- I have my own take on this.
- I think it's more that gaming tends to encourage a culture of violence. Games don't make people violent, no, but the entertainment industry does go a long way to say that violence is completely okay, to all ages, and with no caveats. Whilst the entertainment industry is desensitising people to violence, it's not showing them the consequences of it, so even the most trivial, minute hint of consequence gets you thinking.
- One incredibly entertaining example of this is how the NPCs in Champions Online actually act cross at you for attacking people, they tell you to leave certain groups alone, or they'll call you a monster for breaking their cousin's arms and legs. Whilst it's meant in humour, it does get you thinking, and it makes you really wonder about the nature of what you're doing. In CO, you have to completely trust your contacts and that they're being honest with you, but are they? How often are you truly doing the ethical thing? Or, rather, are you often someone's pawn in a war game that involves that world?
- One of the most disturbing instances of this in CO was 'A Mission of Gravity.'
- It's a seemingly simple mission with a guy on the lip of a roof with a bunch of VIPER soldiers near him. You assume that because they're VIPER, they must be doing something wrong, because that's what your contacts tell you. So, you take out the VIPER and then the bloke who was previously cowering on the edge of the roof says...
- <i>Thanks. I really don't know why those VIPER were holding me up...</i>
- And then he disappears.
- This, despite the true nature of it only being hinted at, is one of the most darkly disturbing things I've ever seen in a videogame. And considering that it came out of the happy, fun, silly, and so very Adam West Universe of Champions, it was rattling. CO does this a lot, it's weird, it's like under all the colours and the vibrant contrasts, there's a social experiment that's poking my brain. It's oddly intelligent, and it's one of the reasons I love that game, but allow me to move on here without seguing into something else.
- What occurred there was a suicide. A suicide.
- VIPER soldiers were trying to stop someone from committing suicide.
- When I took out those VIPER soldiers, there was nothing holding the guy back, so he took the jump.
- And holy hell, that was dark, and it actually troubled me for a long time. Why would they do something like that? Why on earth would they put something like that in the game? And as I thought on this, my thoughts continued to spiral further and further out of control. How many <i>noticed</i> it? How many caught the implied suicide? How many read the quest title, the text, and the NPC dialogue? How many realised that in bright, shiny Millennium City, a superhero just aided a suicide by defeating a bunch of 'villains' that sought to stop it?
- How many people fly by there, do that mission, take out those VIPER, and <i>never</i> realise that they're aiding a suicide?
- This threw me into a lot of doubt about the nature of the Champions Universe, and it put a whole new spin on things, a layer of grey that hadn't existed before, one where I began to see the heroes as merely super-police, easily prone to police brutality, and as flawed and broken as any normal person is. How much good was I actually doing there? And these are thoughts that pop into my head surrounding every mission I do, now. I look for new angles, where they hint at stuff or slip something in that's easily missed.
- The point of all this is to make the case that having disturbing consequences for violence can completely change how you look at something. But far few too games do that. They glorify violence but they don't provide disturbing consequences, so the message there is, ultimately, that 'violence is okay!' And it's not just videogames that are guilty of this, but entertainment mediums in general. And if you're desensitising people to violence and ultimately doing your best to condition them into accepting violence as an okay thing, then you're going to breed a culture of violence.
- Games are flawed in that they lack consequences that would disturb, and even upset the player. If you randomly kill someone in GTA, you don't actually hear them fall back, and hear their spine crack. You'll see people running in terror, but you'll never see a family member or friend run up to their body, hug the lifeless corpse, and cry and scream over it. You won't ever see the horror of this glorified violence, you won't ever have the game, or whatever other entertainment medium, tell you that, no, <i>this is not okay</i>. And I don't think that most developers even have the balls to try.
- I don't know if you're familiar with Overgrowth, but it has some really disturbing stuff going on in it, you can <i>see</i> suffering and pain in that game, and that's something I think all games need, you need to expose people to this. You need to do it with people in games like GTA, you need to actually understand the full weight of what you're doing, <i>because not everyone does</i>. Pointing a gun and pulling a trigger in a game has become an afterthought, for all of us, and given the right situation in life, the right scenario, how hard would it be to make the jump that it would be okay to pull the trigger there?
- You've pulled a trigger in a game so many times, if your life is in danger, or you feel threatened, or you're suffering due to what life is doing to you, then why would it be wrong to pull the trigger there? Life is hard, and it can break people, and when you've got people who're suffering and you're telling them that promoting suffering through violence is okay, then you're causing problems.
- That's just my opinion, anyway.
- I don't think it's that games make people violent, but simply that they subconsciously tell people, and condition people, over time to think that violence is simply acceptable, and an aspect of day to day life. When really this isn't the case at all.
a guest Nov 23rd, 2011 40 Never
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