When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

Owyn_Merrilin

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Steve the Pocket said:
You know, your last paragraph made me think about one way that video games are very different from movies: If an adult sees a poster for a G-rated film (by anyone other than Disney), they'll assume it's stupid kiddie crap. But there are plenty of E-rated games that they will gladly pick up and play. Maybe it's because nostalgia for the games they played as kids is such a core part of why adults play video games in the first place, whereas seeing movies is something people of all ages just do. Or maybe it's because the idea of games - not video games, but games - as innocent entertainment for all ages is so ingrained in our culture, whereas the various video game rating systems and the reasons they exist have only been around for a couple of decades. I mean, even now if you told someone that a card game or a board game isn't appropriate for kids, their first reaction is probably going to be "Why? Is it some nerdy intellectual thing?" not "Why? Is there sex and violence and swearing in it?"
That reminds me; I recently found out that one of my favorite Magic: The Gathering illustrators[footnote]Phil Foglio[/footnote] did a XXX rated comic that was popular enough to get a short lived trading card game based on it[footnote]That would be XXXholic, not Girl Genius, which is his current, non-pornographic webcomic[/footnote]. Considering the time frame we're talking about, I have to wonder how many Pokemon TCG playing kids asked to buy the card game with the goofy looking characters, only for their parents to be horrified when they found the pornographic art.
 

ResonanceSD

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I'm 23, I assumed you were physically in your twenties, but mentally about 3,000.

And yes, the best hook of any game I've played so far is when Tanner realises he can do crazy shit and starts having fun (in his own mind) in Driver:SF
 

.No.

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Scrumpmonkey said:
Thunderous Cacophony said:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.
I guess Yhatzee has not come across the totally fitting term of "GrimDark" to describe all those needlessly grim pieces of media out there. The term is generally used for fan-fiction but i think it is apt as the same straining to be 'mature' and totally missing the point is present.

Now i have to go bang my head into a wall and get rid of all that GrimDark MLP fan-fiction i just read. I'll never look at a cup-cake again.
Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.
 

CBanana

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Somehow, I'm reminded of this:


It is interesting that dark and edgy is in many cases often the opposite of being mature.
 

Howling Din

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How could you not have mentioned Saint's Row 2? Humanity has few enough good think-tanks in it's roster without you shorting out.
 

ThunderCavalier

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deadish said:
Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.
Please don't remind me.

Ironically, out of all of the things that try to be 'edgy' and 'dark to capitalize on an audience, some of my favorites are from Japan, the same place that simply won't go that route with their JRPGs (although Versus XIII does look to be going down that route, and if it's about as mediocre as FFXIII, then I'm ready to say that FF is dead). An anime, Mirai Nikki, is possibly one of the 'darkest' and 'edgiest' things I've seen, and the way the story is structured makes it... um... good. Like... really good. It's one of the best things I've seen this year. (To any Escapist anime fans out there, seriously, go find and watch Mirai Nikki. It is amazing.)

But, seriously, stuff like Mirai Nikki and Bokurano are only good because of the way they're presented, the stories that they're telling, and the fact that they are genuinely good at telling, in the end, A DARK AND DEPRESSING STORY.

Because apparently people try to continually mix 'dark and edgy' with 'humor' or 'badassery', and most writers are... very, very poor at doing that. Listen, either hire a decent storywriter and write a dark and edgy story about the human condition and some kind of deep, complex, moral issue and give us some kind of insight, or embrace the 'action movie popcorn' of most summer blockbusters or the 'dark comedy' of many successful games such as GTA, Saints Row, and MadWorld. But, for the love of god, don't mix the two. THEY. DON'T. GO. TOGETHER.

AT ALL.

(Especially given some of the things that have 'tried' to be this and failed. I'm sorry, writers of CoD and Battlefield, but you aren't winning some kind of award for impressive and captivating story. In fact, it's kinda saddening when I can safely say that Halo: CE had a more coherent and interesting plot than you had.)
 

Diegolomac

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"...so miseryguts types like War in Darksiders enacting fast-paced action violence just don't appeal to me."

I get the impression he doesn't know there's a Darksiders 2 on the way yet. I am SO looking forward to his review of that, especially because it contradicts the joke that he did while reviewing the first one (that playing as Death would make things too easy). His review of the first game was one of the best ZPs ever in my opinion.
 

Elf Defiler Korgan

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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
When "Dark and Edgy" Goes Too Far

Yahtzee wants to collectively tell everyone to get off of his lawn.

Read Full Article
I encountered a game that was too dark and edgy, a D&D game of all places. The point was when a pc wizard was knocked out, captured and raped by a corpulent female ogre. Too far, way too far; and the dm liked it too, judging from the look on his evil little face. The wizard had gone into a part of the ogre keep solo, disobeyed the party plan, but that was still too far. We tried to save him, my pc died in the attempt. Fortunately, he was not raped.

Real and nasty can be cool, but for games there should always be a bit of fun and at least some dark humour.
 

Panda Mania

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.No. said:
Scrumpmonkey said:
Thunderous Cacophony said:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.
I guess Yhatzee has not come across the totally fitting term of "GrimDark" to describe all those needlessly grim pieces of media out there. The term is generally used for fan-fiction but i think it is apt as the same straining to be 'mature' and totally missing the point is present.

Now i have to go bang my head into a wall and get rid of all that GrimDark MLP fan-fiction i just read. I'll never look at a cup-cake again.
Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.
Oh God. That depraved bit of...I don't even know. It's enough to send me running away from all MLP fanfiction as far as possible. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THAT?? D:


OT: That's fascinating, how someone like Yahtzee can grow queasy with previously-enjoyed violence. I suppose it indicates that "true" maturity detests such gratuitous fare...but my question is, how exactly is something deemed gratuitous? We've established that bloodshed in the context of black humor and darkly campy funfests is appropriate, as it is in serious, realistic works. But what about the violence in something like, as someone mentioned previously, God of War ? Is the gore too over-the-top? Is the context right enough to make the kind-of-grimdark-y stuff okay? I'm just wondering where guys like Yahtzee draw the line. :/
 

Elf Defiler Korgan

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Katatori-kun said:
This is a point I REALLY want Yahtzee to continue noodling about. Because it's a point that a lot of media producers these days are struggling to get, and we really need them to get it.

The connection between "dedgyark" and "grimdark" is well-pointed out, though I always think of grimdark as a Warhammer 40,000 thing. You know, "In the GRIM DARKness of the 41st millenium there is only war!" Except there isn't only war, and it doesn't appear to be either grim or dark. It appears to be a twisted pre-adolescent sort of grim darkness, where on one hand silly space knights in technicolor armor battle all the time, you also have a curious absence of women unless they come in the pre-approved designated areas and everything is decorated with skullz like the masons ran out of concrete and had to plug the gaps with the first round object they could find. It ends up being just silly and juvenile. It reminds me a bit of the "pretensions of maturity" Yahtzee mentioned in his review of the Witcher.

Personally the grimmest, darkest thing I've ever seen in entertainment was the UK Office season 1 episode 6 when Tim starts talking about pies. Not a drop of blood, not a hint of danger and violence, not even a swear, but it's incredibly dark because we wonder for a moment if a character we know and have grown to sympathize with isn't losing his soul. But moreover it feels dark to most people I know who've actually worked because it's a situation we can imagine and relate to. Giant reality-bending monsters who murder thousands of virgins every day before they brush their teeth isn't exactly something I can relate to. It hasn't come up in my daily life much.

Anyway, I really hope Yahtzee keeps banging on this drum because it's a point that needs to be made and he has the exposure to actually get people to hear it.
Yeah, you get it. I'm getting a bit tired of the its so dark and full of skulls it is intensely adolescent, too. Check out the art for the warhammer fantasy rpg, it looks like everyone is covered in a thick layer of shit. The shading, it is just odd.

I've been playing games and running dnd games for a long time. I'm starting to move away from edgy and dark, and more into fun, comedy a bit of madness/weirdness with a touch of the dark and real definitely in the setting.

In the grim future there is only war, and never a good cup of tea and a moment's peace.
 

viranimus

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Hrm, well I can see it happening to some. Over time of running over countless hookers, and kill shotting d00dz by shoving a shotgun up their ass some people become so desensitized to it that it becomes about as enjoyable as going to a strip club after visiting a happy ending massage parlor then going home to have a good lay with your girlfriend. After you get to a point of sensory overload you simply cannot be compelled to continue to give a shit.

Others, fall prey to the "leave childish things behind" syndrome and as such simply desire that level of separation because it gets to a point you feel like either your still a child, or your an adult bordering on psychopathy.

None the less, my approach is that of very sage advice I heard when I was young. "If the music is too loud, then youve done gotten too old" Same is true for me for video games because I have yet to hit my threshold of tolerance. Ive never had a video game successfully leave me with a feeling of being disturbed and honestly Im wondering if I was born into it too early because at the pace it is going fostering adult themes into gaming, by the time something truly offensive and disturbing could take place in a game, I long have been dead.

Im talking the ending of the film "May" distressing (for those of you who have seen it, and those who havent, Go watch it!) I honestly cannot think of anything in any video game that even comes close to the awkward feeling that ending gives.
 

.No.

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Panda Mania said:
.No. said:
Scrumpmonkey said:
Thunderous Cacophony said:
I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.
I guess Yhatzee has not come across the totally fitting term of "GrimDark" to describe all those needlessly grim pieces of media out there. The term is generally used for fan-fiction but i think it is apt as the same straining to be 'mature' and totally missing the point is present.

Now i have to go bang my head into a wall and get rid of all that GrimDark MLP fan-fiction i just read. I'll never look at a cup-cake again.
Sweet Apple Massacre. Spiritual successor to Cupcakes, centering on Big Mac and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
That is all.
Oh God. That depraved bit of...I don't even know. It's enough to send me running away from all MLP fanfiction as far as possible. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THAT?? D:
It was apparently written by a Black Ops player, who wanted to troll another who was a fan of MLP. He set out with the goal of making something even worse then Cupcakes, and succeeded.
I personally haven't read it, and never want to.
If I did read it, I'd probably be turned off MLP in general.
 

Elf Defiler Korgan

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Dark souls did dark and edgy well, by not trying too hard, making a believable and thoroughly messed up world, and making all the npcs insane.
 

geizr

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Speaking as a 40 year-old gamer, approaching 41, who has been playing video games for over 32 years, now, I would guess that your problem is, indeed, due to age. Basically, you're maturing and realizing the whole "dark and edgy" thing for what it really is, the mentality of a 14-year-old playing at grown-up. I would guess you're probably tired of such games that take themselves so seriously, as if they had the depth of the Mariana Trench, when in reality, they are as shallow as watery film on pavement after a brief drizzle.

These are just my guesses. So, take them with a grain of salt. But, isn't funny how our perceptions and values change as we age? How battles we once thought were so important, suddenly, are no longer important (some become down-right farcical). How we can suddenly find ourselves on the other side of the fence of a debate or point-of-view, and, yet, we'll have no idea how or when we got there. Isn't it funny how a few spins of the clock can change the world so much?
 

gyrobot_v1legacy

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deadish said:
Well, it can't be helped.

The market has spoken, it wants dark, grim and edgy. It wants war, death and violence. [1]

The lighter and more hopeful tone that you find in games like JRPGs just isn't hitting it off with the masses anymore - part of the reason for it's decline IMO. Dark fantasy is the in-thing now. [2]

[1] I swear games like CoD, BattleField and Gears of War are "militarising" the youths of the US.

[2] Got me thinking about what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, that the US isn't dreaming (of a better tomorrow) anymore. From the looks of it, it doesn't even what to "escape" into "dreams of a better world". War and fighting is now the order of the day.

PS: It really saddens me that I'm actually older than Yahtzee - 30 here going to be 31 this year. I'm so used to writers of articles I read being my seniors. It just feels weird when I find out I'm older than them.
The situation was the complete opposite back then. Remember Valkyrie Profile, Parasite Eve, Ogre Battle and FFT? Dark Fantasy, the quality of the JRPGs declined when they made the switch so to speak. If they go back to the Dark Fantasy roots, the JRPG Genre may still redeem itself.

And part of the reason why Americans are less optimistic I'd call this 'The Burden of Enlightenment'. It's not that the world actually is getting worse, it's that as the sum total of human experience and knowledge grows we as a (western) culture become more aware of the flaws in the world around us and cast our view backwards through lenses rose-tinted by our past blissful ignorance.. and so we come to the conclusion that things Were very much better in the past and the future is an inexorable slide into shit.
 

fanklok

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Thunderous Cacophony said:
mariofan1000 said:
Dear EA, how do you make games with boxing gloves on?

(I had to)

Anyway, that was actually pretty interesting.
They weight the gloves with sand, then punch developers until they agree to make dreck.

And that was good, if a little rambling; good tone is what turns entertainment into art, whatever the format. I can't figure out how to pronounce "Dedgyark", though.
If anything I know about the english language is true, then I'd say it's dead-gee-arc. And now I am far too tired to post anything else actually relevant to the article so I bid you all adieu.