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Others gamers who AREN'T down with all game violence?

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This post was sparked my a comment on Kotaku related to GTA V. I saw someone assert that they didn't like the GTA series but "not because I'm opposed to violent games or anything like that." I've also seen tons of gamers online go after anyone (usually in the news media) who questions whether violent games cause people to be more violent in real life. It seems like comfort with virtual violence is often a signal people use to show they are part of the gaming community.

I was watching a friend play Spec Ops: The Line, and as I watched him aim and fire at a human target, I found myself a little skeezed out. I'm 28, and it seems like the older I get the less interest I have in games that operate on gun violence, particularly after Sandy Hook. Is anyone else around here a gamer who is not 100% comfortable with every kind of game violence? Give me a game where I'm throwing lightning and fire at monsters, and I'll play it all day. Give me an MGS or a Deus Ex and I'll do a pacifist run. But games with realistic gun violence where I can't find a way around it don't interest me. Up until I watched my friend playing Spec Ops, it's been less of a conscious decision and more of a trend that I noticed only upon reflection.

At the risk of sounding like a kid who is unwilling to state a firm opinion on the Internet, I'm not trying to make an argument about what games should or should not be made. I support Freedom of Speech even when it's speech that personally displeases or disturbs me. I'm just seeing if there any like-minded gamers who aren't in love with violent video games within a dedicated gaming community.

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I'm okay with violence (and here I assume we're speaking of more realistic violence, in opposition to something like, say, Kingdom Hearts) in anything up to a point. I think that, for me, it depends on the point of the violence. For example, The Last of Us (no spoilers) is a violent, brutal, heavy game, but the violence serves to accentuate just how gone to crap this world is and just how not a good guy Joel is -- while still remaining largely avoidable for those who want to stealth run it. But I tried to play Saint's Row 3 and just couldn't get into it; the very nature of a game that basically encourages you to run over as many people as possible and beat up innocent civilians and everything just isn't for me. A lot of people are okay with it, and I guess that's okay?, but I can't say I particularly enjoy it, haha.

Infinite really toed the line for me, actually. On the one hand, I've heard the arguments that the level of gore in the game helps to unsettle the player and drive home the point that this isn't a good place, and I guess that makes sense, but to me it just felt somewhat indulgent on the part of Ken Levine (I seem to remember him making a comment to that effect in an interview, but I could be making that up) and couldn't really see any... "artistic value" to it, for lack of better term. I didn't really feel like the overall experience of the game was bettered by it. As such, I was never really able to get past it.

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I think Spec Ops is an odd example, because part of the point of that game is to highlight superviolence in modern video games; without the in game violence the impact would be minimal.

However, beyond that, I would agree that a lot of games are becoming unnecessarily violent. I enjoy games like Dishonored where there's an incentive for being a pacifist as opposed to a run and gun strategy. As for others, I don't think most people have the "fuck yeah murderfest 2013 let's kill some people" attitude, but the good thing about video games is that it allows us to play out fantasies that would otherwise be unacceptable in society. If that's not a form of escapism that interests someone, then that's fine, just as it's fine to have those games for people who DO enjoy that kind of escapism.

As for games being a factor of real life violence, I heartily disagree. Any correlation is negligible and there are far bigger factors that come into play. The media just likes bashing Video Games because not a lot of people are familiar with the medium and it's easy to bash.

TL;DR Games are a form of escapism and it makes sense that there would be violent games

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Dead Space? Sure. Call of Duty? I don't mind. Grand Theft Auto? No thanks.

Bad things happen, but doing bad things doesn't sit well with me. Games like Skyrim involve more thought behind your action and where they put you in game. Things like killing random people in more realistic games, though, just gives a nasty feeling. Yuck.

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I don't have a problem with violence as long as it has a purpose in the gameplay. But I also think it can be over the top, like scenes of torture, disembowelment, evisceration, etc. I also don't like to play games where you have to do bad stuff and basically always try to be the 'good guy' where possible. I don't get any pleasure out of being rewarded for doing bad things.

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I think violent games are fine, for other people. I know that I really can't handle them personally. Things like cartoon violence, or stuff that is "just a flesh wound" probably won't bother me (Like I can sit and watch my mom play something like ghost recon and generally not feel uncomfortable). I happily played bushido blade and stuff back in the day, and on the movie front I thoroughly enjoyed the ass kicking that was Pacific Rim (although that may not count since it's mostly aliens and not humans?). But as soon as you start having the blood and guts of any realistic being (humans, animals) getting ripped appart and strewn around I'm generally unsettled to the point where I can't even look or even listen. I think the easiest most recent thing that comes to mind for me on that is a few months ago I watched part of someone playing through bioshock infinite, and well...jeeze I won't be playing that game any time soon.

I wish I had access to the articles I've read about it, but generally speaking violence in video games or movies and the like have not been found to be directly linked to normal well balanced human beings turning violent. I know that particular conversation has come up multiple times on this forum as well, because the media really likes to paint the opposite picture. The sad thing about these studies is that people ignore them, I remember early on when I was still in college I showed one of these studies to my child dev prof and she was basically threw it out because she didn't want to believe it.

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Game violence is great. I hope it gets even more extreme. I want to be able to slice people down the middle and watch their guts fall in wet little heap. Playing violent video games doesn't turn you into a violent killer, so any argument about that, as a gamer and as a human, makes me feel like a tool, so I will have no part of it.

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Not really but I have noticed there are a few things that have changed about my attitude towards violence as I get older. When I was a kid I couldn't get enough of Mortal Kombat I & II. If one of my friends knew how to do someone's fatality that I didn't know we'd play and do it over and over again.

I picked up the reboot of the game back in 2011 and was hoping for a similar experience. Seeing the fatalities wasn't quite as awesome as it used to be but the one thing that got to me was the X-ray specials. Something about actually seeing the bones crack in the chest and back got me a little weird-ed out.

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The only kind of video game violence that really bothers me is the kind that glorifies violence for the sake of violence, that treats it as some sort of amazing way of life. The actual extremity of the violence in question will never bother me, in something like Spec Ops, where the developers are trying to make a point, or in Last of Us where given the environment and the desperation of the situation it makes sense, and it's not glorified. The actual violence being displayed doesn't bother me then, whether it be a heart being shoved out the back of a chest with a sword, a brain-splattering large caliber headshot, a slow ritual disembowlment, what have you.

But I will never play, nor want to, a game that treats it as "Woo! Violence! Eff yeah! Let's go murder some people just for the shits of it, woohoo!" Others can support that kind of game if they want, and I support their right to, but personally I find it distasteful and want nothing of it. Unless, of course, that attitude is used satirically.

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Violence is so deeply prevalent in games because developers can't come up with any mechanical alternatives that are compelling and rewarding enough for gameplay. Or they aren't willing enough to experiment, at any rate. I'd hazard a guess that the plot and characters in game like The Last of Us was at least partly made in a design-by-limitation sort of way to give some justification to the violence, as a reaction to the genocide matinee adventure Uncharted.

Every now and then you get some games that lampshade this problem, like Spec Ops The Line, or characters commenting on Gordon Freeman being a theoretical phycisist but spends all his time just shooting stuff and pushing objects around. It just shines light on how stunted game design is when you want to get more ambitious with the storytelling.

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Made me think about a airsoft gun game, don't think I've ever seen one. Killing humans for little reason gets boring fast to me (GTA, Saints Row etc). I don't like the story or characters either so it's not my cup of tea overall.

If there is back story or a PvP game like in GunZ 2 I don't mind it being shoot to kill each other. To me, in games like that it doesn't even feel like you are killing the player since you respawn in TDM and it's the same avatars every time (you could analyze this differently like they are dying over and over I guess). It doesn't convey the reaction of actually killing someone. I think it's kinda the same for GTA. If you kill civillians they use the same AI, same models etc (and same lines especially). It feels like killing AI (with few human characteristics, that aren't very reactive (same thing every time, few variations).

If it was reactive and realistic in a video game to make you feel like it was a person and not AI, that'd be scary/heavy. I think it would be interesting able to kill important people in games but there should be consequences that have thought/branching behind them. Think The Last of Us (example because it feels like actual people) but imagine if you could kill someone before they turn on you, and branch the story that way. That sounds really hard to put in a game but I think it would be interesting to see (Heavy Rain sorta did this in a way I think? Choosing to kill someone or dying and the story continuing or branching).

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It's bizarre, as a teenager I was frightened to death when witnessing a Game Over screen on Resident Evil 2. So it's natural that I felt that all game violence since then would be at that same level and thus prompted me to stay away with anything that had what can be considered these days to be a PEGI 16+ rating.

But it also seems that as the gaming industry has grown, so has a fascination for that kind of game. Granted I'd prefer fantasy elements because to me, videogames can be seen as a way to create new realities, not to replicate it. And while realistic gun violence can be seen as replication, the fact remains though that it's not something you'd see on a regular basis and thus would see a different - if not even MORE gone to hell - perception of the world.

It doesn't mean I can't withstand violence - to me, a combination of that and its disturbing content was one reason why I had put myself off from playing The Binding of Isaac for months. When I DID get around to playing it, my focus was purely on pushing myself through the game's punishing gauntlets. Sure, it may have arguably the heaviest amount of cartoon gore I have seen, but Team Meat knew their target audience well and really made it work with the old-school-style difficulty that just drew me in.

Whichever is the case, I am more open to videogame violence as I was around 15 years ago. However, that still doesn't change the fact that I wouldn't play a game that primarily focuses on gun violence just to get my gaming fix - as implied with the preference on fantasy settings, the kind of gameplay at the end of the day just doesn't interest me personally.

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I don't mind violence. That said, I don't seek out first person shooters or GTA-style games. The violent games I tend to play are more along the lines of Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space. And of course the cartoonish splatters of the likes of Diablo 2.

I'm not convinced that violence has zero effect on gamers, though.

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The game violence concerns me greatly. Sure, most people can probably handle it. I don't like human on human violence in the slightest, and these games would make me sad and upset... but for most, it's probably fine. Then there are those people who can't seem to separate fantasy from reality, and there seem to be more of those people around lately than ever. We are exposed to violence in all aspects of media, not just gaming, so people are becoming desensitized to it, making it much easier for unstable people to go out and do it in real life.

I watched the trailer for GTA5. I was astounded by the beauty of the game, the realistic scenery and gameplay. But I was equally horrified at the realism of the characters who are ugly to the bone inside and out and gave me the creeps. Call me a polyanna, but why can't resources like this be put toward something beautiful and life-affirming instead of soul-crushing? I suppose the short answer is that it won't sell, it is about money. So this terrible trend toward uber-violence is about greed... with no one to say when it's too much.

I think we are going to be seeing this kind of thing more, and more, and more, and even more. *sigh*

edit: You know, it's really NOT fine. Even if playing these games makes us less nice to each other in general, it really isn't a good thing.

Edited by Chimpazilla

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Bejeweled, Angry Birds, Farmville, Harvest Moon, Chrono Trigger, Tetris, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Pokemon are just a slim few of the gaming series that have huge followings without the need for uber violence. These games do sell for different reasons.

What I can't stand about the violence debate in videogames is how bloody oversimplified its become. It's overprotective Moms saying ERMEHGERD GAMES TEACH ER CHILDREN HOW KERL while overaggressive and overdefensive gamers scream back OMFGLOLWUTSTFU GAMES DON'T TEACH CHILDREN TO KILL SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU RETARD YOU FUCKING FUCK.

There is no one simplified reason children turn to psychotic violence and if they claim they shot up a school because a game made it look fun, then it IS, by definition, because of the game itself. The argument that games/media don't teach children to be violent is bullshit, but in a twist, that doesn't mean violence in media is responsible for it. The actual trigger for mass violence could be anything. Money, clothes, baseball cards, Winnie the Pooh, anything. There is no one item or one formula for children being unable to dissociate fantasy from reality, it requires very precise psychosis, circumstances, lack of parenting, biology, accesses and a lot more.

But as human beings, we're all pretty ignorant and it's much easier to lay the blame on just thing or another for society's ills. So if it's not the games, than its the parents, or the guns, or the sex on TV, or religion, illogically simple answers to incredibly complex questions.

And we wonder why this shit is still going on.

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Made me think about a airsoft gun game, don't think I've ever seen one.

I used to play the crap out of a game called Nerf Arena Blast. Not airsoft, but even more innocuous than that! :tomatoface:

I also used to play a paintball game. I forget what it was called, though.

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I love me some virtual violence myself(loving GTA5 atm), but I don't agree with how some gamers use that itself as a criteria for demeaning games that aren't violent(nintendo is kiddy etc). I like games that are violent and I like games that aren't graphically violent, I like good games

I'm not much of a pacifist myself though, I think that violence and being entertained by it is an intrinsic part of humanity. While it is genuinely disturbing to some, I think that it is reason and logic that keep people civilized more than anything on an emotional level.

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if Metroid doesn't count as all game violence, than I guess I am in the group of non-violence gamers

while I enjoy playing a bit of MW2 with friends along with the Halo games, I don't own any of them myself and I'm not obsessed with them, though I really do like the Halo series.

I'm sorta sick of all the violent games involving guns and stuff

oh there is one large exception

I freaking love Need for Speed

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My biggest beef with games and violence these days is that all the happy colorful family friendly games of yesteryear seem to have slowly faded away to be replaced with and ocean of mostly violent bloodbaths. Its just kinda boring seeing every single AAA title being something A) realistic/gritty B) bland colors C) violent/bloody D) Not suitable for family

There are some games that buck the norm, but they are usually containing these elements these days. I can and do sometimes play games with excessive violence, just tired of that being basically the norm

Edited by Crowbar Man

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Another non-violent gamer here (or not, since I don't really play games anymore, but anyways...). I never understood why my friends were all into Halo and Call of Duty a few years back. I would play with them when we were together, but I never found the experience to be enjoyable. I did pick up a few FPSs to try and get into them more, but eventually I realized that I just wasn't okay with pulling a trigger, whether for real or virtually.

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For me it's a case-by-case basis. I didn't mind Saint's Row 3 because it established for me early on that this was a world in which the sort of ridiculously over the top violence was just that: ridiculous and over the top. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and I didn't have much of a problem not taking it seriously. If I'm offered the option of a pacifist run(Iji, Metal Gear, etc.) I tend to take it as much for the challenge as because I like to have a narrative that runs against the shooter mentality now and again. It's good to question the need for violence without having someone tell me that's how it has to be. I couldn't get into Call of Duty: Black Ops because it never once made me question why all the people I was shooting had to die. It was too realistic for me, with none of the invitation to consider the ramifications of what I was doing. On the other hand, cartoonish violence doesn't offend me, though extreme violence tends to be something I avoid overall (organs exploding/bones being shattered/mangled corpses in high detail.) The only game I played that skirted the line enough for me to continue was Dead Island, and that was because it was zombies.

I suppose it's kind of a cop out, but violence is a part of human nature, even just in small ways. It's how we come to understand it in ourselves and in our stories that defines how much or how little we can accept. I try not to play games that don't define the ethics and the reasons for the death that they portray when it comes to killing humans. (I say human because fantasy and sci-f tend to involve a lot of monster killing which is, curiously, not even an issue for me.)

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FPSes have to be really engaging to get me into them (see: Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, UT, System Shock). Those are games where, either because of technical limitations or just sheer fun-factor (usually both), you don't really care about the violence. Heck, the gruesome details really add to the sense of dread and foreboding in horror games like System Shock 1 & 2 (two games I recommend for fans of older shooters).

Violence is so deeply prevalent in games because developers can't come up with any mechanical alternatives that are compelling and rewarding enough for gameplay. Or they aren't willing enough to experiment, at any rate.

To be fair, video-games are founded in competition and (at least implicitly) violence. Space War! being one of the first video-games and all that. Eating ghosts wholesale in Pac-Man can be gruesome if you think about it! Not to mention classics such as Warcraft, Ultima VII, Doom, etc.

I think though what Avatar and other posters are expressing their aversion to is the type of pandering-to-an-immature-audience violence that has permeated games in a large way since the early 90s, as the industry slowly shifted from an 'everyone' targeting approach to the full-on console wars 'young boys' approach. The industry is still largely in that mode, though certain breakthrough games (Minecraft - still violent mind you!) show how successful alternatives can be. I mean, if you are not a young adolescent male, or have the tastes of one (not necessarily a negative), why would you be interested in a product specifically designed for that audience?

Unless the game is good, I just ignore these violent adolescent games. I mean yeah I love the original Splatterhouse - but that's really a love-letter to horror movies (Evil Dead, House on Haunted Hill, Exorcist, Friday 13th etc) and is a fun game to boot. I'm at a point in my life where I don't really have my entertainment predilections dictated by what is current or popular, so I just sort of look at this stuff with the same sort of bemusement I viewed it with a decade ago.

Edited by EC2151

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I used to play the crap out of a game called Nerf Arena Blast. Not airsoft, but even more innocuous than that! :tomatoface:

I also used to play a paintball game. I forget what it was called, though.

There are actually a few paintball games, surprising. Still didn't find an airsoft game.

Nerf Arena Blast looks like fun, unreal+quake but colorful to the max (and Nerf guns ofc).

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I think though what Avatar and other posters are expressing their aversion to is the type of pandering-to-an-immature-audience violence that has permeated games in a large way since the early 90s, as the industry slowly shifted from an 'everyone' targeting approach to the full-on console wars 'young boys' approach. The industry is still largely in that mode, though certain breakthrough games (Minecraft - still violent mind you!) show how successful alternatives can be. I mean, if you are not a young adolescent male, or have the tastes of one (not necessarily a negative), why would you be interested in a product specifically designed for that audience?

I think it's fair to say that there's definitely a bias towards male gamers, that much has pretty much already been established even outside of the violence issue, but I don't agree with violence being an adolescent taste. I think most men have a proclivity to violent media, it appeals to us instinctually because we've always been the hunters and combatants and such throughout our evolution.

The increase in violent games also seems to coincide with the age of gamers getting older, there are more gamers who aren't adolescents or children than there have ever been and we have more and more violent games. Just speaking anecdotally but I also know a lot of gamers in their mid twenties-thirties and most of them play games like GTA or CoD and so on.

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Hmm, I can think of 2 games off the top of my head that made me a tad squeemish: Manhunt and Mad World (Wii) - to semi-quote Zircon, I don't like games that glorify violence just for the sake of violence.

Edited by HoboKa

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