The Apparent Anti-Intellectualism of Gamer Culture

Dizchu

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MrFalconfly said:
I wouldn't trust a non-petrolhead to review a sportscar, and neither would I think a political commentator should review a game.
This is a false comparison. A non-petrolhead wouldn't be suitable to review a sportscar because I'm guessing they wouldn't have the technical expertise to give any decent insight.

However, political commentary and game journalism aren't mutually exclusive. If a game's story is focused on human issues it is inherently political, though usually not explicitly. But Tom Clancy's The Division? It's speculative fiction based in the real world and makes plenty of political statements, that sort of material is ripe for political commentary. I'd say purposefully avoiding political discussions would be a huge detriment to game journalism.

This "review" basically amounts to reviewing a Porsche 911, and then proceeding to complain about the fact that it's got leather interior, and how that's terrible because it involves killing cows to get the leather.
I haven't read the review, it might be complete nonsense for all I care. But the ecological concerns of manufacturing are definitely something to consider when reviewing a Porsche. Would you say that mentioning how much fuel per mile a car consumes would be unsuitable for a review? I mean it's both an economic and ecological consideration.

Similarly, if a video game makes political statements they should be addressed in a review just like with any other entertainment medium. To avoid doing this could potentially ignore a vital aspect of the game.
 

gargantual

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Good lord you guys really get into it.

Ok just because gamers are put off by the admonishments of potential negatively influential western jingoism that are being ascribed to The Division does not mean they are anti intellectual.

Trust me, you will never find a deeper meta analysis or controlling information, the grand scheme of militarism and memetics than these weebs will provide in their love for Metal Gear Solid.

They're just not the type that originate from or see critical, social theory as the dominant or only form of having intellectual discussion, because it judges games often from narrow social-progressive modern interest which are often inconsequential or in contrast with the game's world, rules, mechanics etc.

Imagine if there were heavy game criticism of Final Fantasy and related JRPGS from a Western monotheistic religious perspective. You can do it of course sure, but theres only so much mileage you'll get out of it. It would largely be skewed negative, because the imagery mocking the western concept of God and religion throughout the FF series and embodied in FF10 often depicts it as inhibiting to true spirituality and a western monotheistic critique would be less likely to understand or accept it, believing of course the opposite.
 

The Material Sheep

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gargantual said:
Good lord you guys really get into it.

Ok just because gamers are put off by the admonishments of potential negatively influential western jingoism that are being ascribed to The Division does not mean they are anti intellectual.

Trust me, you will never find a deeper meta analysis or controlling information, the grand scheme of militarism and memetics than these weebs will provide in their love for Metal Gear Solid.

They're just not the type that originate from or see critical, social theory as the dominant or only form of having intellectual discussion, because it judges games often from narrow social-progressive modern interest which are often inconsequential or in contrast with the game's world, rules, mechanics etc.

Imagine if there were heavy game criticism of Final Fantasy and related JRPGS from a Western monotheistic religious perspective. You can do it of course sure, but theres only so much mileage you'll get out of it. It would largely be skewed negative, because the imagery mocking the western concept of God and religion throughout the FF series and embodied in FF10 often depicts it as inhibiting to true spirituality and a western monotheistic critique would be less likely to understand or accept it, believing of course the opposite.
This is kind of the main crux. Just because someone finds the incredibly fashionable progressive ideology that people like this reviewer peddle as the shallow pseudo intellectualism it is, does not mean gamers are anti intellectual. It means that progressives need to learn how to deal with people fundamentally disagreeing with the major premises behind their ideology without resorting to name calling such as labeling huge swaths of a group of enthusiasts as anti intellectual.
 

Dragonbums

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Zenja said:
CritialGaming said:
I think what really causes this problem is the fact that the article is labeled as a review. There really isn't anything about the game that is reviewed here, instead it is a deep and fairly decent analysis of the setting and motives of the themes within the game and not actually the game itself. Honestly if they had tagged this article "Opinion" instead of review then those people commenting probably wouldn't be bitching.
This should be /thread. You shouldn't discuss the subjective political views or plot to a game and then rate how "good the game is". If you are ranking the plot or subject material in an opinion article, fine. If you are evaluating the game design, no. If you want to discuss political views and such, why not discuss the ones in reality where your voice plays a part instead of whatever McGuffin some game designer came up with this month?
Well that's the problem isn't it? Your making a game where your gameplay and story have just as much importance to you- the developers. Otherwise why bother investing that much time into the story to begin with?
The fact of the matter is that as games become more cinematic, and want to 'tell stories' than as much as YOU don't want it the reviewer has to include how the story plays out in the game.

It's the reason why nobody gives a toss about Mario's story being the same fucking shit. Because that was never the main focus of the games. It was all about the gameplay and you can see it by the game design.
However with Lara Croft rebooted, it does matter. Because it's clear the game WANTS you to care about the story as much as the gameplay.

If they leave that out, than your going to have a group of people who feel cheated out of their money because reviewers gave a game a 10/10, yet the story was so full of bullshit and a total slog to go through (in their opinion.) that it wasn't worth the money. Good gaming mechanics be damned.
Reviews by nature are subjective. You should be focusing more on what they say in the review than what the final number score on the review is. If people actually read reviews as opposed to putting so much importance and weight to a number scale this wouldn't be a problem to begin with.
 

FFHAuthor

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Gethsemani said:
The problem with the Kill Screen review of the Division is not that it focuses on the ideological markers in the Division. The problem is that it is a very selective reading of said markers and everything that doesn't fit the reviewers narrative is simply not mentioned. From the fact that the big bad is another Division agent and that his Dragon is a PMC to the way the game consistently addresses the Division's unsupervised power by presenting both positive and negative opinions of it from NPCs and collectibles. The reviewer simply doesn't address these things, because doing so would render the reviewers position invalid. It is a bad review not because it addresses politics and ideology, but because it does so in a dishonest and highly biased way.
I read the article and those things jumped at me as extremely glaring oversights in the article as well.

The writer seemed to view the Division purely with the eye of how things are in the normal world, not through the world that the game was creating, like he just skipped over the entirety of the background explanations and narrative that were created to give context to the entire situation. The Division doesn't exist in a world that we would recognize or even comprehend, the agency's entire purpose is viewed in the game as being a desperate last step to not maintain law and order, but to enforce the Social Contract the most basic concept of civlization.

A distinction that most people tend to not understand. The game itself could be characterized into two main parts, the first part is fighting the Rioters, the Cleaners, and the Rikers, factions who are brutalizing the people and making it an impossibility for society to even function on any level. They've all stepped outside the basic concepts of the Social Contract or the 'shared agreement of civilization' they're killing people and brutalizing people, to in the end take their things...but the motivations to stop them are not to protect things. You're not fighting them to protect an electronics store or protect some rich person's brownstone, Midtown Manhattan has gone far beyond that. You're fighting them because they're killing people and stopping the government from helping it's citizens.

The Rioters aren't just taking things we put financial value on, they're seizing hospitals and food shipments. The Cleaners aren't just blue collared sanitation workers, they're murdering people in the streets because they think that they're sick with a horrible disease, and there is no way for them to be sure, so they just kill them all. The Rikers aren't just the oppressed and misunderstood criminals, they're determinedly attacking the JTF to torture and murder them. You're not fighting these people because they're stealing TVs, burning buildings, or escaped from prison, you're fighting them because they're trying to destroy the only things helping people.

I also disagreed with the writer's view of the people. If you're speed running through and don't take the time to examine the world, then you'll probably only focus on the mechanics and the 'I need something' notice that will show up. Walking the streets, looking at their behavior, examining cell phone recordings, Echos and even walking through your base and overhearing their conversations...that characterizes them MUCH better than just going 'Oh, you need a soda'.

The Second phase of the game revolves around fighting the LMB, who've gone the dark route of power. That's something that the reviewer completely ignored. They have the guns, they have the power, and they're asserting control those are the same things that the JTF are trying to do. But the JTF is doing it to try and keep people safe and restore order for the sake of the citizens of New York. The LMB is doing what it's doing for the sake of power and control. It's actually a very interesting narrative choice that's shown well in the comments and suspicions shown by characters towards you. They are the side of the coin that you could quite easily have become.

It might have been an excellent option for a later faction focus in the game, have two factions you could have joined in the late game, the JTF as the 'good guys' and the LMB as the 'bad guys' both with their own late game campaigns, both with the same goals (restore order), but with different intents behind them (give the people back stability, force the people under their control). JTF is for the people and doing everything they can so that normalcy can return, the LMB is asserting heavy handed control over people because they view them as savages who need a firm hand. But then that would have been an excellent design decision for the late game that is completely at odds with how Ubisoft made the game.

I don't think that it proves gaming has an anti-intellectual streak (that's a hideously broad brush to be painting gaming culture with), but I think the review shows that some gaming journalists have pretenses to intellectualism that fall flat in the face of deeper examination.
 

Dizchu

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Dragonbums said:
If they leave that out, than your going to have a group of people who feel cheated out of their money because reviewers gave a game a 10/10, yet the story was so full of bullshit and a total slog to go through (in their opinion.) that it wasn't worth the money. Good gaming mechanics be damned.
That's the thing though, gamers are used to video game stories being cutscenes that separate stretches of gameplay. The story is there to explain why you're trudging through the same shooting gallery over and over again. For something like Doom (and hopefully Doom 4 later this year), the story is very basic and doesn't interfere with the gameplay. But for more narrative-heavy games people just expect them to "get the job done", rather than say anything meaningful.

When you hold the story to the same scrutiny as the gameplay people get very defensive. Like when you point out that the lyrics of the current chart-topping pop song make no sense or god forbid, may promote some nasty shit like sexual assault, manipulation or general excess.
 

wizzy555

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Silvanus said:
wizzy555 said:
No, there is a difference between intellectualism and activism and some people don't seem able to separate the two.

If you oscillate between subjectivism and objectivism based on what your argument is this week, if you can't stand people discussing ludo-narrative dissonance, if you spend more time calling people stupid on twitter than making rational argument, then you aren't an intellectual, you're an activist.
That's not really what "activism" is; it usually refers to taking a more proactive role in protest (going on marches, organising events, writing letters, etcetera).
No I think it is activism, if you are systematically writing public documents denouncing so and so to change public opinion, that's a form of activism, or pamphleteering in olden-times. The problem is that activism is seen as something to be respected, but that really comes down to the particular issues.

Consider this, activists are free to be as two-faced as any politician but lack any of the mechanism of accountability politicians have. So why do people hate politicians yet respect activists?
 

OldNewNewOld

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Corey Schaff said:
Fox12 said:
Dark Souls is a game that needs time to sink in. It won't tell you almost anything. It's too subtle for that. Instead you have to figure things out on your own.

It also understands that brevity is the soul of whit, and that writing isn't good because it is long. Dark Souls says what it needs to say, and moves on. It's more about implication anyway...
If it hardly tells you anything, how do you know that anything is actually implied, and you're not just creating a wholecloth narrative out of an Inkblot?
Some stuff is implied through the environment and corpses, some are outright said, other are implied through dialog. But most of the stuff is said through item descriptions which say a lot. Dark Souls 2 was a huge disappointment in that regard.

For the history, see this: 1 [https://i.imgur.com/HMwt5.jpg], 2 [https://i.imgur.com/jgDtn.jpg], 3 [https://i.imgur.com/vBqeZ.jpg], 4 [https://i.imgur.com/1XtAn.jpg], 5 [https://i.imgur.com/III6oLy.jpg]

For a game that says so little, it managed to build up a really nice lore.
 

The Material Sheep

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FFHAuthor said:
Gethsemani said:
The problem with the Kill Screen review of the Division is not that it focuses on the ideological markers in the Division. The problem is that it is a very selective reading of said markers and everything that doesn't fit the reviewers narrative is simply not mentioned. From the fact that the big bad is another Division agent and that his Dragon is a PMC to the way the game consistently addresses the Division's unsupervised power by presenting both positive and negative opinions of it from NPCs and collectibles. The reviewer simply doesn't address these things, because doing so would render the reviewers position invalid. It is a bad review not because it addresses politics and ideology, but because it does so in a dishonest and highly biased way.
I read the article and those things jumped at me as extremely glaring oversights in the article as well.

The writer seemed to view the Division purely with the eye of how things are in the normal world, not through the world that the game was creating, like he just skipped over the entirety of the background explanations and narrative that were created to give context to the entire situation. The Division doesn't exist in a world that we would recognize or even comprehend, the agency's entire purpose is viewed in the game as being a desperate last step to not maintain law and order, but to enforce the Social Contract the most basic concept of civlization.

A distinction that most people tend to not understand. The game itself could be characterized into two main parts, the first part is fighting the Rioters, the Cleaners, and the Rikers, factions who are brutalizing the people and making it an impossibility for society to even function on any level. They've all stepped outside the basic concepts of the Social Contract or the 'shared agreement of civilization' they're killing people and brutalizing people, to in the end take their things...but the motivations to stop them are not to protect things. You're not fighting them to protect an electronics store or protect some rich person's brownstone, Midtown Manhattan has gone far beyond that. You're fighting them because they're killing people and stopping the government from helping it's citizens.

The Rioters aren't just taking things we put financial value on, they're seizing hospitals and food shipments. The Cleaners aren't just blue collared sanitation workers, they're murdering people in the streets because they think that they're sick with a horrible disease, and there is no way for them to be sure, so they just kill them all. The Rikers aren't just the oppressed and misunderstood criminals, they're determinedly attacking the JTF to torture and murder them. You're not fighting these people because they're stealing TVs, burning buildings, or escaped from prison, you're fighting them because they're trying to destroy the only things helping people.

I also disagreed with the writer's view of the people. If you're speed running through and don't take the time to examine the world, then you'll probably only focus on the mechanics and the 'I need something' notice that will show up. Walking the streets, looking at their behavior, examining cell phone recordings, Echos and even walking through your base and overhearing their conversations...that characterizes them MUCH better than just going 'Oh, you need a soda'.

The Second phase of the game revolves around fighting the LMB, who've gone the dark route of power. That's something that the reviewer completely ignored. They have the guns, they have the power, and they're asserting control those are the same things that the JTF are trying to do. But the JTF is doing it to try and keep people safe and restore order for the sake of the citizens of New York. The LMB is doing what it's doing for the sake of power and control. It's actually a very interesting narrative choice that's shown well in the comments and suspicions shown by characters towards you. They are the side of the coin that you could quite easily have become.

It might have been an excellent option for a later faction focus in the game, have two factions you could have joined in the late game, the JTF as the 'good guys' and the LMB as the 'bad guys' both with their own late game campaigns, both with the same goals (restore order), but with different intents behind them (give the people back stability, force the people under their control). JTF is for the people and doing everything they can so that normalcy can return, the LMB is asserting heavy handed control over people because they view them as savages who need a firm hand. But then that would have been an excellent design decision for the late game that is completely at odds with how Ubisoft made the game.

I don't think that it proves gaming has an anti-intellectual streak (that's a hideously broad brush to be painting gaming culture with), but I think the review shows that some gaming journalists have pretenses to intellectualism that fall flat in the face of deeper examination.
Its because most gaming journalists are just uplifted bloggers. They're no more capable of holding an intellectual conversation than a random shmuck you pick off the streets. They hold shallow and fashionable view points, all wearing the same fashionable hipster clothing and spouting the same fashionable buzzwords. They are the epitome of vapid socialite and to see them get praised as 'intellectual' and gaming culture is derided as low intellect and base, is just a sad joke. Self important pseudo intellectuals pretending to be the moral and intellectual superiors to the average gamer while being nothing of the sort. Its just too funny...
 

maninahat

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CritialGaming said:
I think what really causes this problem is the fact that the article is labeled as a review. There really isn't anything about the game that is reviewed here, instead it is a deep and fairly decent analysis of the setting and motives of the themes within the game and not actually the game itself. Honestly if they had tagged this article "Opinion" instead of review then those people commenting probably wouldn't be bitching.

EDIT: I do want to point out, that this entire website's reviews seem to be long drawn out fluff articles by people who don't seem to register with games or how to review them at all.
The website specifically says that its reviews are not interested in looking at things like graphic or gameplay, but in cultural value. It also says that there are a billion other reviewers out there who can review games on the former criteria, if you really need one.

But a review is an opinion, and the game is being reviewed on its cultural commentary. You know what else gets reviewed based on its cultural commentary? Books. Games are weird in that reviewers get preoccupied with the mechanical qualities, describing those aspects like they were reviewing a car rather than a piece of entertainment. Imagine a book review in which the review spent two paragraphs talking about how many words there were to each page, the colour of the front cover, and the choice of font. That is how games get talked about, and things like ideology or message tend to get left as an afterthought, or treated as a separate thing that cannot be factored into the review, despite it being the key thing that would determine whether you might buy an Ayn Rand book.

I don't think people are anti-intellectual, however a lot of people do seem to struggle with any writing that is marginally counter-intuitive, or demands decent reading comprehension. I get annoyed reading gaming articles these days, not because the writers are indulging in peculiar theories or polemics, but because they often have to include extensive disclaimers, concessions and qualifiers to try and pre-empt the simplistic responses made by idiots who aren't reading carefully enough.
 

Hair Jordan

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Corey Schaff said:
Should I even bother playing the third one if I haven't played the previous 2 and investigated the lore, or should I just start fresh with the rumored Sci-fi Souls game that's being made?
Souls games work as a stand alone experience that doesn't carry over, akin to the Final Fantasy series. You're going to see common features and themes, but it's not a prerequisite.

Fwiw, there are actually four "souls" games, Demon's Souls (Ps3), Dark Souls (multi), Dark Souls II (multi), and Bloodeborne (Ps4 - a souls game in all but name).

If you're looking to get into the series, I'd personally recommend starting with Dark Souls, until III officially releases in a couple of weeks. For a lot of people, myself included, it's the high water mark for the series. I've seen it on Steam for 5 bucks before, which is kind of mind boggling.
 

Dragonbums

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Dizchu said:
That's the thing though, gamers are used to video game stories being cutscenes that separate stretches of gameplay.
But gamers can't be that into the clear cut mold can they? Like there are still games that are cutscense/gameplay. Mass Effect is a huge example of that. All the talking and plot happens AFTER you shoot everyone's brains out. (or try not to.) and yet fans universally panned ME3 BECAUSE the story was absolute dog shit. But it was also something that was heavily advertised as important regardless of how it was implemented.
Unless games of today revert back to Doom and Mario levels of story relevant than I honestly think it's more dishonest to just not bring it up.




The story is there to explain why you're trudging through the same shooting gallery over and over again. For something like Doom (and hopefully Doom 4 later this year), the story is very basic and doesn't interfere with the gameplay. But for more narrative-heavy games people just expect them to "get the job done", rather than say anything meaningful.
But that kind of failed to work the moment they gave the characters any more sort of agency outside of 'I'm doing this because that's my objective'. They started giving characters morals, relationship, family, ideologies. They may be baseline, but they still exist. and if your character is a pacifist and yet the whole time your blowing shit up, that's going to affect the player.

When you hold the story to the same scrutiny as the gameplay people get very defensive.
But to me I genuinely wonder what is there to get defensive about? I mean, sure if your super invested in the story and you think someone is talking out of their ass about it (which according to some people who did care about the story, it kind of was.), if all you care about is the gameplay than a reviewer saying some bad shit about the narrative element shouldn't give a fuck.
It's not like that really hindered the sales of any game.
 

Silvanus

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wizzy555 said:
No I think it is activism, if you are systematically writing public documents denouncing so and so to change public opinion, that's a form of activism, or pamphleteering in olden-times. The problem is that activism is seen as something to be respected, but that really comes down to the particular issues.
"Public documents" seems like a rather grandiose description for posts on a forum, but I get your point.

wizzy555 said:
Consider this, activists are free to be as two-faced as any politician but lack any of the mechanism of accountability politicians have. So why do people hate politicians yet respect activists?
One suspects it has something to do with how politicians have far more power than some schmuck on the internet.
 

Dollabillyall

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Honestly it's not really that intellectual of a piece. I'd class it under "baby's first marxist analysis".
It's all very ham-fisted and contrived. It really is in many ways just a vessel for the personal opinions and expectations that the writer has about the game and about the content of popular media and society in general. Here are a few things I would disagree on with the writer:

- He links to some articles about people not looting in disaster situations yet completely disregards the differences between for instance Katrina and the events of the game. Hurricane Katrina (where, mind you, lootings did take place) was a minor and local event compared to the game disease outbreak. In the game, something like 95% of the global human population has been wiped out. The effects on the economy and the production of food and other necessary items are beyond anything that any real-life event can even begin to compare to. The interpretation of the fiction is done by using unrelated and incomparable real-life events that seems to serve little other function than to link his article into the ongoing left vs right political "debate war" regardless of the merit of his comparison.

- There is another assumption or at least framing device used by the writer, the one where he claims that people and culture are not presented as "important" in the game while property is. First off, I don't agree that there is no people-aspect present in the game. There are many different groups of people, all in some way or another displaying it's own culture through the behaviours they engage in. Let's have a look at some of these:
1. The friendly groups like the JTF are in many ways law-and-order type people, something to be expected from the remnants of what was once the public security and emergency service sectors of society. These people joined the police forces, fire departments or military in order to preserve order and create stability in "regular" society. Them becoming the "tribe" that continues to attempt to restore and preserve order and "the old laws" is to me a pretty valid writing choice.
2. The Rioters are another group that behaves in ways that one might deem valid, considering their previous life and the context that they have moved into. Widespread scarcity of resources with little chance of restoring supply lines, crumbling infrastructure and the loss of the monopoly on violence by the government are a perfect recipe for riots. The idea that a portion of the populace, when survival returns to being a harsh affair where not everyone is going to make it, will not result in bands of rovers with varying degrees of violent behavior is a strange one. I have found little evidence in-game of the rioters being a coherent group and more of them just being the portion of the survivors who are willing and able to be violent in order to survive and form ad-hoc groups of varying sizes to reach that goal.
3. Then the cleaners... This is one of the more fantastic groups in the game. This "tribe" has taken it upon itself to literally cleanse the world in purifying flames. It has a very distinct cult ring to it. Where they all sanitation workers before the disease? Maybe, maybe not. Are all sanitation workers decking themselves out in flamethrowers and fluorescent vests? Probably not, and the game makes no such claim afaik. While a bit fantastical this group has come across to me and others I know not as some classist stereotype but rather a dystopian post-apocalyptic cult.
5. Then the division itself. The writer seems shocked that a group of sleeper agents go out to ruthlessly enforce directive 51... while sleeper agents are naturally chosen to be exactly the most ruthless and enduring enforcers a government can find to do it's bidding. Wether or not you agree with it's actions and philosophy... it is in many ways a believable fictional group. There are references to members and associates of the Division being former-PMC (Private Military Contractor). Anyone who has followed the news and have an idea of the culture of military elites know that there are plenty people in real life who might be expected to do exactly what the Division is doing; Restoring order by taking out all competition. Wether or not you agree with that line of thinking is irrelevant. The fact that the writer admits that it took him time to think "why do I kill these people?" is a testament to the power of convention and hierarchy over human beings.
6. Last but not least... the "zombie" civilians trying to scrape out a living and occasionally asking for a handout. Are these so hard to believe as characters? These people are oftentimes not provided with a big backstory so they could be anyone. Middle-class wimps out of their comfort zone, the nice store clerk who was lucky enough to be immune to the disease, maybe even some former sanitation workers who did not decide to go with batshit-insane flamethrower purging. We don't know these people and thus we can't assume anything about them other than them being obviously non-violent and probably soft targets for those who are violent. These are an important supporting cast for the main-characters who need to, at least in their minds, see a peaceful population that they can believe to be doing it all for.

- Then the property thing... Let's just be frank about this. To many people and organisations this is a logical way of thinking. If there is limited emergency aid available and a handful of violent (or go-getting, if you prefer that wording) people take it for themselves it stands to reason that these are the enemies of those who wish to restore things to what they used to be. Not to mention that a vast portion of the population actually considers private property to be a great value and a mark of civilisation. If you are a communist or hardliner socialist this might seem disgusting to you but there is a reason other than opression that private property has not been abolished yet... a vast many people agree with the ethics of private property. This, combined with the earlier statement I made about the people and cultures of post-disease NYC really refutes the entire point that the review writer tries to make. Many different peoples, cultures and philosophies exist within the game world and you are playing as one version of many possible outcomes. Wether or not you interpret the story of the Division to be about authoritarianism, classism and racism or about restoring order and welfare to a population in anarchy is up to you. Maybe both are true in some respects.


So what about the point of the article in total? Does the Division propagate a "perverse ideology"? I think it doesn't. It let's you play as a character that might have behaviours and ideals that you as a player don't share but that is just one perspective from wich the story is told. One could even choose to interpret it as a detraction of that philosophy since it at least made the review writer think about his actions but only after actually racking up quite a hefty bodycount of what he interprets to be for a large part working class heroes in the name of a faceless, nameless autoritarian government. Many works of fiction allow you to see a story from the eyes of a character that you might not directly identify with. My behaviour in GTA5 would certainly be reprehensible in real life but I doubt anyone bats an eye at me robbing a bank and killing the hostages in that game. Enjoying GTA5 doesn't make me a criminal, Pirates of the Carribean doesn't make me a pirate and the Division does not make me the muscle of an authoritarian regime nor the savior of NYC.

Now a final point. Does not wanting to read this wall of text about an overly philosophical and contrived personal interpretation of a game you enjoy make you anti-intellectual? Absolutely not. Some people just want to see numbers go up (thanks for that one Yahtzee) and shoot the guys with the red health bars over their head to blow off steam after a day's work as an *insert intellectually challenging profession or hobby here*. Some people just want to read a review to hear if the game plays into that well or not. Not every work of fiction is an intense indoctrination into warring philosophies and those that are don't necessarily actually indoctrinate people. The review is mostly just another made-up outrage to fight against for ideological reasons or to generate revenue or both. The fact that some people are gonna dislike it and make their dislike known is not anti-intellectualism. It's just saying "I don't like this content". Simple as that.
 

the7k

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The Jovian said:
And now I have to ask: why is it that video game reviews aren't allowed to talk mostly about narrative and or provide in-depth analysis of the work and it's themes? Why does this stigma against anything but the most clinical, bare-bones, just-the-facts, gameplay-only reviews even exists?
In short, it's because reviewers have time and time shown that they don't care about the games. They've shown that they are completely out of touch with what we, the gaming public, actually want.

As a result, we want clinical, bare-bones, just-the-facts, gameplay-only reviews because it's only by keeping it just that way that we get fucking ANYTHING out of a review.

I read this "review" - and I can't possibly put enough quotes around that word - and it told me exactly jack and shit about what I want to know about this game. If this was an article made as a companion piece to the review, that's fine. You could have even docked the game's score for not appreciating the story and universe, that's fine. But this review has told me literally nothing about:
1) How's it play? Is it varied in play style? Is PvP fun? Is PvE fun?
2) Is it buggy or does it have performance issues? Is the netcode up to snuff?
3) Are the controls easy to understand or are they awkward?
4) How much content is there? How much content is coming? Will I have to pay for that future content?

I know literally NOTHING about the GAME of this game after reading this review. Focusing purely on the story and/or universe of a game is basically focusing on the least important aspect of most games. Obviously not all games treat story the same way a porno would, but I somehow doubt The Division is trying to be the next Telltale game.
 

gargantual

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the7k said:
The Jovian said:
And now I have to ask: why is it that video game reviews aren't allowed to talk mostly about narrative and or provide in-depth analysis of the work and it's themes? Why does this stigma against anything but the most clinical, bare-bones, just-the-facts, gameplay-only reviews even exists?
In short, it's because reviewers have time and time shown that they don't care about the games. They've shown that they are completely out of touch with what we, the gaming public, actually want.

As a result, we want clinical, bare-bones, just-the-facts, gameplay-only reviews because it's only by keeping it just that way that we get fucking ANYTHING out of a review.

I read this "review" - and I can't possibly put enough quotes around that word - and it told me exactly jack and shit about what I want to know about this game. If this was an article made as a companion piece to the review, that's fine. You could have even docked the game's score for not appreciating the story and universe, that's fine. But this review has told me literally nothing about:
1) How's it play? Is it varied in play style? Is PvP fun? Is PvE fun?
2) Is it buggy or does it have performance issues? Is the netcode up to snuff?
3) Are the controls easy to understand or are they awkward?
4) How much content is there? How much content is coming? Will I have to pay for that future content?

I know literally NOTHING about the GAME of this game after reading this review. Focusing purely on the story and/or universe of a game is basically focusing on the least important aspect of most games. Obviously not all games treat story the same way a porno would, but I somehow doubt The Division is trying to be the next Telltale game.
Exactly. For all his quirks, there are reasons behind Totalbiscuit's popularity and mostly consistent performance analysis that other reviewers have glossed over or not given as thoroughly is one of them.
 

Silvanus

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the7k said:
In short, it's because reviewers have time and time shown that they don't care about the games. They've shown that they are completely out of touch with what we, the gaming public, actually want.

As a result, we want clinical, bare-bones, just-the-facts, gameplay-only reviews because it's only by keeping it just that way that we get fucking ANYTHING out of a review.
How do you know what "the gaming public" actually want? You don't speak for me; you only speak for yourself.

the7k said:
I know literally NOTHING about the GAME of this game after reading this review. Focusing purely on the story and/or universe of a game is basically focusing on the least important aspect of most games. Obviously not all games treat story the same way a porno would, but I somehow doubt The Division is trying to be the next Telltale game.
In that case, read other reviews. There are enough out there that focus primarily on gameplay (and all those elements you listed above). There's no need for every review to reflect only your priorities; just for some.