Jump to content
Endrosz

What does "mature" mean, anyway?

Recommended Posts

While I prefer that games - and indeed storytelling in general - be open to including mature themes, too often it seems that such themes are included primarily to be "mature", rather than because it fits the story being told. It seems almost a matter of 'if we include "mature" content, "mature" people will want to buy our game/film/etc'. You can tell great stories by going deeper into genuinely mature themes (as opposed to the usual "mature means boobs and blood!!!!111"), but you can also tell great stories without doing so - and forcing such themes into stories that don't need them often ruins the story (e.g. the vast majority of comic books from the "darker and edgier" period in the late 80s/early 90s). There's a great quote from C.S. Lewis that always comes to mind when I'm involved in such discussions:

 

 

Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Please read more carefully, you're misinterpreting my lines. I wrote problems of adults, not about adults. Adult people's problems most definitely include children --  not having them being also a thing that certain adults worry about. Kids can be trouble even if they don't exist. :p

 

Also, the movie example I gave is about a father-daughter relationship for the most part. Guess you ignored that, not even bothering to watch the 1 1/2 minutes trailer I linked.

 

Finally, I'm a math/physics teacher in real life, I love kids and think and care about them a lot.


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

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree that "mature" sticker on a game nowadays often just means "lots of smut and violence inside".  While that's certainly mature content, the story of such games is often far from mature. The protagonist is superheroed all out, does almost all the same things as cartoon hero, but just happens to kill and fornicate along the way "because he is a badass". To me it is just another fairytale and mature is supposed to be closer to reality.

 

Even if you are a superman, you still can't save everybody. Aside from the global catastrophies, superman operates on a rather local level. What about people outside? Every minute around the world there is a new person in need of help. Even if superman completely abandons his private life and dedicates all of his time to saving those in need, he still can't save everyone. What's he going to do? We don't see that in a perfect fairytale world.

 

Virtue doen't always win. There are things even true love can't overcome. Perhaps that sounds too grim, but that's reality and mature games aspire to be "real" (or try to). There are choices, there are sacrifices and there are prices to pay. That's my definiton of mature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I can tell, mature means there are few joyful events and places more time is wasted on explicit violence, drugs and soon-to-look-dated nudity. But I admit that I dislike the concept of 'mature' games because of thet cooler-than-you flair they try to evoke.

 

Besides, here is an interesting discussion of a mature roleplaying game. (It's mature content, so only click if you are mature).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me maturity of the game is not what themes but more how are the themes handled. Larry Laffer series main theme is sex but no one would consider it mature. Street Fighter is about violence yet it's not mature game.

Spot on. If people took closer look, they would be amazed at the ideas, themes and influences behind most games that they will dismiss as action crap. That because as Sharp said, there is a big difference between a design theme in the background and actually being able to explore it in a mature way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides, here is an interesting discussion of a mature roleplaying game. (It's mature content, so only click if you are mature).

What are we suppose to take away from that conversation?

One is just going "hurhur boobies"

The other was so mad about the controversial sex, ignoring the fact other people make comics AND games with murder, mutilation, flailing, hanging, torture, decapitation and cannibalism, with equal lack of excuse for it being there.

Edited by Cubiq

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Besides, here is an interesting discussion of a mature roleplaying game. (It's mature content, so only click if you are mature).

What are we suppose to take away from that conversation?

One is just going "hurhur boobies"

The other was so mad about the controversial sex, ignoring the fact other people make comics AND games with murder, mutilation, flailing, hanging, torture, decapitation and cannibalism.

 

 

While I'm really really not one to argue for trivializing rape, I think these guys were pretty narrow-minded. (Also, Exalted's patently ridiculous, as is mostly anything oWoD, but since the reboot rolled out, I've never met with ZOMG RAEP in any White Wolf supplement ever, so... timing's a bit off, maybe?)

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Besides, here is an interesting discussion of a mature roleplaying game. (It's mature content, so only click if you are mature).

What are we suppose to take away from that conversation?

One is just going "hurhur boobies"

The other was so mad about the controversial sex, ignoring the fact other people make comics AND games with murder, mutilation, flailing, hanging, torture, decapitation and cannibalism.

 

 

While I'm really really not one to argue for trivializing rape, I think these guys were pretty narrow-minded. (Also, Exalted's patently ridiculous, as is mostly anything oWoD, but since the reboot rolled out, I've never met with ZOMG RAEP in any White Wolf supplement ever, so... timing's a bit off, maybe?)

 

Exalted is pretty terrible about being a mature game line. There's some sort of misguided belief that people are in to role-playing sexual intercourse, particularly of the violent kind with people you hate. So there are Charms that deal specifically with it, particularly for the "evil" splats.

 

The game itself, stripped of its (incredible) baggage, isn't bad, but you need to be playing with a group that is going to handle "mature" content by being mature about it. It's also pretty terrible for realism, since the entire point of the game is to set unrealistic goals and inevitably achieve them. Sort of the monomyth on steroids. With a literal visitation from the goddess being the impetus of your character's awesome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The game itself, stripped of its (incredible) baggage, isn't bad, but you need to be playing with a group that is going to handle "mature" content by being mature about it. It's also pretty terrible for realism, since the entire point of the game is to set unrealistic goals and inevitably achieve them. Sort of the monomyth on steroids. With a literal visitation from the goddess being the impetus of your character's awesome.

 

 

This is kind of what I meant by "patently ridiculous" :)


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The game itself, stripped of its (incredible) baggage, isn't bad, but you need to be playing with a group that is going to handle "mature" content by being mature about it. It's also pretty terrible for realism, since the entire point of the game is to set unrealistic goals and inevitably achieve them. Sort of the monomyth on steroids. With a literal visitation from the goddess being the impetus of your character's awesome.

 

 

This is kind of what I meant by "patently ridiculous" :)

 

I'm not sure that's fair. It's completely possible to play an Exalted game that tackles mature themes and realism (I am currently doing so), but it really wouldn't be recognizable as what was intended by the original and subsequent authorial teams.

 

Exalted as a product line has a long and glorious history of having the worst human beings as its developers, though, so this sort of high-brow, adult gaming is pretty strongly discouraged because they'd quickly be out of their depth in discussions about whether or not The Scarlet Empress is an anti-villain who failed or an anti-hero who succeeded. They actually wrote a book specifically about this and managed to focus heavily on the inevitable rape of said character, which is a mind-boggling accomplishment. What made it super-awesome-betterer was that they found five separate ways to justify the rape including "she asked for it." Good times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me "mature" means no sugar coating and no censorship.  It doesn't mean blood simply for the sake of blood, or swearing simply for the sake of swearing, or boobs simply for the sake of boobs.  But it does mean not cutting out or hiding or censoring blood, swearing, or sexual content out if it fits the content of the story.  For example, if the story calls for you to find the victim of a grisly rape & murder then you find a naked, bloody body.  The story doesn't sugar coat what happened, nor does it beat around the bush.  You are presented with the full grisly scene (whether graphically or via text or voice over).

Edited by Keyrock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mature themes mean themes that are usually too complex to younger people to understand or/and content that society feels that is in inappropriate for young people to experience.

 

For example philosophical ponderings of meaning of life and etc. usually seen as mature topics as most of the youth don't have enough life experience to actually fully understood what question means and how there is now single right answer or is there even right answer.

 

Same goes for wars and similar conflicts when you handle them in mature way as there is no bad guys or good guys, heroes and villains are usually same people but their role in story depends on which side tells the story.

 

And of course themes and content that tell about things that society sees to be inappropriate for youth for one reason or other, like people's capacity of senseless cruelty and violence, sexual nature of humans (nudity, sex, reproduction, etc.).  People's habits to detach themselves from this world by using legal or illegal drugs.

 

Of course in mature story telling, teller usually assumes that his or her audience knows things and have experienced theme, so there is much less explanation of why people do things and what they aim to accomplish with their acts.

 

And when we speak about mature themes, one should never forgot political,  monetary and etc. motivations and reasons for happenings and people. And difficult concepts that are usually consequence of these things, like slavery, famine, poverty, class systems, etc.

 

So in short mature means things that are seen too difficult to youth to understand or things that society don't want youths be exposed to during their delicate growing period. So there is no easy way to explain what mature means as it means all topics that are difficult to explain and topics that are taboo or some otherwise seen as inimical for young (and sometimes even for adults) .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure that mature means that we'll have cutscenes from Deepthroat in the game in order to represent blossoming relationships... because it's good for the story, of course.


"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think over the top cynicism is immature.

 

Because to say "everything sucks and everyone's bad" is what angsty teenagers think.

I find it more mature to think, yes, there are genuine bad people who are only out for themselves, but there are also genuine good people who want to help people and *surprise* actually end up making people's lives better.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's be controversial:

 

I say the Lord of the Rings films are mature. A dark, but not overly desparate setting. Evil and cruel villains, but no explicit-violence- porn. Fantastic, but believable, 'realistic' clothes and equipment (and architecture).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's be controversial:

 

I say the Lord of the Rings films are mature. A dark, but not overly desparate setting. Evil and cruel villains, but no explicit-violence- porn. Fantastic, but believable, 'realistic' clothes and equipment (and architecture).

 

I'll bite.

 

LoTR is possibly the most sterile fantasy movie in existence. It has 100% no creativity and 100% no soul of its own.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's be controversial:

 

I say the Lord of the Rings films are mature. A dark, but not overly desparate setting. Evil and cruel villains, but no explicit-violence- porn. Fantastic, but believable, 'realistic' clothes and equipment (and architecture).

 

With the exception of the relationship between gollum and Frodo I don't think there's one jot of maturity in the damn stories. At least not the way you're talking about them. They're fantasy.

 

Although for the sake of the argument I will concede that maybe you've uncovered an interesting notion - that fantasy is in tension with maturity.

 

EDIT: Since aluminiumtrioxode liked the post it made me think a bit more about it.

 

Take reality as a baseline. It's hard to really engage with players/viewers if something is genuinely unreal. So, swords, romances, death. These thinsg are real.

 

A fantasy sword looks like this:

 

bustersword.jpg

 

A mature sword looks like this.

 

image2.jpg

 

INTERESTINGLY, I wanted a sword with actual blood on it. Something from a crime scene. But googling "sword real blood" brought up ONLY fantasy swords.

Edited by Walsingham
  • Like 2

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Methinks that's when you stopped reading the damn books!

 

Aragorn and Arwen not fantasy nonsense romance?

 

An entire species  - gobblins and orcs - who exist only to hurt stuff?

 

An entire species - elves - who are only good and never evil?

Edited by Walsingham
  • Like 1

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are moments in the Lord of the Rings that stand out as mature, hunger, thirst, flight, weakness and failure, but overall I would agree that it was escapism for old Mr Tolkien. To identify what he was escaping from one needs only recall the young corpses lying in the pooled water of the Dead Marshes, and think of the places he served in the Great War. It seems that he wanted a world where there were absolutes, not our flawed world of ever shifting uncertainty.

  • Like 2

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's be controversial:

 

I say the Lord of the Rings films are mature. A dark, but not overly desparate setting. Evil and cruel villains, but no explicit-violence- porn. Fantastic, but believable, 'realistic' clothes and equipment (and architecture).

 

LotR is a "polite society compatible" re-telling of the original Germanic fairy tales, myths, and legends. If you had raised, perhaps, Beowulf or the Poetic and Prose Edda, or the Icelandic Sagas, or Kalevala as mature, you'd have won immediate agreement from anyone knowledgeable about them.

 

Beowulf isn't immature because it focuses on ultra-violent handling of a problem. It's an allegory that discusses both that which is necessary and that which is not and attempts to delineate the two through a parable about a monster who eats babies. It even discusses the consequences of improper handling of a problem.

 

The Poetic and Prose Edda are harder to break down, but the maturity of the goals of the Norse gods as encapsulated in that source material is clear. The overriding goal is to prevent the end of the world, except you can't prevent the end of the world, so the real goal is preventing the world from restarting. Certainly, to a modern aesthetic this stretches credulity, but there's an obvious accession to the hierarchy of need there. Does the world need to continue? No, not if we can ensure the coming of a new world.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Let's be controversial:

 

I say the Lord of the Rings films are mature. A dark, but not overly desparate setting. Evil and cruel villains, but no explicit-violence- porn. Fantastic, but believable, 'realistic' clothes and equipment (and architecture).

 

LotR is a "polite society compatible" re-telling of the original Germanic fairy tales, myths, and legends.

 

Not really. It's a retelling of World War I.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...