Thursday, November 1, 2018

NPC Demands NPC Rights...In Video Games



This one is so Meta,  it's pretty much the new gold-standard in defining Meta.

 I've complained before about not being able to write satire anymore because the NPCs keep upping their game. When everything looks like The Onion then everything is The Onion. But this one went all out.

The reviewer is a pink haired Trans demanding that NPCs be treated like real people.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s excessively detailed world tries to suggest reality. 

We can start with "excessively detailed". Clearly this writer thinks that too much detail results in a drag on the story. This is arguable. Let us see where the argument goes.

Fall and you get covered in mud; while covered in mud someone might make a coy comment about how they hope it’s not shit. The world is full of little flourishes and behaviors that suggest its NPCs are real people with genuine reactions. But the more I play, the more they feel like puppets putting on a show...

The argument goes nowhere because less than a paragraph later some things aren't detailed enough.

They are puppets you dip-shit. That is exactly what they are and more importantly, exactly what NPCs are supposed to be.

Have you ever played a video game?

On the surface, NPCs aspire to the same level of detail, acting out what seem to be full lives. An angry saloon-goer tosses someone through the window for sleeping with his wife; a clumsy rider stops to calm their horse only to get kicked in the head. These moments try to suggest the world is full of people going about their lives, but when contrasted with the rest of the game’s level of detail, they are woefully artificial. The seams start to show, and it’s obvious that Red Dead Redemption 2’s people only exist in relation to me and are defined solely by what I can do to them...

No shit, you jack wagon. They are NPCs. Unlike you, they are not supposed to have a life.  Your concern for your spiritual brethren (or whatever the fuck collective noun Trannies use) is commendable but laughably misplaced.  They are meant to be non-sapient background noise.

You are bitching about the fact that these NPCs aren't AIs who would pretty much have to be smart enough to know they are AIs.  If you have seen WestWorld you would know that that is very bad thing.


The game’s interactions are constrained largely due to its inspirations. Westerns are a complex and problematic genre tied to a violent history that gave rise to the myth of the gun as an egalitarian tool (e.g., the oft-quoted “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal”) and rugged, self-reliant masculinity. As a result, interactions with Red Dead Redemption 2’s NPCs exist within that masculine framework...


Doubtless, a masculine framework is a horror beyond imagining to a man who is so lost in his identity fantasy that he is feverishly saving up so he can have himself surgically castrated but anyone who actually wants to play this game...i.e. normal sane men don't object to any of these things at all and in fact enjoy the hell out of them. This is called being a conventionally sane and rational man.


These rewards further stress that, in spite of Red Dead Redemption 2’s meticulous details and animations—created through excess, condemnable (sp) hours and strenuous labor—the NPCs just exist for the player’s benefit. 

Correct. That is all they were ever meant to do because they are mindless NPCs whose only purpose is to advance a player's story.

HBO’s Westworld

Okay, Heather has seen Westworld and learned nothing from it.

—whose core conceit is that people can attend a theme park of Wild West role-playing android “hosts” who offer unique adventures—mocks this conceit in a scene in which one of the park’s artificial workers falls off his horse. When a human protagonist, William, comes to his aid, the host tries to entice him with tales of a treasure map and lost riches. William’s companion dismisses the prospective adventure as a transparent park narrative. It’s kiddie stuff, a blatant attempt to pull park guests into side activities and storylines crafted for their amusement. And yet, in Red Dead Redemption 2, these scenarios play out with little irony.

We can start with the obvious. Red Dead Redemption is meant to be a Western. Westworld is a nihilist, atheist, half-coherent tone poem  of a Lefty wet dream, which has a few Western themes thrown in and lots of frontal male nudity,  plus women throwing tough strong he-men around like rag dolls. I get the appeal for you. Yes, I know you'd rather watch that than play video games. Mostly because you clearly hate playing video games.

I avoid towns more often than not in the game. I get too distracted by the animatronic people and their play-acting lives. Perhaps I’ve been playing games so long that I can’t help but see the puppeteer’s strings here but plenty of other game series sidestep this. The Witcher 3's city of Novigrad is exactly that: a city. So is Yakuza’s Kamurocho. Red Dead Redemption 2's town of Valentine is movie set. Much of that has to do with its people and how they exist only for my benefit. It’s not even about being more “realistic”, or creating better AI; it’s about allowing these entities lives independent of their service to the player. These people don’t align with the world they’re in and they certainly don’t always have to exist for me. When I’m out in the forest or riding on the plains, things seem calmer. Red Dead Redemption 2’s detailed environments are intoxicating enough that I forget myself for a time. But that silence always breaks. Suddenly, there are broken stagecoaches passengers on the side of the road, hillbilly ambushes, or a man caught in a bear trap. The world doesn’t want me to forget all the things I can do it or all the riches its characters want to give me. There’s so much content out there, all for me, that the game can’t help but summon its theme park actors and crafted set pieces. After all, the greatest crime I could commit would be to miss them.


No, the greatest crime you could commit is getting a job reviewing games.

This is a drama critic masquerading as a gamer. We've all seen this one before. A mid-wit intellect that got hired by lol-kotaku because he is a transgender with pink-look-at-me-hair. This critic is an NPC that doesn't want to play games, it wants to watch TV.

And the most ridiculous part is that it's complaints aren't remotely based in reality. 

First there is the technological impossibility of creating an AI with such a multi-layered back story that you are convinced it's real.  You still have to use actors for these things and the typical script for a game is the size of a New York City phone-book. There is no way in hell an AI can deliver anything that approaches a believable performance...and I would be rather terrified of one that could.

Second and more importantly, nobody ever does create supporting characters like that.

There is a reason that writers use tropes and stereotypes.  And that's because giving every character a rich and detailed life is a terrible economy of story telling.  You need the minds of your audience to fill in a lot of the details themselves.   If there is an old man in ragged clothes, with a scruffy beard, clutching a bottle and shambling aimlessly down the alley, I know what he is and that is more than likely all I need to know about him as a background character because HE IS A BACKGROUND CHARACTER.  I don't need to know how he got that way if it doesn't advance the story.

Heather Alexandra* wants NPCs to be something they aren't.  Which is understandable since the author of that piece is clearly and obviously just as much of an unthinking automaton as any video game character ever was.  I can only surmise that Heather's real objection is that the NPCs in Red Dead Redemption are so layered compared to the average NPC it knows in real life that the inevitable comparison became a little too painful to look at. 



* (Christ on crutch! Tranny names!  May as well have gone with Galadriel Monmothma Starflower)

3 comments:

L. Beau said...

* (Christ on crutch! Tranny names! May as well have gone with Galadriel Monmothma Starflower)

That reminded me of my middle-school fantasy role-playing game days. If somebody's kid sister ended up at the table, she'd be playing an elf with a name like "Fireflower Starchilde."

Unlike "Heather", at least those kid sisters had the excuse of still being grade-school age.

Sillon Bono said...

This:

I can only surmise that Heather's real objection is that the NPCs in Red Dead Redemption are so layered compared to the average NPC it knows in real life that the inevitable comparison became a little too painful to look at.

Is pure gold.

bob kuk mando ( i'm so glad the Cannibal Cousin told me to clean my room and take my meds ) said...

in spite of Red Dead Redemption 2’s meticulous details and animations—created through excess, condemnable (sp) hours and strenuous labor—the NPCs just exist for the player’s benefit.

this is so dumb, it's hard to even know where to start.

"in spite of"?

more like, "completely irrelevant too".

it wouldn't matter if it was a fully sapient and ensouled 300IQ AI
...
it would STILL 'just exist for the player's benefit'.

it also doesn't matter if it's an inert rock with no in game functionality beyond the clipping function requiring your avatar to walk around it.

EVERYTHING IN THE GAME IS EXCLUSIVELY THERE FOR THE PLAYER'S BENEFIT, YOU RETARDED FAG.

When I’m out in the forest or riding on the plains, things seem calmer. Red Dead Redemption 2’s detailed environments are intoxicating enough that I forget myself for a time. But that silence always breaks. Suddenly, there are broken stagecoaches ... etc, et al

*facepalm*

he wants to be a man without a dick experiencing a game without playing it.

somehow, this has a certain perverse consistency.