Quantum State of Stupid

David Cage seems to have never played a computer game in his life

I am going to be honest with you this isn’t the article I had planned for today. In fact, I already had another article thought up which I only needed to put to paper. However, as usual in our current gaming news cycle, things came up and forced me to re-schedule. What caused me to push back my article was a tweet by David Cage about how Detroit: Become Human was a great game that changed his life and showed how games can be about more than just senseless violence.

I mean, for God’s sake David, not in public!

Now, you might think that is the most pretentious thing a game producer can say about a game they made, and you would be absolutely right. You’d also wonder though, why a game producer would engage in an act of self fellatio in public. One commentator put up the theory that David Cage had simply meant to use a disposable twitter account to post this ego boosting tweet and just messed up, which is even more sad. Regardless, it allowed the internet writ large to make more fun of David Cage, gaming’s Uwe Boll.

The comparison to Uwe Boll, the German movie director, is a tad unwarranted. Uwe Boll makes horrible video game movie adaptations, but they are meant to flop. David Cage makes horrible video games because he can’t make movies. Yes, David Cage wants to make movies, no matter what he says in interviews, because all of his games are pretentious attempts at making a Hollywood blockbuster in game form.

Seriously, this is a guy who talks about emotions and the industry’s need to grow up, and yet every game he produced looks like it was written by a 13 year old boy. I say boy, because David Cage’s sex scenes seem like they were ripped from a 13 year old’s understanding of what sex is like.

Jim Sterling in an almost accurate portrayal of David Cage

Worst yet, David Cage is a coward. I know he is a coward because when people started drawing political comparisons to racism in Detroit: Become Human, David Cage quickly put an end to speculations by saying that they were not connected. This infuriates me because not only did he heavily, and I do mean heavily, steal examples of racism from history and exploited them in his game, he then tried to pretend he did so without any political meaning… I mean, just wow!

When people attacked him over allegations of rampant racism and homophobia in his studio, David Cage was quick to parade Jesse Jackson and Ellen Page as a shield from criticism in the tone of “I am not racist/homophobic, I know a black/lesbian person”. It was exasperating to say the least.

I think this is the place to put a little disclaimer saying that I didn’t actually play any of his last three games. Instead, I watched them on YouTube and saved myself a whole bunch of money. In fact, I had more fun watching different Let’s Plays of the absurdity that is a David Cage game, then I would have playing the actual games. Why? Because they are not real games.

David Cage games are just based on “press X to advance plot” and quick time events mechanics; essentially walking simulators with too many cutscenes, too little plot or character and worst yet, laughable dialogues. They aren’t even that great in the genre as I found Until Dawn a much better, more suspenseful game than Heavy Rain which many consider to be David Cage’s magnum opus, and ain’t that pathetic.

What irked me the most from his comment wasn’t just the nerve to masturbate in public, but the sheer ignorance on display. He touted his game as some digital messiah, showing the masses that gaming can be more than violence when there is already a plethora of games that did just that, much better and long before David Cage crawled into the video game industry to try and be the king of the pond.

So instead of just pouring more vitriol on poor David Cage, I’ll take the opportunity to educate him, and the readers, on the many games that have little to no violence or use said violence to tell compelling games and even cleverly subvert player’s expectations. Perhaps David Cage will learn something, perhaps he’ll even grow as a person. Honestly though, I doubt it.

Subnautica – The beautiful oceanic world of Subnautica is a gorgeous and mysterious place to explore. It takes the elements of survival games, a well crafted world and gives the player a goal: Escape. Though there is some violence, the player is often discouraged from engaging in it and the weaponry and gadgetry is more aimed at evading hostiles than actually murdering them. If you want to watch a good Let’s Play of it, I suggest Neebs Gaming’s series which is quite hilarious (link below)

Neebs Gaming’s excellent Subnautica series.

Papers Please – There never was a game that did so much with so little. A game in which you play a border crossing station worker in an authoritarian state trying to survive and feed your family. As the game progresses, the amount of regulations and documents to check becomes ever more oppressive. Every day brings new dilemmas. Will you let a mother reunite with her child even though she doesn’t have the right paperwork and get a citation, or will you go by the book and deny her entry because you’ve already got two warnings and another one will mean no paycheck to buy food, medicine or heating for your sick and starving family.

Fez – A beautiful game about exploring using 2d graphics on a 3d axis which allows for some clever puzzles. The game is just gorgeous and fun and I enjoyed every moment in it.

Stardew Valley – My all time favorite game. This nicely pixelated game allows the player to build their own farm, explore mines and just enjoy a nice country life while revitalizing the local village and getting to know its inhabitants. Its fun, relaxing and can be 100% violence free. It also invoked more emotions in me than whatever polygon count Ellen Page has in Beyond: Two Souls.

The SimsThe Sims series has four entries already and is all about managing the life of a simulated person in a simulated neighborhood. Whatever you personally feel about the franchise, you can’t dispute that its hardly violent and allows people to live out their all controlling fantasies of a perfect life. Also the Sims themselves emote better than any David Cage character ever did.

SimCity – Before the franchise was murdered by Electronic Arts’ greed, the game series allowed you to build and manage a city. That is all. You just built a city according to your wishes and tried to manage it as it changed and evolved. The only violence possible was enacted by natural, and sometimes unnatural, disasters which you’d have to contend with.

Any game with Tycoon in its title – Seriously. Pick one from a hundred. None of them are about violence.

Any racing game – See the above.

Farming Simulator – I don’t like Farming Simulator. I hate Farming Simulator for being such a boring game. Guess what David Cage? It isn’t violent.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 – Its a game about hauling goods across Europe and growing a business. It has 0 violence and allows for a relaxed, peaceful gameplay.

Of course there are more non violent games but you catch my drift. Now let’s proceed to games that are violent but use that violence to make a point:

Shadow of the Colossus – In Shadow of the Colossus you play an adventurer trying to resurrect a woman by making a pact with a demon to slay the colossi who roam the forgotten realm. Some of the colossi are so huge as to technically qualify as skyscrapers and the game does a great job of pacing encounters by long riding segments, exposing you to the world. It also has a touching story about love and sacrifice that is carried with almost no dialogue. Unlike a David Cage game that has a lot of dialogue but hardly any emotion.

Max Payne 1+2 – I love the first two Max Payne games. They are masterpieces in writing and execution. The first game is a film noir style, third person shooter following the exploits of undercover cop Max Payne, who is looking for the people who pushed a dangerous narcotic that caused the murder of his family. He gets caught in a whirlwind of violence and corruption that leads to a brutal killing spree that is both satisfying and emotionally damaging. By the end of the first game I was emotionally drained as I released my finger from the trigger. The second game deals in the aftermath of such tragedy and how empty and broken Max really is from his experience. Its a sad tale of a man who went over the edge and can never return. Two true cult classics which I still replay from time to time to remind myself there is such thing as good stories in video games.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – The granddaddy of the first person military shooter, for better and worse. While it did sire a terrible gaming legacy of derivative, copy pasted games, it did also reinvigorate the first person shooter genre that had gotten stale by that point. However its greatest strength is still its story that shows the limits, and cost, of military intervention. There is a reason why the scene of a city getting nuked is still shocking and well remembered to this day.

Spec Ops: The Line – I both love, and hate Spec Ops: The Line. It is a game that takes all the tropes and cliches of first person military shooters and turns them on their head. It is a game that lets you revel in the violence before pulling the rug under your feet and planting you face first in the mess that you just created. It is a game that leaves you an empty husk by the end. A game that I could only play once and yet almost every scene and level is etched in my memory. A game that has a lot to say about the relationship between player and player controlled character. It is more mature than any game David Cage has ever and will ever produce. It is, simply put, art.

Of course, these are but a few of the games I know and care to remember on such a short notice but its more than enough to drive in the point that David Cage is full of it. In reality, gaming is already choke full of good games that tell adult stories much better than anything David Cage’s 13 year old brain could comprehend. The fact he is so ignorant of the industry he works in is more an indictment of his lack of awareness and ability than anything else. So perhaps David, you can start playing actual video games instead of those elongated cutscenes you try and sell us as games. Also how is Detroit: Become Human non violent when a character uses a rocket launcher to blow shit up!? Tell me David… TELL ME!

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