The Real Reason Video Game Violence Should Fade
Posted 3 months ago By Frosty - Ryan Foster
It’s times like this where i find myself agreeing with the snobby politicians and elected officials who think me pressing a button on a gamepad will somehow determine whether or not I will rob a bank in a few years. However, the reasons are completely different. When was the last time fighting or shooting enemies was a core mechanic in a video game? Oh, all the time you say? Then I think we have a problem. Upon looking at my vast and varied video game collection, I was a little disturbed at the fact that about 90% of them featured a core combat/fighting system or gunplay. Games like Journey, The Walking Dead, and Portal are among those that don’t. So don’t think I’m a crazy fanatic for violent video games...at this point, I’m the exact opposite.
Video games have a strange fascination with hitting things, it seems. The ones that really grab my attention are the ones that encourage me to care about the characters, story, or setting around me...not the hordes of enemies standing in my way of something probably a lot more interesting. Do not get the wrong idea though, I am in genuine love with the combat in games like Devil May Cry, Splinter Cell, Batman: Arkham City, Halo, and the list goes on. To sum it up nicely, I’m not a snobby rebellious artist going through a phase where I want to rid the industry of the great things that have been making it grow in the first place...I’m extremely passionate about the medium and simply want to help it grow even more.
What gamers have to realize is that video games are far from mature. We still have technical limitations to meet, and to put it bluntly, there are a lot of publishers and developers out there who don’t seem to know exactly what gamers want. Uncharted-esque setpieces in Resident Evil? Flat out Call of Duty clones? The proof is right there in front of us to see in all its glory and it’s a little depressing. The industry seems to mistake "challenge" for "defeating enemies." Personally, I was more challenged making moral decisions in The Walking Dead than I ever was in Devil May Cry 3. Interactivity is the source of the video game medium and quantity can’t keep being mistaken as quality. On average, I could have pressed buttons ten times in Bayonetta within the timeframe it took me to decide to press one button in The Walking Dead. Does that make Bayonetta more of a video game because I was physically more interactive with it? Absolutely not. Interactivity is the most important element but what matters is how you affect the world you’re put in, and what it means for that game. Not once did I punch, kick, shoot, tackle, or pour hot molasses on an enemy in Journey and I appreciated it to a great degree. I finished the game having gone through one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and my interactivity mattered without a single punch being thrown.
Once video games grow out of its teenage years, I think these are the kinds of games we will be seeing more of...a lot more. Games that realize players don’t need a virtual weapon in their hands to have a fulfilling and challenging interactive experience. Heavy Rain’s plot wasn’t exactly great, but it’s obvious the people behind it understood the direction the industry needs to take if it is to be taken more seriously by a wider audience. Everyone watches movies and everyone listens to music but the demographic video games are largely aimed at is still the young adult group. What do young adults like to do? They like to shoot things and stab people, I suppose. Publishers and devs, I urge you not to insult people’s intelligence. What’s good is good and what’s accessible is accessible. I don’t expect my grandma to get a triple S ranking on Devil May Cry, but at the same time I do expect her to be emotionally attached to Clementine by the time she finishes The Walking Dead. As you read this, please don’t put words in my mouth. By no means do I want the more arcade like games and combat heavy games to go away. In fact, if that were to happen, I’d be devastated and more saddened than ever. All I ask is for this fascination with fighting dudes, shooting dudes, killing dudes to be just as popular as the more out-of-the-ordinary experiences we have now. All in all, I want our untraditional gaming experiences to become a regular thing.
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