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It Takes Two


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6 hours ago, Wiper said:

 Which I can't pretend to be particularly surprised by given the director's previous work on the insipid (and insidiously misogynistic) Brothers: A Tale of Two Souls, and the cretinous A Way Out.

 

Hopefully one day Hazelight Studios will find a director/writer/editor that lives up to their prodigious talents in aesthetic design and playful mechanics.

 

I thought that game was a great and heart breaking story. Really felt it. 

 

 

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Robert Purchese of Eurogamer didn’t exactly like the idea of a divorced couple going on an adventure and possibly getting back together as a result. In one of the most bizarrely aggressive first paragraphs of a review I’ve ever read, he described it as a ‘dangerous idea to play with’.

 

Spoiler

I almost turned it off. Genuinely, after 10 minutes, I'd had enough. A story about a girl's divorcing parents who are magically shrunk so they can go on an adventure together, and in doing so work out their differences and get back together? Do me a favour. People divorce and families move on. It's a normal part of life and shouldn't be construed as anything but. Are children supposed to play this and believe their parents could have rescued their relationship? Are divorced parents supposed to play it and feel bad? It's a dangerous idea to play with and I wish It Takes Two hadn't.

 

I hope that Robert’s OK after whatever life event inspired him to write that, but I really don’t agree with his censorious thinking. He liked the actual game, though, so that’s something!

 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-03-24-it-takes-two-review-delightful-co-op-tainted-by-an-irritating-story

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I found the intro to that Eurogamer review odd as well. Fair enough if the subject matter is executed badly or insensitively, but he seems to be arguing that divorced parents resolving their differences is not an appropriate subject for a game which seems a bit much.

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I hate when someone has a bad personal experience and insists it not right to show a similar circumstance in a different light. 

 

Im a child of divorce but im not going to be overly sensitive and emotional on a fictional story about divorce. 

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I don't think there's anything wrong with him disliking the tone and direction of the story and it's always interesting to hear the how first-hand experience colours someone's perception of a game, it just seems a bit extreme to write off the whole subject.

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Just watched the IGN review and I think it looks brilliant.

 

I might wait for it to hit Game Pass though, because by then I'll hopefully have a new TV that can cope with 60fps. It looks so pretty that it needs to be appreciated properly.

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Some of the takes, both in reviews and in this thread, do seem to be a bit on the extreme side. There's nothing inherently wrong with a story where a couple manage to reconcile after planning to separate. Isn't this a staple element of a million love stories? Saying they should just separate because children whose parents are getting divorced might play it and get their hopes up or something...it feels a bit much.

 

Is anyone really playing this for the story anyway? It's just a flimsy excuse to string together an incredibly varied selection of co-op levels, most of which look like great fun.

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Children of divorce, which includes me, probably often don't want to see the complexity of that situation undermined by a simple narrative. But it happens. Couples reach breaking points and they seek help and they work through their issues and become happy again. Assuming that's where this story ends up, I'm not going to be offended by it because my parents ended up screaming at each other in the street and shoving each other in a hallway. This is a game where you have a fistfight with a squirrel on a tiny biplane and they're arguing the route to reconciliation isn't realistic. :lol:

 

I'm sure there are hundreds of ultra-worthy relentlessly depressing games about divorce made in Twine if that's what you want.

 

Tom Orry, also of the Eurogamer church I think, gave it a better review https://www.vg247.com/2021/03/24/it-takes-two-review/

 

Quote

Honestly, It Takes Two is one of the most pleasant surprises in video games I’ve ever had. I went in more or less expecting a fairly gimmick-laden brief but fun escapade, but it’s so much more than that. This is a game that I would recommend to anyone who longs for the kind of no-holds-barred childlike fantasy so common in the 80s but seems less common today. If that is you, don’t sleep on this real gem.

 

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I don't like the story concept either. Source isn't personal experience but from research work with relationship breakdown support charities. These kinds of stories really aren't helpful for children in those situations, at all; and on the idea of it being a fairly common story trope.. i can't think of anything recent? Maybe some stuff from the 80s, but even by the time Mrs Doubtfire rolled around people had the sense not to be doing this.

 

Perhaps let's not call out the EG reviewer for past trauma here. As far as I'm concerned that's an excellent piece of journalism in that it informs me that this is not a game to recommend to kids.

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My parents had a very volatile divorce when I was a kid and I honestly can't say this bothers me so I guess it's a YMMV kind of thing.

 

25 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

 and on the idea of it being a fairly common story trope.. i can't think of anything recent? Maybe some stuff from the 80s, but even by the time Mrs Doubtfire rolled around people had the sense not to be doing this.

 

 

There are like a billion Simpsons episodes alone where Marge and Homer are on the brink of separating and get back together again because they realise how much they love each other. It's probably impossible to count how many romantic comedies are about couples falling out of love and then back in love for some reason or other.

 

Mrs Doubtfire definitely took another angle but are we saying that should be the only angle? I think even right at the end of that movie she gives a speech on TV saying sometimes parents get back together and sometimes they don't.

 

I'm only discussing the base idea, the execution of it in It Takes Two could be rubbish but people are damning the very notion of it being a basis of a story.

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9 minutes ago, Majora said:

My parents had a very volatile divorce when I was a kid and I honestly can't say this bothers me so I guess it's a YMMV kind of thing.

 

 

There are like a billion Simpsons episodes alone where Marge and Homer are on the brink of separating and get back together again because they realise how much they love each other. It's probably impossible to count how many romantic comedies are about couples falling out of love and then back in love for some reason or other.

 

Mrs Doubtfire definitely took another angle but are we saying that should be the only angle? I think even right at the end of that movie she gives a speech on TV saying sometimes parents get back together and sometimes they don't.

 

I'm only discussing the base idea, the execution of it in It Takes Two could be rubbish but people are damning the very notion of it being a basis of a story.

 

Couples yes, separated/divorced parents no. If in the simpsons Homer and Marge separated and then there were a billion episodes about them nearly getting back together, I'd say that was pretty bad as well.

 

What I'm saying is that a story like this has potential to do some damage. That's not always the same as saying it shouldn't be told. But it really raises the stakes and asks questions about who is telling the story, and why it needs to be told, and how well it's being told. I remember the WWE (then F) doing storylines about domestic abuse back in the 90s: when there was outcry, their response was 'hey, this is an important topic, let's talk about it.' No guys, the issue was you had no ability or right to be handling stories like that.

 

Unless there's something here that mitigates that potential for hurt in kids who really don't need it, then just leave it alone. In this case - for me anyway - the burden lies with the devs here to explain why it's necessary to do this; otherwise, yeah, I'm damning the notion of it as a story.

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34 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

Unless there's something here that mitigates that potential for hurt in kids who really don't need it, then just leave it alone. 

 

I can't emphasise enough how strongly I disagree with potential story subjects being censored (except for serious sexual offences in the main, where the case for steering clear unless the subject is treated very sensitively is pretty compelling), no matter how well meaning the intervention is. I say this as someone who is both divorced and a child of divorce. The game's rated 12, in case anyone's interested.

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43 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

 

I can't emphasise enough how strongly I disagree with potential story subjects being censored (except for serious sexual offences in the main, where the case for steering clear unless the subject is treated very sensitively is pretty compelling), no matter how well meaning the intervention is. I say this as someone who is both divorced and a child of divorce. The game's rated 12, in case anyone's interested.

 

Not sure why the mention of censorship is needed, and this refers to your original post about the Eurogamer review too. Very odd.

 

The age rating of the game is meaningless.

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27 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

 

Not sure why the mention of censorship is needed, and this refers to your original post about the Eurogamer review too. Very odd.

 

The age rating of the game is meaningless.

 

You're saying that creative people shouldn't touch this subject unless they have the 'ability and right' to do so. I actually kinda agree with your dismissal of the WWE tackling domestic abuse for entertainment purposes, but divorce isn't exactly a criminal act. As far as I'm concerned, anyone can write a story about it and we can vote with our feet based on how good it is. It's way down the low end of worry for me - how do you react to stories about burglary, murder, animal cruelty, grandparents in a care home, fraud, bullying, hospitals, police stations, law practices, immigration... the list goes on? Every one of these has the potential to offend or upset someone who has been affected by the subject matter or has had bad experiences in the setting, but if we started discouraging people from writing about anything with the potential for people to react negatively, we'd end up with no stories left.

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I can see how stories about divorced parents reconciling might give kids false hope, and how that might be traumatising. But loads of material is potentially traumatising in that way - stories about parents dying, or stories about family members recovering from apparently terminal illness, or stories where people terminate pregnancies. It has the potential to harm, but I don't think that's inherently bad - loads of stories have the potential to harm, it just means you have to be careful about who is exposed to them. It feels more like something that requires a trigger warning so that anyone who might be affected is fully aware of the content before they go in, rather than something that indicates the story is flawed or that the writers/developers/filmmakers were misguided.

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11 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

 

You're saying that creative people shouldn't touch this subject unless they have the 'ability and right' to do so. I actually kinda agree with your dismissal of the WWE tackling domestic abuse for entertainment purposes, but divorce isn't exactly a criminal act. As far as I'm concerned, anyone can write a story about it and we can vote with our feet based on how good it is. It's way down the low end of worry for me - how do you react to stories about burglary, murder, animal cruelty, grandparents in a care home, fraud, bullying, hospitals, police stations, law practices, immigration... the list goes on? Every one of these has the potential to offend or upset someone who has been affected by the subject matter or has had bad experiences in the setting, but if we started discouraging people from writing about anything with the potential for people to react negatively, we'd end up with no stories left.

 

These examples - and the ones K gave - are all examples of outwardly negative topics that if presented to children would be done so with a degree of caution, and probably a content warning at the very least.  But who would know to put a content warning on this game? Where does that come in? It's not exactly a hot issue because most people making content that appeals to kids have had the sensitivity not to include reconciliation narratives.

 

Being down low on the worry scale doesn't really make much of a difference to me here either. In fact it feels like getting a rather scathing review from an online games site is.. just about the right level of consequences for this one.

 

I'm not even sure where the issue is here to be honest. When you write about topics with the potential to harm, you should always ask yourself whether what you're creating justifies itself. Doing otherwise isn't going to earn you governmental censorship (unless you're writing dangerous anti-capitalist material for schools) but it might earn you a bad review and some bad press, and that's fine.

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16 minutes ago, K said:

I can see how stories about divorced parents reconciling might give kids false hope, and how that might be traumatising. But loads of material is potentially traumatising in that way - stories about parents dying, or stories about family members recovering from apparently terminal illness, or stories where people terminate pregnancies. It has the potential to harm, but I don't think that's inherently bad - loads of stories have the potential to harm, it just means you have to be careful about who is exposed to them. It feels more like something that requires a trigger warning so that anyone who might be affected is fully aware of the content before they go in, rather than something that indicates the story is flawed or that the writers/developers/filmmakers were misguided.

 

Hey, if Eurogamer published a review criticising a game for including a narrative about a parent recovering from an illness that was apparently terminal, I'd be all for it. Stories about parents dying are a different thing altogether and done right can be healthy and helpful.

 

'Inherently bad' is too simplistic a way too look at this: the unfortunate thing is that for some of the people experiencing this game, it will be harmful to some degree. That's true of loads of content, and it's not to say that it shouldn't exist. But it's certainly a fair starting point for criticism, and when there seems to be a lack of other stuff that mitigates it in the story, or even from stated intentions, then I am happy to chalk that up as a mark in the flaw column.

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8 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

 

Hey, if Eurogamer published a review criticising a game for including a narrative about a parent recovering from an illness that was apparently terminal, I'd be all for it. Stories about parents dying are a different thing altogether and done right can be healthy and helpful.

 

'Inherently bad' is too simplistic a way too look at this: the unfortunate thing is that for some of the people experiencing this game, it will be harmful to some degree. That's true of loads of content, and it's not to say that it shouldn't exist. But it's certainly a fair starting point for criticism, and when there seems to be a lack of other stuff that mitigates it in the story, or even from stated intentions, then I am happy to chalk that up as a mark in the flaw column.

 

I think criticism of that kind of story is fine, I just thought it was odd that the Eurogamer review seemed to be saying that stories where divorcing parents reconcile are off-limits, that developers shouldn't even try to portray it. Slate the specific story that uses that idea badly, sure, but presumably some people whose marriage hits the rocks manage to turn it round, in the same way that sometimes people recover from seemingly terminal diseases and people sometimes decide that the right course of action was bringing pregnancy to term rather than having an abortion. Those are valid subjects for fiction, surely?

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3 minutes ago, K said:

 

I think criticism of that kind of story is fine, I just thought it was odd that the Eurogamer review seemed to be saying that stories where divorcing parents reconcile are off-limits, that developers shouldn't even try to portray it. Slate the specific story that uses that idea badly, sure, but presumably some people whose marriage hits the rocks manage to turn it round, in the same way that sometimes people recover from seemingly terminal diseases and people sometimes decide that the right course of action was bringing pregnancy to term rather than having an abortion. Those are valid subjects for fiction, surely?

 

Of course, and as has been said, we always look at the mitigating stuff in terms of looking at the specific story or piece of content. But as far as I see it, if you're writing a story about this particular topic (or indeed the recovering terminal parent), you've got a higher bar in terms of actually making a good or worthwhile piece of content.

 

For me that bar is high enough that I'd say it's not really worth it unless you have something extraordinary to say, and without even trying to critique the specifics of this game too much, it feels like they haven't even gotten off the ground. A 'dangerous idea to play with' is a nice phrase really: if you're going to tackle it, commit to it.

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I'm a little confused as to why we're all assuming kids are going to play this game to be honest. I saw the reveal trailer and all the trailers since and I never really got kids game out of it. Seemed quite squarely aimed at a more adult market who surely wouldn't be taking the story very seriously. It's clearly deliberately silly.

 

Are we making assumptions about the audience based upon it being a bright cartoony game, in which case we should be concerned about the effect of any animated piece of media, even those aimed at adults, on children? We know lots of kids play GTA but no-one is analysing the story from the perspective of a 10 year old child even though kids of that age are surely playing it. I feel like intended audience has to play into this discussion.

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I guess it's whether the game portrays divorce as inherently the wrong choice and getting back together as objectively better, or if it's just a kind of "this is the right thing for these people and this story" thing. Separating the two is a fiddly business. People love extrapolating universal messages from specific, individual stories, but that's not to say it's always wrong to do so. 

 

"You've lost your attraction - here's a gameplay segment about magnets!" and "You're bad at timekeeping - here's some time control puzzles!" don't make it sound like the story's gonna go very deep to be honest.

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6 minutes ago, Majora said:

I'm a little confused as to why we're all assuming kids are going to play this game to be honest. I saw the reveal trailer and all the trailers since and I never really got kids game out of it. Seemed quite squarely aimed at a more adult market who surely wouldn't be taking the story very seriously. It's clearly deliberately silly.

 

Are we making assumptions about the audience based upon it being a bright cartoony game, in which case we should be concerned about the effect of any animated piece of media, even those aimed at adults, on children? We know lots of kids play GTA but no-one is analysing the story from the perspective of a 10 year old child even though kids of that age are surely playing it. I feel like intended audience has to play into this discussion.

In fairness it goes a bit further than just being bright and cartoony, the game is about a child's wish transforming the parents into cuddly toys. That definitely doesn't *sound* like a game concept for adults. And there's a magic talking book and anthropomorphic animals. The 12 cert is a bit of a shock.

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1 minute ago, Made of Ghosts said:

In fairness it goes a bit further than just being bright and cartoony, the game is about a child's wish transforming the parents into cuddly toys. That definitely doesn't *sound* like a game concept for adults. The 12 cert is a bit of a shock.

 

I dunno, I always got the impression from watching the trailers that it wanted to be a silly, snarky comedy rather than a piece of wholesome family entertainment. See also the scene described earlier in the thread where they kill their daughter's favourite cuddly toy or whatever. Probably completely inappropriate for a kid, potentially funny for an adult? I can't help but think people are assuming it's aimed at kids when it's not.

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I assumed it was aimed at couples who have been locked in a house with each other for over a year and are just looking for something fun to pass the time. 

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My mate is refusing to play this with me because he wants to buy it when it’s on sale and he can get trophies so I might have to beg someone here to play it with me.

We wouldn’t need to do any awkward voice chat and I don’t really care about dying repeatedly.

 

Will see if he changes his mind tonight though...he’s an awkward bastard, he’s probably bought it and not telling

me just so he can spring the surprise later. Annoying.

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1 hour ago, Harrisown said:

My mate is refusing to play this with me because he wants to buy it when it’s on sale and he can get trophies so I might have to beg someone here to play it with me.

We wouldn’t need to do any awkward voice chat and I don’t really care about dying repeatedly.

 

Will see if he changes his mind tonight though...he’s an awkward bastard, he’s probably bought it and not telling

me just so he can spring the surprise later. Annoying.


Pretty sure the game comes with a code so your cheap ass friend can play for free with you

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1 hour ago, Nosejam said:


Pretty sure the game comes with a code so your cheap ass friend can play for free with you

Yes we know that , have always Known that but he doesn’t want to play it without getting trophies  

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We appear to have collectively glossed over the accusation that Brothers was hugely misogynist, where’s that coming from? It’s been a while since I played it but I can’t remember anything controversial.
 

At one point you get lured by a monster that resembles Shelob, is that it?

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