Jimquisition: To Play The Villain

Balkan

New member
Sep 5, 2011
211
0
0
I was going to say how Niko is more complex than Jim described, but there are enough people that did that.
What I'm going to say is that games are full with well written "professional" characters. Agent 47 doesn't care about what happens as long as the job's done. Joel doesn't seem to be scared or angry at the bandits he kills. That approach is more fitting in games that offer gameplay freedom.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
17,253
1,322
118
Except that GTA5 does try and make the protagonists come across as better than the people they fight against, even the disgusting and psychotic Trevor. Around every corner you're presented with characters that are written in such a way that you instantly hate them, and root for the three main ones.

This has always been Rockstar's problem with writing. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want their scumbag protagonist, but they also want him to be the lesser of the evils. The only game of theirs where this actually works is Bully, because of its cartoony and more innocent nature. But as soon as they try and play it straight it comes across rather hypocritical.
 

xPixelatedx

New member
Jan 19, 2011
1,316
0
0
Gay furry porn

Not Vidya related... so I think the joke falls a little flat. Now if it was a gay furry porn between Starfox and Sly Cooper, or two pokemon (there are doujins for that), that would have been fantastic! Jim is a video game journalist after all, at least give him something he can proudly display with his E3 swag.
 

ShirowShirow

New member
Oct 14, 2010
206
0
0
I actually feel like villains are the overplayed protagonists in games nowadays, mostly THANKS to GTA. Stuff like God Of War and Prototype put you in the shoes of superpowered thugs. Call Of Duty had a level where you slaughter civilians and a lot of other games try and be all "Morally Ambiguous" and shit.

And even some of my favorite games just make you an overall failure. Every F.E.A.R game ends with hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and the plot situation getting worse and worse. Same with Gears Of War and Halo.

One of my favorite games recently was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. And you know why? Because Raiden was heroic as all hell in that. He sets out to do the right thing and kicks tons of ass along the way. It too deals with the burdens of morality and failure, but remains idealistic throughout. And Raiden's goal? It's to save the lives of innocent children. Not "Win the war" or "Revenge!" despite the title. It's to rescue children from a life of torture.

People say they're tired of "Boy Scouts" or "One-dimensionals" but can you honestly name many protagonists that are honestly, characteristically and immutably moral? There are tons of faceless, voiceless blank slates that save the world. There are plenty of people that topple villains in their quest to survive. There are plenty of revenge-seeking anti-heroes. But how many game protagonists actually go out of their way to save people for the sake of helping people? How many game protagonists consciously take the morally upstanding route when it's not the one that is laid before them?

I think a true hero is far more interesting then a true villain. We've just been dealing with lacklustre protagonists for years and calling them "Heroes" for lack of a better term.
 

SirCannonFodder

New member
Nov 23, 2007
561
0
0
DVS BSTrD said:
We're always going on about how we want videogames to be taken seriously as a medium, yet we reject games unless we're cast as the "good guy"? How is that mature?
Because in other mediums, no matter how depraved the on-screen behaviour, you're an entirely passive observer and can easily detach yourself from the characters. With a game, you're actively taking part in it, helping the characters to carry out their horrible intentions, without your input none of it would be happening. It's a lot harder to detach yourself from what's happening.
 

LordLundar

New member
Apr 6, 2004
962
0
0
DVS BSTrD said:
We're always going on about how we want videogames to be taken seriously as a medium, yet we reject games unless we're cast as the "good guy"? How is that mature?
This is a disingenuous argument at best. You're equating a person's subjective review (and let's face facts here, Greg isn't alone in his opinion) as a call to ban game. Yes, the game should exist and the characters should certainly exist and be expanded upon, but that doesn't mean that people should have to enjoy playing them. To make that argument is no different that calling for such games to be banned. A person rejecting a game because he doesn't like the character path is a perfectly justifiable reason, regardless of the path the character takes.

On another note, Jim actually put out why I personally prefer SR3 and SR4 compared to SR2. In the two more recent SR games, the protagonist and the Saints are presented as anti-heroes. Not doing anything for the greater good persay, but in the process doing good things for the city. In SR2 however, the protagonist is just sadistic and it's a character trait I'm not a fan of.
 

Vedli

New member
Jul 5, 2013
20
0
0
Red X said:
Who are the weirdos sending Jim this stuff? You won't send a card to your Grandma on her birthday but you'll seen Jim Belladonnas fist and Furry porn? Uh, the world we live in! XD
They're called "the shattered" and they listen to Podtiod.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
24,759
0
0
DVS BSTrD said:
We're always going on about how we want videogames to be taken seriously as a medium, yet we reject games unless we're cast as the "good guy"? How is that mature?
It's not mature.

On the other hand, maybe it's one of those concessions we've made over the years. As people have accused us of training on murder simulators and playing virtual rape games, we've found ourselves (as a whole) condemning almost anything negative. Games like Postal were tossed almost entirely under the bus because we ourselves abandoned them in an attempt to validate our hobbies. Maybe what we should have done was stand up. But as a new medium, it's hard to stand your ground.

Games have developed along the lines of what we as consumers will buy, and so it's no surprise that truly villainous characters are few and far between. And if this wasn't a GTA game, would it have gotten away with it? I can't help but wonder.

zerragonoss said:
More of the point is that some people do not believe the unjustified villain exists, sure people can get pretty fucked up but their is a reason they are so. Like Jim said villains are often more complex but this is because they need a reason to be the villain, so a villain that feels unjustified seems shallow and completely detached from reality.
At the same time, 2/3 of the protagonists in GTA V don't see themselves as bad guys. Trevor is basically self-aware and proud, but he's not even portrayed in a positive light. Franklin is trying to get himself out of the hood, and Michael keeps playing himself up as a victim of circumstance (even though he routinely engineers such circumstances).

But then, SR2 didn't really need a reason for the Boss to be a monster. S/he was just a childish dick. Trevor's kind of similar. They just paint him as a madman and run with it. No real need for characterisation.
 

Metalix Knightmare

New member
Sep 27, 2007
831
0
0
Just a minor correction here Jim: In SR2, The Boss didn't kill that gang leader's girlfriend because of a bad deal he offered. He killed her because she had one of your lieutenants kidnapped and killed horribly. She wasn't an innocent caught in the crossfire like the guitarist, she was just as much a monster as any other gang leader in this game.

Don't be like Cyrus Temple. The boss has quite enough damning things on his record, you have no need to make it worse.
 

NerAnima

New member
Jun 29, 2013
103
0
0
xPixelatedx said:
Gay furry porn

Not Vidya related... so I think the joke falls a little flat. Now if it was a gay furry porn between Starfox and Sly Cooper, or two pokemon (there are doujins for that), that would have been fantastic! Jim is a video game journalist after all, at least give him something he can proudly display with his E3 swag.
....Is there actually gay furry porn between Starfox and Sly Cooper? Wait, don't answer that, I think I can already guess as to the answer.

On the topic, however; I do find some joy in playing the villain, at least some times. Also, I kinda liked Overlord, although I would have enjoyed it a lot more if he was a lot more evil. I mean come on, he's the Overlord! ACT LIKE IT!
 

Erttheking

Member
Legacy
Apr 23, 2020
10,845
1
3
Country
United States
Steve the Pocket said:
erttheking said:
It reminds me something my short story professor said. If a story makes you feel uncomfortable, it's doing its job right. Stories aren't always there to hold our hands, sometimes they're there to punch you in the gut.
If the torture scene in GTA V made you uncomfortable, then that's a good thing. They wanted to show torture as the horrible, ugly thing that it is and they wanted to show Trevor as an unrelenting psychopath that would enjoy doing it.
Except the point of making sandbox-game protagonists villains isn't to make the player hate them; it's to keep them more in tune with the sort of behavior players will already be indulging in, i.e. wanton violence and destruction. Once again, Rockstar seems to have epically missed the point of their own franchise.
Yeah, I never really liked the argument that people know what makes a game tick better than the people that made it. Really, just because a game is a sand box and has a villain as a main character doesn't mean that the game is automatically forced to be a wacky fun game. GTA V is dark and brutal, Micheal lashing out at the slightest provocation, and Trevor being an unstable ball of violence that I genuinely feel unnerved by and in my opinion the game is better for it. I like Niko Belic, I like GTA IV, but I won't lie when I say that him insisting that he wanted a nice quiet life made me roll my eyes considering how eager he was to sign up for the next assassination mission. And really, what IS the point of GTA? Just jacking cars and running people over? Not really. It's evolved beyond that.
 

SonOfVoorhees

New member
Aug 3, 2011
3,509
0
0
I loved the characters in GTA5, and ok, they were hateful in what they do. But atleast they have characters, dreams and goals in what they want from life. Just they go about it in a hateful manner. I think that guy that gave the game a 3.5 is an idiot because you cant rate a game just because the characters are unlikeable. Its fun to play as different people, no one is expecting you to feel what they are doing is right. Its why people watch movies, read books and play game, its for the experience to play as some one that isnt you.
 

Screamarie

New member
Mar 16, 2008
1,055
0
0
I actually have a hard time playing a bad guy. I don't know why, I know these are virtual worlds, no one really cares what I do in this world....save maybe in Mass Effect or Dragon Age, those are the only games that I can think of where people really react to what you do.

But anyways, I have a really hard time doing something cruel or hurtful. So if I have a choice I always go the nicest, kindest route....most of the time. I do TRY to play the bad guy from time to time, Saints Row 2 and the like, because it IS fun but I always have limits, at least far as the game will allow. Things like "don't harm children or women or animals" things like that.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

New member
Apr 2, 2008
1,163
0
0
What really interests me is when a game, or another piece of media, portrays a character as "the good guy" even when they clearly aren't. Watch Jurassic Park 2, for example, where all of the "protagonists" blunder into the middle of an up-until-that-point successful military campaign, getting a massive amount of the (generally less unlikeable) military bods killed in the process. They're incompetent, they're annoying, they constantly f--k everything up and they show zero remorse for or recognition of the consequences of their own idiotic actions. And these are the guys we're supposed to be rooting for. Yay.

But JP2 was a BAD movie. What about - say - a really good game? What about "Wonderboy 3" on the Sega Master System, in which the hero (so we're told) has to take on six horrific tyrants in the form of dragons? Tyrants that are so horricic, in fact, that EVERY SINGLE CREATURE in the kingdom - and some of the plant life too - rallies to their defence? And what does Wonderboy do to these poor oppressed victims? HE SLAUGHTERS THEM, STEALS THEIR LOOT, AND EATS THEIR HEARTS. Seriously. He even massacres the weather systems (yes, this game has "evil" clouds. Think of that the next time you're out in a thunderstorm.)

So since Wonderboy literally slaughters every single inhabitant of Monster Land that he comes across, who exactly lives in this kingdom that he's supposed to be "liberating"? Well apparently... there's a shopkeeper guy (pirate with an eye-patch. Because eye-patches are always a mark of a character who has no evil tendencies whatsoever.) And a buxom nurse that resembles Darryl Hannah in "Kill Bill". So Wonderboy, the strongest warrior in the land, is liberating it for... those three people? And nobody else? Hmmmmmm. All of a sudden, I am less certain of his intentions.

The moral of the story is you don't have to play GTA or Kane and Lynch to get your fill of evil. If you don't mind it coming in the guise of a cute little anime guy with a sword and a smile, you can get it easily elsewhere.

(Oh, and talking of retro games with unfortunately evil implications, in the game "Urban Strike" on the Genesis you can crash a helicopter into the World Trade Centre to blow it up. Seriously.)
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

New member
Apr 2, 2008
1,163
0
0
DVS BSTrD said:
LordLundar said:
DVS BSTrD said:
We're always going on about how we want videogames to be taken seriously as a medium, yet we reject games unless we're cast as the "good guy"? How is that mature?
This is a disingenuous argument at best. You're equating a person's subjective review (and let's face facts here, Greg isn't alone in his opinion) as a call to ban game. Yes, the game should exist and the characters should certainly exist and be expanded upon, but that doesn't mean that people should have to enjoy playing them. To make that argument is no different that calling for such games to be banned. A person rejecting a game because he doesn't like the character path is a perfectly justifiable reason, regardless of the path the character takes.
I never equated it to banning games, I'm saying it's a videogame. If we know it's "just a game" why do we still need the story to justify all the horrible things we do in them? And in Grand Theft Auto of all franchises!
I'll take this one... because if the character's actions aren't justified in some way, it's simply a bad story. Good or bad, characters need motivation. Now that needn't mean cutscenes of dead parents - my favorite moments of the GTA franchise have just been going off-mission, exploring the world, and wrecking s--t up. I'm effectively making my own story there. But if the characters have to act in a specific way then they need a reason for it.
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

New member
Apr 2, 2008
1,163
0
0
DVS BSTrD said:
SirCannonFodder said:
DVS BSTrD said:
We're always going on about how we want videogames to be taken seriously as a medium, yet we reject games unless we're cast as the "good guy"? How is that mature?
Because in other mediums, no matter how depraved the on-screen behavior, you're an entirely passive observer and can easily detach yourself from the characters. With a game, you're actively taking part in it, helping the characters to carry out their horrible intentions, without your input none of it would be happening. It's a lot harder to detach yourself from what's happening.
Yet players don't seem to have problem when they're being terrible people on their own in Free-roaming.
An interesting point I think. Honestly I don't care HOW many cookie-cutter civillians I run over, because they're instantly replaceable. But if a character in a game does something horrible to another character that I know and care about, I want it to mean something. There may be millions of NPCs but very few characters.