The lights are on
This past weekend, a few of the editors watched Gravity (and we weren’t alone, apparently). After thinking about the film for a few days, I was eager to talk about it with my co-workers. We all picked at different nits, but we all eventually agreed that it was a good movie and that we were glad that we watched it. We weren’t all at the same screenings, but our viewing experiences were similar. We all watched it in 3D at IMAX theaters. The film lasted about 90 minutes, and (I assume) we sat mostly still and silent as we watched the story unfold.
A few hours after our movie discussion, people started passing along a link from Salon. The writer had some fairly provocative things to say about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – not surprising, considering the headline “The Legend of Zelda is Classist, Sexist and Racist.”
I have to admit, it’s been a while since I last played Ocarina, but one particular portion in the essay stood out to me:
“…[In] the game, domestication is portrayed as a mutually beneficial, voluntary arrangement. The anthropomorphized cows of Hyrule speak to Link, literally saying, ‘Have some of my refreshing and nutritious milk!’ Of course depicting a relationship as anything like symbiotic when one party kills and eats the other, as well as the latter’s children, would be laughable if it weren’t so appalling.”
This part stuck out not because of the creepiness of a talking cow enjoying this questionable relationship (if you take that argument), but because I don’t remember the cows in Ocarina ever talking. I don’t doubt that they do, but I don’t know that they did in my game. And that’s probably because I never tried talking to a cow when I played.
I won’t spoil anything about Gravity (you should see it), but a few people have complained about the way that physics are bent to accommodate the story. Fair enough. I can understand that argument, and I can see how a person can choose a side. If a person told me they didn’t like the movie because the scene that took place on the surface of the sun is a bit silly, however, I would have been confused since no such scene appears. I know that, with few exceptions, movies are what they are. While you can debate meaning and argue your interpretation of what was shown, film is linear. Even if I didn’t see Gravity in a nice theater, the content of the film would be the same. When you watch a movie, you’re going to talk to every cow. You might interpret her words one way or another, but that conversation is going to happen.
As we all know, games are an entirely different beast. You can agree with the Salon essay or not, but there’s a possibility that you didn’t even know about some of the things that the author is taking issue with – simply because you didn’t talk to certain characters or interact with specific objects.
I encountered something similar when the first wave of Grand Theft Auto V reviews hit. The UK’s International Business Times gave the game a 7, citing, among other things, a general lowbrow tone. I can’t argue with that interpretation, but once again, the specific example was confusing. The author, Edward Smith, says a mission begins with Michael meeting up with Trevor. Trevor is, in the inimitable English way of phrasing it, “doing a poo,” and Smith complains that it’s not mentioned again. Another writer, Tom Chick, mentions the same scene in his excellent essay on the game’s take on torture. The thing is, that didn’t happen when I played that mission. I don’t doubt that the scene was as gross as Rockstar had intended, but I just walked in the front door as another character, bypassing the sequence entirely.
My Trevor is an unrepentant scoundrel, a hair-triggered psychopath, and a potential cannibal. But an alleyway defecator? Not in my game. Not my Trevor.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
I read the comments and didn't bother with the salon article. honestly, I could take any subject matter and sub-title it "classist, sexist, and racist". and having this discussion about a 15 year old game seems pointless. as far as cork's article, I feel like you didn't finish it. is it good or bad that we may not have common experiences in games? does that enhance the medium? what effect does it have on storytelling? tie it in with the new release of two souls. needs a stronger tie in to the salon article; seems too much like a gratuitous insertion of said link. you blueballed me on this article cork.
That was a great read. 10/10 will pass it along.
Opinions are fine and all, but if you agree with that Salon article, you're an idiot. Nothing more than blatant click-bait.
Read good story interesting comments jeff nice.
I love this so much.
Thank you for...
Well, I was going to say 'verbalizing', but that obviously makes no sense. Verbalizing in writing. Yeah..
I've had discussions with friends about how we can have different takes on characters and plots in games because of our actions within the game.
I also think that is one (of many, obviously) reasons many people cry foul when someone points out prejudice in a game. They didn't notice it-or didn't see it! I've done the same.
Well the truly odd and unique thing about GTA V is that every time you hop back into a different character you'll likely to find yourself in some rather strange circumstances.
With Trevor, I would randomly find him being tossed out of some strip club or passed out in a remote area in his underwear, surrounded by dead bodies, or in bed next to a whimpering Floyd, or screaming at some passerby while wearing a woman's dress.
I know I caught relieving himself in some alleyway more than a couple of times. Even found him torturing some guy underneath a boardwalk or shouting at someone that he'd only touched the guy.
I don't really think we still have to question whether Trevor is cannibalistic or not. That eyelid in his stew surely couldn't have been bovine and Michael did refer to it as human stew. Trevor is a piece of work and half the "fun" was popping in to see what new form of debauchery he'd gotten himself up to.
But yeah, the experiences were random enough that some players might never get to see them all. I doubt I have and some have begun to repeat themselves. Since I ran into his mom, I've gotten pretty much stuck with good ol' Trev.
I just looked over that Salon Zelda article, and my first reaction was that it was a joke; trolling at its absolute "best" (or worst) so to speak. However, after thinking about it, I'm not sure someone would honestly put that much effort and thought into something just to mess with people. So if it is real, which it probably is, makes it even more pathetic. That article was one of the dumbest things I've ever read, the only case it makes is that evidently anyone can get pretty much anything published on a well-known, national website.
s a mission begins with Michael meeting up with Trevor. Trevor is, in the inimitable English way of phrasing it, “doing a poo,” and Smith complains that it’s not mentioned again. Another writer, Tom Chick, mentions the same scene in his excellent essay on the game’s take on torture. The thing is, that didn’t happen when I played tha
(you should see it), but a few people have complained about the way that physics are bent to accommodate the story. Fair enough. I can understand that argument, and I can see how a person can choose a side. If a person told me they didn’t like the movie because the scene that took place on the surface of the sun is a bit
e story. Fair enough. I can understand that argument, and I can see how a person can choose a side. If a person told me they didn’t like the movie because the scene that took place on the surface of the sun is a bit silly, howe
ir enough. I can understand that argument, and I can see how a person can choose a side. If a person told me they didn’t like the movie because the scene that took place on the surface of the sun is a bit silly, howeve
As far as I'm concerned, you haven't done "The Big One" right if the getaway vehicles aren't all lime green and hot pink. That's the one experience that everyone playing this game needs to have.
Exactly, Everyone's experience will be different. Some may see it, some may not. Some may take offense, some may not. Bottom line is this is an offensive game, period. You don't like it, don't play and don't down it because you took offense to it. It's a solid game with amazing gameplay and depth.
Great piece Jeff. This is definitely something to think about in the upcoming years with more open-world & open-story games. It'll be interesting to see how reviews are affected because of it.