Things that make you feel uncomfortable in games


#1

This could turn sensitive, but let’s try not to argue with each other. I’m interested in knowing what issues or portrayals, in a game, will make you - just you - so uncomfortable that you might not continue playing it.

This isn’t a commentary on the actual worth of the games. Several people had instinctive bad reactions to the recent WIP that mimicked spam, but is actually a creative idea by a legitimate coder. Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus are beloved games that deal with rape and misogyny, which some people won’t want to read about whatever the context of the story.

So, what do you not like to see in a game? What will make you abandon a game completely, or make you hesitant unless the subject is dealt with respectfully? They can be reasonable philosophical objections, pet peeves, whatever.

I’ve made a short list of stuff that makes me write off games or be leery about them:

  • Rape as drama
  • Child abuse, drug addiction, sex work, suicide, or other movie-of-the-week topics being used to prove a character is “on the wrong path” without doing any research about what these things are like
  • Medieval settings, as glorifying the dark ages of Europe often leads to some horribly ignorant social concepts
  • Medieval settings, because I am far too harsh on them because of some unpleasant associations with Middle Ages re-enactors
  • Elf and dwarf-based fantasy, because I find Tolkien boring
  • Racist or sexist caricatures for no other reason than because the author took them for granted as true (Includes things like “dressing up like Indians for Halloween” and “the bimbo was so happy to be the secretary” without acknowledging how things got that way.)
  • Alternate universes that change one minor thing and extrapolate silly consequences from it.
  • Romance options that are two-dimensional, customizable, sleep with you, then disappear. Or who are your sidekick other than one brief night of passion that is never acknowledged.
  • Messages about the correct way to live that I disagree with. E.g., atheists are doomed to misery, non-monogamy will lead to horrible and inevitable consequences for breaking universal rules, bisexuals are silly and cannot be trusted, the military is sacred.

Good luck in keeping this going without starting any arguments about who ought to be bothered by what.


Best darkest COG or HG games?
#2

Oh no. I get to rant again. I’ll try and keep this one short. I’ve others but this is still the one that really, really gets me. Particularly for personal reasons.

Spiking people’s drinks with alcohol (or other substances) being portrayed in a solely positive manner without the slightest acknowledgement of how wrong this is. Especially when this furthers the notion that it helps loosen up and have more fun.

I consider it dangerous, because people see enough of this in the mass media and it’s such a common trope, that they actually believe that it’s not harmless but it’s perfectly acceptable behaviour.


#3

Oh man, something that bothers me is irresponsible drinking. It’s more a staple of music videos than video games, but if you drink enough to pass out? That’s not an achievement, that’s not heroically winning a drinking contest, in my book that’s addict warning behavior and at the least incipient liver damage. Why are drugs something that the good guys will never touch, but getting drunk all the time is A-okay?

Sex being death. If the virgin is the obvious one to die, or if non-traditional sex is the sign that someone is evil. Not that this is done that much any more, but it was a big staple back in 90s horror movies. If you were black AND had sex? God help you.

Oh, um, I also have a thing about dragons. I used to hang out on some therian forums (aka "I Don’t Feel Human And I Have Only Vague Ideas Why) and the dragon-spirited people I met were pretty awful. Not that all of them are, but I’m scarred for life.


#4

Whenever there’s a really graphic sex scene. That always makes me really uncomfortable. Which is odd since I’m fine with most graphic violence. Just in games though, I don’t think that stuff is OK in real life. Also when there’s the stereotypical “crush” romance in a game. What is their personality like? What are their interests? What’s their height, weight, eye color or hair color? I don’t know, but the game says I like them.


#5

Any type of preaching, proselytizing, or punditry of the author’s religious, political, or moral opinions under the guise of main or supporting characters.


#6

Now that I think about it… There are very few things that makes me uncomfortable…

  • “The Burden” made me uncomfortable because the PC is always naked, but that is a very specific example.
  • Unrealistic romanceable characters (The kind of character who wants to live with the MC forever after spending one day with him/her)
  • Hidden religious and/or moral messages in the plot or characters.

I can’t remember anything else. I guess I must be an extremely tolerant person :unamused:


#7

Sex scenes. On one level it just makes me uncomfortable, especially when I’m watching it with other people. On an intellectual level I don’t like them because they rarely add anything to the story. Usually they’re just for the sake of being edgy or titillating, or being present as the inevitable conclusion to a romance. If I wanted to see people bonin’ I’d just watch porn, I’m playing a game because I want to enjoy a goddamn story.


#8

I like having a choice about whether I choose to drink alcohol, or not, in games. Or framed in terms of the question, being forced to drink any alcohol in a game will generally make me uncomfortable.

So often it’s taken for granted that the protagonist will be drinking and if you dare to say no, whomever you’re with will think less of you. And generally the only “no alcohol” option is water.

I liked what Slammed! does with drinking alcohol though, and how that one choice of whether you keep drinking or not has an impact that ripples right throughout the game.

I also prefer to have the option of whether or not my character is vegetarian/vegan, rather than just be described to be eating steak. I can’t think of a single game where what food you eat matters, mind you, but it’s just one of those choices I like having there. (Ahahaha I just looked at Choice of Robots and only the vegie burger gives a +boost to Josh’s relationship, so clearly I am wrong.)

Villains are still coded as GBLT to show how villainous they are. It’s definitely something that’s still done. They won’t be outright said to be queer, but the coding’s there. You’ll have your burly manly man I’m so heterosexual hero, and the camp, effeminate villain.


What options matter to you beyond name, gender, and sexuality?
#9

Like @ballmot, few things make me uncomfortable. The only one that really comes to mind at the moment in playing games or reading literature is if an author is willfully ignorant of the opposing view on any subject the author is presenting in a biased manner.

I’m not talking about making a point in favor of their view (which is perfectly acceptable) but rather attempting to champion a view that directly disagrees with a logical standpoint or accepted fact with complete dismissal instead of reasonable argument. It’s deplorable, immoral, and immediately eradicates any respect I have for that author.

@ballmot I didn’t intend “The Burden” to cause anyone discomfort though I can certainly see how it very well may do so.


#10
  • Casual drug use. It bothers me in any type of story, even if it’s ‘just’ weed. Drugs are something that I simply don’t want to deal with, be it fiction or real life. I can’t help but view it as wrong.
  • Rape being used as a plot device.
  • Unavoidable sex scenes. (I remember playing an eroge where the chick our hero just found in an alley (yeah, go figure) sees his boner and offers to take care of it for him. The player then gets to choose between accepting or going to the bathroom to take care of it himself. I chose the bathroom because the whole situation was very uncomfortable for me…and right in the middle, the chick bursts into the room and gets to work ANYWAY, even though I very clearly chose to not have her touch me. I did not like being forced into it.)
  • Sexist remarks, especially if they come from the ‘hero’ himself or another character I’m supposed to like. In fact, I generally don’t like having female characters be depicted as ‘victims’ that need to be saved by men.

#11

@dashingdon
Don’t worry about it, I never said that the game was bad, it just felt kinda weird for me because images described by books are usually very vivid in my mind. I had to imagine the MC with clothes, even though it doesn’t make any sense in the story :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#12

I hate racism. (Black guy HAS to die first, magical negro, etc)
Rape as a plot device.
Someone being drugged and it gets played off as comedic. (My knee jerk urge for revenge kicks in when me or someone else is drugged)
Killing someone for the sole purpose of motivating the main character
Shallow RO’s
The righteously good guy (unless its for comedy purposes)
When villians just monologue for no reason and the hero just stands there listening while the villian reaches for his (ultimate weapon/escape route/alarm button that summons more cookie cutter lackeys)
Cookie cutter lackeys.
The list goes on and on.


#13
  • I dislike needless and frequent cursing in games. I understand when books, games, movies, etc need something a bit more expressive than just “holy cows” or something, but I was very uncomfortable in just about every scene in Far Cry 3 because the antagonist said the f word about four times every sentence. Sorry if this sounds childish. xD
  • I’ve seen this above: I dislike it when an author / game maker incorporates their own beliefs into a character – I mean, YOU, as the main character.

Not a lot of things really bother me in a game, to be honest. Or I just haven’t played any blatantly offensive games.


#14

@blackrising

So you played an eroge and then avoided the sexy times? :kissing:

Not that I disagree about unavoidable sex, but I thought that was at least part of the reason why people play those types of games in the first place.


#15

Vaguely related point: I think there is also greater awareness these days that men being tricked into sex, drugged, beaten up, etc. is not comedy… but this does bug me, when it still happens. My husband is the one who first pointed out that commercials about “dumb husbands” are still everywhere. It does devalue anyone if their existence is played off for laughs, unless it’s clear you’re talking about an individual, and for a reason.

There are good and bad eroges. Let me reference Hitomi: My Stepsister. There is a great conflict in this game about whether you will romance your pseudo-relative… but it does not matter. Unless you sleep with her, in a bittersweet and disturbing ending, you CANNOT GET A GOOD END. Your options include unwanted and unavoidable pregnancy, being murdered, or other unpleasant things. Enjoy!


#16

I think it sounds understandable, not childish. There’s definitely no need to apologise.

I also think it’s good we can actually discuss things like that on the forums. Because while there’s definitely people who’d claim that being made uncomfortable by cursing, alcohol, sex, in games is childish, it’s not true.


#17

@Sashira

Nothing quite like a “nice boat” ending, eh? I’ve seen worse, though.

@blackrising

Nothing wrong with disliking drug use. Quite honestly it disgusts me, and it’s rather trying living in a society that almost seems to expect it of you at some point in your life.


#18

The incompetent man/woman trope
I still can’t understand why those still exist.
(No human being is that stupid)
(I am fine with cursing alcohol and sex just don’t force the stuff down mah throat)
I also hate when characters drop of the face of the earth and reappear in time to save the day. Or when they do some completely impossible task via “friendship” or “determination”.


#19

One of the stats in my game is called “Humanity.” I was asked early on whether humanity means you are compassionate, entitled to love, will save the day, etc. paragon stereotypes. I never intended that… some of my monsters are arguably better than humans.


#20

What is this unspeakable noise called “entitled to love” there is no one who is entitled to love. (I hate those “You won so you get the love interest conglaturations!”)
I also hate fetch questing for no reason. Its fine if they have good reason.(in skyrim they were purposefully trying to keep the evil diety made kill dagger separated so you had a good reason to search for it)