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Sunday, March 03, 2013 

The video game that influenced Geoff Johns

The chief un-creative officer for DC's mentioned what his most favorite video game was when he was younger:

If there was any video game from the past two decades that I couldn't stand, it was Mortal Kombat, which seemed like little more than a vulgar excuse to think up as many repellant ways to execute an opponent in the cast of fighters after defeating them. And the worst part was surely that the fighters on the side of the good could do it to others on the side of good, both male and female. Or, more specifically, the most heartless game players could do this. And that made it even worse, because in a way, it was a pinnacle example of a game that blurs the difference between good and evil.

Obviously, games produced in Japan were no less innocent than anything of this sort produced in the USA, and I do know of quite a few that were alienating, but MK still managed to stick out as a very blatantly nasty exercise in celebrating bloodletting. In fact, the sequels weren't even played for real point-scoring, making it all the more pointless. Yet this is the kind of game Johns saw as a great thing, which it most definitely wasn't. It was only a sleazy exploitation of the adolescent mind for something that provokes no thought at all, and encouraging the players to do such awful things even to the good guys was degrading.

Maybe this is a clue of what's wrong with many modern comics writers: they've been influenced by the lowliest of computer games, right down to an inability to write a real story to accompany the comic. In Johns' case, he took that influence and injected it into quite a few of the comics he's written since.

I know what he's alluding to here: the new game they've produced called Injustice: Gods Among Us, a title that's actually rather insulting to the cast of heroes, because the subtitle only makes the mistake of making the heroes sound more deity than human, and after all these years of mishandling the DCU, the main name says everything. They may be publishing a comic based on the game, and I sure wouldn't ever want to waste time and money on that either. The worst part is that even on the video game's site, they're sticking by the Nu52 setups for the characters: Barry Allen's bio reads right on the site as "Young Barry Allen’s life stopped the minute his mother was murdered. The true killer never found, its mystery obsessed Barry, driving him to become a forensic scientist." And Hal Jordan's says, "When just a boy, Hal witnessed his greatest nightmare—his pilot father dying in a tragic plane crash." So they're basically feeding any buyers of the game the PC premises they concocted and forced down the throats of the comics audience. This really is an injustice.

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Now it just sounds like you're trying to find anything to harp on.

Don't worry, if I wasn't fully clear before, I've made sure to edit in at least one more sentence to help make my point; sometimes, I can be hasty in what I'm writing and forget a few things, but given the chance, I can remember to add them later. And now, I have.

Thank God for the re-edit button, eh, Avi? Hehe.

Seriously, makes me wish time travel was possible, go back and give Johns, like, I dunno, a Ninja Turtle Tournament Fighter game or even a Street Fighter game, or something not so violent. Save us a lot of grief and misery.

I tried the MK games in the mid-90's, as per the popularity with my classmates. I couldn't cut it, but I normally suck at fighting games, anyway. Oh, well.

Injustice esigns aren't bad, though. Oh, well. I suppose, to be fair, DC was always an angsty universe, but they didn't dwell on it until recently, like Marvel has been doing. I guess Injustice is taking it to the logical conclusion (in a more depressing way).

Plus, Wizard Magazine, back in the day, was never so crazy about the DC characters, because they were so "perfect," which might be a code word for "not dysfunctional." They're not wrong, but it's moot as New 52 rather took care of that. It's a shame, as after dealing with Marvel and its dysfunction, I rather liked the change of pace.

Those were the days, eh?

DC became angsty at the end of the Silver Age or early in the Bronze Age, when they began imitating Marvel. In the 1960's, you had a choice between DC's straight-forward, kid-friendly adventure, and Marvel's soap opera. Now, their house styles are so similar that the only difference is the logo on the cover.

I don't mind the Mortal Kombat games, but I can see how they would've influenced Johns, given the level of violence in his comics.

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