Gaming Has Already Grown Up

Tom Mc Shea examines the deeper themes present in games, and how the industry is more mature than some think.

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Fun has become a dirty word. Both David Cage and Warren Spector--two prominent developers who have never been shy to express their opinions--spoke at length during separate D.I.C.E. sessions about the need for gaming to finally grow up. Emotional experiences that deal with relatable situations are paramount to raising this medium to a more substantial plateau, they argued, urging developers to push themselves to create mature and diverse games. But as gaming has grown and evolved through the years, a variety of interesting experiences have surfaced, making their cries for improvement ring hollow.

Their cries for improvement ring hollow.

Spector can no longer hold his tongue while the industry is flooded with mindless power fantasies. "If we're going to reach a broader audience, we have to stop thinking about the audience strictly in terms of teenage boys or even teenage girls. We need to think about things that are relevant to normal humans and not just the geeks we used to be." Cage echoed a similar sentiment. "We need to find ways to reach a wider audience. We need to move beyond our traditional market, which is usually kids and teens." Their underlying message is clear. The elements that have cemented gaming as an entertainment medium have ultimately hampered the growth of the entire industry. Without pushing beyond mere diversion, gaming will always be stuck in the cultural ghetto.

Cage and Spector (the creative minds behind Heavy Rain and Deus Ex, respectively) are two passionate creators whose cautionary words should be taken seriously. Those who have the most potential to steer how the general public views this industry are developers who create expensive games, and the biggest titles are more often than not flashy endeavors that emphasize over-the-top action rather than honest emotion. Striving for actual maturity is commendable, as opposed to the things the ESRB classifies as "mature," like violence, sex, and foul language. From the nascent days of this medium, games have been more concerned with fast reflexes and abstract puzzles than everyday problems, and that focus, Cage and Spector maintain, has cemented video games as a niche that encompasses little more than juvenile time wasters.

Without pushing beyond mere diversion, gaming will always be stuck in the cultural ghetto.

However, as earnest as Cage and Spector are in their claims, such accusations of eternal Peter Pan syndrome are disingenuous. Although the simple joy of hurdling a woebegone turtle as a potbellied plumber still delights the child in us all, and we're thrilled by a Spartan solider wakening from an eternal sleep to save humanity, there is nothing wrong with these endeavors. Games such as Mario and Halo offer an invaluable service that, in large part, defines the inherent appeal of video games, and Cage and Spector want to move away from these and other franchises because they cater to the kids and teens markets. Fun is the driving force of any entertainment field, and focusing on precise control and catlike reflexes is a culmination of what developers have been trying to achieve for more than 30 years.

Games concerned with nothing more than enjoyable entertainment should be celebrated, not shunned, especially because they are surrounded by others that show serious strides toward something more substantial. Cage and Spector are right that real problems should be examined within the spectrum of video games, but such a shift has already rippled through the silicon world. Metal Gear Solid 4 dissected warfare in modern times, postulating that conflicts were no longer being staged for ideological differences between opposing factions; rather, shadow corporations manufacturing state-of-the-art weaponry earned profits by convincing mercenaries to bear arms. Such an explosive topic was weaved artfully throughout an otherwise bizarre tale filled with clones and cyborgs, but that doesn't diminish the controversial message being outlined.

Grand Theft Auto IV used a similar method to explore its mature subject matter. Beneath the murder sprees and chase sequences lay an in-depth look at the troubled life of an immigrant. Fleeing to a country in which the system discourages social mobility, Niko struggles to break free of the shackles that chain him to a life of criminal servitude. Even Call of Duty, often maligned for its nonsensical explanations of worldly events, tapped into a disturbing reality in Modern Warfare 2. Tricked to take over an airport by force, you wade through crowds in a Russian concourse with an assault rifle cocked and ready. Do you walk by the screaming passersby, or fire blindly into the throng? And if you choose the latter, how does it feel to harm unarmed spectators? In a universe in which good and evil are defined by who stands beside you, how do you define yourself when the innocent fall by your feet?

How do you define yourself when the innocent fall by your feet?

These examples show that not only has the progress Cage and Spector are striving for already been reached, but it has happened in some of the biggest, most commercially successful games available. If you look beyond the most expensive and well-marketed offerings, there is a nearly endless stream of games that examine issues paramount to our existence as human beings. Braid explores the obsessive yearnings of a scorned lover; Passage succinctly summarizes the travails of life; Persona 4 offers thoughts on gender identity, voyeurism, and overcommercialization. The industry is filled with smart individuals working on projects that push the medium forward. Interaction has allowed games to explore deeper themes in meaningful ways, and there has been a serious rise in mature content in recent years.

So, despite what Cage and Spector claim, games already explore real problems that the average person can relate to. However, that's not to discount what the two developers so passionately believe. Although there are plenty of games that willingly highlight important topics, admitting this truth is still taboo. Look, for instance, at how the themes of BioShock Infinite are communicated to the world at large. By glancing at the box art or the commercials that appear in movie theaters, it would be easy to assume this is another shooter in which you turn off your brain while you mow down your evil foes. But, if you read interviews with the development team, it's clear that the game has grander, more meaningful aspirations. Infinite, like its predecessors, examines the beliefs of our society if they're taken to the extreme. In the case of Irrational's newest game, that state of mind is xenophobia.

The fact that the marketing and development of BioShock Infinite have traveled along two very different paths does show that games still have a long way to go. Games have never been seen as inclusive entertainment to the world at large, and it will take many games such as Spec Ops: The Line and The Walking Dead to show that mature subject matter is possible in an interactive field. However, we are traveling along the right path. Big publishers may not readily advertise what their games contain, but they are funding projects developers are passionate about. And the independent community has seen bountiful offerings that explore the very themes Cage and Spector have proposed. It may take many more years before games are recognized as a valid form of artistic expression by the majority, but such a goal is already in sight as developers grow along with their audience.

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Discussion

338 comments
IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

The few games that have matured are falling on deaf ears in how they market the games. They market mature 18+ but throw stuff into their marketing to appeal to kids then Moms buy these games for their spoiled kids then blame video games for violence

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

No it hasnt Tom...no it hasnt...as long as 13yo kids talk about your mother on Xbox live when playing Cod or GTA and theres an excessive mindless violence in an attempt to sell to them with no thought put in them..then no I disagree

HYPERROY
HYPERROY

    A very interesting topic to talk about. Yes when someone creates something is to portrait or to send a message to someone else trough the story. As such using simile, imagery, allegory or metaphor. Even if the creator does want to send their message to everyone, he/she still wants the people reading/ seeing/ playing does things to enjoy the game, story, or movie. 

DinoFarmBlake
DinoFarmBlake

 "Mature themes" as they apply to a thematic layer of a game system is not "GAMES" being mature.  It's applying mature narrative to a mechanical system which we've played for the last 20 years now.


The actual rules, the actual mechanisms that make up GTA 5 will be virtually identical to those of GTA 3 and all GTA's inbetween.  This is the very opposite of "maturation" as it applies to games.


Saying the status of games is mature because it uses mature content on the thematic layer is like saying A child with an aging disorder is "mature" because he appears to be 40.

Jyakotu
Jyakotu

This was definitely an interesting article, but games have been dealing with mature themes for awhile now. If, for example, we look at classic JRPGs, many of the stories dealt with a lot of mature themes. But also, I think that because of the advancement of technology now, it's easier for developers to get these mature themes out there. Video games are entertainment, however, one must not forget that the developers spend time to craft these worlds and stories. Sometimes, developers do want to get their message out there, while also wanting to create a fun game as well.

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

"We need to MOVE... BEYOND" cue a Beyond trailer integrating Move.

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

Gaming has grown up... to a degree.

There are mature themes to be found in games, but the emotional aspects tend to be downplayed. You could argue that Isaac's speech to Carver near the end of Dead Space 3 is a sign of its maturity, but aside from that (and the awkward love triangle) it's just a zombie apocalypse. In space.

There -are- truly mature games out there, but they're few and far between, especially when multiplayer is the main focus as multiplayer generally can't have a storyline (let alone a mature one). Sure, there is a story with mature themes in the Modern Warfare subseries, but how many people actually played the campaign? Of those who did, who actually payed attention to its story? Next to nobody I bet; they were all having fun fragging their buddies - a power fantasy with no consequences for your actions.

Scratch that, you get rewarded for it.

Single-player games are the ones with all the mature themes and stories. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Spec Ops: The Line, the Persona series... the list goes on. Heck, even Katawa Shoujo could be considered more mature than a lot of games released for its relatively realistic portrayal of human relationships. Unfortunately those don't sell well anymore, so they're largely out of the spotlight. So, hyper-violent power fantasies it is.

Trev9421
Trev9421

I really don't understand how most people do not get what he meant be referenceing GTAIV. The story itself is what he was talking about, the story of an immigrant coming to America and finding out it's not all lolipops and popcorn. It's about someone who is forced to be a criminal simply to provide for himself in a place where no one would ever take him seriously because of where he was from. It's a real life story that happens everyday, and in the process of doing bad things, you become bad regardless of how strong you are. But whenever anyone thinks of this game, they think of having sex with hookers, and then running them over because that's how people chose to play the game.

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

Classy, Warren. Classy.

We'll always remember you for your immense contribution in legendary classics such as Deus Ex, the Ultima series, Wing Commander and Thief.

But you are mistaken if you think your words mean anything. You do NOT get to condemn a whole industry of people who work hard to make fantastic products, and people who consume them, just because they do not fit your taste. Lollipop Chainsaw shouldn't have been made? If anything, it's a blessing it has been made. OR do you think every time I load up my computer or fire up the console I want to hear depressing characters cry about their tragedies and soap operas? No, sir, I do not. Sometimes, we like blunt, brtual, stupid fun. There is a place for games like LC, as there are for ones like PlaneScape and Deus Ex.

And Oh, Cage. You too, don't get to tell a whole industry it needs to grow up. At least they still remember what a game looks like. Yes, games, those things where you have constant interaction with the gameworld and perform actions you can't see anywhere else.

You don't develop games, Cage. You develop Interactive CGI movies. Someone could easily make the same thing you did in real life with a Youtube video and Annotations.


But ah, the focus of this article is not these two, but Tom's opinion, is it not?

Dear Tom, the man who constantly seeks to make us feel bad for liking games. Or at least spark some thought into  a moot point.

You know, your article might've actually gone somewhere had you not used GTAIV as an example. Laughable, really.

Shane747
Shane747

A long time ago, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6 had mature themes, while also being brilliant games (types of games that simply don't exist now.) And your giving me GTA4 as an example that gaming has grown up?

But OK, whatever you say.

psuedospike
psuedospike

Now if only Tom Mc Shea would grow up already.

bluefox755
bluefox755

yeah, what's wrong with games being fun?  Why do they have to aspire from mindless fun to a pretentious arthouse offering or a vehicle for political ideology, I'll probably play Bioshock infinite, but not because the devs are liberals who think it's important to caricature folks with opposing beliefs as an oppressive fringe crowd.  Now, darker, more mature themes? Sure I'm all for that, loved walking dead, witcher, etc.  I also like mindless bloody gore fest games too, cause it's fun...I can do without hipster/elitist ideological 'enlightenment' in my video games, some folks want that, cool, but some folks don't, that should be ok too :) 

oflow
oflow

A bit of misdirection and self-loathing from the two devs talking here.  You cant stop make games for 'the geeks you used to be' because those are the people that buy games.  Most 'mature' people dont even waste time playing video games. You guys sound like the angry high school dorks that got rich and are now trying to not hang with your nerd friends.

StinkySkunkGirl
StinkySkunkGirl

I remember when A jumped, B ran, and animal mascots collected colorful powerups in colorful worlds. Now you have a choice between generic WWII shooters and stories that are so "deep" that even the creators don't understand them until the fans start blogging about their theories. Fun, though? That's kiddie and passe. Gaming has grown up.

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I'll be real honest, I'm not a huge fan of Tom Mc Shea, but I agree with this article wholeheartedly. People who complain that games aren't dealing with mature themes, or at the very least attempting to, are definitely being disingenuous or just aren't looking hard enough. There's definitely been a shift in the narrative of video games in many cases towards trying to deliver more relatable characters, deeper/more mature themes, and more emotionally involved storylines. They don't always pull it off well, but it's definitely something that's happening more and more. Gamers are growing up, and so are the developers.

That said, there's nothing wrong with the games that don't do this. There's room for both. I love Saints Row 3, over the top shooters, and multiplayer fragfests that lack a narrative at all. I also love Mass Effect, The Witcher, Deus Ex, etc. Having both types of games is a good thing. Having a bunch of different games that do a bunch of different things very well is the best way to appeal to a broad audience.

There's also still plenty of progress to be made on the maturity front, but the industry has been going that direction for a while. Cage and Spector should probably hop off their high horse, even though they do make fantastic games.

TL;DR Tom Mc Shea is spot on. Walls of text are fun.

khaos107
khaos107

I guess Cage and Spector don't understand that different people have different tastes. I prefer Games with Mature and deep stories, but I'm not pompous enough to think that everyone else has to. People who don't play or understand video games are the only ones who view the medium as childish. I think the only reason these developers are concerned with this is because a "Broader Audience" means more customers and more money for them. What a Broader audience means for players is easy, simplified games that try to appeal to everyone. I guess fast reflexes and abstract puzzles are childish but pressing buttons to advance through a movie is mature. Heavy Rain and Deus Ex are both great games, but they are far from the only or most mature games out there.

nameaprice
nameaprice

i dont wanna grow up, im a toys r us kid!

_huh
_huh

McShea, is this a troll story?!?!?  McShea you rascal you!  Ha!  I really fell for this one, almost.  Clicking on a topic again from you about trying to make it appear like video games should be more "mature" and trying to say we are all not intelligent if we like immature video game entertainment..."hey, look at me, I'm Tom McShea, I know what's best for the industry, and if you like Call of Duty, you are a dummy you dummy". 

Aaaaand then you really drop the punchline, which makes total sense that this is a troll story... you jokingly try to convince us that there is some real intelligent immigrant story in GTA4!  Hahaha!  You really had me going for a while!  Seriously, when you said this about GTA4:

"an in-depth look at the troubled life of an immigrant. Fleeing to a country in which the system discourages social mobility, Niko struggles to break free of the shackles that chain him to a life of criminal servitude." 

I spit my special edition Black Ops 2 mountain dew all over my 99" plasma screen because I laughed so hard.  Seriously, I went back to play GTA4 just to play the Jacob missions and deliver drugs with him while listening to the Tuff Gong channel.  After that, I decided to pick up a couple hookers and have some fun with them in an alley.  McShea, you are a rascal!  Almost had me there you rascal! 

Dreamagus
Dreamagus

oh mr. Cage, sorry if not all gamemakers want to be filmmakers and also care to put some effort into decent gameplay on their products...

Metallicwolf29
Metallicwolf29

The only thing that has grown up is us gamers and we are not happy with the direction gaming has gone.

SpriggsyUK
SpriggsyUK

I think that casual games, power fantasies and the more mature story driven games have to all co- exist, as someone already mentioned if you mature the story in every game Mario would probably be locked up at the end of each of his games for committing too much animal cruelty. With GTA IV there was two games running at once, one for the people who ignore the story get all the best weapons and then go out and do stupid stuff, and the other for people who want to delve into a good story and watch a character evolve with his ever changing environment. Sleeping dogs has the same kind of thing, it deals with the life of an undercover cop who has to make tough calls and try to balance it all out between his gang life and his cop life. The industry has matured since the days where games were a maze some dots and a few ghosts, stories have been told in ways that could not be accomplished in a movie or a book. Take mass effect, you can't translate the main story arc of the three games into a film due to all the player choices and the multiple options for your character to have relationships with other characters. games tell great stories when that is the intention behind the games development, or the game is a fun power trip full of fun set pieces and stupid one liners, a blissful platformer full of creatures to jump on top of and so many other variations i simply shan't list them all. If all games grow up and the stories all become serious thoughts about humanity then yes the industry will have matured but it would be like a 30 year old pretending like they'd never played pac-man and enjoyed it and going on to criticise its lack of telling you why the ghost were bad, its because they killed you and you'd game over after they got you three times. The fun still has to be part of the game otherwise the industry will chop of its own feet and wonder why it can't stand up anymore, and that will be sad to witness.

pip3dream
pip3dream

Tom,  I'm really glad you brought up GTA4 - as i'm replaying it currently for the first time in years.  Playing it again now as a 32 year old man - I'm actually astounded at the depth, and the underlying themes of the game.  There is a depth to the story of this game that I really missed out on the first time I played it.  I'm being impressed all over again with the skill of writing in this game, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.  I pretty much agree with everything you've said.  I LOVE Cage's games, maybe too much - but I just don't agree with him.  The industry has its trash games, but it also has its genuine works of arts.  Just like the movie industry.  I hate to say it, but I feel like Cage enjoys being the center of attention a bit too much sometimes, and speaks purposely a bit overboard.

windwarp
windwarp

Its been 40 years since Pong was released. The breadth of subjects and genre addressed by the interactive medium is indicative of its growth.  Every "mature" industry has its trash and nobel laureate. I am sure that the year The Great Gatsby was released, there was a hundread forgotten novels.

rasputin177
rasputin177

I usually agree with you Tom but not so sure about this one. Is it possible to find games that go beyond the usual spectrum and conjure real emotion and deal with realistic situations? Sure, there are many games I would consider art.

But, on the other hand even the "best" stories found in video games who be considered "trite" or average at best when compared to books, movies or TV shows with similar standing in their medium. Thats basically the bottom line even our best works of art can not come close to the best books or movies. Which is why I always groan when someone mentions how "great" a video game story is. Sure, maybe for the medium but its time we strive to reach the same emotional and critical analysis found in other mediums.

spitfire1298
spitfire1298

I'll bite that maybe developers have started growing up a bit, but given the appalling reaction to Anita Sarkeesian's interest in dissecting misogyny in gaming, some segments of the gaming community are far from grown up.

mazardeus
mazardeus

That's so dumb. I got an excellent idea: Metal Gear Solid 4. Best example of all-time.

Summercontest
Summercontest

Given Tom's historical stance against military shooters that negate all of the "maturity" packed into their cutscenes as soon as the gameplay starts, I have to feel that he was simply told to write this article by a higher up and did the best he could.  I mean, really, using GTA IV as an example of how mature video games are?  It's a half-rate movie packed in with a psychopath's virtual playground.  Cutscenes are not video games; until our mechanics move beyond "red reticule means shoot," we've got a long way to go.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

well 'some' of the subjects are becoming more adult, but the content is for sure definitly still for short bus little kids....

Tzunoy
Tzunoy

Gaming Has Already Grown Up in greed and stagnated the quality.

vackillers
vackillers

Overall I think it just comes down to a personal preference!! some like it to be more mature, and more of an adult experience and some just like how things are. I love my mature games like DOOM / Crysis / Duke Nukem but I also like the fun games that are available on the WII just as much... The AliensVsPredator are great games to provide along side stuff that kids can actually play as well, to strictly be for mature audiences only is over the top and alienating ppl from age discrimination, things that our sociecty should learn to grow the hell up out of, everyone has the right to play games of all ages and tastes across the board, the gaming industry is not some elitiest underground hobby for extremeists, its for everybody, and I quite like it that way.. 


Yes sure, I like to have more mature games to choose from, but I think its more about how difficult or easy games are, rather then their actual content, games from 20 yrs ago were FAR more difficult to complete then games of today, as the games have got bigger in size, the gameplay has been shortened with that. Games back in the 90s would take several months to completele because the levels were just so blindingly difficult, or everytime you played a game, you'd have to start all the way from the beginning again, (no save points), maybe this was because floppy discs were so limited in size, but their gameplay was unbelievable, which is why we all played them...

Graphics of today are unreal... and perhaps we need to start matching the gameplay with those graphics rather then a quite 5-7 hour campaigns and hope that MP will tie us over rather then "changing" the whole industry to a more "MATURE" nature..

liam72
liam72

I definitely agree. Claims that game need to grow up are completely disconnected with the current movements in video games. The video game medium is exploding in every direction I can think of, and maturity or storytelling is certainly one of the most notable areas of progression. The players are different and that affects AAA games, but beyond that, video games are being democratized: they're easier to make (Twine, Gamemaker), players can help with their funding and encourage diversity and they're also more accessible to everyone (cheaper, distributed on internet).

COVAtheNOVA
COVAtheNOVA

Gaming grew up because the old gamers, such as myself, grew up.  We were kids in the early 80s and through out the 80s when Nintendo was cool. Now we want something more mature in our mid to late 30s.  Not to mention we now have kids who want that casual, kiddy experience so they are getting double the action.  We drive this industry with our dollars.  All hail the X generation.

93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

I'm all about games being viewed as valid art forms.  But at the same time, I don't need my games to give me post-traumatic stress disorder...

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

@Jyakotu Classical JRPGs did, but with all the devs/publishers trying to appeal to the CoD generation to enhance revenue things have stagnated largley into power fantasies that reward you for committing atrocities so grand it would be considered a war crime in real life. Seriously, how many people have you killed in an FPS?

... to tell a mature story there has to be a story in the first place. Story bogs down a lot of multiplayer games, since it's almost overwhelmingly competitive instead of co-op. When most AAA titles are based on competitive multiplayer, it's kind of hard to take this article entirely serious. There games that deal with mature subject matter (as opposed to simply containing mature content), but you have to go off the beaten path to find much of it.

Trev9421
Trev9421

@TohouAsura I think his point was more along the lines that games are still not seen as an art like movies, books, theatre, or the like, and thus are not taken seriously. He wants people to realize games can be serious and deal with big ideas, and big ideas are not always where, "depressing characters cry about their tragedies".

Also, GTAIV is actually a good example if you think of what is was actually about as opposed to how people chose to play it.

Tr0ll_King
Tr0ll_King

@_huh well after reading your post, i pretty much received an In-Depth look into the life of a troubled 7 year old with down syndrome......

bluefox755
bluefox755

@rasputin177 yeah like the other guy said, you musta never played planescape torment.  There are great narratives to be found, but you can't compare apples to oranges, that's like saying a movie never stacks up to a book...I suppose, but it's stupid to compare them, as they are different mediums.  I mean, as ridiculous as I think it is, there are some folks that claim a painting speaks to them more than any words could, to me this sounds like pretentious BS, but to each his own I guess.

DyranLK
DyranLK

@rasputin177 Agreed. This is also why the most protruding concept associated with games is still revolved around 'meaningless fun' that has no relevance in the modern world otherwise. Some might enjoy a game for how it plays. But right now it's hard to see the future history books mentioning games for their critical contributions to story structure and development.

Others might refute that; games should be games, they might say. However, right now, games are still games -- but considering its growing popularity and the scrutinizing environment it's presently scratching the surface of, maturity of the industry should inevitably lead to a maturity in storytelling; and whenever that day comes, maybe gaming will be looked at as more than 'meaningless fun' for a group of asexual snorting teenage boys.

And yet? That doesn't mean games, true games, should ever be replaced by this "new movement", so to speak. As one post I'd passed by earlier had mentioned, all these types of games need to co-exist in order to fill the entire market, and hell, who cares about story if you've got something like Dark Souls? Still, there's still quite some growing space in the industry's shoes, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if storytelling quality is the catalyst that works to fill in those shoes -- in the meantime, though, it's probably best to kick back and enjoy what we've got. Besides, I'm pretty sure we won't be getting at a point like that any time soon if EA keeps f*cking motivations up, lol. (J/k, j/k. :P)

KarlosBog
KarlosBog

@rasputin177 True, but there are exceptions. Planescape: Torment, generally considered the best game ever as far as the story and worldbuilding is concerned, would be a star even as a fantasy novel. It was basically a top-notch New Weird-ish story long before China Mieville made that genre popular.


The same, to a lesser degree, can be said about Fallout, Mass Effect, Stalker, Assassin's Creed and couple of other games. But it's true I'd be hard pressed to find a videogame that could be called a transcendent work of art.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea moderator

@Summercontest I do want to write about the disconnect between narrative and gameplay at some point, and what impact that can have. But this editorial argued that games have already made serious strides toward important topics, even though those same games often contain silly elements.

rasputin177
rasputin177

@vackillers Did you just call "Duke Nukem" mature? See we have two meanings of "mature" going on here. One is seen as blood, guts and sex, you know stuff for adults. The other is being able to real and meaningful stories that have complex and unique ideas in terms of subject mattter, process and structure.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

@KarlosBog @rasputin177 Questionable ME3 ending aside, I think that if the Mass Effect games were directly translated into big-budget movies, they would be regarded as masterful, top-tier classic sci-fi, up there with the likes of Aliens, Star Wars and Blade Runner.

They are of course the exception, not the rule, when it comes to games where story is important.

pip3dream
pip3dream

@TomMcShea @Summercontest If you play the game GTA 4 seriously (as ive already written on this comment forum) and you don't play the role as a complete mass murderer and play the role seriously as an immigrant who has no skills outside of his forced military experience - the writing is actually quite masterful.  There is a world wearyness to Niko, as he strives to do the right thing, but the world he lives in - everything is against him and he is ultimately caught up in a web that he just isn't capable of escaping.  The writing is pretty phenomenal, and there are moments of really genuine tragedy and power in that game...

Summercontest
Summercontest

@pip3dream @TomMcShea @Summercontest Okay, fair point, Mr. McShea.  As for pip3dream's comments, specifying a certain playstyle that's supposed to be the "real story" is like going through a poem and cutting out the lines that throw a wrench in your personal interpretation.  I firmly believe that gaming's strongest story-telling is done through the clever use of mechanics (MGS 3 might be cut-scene after cut-scene, but take a look at how the mechanics inform its themes and you'll see how much of a genius Kojima truly is), and GTA's mechanics are designed for open world, mass murdering chaos.


Also, Rockstar's writers are great...in terms of video games.  But they don't write things organically into the world.  They're firmly in the cut-scene camp, so their work must be compared to other film.  I'll take Goodfellas or the Godfather over any Rockstar story.

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

@pip3dream @TomMcShea @Summercontest Of course the writing is great, all of Rockstar's games have great writing. But why do you kid yourself? No, while the writing is great, and sometimes mature, it is often goofy and meant for a good laugh and some firing up for the action.


Alot of the people you interact with, the missions you do, are overkill meant to symbolize the chaotic sandbox that is the world of GTA. The franchise may have taken a more serious approach, but at the end of the day, it's still GTA, stands for Grand Theft Auto.