Infamous 2 and pornography
I woke up the other night at half past two with a headache. I took a pill and it got rid of the pain but left me insomniac. I decided to play myself to sleep and fired up the demo for Infamous 2.
I had vaguely positive expectations because I remembered somewhat liking the first game. And, although the game seems to be a more-of-the-same type of deal, I was disappointed.
Maybe it’s just me, but I simply refuse to accept that in this day and age, regardless of the medium, a piece of entertainment with such high production values can sport the sort of awful dialog and characterisation that Infamous 2 throws into your face. If that was a one-man indie title, it could be understandable. But this game cost millions to manufacture and the only plausible explanation is that its creator just doesn’t give a shit. As long as it has a dude sparking lightning out his hands, obliterating entire streets, it doesn’t need to be written (or voice-acted) well.
It is a line of thought that a lot of people obviously agree with. On Metacritic Infamous 2 gets an 84 out of 100 and the users score it even higher: at 9.1 out of 10. And I admit I have fond memories of the first game, which was in no way better than the current steaming pile, so at times I myself seem to ignore my stated high standards.
I was thinking about how this could be possible. I’ve discovered that it often helps me to understand something if I can find an analogy to something that I’ve already grasped. And I found one.
Take porn. In porn you have actors who play a part and have lines, but it is very very hard to call any of that good acting in the traditional sense. I think it is completely fair to compare Infamous 2’s dialog and characters to those in any hardcore porn movie. Both are on the same level of sophistication and concern about what the audience would think. In porn, there is a reason for that: nobody really watches it for the story. Apparently, the same holds true for Infamous 2 (and I’m sure everyone can come up with at least one other game that is exactly the same).
This is it then: to save myself a lot of frustration, I just have to think of Infamous 2 being to games as what porn is to cinema.
The only difference is that porn is paying a high price for its obsession with sex and disregard for every other aspect of life: it is a pariah across all platforms it exists on. Infamous 2, on the other hand, while no less carnal in its violence and no more respectful of things like feelings or logic, gets universal praise.
It is a sad state of affairs that sex should be considered more worthy of being ostracised than violence.
Refreshingly, while looking for an image for this post, I didn’t come across any fanart depicting a romantic relationship between Cole and any of the female characters in the game. Suck it, heteronormativity!