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Endrosz

What does "mature" mean, anyway?

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The guy who created this rant is one of my favorite computer game commentators. His new video is very relevant to PoE -- "mature themes" was a major point in the original pitch video, discussed briefly by all three of the featured game designers. That's why I created this topic here and not in 'Computer and Console'.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRsqAmuxjNk&feature=c4-overview&list=UUI3GAJaOTL1BoipG41OmfyA
 
Most important line, at least to me: "But I'm not using this term [realistic] in the literal sense, I'm using it in the literary sense."
 
I had the exact same train of thought a few years back, based on movies I watched. Mature doesn't mean extreme violence or showing titties to me, it's something else.** I would argue that Sofia Coppola's 'Somewhere' is one of the most mature movies Hollywood ever produced, yet it was panned by most critics and viewers. Boring, eh? You got to be an adult yourself and willing to look hard for small details to understand the depth of that movie, to relate to it. It takes viewer effort to unfold as an experience, as it's not the usual spoon-fed fairy tale.
 
Back to PoE:
- Josh stated in a trade show presentation that PoE is "for readers"
- In a recent interview, he stated: "Exploration is one of the things we wanted to reinforce for this game, and part of that means look around. Walk around. Figure it out. We don’t want to be vague, but talk to people. Use your eyes and brain."
 
These statements coming from the creative lead give me a warm, fuzzy feeling that they understand how to deliver mature content that isn't just about Ultra-Violence and/or objectification of women (and occasionally, men). If you like that stuff, sure, PoE will feature them most likely, but hopefully only as means to create a story, not ends by themselves.

 

TL;DR

 

To me, mature means two things:

-- It deals with the problems of real-life adults (sometimes in a metaphorical manner)

-- It presents its topics with a realistic approach (realistic in the literary sense)

** Since I'm from the EU with different standards, showing titties is absolutely no big deal for me. When you're a baby, you suck a tit several times a day, so it's a very natural sight, even though the cultural norm requires to hide them... (in many primitive cultures, women don't hide their breasts). Violence, mutilation, etc. now that's really disturbing, but also not the typical problem/situation that an adult has to deal with. I don't worry about someone chopping me up with a chainsaw, but I do worry about dying alone, without family and/or friends, for example. So if you want to sell me a movie/game with 'mature themes', start thinking about how to present an abstract concept like 'loneliness' in that medium... And you may end up with a work of art like "The Company of Myself", which is the highest rated puzzle game on Kongregate.

Edited by Endrosz
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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It means you make strange noises when you sit down or stand up, your knees crackle like an old LP and you either get hair in strange new places or lose what little you had left.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Generally the themes you mentioned are considered to be 'mature' when talking about the content of movies, books, or games. Slavery, sex, violence, racism, torture, are all fair game in a mature rated/themed game. That doesn't mean that all depictions of these topics have been handled in a mature why by games claiming to be mature. I find that a lot of the time they're simply added for the sake of being dark, edgy and titillating rather than bringing any sort of actually maturity to the title they're in. Still I have faith that the PoE team will handle these topics in a subtle manner in order to make the world a more realistic and setting rather than one filled with nothing but good thoughts, heroic deeds, and swarms of bloodthirsty monsters.


K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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Mature content and maturity are two completely different things but often confused.

 

Mature content is things that we can see or hear that for one reason or another are generally considered unsuitable for children. I've never understood why nudity is included.

 

Maturity refers to the way a game presents its central themes, characters and story. A mature game doesn't go for easy satisfaction, whether it's through violence, titillation or cheap laughs; instead, it offers you questions without giving answers and makes you question your own answers. It takes a mature mind to appreciate the subtleties of a mature game, that's where the term "maturity" comes from.

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Yeah, the word "mature" tends to be a red flag for me in advertising since it rarely means anything I'd associate as that. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with having sex, nudity, or extreme violence in a game (I've certainly enjoyed them in the past), but when the devs or marketers hype those elements as being mature, it shifts the focus away from any sort of substantial intellectual exploration the game could be doing. The Witcher 1 did actually have some interesting conundrums in act 2 when Geralt starts finding himself increasingly tangled up in political squabbles that he wants nothing to do with, but so much of the rest of the game was random chicks throwing themselves at Geralt for no clearly defined reason (I mean he's described as "foul" looking in the game, and most people think he's some kind of evil freak) or the game throwing out simple ethical choices and then feeling extremely smug about how mature and deep it was being that I found it hard to get that into it.

 

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess what I want to say is that the label "mature", at least with respect to artistic content, isn't really useful. We can talk about the intellectual exploration of issues or M rated content like nudity, but just saying "mature" doesn't really denote anything specific, in my opinion, and its connotation is generally unappealing. 

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Yeah, the word "mature" tends to be a red flag for me in advertising since it rarely means anything I'd associate as that. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with having sex, nudity, or extreme violence in a game (I've certainly enjoyed them in the past), but when the devs or marketers hype those elements as being mature, it shifts the focus away from any sort of substantial intellectual exploration the game could be doing. The Witcher 1 did actually have some interesting conundrums in act 2 when Geralt starts finding himself increasingly tangled up in political squabbles that he wants nothing to do with, but so much of the rest of the game was random chicks throwing themselves at Geralt for no clearly defined reason (I mean he's described as "foul" looking in the game, and most people think he's some kind of evil freak) or the game throwing out simple ethical choices and then feeling extremely smug about how mature and deep it was being that I found it hard to get that into it.

 

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess what I want to say is that the label "mature", at least with respect to artistic content, isn't really useful. We can talk about the intellectual exploration of issues or M rated content like nudity, but just saying "mature" doesn't really denote anything specific, in my opinion, and its connotation is generally unappealing. 

 

Well, Geralt has superhuman endurance, he's sterile and immune to all disease. I can understand chicks throwing themselves at him. Seriously.

 

The Wicher is a great game. There's a lot of actual maturity in the way it handles it's story and themes, it's just a pity that sex and nudity is there only for pure titillation. The Witcher 2 was better in this regard, but not by much.

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The main point of a "Mature" rating is that the designers and those who create the dialog and action don't have to censor themselves for the industry ratings agencies, therefore giving them more creative freedom.  Nasty people can do nasty things both on-camera and off-camera, there may be a range of sex and drugs available in the world (who knew), etc.  Doesn't mean your character has to participate or that these themes completely dominate, just that it won't be a Disney-esque world.  See for reference the Fallout series, among others.

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To me, mature themes means the character is looking at the world from a higher scope; stepping out of the urges of the moment and seeing the larger ramifications of his actions. This implies being less selfish, understanding the motivations of others, and planning ahead. Role-playing games are one of the best genres for portraying this because of the wider range of player choice.

 

Themes such as sex, drugs, profanity, and violence are "adult" issues because society views these as hazards to the immature mind. They are a consequence of maturity, rather than a cause.

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I agree with the guys take in the video pretty much all the way through too. I surely hope "Mature" in this sense of PE is not gimmicky and excessive blood splatter gore fest and sexual innuendoes just to fill juvenile lustful desires. I'm hopeful for a more serious take and thoughtful game that utilizes game play mechanics, and vested story telling to help reinforce the narrative in a meaningful way. One of my favorite films was Shawshank Redemption, and the reason for that was the characters were flawed but believable men who had a  believable & real character arc that they went through. They did some horrible things in life, but you liked them in spite of how dangerous they were. They showed us even if you are a bad mofo, there's still consequences for your actions. You actually got to see them mature and grow over the film. I hope PE can take a bit of the companions meta story and make it viable into the world, and create something that is more meaningful than just spamming attack buttons and magic missile over and over until we slay the dragon in the end. (Note I don't know that's the end, but standard fantasy trope #3 is every bad guy nemesis is an ancient dragon from the center of the earth.) I'm hoping whatever they do, they do it with some thoughtfulness. Shoot even the disciples of Jesus Christ he chose were some of the most hated people because of their race, jobs, or generally non qualified people for the job they were hired for, and yet they went on to do amazing things. That's the kind of mature game I'm hoping they attempt to create here. I still want to have fun, but it's nice to have a vested interest in the people in your story rather than mindless repetitive actions spamming mechanics over and over just to advance. 

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Obsidian is very much about maturity in their games, and not at the base level with lots of sex and violence. They think the repercussions of actions that would normally be glanced over in other games. When you visit New Vegas you see all the elements of its infrastructure, and can see how all of those elements actually have their own story and fit into the broader spectrum of things. In Knights of the Old Republic 2 you see two competing factions vying for control of the restoration project, and you come to understand the methods of each side and how they represent more than just a good/evil dichotomy, but rather efficiency and ideology. Obsidian is good at these things, there's nothing to worry about in that regard.

 

However, in relation to the video, the distinction between heroic and realistic fantasy is a much more interesting discussion for this game, I think. New Vegas and Planescape tended more toward realistic in terms of what impact you as an individual had on the world, while most of their other games tended toward heroic. If this is a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate, it's very likely that this will be more of a heroic fantasy than realistic. But then, I guess that depends on the nature of your particular 'defect' and how it affects you and the world around you.

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B00bies.

 

I mean, come on, this is the obvious answer.

 

(It's rather disturbing how many people think this is actually true)

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I think, for me at least, "maturity" means the story lets you think for yourself and create your own interpretations, like a proper adult.
This is done with a great dose of subtlety and subtexts.

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Entirely subjective, which is why it should be in off-topic or C&C. OP's definition of "maturity" doesn't even apply to P:E, as it stipulates realism as being a necessary part. It also stipulates stories about (real-world) adults, as though children are not a real thing. Last time I checked, one of the strongest motivators for real-life human adult behavior was children, one of the most dread and malign words in the RPG community.

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Mature means over 30, likely with fake breasts and plastic surgery.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

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mature themes:

 

all of you who complained about how [insert developer here] relied on tired, trite and/or juvenile content in [insert AAA game here] will prefer Pillows of Eternity. 

 

*shrug*

 

is similar puffery as "dark & gritty," "epic," and "new and improved." developer says, "mature themes" w/o giving context is meaningless... which should come as no surprise seeing as how chrisA mentioned in a recent interview that a PR firm put together the pitch video being addressed. Pillory of Infamy-- now with 20% more cleaning power! 

 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Just going to throw this in: most people consider gaming as a whole immature.

 

If we appeal to people as a whole are we going to have a game at all?

 

And despite myself I am annoyed by the whole 'Europeans are sooo much more cultured' balls. say it again and I shall post pictures of closed theatres, lederhosen, and the Eurovision song contest until you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Mature to me means the ability to acknowledge people like different things and have different views of maturity, and that one thing or another isn't necessarily better or more "mature" from another ... and that sometimes we get what we personally want, sometimes we get half of what we want, and sometimes we get nothing - and to shrug and be ok with that, because that's how life tends to work at times.

That said, as long as the game isn't about teddy bears dancing on top of rainbows to shake pots of gold and honey out of them for high scores, I'm pretty sure Obsidian will make a game that's "mature" enough for me.

P.S. - no offense meant to anyone who likes teddy bears and rainbows. :biggrin:


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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The content in Planescape:Torment, which was streets above 99% of what passed for "mature" fantasy of the time, is the main reason I backed this game in the first place.

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Mature in relation to a game means in my own opinion a story/events which include themes that are brutal, cruel and twisted. It may also include heart warming, tragic and complicated elements. It is in other words closer to a complicated real world. In context I assume this is in relation to the themes of slavery, violence, racism, cultural differences, sexism, treachery, etc. 

Considering the game is based upon the Baldur's Gate style I'd assume you are capable of intervening and either profiting from the suffering or able to relieve it ... and various shades in between. 

Mature is by no means a negative; it simply means that the themes are harsh and pervasive and the choices you make are harder, more final and occasionally wrong.

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Realism is more about the scope of the character's goals and their ability to accomplish said goals than it is about tackling mature subject matter.

 

Bastion is an amazing game not because the subject matter is terribly mature (although in a meta-context it is), but because the protagonist has one very simple goal, is surrounded by other actors with competing goals, and has just enough ability to succeed in meeting his goals. With that, I will avoid spoilers and just say that you ought to play the game if you're looking for something fresh.

 

Realism as a literary technique has made a comeback, particularly within paranormal and fantasy fiction, within the last ten years. It's still bumping around second fiddle to the Accumulated Chronicles of The Monomyth Man, but there's a lot of really good fiction about men and women of slightly-better-than-normal capability caught up in the tide of events and just managing not to drown: Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards, Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, and so forth. All feature protagonists whose primary virtue is not giving up. They may be more exceptional than their peers in wit and polish, but that just makes them more interesting characters to read.

 

They all set realistic goals at the outset of their stories and sometimes they fall short and that is not the end of the story. I don't want this to become a discussion about save scumming, but I think Obsidian would be making a statement if somehow the characters could fail and end up better off than they would had they succeeded at some point in the story and make that failure optional. That's new and interesting, it provides incentive to players to simply let the game progress as it may. Dead companions make the story that much more poignant, particularly if the protagonist is clearly not the better man in the comparison.

 

If part of telling this kind of story is naked people, I'm okay with that.

Edited by Dayen
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They all set realistic goals at the outset of their stories and sometimes they fall short and that is not the end of the story. I don't want this to become a discussion about save scumming, but I think Obsidian would be making a statement if somehow the characters could fail and end up better off than they would had they succeeded at some point in the story and make that failure optional. That's new and interesting, it provides incentive to players to simply let the game progress as it may. Dead companions make the story that much more poignant, particularly if the protagonist is clearly not the better man in the comparison.

 

You're saying that failure is an inherent part of growing up and getting mature? I'm simultaneously reaffirmed, and deeply deeply saddened. :)

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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