Moviebob The Game Overthinker is a wrong, smug asshole

Quick summary

Read only the black bold parts if you’re in a hurry.
all anyone wants to talk about is Adam Malkovich.
People talk about the poor controls, linear level design, bad dialogue, stilted acting, and questionable art direction, among other things.
you’re rushing through the fire level looking for the point at which Mr Voice authorizes you to turn on the fire-proof suit.
With a push of a button, Samus can become impervious to high temperatures, but her superior officer forgets about it, and even though her life is at risk, she never once asks for the fire-proof suit to be turned on. This is characterization. It characterizes Samus and her superior officer as brain-dead.
it’s a completely superficial, fundamentally unimportant narrative switch,
It portrays Samus and Adam as miserably incompetent. This is neither superficial nor unimportant.

depicted as having – GASP – feelings of ATTACHMENT and RESPECT to A MAN! And even worse, TAKING ORDERS FROM HIM! OH NO! So, it becomes a big deal.
Therefore, having her act in any way submissive or even agreeable to a male authority figure is a huge betrayal of character.

Samus took orders from a male authority figure in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The issue here is not feminism, the issue is poor characterization.
But since the rest of the story clearly isn’t setting up some kind of “you need a man” message, I don’t see it as a deal-breaker.
Samus literally begs at the feet of her commanding officer. She unequivocally states she is trying to win her father figure’s approval — an accomplished bounty hunter who destroyed worlds and exterminated entire species is still trying to win her surrogate father’s approval, in a contrived, brain-dead fashion.
showing signs of deep post-traumatic stress disorder towards Ridley,
If the PTSD was portrayed believably, it wouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s nearly farcical.

somehow gaming culture managed to collectively form a consensus characterization that seemed so strong, that when Other M even slightly contradicted it,
The issue is that Other M’s portrayal is bad, not that it contradicted previous works.
according to the second and third Metroid games, ALL WOMEN, even tough as nails bounty hunters, are total slaves to their biological clock, and will lose all sense of duty, objectivity, and reason, when the chance comes to play mommy. Yes?
No. That doesn’t happen. Samus spares the metroid hatchling’s life, never once refers to it as a baby, and leaves the dangerous parasite with Galactic Federation scientists, who perform experiments on it. Playing mommy? Hardly.
But mainly, I’d just like us to calm down about this, please.
Do you? Let’s recap: “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT”, “everyone is having a fucking cow”, “HARD TRUTH”, “GASP”, “OH NO”, “Japanophobes”, “racist”, “cut that shit out”. The overall tone of the video is that of yelling, belittling, and portraying the critics in ways they never actually act. How hypocritical to ask of people to “calm down” and not use foul language because “it reflects bad on me.”

Preface

Moviebob produced a video called “Heavens to Metroid”. Before we discuss the video, I’d like to point out a few of Moviebob’s multiple abuses of the English language:

- frequent run-on sentences
– frequently starting sentences with “but”, “and”, or “so”
– frequent use of adverbs instead of adjectives and vice-versa
– frequent misuse of idioms
– frequent strings of questions intended to imply an assertion
– yelling to make a point

Moviebob is a bad writer and a bad reasoner by most standards, yet he holds himself in a high enough regard to educate the viewer with his incorrect HARD TRUTHs and his incorrect semantic quibbles. As you will see at the end of this article, he is a coward who picks fights then quickly begs for mercy when he feels he cannot cope with valid, honest objections to his rude, smug pontifications.

Legend:
black text – commentary.
bold – main points.
italics – one or more of the following: run-on sentence, miscellaneous bad grammar
red text – one or more of the following: smugness, self-importance, starting a sentence with “but”, “and”, or “so”

On with the show!

Heavens to Metroid breakdown

Here’s a word a lot of people throw around without really understanding
[Condescending tone. Especially inappropriate given how this person throw around "begs the question" without understanding its meaning, or how he uses "bad" instead of "badly".]

Stoic. In current parlance, it’s used to describe a state of pure, unflappable badassery in fictional characters. In other words, it means: “this character reminds me of Batman.”
[No, not really. It's all in your head. Outside of the comic-book community, Batman is a clich├ęd superhero, not a badass.]

The thing is, that’s not entirely the correct usage. Stoic comes from stoicism,
[You're perfectly wrong, it comes from Stoa, from which stoicism comes, too.]
a philosophy originating in 3rd century Athens, and attributed to the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium. Stoicism held that an excess negative emotion, like anger, fear, sadness, etc, were the cause of most human failure, and that the path to true virtue was to overcome said negative emotions in favor of clear unbiased reason.
[This "correction" is overly long, verbose, and pretentious, but most importantly: false. The stoics held that negative emotions are the result of lack of virtue, not the other way around.]

Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the word has come to be misunderstood as simply denoting an absence of emotional response.
[Oxford dictionary, stoicism: "the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint." No misunderstanding here. Looks like you're wrong for the third time in under a minute, Moviebob!]

Thusly, we’ve come to refer to certain fictional characters as “stoic” when they’re really just one-dimensional.
[False. The depth of a character is independent of whether or not they're stoic. For example, Zeno is a deep, stoic character.]

Like, oh, I don’t know… yeah… let’s talk about this…

You know, the second most difficult thing you can ask of a game developer in the modern era is to take a risk. Back when games were made by a handful of guys with almost no real-time audience feedback, changing up genres or tossing in moments of total absurdity were, expectedly, pretty common, but now that it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make even the shittiest bit-ticket game, and design teams are massive, and fans can start bitching about the game online the minute they booted it up, not so much.

Now, a lot of what does or does not constitute a risk is going to be subjective, so let me lay out my favorite recent example: setting a shooter in the remains of an underwater art-deco objectivist paradise instead of a monotone space-marine fun park, THAT was a risk.
[You mean an FPS full of dark corridors and hideous monsters, like Doom? No, that was not a risk.]

But like I said, that’s only the second most difficult thing you can ask. The MOST difficult thing, is for that same level of risk to be taken with an established franchise. For reference’s sake, making the second Zelda a side-scrolling platformer, even in the 80s, that was a risk.
[Less than a minute ago it was "expectedly, pretty common." Whoops.]

Killing off Mr Macho Super Rambo Badass in the first mission and replacing him with a vaguely effeminate ninja – THAT was a risk.
[Refering to the Metal Gear series: no, actually. The developer made that change directly due to a suggestion from a focus group. The focus group asked for a younger protagonist. The reason he's effeminate is because it's the norm in Japanese videogames.]

But Metroid: Other M is a risk on a whole other level. Yanking the franchise out of first person shooter territory when the genre has never been more popular? A next-gen 3D platforming shooter that’s essentially controlled with the equivalent of an NES controller an a zapper? Building a character-driven narrative around one of Nintendo’s fiercely protected empty vessel protagonist? Hell, Nintendo handing development to Team Ninja, a developer with a radically different design philosophy? I’d be hard pressed to find a braver, bolder risk taken at this scale with this kind of money involved in the recent history of this business.
["Next-gen", must be coming out for the Wii's successor.]

Given that, it would have been impressive had the game turned out good, but that it’s actually damn close to GREAT, is something like a MIRACLE. It has its imperfections as any true trailblazer always does.
[A 2D-3D platformer controlled with a directional pad is not a trailblazer.]

It’s a little on the short side and thus a little too expensive. Don’t misunderstand, I’d say that what’s in that relatively short package IS worth the 50 bucks they are charging,
[Moronic contradiction. Either it's worth the price, or it's too expensive. It can't be both.]
but since the campaign is pretty brief and it’s such an experimental title, maybe knocking a few bucks off the price would’ve been a good show of faith, especially since Nintendo ain’t exactly hurting for cash right now.
[Horrible reasoning there - since Nintendo is doing good, it should slash prices on a game that's worth what they're charging.]

But overall, it’s a DREAM GAME that shatters preconceptions about what’s needed to deliver a so-called “hardcore gaming experience”. A gorgeous-looking, cinematic, 3D platforming shooter on THE WII? Controlled with no analog stick and only two or three action buttons at any given time? Essentially controlled, in fact, by an NES controller? And it works? This is HUGE. This is, or rather, should be, a game-changing moment in modern gaming design, and, on a very personal note for me, IT’S NOT… ANOTHER… FIRST PERSON SHOOTER.
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT.
I’M HAPPY YOU ENJOYED THE “PRIME” GAMES.
THEY WERE GOOD.
I WAS “OKAY” WITH THEM.
BUT “FPS” IS THE MOST CREATIVELY-BANKRUPT GENRE IN GAMING…

[Claiming that Prime is creatively bankrupt compared to Other M is ridiculous. Prime added many innovations to the Metroid franchise. Other M did not, apart from cinematics, auto-dodge, and quick-time events, which it practically lifted from popular contemporary games of its genre.]
…AND IS LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST OF THE WORST ASPECTS OF GAMING CULTURE TODAY.
[Blaming "gaming culture" on FPSs is almost as baseless as blaming school shootings on videogames. Perhaps it should have been labeled HARD TRUTH so no one would doubt it.]

IRONY!
And yet, for some reason, all anyone wants to talk about is Adam Malkovich.
[People talk about much more than that. People talk about the poor controls, linear level design, bad dialogue, stilted acting, and questionable art direction, among other things.]
Short version, for those on the outside looking in on this one:
In Other M we learn that Samus was actually in the regular old galactic army before becoming a solo bounty hunter. In the present, she winds up joining a military operation, exploring a busted-up research ship that happens to be under the command of one Adam Malkovich. An officer with whom she has a complicated prior relationship, that can be neatly summarized by the words
ELECTRA COMPLEX (aka “daddy issues”).
And here is evidently what everyone is having a fucking cow about.
[Let's insult people who hold a different opinion. Portray them as irrational and overemotional.]
See, apparently, someone either at Nintendo or Team Ninja decided that instead of handling powerups in the normal way, i.e. the protagonist just happens to find compatible equipment lying around at the moment they need it, they’d be creative and tie it into the narrative.
[Metroid, Super Metoid, and Metroid Prime tie all the powerups into the narrative as artifacts left by the Chozo, and they do so without insulting the intelligence of the player. More on this soon.]
Samus and the other troops already have all the gear they need, but they’re under orders not to use certain parts of it until Adam authorizes it. In practical terms, instead of, say, rushing through the fire level looking for the point in which you’ll happen upon the fire-proof suit, you’re rushing through the fire level looking for the point at which Mr Voice authorizes you to turn on the fire-proof suit.
[This is precisely the part that insults the player's intelligence. It's bad writing. With a push of a button, Samus can become impervious to high temperatures, but her superior officer forgets about it, and even though her life is at risk, she never once asks for the fire-proof suit to be turned on. This is characterization. It characterizes Samus and her superior officer as brain-dead.]

HARD TRUTH
In other words, it’s a completely superficial, fundamentally unimportant narrative switch,
[As mentioned above, it portrays Samus and Adam as miserably incompetent. This is neither superficial nor unimportant. HARD TRUTH.]
one that should’t one bit more than, say, when an RPG decides the obligatory house-of-worship save points are gonna be called “temples” instead of “churches” this time.
[False. That's a semantic change. A better comparison would be changing the mechanism in which enemies are defeated. Instead of dying, they will turn into flowers. Superficial unimportant narrative switch... or a laughable, tone-changing blunder.]

Except, this is Samus Aran. Gaming’s Virgin Mary of “strong women” characterization. Here depicted as having - GASP - feelings of ATTACHMENT and RESPECT to A MAN! And even worse, TAKING ORDERS FROM HIM! OH NO! So, it becomes a big deal.
[Guess again. It's not attachment and respect that's being criticized. It's sheer stupidity, as explained previously, along with subservience and melodrama, which will be elaborated upon later.]

I think the argument here could be best summarized by my good buddy, straw man. Straw man, take it away.
Samus Aran is the go-to example of strong, non-sexualized, non-submissive women in videogames. Her suit negates almost all traces of femininity, she does her job without assistance, she’s THE badass among the Nintendo menagerie, and so on.
Just so we’re clear: Strawman’s role is to repeat over-used arguments from the web…

[Sadly, the only place these arguments appear is in this video. A good place for them among the rest of the feeble, false, smug arguments.]

Therefore, having her act in any way submissive or even agreeable to a male authority figure is a huge betrayal of character.
[No one claimed anything of the sort when Samus took orders from a male authority figure in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The issue here is not feminism, the issue is poor characterization.]

Also, the expanded backstory now shows her having uncertainty, frailty, and indecision, stereotypically girly traits that she’d never previously displayed.
[To repeat once again, it's not about stereotypical traits, it's about the way they're handled. Other M doesn't sculpt a believable character, it throws together a mess of "issues" without explaining their origin and significance. These traits are turned on and off when needed. There is no believability to the way Samus is portrayed, regardless of whether she's portrayed as a "badass" or "submissive". The truth is, it simply makes her look stupid and incompetent.]

In short, Other M’s narrative serves to lessen Samus’s strength as a character, turning her into just another overfemenized, disempowered female game hero.

[Incoming rant about critics of Other M being racist Japanophobes.]
Oh, and it’s also all Japan’s fault. See, Metroid isn’t popular in Japan, so to make it popular, they had to make Samus into a submissive little girl, because that’s the only thing Japan likes.
What, didn’t you know? Yeah, Japan is this horrible misogynist country, run entirely by women-hating perverts and sex criminals. It’s true! It must be true! I read it on 4CHAN!

Ugh… Now, let, let me just say: I get where people like straw man are coming from.
[Straw man came from the video maker's imagination, it's only natural he'd get where he's coming from.]
Well, the first people I mean, the people who think the game’s some anti-feminist conspiracy hatched by the evil stereotype of what they imagine Japan is like, are just, well Japanophobes. Cut that shit out. I’m sorry guys, but really, it’s getting a little bit racist, you gotta cut this shit out. But in the broad strokes, yeah, someone at Team Ninja or Nintendo should have realized how the situation might read out of context, and in regard to the way people tend to view this character, and maybe come up with a different angle for unlocking the powerups, like say, a HAL-9000 type AI, or the ship’s defenses, something like that.
But since the rest of the story clearly isn’t setting up some kind of “you need a man” message, I don’t see it as a deal-breaker.
[Samus accomplishes one major thing in this game: she defeats the Queen Metroid. The rest of her battles are fought for her. She is rescued from Ridley in two different instances. She literally begs at the feet of her commanding officer. She unequivocally states she is trying to win her father figure's approval -- an accomplished bounty hunter who destroyed worlds and exterminated entire species is still trying to win her surrogate father's approval, in a contrived, brain-dead fashion.]

But what’s interesting about this, in my estimation, kinda silly outrage, is what it says about how much of game characterization is made up of stuff we only think we know. Ee… If this was, say, Princess Peach taking instructions from Toadsworth, HARD TRUTH, NOBODY WOULD GIVE A FUCK, because, well, we assume it fits.
[Time to mention again that Samus took instructions from a Galactic Federation officer in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and no one batted an eyelid, because it was well-written and internally consistent. Other M contradicts itself, disregarding for a moment any previous Metroid games. Obviously, the bad dialogue and generally poor writing contributed to the already-flawed premise in Other M that led to Samus taking orders.]

The reason it’s jarring that Samus is taking orders from a man
[Whatever follows can't be true because it wasn't true in Corruption. See previous comment.]
or showing signs of deep post-traumatic stress disorder towards Ridley,
[If the PTSD was portrayed believably, it wouldn't be a problem. However, it's nearly farcical.]
is that a lot of us, myself probably included, have taken over two decades of Metroid games and absorbed:
A) The idea of Samus as a strong independent woman, and
B) The idea that strong independent woman must automatically mean pathologically emotionless man-hating ice-queen.

[Nonsense. This is simply a smear against anyone who argues the other way. These ideas only exist in your head, much like the rest of the straw man arguments in this video.]

But, ask yourself, where exactly did we get that idea? HARD TRUTH. Because I gotta tell you, it wasn’t from the games. Coming as she does from the NES era of game heroes, Samus has never really had much in the way of characterization. We know she’s a woman largely because it was the big surprise at the end of the first game, and we get the sense that she’s a loner because the Metroids are all about solitary exploration, and we seldom see her with any friends. We know some background details about Ridley and Chozos and such from the later games, and some details from semi-canonical strategy guides, and old Nintendo Power comics where she had a purple buzzcut for some reason, but other than that, NOTHING.
[Other than everything, NOTHING.]

Remember that often-abused word we talked about, STOIC? Yeah, THAT WORD gets used A LOT now to describe what Samus supposedly USED to be in every Metroid before Other M, and well, let me be blunt, THE HARDEST TRUTH OF ALL, NO SHE WASN’T. [Yelling to get your point across. Classy.] Stoicism is only a virtue or a character trait if it’s not your only possible reaction, i.e. even though a statue is unyielding, that doesn’t make it stoic. It makes it a statue, and like a lot of characters who originated in the 8-bit days, Samus basically started out and for a long time remained just that, a moving statue, because she had next to nothing in the way of actual characterization. She wasn’t stoic, she was robotic. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just how she was. What does she do for fun? What’s her favorite color? Movie? Book? Food? Dog person? Cat person? Guinea pig perhaps? Does she date? Is she straight? Gay? Do those distinctions exist in this future? Is it a big old species free-for-all like Mass Effect or Lex? We don’t know ANY OF THIS.
[Nice long useless tangent. For one thing, none of these questions are answered in Other M. For another, answering these questions doesn't make a character deep, it only makes the audience involved in trivial details. In order to make a character deep, you actually have to make these details believable and relevant to the plot.]

Hell, before Other M, we probably knew actually more concrete details about the fucking Mater Chief. Even Wario has a more readily identifiable personality. Yet somehow gaming culture managed to collectively form a consensus characterization that seemed so strong, that when Other M even slightly contradicted it,
[Sorry to repeat it once again, but the issue is that Other M's portrayal is bad, not that it contradicted previous works. Even so, the reason so many people felt they knew Samus's character is because actions speak louder than words, and offer equally valid characterization.]
we threw a conniption, even though it was only contradicting what we thought we know. This is called “projection”.
[Can we be certain that term is used correctly? Maybe it's thrown around without really being understood.]
In the absence of characterization, we filled in our own, and because the sole unique feature we had to go on was that Samus was a woman starring in an action game, the filling was all about identity politics and gender assumptions.
["We"? You're alone in the position that people reason that way, pal.]

Most videogame women wear revealing, gender-specific uniforms. Samus doesn’t. Therefore, she must reject her own femininity! Sure, makes sense, I… guess… These are single-player games, so she must be an anti-social loner. Sure! Why not. She’s strong, therefore she must be cold and emotionally distant. You get the idea.
[Repeating myself again, you're alone in the position that this is the way people reason. You're attacking an argument that you constructed yourself. Feminists will be the first to tell you there are enough strong women who wear sensible clothing, who aren't cold distant anti-social loners. By creating this self-contradicting straw man, you portray the critics as holding a position that doesn't really exist.]

Y…You know, come to think of it, it’s almost as though she kinda reminds us of a heroine of some other similar story and we assumed they were exactly the same. I… wonder… where we got that from.
[Ellen Ripley is not a "cold, distant, anti-social loner." This is a baseless claim. Unlike Samus in Other M though, her character is portrayed well, to say the least.]

CONCLUSION
So, yeah, basically this supposed “betrayal of character” in Other M, this “selling out” of Samus Aran, it’s all in your head, for the most part.
[Reading this, it seems like it's all in YOUR head. You invented detractors who make arguments that no one supports, you ignore the arguments that are actually material, and you top it all off with bad grammar, self-contradictions, and smug pretentiousness. This is relevant to all your videos, incidentally.]

And frankly I think it reveals some troubling things about the way some supposedly enlightened gamers and game commentators really think about gender.
[Nice one! Call the professionals sexist hacks, then backpedal and ask for "some tact" on your blog.]

In Other M, we find out that Samus has doubts, phobias, long-standing issues, and even though she’s a TOTOAL badass who fights aliens for a living, she’s still full of insecurities and even weaknesses, especially about personal relationships and past tragedy. In other words, we find out that she’s a THREE DIMENSIONAL CHARACTER. [YELL! IF YOU YELL, IT MUST BE TRUE!]

And this is a bad thing? This makes her less worthy both as a character and as a feminist icon? Really? So, there’s only two choices for women characters, HUH? Barefoot in the kitchen, or the Terminatrix? That ain’t what progress what s’posed to look like, fellas. I also wonder if there’s a sort of bizarre jealousy thing going on here,
[Hey, let's not miss an opportunity to slander people who disagree with you.]
As though gamers are going, stop ordering the lady around and telling her where to go and when to shoot, that’s MY job. Hands off!
But you know what I REALLY wanna know? Prior to Other M, the closest thing we got to character definition for this woman, WAS THE END OF METROID 2, when she couldn’t bring herself to kill the last Metroid because it was a newborn who thought she was its mother. And the beginning of Super Metroid, when the existence of this last metroid baby brought Ridley, Mother Brain, et cetera back into the fray, kicked off the events of the game, endangered the whole universe, and, presumably, got a shitload of people hurt or killed.

Okay, so, if you extrapolate out from that, in the same way people are doing with Other M and the authorization controversy,
[Once more, hopefully for the last time: the authorization farce is only one of many instances of bad writing in Other M.]
according to the second and third Metroid games, ALL WOMEN, even tough as nails bounty hunters, are total slaves to their biological clock, and will lose all sense of duty, objectivity, and reason, when the chance comes to play mommy. Yes?
[No. That doesn't happen. Samus spares the metroid hatchling's life, never once refers to it as a baby, and leaves the dangerous parasite with Galactic Federation scientists, who perform experiments on it. Playing mommy? Hardly.]
Makes as much sense as the authorization thing, right?
[No. The "authorization thing" is one item in a large tapestry of nonsense. Samus sparing the metroid hatchling is an isolated incident of compassion, a well-portrayed one at that, and what's more she doesn't "play mommy" with it, so the entire argument is baseless.]

So, why does that pass without comment,
[Answered above.]
but the whole thing is now “ruined forever” because you had to wait for Adam to tell you to turn on the ice beam?
[Answered in multiple comments above: the logic-defying walk through a hazardous area without mentioning or requesting to use the hazard-protection suit; Samus's begging at Adam's feet; the poor, shallow, characterization in general.]

HARD TRUTH
Other than the fact that Super Metroid came out before we had the internet to fuel our collective overreactions, I mean.

Oh, and I’d also like someone from Team Ninja to please explain to me why this game, controlled with an NES d-pad and three action buttons, controls better than their Ninja Gaiden games do with dual analogs and eight buttons.

But mainly, I’d just like us to calm down about this, please.
[Do you? Let's recap: "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT", "everyone is having a fucking cow", "HARD TRUTH", "GASP", "OH NO", "Japanophobes", "racist", "cut that shit out". The overall tone of the video is that of yelling, belittling, and portraying the critics in ways they never actually act. How hypocritical to ask of people to "calm down" and not use foul language because "it reflects bad on me."]


Final words

Moviebob, or The Game Overthinker, has such poor writing style and lack of reasoning skills, that transcribing his broken run-on sentences made me nauseous, almost to the point of throwing up. Although this article only touches on his Heavens to Metroid video, his other videos share the same flimsy logic, overbearing smugness, and reality-free perception. Moviebob, The Game Overthinker, is an asshole.

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