When A Game Crosses the Line From Love to Hate


#1

Patrick, Austin and myself ponder games that have crossed the thin red line from beloved to hated, and how to define where that line actually gets drawn, after all. We get into Far Cry 2, Spelunky, BioShock Infinite and the discourse. It's a slightly quicker, but still meaty pod for a stormy Friday!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/qvea93/waypoint-radio-podcast-far-cry-bioshock-infinite

#2

Persona 4 is still my favorite JRPG but looking back on how Kanji and Naoto story are told its problematic. Even if the story for Naoto is a girl finding her place in a man’s workplace, it aspects that have transgender notes are used in negative light and the fact that my choice to have Naoto as my love interest is “I’m happy that you’re a girl” is pretty lame since I liked Naoto for who Naoto is regardless of gender.

Kanji may have a better time in some aspects as him being gay was somewhat open but the game liked to bring it up as a joke and not something to show positively like some of his social link moments.

I say the only good change in the Golden is they gave me the choice in Naoto route to say “I like you for what you are” when Naoto asked “Do you want me to change so you can like me more?”.


#3

On the same topic, I felt like persona 4 golden had a really obvious and disappointing point where it switched over from original game content to writing where none of the events mattered, which soured the game a bit for me


#4

I was playing and quite enjoying Rise of the Tombraider when it was released on pc. it was really fun… but then there was a sidequest that had lara croft, a member of the british aristocracy, going through an area to find soviet flags and burning them. I thought Id gotten used to anti communist propaganda in western media, but this was just too much. i uninstalled it and never played it again.


#5

I really loved this episode of the podcast and the way the conversation turned from what are maybe changes in taste or enthusiasm to recognition of blind spots we don’t know we have, and the way that momentum can suppress certain critical perspectives until we get the space to circle back to something. This was a great encapsulation of a lot of the smart stuff that I so appreciate Waypoint for. Thanks, gang!


#6

Yeah. We still have people who argue that looking at past popular media feels wrong to criticize when at the time was held with high praise. But it allows us to better understand problems, really understand the faults of a work, and better position it with other works.


#7

I remember loving Bioshock: infinite, and part of that is how much I completely dismissed the bad “both sides” arguments. Looking back, it’s really obvious that they failed so much of that game’s message, and I’m kind of embarrassed that I didn’t see it at the time.

But in reference to a previous thread about liking problematic media, there are some things I still like (such as the atmosphere and set design), and I love hearing people like Danielle, Austin, Rob, et al continue having these conversations so that we can all help developers make games that contain the things we like and respond to the things we don’t.


#8

Tyranny crossed that line for me during Act 2. Act 1 was well designed giving a variety of choices that allowed the player to play favorites or try to work in a neutral, we need to get this done, middle ground. Then Act 2 comes and I’m unwillingly aligned towards the Scarlet Chorus who I absolutely despise. This wouldn’t be a problem but the game increasingly railroads you into doing what Nerat wants even though that’s not your job. Then as the game gets further on I’m forced into “dialogue options” where the only choice is [Attack] and I’m beginning to think that either the writers are incompetent or, to be more charitable, it’s just unfinished.

The straw that broke the camels back is that I could not snuff out the baby. In a game that prides itself on giving the player choice it’s at this moment you can’t make the sensible choice even though there is absolutely no reason why you can’t or wouldn’t from the story perspective. I was so confused as to why I couldn’t, even reloading the save to check the dialogue options, but as I found out online if you align with the Disfavored you can and if you align with the Scarlet Chorus you can’t. Tyranny seems to forget that you’re not some lacky to an army general but a neutral arbitrator with your own interests and at this critical moment the obvious choice was not possible.

That was where my suspension of disbelief ended and I just stopped playing the game. I only play through an RPG once and I’m not going to continue being invested in a story where I get railroaded because the writers didn’t foresee to write an obvious choice in a game where hard, arguably good or evil, choices are the bread and butter of what makes it interesting to play.


#9

Happy to hear Austin’s picked up on growing critique of New Vegas’ weirdness. It even reminded me that my problems aren’t just its ignorant racial politicking or both-sidesism, but how fuckin’ rancid Honest Hearts is. But its gross shit lead to a hot Something Awful meme hangin out in there so yaayyy wacky natives!!!

I remember the turning point for me last year in my turning around on unwavering praise of New Vegas was, hilariously, the very beginning. Paying attention and realizing that the first real conflict in the game is a black gang member trying to take over a peaceful white town because he was chasing some poor white merchant and the gang the black man’s a part of liberated themselves from a forced labour camp and neither he nor the gang is portrayed sympathetically doesn’t make me super eager to return to it again.

Plus it’s one of those stories that’s more obsessed with observing and reconstructing fascism than with creating much of textual response to it beyond some characters being grossed out by it, so oopsie poopsie it has an intricate fun fascist roleplaying game just hangin out in there, ready for hours of investment with little judgement.

TES is a similar token for me. Oblivion is so absurdly quaint that I can rarely get mad at it and still find nostalgic comfort in its bizarre pre-GoT mix of tones, ideas and overambitious systems. Then Skyrim got allergic to silliness, took the bad racial coding and amplified it tenfold across the board and somehow outdid the sheer whiteness of the rest of the series by a factor of a billion… But they got semi-competent at rendering and UI aesthetics so it’s been the face of the series for over a half-decade. Ugh.


#10

As it wasn’t linked to at 01:32.

Here is a link to the article by Cameron Kunzelman and a link to the Youtube playlist of the video series.


#11

Elite dangerous has to be the winner in my head for a game that i loved (perhaps the idea of) and hate it so much i have to stop myself bitching about it regularly.

As much as i like to harp on players that feel entitled and insult other players i tend to moan at frontier about their game and have to concede its probably the near 800 hours i’ve put in … Which doesn’t entitle me to anything.

Its interesting to me that the more niche the game the more i feel jilted when a developer makes a (or several compounded) “mistakes” altering play in a manner i dislike. I get this is an MMO so maybe not the same as my vampire bloodlines addiction that has been a replay per year since it came out a buggy mess over a decade ago (and still love)