Underneath my yellow skin

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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part Three

This is post three on my David Cage screed, and we’re getting deep into it now. Here is part two so you can catch up. Heavy Rain is the game that pushed me from thinking David Cage is a creeper to feeling revulsion every time I see his name. He is lauded in some circles for being innovative and a creative thinker, and I firmly reject that on all levels. His story-telling makes no inherent sense, and his characters don’t act in a way that is logical. I’m not talking about logical in general because people often act in ways that look illogical to outsiders, but they don’t act logically for themselves. I said before it’s because David Cage is a raging narcissist who cannot empathize with how other people feel, so he just projects onto them and believes that’s how they would act. When we left the last point, I was going on a rant about ow David Cage is shit towards women, and I feel I have to at least note that he’s also shit towards men, but in a different way.

The problem is that David Cage thinks in stereotypes. People aren’t real to him, and it’s exceedingly clear in his games. His main characters if they’re male are ciphers with tics. In Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the protagonist literally has no body. Your soul jumps from NPC to NPC, which is interesting in concept, but not well-utilized in the game (a recurring theme with David Cage). There’s nothing to know about the main protagonist because of this conceit, so David Cage gets away with this shortcoming in this game. In Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), the main male protagonist is Ethan M–er, Lucas Kane, is a mopey, slim, depressed man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. That’s the extent of what we learn about his personality. David Cage seems to think the fact that he’s a good-looking dude (with dark hair because David Cage only likes dark hair. I mentioned it with the women in the game, but it’s the same with the dudes. Most of the important male dudes have short dark brown hair. They are brooding intellects with mental health issues. One of the times David Cage broke his self-imposed rule, the result was Tyler, a cringe-inducing stereotype of a black dude with swagger, so maybe it’s best he sticks to what he knows) is enough to make women drop their panties for him. There are no queer relationships in David Cage games, which, quite frankly, is for the best. I shudder to think what he’d do with it.

In Heavy Rain, two of the male protagonists, Ethan Mars and Norman Jayden, are basically the same person in two different roles. They look the same, and they both have psychological issues. Scott Shelby is different with a graying buzz-cut, a florid face (he’s an alcoholic) and being overweight–and older. Oh my god. I just realized that David Cage’s type–slim, white, short dark brown hair, dark eyes, gaunt face–holds for everyone of importance in his games. The fact that Scott Shelby was radically different looks-wise should have been a big red flag that he was the killer. Side note: I really like the idea that any of the main characters can die, including Scott Shelby, except he can only die at the end. I know at least Norman and Madison can die during the game, and I know Ethan and Scott can die at the end. Again, it’s a fascinating concept, but it’s not really well-executed in the game. In fact, Woolie had Norman die in his game, and that’s when he was done with the game. The controls for keeping him alive is way too fucking complicated, and Woolie was infuriated by it. Not to mention, in that scene, the guy who kills Norman is the epitome of black gangster thug. David Cage has never met a stereotype he won’t gleefully embrace.


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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part Two

I wrote a post detailing some of my issues with the self-impressed video game auteur, David Cage. I have so many thoughts on him because I’ve watched Let’s Plays of all his video games, and his thinking, while grandiose, is sadly common in the video game industry (which is still heavily male-dominated), so here is part two. Hopefully, we won’t need a part three, but I have a feeling we will. You can read part one here. Lessee. Where were we? Oh, yes. David Cage’s inability to imitate real human emotions, which is a theme throughout all the damn games. It’s especially egregious with women, but he does no favors to men, either. He also doesn’t do nuance, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit). One thing I should point out is that while David  Cage prides  himsel on his plots, they’re shite. Look, I’m down for convoluted and complex. I like labyrinth-like plots with twists, turns, and time jumps. I like multiple viewpoints and multiple protagonists. I like psychologically-driven media, and so, I can see why on first blink my ex-friend thought Heavy Rain would be a good fit for me. On paper, his games check all the boxes. In reality, however, it’s all skin deep and poorly-done. Side rant: Video games are great at a lot of things. Telling stories isn’t one of them. I’ve seen video game  reviewers trip all over themselves for how great the story is in a game, and all I can think is, “I read better stories on this same subject when I was in grade school.” Granted, I read The Scarlet Letter and tried to read War and Peace in grade school (on my own, both of them), but that’s not  the point. It’s difficult to convey a complex and intricate story in a video game because you also have to have good  gameplay (if you’re going to do a traditional video game). Even if you’re not, you still have to use visuals rather than text unless you’re doing a visual novel, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

David Cage confuses esoteric, confusing, and implausible with complex. He seems to think if you just make everything about the occult/supernatural forces, then anything goes. He doesn’t realize that even with outlandish ideas, you still have to have internal consistency. Trying to explain the plots of his video games is pointless, and let’s not even mention motivation. No, wait. Let’s DO talk about motivation. David Cage doesn’t realize what makes people act. Or rather, he doesn’t care. One of the guys (in the Let’s Plays) said something about how David Cage has certain moments he wants in the game, and then he writes the plot around them. It’s true that he does everything back-asswards. In Indigo Prophecy, there’s a scene in which the black cop, Tyler, challenges his white coworker to a basketball contest in order to not pay the money he (Tyler) owes him (the other guy). It’s clear that David Cage had the scene of the white guy practicing hoops while the black guy saunters in with rap music playing in his head, and he was going to have it in the game no matter what!


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Let Me Out of This (David) Cage (Video Game)!: Part One

Backstory: Many moons ago before I was into video games, I had a friend (emphasis on had. He was a hot mess, and I haven’t talked to him in years) who prided himself on finding the prefect game for every person (read, woman. It was one of his pickup techniques). He listened to what I liked in other media, and he pronounced that the best game for me was Heavy Rain by David Cage. I didn’t have a PS3 so it wasn’t an option, but I watched the beginning of a Let’s Play, and, let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. It was slow and plodding, and the *spoiler for a seven-year-old game* death of Ethan’s son felt cheap and unearned. I know it was meant to have the player bond with the protagonist, but because I knew little to nothing about the either of them or the rest of the family, plus it was set up so ludicrously, I just felt annoyed. I’ll get to that later when I discuss the game itself. I dismissed the game from my mind and moved on with my life.

Fast-forward to a few months ago. I decided to watch The Super Best Friends play Omikron: The Nomad Soul, the first and worst* of the Cage games. I don’t remember why I decided to watch it, but watch it I did. A quick primer on the Best Friends: they started out as Two Best Friends (Matt and Pat) for Machinima, and they’re huge. They’ve expanded to Super Best Friends which included Liam and Woolie, but is now just Woolie after Liam decided he needed a break from Let’s Playing. They’re Canadian, and Woolie’s family is from Grenada. This is important because there are very few black Let’s Players. I didn’t like Woolie when he first stared joining Matt & Pat because he didn’t really seem to add anything to the gang, but he’s really blossomed, and his and Pat’s Let’s Play of Dark Souls II really sold me on him being added to the team.

The guys are rude, crude, and often juvenile. They have some questionable material, but they are also really fucking hilarious. It’s usually best when it’s just two of them because of my Theory of Guys**, but sometimes, the three of them can be pure gold. I think Pat mentioned the Omikron Let’s Play in another playthrough, and I was immediately intrigued. I’ve tried to play Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), widely-praised as an innovative game (Cage’s second game), but after an hour or so, I got frustrated by how stupid it was and gave up. It starts with–you know what? We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, we’re talking Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

When I started the Let’s Play, I was anticipating the game would be terrible and the banter funny. I love Let’s Plays of awful games. For example. I was obsessed with Quick Looks/Let’s Look Ats of Ride to Hell: Retribution, which is widely regarded as one of the worst games of all time. It was so bad, it was yanked from Steam, and you can no longer buy the PC version. I watched all the videos on it I could find, and I was seriously tempted to buy it to play it, but I waited too long, damn it. Anyway, I thought it’d be more of the same with the guys and Omikron. Another note: this is the last of the David Cage games that the guys played, even though it was the first chronologically. That means the guys knew all of Cage’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, which they made fun of relentlessly.

Matt*** joked that all the women would be short-haired, white, slim brunettes because that’s what ALL the women in all David Cage games are. Seriously. Most of the women who speak in David Cage games are slim but busty, have angular faces, and have short or shoulder-length dark brown hair. In fact, I’m pretty sure David Cage (and yes, he’s David Cage. Not David and not Cage. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know) wanted Ellen Page for Beyond Two Souls because she’s the physical manifestation of his MPG**** fantasies. It’s creepy how obsessed he is with this type of women, and I’ll talk more later about his even creepier ideas of how women think/behave later on.

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