Jimquisition: Think of the Children!

Irridium

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You know, I used to care about children. Used to not hate them.

Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.

So thanks, Bethesda. Thanks for making me hate kids in games.

Oh, and Retro-City Rampage is available on GoG as well [http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/retro_city_rampage]. So if you want it without DRM and some extra stuff like the soundrack, go GoG.
 

Falseprophet

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My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex (about 1:00 in the clip below):

 

Metalrocks

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like with ME3. i really dint care for this little kid. not even when he got blown up at the beginning of the game.
they always have to make these kids as the innocent once. to give you the feeling you need to help them but they really fail a it most of the times.
 

Quijiboh

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Falseprophet said:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens.
I had the exact same thought as I was watching this. A Newt-like character would be good for a sci-fi horror game - vulnerable, but also endearing and capable. I could see her being useful like Farah in Prince of Persia, crawling into spaces the main character can't fit through and stuff like that.

Metalrocks said:
like with ME3. i really dint care for this little kid. not even when he got blown up at the beginning of the game.
they always have to make these kids as the innocent once. to give you the feeling you need to help them but they really fail a it most of the times.
I saw it as that you weren't supposed to care for the kid himself exactly. More, he was meant to be representative of all the people suffering on Earth while you're away trying to get help, because the deaths of millions of people is really hard to depict and imagine.
 

OniaPL

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The Carl in the comics is far superior to the assfuck in the tv show.

And Clementine... Don't get me started on Clementine. I love her as a character.
 

Legion

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Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
 

GenGenners

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I <3 Telltale.

Also, see MW3's 'shocking moment' for the perfect example of a cheaply written, token child appearance.
 

Stryc9

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Jim, what were you thinking using Jack Thompson's picture in this weeks video?! Don't you realize what you have done? Now he's going to sue you for a death threat, when he hires a lawyer as crazy as he is.

Beyond that there's not much else I can say here because I can't recall a single game I've played that had children as characters in them that weren't some sort of edutainment crap. The flying baby things in Doom 3 were whiny assholes though, I hated them.
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.
 

Ickabod

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Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like, only the archetypes that have been established by other writers without children. The writers themselves think that children are annoying and helpless, hence they way they portray them.
 

xPixelatedx

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Oh man Jim, did you have to use that image? Every time I see that image of the Walking dead game, I think of Goof Troop.
Particularly Pete and his family. It's really, really hilarious that the weird shadow from the art style does that, because practically speaking, I don't think she should have a giant black spot around where her nose is in that particular lighting.

But on topic, I do agree with what you said, as well. I don't think children as where this ends, though. I see this also when people add race for the sake of political correctness. Like when they add a black guy to a game/show/movie who's only personality trait is hes the black guy. Summery: the Entertainment industry (all of them), think we are stupid, and they will use the most basic of things to try and create the illusion of depth.
 

tmande2nd

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I enjoyed this episode.

Fallout 3 had good and bad examples of kids in games.
Little Lamplight? HORRIBLE
Bryan Wilks from THOSE!? Actually well done.

In ME3 vent kid was just so narmy I cant even hate it.
Shepard angsts more over a little kid then seeing:
A LI die, blowing up 300,000 people, deciding the course of the galaxy.

I mean I felt HORRIBLE after the Genophage cure. Shepard? Two lines at most.
 

Roofstone

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Wait wait wait...

I can play games, and have Jim Sterling in front of me at all times. No longer do I have to choose?

Hallelujah! Praise god, and thank him for Jim Sterling!

OT: I really liked Emily from dishonored, she is obviously sad and scared about this whole situation, but still manages to stay generally upbeat when you are around. As well as trying her best to act her part and stay mature.

One of the few characters that made me want to protect her, simply because she was a good character.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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Irridium said:
Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.
 

malestrithe

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I have the first two Walking Dead chapters because they were free with PS Plus early August, but have no plans to play more episodes. I think they are barely interactive motion comics and I'm opposed to it solely on that alone.
 

MisterShine

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This really could've just been titled "TellTale's The Walking Dead is fucking great, and you should play it fuckwits.... PS Thank God For Me"

And ya know what? This game fuckin' deserves it. I didn't think anything would be able to match Mass Effect 3 in terms of emotional depth and impact on me, mostly because it had two other games to base itself off of so didn't have to do the really hard work of getting me invested, but fuck it if the first 4 episodes of the Walking Dead haven't made me think that TellTale just might pull it off.

I know how it will end, but I can't wait to get there. Really looking forward to see where they go with Season 2.
 

cynicalsaint1

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100% Agreed.
Couldn't stand the writing in Heavy Rain *early game spoilers to follow*.

Like when the dude's first kid randomly runs off and gets hit by a car.
A kid his age (10 according to the game's wiki) should damn well already know to be careful crossing streets. I mean, fuck, my parents trusted me bike to my friends' houses alone when I was that age and some how I managed to not get run over. I even managed to crash my bike a couple times (going down hills way too fast >.>) and amazingly only came out with scrapes and bruises - who knew I wasn't actually made of porcelain?

Hell once I even got separated from my dad in the super market and couldn't find him. Do you know what I didn't do? Randomly run out into the street for no apparent reason. I found someone who worked in the store and told them I couldn't find my dad ...

Believe it or not kids aren't completely stupid and generally don't just randomly do stupid shit just because they're kids. They are capable of listening and learning and understanding things.


Alright /rant
 

Varya

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Aww, I had to stop midway through because I haven't played Walking Dead yet, but I intend to, so I don't wanna be spoiled. Great ep untill that point thoug, but I respectfully disagree about Dawn. Yes, she's a pain, but she is meant to be the annoying kid. And I know, as Yahtzee said, just becaus you intended to do it doesn't mean it isn't still annoying, but we as an audience are supposed to feel like that, not to have an artificial bond of attachment to her like your other examples (or like the other characters have to her, quite literary). And I do feel she grow as a character AND we as an audience (well, me at least) grew to like her, even if she still was annoying as fuck at times
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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I know this is just the funny side-bit of your video but Gad Damn I agree with the satire about politicians using their children to score points! It's so irritating and always completely transparent. I remember back in 2010 with the UK general election, where David Cameron and Gordon Brown were basically having a 'Who's Sons Death Was The More Tragic' contest. It was actually revolting.

Also, yeah, spot on video as usual. Yes, we know, 'children are the future' and all that, but quite frankly if a particular child is nothing but a constant, irritable burden when shit hits the fan, then you'd probably be doing the next generation as a whole a favour by clubbing their head in before they get someone more deserving killed.

I've just started playing Dishonored and what's struck me as odd so far (admittedly I've only really just escaped so I have a long way to go yet) is that the resistance doesn't seem to have any kind of long-term plan for fixing Dunwall's problems other than restoring the true Empress (who is a little girl) to the throne. Now, I'm certainly on board with deposing the current leadership after what they did, and I can understand that the crown is hers by right, but I have to wonder if this will actually make things any better on the whole. She's, what, around 11 years old-ish? and before she was abducted she seemed more interested in playing hide and seek with me rather than learning how to rule from her mother. If the last Empress didn't have any solution to the plague, why should her child fair any better? Does she really have the aptitude or experience to lead in a time of such crisis, or will she just end up as a figurehead, used as a pawn by power-hungry advisers?

When I met her at the beginning of the game she was perfectly nice, but I didn't really get a lot of time to develop a bond with her, so my emotional response to her kidnap can't quite outweigh the holes I'm seeing in the practicalities of this plan.
 

lead sharp

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OniaPL said:
The Carl in the comics is far superior to the assfuck in the tv show.

And Clementine... Don't get me started on Clementine. I love her as a character.
So glad some one else said this to! TV Carl is one of many reasons the TV Walking Dead is bland.

I kinda liked the Lamplight kids, they at least had character.

I never got through Heavy Rain, I found it as compelling as wallpaper paste and the lack of sympathy I had was a big part of that.
 

drisky

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Worgen said:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.
I think that misses the overall point. Jim was talking about more realistic and adult stories, in which children are weaker then the adults. Games like Costume Quest cast children as heros for a sense of cartoony charm rather then sympathy. They are charming and likable but not realistic and Jim was basically talking about children as supporting characters, not leads in which children have super natural powers and are more capable then in real life children. Its a deferent character concept entirely.
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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Legion said:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
I think the dreams were less of a reflection of Shepard's grief over that one kid in particular, but rather what that kid represents. Shepard tried to save him, and failed. Now, he/she's tasked with saving the whole Galaxy, and is terrified they'll fail there too. The kid becomes symbolic of everyone who has died, and are still dying, and the hopelessness that Shepard feels going up against that when he/she sees themselves failing to save even a few individuals.

It's just my interpretation, but I don't think it was as simple as 'A child has died. You haz a sad now!'
 

SouthpawFencer

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Jim: I'm ashamed at you for banging that baby's head on the podium!

Everybody knows that the best way to quiet a screeching baby is by applying steady (but very FIRM) pressure on baby's Reset Button (also referred to by some as "the fontanelle" or the "soft spot") until it's still and quiet! Banging it head first into the podium takes much longer to quiet it down, because the angle's off half the time.

Plus, all sorts of social workers, cops and concerned citizens start kicking up a fuss if they see you do it YOUR way. With the firm, steady pressure, you can also sing a lullaby, and camouflage the pressing of the Reset Button, and everybody breaths a sigh of relief when things quiet down again.

So, how do the REST of you get out of being asked to babysit for your friends' kids? :-D
 

CPunchMaster

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Jim, thank you for nailing the reason why I didn't give a damn when that stupid child died in the "Hunger Games" film.

In fact, I burst out laughing when it happened.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Rare occasion I disagree with Jim Sterling
Carl, from The Walking Dead, is an annoying little twat, yes; but I think it's deliberate.
Let's run down his list of role models in the new world:
His father flips back & forth between gutless & psychotic (not to mention alive & dead)
His mother is a fucking intolerable leech (my humble opinion)
Daddy figure #2 (Shane), while I think was a step up from Rick in the father department, had a quickly slipping grasp on reality
Most of the other adults Carl was around spent their time squabbling, that is when they weren't busy pissing themselves scared.
All things considered, the kid's turning out as one could reasonably expect
 

Eric the Orange

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I love, love, LOVE TTGs Walking Dead game. Even if it's "choice" is really only the illusion of choice. The voice acting and writing are just so damn good.
 

RJ 17

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Falseprophet said:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex (about 1:00 in the clip below):

One of my favorite lines from that movie:
Ripely: "This little girl survived all on her own for a week without any military training at all!"
Hudson: "Well fuckin' put her in charge!"
 

soh45400

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Telltale is a studio known for storytelling so they have had practice and made good characters.
Their Jurassic Park game also does this.

But there is a lazy way to do this that may still work. Dead Rising 2.
They make her a gamer maybe to make us think of what we were like at her age,(I believe most of us became gamers at that age). And she is the only person Chuck has from his old life so that's another reason to protect her.
SPOILERS FOR DEAD RISING 2 OFF THE RECORD; Chuck actually becomes a psychopath without her in this game.

Then there is the third way: Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson. Homer is not the most likeable character and is not the one Matt Groening modeled or named on himself, Bart is.
 

Callate

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Interesting. Definitely some things worth chewing on. The bottom line is that characters should be characters, with some depth and thought put into them.

It's kind of funny in a way, though: children as "inherently valuable person in need of rescue" may have been the obvious progression from "damsel in distress" in an allegedly more enlightened age.

Regarding the "you won't get it if you aren't a parent" thing: While I certainly agree that children, too, should be fully fleshed out characters if they're to garner our sympathy, to a degree, a situation like that in Heavy Rain may not be about sympathy for the child, but rather for the parent. Someone who does care for a child is more likely to envision themselves in a similar situation, filling out the emotional resonance (if not necessarily the actual details of the child) with their own experience. I'm not saying this is a good excuse for making children who are ciphers, I'm just saying that's part of the reason it can still be effective to a degree without that development.

In some ways the most annoying thing about Dawn was that she was a 15-year-old largely written as if she was about six. By the time they're fifteen, we expect young people to have, at the very least, a degree of autonomy coupled by a certain amount of self-preservation. Dawn was the worst combination of selfishness, heedlessness, and the presumption that everyone else owed it to her to get her out of the situations she had gotten herself into. We wanted her dead because she thought nothing of adding more problems to people who already had more than enough, not to mention regularly having responsibility for saving the lives of thousands. Hell, even some six-year-olds could see the problem with that.
 

hentropy

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That whole thing and not one mention of Psychonauts? Ah well, I guess we have to plug the newer games...
 

Callate

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SonOfVoorhees said:
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.
I always wondered why anyone was so incensed by the inability to kill children in Skyrim. And then...

"Another wanderer, here to lick my father's boots. Good job."

GRRRAAAAAA die you little...
 

Shiro No Uma

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Your point at 3:54 is very troubling and you should have that looked at. Saying "Children are just basically shitty adults," is messed up. CHILDREN ARE NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS. (That's psych 101.) Treating or thinking of them as such is not just unfair to any child, or adult, but perverse. Your outlook on them is not very healthy and admittedly might be skewing your views. I hear that you are aggravation at Carol in Walking Dead, but I completely disagree with your view of him.
 

Something Amyss

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Ickabod said:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like
Yeah, that's not the problem. Like, at all. You don't need children to write compelling children and you don't start writing them just because you have them.
 

sammysoso

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Like that shitty kid in ME3. God I hated him.

I know he's supposed to be representative of greater loss, but they could have used anyone for that role, but they chose a kid, because it's the easy out.

It would have been much more effective to see people Shepard knew and cared about in the dreams, instead we chase a kid through a forest until he catches on fire for...reasons.
 

Seneschal

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Legion said:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
Agreed.

Several hundred thousand innocent batarian civilians murdered by Shepard to slow the reapers down (and still have everyone ignore you and waste the time you bought in blood)? No biggie!

A single human kid dies? Shep gets nightmares.

Ugh. I'm pretty sure that's just something their marketing had concocted to give the demo an explosive end. I sense a conspicuous lack of a writers' touch in that Earth prelude. On the other hand, Tuchanka and Rannoch are awesome.
 

GonzoGamer

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As a parent, I applaud you.

Now if we could just get them to stop making "scary child" horror movies;
children aren't scary...
not in that way at least.
 

demented

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Irridium said:
You know, I used to care about children. Used to not hate them.

Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.

So thanks, Bethesda. Thanks for making me hate kids in games.

Oh, and Retro-City Rampage is available on GoG as well [http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/retro_city_rampage]. So if you want it without DRM and some extra stuff like the soundrack, go GoG.
You can actually sell those kids them into slavery. It's possibly the darkest act you can commit in the game but if you despise them that much, it might be worth it.

God, I hated Dawn. There were times I wanted to murder the actor playing her just so she would be gone from the show.
 

Pink Apocalypse

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Shiro No Uma said:
Saying "Children are just basically shitty adults," is messed up. CHILDREN ARE NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS. (That's psych 101.) Treating or thinking of them as such is not just unfair to any child, or adult, but perverse.
Very much agreed.

Jim makes a great point about the laziness of (non)characterization, but you can't simply write children as interesting miniature adults with a few quirks ('frail', 'emotionally clutching', etc). As much as media may sometimes portray it, they simply aren't neurologically capable of the psychology required to fully interact in a way that a (selfish) adult wouldn't describe as 'shitty', or at least 'annoying'. And before anyone does, please forgo the 'but I know a little kid who does' speech, and research statistical averages. Exceptions do not make the rule.

Also, portraying them as little adults can get pretty creepy, frankly. And it also seems that Bethesda delights in making the children in their games as grating as possible.
 

Dragon Zero

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!
 

ex275w

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There are a lot of good kid characters creators should research if they want to create a kid. Kids like Calvin, Susie Derkins, the whole Peanuts cast sans Rerun in comics are varied kids. The cast of Earthbound and Okamiden in videogames are pretty decent and not annoying. The point is treating them with the same seriousness as an adult, kids can be as capable as adults sometimes, if a bit simpler in their thought processes.
 

Silverback91

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In terms of Mass Effect 3, I think that Shepard's emotional torment at the kid is moreover his distress at actually not being able to save someone. That sends him on the stress spiral where he has to come to grips with the idea of galactic triage. Granted, that makes a bit more sense if you play a paragon Shepard and didn't do the Arrival DLC but still.

On another note, am I the only one that was kinda insulted by Modern Warfare 3's "shocking moment"? It felt like the developers were telling me that they think the only way to get me to care about a city full of civilians getting hit with nerve gas was to have a American family and a child in particular die from it? I hope I'm not the only one.
 

ToastiestZombie

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Yeah, child characters are normally really shit. I watched the crapfest Insidious the other day, I didn't care for shit because the whole story was just "save this little boy from the demons!".

I fully agree with you on Clementine. The only mass-anger-over-a-trivial-thing I'll be fine with in gaming is if ANYTHING bad happens to Clementine in the last episode. I don't think I'd be able to handle it if she died. Still hope it's a possible outcome though.
 

soh45400

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Ickabod said:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like
Yeah, that's not the problem. Like, at all. You don't need children to write compelling children and you don't start writing them just because you have them.
True. What about thinking what they were like as children?
That is an easy way of writing a child character. Just think, if I was a child and was put in that situation what would I do? and write that.
Whenever someone whines about children, they should be reminded that were children themselves once.
 

TwiZtah

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ex275w said:
There are a lot of good kid characters creators should research if they want to create a kid. Kids like Calvin, Susie Derkins, the whole Peanuts cast sans Rerun in comics are varied kids. The cast of Earthbound and Okamiden in videogames are pretty decent and not annoying. The point is treating them with the same seriousness as an adult, kids can be as capable as adults sometimes, if a bit simpler in their thought processes.
I think Calvin is a fucking prick, I'm seriously annoyed to oblivion by him. Even from a young age, I have not been able to stand most children cartoon characters. Winnie the Pooh is retarded from the earth the moon and back, all of Astrid Lindgrens characters are obnoxious little fuckers.
 

Canadamus Prime

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The phrase "think of the children" makes me want to puke, because it's used as the rallying cry of parents lobbing the government(s) to enact legislation so that they won't have to think of their children. (in other words, do their parenting for them)

A little more on topic, this is why there are mods that allow you to kill children in games like Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc.
 

Assassin Xaero

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So, then, guess we'll have to see how The Last of Us turns out. Not sure where the cut off age for "children" is, but guess she is supposed to be 14 and doesn't seem like the typical annoying as hell teenager.
 

Rad Party God

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Yeah... last night I was watching a re-run of the second season of The Walking Dead series... and I was reminded, like if someone hit me in the head with a rock (or a kick in the nuts), why I fucking hated that season and almost made me hate the entire fucking series... women and children.

Seriously, I don't have anything against children and women (Aliens being the perfect example of both superbly done), but it's like if the writers of the TWD series were lobotomic monkeys with a grudge for women and children.

The day Lori (and hopefully Carl) get killed will be the day I fucking get off my chair to start dancing and screaming in joy like a little girl.

The game on the other hand... I fucking love Clementine...
 

Domogo

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Did anyone else notice that the baby's head was dented in at the end and then suddenly back to the semi-normal creepy fake baby head after the plug?

OT: yea yea good episode blah de blah de blah...
 

Gennadios

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But Jim, TWD also had an insufferable child who'se only real accomplishment was
pinning a guy under a tractor.

Should have showered him with your attention as well.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Dragon Zero said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.
 

TheOrb

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Heh, this reminds of an old sport in Scotland called Midget-Tossing, but it was banned because of Health & Safety.
Or it could be a legend, I'm not sure which...
But I hope it's true!
 

Scorpid

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Dragon Zero said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.
I liked Duck because he went from a rambunctious little idiot to taking much more after Clementine by how the situation dictated he must and the time they spent together while still remaining unique. Though his first introduction had me sighing in frustration because I thought he was going to keep getting into such trouble, on top of that I really liked Ducks poor victim. =/
 

Kapol

Watch the spinning tails...
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Jimothy Sterling said:
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.
I was actually going to comment saying I was surprised you didn't mention him, if only because he was initially a pretty good example of the worst one can do with children characters.

In the beginning he seemed like a way to ratchet up the conflict and help drive Kenny in many ways. He was the initial reason why the feud with Larry started, he was the one held hostage by the last of the Saint Johns at the end, and he pretty much killed the person who helped you in the first episode to get you kicked off the farm. I personally found him annoying and mostly helped him to keep Kenny on my side.

But then episode 3 happened. He started being useful, funny, and even somewhat interesting. And just as he finally got some really characterization, he was bitten. And the annoying little kid who ran around like a hyperactive monkey turned into a quivering, silent little boy who we knew had no chance after finding out he was, in fact, bitten. It made me regret being so hard on him before. And even if it was still done in a way to drive Kenny's actions, it was done so well that I can forgive it.
 

shrekfan246

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May 26, 2011
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Falseprophet said:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex (about 1:00 in the clip below):

Which is why I hated the opening to Alien 3 all the more...

OT: Interesting. I may need to play The Walking Dead after all, which I haven't yet because Adventure games are always a little too obtuse for me to enjoy.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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SonOfVoorhees said:
Irridium said:
Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.

While you couldn't kill them, the game didn't actually make you have to save them or force you to care about them either, you could be pretty nasty to kids in fallout 3 and you could also be good towards them, depending on how you felt.


This one kid in rivet city especially, you could manipulate him into running away into the wasteland even. That's pretty much sealing his demise.



As for the little lamplight ones, the mayor was an asshole and so were a couple of others but I generally liked the rest of them, they didn't seem quite as annoying...and you could always extort the mayor by threatening to blow up their cave if you were annoyed by him XD.
 

DerangedHobo

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To be honest I hated clementine with a passion.
I actively tried to get her killed, I mean she's not as bad as "CARL STAY IN THE HOUSE" but the fact that i had to protect her at all times was annoying. I also disliked the fact that everything I did came up with "Clementine has noticed" or "Clementine is scared". I can understand the "actions have consequences" etc but she felt like some outside critic constantly judging me and to be honest not doing much.
 

BehattedWanderer

Fell off the Alligator.
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I want to say that there's the reverse side of the coin, something like Little Lamplight, since I haven't played the Walking Dead games, that kids can have character outside of "help us, we're in trouble", and still be annoying pricks, but that's still better than being relegated to a plot device. All of the kids in Little Lamplight have somehow carved a life out for themselves, surrounded by deathclaws, yao guai, raiders, and the other horrors of the Capital Wasteland, and those that survive manage themselves quite well. They might be insolent little shits, but there's kind of a reason for that, and they're actually competent, training each other, helping each other survive.

The Jarl's kids in Skyrim, however, could do with a good "training lesson" with the legendary Dragonborn.

I'd start by teaching them about Shouts...
 

Kenjitsuka

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"Cuz of the baby"...
Yeah, because of that child I will and shall vote Sterling 2012!!!

On the subject: Ashly of RE 4 fame.
OMFG, she's supposed to be an older teen and cultured, but she's more like an infant that was unfortunately dropped on her head... Five of six times... :\

Well, at least she kept out of the way by hiding in a bin most of the time.
 

mdqp

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If we are having a contest for "worst children character in a videogame ever", I am going to vote for Hope from Dreamfall: the loungest journey. Never before I felt someone was using a child so poorly to get some sort of emotional response from me, and was left feeling hollow as the trick was way too transparent for me. Seriously, it's 100% manipulation, it adds nothing to the plot, it's just a diversion (but then again, I feel like Dreamfall is all about faking to have an idea, while you are just making stuff up as you go along, with this being just another example of bad writing while the game is full with them).

Edit: sorry, I meant Faith. I can't believe I called her Hope... But now that I think of it, I hate her, so maybe it's not that surprising.
 

Gearhead mk2

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While I am glad Jim talked about good child characters, I'm kinda dissapointed he didn't rip into the whole TINK UF TEH CHILDRENZ!!!1! mentallity and all the idiots who do stuff because of it.
 

algalon

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Best child actor ever?

Ya know, from the title of the clip I expected a rant about parents against violent videogames or Australians against violent videogames or [insert watchdog group here]. This was a pleasant surprise, and something I completely agree with. I don't play videogames so that a child can get in the way of my slaughtering the demonic masses. As a rule I simply cannot relate to children in any way, shape or form and so cannot play games where they are at the forefront. I don't want a little person to protect. I want to rip the evil slug from their chest to get my Adam and go on my merry way.
 

Legion

Were it so easy
Oct 2, 2008
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NinjaDeathSlap said:
Legion said:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
I think the dreams were less of a reflection of Shepard's grief over that one kid in particular, but rather what that kid represents. Shepard tried to save him, and failed. Now, he/she's tasked with saving the whole Galaxy, and is terrified they'll fail there too. The kid becomes symbolic of everyone who has died, and are still dying, and the hopelessness that Shepard feels going up against that when he/she sees themselves failing to save even a few individuals.

It's just my interpretation, but I don't think it was as simple as 'A child has died. You haz a sad now!'
If anything, that makes it feel even more idiotic to me. It feels like a ham fisted way to force emotion into the game, rather than actually giving us genuine reasons to care. Even with this interpretation, they are still trying to use a characterless child to create emotion and depth into the game, but in many cases they just succeeded in annoying people.
 

crimson sickle2

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Agreed, most child characters really need some work put into them. Luckily, for me I seem to dodge all children as support characters of late. When they're main characters, at least they try to be witty and independent.
 

Orekoya

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Frankly I just assume Carl Grimes got his stupidity from Rick Grimes, possibly the most idiotic protagonist I have ever seen.
 

Lord Doomhammer

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This was a very good episode, An 8 minute length made it a more in depth and well rounded.
 

DustyDrB

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It's a weird problem if you think about it. Think of media that revolves around children: The Sandlot, The Goodnies, Stand By Me. Those are all movies, but it still shows that you can genuinely love characters who are kids. It's simple: Make us remember what it was like to be a kid. Don't just show them as the mopey pet the parent has to make dinner for. Show them as the walking fount of imagination and enthusiasm that kids are.
 

Dangit2019

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
Hey, Jim, what's your opinion on Carl in the season 3 premiere? I personally liked how he shot things and knew when to shut the hell up.
 

Weealzabob

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Jim you raise some interesting points, and it's got me thinking about the fact that children are so often just used as emotional Macguffin's. And how using characteristics of a child, such as their sense of fear, naivety, or selfishness, can make a character fantastic, but children only ever get those characteristics, and inevitably wind up as whiny, and insufferable little brats.

But all those ideas sort ran away from me when I heard,

"Carl Grimes: The one hundred fuck-ups of a four foot burden."

I was genuinely laughing out loud at that one.
 

Rawne1980

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There is one film I couldn't watch more than 30 minutes of because of those 2 annoying little fethwipes.

War of the Worlds, the Tom Cruise one.

Those 2 kids in that pissed me off so much I had to turn it off.
 

Darth_MAM

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Good episode as always, and certainly a good point. Now we can see why there's that mod for Skyrim where you can say: "fuck you, brat. I'm not going to let you become Conan". This anoying plage of small pricks have gone so far that they're in one of most beloved games; with this said I know that I'm going to get flames for what I'm going to say next.

DISCLAIMER: I love the Salient Hill saga as much as the next Australian game reviewer, but honestly I haven't seen an advertising for abortion so strong as the fact to interact with some of the children in that town(it's even worse when you read the comics). Silent Hill 2 is still a good game, every character made me feel invested in their own history, except for that twat Laura. Not only she was anoying on her own, but every time I had the bad luck to cross with her, she did every thing she could to piss me off; and Mary pretended to adopt her? Honey, if I did bring you to Silent Hill before you died, What makes you think that I would make my existance more miserable by living with that kid?

Phew, I feel like an elephant just fell from my shoulders.
 

Elyxard

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I have to give a shout out to another good child character, Nanako of Persona 4. Her personality is very well established throughout the course of the game (moreso than almost every other side character, actually) and she's far from helpless. If anything, she's more adult than her father half the time. She still has the quirks of being a child, but they never get to the point where she's annoying for it. She's a very sympathetic character.

But yes, nothing is more annoying than a story using a child as bait without any other justifications for it. Most horror franchises are extremely guilty of this.

Off the top of my head of a game I played for the first time recently, Parasite Eve has that extremely dumb kid of the police officer that kept literally throwing himself into danger over and over again. That is beyond frustrating and breaks all suspension of disbelief. Kids can be dumb, but not that dumb. It's just really lazy writing to get the protagonist in trouble.
 

Zenn3k

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Clementine is a great character, I really really like her as a character and I WANT to protect her as Lee.

Telltale has done a terrific job with all the characters, but they really nailed Clementine, something I feared wasn't gonna pan out much early on.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Have to add my voice to the chorus of Mass Effect 3.


But we have to acknowledge, what many consider, to be the penultimate hate-able child;

Wesley "shoot him in to a black hole" Crusher.
 

viranimus

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But isnt that the problem? You are looking at it backwards. Children ARE nothing but hindrances with next to no character or any reason to feel anything for them (unless of course you made them yourself). The reason it is rare to see it in any form of media when children are used properly is because it is rare when a child is much more than a screaming bag of MEMEMEMEMEMEME!!!! In fact it is so much so that really when you see these "good" examples of children, they are in fact practically anthropomorphizing adult traits into a childs frame. Think about it. Any time you see one of these good examples, you think it is a good example because they are basically acting in a "mature" manner.

I do get it, in a media based on interaction it makes sense to have a char be developed and practical for the continuation of narrative. But that isnt what a child is. They have not yet had time to develop, mature, or be practical. So in media other than video games yes it is perfectly understandable to have whiney little walking STDs because its a more realistic depiction. It is a conflict in games, but that is a problem with gaming so much more than it is a problem with the depiction.
 

DanDeFool

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Worgen said:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.
This reminds me, there's a distinction here that I think Jim didn't mention outright: that there's a difference between media where all the main characters are children, and where children are characters in a plot centered around adults. In the former, children are frequently written as little adults, perfectly capable of handling all the problems and conflicts the story presents them with. In the latter, the children necessarily have to be less capable than the adults, and how the writer handles the problem of keeping a child character relevant in a narrative where they are not necessary is where many get into trouble.

Also, does anyone know why Jim is wearing bright red gloves like some kind of creepy serial killer?
 

crazypsyko666

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Apr 8, 2010
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This just reminds me of Arya Stark vs. Sansa Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. Both of them are "problems to be solved" but one of them is clearly proactive about it, while the other is waiting for some handsome knight to save her.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?
 

HumourlessBaboon

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The best child actors I can think of are the kids from Super 8. They were amazing. This coming from a guy whose previous opinion of child actors was that they had no humour, style, or delivery. Generally, this is true. Child humour is usually only funny to children, and when an adult writes lines for them it usually sounds horrible and fake. If not that, then they give a teenager five-year-old lines or a two-year-old sixteen-year-old lines. It is not really the kids' fault in this case, but it's sooooo annoying. I just learned that anything is possible.
But I will still never teach any class below college without a salary of at least $ 100,000. I just wouldn't be able to deal.
 

Cid Silverwing

Paladin of The Light
Jul 27, 2008
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I play The Walking Dead (as of writing, save data was lost in formatting) and I have to say Clementine is indeed the strongest child character I've seen ever.

Duck, on the other hand, is such a fucking tool that forces you to not be able to save a far more useful character really damn early in the overall story, and then his dad has the cheek to get upset with me because I was raging out loud at how natural selection was being denied.
 

MB202

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In real life, I have a lot of sympathy for children. In fiction, not so much. Half the time, I'm half-tempted to beg the developers of the game to allow us to kill children in the games just because of how annoying they get, especially games that are open world and all about doing whatever you want (almost, but not really). But again, this is a general problem, not just in games, because all-to-often, executives get it in their head that if a kid is IN something, then that automatically means we're supposed to care... either that or it makes it automatically kid-friendly or the kids will want it or some bullshit, I don't even know.
 

ash12181987

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I have to say, when I first started watching Jimquisition I really didn't like it. Jim seemed to take himself a bit to seriously, and I actually stopped watching for the longest time. That said, his videos over time (And admittedly, seeing him on the Escapist Expo video) have made me completely reverse my opinion. I look forward to these vids every week now.

This weeks was reliably informative and (Well, sadly to be honest) on mark. The development of children as actual characters has been something long neglected and it would be good if people would learn that. Not to mention that, as being a father and a gamer, the fact that shithead politicians think that they should defend my children from the horrors of video games, really gets on my nerves more NOW, than it did back when I was young.

People automatically assume children are little Jr. Consumers who have no grasp of reality, humanity, or the world around them, and should likewise be treated as nothing more than resources to be mined for political favor or sympathy. Anyone who watches a kid grow, should look at these people and inform them of how far up their own asses, they hare stuck. And as was said in the video: If you think that just because a kid is in a form of media, that you should automatically sympathize because: "Oh a kid is being affected, my heart strings are practically being ripped out of my chest right now," I'm sorry but that is just silly. A good dramatic piece should play off of your sympathies by building up the characters to resemble someone you relate to in the broad sense so that you can fill in the blanks. Now, being a parent EXPANDS the sympathies you have to be played on, but that doesn't mean you automatically begin to tear up once anything happens with a kid.

Anywho, Jim Sterling for president 2012: Why? Because are your option any better otherwise?
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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As soon I read "At least one game gets it right" in the video description I thought of Clementine.

They did a really good job of making me want to take care of her. In that bit in Ep2 near the beginning where they make you hand out three items of food among ten people my first thought was, "Well, actually, that's three food items among nine people because, come hell or high water, Clementine will be getting one."
 

StashAugustine

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Irridium said:
You know, I used to care about children. Used to not hate them.

Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.

So thanks, Bethesda. Thanks for making me hate kids in games.
Reminds me of Shamus Young's Let's Play series. "No children were harmed in our attempts to murder all the children." When the kid died in ME3, Josh's reaction? "Fuck you, Little Lamplight!"
 

90sgamer

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Very good video Jim. I'm not a big fan of your work generally but you're getting much better. If I may offer one observation it is that you consistently use too many words to say very little. It's as if you are speaking impromptu and not writing down an outline before hand. Less is more.

Just a thought.
 

Faux Furry

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All of the reasons why poorly written child characters are such a noisome botheration in most fiction are perfectly good reasons why children make for some of the best villains in fiction.

See A Game of Thrones for example of how natural protective instincts towards youth and a naughty child given far too few limits make for a horrific match. Plus it has British accents.
 

SonOfMethuselah

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Been meaning to give these a try, just because they're supposed to be really good. But now Jim Sterling (JIM FREAKIN' STERLING, of all people!) is using them as an example of a child's character done well in a video game that ISN'T Psychonauts? I HAVE to try them now. Oh, also:

Roofstone said:
OT: I really liked Emily from dishonored, she is obviously sad and scared about this whole situation, but still manages to stay generally upbeat when you are around. As well as trying her best to act her part and stay mature.

One of the few characters that made me want to protect her, simply because she was a good character.
m19 said:
Princess Emily from Dishonored wasn't too bad either.
I'm not super far into the game yet (just heading to the Golden Cat now), because I bought XCOM at the same time, and have sort of been wrapped up in that, but Emily's first moment in the game wasn't too bad. I started getting a bad feeling around the time I was playing hide-and-seek with her, though.

Not because of anything she did, per say, more because of the subtitles that occurred when we were heading to the area you play in/when I didn't emerge from my hiding spot immediately.

They were:





And my thought was "Did you honestly have to caption that? And, since clearly you did, did they HAVE to be so token? Could you not have represented them with a string of letters? Her sound of restlessness in particular was something like "Umm... Nnngh." Would that have been so hard?"

For me, that they boiled her childish noises down to such a science was a sign of bad things to come.

On the other hand, I like how they characterized her curiosity for the sea almost immediately. It's not much, but it shows at least an ATTEMPT at character building, which is more than I can say for most children in video games.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Worgen said:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up Double Fine as a studio that knows how to write kids, more than a few of their games star children as the main character. Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and stacking all have children as main and supporting characters.
What? The Psychonauts kids were some of the most annoying and stereotyped children I've seen in a game. Good game though.
 

I.Muir

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It's never going to happen
Children will always be annoying and wander off into the worst possible places in fiction imaginable
 

camazotz

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Ickabod said:
Writers writing stories about children don't have children of their own, thus they don't know what children are like, only the archetypes that have been established by other writers without children. The writers themselves think that children are annoying and helpless, hence they way they portray them.
Yes, this here. Also, writers often know that parents really do have a sort of gut-churning reaction to protecting kids....I never imagined it as a real phenomenon until I became a parent myself....and I think these writers cop out of actually writing interesting kid characters by playing on this knee-jerk reaction parents feel to kids being put in harm's way. It's incredibly annoying because holy hell I CAN'T HELP IT when I see a kid in distress, even if that kid is otherwise a hollow shell of a character.

Gonna go play The Walking Dead now based on Jim's comments, though!
 

camazotz

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The Tall Nerd said:
i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?
Life does get better though. It sounds like you've had some exceptionally bad experiences....but trust me, its possible to meet decent and thoughtful kids (just maybe not wherever you are unfortunately).
 

dessertmonkeyjk

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I wholeheartedly agree that Clementine is a great definition to what a child is like and should be like.



Too bad you didn't warn them about Duck... you sneaky man.
 

Eric the Orange

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Apr 29, 2008
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Jimothy Sterling said:
Dragon Zero said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.
You know, YOU KNOW, they put that bit in the beginning of episode three to make you get attached to him just to fuck with the player, those sadistic bastards.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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camazotz said:
The Tall Nerd said:
i... i cantgo with jim on this one
this is one of those times i have to admit that coke-head Sigmund is right and the real issue is hidden in plain sight.

kids are dicks, i was a kid once im a teen ager now, they are dicks to make kids stop being dicks to me when i was a kid i threw a desk at one, he does have kinda of a point if the kids never evovle as a character i suppose that's one thing.

but children will react differently to different situations, what jim describes as a well written child, is just a mini adult, sorry jim but all children just arent that mature, alot of them probobly would have been eaten or the only reason they are still alive in the apocolypse is because of an adult.

i give children credit for being intelligent, however for being the level of mature that jim asks for, or just asking for all of them written to be is unrealistic, kids are dicks....deal with it?
Life does get better though. It sounds like you've had some exceptionally bad experiences....but trust me, its possible to meet decent and thoughtful kids (just maybe not wherever you are unfortunately).
while i did go though some stuff, i did meet some ok kids, one of those kids is my best friend
thanks but my statement wasn't meant to demonize all kids, my definition of dickodry has a wide range, from a kid being a little mean to a complete ass holes.

so while i am glad you showed concern my comment want as mean as it sounded, i tend to type very angry for some reason.
 

Vault101

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I'm glad to know people don;t hate children charachters becuase they are children...

they hate them because they are lazy and poorly implemented

so yeah...sorry ME3 but theres no denying yoru kind of guilty of that...
 

Dead Seerius

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The Walking Dead was a perfect example to use in a discussion like this.

In fact, when Jim said there was one game in particular that did the child character right, TWD was my first guess. Reminds me I still need to get Episode 4.
 

Redd the Sock

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Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

After Ben grabs the hatchet from the door letting the walkers into the school and then decides that's the best time to come clean to kenny about the bandits, she bats her eyes, calls him her friend and I go, damn it, you're going to make me defend and save this scrawny screw up aren't you, you little twerp. Then in the aftermath she runs off to find her parents like all those dumbass kids in other games, and I unfortunately give a damn.
 

Dragon Zero

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Jimothy Sterling said:
Dragon Zero said:
Jimothy Sterling said:
Think of the Children!

Children are the holy grail of conflict.

Watch Video
What about Duck? What do you think of him? Granted he is just a side character and not really a big focus of the story, like Clementine.

OT: I really have to agree with you about the Heavy Rain kids. Hell I think the only time I had any connection with them is at the very beginning, when the pet dies and you see the child reacting to it. Kids are really hard to get right, at least in an audio/visual medium IMHO, you either wind up with obnoxious little jerks or just adults with smaller proportions, hell I can't even think of a child in game that I remember other than kids in Fallout/Fable/Elder Scrolls, which my opinion varies and Pandora from God of War 3, whom I despise but I have issues about GoW3 that cloud my judgement and I don't really care to go into detail.

Anyway, great video as always!
I didn't have time to talk about Duck, but I liked him. What I loved was how he started as the stereotypical annoying, helpless kid, then subverted expectations by being funny, charming, and even useful (in his own useless way). Duck will get written off by many due to his introduction, but there is a lot more going on with him than he'll ever credit for.
Well, thank you for responding!

I have to admit that Duck does have a charm about him but, as you more or less point out (or I hope you meant), the biggest point against him in my book would be:
The event at Hershel's farm. I know that it wasn't his fault really but, really, getting another person killed is a steep obstacle to overcome. I didn't know whether or not to put this part in the spoiler since it occurs fairly recently, however I will as a courtesy to others.

I did look into his story (among other characters) on the wikia for the series, simply because I was uncertain whether or not I'd want to save up the money to purchase the other expansions. It's certainly a mark of good story telling that even though I know his fate I'm really interested to see it.

Finally, I do remember a child character from a videogame I do like, Nanna from the excellent El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. She is a warm and loving character and even befriends one of the Nephilim. Anyway, that totally wasn't just me looking for an excuse to bring up El Shaddai to someone who might enjoy it. I'm rambling, aren't I? Anyway, thank you for responding!
 

el_kabong

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Callate said:
SonOfVoorhees said:
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.
I always wondered why anyone was so incensed by the inability to kill children in Skyrim. And then...

"Another wanderer, here to lick my father's boots. Good job."

GRRRAAAAAA die you little...
100% agreement on that. My friend thought that I was "wrong" for wanted to kill kids in a game (has only been a desire in Skyrim). However, the sandbox/immersion aspect of the game is really halted when my Brotherhood assassin has to take lip from some brat on a street corner. I'm surprised the uppity bastards didn't get mentioned in the video.

OT: Good video all around. You could easily do a extension of this video on how we're supposed to care about a character because she is the shoe-horned love interest. She has boobs, right? So, clearly she's compelling and makes total sense for a character to pursue, regardless of how annoying/shallow/useless they are.
 

Bat Vader

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Clementine from The Walking Dead and Nanako from Persona 4 are the only two child characters in games that I actually care about and feel sympathy for them.
 

purifico

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Jim, I am mildly surprised that you didn't mention Final Fantasy IX in this episode. Considering that it is one of your favourite games and has great kid characters.
 

The Last Melon

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I had my fingers crossed when he started talking about the one game that got children right because I was going The Walking Dead game, The Walking Dead game, please be The Walking Dead game...

And Jim delivered.
 

Ferisar

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I can't agree with this. I also can't agree with how people are reacting to the child in ME3, which was a giant fucking obvious plot sign that said "Hey, Earth is fucked, here's how we're going to make Shepard REMEMBER that Earth is fucked. Because, all throughout his star campaign children don't just get mercilessly blown up in front of him without even a second thought."

A child is not a small adult. A child is a child. To pretend otherwise is mental. A PERSON, sure, but a very impressionable, very dependent on conditioning and environment, and generally innocent. A shitty adult is someone who's so desensitized to the world they have the gall to call children just some little shits who wet the bed every now and then. Humans are the product of their environment, if you want children to be strong and not helpless, you're not going to find too many outside of borderline fantasy. When the "child stereotype" is being used, it's not because a child is like a grown woman or a grown man, they aren't out there to prove anything to you. They ARE helpless, or scared or otherwise. They have trouble because they haven't made the mistakes to learn anything from yet.

And as far as not being invested in a plight of a parent in search of their kid: no. It's the same thing as every other "____ in distress", except this one makes sense. Just because you don't have emotional attachment to a character does not mean you can't sympathize with such a loss when the parents are losing their mind over THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER. You can't sympathize WITH THE KID, sure, but that's the thing you should be complaining about. A parent who isn't upset about their kid being stolen is utterly freaking ridiculous. It's how NORMAL people work, because normal people get upset about their offspring suddenly up and vanishing.

If you need more exposition on a child, sure, ask for it. If you want more diversity in some child characters, yeah, fine. But don't pretend for even a second that they aren't what they are the majority of the time: fairly simple, fairly helpless, and have very little personal motivation that wouldn't already relate to a known conflict within the family. Values and personality types all come from somewhere, and that all can be covered, again, in exposition.

EDIT:
And I'm not saying there's no value in this, but this ridiculously aggressive view of the matter is just... bothersome. A plea for good characters I can understand, but kids innately aren't that good of characters. The only thing you can gain from them most of the time is how they learn to approach new issues which the medium they're put in is presented. Some can be portrayed as little shits or melodramatic because those types of people exist. To not acknowledge that is... well, lying to yourself?
 

mdqp

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Ferisar said:
I can't agree with this. I also can't agree with how people are reacting to the child in ME3, which was a giant fucking obvious plot sign that said "Hey, Earth is fucked, here's how we're going to make Shepard REMEMBER that Earth is fucked. Because, all throughout his star campaign children don't just get mercilessly blown up in front of him without even a second thought."

A child is not a small adult. A child is a child. To pretend otherwise is mental. A PERSON, sure, but a very impressionable, very dependent on conditioning and environment, and generally innocent. A shitty adult is someone who's so desensitized to the world they have the gall to call children just some little shits who wet the bed every now and then. Humans are the product of their environment, if you want children to be strong and not helpless, you're not going to find too many outside of borderline fantasy. When the "child stereotype" is being used, it's not because a child is like a grown woman or a grown man, they aren't out there to prove anything to you. They ARE helpless, or scared or otherwise. They have trouble because they haven't made the mistakes to learn anything from yet.

And as far as not being invested in a plight of a parent in search of their kid: no. It's the same thing as every other "____ in distress", except this one makes sense. Just because you don't have emotional attachment to a character does not mean you can't sympathize with such a loss when the parents are losing their mind over THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER. You can't sympathize WITH THE KID, sure, but that's the thing you should be complaining about. A parent who isn't upset about their kid being stolen is utterly freaking ridiculous. It's how NORMAL people work, because normal people get upset about their offspring suddenly up and vanishing.

If you need more exposition on a child, sure, ask for it. If you want more diversity in some child characters, yeah, fine. But don't pretend for even a second that they aren't what they are the majority of the time: fairly simple, fairly helpless, and have very little personal motivation that wouldn't already relate to a known conflict within the family. Values and personality types all come from somewhere, and that all can be covered, again, in exposition.

EDIT:
And I'm not saying there's no value in this, but this ridiculously aggressive view of the matter is just... bothersome. A plea for good characters I can understand, but kids innately aren't that good of characters. The only thing you can gain from them most of the time is how they learn to approach new issues which the medium they're put in is presented. Some can be portrayed as little shits or melodramatic because those types of people exist. To not acknowledge that is... well, lying to yourself?
I am not sure I follow you. You are telling that is wrong for people to react negatively toward an obvious plot device, as you call it yourself? It is manipulative, that's why a child was picked for that role, and that's why people don't like it, because it's cheap.

A child is not a small adult, but mature children aren't so rare, either. Also, children learn quickly, and can adapt better than adults to a lot of situations, even if they lack the physical strength required to survive alone. Children throughout history had to partecipate to wars (even today, children are forced to be soldiers in several countries), there are slums in this world that have children survive as thieves, pickpocketers and beggars. Of course, if we talk of children from 0 to 7-8 years, it's unlikely for them to be able to do everything on their own, but you are selling them short if you believe that they are as helpless as you make them to be (also, you don't necessarily need to learn from mistakes, but this is another story).

I can't talk about Heavy Rain, so I am just going to say what I think Jim meant with that: in a game, players take an active role, unlike in movies, so to motivate them to act, you must give them something to care about. If the child doesn't get to play a big enough role in the game, the players won't be able to relate on the matter on a personal level. The fact that you can push your personal experience to substitute for the inadequacies of the plot doesn't make it a good plot, and in fact it cuts a lot of people from establishing a connection with the narrative. I don't think the point here was being unable to relate to the parents, but the fact that the sole driver of the narrative was someone (the child) we didn't know or cared about.

I just don't know what kind of children you have been around, or if I was blessed, but even the most whiny brats show clear signs of intelligence and initiative, even if in a roundabout, manipulative way (the child that cries because he wants a toy and you said him no, do so because they expect to get what they want when they cry, as this is what they are used to. If their parents are level-headed, he will learn the lesson soon enough, and won't cry for something like that forever. Children grow as long as their parents allow them to). You can also reason with kids, they aren't all so self-centered that they won't understand that context matters.

Also, this is fiction. Even if such a portrayal was the correct one (and I don't think it is), there is the matter that such "characters" won't make for an interesting narrative. They become just "obstacles" put in the way of the true characters, as they have to deal with them as well as with the task at hand, and frankly, add little to nothing to the whole. Not all kids should be "small adults" as you said, but the other end of the spectrum isn't good at all, either.
 

Kekkonen1

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I generally agree with you Jim, but regarding Heavy Rain, we aren't supposed to feel sorry for the kidnapped child but for the parent who's child was kidnapped, and frankly you dont need a good characterization for the child in order for an empathetic person to feel the pain of a parent who's child is gone.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Callate said:
SonOfVoorhees said:
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.
I always wondered why anyone was so incensed by the inability to kill children in Skyrim. And then...

"Another wanderer, here to lick my father's boots. Good job."

GRRRAAAAAA die you little...


Pretty much the best reason to use the Skyrim Nexus mod site instead of Steam.

Allot of posters mention Psychonauts as a good example of children, I however found them to be pretty adult-like in personality.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Legion said:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
I could just imagine the writer of those scenes jumping around shouting "ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" on an endless loop after they were first shown (+1 internet to you if you get the reference)
 

leviadragon99

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Hmm... I do kind of take issue with a couple of your examples of bad child characters though, in the case of Dawn, she's a teenage character firstly, and secondly she was meant to be portrayed as an annoying teenager initially, a trial for Buffy to deal with and eventually come to protect after their mother died and they were all the other had left. Flawed characters can exist, it all comes down to how they are framed, to borrow a concept from the Nostalgia Chick. It also helped that Dawn later grew as a character, particularly in the seventh season.

Plus there was that whole "she's a mystical energy ball given human form" thing, which would pile on top of the usual teenage drama of kleptomania and not being emotionally mature enough to handle a death in the immediate family a fair bit of legitimate existential angst, which she eventually came to terms with.

Plus with the Dexter kids... well how are they to know he has important serial killer business to attend to?

Make no mistake, I didn't like children when I was one, but some kids out there, both real and fictional are more mature and likable than plenty of real/fictional adults...
 

BlueJoneleth

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dessertmonkeyjk said:
I wholeheartedly agree that Clementine is a great definition to what a child is like and should be like.



Too bad you didn't warn them about Duck... you sneaky man.

Duck thinks you're totally awesome.
 

Toothache of Sauron

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Well said. And they're always given converstation lines that really really are annoying.

I hate children in fiction since the first time I watched a film with kids when I was three years old. To the point when I saw Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith, when Annakin goes to exterminate the children of the Academy I jumped out of my seat, arms to the sky, shouting "HELL YES! YES! YESSSS!! THAT'S WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!!". Well, I didn't, but only managed to restrain myself in the last millisecond before doing it with the help of my nearly pathologic shyness.
 

teh_gunslinger

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SonOfMethuselah said:
Been meaning to give these a try, just because they're supposed to be really good. But now Jim Sterling (JIM FREAKIN' STERLING, of all people!) is using them as an example of a child's character done well in a video game that ISN'T Psychonauts? I HAVE to try them now. Oh, also:

Roofstone said:
OT: I really liked Emily from dishonored, she is obviously sad and scared about this whole situation, but still manages to stay generally upbeat when you are around. As well as trying her best to act her part and stay mature.

One of the few characters that made me want to protect her, simply because she was a good character.
m19 said:
Princess Emily from Dishonored wasn't too bad either.
I'm not super far into the game yet (just heading to the Golden Cat now), because I bought XCOM at the same time, and have sort of been wrapped up in that, but Emily's first moment in the game wasn't too bad. I started getting a bad feeling around the time I was playing hide-and-seek with her, though.

Not because of anything she did, per say, more because of the subtitles that occurred when we were heading to the area you play in/when I didn't emerge from my hiding spot immediately.

They were:





And my thought was "Did you honestly have to caption that? And, since clearly you did, did they HAVE to be so token? Could you not have represented them with a string of letters? Her sound of restlessness in particular was something like "Umm... Nnngh." Would that have been so hard?"

For me, that they boiled her childish noises down to such a science was a sign of bad things to come.

On the other hand, I like how they characterized her curiosity for the sea almost immediately. It's not much, but it shows at least an ATTEMPT at character building, which is more than I can say for most children in video games.
That's... how closed captioning works. Would you also have a fit if they did a [Sounds of phone rining]?

If you're hard of hearing [Sound of restlessness] is a lot better than "Umm... Nnngh" as it brings with it a context and connotations.
 

Balkan

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My favorite kid in games has the be Ezio Auditore from AC2 (not brotherhood or revelations ) .
He was a lost child that grew up in front of me to become a great man .
 

Milanezi

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Personally, I don't think Clementine is much realistic. I don't feel much for her, I don't dislike her nor do I like her, and my actions are based on the group as a whole, I seldom put her needs in front of anyone else's; that's because I don't see her as a real kid, her actions are weird for a child in a world full of zombies, she's brave where not even adults would be. On the other hand, I do feel "something" for Carl, I see the kid as legitimate, granted, in the second season he pissed me off, but still he was a CHILD, that whole deal about going around with a gun after a stuck zombie, I hated that, it was stupid of him to do that, but it was also very child-like, this ignorance of danger/feeling of immortality, what child doesn't want to be a badass and thinks it's so easy to be one? It's typical naughty behavior, it's like throwing rocks at a house's window, simply because it makes you feel good and you're somehow pissed. Carl is torn apart in world full of zombies, it's natural that he freezes in fear at times, and that he tries to impress SHANE (for Shane's his role model much more than Rick) by any means necessary, those crazy events took hold of a whole group of adults and brought them to their knees, it's only expected that ANY kid will feel the same: plus the dreadful element of ignorance and no real grasp on the ways life and morality.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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The perfect episode.. mentions of the walking dead and buffy in the same episode. YAY

The escapist needs to release a "Vote Jim Sterling for president"tshirt as well
 

Jimothy Sterling

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"Carl Grimes

The 100 fuckups of a four-foot burden."

Actually made me piss my sides.

But have you watched the premier of the new episode? Kid seems to have grown up a lot over the winter.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Redd the Sock said:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

After Ben grabs the hatchet from the door letting the walkers into the school and then decides that's the best time to come clean to kenny about the bandits, she bats her eyes, calls him her friend and I go, damn it, you're going to make me defend and save this scrawny screw up aren't you, you little twerp. Then in the aftermath she runs off to find her parents like all those dumbass kids in other games, and I unfortunately give a damn.
I didn't take her with us, left her at home with the gun.

And I think that's down to how good of a job Telltale did with her. When she asks to come with, I did what I think I'd actually have done if I'd have been in charge of a child and not taken them into a potentially dangerous situation. In any other game I'd have taken her since she could have been an asset but I actually cared enough to think rationally about it.

That's no mean feat.
 

hermes

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You think that is bad? In my country, they are going to ban advertisement in kids shows time, because they are "impressionable and need our protection". Not only its a scapegoat, it makes all the series based around toys (like Transformers, Thundercats, Pokemon, Bakugan, etc) basically illegal. Granted, some are not good, but illegal?

What are they going to replace it with? Government founded advertisement... Because that sounds so much better.
 

hermes

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If anything, I hate the precocious children stereotype more than the helpless kid one. Its not so prominent on games as it is on movies and books, but I can't handle them anywhere. You know the ones I talk about. The Juno/Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close kind of kid, who is deep and introspective (sometimes close to autistic) and more competent, mature and insightful than most adults around him.

The reason I can't take them is because they are completely idealized and completely unrealistic. Say what you wish about the kids of Heavy Rain, but at least they and their routine felt real. Monotonous and boring, but real. I don't know how many children you know, but I know far more that are not small philosophers and are not as competent during crisis, than those that go around Central Park at night, talk like they memorized the Encyclopedia Britannica and help adults "open their hearts"...
 

dubious_wolf

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Carl will hopefully be less of a brat in the 3rd season.
Also is there anyway to cut the episode length Jim? I really enjoy it but I usually end up mousing over to another page 6 minutes in.
 

idodo35

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btw about clem
all you said is true but oh my god episode 4 she saved my ass like 3 times!!!
she is an amazing character in an amazing game :)
 

SonOfMethuselah

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teh_gunslinger said:
That's... how closed captioning works. Would you also have a fit if they did a [Sounds of phone ringing]?

If you're hard of hearing [Sound of restlessness] is a lot better than "Umm... Nnngh" as it brings with it a context and connotations.
If you think that was a "fit," I'd hate to know what you extreme hyperbole you attach to a REAL fit. Murderous rage, perhaps?
 

Redd the Sock

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Abandon4093 said:
Redd the Sock said:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

After Ben grabs the hatchet from the door letting the walkers into the school and then decides that's the best time to come clean to kenny about the bandits, she bats her eyes, calls him her friend and I go, damn it, you're going to make me defend and save this scrawny screw up aren't you, you little twerp. Then in the aftermath she runs off to find her parents like all those dumbass kids in other games, and I unfortunately give a damn.
I didn't take her with us, left her at home with the gun.

And I think that's down to how good of a job Telltale did with her. When she asks to come with, I did what I think I'd actually have done if I'd have been in charge of a child and not taken them into a potentially dangerous situation. In any other game I'd have taken her since she could have been an asset but I actually cared enough to think rationally about it.

That's no mean feat.
yeah, you just left her alone in a house with a dying man that could turn at any moment. Not that that had occurred to me until later, I just didn't think I did her any favors treating her like she was helpless, especially given how twice that episode she proved herself smarter than the adults. If something happened to me (and the ending pretty much spells out Clem will be without Lee sooner rather than later) she'd need someone that's help her learn to be more like Molly, skilled, confindent, and resourceful.
 

Mad1Cow

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Jim, I know you like this girl and all and I've let you finish, but Ken from Persona 3 is just SOOOO much better in my opinion. From the get go, he's already a benefit to the party. He's also one of the first characters that has deep traumatic issues troubling him and sorts it out first. He starts off wanting to be one of the big boys and constantly saying "I won't hold you back", which he doesn't, but still he wants to try harder to protect others. He's also the most NORMAL character in Persona 3 and is just the sweetest, caring thing I've ever seen.

Seriously, I don't get how you can hate Ken. I know there's a whole cult wanting his head for some inane reason but seriously as soon as Ken joined I was there wanting to make him a cup of coffee and effing talk about his problems. Ken Amada, look it up.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Redd the Sock said:
Abandon4093 said:
Redd the Sock said:
Tell me about it with Clementine. At first you keep her around as it's the decent thing to do, but by the end of episode 4 (which I assume this was recorded before) I'm actively letting her convince me to do stupid things.

After Ben grabs the hatchet from the door letting the walkers into the school and then decides that's the best time to come clean to kenny about the bandits, she bats her eyes, calls him her friend and I go, damn it, you're going to make me defend and save this scrawny screw up aren't you, you little twerp. Then in the aftermath she runs off to find her parents like all those dumbass kids in other games, and I unfortunately give a damn.
I didn't take her with us, left her at home with the gun.

And I think that's down to how good of a job Telltale did with her. When she asks to come with, I did what I think I'd actually have done if I'd have been in charge of a child and not taken them into a potentially dangerous situation. In any other game I'd have taken her since she could have been an asset but I actually cared enough to think rationally about it.

That's no mean feat.
yeah, you just left her alone in a house with a dying man that could turn at any moment. Not that that had occurred to me until later, I just didn't think I did her any favors treating her like she was helpless, especially given how twice that episode she proved herself smarter than the adults. If something happened to me (and the ending pretty much spells out Clem will be without Lee sooner rather than later) she'd need someone that's help her learn to be more like Molly, skilled, confindent, and resourceful.
A walker is far less dangerous than what you assumed you were going to find in that commune. Especially considering their reputation for hating children and the elderly.

Presuming you'd taught her how to shoot, that was the safer of all the options. Especially considering that if you left her with the gun, when you come back she had shot and killed a stray walker who'd found it's way in.

The best option would have course have been to leave one of the adults you trusted with her, but telltale didn't let you choose that.
 

Falseprophet

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RJ 17 said:
Falseprophet said:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex .
One of my favorite lines from that movie:
Ripely: "This little girl survived all on her own for a week without any military training at all!"
Hudson: "Well fuckin' put her in charge!"
Did Hudson have a single line in that movie that wasn't solid gold?

"Game over, man! Game over!"
 

Kyleee

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In a way I agree with this episode but what about Cheryl from Silent Hill 1? I can't help but feel like she is an exception to this problem. She seems to be more of a symbol than a actual character. A symbol of her real character alessa gillespie who's character is hinted at through out the game.
 

DANEgerous

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I have to say for kids outside of games I think "Rue" from "The Hunger Games" kind of does a rather fantastic job. She is a massive presence in the books even as a very small roll and make you swear vengeance on her life.
 

Aurora Firestorm

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Dear Jim, quit hating on Heavy Rain. I know you don't like it, but really, the kid was *not the point.* The mystery was the point. It didn't have to be a kid; it could have been any family member or close friend, because the point was the relationship between the man and the (associated person). We didn't *need* to know who Jason was as a character and a real human being. He could have been anyone. (Also, he *did* have a personality. He was a depressed kid who didn't like staying with his dad, and was clearly just ambling through life doing nothing because his brother just *died* and his parents just *divorced.*)

Heavy Rain was a very classic whodunit. The victim doesn't matter; in lots of whodunits, the victim is introduced for a few minutes or just isn't even there, already dead at the start. The point is everyone else, not the actual dead/missing/whatever person.

Anyway, back to kids. I think that one reason kid characters fail is that they either end up being adults in kids' bodies (thus, why are they even kids, it's like the authors are overcompensating for typical kid annoying traits), or they're kids in adults' bodies (see: most stereotypical teenage characters).
 

RJ 17

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Falseprophet said:
RJ 17 said:
Falseprophet said:
My favourite child character in a genre film? Newt from Aliens. Yeah, she was definitely a scared little girl, but she showed the survival instinct that allowed her to survive for weeks on a xenomorph-infested complex .
One of my favorite lines from that movie:
Ripely: "This little girl survived all on her own for a week without any military training at all!"
Hudson: "Well fuckin' put her in charge!"
Did Hudson have a single line in that movie that wasn't solid gold?

"Game over, man! Game over!"
"I don't know if you've been keeping up with current events, but we just GOT OUR ASSES KICKED!"
"We're in some real pretty shit now man!"
"Yeah! Good idea, Bishop should do it!
 

Reptiloid

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SonOfVoorhees said:
Irridium said:
Then Fallout 3's Little Lamplight happened.

Now every time I see a child in game I view it with suspicion and contempt. Either they'll use their perk as children to ***** you out knowing you aren't able to do anything back, or they'll be a cheap pull at a heart-string.
So much this. I really wanted to slap them to show them a bit of respect, mouthy little fuckers. So annoying and when you do shoot them, i feel that im entitled to and they do deserve it, no damage done. But they can shoot you and you have to leave....or be killed by the brats. I so wished i could lead a Deathclaw to their little hide out.
You're sounding like a complete sociopath. Either that, or a 12 year old trying to be cool and edgy.

If you honestly believe the Little Lamplight kids deserve to be brutally murdered for throwing a couple childish insults at you, you've got issues. No, you are not entitled to shoot them, and they definitely don't deserve to be shot. Any well-adjusted adult should be able to brush off being called a poopyface without going into a murderous rage.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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Got to the part about "Clementine" and just couldn't continue.
Sorry Sterling, but children aren't little adults. They are children.

Kids are irrational. Kids will drag their feet when there's "more important shit" happening. Kids don't really understand adult problems and can make a fuss when they don't get their way. Kids can be a burden.

If anything Clementine would be an exception as most kids would be zombie food.
As per the wiki description of her character - keep in mind she is 8 years old (grade 3 or 4):
"Clementine displays remarkable intelligence and maturity"
"She also picks up on subtle things most children her age would not be bothered by."

And yes, being a parent does help you understand nightmare scenarios like Heavy Rain.

But I didn't watch the whole video today, because it came off as the ramblings of someone with no idea what the fuck he's talking about. Unless you uncharacteristically admit you were talking out your ass at the end of the video, I'll leave it at that.
 

Ruhsey

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For Jim's next viedo: he should look at the trend of crowd funding for video games, using Kickstarter. It is becoming quite the thing, and it'll be interesting to see how publishers react or if it barely makes a dent at all. On one had at least we'll see some otherwise unpublishable game ideas gather force, or at the very least a documented spectacular failure, I suppose (as Tim would say).

It looks to be amazing, I hope it really does at least give some kind of authorship credibility to these people. Thus allowing us to appreciate authors and designers of the games and the touches they put forth, rather than the stream of output titles from the publishers.
 

Therumancer

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I have to agree that children are an issue in writing in general, and your correct about that. I agree that it's one of those horrible crutches that isn't even used properly.

That said, on a related note I tend to think that it's also linked into the even more overused and annoying "love as the solution" trope. The idea that a character overcomes what should amount to a no win scenario due to their sheer love for a wife, girlfriend, child, etc... something that is used because we can all presumably associate ourselves with that. The problem here of course being that if it was that easy, there never would have been a problem to begin with. Some guy say resisting "Cyberman" conversion from Doctor Who because of a father's love for his son is kind of ridiculous, as it implies that in all of the worlds these guys pretty much devestated and converted nobody ever loved their kids as they were being slaughtered and converted.

Emotion and human connection have their places in fiction of course, and are part of the entire human experience, but really shouldn't be used as much as they are in fiction. I think the problem being expressed with children in the media here, can be further extended into this bigger issue of "loved one in distress". I think it's something that works as part of a story, but not so much as a driving character motivation for an entire story which it's typically used for.
 

sageoftruth

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Bat Vader said:
Clementine from The Walking Dead and Nanako from Persona 4 are the only two child characters in games that I actually care about and feel sympathy for them.
Ah, I knew someone would mention Nanako eventually. I was going to mention her in my post, but was so sure someone else had already. I wonder if there's a way to make a child character lovable without making them self-reliant?
 

Bat Vader

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sageoftruth said:
Bat Vader said:
Clementine from The Walking Dead and Nanako from Persona 4 are the only two child characters in games that I actually care about and feel sympathy for them.
Ah, I knew someone would mention Nanako eventually. I was going to mention her in my post, but was so sure someone else had already. I wonder if there's a way to make a child character lovable without making them self-reliant?
I think there are pry a few writers who could do that but they would have to be really good and really careful with how they write and develop the character.
 

sageoftruth

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s69-5 said:
Got to the part about "Clementine" and just couldn't continue.
Sorry Sterling, but children aren't little adults. They are children.

Kids are irrational. Kids will drag their feet when there's "more important shit" happening. Kids don't really understand adult problems and can make a fuss when they don't get their way. Kids can be a burden.

If anything Clementine would be an exception as most kids would be zombie food.
As per the wiki description of her character - keep in mind she is 8 years old (grade 3 or 4):
"Clementine displays remarkable intelligence and maturity"
"She also picks up on subtle things most children her age would not be bothered by."

And yes, being a parent does help you understand nightmare scenarios like Heavy Rain.

But I didn't watch the whole video today, because it came off as the ramblings of someone with no idea what the fuck he's talking about. Unless you uncharacteristically admit you were talking out your ass at the end of the video, I'll leave it at that.
That's a pretty good point. Child characters seem to be complicated. As you mentioned, they really can be a burden, which makes them something you either love or hate. You sound like you're familiar with parenthood, so I'll trust you when you say that parents can empathize with a child character without much prodding from the writers.

I guess the real cardinal sin in the usage of realistically burdensome child characters is to use them in media that's marketed towards a crowd that normally doesn't feel love or protectiveness towards children. If Spike TV released an action flick with such a character, I'm pretty sure a majority of the viewers would be collectively rooting for the monster/antagonist whenever the child was in danger.
 

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Shiro No Uma said:
Your point at 3:54 is very troubling and you should have that looked at. Saying "Children are just basically shitty adults," is messed up. CHILDREN ARE NOT JUST SMALL ADULTS. (That's psych 101.) Treating or thinking of them as such is not just unfair to any child, or adult, but perverse. Your outlook on them is not very healthy and admittedly might be skewing your views. I hear that you are aggravation at Carol in Walking Dead, but I completely disagree with your view of him.
I'm glad someone has already brought this up, I agree completely. I liked the first part of the video and I think this is a problem with too many writers either lazily using children as plot devices or seeing them as attachments of their parents / guardians rather than a character in their own right. Once the video got onto the characterisation part about children however... ugh.

Yes I don't like annoying characters any more than the next guy but children by their nature are annoying, it's their other traits (happiness, energy, innocence etc) which make up for them being annoying sometimes. As someone who works with children and has written a number of child characters in the past, I'd say the perfect child character is one who can be realistically pathetic and dependent as a real child would but still be endearing to the reader. Jim sums it up when he describes children as "shitty adults", he doesn't like or understand children and so prefers child characters who are miniature adults. I haven't had a chance to play Walking Dead yet since my Xbox 360 has broken down but eventually I will play the game and see for myself whether Clementine is as well written as he says.
 

Nazulu

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There are many great examples of great children characters. This vids heading reminded me of The Simpsons, some of the best well written children characters came from there.

I completely agree though. Usually, when I see children in games, I first predict that I'm going to have to save them, or get ready for annoying escort quest.

The common problem when writing children is if your going to make them realistic in a sense, you still have to find a way to make them entertaining and not just based on experience.
 

Grahav

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Have been reading "Cradle of Monsters":

The child character has done some pretty awesome shit lately.
 

Strazdas

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Well Dawn wasnt that bad in buffy in the end, tohugh the first season shes in shes a ***** and i hated her, but in the wlaking dead series i felt like killing somone whenever the boy was on screen. well they at least got rid of one of the children there.
a show that did children well was Millenium, altrough not much of them there.
 

Something Amyss

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soh45400 said:
True. What about thinking what they were like as children?
That is an easy way of writing a child character. Just think, if I was a child and was put in that situation what would I do? and write that.
Whenever someone whines about children, they should be reminded that were children themselves once.
I still have the mind (or at least, the maturity) of a child, so I just ask "what would I do in this situation if I was four feet tall?"

>.>

But yeah, even if you've never observed or been around children as an adult, you were one. You ostensibly had friends and classmates to draw on.
 

Something Amyss

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Strazdas said:
Well Dawn wasnt that bad in buffy in the end, tohugh the first season shes in shes a ***** and i hated her
Dawn pretty much stayed the same. At best, she became slightly less annoying in the last season. Even then, she was written like a cardboard 12 year old and MAYBE upgraded to cardboard 14 year old.
 

evilneko

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You know why the kid in Walking Dead is better?

Because The Walking Dead isn't so much a game as it is a viz novel. No really. It's a viz novel.
 

thanatos388

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Legion said:
Like the child in Mass Effect 3

What pissed me off even more with that was how ridiculously heavy handed they were with it. They even go so far as to make Shepard have nightmares over the kid. This one kid, amongst millions of deaths, including ones that were a direct result of Shepard's actions? It's just idiotic.
The kid was a representation of the millions of deaths on earth. Not just that one stupid boy in the vent. What irritated me was that it was a little boy they used to represent those people and that we had to see him die so Shepard could get "determined", like the past two games and the intro itself would not be enough to get him a little invested in stopping the reapers.
 

maximara

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An interesting contrast is how children are handled in World of Warcraft. Most of the time they are little more than window dressing to give the impression of a living world.

The one time they are used extensively is during Children's Week and there many of the achievements for that are just plan messed up in the head. School of Hard Knocks for example has you take your orphan into a battleground (ie war zone)--what's this supposed to do? Given them nightmares for the next couple of years?

Even when World of Warcraft had escort missions involving the dreaded brain damaged seemingly suicidal idiot it did NOT involve a child--not that it made the mission any less annoying.

But even World of Warcraft can't avoid that old cliche of character is messed up in the head because their family died in some tragedy ala Punisher.

Why is it that much of the time when children are not being used as annoying plot device bordering on future Darwin Award winner or motivator for main character to be borderline suicidal maniac/idiot they are at best window dressing?
 

dbenoy

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Vote:
Sterling
Dafoe
2012

Or else probably babies will explode or something. Is that what you want?!
 

likalaruku

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Haha, my roommate came in mid-video & thought Jim was lambasting the Pro-Lifers.

Walking Dead is on my Xmas list. The spoilers didn't really spoil anything.

"Hunter x Hunter" & "Black Butler" have exquisite child characters.
 

Jimothy Sterling

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See also Sam from Gone Home. As an example of a character who is terribly written and fucking annoying, I mean.