A lot of nerds feel self conscious playing motion controlled Wii games in front of other people. That is not what this article is about. This article is about games that are uncomfortable to play in front of others for a variety of reasons, whether it be creepy cinematics, horrible dialogue, excessive gore or any number of things that cement stereotypes non-gamers have for us. This does not mean I am a weak person, or that I am ashamed of something I love, I just want the gaming industry to grow up a little bit. Some of these choices are bound to upset a few people, so let me clarify beforehand that I love most of these games and am not trashing their quality. On the contrary, I feel these titles have excellent gameplay- and that is why I still play them despite the fact that I am somewhat ashamed of myself when I do so.
Overly Japanese Games
I don’t know whether it is something being lost in translation, cultural differences, or a lack of understanding on my part, but a lot of Japanese games have terrible stories and dialogue. Whether it is the plot of the Metal Gear Solid series, which only seems to get more overly convoluted and stupid with each installment, or the crappy dialogue that plagues even big blockbusters like Final Fantasy 13, overtly Japanese games make me feel embarrassed for myself. Not only that, Japanese RPGs have maintained the same basic story and themes for the past twenty years, making them overly predictable and almost a parody of themselves. It is time to move beyond the angst ridden teen hero or lands being overtaken by some evil smog and move on to new territory.
Another common theme in Japanese games is their portrayal of women in titles like Dead Or Alive, Bayonetta, or No More Heroes– as nothing more than toys to be ogled at. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable playing any of these games around anyone of the female variety. Put some of those great physics into actual gameplay mechanics rather than making certain things jiggle unrealistically.
Gory games can be a sweet release, a great way to blow off some steam and have some mindless fun. But I also feel dirty after playing them. Much in the same way that I don’t like movies that are gory for the sake of shock value, I also don’t like excessive gore in games. Games like Madworld and House of the Dead: Overkill test the limits of what is possible for violence in games, and while fun, make me feel like a Neanderthal in front of other people. Why do people find such joy in violence? Repetitive gore also makes gore lose its impact, making something like putting someone through a meat grinder mundane. While all of these titles are rated Mature, for those 17 and older, I would argue that few actually are mature. This excess of blood, gore, foul language, and especially breasts seems to cater to a 13 year old boy’s tastes more than anybody else. The Dante’s Inferno demo is recent of example of something that made me shudder with the lack of good taste it exhibited. It seemed to shout from the rooftops, “please buy me little boys, I have digital boobs! Look how extreme I am!”
I am by no means a puritan- all I ask is that games grow up a little bit, so that they can be seen as a legitimate form of media rather than something teenage boys or nerd lords waste their time with. I am not even asking for a The Sound and the Fury or Citizen Kane equivalent in gaming, I just want good games to actually play, seeing as how that used to be the entire point of games before graphics and cinematics started taking over. Is that too much to ask?