It certainly would be. That's why I said:
Which is why YOU said:
So I don't know what that final jab in your last post was all about...
I was just raising a possibility, which we both agree it seems.
Anyway, that's great that you think you're above a "videogame" attempt at depth. What Xenosaga does is take normal, even shallow characters, with their own sets of motives and wills, and meshes them into a plot that looks not entirely different from what we see today.
You see, I could agree with that, I really could, but that's a totally different discourse than your previous "OMG, that's an amazing game, the plot is just so deep and marvelous, you can't belive, you will see when I write my review!"
Yes, Xenosaga is full of normal, shallow characters, with a plot that is not really groundbreaking, albeit interesting for the fact it is built upon misteries, which always make people wanting more.
Certainly there is *nothing* groundbreaking about any statement or character revelation in the entirety of Xenosaga. Xenosaga is built on history, culture, art, philosophy, and religion. It is a collection of allusions (not ILLusions, ALLusions) with the framework of an average Sci-Fi story.
Exactly. All about Xenosaga is average. That hardly accounts for such marvelous experience as you implied it was.
Actually, reading your post now, which is far more restrained then the previous ones, I really don't know why you made such a deal about the game. Yourself seem to agree everything smells average and shallow in this game.
I am not a Sci-Fi digger, admittedly, but the little I know about other Sci-Fi works, there is hardly as much nonsensical symbolisms as does Xenosaga, which I think it's totally uncalled for, considering how little they know western religion, culture and philosophy, and the little they do "know", seems a bit skewed.
Let's take a look at your criticisms:
Let's begin with the obvious jab: thank God you're not the one writing scripts for any videogames. I don't even know what the first semicolon is there for, as the two sentences don't seem to have any common ground.
I don't know what that has to do with anything, and I don't feel like justifying myself.
Now then, let's break this bit of stream-of-consciousness complaint down into pieces and consider what it is you have in mind:
Refer back to the quoted definition of "pretentious." You're using the word well out of context. The player is not made to assume that Shion's strained relationship with Jin is some all-powerful, all-consuming force that drives the story. It's one element of the story.
You really don't seem to understand it. Let me make it clearer. Something which tries
to be deep and profound, but falls flat, is certainly pretentious.
I don't know where did you get this idea of all-powerful, all-consuming, but that's certainly not the use I have in my mind for saying it is pretentious.
You may not like the way in which it is executed, but it captures one of the more fundamental problems of human nature: sibling rivalry. This part of the storyline is not meant to be some incredible display of human depth or emotion; rather, it exists to help further along character development. The reasons for their strained relationship are fleshed out in the final chapter, by the way, and the situation is resolved in a way that is definitely moving, to say the least. This isn't your typical soap opera, the sort of thing that one *may* be qualified to call "pretentious."
Exactly. I don't like it's execution. And you mentioned an important detail, which is what makes it pretentious: it is supposed to be an attempt of touching "one of the more fundamental problems of human nature: sibling rivalry." Don't you think that's pretentious? I mean, sometimes there is a thin line that separates pretentiousness from talent, and that's exactly the successfulness - or in this case utterly failure.
Let me break down this even more to you, when you try to dwell on "one of the more fundamental problems of human nature." you are either a genious if you do it right, or you are just another pretentious guy full of yourself if you do it utterly wrong.
Considering I don't like it's execution, AT ALL, it's pretty clear in which side of the border I think this game is.
You're the one who tacked on the idea that these human emotions are "profound," not the creators of the game. Indeed, they are the stuff of everyday life. The difference between this game and most others that emphasize story is that this game has a plot that considers the *worth* of these everyday "common sense and cliché" events...are they even worth having around? Is humanity worthy of existing if all it amounts to are these consumerists with sentimental drivel leaking out of their lips? It's a very important question to consider, and not at all pretentious!
I think Albedo and Rubedo relationship is what I had on my mind when I wrote this. Unless you want me to say this is "everyday life"? You must live in a truly exciting place if so.
Regardless, I don't think this game does anything different - except for going farther, at least it tries to. There are many other games doing the exact same thing; maybe not for brother and sister, but for father and son, friends and the like. I don't know where you see all this difference.
Dude, you actually considered if humanity is worthy of existing playing Xenosaga? Fuck, maybe I need to recommend a few literature pieces to you. ;)
It's Allen, and "that robot maker" is Kevin (just to clear up who I'm about to talk about...). The substory regarding Shion and her two possible mates (Kevin, who supposedly died, and Allen, who is exhorbitantly effeminate and bashful) is not within itself something that should make you think about the meaning of life. This argument is essentially a non-sequiter and otherwise nonsense. That wasn't the point of my statement, nor does it follow any sound line of argument.
You miss the point. Just saying how Xenosaga can be stupid and nonsensical, and these characters are some examples - out of many. My point? I don't really think they fit in a game which tries so hard to be insightful in so many important issues such as religion and philosophy. Classical western culture and japanese POP culture just don't mesh quite right; the result? Xenosaga.
The purpose of the little love triangle, again, fleshes itself out in the third title. Up until then, I too was annoyed to death by Allen; he, however, becomes a major player by the end, and is someone with whom many "underdogs" and "hopeless romantics" may sympathize. And, there's nothing wrong with that. As for Kevin, his story alone is worth checking into; he holds an interesting past.
I really worry about Allen being a major character in the next game, but I will try to approach it with no prejudice on my mind.
Dude, to someone to sympathize with Allen, he needs to be a complete and total loser.
All because the game is deep doesn't mean all the characters have to be scholars. Jr. represents raw aggression: the kind of kid who will shoot first and ask questions later. As a person, he too plays an important role in the tale that Takahashi weaves. That doesn't mean Jr. has to sound like frickin' Nietszche himself! (indeed, Nietszche is quoted more often by the villains, including Margulis in the first episode and Wilhelm throughout the series).
What I said before: this mixing just don't sound too right. Just because something is deep - which Xenosaga isn't, and youself said in the beginning of your post that it is shallow, which confuses me now - it doesn't mean it has to be serious all the time. Hell, I think LOTR is pretty deep - don't take me wrong, not dense as in utterly philosophical, but the discussion isn't about Tolkien - but yet there is a lot soft and mellow moments. However, Jr is just, well, POP. Angry POP kids just don't combine with a "nietszchean" plot. Maybe if the Japanese developers would not try - ALWAYS - to make POP culture references, insert comic relief characters and moments - which seldom are not out of place and forced - I would take the games supposed to be deep more seriously.
Giving up, are we? Let me rattle off some not-so-stupid characters, and why I think they aren't stupid.
Not quite. Want me to mention them all? Well, some off the top of my head: Jr; Allen; the robot maker and his assist; some other villain - first game -I forgot the name. That's more than you gave me - good characters I mean - and you have just played the game.
I won't quote everything you have written about the characters to not take too much space, but what I have to say encompass all of them: I don't think any of them are stupid, but they don't impress me either. Ziggy is the only one I think is above average.
Note that very few of these character bios make them sound like "original" concepts. In our day and age, it's very difficult to invent ANYTHING truly original (assuming you're a Christian, which it seems you would be based on your post, you should know this: Ecclesiastes claims there is nothing new under the sun). What makes these characters so wonderful is what they say, what they choose to do, and what they are forced to experience in Takahashi's fictional realm.
That I have to agree with, I just don't think they are so wonderful.
Well, that's great that you can feel free to label the references as "nonsensical" and "confusing," but until you take the time to flesh out what it is that makes them nonsensical or confusing, your point is invalid.
Well, maybe they can make some sense in the end - I will only know next year anyway - but still they are just a bunch of symbolisms which range from a misconcepted view of Christianity, a poor knowledge of Nietszche philosophy, and japanese POP culture elements. Ain't that a great mixing?
As a pre-emptive strike, here's a look at what makes the religious and philosophical references of Xenosaga TRULY deep and worthwhile for the thinking person:
I read line after line of your coded message to avoid any spoilers, and I got as far as the HP reference - gladly nothing was spoiled to me - but WTF?! You example of a "Nietszchean" villain is Voldemort?! I take HP is another deep and dense story? You got to be kidding me?! Do you think just because someone thinks along these line: "There are those too weak to attain power, and those who are willing to make sacrifices to hold it" he is an übber Nietszchean character? You think his philosophy was that shallow? You think it all comes down to "there is no good or evil, so everything is allowed, as long as you are willing to do what you must"? Dude, there are all kinds of lowlife, small-time criminals out there who think exactly the same, and they are not in the least "Nietszchean". If you are willing to read something a little more dense than HP, I advise you to check on Kirillov, which can be found on "Demons" or "The Possessed" - original Biesi. Dostoievsky book. He is THE Nietszche character - and he is not a villain for the record; I don't know why people associate Nietszchean characters with villains necessarily. Oh, by the way, this character came before Nietszche, and it is no secret he - Kirillov - was a major source of influence on Nietszche works later on, actually, he shaped his views on God and the like.
Let's look further at what you said!
No, I won't give you a break. Those lines are not a revolutionary display of human feelings, and I never said they were. They are a display of human feelings, but they are certainly not revolutionary: nor are they meant to be. Jr.'s anger, if you weren't following, is generally roused by the villains to unleash a "Red Dragon" wave within Jr. that can be used for all sorts of lovely destructive purposes. The real-life application here is that allowing yourself to go out-of-control may make you more powerful, but when you are not in control of your own will, someone else may freely make use of you with their own will. It's a common lesson, but it doesn't hurt to have it as a lesson within Xenosaga...does it?
I already said above everything I had to about Jr. For the last time, if a game is advertised as a deep story worthy of Nietszche's philosophy, I don't expect to see characters such as Jr. within it, full of his "I hate you lines".
I call that false advertising, or in the least a pretentious attempt to draw people into the game.
It's not a groundbreaking theme. It's an archetype. We see it in Pinocchio and plenty of stories before that as well. Is there a problem with Monolith Soft using this archetype to help the storyline move into even more interesting territory? (I am refering to what happens in XS3 here...).
Dude, you said this game had an AMAZING plot, so deep and complex that some "morons" probably couldn't get it and trashed it. I expect a little more other than archetypes - the ones most recurrent even - from such a game.
Generally, people who do find it are looking for it. I confess, I'm one of them. You can find meaning (or ascribe meaning) to all sorts of things. Even if you don't like to do it, it's probably good for any person to try it as an exercise in thought and...dare I say it...belief.
Yes, you can ascribe meaning to all sorts of things, but meanings are dished out in layers of complexity, no doubt about that. So far, games - JRPGs are no exception, quite the opposite - have been in the lowest layers.
*takes in a deep breath* ... *exhales the breath and prepares for a sermon filled with curse words*
Go take an introductory anthropology course, asshole. Who in God's good and holy name are YOU to suggest that a Japanese person is unable to comprehend the intricacies of Judaism, Christianity, or any other Western religion? You ethnocentric little twat! Get some brains and come back when you're ready to talk sensibly!
Haha. Ethnocentric little twat? Aren't we getting angry? Well, if Takahashi is any indication, I don't think they can.
Anthropology course? Well, if I wanted to write a book about the theme I surely would; just like this Takahashi fellow should had taken some classes on western religion and philosophy so he would not make a total fool and pretentious "twat" out of himself.
And I am saying some BASIC knowledge, because the intrincacies of one's culture - as you call it - can't be understanded by an alien after a few introduction lessons. I dare say, it can't never be comprehended, unless you spend some long years living with this people to truly know it "wholly".
In his case, and that is truly unfortunate, he lacked even the most basic knowledge, which can be enough to fool some Japaneses who know nothing about it, but when the game reach our shores, it's hard to keep the farce.
Who is Tetsuya Takahashi? Well, Tetsuya Takahashi was a former Square employee who started in graphics (for SNES titles including FFV, FFVI, Seiken Densetsu 3, and Chrono Trigger), but eventually caught a break and created Xenogears. He then went on to found Monolith Soft and did created the Xenosaga series. (source: wikipedia).
That's not what I asked. I did not ask for his biography. I want to know what makes him an "expert" in western culture. Maybe he have read Davince Code and decided he knows a lot on Christianity.
As for Takahashi's knowledge of religion and philosophy, I only wish I had the resources to pay for the flights so that the two of you could meet and discuss things, because I'm sure the man knows a hell of a lot more than you do.
The man knows absolutely NOTHING about my religion and my culture - maybe he thinks so inside his head.
I could sweep the floor with him. I would gain nothing discussing with him for any ammount of time.
And HERE surfaces the fundamental difference between you and me. You believe games can and should ONLY entertain. They are essentially time-killers. They cannot contribute to the betterment of humanity, and they sure as hell shouldn't be called "art", right? Well here's my take on it:
I think the difference between us is that you believe Voldemort is the utmost Nietszchean villain, and I take this for the BS this is.
And yes, I already said that before, when games start to bear some "philosophical" - let's put it that way - meaning, worthy being parallelize with the highest forms of literature pieces, then maybe they can be regarded as "art". Till then, they are purely entertainment and time killers.
Contribute to the betterment of humanity? You are on drugs dude.
Videogames, particularly RPGs, have text. You know, writing? Though different from a book, these videogames can and do tell stories. Many a non-fiction writer has pointed out that some of the strongest points, some of the best arguments, are made better through a work of fiction than by some sort of philosophical diatribe. David Hume wrote fictional dialogues, Camus presented his philosophy through very depressing novels, and our old pal Nietszche was certainly fond of switching (without warning) between himself as the speaker and some fictional "other" as the speaker.
Yes, and I take this Takahashi genius is the modern day Camus, Hume or Nietszche, and his Xenosaga tale is the modern day "The Stranger"; "A Treatise of Human Nature"; and "Beyond Good and Evil" respectively, right? Bwhahahaahahahahhaahahahaha!
Well, besides the obvious fallacious nature of your "point", let me assure you why games won't ever be pieces of art, in the manner of the ones mentioned above: It is a huge industry, concerned solely about making money. First aim is to make money, second - far behind - is to pass on a message, maybe, if "we are really inspired to do so". None of the great geniuses had making money as their priority, meaning their pieces was 100% genuine. The message was the one and only aim.
Ain't that ironic that the game we are discussing is a winner example for my point? What happened between the development of the first and the second game? In fighting, money vs creativity. Do I need to say how it all ended, and who had the last word on it?
So, leave your illusions aside and wake up to reality.
If a story can impact the way others think, and if literature can be considered art, so too can videogames encompass this feature. The presentation of a story is only one facet to a videogame, which is a multi-faced multimedia experience, covering not only the realm of literature, but also fine art (graphics), music, and tactile stimulation (the controller in your hands). If all of this is created and used only to entertain, then we are all going to hell in a handbasket. You sound like Cipher from the Matrix, you know? Just give me a good time while I'm alive so I don't have to think about how shitty my life really is. I can only pray that videogames (particularly RPGs) will be seen as something more than sheer escapism by our descendants.
Read above. Till that happens - which ain't very likely - this is just one more sophism.
You see, anything can be true when supported by a well constructed discourse - I am not playing with relativity here, I don't believe in it, I am just saying anything can look veracious, not that are many "truths" out there. And your point is not that much articulate anyway. Let's see, you said games can change the way people think - it never happened with anyone that I know, but that's beyond the point - and that's the sole common ground it has with literature, but that alone is enough to equalise both as art.
You see, a good speech can make one change his views much more likely than video games. Is Speech an art? Before you say it is, it is not, it is a technique
, which is a whole different thing.
Even gestures can make one reconsider some things, and gesture is not art either.
So you need to offer me more to convince me games are as much art as literature is. Otherwise, you just have a half assed sophism, which can be easily twisted to prove many other things.
I don't fucking know who "Cypher" is, and I don't know where did you get this idea about my "philosophy of life". So far, the only thing you can assume for sure is that I don't look for the meaning of existence in video games.
Pleasure is the ultimate goal, then? (If only I could enjoy his books more!!) There's a weighty question for you. Maybe Salvatore's skewed vision on good and evil *aren't* worthwhile, but Salvatore is just one man. I don't have much experience with his work anyway, but I think it's safe to say that you present yourself as more of a refined hedonist than one who has genuine respect or understanding of the arts.
More wrong assumptions. I am not a hedonist. I am an Orthodox Christian, and both are mutually exclusive.
I read Salvatore's books because I like fantasy, period. To have some fun, yes. But when he starts his lectures I cease having fun, it's pretty simple.
That makes me a hedonist? Hell no. Entertainment is part of life, so when I feel like having a bit of fun, I will do something that I like. When I want to think about the meaning of existence, or about other very important issues, then I look for something a little more weighty then Salvatore or Xenosaga.
What is enough to entertain one is not necessarily enough to make one think.
Pleasure is the ultimate goal in life? Damn no! Is pleasure the ultimate goal in Salvatore books and in games? Yes.
(Surely, that's quite a bold assertion to make, given I only know you from a few rambling paragraphs made against one particular videogame. But, should you want to prove me wrong, go ahead!)
Yes, pretty bold and untrue.
A final question for you:
List them, and tell me what makes them superior, to say, Xenosaga, which is essentially a story written by a fairly intelligent Japanese man and then incorporated into a videogame which has its own elements of strategy and puzzle-solving.
Books basically. Or my Churchs theology. Those are my sources. You want me to list all of them? I mostly read Russian literature, but I am not all that much ignorant on western classics either. That should give you a fair idea.
Maybe this guy is intelligent, don't know really, but intelligence does not accounts for knowledge, necessarily.
I can appreciate his work as it is meant to be, a piece of entertainmet. If it has an engaging story, puzzle-solving, good gameplay mechanics, all the better.
And indeed, I never said anything about Xenosaga aiding you in DETERMINING the meaning of your existence. Certainly, I would hope I'm not saying that the meaning of life can be found by playing Xenosaga. Far from it. But it certainly does stimulate us to ponder the question, and it perenially reminds us that, however much despair we face, it IS a question worth asking from time to time!
More than anything, I think it is a matter of knowing where to look for. Maybe Xenosaga can raise a few questions - it did for you, it does not for me - but the fact of the matter is, I play it to have fun. There are other sources to look for it.
Unless you take time to answer me coherently, I think we can all assume that I take your low opinion of the series far more seriously than you would like me to. In the end, I'd still say that it's egg on your face for making plenty of poorly supported statements.
Well, I took the time and did. I shouldn't, but I can't resist.
OMFG I'm in a message board argument guyz! That means it HAS to degrade into a flame war and never get us anywhere! (oh wait...behind the computer we're all still people...let's have this mean something, k?).
I don't intend to turn anything into a flame war.