Gaming Confessions & Blasphemy

ccesarano wrote:
Dakuna wrote:

I'm going to venture a thought here, I suppose it might be considered blasphemy by some.

Why do I want a game about killing people to have a no-gore option? Is killing someone cleanly somehow less barbaric than killing someone realistically? If I bury someone in magic missiles, is there some reason why said missiles shouldn't tear the target's body to shreds and get blood everywhere?

I don't think we should have gore in Tetris. That would be really weird. I could even go so far as to say gore in a racing game isn't really worthwhile, although the last car accident I suffered was pretty gory. When you're killing people, however, I think there has to be some level of blood a guts getting tossed around, or it becomes inane.

There's nothing blasphemous or strange about that. At the very least I'd like each game to have such an option so M games can be a bit more safe to play around kids (unless it's something like Arkham Asylum where the imagery of a bunch of guys strung up on nooses can't exactly be censored and certainly isn't fit for young eyes). As games are interactive, there isn't much reason to leave that out as an option.

I get what he's saying, though. Why is it better for children to virtually murder hundreds of people with the nasty consequences abstracted away than to put them front and center? If we're going to expose ourselves to virtual murder, shouldn't it be horrifying? Shouldn't we have a visceral gut reaction that something ugly and wrong is happening? When you think about it, isn't it MORE disturbing to depict death and violence as clean and pretty?

hbi2k wrote:
ccesarano wrote:
Dakuna wrote:

I'm going to venture a thought here, I suppose it might be considered blasphemy by some.

Why do I want a game about killing people to have a no-gore option? Is killing someone cleanly somehow less barbaric than killing someone realistically? If I bury someone in magic missiles, is there some reason why said missiles shouldn't tear the target's body to shreds and get blood everywhere?

I don't think we should have gore in Tetris. That would be really weird. I could even go so far as to say gore in a racing game isn't really worthwhile, although the last car accident I suffered was pretty gory. When you're killing people, however, I think there has to be some level of blood a guts getting tossed around, or it becomes inane.

There's nothing blasphemous or strange about that. At the very least I'd like each game to have such an option so M games can be a bit more safe to play around kids (unless it's something like Arkham Asylum where the imagery of a bunch of guys strung up on nooses can't exactly be censored and certainly isn't fit for young eyes). As games are interactive, there isn't much reason to leave that out as an option.

I get what he's saying, though. Why is it better for children to virtually murder hundreds of people with the nasty consequences abstracted away than to put them front and center? If we're going to expose ourselves to virtual murder, shouldn't it be horrifying? Shouldn't we have a visceral gut reaction that something ugly and wrong is happening? When you think about it, isn't it MORE disturbing to depict death and violence as clean and pretty?

I think depicting violence realistically is something video games seldom even try to do, and when they do make an attempt they usually do quite poorly.

Specifically with respect to DA, my issue isn't that it's depicting a horrible reality I'd rather not confront, it's the fact that it just looks... kind of goofy and incongruous to me. To me, Bioware always seems to live in the Uncanny Valley, and the games' depictions of gore are just another example of that fact.

You get what I'm saying, though?

Demosthenes wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

I have no issue with it if it matches the tone of the game. Fallout is one of those games where it was just weird and didn't make sense. Trying to be serious then having a perk where a gunshot wound to the head caused limbs to spontaneously launch from their bodies in ridiculous ways... that was weird and distasteful.

Wait, when did Fallout try to be serious?

I would say 3 tried to set a different tone for the series than the previous 2. New Vegas went back towards the original games in tone. But I think the "everything in explodes from a 9mm shot would have been weird even in a game like Saint's Row. :P

Orrrrr, you could not take that perk?

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

I have no issue with it if it matches the tone of the game. Fallout is one of those games where it was just weird and didn't make sense. Trying to be serious then having a perk where a gunshot wound to the head caused limbs to spontaneously launch from their bodies in ridiculous ways... that was weird and distasteful.

Wait, when did Fallout try to be serious?

I would say 3 tried to set a different tone for the series than the previous 2. New Vegas went back towards the original games in tone. But I think the "everything in explodes from a 9mm shot would have been weird even in a game like Saint's Row. :P

Orrrrr, you could not take that perk?

Didn't that perk also give you extra damage though?

hbi2k wrote:

You get what I'm saying, though?

I do, but I think of it similarly to movies as well. How often do you see blood and gore in, say, Lord of the Rings? Or other similarly PG-13 films with swords and such? Or Hell, how much blood do you see in the Marvel flicks despite the body counts?

Games do have space to disturb you, and I think a few of them do, but I also think sometimes it goes over the top. For example, I feel like the overall tone of the new Tomb Raider actually felt like a Teen game to me, but all those gory death sequences, the cringe-worthy opening, and some choice language pushes it to an M. If you got rid of some of the blood effects from shooting people, the gory death, and removed some of the language I think the game could have been Teen, and I think that would have been good for opening it to a greater age-range.

Then again, it also depends on how we feel about rivers of blood and piles of bones. I know that stuff has flown in PG-13 films, but films are also more lenient than games.

In any event, my point is, I think sometimes games go unnecessarily far for the sake of reveling in the violence and gore. Sometimes it is fitting (Dead Space), sometimes it is uncomfortable (Tomb Raider or Bioshock: Infinite (though I'd argue there's a purpose in BInfinite)).

But for a lot of games, I think having the option to shut it on or off should be pretty standard. At that point its up to the player's personal tastes. Would I play Brutal Legend without gore or language? Hell no! Can I understand why some people might? Of course, and I think it's better that the option is there for everyone to have whatever experience they like.

So to me, there's no harm in games offering the option for it to be off, though I can also see games where it's part of the experience (you can't exactly censor Dead Space).

To be fair, I think it's at least as silly in movies when you stop and think about it. Discretion shots-- cutting the camera away right before the gorey part-- are one thing, but when you see a dude cut another dude with a sword and he just falls down with no blood as if he were a mannequin, well, that affects my WSoD more than a bit.

ccesarano wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

You get what I'm saying, though?

I do, but I think of it similarly to movies as well. How often do you see blood and gore in, say, Lord of the Rings? Or other similarly PG-13 films with swords and such? Or Hell, how much blood do you see in the Marvel flicks despite the body counts?

Games do have space to disturb you, and I think a few of them do, but I also think sometimes it goes over the top. For example, I feel like the overall tone of the new Tomb Raider actually felt like a Teen game to me, but all those gory death sequences, the cringe-worthy opening, and some choice language pushes it to an M. If you got rid of some of the blood effects from shooting people, the gory death, and removed some of the language I think the game could have been Teen, and I think that would have been good for opening it to a greater age-range.

Then again, it also depends on how we feel about rivers of blood and piles of bones. I know that stuff has flown in PG-13 films, but films are also more lenient than games.

In any event, my point is, I think sometimes games go unnecessarily far for the sake of reveling in the violence and gore. Sometimes it is fitting (Dead Space), sometimes it is uncomfortable (Tomb Raider or Bioshock: Infinite (though I'd argue there's a purpose in BInfinite)).

But for a lot of games, I think having the option to shut it on or off should be pretty standard. At that point its up to the player's personal tastes. Would I play Brutal Legend without gore or language? Hell no! Can I understand why some people might? Of course, and I think it's better that the option is there for everyone to have whatever experience they like.

So to me, there's no harm in games offering the option for it to be off, though I can also see games where it's part of the experience (you can't exactly censor Dead Space).

Devil's Advocate here, are you saying we need a way to ease children into high-violence games, because putting them in full-force might traumatise them?

Rykin wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
hbi2k wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:

I have no issue with it if it matches the tone of the game. Fallout is one of those games where it was just weird and didn't make sense. Trying to be serious then having a perk where a gunshot wound to the head caused limbs to spontaneously launch from their bodies in ridiculous ways... that was weird and distasteful.

Wait, when did Fallout try to be serious?

I would say 3 tried to set a different tone for the series than the previous 2. New Vegas went back towards the original games in tone. But I think the "everything in explodes from a 9mm shot would have been weird even in a game like Saint's Row. :P

Orrrrr, you could not take that perk?

Didn't that perk also give you extra damage though?

Yup. 5% more damage at the level it became available was pretty big (negligible later on, as your character goes from a vault dweller to like a vault god of the wasteland).

Not to mention... it still happens with other weapons, with or without that perk. Shooting a guy in the arm once, then three times in the head... rocket arm still happens... it's just not all limbs at once without.

Dakuna wrote:

Devil's Advocate here, are you saying we need a way to ease children into high-violence games, because putting them in full-force might traumatise them?

I think "traumatizing" a child through violent media varies from kid to kid and at what age. My sister had no problem watching Bones in front of my niece, and thus the child got used to seeing (fake) decomposed bodies without having a problem. But when she was four or five years old we were channel flipping one day and someone stopped on Twelve Monkeys. It happened to be an emotionally violent scene of Bruce Willis dragging a guy into a bathroom, locking him in there, violent things happening with people screaming and loud music, and while we were able to channel flip before anything too bad happened, she started crying. The way it was delivered and the nature of it had different emotional impacts on her.

To me, I'd be more concerned about my niece seeing a headshot and thinking "Wow! Cool!", though I also acknowledge that taking the blood away from violence simply makes it more cartoony.

In the end, up to the parents' discretion, and some kids are just going to find gore awesome while others find it gross (I myself had to be eased into R rated movies, but I also willingly closed my eyes or walked out of the room when I expected blood or nudity when I was a kid). Hence why I like the idea of options better, or in terms of tone, felt Tomb Raider could have been available to a wider audience than it was if they took out a few things. Some parents will see that M and will stay away, others don't care. However, there's certainly the concern of maturity. Will a kid think it's horrifying to see Lara Croft die so painfully, or will they see how many different ways she can die because "it's so awesome"? Then again, whose to say their reasons for doing so would differ from an adult doing the same thing?

TLDR: Really all depends on the parents, but again, I think options are no problem.

hbi2k wrote:

You get what I'm saying, though?

I do, although from my perspective it's largely theoretical since violence is treated so casually by most video games. I don't care how gruesome they make the death scenes, if you have to kill hundreds or thousands of dudes those graphics really won't have much emotional impact on me.

Nobody actually finds realistic violence awesome - or at least no one that I've ever known to have witnessed it. If I ever had the misfortune of being in the presence of such a psychopath, I would probably distance myself from them post haste. Realistic violence done to humans is so generally distressing that it is often a point of separation in the medical arts. Some people simply can't tolerate even the controlled and relatively gentle violence of surgical interventions. They vomit, they faint, and some even suffer lasting psychological or emotional aftereffects. No video game actually depicts human depcapitation or dismemberment realistically. I could link video, but I don't think it would be kind to any of you.

I strongly believe in the need to instruct children in the real nature of violence. It is terrible and it often has permanent results. Thus, I am against cartoon violence. The more disturbing it is, the better, IMO. No game is more dangerous than the one that teaches children that implements of violence are merely toys.

gore wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

You get what I'm saying, though?

I do, although from my perspective it's largely theoretical since violence is treated so casually by most video games. I don't care how gruesome they make the death scenes, if you have to kill hundreds or thousands of dudes those graphics really won't have much emotional impact on me.

That's sort of what I'm getting at. Why is it the presence or absence of realistic (or semi-realistic, depending on graphics technology; Uncanny Valley can definitely happen even today) the tipping point? Shouldn't it be the IDEA of gunning down people en masse that's disturbing or not?

Don't get me wrong, I'm approaching this from a largely academic standpoint. Not judging anyone. I play "gun 'em down" shooters just like the next guy (Borderlands 2 being my current one). I just think it's curious why I feel this way.

Resurrecting this thread because I have a confession to make...

I play Simpsons: Tapped out.

I started playing because my wife played and I spent 3 months away from her for an internship... It was one tiny way for us to connect. Now I can't stop. It's totally not the type of game I ever enjoy. But I play it.

There. I said it.

We'll send a wood panelled station wagon over right away!

I haven't touched my gaming PC in over two weeks. Because my wife found my (once thought lost) 3DS and I have been hooked on Zelda: Link Between Worlds.

I've lost virtually all desire for AAA gaming.

During late 2013 Steam sales, I've picked up Dishonored, Tomb Raider, Alan Wake, BioShock: Infinite, Batman: AC, Metro 2033, etc. etc. because I couldn't resist the fire-sale prices. Yet I haven't touched a single one of them.

Instead I find myself consumed by dumb low-budget, niche vehicle simulators (Farming Sim 2013, ETS2, Car Mechanic Simulator 2014, Train Simulator 2014, Kerbal, etc.), strategy titles (Crusader Kings II, EUIV, Civ V), and indie darlings (Gone Home, Papers Please, Gunpoint, etc.).

It's not a problem, per say. It just feels strange to hear excited buzz talk online over upcoming releases like Titanfall, inFamous:SS, Watch Dogs, Dark Souls 2, et al and dismissively think, "Oh yeah, those things." before shifting my focus back to the other genres noted above. It’s odd to feel so emotionally divorced from a pool of titles that have brought me so much joy over the years and decades.

Now I fear that Fallout 4 or Elder Scrolls VI might be the only games that bring me back! :p

Maybe it’s just a phase or something.

Aaron D. wrote:

I've lost virtually all desire for AAA gaming.

During late 2013 Steam sales, I've picked up Dishonored, Tomb Raider, Alan Wake, BioShock: Infinite, Batman: AC, Metro 2033, etc. etc. because I couldn't resist the fire-sale prices. Yet I haven't touched a single one of them.

Instead I find myself consumed by dumb low-budget, niche vehicle simulators (Farming Sim 2013, ETS2, Car Mechanic Simulator 2014, Train Simulator 2014, Kerbal, etc.), strategy titles (Crusader Kings II, EUIV, Civ V), and indie darlings (Gone Home, Papers Please, Gunpoint, etc.).

It's not a problem, per say. It just feels strange to hear excited buzz talk online over upcoming releases like Titanfall, inFamous:SS, Watch Dogs, Dark Souls 2, et al and dismissively think, "Oh yeah, those things." before shifting my focus back to the other genres noted above. It’s odd to feel so emotionally divorced from a pool of titles that have brought me so much joy over the years and decades.

Now I fear that Fallout 4 or Elder Scrolls VI might be the only games that bring me back! :p

Maybe it’s just a phase or something.

3 of those are the latest AAA games I've played and a link between worlds,other than that its all been small Indy rougelikes and other random stuff.

Aaron D. wrote:

I've lost virtually all desire for AAA gaming.

I haven't lost all interest, but I definitely have reduced my "intake". Of your entire list, I played the only two I was actually interested in; Tomb Raider reboot and Arkham City. Both "console games" as I see them (and actually played on console).

It's not that I'm picker--I think--I rather have a very clear schedule for gaming; a few early hours during the weekend, and maybe a few hours throughout the week when the wife will be doing something on her own.

I don't feel like spending those hours grinding levels, or managing inventory.
Maybe Dishonored and Bioshock:Infinite; but as I posted before in this thread; there's something about FPS that no longer clicks with how I enjoy games.

Maybe I am getting pickier.

Agreed on nearly all counts. You're in very good company -- innovation in the PC gaming industry is arguably being done almost entirely by the indies, and gamers are noticing. And voting with their dollars. The industry is healthier for it, and we can play better games.

(Although I should point out that Dishonored is absolutely extraordinary. Please play it if you can; "low chaos".)

Also: You're probably not a fourteen-year-old boy with power fantasies, which is the entire target demographic of AAA gaming.

Archangel wrote:

(Although I should point out that Dishonored is absolutely extraordinary. Please play it if you can; "low chaos", of course.)

I second this. Anyone who doesn't play dishonored is missing out on a great game. I don't know if I agree with the low chaos bit. It is still a lot of fun with high chaos.

Hobbes2099 brings up an interesting point about scheduling game time.

One of the things I'm finding refreshing about the titles I currently have in rotation is that they're incredibly flexible in the time commitment dept. Most of the games I listed have a sandbox nature where I'm free to set my own goals at any moment, offering fluid game session lengths. I can dip in and out of a Farming Simulator session in just minutes, focusing on a micro-goal. Or I can play for hours if I want have the disposable time. Either way I don't need to be bothered with picking up the trail of some narrative I'm not likely to be engaged with anyway (agree with Archangel about the teen power fantasy hook inexorably linked with most modern AAA productions).

Anyway, I hope that doesn't come off as snobbish or judgmental as this is not my intent. I'm rather reflecting on my changing tastes as I get older and explore the more mundane end of the gaming pool. I’ve always heard it said that PC Simulators and Strat titles are for old folks with failing hand-eye coordination and reflexes. I’m now fiddling with the idea that I might just be shifting into this demographic at the age of 45, but for slightly different reasons (though I’ll be the first to admit that my hyper-reflex days of Ikaruga are well behind me).

Archangel wrote:

(Although I should point out that Dishonored is absolutely extraordinary. Please play it if you can; "low chaos".)

I think the key to having fun with Dishonored is playing however you want, not how anyone thinks you should.

I still love my AAA games, but I rarely get very far in them. I spend far more time in sports games and poker. So I get distracted and lose the narrative of the big games. Then a new shiny comes and I jump to that.

In the meantime I play seasons of hockey, baseball and football. I love the strategy and big picture versus micro managing of sports I like to watch. At some point I stopped viewing sports games as getting in my way of other games, but rather what I liked most to do.

So I try to buy fewer AAA games, and wait for sales. But I still really like the big bombast of a good AAA title. I just don't concern myself with finishing games, since most of my time is spent elsewhere..

What has fallen off are strategy games like Civ. I really want to get into EU and Crusader Kings, but managing sports sims scratches that itch well enough to forgo them. I guess if I didn't like sports I would play them more.

It's really funny to me that I didn't much care for JRPGs when I started the JRPG Catch-All. I kinda only did it so people would stop saying that there really ought to be a JRPG catch-all. Now, they're most of what I play.

Blind_Evil wrote:
Archangel wrote:

(Although I should point out that Dishonored is absolutely extraordinary. Please play it if you can; "low chaos".)

I think the key to having fun with Dishonored is playing however you want, not how anyone thinks you should.

The key having fun in Dishonored is to play something other than Dishonored.

OHHHHHHHHH BLASPHEMY SNAP!

CptDomano wrote:

OHHHHHHHHH BLASPHEMY SNAP!

I'm going to jump on the Dishonored bandwagon. It was my #1 in 2013. And I have similar issues with scheduling game time (husband, work, toddler, commute, etc), but Dishonored is extremely flexible when it comes to saving your game when and where you wish (at least on the PC, I read in the thread it's not so simple on the console).
I really, really recommend Dishonored.

Incidentally, it was the only AAA game on my list, I've yet to play BS:I and Tomb Raider. I pretty much played indie games exclusively in 2013.

CptDomano, it's already been established you have bad taste in games.