What the God of War Fiasco Shows About Us, and My Stance - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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What the God of War Fiasco Shows About Us, and My Stance

WARNING: The following post contains strong opinions about morals and our current society. I am open to people discussing my opinions and talking about their faults, but these are things I really believe in, and so please don't just...go like "no, you're wrong, shut up". :P

So, I know that this an overcovered topic, with many other people giving their input on this particular controversy, but I've really felt a strong opinion on this sort of...idea. Recently, God of War: Ascension was patched for containing a trophy that was named "Bros Before Hos", which was awarded for Kratos smashing in a Fury's face. After the outcry from some players and people in the industry, most prominently Adam Sessler, the name of said trophy became "Bros Before Foes".

The response to the patch has been just as controversial as the actual trophy itself; many people are against it, believing it a form of censorship, and being unneccesary, as it is of course in a God of War title, that has already in the past featured violence against women, with even the act of Kratos killing his own wife and daughter. While I am not in favor of this trophy name existing, I don't believe that the significance of the reaction to it has really been looked at.

Today, in modern society, a lot of words are thrown around as insults-to name just a couple, we have "retarded", and "gay". The use of these words today by people is crucial to understanding my argument, so please, bear with me while I try to explain my thoughts on the world today.

Let's look at the truth, first and foremost: these words are not insults, and should not be used that way. Even if it is against someone's religion to be homosexual, do you have to actively use it as an insult, even when it has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation? No, you don't, and you shouldn't, I think. The only thing this results in is a mentality of good vs. evil, where we don't let some people be accepted as people, simply because we are "better than them".

With the word retarded, it's a bit more understandable, but I think it's still out of context a bit. Mental retardation is a serious illness, and so, I don't think it's really right to use the words that way. What it, for example, something like...I really don't know, cancer, was used as an insult to people of larger-than-normal body mass? No one looks at cancer as something to really make fun of, as it can be a terminal disease that can tear families apart. So really, I think instead, we should use words like "stupid", in this sense, just because of how it is defined, compared to the word "retarded".

Now, after that, let me try to explain how this relates to the God of War controversy, as well as entertainment in general. First, is what I tried to explain in my comment on the God of War story, in that just because everyone uses these terms in a derogatory way, does not justify them. Just because all of my friends use the words in these ways, and ignore me when I tell them to not to, doesn't mean that they are justified in using them. This is a more general complaint I have, just about society itself-just because people have used this term before, maybe even in a justified sense sometime, does not make this one instance alright, as it can justify the term being used in a place where it isn't appropriate. (The words "gay" and "retarded" can be used as descriptive terms to people who actually fit under that category, but when the term "bros before hos" is used, I think it creates more of a "women are bad" mentality-I elaborate on this later.)

Second, is something deeper, and that I didn't really talk about in that comment; it is also the context in how a term is used, especially in the world of entertainment. For example, let's look at Heavy Rain-that game dealt with many controversial issues, like child murder, depression, tragedy, and other very dark themes. That game used those as a way to entertain a player, and to tell a story, and (not to my knowledge, at least), didn't offend people in any major way. However, when God of War: Ascension uses the term "Bros Before Hos", it isn't using it as a plot device, like say, a college kid talking to another in a TV show. It's being used as a joke, and the joke doesn't even fit into what is really going on I think. The way it's used insinuates, I feel, a male vs. female dichotomy, and leans, of course, towards the male side, as it's Kratos killing a Fury, and not the other way around. The use of this inappropriate statement skews with the reality of what is actually going on in the game, which is actually Kratos fighting to free himself from Ares' control(I think).

I know I'm kind of being a little vague here, so I'll try to get to my point more clear here: the trophy within the game isn't being used as a way to display...human behavior, so to speak. When words and actions that are demeaning to others are used in movies and games, they usually are being used to show the emotions and actions of a character-here, in this game, we see it being used as a joke: the term "ho" refers to a women in an offensive manner, and so, this creates this "man vs. women" idea, and eventually, just enforces negative thought in our minds, I think. We don't need this sort of thing to exist-I know that it's inevitable, and that this sort of idea will ALWAYS exist somewhere, I think we should recognize, as people, that some people will be offended by this sort of thing, and that serious topics like this should be recognized as something to be more represented and replicated in media, and not joked about lightly. I know this is a hard thing to do, as everyone, even people against it, like me, end up joking about these things-I just wish it was recognized more.

Anyway, that was a super long rant. Again, I'm sorry if that was confusing for anyone, as I kind of jumped around a bit, and probably repeated myself 300 times; it's late, and I'm thinking too much about The Phantom Pain interview in a few hours. I hope anyone who took the time to read all that appreciated my input into an already beaten topic, and comments below on their thoughts.

Comic relief, anyone?

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