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Pitfalls of Colonizing Play

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You should become a writer for Cracked.com

 

That WAS written tongue-in-cheek I hope.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Torr said:

You should become a writer for Cracked.com

 

That WAS written tongue-in-cheek I hope.

 

 

Not tongue in cheek, but perhaps written to be fun to read while also making you think.

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It could pass as a Babylon Bee article.

https://babylonbee.com/news/californian-looter-frustrated-his-new-tv-requires-electricity-to-work

 

Quote

Tired and frustrated, Boogerlilly searched through the instruction manual and found that televisions typically require a source of electricity in order to work properly.

"This is outrageous!" Boogerlilly cried. "I worked all evening to acquire this new TV and now it refuses to turn on without electricity? I'm being oppressed! This is racism! Electricity is a social construct built by the colonial invaders! We must dismantle the oppressive system of electricity!"

 

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15 minutes ago, Torr said:

You should become a writer for Cracked.com

 

That WAS written tongue-in-cheek I hope.

 

 

Poe's Law-  when you can't tell the difference between a satirization of a belief system and the actual belief system itself.

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Good read, thanks for sharing!

 

I think it's important to acknowledge that a developer's beliefs are going to affect the work that's put out by them, even if they're not consciously aware of it, as was the case with Pitfall. All art is iterative, and as a game developer myself I think it's a good idea to keep a critical eye on the media I consume. This way, I can effectively iterate on the ideas that came before mine.

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2 minutes ago, bluswimmer said:

Good read, thanks for sharing!

 

I think it's important to acknowledge that a developer's beliefs are going to affect the work that's put out by them, even if they're not consciously aware of it, as was the case with Pitfall. All art is iterative, and as a game developer myself I think it's a good idea to keep a critical eye on the media I consume. This way, I can effectively iterate on the ideas that came before mine.

Everybody is obviously a product of their environment, and it will reflect in what they create.   But I can literally take any innocent-looking subject and write an essay explaining why it's a bad thing.   But what's they point besides trying to make people feel guilty for liking something?   So they reject it and adopt new things in its place?   These new things can easily be deconstructed and problematized in turn, creating an endless cycle of "everything you like sucks and you should feel bad for liking it".

 

In the meantime, we will struggle to create content that offends literally nobody, and it will lack lasting impact.  

 

Screw that, life is too short.

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1 minute ago, zzip said:

Everybody is obviously a product of their environment, and it will reflect in what they create.   But I can literally take any innocent-looking subject and write an essay explaining why it's a bad thing.   But what's they point besides trying to make people feel guilty for liking something?   So they reject it and adopt new things in its place?   These new things can easily be deconstructed and problematized in turn, creating an endless cycle of "everything you like sucks and you should feel bad for liking it".

 

In the meantime, we will struggle to create content that offends literally nobody, and it will lack lasting impact.  

 

Screw that, life is too short.

We don’t have to pick either a lasting legacy or not offending people. But we can also acknowledge where imagery comes from and once we’re aware of it, enjoyed media more fully without it being able to intentionally or unintentionally indoctrinate us into outdated word views. This piece isn’t attacking Pitfall! just pointing out where some of its ideas came from and how that influenced its design and the games that came after. 
 

Characterizing this as "everything you like sucks and you should feel bad for liking it" is reductionist, this isn’t attacking Pitfall! just examining its imagery and the culture surrounding it.

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Underneath all of the hype, pomp, and circumstance, at the core of each of these games is the same alienating, exploitative loop: Parallel experiences depicting the barren emptiness of dead societies where disease has wiped out aboriginal populations, leaving nothing but wreckage and ruin to explore and loot. Once the blood has dried, the treasure chests emptied and the resource tiles tapped out, all that is left is the hollowed-out void.

That's not attacking?

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2 minutes ago, zzip said:

Everybody is obviously a product of their environment, and it will reflect in what they create.   But I can literally take any innocent-looking subject and write an essay explaining why it's a bad thing.   But what's they point besides trying to make people feel guilty for liking something?   So they reject it and adopt new things in its place?   These new things can easily be deconstructed and problematized in turn, creating an endless cycle of "everything you like sucks and you should feel bad for liking it".

 

In the meantime, we will struggle to create content that offends literally nobody, and it will lack lasting impact.  

 

Screw that, life is too short.

Well, I don't necessarily think that pointing out some unfortunate implications in a piece of media should necessarily mean that you're not allowed to enjoy it. I love the Super Mario games to death, yet when someone points out its over-reliance on the damsel in distress trope I can't really disagree with them.

 

Obviously, everyone's worldview is different, and you can't really account for everyone's tastes when creating a new game. Heck, deliberately avoiding sensitive material is a statement in of itself, and trying to target everyone at once is probably just going to make your game dead on arrival. My own games are made to appeal to my own tastes, and I acknowledge that it may be a turn off for some. However, that may also win over new players, who may have been turned off by similar games that came before it.

 

Ultimately, this subject is entirely subjective; what I deem as "problematic" may be seen as acceptable by another. In my view, articles like these help drive new art and push the medium forward.

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I can't deny that some of our (unfortunate) history is so imbedded in our culture it seeps into and can even shape our everyday thoughts without us realizing it, but the author was REALLY grasping for straws and trying to find ANYTHING that could be twisted into being offensive.

 

I'll jump on board.

Apparently this jungle has been hit with gamma radiation or is on some foreign planet, because what we call crocodiles in that game are anything but.

Just look at them. It's three heads in a small pond, there is no room for the crocodiles to have bodies, so it must be some kind of 3 headed dragon or something that has just it's heads poking above water. This is further reinforced by the fact the "crocs" don't "eat" you, they just open their mouth and you fall perfectly vertically down into it's mandible, or rather, straight down it's long vertical throat.

 

But even that makes no sense in this topsy-turvy world where the ponds and tarpit can only be about 2 feet deep.

 

Is it even water? Logs have no problem rolling right over them like they're solid ground!

 

More on the monster theory, also leading into this being some alien world, did you see how big those scorpions are?

 

And the diamond rings!!! This must be a world of giants, they're as big as hula hoops!

 

Maybe not even an alien planet, but some alternate universe where one can only travel along 2 axis, why does this planet/universe have no third dimension??? and it's a small world at that, he can run this whole "world" in about 30 minutes... in fact that's all he can do, there is no entrance nor an exit!!!

 

Going underground creates wormholes apparently.... but I guess that does explain why even though there's only about 2 feet between the surface and underground the ponds and tarpits are infinitely deep.

Ponds and tarpits that can just disappear and reappear in 5 second intervals I might add.

 

Not to mention Harry apparently brought a 'Bag of Holding' with him to store all these hundreds (thousands?) of pounds of gold around with him.

 

OH THATS RIGHT... ITS A VIDEO GAME, not some story with subtext about the white man having "the god given right" to take whatever they want from jungle dwelling heathens. And everything happens and appears as it does because it's a game that had to easily and simply convey what to do and what everything is given it has a low resolution and very tight memory constraints.

 

You just cherry picked the few details that would make it look like your super intelligent, seeing between the lines and through bullshit that us 'common folk' are just blind to.

 

THAT'S why I hope this was written as a piece of humor and NOT with any real sincerity. But think my hopes are in vain...

 

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2 minutes ago, Torr said:

I can't deny that some of our (unfortunate) history is so imbedded in our culture it seeps into and can even shape our everyday thoughts without us realizing it, but the author was REALLY grasping for straws and trying to find ANYTHING that could be twisted into being offensive.

 

I'll jump on board.

Apparently this jungle has been hit with gamma radiation or is on some foreign planet, because what we call crocodiles in that game are anything but.

Just look at them. It's three heads in a small pond, there is no room for the crocodiles to have bodies, so it must be some kind of 3 headed dragon or something that has just it's heads poking above water. This is further reinforced by the fact the "crocs" don't "eat" you, they just open their mouth and you fall perfectly vertically down into it's mandible, or rather, straight down it's long vertical throat.

 

But even that makes no sense in this topsy-turvy world where the ponds and tarpit can only be about 2 feet deep.

 

Is it even water? Logs have no problem rolling right over them like they're solid ground!

 

More on the monster theory, also leading into this being some alien world, did you see how big those scorpions are?

 

And the diamond rings!!! This must be a world of giants, they're as big as hula hoops!

 

Maybe not even an alien planet, but some alternate universe where one can only travel along 2 axis, why does this planet/universe have no third dimension??? and it's a small world at that, he can run this whole "world" in about 30 minutes... in fact that's all he can do, there is no entrance nor an exit!!!

 

Going underground creates wormholes apparently.... but I guess that does explain why even though there's only about 2 feet between the surface and underground the ponds and tarpits are infinitely deep.

Ponds and tarpits that can just disappear and reappear in 5 second intervals I might add.

 

Not to mention Harry apparently brought a 'Bag of Holding' with him to store all these hundreds (thousands?) of pounds of gold around with him.

 

OH THATS RIGHT... ITS A VIDEO GAME, not some story with subtext about the white man having "the god given right" to take whatever they want from jungle dwelling heathens. And everything happens and appears as it does because it's a game that had to easily and simply convey what to do and what everything is given it has a low resolution and very tight memory constraints.

 

You just cherry picked the few details that would make it look like your super intelligent, seeing between the lines and through bullshit that us 'common folk' are just blind to.

 

THAT'S why I hope this was written as a piece of humor and NOT with any real sincerity. But think my hopes are in vain...

 

It’s a sincere attempt to think through the implications of what the game leaves unstated, whether intentionally or not, trying to explore the internal logic holding the simple game world and presentation together. Not as funny as your thought exercise but a little more grounded in balance.

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8 minutes ago, pacman000 said:

That's not attacking?

It’s a bit of rhetorical overkill, talking about Skinner box mechanics in all games with a little purple flourish.

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14 minutes ago, Roget said:

We don’t have to pick either a lasting legacy or not offending people. But we can also acknowledge where imagery comes from and once we’re aware of it, enjoyed media more fully without it being able to intentionally or unintentionally indoctrinate us into outdated word views. This piece isn’t attacking Pitfall! just pointing out where some of its ideas came from and how that influenced its design and the games that came after. 
 

Characterizing this as "everything you like sucks and you should feel bad for liking it" is reductionist, this isn’t attacking Pitfall! just examining its imagery and the culture surrounding it.

Then here's my own deconstruction of Pitfall.   Humans like adventure, mystery and the idea overcoming adversaries.   Pitfall provides that,  Indiana Jones provides that.  Star Wars and D&D provide that.  This is part of why these franchises have been so successful.  All of these stories need settings that people can identify with, but yet are out of reach.  The jungle is mysterious, it's exotic, it's been romanticized and glamorized.   A story set in the jungle will seem more exciting than a story set in the temperate forests of our own countries.   Most of us are never going to have our own jungle adventure, so we can enjoy a fictional one in games and movies as escapism.

 

If we lived in the tropics.  Jungle probably wouldn't seem so exotic, and perhaps we'd be lusting after adventures set in temperate climates, or tundra or whatever, if you found a way to romanticize such stories.

 

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, bluswimmer said:

Well, I don't necessarily think that pointing out some unfortunate implications in a piece of media should necessarily mean that you're not allowed to enjoy it. I love the Super Mario games to death, yet when someone points out its over-reliance on the damsel in distress trope I can't really disagree with them.

 

Obviously, everyone's worldview is different, and you can't really account for everyone's tastes when creating a new game. Heck, deliberately avoiding sensitive material is a statement in of itself, and trying to target everyone at once is probably just going to make your game dead on arrival. My own games are made to appeal to my own tastes, and I acknowledge that it may be a turn off for some. However, that may also win over new players, who may have been turned off by similar games that came before it.

I think this is the only honest way to do it.  Make what you enjoy and hope others enjoy it.   I think every good story is going to be rooted a bit in familiar tropes while also doing something original. 

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23 minutes ago, zzip said:

Then here's my own deconstruction of Pitfall.   Humans like adventure, mystery and the idea overcoming adversaries.   Pitfall provides that,  Indiana Jones provides that.  Star Wars and D&D provide that.  This is part of why these franchises have been so successful.  All of these stories need settings that people can identify with, but yet are out of reach.  The jungle is mysterious, it's exotic, it's been romanticized and glamorized.   A story set in the jungle will seem more exciting than a story set in the temperate forests of our own countries.   Most of us are never going to have our own jungle adventure, so we can enjoy a fictional one in games and movies as escapism.

 

If we lived in the tropics.  Jungle probably wouldn't seem so exotic, and perhaps we'd be lusting after adventures set in temperate climates, or tundra or whatever, if you found a way to romanticize such stories.

image.thumb.png.ad524e3215e1a8faed110e5766f9aa67.png

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8 minutes ago, fdr4prez said:
32 minutes ago, zzip said:

Then here's my own deconstruction of Pitfall.   Humans like adventure, mystery and the idea overcoming adversaries.   Pitfall provides that,  Indiana Jones provides that.  Star Wars and D&D provide that.  This is part of why these franchises have been so successful.  All of these stories need settings that people can identify with, but yet are out of reach.  The jungle is mysterious, it's exotic, it's been romanticized and glamorized.   A story set in the jungle will seem more exciting than a story set in the temperate forests of our own countries.   Most of us are never going to have our own jungle adventure, so we can enjoy a fictional one in games and movies as escapism.

 

If we lived in the tropics.  Jungle probably wouldn't seem so exotic, and perhaps we'd be lusting after adventures set in temperate climates, or tundra or whatever, if you found a way to romanticize such stories.

 

 

 

 

I don’t think any of that is mutually exclusive with what’s in the essay. It’s pretty much in alignment, just not going into the weeds on where those ideas came from and why it’s specifically the jungle and the explorer and not the mountaineer in the tundra or what-have-you.

Edited by Roget

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Y’all, I’m not cancelling Pitfall! here. Just acknowledging where the cultural tradition it takes its imagery from originates from. You’re not a bad person or a colonizer if you play the game.

Edited by Roget
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40 minutes ago, Roget said:

It’s a bit of rhetorical overkill, talking about Skinner box mechanics in all games with a little purple flourish.

The you should be more careful. Humanity has a tendency of destroying media we consider bad influences.  If what we read, watch, & play has an influence on our actions, your essay could influence someone to take a stand against Pitfall, Indiana Jones, etc.

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4 minutes ago, pacman000 said:

The you should be more careful. Humanity has a tendency of destroying media we consider bad influences.  If what we read, watch, & play has an influence on our actions, your essay could influence someone to take a stand against Pitfall, Indiana Jones, etc.

If I inspire someone to take a stand for something they believe in, I would consider it among the greatest honors of my life.

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4 minutes ago, Roget said:

I don’t think any of that is mutually exclusive with what’s in the essay. It’s pretty much in alignment, just not going into the weeds on where those ideas came from and why it’s specifically the jungle and the explorer and not the mountaineer in the tundra or what-have-you.

There's one difference, mine is neutral and doesn't try to assign blame or guilt.   There's some key elements missing from tundra stories-  lack of mystery and lack of payoff-   why venture there in the first place?   If someone told stories set in such lands, other derivative stories would follow.   Mountaineering has been done to some extent.

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