Camp is a difficult thing to describe. Those who have a good grasp of its meaning still can’t even describe it in words very well. It’s just something that’s learned by experience. But if I tried to explain it, here’s my definition: it’s basically when something is unpurposefully funny… with a side of outdated or over-the-top ness. This usually comes in moments of emotional extremes when someone is yelling or running or being scared. It can also come with just the way a characters acts – if they are too much of what they are suppose to be… like a granny who says, “you dirty rascals!” with a very nasal-y, old voice. If you still don’t know what camp is, then watch a low-budget horror or sci-fi movie from the late 80s, but the point I’m trying to make is Quantic Dream games are full of this quality. And I only like them more for it. It’s so obviously unpurposeful, which is what makes it funny. Just look at these stills from Indigo Prophecy…
Get what I’m saying? Pictures don’t do full justice since it only gets better with noise and movement. But Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls retain some of that camp, despite them being more well-made and modern. I remember in Heavy Rain when I got the one girl killed in the fire because I couldn’t get out of the burning apartment in time, and the last shot of her was her dead, surprised face, and I just laughed. Can’t really say why.
In Beyond Two Souls, every moment where Willem Dafoe is screaming is funny because his CG face doesn’t capture that amount of anger so it looks awkward. Stuff like that I really enjoy. The moment when little Jodie suddenly shouts, “bunny gruff!” made me laugh, and of course the moment when one member of the desert-indian family yells, “Shimasani!!!” to the sky I thought was really over-the-top. And that black hobo character has camp written all over him! Lines like, “She’s got-damn amazin!” and “druuugs!” make him a key player in the description of Quantic Dream’s camp-quality.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy this quality. I don’t think less of the games for it.