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The Grown-Up Video Game

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the getajob-hero dept.

Games 152

Phaethon360 writes "Now, more than ever, we're seeing many Mature ratings (M+, 17+, 18) being distributed by various national media regulators. But that isn't the only indicator for a game's intended audience. It doesn't take a thousand swear words, scantily clad women or gratuitous violence to differentiate a ten-year-old's game from a twenty-year-old's. The spectrum of human emotions encompasses a wider palette than just revenge, fear, and loss, but the games that shy away from these are frequently mistaken as being for a younger audience. From the article: 'The human experience is one that is made up of great hardship, pain, loss, death, and a multitude of experiences seemingly designed to destroy a person. However, that same experience is also filled with joy, love, laughter, family and friends. ... These so-called “grown-up” games need not be relegated to the category of niche gaming. In fact, at times we find that these video games are capable of reaching mass popularity among the gaming community. It is here that we find one of our generation’s outlets for the expression of conflict.'"

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152 comments

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the game (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255072)

you just lost it.

Re:the game (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255150)

The only winning move is not to play.

Re:the game (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255228)

If you know about The Game [wikipedia.org] , you're playing, and that asshole above made me lose.

Re:the game (2, Interesting)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257002)

Consider the rules.

1. You are always playing the game.
2. Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.
3. Losses must be announced.

Now, I thought about The Game several times last month, yet didn't announce any of them. I disobeyed rule number 3, yet apparently was still playing the game, which would mean that obeying the rules is not mandatory. Therefore, I've decided to ignore the rules completely and stop playing.

Of course the game is rigged (1)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255650)

Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win.
- Robert Heinlein

Re:Of course the game is rigged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255952)

Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life. The object can be stated this way: Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play. Non-players often whine and complain that luck always passes them by. They refuse to see that they can create some of their own luck.
-Darwi Odrade

Re:the game (0, Offtopic)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255882)

The only winning move is not to play.

I apologize if I'm slightly OT, but with the way companies are going with DRM, that quote is rapidly becoming true.

Re:the game (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255246)

Sorry, I already won http://xkcd.com/391/ [xkcd.com]

Re:the game (-1, Troll)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255292)

Along similar lines http://goatkcd.com/311/sfw [goatkcd.com]

Re:the game (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255410)

I refuse to click on any link that has the word goat in it. I think I have been traumatized...

Re:the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255424)

It is what you think it is, but not nearly as terrible

Re:the game (4, Informative)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255442)

With good reason. It's xkcd with every last panel changed to a hand-drawn goatse. With hilarious results. [goatkcd.com]

Re:the game (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256498)

Damn you LiquidCoooled, I hadn't tought about it for 355 days! Now I can start all over again...

TFA (0, Troll)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255074)

>>The human experience is one that is made up of great hardship, pain, loss, death, and a multitude of experiences seemingly designed to destroy a person.

I think the authors have confused real life with video games!

There's certainly a lot of bad things that happen in life, but if you run your own life wisely, you can minimize the pain and maximize the pleasures.

I really like a lesser-known saying by Machiavelli: "Life is half random, and half under our control." While we can't control whether or not we get cancer (beyond doing certain things like not smoking and eating veggies), there is a lot we can do that is under our control, and with planning you can attempt to minimize the random events that come your way. You shouldn't expect to completely eliminate them, but if you do your best, you can get pretty good odds for living a happy life.

Re:TFA (5, Insightful)

madpansy (1410973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255704)

"Life is half random, and half under our control."

and with planning you can attempt to minimize the random events that come your way.

I'm sure with proper planning anyone can avoid being born in a war-torn or impoverished nation.

Re:TFA (2, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256592)

I'm sure with proper planning anyone can avoid being born in a war-torn or impoverished nation.

Well, it worked for me. In fact, I've authored a bestselling book called Who's your Daddy? A Pre-Conception Future-Life Planning Guide. I'm currently on a book tour of the nation's sperm banks...

Re:TFA (0, Flamebait)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256736)

If the fuckers do some planning they won't become parents in a war-torn or impoverished nation.

10 year old vs 20 year old (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255092)

How about games for 40 year olds? No, not Pac-man and Pole Position, but games adults can play and enjoy now. Apologies to the middle aged that play FPS and others of the new genre, but there is a market for less intensive product.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255198)

Coder Hero.

Using USB or wireless keyboards as controllers. A wide variety of configurable options such as choosing the difficulty and the programming languages. Unlockable characters like Dilbert, Wally, RMS, Linus, etc. Buyable or unlockable features such as operating systems, case mods, IDE's, and overspecced boxes that add more speed. Coffee and Chee-toes will be analagous to "star power". The "problems" will be in the form of method signatures and comments - the faster you finish your method implementation, the more points you earn.

Just as Guitar Hero features cut-scenes explaining the story, Coder Hero will feature cut scenes like drunken freshmen showing off their e-peens and, later, your PHB sweating about the product shipping in 10 minutes. The final battle will take place against IBM's Deep Purple, the computer which will eventually replace all programmers.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255654)

I love this game. I almost never play anything else anymore!

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (2, Interesting)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255742)

You made me remember Uplink

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (2, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255322)

There are tons of games that are absolutely gripping but have gameplay so slow it would put most FPS players to sleep. One of my favorites is the Silent Hunter series. On the higher realism settings it often requires a calculator to triangulate ship positions and velocities, taking up to an hour to set up a torpedo run on a convoy. Awful to watch, but extremely satisfying if your calculations work out.

If you're looking for fun but relaxed, there's really no shortage. Simulator games abound, as do puzzle games. There's a huge variety of real-time strategy games including tons that don't require inhuman micro-managing but do require thought and planning. Many games require a great deal of intellectual energy and are very rewarding. You say that the demand is there for mature games; it is, but so is the supply.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255338)

I'm 42 and I like to play the same stuff as the teenagers and the twenty-somethings. Fun is fun.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (2, Funny)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255374)

I'm 40 and the game is Modern Warfare 2. There's a million puzzle games if you are 40 and want to act 60!

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255406)

Here's my list [unlettered...dinary.com] of games I would love to play.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255696)

How about games for 40 year olds? No, not Pac-man and Pole Position, but games adults can play and enjoy now.

Hey, I'm 38 and I still love Pole Position. Some of those girls can really work the pole on stage, positioning themselves for maximum exposure (as it were). Sure, it can be kind of expensive, but I always like to think of the dollars in g-strings as my little "monthly subscription fee."

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255908)

A game for 40 year olds? Well I don't really see too much of a market for "Change the Baby" or "Do Chores Around the House"!

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256730)

Dude, no, those are 30 year old games.

40 year olds have teenagers that take care of their own toilet, and are perfectly capable of taking out the trash and doing the dishes.

On the other hand, the kids beat the heck out of me on computer games now, which is somewhat disconcerting after playing down to their level all those years.=^P

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257948)

A game for 40 year olds? Well I don't really see too much of a market for "Change the Baby" or "Do Chores Around the House"

"The Sims" sold pretty well and its not much beyond that.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258046)

Why wouldn't 40 year olds want escapism? Or do you think the average 10 year old is really fighting insurgents as part of a crack military squad during their days and then playing the same thing online in the evenings?

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255954)

"How about games for 40 year olds? No, not Pac-man and Pole Position, but games adults can play and enjoy now."

I picked up my pre-order copy of Heavy Rain today. Already chopped my poor guy's finger off two different ways. Oh fuck yes, this is an adult game.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

chikanamakalaka (218733) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256108)

I think people should make games like 1989-1994, that was the heyday for me. I am also into interactive fiction, lots of stuff out there.

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257608)

Try an adventure [adventuregamers.com] game [justadventure.com] .

Re:10 year old vs 20 year old (1)

Clovis42 (1229086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258206)

Try an adventure game.

But he said he didn't just want to play old games\genres like Pole Position ...

Grown up games... (3, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255098)

... I don't believe there is such a thing. I've seen grown men in their 40's+ rushing out to get the latest Call of duty or Mass effect 2. Games are NOT movies this call for emotionalism or "emotional depth" in a game is nonsense. What does final fantasy's story have anything to do with being a grown up? It's probably one of the most graphics heavy and story laden game series and yet their stories have nothing in common with anything one might consider "grown up".

I don't play games for emotional storytelling, I can get that in movies. I play games to be a participant in the world, kill stuff, shoot stuff, solve puzzles and indulge my imagination. I want games to be FUN, what does a plumber stomping on a bunch of mushroom people have anything to do with being grown up? Yet many millions of grown ups certainly enjoyed playing mario, I can vouch for the fact that my own mother got into playing mario kart series from 64 onwards.

Re:Grown up games... (1, Insightful)

Kopiok (898028) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255242)

For many people being told a story IS fun. I enjoy watching a heavy movie from time to time because it's thought provoking and the emotional pull is a nice experience (from time to time). I read books because of the thrilling events captured in words. Games don't have to lack a story to be fun. Uncharted 2 has won many awards for its storytelling and has been reviewed very highly, having great game play that is entertaining to the player. You brought up Final Fantasy... have you ever played any of them? They have some of the deeper stories in videogaming. Try telling a Final Fantasy VIII fan that the story isn't "grown up". Final Fantasy X had many far reaching philosophical elements regarding death, reality, companionship, love, destruction, all wrapped up in an entertaining experience that brings you closer to the characters. Just because you shoot someone, or kill some ravenous bird every 25 steps, doesn't mean it's an emotionally empty game.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256348)

"Games don't have to lack a story to be fun."

But no amount of story can really make up for a bad game, that's the problem.

Re:Grown up games... (2, Insightful)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257786)

I disagree. I have played several games that were buggy and/or where the gameplay itself was awkward up to annoying, just to see the story unfold.

I hate how the shift has gone from singleplayer to multiplayer and even MMO games. While multiplayer is fun as well, what I really really want is an immersive game world with a good story. That's the main reason I play video games. Which is probably why I love RPGs.

Re:Grown up games... (5, Interesting)

ClubPetey (324486) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255272)

You and I must be exact opposites. I play games specifically for their rich story lines. Sure, I play MW2 or Borderlands to blow some stuff up on occasion, but I enjoy rich stories like Lost Odyssey much more.

Games are 40-80 hour movies to me. With that length, each character can be explored, their background and motives explained, creating a richer involvement in the story. The reason those games are "grown-up" is because it takes a grown-up patience to play them. Most 10 year olds aren't going to have the patience to watch all the FMVs and read the dialog in a game like Final Fantasy.

I for one certainly hope that more games like Lost Odyssey are released. As the "original" video game generation gets older, I think we'll see more of these games.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255532)

Thanks for making me feel younger. When I play a game, I don't want to be ~entertained~ by hours of non-interactive stuff which might look pretty but is NOT a game just to get to the next "press two buttons to get the next cutscene" ~game-part~. If I did, I'd buy a DVD with a few serious scratches on it,and ~play~ the ~find the correct time and chapter~ game.

There are ways to make a game tell a compelling story without falling back on FMVs, be it just good mission design, interesting and varied dialogue options (I know many will disagree, but I thought a lot of fallout3's subquest were intellectually stimulating, especially in the way they forced me to make a moral decision), the old time-honoured "audiologs" dating back to at least System Shock 1, or even good monologues and attention to detail, as in Portal. Games based mostly on FMVs (Heavy Rain comes to mind .. how surprising that we get an article about "games becoming mature" on the day HR comes out) are just a not-so-subtle hint that the designers did not understand the distinction between a non-interactive movie and a game, or were too lazy to find ways to tell the story in the actual game.

Re:Grown up games... (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255970)

"Games are 40-80 hour movies to me."

From what I've experienced so far, it looks like Heavy Rain will be way, way, way, way, way, WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY longer than that. with tens of thousands of different paths to take the story, and you can pretty much kill off every main character and keep going, is nuts.

Oh, and be warned, this is a VERY mature. Holy mother of god it can get dark.

Re:Grown up games... (4, Informative)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256164)

The review on Gamespot said the game is only about 10 hours long, and has limited replayability due to the way the storyline forces you back to a singular path regardless of your choices?

Re:Grown up games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256636)

We've been playing for about 15 hours, not close to the end yet - what, did they rush through without enjoying the artwork and thinking critically about every situation as much as was allowed? Tards.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256648)

Umm, that was me. :(

Re:Grown up games... (2, Insightful)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257614)

did they rush through without enjoying the artwork and thinking critically about every situation as much as was allowed?

It was a review...so yes, probably.

Re:Grown up games... (0, Offtopic)

torako (532270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257350)

Most 40 hour games nowadays are just 10 hour games which you are supposed to play four times using different characters, changing the story slightly every time. That doesn't really count as 40 hours for me at least.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258032)

It's pretty hard to make really long games (that aren't boring grindfests) because of the attention to detail that would be required from the development team. It would make the game insanely expensive -- even more so than they already are.

Heavy Rain sure sounds great but I doubt it would last longer than 10-15 hours.

Re:Grown up games... (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256008)

. Most 10 year olds aren't going to have the patience to watch all the FMVs and read the dialog in a game like Final Fantasy.

Howdy, good that you added a "Most" there! however, that is still a generalization.

The 10 year old in me begs to differ. I *learnt* a good chunk of the English language while playing Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and Ninja Gaiden (all NES) reading the dialog in the game. Granted, the first 10 times I read it did not make sense, but after asking my parents and looking at dictionaries I learnt several words. And I was around 10 years old!

What is funny is that, as sibling poster (SammyF70) said, nowadays I get quickly bored by FMV games. I remember liking Metal Gear Solid for PSX, but after I tried to play MGS2 I just dropped it after the first 15 mintues of video and button pressing to continue.

The same thing happened to me with Zelda TWP Wii, really boring.

Nowadays I seem to need faster and more direct satisfaction. I enjoy racing, flight sim and such types of games because the premise is usually straightforward. I also enjoyed New SMB Wii because it has a minimal of story and is also quite straightforward (and I play it with my wife, making it double fun!).

I used to love RPGs, played a lot of that from Dragon Quest to Neverwinter Nights, and tabletop-RPGs as well. But nowadays I work from around 8 to 5:00 and when I play a game I want to get the most of it in the shortest time possible.

Re:Grown up games... (2, Insightful)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256280)

Part of this is, I think, that it takes some time to digest the lore nuggets that the games spew at us, especially when it's done from the firehose of an FMV or other cutscene. I like lore-heavy stories, or games with a plot, but it can sometimes be hard to geta good idea of "what the hell is going on" if you don't play something regularly.

I'm several hours (5? 4? 6?) into Twilight Princess. The story is great so far. However, I haven't played in a year because every time I think about it, I can't remember why I'm at this particular point, how I got there, or whatnot. The underlying fabric of the tapestry of lore is something I'd be familiar with if I were playing it regularly, but I've forgotten and now it's hard to jump in in the middle. So hard, in fact, that it's tempting to restart my game (but, I don't want to repeat the half dozen hours of gameplay if I don't have to).

Games I can "jump into", like COD or Borderlands or super monkey ball or even Wii Fit are more appealing to me right now, precisely because I am not going todevote the regular blocks of time to playing more complex games like dragon age or twilight princess.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256126)

I like a lot of games. I tend to go for more of the games you talk about. Something that has an interesting battle system and a deep plot that can explore multiple characters. I wouldn't really say that was "adult" though. I liked that type of game since I was a kid.

As far as the article goes, I don't necessarily agree. We are given books in high school like "Of Mice and Men" that are pretty screwed up. Can you imagine a video game like that being approved for Teens? There is a double standard that goes in to it. Maybe since it is interactive? I am not sure, but literature and games aren't treated the same. Great literature is something that moves you and persists as being great for generations. Games are really new...what would be a classic? Starcraft, I suppose? Will Halo stand the test of time? (I doubt it) A great game doesn't need a story. I can play counter strike all day and have fun, but I don't think my life is enriched by it. There is no story other than "You know that one round when it was me on 5 and I won? Oh yeah, that was sweet."

Well, I am kind of rambling, but I think gaming is still finding itself as an entertainment media. I believe it can take on any subject in literature and movies. I believe, in the future, the games that last will be the ones that move us the most. I could see the great games of the past being remade with updated graphics to be introduced to a new audience. So that my children's children can get completely pissed off when *super old spoiler alert* Sepheroth kills Aerith and you play the rest of the damn game trying to bring her back to life because you leveled her and she was really cute. It's funny, I still remember the way I felt when it happened. Obviously, as an adult, I might perceive it as something less than what it meant to me then. But I still think it would be interesting to see how my kids and their kids would react. I think it would be more accessible if they remade it on modern systems. Then again, people still read Shakespere.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256336)

"You and I must be exact opposites."

No you just like slower paced passive entertainment, in which you are not required to partake in the action or engage the world beyond a minimum.

I'm sure you love the adventure genre, I can take adventure games in moderate doses. But as a gamer I play games for the interactivity. Games can tell stories but they can't be a passive experience, but I don't play a game for the story. Mass effect 2 would not be the same experience without the action sequences and that was a game with a decent story in it. My point is a game will suffer enormously if the game spends too much emphasis on passive interactivity moving from cut-scene to cut-scene. The thing that separates games from movies is your *participation* if you want a story to be told movies or adventure games are up your ally. Why you'd want to experience stories through games in a passive manner when you can experience the same thing in other mediums is what I'd ask you.

Fables (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256718)

I love a rich storyline as well- been playing RPGs since, well, "Adventure" on the 2600. :-) Hey, OK, some of the early games required some imagination on the player's part. I had all sorts of tales spun about those duck-dragons and that bat.

However I'm not looking for any emotionalism. I really liked Fable 2, but I felt nothing for the dog. And when I had to choose between bringing back the dog and bringing back thousands of dead people, I brought back the dog. Why? Did I get attached after all? No, but the dog was useful in closing out a few remaining XBox achievements.

I was NOT affected by the death of Aerith. :-) At least not beyond "Oh, crap, I liked using that character." If I recall she was a good healer.

OK, I do have a crush on Tali in Mass Effect, but other than that...

Re:Grown up games... (1)

Obel (1534671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257430)

Interesting you note Lost Odyssey, I left a comment on that webpage anyway but I'll post it below as I highlight LO as a game I think failed to tell its story, which could have been so much more. Apologies for its length.

"Nice article, I frequently wonder why games these days claim to have a deep, immersive story, but all they mean is they drag on a long time and sometimes a character will die. There’s a lack of research into why characters act the way they do and in a way I think it’s the smaller things that make a character special.

Take for example a game I’ve been playing through lately: Lost Odyssey. I looked forward to this game greatly through its development as it claimed to have a really emotional storyline, it was literally described as a game that would make you cry (and cowritten by a popular Japanese novelist). What I found is that all they meant is some scenes would feature extremely forced emotions, like how the characters tend to cry a lot. Specifically a scene in the early section of a game where you meet a couple of kids, save their lives, then they take you home and it turns out their mother is the main characters daughter he thought was dead and everybody cries a lot when she dies of some mysterious illness and as a player you’re sitting there thinking “oh kay.”.

In a storytelling perspective Lost Odyssey fails in another way, in determining who the bad guy is and what makes him evil. For the benefit of those who haven’t played it before I’ll sum it up now: He has an evil goatee, audacious clothing and laughs when bad things happen to innocent people. You know, like all the real life villains. It would be equally appropriate if he walked around with a t-shirt on simply saying “Bad Guy”.
This isn’t criticism unique to Lost Odyssey though, lots of games suffer from a similar analysis into the characters.

Going back to what I was saying about the smaller things that makes a character special, I want to draw reference to some of the events in film and TV that make me smile the most. There’s this bit in the first episode of Twin Peaks when Cooper is about to do an examination of a corpse and he asks the assistant to turn the light off, in real life the actor misheard and thought he was asked what his name was, to which he replied “Larry”. Not breaking character, Kyle MacLachlan once again asked him if he could turn the light off, to which the other actor awkwardly obliged.

It’s this really awkward moment which is given so much humanity because of a slight slip up! It’s little things like this that make characters seem more human and sympathetic at times which you literally NEVER see in games these days. If I wrote a game I would ensure the characters sometimes trip over their words, get things wrong sometimes, lie.. Actually, just make mistakes in general, because it’s the most human trait I can think of!

One more short example before I wrap up this overly long comment. There’s a cult comedy that I’m sure many are aware and fond of: The Big Lebowski. Some people don’t get the humour in this film, but the reason why others are so in love with it is because of the characters that are built up and the language they use, which was an absolute master stroke of writing by the Coen brothers. The Dude struggles to get a straight, clean sentence out of his mouth most of the time. He’s always umming and ahhing and stealing quotes from other people and things he has heard on the TV, every um and ah of which was written into the script, not adlibbed by Jeff Bridges. It’s all these “flaws” I guess you’d call it which I believe makes a character more charming.

Maybe it would be better for game story writers to not write a beginning, middle and end? Perhaps it would be better to establish a world, then write the characters and REALLY flesh them out, then write the beginning to the story and see how these human characters react to the story. Maybe, just MAYBE they’ll end up in a much more interesting scenario.

But what do I know? I’m no writer."

Re:Grown up games... (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256572)

Sort of. There -is- a lot of graphics and story in Final Fantasy, but it's fundamentally, stories for kids, or at best teenagers. Children enjoy stories, as do many adults, but the stories tend to be DIFFERENT, and the stories in Final Fantasy, tend to be essentially fairytales.

You'll get young (typically 10-15 year old) characters, struggling with things like the relationship to their parents, their first love and daring to actually express same, clumsy misunderstandings, coming to terms with being responsible for oneself etc.

If you contrast, for example, the Romance in FF-10 with say the potential romance between Morrigan and the main-character in Dragon Age Origins, you can't help but conclude that the latter is more mature. Not primarily because there's sex (there is, but it's not the main focus), but also because the characters behave like, you know, ADULTS with adult issues, stuff you'd NEVER see in Final Fantasy.

FF is fine, but it's ultimately a fairytale for children.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258182)

If you contrast, for example, the Romance in FF-10 with say the potential romance between Morrigan and the main-character in Dragon Age Origins, you can't help but conclude that the latter is more mature. Not primarily because there's sex (there is, but it's not the main focus), but also because the characters behave like, you know, ADULTS with adult issues, stuff you'd NEVER see in Final Fantasy.

I can't comment on FF10, but take away the sex in DA:O and it's certainly not what I would call a good example of adult relationships. Characters who only "like" you if you do sidequests for them and bring them a ton a presents? Yes, a cynic might say that's true enough but it doesn't go any way towards describing the true complexities of adult relationships. Without the sexual connotations the relationships here are exactly how you would expect kids to behave - I'll only be your friend if you buy me those new shoes, or I won't be your friend if you talk to her. And the fact that you can only progress these relationships by certain staged points after big in-game set pieces just makes the whole thing feel even more stilted.

Aside from that, and apart from two or three key points where a character might leave your party if you made the wrong choice at point X in the game, the only affect the character's feelings towards you have on gameplay is a new skill boost when they reach a certain level. There's no feeling that a character who loves you deeply will throw themselves in the line of danger to protect you, nor will a character who despises you refuse to offer aid, preferring to save their own skin if you're in danger, which renders the whole thing just another stat levelling exercise.

Don't get me wrong, I love DA:O; have already played it through as a rogue and a warrior and looking at maging it next, but for me the relationships are just something you have to micro-manage to get the most out of your characters, they don't add to the tapestry of the story in any significant way (Morrigan's being the most significant, but as far as I can tell the only difference to the storyline is a scripted one where you get to choose the outcome regardless of whether she likes you or not), if anything they detract from it.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257794)

I agree that "Grown-up" games aren't the ones with "M" on the cover.

But I think you confuse storytelling (which is great, but only if you identify with the story, otherwise its boring as hell) with games that try to convey a meaning or provoke thought (which is what I would call a deep game).

I think there have been some very good "deep" games, or games where the interpretation of the story is left up to the player. Some recent (including to a certain extent successful games like Portal, Braid, World of Goo) have been compact enough to fit into a busy adult life, and while a kid could certainly play them, a lot of the subtleties would be lost on them. That is my definition of "grown-up" game.

Depth is not about whether you're left weeping because some main character has died. It's about whether it makes you think about what the message of the game is.

Re:Grown up games... (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257962)

The fact that most games have very little depth does not mean that games should not be developed that DO branch out. Those who are younger tend to prefer the more action based games, but those who are older look for more than shooters and non-stop action. Now, I am NOT talking about games where you play someone sitting at home chatting with the family or anything like that, but at the same time, do all games need to have the player control loners, soldiers, ex-soldiers, mercenaries, gang-bangers, and others who might be prone to violence in the first place? Do all the women in games need to be sluts, whores, or female versions of the main character who are similar to the main character to the point where they too are military/mercenary types with the idea that violence should be the first way to deal with every situation?

What really is different is that many people feel that violence may be necessary in some situations, but is something to be avoided for the most part. One thing that really marks games like Mass Effect as being different from the majority of games is the chance to avoid having the main character be someone who is ruthless, or just an asshole with a mission the game forces you to play through. Yes, there is violence, but you don't HAVE to kill everyone, and even when tempted, you don't have to give in to temptation. The idea of having someone to come home to, and not really wanting to be out there fighting all the time is missing.

Now, for those who don't know, many, or even most people who go to war really don't want to be there on the front lines. Even those who initially want to go to war will often find that they hate being stationed far from home in an uncomfortable environment far from friends, family, and kids. They want to get back home as soon as they can and get out of the hell hole that most war zones are. And that element is what you see missing from most games, the fact that it seems exciting to be out there, until you see a friend killed in an explosion with you barely avoiding the majority of the blast, and the stink of burned flesh making you want to throw up. It isn't anything glorious or fun, and even being shot ONCE can take you out of the action for a long time.

So, emotional depth does not mean that games NEED to be about that, but games that are more realistic about how it would be to be in some of these situations are what is missing. Cut scenes can generally be skipped for those who don't care about them, but there are a good number of people that WANT that movie experience in a game. Games have the ability to REPLACE movies for storyline, as long as people understand that the same way you may prefer action movies, others may prefer a comedy, romance, or drama. Don't try to force your tastes on the world by saying that most PEOPLE love the types of things you do.

Sure is viral in here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255132)

Seriously. This sounds like nothing but a stealth advertisement for Heavy Rain. Yay it came out today! Just say so and be done with it instead of trying to sneak it in with this self-important navel-gazing.

Hmm (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255180)

It doesn't take a thousand swear words, scantily clad women or gratuitous violence to differentiate a ten-year-old's game from a twenty-year-old's.

No, but it helps.

Heavy Rain anyone? (4, Interesting)

Retardical_Sam (1002763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255202)

This on the day that Heavy Rain is released. Preliminary reviews seem to say that it's much more adult-oriented, and not just in terms of the things that cause more adult ratings.

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255980)

I guess you haven't played the demo which has been available for like, three weeks. This game is beyond mature. This game is DRAMA at damn near it's finest.

And I will almost never give ANY game such a review that simple and shining. The only thing that SUCKS is the control scheme for moving around, and that is it.

*goes to whack off another finger*

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256304)

I saw a promo video for Heavy Rain and it looks ... awesome. Kindof makes me wish I had a PS3. And yet, it's SO disturbing that I don't know my wife would let me play it. Kudos to them for making a game that explores such themes though.

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256662)

They aren't fucking joking - How far ARE you willing to go to save someone you love?

This game is living up to the hype for me. And that's very rare.

In fact, I'm about to try out the new STALKER game, we'll see if it lives up to the hype, despite the outdated engine it supposedly fixed major glitches and even gives a free play afterwards.

First STALKER rocked despite MP issues and glitchy ass engine. Second one was just a cheap hack to implement DX 10 features, and poorly, at that. This one promises to be much better.

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256654)

I didn't like any of the control scheme, and I actually did well with the demo. Won the fight and everything. But I found I was staring at the screen like a mental patient watching for random icons and not really paying attention to what was being said. Some would slowly fade in during conversations and blend in with the background. My classic copy of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines ran screaming out of the room.

The first time I had to choose a conversation gambit, the three selections appeared right on top of one another, and just as they started to pull apart and become readable they drifted behind the character's head. D'oh! That's when the woman admonished me for taking too long. Hey, eff you, game. :-P That right there is enough for me to *not* reward the developers. I understand what they were going for, but it winds up being very immersion breaking.

It's an interesting experiment- I'll probably rent it- but maybe next time they'll try to be a bit more practical and less pointlessly artsy in the interface.

And, honestly, was the drama really anything all that special?

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256934)

wait wait wait.

So to paraphrase you a bit, you're saying "The only thing that sucks about this game is that it's damned near impossible to play... but it looks like a nice movie."

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256376)

I'm waiting to see sales, while people might SAY the y want "adult" games, the true test is - is the paying market big enough to support such games?

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258250)

Considering the massive hype around this game, I'd be surprised if it didn't generate huge sales. Better to watch the sales of the slew of "me-too" games that are bound to follow, as these will be a better indicator of whether people actually enjoyed the experience or just bought into the hype.

I have to say, from the few videos I've seen (and they're now running ads on the TV, the before the watershed version showing a peaceful resolution to an in-game situation, the post watershed not so much) it just looks like a Dragon's Lair type affair with better graphics, which doesn't really appeal to me. I'm all for an engaging storyline but I have to feel that my investment in it is more than making random A-B choices at various intersections and retrying until I get the right combination. That's probably massively unfair, as I said I've only watched the videos online, but it's not something I'd be rushing out to buy.

Re:Heavy Rain anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257294)

Ooh, what an a-mazing coincidence.

So.... (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255204)

So.... It's time for text adventures / IF to come back?

Re:So.... (1)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257224)

Oh yeah. Long live the MUDs

Perhaps he played too many games (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255252)

Looks like he skipped spelling and grammar.

Time pressure and expected content (5, Interesting)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255286)

The difference between adult gamers and younger gamers is partly a factor of time pressure, and partly a factor of content.

The time pressure element is obvious. Aside from a typical work schedule for an adult taking more hours then going to school, an adult has more demands on their time. A 14 year boy old does not have much beyond school and some minor chores. A 24 year man old has a work day, probably has a girlfriend, and possibly has children, in addition to some amount of chores and errands. As much as the 24 year old may want to pull a 6 hour world of warcraft marathon, he probably has to make sure he has groceries, that the bills are paid. While holding onto the girlfriend is optional, it probably takes precedence over the games. The same applies to children. On top of that, the adult potentially has the money to do other activities (ie, going out to a bar, going to a rock concert, hockey game, going skydiving) that may also take precedence over video games.

The content factor is trickier. The 14 year old and the 24 year old will have a great deal of overlap for what they like in general terms. The only difference is that as the 24 year old has less time to waste, the content must be of a generally higher quality. Having mature themes is probably going to be the difference here if it is done right. The 24 year old wont play a game just because it has "hot horny nympho sex and buckets of blood". While that is still pretty sweet, it lacks the novelty value it has for the 14 year old. Having moral shades of grey, believable characters, and solid writing will help.

But gameplay is still king. Nintendo has pretty much proven beyond all doubt that if you can deliver good gameplay (Mario kart, wii sports, Mario Galaxy), you can hit the mark pretty solidly.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Time pressure and expected content (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255402)

While holding onto the girlfriend is optional, it probably takes precedence over the games.

You assume too much.

For example, you assume that you are not in /.

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255826)

I dunno about you guys, but when I was in Highschool, I was also working (often going to work the minute the school bell rang), and participated in tons of extracurriculars (band, *sigh*). When I did play videogames, I'd have to save up for a long time to buy a single one. Then college came, and I started taking 19 hours a semester, mind you still working part time or other times FULL TIME to support myself through college. Plus I had even less money for videogames in college.

Now the only thing taking up my time is my job, which I actually LIKE, instead of school, which just stressed me out most of the time. Also, because I'm an adult, I've got SOOOO much more disposable income, I own every console (which was something I couldn't DREAM of as a kid) and buy games all the time.

Sorry, but my life (and that of most 20-somethings I know) is completely the opposite of what you said.

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256406)

Shhhh, don't let the old folk know how much better we have it than they did! They might destroy our lawns!

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255828)

Another factor is the economic we are all in. If you're out of a job, your either looking or too broke to be purchasing new games. If your employed however (like I am), expect to be bled to to death with 60+ hour work weeks to make up the loss of ex-employee help previously available.

For those living in a happy-medium. I truly envy you!

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256098)

I'm 19 and I still manage to play games. I guess this is due to lack of a girlfriend or kids, but I still have a lot on the to-do list. Errands, groceries and chores can be done quickly with optimal efficiency. However, a full course load at university, with the added responsibilities of reading/commenting Slashdot, and browsing the web for over an hour a day, (I have a lot of bookmarks) and watch my daily share of shows (daily show for example).I also am in the process of creating a website to generate revenue and trying to write content for a blog. I've also taken up working out once in a while and joined the MMA club. Not to mention my devotion to my bong and guitar. God, summer will be a relief- it will allow me to get started coding this game idea I've got.

But let me tell you, I still fit in some decent hours to play cod (I've got 20k kills since release), and I plan on buying a multitude of games that are finally making their way out. Would you believe that I'm actually a really lazy person and sleep for 10+ hours usually? Don't say I don't have a life either, because I got drunk twice last weekend.

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256162)

The 24 year old wont play a game just because it has "hot horny nympho sex and buckets of blood".

Geez man! Speak for yourself and don't ruin it for the rest of us!

Re:Time pressure and expected content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256534)

Speak for yourself, my younger sister is a senior in high school and she wakes up before me, goes to sleep after me and spends maybe an hour or two of that time doing anything she wants. I'm not saying that she is in school more hours than I work, but when I get home I'm done.

Although I think it goes without saying, if you have kids this does not apply to you.

Re:Time pressure and expected content (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256832)

I have to add though, I like that you said

The 24 year old wont play a game just because it has "hot horny nympho sex and buckets of blood". While that is still pretty sweet, it lacks the novelty value it has for the 14 year old.

People need to wake up and realize that when a kid sees blood or sex, it doesn't instantly destroy him. 99.999% of the time, if his parents have already talked to him about everything, then he's just going to go, "blood, COOL!" or "boobies, COOL!"

meanwhile, it is the ADULTS that want more out of games than just blood and sex.
SOOO many people who have never picked up a single videogame in their life are going on and on about videogame violence ruining kids and this and that, and don't understand M rated games...

Hey guys, the average gamer is now like over 30! Go read the statistics. And leave our entertainment medium alone; it deserves the same respect as you've already given to books, tv, and film.

Heavy Rain (1)

Yosho-sama (800703) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255358)

I'm pretty sure this topic is in reply to the recent release of this amazing game.

For some... (2, Interesting)

Samah (729132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255438)

Now, more than ever, we're seeing many Mature ratings (M+, 17+, 18) being distributed by various national media regulators.

In your lucky, sensible country perhaps. Here in Australia, this man [wikipedia.org] thinks that any game other than Mario and Puzzle Bobble is evil, so we should PROTECT THE CHILDREN at all costs.

Re:For some... (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255762)

We have are own crazies here in America, see: Jack Thompson [wikipedia.org]

Re:For some... (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256482)

We have are own crazies here in America, see: Jack Thompson

Luckily for you, Jack Thompson has little to no influence anymore. Not a lot we (as in, anyone outside the electorate of Croydon) can do about Michael Atkinson.

Re:For some... (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255866)

Are you kidding? Mario ingests psychadelic musrooms and crushes innocent turtles to death, blithely kicking away the remains. Puzzle Bobble involves playing a monster who uses dangerous weapons to crush and destroy. Both are clearly unsuitable to anybody apart from drug addicts, animal abusers and vandals and anyone found in posession of such depraved material should be tried as such.

Re:For some... (1)

precariousgray (1663153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256262)

I've always wondered how lunatic nutjobs like that fellow come into power, or at least popularity. It doesn't make any sense to me. So far as I can tell, it encompasses only screaming insensibly, whilst simultaneously flailing ones appendages in a delirious fashion.

Those things, I wish I were good at them. Then I could be influential, too. Perhaps some day, in dreams...

It's time for PINBALL to come back as a big thing (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255470)

It's time for PINBALL to come back as a big thing and THEY ARE STILL MADE IN THE USA!!!

Why aren't there more adult games? (1)

tortuga78 (1108571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255616)

For a while, I have been waiting for truly "adult" games to hit the market. And before our 3 female readers revolt, I'm talking about more than just "borking" in ME2, or the advent of sexy photorealistic ladies. After all, leisure suit larry was already chasing pixellated tail "way" back in the early nineties.

Games have long been associated with children, and since we young-ish adults have grown up with videogames, games have sort of grown up with us. I say sort-of, because game technology, graphics, and gameplay have evolved. But most games are still targeted at tweens and teens, no matter what their ESRB rating claims.

So where are the games with truly adult themes? I'm talking about the breadth of human emotion here. Something more than just saving the princess or killing space marines. Mainstream cinema has no problem producing stimulating dramatic stories which balance artistic integrity, depth of plot, and mass market appeal. Yes, Transformers 2 still makes tons of money, but we still see Avatar and The Hurt Locker on the big screen. And moves like Precious or District 9 get made, even though they won't sell millions of bags of popcorn or action figures.

Network TV has embraced the least common denominator with it's plethora of reality shows. But American Idol and Biggest Loser are still balanced by The Wire, Mad Men, Lost, and 30 Rock et al.

I understand that console and handheld game markets are dominated by children, and many buying decisions are made by parents. However, adult game purchasers are a large and ever-growing demographic, so it seems obvious to me that game developers should be targeting adults with adult games.

I accept that PG-rated "sex scenes" are a step towards mature themes in games, but i don't understand why more developers aren't targeting truly adult audience. The obvious argument is that development dollars will cater to the largest demographics, so as to increase game studio profits. But where are the "independent" yet well-financed game studios that can rival "indie" film studios? 20 years ago "sex lies and videotape" defined the low budget crossover indie movie. Now "independent" movies can command a large production budget and can expect a modest return on investment. So why aren't there more game studios coming out with Shadow of the Colossus, Braid, and Heavy Rain?

Re:Why aren't there more adult games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31255774)

There are - in Japan.

I don't just mean porn, either, or are you going to tell me Phoenix Wright is for 10 year olds?

Supply and Demand; Chronological (2, Insightful)

HKatoyHToyH (1752778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255710)

The idea that stuff that should be unavailable to children is automatically more mature, has been spectacularly antiproductive.
Example of logic: "Wow, Bobby got drunk and slept with the teacher, and he's only a sixth grader! Awesome! I'm gonna ask him how he does it!"
Labeling things "M" adds about 25% interest among young teenagers, because we advertise sex and drugs as too fun to be legal. People reach for things they think will be useful in making them happy. For inexperienced people looking for fun, illegal looks like a pretty good start. If you're looking to make a game for an adult you're taking a lot of assumptions for what you think they will be reaching for. Any masterpiece you create to charm an adult audience will be virtually unadvertisable, and likely will be a commercial failure. Anybody looking should buy Okami. They would be in the first 500 people to do so, for effect, drink a Tab soda with it.

Child Gamer

14 fully automatic weapons that can be carried at once and ready to fire in any order within a second of each other.
Immense piles of (crappy) enemy armor, clothes, weapons, potions, and lunch monies
Dead Hookers that pay you
Complete physical dominance over a physical world
Self respect with occasional awe
Control over an economy.
Really funny stuff.
Charming stuff that makes you a little happier.
A compliment that actually pleases you

Video Games End Here
Office Software Starts Here

Spousal apologies
More free time/money
Inner Peace/Contentment

Dead Gamer

Shadow of the Colossus (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31255914)

Fitting that SotC would be the first game he mentions. It was the first to pop into my head. Also, props to whoever tagged this story "Mother 3." Definitely a grown up game, and it's a damn shame it never officially left Japan.

Re:Shadow of the Colossus (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256000)

SotC should be rated mature on the simple fact most children and teenagers today are pretty much incapable of appreciating the focus on artistic capability and awe-inspiration rather than constant action and dialogue.

The Stock Market (2, Insightful)

ntufar (712060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256416)

Not on topic but I'd want to mention the stock market as a good game for adults. I played computer games in my teens and twenties but now, in my thirties I find them quite boring, predictable and repetitive.

For three years now I picked up a new hobby: stock market. I watch CNBC, I read business newspapers, i follow a ton of finance blogs, I think, I make hard decisions, I put my money at risk, I master my impulses and emotions. I throughly enjoy it.

Grown up games (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256512)

You mean the kind I can put one a USB-stick and can hide realy quickly when the boss get near me?

40+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256640)

Now do you need a fake ID to buy ultra-porn type games when you are 40+?

IMHO (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257878)

IMHO as a "grown-up" myself, the best video games include the simple ones: Pac-Man and Galaxis at the local Pizza Hut for a quarter. Either that or some BASIC on a console hooked up to your TV.

Planescape Torment, hands down (1)

Aero (98829) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257988)

Sure, it had some D&D-obligated women in skimpy clothing, but everything else that made it good was clearly targeting a mature audience:

- 100,000+ words of text to tell the story -- sure, kids read books like that these days, but at a video game's pace? Not so much.
- Your character could do almost anything to anyone purely out of self-interest, and most of it wasn't physical. If you didn't manipulate a particular someone to your own ends over the course of the game, you probably didn't talk to them at all. Like in the first Fallout, you could talk the final boss to death if your stats were high enough.
- The best way to build up your companions' strengths was to help them explore their pasts and personalities.
- You never actually find out what it is that you did to curse yourself with immortality...but it was so heinous that your continued existence is threatening the fabric of the universe. Just try to imagine what it might have been. Go on, I'll wait.

Modern games, though, are getting into "show, don't tell".

MMORPGS age segregated servers (2, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258070)

Personally I always wished that MMORPGS had age segregated servers available.

Not because of adult content (as somebody pointed out in another story, naked pixels are only really tillitanting when ur a teen), it's simply because an environment where teens can run around anonymously controlling powerfull avatars and there are no adults in supervisory positions tends only be fun - if at all - for the teens themselfs (things like griefing, being loud, obnoxious and showing off which look cool when ur 13 and have no life experience just look like signs of social/emotional desperation once you become mature enough to understand people).

I don't want all servers should be age segregated, I just whish there were such servers available - with, for example, a 25+ age limit - for those that want the option: I would even be willing to pay extra for it.

!flamebait !astroturf (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258114)

Who the hell tagged this story 'astroturf' and 'flamebait'? It's neither. Several different games are compared, and Heaqvy Rain is only mentioned once. I'm submitting the opposite (see my subject line) and would urge everyone else to do so as well.

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