PTSD or Weakness: Real Experts on Why Samus Didn't Shoot

by Stephen Kelley, posted on 08 September 2010 / 38,490 Views

http://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/galleries/2010-09-08/ptsd-article/ptsd-article_1283970911.jpg

Videogames often get a bad reputation for glorifying war and using it as a sort of exploitation.  Often they are criticized for brushing aside the horrors of war and battle for the sense that fighting is “awesome”, much like a Hollywood film.  An argument could be raised that most gamers don’t care about such things in games, or that they don’t want to see it.  Despite this general feeling, a few companies have been trying to show the bad side of conflict into their games.  These messages include the fact that war is not all about shooting faceless bad guys, and that we should change the way we look at it, but sadly this is lost sometimes.  A clear cut case of a situation such as this occurred a few weeks ago, as an anticipated Wii game called Metroid: Other M hit the store shelves. 

Before the game actually hit, videos of the game’s cut-scenes began to scatter to the net much to the dismay of some gamers.  Samus Aran, the games heroic female lead, was seen to be given a lot more emotion and personality than ever before in a Metroid game.  Problem was, Samus has issues apparently, and this angered some fans.  The main offender was a scene in which Samus is seen to become weak and unresponsive in the face of her biggest enemy, a huge creature named Ridley.  I was shocked to see some of the responses that the video had garnered on Youtube, such as these:

(I have censored the curse words, but left the bad punctuation intact)

 

“Is it bad to have an emotional s*** who beat the living hell out of this thing 100s of other times, but breaks down crying this time? Yes. Very bad. They took some strong bad ass character and made them into a wimpy emotional s***. “

 

“[Samus is] a hardened professional bounty hunter, someone who's been portrayed as a strong, fierce woman, who's been on countless missions prior, faced much more frightening enemies, and has fought, killed and seen Ridley resurrected multiple times before this suddenly has a mental breakdown a cries in fear at the sight of an enemy she's killed so many times prior to this? F***, you're right, it's just common sense. “

 

This attitude has been a common vibe for the past few weeks, as many felt that the game deviated from the established characterization given to Samus.  Some even went as far as to call the game sexist, as Samus was shown in a “weak way.”  The problem is that in the context of the game, the developers are trying very hard to imply that Samus suffers from some variation of an anxiety disorder, such as PTSD.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the many things that folks do not like talking about when it comes to warfare, which is a shame.  During the Vietnam War the United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that 830,000 Vietnam War veterans suffered symptoms of PTSD. 

This is not the first time there has been talk of PTSD in the Metroid series, as one of the canonized mangas (Japanese comic books) written to flesh out the story leading up to the first game showed a similar occurrence:

http://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/galleries/2010-09-08/ptsd-article/ptsd-article_1283970908.jpg

I was under the impression that the aforementioned scene and the comic pretty much solidified her status as coping with the disorder, but the negative talk online got me thinking about it. My thoughts are that folks do not understand such a disorder, and were saying things like that due to ignorance of the situation instead of sheer malice.  PTSD is one of those sensitive areas many do not want to talk about, so it can be understandable. 

The problem is, it was hard for ME to have an opinion on the matter because I do not suffer from a similar disorder nor do I have a close friend or immediate family member that does.  My main question was, “Is Samus’s behavior in the game a true depiction of what PTSD can do to someone, or was the development team going for another angle?"  I set out to actually interview some folks that know what it’s like to be in situations like this, and get their opinions.  I was able to round up a war veteran coping with PTSD, as well as a mental wellness professional.  Here is what they had to say: 

 

The Interviewees are:

Darian Koehne – Former Army (rank withheld), suffers from PTSD

John M. Grohol, PsyD.,  founder and CEO of Psych Central.com

 

Q: My questions today are about PTSD, what are your experiences with the disorder?

Koehne: I suffer with the disorder on a daily basis due to the fact that I am a combat vet the served in the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I can’t even play games that depict the wars anymore.   It’s too real and I find myself dazing off while really into the game.  I have the same kinds of flashbacks because some the games are so real...and I know I am of sound mind, but I wake up and do security checks in the middle of night about 3 times a night.  I sleep in patterns of a couple hours at a time…I really did have to watch my 6 everywhere I went.... and it’s true when you see the death like that... it sticks with you and the smallest things set off some strong emotions... and the ones closest to us vets are the ones who can tell you even more....

Dr.  Grohol: I'm a mental health expert with a doctorate in clinical psychology (from Nova Southeastern University).

 

Q: I’d like you to watch the following video from a recent Videogame called “Metroid: Other M”.

(Clip was shown)

The context of the video is that Samus, the woman in the red and orange armor, has fought and seemingly defeated the creature (Ridley) in the video on two past occasions and assumed he was dead.  Her confrontations with Ridley all stem from it killing her family when she was a small child.  As we see in the video, Samus appears to be horrified to see Ridley after years of assuming he was dead, and simply freezes.  What are your thoughts on the video?

Koehne: That is very much so how PTSD works.... you daze out of it for long stretches and your brain seems to freeze and do its own thing or render you basically useless...

Dr.  Grohol: Mental disorders like PTSD are recognized disorders of brain and behavior that have decades worth of research and are based upon thousands of peer-reviewed studies. It is no different than having a disease like diabetes or Parkinson's.

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Q: This scene has caused a row amongst the gaming community.  Some feel she has PTSD, and others say that she should be able to “get over it” as she has fought him before and won. Can one simply “get over” something if it causes PTSD?

Koehne: A story answers this for my point of view.  I watched a man burn to death and pulled guard on his body so we could retrieve the remains and not let the insurgents disgrace the fallen soldier by dragging his body around the streets.  To this day I have a problem with barbecues which used to be one of my favorite things to do.... I still do BBQ every now and then.... but things have changed!!

Dr.  Grohol: If someone experience a trauma at an early age, such as having someone kill their family, then something like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is indeed a possible reaction. One does not simply "get over" a mental disorder because these are not choices we make in the first place. Who would consciously choose to be depressed, or to have PTSD? It's an absurd argument.

http://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/galleries/2010-09-08/ptsd-article/ptsd-article_1283970918.jpg

Q: How realistic would a situation like the above be, or being a work of fiction, was it handled incorrectly?

Koehne: That is a great depiction of PTSD... and just to think soldiers have to deal with that in real life fights...

Dr. Grohol:   Someone who was in a situation where they had something to trigger a flashback, as what appears to occur in the video, could very possibly react in a similar manner -- frozen in place, being unable to act or react for a time. Flashbacks themselves can be traumatizing, and different people will experience and react to them differently. The reaction of the character in the video was consistent with the way some people might react to meeting -- once again -- a murderer they thought they had previously killed.

 

Q: In closing, how do you feel about videogames beginning to handle tough problems like PTSD?

Koehne: Video games are a great way to teach the public... PTSD is very sensitive but people need to know we have alot of young soldiers coming home and families need to know how to recognize it so they can not become a victim of the PTSD but rather help support through the issue... I wish they would take on teaching the younger public that some people are disfigured from war and you shouldnt go around talking about them under you breath... THANKS FOR BRINGING SOME LIGHT TO PTSD...

Dr. Grohol: I think that video games have great potential to help shed some light onto serious concerns, like PTSD. If they can foster debate and discussion like this about a serious mental illness like PTSD, then they've done a great job in helping to educate people about these kinds of concerns.

 

While it’s apparent that Samus as a character most likely has PTSD, one can overlook the plight of many of our REAL servicemen and women no matter what country you reside in.  Having the opinion that someone should “get over it” is not only ignorant, but pretty disrespectful to those that have fought for our countries.  I hope these interviews have at least shed some light on something that a large amount of soldiers, rape victims, murder witnesses, and more have to deal with on a day to day basis.  For more information on PTSD and what you can do to help gain understanding or even help with research please check out some sites like Dr. Grohol’s Psych Central website.


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55 Comments

AngryAztec (on 21 September 2010)

@MagnusBot It doesn't matter that Ridley was cloned. The damn creature is a killing machine regardless of its lack of memories. And the effect it had on Samus was the same as if he was the original nemesis. Besides, didn't you read the article? For a veteral soldier that suffers from PTSD, something like a BBQ will remind him of the burn corpse of a fallen soldier. That doesn't mean that the meat in the BBQ grill is THAT soldier. You seem to think only the real deal triggers PTSD. But no, almost anything can do that. A veteran soldier does not have to be in Iraq, Vietnam or Afghanistan and face enemies from those countries to suffer the effects of PTSD. Most of those effects come AFTER they have abandoned the battle fields. So yeah, Samus didn't have to face the real Ridley in order for the PDST to go into effect. So there goes your argument... kaput! @Resident_Hazard LOL you sound as IF you knew what Samus Aran was all about. C'mon. I've been a player of this series since day one (1986) and I can guarantee you that based on the games themselves, NOBODY knew what was inside her head. No one knew that. All the stuff you mention about Samus is what YOU imagined the character to be like. The stuff about being like a female Boba Fett. That's just you giving your own take on the character. Fact is, Samus is a real human being. With an tragic past that marked her for life. If anyone here thinks that REAL bounty hunters are not emotional beings, then they need to get out of their basements and get to know a few of them. These people have emotions. They get to know the families of the people that they hunt down. And they see the misery of human existence in their daily jobs. And guess what? sometimes it gets to them. And they break down. And yes, they cry, dammit. I've seen it happen to both Bounty Hunters and veterans. So all this ridiculous crap about Samus not being allowed to have emotions is just that: crap. Samus is not a robot. Samus is not Boba Fett or Batman. Samus is Samus. And we got to know her for the really first time with Other M. Those that didn't like what they saw, can emigrate to Halo any day they chose to. Master Chief is just a generic grunt that shots things. If that's what they want, go for it. Just stop assuming you guys have known Samus for ages. Because we didn't knew about her for real until recently.


thekitchensink (on 11 September 2010)

Fantastic article Steve! I, for one, am all for giving my game characters more emotion and seeing the terrible things they must confront have an effect on them. In Heavy Rain, for instance, the emotional stress it puts on the character when deciding whether to kill or spare someone is the key reason such decisions are so difficult. If it was just some random person you could just shoot, it would take all teh gravitas away and no one would care. More games need to deal with issues like this. I played Other M and loved every minute of it.


Resident_Hazard (on 10 September 2010)

@ MagnusBot The writing in the game was bad enough that it seemed as if Ridley was remembering Samus, and there was no detail on anything like that storywise. If they're going to keep playing the Ridley card, it'd be nice to actually see some kind of depth on the guy storywise and personality-wise. He's not just a mindless monster, he's a smart leader of the Space Pirates--but all we see is some feral animal. To reiterate, Samus wasn't written with emotional depth--she was written with all her strength, skill, and mystique completely removed. She's a veteran solo bounty hunter that is, somehow, completely dependant on luck, requires constant help from others, and generally lacks the ability to do anything on her own. Essentially, what some people are incorrectly referring to as "emotional depth" is little more than "completely misunderstanding the character the way she's been portrayed in every other game." She's not strong, she's not independant, she has limited skills, a penchant for poor decision-making, and she's not in control of her own emotions. How is her portrayal even remotely in line with who she is in every other game in the series??


MagnusBot (on 09 September 2010)

It doesn't help the fact that Ridley wasn't actually Ridley anyway. The creature that they call 'Ridley' is as much Ridley as the Queen Metroid is the baby metroid. They're both clones and have no memories. 'Ridley' has no idea who he was cloned from, and he has no idea who Samus is.


Rurikredwolf (on 09 September 2010)

Ok, I normally don't register for websites, but I want to ask a question: What would you do, if, after seeing someone murder your family and your entire planet and scarred you so deeply, keep coming back no matter how many times you kill him or her? Ridley keeps coming back. No matter what Samus does to put him down, he keeps coming back. Isn't that a bit terrifying to know that someone like that will come back no matter what? Tch, maybe it is becuase I like to focus on character development, being a creative writer who takes pride in character development, but I could understand her. So what if she isn't the 'silent protagonist' anymore? She is a human and has emotions. The suit isn't everything. The manga portrays her like this. There are some things that you can't control or outgrow. Oh, what's the point? The fanderps will make up some excuse or say she killed Ridley many times before. That's all I wanted to say.


jbee02 (on 09 September 2010)

personally if they wanted to explore Samus's character they should have presented her character through the eyes of those who knew her and not her own eyes. Present her as tough unwavering warrior who doesn't like complain or whine even if she is suffering. Subtly hint at these issues and worries that plague her mind, but never confirm it through any of her spoken dialogue or monologue.


josewiisantos (on 09 September 2010)

Wow this was a great Article it was very nice to read. Also to people who think Samus has never been this way I think she has, I read the manga and it seems she's been portrait this way since the very begining. Under the Hard shell is a human being. The fact that she's a bounty hunter and is protecting the galaxy from space pirates is reason enough to be a Bad ass female character with real emotions.


miz1q2w3e (on 09 September 2010)

i thought this was gonna be about sales or something lol "didn't shoot.." as in didn't shoot out with a blast (of sales) or whatever >_< well i'm not gonna read as apparently it's about some of the events in Other M and i still haven't gotten the game


bazmeistergen (on 09 September 2010)

I have no idea why people are saying this game is sexist... Samus gets rescued by a man and he in turn is rescued by Samus... Meh! I'm over 6 hours in and have yet to detect any sexism at all. She isn't whiny either; she says she was whiny... a different thing altogether. People are either raging or loving on the whole. Far better than a general meh, no?


Resident_Hazard (on 09 September 2010)

For reverence, and this article makes some assumptions that are wrong. My problem with the Ridley battle wasn't "oh, Samus is emotional" it's "oh what the fuck, after fighting Ridley, what 6 or 7 times, how can she STILL be surprised or scared to see the guy? This should just be fucking routine for her at this point! The other problem was that they didn't give Samus logical emotions--they didn't pay any attention at all to the cool, collected, strong-as-hell solo warrior that she is. She's suddenly weak and defenseless, too much of her life relies on chance luck and the intervention of others. They didn't add depth, they simply removed all of her strength and awe, and replaced it with a whiny little anime princess. THAT'S what the problem is. It has nothing to do with "realistic depictions of battle" because honestly, after fighting Ridley in Metroid, Prime 1, Prime 3, Super Metroid etc, THIS SHOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE FOR HER ANYMORE! Where before she could get herself out of any situation, now again, she is TOTALLY DEPENDANT on help from others and pure luck. Sorry to be redundant, but that's the flat truth. For the record, REAL war is far, far, far, far from fighting some faceless enemy. Just because that's Call of Duty doesn't mean that's actual war.


Hephaestos (on 09 September 2010)

great article, good idea to have both a vet and a doc. it's sad though that the guy's disability extends to playing most realistic violent games.... because I would guess this extends to movies and some real life events too.


menx64 (on 09 September 2010)

Great article, I did not know much about PTSD, unfortunatelly it is true that most gamers dont care about those facts, but the "new" samus was a great change in my opinion... Great game, I hope we can have a sequel sometime soon...


novasonic (on 09 September 2010)

I still can't believe so many people hate this game!


mhsillen (on 09 September 2010)

Oh looks like people are going to try to add significance to a make believe character who lives in a sci-fi make believe world. PTSD happens in the real world when they go thru real life tragic situations like Being in a real war and seeing death and gore, or they find out they have a untreatable disease or live thru a horrible car crash. Oh goody lets take the fun out of games and make it as real as possible


MagnusBot (on 09 September 2010)

She already run into him four times (possibly five or more depending on what's canon.) She killed him every single time. This is the only time she's ever even batted an eye. The argument is that the technology used in the previous games wasn't sufficient to show emotion and that she was really meant to feel that way all along, but there's never been any evidence that she freaks out and breaks down every time she sees him. Zero Mission and Fusion DID have narration from Samus (Fusion especially so,) and no such freak-out was present. Furthermore, her lack of emotion was the very thing that made her such a compelling character, especially since almost every other female video game character is oversexed. I guess the common misconception is that everyone saw her as a totally generic silent protagonist, but this isn't the case at all. Throughout all of her iterations, Samus's character has been pretty consistent. She had character development in many of the games (and comics) but it wasn't so much flat-out stated as it was inferred. That's part of the problem now. Even if they now want us to believe that she DOES freak out every time she bumps into Ridley, the game directly contradicts pretty much everything that fans have inferred about her character and replaced it with something much less compelling (the Ridley scene is only a small part of that.)


tolu619 (on 09 September 2010)

I agree with SqueektheDragon. @SoulBlazer, LOL! at Link freezing in front of Ganondorf! Or better still, Ganondorf freezing in front of Link!


tolu619 (on 08 September 2010)

I'm probably one of the few people that will take this seriously. It has enlightened me but I expect most gamers to just keep complaining even after reading this!


aoixgp (on 08 September 2010)

Amazing article and a good game too.


sirroman (on 08 September 2010)

I support this "new Samus" way more now that I read this article. Thnx vgchartz! oh! And way to go Nintendo! You are the ONLY ONE to have a REALLY MATURE game. Samus is a REAL SOLDIER, a REAL WOMAN. Who would thought about that? Certainly not those who were "T-down! They made her whiny! They are sexists!" on internet video...


roland32 (on 08 September 2010)

Maybe we can put that in the next Halo game. Master Chief can break down when confronted with Elites. What a fun and true to the character scene it would be. Maybe we can use kinect and comfort Master Chief until he is ready to kill again. Or maybe not


ghost_of_fazz (on 08 September 2010)

Is it me or VGChartz likes to interview former soldiers? :P


A Bad Clown (on 08 September 2010)

Has no one considered that Team Ninja just got lazy and didn't know how to end it?


AwesomeElmo (on 08 September 2010)

I just went and had a look at the video. Although I can see what you are saying, I feel that this is still completely out of character for Samus. Samus has always been the introverted personality type, or the strong silent type as it is often called. I think why people are being upset is not so much about her feeling an emotional reaction to Ridley but rather the way in which she expresses it. In fact this is how Team Ninja to me have completely missed the point. The problem isn't with adding characterisation. When people say Samus talks to much they aren't suggesting that they want to go back to the nes days. It's that she has been portrayed as an extrovert ('oh noes", "look out"). Samus, and also the gameplay has always expressed a very introverted way of thinking. That is: think first, perform action, reflect. Team Ninja have made this game very extroverted, ie action first and foremost. It shows that they really do not understand Metroid at all, either character wise or gameplay wise.


SSDNINJA (on 08 September 2010)

Excellent article. While I'll leave my opinions on the game itself aside, this is yet another wonderful opportunity to discuss gaming and real-life issues. And check this out — talking about these issues doesn't make the game less fun! Win-Win!


The Ghost of RubangB (on 08 September 2010)

Gamers need to stop looking at games as having only 2 options: serious business or fun fantasy escapism (the same way they need to drop the casual-only vs. core-only argument). It's very easy to like games that tackle serious issues while also liking other games that are just stupid fun. Or if you prefer one type, it's okay to enjoy them without freaking out whenever another company tries something else. But the main point is that... some people like their crazy fantasy stories... to tackle serious issues. It's the same way in every other art form. Some of the greatest sci-fi novels and films are more than just lasers and aliens. Games should be the same way.


Squeakthedragon (on 08 September 2010)

Actually, I think the big problem with how many gamers approach the scene is that well, they're gamers - we are looking at the game from the unconscious perspective of a gamer who has played the whole series and just yawns when Ridley shows up yet again. It's a generic plot twist we expect. Because we're not shocked, and could never be disturbed or frightened, this is being read onto the player-character. On another forum someone said that how could Samus freeze when she'd killed the monster twice already - but that's gamer logic. From an in-universe perspective, why wouldn't someone who /had/ faced and killed a stalking monster twice before exhibit shock when it shows up again? Remember, we're the viewer watching the horror flick and jeering at the characters who make standard mistakes because we're genre aware. In the fiction though, however cliche the scene may be, the scene can still be justified in the context of the story.


CChaos (on 08 September 2010)

I'm all for making a real character out of Samus while previous attempts were mostly just shooting things and not much else. It's true, there's been a few indicators before, but this is the first time you get to see Samus as an actual person. I can only say it's a good thing. Those who don't like it...eh, either way. Who cares? Those who like it, like it. Those who don't, oh well, go do something else then.


mhsillen (on 08 September 2010)

its like some gameplayers and developers are embarrassed that this is there job or hobby so they have to add this stuff to make them feel better. I have had PTSD and know others who have I will get my important info from news sites, now we have to have are games try to feel important


Salnax (on 08 September 2010)

To those who say that Samus has never been developed much as this kind of a character before now: pay attention to Metroid Fusion and her interactions with the baby Metroid as early as Metroid 2 on the Game Boy. A PTSD Samus makes total sense in this context.


mhsillen (on 08 September 2010)

I play games to escape reality, I don't want to get beat over the head with this Real people suffer PTSD and need to get help. Samis is not real character so they have to add this to what, make us feel bad? And prime is so much better because we were not bogged down with this over the top drama


The Ghost of RubangB (on 08 September 2010)

Whoa, a nice civilized discussion for adults? Awesome. Let's keep this up and see if our sophistication trickles down onto the youngsters. While I agree with many of you that a lack of characterization can be beneficial to many protagonists, so that they can stand in as a universal "everyman" or in this case, "everywoman" (like Mario, Link, Master Chief, Doomguy, etc.), I also think that Nintendo doesn't want to do that with every single one of their franchise heroes. Nintendo has several franchises that are constantly evolving in several directions, and many even branch off into several genres at once (top-down Zelda vs. 3D Zelda, sidescrolling gauntlet-platforming Mario vs. 3D star-collecting Mario vs. Mario comedy RPGs vs. Mario sports games, and Donkey Kong's been doing some "soul searching" in several genres for years). I figured that sooner or later, they'd want to turn one of their franchises into the sci-fi fantasy cinematic action/adventure game with voice acting that are all the rage these days, especially since they have now perfected the "universal protagonist" formula with the most iconic game hero of all time, Mario, as well as with the Miis. So... they couldn't have done this character development to Mario or Link, because they've invested far too much into those characters as neutral heroes. But honestly, I thought they were going to do this with Star Fox. McCloud is THEE Nintendo character with daddy issues! But since Star Fox is kind of M.I.A. right now, I guess Samus was the only option. And Fox McCloud is too happy and has too many friends to have a PTSD breakdown. Samus is always alone in a giant suit of armor walking down long spooky corridors with the whole galaxy against her. I can see her having some issues. I also think it's a great idea to show that even a badass superhero can have a crack in their superhero facade. I guess people just can't handle that female heroes are getting better character development than male heroes? But I would loooove to see a way-too-serious epic sci-fi treatment of the Star Fox franchise.


Mr Khan (on 08 September 2010)

So the thread was locked only to have us start all of this all over again, eh? Really everything that can be said has at this point. Like it or leave it.


d21lewis (on 08 September 2010)

Keep in mind that the previous games were 8-bit/16-bit endeavors. And Metroid Prime has been lacking in the characterization department. This is Samus as defined by Nintendo. Like it or leave it.


Stefan.De.Machtige (on 08 September 2010)

@Soulblazer No Link is the same. Different links, except for majora's mask.


Soulblazer (on 08 September 2010)

Mmm i think will agree with metroid fans on this one because I played MP3 and other metroid games and when I encountered ridley samus didnt broke down or anything. I like that they made samus talk and express herself but the problem is that they did it after years of making her look tough. I mean just imagine Link having a breakdown right in front of Ganondorf, after many games of not having one and defeating him a million times. Now that makes it unrealistic to me even without being a huge metroid fan. On a new IP it is understandable, but on a old well stablished franshise, no.


Aiddon (on 08 September 2010)

Great article, but I'm pretty sure people are still going to stamp their feet (heck, over on gamefaqs people are despite being shown this article). Looks like we still have a LONG way to go.


Beuli2 (on 08 September 2010)

Oh boy, here comes the overexxagerator guy. I'm not saying there shouldn't be character, avatars. I'm just saying they shouldn't be focused. AT ALL. The best selling games out there, like Wii Sports, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Metroids (NES), among others have no blushitt or cutscenes of their past.


Liquiduval (on 08 September 2010)

That's like (to me at least) when they gave master chief a voice (I think there was very little if any speech if any from him in the first) he became more human than a mythical being. It's like if you look at a painting (well any art really) and wonder wow what does it mean, is there more to this (your imagination runs wild) ....blah blah.... and then suddenly the artist jumps out and says "it's a fish, no nothing else just a fish" sure you can ignor it but it can still ruin the experience


OmegaRugalv3 (on 08 September 2010)

This is a fantastic article and appears to nail that scene 100%


Stefan.De.Machtige (on 08 September 2010)

Note: A previous lack of charactization is not characterization itself.


TheWon (on 08 September 2010)

Great article, but I feel it will fall on deaf ears. You going to ask people to think about real life issues in their favorite subject matter. When those same people use that subject matter to escape the real world. It's like those guys who play Love Plus, but don't want to go get a real girlfriend. "Things that Nerds do!" It's clear their is yet another separation between Nintendo gamers, and the other consoles. Besides things like HD, FPS, and online gaming. Where gamers who have only own a Playstation or Microsoft console. Really believe in characters like Ratchet, Snake, Master Chief, and others. Your playing through their adventures, and living through their experience. Nintendo gamers despite having characters as well only see those games as avatars. So I recommend for Nintendo to bring back the name your character after your save file option. Then just throw the Mii in as the character you play as. I would really love to see how well Super Mii Bros, and The Legend of Mii would sale. Sense more are saying it's about me playing not the character I've been using. Oh ya a game like Super Smash Bros would be very interesting to see with all those useless characters. Let's make them all Miis too!


zzamaro (on 08 September 2010)

I played Metroid Fusion years ago and I forgot most of the game but I remember you defeat Ridley in that game, right? I wonder about the clips, did they know or watch about that game? Because it doesn't make much sense, I remember she didn't have any problems when fighting Ridley. Ugh, I think I'm being so IGNorant, I have to read about Fusion so I can remember the story.


Beuli2 (on 08 September 2010)

"Stefan.De.Machtige 19 minutes ago @LordTheNightKnight Where was all that characterization of Samus before M.o.M? Outside the manga, as you say." That's the point: there was none. And that's why Metorid is awesome: it isn't about a character with "Maternal Insticts" (I still WTF every time I hear it). It is about the game. In the first Metroid, no one knew Samus was a woman, and very few were good enough to play. People played it because it was an awesome game, a rich experience. It is the same motive as people play Mario or Zelda games. It is not to "feel" like playing as Mario or Link. It is because of the adventure the game gives you. And that was ruined wit M:OM. It isn't about the game anymore, or making a fantastic alien exploration. That's why the game bombed everywhere, and the sequel is gonna bomb too if they keep Sakamoto bulshitting the Metroid series.


LokeSTL (on 08 September 2010)

This article seems to be centered around the idea that Samus has things about herself that are being "revealed" to us in the newest game. What the author doesn't understand is that the comments and backlash is not about the specific personality flaws or conditions that Samus has. It's that they left it up to imagination from Samus' origins, and now they are deviating from what would commonly be deduced of a character of her type and situation. She's gone from a silent bounty hunter devoid of emotion who doesn't cry out unless killed to an alien infused super-human to an ex-military brat with "daddy issues" and "PTSD". Even thouygh the story wasn't established by it's makers, it has sure the hell been established in the mind of it's fans. Ultimately, the problem isn't that Samus has a story. It's that Samus has a story that isn't believable and/or acceptable. They took a leap with Other M, and seems that they lept a little too far. At least that's my opinion.


Monteblanco (on 08 September 2010)

Great article! The problem is that Samus, in previous Metroid games, wasn't depicted as true character but just as a tool to the player interact with the environment. As such, she didn't have any personality except whatever each player projected on her. I haven't played MOM yet but I think it is refreshing to see that she's being developed in a character with some depth.


Beuli2 (on 08 September 2010)

I prefer my much more shorter version: Sakamato is an idiot.


Stefan.De.Machtige (on 08 September 2010)

@LordTheNightKnight Where was all that characterization of Samus before M.o.M? Outside the manga, as you say.


lestatdark (on 08 September 2010)

Amazing article which dwelt into what most gamers nowadays actually fear to face or comprehend when they are playing Video games. As I said on the Other M official thread, Samus characterization is probably amongst the best made this gen for a VG character. Nothing is out of line and out of context with actual human behaviour. The issue is that, somewhat, somehow, gamers don't want VG characters to actually be human, but rather than an icon in which to project a superior version of their inner indestructible ego, and that's why there wasn't any controversy surrounding Samus before. I hope they continue to futher enhance this current characterization of Samus, I want to see how deep her inner self goes.


theprof00 (on 08 September 2010)

Why are they trying to justify the realism of a nintendo game... Are we serious here? Fans cannot be upset because she has PTSD. Wtf is wrong with these people. It's not that she has PTSD or can or can't overcome it. The problem is that this is METROID. It has NEVER been like this, and yet the counter-argument is that realistically she would have PTSD. Well I'm glad is finally trying to be realistic with its games, but it should've been realistic and did a new IP, not mangle an old fan favorite.


CaptainHavok (on 08 September 2010)

So are we criticizing a game franchise for improving? For bringing depth where there was none before?


spdk1 (on 08 September 2010)

no, but I laid it out for him in various e-mails, Dr. Grohol is a very busy man, I didn't want to overdo it.


LordTheNightKnight (on 08 September 2010)

Did you show the doctor all the scenes from the other games, like Prime, where Samus met Ridley? Because a lot of us don't take issue with the reaction, it's the lack of anything like it until now. No, we are not counting the manga, any more than we count the expanded universe to explain any plot holes in the Star Wars movies.


Smeags (on 08 September 2010)

Now this is what I call awesome video game discussion! Awesome job DeadPoo- er... Stephen. I've been playing Other M since it was released, and the game isn't perfect. However, this whole scene has been way too overblown, where some have even mentioned that the scene is sexist. I definitely don't think that's the case, and I'm all for delving more and more into discussion like this. Knowledge is power!


CaptainHavok (on 08 September 2010)

Very nicely done, Stephen.


Zink120 (on 08 September 2010)

This was a great article I think. It's amazing how blind some people can be.


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