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When a game is made on an real world event what dose this say about developers?

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Games have always been about putting the player against the odds and having them use the resources they have at hand to defeat somewhat overwhelming odds and come out (sometimes) unscathed! This has always been the traditional design and selling point for most games, HL2 uses it, so does UT3 and most games give the player that power feeling!

Now I want to bring to light the other side of games, the ones that sell due to people being curious and people wanting to experience things in from there perspective. Games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, MOH, Call of duty, Super Columbine Massacre RPG any real game based on real world events. Games like Manhunt, Postal, Leisure Suit Larry, Soldier of fortune, Resident Evil 5 any game that uses a niche to sell no matter what it is. Do you think these games deserve the credit they get for all the bad media they created? Say if a game makes the headlines for being nothing more then a headline itself, is this an effective way to sell game? Would you purchase a game solely because you can do things you would never get to do, or explore an event that you know is a touchy subject to some? Or is bad coverage in games just basically bad coverage?

Comments
kinesis916
kinesis916

There are some interesting questions posed here. I will make a proper comment on them later when I have the time, but I will point out the couple of mistakes that blare out at me. First is 'dose' should be 'does', and 'i' should be 'I'.

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Henley Author
Henley

thanks for the heads up I have a bad habit of ill fix that later and just type syndrome :P

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Crispy
Crispy

I'd say the media is largely ignorant on games, and that these games generate publicity for all the wrong reasons.

If media coverage on games like Manhunt were objective and informed it would rightly criticise the game for lacking substance and being distasteful, and offer other examples in the same genre that tackle similar topics with much more success. Sadly many media sources are as shallow and sensationalist as Manhunt and the rest of them, and aren't interested in presenting a balanced view. Instead they hold Manhunt up as some sort of figurehead for violence in games, when in fact it's more of a figurehead for bad taste in games.

I think it's important for games designers to fell they have the freedom to tackle any subject they want to, because self-expression is as important in games as it is in literature, art and music. Look at the film 'Irreversible': it deals quite graphically with a rape scene, but it does so while respecting the subject matter. It doesn't trivialise or misrepresent the act of rape. I believe that dealing with the same sorts of themes is possible in games, it's just a question of finding the right approach.

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Henley Author
Henley

now thats a good point, since the interactive story telling genre is still a pup does it mean that it has to grow under the pressure set by the media?

Take for example a book that I did a report on back when I was in highschool, the book was called lovely bones and it was about this girl who died and watched her family grow up without her. But the thing is she died after she had been raped and her body was then chopped up into small pieces. Please note that this book has won countless awards and is now being made into a movie by Peter Jackson. The point I bring to the table is that did this book every receive any bad media in regard to its content? Not to my knowledge... but people respected the authors decision to bring a harsh reality to light and talk about it in such a descriptive manner.

Now if a game was to portray these events there would most possibly be some hoohar in the media who has something to say about it... something like:

"It teaches people how to rape" gosh...
"I did not want my children to be shown this" then don't let them play it you are after all there parent.
"This disrespects every person who has ever been raped before" so do a lot of other media
"How could you make something so disgusting" its there to tell a story much like a movie, or a book if anything its less descriptive then a book, because it forces the reader to imagine what is happening the setting, the characters, how they sound.

I like to think of myself and many other people cowboys of this industry if no one is going to create meaning full story's that are similar to those we did reports on (to kill a mocking bird, the lovely bones, blackrock and many other titles) then we the modders have a chance to do so, we don't have companies that will be broken if we take a leap of faith.

There is a line, manhunt i feel crossed it, so we have to find that medium in which to walk.

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Dragonlord
Dragonlord

I would like to pick up some point which is important in my opinion:

Now if a game was to portray these events there would most possibly be some hoohar in the media who has something to say about it... something like:

The problem are the game makers themselves. If you would portray the rape/violence act as something disgustful and bad it would have a better publicity since they try to discuss the matter "through their game". If though ( and this is the majority ) portray rape/violence as the "solution" then you do not have to be astonished if you get sliced and diced in the air. And exactly this is the problem. Most games show violence ( or just being bad ) as the solution to all problems. If something has not the same opinion as you or is standing in your way: shoot it dead! This is a harsh way to tell it but it's the truth. And unless game developers start to deal with such topics in a constructive way and not in a marketing way ( gore/sex sells good so we need a huge boobs tooting female killing like Xena! ) they should not be astonished why all this happens.

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Henley Author
Henley

what I was trying to say (and I should have been more clear) was that "lovely bones" story was based around that event. Now if a game did the same thing, only having that one scene where this happens it could turn a lot of heads...

It's sad that dev's don't have the courage to take a stand for stories and media they want to show in a different way. The game market at the moment is filled with re-hashes and games with just the same 'safe' content. I would like to see a game take on a event which can happen to everyday people.

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kinesis916
kinesis916

Again Henley I could point out a few mistakes. But I won't, that just wouldn't be fair, and your post said far more than a few mistakes.

Anyway, I will have my say now. I agree with what Crispy has said on how the media portrays game, and in particular violent games. If the media was to portray computers games more objectively, then perhaps people would have a better understanding of them. I don't want to pick on Manhunt, but the bad press it was getting was giving the game a lot of free advertising. Whereas adults may be concerend about letting the kids play the game, all the kids can think about is how cool it would be to own it.

I think that at the moment games are an easy target. Music and Films have had their bad press for now. The technology is getting so good that games can have a real sense of realism in them, even if they don't look real. I think that because of technology games have really exploded in popularity in the last few years, and people don't really know what to make of it. Whereas before the common image of games was teenage nerds in their bedrooms, it has become much more anybody and everybody.

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kinesis916
kinesis916

Cont.

I will pick up on one point that Henley said that I think is relevant.
"I did not want my children to be shown this" - So don't let them play it, you are after all their parent.
I think this has a fair bit to do with why games do get bad press, again it comes down to parents not understanding games. Games these days are given ratings for a reason. I think if there was more understanding people would take ratings seriously, like they do movies.

I think it really will be a sad day when games are made soley because they will get the kind of bad press that will sell the game. Games should be made for the enjoyment of the target audience. And reiterate Crisys point, I think it's important for games designers to feel that they have the freedom to tackle any subject they want to, because self-expression is as important in games as it is in literature, art and music.

I think there is more I could say, but for the moment I will leave it and see what other people have to say on the matter.

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Hunter-Prime
Hunter-Prime

From what I've understand from this, for me it's every video game's goal to do things you would never get to do, but to give my opinion, I think that games shouldn't have a link with historical event, at least not recent events like Call Of Duty 4, which is a game I think should be forbidden the same way as Manhunt did but this is only my opinion.

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Malvado_Zombie[X]
Malvado_Zombie[X]

You are right... the games not have a historical event, they only invent something because... they want do it playable.

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Dragonlord
Dragonlord

It's not entirely a bad thing. If the idea would be to give people a more depth insight into what happened there ( hence historical correct ) like an interactive history lesson just with a bit more of a punch than a sleepiness delivering teacher then I can see this to be a good thing as it makes people think but CoD is just about selling not about any "educational" or "philosophical" content/view of the matter at hand.

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Hunter-Prime
Hunter-Prime

I agree but you can't find something totally neutral in history, to take Call Of Duty in example, American are always the good guys but when I see a video of gameplay killing russians during their sleep in the first mission and hear "Have a good night", you can think it's funny but something is wrong somewhere.

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Malvado_Zombie[X]
Malvado_Zombie[X]

Always (In all games creates in USA) The americans are the "Heroes" but... perhaps that isn't like that. And kill people when they're sleeping isn't funny... it's cowardly.

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bobwashere
bobwashere

Completely agree with you, Hunter. I'm an American but don't consider myself better than anybody else. If I would get sick seeing it happen to Americans, what should make it any different when it happens to people from other countries? We're all human, and in the end, that's what counts. Do you think God really gives a crap what country we came from?

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bobwashere
bobwashere

I know this comment might get buried, but I want to say it anyway. I don't think GTA deserves any of its fame. Sure, it may be inventive, but you're playing as nothing more than a freaking criminal, for God's sake! If you think sensless killing and sex with whoever you feel like is fun, join a gang.

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kinesis916
kinesis916

I can see where you are coming from, and you are well within your rights to have your own opinion. But I feel very strongly that companies freedoms need to be protected. If certain types of games were to be banned from being made, then it shouldn't just apply to the games industry but the entertainment industry as a whole.

To take the Call of Duty example, if World War 2 games were banned then, so should all World War 2 films, tv series and documentries. Because they are almost all biased in one way or another. I want the games industry to not feel like they are restricted in anyway. They should feel that they can make anything that want. Now if you don't agree with certain things then again you are well within your rights to say so.

As far as I am concerned Games are just another form of entertainment, like tv, films and music. There are games I don't like, not all games will be liked by everyone but that is just the world we live in. And unfortunatly we happen to live in a world which are suckers for controversy in almost anything.

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Henley Author
Henley

freedom to create is something we all have, if your game is made for a selected audience so be it. I don't like the way people look at games my family included, it has hard enough coming from a family of farmers and land owners to learn how to create games, but to then not have people like your work because its a bit outlandish is just plain wrong. They possibly never even played the game, just jumping on the hate the game bus :P

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bobwashere
bobwashere

I've read up on all the previews I've seen for GTA 4, so I'm not just saying something without anything backing it. I have nothing against violent games in general. But let's look at it this way: Halo and GTA are both rated M. Technically, that means they're recommended for audiences 17 and up. However, in Halo, you play as someone who fits most of the criteria for a hero. Yes, there's killing, but it's for a greater cause, not personal motive. You may bring up games like Q3, which many might say has senseless killing. It's not like there's much piont to the killing there. However, it isn't supposed to be "realistic" killing. There's really no malice in it. Since it isn't supposed to make the killings realistic. To me, I would consider Q3 just like a game of Lazer Tag. I have no objections to Q3, and I'm a practicing Christian. When you look at GTA, usually, progression is achieved by doing things that would usually be illegal and immoral. It is set in a realistic environment. You live the (exaggerated) life of a modern-day criminal. And as for the sex, I feel like it doesn't add a thing to a game's depth. I have no objections to people being able to make games like GTA (really, I don't), but I wish they had the common sense not to. Just because you can do it doesn't make it a good thing. I think the most important thing about a democratic country isn't how free they are, but how decent they are with that freedom.

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kinesis916
kinesis916

I would say that a realistic environment within a game is one in which the player can beleive that their character really is a part of that game universe. It doesn't have to be realistic to our modern world, but it can still be realistic non the less.

I think GTA wasn't the best example you could have used. Though admitedly I can't think of a better one at the moment. But you already said it, it is exaggerated. Criminals can't just go out and kill a hundred people, then hide in a corner for ten minutes while the heat dies down, then do it all over again. I think the only real part of it that is realistic is the fact that it is set in a modern day world, where events in the game are based upon the real world of criminal gangs/organisations.

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bobwashere
bobwashere

That's what I meant when I brought up realism. Not "will this break differently if I shoot it in a diferent spot?" or "Will my character take damage realistically?" but set in a real-world setting.

You bring up a good point, though. Crysis and Half-Life 2 felt very realistic in the way you put it, even if the scenarios in the games are highly unlikely.

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Deathbagel
Deathbagel

I'm glad you brought up Half Life 2. I think the game is a great example of how morality in games can be properly achieved. In Half Life 2, you aren't simply dropped in a warzone with a gun and told to shoot the crap out of people, you start the game unarmed and completely helpless. You see your fellow citizens being harrased and you yourself are abused. Thus when you finally get a weapon, you actually have reason to shoot the enemies. If, in real life, the combine invaded earth, and I was in gordons position, I would hope that I would do what you do in the game, as, in the end, it is definitely the right thing to do.

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