OK time for a rant.
I love violent entertainment without apology. Movies, games, books, whatever - if it has people stabbing and shooting and driving over each other I'll probably get a kick out of it. I'm a die-hard gore-hound.
But violence is like baker's chocolate. You can't just sit there and eat it. It has to be part of a recipe or it's just bitter and gross.
If you don't like violence in your entertainment let me offer you another way to see this: Think over your favorite movies. The main character probably felt miserable at some point, right? Maybe a loved one died, maybe their house got blown up; something bad always happens. And for a little while they showed that misery to you. If they played it serious it might have made you feel sad. If they played it for laughs it might have made you smile. But in either case you were watching someone feel miserable, and you were entertained.
Now imagine watching someone feel that way for two hours. No story surrounding them, no changes in tone or setting, just pure emotional suffering on screen for two hours. Doesn't that sound unpleasant? The point I'm making is that we watch people suffer in our entertainment all the time, but it's not the suffering itself we enjoy
. We enjoy the flavor it adds to the recipe as a whole.
Same goes for violence. It's not the violence itself that I love. I love the flavors that violence can bring. It can be thrilling, funny, gross-out, scary, whatever. It's a versatile ingredient when used correctly.
With me? Good. Now. This game:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrX7G-1xPLs
I want to make it clear that this doesn't bother me on a moral level. I consider games like this harmless even when they're garbage.
My issue is artistic: just how badly can you misunderstand the appeal of violence?
Pretty badly I guess. I could barely finish the trailer. It feels like someone force-feeding me a pound of baker's chocolate while shouting 'chew it! you love this flavor! chew it!'
I don't even object to the premise: A guy hates everyone so he kills them. Okay, sure. It's dumb and it's in poor taste, but I've had fun driving over little old ladies for bonus points in Carmageddon and that's at least as bad as anything I see here. But Carmageddon was fun. It had bright colors and played everything as a joke. It made me laugh. I don't detect any humor in this trailer. I guess they wanted to play it serious? But why not really
take it seriously, then? Maybe have you play someone who's clearly mentally ill. Maybe the people around you appear as horrific caricatures of their real selves and the world is all distorted by their disease. Maybe the inciting incident is that you lost your medication. Okay, I could get behind that. That might be thrilling and disturbing. Still in poor taste, but whatever.
Or if you're going to go for straight-faced over-the-top, why make the main character so threatening? Picture a scrawny wimp in place of the hulk in this traler. It's not a whole lot better, but it's an undeniable improvement, because you can at least imagine some kind of justifiable backstory in that case. Or if you must
make him a superhuman, why not go with a bizarro Captain America - someone who was scrawny and bullied their whole lives, but got Super-Soldiered up and decided to kill all the bullies?
Or hey, why not work the suicide angle? Make it a spiritual thing. Maybe your goal is to amass an army in the afterlife. Maybe there's some ambiguity about whether this afterlife exists or not. Just offer me something, anything
other than kill kill kill.
There are so many permutations that could improve on what I see here that it seems a miracle they picked the one permutation that fails on every level.
Maybe the actual game has some of these elements? Who knows.
But it also doesn't matter, because that wouldn't make this marketing effort any less of a stupendous miscalculation. This company very deliberately crafted this trailer to give me a feeling. They thought I would enjoy
this feeling in the same way I enjoy other violent entertainment. They thought - excuse me as I stifle a giggle here - they thought I'd actually want to buy more of that feeling
. What a bunch of morons.
Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye.