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Old 06-08-2012, 09:17 PM   #1
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Gamespot Critic confronts/is confronted by a game designer he slammed.

So Tom McShea from Gamespot had an interview with the MoH developer, who he had called sickening... Here's the video.


http://e3.gamespot.com/video/6381457...f-authenticity

The debate raises a lot of questions. I posted on the page, so I'll just put it here...

Tom's article was an absolutely joke- a step back for game journalists, and embarrassing. When critics start using adjectives like 'sickening' we enter a parody world where we must pretend that these games are something they aren't. Mr. McShea is not our moral overlord, and nor is he employed to be so. He should be giving his opinion whilst above all else avoiding patronising his audience. Mr. McShea could have easily called them out for lazily using war as entertainment, but he doesn't, he goes much, much further. He tells us that there is something immoral, something unhinged about the whole project. I whole-heartedly reject this idea that serious subject matter can't be tackled in different mediums in different ways.

Now on an artistic level I find every war first person shooter I've ever played vapid. Every Medal of Honour, every Call of Duty. They use war as fun- nothing wrong with that (because it's not REAL, and contrary to what Mr. McShea says in the interview, many films use war in the same way), but it's not art. These games are merely summer blockbusters.

Finally, I'm very much on Greg Goodrich's side here. Tom McShea is naive, and is attempting to impose his sense of morality via this lazy, populist stance he has assumed. Games are not real life- this isn't an insult to anybody, and Mr. McShea should not be talking as some kind of endlessly offended spokesman for a group of people which he is not a part of.

Now having said all that, it is these types of interview that are really missing from game journalism across the board. Actual criticism of the developers and calling them out, then following up with repost. It was also pretty brave, as this isn't the done thing, and McShea didn't know what to expect. I genuinely hope for more of this type of debate because it only serves to bring the industry forward. I commend both parties for this. Well done.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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I'm shocked MOH has had so much controversy. I mean, physical violence can be anything in art as long as you put a parental warning label on it. Plus you cannot censor war, it wouldn't be war.

It might be shocking if you somehow revamp yourself, but the idea has been around a very long time. Does the same crowd turn off God of War whenever Kratos rips off an enemies head?

IMO the argument is coming from some pretty touchy people, some who may not be able to manage that. But seriously, R rated movies do worse. This is 3D models, 3D!

If anything its scenes from MW2 airport scenario that in my mind raises the question. Do developers get freedom of speech just like Hollywood does? I mean the porn industry does their business well and that's about as high as you can go with censoring. So, if we are to have our own genres, then possibly its just a matter of keeping the idea, that these games are not real, they are made on computers, and you have a choice at 17 and older to purchase it. Simple.

What's the difference between seeing someone get shot, then turning on the tv and seeing some guy get wasted, sleep with multiple people, then go out and buy a pound of drugs? You know it's a lot easier to see that then to purchase a $60 game where you had to have an ID in the first place.

But I'm glad he spoke to the guy, considering he had only played at least 1 MOH game. At least get two next time you want to talk bad about it.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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Cool thread and I wholeheartedly agree. I kind of expected a video confrontation and what I got was a dialogue between two people (journalist and subject) that actually explores a genre. It might be a genre many of us here don't like, but it's popularity within gaming demands attention from any forum that discusses not only games themselves, but the industry a a whole.

My favorite part was actually near the beginning when Goodrich says this:
Quote:
When you use the word 'realistic'...If you go back and look, we don't use the word 'realistic.' When you use extreme realism, if you look at that tape again of the briefing video, we don't say 'realism.' We use the term 'authenticity.' There is nothing real about a video game. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Combat is combat. Games are games. And we're an entertainment product.
I think, as a journalist, McShea should understand subgenres within larger genres. To get hung up on how MoH: Warfighter isn't 'realistic' since it had regenerating life means his standards for gaming would shun all racing games that let a player continue the race after a crash. Or games that don't factor in a racer possibly dying after a large wreck to properly simulate all the risks of NASCAR.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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I know I went a bit off track, but complaining in this department is new to hear about. Typically they seem too real. But honestly it does not matter if he's a Spartan or a soldier in COD its still meant to be fun. Plus, what major franchise doesn't have to deal with death. How it conveys a sense of realism (authenticity) is a matter to the creative developers.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:32 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'd have to disagree with him about the Arma games not being fun because they are moreso a simulator than a standard FPS game like Call of Duty. I have fun playing those games. I don't think anyone who likes playing that game would say it isn't 'fun.' It might engage you (and your emotions) in an entirely different way than Call of Duty or Medal of Honor games do, but just because it's less 'arcade-y' doesn't mean it's any less fun.

To compare it to racing games. I doubt McShea would say Dayonta USA is fun, but Gran Turismo isn't because Gran Turismo is more of a simulator than Daytona USA is.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #7
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He's apparently not the only one.

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/17208...isillusion.php

"On the grand stage in L.A., at the event that I've heard called the "Super Bowl of Video Games," the world's biggest video game publishers made clear at whom they would direct hundreds of millions of dollars of investment: Bloodthirsty, sex-starved teen males who'll high-five at a headshot and a free T-shirt.

Outside of Nintendo's dry product overviews, the main press conferences at E3 looked like a pissing match of who could say "fuck" more (ooo, bad words!), and who could show off the fanciest, highest-fidelity, most realistic up-close-and-personal (and virtually non-interactive) kill animations."


No one's trying to be a "moral guardian", that's a retarded argument. But the grim, unrelenting, brutal violence of pretty much every game that was shown on stage at E3 is more than a little tiresome.
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:03 AM   #8
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Yeah the genre is a huge but, I wouldn't point fingers the way this guy does. He isn't doing anyone a favor. I mean what is he advocating? What does he want them to make?

I understand McShea, I do, but the hole conscious hipster (yes) videogame "journalist" is getting old. Honestly I think he just wants the clicks, and you know what, he got mine so he wins. Unfortunately, in my opinion whether or not I even like military fps ( I do) this is what "gaming Journalism" has come to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alucard
No one's trying to be a "moral guardian", that's a retarded argument. But the grim, unrelenting, brutal violence of pretty much every game that was shown on stage at E3 is more than a little tiresome.
You see he could have just said that and been done with the whole thing right there. My argument would be that videogames, are a business, and that is what sells. He could have been more constructive and just said something on the lines of challenging publishers take creative risk.

Also he should understand context of the game's story as well. I mean skyrim is pretty violent imo, you can pretty much to any town and massacre whoever the fuck you want. I mean it may not be as gory as a headshot, but the idea itself is pretty fuckin violent. That's all i'm saying.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:06 AM   #9
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I didn't really see McShea's primary argument as complaining about the graphic nature or quantity of the violence. Did you guys watch the entire interview or just not understand McShea's point?

His complains were moreso towards how war is 'realistically' portrayed (in his opinion) as pure fun in video games. His complains were the lack of importance of death and how regenerating life leads one to act less like a solider and as a result, fails to offer a realistic experience of war. When he's corrected by Goodrich, saying that MoH offers an 'authentic' experience, they kind of get in a semantics arguments a little where Goodrich implies that 'authentic' refers to the landscape, uniforms, sounds, look, et cetera and McShea argues that 'authentic' means the exact emotions and experiences that a solider has in combat.

That's what Ernst was saying in the original post about McShea being a moral crusader. He looks at MoH and sees war being portrayed as gunplay without any real consequences (for example, your buddy dies and respawns. OR you take a bullet, so you hide behind a wall until you regenerate life. The consequences of war are little to none) and thinks that underplays the horrors of war. McShea feels that these games offer an irresponsible message by saying they are 'realistic' or 'authentic' portrayals of war when the true horrors of war aren't properly reflected.

[Edit] Here's the actual article. He's not really complaining about the graphicness or gratuity of violence in these military FPS games at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.gamespot.com/features/when-did-regenerating-health-become-realistic-6380781/

When did regenerating health become realistic?
June 6, 2012 10:43AM PDT

By Tom Mc Shea, Editor

E3 2012: Medal of Honor: Warfighter is being billed as realistic, but this claim is as fictional as the fanatical combat.

Standing in a secluded demo area for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, I watched a briefing reel that explained the purpose of the game and what separates it from the countless other military shooters. Phrases such as "respect for the soldiers" and "extreme realism" hung in the air like hopeful promises, and these ideas stayed in my mind as I watched a detailed breakdown of the various weapons and soldier classes contained in Warfighter. Sadly, once I watched players compete in a multiplayer match, I could see that those ideas were little more than marketing speak. Though so many other military shooters cause this deflating feeling in me, listening to insincere claims about Warfighter added to my growing frustration.


There is a severe disconnect in military shooters between the painstakingly lifelike weapons, environments, and all of the army-approved ancillary details and the actual combat. While I was watching Warfighter, one player was shot multiple times in the back by an enemy attacker, quickly turned around to face his assailant, and struck him dead with a few well-placed shots to the head. Kneeling behind a pillar, the victorious player's screen slowly shifted from a red-streaked mess to a clear view as he returned to full health. Fully healed, he marched off to find another player to kill. Obviously, Warfighter is hardly the first military shooter that portrays war in this manner, and it won't be the last, and that trend is scary.

This is a common occurrence that looks downright mundane spelled out, but the fact that it's expected is disconcerting. Soldiers cannot, in fact, take multiple bullets to the back, shrug them off like they're mosquito bites, kill whoever had the gall to fire in the first place, and then return to 100 percent health, all in less than 10 seconds. And this scenario is so utterly preposterous that it negates everything we're told the game is striving for.

Developers continually talk about how much respect they have for real-life soldiers, but you'd be hard-pressed to find evidence of that claim in their games. Warfighter is just joining a growing list of games that include Battlefield, Call of Duty, Homefront, and too many more to list. Getting shot hardly matters in these games. Movement isn't hindered in the slightest even though a bullet is lodged in your leg. Aiming is just as steady even though your arm is shredded by shrapnel. The only hint that you've been wounded is a slightly obscured view, but that hardly communicates the horrible pain and life-threatening conditions.

One of the "innovative" features in Warfighter is the ability to team up with another character so that you can always see an outline of them, even when they're offscreen, and appear behind them when you respawn. This showcases the camaraderie that soldiers develop on the battlefield but also highlights how poorly death is handled. Infinite lives is the norm in military shooters. If you get lackadaisical on the battlefield and find a knife lodged in your back, you reappear moments later at full health, as if nothing bad had happened.

When I asked a developer from Danger Close who was giving the demonstration about this conflicting message, he explained that these decisions were implemented because the game focused on fast competitive play. That's a plausible answer, but the marketing speak from the development team doesn't reflect that this game isn't meant to be taken seriously. You can't say that you have respect for the soldiers only to trivialize their sacrifices on the battlefield by making things such as death slight roadblocks on the road to success.

Because I was told that regenerating health and the like existed for competitive play, I asked if lives would be handled with more care in the single-player campaign. Sadly, it doesn't seem like that's the case, either. When you die, you respawn at the nearest checkpoint. Regenerating health ensures you won't need to carefully consider every move you make. Instead, you can run into battle, absorb a few rounds, and then duck behind cover like nothing happened.


This doesn't resemble real-life battles at all, and I find this very upsetting. Military games have turned war into a silly good time, and yet they hide behind their realistic claims as if they're doing justice to the armed forces. In reality, they're exploiting the people who give their lives for a cause they believe in. By focusing on instant satisfaction and extreme accessibility, they turn real battles into a virtual fantasyland where no harm is lasting and no danger exists.

In military games like Warfighter, that preach how much they respect troops and how realistic they are, I find it sickening and shameful that health is treated so unrealistically. Making a quick buck on the backs of soldiers instead of educating consumers of the horrible truths of the battlefield trivializes the very things these development teams say they value.
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Last edited by Drunken Savior; 06-09-2012 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:32 AM   #10
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Kiuju2k what the hell, you cant quote me for something einhander says. If you're gonna quote me use this-

Xbox gamers have ADD and their skill level and attention span revolves around fps games with auto aim, so this is all that the industry is making, thanks to xbox. Also-

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Old 06-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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I sort of agree with Tom McShea's underlying point, although GameSpot is really in no position to call out FPS creators while giving those games glowing reviews.

My problem with war-based FPS games is that they have a somewhat dehumanizing effect over the participant due to their graphic realism. The recurring violence becomes a mindless exercise, recycled in perpetual fashion with every subsequent FPS to come along. It may as well be a brainwashing tactic to portray war as something enjoyable, i.e. a recruitment tool. Is it sheer coincidence that just one channel over from G4TV is the Military channel?

Video games are an escape from real life, a participation in a fantasy environment with their own set of rules and consequences, but every war-based FPS uses the same presentation, the same set of rules, et al. Developers compensate for their lack of imagination simply by rehasing the same tired theme. It's a mad race to see who can make the most photorealistic war environment possible and that is all.

Stop pushing this cold, bleak, thinly-disguised war propaganda on our culture. This once-great industry is being eaten alive by this garbage. Bring back the imagination, the color, the vibrancy, the tunes, the fantasy. And to all you game journalists: stop showering war-based FPS games with glowing reviews for regurgitating the same thing ad nausea. You're merely perpetuating the problem.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578 View Post

Stop pushing this cold, bleak, thinly-disguised war propaganda on our culture. This once-great industry is being eaten alive by this garbage. Bring back the imagination, the color, the vibrancy, the tunes, the fantasy. And to all you game journalists: stop showering war-based FPS games with glowing reviews for regurgitating the same thing ad nausea. You're merely perpetuating the problem.
I agree with this so hard but really I don't think this is ever going to be changing considering what an average gamer wants to be playing. It's like telling McDonalds to stop serving garbage and start making healthy food, no one would go there anymore.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #13
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The VG industry as a whole is not comprised solely of FPS developers, thankfully. There are several of those fast-food style devs, sure, but there's plenty of others as well. However, because of the media hype for these FPS, it's easy to get the impression that that's the predominant genre, the one you need to be paying attention to. And they all make the same friggin' game.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:37 AM   #14
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Why is everyone so retarded in thinking war-based FPS is all we have? It's just getting annoying now how ignorant people are of the hundreds of other games being released constantly, all through-out this generation.

Let's look at this year's E3. War-based FPS games shown:
  • ARMA 3 (which is a sim)
  • Call of Duty
  • Medal of Honor

Oh wow, just 3?

Now what about non-war based games, including other FPS games?
  • Assassin's Creed 3 & Vita game
  • Beyond: Two Souls
  • Borderlands 2
  • Castlevania
  • Crysis 3
  • Darksiders 2
  • Dead Space 3
  • Dishonored
  • DmC
  • Dust 514
  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • Far Cry 3
  • Forza
  • Gears of War
  • God of War
  • Halo 4
  • Hawken
  • Last of Us
  • Metal Gear Rising
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Pikmin 3
  • Painkiller
  • Playstation All-Stars Smash Bros thing
  • Rayman Legends
  • Resident Evil 6
  • SimCity
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • South Park
  • Splinter Cell
  • Star Wars
  • Tomb Raider
  • Watch Dogs
  • ZombiU
and more I cba to type out, and there's many more games coming out than shown at E3 too, both Indie and big budget.

all we get is war games hurr hurr hurr
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578 View Post
I sort of agree with Tom McShea's underlying point, although GameSpot is really in no position to call out FPS creators while giving those games glowing reviews.

My problem with war-based FPS games is that they have a somewhat dehumanizing effect over the participant due to their graphic realism. The recurring violence becomes a mindless exercise, recycled in perpetual fashion with every subsequent FPS to come along. It may as well be a brainwashing tactic to portray war as something enjoyable, i.e. a recruitment tool. Is it sheer coincidence that just one channel over from G4TV is the Military channel?

Video games are an escape from real life, a participation in a fantasy environment with their own set of rules and consequences, but every war-based FPS uses the same presentation, the same set of rules, et al. Developers compensate for their lack of imagination simply by rehasing the same tired theme. It's a mad race to see who can make the most photorealistic war environment possible and that is all.

Stop pushing this cold, bleak, thinly-disguised war propaganda on our culture. This once-great industry is being eaten alive by this garbage. Bring back the imagination, the color, the vibrancy, the tunes, the fantasy. And to all you game journalists: stop showering war-based FPS games with glowing reviews for regurgitating the same thing ad nausea. You're merely perpetuating the problem.
You do realise that if they achieved that goal they'd have merely created an interactive movie, right? They wouldn't have created a battlefield simulator. It'd be a movie- that you play.

What video games desensitise us to is violence on screen. They don't make it so that we become disposed to recreating that violence, or less affected by it, in person. And if you do argue that, and you argue that this is detrimental to our psyche, aren't you effectively saying that people who have witnessed violence in real life, like police officers, are very dangerous, somewhat unhinged, people? Although I do agree with your broader points.

Drunk:

Quote:
I think, as a journalist, McShea should understand subgenres within larger genres. To get hung up on how MoH: Warfighter isn't 'realistic' since it had regenerating life means his standards for gaming would shun all racing games that let a player continue the race after a crash. Or games that don't factor in a racer possibly dying after a large wreck to properly simulate all the risks of NASCAR.
Thanks for the input in that post, and your later one. But I'd like to pick up on that quote specifically, as I think it's interesting. You make a very well-reasoned argument there, and I completely agree with it. I actually think if the journalist had framed his argument differently, the response would have been more receptive. I mean to be fair, from my understanding, the MoH developers are effectively stating that the game is a somewhat authentic battlefield experience (if they aren't, then this entire post is obviously invalid). This is incredibly disrespectful for obvious reasons. And if the journalist had limited his scope to that point- that marketing of the game is gauche and offensive- it would make Goodrich's responses look incredibly weak and defensive.

But McShea doesn't. He rattles on and on, both in his article and in the interview, about how presenting war in such a fashion (that is, in a video game) is, in itself, disrespectful to 'the troops'. It reminds me of an interview I once saw with Tarantino about Kill Bill. Tarantino had argued that Kill Bill was a feminist piece, the feminist he was arguing against sarcastically said 'Yeah, having an attractive, thin woman kill a bunch of other people really makes for a great feminist piece, right?' Tarantino explained to her that yes, actually it did. Because in the genre which the film is being made, the lead female character was breaking the conventions of how a female is typically portrayed and in fact assuming the dominant, strong role typically saved for the male. It's all about relativity. And in that sense things like infinite lives, etc, really don't matter too much. They're merely conventions of the genre; accepted, passive components which are in place merely to allow for the thing to exist. They, themselves, by default, are not there to make a point. Of course it's when these conventions are broken, transgressed, and used that a work really becomes a special or artistic, like in Metal Gear Solid, etc. But this is why McShea doesn't have a point when he says head shots and infinite lives and what not are disrespectful, because they're just a part of the medium. Lazy and sloppy and devoid of art, yes. But not disrespectful.


PS- King, just to play devil's advocate, I'd say a good few of those you call 'non-war games' war games. They may not be modern war or first person shooters, but they are indeed about, based in, or effectively consisting of war.
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