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Extra Credits: Propaganda Games & Why Games Do Cthulhu Wrong

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I tripped across an interesting site about games. They publish some pretty interesting stuff, and some very thoughtful things.

Here's one example:

And one about Cthulhu (and still thoughtful):

It's very much "meta" in that the underlying concepts are examined in a depth that you've probably never really seen before (applied to games), or have only seen superficially.

Why Games Do Cthulhu Wrong
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Nailed. It.

I think it should be titled "How Games Do Cthulhu Wrong" because it doesn't really explain why they keep doing Cthulhu wrong by embodying him/it into something you can attack and defeat. It just explains that they do keep doing that.

But yeah, Extra Credits is great. Lots of useful insight into game design and similar things.

it doesn't really explain why they keep doing Cthulhu wrong
-Deozaan (July 17, 2014, 09:58 PM)
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I sort of agree, but they kinda did in their examples.  Apparently, it's WAAAY easier to design a game around a "boss", and what bigger boss can you ever offer than an insane elder god?  And what's the point of a boss if it isn't defeatable?  That's the catch, and where they get it wrong.  Cthulhu is more of a concept than a thing, and it's obviously easier to design a game around things rather than concepts.  More popular, at least.  Not that the game designers are lazy, but it seems to me the creative process required for designing around conceptual content requires a different kind of genius.

That said, I think games like Amnesia got it more right by making the game winnable, but without the ubiquitous "overcome bad guys by force" element.  You were meant to hide and run away from the creatures (they were indestructible anyway), and the ever-encroaching insanity as you searched for a [email protected]#$%& box of matches was an even worse enemy.

I'm probably going to make a fool of myself here, since I am not an expert on Cthulhu stuff, but watching that video did *not* ring completely true to me.

In fact, my impression was that he got the key, fundamental point wrong.

His focus on the specialness of Cthulhu was that "Cthulhu represents our fear of the possibility of our own human smallness.. Cthuhlu presents us with the revelation of forces that are so much larger than us that they're beyond our control... The fear in Cthulhu is not that it's powerful, it's that it's powerful on a scale that we can't even comprehend."

Again, I may be speaking out of my ass here, but that is *not* they key element from my perspective.

They key element as I understood it was the idea of something so horrific and alien and scary that your mind could not process it, and it drove you mad with fear.

Now some of his conclusions are still valid -- but I do think that there is some importance in reconciling whether the key aspect of Cthulhu that needs to be captured in games is whether the player is up against forces so large and vast and uncontrollable that the player can never escape/win/etc.  Or if the key aspect to be captured is that the player is constantly fighting against going insane because learning about Cthulhu will beyond their ability to process without going insane.

I'm not saying that the Cthulhu stories don't feature vast forces so large that they are beyond our control.. I'm just saying that I don't read that as the key, core element.  Madness seems the key to me.


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