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I don't really care much for video games that break the fourth wall as a statement or taunt the player. My views are that stories should be self-contained. It's one thing to include themes in a story that audiences can relate to, or to have moral lessons, but when a video game starts lecturing me, as a player, I find it more than a little condescending and rather misguided; I may not even fit the profile of the person they want to lecture. Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, to use examples from literature, were great works of art, but they didn't personally attack or directly criticize the reader, either. I don't see why that should be a requirement for video games to be art. I know a lot of people are going to disagree, so what are your thoughts?
I have mixed feelings as well, but I personally think that they can be used for good as well as bad. I once again point to Metal Gear Solid 2 as the prime example of postmodernism in gaming. I won't go into all the details, as it would cause me to write an essay, but it essentially tells the players to think for themselves, not just take things at face value, and to choose what ideas and choices to pass on. This is an example of postmodernism being used well, as it is trying to teach the players a lesson. Also, there are times when Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. Take No More Heroes, another postmodern game. It was essentially calling out the player on their immature and reclusive lifestyle, and asking them to go out more; to widen their horizons beyond just video games. Again, another example of it being used well. The problem is that with Metal Gear Solid 2 and No More Heroes, most seem to miss the point, and instead become either offended by it, or interpret an entirely different meaning from the creator's intent. With MGS 2, people were so angered by the fact that they weren't playing as Snake and the like, and wanted answers to everything that they misunderstood the intention, and with NMH, people saw the protagonist as being an awesome Badass, when he was supposed to be a commentary on the stereotypical hardcore gamer. This may be one of the reasons as to why postmodern games nowadays tend to attack the player in a more harsh manner. So that the point is not missed.
I didn't necessarily want "answers" to everything after MGS 2. Some mysteries are much more compelling if left unsolved. I wouldn't have minded at all if Vamp had remained a crazy vampire, or if the Patriots hadn't turned out to be AIs. That being said, I think it's only natural to want resolutions to a plot and ending to a story, and I think it's unfair to criticize players for that. Not that you were, but some people have. The problems I have with postmodern gaming is the hamfisted "You're going to be trolled and like it" mentality adopted by some of its proponents, and that I personally don't see what gives a game designer the right to personally criticize someone they can't personally know. It seems mean-spirited and arrogant. Most works preach, but postmodern video games have a tendency to attack the audience directly.
Again, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. However, it all depends on what exactly they are trying to get across.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped is very subjective. I think there are ways to get a message across without being antagonistic or too blunt. In addition, if you're going to drop an anvil, be advised the person getting hit by said anvil probably won't take too kindly to it. I don't think that designers are under any moral obligation to make the games fans want them to make, but that goes both ways. I have as much of a right to look at their work and say, "This is bad, and I don't care for it," as they do to create the work in the first place.
Some Guy Or Something
I'm not a huge literary buff so I'm not familiar with the first one, but having read Ninteen Eighty Four, I can safely say I can see a correlation between it and No More Heroes. Both confront modern day issues and both do so by being rather blunt about it. The only major difference is that 1984 was more of a societal discussion while NMH focused much more on the individual. Other than that, there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn.
I thought NMH 2 would've been better had it not tried the postmodern thing, TBH. In fact I was kind of annoyed by it since it basically bogged down the game and the message just didn't seem to hit home like it should.
Are there any post-modern games other than those two you mentioned? It seems a rather narrow field to criticize.
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Don't forget Ultima IV. I'd also like to note that the original Final Fantasy is postmodern without breaking the fourth wall, by dealing with postmodern concepts while referencing other games—rather than saving the princess as the goal of the game, you save her before the opening titles, with the rest of the game being devoted to a far more abstract task (finding the source of the mysterious malaise that has corrupted the world.)
edited 10th Mar '12 10:12:41 PM by feotakahari
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
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Total posts: 101