A gaming thread for 2019



part of me says good for them for trying to say something within the constraints of modern capitalism, genuinely!

Other part of me says that was a cynical attempt to avoid the moral question and curry critical favour. I’m a dreadful cynic I know!


Going to wade in and say I totally agree with Bam on how blasé we are about gratuitous violence in games. If we try to take a step back from what we’re used to experiencing from x years of playing games… it’s REALLY WEIRD that we’re entertaining ourselves with imagined acts of extreme violence against other humans/humanoids.

I can’t enjoy games about shooting people any more. I can’t, and don’t really want to if I’m honest, employ the mental disconnect needed to gain enjoyment from these things.

We’re indoctrinated through years of experience to think that headshots and ragdoll physics of corpses exploding and extraordinarily violent special finishing moves are perfectly normal, but… it’s such an odd thing to revel in.


don’t think I’m quite as far along as you yet, I still enjoy stuff like this but don’t like that I do.


I mean I grew up playing Doom on my bro’s 486 when I was about 7 years old so I don’t think I can trust my brain really


If it were trying to be a cheap cash in on the concept it wouldn’t have been marketed as a generic third person shooter and started off like one for the first 2 hours or so. It’s the standard pop behind cover and shoot ENDLESS enemies. This was the reveal of what was really going on and the protagonist get’s punished for it and everything you do from that point on makes you feel incredibly guilty. That scene above made me feel such an incredible amount of guilt because of how routine everything before it felt it was one of the heaviest emotional hits i’d ever felt playing a game (I hadn’t known of the concept before playing the game)

I agree in the sense that I don’t enjoy games that use violence in realistic scenarios or presentation but still find stylized violence exhilarating. If it’s over the top I find it easier to disconnect from it because it’s so far removed from reality I can endulge it in the escapism it’s meant to be. But recently I find it increasingly difficult to do ‘realistic’ shooty stuff. I binned Far Cry 5 for that reason. Just didn’t find it all that pleasent.


everyone will have their own line of course, I guess it’s just the juxtaposition of the craft and the storytelling of God of War with such crazy violence for it’s own sake that makes me a bit angry at the hypocrisy of it all. Sorry for going off on one :frowning:

I feel like people who make a game like spec ops the line might say/think “ok so I like shooting people but I also feel guilty about it, how do I address that? Ok what if you get to shoot people but it turns out you are the bad guy?” I mean yes it’s cool they did that but maybe it’s like confirmation bias y’know? They can’t remove the part that says it’s ok to create a game about murdering people so with that as a basis they can fashion something that addresses some of the issues around that without losing the core idea of having fun killing people.


It’s not fun though. The game was designed intentionally to be monotonous and routine so you felt nothing when you killed people before you felt EVERYTHING when the reveal happened. Like in the scene where you are using chemical weaponry in the reflection of the screen your using the protagonist is showing NO emotion at all whilst murdering hundreds/thousands of people who he’s just decided were evil. Though it turned out they were trying to rescue captive civilians.

The dev’s have said the only way to ‘win’ this game is to stop playing. That’s why the ending (blurred above) is the way it is. So the player couldn’t feel a sense of achievement


These are good videos as it’s really not that fun to play and I’ve basically told you the theme so it wont surprise you.


Really enjoyed these.


having a great time watching this (I remember hearing about the original book as a child, but didn’t realise the aftermath is even crazier)


Also, re: Nier: Automata (about which I am veeery curious as to what’s going on with the multiple playthrough stuff), has anyone played the original Nier? Any connection, or is it like Final Fantasy?


i don’t think it’s all that weird. Violence has been used as entertainment for humans in some form or another going back to when we first climbed down from the trees. Video games are just another iteration of it. I guess it satisfies some deeply primitive, animalistic desire in many of us. No idea if this is good or not, that’s a different story (probably it’s bad).


I think things like Saw and even murder porn stuff like CSI are really weird too, fwiw.

But video games can be even weirder in that they encourage and reward (in-game) violent acts. That makes it a bit different to e.g. the killing of Polonius in Hamlet or whatever. There’s agency involved.


oh sure, and i definitely think it’s bad that kids can quite easily get hold of GTA or something and while away an afternoon shooting, stabbing, burning or beating people to death, and the game conditions them to associate all this with fun/entertainment/in-game rewards etc. it must be having some kind of effect on the psyche, especially on younger people whose brains/personalities/worldviews are still developing…


This thread has got very “alright Tipper Gore” all of a sudden.


Not sure I agree with that. I just think it’s weird that adults with free choice over what they do for entertainment choose, in droves, to play increasingly realistic games about shooting human beings in the head with accurately modelled weapons. Or watch Saw.


It is bizarre and disconcerting that the biggest games all involve endless murder sprees but it’s a bit harsh to single out God of War for it. It’s hardly the most egregious example. Though it’s part an interesting trend that the big AAA games have to attempt to bolt on some kind of interesting narrative and Say Something now, which wasn’t always the case and is probably worthy of criticism. However you dress it up it still boils down to ‘go here, kill the bad people.’

It’s an ingrained cultural thing though. The most lucrative movies by far all involve people in capes smashing up bad guys, and we pat ourselves on the back because now people of colour and women are allowed to smash up bad guys too. There’s more interesting stuff going on under the radar in both mediums but violence is still what sells. Ain’t no getting around that.


There’s the old realism factor too - when many of us started gaming, games weren’t that realistic (I expect). Advances in processing power were made gradually, and we may not have noticed as the violence in games got closer and closer to ‘life’. So we’ve gone from Mario jumping on a Koopa (cartoony and fun) to CoD etc, but we might be acclimatised to that.

Games have always had an element of ‘take out the baddies’, from chess onwards, but these days chess pieces are people, man.

Hotline Miami had a reasonable take on ultraviolence (while being incredibly gratuitous itself) - all the ‘why do you enjoy hurting people?’, and ultimately blaming the player for their actions, without getting a reprieve from the story


I think this is a good point and something that’s going to become a bigger issue as VR becomes more prevalent I think. We’re still doing, "press Y for violent takedown’ at the moment, which no matter how graphic the result offers a certain distance. As soon as we’re reaching out and snapping necks ourselves I can see myself going a bit Mary Whitehouse.


Also Hotline Miami was great for that in a having-it’s-cake-and-eating-it sort of way. I didn’t like the sequel at all mostly because it sought to explain something that needed no explanation. The first one was ultimately meaningless, a sort of weird fever dream, which emphasised the sordid nature of the hyper-violence. Trying to craft some apocalyptic grand narrative to it was a terrible idea which robbed it of that.