• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
King_Tetiro

Do Games Sugar-Coat Real Life?

7 posts in this topic

As I hope you guys know, I am an RPG developer and I'm working on the Legena trilogy (the prototype got enough feedback to warrant a trilogy) And one of the things we're striving to do in the RPGs we develop is make them real. I don't mean in the sense of gorey bloody graphics. I mean in the sense of the issues the characters face.
 
Look at television less than 50 years, having a gay character on a tv show would have caused outrage and sparked a mass anger from the audience. But once one television show stuck its ground over time it became less controversial and accepted as part of real life.
 
However, the gaming industry has yet to reach that spark on some topics. That spark that acts as a domino in which eventually it becomes a normal factor.
 
If you look at all the following, you rarely see anything like this
 
 
  • LGBT characters
  • Slavery and the bravery the slaves had
  • Victims of racism and their story
  • Victims of violent attacks because of who they are or what they believe in
 
 
You see my point. Whilst we know these issues (or in the 1st example, characters) exist in real life. But why don't they?  Well I think it's down to developers wanting to play it safe. But as indie developers, we are already playing with fire by trying to be indie developers and so we can add more fire to the burn. But for mainstream, it seems they do not want to risk it.
 
 
Even when the community looks bright on such things, the developers play it safe. And in turn end up scorching people. In this case, gay gamers. (Though I don't know how this example is going to end as it's recent news)
 
Where's the risk that influenced great games and these great characters?
 
    Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear
    Giygas from Earthbound
    Flea from Chrono Trigger
 
These are 3 perfect examples where the developers went beyond the safe zone and produced fantastic characters. Well done to them! Heck me and my team are going ballsy with risk. Do you know that the only thing that I've seen in a decade get risky was the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who? And that's not even a game!
 
So what do you think? Does the gaming industry play it too safe these days regarding controversy? Are there any boundries where crossing them is too far? (like the Tomb Raider "rape") What would you want to see finally get covered?
 
And finally, would you like to see games that risked controversy to produce a story?
 
Let's hear your thoughts!
 
And just so you know, I am looking at the controversy from a developer's perspective, so please take no offense.
Edited by King_Tetiro
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do Games Sugar-Coat Real Life?
you rarely see anything like this
LGBT characters
Slavery and the bravery the slaves had
Victims of racism and their story
Victims of violent attacks because of who they are or what they believe in


There are games that have zombies and deadly violence and beating up prostitutes. Those games are hardly "sugar-coated."
But I do get your point, that certain societal hot potatoes are rarely touched upon in mainstream games (especially console games). Some of that has to do with publishers' reluctance to negatively impact sales, and some of that has to do with platform holders' reluctance to approve publication of games with restricted content. For a while, Nintendo had strict rules prohibiting religion, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs in game stories. Publishers have long memories, and their primary goal is high sales (not raising social conscience). So a developer has to keep publishers and platform holders in mind when creating games.

So if you want to make games that elevate social awareness of racism, victimization, and religious tolerance, you are free to do that, but you may need to self-publish, and outside of the console market - or be prepared for a debate with your stakeholders.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Tom pointed out, the primary goal of publishers in general is making a profit from the game. And it tends to be that the first things to push those new ideas fail miserably; and that's just the price to be paid with raising social awareness. It virtually never happens overnight.

 

If you believe in the cause strongly enough that you're willing to risk your money publishing the game, the sky is the limit (or more aptly, the law is the limit) for what causes you bring attention to. If you're not willing to take on that financial risk, then you're stuck where so many developers are... having to balance providing enough "standard fare" for the genre you're in while using some smaller portions of your game to create awareness.

 

As for sugar-coating, I think mainstream games sugar coat to a level similar to mainstream movies and mainstream tv. It's arguable if that's pushing the envelope far enough, but I think that it's pretty in-line with what you should expect. The investors put their money into the companies for a return on that investment. If they want to raise social consciousness, they donate money to a charity that pushes that cause.

 

As for playing a game that has controversy, I have no desires or complaints regarding it. I played that Call of Duty that had you play as a terrorist in an airport. I had already bought the game and was in the middle of the story before I heard that the mission existed. I don't think that controversial mission would have prompted me to buy the game if I hadn't already. And it didn't cause me to take the game back since I already had it. If your game was good, controversy aside, I think that's a good first step to getting people interested enough to play your game (and be influenced by your cause).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember a video game scene in which there was a bunch of humans terrorising a Dwarf for the crime of being a dwarf. And another game where a bunch of humans were about to gang rape an Elf, mostly because she was just an elf. Also a frequently used mechanism in video games is "Those people don't count; you can murder them all day long, because they're just zombies/aliens/mutants/robots." Which is the very definition of racial prejudice.

 

On the issue of slavery, there's a lot of games where the player's role is slave to a higher authority. You do as I tellz ya; I'm da master, youz da slave. You mah bitch

 

And as far a homosexuality goes: Fallout-2, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, The Sims, Street Fighter, League of Legends. It's quite common to see non-heterosexually aligned characters in video games.

Edited by AngleWyrm
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's why writing for games isn't very highly rated, I think you have got a point and the competition to provide 'shocking' content is getting sleazy and boring. A bit like seeing a shark sawn in half, seen one and you've seen em all. So yeah perhaps you could make your game have a friendly character from the opposite faction, (friendly orc, troll, ogre, dog, spider, goblin, zombie (Gollum is one, however he is a traitor), ring wraith, ghost.... etc). And you could use the story of that character to explore those issues. The trick is that you need to incorporate the themes into your design (was the film called green mile?, and Sintel the open movie actually goes into great thematic depth) and keep the normal look'n'feel, so perhaps you are considering an extreme art pipeline and a great orchestral music setup ... then I think most of what you want to do has been done before in various limited ways.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its funny you should mention this because I've been thinking the same thing as of late. And in my game I'm planning to address some of these. There will be rape, slavery, etc etc...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Games don't sugar-coat civilized real-life because civilized real-life has a lot less hardship. Sure there are taboo subjects that do occur, but not quite as much as in games and movies.

Controversy sells games though. When a game is controversial, and gets negative articles, people want to see what it's all about.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Skipping what you consider sugarcoating a game does not necessarily make the game better, as the contents might be overshadowed by the "triggering stuff". When you write for a game or movie you cherry pick elements from reality or a story and enhance their features/aspects to make sure the message comes through. A part of this is to reduce the impressions from unimportant things - like a triggering sex scene or excessive brutality. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0