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Maturing Into Art

April 5, 2013

When reading the latest news, making a connection between two normally unrelated topics is terrifically rewarding. It is that “Ah ha!” moment when the light goes on, and you know that you are thinking about something new. Today, Tyrus had one of these insights. He posits that the outcry against the excessive violence in Bioshock Infinite is evidence of the maturing of our favorite hobby. Read his argument here. Well done, Ty!

And to the discussion on violence, that and the cursing language (as opposed to swearing) in the original BioShock game actually diminished my appreciation of it, too. It was upsetting. Whereas the little epithets in BF3 have me cracking up even after the umpteenth time hearing them, in Bioshock, ever utterance of anger is jarring, and made me feel unhappy (unclean/guilty?) – even though the actual content of the expressions are far more graphic in BF3 (see the video embedded below for some BF3 examples).

I believe that the excessive violence was a deliberate choice on Levine’s part, as it stands in stark contrast to the beautiful, seemingly peaceful worlds the gamer explores, and is symbolic of the inevitable violence in a totalitarian state. Still, the shock of it (no pun intended) to the average gamer has probably been greater than the designer had in mind.


For a different perspective, read Dennis Scimeca`s (Kotaku) thoughts on some of those VOs.

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13 Comments
  1. April 5, 2013 10:04 pm

    Thanks Suns! The article on the language in Battlefield 3 was definitely interesting. On-topic, I’ve been quite surprised by the outcry regarding the violence in Infinite. And as I’m sure you’re aware, Ebert passed away. Unrelated, but a bit odd, no?

  2. Herandar permalink
    April 6, 2013 6:49 am

    What is funny about the BF3 quotes?

    I play with the volume fairly low since my headset stopped working, and I dont really hear the incidental dialogue. That said, I just watched a few youtube clips of [quote]funny[/quote] dialogue…

    Yeah, my four year olds think the word poop is funny, Doesnt mean that it is, and neither is cocksucker.

    • April 6, 2013 12:35 pm

      Cocksucker is “funny.” Maybe the dialogue isn’t intended to be funny, but since they are all recorded by actual Marines, and these are things they would actually say it makes them a bit hilariously ridiculous to the average person. I’m sure if you would ask them (the Marines) if the lines were funny, they’d agree.

  3. April 6, 2013 3:13 pm

    In the context of comparing similar language used in BioShock, I said that when I am playing BF3, the one-liners have me crackin’ up sometimes. Doesn’t mean that I do or don’t find them offensive, inappropriate, or politically incorrect. It is just that in the particular gameplay situation, often because the lines are something that I would never say, or because of the hyperbole, or even just in surprise that the AI recognizes my situation, they catch me off guard and I find myself laughing out loud.

    And just for the record, to the extent that any single word taken by itself holds the potential to be funny, by means of pronunciation, spelling, and meaning, “poop” is probably the funniest word in the English language. So, go easy on children (or adults) who may chuckle to themselves at the hearing or sight of it. πŸ˜‰

    To Grymmie’s point, many of the lines from the game have indeed been pulled right out of the movies/TV: Generation Kill being the most influential source for BF3. And as shows like Generation Kill and The Wire are written and directed by professional journalists and teachers, who understand the importance of getting the quote right, there is considerable authenticity to the content.

  4. Herandar permalink
    April 6, 2013 8:14 pm

    My four year olds (and my seven year old) love to sing Jingle Poop every holiday season.

    Using the example above: Look at that cocksucker with a machinegun.

    I am not offended, shocked or amused. But someone posted it on Youtube as a Funny BF3 quote. I get it, I am a jaded curmudgeon who is far too stuck up to find humor in insulting names, Or something.

    • April 6, 2013 10:19 pm

      Herandar, I don’t suggest that this will suddenly make the VO funny, but I think you misunderstand the context.

      The line is “Look at that cocksucker with THAT machine gun.”

      It is used by a friendly AI combatant who is coming up from behind the gamer having just witnessed the gamer take out an enemy with his machine gun. So, it is simultaneously supposed be a friendly insult “cocksucker”, while praising the gamer for his gun skills with the intent of making him feel like a badass.

      Ok, so I am laughing again. I think it is funny that a computer AI teammate is basically shouting out praises of my skills to everyone (even if he is calling me a cocksucker). I still marvel at the quality of programming. The AI really “appear” to know what I am doing when I play the game. I am hoping that they offer points for well placed smoke nades in BF4.

      And I am just a dude livin’ in a country with no end of ceremony, ritual, and meetings. I actively pursue a child-like sense of wonder and humor. …while playing my PEGI 18 games. lol πŸ˜‰

      P.S. I would love to hear you children sing Jingle Poop. My version was Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg.

      And Grymmie, great point about the splicers/meth addict behavior in Bioshock.

    • April 7, 2013 12:34 am

      Laughter makes the world go ’round.

    • Herandar permalink
      April 7, 2013 8:23 pm

      I always thought the VO was triggered by, and ONLY triggered by, someone on your team spotting an enemy. I do not believe they are calling you a cocksucker. I am actively hesitant to post this because I do not want to ruin this for you. To me, that dialogue is only telling you that a support player is spotted.

      As for Jingle Poop, it usually goes like this:

      Jingle Poop, Jingle Poop, Jingle all the Poooooop,
      Jingle Poop, Poopy poop, Poopy Poopy POOOOOOOPPPPP!!!!!!!

    • April 7, 2013 11:11 pm

      LOL Great song! ha ha ha

      OK, I just watched it again. Check out the orange spot triangles on the mini-map. They actually both get extinguished before the VO starts. Which is to say, the VO starts after the kill! Also, consider the source of the voice. It is coming from behind the gunner, not off to the right where the spotter would have had to be. Anyway, that is the way I will always hear it. πŸ˜‰ GREAT game!

      BTW, have you tried the Gears Judgment Demo yet? You really should. It looks like they will never take it down, so you can play as much as you like. I am still playing that one level wonder, and hope to find some time tonight to play again. If you see me online playing it, download it and I will take you through the paces. Its free! If you really like, you can wait till it hits the 10 dollar bin at your local store and pick it up when it suits the budget.

  5. April 6, 2013 8:41 pm

    I will admit, I was a bit brought back when I got to the part of the beginning of Bioshock Infinite with the first Skyhook Execution, but to me it only prepared me for what was to come. Levine likes to make his game viscerally realistic I guess would be the best way to put it. He makes them brutal, but brutal to the point where it gets you involved with what’s going on in the world, have it be sympathetic or craving more.

    Sure, the swearing in the first Bioshock was a bit much, but if you go back to think about it, those people were “Spliced up,” so they were essentially meth addicts in a sense; so they aren’t necessarily in their right minds and are just an aggressive brutal shell of themselves. All they cared about was there next fix; at least I kept myself in the mindset to help immerse myself more into the setting of the game.

    I was happy when Levine held back a bit language-wise in Infinite to leave more room for the game’s story and backstory, but I do like the brutality he left in because it help portrays the extreme Zealot that Comstock is. Honestly I couldn’t have asked for the story to be done any better that it was written out as. I’ve grown to like Elizabeth as a person (sadly she isn’t a person though), and I would, on more that one occasion glance over at her to see what part of the environment she was checking out, or just to see how she would behave in a certain part of the world.

    The way IG implemented her into combat is excellent. They made her a commodity rather than a nuisance. You don’t have to constantly keep an eye on her to make sure she isn’t going to die, but she also keeps you alive. On more than one occasion, she kept my ass alive giving me Health Packs, Salts (currency for your Vigors), or ammo for my guns.

    I didn’t plan on this to be a rant, but I’ve had a few beerskis πŸ˜‰

  6. Blankman permalink*
    April 8, 2013 5:01 pm

    OT: Rod Fergusson just announced his resignation as VP of Development at Irrational Games. Since Bioshock: Infinite has shipped, he feels that his work is finished at that studio. He wouldn’t go on record where he’s heading to next. Perhaps back to Epic Games? I highly doubt it. With the mass exodus of management & talent since Chinese Internet conglomerate bought over 48% of Epic, Epic’s been in a bit of disarray as of late. Not too confident leading up to the next console launch.

  7. April 8, 2013 5:27 pm

    Yeah, I just now read that at Joystiq. I applaud his spirit of adventure and flexibility. I look forward to finding out where he will go next. He is kind of like the Anti-Mark Rein, if you get my meaning. lol

    As for Epic, I don’t know what to think about that company, or the talent past or present. All I know is that I played 3 more matches of OverRun with Cornie last night, and we had a great time trading places for MVP. I’m learning the Grenadier now and lovin’ it. It’s one of the things I love about asymmetrical class-based games – the variety and freshness of learning new classes/characters.

    While we are OT, PAR highlighted the LucasArts eulogy and I found it quite moving. It is so easy for gamers (me included) to think of the things the developers should do better, when much of the time, they are already putting in 18 hour days. A good little reminder to talk a little softer (at least in some circumstances).

    • Blankman permalink*
      April 8, 2013 6:00 pm

      I viewed the LucasArts eulogy earlier on PAR & it is moving indeed. I have fond memories of many of their games. It’s a shame that follow-ups to many games never made it to retail.

      As far as Rod Fergusson’s future, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hooked up with Cliffy later down the road because they worked well together. With either one of their resumes, people will be fighting for their services. Why work for others when they could form their own development studio, right?

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