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Pooping: The True Uncanny Valley

Today I cover a seldom discussed issue in gaming. An issue so controversial, major gaming outlets won't cover it for fear of losing sponsors and ad support. Today we talk about pooping in video games. There...I said it.

Isaiah Taylor, Blogger

March 18, 2010

4 Min Read

Small Games Like DSYP Shows Us The Direction Gaming 'Should Be' Going

Are we to believe that Nathan Drake never has to go "number two" whilst dodging gunfire from the latest ledge his fingertips are grasping? Out of all the mundane activities you can engage in playing Heavy Rain how many encourage evacuating your character's bowels before tracking down that [presumably] bowel filled Origami Killer? With mature game debates ranging from the various ways sex can be depicted to forcing players to watch semi-photo realistic atrocities, maybe focusing on a smaller, yet dense, daily event can help games cover ground that could open the back door for many more topics to be discussed.

ProTip: In The Sims, Toilet Paper And Sinks Are Replaced With Your Thumb And A Garbage Can

Farting, belching and even urination has been tacitly accepted in games thanks to South Park and The Sims. The pooping issue [and believe me, there is one] is made more confusing when you look at the Grand Theft Auto series and spin-offs. Look specifically at all GTA games between the third and forth titles. This robust open world is filled with drive by shootings and small character interactions, which could have been made complicated had the Rockstar guys/gals not seen the forest for its trees. Creating a game where a character "mails the occasional package" will have its fair share of superficial design flaws. It will take a developing team with the proper pooping vision for serious topics and add another layer to these realistic games we are playing.

Games Centered Around Humor, Headshots And Sandviches Are Cheerfully Omitted From 'The Pooping Issue'

Delineations must be made. It is completely logical for the "Heavy" character in Team Fortress 2 to eat a sandvich and NOT poop. The conventions and style of this game can be seen as cartoony and makes it more believable that a character in a game like this wouldn't poop after eating something. This is a topic that should be addressed in games that tout how realistic their environments or how complex their plots aim to be. Imagine having a character you play as having a rumbling in their stomach [devs can distort the player's vision or make the controller rumble for full immersion in the scene] while on the run from insert enemy-type here and the scene plays out with one character micro-managing toilet paper use, while warding off invaders in his/her porcelain palace.

"Oh You Have To Go? I Can Assure You There Is No Bathroom Down This Corridor"

Clearly, this is an aspect can be taken in jest, but any designer or developer knows what my goal is with this article. Cause and effect is a crust barely being scraped in gaming. If we give Niko Bellic an urge for drugs and hookers the effect is usually less money. Rarely do you see a character get an STD or fight human urges. Rightfully so there aren't many developers skilled enough to give a character the urge to eat and poop for fear of over-complicating the experience. Cause and effect is most prevalent in games that rely heavily on their story. You mean to tell me we can make a believably engrossing space tale in Mass Effect, but never depict a space marine bake a brownie...in space? How does gaming ever expect to be taken seriously with these large steps in plot and graphical enhancements, but can't wedge in a character's need to take five or ten minutes out of their adventure to flush the evil out of their polygonal souls.

Barring the scatological nature of this article, giving the character biological urges may make the discussion of masturbation, sex and even impulses of the mind easier topics to broach when dealing with mature gaming. However, all these topics are moot when discussing how far gamers and developers are willing to go to mature games in general.

***This Incredibly Important Article Comes Compliments Of The Brog***

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