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    Themes and Tones in Video Games

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    It's Kruger
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    Themes and Tones in Video Games

    Post  It's Kruger on July 25th 2015, 11:04 am

    I've been spending the last week or two rolling around in my nostalgia playing the remakes of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 on my new PS3 and something kinda hit me hard about it this time.

    The plot may be a mess, but it's a great kind of mess. It's more like a puzzle, it doesn't make any sense if you don't have all the pieces.

    I'd like to discuss one piece of this puzzle with you all real quick.

    This has to do with a character named Roxas. But I need some explaining first

    In Kingdom Hearts, Hearts are basically souls. All you feel and connect with is through your heart. But, when someone with a powerful Heart succumbs to darkness, they become a Heartless, the seekers and devourers of Hearts and main baddies of the series.

    However, the shell without the heart becomes a Nobody. Someone with no Heart, just an empty shell doomed to fade into darkness. Roxas is Sora's (The Main character of the series) Nobody, created when Sora gave up his heart to save his friend before immediately getting it back.

    Well, after the first game, Sora lost his memory, so Roxas was free to roam and soon joined a group of powerful Nobodies called Organization XIII (13). He befriends Axel and Xion, and the three eat ice cream on top of a tower and watch the sunset after every mission.

    The plot happens, and it is revealed that Xion is a puppet and Axel lied to protect Roxas. The themes of hopelessness and despair here are so strong. Here are three scenes for you guys that just tug at my heart every time I see them.

    THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THESE

    1) Go to 1 minute
    2)Go to 3 minutes
    3)Go to 4 minutes

    Just the heavy sense of the bonds that the schemes of the badguys break in this series is just heartbreaking.

    Anyways, I bring this up because I want to ask you guys: What themes in video games just blow you away? What games would you show to a hater to prove to them that these are more than distractions, but actually art?

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    Bad John
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    Re: Themes and Tones in Video Games

    Post  Bad John on July 25th 2015, 12:02 pm

    Scale.

    I like the feeling of having capability and agency while facing an immense crisis or adversary.

    It's one of the reasons I love three games in particular: Lost Planet, Shadow of the Colossus, and Cave Story.

    Using Shadow of the Colossus as an example, you have everything you need to succeed when you first face Gaius, but even knowing that, you watch as this massive, unhappy BEAST slowly rises from the dirt, looming over you. It even looks into the distance, seeing the beams of light that are jettisoned from his fallen brothers. Gaius knows you killed some of his fellow Colossi, and he's very unhappy about it.

    Halo has had some of that scale I enjoy in the past, but your role in combatting the threat is largely isolated to fighting on the ground as a soldier against enemies you've cut your teeth against for years, so it's a bit of a moot point.

    Other than that, good writing, music direction, atmosphere, or voice acting can get a rise out of me on occasion.
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Themes and Tones in Video Games

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on July 25th 2015, 12:16 pm

    The themes that always blow me away, no matter the video game, are the ones that involve heroic sacrifice. I dunno what my affinity is with death, but I always get this chill down my spine whenever I see someone sacrifice everything they have, or would have, to see a brighter future for all.

    One great example of this was Jorge from Halo: Reach. He died a hero, trying his best to buy Reach enough time to come up with an effective resistance against the Covenant.

    Another was Dominic Santiago from Gears of War. He sacrificed his life, because while he didn't feel he had anything to live for. He had rather'd dying to protect Marcus and the others in the squad, then just die by his own hands.

    I dunno why, but scenes like that always tug at my heartstrings. Perhaps it's because I have always strived to be someone that people can look up to, and these people who have everything, or nothing, are still willing to put themselves on the line to save everyone. It's admirable, and while it's highly cliche in games, there are some games that pull it off.

    The ones that really get to me though, that always make the story much more interesting, are the ones where the selfless person who sacrifices themselves are immediately forgotten. The best example I can give is this Indie Game called Makoto Mobius.

    It's a small RPG game about a boy named Watorou, and the classmate that sits next to him; Makoto. One day, she approaches him and says "If you told me to die, should I?". It is later seen that she died that night, and Watorou, the player, is told of a diety named Mobius.

    Mobius allows the player to travel back to the night before, in an endless loop, attempting to save Makoto. The only rule is, the same number of people that die in the day must remain. So if Makoto was the only one to die that day, then someone else must die to protect her.

    It is later discovered that her Father is a depressed asshole who is constantly complaining to his pre-teen about the world around them. She becomes depressed as a result, and, he tries to commit murder-suicide with her. After killing her, however, he chickens out.

    As the player goes back each night (each night is a different loop, each capable of a bad end), there are numerous paths the player can take. He can shove sleeping pills down the sleeping father's throat to keep him asleep through the night, but Watarou's mother dies of a heart attack.

    Watarou can take a kitchen knife and kill Makoto's dad in his sleep. But Makoto finds out about it and offs herself regardless the following day. Watarou can even stab Makoto and end her suffering, only to be killed by Makoto's best friend.

    The reason I bring up this game, however, and why it's the prime example of a selfless, forgotten hero, is because the true end of the game involves taking the Knife, and leaving the house. Watarou decides that, Makoto doesn't deserve to die. His life is miserable as it is, and he takes his own life. Therefore, he saves her life, and saves himself.

    It's sad, however, because the following scene shows Makoto at school. She has heard from the teacher that her classmate, Watarou, passed in the night. She goes on to say that she doesn't care, she had no connection to him, and she had no remorse for his death.

    The words I type do not do justice to the vibe that the true ending gives. However, it is extremely powerful. This kid gave his own life to save a girl he hardly knew, and she didn't care in the slightest. Mostly because... she didn't know.

    Overall, the themes I always look for that need to be done correctly are heroic sacrifices. Anyone can throw themselves on top of a grenade and save a life. It's no less heroic, nor is it any less selfless. I'm talking about the people that do it for EVERYONE. Think of Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. He pretty much dies unless you were Space Jesus or no life'd the hell out of the first two games.

    He died protecting the Humans, the Krogan, the Quarians, the Geth (assuming the Quarians didn't die/made peace with them), the Turians, and whatever race Liara was. His act ultimately saved the fate of the Universe.

    Even though that ending left something to be desired, this character I had bonded with, whom had this amazing crew he left behind, gave everything that he was to save the Universe. Those are the scenes that get me.


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    It's Kruger
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    Re: Themes and Tones in Video Games

    Post  It's Kruger on July 29th 2015, 3:06 am

    Cool. Cool. I feel you guys. Actually, another theme I enjoy, specifically in Spec Ops: The Line is the horror of war.

    The unique thing about video games is that you. Participate, something movies and books can't do to games' level. So, you're murdering countless people in a pursuit of a rightful end, and watch as the character you play as slowly deteriorates mentally.

    It gets you evolved via the gameplay to emotionally connect you to the main character. You see and believe all he sees and believe, even if it's not all true.

    It has a great quality of a good RPG without actually being one. It's one of the best games I've ever played.

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    Re: Themes and Tones in Video Games

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