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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 3:59 am 
I very much agree with what Icecypher said. Games like Phantasy Star II are powerful to me for what they say, but more powerful for what they don't say. I tend to prefer iceberg type stories, myself, where the meaning is beneath the surface. For me it's all about subtext. And the Phantasy Star games just with their interplanetary history tend to interest me. Nei might not have much of a life in narrated terms, but we can very easily imagine what it must have been like, and what we imagine tends to be very sad.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 4:37 am 
Aeroprism wrote:My whole point was: are we discussing sad stories or are we discussing our own ability to make sad stories after being handed a few silent images?


Neither. We are discussing sad games. :mrgreen:

Also, we are discussing the fact that PS II does have its story. Even if we take out what our own imaginations could add, the story is there. Just not spoonfed to us. It is like "we live the story" instead of "we watch the story as it happens to someone else".

Aeroprism wrote:Just like PS2; you had to make a deliberate effort to make it sad. I'm talking about games that deliver tear wrenching tales whether you want it or not.


Games that are more like movies (more recent ones), where the characters are so forced into making us feel sad, with the music, video sequence and everything working towards that, rarely would make me feel sad. Not that I do not like them, but I am more likely to be admiring the style and every detail of what they show to actually fall for the forced "sadness" trap.

That said, I do not get sad to the point of crying by the older games, either. But I am sure some people do. At least someone else did, or it would not be posted on this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 1:30 pm 
Well, there's of course Planescape: Torment. To sum it up, you're an amnesiac who has lost his mortality for some reason.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Eventually, you learn that you purposely gave your mortality so you could spend more than a lifetime making up some horrible crime your ages past self committed. The spell turns out to be flawed, however, as every time you die, someone else dies in your place and you lose some of your memories.

Thus, your ultimate goal is to regain your mortality and die. Your friends end up giving their lives defending you from your lost mortality, which has become a sentient being and doesn't want to reunite with you. In the very best ending, you can resurrect them, though.

The game lets you play good, neutral or evil, but in the end it makes no difference. The crimes your past selves have committed are so severe that when you do get your mortality back, you end up in Hell, no matter your actions during the game.

The moral of the story, I guess, is that one should face the consequences of their actions and not run from them. The protagonist's intentions were good, but he ended up making things much, much worse when he decided to lose his mortality.


Last edited by Solar on Sat Dec 6, '14, 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 8:22 pm 
Disclaimer: The following post is VERY opinionated. I am a storyteller, I have been a game master for well over 20 years and this is a topic that passions me a lot. If you're easy to upset, skip this post.

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

Two decades ago, I would have agreed 100%. Where people saw en empty shell of a game, I saw the potential of a hidden story and I allowed the power of my imagination to do the rest.

Now, I'm almost 40. You'll forgive my pessimism but, my imagination and I know each other REALLY well now and we don't really impress one another. It's still useful, mind you, I use it fully to write and tell stories and impress OTHER people. Today, however, I can actually ride the imagination of other people because games are no longer limited to 4KB of text.

There are games out there... They are telling you incredible stories and they don't leave room for ambiguity. I LIKE a story that gives me the WHOLE DEAL and doesn't let me wonder for hours. I profoundly hate incomplete stories. Movies ending on an ambiguous note to let me ponder and lose myself in questions? Hate them like stomach flu.

Some people think that full, complete and hermetic stories are weak because they are "spoon fed" to you? Well, I think that "open ended" stories are lazy and a sign that the storyteller lacks the skill to create and tell a satisfying ending. Opinions, like body parts, everyone has them.

When I'm done playing Mass Effect, I can sit back, smile and remember the parts I really liked. I don't feel like I have to go on the net to see how other people try to explain the loop holes and missing facts. Fan stories are one thing and they can be really awesome because they expand on the content. (Go read Tanith's and Augmentedfourth's stuff if you doubt) There is this other concept though: fan theories. There is nothing more annoying to me than cringing as I read the ludicrous ideas that some people can come up with to explain this or that unexplained detail and God knows, the PS franchise is a prime victim of that crime against humanity.

Doesn't mean that all stories are good, there are some movies/games with stories so bad that I want to cry. There are gems though and I can recommend quite a few.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 8:57 pm 
I still find PS2 to be a sad tale, in more terms than story, or lack thereof.
Sure its very subjective. Like everything else.

Someone, I believe Tanith, said the game is colorful. But my perception was that it wasn't very colorful at all. They made good use of colors, but a colorful game to me, at that time, is Super Mario World, or even Zelda ALTTP if we keep it to RPGs only.
PS2 has a brilliant use of color. But it was, I believe, quite heavy in its use of "darker"colors. Shades of dark green environment, blue hero and water, dark blue hero uniform, grey tunnels, town pavement and dungeons, brown dungeons too, a lot of the team wore dark colors in general, The Dams were rather dark except the yellow one which still had a bleakness to it, Shure in general was industrially dark--- even black, Dezo's white snow had a bleak and emptyness in it's use of white. In terms of color, I find rather than being a symptom of the sega genesis'capabilties, PS2 was dark compared to PSIV. But again, subjective.

Additionally, while I love the music, I also find much of it to be dark. Some pieces are even like a funeral dirge, notably "A Prologue", "Violation," "Power", and others. Yes other tunes in the game are upbeat, but still dark sounding. The Boss Battle music, and Noah have upbeat tunes, while still keeping a darker tone.

PS4, on the other hand, is very bright and vivid in terms of story, graphics and music, especially if contrasted to PS4.

Over all, the game, the color, the music, if not outright "sad"--is still undeniably "dark" if not "bleak."

And concerning the story, I am a fan of open ended things, stories, minimalist elements, imagination, etc. So while I found it great in that sense, others may not.
What comes to mind is the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. What I say about PS2, I also share some of the same sentiments for that film's elements. But others, may not.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 9:41 pm 
Zio_Falz wrote:What comes to mind is the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. What I say about PS2, I also share some of the same sentiments for that film's elements. But others, may not.


Very good example. So evocative, and to me much darker and more thought-provoking than a more long-winded script with a lot of dialogue and exposition. In my mind, as Icecypher indicated, we live life, and don't have it narrated to us. Certainly storytelling involves the part that includes narration, but it's only a tool, and not the end result. I think it's too easy as a writer or storyteller to fall in love with one's own voice and begin to believe the telling is more important than the substance, but to me a good story involves more than the simple art of the storyteller; it has to offer something deeper that draws in the audience.

Gene Wolfe, my favorite author, put this best. “My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure.” It's the things that we miss, the unstated, deeper, more mysterious things that draw me in.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sat Dec 6, '14, 11:37 pm 
Zio_Falz wrote:Someone, I believe Tanith, said the game is colorful. But my perception was that it wasn't very colorful at all. They made good use of colors, but a colorful game to me, at that time, is Super Mario World, or even Zelda ALTTP if we keep it to RPGs only.

PS2 has a brilliant use of color. But it was, I believe, quite heavy in its use of "darker"colors. Shades of dark green environment, blue hero and water, dark blue hero uniform, grey tunnels, town pavement and dungeons, brown dungeons too, a lot of the team wore dark colors in general, The Dams were rather dark except the yellow one which still had a bleakness to it, Shure in general was industrially dark--- even black, Dezo's white snow had a bleak and emptiness in it's use of white. In terms of color, I find rather than being a symptom of the Sega Genesis' capabilities, PS2 was dark compared to PSIV. But again, subjective.

Additionally, while I love the music, I also find much of it to be dark. Some pieces are even like a funeral dirge, notably "A Prologue", "Violation," "Power", and others. Yes other tunes in the game are upbeat, but still dark sounding. The Boss Battle music, and Noah have upbeat tunes, while still keeping a darker tone.

PS4, on the other hand, is very bright and vivid in terms of story, graphics and music, especially if contrasted to PS4.

Over all, the game, the color, the music, if not outright "sad"--is still undeniably "dark" if not "bleak."
What you're describing is dark and mysterious, not sad, but as you say, perception is everything. :) I have never felt an overwhelming sadness while playing PSII. There is always motivation to continue playing despite the odds; there is hope, however dim, that Algol can still be saved. Never once does the game pause to get maudlin, as many later JRPGs do. I don't agree that it's a sad game, but I do respect your differing perspective, just to be clear.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sun Dec 7, '14, 4:45 am 
2001 is a good comparison actually. I think it's one of the most boring and overrated piece of film ever made. Coincidence? I think not.

There's also the very real possibility that you guys are much smarter than I am but I just dislike "thought provoking material" coming from an artistic medium. I do however delight in watching documentaries about aliens, Atlantis, the pyramids etc. Those are thoughts I like provoked.

My life has enough doubts and questions. When I watch a movie, I want to be entertained. I don't care if the ending is good or bad but gosh darnit, gimme a bloody ending.


Last edited by Aeroprism on Sun Dec 7, '14, 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sun Dec 7, '14, 5:40 pm 
To my boyfriend's dismay (because of how often I insist on re-watching it), I am very entertained by 2001 (I, just like you, want to be entertained by what I watch, which is usually fantasy and sci-fi, and never pure romantic comedies, if I can help it).

And Tanith, just to nitpick a little, having no hope is hopelessness, not sadness. I can be cheated on by a loved one and be very sad for days, even if I still have hope that I can find the right person later. End of nitpick. :yes:


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 Post subject: Re: Sad games
PostPosted: Sun Dec 7, '14, 6:57 pm 
I dont think it has anything to do with being smart, or even has anything to do with simply "getting it," but rather someone's innate disposition. Similar to looking at a glass filled midway, and stating its either "half--full"or "half-empty." Those with a more optimistic disposition will say "half-full," and those with a pessimistic one will say "half-empty."

But yes, I can admit that PS2 has a stronger theme of hopelessness rather than sadness. I just feel it is anything but a "happy" themed game.


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