Saturday, 23 April 2016

Commentary about War and Violence in Games

I was put across this interesting article the other day about the Call of Duty series titled How can a first-person shooter have a victim complex? and it got me thinking about games and war and violence and how these things interact. I've watched a few video essays on the topic and just wanted to collect them all together.

First we have to get something out of the way, that 'Call of Duty' and 'Modern Warfare' and all of the rest of the war FP (First-Person) shooters are all necessarily misrepresentations of war. And not in the sense of their graphical fidelity, it's just boring as all hell to do the actual combat things. Snipers might sit for days in the same spot waiting for a mark to pass by.

Most FPS (First-Person Shooter) games, especially war games, allow for a certain kind of hero/power-fantasy that's enjoyable in it's own way but as the article talks about, after a point you need to justify all the senseless violence and then that gets into troublesome territory.

Violence in Games

There's another question that comes up which is why violence is such a big theme in video games. I mean computers make it possible to render pretty much anything onto a screen and yet we overwhelmingly end up making super violent stuff where we run around in spaces and shoot people.

One perspective is that as computers evolved to be able to support gaming, the way that computers think about things makes it easier to make spatial simulation games which then makes a certain kind of violence just the path of least resistance.

Another perspective emphasizes the human element in the sense that killing is just something that appeals to something deep within our pschology.

Shooters around the world


Interestingly, even a single genre of games like the FPS has drastically different takes depending on which culture it comes from. And that could stem from way a Western perspective views a gun compared to a more Eastern conceptualization.

What makes all of this more complex is that all of the people involved with making and selling the games all have their own agendas and aims that they're trying to further.

The military uses video games as recruiting tools but then that feedback loop wraps back around and now our public expectation of what war is like is shaped by those very games themselves.

Alternative War-Games


One that I found was a game called 'This War of Mine'. Super interesting, check out the first video as a brief introduction.

Slightly more spoiler-y, this is more of a review than a recommendation video.

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