still better than anything from FF Return of the Jedi XII or XIII.
I always felt that Tidus was laughing horribly on purpose as so he could make Yuna laugh. He was willing to make himself look foolish as that was the easiest way to get her to smile.
 

Raso719

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I think what gets me the most is that people think that this new trend where stories need to be nothing short of perpetual downers is some how more realistic while also believing that that characters being happy, laughing and acting sincere is some how childish and naive.

And it's not just the plot that suffers but many characters are written as shallow and empty gloom machines who do nothing but argue with each other and mope about. They constantly blur the line between anger and despair to where you assume that anger and sadness always go hand and hand yet when someone cracks a joke or a smile we criticize the character for not being serious or for being unrealistic.

So I guess my concern is that this isn't so much a problem with video games but with society itself for being so cynical as to think that doom and gloom is realistic while attacking happy and hopeful stories and characters as being childish. If that is the case then there is something seriously messed up with the world.
 

Sheo_Dagana

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I'm glad Jim brought up Final Fantasy X. That game is charged with a variety of emotions but gets a bad rap because everyone would like to believe they would handle the main character's situation better than he did.
 

XDravond

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Entitled said:
Sounds like Jim needs to try some Nakige visual novels. That is basically a whole genre based around that principle, with a light-herated, comedic first act, a heartwarming romantic second act, and a third act that will make you cry.


WARNING! IT'S NAKIGE, WITH AN "A". UNDER NO CONDITION SHOULD ANYONE TRY THE "NUKIGE VISUAL NOVEL" GENRE, WITH AN "U", OR DO AN IMAGE SEARCH FOR "NUKIGE".
Such amount of capital letters needs a search... fires up vpn, virtual machine and so on and then google & bing.... OK that kind "do not" ahem that is just evil..
(checked wikipedia and Nakige="cry game" if the curious wants to know..)


And I do agree with Jim lots of games are just depressed at all times some small gleams of emotional games do exist, not that I can mention them now but still... And good comedy (ie not plain slapstick..) would make a lot more games actually emotional I've read a book (or two) that makes me care since I see both good times and bad times. It can be simply boiled down to: happy go sad and then go happy again, and you're done!...

That "laugh" why? Oh why? Please make me unhear it!
 

immortalfrieza

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Sheo_Dagana said:
I'm glad Jim brought up Final Fantasy X. That game is charged with a variety of emotions but gets a bad rap because everyone would like to believe they would handle the main character's situation better than he did.
...Which is massive B.S. on their part, since just about everybody from the real world would snap and slip into a deep depression if not outright kill themselves after spending an hour in Spira, and that's if the Fiends didn't get them first.
 

Kapol

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Jim, did you foresee Graham's answer to the 'what's your favorite guilty pleasure game?' Because you threw in that stupid laugh SOOOO much.

Still, good points on the episode. I agree that when you can't tell how someone feels because... well, they never showed no emotion to begin with, it's hard to care when something happens. I've recently started Gears 3 and didn't realize Marcus was supposed to be upset about the whole dad thing until it was specifically mentioned.
 

Elephant Walker19

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thejackyl said:
mraustindude19 said:
Whats the game where the pig fried its self?
Illusion of Gaia for SNES - I recently replayed it after beating it when I was like 11 or 12, and I don't remember getting chills from any scenes from it when I was younger. The entire 2nd half of the game (From Angel Village) sets a different pace than the first half.
Thanks.seems fun. will check it out
 

Noala

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What's the song playing during the first minute or so of the video?
 

el_kabong

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While this was a good video, I don't agree that you need laughter to generate tragedy. It can certainly help things along and make them more memorable, but brooding characters still illicit an emotional response akin to tragedy with the right kind of artistic touch.

One of the best ways I've seen this done is through discovery moments usually told in flashbacks. Although present in famous films such as Citizen Kane, my personal favorite example of tragedy befalling a brooding protagonist is in Godfather 1 & 2 (spoilers to these movies to follow). Michael Corleone is never a "happy" character. There's a seriousness to him at all times even before tragedy strikes. He's a former WWII veteran who doesn't wish to be connected to his family's mob life. His desire to protect his father and family at all costs lead him to a dark path that results in the murder any perceived threat to his family that he has such devotion to. This includes a few close friends and even his older brother, Fredo, after he was revealed to have given vital information to a party that endangered Micheal, his wife, and his son's lives at the beginning of the second movie.

At the very end of Godfather 2, there's a scene which takes place prior to the event of both movies where the family is preparing to celebrate the beloved Godfather's birthday. While his family chat about the recent Pearl Harbor bombings, Micheal announces that he's signed up to fight for the greater good. Every member of the family is upset by this except Fredo (he's willing to give his life for someone that isn't his "blood", which is dismissed as stupid). The close of the scene shows Michael drinking at his family's table without his family.

What this does is really ties the tragic events of this character's life together and serve as a punctuation to what we've seen, granting context and realization. When Micheal tries to do the "honorable" thing by avoiding the mob life, his family rejects him. When he takes over the family business, it results in the destruction of his family. Ultimately, his idealism is his undoing, which is what makes it so tragic.
 

SoMuchSpace

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I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
 

disgruntledgamer

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Respect to FF 8? FF 8 is almost as bad if not more so than FF 13, I honestly can decide which is worse. FF 8 introduced the absurdly stupid Draw system, GF conjunction and the stupidest weapon ever conceived by man the Gunblade.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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SoMuchSpace said:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.
 

SoMuchSpace

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Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.
Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.
 

SugarSkulls

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One thing I said to a friend about FFIX when Zidane goes emo was something like, "He's been happy the entire game, he's allowed this."
Not exactly a great point but I though it a relevant piece of testimony. FFIX had almost everyone go through little happy sad arcs. Steiner was almost the anti emo, but I don't think he was ever sad, just serious.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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SoMuchSpace said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.
Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.
Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.
 

SoMuchSpace

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Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.
Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.
Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.
You're referring to the Half Life series as a whole.I get what you're saying, but only in the context of Episode 2, i don't think it' really applicable.

-The whole tone of the first half is extremely sad because the player is uncertain if Alyx will live
-When you do revive her, The GMan pops up and reminds you that you are merely the pawns of his chess set, and that everything that is happening is because he has been controlling it
-The advisors have hatched and have become much more of a threat than in their incubation stage
-The combines are marching towards the last base of the resistance with al they've got - one strider and the whole mission is bust
-Judith Mossman could be under the combine imprisonment, they could very well be torturing her to reveal information about the resistance
-The Borealis : we're unsure what it does, but constant reinforcement makes us feel that it should be destroyed

There's maybe 3-4 happy interactions, but even after the final battle is over, you have to go save Judith, and then that moment happens.

My point is this - The overall setting of Ep2 is bleak and sad.In fact the pfirst half has been the lowest feeling of despair and loss you've ever been given by the series.It ends as whole, tragically.You seem to say that in order for the sad thing to wrok, we must be given a montage of an hour of alyx, eli, kleiner and barney hugging and smiling each at each other.Sadness works depending on how much you bother to delve into the story of the character.You weren't invested in Eli, therefore you didn't find what happened to him sad.I was, so i did.The whole happiness needs to be there so that we notice sadness is just...strange.


-
 

Jimothy Sterling

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SoMuchSpace said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
SoMuchSpace said:
I am so surprised HL2: EP2 didn't get a special mention for making tragedy matter in a bleak, tragic setting.But maybe he didn't do it cause it proved his point wrong.
Actually, while I like HL2's story, I didn't find that moment you're referring too a big enough tragedy as I wasn't really invested in that character. It was a bit of a shocking moment, but not a sad one for me at all. So ... no.
Really?Wow.Guess each to his own.

Though that moment always comes up whenever anyone talks about the saddest things in gaming.Infact, the whole glimmer of hope after the end fight, the whole 'things are looking up for us now' at the end plus his little heart to heart really set that moment up well.It was pone of the fewest moments in which NPC's in HL2 were happy.
Also, let's be fair -- there IS a lot of hope in HL2. The relationship between Eli and Alyx Vance *is* a happy one. They smile together, are happy to see each other. There's also a lot of humor -- Dr. Klein and Heady are pretty funny, and Barney is a rather sarcastic character.

There are rousing moments, such as the Anticitizen One section. There's Cubbage, and his whole fun faux-heroism.

HL2 has a permanent sense of loss and despair, but it still has a lot of happiness, hope, and humor. Because the people are human. It absolutely does not disprove my point. It only enforces it.
You're referring to the Half Life series as a whole.I get what you're saying, but only in the context of Episode 2, i don't think it' really applicable.

-The whole tone of the first half is extremely sad because the player is uncertain if Alyx will live
-When you do revive her, The GMan pops up and reminds you that you are merely the pawns of his chess set, and that everything that is happening is because he has been controlling it
-The advisors have hatched and have become much more of a threat than in their incubation stage
-The combines are marching towards the last base of the resistance with al they've got - one strider and the whole mission is bust
-Judith Mossman could be under the combine imprisonment, they could very well be torturing her to reveal information about the resistance
-The Borealis : we're unsure what it does, but constant reinforcement makes us feel that it should be destroyed

There's maybe 3-4 happy interactions, but even after the final battle is over, you have to go save Judith, and then that moment happens.

My point is this - The overall setting of Ep2 is bleak and sad.In fact the pfirst half has been the lowest feeling of despair and loss you've ever been given by the series.It ends as whole, tragically.You seem to say that in order for the sad thing to wrok, we must be given a montage of an hour of alyx, eli, kleiner and barney hugging and smiling each at each other.Sadness works depending on how much you bother to delve into the story of the character.You weren't invested in Eli, therefore you didn't find what happened to him sad.I was, so i did.The whole happiness needs to be there so that we notice sadness is just...strange.


-
Yes, but it's an episode. It's built from a plot and characters that have already been established. They've been developed, and this is them at their lowest. This does not disprove what I said. The characters have sunk lower than was established previously. This is different from characters that start miserable and never go anywhere else.
 

LordLundar

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You know, overall I like FF9. Not my favorite, but I like it. There are 4 things that irritate me about it though:

1) It plods along. It feels like the characters are wearing lead shoes when they move. Not the worst of it I seen (Legend of Legaia is FAR worse) but it still feels sluggish.

2) The end boss. Ahem, spolers coming up:

Where in teh hell did Necron come from? There's no mention of him in the story and no mention of any impact on the characters. The crystal itself from the title art as well just has no relevance throughout the story until after you beat Kuja when it pops up.

3) The forced PlayOnline focus. Now this is more related to people like myself who have no issue using strategy guides and the like but most of the information and anything relevant to what a guide should have forced you to look up online. Now this was at a time where net speeds weren't nearly as fast as they are now so it was a pain at best with no alternative. And if you want to use the guide now? Better find an archive of the info because Square cut it out long ago.

4) Quina. Never fond of that character really. Any time I had an option not to have her, I took her out of the party.
 

Triality

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Jim,

What your messing was driving home this time reminded me of a point Yahtzee had made before, and that is juxtaposition. In his point however, he was analyzing the pacing of action sequences in (i think) his review of Modern Warfare 3.

Great and well articulated point though, Jim.
 

Ramzal

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I'm always struck by how poorly people rate character is how "Gloomy" or "Emotional" characters are in games.

Some of the best writing in history have men who out right CRY because they've lost their strength/wife/gold.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, his equal Enkido cried because he lost his superior strength just from integrating into human society. And cried harder at the idea of frighting Humbumba, the guardian and monster of the Cedar forest. Yet he is regarded as a very deep person, and very much human by philosophers and masters of literature.

One of many African gods created man by a mistake while drunk and wept for days at his mistake due to the fact that they were flawed. Yet this made him more human in the eyes of many.

In the Ramayana, Rama worried and cried and wept when his wife was taken from him by Ravana. A monster that kidnapped Sita.

These characters have shown tears, for causes large and small. Yet they have been praised for years. And people complain about Squall who keeps people at arms reach because he lost his sister and don't know his parents? And even turned down as an option for adoption because he was difficult to handle due to his cooping?

Or that Hope is "whiny" when for Christ sake, he watches his mother -die in front of him-? Are you kidding me? How is a child whiny after watching their mother die? Most people who are adults and see their parents pass naturally can fall into post traumatic stress.

And even Lightning, she was acting that was because she was afraid. She didn't know what to do with a death sentence of a slow and gradual nature or one that comes swift and painful by a hail of bullets. The character is literally put in a hellish situation. How do you expect her to react?

Honestly, I can't help but feel that video gamers should have no weighed opinion that could even be found to have any value on how a character is written without even understanding how human relations, mythology, social interactions work.
 

Random Argument Man

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It's so true about FF9 that I almost die of your reasoning...

FYI, I almost die of laughter because of Jim while I was watching the Escapist Expo... Thank god for you.
 

Adalberto Vazquez

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Ironic that That Laughing Scene comes up, cause it's specifically Yuna and Tidus talking practicing laughing to cover up when they feel sad.
 

Mr_Moogle

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You definitely nailed this one Jim. As a huge FF fan I would agree with everything you had to say about those games. Final Fantasy IX is an underrated gem. The Square of today has completely forgotten how to make likable characters with actual story arcs.

The series is in decline now. I'm hoping falling profits will be the 'kick up the ass' Square sorely needs.
 

sagitel

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so i think the better version of this story arc that a guy is cheerful and all and then gets all his hopes and dreams crushed, is that we have a depresed and lonely(aka standard) kind of hero that the further in game we go gets more hope. we work for that hope and cheerfulness then the villain comes and crushes the guy. to a point lower than his starting point.
 

Cid Silverwing

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Jul 27, 2008
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DarknessInducedAudienceApathy

Why is it so hard to understand that old world thinking does not apply to new world problems? Juxtaposition and liberal practice will mix shit up the way we need them to.
 

Bloodstain

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Thanks, Jim. Final Fantasy IX is my favourite FF game.

...and...oh dear, the laughter. I played through Final Fantasy X lots of times, and I really like it, but....I forgot how painful this is to watch.
 

Spud of Doom

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Feb 24, 2011
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I liked the way this video was going but I had to exit out of it pretty early on and avoid reading any comments in this forum topic, for fear of multiple unwarned spoilers.
 

krazykidd

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Mar 22, 2008
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Sylocat said:
I wasn't expecting him to name any FF games, least of all FFX. Although, and I have to put on my flame suit, I think FFX-2 did this as well.
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...

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I'll pretend i didn't read that.

OT: great video , but why the assumption that every game wants to be tragic? I think FF8 was trying to do the oposite of being tragic, i would argue that Squalls developpment in the game tries to show that people shouldn't be apathetic. The story works it's way from the bottom up.

As opposed to FF13 where it was doom and gloom until the very end. Hell even the ending was bitter sweet if not downright gloomy.
 

TheHardcase

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The best example of this I can think of is actually from tv. How I Met Your Mother is not a perfect show, but it has done tragedy well. Specifically with the characters Marshall and Barney. Both of them are unreasonably happy (in their own ways), and seeing Marshall lose his dad or Barney struggle with his choices regarding women is the only really powerful thing in the show. Because Ted is whiny and kinda depressing most of the time, and Robin is cold, I find I care a lot less when bad things happen to them.
 

Roxor

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That was a really strange laugh. I have no idea what to make of it.
 

angelblack

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I think there needs to be a distinction between Drama and Tragedy, I feel this video doesn't understand very well where the line is between them.

Not all dramas need to have a 20-minutes happy build-up in order to seem sad later. You can empathize with the character even if you didn't SEE him experience happy times. Evocation and memories or flashbacks can go a long way to making you understand why that character is sad. This obviously depends on how well the character is made.

This is a simpleminded way of seeing things that would make games, movies and books very very boring. 20 minutes happy, 80 minutes sad => boom drama.
No, it shouldn't be like that. That's the exact replica of a cheap horror movie; first they show you a few happy teenagers then some psycho starts killing everyone. Does that make it more horror for you? Do you NEED those 20 minutes?