Hate the sin, love the sinner
Nothing in this world is perfect. Were not all angels. In fact, were unfortunately quite human. And what makes us human? Well besides our unique ability for killing with no cause or reason, we apparently have these seven deadly sins to deal with. If youve ever turned on Full Metal Alchemist or played through EA's recent Dante's Inferno reboot you know what they are: Pride, Sloth, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony. Look at them and see yourself, see your terrible humanity.
And no matter how well we think were doing, well always slip into being awful humans once in a while. No one is immune to this, not even the video game industry. In fact, were pretty dang familiar with these deadly sins. Even you, the fans, have some explaining to do. Although were looking back fondly at the 7th console generation, there are definitely some inexcusable points to it. Click through this article if you dare: The 7 Deadly sins of the 7th Generation.
Now theres nothing wrong with a bit of pride here and there. You can be proud of something you own, or someone you know. Fine, thats fine. But unless youre a lion, sometimes you can have too much pride. Or you can have misplaced pride, which was poor Aris Bakhtanians mistake during the heated sexual harassment debacle surrounding Capcoms reality show, Cross Assault. When asked about his crass comments towards the female contenders, he said, This is a community thats, you know, 15 or 20-years-old and the sexual harassment is part of a culture, and if you remove that from the fighting game community, its not the fighting game community. Oh
But ok ok, thats a fighting game pro player and not professional industry member, surely actions would be different? Well, no, gods quarrel as well Just read this statement given by the Fullbright Company about why they didnt attend PAX this year. Why did they puff out their chests and denounce PAX altogether? Because the co-founder of Penny Arcade, Mike Krahulik, may have crossed a line when joking about sexual assault. When asked about actively supporting rape culture, Krahulik responded it feels pretty good. Why? He clarified that he was only trying to get a rise out of people, but come on.
You cant make a video game if youre lazy; thats just the bottom line. Well, let me retract that. You cant come up with a video game concept from scratch, mold the idea into something worth pursuing, gather the team, make the game, and get your name out there to sell the game by being lazy. But of course if you take the concept from someone else, pre-molded, already have the team, reskin the game, and already have your name dominating the market as both a developer and publishers...thats pretty sloth-like. Sound like anyone we know?
Ill give you a hint: Zynga. Just look at this quippy accusation that was plastered all over the internet by the indie dev studio Nimblebit. The laziness that is IP scalping is scalding to witness, and this isnt the only time that the mobile/social giant has been accused of stealing an idea. Its not even constrained to Zynga: even the insanely popular Angry Birds bears a striking resemblance to the small flash game Crush the Castle. Sigh.
You know what this will be, you just know. Why have you been upset with video game developers? Where were your feelings of monetary betrayal pointed towards? Three little letters: DLC. The days of working hours and hours on end to finally achieve those ridiculous costumes, or finding that hidden room, or unlocking that secret character are in danger. Why include it when you can just rip it from the game and charge for it?
Granted, were giving mixed signals as fans. If developers make useless DLC (as in the now famous Horse Armor from Oblivion), we cry out that its a pointless waste of talent and time, and a transparent attempt to siphon money. Yet then if developers then make DLC that impacts gameplay (like the tragically offensive ability to buy lives in the new Sonic game), then we get even more riled up because it feels like only those that can buy their way to victory will have any success with the game. Damned if you do damned if you dont thats a lie, not forcing DLC on consumers who have already bought your product would be great.
This one is on you, fans. I know youre passionate about video games. I get it, I am to. But Im not send death threats to the lead designer of Call of Duty because he changed reload speeds of the DSR by .1 seconds passionate. Nor am send sexually perverse emails and, once again, death threats to Bioware designer Jennifer Helper and her family for suggesting that gamers might prefer stories over combat. Sometimes as gamers we let our passion slip into wrath, which may not be the healthiest outlet for our fervor.
Activision's community manager, Dan Amrich, in his defense of CoDs designer, puts it best: If anybody thinks for a second that this is okay, it is not. But if the loudest voices in the Call of Duty 'community' act like an angry mob instead, guess how the entire world views Call of Duty? Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to COD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder."
When you think about gluttony, of course the image of shoving piles of food down your gullet while sobbing about how little self esteem you have comes to mind. But gluttony doesnt just have to do with food and tears, as it can also relate to a lack of self-control that leads to abusing something that should happen in moderation. Hmmm abusing something that should happen in moderation. Reminds me of the annualization of video game franchises!
Some have an excuse: for instance, sports franchises need to stay current with yearly roster changes. Call of Duty, on the other hand, has less of a reason. There is no yearly new topical war that they just have to cover, or the hottest new munition that just needs to be released. In fact, the annualization of games like this hurts in many ways. Developers rush to get them out, and therefore theyre not the best game they could be. The online community is cleaved between people that can afford to buy the next game every few months and those that cant, or just those that liked an older version. The games are devalued because theyre seen as cookie cutters. Etc, etc. All for dat dolla dolla bill.
Target demographic of video games: adolescent males. Main appeal of adolescent males: boobies. Lots and lots of boobies. And so you cant really blame video game developers for just following the scent of profit right? Well, you kind of can. There are definite strategies to manipulate lust in creative and crafty ways. Giving a character from Metal Gear Solid 5 nothing but a bikini to wear in combat is definitely not one of them. Nor is turning one of the strongest female protagonists, Lightning from FFXIII, into a dress-up doll in Lightning Returns. Sure, she saves the world and whatever, but boy howdy she looks good in that kitty cat Dutch milkmaid outfit.
But hey, eye candy isnt the only way weve succumbed to lust this past year. Please, please watch this trailer for Yaiba. Its stunningly awful. Sugar tits, take a suck, can I see through your clothing? WHY oh god why? Its as if Team Ninja developers tried to personify the id of all horny gamers into a single character. And if this is what they came up with, oh man that does not reflect well on our mental stability or sexual deviancy.
Weve seen this happen before: game developers emulating popular mechanics. In the past (read: 80s), this feedback loop became so awful that clones upon clones were being pumped out, leading to the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. The good news is the video game industry isnt as fragile as it once was. And sometimes its great to share awesome mechanics between games.
The cover system of Gears of War, the free-running system of Assassins Creed: these have been taken and improved upon. But then ideas like competitive Multiplayer get shoved into places it has no use being, and all people can say about it is that its a cancerous growth. That was referring to Spec Ops: The Line. A robust game that didnt need to rip a mechanic from other popular shooters, lead designer Cory Davis had a thing or two to say about it: I dont even feel like its part of the overall package--its another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.
Actually, it's alright to hate the sinner
There it is, our folly laid out for us. No one said we were perfect, and humanity is all about improving. So lets see where this next generation takes us. Hopefully away from the Seven Deadly Sins and more towards the Four Cardinal virtues.