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Meta and 4th wall breaking?

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What are your thoughts on characters who talk meta (like "here comes a boss!") or a series like disgaea that has fiction-breaking gags? Does it add humor, or does it ruin an experience? General thoughts are welcome on the subject.

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Honestly, I find it a bore. Its always the same jokes over and over again.

From a design perspective I also don't think its great; ~"Hey here's some bad idea. I know! Instead of fixing it I'll just address it so everyone knows I'm aware of it. That's totally as good!".

 

Some people will appreciate it, I'm sure. But they've also got the choice of tonnes of other media with the same content. If you're just going to add to the perpetual echo of "What are monsters doing with money?" you should redirect your efforts.

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Honestly, I find it a bore. Its always the same jokes over and over again.

From a design perspective I also don't think its great; ~"Hey here's some bad idea. I know! Instead of fixing it I'll just address it so everyone knows I'm aware of it. That's totally as good!".

 

Some people will appreciate it, I'm sure. But they've also got the choice of tonnes of other media with the same content. If you're just going to add to the perpetual echo of "What are monsters doing with money?" you should redirect your efforts.

I was just asking in general what people thought.

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If it fits with the tone of the game you're going for, then go for it. But if I see jokes like that in every other dialogue, it gets boring fast unless it's really funny and unexpected.

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It heavily depends on the context of the game like South park stick of truth: The game obliterates tropes associated with RPG games (the Canada part was hilarious!). If the game does not have that kind of context the results could vary IMHO.

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Deadpool...

 

My game breaks the forth wall, and has characters that do meta. But there is a cool game out there that is very good. It even makes you think you deleted everything from your save files, it makes you think the console crashed... Watch Watchmojo's video of 4th Wall Breaks in Videogames.

 

I think it's good. It adds humor,but depends on the way you insert it in the game.

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Undertale doesn't break the fourth wall.

 

A good example of 4th wall break is Deadpool's videogame. He write the script for the game, c'mon!

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On 6/20/2016 at 6:20 PM, Kirimash said:

Undertale doesn't break the fourth wall.

 

A good example of 4th wall break is Deadpool's videogame. He write the script for the game, c'mon!

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Edited by wowflop

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Basically I share the opinion of the majority here, I'm usually not a big fan of fourth wall breaking, most of the time it sounds tired and trite. You have to be really clever to pull it off well.

That said, one of my games contain this, so take my word as you will. :P

 

 

image.png

 

 

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It's definitely a risky thing to try and pull off, and a lot of people above me have said the gist of why it can often go badly XD I appreciate casual and brief nods to fourth wall breaking, like Nirwanda's screenie above XD It doesn't necessarily have to be hilarious either, it's just something that is lighthearted and amusing at times. It's only when people start getting super obsessed with it that it loses its frivolity. :<

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To add to what Kirimash said, Deadpool, Deadpool, Deadpool. I haven't played the game, but the character itself is a living breathing fourth wall break. Google him if you're not familiar. I like that style just because it's so over the top. I like the really subtle ones, too. Like the PC getting impatient with you if you're idle too long.

I'm referring specifically to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cuz that's the first one I played where this happened. Sonic would cross his arms and impatiently tap his foot while staring at you. So simple yet so clever.

 

It is really hard to balance fourth wall breaks. I feel subtlety or maybe sparsity is the best way to go. Too much of it gets old quick unless you're going all out like Deadpool. Both require some cleverness, too or they just seem lame.

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The game Ciel nosurge (which I haven't played, just watched YouTube) actually treats the game world as an alternate dimension and the console as a "Skype" through which the player communicates with the main character. Having seen it, I think that fourth wall breaking can be done very well if your world rules state that you're not actually playing a game, you're interacting with another universe. (In fact, the game's worldbuilding describes that world's scientific theory that when we play games, we are always interacting with another reality - I believe this, since I believe in alternate dimensions and that whenever someone creates a story, it manifests as another dimension.)

 

I haven't played the Disgaea games, but I've heard of them, and I've heard that the character Laharl can jump dimensions, so that may account for the game's fourth-wall jokes.

 

In conclusion, I think that breaking the fourth wall has the best potential when the player becomes a character in the game, like in Ciel nosurge.

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For the most part, I don't mind it.

I think its something that you'd need to control.

For example, throwing a bucket of it into something like call of duty, thats a bit much! 

I think that Pewdiepie game that released recently, I think that does it every time Pewd's says anything.

 

Maybe using it too much sort of devalues the game?

Like you have an epic story and universe but with so many moments like "This monster dropped gold!?" What do you mean I have a sword+4 attack?" the constant sacrifice of world immersion for a tiny joke.

 

 

I'm about to link to a game clip from Metal Gear Solid 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1qw4P3NsPs

This one is brilliant on several levels, referencing past games and (at the time) new technology.

Something to note with Metal Gear, several characters break the 4th wall throughout the franchise, not just the comic relief character.

Sometimes the game implies that Snake is the player in a more literal sense, I remember a scene from Metal Gear Solid 1 where the player is asked to place the controller on their arm to massage it with the

vibration function of the PS1 controller. 

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sometimes I found it cringey and out of taste. It may work if the series' main genre is comedy. I rarely see pop culture reference done right or maybe my standards are too high.

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I don't do it in any of my writings, I feel it would ruin the mood.

 

But in a light hearted story it's perfectly acceptable.

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Depends entirely on the nature and context of the game, but regardless, it depends on the player, not the game, or the situation, or how clever you thought it was. To the more intelligent, mature player who is probably more directly invested in your plot and characters than the average person who just wants to kill monsters and lvl up, it will almost always translate as a juvenile, lowbrow moment that will compromise not only your integrity as a story teller and writer, but possibly the esteem and merit of your game.

 

 

We all love to reach for Deadpool to excuse this as totally, 100% acceptable, but Deadpool is a juvenile, edgy mess for rebellious tweens. He is literally a passive aggressive hissy fit thrown by Marvel to get under DC and Deathstroke's skin. I feel as though Deadpool is one of the worst examples one could provide here. His entire character concept is a goofball clown who exists to generate cheap, silly laughs and lighten some of the shit Marvel was trying to do in the 90s to be darker and more complex.

 

If you plan to break the 4th wall often and use that sort of crude, childish humor, I suggest you design a game concept with characters that directly facilitate those sorts of vibes. In a serious, artistic game with great characters and stories, that sort of writing an humor will clash and feel forced, let alone out of place and disappointing.

 

A few cheap laughs are not worth it in the long run. There are better ways to break an egg than crushing it in your hand.

Edited by That One NPC

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Honestly I think 4th wall stuff isn't the problem, the problem is just using it for cheep jokes. Meta stuff is perfectly fine, as long as it's actually done in a serious or meaningful way. I mean I know not everyone likes Undertale for example, but most of the meta stuff in that game was taken far beyond just being simple 4th wall gags. Undertale can be pretty funny sure but that's far from the only think it uses it's meta elements for.

 

Also I have to say even if I am not a fan of comics, I am pretty sure there are at least some Deadpool comics where it's pretty clear Deadpool is really not just the funny haha jester he is often depicted as. There is at least one comic I know of where Deadpool just gets sick of his whole existence as a comic book character and decides to basically kill everything in the universe, then track down and kill the people at Marvel who created him, and then threatens to come after the reader. And yeah that might still be over the top and eggy, but all the 4th wall brakes are not simply treated as jokes and it's a much more interesting story as a result.

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2 hours ago, Kayzee said:

Also I have to say even if I am not a fan of comics, I am pretty sure there are at least some Deadpool comics where it's pretty clear Deadpool is really not just the funny haha jester he is often depicted as. There is at least one comic I know of where Deadpool just gets sick of his whole existence as a comic book character and decides to basically kill everything in the universe, then track down and kill the people at Marvel who created him, and then threatens to come after the reader. And yeah that might still be over the top and eggy, but all the 4th wall brakes are not simply treated as jokes and it's a much more interesting story as a result.

 

 

It was still a stereotypical Deadpool story. It's called Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe. In the plot, the X-Men, having had enough of his BS, send him to an institution for rehabilitation. The therapist handling his case is actually Psycho-Man in disguise. Psycho-Man brainwashed him, overwriting the voices in his head with a new one that only implanted suggestions and impulses of violence and destruction. This caused him to kill every super hero, and every super villain, in the entire Marvel universe, or at least those present on Earth. Afterward, he breaches the 4th wall to enter our reality, confronting the artists and writers of Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe. Afterward he tells the reader "he'll find us soon enough."

 

It was an over-the-top, home-run Deadpool gag that only served to create a laugh and propel the character's obscene ridiculousness to new heights of lowbrow fuckery. And it actually has a follow-up story called Deadpool Killustrated. In it, DP has been killing all the variations of Marvel heroes and villains, and has realized that an infinite amount of variations exist for every character. He hires a team of eggheads to help him erase every Marvel character.

 

After that comes Deadpool Kills Deadpool. NOw it's revealed that the DP from DKTMU, is now known as Dreadpool. Dreadpool has been killing every variation of Deapool, while a variation of Deadpool has been hunting Dreadpool. Meta enough yet?

 

 

 

DP is one big joke. Everything about him is fantastically broken and foolish to the core.

Edited by That One NPC

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What you don't think that's not kinda conceptually interesting to take that kind of meta that far? Well at least every once and a while. I hardly think every story should be like that, but I sort of appreciate it once and a while.

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Just saying it was typical Deadpool fare.

 

Check out the Sins of the Past mini series. Very good Deadpool material. It was around the era when Joe Kelly was handling Wade, and actually made significant strides toward making him an actual character. It was the first time he was given a more heroic side, as well as the first time he was unmasked. During this four-part series, he begins a longstanding courtship with Siryn*.

 

These are the types of DP stories that hold actual value, and tame his ridiculousness just enough to make him fit into a real plot with other characters.

Edited by That One NPC

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