Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Picture: "Off The Charts"


Pat said...

If you need another reason to get a PS3, Valkyria Chronicles is one. It's like World War II with magic.

BIll said...

Huh, Bob just had to sneak in that remark.
The overall quality of Western game writings are MUCH higher than typical JRPG writings.
That's if they attempt write a decent story with appropriate setpieces.

Lucas Neumann said...

Just took a look in the escapist forums and yep, the main point of discussion is westerns games quality on story. Man, Bob can troll like nobody else.

But he did say that was just his opinion, so why people get so pissed?

So, my question is: Is Bob an attention whore, or his audience gives too much attention to his opinons?

And seeing how people are flipping because his overthinker shows is now about a guy walking on the snow with a toy guy, I would say the second.

Aleksandar said...

You should check out the Ratchet & Clank series for the PS3. You would LOVE THEM I can guarantee you that!

Adam said...

Going purely off the concept, Uncharted should be the easiest video game in the world to turn into a servicible movie. All you have to do is get Nathan Drake's character right and make sure he goes off doing "Uncharted" type things and the rest writes itself really. You wouldn't even need to adapt one of the game's already existant plots. It wouldn't be anything special but it'd be watchable.

But yeah I'll be more interested when they seriously try to make a movie out of a more traditional game (i.e. Mario, Zelda, "insert favorite classic franchise here"). It may not be successful, but it'd be inherently more interesting to see them try at least.

Bob said...

Western writing surpasses Japanese writing eh? Go listen to the gratuitous macho swear words of Killzone 2 and say that again.

Sssonic said...

Just putting this out there, not a single change made to the "Transformers" mythos is any more radical than what was done for the "Spider-Man" or "X-Men" movies. In fact, given that even back during the G1 days there were multiple continuities for the cartoons, comics, and figures, I'd go so far as to say the changes are decidedly less so, because I can trace pretty much every last one of them back to elements from one of those previous continuities. Not saying that will change anyone's opinions on the films, mind, just been on my chest a while 'n' I felt like getting it off. :)

As for "Uncharted"? Don't care one way or the other about the games, same goes for the movie. Nor do I feel that the world particularly needs a "Castlevania", "Zelda", or (another) "Mario" movie either, though, simply because I can't think of anything a movie version could do that the games themselves have not already successfully done. Not to say I wouldn't be first in line if such movies were made, as in the right hands they could indeed be worthwhile films, but I don't think we're any worse off if they never happen. "Metroid", on the other hand...for some reason I really feel like there should be a "Metroid" movie.

counterpoint said...

really, bob, Killzone is your example?

Have you played Planescape: Torment? Psychonauts? Eternal darkness?

what japanese game trumps those?

O.T said...

Cant believe (well I suppose I can, its the internet after all) everyone is losing it over that "for a western title" remark. The fact is, the baseline for story telling in games for the west isnt high. The games everyone keep naming as a rebutal (bioshock, psychonauts, ect.) are the fantastic, not the average (which is where Uncharted would lie). Stop comparing the competent to the cream-of-the-crop. Thats not helping.

BIll said...

Agreed, using Killzone as an example as an example of modern Western game writing is no better than using Transformers as an example of modern Western movie writing.
Baldurs Gate 2, Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment,Psychonauts, System Shock, Deus Ex, Half-life, Bioshock each brings something unique to the medium.
There is a huge gap between narrative focused western games.
Having a narrative in games is almost standard, some developer wants to get away with a tacked on scripted cut scene-driven story, it never works.

BIll said...

Haven't you seen how awful an average JRPG(FF13)'s writing and dialog can be?
I take some profanity over heart attack inducing cheese anyday.

Pierre Chanliau said...

@ Bob

You're going to judge your ENTIRE opinion on ONE game? A game that isn't even made by an American developer?

Guerrilla Games, the developer of the "Killzone" series, is based in Amsterdam, in the NETHERLANDS.

If you're going to mark down American video games as having worse writing, at least cite an American video game.

Why did you even bring it up? Video games in GENERAL have awful writing, not just the west and not just the east.

The west has Portal and Bioshock, while the east has Silent Hill 2 and Okami.

Seriously, the both have their good and bad, neither is better or worse than the other.


Dave said...

@ Pierre. He's using a strawman. Don't bring logic into it.

Look at the big picture. It is the opinion of modern gaming by someone who hates modern gaming and doesn't play the vast number of games he talks about.

The only surprise is he chose a shooter with a legitimately bad story this time instead of just dumping on halo.

If he actually gave a damn about modern gaming he'd know about bioshock and mass effect and braid and dragon age and alan wake or the 3d metroid games etc.

You'd be hard pressed to find a single japanese game studio with anywhere near the track record of bioware and remedy.

Most eastern devs never get past "andogynous protagonist must go on heroes journey to defeat evil organization form using evil force to conquer planet while working out daddy issues."

And his preferred genre doesn't have a story.

Dave said...


You don't get it. Michael Bay isn't one of us. He's a jock. he was probably popular in high school and probably had sex with attractive women.

The relative quality of his films vs the original series (because let's face it, Bay's films at their worst are several orders of magnitude better than ANY of G1 at its best) has nothing to do with whether his films are good. You aren't allowed to like them. You're just not. because the transformers series belongs to us, and he ruined it by making it popular. Now we can't pretend to have our own little in crowd anymore! He must be stopped! How else will we get back at the people who beat us up in high school by proxy?

Adam said...


Actually we know from previous videos/writings that Bob LOVES Bioshock and thinks the Mass Effect series could be turned into some pretty great movies. So he has played those for the record.

O.T said...


Except FF13 had ACTUAL characters and storytelling, cheesy as they may have been. Stuff happens on a large scale, they go places, and wrestle with actual dillemas in a unique setting. Not some rehashing of black-hawk down or whatever killzone was about.

Just because you dont find the aesthetics of something pleasing doesnt mean its actual content or quality vanishes. Fact is, FF13 had more quality narrative than most western releases at that time, which is just kind of sad for everyone.

P.S, having actually liked FF13, Im kinda biased towards defending it.

Dave said...

@ Adam

(I actually knew that, but was hoping bob would reply to that effect). All that shows is that he's aware that what he's saying isn't true but is ignoring evidence that doens't support his assertions.

IN any case, quality of the storylines aside, the uncharted movie situation is no different from that of godzilla fans in 98.

A director took a property we were looking forward to seeing on the big screen and fairly ineptly mashed the names onto something completely different. GINO was not Godzilla, it was closer to the beast from 20 000 fathoms....or the day after tomorrow, but it had the brand name. The uncharted movie...isn't uncharted. It has the name but nothing we cared about..so why use the name? That's the issue.

You know damn well that if Martin Scorsese decided to turn Mario Bros into a gritty crime drama set in New York, where two plumbers try to avenge the rape and murder of their respective girlfriends at the hands of notorious crimelord Antonio 'Bowser' Coppa, Bob would be up in arms, completely ignoring the exact things he is saying here...possibly with a rant about how realism is inherently bad or a strawman involving him saying bro alot.

Aleksandar said...

Bob when ever you talk about transformers you bring up G1, and I understand why because you gre up with it.

but I have to ask, have you seen ANY other incarnatoin of Transformers?

If not you should totaly check out animated! Don't get fooled by the art style it's a gret show that pay a HUGE tribute to the past series especialy G1. I know a lot of people that are G1 purists that LOVE Aniamted because of the respect it pays to the original.

The first season is kinda meh but for mthe finale onnwards it GLOROUS!

O.T said...

@Dave and just about everyone who does this.

Dont you think its just sad we only name a few games with quality storytelling? Even that little name drop Bill did, all those games where developed and released over decades, among dozens and dozens of games coming out every year.

You people keep holding up the golden standard as a shield against the critisism of weak storytelling in the West. You take the one full grown pumpkin from the patch and flaunt it and say "See! The harvest didnt stagnate and rot! Its awesome!" Your not proving a point, your just showing how in denial the communtiy is, and that goes for the east as well.

I dont want to make the community think the east is better, id just like all of us to admit that we have a problem.

Vault Dweller said...

if i may speculate for a moment, the GL movie would have been good had they used the right story to tell. sounds so far like the plot will be your standard affair superhero origin story plot, boring! i can come up with a better premise than than that in my sleep: mosiac / orgin= first movie emerald twilight / final night= second, and the last will and testament of hal jordan= third. there perfect GL triligy. pass the blunt Mr. Marley and i'll start the third tommy boy movie.

Dave said...

@ OT

IN a word? No.

In more words? Electronic gaming is in its infancy as an art form. Fiction literature, music and theatre (which movies are just the modern version of) are all thousands of years old. Gaming is at most 4 decades or so depending on when you think it started proper.

And it took awhile before hardware and software were sofisticated enough that proper stories could be told. And still later until this became economically viable. Still later before companies like nintendo stopped arbitrarily censoring content to keep it form getting to mature. The gaming industry even now STILL has more constraints on what it can do and how it can do it than film has had.

I also only mentioned recent popular games. there are plenty of examples of good game storytelling. And even then, many games aren't supposed to have stories, whereas the vat majority of films do (even more if you count TV). The sample size for film is much, much greater than that of gaming.

And again, gaming has had a few decades of horribly restrictive growth to get where it is, and it is now at the point where some examples are starting to surpass film. There are more great stories in films but films have been around longer, and been remaking themselves longer. and have never been subject to the same restrictions of games.

The fact that a thousand year old medium is for now still on average more skillful than what amounts to a muzzled fetus is nothing to crow about.

Especially when you consider that most of the great movies we think of are the vast minority. As much as bob might like to pretend otherwise, Michael Bay is not the anathema of modern cinema. He's at worst, middle of the road. The sheer volume of crap that

Games may be able to succeed in some cases despite having a bad story but there are film companies who THRIVE on bad story. Roger Corman, Troma and the asylum essentially live on sucking professionally. There is no equivalent in modern gaming.

There absolutely IS a problem with gaming and it is the downplaying and in the case of some within the community, outright hostility to the idea of gaming advancing as a means of story telling. There are quite a few people who don't want games to tell more complex stories and are quite content to keep saving the princess. That's the problem.

The east's problem is that by and large they keep remaking FF4 and the first half of Zeta gundam over and over.

Tim said...

@OT: 90% of everything is crap. Sure the greatly written western games are the minority but the same can be said for the greatly written Japanese games. As well as film, music, ect.

Lucas Neumann said...

Yeah.. and now we have people bashing Japan for no reason so ever.

I.. I don't get it. The video was supposed to talk about movie adaptations of videogames, so why the western game commentary? I understand it's Bob's opinion and of course, story is important.

But this came so out of place,just to troll, to incite flamming. Wasn't the point to talk about Uncharted and how hollywood deals with movie adaptations, so why turn this into the west VS east fad once again? Bob even knew this was going to happen.

I dunno, I guess I'm done here. Had fun, but lately Bob's videos just annoy me. But when petty things like a 30 something guy talking about games in the internet is enough to annoy me, the problem is me, and then it's time to stop.

See ya.

Arturo said...

Speaking of video games and movies that look like 'em...
Bob, about year ago when you did the Avengers preview, you talked about how awesome it would be to have sci-fi, fantasy, action, etc. all happening at once.
Well, it seems that a certain movie coming out this week MIGHT'VE gotten ahead of you. Kind of. Just hoping you have kept that in mind.

Arturo said...

Also, tomorrow a new trailer for Captain America will debut.

Will said...

I have a dream.

I have a dream that one day that "western-douche bags" and "japan-fags" can one day live in harmony and realize both respective groups have ENTIRELY different values and ethics on what or how a story arc should be formed and what makes a good story. Which one is better is ENTIRELY up to which side you end up on.

I hope one day we can come to realize that there is no universal concept of "good".

No matter how hard you try, some people will love and some people will hate Modern Warfare 2.

Some people will love and some people will hate Uncharted.

Some people will love and some people will hate Metal Gear Solid.

Some people will love and some people will hate Final Fantasy.

Some people will love and some people will hate "Japanese" writing.

Some people will love and some people will hate "Western" writing.

If we can just realize that no one is "right" and spend this pointless time on something productive like, I dunno, writing your own damn story instead of fighting over you "factual opinion" (aren't oxymoron fun?).

Bob has an opinion. He has set his foot down on which side he has chosen. It is not your holy mandate to raise a crusade against his opinion. You are not right and he is not right.

Live and let live. Everyone go and play their respective "shitty", as according to the other side, games while I go read a "shitty" comic book.

Man I got carried away with this.

Chris Cesarano said...

I'm skipping the argument on story, because honestly, before you even said "Dot-Dot-Dot" I knew "for a video game" was coming up.

And I agree. I don't think a lot of people understand the whole East vs. West thing is partly down to a matter of taste, and both sides are pretty damn Xenophobic in that regard (the Japanese are just as confused from Western games as your average American is from Japanese games). But American games seriously feel as if they are written by amateur middle-schoolers without a genuine creative bone in their body.

At best, Western games tend to get settings well. In fact, if you look at the history of Western gaming most of what they do best is setting. Actually delivering a plot...not so much.

In any case, I'll probably shrug off the Uncharted movie. I just wonder why they didn't get Nolan North to play himself. The guy literally looks the part, so much more than Marky Mark will.

KingOfDoma said...

See, here's my thing. Think of Uncharted's story as a skeleton. It's got a head, feet, hands, all the things that most humans have. All you have to do is put the meat on and boom! Got a walking person. What Russell is doing is making all the meat into a human shape, but in a room in a house ten miles down the road from that skeleton, and thus, instead of getting a working person, we have a pile of bones and a pile of meat and never the twain shall meet. The bones will never know the meaty richness, and the meat will fall flat without the structure of the bones.

Am I making sense or am I just sounding gross?

Eh. Point is this. The Uncharted games might not have the most in-depth story, but it would take SO little effort to just flesh out the tale (cwhatididthere?) and maybe throw in some overarching themes and you'd have a REALLY good movie. Instead, the baby is getting thrown out with the bathwater and all it's done is piss off the people who'd be first in line to see the film. It'd be easy to adapt it and make it interesting. Watch this:


See? Nathan Drake is a naturally lonely person, not just by upbringing, but by the nature of his work. Sure, he's got Sully, but he's very used to going it alone, and when this woman, Chloe, decides to inject herself into his adventure, he takes off on her the first chance he gets. As the story unfolds and it's revealed how lonely his ANCESTOR was, even in death, he realizes he needs other people to make him whole and he embraces himself as a person (right after slaughtering dozens of mercenaries and zombie Nazis).

See? That wasn't hard. Story's not exactly the same, it says its own thing, yet it's true to the narrative, and heck, derives its themes FROM the narrative. I thought that up while I was WRITING this. Why can't Hollywood do the same?

BIll said...

Really this whole argument isn't about Eastern Vs Western writings.
It's mostly about the fact most of them suck, and majority Eastern game's writing is just as bad as the majority of western game writing.
Although in MO the top notch western story-driven games trumps it's Eastern counter parts.
However Bob seems to think that Eastern game writing is better as a whole.

Patman_Forever_51 said...


Awww, Bob doesn't care for the Killzone, eh? I'll let slide the issue that it was made by a European developer (you do know developers exist, right?) and not technically a "Western" game, but completely dismissing all Western games based on SINGLE EXAMPLES is incredibly simple-minded.

Or, to lower the argument to your level, I'll see your Killzone,Halo and Uncharted and raise you an Other M, Resident Evil, aaaaand every Final Fantasy since VII. Isn't using extremes to prove points fun?

Smpoza said...

(this is going to be ridiculously long. Sorry)

It seems to me that superiority of East to West in terms of story certainly used to be true. In the 8-bit and 16-bit eras specifically, Japan was cranking out masterpieces like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV like nobody's business. These days, though...
Yes, both sides have their fair share of crap. Nobody is saying that all Western games are superior or all Eastern games are superior. But if you look at the "big-name" franchises, the games that often score critical acclaim and sell well...it's not even close. The top-shelf Western games have Bioshock, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout 3, Half Life 2. Japan's "big guns", on the other hand, are largely the same franchises of yesteryear-Mario, Kirby, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Final Fantasy etc. And while these games are superb (except for Other M/some FF games, I haven't played all of them), the stories in all of these games are an absolute JOKE. Mario and Zelda have virtually identical stories that they did 20 years ago, Kirby's new game turned him into yarn...and did nothing else, narrative wise. The new Pokemon probably comes closest to being decent; having the villains essentially be PETA makes you think about the morality of the world until the writers realized the bad guys had too much of a point have them arbitrarily violate their ideology as a result. Other M, for its interesting take on gameplay, was a DISASTER plot-wise (btw, Samus actually had an established character; look at Metroid Fusion and the Primes). And the recent Final Fantasies...god. Dear God. They've been remaking FF7 for 14 YEARS. The games are ALWAYS about a team of angsty/annoying androgynous teen saving the world from a ridiculously two-dimensional evil; FF13 in particular rips off FF7 in that Lightning (at least to me) looks a lot like a female Cloud, right down to the ridiculous sword and the tragic past as an orphan/soldier.

Again, both sides have their load of horseshit. But modern, beloved western games are a mix between superb (Mass Effect) and laughable (Killzone 3), whereas the beloved games of Japan today-the golden age franchises, Final Fantasy, etc-just don't measure up story-wise, at least to me. If anyone knows any modern Japanese games/franchises I haven't mentioned that have excellent stories (or want to defend any of the games I just blasted) feel free.

Clayton said...

actually Bob did bring up a good example of a game that was praised for its story, but when all is said and done it's a load of crap: Heavy Rain. That game was filled with horrible writing, plot holes, and uninteresting characters (also written by a Grade-A douchebag who thinks way too highly of himself). That pretty much encapsulates gaming's standard of writing in a nutshell.

Popcorn Dave said...

Looks like it's all been said already.

I'm getting a bit annoyed at Bob's trolling, it gets more and more blatant with every video. At least last week he made a coherent argument, this week he just tossed in an insult for no reason, didn't bother substantiating it, and then made a little nudge-wink comment about how "I'm soooooo gonna get flamed for this lawl!". Well, yes, Bob, if you say something that's obviously bullshit and don't bother backing it up you're going to get flamed.

I guess that's the downside of him going pro, he's become obsessed with his audience, and he figured out the best way to keep those numbers up is good old fashioned trolling. Because, hey... it's the Internet, baby!

Philbo said...

I don't think "It's just my opinion" is valid when you are hired as an authority on "the bigger picture" of things such as gaming, movies, geek culture etc and broadcasting to thousands of people.

Imagine if your News Anchorman decided that instead of going to the 5 minute tape about an issue he was just going to give his opinion. You think people would stand for it?

What is the Bigger Picture in this episode anyway? "Don't get all up in Uncharted: the movie"s face? "Give video game movies a chance"?, "Hollywood might one day get them right"? Because right now it just sounds like Bob's "What Grinds my Gears" with a side of trolololing.

Seriously can we get back to BIGGER pictures or will it now just be a nice sign off for each episode?

Chris Cesarano said...

To hit a point I missed earlier:

Bob had an older video on...damn, he's got so many I can't even think about which one now, but it contrasts the difference between Western imagination versus Eastern imagination.

Western games have Master Chief, Duke Nukem, Doom Space Marine, etc. All burly men with big guns, etc. Japan has a plumber, a hedgehog, a woman in a space suit, teenage dirtbags, a fucking star, a dog that moonlights as a paintbrush, etc.

People praise BioWare, but let's face it. As much as I love sci-fi and fantasy, those games are pretty damn close to being generic. Especially in an age where everything is sci-fi and...well, okay, there's never enough fantasy, but still.

And those are two exclusives. Plus, as I said, Western studios have setting pretty down pat, but they are also so insular to specific genres that it all blends together.

I don't necessarily know if this all comes down to writing, though. I do know that I just beat Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume recently, and while the plot itself was a typical political clusterfuck, the writing was excellent, went hand-in-hand with the gameplay and was some of the most pleasant I've experienced (that is, once the localization team got used to writing in a more formal manner to try and sound all medieval).

Even if Eastern writing "isn't as good now", it's been good for a Hell of a lot longer and has had the idea of games being for everyone better than Western development. Hell, instead of marrying the concept of story and gameplay together (once again, Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume's story and game design were intertwined, one couldn't exist without the other) we have developers that shrug and say "Gameplay first, maybe story second, usually third".

If I were to criticize Japanese writing it would be more because their culture follows different tropes and traditions than ours, which, again, is a matter of taste, not quality. However, Japan clearly views gaming as a mature medium, whereas we're still a bunch of 13 year-olds taking the sketching of Boobs McTaggert fighting Giant Mech Monster 10,000 and making it a game...again.

Western games are getting BETTER, but damn do they have a long way to go and they've got some old habits that need to die hard.

Dave said...

@ Chris

That’s insanely dishonest. You take 3 characters from a single genre across nearly 3 decades and use that as representative of the west as a whole? The doom space marine created the space marine fps trope. Duke is a parody. And the Master Chief is a deconstruction. Acting like that is representative of western gaming as a whole is spurious at the very least.
Where are all the rpg characters? Bioware is responsible for at least a dozen well written characters in each damn universe they create. Where is shodan? Andrew Ryan? Where’s The templar of assassin’s creed?
I might as well say that all eastern gaming has is an androgynous prettyboy with bad hair and parental issues, an androgynous prettyboy with bad hair and identity issues and an androgynous prettyboy with badhair and parental issues. Now quick, which Final Fantasy game was I thinking of?
The only reason you see Bioware’s stuff as generic is because you’ve grown up with it. Bioware’s schitck is to create worlds that are composed of existing genre tropes which are then subverted, deconstructed of lampshaded at will. Hence why Dragon age has the heroes journey pretty much as expected...only all those good deeds you did might actually make thinsg worse. The reformers dwarf you backed is actually a tyrant, and giving the elves more rights leads to race riots in the human kingdoms. Helping a young dwarf study magic leads to a potential holy war against the dwarves for harbouring mages. I’ve yet to see a japanese game that did anything like that.
“However, Japan clearly views gaming as a mature medium, whereas we're still a bunch of 13 year-olds taking the sketching of Boobs McTaggert fighting Giant Mech Monster 10,000 and making it a game...again.”
Rapelay. That is all. Don’t give me that weeaboo bullshit about how the mysterious east is somehow so much more in touch with maturity than we are. No. Just no. Both sides have their share of flaws but Japan’s is the only one where misogyny is can be a viable business model.

Chris Cesarano said...

Actually, the very mention of Rapelay helps Japan's case. America has sexual entertainment in every medium but video games. Why? Because America still views it as a toy, and the industry hasn't helped much.

I'm not going to say video games about Rape are a good thing, but that's also part of a major culture divide that I don't have enough knowledge to even discuss (and I highly doubt most people here do). However, Japan is perfectly comfortable with pornographic games. Why? Because a game can be anything.

Trust me, I'm no "weeaboo". With the exception of Full Metal Alchemist I haven't enjoyed an anime since the 90's and I have just as little patience for most AAA modern JRPG's as the next guy (which is why I play them on the DS, where the good ideas for JRPG's seem to reign).

But let's go back again.

Altair = Attractive white male.
Ezio = Attractive white male with an accent.
Andrew Ryan = Attractive white male (and a villain)
BioWare characters = Haven't you seen the chart?
Shodan = Female HAL 9000.

Now, granted, I'm trolling you a bit. However, all those characters you mentioned are still in the same class of game: sci-fi or fantasy focusing on realism with some stretches of the creative or fantastic.

Don't get me wrong, I feel BioWare makes some of the best games story-wise in the industry. I also have respect for Ubisoft for honestly trying to take story seriously in each of their games. BioShock is one of my top three games to use in the "Games Are Art" debate. The other two, however, are Final Fantasy Tactics and EarthBound, both Japanese games (FFTactics has a plot on level with Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Dragon Age has good characters and setting, but the plot leaves something to be desired. EarthBound, meanwhile...is an entire essay on its own on the subject of games as art).

There are plenty of Western games that have moments I consider to be art (the CoD4 Nuke segment and finale, for example), but BioShock is the one game as a whole. Then again, I am very, VERY picky in games I say ARE art rather than ones that accomplish being artistic in design and emotional depth.

Again, though, Western studios only take very specific game types seriously, and when it comes to good writing all we have are the same handful of studios (BioWare, Valve, Irrational, sometimes Ubisoft) to call on. Japan is hit or miss, delivers a variety (Super Paper Mario has a charming Pixar-esque story, for example) and just can make a game out of anything.

I will confess that, when the modern Western game does writing well as a whole, it's better than most of what I've played from Japan this generation. However, Japan at least has a decent quality on a consistent basis and also has the excuse of sticking to its own culture's tropes (angsty teen hero may be as bad as generic space marine to you, but it's part of the culture based on who is playing what sort of game over there. Our tastes in America should be a bit more varied than what we're getting). We have no such thing.

Then again, I believe one of the biggest issues is that most gamers don't read books (that is, ones that aren't based on a video game) and aren't too familiar with some really, REALLY good classic films, and thus don't know what good writing is.

Nick said...

@ Popcorn Dave: If Bob knew that a single throwaway line in a video was going to generate more controversy than anything else said in the entire rest of the video put together, can you really blame him for wanting to tweak the whiners a bit?

@Dave: So, first you claim it's wrong to stereotype western developers, then you stereotype eastern developers, then when someone calls you out on the factual inaccuracies in your rantings, you go, "Lol, just kidding guyz."

I've already mentioned my hopes that the Game AntiThinker will stick around longer, just to tick off the whiny brats in these comment sections some more.

Dave said...

@ Chris:

Chris Redfield= attractive white male
Dante= attractive white male
Insert rpg protagonist here= attractive white male
Raiden= attractive white male

I can do it too. Gee, looks like the japanese have some serious character design issues. It amazing how easy it is to boil down an entire industry into a stereoytpe when you ignore everything else, isn't it?

And no, rapelay is NOT helping japan's case. I have nothing against eroge itself. people want H games, let them have it. But rapelay is a rape simulator. And it isn't the only one, merely the most famous. The fact that the typical strawman used by moral guardians in the west for the depths of gaming depravity is an actual SUBGENRE in japan speaks volumes about serious gender issues.

And yes I've seen the bioware chart. I also own a copy of hero with a thousand faces and saw that chart where every star trek film is the same movie and how barbwire and Casablanca have the same plot. Sharing similar structure is not the same as story. A new Hope and the new star trek movie have the same basic story, but a new hope did far better. District 9 and Avatar had a very similar structure but D9 is a vastly better film.

While japanese games were more story heavy earlier and probably still are, that doesn't make the stories better. Heavy Rain is a very story heavy game....but that doesn't mean the story isn't bad.

@ Nick

My stereotyping was a pointed way of showing that any major criticism of western gaming can easily be made about japanese gaming. If you couldn't follow that that is your problem.

genguidanos said...

Your "My Opinion Cap" looks remarkably similar to my "Deep Thinking" cap, except mine is green and shaped like a dog.

Chris Cesarano said...

Dave, you completely ignored what I was getting at with cultural differences. You're judging another culture by the same yard stick as America. There are a lot of similarities, but there are enough small details that some things to them aren't the same as America.

I don't approve of any sort of rape simulation, but I'll say again: Japan can make a game out of anything. Yes, they have Chris Redfield, but at least if you put him next to the default Mass Effect and Hunted: The Demon's Forge guys he looks different. Dante has a personality, at least (and honestly, while I'm not familiar with the rest of the franchise, I enjoyed the story in Devil May Cry 4 well enough, but that's also because the game's not intended to be taken 100% seriously).

Plus, once more, Japan has variety. They have a cartoonish plumber, a hedgehog, a woman in a space suit, ninjas, teens that pilot mechs, characters over the age of thirty, robots, a star, a marshmallow vacuum, Godzilla, everything. Hell, the entire cast of Super Smash Bros. is more varied and colorful than pretty much every AAA title from America in the past generation.

You have to dig down into obscure titles that no one in America buys to get some level of creativity (DeBlob 2, for example).

Actually, no, I'm wrong. You can find a variety of game types in America. You just have to be a serious iPhone/Android gamer in order to find it.

Ezenwa said...

For the record, wasn't this vid based on "video games portrayed in films" and why Uncharted might or might not work?

If so, you have to admit, there has been a very big difference when it comes to games and comics in film, as comics have gotten better, while games, not so much.

That said, I don't think it's all the game's issue as it is the issue of Hollywood not knowing how to portray it.

Here's my example: after seeing "The Quest" enough times for my brain to hurt, I have come to the conclusion that the idea of "Street Fighter" can be done as a movie, maybe even better than The Quest and the other street fighter films. If The Quest can be made, why not a good Street Fighter film? My answer: there might not be or are no directors, producers, etc. who want to give it a chance, although Paul Anderson did do a decent job with the first MK film (still the best video game movie adaptation next to Tomb Raider 1).

So, it is possible. But who in Hollywood wants to keep it true to form? Zack Snyder? Jon Favreau? Edgar Wright? Sam Raimi? Chris Nolan? Time will tell..