The Walking Dead: Season 2. An intense melodrama framed against a backdrop of a society unhinged. Survival key to everything. Language uncouth.
Telltale Games typically feature the above word, repeated over and over, like a chorus of a modern worship song. As the drama of young Clementine spirals out of control, the characters around her sing out. A fearful hallelujah to an unknown god.
I struggle with language in video games.
Coarse language has the appearance of a written shortcut. A writer’s bloody tool to add flavor, character, and meaning without earning it. I want depth. Written shorthand short-changes the player. No matter what the situation, no matter how “realistic” such words might be, I see this as lazy writing.
Weaving characters into intricate plots is an art. Video games are art in motion. While time can be a commodity, a reason to force narrative shorthand, I think that it is an excuse.
– Words NEED to be strung together in such a way that the audience, the player, is left savoring wordplay.
– The English language DEMANDS exploration. So many words lie neglected, dusty, and ready for use.
– Characters NEED to be developed to the point where they have EARNED the very words they speak.
I am not calling for shelter but for thoughtful engagement and consideration of the words used in video games. The worlds we explore deserve better.