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Thread: Completely missing the point

  1. #1
    Radical Dreamer Cid's Knight Fynn's Avatar
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    A'nutoh Tia (Sargatanas)

    Default Completely missing the point

    So pretty recently I've beaten Persona 1 and later looked up some stuff on it on the Internet, as you do. I found this neat little website where two guys marathoned a bunch of RPGs and among those was Persona 1. They hated it - and that's putting it lightly Though I enjoyed the game this time, I can certainly see where they're coming from as it definitely has its fair share of flaws that prevented me from enjoying it before.

    But the one thing it didn't have is one thing one of the guys took serious issue with - that, apparently, the message of the game is "sick/disabled people just aren't trying hard enough". Which is seriously reaching. Yes, the plot revolves around a sick person and the main conflict has to do with what goes on in her psyche, but she's never demonized for it by the game. If anything, it's about how she got manipulated by someone which only made her sicker, and then she got better because someone was able to help her weed out the actual cause. Nowhere in the game did anyone tell her she wasn't trying hard enough - I mean, I think she said it herself but of course, this being Persona, her friends told her she shouldn't beat herself up for it and that she did the best she could in the troutty circumstances she was in.

    But what the hey, people are entitled to their opinions

    So have you ever heard of other video game opinions that so completely missed the point the game was trying to make? Or maybe you yourself have done it in the past but later saw the error of your ways?

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I've had a few over the years on forums, but sticking to more acceptable target opinions:

    There is a review on a well know faq site for FFVI which basically gave it a low score because it stole the plot from BoFI, which is kind of laughable because "stopping evil empire from reawakening old doomsday power" is not only been around since the 8-bit era for RPGs, but it's only the plot of the first half of the game and frankly I feel saying VI is just a redo of Secret of Mana's plot is more accurate. Of anything, fan reviews often feel like this, especially when they're going out of their way to trash talk a game.

    Egoraptor's Sequelitis series is usually pretty insightful, but I have to disagree with his one on Castlevania versus Simon's Quest as watching it again recently made it feel less like "Simon's Quests design is awful compared to the franchise in general" and more "Castlevania is an action platform title with level design, and the Metroidvania style games are bad because they miss this point because the series is meant to balls hard". Throw in the fact that playing both titles back to back, I have to strongly disagree with his stance that the first game has better controls and was purposely designed the way they were is also not terribly accurate. Granted, he does bring up several valid points as to why Simon's Quest has issues (bad translation that makes the game impossible without a guide, excessive grinding, and a silly lives system" but I feel like he missed the point about the appeal of the more exploration aspect garnered by the games design which is actually the real appeal of Metroidvania titles.

    As for my own times of missing a point, there was one really painful time where I read too much into a guy's post and thought it was sarcasm when he was actually being pretty serious and he kind of did a real humiliating response to cut me down for it. I think it had to do with the conclusion to the Xenosaga series.

    Not so much missing the point but not really considering the possibility was one I had on this forum concerning the whole "Tidus is a dream" plot point, which I still stand by the fact I feel it's a contrived and ultimately pointless twist designed to simply let him steal the spotlight from Yuna at the end, but I think it may have either been Levian or Mister Adequate explained it s more of a poetic concept that made the impact a little more bearable for me.

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Feels like so many people miss the point of Umineko...

    ...though of course I was no exception. There's something to be said about reading a story from beginning to finish and continuously ignoring what it VERY PERSISTENTLY tells you to do. I don't even know what I was thinking.. no, I know, I *wasn't* thinking. I had to be told to understand. But then again, without that wakeup call I probably wouldn't have grown up.

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    Radical Dreamer Cid's Knight Fynn's Avatar
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    Just remembered a persistent one that really bugs me: Marche is the villain. Like, have you people been paying attention to what this game is trying to say or are you serioysly thinking living a comfortable lie is the right thing to do over facing the truth? Or do you juyst get thgat defensive over the mere suggestion that getting lost in your hobby for too long can be harmful?

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    People have always been angry that Vaan is shoved down the throat of players as the main character, when his ENTIRE CHARACTER ARC (which ends just as the story shifts focus to Ashe) ends with his discovery that his own self-importance is childish escapism. He then vows to follow Ashe to get an idea of the direction he should move his life. Not only does Vaan ACCEPT that he isn't the main character, he HANDS THE ROLE OVER to Ashe. The entire basis for the hatred of this character is a false assumption. For me though, that's nothing compared to my thoughts on Metal Gear.

    -----------------------------

    Metal Gear Solid 2 (and to a lesser extent, the first one) is a prime examples of Brechtian* storytelling where the meta-narrative has the game's avatar (Raiden) gain autonomy from the player. There's a recurring theme in the series where the main character follows the orders of his superiors without question (and in doing so, gives his agency up for the player to control him). Likewise, the player lives vicariously through the avatar for action and excitement (as Liquid would put it, "there's a killer inside you"). Both MGS and MGS2 end with the heroes choosing to live for themselves and MGS3 ends with Snake leaving (SPOILER)The Boss's death up to you, damning him to a lifetime of emptiness. MGS2 goes a step further than the other two games, with Raiden throwing away the player's Dog Tags, rejecting the identity imprinted upon him. The story is otherwise completely unresolved, with Snake's/Kojima's final message basically being: "yo, the events of this game have probably confused the hell out of you, but don't sweat the details. Let this story inform how you engage the real world". Rather than a narrative resolution, Raiden and the player are prompted to think about what's important in their respective lives. It's important that the avatar and the player are treated as separate people for this to make sense.

    *"Brecht's Epic Theatre proposed that a play should not cause the spectator to identify emotionally with the characters or action before him or her, but should instead provoke rational self-reflection and a critical view of the action on the stage. Brecht thought that the experience of a climacticcatharsis of emotion left an audience complacent. Instead, he wanted his audiences to adopt a critical perspective in order to recognize social injustice and exploitation and to be moved to go forth from the theatre and effect change in the world outside.[68] For this purpose, Brecht employed the use of techniques that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of reality and not reality itself. By highlighting the constructed nature of the theatrical event, Brecht hoped to communicate that the audience's reality was equally constructed and, as such, was changeable" (Taken from Wikipedia).

    It's arguable that all of Kojima's meta-humor is used to drive home the artifice of MGS's universe, in addition to the abundance of live footage the first two games used whenever Kojima talks about real-world ideas. It's all to drive home the idea that Kojima's world is inconsequential; leave it to his characters as you focus on your own.

    A half-decade later, Kojima would haphazardly tie all of these weird loose threads together in MGS4, a blockbuster game filled with pathos, Soap Opera-level melodrama, and the final message left to Snake and the player are "don't try to accomplish anything, it's better to avoid conflict than to passionately stand for your beliefs, lest you end up like (SPOILER)Big Boss and Zero (completely counter to what Snake tells Raiden during MGS2)". Kojima's meta-humor is there, but its serves little purpose other than to continue the brand of wackiness fans know him for. All of this to say that while I enjoy Metal Gear Solid 4, I disagree with the notion that it is [was, I guess] the perfect conclusion to the series, as it was essentially Kojima rescinding everything that made me love the series in the first place. The series became less about Kojima's thoughts regarding life, the many injustices in the world and escapism and more about the myriad allegiances of Ocelot and Big Boss's crusade against the Patriots. It still has Kojima's "voice", but more as an afterthought.

    This is probably a super cluttered, rushed explanation of my pretentious Fine Arts Major interpretation of a video game series about a man sneaking around in a box fighting bipedal nuclear death machines, but I'm too tired right now to proofread and edit any more than I have.
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    Wildökarudo Mercen-X's Avatar
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    "a man sneaking around in a box fighting bipedal nuclear death machines"

    That was... so good
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  7. #7

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    I feel like people who hang trout on main characters for being "emo" and "whiny" are definitely missing the point. Just because a character has flaws and isn't some over-idealized Mary Sue doesn't make them badly written.

    I think Square Enix has missed the point lately with their games, especially of the Final Fantasy variety. Every time they try to expand on their beloved games they always vastly miss the mark, whether it's due to trying to force a self-contained plot to be continued, rehashing worn-out plot elements while doing absolutely nothing new with them, simplifying the characters while forgetting what everyone loved about them and in some cases undoing their development from the original story, or just plain bad writing, I've yet to see SE do a direct sequel/prequel right.

    Speaking of MGS4, I used to be obsessed with that game. Then I played the rest of the series, and saw MGS4 for what it truly was: just a flat out insult to the series, its fans and gamers in general. The fact that it's praised as a legitimate masterpiece of storytelling only shows how horrendously low the standards of the video game industry are, and how easily an epic and flashy presentation can disguise what is easily a top contender for the single worst story ever told in a game. And that's no hyperbole, either. I could write an essay on everything wrong with that game from a narrative standpoint, from the trainwreck of a plot riddled with holes, contradictions and retcons, to pretty much every character having inconsistent, poorly developed motives. And honestly the story being so bad wouldn't be such a big deal if not for the fact that it honestly had more cutscenes than actual gameplay.

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    Feel the Bern Del Murder's Avatar
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    I haven't seen this in games, but one time I saw a 1 star Yelp review for an Italian restaurant that read 'The food was well cooked and the service was prompt and friendly, I just don't like pasta.' WTF?

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