Talk Amongst Yourselves

Illustration for article titled Talk Amongst Yourselves

Welcome to Kotaku's official forum, known affectionately as Talk Amongst Yourselves. This is the place where we gather on a daily basis to discuss all things video game and existential. Want to talk about new games, old games, games that aren't even out yet? Knock yourselves out!

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It's about time that sad, ol' greyhound in the "Isabella" painting got some love, don't you think? This TAYpic is the work of kaploy9 does the trick, turning one medieval hound into Duck Hunt's immortal Asshole Dog. Hey, if you were a dog and every human around you was eating without offering you a morsel, you'd be an asshole, too. Don't know what Owen's doing up there, though…

HEY, EVERYONE! WE'RE RUNNING LOW ON YOUR HILARIOUS TAYpics. PLEASE MAKE SOME MORE! PRETTY PLEASE?

You can do funny things with pictures, right? Want everyone on this fine web forum to see? Here's what you do. Post your masterpieces in the #TAYpics thread. Don't forget to keep your image in a 16x9 ratio if you want a slice of Talk Amongst Yourselves glory. Grab the base image here. The best ones will be featured in future installments of Talk Amongst Yourselves. Create something wonderful, won't you?

DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

On why the best open world game thus far is still Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption has ruined the open world gaming genre for me. Although I have played through much of LA Noire and Skyrim since going through RDR, they have both left me feeling unenthused.

Yes, reader, I was overall unenthused with Skyrim. After about 15 hours of play, spending hours doing mind-numbing crafting and house organization, I found myself playing on autopilot to complete a litany of missions that were generally uninspiring, disconnected from my character, and of little emotional urgency.

While RDR had its faults, it was the first and still only open world game I have played whose characters were truly compelling (and necessarily imperfect in a humanistic way), whose gameplay was focused enough that I didn't feel the need to log in hours of monotonous fluff meant to pad the "playable hours," and whose world felt truly organic and meaningful inasmuch as games ever do.

No, I won't be able to say I played as many hours of RDR as I did Skyrim, but to this day, I can still speak fondly of John Marston, Bonnie, and many other characters of the RDR world. I cannot name a single character from Skyrim— none of them were compelling enough to matter.

The lesson here, I suspect, is that while player agency should matter in a game, and Skyrim obviously gives the player considerable agency, truly memorable experiences require us to care about the world in which our character inhabits. The "nameless, faceless mook" of the Bethesda universe will always be inferior to the John Marstons or the Nico Bellics or the (boo hiss) Commander Shepherds because in a fantasy world where everyone is a marionette, the puppet we control cannot be us alone. It must, to some degree, be the character of the programmer's vision whose lens we use to view that world. Through that lens, we gain insight into their and our world through a shared experience. If it is merely an avatar of ourselves, we can fall into solipsism, which leads to the sort of nihilism of the Bethesda experience I so loathe.

That, and it's really boring to play Skyrim after the dragons can easily be killed with a few bow shots.