Category Archives: Video Games

13 Reasons Why: How To Talk About Suicide?

Recently, a study came out showing that 13 Reasons Why was potentially responsible for an increase in suicidal thoughts:

’13 Reasons Why’ may have lead to spike in suicidal thoughts

13 Reasons Why

Which caused me to think about Kate’s suicide in Life Is Strange.

Even though the scene goes against the World Health Organization’s guidelines for portraying suicide — i.e., don’t show the suicide attempt (don’t show Kate going through with it) — the reason I myself am OK with that, is this:

People have the chance to prevent Kate’s death.

There’s nothing stopping a person from replaying the scene with Kate on the roof until they get the outcome they want.

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Which is why I believe that, when it comes to portraying heavy issues like suicide, episodic games like Life Is Strange are better at it than television series like 13 Reasons Why because, ultimately, the choices a character makes, and how characters respond to those choices, are up to the viewer/player, not up to a writer who could have a different interpretation than you of the story you’re experiencing:

From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible. I even argued for it—relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers.
Nic Sheff

To an extent not possible with a Netflix series, an episodic video game’s story is only as harmful as the person experiencing that story allows it to be.

For example: Want to send the message that, when it comes to suicide, it is not others, but the suicidal person themselves, who is responsible for their actions?* Don’t wait for anyone else to say so; send that message yourself by pressing Square:

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*Where the show romanticizes the aftermath of suicide, it also blames everyone in Hannah’s life.
How ’13 Reasons Why’ gets suicide wrong

Destiny 2’s Story Makes No Sense

So, if the cutscene at the end of the first mission is anything to judge by, in Destiny 2 we lose our Light after Dominous Ghaul puts something around The Traveler.

Destiny

Despite the plot hole of, having been brought back to life with Light at the beginning of the first game, we should now be nothing but bones again since our Light has been taken from us…

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…I have a question:

How does Ghaul’s machine drain us, a Guardian, of our Light?

The reason I ask is: The Traveler has been dead before…

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…and that didn’t stop us from doing this:

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At the end of Destiny (2014), we are informed by our Ghost that “…Light returns to the Traveler!”

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The implication being that, before that moment, The Traveler was Light-less.

And yet, despite that, we were able to kill a god:

Destiny: The Black Heart by ZER0GEO

(Click here to go to where I found this picture.)

So, how does putting a barrier around The Traveler so its Light can’t escape, or draining The Traveler of its Light (it’s impossible, for now, to know what exactly is happening) effect us since we have clearly been shown to be able to wield Light without the assistance of The Traveler? (The Traveler being dead and, thus, not able to assist us.)

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Why Destiny 2’s Plot Is The Same As Destiny 1’s

So, if Bungie’s words are anything to judge by, the plot of Destiny 2 (2017) can be summed up like this:

Losing everything after an unexpected attack, you must go on a journey to reclaim all that has been lost.

Which is the same plot as Destiny (2014). For 4 reasons:

1) In Destiny, the “unexpected attack” is by minions of The Darkness:

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In Destiny 2, the “unexpected attack” is by minions of The Darkness:

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2) Going on “a journey to reclaim all that has been lost” means:

In Destiny, you start out with nothing, having come back from the dead. From there, you discover The Traveler and learn to wield its Light.

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In Destiny 2, you start out with nothing, having come back from nearly being killed. From there, you discover a piece of The Traveler and learn to wield its Light.

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3) In Destiny, The Traveler is crippled in a battle:

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In Destiny 2, The Traveler is crippled in a battle:

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4) In Destiny, humanity is at its lowest point yet.

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In Destiny 2, humanity is at its lowest point yet.

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If the similarities between the two games’ stories are anything  to judge by, people will be complaining about Destiny 2‘s story. But not in the way that Bungie wants.

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Video Games Are Art

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. (Thanks, Google.)

My favorite moment in Life Is Strange: Episode 1, Chloe’s house — Max sits on the swing that the deceased father of her best friend built for the two of them and thinks back to happier times.

Despite the prompt to get up — “Space Get Up” — you can sit on the swing for as long as you want.

If this 1 minute and 49 seconds isn’t an “expression or application of human creative skill and imagination” in a “visual form” that is beautiful and emotionally powerful, than I don’t know what is.

0:17 — 2:06:

Why I Have Mixed Feelings About “Life Is Strange: Before The Storm”

Life Is Strange (2015) is my favorite video game, and one of my favorite stories, ever.

So when a prequel —  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm — was announced at E3 2017…

…a part of me screamed “Yes!” while another part moaned “No!”

Why?

Well, as Cracked put it: The past was more interesting before we saw it happen.

When a magician hears the audience gasp and say, “How’d he do that?” he does not turn around and loudly announce, “Oh, the rabbit’s in my assistant’s ass.” Similarly, professional writers know that there are some questions that their audience doesn’t want answered, even though they think they do. Like a magician, a writer wants his audience to live in that space between knowing and wanting to know. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Having watched the trailer three times, my feelings towards it are more positive than they were on my first watch. For example: Before The Storm seems to be delving into Chloe’s psyche through the use of nightmares — Chloe dreams she is in the car on the day of her dad’s accident — like Life Is Strange did with Max near the end of Episode 5. (Max’s nightmare being one of my favorite sections of that game.) But… but…

sigh

You know the airport fight in Godzilla (2014)? The fight that you never saw happen?

Here’s why I’m ultimately glad Gareth Edwards cut away right before Godzilla and the MUTO went at it: The fight I imagine will  be superior to the fight I see.

And it’s the same with Before The Storm: The story I imagine will be superior to the story I see.

Another aspect of Before The Storm that has me thinking Don’t do that is the crow imagery:

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Depending on who you talk to, crows are considered bad luck. And Chloe, to put it lightly, could be called unlucky.

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The crow imagery reminds me of the Chosen One prophecy in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Thanks to the prequels, now in Return of the Jedi the Emperor’s death isn’t the result of Darth Vader choosing to save his son’s life — it’s the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The crow imagery has the potential to change Chloe’s death in Life Is Strange from a tragic accident…

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…to the cruel, calculated machinations of the universe: The universe has it out for Chloe, and won’t stop until she loses everything — her dad, her best friend and, finally, her life.

Which would make sense, given what we hear in Life Is Strange:

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But still: I would rather have Chloe’s death be an accident, not the fulfillment of the universe’s sadistic plan for one Arcadia Bay teen.

One reason why: Chloe’s fate being set in stone — if the crow imagery is anything to judge by — robs the “Life Is Strange” series of one of its most thought-provoking attributes: Choice.

Image result for life is strange whoever said we had a single fate

At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe could have “forced” Max to make one choice or another by, for example, putting her step-dad’s gun to Max’s head and telling her “Don’t go back in time and allow me to die.” But she didn’t. Chloe chose to allow Max to make her own choice. Ultimately, it was free will, not fate, that killed Chloe.

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Of course, all of this is just a reaction to the first trailer. I’ll have to play the game in its entirety before I have the… big picture.

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But I’m praying like Kate Marsh that Beyond The Storm isn’t what I fear it is.

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Why I Stopped Watching “13 Reasons Why”

Note: Language. And spoilers for Life Is Strange.

Recently, I decided to see if the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why was worth the hype.

I got halfway through episode 4 before I stopped.

I was willing to accept the premise: A high school girl blames everyone expect herself for the choice she makes.

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There’s one person holding the knife, Hannah — you.

I was willing to forgive our protagonist masturbating to a picture of the girl who would eventually kill herself — a scene I skipped when it became all too clear what Clay was doing with that cloth he pulled our of a drawer. Watching a teenage boy masturbate is not my idea of entertainment.

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“My computer is the only one who gets me.”

But the straw that broke the camel’s back was characters’ refusal to talk to each other about their struggles.

Whether it was teens talking to teens, teens talking to their parents, or teens talking to authority figures, it’s like there’s a force-field around the characters of 13 Reasons Why preventing person-to-person interaction.

I know mystery is a pillar of drama, but 13 Reasons Why felt needlessly complex. It felt like mystery for the sake of mystery: Mystery at the expense of common sense. If people just sat down and said “___ is how I’m feeling. And ___ is why,” the question of “What do we do about Hannah Baker’s suicide?” would be answered in 5 seconds.

The most infuriating character of all was Tony.

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I kept hoping that someone would pin Tony against a wall, tell him to cut the bullshit (pardon my French), and just explain what his deal is.

Because, Tony, to quote Jack Sparrow:

While watching 13 Reasons Why, I would always eventually think to myself “I would rather be playing Life Is Strange.” One reason why being: The characters in Life Is Strange actually talk to each other about what they’re going through.

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Maybe I’ll give the series another chance soon. After all: This could all just be hyperbole — I could be totally wrong and characters in 13 Reasons Why really do open up to each other. But my first impression was not a good one. The impression I walked away with from the 4 episodes I watched was: A lot of cloak-and-dagger with no method to its madness other than stringing out the story of a teenage girl’s suicide for as long as possible:

’13 Reasons Why’ Officially Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

The Emoji Movie: It’s Not All Bad

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Being a fan of Life is Strange, I’m a member of a Life is Strange fan group.

Recently, one of the members of that group brought something to my attention:

A blue-haired, skull-wearing character in The Emoji Movie (2017) bears a suspicious resemblance to a certain character…

Image result for the emoji movie jailbreak Image result for life is strange chloe

Ironic, considering that Chloe Price hates emoji:

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Also of interest is the character’s name: Jailbreak. She’s the “Rebel emoji.”

Chloe is also a rebel.

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My takeaway from this is: The creators of The Emoji Movie have good taste.

Plus, who knows? The resemblance between the two characters could cause someone to discover Life is Strange. And for this reason, this reason, and this reason, I’d say that’s a good thing.

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And yes, Chloe, I can put on some music now.