We Don’t Have A Thread About yIIk and the Offensive Dialogue Keeps Hitting My Twitter Feed


#22

ha, I had literally written “YIIK - pronounced “yikes!””
but yeah this is bad, even if it is the voice of the ignorant protagonist.


#23

Like if this takes place in the 90’s what random cishet white guy even has language for “deadnaming” or “the name your parents gave you,” - it just seems shitty, not like a representation of an ignorant protagonist from 20+ years ago.


#24

They probably want to get your real name so it can do a big Earthbound 4th Wall Break. Still its a pretty dumb thing to miss.


#25

No, he is ignorant and grows as a person the more the game goes on (as for that screen with the crow, it’s the game asking questions and it’s a pretty creative sequence that screws around with mood but yeah, they clearly did not take into account how that one question would read to trans people).

But I’m really not in the mood to defend the game right now because finding out who the main VA is reminded me of seeing a ton of good people in pain and how an entire community came together to kick off an abuser and then I find out his best friend, also an abuser, stuck under the radar long enough to become successful enough that he can’t be touched even when stories of his abuse comes out.

I mean holy shit.


#26

Yikes! Yeah, that stuff is a major disappointment and disgusting.

I still plan on trying this game despite everything mentioned here. Partly from JK’s explaintion. Partly from some of the visuals I’ve seen. I kinda have to know for myself.


#27

In that intro questionnaire, after the name part, it asks you “Which of these do you identify with?” and has you pick from two silhouettes (one traditionally masculine and one traditionally feminine) and so having those two things back to back really comes across to me as a cishet person who kinda sorta knows about Gender Things but figured they knew enough to handle it without having to ask anyone who isn’t cishet and it’s just… ugh. I don’t know anything about the developers so I don’t really want to try and dig much deeper into that but that intro bit is just a bad look to me.

Also Dante Douglas (aka videodante on Twitter) did a review for Paste that I felt was a really good read. His two main points seem to be that the combat is way too repetitive and that the main character, while he is supposed to be an insufferable asshole, is an insufferable asshole for way too long and that maybe by the end it isn’t really worth putting up with him for so long.


#28

A problem I have with the idea that the writing around the central character is purposefully cringey is that the game handles basically everything else poorly and uncomfortably too. Like this bit (from the dualshockers review)


#29

So they did that scene from The Walking Dead game but without any of the nuance, conflicted characters, or even the basic setup of someone being racist. And since the game never does it is the implication that the players would make that assumption themselves?


#31

I mean, be that as it may, that still feels like a joke that gives pause. Clearly it gave the reviewer some pause, and they played it and know the context right?

I understand frustration, but it seems while there’s context, it doesn’t change much. The Paste review notes that the protagonist tries to get better, but only nearly halfway through the game.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that things can criticize and be satirical, but when the satire isn’t clear, it can sometimes just end up repeating the oppression which it wants to mock.

I’ve read a bit about this game, and I will admit I haven’t played it, but it seems like it wants to revel in the grossness of some of the protagonist’s and other characters views and also criticize them.


#32

I’ve played it and it doesn’t really revel or find enjoyment in shittier attitudes. It’s usually handled in a really dramatic way where even Alex is far too aware of what he’s saying and unable to stop himself, even talking with different versions of him in his head as they sparse out his confused thoughts in the moment (a real gut punch is where one of his inner voices says he didn’t used to be like this, and another follows up asking why he became like this). Even in the message board segments, the posts you see from characters you know in your party are radically different from the dredge everywhere else (even Micheal, who is a co-founder of the board, clearly doesn’t care to browse it much unless necessary).

I do get why Alex can be too much for a lot of people, though. The game resonated with me because a lot of what it deals with mirrors my own life and experiences, what with the aforementioned growing up as a mixed race kid in a primarily white and conservative cop family. I picked up on why Alex is the way he is really fast and his growth arc mirrored my own challenges with unlearning toxic shit I had just absorbed all my life. I was able to handle a lot of the ugliness displayed a bit more than most because of it.

But if you didn’t have that sort of background, I get why Alex would be grating. If I have a major complaint with the story, it’s that there’s not enough time spent getting to understand what the other party members are going through besides Rory (who comes from a poor family and underwent a very recent personal tragedy that explaining is going into spoiler territory). There’s a lot of tell, don’t show, even with Vella, the single most interesting character who has the most experience with the supernatural elements of the story while also having the lived in experiences of being Korean in America.

The game is a bit too much about Alex, so how you feel about him decides how you gel with the game overall. I respect a lot of the reviews I’ve been seeing because I can see those writers engaged with the game as much as I did. What bugs me is seeing my timeline flooder with twitter comedians making bad jokes over a game they clearly didn’t even get an hour in on (the “non-threatening male feminist” joke particularly confuses me since Alex’s archetype is pretentious hipster with a self-loathing complex, not an insert for predatory guys who DM unsolicited dick pics).


#33

That’s fair. But from the reviews I’ve read it sounds like it still takes a lot of time for him to change, and that many of the reviewers I have read find him grating. And these reviewers come from a variety of backgrounds.

I mean, that message board seems to be a summation of the issue to a degree, I feel. Once again I haven’t played it, and I’ll get to that later, but between the friction many feel with Alex, how he and the game go about writing and treating women and the issue with the “what’s your gender” thing the game seems to be on both sides of the line. It feels like it’s being aware and conscious of social issues and “better than most” but still falls short. From my personal experience people who think they’re “different than the rest” because they’re mildly aware of stuff are some of the most frustrating. It makes them impossible to critique, and these folks are often somewhat smug about being “radically different from the dredge everywhere else.”

Yeah, the issue with characterization time division sounds really frustrating and I think that serves as the source of the complaints a lot of folks have. It tries to pay lip service to being aware and fleshing out characters but is focused on two white dudes when there are far more interesting characters just acting as window dressing in the background.

I think it’s great you resonated so much with it, and that’s a really interesting read. For some people it might be worth playing for that. But as you said, it’s dependent on you having that background. And I get the frustration about people taking potshots at something you like, but I also feel many people here and elsewhere have had good points, even if they haven’t played the game.

I think there’s a culture of just having takes on a piece of media without knowing much about it or consuming it, but an RPG takes a lot of time, and games have more time investment imo. More than that, no matter if you feel positively or negatively about YIIK, this a game about a shitty dude being shitty and learning to be better. Even if he gets his ass metaphorically handed to him by those around him, I’ve gone through so much of that on the internet and in my life, I don’t want to deal with that. I know it. It smacks, to a small degree, of back patting. Even if that’s not there, the general arc is something that understandably pushes some people away, and that’s clear from the outside.

When there’s a relatively big and hyped game, which is an impressive looking game with big names attached (Toby Fox, etc.) and based off a beloved franchise (Mother) it can be hard to avoid. It got mentioned on the Waypoint podcast, even! And when a big game that gets attention falls short in terms of dealing women or other issues, it’s understandable to feel a way. And I think you should be able to express that frustration without having to put yourself through it when you know from the jump you would not like it.


#34

That kinda makes it even weirder to me though, that they paused long enough to think about the stereotype of black people breaking into cars, drew attention to it, and then wrote him being good at breaking locks anyway, but for “good reasons actually”. You have to keep in mind that these are still decisions being made by people.


#35

Y’all be honest with me is this a game about a generic garbage white hipster mary sue realizing they’re a generic garbage white hipster and their redemption arc where they become woke? If so I think I’m just gonna go ahead and forget I even heard of it.


#36

…where did the “mary sue” bit come from? Like, the entire point of the game is humbling yourself and listening, there’s no bragging about being woke or becoming perfect. It’s a game about human ugliness and managing to overcome that ugliness for the sake of those you care about and being your best self.


#37

Everything I’ve seen so far about this game between this thread and the reviews/articles just screams pretentious narcissism.

You’re going to tell me a game about a white dudes redemption arc from being a shitty person isn’t some bad stand in any sort of way for both them and the audience they are clearly pandering to? You yourself even point out that the major complaint you have with this game is that it focuses hard on Alex and not any of the other party members. That’s the kind of writing a narcissist does, characters existing for the sole purpose of building up their character. They want you to care more about Alex and his “problems” then the people he’s actually hurt. I understand you like this game but to me at least it very strongly comes off as self-congratulatory writing to the nth degree and I just can’t deal with that.


#38

I played it. Alex’s inner conflicts are given focus for the story, but he also learns his baggage is his problem and not something he has to turn into a problem for everyone else, mainly because he realizes that if he doesn’t change, he can only hurt others. The game directly argues that you have to break away from a narcissistic mindset, not embrace it.

Everyone has their own shit, Alex’s entire journey is learning from their example to deal with his own problems and not make them everyone else’s. Only Vella and Cory have a direct connection to the larger story, and while I felt Vella wasn’t explored enough, they did get more focus than the other party members because of it. They aren’t simply footnotes.

The issue is mainly that the game borrows a Persona style set-up, with a main character surrounded by a party that supports their story and the larger one, but Alex isn’t a blank slate character avatar. While what’s happening in the narrative is handled about as normal as usual for these sorts of games, Alex is used as the center to experience the game in and his inner narration results in more time from his perspective. If there’s a core issue, it’s not that the game is preaching toxic stuff or written from a place of self-obsession, but rather the point of view structure they went with has players spending time with one character too much. Making Vella the deuologist you switch perspectives with would have helped with this, since the player is more an observer than an active participant that engages with the game world.

I can see why Alex is overbearing if you don’t have the same background, so not giving a perspective counter-balance muddled what the game was trying to do for those who can’t relate to his issues.

It’s why TWEWY works better for most people, despite having basically the same sort of character arc behind it. It’s not in Neku head regularly, and the scenario is urgent and doesn’t give Neku much time to ruminate outside dramatic points in the story. YIIK goes for a more first person perspective lit sort of thing, which gives less distance from the character, so if he grates with you, there’s less breathing room.


#39

Is the framing the same? Neku was explicitly framed as an asshole by how other characters reacted to him. If YIIK wants to have that, but also have a Cool Indie RPG Protagonist, that disharmony is gonna grate on players.


#40

Yes. Everyone dunks on Alex or takes massive issue with him in the moments he crosses the line. It’s partly why Alex himself realizes he desperately needs to change. There’s an entire chapter where he has to apologize to two of the party members he hurt especially.


#41

This game has way more issues beyond the protagonist. How did the developers not think this would be repulsive as heck (Spoilers obviously)


#42

I take issue with how you’re framing this game both as “the game doesn’t flesh out the supporting cast and show them all going through growth” and “the racist lockpicking joke from the black character is just a joke between friends.” That to me is an endorsement of a toxic viewpoint - it’s ignoring the way racism creates a culture around it, and how men can create a “just joking between friends” atmosphere that actually long term hurts people’s self confidence.

My best friend through high school transferred into my district in the seventh grade. He has the same name as another korean student in our friend group, so when i met him, people had already taken to calling him “Panda” because he’s a heavier guy. And my friend Panda went with it. He’s STILL going with it, it’s still part of his Facebook user name. And people made all kinds of “friendly” racist jokes between friends back then, and Panda…rolled with them. And to this day, he has the same self-infantilization and lack of self confidence he always has had. I wasn’t smart enough then to tell people to lay off a decade ago, looking back, I see all the ways I let him down, we all let him down.

So I’m not down with the side characters not being part of the game’s arc of discovering that, yeah, those “jokes between friends” are detrimental, too. That you can’t be a bunch of people who only let your homophobia out when you play Cards Against Humanity and not be a bunch of homophobes.

And the game feels like it’s inviting you to be one of those friends, to have a “safe space” for ironic racism - including that not by the main character.