bioshock_infinite_2__span

HULK PLAYED BIOSHOCK: INFINITE! HULK LIKED IT!

AT THE SAME TIME HULK WAS FINISHING THE GAME, BADASS-IN-CHIEF DEVIN DID TOO, SO WE DECIDED TO TURN IT INTO A BACK-AND-FORTH NO-HOLDS-BARRED… UM… POLITE DISCUSSION! ENJOY!

http://badassdigest.com/2013/04/03/hulk-vs-devin-vs-bioshock-infinite/

HULK GOT A LITTLE SMASHY IN THIS ONE, BUT HULK SWEAR IT COMES  FROM A PLACE OF LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, BELIEF IN ART, AND UTTER LOVE FOR A VIDEO GAME.

http://badassdigest.com/2012/08/06/film-crit-hulk-smash-a-few-words-on-the-ending-of-mass-effect-3/

HULK GOT TO PLAY WITH THE INDOOR KIDS AGAIN! THIS TIME PUNY BANNER TALKS WITH EMILY AND KUMAIL ABOUT OCD GAMING HABITS AND THE MOST TIME-WASTING THINGS EVER DONE!

http://badassdigest.com/2012/06/18/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-indoor-kids-and-video-game-ocd/

HULK RETURNS TO THE WELL OF VIDEO GAMES!

THIS TIME TO SMASH THE BAT-SHIT EVOLUTION OF THE NARRATIVE AND THEMES OF THE MODERN WARFARE SERIES!

http://badassdigest.com/2011/11/29/film-crit-hulk-smash-hulk-vs-the-bat-shit-evolution-of-the-modern-warfare/

AHHH, THE MONOMYTH.

IT IS A FASCINATING ACADEMIC PURSUIT; A JOURNEY INTO OUR CULTURAL HISTORY, TO THE TIES OF COMMUNICATION THAT BONDED OUR EARLY CIVILIZATIONS. IT EVEN EXPLAINS HOW OUR STORYTELLING ROOTS ARE DIRECTLY BORN FROM THAT SHARED HISTORY. YES, THE LESSONS AT THE CORE OF THE MONOMYTH ARE MANIFOLD, RICH, AND TEXTURED; A THOUSAND VERSIONS OF A HERO’S JOURNEY, ALL BOUND BY THE HUMAN CONDITION, ALL CRUCIAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHY WE TELL STORIES IN THE FIRST PLACE. SIMPLY PUT, THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS VITAL TO OUR HUMANITY.

AND NOW IT’S A TOTAL FUCKING CRUTCH.

A LOT LIKE HULK’S DISMISSAL OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE, THE PROBLEM WITH JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES IS NOT IT’S LACK OF ACCURACY, BUT INSTEAD WHAT WE DO WITH THE INFORMATION IT PROVIDES. CHIEFLY, THE FACT THAT OUR SOCIETY HAS OVERTLY ADOPTED THE BOOK’S BREAKDOWN OF THE HERO JOURNEY AS SOME KIND OF READY-MADE APP FOR “PAINT BY NUMBERS” STORYTELLING. HULK’S NOT EVEN REALLY SURE HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY CITE THE HERO’S JOURNEY HAVE ACTUALLY READ THE DAMN BOOK PAST A FEW CHAPTERS. IT’S ACTUALLY OBVIOUS BECAUSE THE BOOK’S REAL VALUE IS DEEPLY, EVEN MADDENINGLY ACADEMIC (AT TIMES IT GETS DOWNRIGHT ANTHROPOLOGICAL). THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMPBELL’S LAUDED BOOK IS IT ACTUALLY DOESN’T HAVE A TON TO DO WITH ALL THOSE NEAT THE LITTLE DIAGRAMS AT THE BEGINNING, IT’S MORE INTERESTED IN CULTURAL DEDUCTION BASED ON THOSE CONCEPTS. BUT SINCE THOSE DIAGRAMS ARE ALL WE SEEM TO REMEMBER IT IS THUS ALL WE SEEM TO TAKE FROM IT: UNIVERSAL STORYTELLING MADE EASY.

QUITE FRANKLY,  IT’S HURTING MORE THAN IT’S HELPING.

HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY:

FOR STARTERS, THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL ERROR MADE IN HOW WE INTERPRET THE APPARENT “SIMPLICITY” OF THESE MYTHS, MAINLY THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY NOT SIMPLE WHATSOEVER. THE UNIVERSAL BREAKDOWN OF THEM MAY BE SIMPLE, BUT THE STRUCTURE ON DISPLAY IS ANYTHING BUT. FOR INSTANCE, YOU’LL NOTICE THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REFERENCED MYTHS IN THE BOOK, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, IS ANYTHING BUT PAINT-BY-NUMBERS.

PICTURED: JAPANESE INTERPRETATION OF GILGAMESH. WARNING: THIS INTERPRETATION IS JAPANESE.

THE 12 TABLET EPIC OF GILGAMESH IS ACTUALLY PRETTY FUCKING COMPLEX EVEN THOUGH IT’S CONSIDERED THE ROSETTA STONE FOR THE HERO JOURNEY. SURE IT CONTAINS BIG PICTURE REFERENCE POINTS (THE PASSING INTO THE STRANGE WORLD, THE CALL/RETURN, ETC), BUT THESE AMOUNT TO NOTHING BUT THE LOOSE STRUCTURE OF THE WORK AND ARE BY NO MEANS THE ENGINE OF THE NARRATIVE OR PLOT. NO, WHAT DRIVES THOSE ARE THE DYNAMIC THEMES IN PLACE: THE IN-FLUX RELATIONSHIP WITH ENKINDU, WHICH ARE BORN OUT OF STOPPING GILGAMESH FROM ENGAGING IN HIS MORE, UM, SORDID ACTIVITIES (RAPE MOSTLY). THERE’S ALSO THE QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY (L’MORTE D’ARTHUR ALERT!), SOME OTHER STUFF ABOUT RELIGION, PROSTITUTION, DREAM STATES, YOU NAME IT. HULK HAS EVEN READ MORE ANALYSISSESS OF GILGAMESH AND ENKINDU AS HIDDEN LOVERS THAN YOU WOULD IMAGINE IS POSSIBLE (OH, COLLEGE KIDS!… ACTUALLY THEY MAY HAVE A POINT WITH THAT ONE). THE POINT IS THERE’S A SHIT TON GOING ON IN THE STORY BEYOND IT’S FUN LITTLE ABILITY TO BE OUTLINED IN TERMS OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE THE WORK COMPELLING AND INTERESTING, NOT THE MERE FACT THAT IT TOO MOSTLY FITS WITHIN THE CONFINES OF MONOMYTH CLASSIFICATION.(1)

YET, GILGAMESH ONLY SEEMS TO SURVIVE IN OUR CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS BECAUSE OF THE CAMPBELLIAN HERO DIAGRAM AND OUR DESIRE TO TALK ABOUT IT IN THOSE VERY SPECIFIC AND UNIVERSAL TERMS: THE CALL! THE REFUSAL! THE TRIALS! THE RETURN! YAY!

YAY!

NOW, IS MOST OF THAT STUFF IN GILGAMESH? ABSOLUTELY.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A STORY? EH, MAYBE.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A GOOD STORY? NO.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A WELL-TOLD STORY? FUCK NO.

THIS SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO WHAT HULK BELIEVES IS THE GREAT FUNDAMENTAL ERROR OF ACADEMIA. WHAT PEOPLE DON’T SEEM TO REALIZE IS THAT WHEN YOU ACADEMICALLY TRY TO BOIL NARRATIVE ELEMENTS DOWN TO THEIR MOST BASIC ELEMENTS, YOU ARE THEREFORE  BOILING DOWN STORYTELLING TO THEIR MOST BASIC ELEMENTS! HULK MEAN… GAAAHHH. THAT’S ALL YOUR DOING! AND THE INTENTION OF THIS ANALYSIS IS TO FIND SIMILARITIES AND UNDERSTAND CULTURAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INCLINATION! WHICH MEANS IT IS NOT THE KEY TO UNLOCKING STORYTELLING, BUT A KEY TO MAKING YOUR STORY AS SIMILAR AS POSSIBLE TO EVERYTHING ELSE OUT THERE.

SERIOUSLY, IT'S NO BETTER THAN THIS

THERE IS A GREAT VALUE TO THE CAMPBELLIAN BREAKDOWN, SPECIFICALLY CONCERNING  THE FORMATIVE NATURE OF CULTURE AND WHY WE VALUE/TELL THESE STORIES, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY THE FURTHEST THING AWAY FROM A HOW-TO GUIDE. WHOEVER ARE THE FOLKS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORAL TRADITIONS BEHIND STUFF BEOWULF AND GILGAMESH, THEY WEREN’T SITTING DOWN SAYING “OKAY, OKAY, NOW HE HAS TO REFUSE THE CALL AND THEN BY TABLET 2 THE NEXT BEAT SHOULD…” GAAAAH. SMASHY! WHAT’S SO INTERESTING ABOUT THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS THE WAY THESE THEMES AND DYNAMICS SEEPED NATURALLY OUT OF THESE DIFFERENT STORIES, NOT THAT EVERYONE FELT OBLIGATED OR WAS PURPOSELY TRYING TO DO IT.  THE HERO’S JOURNEY SECRETLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WHATSOEVER WITH GOOD STORY STRUCTURE! JUST THEMATIC CONTENT!

IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT HULK SO DESPERATELY WANTS TO CONVEY TO ALL OF YOU IN THIS BLOG IT IS THAT THERE IS A STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE BROAD STROKES OF CATEGORIZATION AND THE LANGUAGE WE SHOULD USE FOR PRACTICAL APPLICATION.

IT’S LIKE THE MYTH OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE VS. HULK’S PREFERRED METHOD OF FLOW STRUCTURE (MULTI-ACT WORKING ON CHARACTER/RELATIONSHIP CENTRIC ARENAS THAT ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE). OR POST-MODERNISM VS. THE PRAGMATISM OF CONSTRUCTIVE IDEAS. OR ACTION’S “COOL” DESIGNATION VS. THE POWER VISUAL CAUSE + EFFECT STORYTELLING. IN A STRANGE WAY THESE ARE ALL THE SAME ONGOING PROBLEM OF BAD LANGUAGE. (2) THE WAY WE BREAK THINGS DOWN AND DESCRIBE THEM ARE NOT NECESSARILY HELPFUL TO UNDERSTANDING HOW TO CONSTRUCT THEM. YET WE CONSTANTLY MISTAKE THESE MODELS OF DESCRIPTION FOR “HOW TO”S AND THUS WE KEEP RUNNING INTO THE SAME BASIC STORYTELLING PROBLEMS AGAIN AND AGAIN.

WE HAVE TO REFORM AND BROADEN OUR MODELS. WE HAVE TO REVISE OUR LANGUAGE. TO PUT HULK’S ‘CATEGORIZATION VS. PRACTICAL APPLICATION” ARGUMENT INTO METAPHOR: KNOWING THAT A HOUSE IS MADE FROM WOOD WITH PLASTERED WALLS AND A ROOF DOES NOT ALLOW ONE TO SIMPLY BUILD A HOUSE, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO LITERALLY “BUILD” AND SHAPE THOSE THINGS, NOT JUST KNOW THAT THEY EXIST AND WHERE THEY SHOULD MORE OR LESS GO… WAIT THAT METAPHOR WAS TERRIBLE… HULK CAN DO BETTER… MAYBE… HULK’S TIRED… UM… FINE, THAT’LL DO HULK. THAT’LL DO.

BACK TO THE TOPIC AT HAND: EVERY YEAR WE SEE MOVIES THAT DESPERATELY CLING TO THE HERO JOURNEY MODEL, AS IF IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

SERIOUSLY, HOW MANY MOVIES HAVE WE SEEN THAT ARE BEAT-FOR-BEAT THE SAME STORY AS STAR WARS? IT DOESN’T HELP THAT THERE ARE LITANY OF WRITERS WHO SIMPLY EQUATE STAR WARS WITH THE ONLY EXISTING MODEL OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY (HINT: IT’S NOT) AND THEN JUST REGURGITATE IT AS IF THEY WERE PHOTOCOPYING THE SCRIPT AND CHANGING THE NAMES ( ERAGON TAKES THE PROVERBIAL CAKE ON THAT ONE, THOUGH TO BE FAIR, STAR WARS TAKES A STUNNING AMOUNT OF ITS DYNAMICS FROM DUNE). BUT SINCE IT IS SO SEEPED INTO OUR CONSCIOUSNESS, WE SEE IT ALL THE TIME.

THERE ARE ALSO THE NOW UBIQUITOUS COMIC BOOK ORIGIN STORIES, WHICH HAVE BECOME UNIVERSAL IN THEIR CONSTRUCTION (EXCEPT HULK’S ORIGIN. HULK’S IS TRULY UNIQUE… IN THAT IT’S A BLATANT RIP OFF OF DR. JEKLL & MR. HYDE). THERE IS RARELY A SUPER HERO ORIGIN THESE DAYS THAT FEELS INTERESTING OR DIFFERENT. THE ONE EXCEPTION? ONE OF THE REASONS THAT THE IRONMAN MOVIE WORKS SO WELL IS THAT IT KNOWS WHEN TO COMPLETELY AVOID THE BEATS THE HERO JOURNEY THAT DON’T MATTER TO THE STORY IT WANTS TO TELL. THINK OF HOW MANY BEATS IN THE “HERO JOURNEY” WOULD NOT BE CALLED FOR WITH THAT CHARACTER. THEIR SOLUTION? THEY JUST DON’T USE EM! INSTEAD, EACH STEP OF TONY’S JOURNEY TO BECOMING SHELLHEAD IS AN ARTICULATED, CHARACTER-BASED MICRO-STEP; A SINGULAR DECISION THAT DEALS WITH THE MOMENT AND IS DIRECTLY RELATED THE SITUATION AT HAND. WHICH MAKES IT REAL FUCKING WRITING.

LASTLY, THERE’S HULK’S FAVORITE EXAMPLE OF THE PAINT BY NUMBERS VERSION OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY… VIDEO GAMES.

FORGIVE THE FOLLOWING NON-MOVIE DIGRESSION, BUT NOTHING SHOWCASES BACKWARD THINKING QUITE LIKE THE OBLIVIOUS WRITING OF VIDEO GAMES (MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS SHIT WILL GET FUCKING HILARIOUS).

FIRST OFF, PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK LOVES HULK SOME VIDEO GAMES. THEY’RE FUN, UNIQUE, AND IMMERSIVE. BUT THE STORYTELLING CRAFT IS USUALLY NOT FIT FOR EVEN THE WORST HOLLYWOOD MOVIES. EVEN THE COMPANIES THAT SUPPOSEDLY DO IT WELL, LIKE BIOWARE, ARE REALLY TELLING THE SAME EXACT STORIES WITH THE SAME EXACT CHARACTERS IN THE MOST NON-INTERESTING WAY AS POSSIBLE. AGAIN, IT’S NOT A MATTER OF THINGS MERELY BEING SIMILAR, BUT THAT THEY ARE ALL SO SIMILAR IN THE MOST ROTE, SOUL-CRUSHING WAY POSSIBLE. THEY NAKEDLY USE THE MONOMYTH MODELS AS HOW-TO GUIDES.(3)

THE BIOWARE CHART HULK JUST LINKED TO ABOVE ACTUALLY LED TO VERY FUNNY SITUATION THAT HAPPENS OFTEN ENOUGH TO BE ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE THINGS EVER. SEE, WHEN THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE HERO-JOURNEY REGURGITATIONS ARE  CALLED OUT ON IT, THEY SOMETIMES HAVE THE GALL TO DEFEND THEMSELVES IN A RATHER PISSY WAY, OFTEN WITH FAUX-INTELLECTUAL SMUGNESS.  SOMETHING AKIN TO “UH, SORRY GUYS IT’S CALLED “THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES” AND IT PROVES ALL STORIES ARE THE SAME STORY. PSSSSH. IDIOT.”

SERIOUSLY, HERE IS EXACTLY HOW BIOWARE WRITER RESPONDED [VIA MESSAGE BOARD AT THAT]: “So I’m supposed to believe someone is smart enough to do a big Excel spreadsheet with color coding and stuff but not smart enough to know about Campbellian archetypes? Yeah, guys, every BioWare game has the same plot! See, things are kind of normal, and then things change and you have to go out and do stuff, and you go to crazy weird places! Aaaaaand so yeah, totally the same story. That’s asinine.”

HULK WOULD SIMPLY REPLY: “YES. HULK TOO IS FAMILIAR WITH THIS BOOK YOU SPEAK OF. THAT’S BECAUSE WE ALL READ IT IN, LIKE, 9TH GRADE. AND THAT’S REALLY NOT WHAT THE BOOK IS SAYING, BUT THANKS FOR PLAYING!” AND THANKFULLY A LOT OF WRITERS MADE IT 10TH GRADE WHERE THEY READ SHAKESPEARE OR T.S. ELLIOT OR SOMETHING AND THE WORLD OF NUANCE OPENED UP.

HULK MEAN, THAT IS SERIOUSLY WHAT THE WRITER THINKS THAT CHART IS SAYING? THAT UBER-SPECIFIC CHART THAT DETAILS EXACTLY HOW THEY’RE DOING THE SAME EXACT GAME OVER AND OVER? UGH. HIS PURPOSEFULLY SARCASTIC ARGUMENT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE. HE STARTS ARGUING FOR THE SAMENESS OF CAMPBELLIAN ARCHETYPES AND THEN PROCEEDS TO SARCASTICALLY ARGUE THE CRITICS ARE OVER-TYPIFYING SAID SAMENESS? WHAT!??! HULK CONFUSED. AND THE FUNNIEST FUCKING PART IS THE WAY HE MAKES FUN OF HOW THEY’RE SUMMARIZING “STORY TELLING” IS ACTUALLY FAR MORE INDICATIVE OF HIS OWN APPROACH.

SERIOUSLY, HERE ARE THE WRITER’S OTHER COMMENTS SUMMARIZED IN AN ARTICLE IN EUROGAMER.

Weekes said the “intro, four planets, finale” structure familiar to BioWare games is picked for a number of good reasons.

Firstly, it’s “easy” in the sense of QA, as areas can be culled if they’re not ready in time for launch with minimal impact on the final product.

Secondly, “players understand it”. Weekes explained that four is a golden number of objectives for an area that may confuse, overwhelm and frustrate once exceeded.

Thirdly, “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

“It’s a structure, like any other,” he wrote. “Humorously snarking that our games have a beginning part that is streamlined and introduces you to the game, a middle that allows you the freedom to go to several places and have adventures, and then a tightly focused ending is like riffing on how romance novels generally start out with two people being attracted to each other but having emotional issues, then gradually building trust, then having a complication that splits them up, and then in the end they get together and are happy.

“People who create fiction in any form use a structure appropriate to that form. They do it because their audience understands and responds on an emotional level to that structure,” he concluded.

HULK DOESN’T REALLY MEAN TO SINGLE THIS WELL-MEANING PERSON OUT… BUT SERIOUSLY, THAT IS THE RESPONSE?!??!?!? DO THEY NOT SEE THAT THEY ARE STARTING OFF ON THE COMPLETE WRONG FOOT IN THEIR APPROACH TO DESIGNING A GAMING “WORLD AND STORY”?!?!??!?!

GET READY...

IT’S “EASY”? FUCK RIGHT IT’S EASY. HULK GLAD TO SEE YOUR FIRST INCLINATION IN STORYTELLING IS OPTING FOR THE EASIEST POSSIBLE PATH, YOU KNOW, FOR “PRAGMATISM” OF COURSE. NOTHING INANE ABOUT THAT!

AND “PLAYERS UNDERSTAND IT”? WHAT?! THEY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND GOING TO VISIT MORE WORLDS OR NOT BEING OPEN TO CHARACTERS WHO DON’T FIT IN WITH THE SAME LAZY ARCHETYPES? ARE YOU ACTUALLY IMPLYING THAT THEY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND A NEW KIND OF CHARACTER? ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR GAMES “CHARACTERIZE” BY SIMPLY HAVING SAID CHARACTERS GIVE UNIFORM, LONG-WINDED MONOLOGUES WHERE THEY SPELL OUT THEIR PERSONAL HISTORY, PEOPLE’S CUSTOMS, AND WHAT THE HAD FOR BREAKFAST, ALL BY TALKING DIRECTLY TO THE CAMERA? YEAH, PLAYERS SOOOOOOO WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND SOMEONE CHARACTERIZED IN THOSE COMPLEX, SUBTLE TERMS. GOSH DAMMIT. HOW THE HELL CAN THE DEVELOPERS AIM SO LOW AND THINK THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM SUCCEED?

AND THEN “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT”? NO, EVERYTHING IS WRONG WITH IT. YOU ARE GOING ABOUT YOUR STORYTELLING ASS-BACKWARDS. YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE SIMPLEST AND EASIEST WAY TO MAKE WHAT YOU DO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING ON THE PLANET. YOU SAY THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT? READ HULK’S LAST SENTENCE AGAIN. YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO THE HEART OF STORYTELLING. YOU ARE CASUALLY, EVEN CAVALIERLY MILKING IT AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN REALIZING IT. AND FUCK, UNLIKE MOVIES, VIDEO GAMES HAVE AT LEAST 8-30 HOURS OF STORY TO TELL AND THEREFORE SHOULD HAVE TO EMPLOY FAR DIFFERENT STRATEGIES (LOOK AT TELEVISION!). BUT INSTEAD THEY JUST OPT FOR CUT + PASTE NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY THINK IT’S THE EASIEST WAY PLACATE THE GAMER AND JUST FUCKING GET ON WITH IT, BUT BECAUSE THEY’RE MISINFORMED THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. AND THE HUMOROUS SNARKING IS PERFECTLY ALLOWED: NOT BECAUSE YOU EMPLOYED THE SIMPLE STRUCTURE YOU DID, BUT BECAUSE THAT’S ALL YOU EMPLOYED. SO UNFORTUNATELY, YOUR BELIEF THAT WHAT YOU’RE WRITING IS “STRUCTURALLY SOUND” AND THEREFORE GOOD, COMPLETELY OPENS UP YOUR LAZY-ASS STRUCTURALISM TO BEING VIEWED BY HULK AS SO OBVIOUSLY AND HIDEOUSLY EMPTY. A;LJSDFL;ASJKDF;AJSD

… SORRY, HULK GOT SMASHY, IT’S OVER NOW, IT’S OVER… YOU CAN COME ON OUT OF THERE.

HULK BROUGHT ALL THIS BIOWARE/VIDEO GAME STUFF BECAUSE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY THE MOST EXTREME EXAMPLE OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY GONE HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG. THE IRONY IS THAT WHILE BIOWARE IS CLEARLY F-ING UP THEIR APPROACH TO STORY IN ONE WAY, THEY HAVE ACTUALLY HAVE REALLY MADE STRIDES IN THE “INTERACTIVE” PORTION OF STORY GAMING, BY GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO, SAY, KILL CHARACTERS AND RESHAPE THE NARRATIVE. GAMERS REALLY RESPONDED TO IT. IT IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF FORWARD-THINKING THEY SHOULD IMPLORE WITH THEIR STORY STRUCTURE AND WORLD BUILDING, BUT BECAUSE “THE HERO’S JOURNEY” SAYS IT’S A-OKAY, THEY ARE PERFECTLY HAPPY JUST DOING THE EASIEST POSSIBLE THING.

THE HERO’S JOURNEY HURT THEM MORE THAN IT HELPED.

NOW MOST MOVIES ARE NOT SO WOEFULLY OFFENSIVE AS THIS EXAMPLE, BUT THE SAME EXACT THINKING IS AT PLAY. TO WIT, LET HULK FOCUS ON POPULAR MOVIE TROPES AND EXPLAIN THE 7 FUN WAYS PEOPLE USE THE HERO’S JOURNEY TO RUIN STORIES:

#1 – PEOPLE ARE HEROES SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MAIN CHARACTER FOR SOME REASON… AND THEY ARE GETTING CALLED TO ADVENTURE OR SOMETHING

WHAT MAKES A HERO? THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CONFUSION OVER THE MATTER. WE KNOW ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS IS THAT A HERO COULD BE ANYONE. EVEN YOU! IT’S A NICE THOUGHT AND HAS SIGNIFICANT NARRATIVE VALUE, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE A MISTAKE IN THE ASSESSMENT AND SAY ANY OLD HUMAN QUALITIES WILL DO… EVEN “NONE.” WE DO APPARENTLY THIS TO ENSURE THAT THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A CONDUIT FOR AUDIENCE DESIRES AND AS A RESULT WE CREATE MAIN CHARACTERS WHO ARE JUST VACUOUS, BLANK SLATES. YOU KNOW THE ONE HULK IS TALKING ABOUT (PSSSST… MOST OF THEM). OR HELL MAYBE IT’S JUST LAZINESS. THESE CHARACTERS ARE PICKED TO BE HEROES BECAUSE, WELL, THAT IS WHAT THEY THINK HAS TO HAPPEN IN ORDER TO TELL A HERO STORY.

YOU REMEMBER THE END OF RATATOUILLE WHERE THE CRITIC ANTON EGO SURMISES THAT HE WAS MISTAKEN ABOUT SOMETHING OF GRAVE IMPORTANCE: IT’S NOT THAT “ANYONE COULD COOK BUT THAT A GREAT COOK COULD TRULY COME FROM ANYWHERE”? IT’S SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THIS PROBLEM. IT’S NOT THAT ANYONE CAN BE A HERO, BUT THAT A HERO CAN COME FROM ANYWHERE. BUT THE KEY IS THAT THEY HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING INSIDE THEM. A SPARK. A YEARNING. REMY THE RAT WAS SOMEONE WITH AN INNATE ABILITY (SMELL) AND A DESIRE (APPRECIATION OF FOOD BEYOND HIS ENVIRONMENT). HE NEVER HAD A SENSE OF BELONGING. LUKE SKYWALKER? SAME THING. HE HAD THIS SAME HUMAN YEARNING FOR ADVENTURE BEYOND HIS FARM. AND YET WE CONSTANTLY MISAPPLY THIS “ANYONE CAN BE A HERO” TROPE TO MEAN THAT ANYONE WITH A VACUOUS PERSONALITY CAN  BE A HERO/MAIN CHARACTER SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME OLD MAN SHOWS UP AND TELLS THEM THEY ARE. WE ARE TREATED TO HERO AFTER HERO YOU COULD BASICALLY RENAME THEM MILQUETOAST MCBLANDERSON.

SO NOW HULK IS GOING TO DO ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE THINGS TO DO ON THIS BLOG AND BRING IT BACK TO INDIANA FUCKING JONES. THE GREAT THING ABOUT INDY IS THAT DUDE’S A FUCKING CHARACTER. FUNNY, SMART, FLAWED, AND AWESOME. YES, YOU WANT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER TO WORK AS A CONDUIT, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY HAVE TO BE AN EMPTY SHELL, IT MEANS THEY ARE A FLESH AND BLOOD PERSON WHO WE CAN BE HUMAN WITH, NOT HUMAN FOR. IF PROJECTING OUR DESIRE TO BE IN THEIR SITUATION ONTO THEM AS THE ONLY MEANS OF IDENTIFICATION, THE THE CHARACTER IS A COMPLETE FAILURE. THERE HAS TO BE A REASON WE WANT TO BE LIKE THEM. THEREFORE, THEY SHOULD HAVE A FUCKING PERSONALITY. SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO THROW IN SOME DRAMA INTO THAT CONDUIT! DON’T WASTE YOUR PERSONALITY ON SECONDARY CHARACTERS (THOUGH THEY SHOULD OBVIOUSLY HAVE THEM TO). DON’T USE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER AS SOMEONE WHO IS ONLY FUNCTIONAL IN TERMS OF PLOTTING. AND OOH, OOH AND DON’T FORGET! WHEN WRITING HEROIC CHARACTERS ALWAYS REMEMBER: EXASPERATED = GOOD! BUT WHINING = BAD! SO TOE THE LINE!

#2 – REFUSING THE CALL FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THE MOVIE

COUGH* GREEN LANTERN* COUGH. HOW MANY MOVIES, IN AN EFFORT TO SLAVISHLY STICK TO THE HERO JOURNEY MODEL THROW IN AN OBLIGATORY AND WHOLLY UNNECESSARY SCENE(S) WHERE THE CHARACTER DENIES ANSWERING THE CALL FOR NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER? THERE IS NOT A MORE HOLLOW EXERCISE IN WRITING. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO MUCH? EITHER BECAUSE (A) THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE HERO’S JOURNEY AND THINK THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO, OR (B) BECAUSE THE WRITER THINKS IT WILL MANUFACTURE DRAMA, WHEN REALLY THEY ARE GIVING US NO SET UP FOR THIS BEHAVIOR WHATSOEVER. CUE IMAGINARY GREEN LANTERN DISCUSSION:

WE NEED A LANTERN! C’MON RING, PICK A FEARLESS GUY!”

“BUT THIS GUYS IS SECRETLY AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!”

“RIGHT, WE CAN’T JUST HAVE HIM KICK ASS IMMEDIATELY HE HAS TO FIT THE HERO MODEL AND DENY THE CALL! SO HAVE HIM DENY WHAT HE CAN OBVIOUSLY DO FOR SOME REASON… UM…YEAH THIS MAKES NO SENSE, BUT WHO CARES. LET’S GET ON WITH IT.”

“THIS IS GOING TO BE THE PLOT FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE.”

“WELL, SHIT.”

OKAY, OKAY, THIS ISN’T EVERY MOVIE. OCCASIONALLY, A MOVIE CAN HANDLE THE REFUSAL IN AN OKAY WAY AND GIVE LEGITIMATE REASONS WHY THE MAIN CHARACTER WOULDN’T WANT TO JUST ABANDON THEIR LIFE AND GO TO THIS CRAZY ADVENTURE, BUT THOSE OCCASIONS ARE FAR MORE RARE THAN THEY SHOULD BE. BECAUSE USUALLY THE REASONS EXPRESSED ARE BASICALLY: “I CAN’T GO WITH YOU, IT’S CRAZY! THIS IS WEIRD!” OR SOMETHING. HINT: IT’S NOT WEIRD. IN FACT, YOUR AUDIENCE WILL ALREADY KNOW THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE IT IS GOING SO EMBRACE ECONOMY AND GET IT ON WITH IT. DON’T DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER WITH ONE SINGULAR REFUSAL EITHER, AS IF ANSWERING THE CALL IS THE SOLUTION TO ALL THEIR PROBLEMS. DEVELOP THEIR CHARACTER EVOLUTION INCREMENTALLY INSTEAD.

REMEMBER, ONE OF THE DELIGHTFUL THINGS THAT NO ONE SEEMS TO REALIZE IS THAT IN STAR WARS, LUKE SKYWALKER REFUSES THE CALL FOR APPROXIMATELY 38 SECONDS OF TOTAL SCREEN TIME. SERIOUSLY. WATCH THE FUCKING MOVIE. HE SAYS NO TO BEN KANOBI, IMMEDIATELY REALIZES HIS AUNT AND UNCLE ARE IN DANGER, SEES THEIR CHARRED CORPSES AND SAYS “THERE IS NOTHING FOR ME HERE NOW, I WANT TO BE A JEDI LIKE MY FATHER”… IT’S LIKE, 38 FUCKING SECONDS. LOGICAL A, B, C STORYTELLING, DONE WITH ECONOMY, DOES WONDERS FOLKS.

#3 – OVER-RELYING ON THE WISE OLD CRONE

OBI-WAN KANOBI AND YODA. WONDERFUL CHARACTERS. AND NOW EVERY MOVIE HAS THEIR NOT-NEARLY-AS-GOOD VERSION OF THEM. WORSE, THE THINGS THEY ARE REALLY GOOD AT HAVE NOW BECOME THEIR SOLE, GRATING DUTY IN MOVIES: THEY’VE BASICALLY BECOME EXPOSITION MACHINES. FUCK, BEING A MOVIE’S “YODA” HAS ACTUALLY BECOME SHORTHAND FOR AUDIENCES. OF COURSE ANYTIME THIS IS TOO PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, WE DO THE EQUALLY OBVIOUS THING AND TRY TO BRUSH OFF THIS LAZY WRITING WITH A DUMB JOKE: “DO THIS THING. IT’S YOUR DESTINY.” / “HEY, EASY YODA!” … CAUSE THAT WILL WORK [READ: SARCASM].

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SAID TO YOURSELF “I’LL FORGIVE THIS BLATANT APING OF [INSERT POPULAR MOVIE] BECAUSE AT LEAST SELF-AWARE BLATANT APING!” … HULK GONNA WAGER NOT A LOT.(4) AND HULK CAN USUALLY TELL YOU THE EXACT MOMENT EACH ONE THESE CRONE MENTORS WILL BE KILLED OFF TO SEND THE MAIN HERO ON HIS WAY ALONE (JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO). LOOK, HULK DOES MEAN TO IMPLY THAT USING A FIGURE IN YOUR STORY THAT IS THE CRONE FIGURE ISN’T SUPER-USEFUL, BUT FOR PETE’S SAKE, TRY TO HIDE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. DO NOT JUST “MAKE A YODA FIGURE.” IN CASE HULK HAS TO KEEP REMINDING YOU THAT WAS NOT WHAT THE CHARACTERS IN STAR WARS WERE SOLELY ABOUT EITHER. REMEMBER THAT YODA WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO US AS “BATSHIT INSANE LITTLE ANIMAL” AND IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY. SO IN YOUR OWN STORIES GIVE THEM INTERESTING AND UNIQUE STUFF TO DO. GIVE THEM A ROLE IN THE STORY BESIDES BEING THE CRONE. ASK YOURSELF, “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS CRONE UNIQUE?”

#4 – MISTAKING THE NOTION OF “THE TRIALS” FOR “THE HERO FIGHTING A BUNCH OF THINGS”

HULK HOPES THIS ONE IS PRETTY SELF EVIDENT, BUT HERE GOES: THE TRIALS ARE NOT A SERIES OF FIGHTS. THIS IS NOT TO IMPLY THAT THE TRIALS CANNOT CONTAIN A SERIES OF FIGHTS. IN FACT, A SERIES OF FIGHTS ARE USUALLY PRETTY SWEET. BUT WHAT EACH FIGHT SHOULD DO IS HAVE SOME SORT OF THEMATIC RESONANCE AND REFLECT ON A PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT OF THE MAIN CHARACTER HERO TYPE PERSON. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE FIGHT COULD ADDRESS HIS PRIDE. ONE FIGHT COULD ADDRESS HIS LUST (IN GENERAL THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS WORK GOOD FOR THESE KIND OF PERSONALITY-MADE-PHYSICAL BRAND OF OBSTACLES). ONE COULD ADDRESS HIS ACCEPTANCE OF DEFEAT, TEACH HIM LOSS, HUMILITY, OR WHATEVER HE MAY NEED TO GO FORWARD AS A BETTER, MORE COMPLETE PERSON.

THE POINT IS THAT THE TRIALS CANNOT BE EMPTY EXERCISES IN NEATO ACTION. THIS IS A STORY AND STORIES DEVELOP. GOING BACK TO STAR WARS, REMEMBER HOW FUCKING PYSCHOLOGICAL LUKE’S TRIALS ARE DURING HIS TIME ON DAGOBAH? THERE’S, LIKE, NO ACTUAL FIGHTING. HE’S BATTLING HIS PERSONALITY AND HIS MIND, TRYING TO MOVE ROCKS AND HAVE SELF-CONTROL. AND IT’S ALL SO INCREDIBLY FANTASTIC. SO REALLY EACH TRIAL SHOULD BE TREATED AS IT’S OWN MINI-STORY ADDRESSING THE CHARACTER COMPONENTS OF THE LARGER JOURNEY… AND YES YOU CAN USE ACTION TO DO THAT, BUT INTEGRATE THEM TOGETHER. DON’T JUST MAKE AN EMPTY SERIES OF “COOL” FIGHTS.

#5 – MEETING THE GODDESS / WOMAN AS TEMPTRESS

HULK, YOU GOT YOUR FEMINISM IN MY HERO’S JOURNEY COLUMN! DARN TOOTIN’ HULK DID. DEAL WITH IT CAUSE IT’S FUCKING IMPORTANT.

WHY? BECAUSE WHILEWRITING SO MANY PEOPLE LOOK AT HERO JOURNEY MODEL AND GO: “WHEN IT COMES TO WOMEN WE CAN JUST WRITE THEM AS THE GODDESS/TEMPTRESS (READ: MADONNA/WHORE)? SWEET! THANKS MONOMYTH!” UGH. HONESTLY, THESE TROPES ARE AS OLD AS TIME BECAUSE A LOT MEN HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET OVER THIS DYNAMIC SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. AND PLEASE KNOW HULK IS NOT DERIDING THIS BAD HABIT OUT OF SOME MODERN, REVISIONIST P.C. INCLINATION. NOT AT ALL. THE TRUTH IS THERE HAVE BEEN INTERESTING, HUMAN DEPICTIONS OF WOMEN SINCE JUST ABOUT FOREVER (PROOF? ATALANTA FOR ONE, NOT A MISSPELLED CITY BUT THAT FIGURE OF GREEK MYTH. ALSO SEMIRAMIS, AND AS FAR AS ACTUAL GODDESS CONDUITS GO HATHOR WAS PRETTY COOL). THE PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN IN MOVIES/MEDIA IS HUGE OTHER BALL OF WAX, ONE THAT HULK CAN’T WAIT TO WRITE ABOUT IN FULL, BUT THE POINT IS THAT THERE IS A CAPACITY TO WHICH THE GODDESS/TEMPTRESS MODEL HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUTDATED. SO IF YOU’RE STILL WRITING WOMEN WITH JUST THESE BASIC ARCHETYPES IN MIND, FUCKING STOP IT.

AGAIN, GOING BACK TO STAR WARS, THAT MOVIE WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD ABOUT AVOIDING THAT SHIT. WELL… SORT OF. IT’S NOT EVEN LIKE LEIA IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF FEMINISM, BUT SHE WAS AT LEAST PRETTY DAMN GOOD. LEIA IS A FULLY-FORMED AND INTERESTING CHARACTER WHO WASN’T INTERESTED IN BEING EITHER GODDESS OR TEMPTRESS, WHO STILL HAD THE INNATE CAPACITY TO BE BOTH. WHICH MADE HER, YOU KNOW, A HUMAN BEING.

YET THE MADONNA/WHORE IS STILL EVERYWHERE THESE DAYS. YES, A LOT OF TIMES IT’S BECAUSE THE MALE WRITER SERIOUSLY VIEWS WOMEN THIS WAY, BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT’S UNINTENTIONAL! WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN? BECAUSE EITHER A) THAT’S WHAT THE HERO’S JOURNEY SAYS TO DO OR B) BECAUSE THEY JUST HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. SO WHENEVER HULK READS THIS UNINTENTIONAL HORSESHIT HULK ALWAYS GIVES PEOPLE THE SAME ADVICE: “FUCK IT, JUST WRITE HER LIKE LEIA.” IT SOUND SO STUPID AND SIMPLE, BUT THE PERSON WHO CLAIMS TO HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO WRITE WOMEN INSTANTLY THEN ‘GETS IT. ” LEIA IS THAT MUCH A CENTRAL AND POSITIVE FIGURE. THIS TRICK ISN’T SOME MAGIC CURE-ALL EITHER, BUT IT INSTANTLY MAKES THEIR FEMALE CHARACTERS LIKE 50% BETTER.

HULK KEEPS BRINGING UP STAR WARS FOR A REASON. IT OUR MAIN CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE FOR THE HERO’S JOURNEY AND WE CAN’T EVEN IMITATE IT PROPERLY. WE’RE LOOKING AT THE MOST BASIC CONTENT AND MOTIFS AND NOT THE ENGINES THAT REALLY DROVE IT’S SUCCESS, LIKE ITS SENSE OF ECONOMY, THE POWER OF ITS CHARACTERIZATION, THE HUMOR OF ITS CRONES, THE PSYCHOLOGY AT PLAY IN THE TRIALS, AND ITS STRONG FEMALE LEAD. WE’RE LITERALLY MISSING THE BEST STUFF ABOUT IT BECAUSE WE’RE TOO BUSY LOOKING AT HOW IT FITS THE HERO’S JOURNEY ALONG WITH EVERYTHING ELSE. GUESS WHAT FOLKS? THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING FITS THE HERO JOURNEY EVEN BETTER, BUT NO ONE IS FUCKING INTERESTED IN COPYING THAT. WHAT MAKES THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY SO AWESOME AFTER ALL THESE YEARS IS NOT HOW IT’S THE SAME, BUT HOW IT’S STILL TRULY DIFFERENT.

#6 – BLATANTLY USING THE ELIXIR REMEDY / DEUS EX MACHINA

THIS ONE SORT OF DEALS WITH THE “RETURN WITH ELIXIR” COMPONENT, BUT BASICALLY HULK JUST WANT TO POINT OUT THAT WAY TOO MANY STORYLINES RESOLVE WITH DEUS EX MACHINA. ANYTIME YOUR BIG HERO STORY SOLVES PROBLEMS THE WAY ENTOURAGE DOES, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY JUST STOP DOING THAT.(5) BECAUSE THERE IS NO DEVICE IN POPULAR STORYTELLING THAT, WHEN USED POORLY, CAN FEEL SO DAMN CHEAP TO EVEN THE MOST UNAWARE AUDIENCES.

LOOK. DEUS EX MACHINA IS FUCKING HARD. NO TWO BONES ABOUT IT. HULK RECOMMENDS THAT EVEN MOST INTERMEDIATE WRITERS SHOULD STAY AWAY (HULK INCLUDES HULK-SELF IN THIS). THAT IS BECAUSE CHANCES ARE YOU WILL DO IT IN MEDIOCRE FASHION AND WILL THUS FAIL. BUT THAT’S OKAY. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO SOLVE STORY PROBLEMS.

IS THERE A WAY TO DO IT RIGHT? OF COURSE. BUT YOU SORT HAVE TO DIRECTLY ENGAGE THE THEME. FOR MOST OF ITS RUN, LOST WAS A SHOW THAT HANDLED THEIR MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA IN A KIND OF BRILLIANT WAY. MOST OF THE TIME, THESE “SAVING THROWS” WOULD TIE DIRECTLY INTO SPIRITUAL OVERTONES OF THE SHOW. BUT THAT ALONE IS NOT WHAT MADE IT WORK.  IT WORKED BECAUSE THE SHOW SET UP THEIR MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA WITH THE APPROPRIATE SENSE OF NEED AND LONGING. THEY ADDRESSED THE VERY IDEA AT THE THEMATIC CENTER OF THE DEVICE AND WHETHER OR NOT DIVINE WILL/INTERVENTION/WHATEVER-YOU-CALL-IT PLAYS A PART IN THEIR LIVES. AS A RESULT THEY COULD SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATE THOSE MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA INTO THE CHARACTER’S CATHARSIS. LIKE AS JOHN LOCKE BEGS AND PLEADS FOR A SIGN FROM GOD, HIS EMOTION SWELLING, AT HIS WIT’S END… CUE: LIGHT FROM THE HATCH. THEY GAVE THE MOMENT CHARACTER-BASED MEANING, NOT PLOT MEANING. THE SUCCESS OF DEUS EX MACHINA NEVER LIES IN THE DELIVERY, BUT IN THE SET-UP AND IT’S IMPORTANCE TO THE CHARACTER TURNS.(5)

LET’S GO BACK YET AGAIN: REMEMBER THE HAN SOLO “YEEE HAW KID! NOW LET’S BLOW THIS JOINT!” MOMENT FROM STAR WARS? OF COURSE YOU DO. IT WORKS BECAUSE THEY SPEND THE ENTIRE MOVIE SHOWING HOW HAN DOESN’T DO STUFF LIKE THAT AND HAVE THE CHARACTERS TUG AT HIS HEART STRINGS TRYING TO GET HIM TO DO STUFF LIKE THAT. THE LAST MOMENT OF SET-UP SETS IT UP PERFECTLY, AS HE SHUFFLES AWAY WITH ALL HIS MONEY GRUMBLING TO A RELUCTANT CHEWY “I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.” THE FILM THEN SPENDS THE EXACT RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME AWAY FROM HIM SO YOU COMPLETELY FORGET, UNTIL THE VERY SECOND HE STREAMS IN, STARLIGHT-BEHIND-FALCON, AND SAVES LUKE. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS MOMENT BUT IT WORKS BECAUSE OF ALL THE GREAT CHARACTER SET-UP!… GOSH… HULK KEEPS WRITING ABOUT STAR WARS AND KINDA FALLING IN LOVE WITH IT AGAIN… THIS AFTER SWEARING IT OFF… OH WELL, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WITH GOOD THINGS.

OH YEAH... HULK KNEW THERE WAS A REASON. AND IT FITS OUR NEXT POINT:

#7 – “THE RETURN” APPARENTLY JUST MEANS THE CHARACTERS SHOULD JUST COME HOME AT THE END

PERHAPS WE CAN MAYBE BLAME THE ODYSSEY FOR THIS ONE, BUT THERE IS DEFINITE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING FOR WHAT “THE RETURN” ACTUALLY MEANS AND IT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOZENS OF HYPER-POINTLESS ENDINGS. WRITERS GET IT STUCK IN THEIR HEAD THAT WE SOMEHOW HAVE TO RETURN HOME AND THIS MAGICALLY BRINGS THINGS  FULL CIRCLE… YEAH… “THE RETURN” MEANS A THEMATIC RETURN. NOT A LITERAL ONE. YET WE SEE MOVIES THAT RETURN THE ACTION OF THE HERO TO “HOME” AND THINK THAT INHERENTLY IMPLIES SOME KIND OF MEANING. BUT UNLESS YOU GIVE THE RETURN THEMATIC RESONANCE AND HAVE TRULY CHANGED THE CHARACTER IT MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

HULK’S PERSONAL FAVORITE FOR THE NONSENSICAL, “LITERAL RETURN” OCCURS IN THE OPPOSITE OF THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY… ALSO KNOW AS THE PREQUELS. THOSE MOVIES ARE ALL TERRIBLE FOR HUNDREDS OF REASONS, BUT IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE THE RETURN TO NABOO IN THE PHANTOM MENACE IS DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE. THAT IS BECAUSE, ASIDE FROM PICKING UP A LITTLE ANAKIN SKYWALKER, THEIR JOURNEY TO CORUSANT YIELDS ABSOLUTELY ZERO RESULTS THAT AFFECT THE PLOT, SITUATION, OR CHARACTER. SERIOUSLY. THEY RETURN BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO FAIL AT AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THEIR SITUATION WITH THE TRADE FEDERATION, OR THEIR PERSONAL SITUATIONS OR CHARACTER GROWTH. EVEN WHEN PADME SHOWED UP IN THE SENATE AND BEGS HER CAUSE, THE SENATE BASICALLY LIKE “WHAT? NO! OF COURSE NOT. YOU CAME ALL THIS WAY FOR THAT? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?” SO THEY JUST GO HOME TO REALLY START DEALING WITH THE ISSUE. AGAIN. DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE.(6)

BUT THE SADDEST PART IS WE SEE THE EMPTY “LITERAL RETURN” ALL THE TIME. AT THIS POINT HULK URGE YOU TO NOT EVEN BOTHER. IT DOESN’T FIT WITH MOST STORIES ANYWAY, EVEN FOR SOME BIG EPICS. NOT TO GET TO LITERAL, BUT IT MAKES WAY MORE SENSE IN CLASSIC MYTH OR AN INTERGALACTIC COMMUNITY OR SOMETHING, WHERE GOING ON ANY KIND OF JOURNEY IS SOME GIANT UNDERTAKING. WE NOW LIVE IN A TRANSIENT, NOMADIC, AND WHOLLY INTERCONNECTED SOCIETY SO HULK ARGUES THE THEMES AREN’T AS RESONANT. WE ARE INTERCONNECTED ALL THE TIME. SO THE THEMATIC POINT OF THE RETURN, TO HAVE A CHARACTER “STUCK TWO WORLDS,” IS ACTUALLY OUR MODERN CONSTANT, SO GO WITH THAT.

WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR ENDING JUST HAMMER HOME YOUR DAMN THEMES, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE THEY ACTUALLY ARE LOCATED. AND AS FAR AS YOUR PLOTTING GOES YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE IT COME TOGETHER IN SOME UNIFIED MOMENT OF BIZARRE AMALGAMATION (THOUGH IF YOU CAN DO THAT WELL ENOUGH, IT PUTS YOU UP THERE WITH THE GENIUSES. DR. WHO IS A SHOW THAT DOES THIS QUITE WELL, BUT REMEMBER, PULLING IT OFF IS A HIGHWIRE ACT. SO TREAD CAREFULLY). JUST BE SURE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS/BEATS HAVE PLAYED A FULL PART IN THE STORY BY THE TIME OF THE ENDING BE SURE THAT THINGS YOU’VE INTRODUCED HAVE NOT BEEN DROPPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. ECONOMY AND FOCUS FOLKS. THE RETURN IS A THEMATIC ONE.

NOW THIS IS A FILM ABOUT HEROES! NOTE: HULK SO WORRIED YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY THINK THIS THAT HULK JUST GOING TO CLARIFY HULK JOKING

PERHAPS A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ARTICLE WOULD HAVE BEEN “A BETTER WAY OF APPROACHING THE HERO’S JOURNEY” BUT SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER TO JUST DIVE IN AND START SMASHING SHIT. WE HAVE TO LOOSEN UP THE WAY WE DEAL WITH THESE STRUCTURAL MATTERS BECAUSE THIS WEIRD SENSE OF FORMALISM IS CRIPPLING OUR ABILITY TO FOCUS ON MORE PRODUCTIVE FORMS OF STORYTELLING.

WARNING: THIS DOES NOT GIVE US CARTE BLANCHE TO DEVOLVE OUR MOVIES INTO A STORY-LESS, BAY-ESQUE MALAISE OF ACTION, (7) BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THESE ARE INTRODUCTORY FORMS OF STRUCTURE DESIGNED TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE THEMES AT PLAY. THEY ARE NOT “THE RULES.” SO DON’T BE SO DAMN RIGID WITH THEM OR THINK THEY DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU. EMBRACE A CHANGE TO THE MODEL WHEN IT SUITS YOUR CHARACTER IN THE STORY. REMEMBER, THERE’S NO “REFUSING THE CALL” IN INDIANA JONES AND HE’S STILL A DAMN HERO. HE’S SIMPLY LIKE “THE ARK OF THE CONVENANT? FUCK YEAH, I’M IN.” AND EVERYONE WAS TOTALLY COOL WITH THAT.

BEYOND THAT, IT IS IMPORTANT AS A CULTURE TO CONSTANTLY EVALUATE OUR TRIED AND TRUE SYSTEMS. THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO DISAPPEAR UP OUR OWN ASSHOLE WITH REFLEXIVE ACADEMIC TALK, BUT WE HAVE TO BE MORE PERCEPTIVE TO WHAT ACTUALLY HELPS US DO THINGS. AND THE POPULARIZATION OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS SIGNIFICANT TO OUR CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING, BUT NOW OUR OVER-RELIANCE ON IT FOR PRAGMATIC STORYTELLING HAS REACHED A KIND OF CRITICAL MASS.

WE ARE SIMPLY TELLING STORIES WRONG.

“SO HULK, WHAT DO WE TURN TO INSTEAD?”

HULK ARGUE YOU ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HERO BUSINESS AND THE BASICS ARE INGRAINED. SO HULK GOING TO ASK YOU TO APPROACH YOUR STORY STRUCTURE IN A MUCH SIMPLER, BUT FAR MORE HELPFUL WAY; ONE THAT WILL GET YOU TO WRITE SMARTER, MORE ECONOMICAL STORIES WHILE STILL CATERING TO YOUR PERSONAL IDEAS AND NOT STALE BULLSHIT.

LET’S TURN TO THE SOUTH PARK GUYS. CLICK ON THIS FUCKING LINK, IT’S JUST 2 MINUTES LONG AND IT’S INVALUABLE. CLICK ON IT:

http://vodpod.com/watch/15380496-matt-stone-and-trey-parker-crash-an-nyu-writing-class

HULK THANKS A FRIEND FOR SENDING HULK THIS VIDEO, BECAUSE TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE JUST DID MORE FOR ANY SINGLE STORY YOU WANT TO TELL THAN ANYTHING THE HERO’S JOURNEY WILL EVER DO.

THAT IS BECAUSE THE HERO’S JOURNEY TELLS YOU THE BEATS IN A GENERAL ORDER BUT IT GIVES YOU NO IDEA HOW TO LINK THEM. IF YOU USE THE HERO JOURNEY THEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR STORY IS CONSTRUCTED WITH AN “AND THEN”!!!! BECAUSE OF THIS, OUR HERO STORIES HAVE BECOME SEGMENTED NONSENSE. PEOPLE HITTING OBVIOUS AND REPEATED BEATS WITH NO FLOW.

LINKING THINGS TOGETHER IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN CRAFTING A WELL-TOLD STORY. THIS IS WHAT HULK MEANS BY “FLOW” STRUCTURE. IT’S LIKE CLIMBING STAIRS: EACH SCENE SHOULD LEAD TO NEXT AND SO ON IN A WAY THAT ADVANCES THE PLOT, CHARACTER, OR THEME. EVERY PLACE SHOULD MAKE SENSE.

SO IF YOU ALREADY “GET” HEROES AND COME UP WITH YOUR OWN BEATS AND IDEAS (THAT’S THE EASY PART ODDLY ENOUGH), THE THING YOU HAVE TO TO THEN LEARN IS HOW TO LINK THE STORY COHESIVELY.

DO EXACTLY AS THEY SAY: LINE UP EVERY SINGLE BEAT IN YOUR STORY. THEN REWORK THE BEATS IF THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN LINK THEM IS WITH THE PHRASE “AND THEN.” IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE “THEREFORE” OR “BUT.”

DOING THIS CREATES A SINGLE STORY; TIGHT, ECONOMICAL WRITING THAT IS GOOD FOR YOUR IDEAS, RATHER THAN AUGMENTING YOUR STORY TO FIT SOMETHING THAT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF TWO-THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD CLIFF NOTES ANALYSIS, WHICH AGAIN, WAS REALLY SOMETHING THAT WAS MADE TO INVESTIGATE WHY WE CREATED MYTH AND NOT FOR HOW-TO INSTRUCTION. IF YOU ARE TAKING WHATEVER IDEAS YOU HAVE AND JUST PLUGGING THEM INTO THE HERO’S JOURNEY THEN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

WOW… THIS ARTICLE CAME OUT SARCASTIC AS FUCK, BUT THAT’S OKAY.

SOME THINGS CALL FOR IT.

OUR RITUAL BUTCHERING OF THE ACADEMIC WORK OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL IS ONE OF THEM.

STAY IN SCHOOL!

ENDNOTES!

(1) AND DEPENDING ON THE TRANSLATION, GILGAMESH IS KINDA PRETTY TOO…  IN CASE IT’S NOT OBVIOUS HULK LOVES GILGAMESH. YOU SHOULD READ IT. SERIOUSLY, IT’S ONLY  128 PAGES… OR IN HULK-TERMS, HALF AN ARTICLE.

(2) GASP! A MONO-PROBLEM! THINGS JUST GOT REFLEXIVE UP IN THIS BITCH.

(3) THIS IS ALSO NOT TO IMPLY THE BIOWARE GAMES DON’T DO SOME THINGS WELL. THEY ACTUALLY DO A BUNCH OF THINGS WELL. BUT FOR VIDEO GAMES IN GENERAL, THE QUALITY OF THE GAME PLAY DIRECTLY EFFECTS THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT SHIT STORY AND CHARACTERIZATION. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT HULK REALLY BELIEVES THAT THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. MORE AND MORE ARTICULATE AND INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ARE COMING INTO THE FOLD WHO 1) GREW UP ON STORY-BASED GAMING AND THEREFORE RESPECT THE FORM AND 2) MORE AND MORE WRITERS/FILMMAKERS ARE RECOGNIZING THE UNIQUE STORYTELLING OPPORTUNITIES THAT GAMING AFFORDS (BECAUSE IT IS EXPERIENCED INSTEAD OF WATCHED). WE’VE ALREADY STARTED TO EXPERIMENT (BIOSHOCK, ROCK STAR’S OUTPUT, ETC) AND WHILE WE’RE NOT THERE YET, THINGS ARE LOOKING UP.

… THEN AGAIN, BADASSDIGEST READER “THEMACNAUGHTON” POINTED HULK IN THE DIRECTION OF THIS:

… OKAY, ABANDON ALL HOPE.

(4) THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE FILMS THAT DIRECTLY USE THESE TOUCHSTONES TO INVERT THE MEANINGS FOR COMEDY PURPOSES AND YET STILL INFORM THEIR OWN STORIES. THINK OF EMPEROR ZERG’S “I AM YOUR FATHER” MOMENT FROM TOY STORY 2 OR THE POINT BREAK SCREAM AND FIRE IN THE AIR REFERENCES IN HOT FUZZ. THERE ARE WAYS TO DO EVERYTHING, BUT GUILE AND INTENTIONS ARE KEY.

(5) WHICH FEEDS BACK INTO ENTOURAGE. THE SHOW FAILED FOR MANY REASONS BUT CHIEFLY BECAUSE THERE WERE NEVER ANY REAL SET-UP TO THESE MOMENTS OF RELIEF BECAUSE THERE WERE NEVER ANY REAL STAKES. TRY AS THEY DID, THERE WAS ALWAYS AN AIR OF INVINCIBILITY. PARTIALLY BECAUSE THE MAIN CHARACTER ROUTINELY REMINDED EVERYONE THAT HE DIDN’T CARE IF HIS WHOLE WORLD DISAPPEARED, SO QUESTION ENTOURAGE WRITERS, WHY THE FUCK SHOULD WE? SERIOUSLY, THE SHOW’S GREATEST MOMENT DANGER, HULK SHIT YOU NOT, WAS THE THREAT OF DRAMA AND TURTLE’S WIENERS ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHING DURING A  THREESOME…. WHICH IF YOU ASK HULK, WAS WHAT BOTH CHARACTER SECRETLY WANTED ALL ALONG*

*IN SOME BIZARRE UNIVERSE THAT EPISODE ENDS WITH THEIR WIENERS TOTALLY TOUCHING, THUS IGNITING THE BEGINNING OF A SERIES-ALTERING PLOTLINE WHERE THEY FALL IN LOVE, MOVE TO WE-HO AND ADOPT CHINESE BABIES. HONESTLY, HULK WOULD RATHER LIVE IN THAT UNIVERSE BECAUSE OUR UNIVERSE IS ONE WHERE PEOPLE THINK THAT SHOW IS GOOD**

** BY THE WAY, THE SHOW IS ALSO THE MOST SEXIST PIECE OF SHIT ON THE PLANET. JANE LYNCH WILL FOREVER HAVE HULK’S RESPECT FOR PULLING OFF HER WAY-MORE-STINGING-THAN-YOU-THINK “WHY I’M A LESBIAN” JOKE IN FRONT OF MILLIONS (NOTE: THE CAST ACTUALLY THOUGHT SHE MEANT THAT AS SAYING THEY WEREN’T THAT ATTRACTIVE. SHE MEANT THEY WERE HORRIBLE, SEXIST HUMAN BEINGS. WHICH IS PERFECT).

(6) OKAY NOT GO ALL FAN-FIC ON YOUR ASS BUT THEY COMPLETELY MISSED THE BOAT ON STRUCTURING THAT MOVIE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. ONE SMALL CHANGE COULD HAVE AFFECTED SO MUCH: PADME SHOULD HAVE STAYED ON NABOO AND DEALT WITH THE FACT HER PLANET WAS UNDER FUCKING ATTACK. QUI GON SHOULD HAVE LEFT OBI-WAN THERE TO PROTECT HER AND THEY COULD HAVE DEVELOPED A FRIENDSHIP AND SHE COULD HAVE HAD A SCHOOLGIRL CRUSH. MEANWHILE, QUI-GON WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONLY ONE TO GO BACK TO THE SENATE AND GET STRANDED ALONG THE WAY ON TATOOINE. HE FINDS A NEW, BETTER PADAWAN IN YOUNG ANAKIN AND THEIR STUPID MISSION TO CORUSANT COULD HAVE STILL FAILED. BUT HERE’S THE REAL KEY, WHEN THEY RETURNED ALL THE TENSION AND GOT ON WITH THE REST OF THE STORY (INCLUDING THE TWO OTHER MOVIES) IT WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY COME TOGETHER IN A WAY THAT MADE SENSE. ANAKIN ENTERS AS THE DARK STRANGER WHO LOVES PADME, THE OBI-WAN CRUSH EVAPORATES, OBI WAN IS PISSED THERE’S A NEW PADAWAN AND EVERYONE WOULD HAVE REAL MOTIVATIONS. BUT INSTEAD THEY GOT TO TRAVEL TOGETHER IN A BIG, NOT FUN AND USELESS GROUP! ALSO GET RID OF JAR JAR. ALSO  THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE A MILLION OTHER THINGS. WAIT, WHY THE HELL IS HULK EVEN DOING THIS? YOU CAN’T POLISH A TURD. ASSUMING THERE IS ONE PROBLEM THAT FIXES THE PREQUELS IS LIKE SWATTING A MISQUITO AND CALLING THEM EXTINCT.

(7) IN A SMALL AND TOTALLY-INCORRECT WAY YOU HAVE TO ADMIRE HOW MUCH BAY JUST DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT. IF HE WAS INTERESTED IN ART HE COULD MAKE BRILLIANT ANTI-MOVIES. SADLY, HE IS NOT.

HULK TRY KEEP THIS SHORT. AND WARNING, HERE BE SPOILERS.

IN FRONT YOUR VERY OWN EYEBALLS, YOU HAVE HULK’S FIRST VIDEO GAME REVIEW. IT NO WILL HAPPEN MUCH. JUST EVERY ONCE AND AWHILE WHEN HULK FEEL IT PERTINENT, USUALLY INVOLVING SOMETHING DO WITH RELATING MEDIA THOUGHTS OR IF GAME DEAL WITH SOME CINEMATIC ISSUE.

BACKGROUND: HULK PLAY LOT OF GAMES. HULK PLAY RPG ENVIORNMENTY STUFF (FAVORITES: BETHESDA’S OBLIVION AND FALLOUT SERIES, ROCKSTAR’S COLLECTIVE OUTPUT, AND GENERALLY THE FINAL FANTASY SERIES THOUGH THE LAST ONE = SHIT), HIGH QUALITY FIRST PERSON SHOOTERS (FAVORITES: BIOSHOCK, CALL OF DUTY 4 BUT NOT THE SEQUELS, GOLDENEYE!) AND SPORTS GAMES (FAVORITES: MADDEN, 2K SERIES IN BOTH BASKETBALL/BASEBALL, KEN GRIFFEY JR. BASEBALL, MARIO TENNIS, BASEBALL SIMULATOR 1000). THIS REASONABLY WELL-ROUNDED HULK GUESS.

BY ALL ACCOUNTS, L.A. NOIRE HAVE LOT GOING FOR IT. IT HAVE GREAT SENSE OF ENVIRONMENT. HULK ABSOLUTELY LOVED TRAVERSING ABOUT 1940’S LOS ANGELES (WHICH RECREATED WITH GREAT HISTORICAL DETAIL). THE GAMEPLAY RELATIVELY INNOVATIVE AND IT MORE INTERESTED IN OTHER PURSUITS THAN THE FREQUENT SMASH+GRAB ALTERCATIONS OF GRAND THEFT AUTO. MUCH ALREADY MADE OF THE PERFORMANCE-CAPTURE STUFF AND THAT LIVE UP TO WHAT PROMISED.

THIS GUY REALLY ENJOYING IT

BUT HULK JUST WANT TAKE MINUTE TO THE MAKERS OF L.A. NOIRE WHY THERE GAME UTTERLY COLLAPSE IN ON ITSELF AFTER SO MUCH PROMISE:

IT RARELY ADHERE TO STORYTELLING 101

HULK KEEP HARPING ON THIS ISSUE LATELY, BUT IT BECAUSE IT JUST FEEL PERTINENT.

AND L.A. NOIRE GET ONE THING MAJORLY, MAJORLY WRONG. WHEN THE STORY SUPPOSED TO BE “EXPERIENCED” BY THE PLAYER IT DO NO FUCKING GOOD WHEN THE GAMER AT HOME ACTUALLY MILES AHEAD OF THE MAIN CHARACTER. HERE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLES (AND AGAIN, MAJOR FUCKING SPOILERS WITHIN):

1) DURING THE “HOMICIDE” PORTION OF THE GAME WE SUPPOSED TO BE “SOLVING” MURDERS, IT PRETTY CLEAR FROM EVEN THE BEGINNING OF FIRST MISSION ON THAT THIS MURDER AND ONES THAT FOLLOW ACTUALLY PART OF LARGER SERIES ALREADY TYING INTO THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDERS. WHICH MEAN THAT WHEN LOCKING UP SUSPECT TO CLOSE CASE WE HAVE NO INTEREST IN ACTUALLY BECAUSE WE ALREADY SURE IT NOT THEM. SO WE ESSENTIALLY JUST PICK ONE. THERE ABSOLUTELY NO JOY IN IT. NO SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (WHICH ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE FEELING). IT ABSOLUTELY JUST LIKE SLOGGING THROUGH BULLCRAP. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT SO CLEAR THERE MYSTERY FIGURE OUT THERE TO BLAME. HULK GET SENSE THEY TRYING TO DO SOMETHING INTERESTING WITH GAME, BUT HOW IT INTERESTING IF IT TELEGRAPHED SO CLEARLY AND ABSOLUTELY TREATED LIKE A “REVEAL.” HULK WONDER IF  MAYBE THEY THINK THIS  SOME COMMENTARY ABOUT HOW ONE “NEVER KNOWS IF THEY LOCKING UP GUILTY PERSON” BUT IF THAT THE CASE THEN IT NOTHING MORE THAN HALF-BAKED BULLSHIT.

2. AND NO, THEY NOT DO THIS COCKTEASING “WRONG SUSPECT” ANGLE FOR 1 CASE, NOT EVEN 2 CASES, BUT 5 DAMN FUCKING CASES. IN CASE NOT AWARE THE GAME HAVE 20 OR SO CASES, SO THAT 1/4 OF THE GAME SPENT LOCKING UP PEOPLE YOU ALREADY KNOW NOT THE RIGHT SUSPECTS. WHAT A FUCKING WASTE. HULK BORED TO TEARS BY THE FIFTH TIME. THE ONLY THING THAT KEPT HULK GOING DURING THIS HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE STINT OF THE GAME WHEN HULK SURE THAT ALL THE EXTRANEOUS CLUES HULK GATHERING BE IMPORTANT WHEN TIME FINALLY COME TO LOCK UP THE MYSTERY FIGURE BEHIND ALL FIVE MURDERS. TO SOLVE A SUPER CASE SO TO SPEAK THAT TIE INTO ALL OF THEM AND ALL THE LITANY OF EVIDENCE GATHERED THAT LEAD TO THAT CONCLUSION. IT JUST SEEM SO OBVIOUS IT GOING THERE… AND THEN IT END IN LAME DRIVING AROUND TOWN FOR MARKERS BIT FOLLOWED BY SUPER ANTI-CLIMACTIC SHOOT OUT. AND ALL THOSE RELEVANT CLUES COLLECTED MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CAUSE THERE NOTHING TO ACTUALLY SOLVE. IT BANAL.

3. OF COURSE THEY DON’T LEARN THEIR LESSON AND EMPLOY THE SAME EXACT DEVICE OF HAVING ONE MYSTERY FIGURE BEHIND ALL OF THE CRIMES DURING THE “ARSON DESK” SERIES. SURE THERE SOME OTHER SHADOWY INVOLVEMENT BUT YOU KNOW ALL MAJOR PLAYERS INVOLVED ON THIS WHOLE DESK’S AFFAIR HALFWAY INTO THE FIRST ARSON CASE. NATURALLY, IT END IN EQUALLY DISAPPOINTING FASHION.

SERIOUSLY IT NO WONDER THAT THE TRAFFIC AND VICE DESK CASES = THE ABSOLUTE BEST ONES BECAUSE THE INDIVIDUAL CASES STAND ON THEIR OWN. YES, THE VICE CASES OFTEN DEAL WITH THE SAME SUBJECT OF THE MORPHINE, BUT AT LEAST THE PEOPLE GONE AFTER RELEVANT TO THE WEB OF THE CRIME SYNDICATE. AND GOING UP THE LADDER TO THE TOP OF THE RANKS OF THE SYNDICATE VERY SATISFYING ON NARRATIVE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT-FEELING LEVEL.

4. THE DEATH OF HAVE COLE HAVE NO IMPACT AFTER SPENDING LAST 1/4 OF ALL MISSIONS PLAYING AS KELSO. THE JOURNEY OF COLE FROM HARD-NOSED GOLDEN BOY PRICK TO MAN MORE ACCEPTING OF THE GRAY AREAS OF LIFE, THE ABUSE OF POWER, AND SENSELESS CRIME SHOULD BE… WELL… LOT MORE INTERESTING. INSTEAD AFTER THE MOMENT COLE HAVE ACTUAL TURNING POINT, THE GAME SIDELINE HIM TO PLAY KELSO. COLE ONLY COMING BACK TO DIE. THE GAME ITSELF THE END ABRUPTLY RIGHT AFTER WITH NO ROUNDING OUT OF THE STORY IN ORGANIC FASHION… UGH…THE GAME SPEND HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS TELEGRAPHING REPETIVE STORYLINES ONLY TO SUMMARIZE THE ENDING WITH QUICK ON THE NOSE EULOGY SPEECH ABOUT THE PRESUMED COVERUP… THE WHOLE SERIES OF DECISIONS MAKE LESS THAN SENSE.

5. AND SPEAKING OF COLE’S STORY, AT FIRST HULK THOUGHT THE GAME MAKE INTERESTING CHOICE OF NOT SHOWING COLE’S WIFE AT ALL. HULK SORT OF LIKED IT, BUT THEN SHE SHOW UP WHEN KICKING COLE OUT OF THE HOUSE FOR PHILANDERING ABOUT. THE SCENE HAVE NO IMPACT BECAUSE HULK NEVER SEEN OR HEARD A SINGLE WORD ABOUT THIS PERSON BEFORE. HULK IMAGINE THE DEVELOPERS THOUGHT IT THIS MOMENT TO PUT FACE ON COLE’S ACTIONS, BUT REALLY IT JUST MAKE THINGS RING HOLLOW. IF THEY COMMITTED TO THIS NARRATIVE DEVICE SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT AND WE NO LEARN COLE BEEN KICKED OUT. HULK FEEL LIKE IT WAS A BAD MOVE ON PART OF DEVELOPERS. PERHAPS THEY THOUGHT THEY DOING SOMETHING INTERESTING AT THAT POINT, BUT REALLY IT JUST FAIL. THEY TRIED HAVE IT TWO DIFFERENT AND UNRECONCILE-ABLE WAYS.

6. THE CHOICES FOR THE BIG OVERARCHING STORY: THE AFOREMENTIONED TELEGRAPHED AND TOO-EARLY DROPPED CLUES, THE MILITARY FLASHBACKS, ABD THE “BEHIND THE STORY” NEWSPAPER ARTICLES = ESSENTIALLY REMOVE ALL FUCKING SENSE OF MYSTERY FROM THE GOD DAMN STORY. SERIOUSLY. EVERY BIG OVERARCHING MYSTERY THAT COLE WILL ENCOUNTER AND TRY AND SOLVE IN LAST HALF OF GAME PRETTY MUCH REVEALED IN THE FLASHBACKS THAT OCCUR BEFORE THE ACTUAL CASE. NARRATIVE-SPEAKING IT HORSECRAP.

HULK WANTED TO LOVE THIS GAME. AND THERE REALLY A MILLION OTHER THINGS TO TALK ABOUT IN TERMS HOW IT GOOD/BAD, BUT THEY SORT OF OUTSIDE THIS “STORYTELLING 101″ ASPECT SO HULK WILL DROP IT.

HULK JUST HATE HOW IT MADE BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING HOW A “DETECTIVE” STORY SHOULD ACTUALLY UNRAVEL. WHICH ESPECIALLY SUCK CAUSE THE SUBJECTS OF THESE STORYLINES AND THE ACTUAL IDEAS BEHIND THEM OFTEN GREAT. IT JUST A MATTER OF EXECUTION AND IN A FEW EXAMPLES OF FLAWLESS INDIVIDUAL CASES HULK SEE WHAT THE GAME COULD HAVE BEEN. BUT EVEN MOST THESE CASES RUINED BY THIS PREMATURE TEASER VIDEO REVEALS (LIKE THE GUY PUTTING THE HEAD ON THE CAR GAS PEDDLE, THE ARSONIST ACTUALLY SHOWING HOW HE FUCK HE MESS WITH HEATER VALVESS). THESE THINGS MAY SEEM RELATIVELY MINOR BUT IF HULK PRETTY SURE THAT WHEN COLE ARRIVE ON THE SCENE, THE PLAYER SHOULD BE IN THE COMPLETE FUCKING DARK ABOUT EVERYTHING INVOLVING CASE. THAT BRING THE GENUINE THRILL OF DISCOVERY.

INSTEAD WE GET A DETECTIVE STORY WITH ZERO ACTUAL NARRATIVE REVEALS.

WHAT A JOKE.

THIS SHOULD REALLY BE MORE INTERESTING

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