So Bad It's Brilliant

Crunchy English

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While I do think B-Games is a real phenomenon - Think Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard or Ninja Blade, I think this is far too lenient on Lollipop Chainsaw.

The game was bad and bland. The idea of overly sexual female characters is hardly new comedic ground and LP just had nothing to say about it.

Oh hey, video game heroines are almost always busty bimbos! And stupid gamers eat it up! Isn't that funny?

No, actually. Not on it's own. Pointing out that something is dumb or silly isn't the act of satire, it's merely step one. Satire should probably say something more. Honestly, Bayonetta had a similar message, but was attached to way better game and actually tried to accomplish something WHILE pointing out the obvious.

Starship Troopers for instance, was definitely a rail against bad moviemaking and bad sci-fi, but it had scathing political commentary, and the final scenes evoke a definite "man is the true monster" element.
 

Furrama

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Lollipop fails in pushing itself into some sort of commentary on objectification, although it tries; the boyfriend as a head being turned into a literal object and treated so by the game and characters does a better job than the main character ever could. But the game didn't push itself far enough into the absurd and really punch its point. Because of that it feels like it is trying to have its cake and eat it too and feels closer to the movie Sucker Punch than anything.

As a movie it would probably be absurd enough in visuals, props, and premise, but as a game amongst other games that have already moved everything and the boob sliders way past eleven it can't stand out enough.

So I mark it as a failure, and unfortunately just throwing another hot blond caricature onto the pile. But at least you can kind of tell it was trying to say... something. Probably. But it really shouldn't hide behind a shield of, " It was trying to suck", it doesn't quite earn that.
 

Anti-American Eagle

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I want to say the film version of Starship Troopers is good Satire. But, the problem is that it has dragged the name of the book down. Verhoeven hadn't finished the book, and I can only guess that he asked some one who had for a synopsis, looked up controversy about it and decided to parody it.

So instead of philosophical ideas bound in science fiction to make it palatable, we ended up with an action comedy that used basic plot points, controversy, and exaggeration to parody it. When I look back at it I also see it satirizing similar films as well.

I just thought it was just a bad Sci-Fi adaption at the time I first saw it, it wouldn't be the first. When I need something bad to laugh at I usually end up watching it, and that's pretty much its legacy for alot of other people I know.

Otherwise... Wait, while I'm thinking it. Are there actually people who didn't realize that Lollipop chainsaw was a joke?
 

saintdane05

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Speaking of Starship Troopers, did anyone else go see the RIffTrax Live version last night? It was hilarious.
 

JamesBr

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I think it's far to say that it was a parody/satire, though I the length to which it succeeds is definitely up for debate, and that it's status as a parody/satire doesn't defend it from criticism. I'll admit, the So-Bad-It's-Good attempt at parody means bringing Mindless Self Indulgence to score the boss fights (and voice the first boss!) is very apposite, since that pretty much what the game is, mindless self-indulgence ^^
 

Covarr

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I'm sure Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard falls into this category.

P.S. Thanks
 

TiberiusEsuriens

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I love bad movies/games and have no problem with good satire, but the problem people have with things like Lollipop Chainsaw is pretty simple: if you want to make fun of the "skinny blonde zero size with FFF bust" stereotype in gaming, do something witty about it, don't just add more to the fire. You can call something satire all you want, but if it is indistinguishable from the real thing it's a wasted comparison.

When the standard all-male dev team says they're trying to fix the gender problem in gaming the solution is always "We'll do the exact same thing, but this time it will be funny, we promise" and then bro-five each other. When a level headed team, regardless of gender, decides to do something about it the solution is "Let's create a dynamic character that makes sense and looks like a real person. I don't care what gender they are, just make them interesting." Even if their game fails to catch on, at least it doesn't go down screeching with stereotypes.
 

GonzoGamer

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But there's probably the same ratio. Sure there are some movies that are so bad they're good but most movies are just plain bad.
Same thing with games; most are just plain bad, occasionally a good one comes out and rarely you play one that is so bad it's good.
Maybe if it took the same amount of time and cost the same amount of money as watching a bad movie on cable, I would appreciate "good-bad games" like No More Heroes more. Playing a game is a big investment of time and money; if you're lucky, it ends up being a bigger investment of time. I prefer to hold out for good games.

But maybe it's just my taste. I really can't waste my time on anything by Tim & Eric, maybe I just dislike intentionally bad material.
 

oldtaku

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The Earth Defense Force games do a much, much better job of being B-games than Lollipop Chainsaw did. Which fits in well with the Starship Troopers thing. I'd be hard pressed to name better examples.

Then there's Deadly Premonition, which wasn't actively trying to be bad, it just didn't have the budget.

Saints Row 3 and (apparently) SR4 would also fit in this category. They're deliberately bad, deliberately trashy, deliberately stupid and end up being a lot of fun. Probably the most commercially successful B-games?
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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The comparison of "Starship Troopers" and "The Expendables" actually depresses me somewhat.

First off, "Starship Troopers" cannot be called "so bad it's good". I hate to pull the "if you don't like it, you just don't UNDERSTAND it" card. But a lot of people who don't like this movie really just don't "get" it.

Little bits like the guy in the chair with no arms and no legs saying "The Marines made me what I am today"... Absolute genius. The fact that the "hero's" IQ is specifically stated to be the lowest of all the main characters (and is tested as such, no less)... The fact that we never ever get any kind of proof that the bugs are responsible for the meteor that started the whole thing off in the first place... And much much more.

Yes, you can dislike "Starship Troopers" on a subjective level. But on an objective level, even if you don't like the satire, you have to admit that it's a well-made movie. The action scenes are FANTASTIC. Everything is perfectly staged, you know where everybody is in relation to one another, and the cinematography is just excellent throughout. The scoring, too, is fantastic. The dialogue fits the tone of the film perfectly throughout, and the cast do their utmost to make this movie as serious as possible. It absolutely benefits from it: there's no "winking at the audience" here. This film doesn't need to give you dumb in-jokes to make it clear where the "satire" is. It's never heavy-handed. This film has respect for its audience.

Compare and contrast that to "The Expendables", a nearly-unwatchable mess. Stallone gives a career-worst performance (and for anybody who's seen "Judge Dredd", that's saying something.) I think it's worse than his "Dredd" because at least then he was trying SOMETHING, even though it didn't work. "The Expendables"... he just goes through the entire film looking bored.

I don't think that "The Expendables" had a "big idea". I don't think any effort went into it at all. The script is frequently moronic, while never being as unintentionally hilarious as, say, "Spiderman"'s dialogue. The scoring is noisy. The editing is noisy. The camerawork is excrutiating (there are five-minute action scenes where it's nearly impossible to tell where one character is in relation to another. This film should come with a health warning: "Can give you motion sickness".)

"Starship Troopers" is the work of a director with a clear vision who, whether you like it or not, executes it damn-near perfectly. Personally I love it. "The Expendables" feels like a classic case of film-by-committee. It's a bunch of stuff thrown into a film because some executive has done the numbers and sees that this is what "sells". It feels as though more effort was expended - pun intended - on the marketing of "The Expendables" than the film itself.

So let's not treat a film that shows as much respect for cinemagoers as "Starship Troopers" as the equal of a film that shows as much contempt for us as "The Expendables".
 

TheMadDoctorsCat

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TiberiusEsuriens said:
I love bad movies/games and have no problem with good satire, but the problem people have with things like Lollipop Chainsaw is pretty simple: if you want to make fun of the "skinny blonde zero size with FFF bust" stereotype in gaming, do something witty about it, don't just add more to the fire. You can call something satire all you want, but if it is indistinguishable from the real thing it's a wasted comparison.

When the standard all-male dev team says they're trying to fix the gender problem in gaming the solution is always "We'll do the exact same thing, but this time it will be funny, we promise" and then bro-five each other. When a level headed team, regardless of gender, decides to do something about it the solution is "Let's create a dynamic character that makes sense and looks like a real person. I don't care what gender they are, just make them interesting." Even if their game fails to catch on, at least it doesn't go down screeching with stereotypes.
YES. You, sir, win the prestigious "most insightful post I've read in the last hour" award.

Personally my biggest peeve is when a ridiculous stereotype is put into an otherwise-serious game, and when the devs get called on it, their response is "but... satire!" I have a lot of respect for the humble game designer. You don't need to do this stuff.
 

bjj hero

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workablemeat said:
So Bad It's Brilliant

We have B-Movies, and we love them. Why not B-Games?

Read Full Article
Youve missed a point not talking about value. It costs £8 or so for a cinema ticket. Ill chance some B movie schlock at that price. Console games come in around £40, at 5 times the price ill buy something with great story and game play instead.
 

Covarr

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TheMadDoctorsCat said:
TiberiusEsuriens said:
I love bad movies/games and have no problem with good satire, but the problem people have with things like Lollipop Chainsaw is pretty simple: if you want to make fun of the "skinny blonde zero size with FFF bust" stereotype in gaming, do something witty about it, don't just add more to the fire. You can call something satire all you want, but if it is indistinguishable from the real thing it's a wasted comparison.

When the standard all-male dev team says they're trying to fix the gender problem in gaming the solution is always "We'll do the exact same thing, but this time it will be funny, we promise" and then bro-five each other. When a level headed team, regardless of gender, decides to do something about it the solution is "Let's create a dynamic character that makes sense and looks like a real person. I don't care what gender they are, just make them interesting." Even if their game fails to catch on, at least it doesn't go down screeching with stereotypes.
YES. You, sir, win the prestigious "most insightful post I've read in the last hour" award.

Personally my biggest peeve is when a ridiculous stereotype is put into an otherwise-serious game, and when the devs get called on it, their response is "but... satire!" I have a lot of respect for the humble game designer. You don't need to do this stuff.
I once played an RPG Maker game called Funny Fantasy. The premise was that it was like Final Fantasy, only it mocked it by using established FF tropes such as FF character classes and four warriors of light and all that jazz. Unsurprisingly, the game ended up feeling more like a cheap knock-off of Final Fantasy than an actual spoof.

P.S. Thanks
 

Eternal_Lament

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I think there's an inherent problem with games as a whole that prevents the "so-bad-it's-good" assessment: one thing that's fun about bad movies is watching them with a group of friends. You all get to talk over it, make comments about the bad parts, continue to make jokes about it even after the movie's over, etc. It is essentially an activity that is at it's best as a group activity. There is a problem however when this translates to games. Unless it's a multiplayer game, there will be one person who has to slog through the bad gameplay while those around them don't have to experience it. It puts the player in a position where they're doing more work for possibly less enjoyment, because depending on the game they may have to put more attention into actually playing it that there leaves little room to joke with the rest of the group. It would be like if you and a group of friends decided to watch a bad film, but while they got to watch the bad film you had to work a projector where you had to switch and operate reels at the right time so it seems seamless. At a certain point, you just stop paying attention to what you're friends are doing as you now essentially spend the next 1 1/2-2 hours working.

And this to me is the problem with Lollipop Chainsaw. The advantage that games such as Bayonetta and Blood Dragon have is that while the presentation is indeed silly, stupid, and bad, there's a fun game to be had, so that while you're friends get to enjoy all the bad presentation, you get to supplement the parts you're missing with engaging and exciting gameplay. Further, the gameplay on it's own is enough for a person to play the game by themselves, as there's enough there for them that they don't always need the group to enjoy it with, but the option is always there regardless. Lollipop Chainsaw, because it has combat that is sluggish and bland, makes it a chore for the player, making it seem more like you're working to put on a performance for your friends rather than enjoying something with them. To me, this is why it's a lot harder to do "so-bad-it's-good" games, because the consideration still has to be towards good gameplay, which I feel some developers feel they can relax on if they have the silliness/badness there. That's why I don't like Suda 51's games, it feels like he thought he didn't need to make something actually fun and engaging on it's own because the silly/bad aspects were peppered in to sort of distract the player.
 

Olas

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I'm not sure why this article thinks the idea of a so-bad-it's-good videogame is unheard of. Isn't this what House of the Dead Overkill was going for? In fact it seems like most zombie games consciously or unconsciously fall into this category sooner or later. Don't tell me Typing of the Dead was taking itself seriously.
 

sethisjimmy

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I don't think being self-aware and being satirical are mutually inclusive at all. Lollipop chainsaw is self aware as all hell. It knows what it's doing and it does it with a wink and a smile.

However, it's not satirical or clever at all. It's not making any statement at all. It's not deconstructing sexism, it's not satirizing objectification of women, it's just playing a bunch of tropes completely straight, aiming to be a pure untouched tribute to B movies and sexploitation flicks. A game being self aware and/or parody doesn't excuse it from using worn-out tropes or objectification, contrary to popular belief.

The whole "we're self aware, get it?" thing is pretty much a weak attempt at avoiding criticism in my eyes.

The fact that a person who objectifies women and just wants to play the game to see T n' A and gore can fully enjoy this game for that exact reason, without getting any kind of message or education or meaning from it is testament to the how it's actually not clever or satirical at all.

Now, whether these types of games have a place in the industry is another discussion entirely. I think they do, however they're really over-saturated these days. Seriously, ever developer and their dog seems to think "over the top violence, action, and stereotypes, wow, I sure am rebelling against those darn military shooters and I'm being clever and original about it aren't I?" (No.) The whole "Over-the-Top Ironic Parody Violence just-4-fun-don't-take-us-seriously games" are practically a genre on their own. I don't think anyone needs to jump to their defense, they're extremely prevalent in the current industry and they're not going away any time soon.

As a side note - My favorite Suda game was his least over-the-top and most serious and surreal Killer7. One of my all time favorites, amazing game.
 

Kinitawowi

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For me, the best comparison point for Lollipop Chainsaw may end up something like 2012; never good, no pretensions or preconceptions of being good, but it's a [Suda51 / Roland Emmerich] [game / film] and so you know what you're going to get; you're not looking for a heartwarming story, you're looking for DENZEL WASHINGTON GETTING AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER DROPPED ON HIS HEAD.

You know exactly what you're going to get with an Emmerich film, so you might as well put your feet up and enjoy it. The same applies to Suda's games.

The thing about the So Bad It's Good trope is similar to Mark Kermode's description of cult film; if you aim for it, you're going to miss (unless your film is called Sharknado, at which point you pretty much can't go wrong). Showgirls is So Bad It's Good incarnate (hey, that man Verhoeven again), a film aiming for depth and greatness and turning out to be... well, Showgirls. Starship Troopers clearly wasn't intended as a parody (and anyone who claims it was is giving it far too much credit), but became one through how spectacularly straight it played its tropes.

Maybe there's a third way then; The Good, The Bad and The Suda.
 

Albino Boo

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Anti-American Eagle said:
I want to say the film version of Starship Troopers is good Satire. But, the problem is that it has dragged the name of the book down. Verhoeven hadn't finished the book, and I can only guess that he asked some one who had for a synopsis, looked up controversy about it and decided to parody it.

So instead of philosophical ideas bound in science fiction to make it palatable, we ended up with an action comedy that used basic plot points, controversy, and exaggeration to parody it. When I look back at it I also see it satirizing similar films as well.

I just thought it was just a bad Sci-Fi adaption at the time I first saw it, it wouldn't be the first. When I need something bad to laugh at I usually end up watching it, and that's pretty much its legacy for alot of other people I know.

Otherwise... Wait, while I'm thinking it. Are there actually people who didn't realize that Lollipop chainsaw was a joke?
Paul Verhoeven spent his childhood under German occupation in Holland, surrounded by the the real effects of German militarism and Nazi superiority laws. Its not very surprising that he chose satirise a book that recommends the restriction of voting rights to the military and licenses to have children.
 

A Weakgeek

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Story wise? Yeah, theres plenty of games with so bad its good stories. Kinda like renegade ops.

Gameplay wise? Shiiiiiiii ain't nobody gonna play through dat. Then again, im not quite able to imagine gameplay SO bad it was good. How WOULD that work?