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Thread: Darkness of SMT/Persona games

  1. #1
    Let's get ready to bumble Vincent, Thunder God's Avatar
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    Default Darkness of SMT/Persona games

    I've been wanting people's opinions on this for a while. I enjoy the Persona games a lot, and the two other SMT games I've played (SMT 1's fan translation for SNES and SMT IV on 3DS) are also pretty cool in their own right. But I find there's a real undercurrent of very dark imagery to the games - there's almost a satanic influence with the demons and the religious/occult references in the mainline games. I guess that's a pretty heavy-handed way of putting it - and I guess it's true that a lot of Japanese media can be very dark. But what I'm trying to say is that worlds like the world of SMT IV are not ones I would really want to be in - there are a lot of games that have a very cozy world (like Psychonauts for example) but to me the SMT games are very much on the other end of the spectrum. And in the Persona games - something like the guillotine to execute Persona's is a bit much - I tend to skip that cutscene.

    I have pretty mixed feelings about the series - not trying to slam them though - I enjoy a lot of their elements. Do you feel the series is dark - and if so does it affect your enjoyment of the games?

  2. #2
    Radical Dreamer Cid's Knight Fynn's Avatar
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    Of course it is. And I like it that way. As a good Catholic boy (I actually am Catholic, this is not a joke ) I enjoy how much research goes into the demons and how much this series really explores humanity's nature through them. After all, all myths are a representation of humanity's interpretation of reality, and all those things give us insight into how we've evolved as a culture throughout the ages. And humans are very, very flawed. We are filled with darkness, though we sometimes prefer to act like it's not there. It's pretty cathartic to explore it like that sometimes. Dig deep and gaze into the abyss.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I tend to gravitate towards darker themes in media as long as there is some level of substance to them, though even I have my standards of when something is just bit too dark for its own good.

    SMT and it Persona are cases of a good darkness, as there is usually a purpose behind it and the series is about exploring the darker side of human nature and culture. Course this is all intentional as the original development team was trying to give their games a different contrast to the melodrama of Final Fantasy, Space opera of Phantasy Star, and the family friendly Dragon Quest. They went with a darker 80s punk vibe.

    I'm not bothered by the themes explored by the series, and I'm happy it does exist in the medium because there are very few truly dark RPGs that don't subscribe to a more idealistic view of the world. While there is nothing wrong with idealism in gaming, I feel it is often overdone, so I am happy to have a franchise that can give me a more cynical taste of things. The fact the series appeals to my misanthropic tendencies probably helps as well. Even then, the franchise isn't without its idealistic undertones. Persona is all about the power of friendship, and SMT itself has a central theme of moderation. Again, the darker imagery and elements simply work because there is an actual theme to all of it, even if some of it is simply stylish.

  4. #4
    disc jockey to your heart krissy's Avatar
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    i dunno i just made a catgirl out of a fairy and healer card so i dunno how dark P3 is gonna get

  5. #5

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    Persona 5 is my first Persona game, and I'm loving how dark and mature it can get sometimes. It answers some interesting questions and shows how adults can be rather troutty towards kids sometimes, and how we can affect and damage their future. As for the religious imagery, I'm not keen on that at all as a Christain. I do feel very uncomfortable while playing.



  6. #6

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    I've never beaten any of the games in the franchise, but I love that they exist, and what they do with the medium. No other RPG out there tries to explore the darkness of humanity the way this series does. I don't even need all the symbolism and metaphor. I enjoy that they are dark and mature as well. But they aren't doing it in a tryhard fashion the way something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre would. Their darkness and themes have purpose. It's not mature just to be mature, it's mature because it has to be in order to convey the things it wants. And unlike most JRPGs they tend to have more realistic characters, realistic drama, etc. The Persona games definitely make use of their tropes and anime archetypes. But they try to create them into real people, and not so much a paint-by-numbers character design. So it's more like "what if you met a real tsudare type person", rather than "this person needs to be tsudare so we'll do X, Y, and Z with them". So even outside of the dark and mature things I enjoy about them I trust them to do Japanese RPGs better than most Japanese companies

    My one and only gripe with the series is how much it likes to use kids to convey its themes, it almost insinuates adults would be boring to play as reacting to the end of the world being overrun by demons. And adults have no self discovery and growth when facing such adversity. It's the one "Japanese" tropey thing they stick to even with a good portion of the series outside of Persona, adolescent coming of age



  7. #7

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    I personally like when things get dark, Berserk is my favourite manga of all time after all. As far as the religious themes, in Japan, Christian religions might as well be like Norse or Greek myth is to us. It's a mythology to use however you see fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ffamran mied Bunansa View Post
    in Japan, Christian religions might as well be like Norse or Greek myth is to us. It's a mythology to use however you see fit.
    Christmas In Japan = KFC Day



  9. #9
    'Just Friends' Formalhaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maybee View Post
    As for the religious imagery, I'm not keen on that at all as a Christain. I do feel very uncomfortable while playing.
    Oh, I don't know, I'm with Fynn on this. I personally find learning about other religions and mythologies fascinating, and in no way diminishes what I believe.

    As for the overall topic, Fynn couldn't have summed it up better than if I'd tried.


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    Slothstronaut Slothy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Formalhaut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by maybee View Post
    As for the religious imagery, I'm not keen on that at all as a Christain. I do feel very uncomfortable while playing.
    Oh, I don't know, I'm with Fynn on this. I personally find learning about other religions and mythologies fascinating, and in no way diminishes what I believe.
    Yeah, diminishing what people believe is my job!

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