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A Brief Analysis of the Top 50 Games of All Time

WeedLordVegetaWeedLordVegeta Registered User regular
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a game I think is really cool. But more importantly, it was a perfect game to develop A Take on. Looking back on the last 15 years or so, I'm sure there are other things I deliberately exaggerated my opinion on in a desperate search for a reaction, but Days of Ruin was a watershed moment.

I remember that my first reaction to having my username changed on here was mild bemusement, but almost instantly my mindset shifted to 'how can I make this work for me?' And it became fairly clear what the work was going to be: Gamer Takes. (And general media takes, but you know what I mean.) The moniker I'd adopted not only caught eyes, but was silly enough to shield me from a lot of harsh feedback-if you got in an argument with WeedLordVegeta, you'd already kind of lost face.

It was absolutely perfect. Even though I already spent a lot of time online, I fully threw myself in to this persona I was cultivating, at the expense of the life I had outside of text boxes on forums and twitter. Nobody could see that I was struggling with a sex addiction, or that my increased investment in online spaces would lead to infidelity (primarily in roleplaying and MMO spaces.) I could project an image of myself that was much more put together than I've ever really been.

And Days of Ruin was a perfect example. I've genuinely always liked the game. I think its map design is better than any in the series, I think the story is deeply misunderstood and ultimately is an optimistic story about how we find our future through each other, and the game balance is solid enough. (Also, the soundtrack bangs.) But it was much easier to create noise about the game with the following I'd cultivated by framing it as a story about how armed collectivist action is the only response against the fascism of the state (a major throughline in the game but one not especially connected to the finale.) I was constantly preparing arguments in my head when I wasn't online, framing everything in a way I knew would maintain the connections I had, strengthen my appeal to a specific kind of person. It mattered so goddamn much to me what people thought about my opinions.

When it came to light that I was, in fact, a fucking mess, it took days for anyone online to reach out, for any reason. To tell me I was a scumbag for cheating on my wife, or to ask if I was okay. A decade spent making noise resulted in absolute silence. I'd done so much Takes Posting and completely forgotten to actually maintain any kind of relationships, online or off. I'd let so much of myself atrophy in pursuit of the dopamine I receive from an RT or an agree (I'm even going to ultimately be disappointed with this post because my writing doesn't feel nearly as strong or as effortless as it used to). When I was diagnosed with an addiction to love and validation by a psychotherapist, it made everything click in to place in a way that was almost depressingly easy.

So here are your top 50 games, in spoiler tags, cause this post is already somewhat long.
Armored Core 3 nine Breaker
Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn
Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn (again)
Black Bass (NES)
Celeste
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Curse of Monkey Island
Dark Souls
Disco Elysium
Fallout: New Vegas
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics PSP
Final Fantasy VI
Hollow Knight
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Marvel Vs Capcom 2
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime 2
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Neverwinter Nights Platinum
NieR: Automata
Outer Wilds
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
Pathologic 2
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations
Prince of Persia (1989)
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Radiant Historia
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
Shadow of the Colossus
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Silent Hill 3
Slay the Spire
Sleeping Dogs
Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast)
Stardew Valley
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Suikoden II
Super Metroid
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (2010)
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (2010) (also)
Tales of Berseria
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Tribes 2
Valkyria Chronicles
XCOM terror from the deep
Yakuza 0

There's more past page 100, of course. Realistically I could compile them, or Fishman could continue his heroics throughout that thread (which, of course, is deeply appreciated.)

Because the gamer takes will always continue. This would never settle anything. At its most innocuous, it was a fun exercise to see how wildly off the rails it would go. And yet, I cared, at least a little bit, when Days of Ruin was cut. I cared when Minecraft was cut. As ever and always, I put too much of myself in to the opinions of people who (while being wonderful people) should not be the backbone of the life I've barely hung on to through dedication to recovery.

So I'm leaving the takes in the hands of y'all from now on. Mine were really fucking good, but I hope yours mean the right amount to you. See ya.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f2ou_zgujc

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    Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to. Philosophy: Stoicism. Politics: Democratic SocialistRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    Hey Weedlordvegeta, I just wanted to reiterate I'm really happy for you that you've been able to fight the good fight against addiction.

    Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but dies in the process.
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    I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    it is pretty bogus that advance wars 1 gets the remaster over dual strike or DoR

    liEt3nH.png
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    ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    Pretty good list!

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    KanaKana Registered User regular
    One of the things I really liked when I replayed Sleeping Dogs was the romances. Or, well, lack of romances.

    Initially people were annoyed by them because they just kinda end out of nowhere, they were expecting a much more "which girlfriend do you like the most" sorta GTA side game.

    But on replay it's a lot more obvious that they don't just end... They progress right up until your undercover cop character finds out if the girls are linked to the underworld or not. Once he finds out they're clean he ghosts them, because as much as he pretends he's just havin' GTA adventures he's doing everything for a reason, and he's manipulating everyone around him for his own purposes.

    It's a smart character decision that goes totally against the audience's meta-expectations.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
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    FishmanFishman Put your goddamned hand in the goddamned Box of Pain. Registered User regular
    edited January 2022
    Thanks @WeedLordVegeta, for the thread, and the thoughts, and the boxes and boxes of knives.

    I honestly had a great deal of fun in the thread -more than I've had online in a stretch. I won't pretend it wasn't also frustrating at times, but the full journey was an experience.

    I have a raft of stats and pages of data, but it's late and I'm tired, and I've got to check in at work tomorrow after 3 weeks of leave, so I should probably call it.

    But the final list was the result of 998 changes involving 725 games (or game substitutes) nominated by 94 different posters over 100 pages. That's actually a way more massive range than I was expecting, and I got a whole bunch of new games to check out (and possibly new people to talk about them with). That's not nothing.

    More details coming tomorrow.

    Fishman on
    X-Com LP Thread I, II, III, IV, V
    That's unbelievably cool. Your new name is cool guy. Let's have sex.
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    Mr FuzzbuttMr Fuzzbutt Registered User regular
    stab: final fantasy 14

    broken image link
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    Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    edited January 2022
    frankly the game of that thread was inadvertantly laser-targeted at all of my mental vulnerabilities. A game that's all about using a dumbass method to rank things that can't be objectively ranked? Where posting and arguing and gaming the rules gets your thing recognized as a winner? Yeah that really just ticks all the boxes to make me unhealthily fixate on a thing. I spent way too much time camping that thread the past week; I'm not even really talking about the tetris war, i had fun with that part. I had less fun obsessively refreshing the thread all week. Nine out of my personal top ten games are on the list, and while my first impulse was to say "fuck yeah I win," I think honestly that is more an indictment of how much time I was wasting on this, even as I spent multiple posts insisting that it's dumb meaningless fun. I am actively resisting really engaging with the top 50 movies thread that popped up because i just can't do that again. Phalla and Subterfuge very briefly came up during the thread, and i have similar feelings about those types of games: I think those games are a lot of fun, they're mechanically interesting, and the days-to-weeks long timescale of them and the fact that you never really "stop" playing them until they're over make them deeply unhealthy for me to engage with. Once I decide to care about something it's very hard to stop caring about it, even temporarily to go do other things

    i'm not particularly vulnerable to gambling mechanics, gacha games and lootboxes have overall managed to squeeze very little money out of me over the years. but if i could've paid Weedlord a dollar to be allowed to re-add the same game again? If I could spend five bucks to make my subs move 10% faster for 24 hours in Subterfuge? If there were a game that had that kind of microtransaction I'd need to stay the fuck away from it.

    Speed Racer on
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    Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    but also ghost trick was robbed

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    UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    on the subject of games with negative psychological effects, I thought this was pretty interesting

    https://youtu.be/aOYbR-Q_4Hs

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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    @WeedLordVegeta I wanted to thank you for the event. It's up their with @Fishman XCOM LP for my favorite thing to happen on the forums.

    You should feel proud about handling your addiction. One day at a time.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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    Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    edited January 2022
    on the subject of games with negative psychological effects, I thought this was pretty interesting

    https://youtu.be/aOYbR-Q_4Hs

    yeah see i love social deduction games. I like lying and trying to get away with things, but that's, you know, a bad thing to do in real life, so i like having established spaces where i can do that kind of thing guilt-free

    but you definitely gotta have some "magic circle"-style conversations when engaging in that kind of thing to make sure everyone understands the boundaries

    and also i'm definitely not playing a game like that with my boss are you kidding me

    Speed Racer on
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    ArteenArteen Adept ValeRegistered User regular
    I got one nomination on the final list.

    And it was Sonic Adventure.

    I hope you're all happy.

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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    I put the clone of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (2010) up. Things were moving so fast I couldn’t tell if it got cut but I wanted it up there. Also there was a squid pro row in place.

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    PoorochondriacPoorochondriac Ah, man Ah, jeezRegistered User regular
    Four FinFans, two doubled RPGs, and no Rock Band

    Y'all motherfuckers need to go outside occasionally

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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Four FinFans, two doubled RPGs, and no Rock Band

    Y'all motherfuckers need to go outside occasionally
    …My bad?

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    CelloCello Registered User regular
    But Pooro, it's cold out

    Steam
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    McHogerMcHoger Registered User regular
    Four FinFans, two doubled RPGs, and no Rock Band

    Y'all motherfuckers need to go outside occasionally

    To think I've been playing Rock Band wrong all these years.

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    BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    Cello wrote: »
    But Pooro, it's cold out

    weird time for problematic Christmas carol remixes but okay

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    sarukunsarukun RIESLING OCEANRegistered User regular
    Outside is where the bears live and I do not intend to die via bear mauling/face-eating.

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    Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to. Philosophy: Stoicism. Politics: Democratic SocialistRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    Tactics Ogre is really good.

    Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but dies in the process.
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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Snaking XCOM TFTD as the XCOM representation feels equally awful and awesome.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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    InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    So, speaking of XCOM, as someone who has only played the rebooted XCOM games:

    Overall I feel they are good games, but not great games. Mostly due to a failure to fully marry the elements of the Tactical game with the Strategic game, and the Strategic game usually being quite solved. Also, unfortunately, the game advertises it as a game where you build up and lose troops and continue on but, frankly in new XCOM actually losing units with any frequency is a campaign ender, so, you can’t rest engage with these mechanics. This is compared to, say, Battle Brothers where losing units is much more integrated into the game loop of successful campaigns.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if as someone who never played the old games, are they worth going back to? Or are they more of the, great for the time but due to the passage of time going back to their UI/design/etc is quite rough?

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    PoorochondriacPoorochondriac Ah, man Ah, jeezRegistered User regular
    There's stuff I always knew was a longshot that I'd have liked to see (Heaven's Vault is my biggest one there), some stuff I'm genuinely baffled got cut (Rock Band, Burnout anything, and Jackbox anything being the big ones there). Especially when there's four FinFans AND Radiant Historia AND a Tales game AND Tactics Ogre fuckin' twice and like goddamn, y'all, there are other genres and I promise they're good

    But hey Pathologic 2 and Sunless Seas and Yakuza 0, can't complain about that

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    MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Four FinFans, two doubled RPGs, and no Rock Band

    Y'all motherfuckers need to go outside occasionally

    The Daystar and I have a blood feud

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    CelloCello Registered User regular
    I wasn't really there for the list so much as the experience

    So it was fun to see why people like certain things, and to explain why some games have importance to them, and I guess I am edging closer to trying Pathologic 2 out than ever before (though not til I clear out my current backlog)

    The real top 50 is the friends we made along the way

    Steam
    3DS Friend Code: 0216-0898-6512
    Switch Friend Code: SW-7437-1538-7786
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    BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2022
    i had a weird upbringing where I grew up in the 80s, but wasn't allowed to have a nintendo of any sort (my parents felt it wasn't educational, but more importantly, did not want it connected to their TV), but my Dad WAS a computer engineer and so both my older brother and I had computers to play around with, even back in the mid 80s. the first console I actually purchased myself was a PSP, and then a Wii. Neither of which I really got that into.

    because of that I really only know most nintendo and console classics through cultural osmosis or the occasional PC port/emulation. By the time playstation-centric games became popular and niche JRPG titles found an audience in the west, there was little to no crossover onto the PC or the pc-centric game media that I followed
    In my personal top 50:

    Baldur's Gate II: Shadow of Amn
    Disco Elysium
    Hollow Knight
    Slay the Spire
    Stardew Valley


    Played it
    Celeste
    Curse of Monkey Island
    Dark Souls
    Final Fantasy Tactics PSP
    Prince of Persia (1989)
    Puyo Puyo Tetris
    Sleeping Dogs
    Tribes 2
    XCOM terror from the deep

    Familiar enough to tell you most of what happens:

    Final Fantasy IX
    Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
    Marvel Vs Capcom 2
    Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
    Shadow of the Colossus
    Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
    Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
    Super Metroid
    The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
    Yakuza 0

    I've at least heard of the series and title, but couldn't tell you much of anything[ about it:

    Armored Core 3 nine Breaker
    Chrono Trigger (SNES)
    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
    Final Fantasy VI
    Fallout: New Vegas
    Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition
    Metroid Prime
    Metroid Prime 2
    Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
    Neverwinter Nights Platinum
    Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
    Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations
    Resident Evil 2 (2019)
    Silent Hill 3
    Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast)
    NieR: Automata
    Outer Wilds
    Pathologic 2

    Never heard of it or I know effectively nothing about it:

    Black Bass (NES)
    Radiant Historia
    Suikoden II
    Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (2010)
    Tales of Berseria
    Valkyria Chronicles

    so there's a vast unknown quantity of JRPGs that are especially unknown to me, and honestly at this point the genre feels almost impenetrable to me

    which also makes me feel that there are a few forumers who have diametrically opposite experiences from mine

    Brolo on
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    OghulkOghulk Tinychat Janitor TinychatRegistered User regular
    I'm frankly astounded that in that whole mess I made we ended up with Baldur's Gate 2: Shadow of Amn twice and my preferred Neverwinter Nights game.

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    PoorochondriacPoorochondriac Ah, man Ah, jeezRegistered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    I'm frankly astounded that in that whole mess I made we ended up with Baldur's Gate 2: Shadow of Amn twice and my preferred Neverwinter Nights game.

    What're some of your favorite NWN mods/campaigns

    Me, I was a Stefan Gagne fan

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    Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    edited January 2022
    re: the OP, i also definitely empathize with the impulse to present everything you like as not just Good but also Cool and Leftist

    Gotta dig deep to mine out any kind of read that turns every piece of commercial art you consume into a radical revolutionary text because as we all know the best way of evaluating the quality of your politics is by evaluating the quality of the politics of the movies you watch and the video games you play.

    "What kind of monster could ever have fun playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game rooted in proto-fascist mythologizing of medieval Europe and 'Great Man' historical theory, and which features a deeply islamaphobic villain (to say nothing of the less outspoken but still very real islamaphobia of using sacred imagery and chanting in the game's original release). Instead you should like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a video game about mutual aid and radical empathy that features emotionally vulnerable male heroes and portrays monarchies and liberal democracies as being utterly useless and in fact actively harmful in serious times of crisis."

    Neither of those reads are... wrong per se, but they're definitely both incomplete and definitely both over-focusing on the elements of each game that support the argument being made. It wouldn't be hard to flip it around so that Majora's Mask is the problematic game that only bad people like (how dare you like a video game that has both Odalwa, a racist caricature far more grotesque and explicit than Ganondorf, and a pedophilic easter egg with Cremia mashing her tits in Link's face!), and Ocarina of Time is cool and leftist (Ganondorf is a fascist colonizer forcefully industrializing Hyrule and therefore collecting the sage's medallions is exactly like doing direct action, when you think about it).

    Neither game is really about any of this shit and this dumb strawman i've invented is ignoring that both are a) corporate products that were made by b) Nintendo, a company with a long history of homophobia, racism, and vindictive abuse of copyright law, who c) manufactured the cartridges for both games using minerals that were most likely mined and acquired in such a way that did far more net harm to the world and the people in it than both games combined could ever hope to counterbalance. You're not Doing a Leftism by playing either game, and even an explicitly leftist work like, say, Kentucky Route Zero, is both not ideologically perfect and not a meaningful substitute for picking up a book on theory. And there's definitely a certain type of Way Too Online Jackass that seems to be unable to comprehend that.

    But also! It's easy to fall into the same temptations as the Way Too Online Jackass! It sucks to recognize that things you like have flaws, maybe even deep flaws, the kinds of flaws that are reflective of political positions you oppose. There's a desire for ideological consistency in the stuff you consume and a desire to twist yourself in knots explaining how everything you play or read or watch satisfies that desire, even when it pretty plainly doesn't. And there's also a temptation to pull the opposite of this move on stuff you don't like, to over-emphasize the #problematic sides of it to paint it as politically toxic and paint anyone that enjoys it as either ignorant of its moral failings or possessing of those same moral failings. Because you can't win an argument if you just don't like the thing being championed, but you can win an argument if that thing is evil.

    I've written entire works off on the basis that I just can't stomach the homophobia or misogyny that they display, and then I'll turn around and not just watch but record a dang podcast series all about how much I love Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, a deeply misogynistic work that is at best suspect with regard to its opinion on queer people. I'm a hypocrite! To some extent every one of us is. That's not to say that you can't enjoy when a work reaffirms your world view, or that you can't be repulsed by a work because of its bad politics, or that some works aren't so politically vile that they are toxic and evil. It's just that I think nuance and perspective gets lost a lot of the time in favor of winning arguments, because the internet as it presently exists is designed to obliterate nuance and perspective for the sake of generating argument.

    Over the past 2-3 years I feel like I've personally started to see a shift away from this in the circles i'm in/pay attention to, and that's good... but I think the thing replacing it in a lot of instances is almost as exasperating. Lately I've seen a lot of leftist criticisms of explicitly leftist works that are rooted in all the ways it fails at being really leftist, that this developer/designer/writer should've shut up and read some more Lenin before making this thing because they don't know what they fuck they're talking about. And, criticizing works even when they ostensibly agree with you is good... but sometimes this mode of critique feels like it kind of flies off the rails, particularly when it's often paired with much softer criticism against bigger budget works. "Square-Enix is a shitty multinational company, I have no expectations that they'd ever have anything politically interesting to say, so it's really exciting that FFVII Remake even entertains the notion that eco-terrorism may be an ethically valid approach to solving our environmental crisis, even though we know full well that they're gonna fully backpedal on that a few sequels from now. Now excuse me while I spend several hundred words taking this leftist indie game to task because their shallow understanding of Marxist philosophy is incredibly cringe, yeah yeah 'capitalsim bad' we all know that already buddy either say something more interesting or shut the fuck up."

    It's a balancing act for sure, because I don't just wanna give a piece of art free brownie points for saying that capitalism is bad if it does so inartfully. And if a work agrees with me in the broad strokes but fumbles the finer points then I do think that's a great springboard for conversation and debate... but I dunno. Sometimes it feels like the sharpest knives get reserved for the smallest targets, because why bother really slamming the big corporate stuff, it's shit and everyone knows it's shit so let's just move on and talk about the things we like about them. It's beneath serious criticism, which means we're not going to bother criticizing it, which means we only really talk about it in positive terms, or if we have nothing positive to say we just don't bother talking about it at all. It feels like an overcorrection from the whole "actually playing Undertale is praxis" thing.

    Speed Racer on
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    OghulkOghulk Tinychat Janitor TinychatRegistered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    I'm frankly astounded that in that whole mess I made we ended up with Baldur's Gate 2: Shadow of Amn twice and my preferred Neverwinter Nights game.

    What're some of your favorite NWN mods/campaigns

    Me, I was a Stefan Gagne fan

    I remember one about Blackguard, but also El Dano's Dangers which were just tremendously fun.

    But also I was a super young kid so I actually did a lot more building my own stuff than anything else. How I taught myself C++ programming, and is why I'm super excited for Baldur's Gate 3's DM software

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    MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    I've always been a big fan of JRPGs ever since I first played Final Fantasy 7. I tried the old CRPGs but they were never able to hold my interest or even really catch my attention. I never even left the first town in Baldurs Gate before I stopped. I bought the Neverwinter Nights 2 collection during a Steam sale and it's never been booted up. In fact one of the only western RPGs that I really clicked with was Elder Scrolls while I played a bit of Witcher 1, 2, and 3 and bounced right off each one in turn. I tried Pillars of Eternity and made it out of the tutorial before deciding I wasn't a fan. I've given these games their fair shot but each time they've failed to hold me. So now I don't bother.

    To me JRPGs have an element of the fantastical that western RPGs lack, even when they're also set in fantasy worlds. JRPGs are happy to let the wondrous and mystical define the world where western stuff puts it in the background for a heavier basis in realism. I don't truck with realism, there's enough of that in reality. I want to climb aboard space whales and fly through different dimensions on a quest to punch god in the face using the power of friendship. I want a cast of characters who have frequent comedy skits in between moments of serious plot because even if the world is ending humor should never die. I want worlds of color and mystery, where history and legends aren't always as they appear, where the divine and mortal not only intermingle but can be made equal in capability.

    That's why I play JRPGs and always will.

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    PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Four FinFans, two doubled RPGs, and no Rock Band

    Y'all motherfuckers need to go outside occasionally

    I prefer to stay indoors while the wind chill is below zero, personally.

    Steam: Polaritie
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    OghulkOghulk Tinychat Janitor TinychatRegistered User regular
    The funniest thing about the Neverwinter series (both 1 and 2) is that NWN 2 is my most hated game of all time. It's a meme with my friends. I absolutely hate that game.

    But despite how much I hated it, mask of the betrayer is maybe of my favorite stories in videogames. Just an incredible piece of storytelling.

    That said, there are a lot of recent CRPGs I need to get through. Pillars of Eternity, Disco Elysium, the new Pathfinder games. Just haven't had the chance to really get into those.

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    InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    re: the OP, i also definitely empathize with the impulse to present everything you like as not just Good but also Cool and Leftist

    Gotta dig deep to mine out any kind of read that turns every piece of commercial art you consume into a radical revolutionary text because as we all know the best way of evaluating the quality of your politics is by evaluating the quality of the politics of the movies you watch and the video games you play.

    "What kind of monster could ever have fun playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game rooted in proto-fascist mythologizing of medieval Europe and 'Great Man' historical theory, and which features a deeply islamaphobic villain (to say nothing of the less outspoken but still very real islamaphobia of using sacred imagery and chanting in the game's original release). Instead you should like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a video game about mutual aid and radical empathy that features emotionally vulnerable male heroes and portrays monarchies and liberal democracies as being utterly useless and in fact actively harmful in serious times of crisis."

    Neither of those reads are... wrong per se, but they're definitely both incomplete and definitely both over-focusing on the elements of each game that support the argument being made. It wouldn't be hard to flip it around so that Majora's Mask is the problematic game that only bad people like (how dare you like a video game that has both Odalwa, a racist caricature far more grotesque and explicit than Ganondorf, and a pedophilic easter egg with Cremia mashing her tits in Link's face!), and Ocarina of Time is cool and leftist (Ganondorf is a fascist colonizer forcefully industrializing Hyrule and therefore collecting the sage's medallions is exactly like doing direct action, when you think about it).

    Neither game is really about any of this shit and this dumb strawman i've invented is ignoring that both are a) corporate products that were made by b) Nintendo, a company with a long history of homophobia, racism, and vindictive abuse of copyright law, who c) manufactured the cartridges for both games using minerals that were most likely mined and acquired in such a way that did far more net harm to the world and the people in it than both games combined could ever hope to counterbalance. You're not Doing a Leftism by playing either game, and even an explicitly leftist work like, say, Kentucky Route Zero, is both not ideologically perfect and not a meaningful substitute for picking up a book on theory. And there's definitely a certain type of Way Too Online Jackass that seems to be unable to comprehend that.

    But also! It's easy to fall into the same temptations as the Way Too Online Jackass! It sucks to recongize that things you like have flaws, maybe even deep flaws, the kinds of flaws that are reflective of political positions you oppose. There's a desire for ideological consistency in the stuff you consume and a desire to twist yourself in knots explaining how everything you play or read or watch satisfies that desire, even when it pretty plainly doesn't. And there's also a temptation to pull the opposite of this move on stuff you don't like, to over-emphasize the #problematic sides of it to paint it as politically toxic and paint anyone that enjoys it as either ignorant of its moral failings or possessing of those same moral failings. Because you can't win an argument if you just don't like the thing being championed, but you can win an argument if that thing is evil.

    I've written entire works off on the basis that I just can't stomach the homophobia or misogyny that they display, and then I'll turn around and not just watch but record a dang podcast series all about how much I love Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, a deeply misogynistic work that is at best suspect with regard to its opinion on queer people. I'm a hypocrite! To some extent every one of us is. That's not to say that you can't enjoy when a work reaffirms your world view, or that you can't be repulsed by a work for its politics, or that some works aren't so politically vile that they are toxic and evil. It's just that I think nuance and perspective gets lost a lot of the time in favor of winning arguments, because the internet as it presently exists is designed to obliterate nuance and perspective for the sake of generating argument.

    Over the past 2-3 years I feel like I've personally started to see a shift away from this in the circles i'm in/pay attention to, and that's good... but I think the thing replacing it in a lot of instances is almost as exasperating. Lately I've seen a lot of leftist criticisms of explicitly leftist works that are rooted in all the ways it fails at being really leftist, that this developer/designer/writer should've shut up and read some more Lenin before making this thing because they don't know what they fuck they're talking about. And, criticizing works even when they ostensibly agree with you is good... but sometimes this mode of critique feels like it kind of flies off the rails, particularly when it's often paired with much softer criticism against bigger budget works. "Square-Enix is a shitty multinational company, I have no expectations that they'd ever have anything politically interesting to say, so it's really exciting that FFVII Remake even entertains the notion that eco-terrorism may be an ethically valid approach to solving our environmental crisis, even though we know full well that they're gonna fully backpedal on that in FFVII Remake Part 3 or 4. Now excuse me while I spend several hundred words taking this leftist indie game to task because their shallow understanding of Marxist philosophy is incredibly cringe, yeah yeah 'capitalsim bad' we all know that already buddy either say something more interesting or shut the fuck up."

    It's a balancing act for sure, because I don't just wanna give a piece of art free brownie points for saying that capitalism is bad if it does so inartfully. And if a work agrees with me in the broad strokes but fumbles the finer points then I do think that's a great springboard for conversation and debate... but I dunno. Sometimes it feels like the sharpest knives get reserved for the smallest targets, because why bother really slamming the big corporate stuff, it's shit and everyone knows it's shit so let's just move on and talk about the things we like about them. It feels like an overcorrection from the whole "actually playing Undertale is praxis" thing.

    Huh wow, this is like... very interesting but also completely alien to how I think about and approach games, which I find very interesting!

    Like, I fundamentally don't need a game to present politics that I agree with, and actually enjoy when a work presents politics that I DEEPLY disagree with. (It's also fine if a game does present politics that I do agree with, overall its just nice when a game presents a consistent worldview or take).

    For example in my Disco Elysium playthrough (which I need to get back to) I am playing a fascist dick bag cop. Not because I am a fascist, or a dick bag, or a cop, or because I agree with any of those world views, or because I think it's even the right choice to be making in the game, but because I think it's interesting to explore and engage with worldviews that are not my own and seemed like ones that the character might make. It does feel like Disco Elysium is kind of dumping on my character for some of the choices that I made, which, I have mixed feelings about. Like what I had to do to become an HONOR COP. Like, it's fine for the game to have an opinion, of course but, if you are going to let me play my cop in a certain way, I think it's fair to let someone play that character in a way that is internally consistent, even if that character is ultimately a toolbag, or a fool, or a monster. Like, Disco spoilers:
    Having to stick my thumb up my butt to become an Honor Cop. I get that it's a "stick up your ass" joke but, also, like, the type of stick up your ass honor obsessed knob I am playing is also the type of person who would never stick their thumb up their butt, perish the thought. So, it feels a bit... weird for that to be a requirement to become the honor cop.

    But, like. I'm pretty happy to play a game where I am say, a Tyrant Monarch, or a Fascist Dictator, or, a Capitalist Overlord grinding my workers into the earth. Not because I think any of those things are good, or right, or should be pursued. But because I am playing a videogame and the only thing I am affecting is digital 1s and 0s so it's a way to explore and play with things. It's similar to how I'll read political works that I know I disagree with from the outset. Or history books that I know take an approach to history I don't agree with. I enjoy the act of consuming a thing, taking a critical lens to something, and dismantling something and picking at its core assumptions. I just don't need to agree with the core assumptions at all to enjoy this or to do this.

    And, not to make this sound just like, a secret fascist thing on my end, the same thing applies to games that are way, way to leftist for me. Like, I'll happily play a game where I am a revolutionary insurgent or rebel, toppling the established government, and putting the ruling class up against the wall and executing them. Even though, you know, Inquisitor in real life would like to never harm another human being, thanks.

    Maybe this is why games like SpecOps the line hit so hollow for me? I routinely, intentionally, do things in games frequently that I deeply disagree with BECAUSE I deeply disagree with them, and then I can explore these things through the harmless medium of games.

    Key caveat: There is a key distinction to me between a game letting me play as say, a fascist, racist, tyrant monarch, and the devs of a game coming out and saying "Actually, in the real world white supremacy is good". This is why, just from a pure game perspective I would play something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but I have not and will never buy the game because, in the real world, not the game world of 1s and 0s, I do not want to financially contribute directly to that ideology.

    This got really rambly, apologies for not better organizing my thoughts, but, I hope I got the gist across.

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    CelloCello Registered User regular
    edited January 2022
    I respect but have really disengaged with leftist media takes aside from the typical like, listening to a Waypoint episode on something maybe, at most, or reading a few articles if I really, *really* liked a thing

    I have a hard time engaging in that critique, following the news mid-pandemic, surviving the pandemic, and trying to keep folks going through a pretty nightmarish time in my social circles, and I just don't have the headspace to engage in in-fighting about why the things I like are bad, you know

    Media is the thing that's getting me through it, allowing me to have more lighthearted talks with my friends about it, and giving me space from reality, and it became rather notable how involving myself in some leftist spaces was contributing to depression and nihilism in a way that, as a generally optimistic person, wasn't healthy

    Also: liked Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide the most, followed by Mask of the Betrayer. Wonder if the latter is still playable these days.

    Cello on
    Steam
    3DS Friend Code: 0216-0898-6512
    Switch Friend Code: SW-7437-1538-7786
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    Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    edited January 2022
    Inquisitor wrote: »
    re: the OP, i also definitely empathize with the impulse to present everything you like as not just Good but also Cool and Leftist

    Gotta dig deep to mine out any kind of read that turns every piece of commercial art you consume into a radical revolutionary text because as we all know the best way of evaluating the quality of your politics is by evaluating the quality of the politics of the movies you watch and the video games you play.

    "What kind of monster could ever have fun playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a game rooted in proto-fascist mythologizing of medieval Europe and 'Great Man' historical theory, and which features a deeply islamaphobic villain (to say nothing of the less outspoken but still very real islamaphobia of using sacred imagery and chanting in the game's original release). Instead you should like The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a video game about mutual aid and radical empathy that features emotionally vulnerable male heroes and portrays monarchies and liberal democracies as being utterly useless and in fact actively harmful in serious times of crisis."

    Neither of those reads are... wrong per se, but they're definitely both incomplete and definitely both over-focusing on the elements of each game that support the argument being made. It wouldn't be hard to flip it around so that Majora's Mask is the problematic game that only bad people like (how dare you like a video game that has both Odalwa, a racist caricature far more grotesque and explicit than Ganondorf, and a pedophilic easter egg with Cremia mashing her tits in Link's face!), and Ocarina of Time is cool and leftist (Ganondorf is a fascist colonizer forcefully industrializing Hyrule and therefore collecting the sage's medallions is exactly like doing direct action, when you think about it).

    Neither game is really about any of this shit and this dumb strawman i've invented is ignoring that both are a) corporate products that were made by b) Nintendo, a company with a long history of homophobia, racism, and vindictive abuse of copyright law, who c) manufactured the cartridges for both games using minerals that were most likely mined and acquired in such a way that did far more net harm to the world and the people in it than both games combined could ever hope to counterbalance. You're not Doing a Leftism by playing either game, and even an explicitly leftist work like, say, Kentucky Route Zero, is both not ideologically perfect and not a meaningful substitute for picking up a book on theory. And there's definitely a certain type of Way Too Online Jackass that seems to be unable to comprehend that.

    But also! It's easy to fall into the same temptations as the Way Too Online Jackass! It sucks to recongize that things you like have flaws, maybe even deep flaws, the kinds of flaws that are reflective of political positions you oppose. There's a desire for ideological consistency in the stuff you consume and a desire to twist yourself in knots explaining how everything you play or read or watch satisfies that desire, even when it pretty plainly doesn't. And there's also a temptation to pull the opposite of this move on stuff you don't like, to over-emphasize the #problematic sides of it to paint it as politically toxic and paint anyone that enjoys it as either ignorant of its moral failings or possessing of those same moral failings. Because you can't win an argument if you just don't like the thing being championed, but you can win an argument if that thing is evil.

    I've written entire works off on the basis that I just can't stomach the homophobia or misogyny that they display, and then I'll turn around and not just watch but record a dang podcast series all about how much I love Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, a deeply misogynistic work that is at best suspect with regard to its opinion on queer people. I'm a hypocrite! To some extent every one of us is. That's not to say that you can't enjoy when a work reaffirms your world view, or that you can't be repulsed by a work for its politics, or that some works aren't so politically vile that they are toxic and evil. It's just that I think nuance and perspective gets lost a lot of the time in favor of winning arguments, because the internet as it presently exists is designed to obliterate nuance and perspective for the sake of generating argument.

    Over the past 2-3 years I feel like I've personally started to see a shift away from this in the circles i'm in/pay attention to, and that's good... but I think the thing replacing it in a lot of instances is almost as exasperating. Lately I've seen a lot of leftist criticisms of explicitly leftist works that are rooted in all the ways it fails at being really leftist, that this developer/designer/writer should've shut up and read some more Lenin before making this thing because they don't know what they fuck they're talking about. And, criticizing works even when they ostensibly agree with you is good... but sometimes this mode of critique feels like it kind of flies off the rails, particularly when it's often paired with much softer criticism against bigger budget works. "Square-Enix is a shitty multinational company, I have no expectations that they'd ever have anything politically interesting to say, so it's really exciting that FFVII Remake even entertains the notion that eco-terrorism may be an ethically valid approach to solving our environmental crisis, even though we know full well that they're gonna fully backpedal on that in FFVII Remake Part 3 or 4. Now excuse me while I spend several hundred words taking this leftist indie game to task because their shallow understanding of Marxist philosophy is incredibly cringe, yeah yeah 'capitalsim bad' we all know that already buddy either say something more interesting or shut the fuck up."

    It's a balancing act for sure, because I don't just wanna give a piece of art free brownie points for saying that capitalism is bad if it does so inartfully. And if a work agrees with me in the broad strokes but fumbles the finer points then I do think that's a great springboard for conversation and debate... but I dunno. Sometimes it feels like the sharpest knives get reserved for the smallest targets, because why bother really slamming the big corporate stuff, it's shit and everyone knows it's shit so let's just move on and talk about the things we like about them. It feels like an overcorrection from the whole "actually playing Undertale is praxis" thing.

    Huh wow, this is like... very interesting but also completely alien to how I think about and approach games, which I find very interesting!

    Like, I fundamentally don't need a game to present politics that I agree with, and actually enjoy when a work presents politics that I DEEPLY disagree with. (It's also fine if a game does present politics that I do agree with, overall its just nice when a game presents a consistent worldview or take).

    For example in my Disco Elysium playthrough (which I need to get back to) I am playing a fascist dick bag cop. Not because I am a fascist, or a dick bag, or a cop, or because I agree with any of those world views, or because I think it's even the right choice to be making in the game, but because I think it's interesting to explore and engage with worldviews that are not my own and seemed like ones that the character might make. It does feel like Disco Elysium is kind of dumping on my character for some of the choices that I made, which, I have mixed feelings about. Like what I had to do to become an HONOR COP. Like, it's fine for the game to have an opinion, of course but, if you are going to let me play my cop in a certain way, I think it's fair to let someone play that character in a way that is internally consistent, even if that character is ultimately a toolbag, or a fool, or a monster. Like, Disco spoilers:
    Having to stick my thumb up my butt to become an Honor Cop. I get that it's a "stick up your ass" joke but, also, like, the type of stick up your ass honor obsessed knob I am playing is also the type of person who would never stick their thumb up their butt, perish the thought. So, it feels a bit... weird for that to be a requirement to become the honor cop.

    But, like. I'm pretty happy to play a game where I am say, a Tyrant Monarch, or a Fascist Dictator, or, a Capitalist Overlord grinding my workers into the earth. Not because I think any of those things are good, or right, or should be pursued. But because I am playing a videogame and the only thing I am affecting is digital 1s and 0s so it's a way to explore and play with things. It's similar to how I'll read political works that I know I disagree with from the outset. Or history books that I know take an approach to history I don't agree with. I enjoy the act of consuming a thing, taking a critical lens to something, and dismantling something and picking at its core assumptions. I just don't need to agree with the core assumptions at all to enjoy this or to do this.

    And, not to make this sound just like, a secret fascist thing on my end, the same thing applies to games that are way, way to leftist for me. Like, I'll happily play a game where I am a revolutionary insurgent or rebel, toppling the established government, and putting the ruling class up against the wall and executing them. Even though, you know, Inquisitor in real life would like to never harm another human being, thanks.

    Maybe this is why games like SpecOps the line hit so hollow for me? I routinely, intentionally, do things in games frequently that I deeply disagree with BECAUSE I deeply disagree with them, and then I can explore these things through the harmless medium of games.

    Key caveat: There is a key distinction to me between a game letting me play as say, a fascist, racist, tyrant monarch, and the devs of a game coming out and saying "Actually, in the real world white supremacy is good". This is why, just from a pure game perspective I would play something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but I have not and will never buy the game because, in the real world, not the game world of 1s and 0s, I do not want to financially contribute directly to that ideology.

    This got really rambly, apologies for not better organizing my thoughts, but, I hope I got the gist across.

    Well now to be fair, there is a difference between a game that lets you play as a fascist and a game that has an overall fascist message. Disco Elysium taken on the whole is pretty unavoidably critical of liberal capitalism and you can tell that the writers do not like the fascist characters even if you play Harry such that he does. I haven't explored the fascist side of the narrative but my understanding is that the game rebukes you pretty hard for taking Harry in that direction, even though it allows you to.

    It's the whole "portrayal is not endorsement" thing that comes up a lot with Scorsese movies

    Speed Racer on
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    OghulkOghulk Tinychat Janitor TinychatRegistered User regular
    It's a rare piece of media (games or otherwise) that makes enough of an interesting statement that I think about how it applies to the Real World. Most of the time I feel like the works that try really hard to "say something" end up ignoring the important part of having an actually good storyline.

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    Kane Red RobeKane Red Robe Master of Magic ArcanusRegistered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    I'm frankly astounded that in that whole mess I made we ended up with Baldur's Gate 2: Shadow of Amn twice and my preferred Neverwinter Nights game.

    What're some of your favorite NWN mods/campaigns

    Me, I was a Stefan Gagne fan

    Penultima remains one of the best video game stories I've experienced. Great guy too, I messaged him on Twitter a couple years ago because I couldn't find the modules anywhere anymore and wanted to replay them and he sent them to me.

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    InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    Oghulk wrote: »
    It's a rare piece of media (games or otherwise) that makes enough of an interesting statement that I think about how it applies to the Real World. Most of the time I feel like the works that try really hard to "say something" end up ignoring the important part of having an actually good storyline.

    This is also likely an artifact of me enjoying/playing wargames that are based off of real, historical wars. Since the game is explicitly based off of a real world thing, they inherently make statements about the real world and essentially can't help but "say something".

    Even fundamental decisions like, "does this game model supply chain logistics" is a statement on the part of the designer that says "supply chain logistics were or were not important to the outcome of this conflict" which makes statement about how the designer feels about the real world counterpart the game is modeling. And of course, these statements are ripe for dissection from a historical lens.

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    OghulkOghulk Tinychat Janitor TinychatRegistered User regular
    Inquisitor wrote: »
    Oghulk wrote: »
    It's a rare piece of media (games or otherwise) that makes enough of an interesting statement that I think about how it applies to the Real World. Most of the time I feel like the works that try really hard to "say something" end up ignoring the important part of having an actually good storyline.

    This is also likely an artifact of me enjoying/playing wargames that are based off of real, historical wars. Since the game is explicitly based off of a real world thing, they inherently make statements about the real world and essentially can't help but "say something".

    Even fundamental decisions like, "does this game model supply chain logistics" is a statement on the part of the designer that says "supply chain logistics were or were not important to the outcome of this conflict" which makes statement about how the designer feels about the real world counterpart the game is modeling. And of course, these statements are ripe for dissection from a historical lens.

    It can for sure, especially from the historical lens, but I think going down that route can lead to some serious over analyzing that maybe isn't worth it from the mental health aspect.

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