Violence and Videogames.

As you know I recently had a run in with the Crysis game and I am awed at the amount of graphic detail that the games manages to push through. If pushed to it’s max settings on a high enough resolution, you would be forgiven for calling it a movie instead of a computer game (, well almost). As I mentioned in my earlier post, the graphics and especially the violence can be nauseatingly real. Crysis has definitely raised the bar in video game realism. If people called Doom (1993) to be too violent, this game has like, multiplied the violence by a factor of 10. It’s not just limited to the Crysis game but most of todays games, mostly in the FPS genre, are pretty much known for extreme violence.

There is a strange thing I have observed, as a player you often don’t realize how gory the violence really is. As a computer game player you generally tend to focus more on your character. Your brain tries to rapidly compute permutations-combinations in the gameplay and is actively trying to keep your character alive. As a player you miss out on the gore the game delivers. Well not entirely, but you don’t tend to focus on it. It is the third person, observing the game who actually sees the gore in the game. As a player your priorities are different. You are more focused on achieving your intermediate goal at the same time trying to keep your character alive. It’s somewhat like a soldier in the heat of a battle, you don’t see all the pain around you. It’s like your mind tends to switch off of all the gore and concentrates it’s attention of keeping the character alive.

I generally tend to disagree strongly with people that say video games promote violence. I have always been an FPS fan until very recently, that doesn’t mean I am prone to violence. Then again, that’s not something new, it is probably the same sentiment shared by most FPS fans. It’s not like you go “Ooh! I love the blood spatter caused by the bullet when it hits”. OK, maybe some weirdos do, but majority of FPS junkies play the game because it is fast paced, and yes because “it is a game”. Believe me while playing a game you (, and even those weirdos) are very much aware that your in a middle of a game and not in the real world. That doesn’t mean you are going to enact similar actions in the real world.

Violence and violent tendencies in general maybe because of different reasons but not due to video games. I have seen people blatantly blame video games for all the violence in the world, but consider this fact, maximum violence and the most heinous of acts are carried out by people who don’t even have a clue as to what a video game is, much less played one. I am not a physiologist (, not by any stretch of imagination) but the root cause of violence is seated somewhere else and not in any computer game you can find. It is a dark nature of humans to lust for violence. In th past the Romans used Gladiatorial combat. What could be more violent that that? Yet the Romans were known as the most civilized people of their time. Some say they even ushered the modern age. Isn’t Boxing a violent game too? I could say the same thing with many others, but lets just leave it at that.

So why do some people have this uneasiness with video games that have violent content. It’s not like the game itself is physically harming someone. Not in the least. So what is the real reason behind this outcry over banning video games? I am surprised that in this day and age, people still feel the need to ban something, “something like a video game”! My personal feeling is, because a computer game is a fairly new and misunderstood entertainment medium, at least by some. The usual argument is violent video games will promote violence. With whom? With kids? They shouldn’t be playing such violent games in the first place! That’s what ratings are there for. As far as ratings for violent video games go, I am very much for that. Just like adult movie content should not fall into the hands of minors much less kids, so shouldn’t violent video games. I have seen adults fail to realize this but violence is adult content, anywhere, in any entertainment medium! And, it is the responsibility of an adult to see to that. Violence is often treated as “OK” with regards to minors and kids, and that can be dangerous. Talking about movies, what about violent movies? Should we ban those too? That’s just crazy.

In the end a game is just that “A Game”. It is an highly interactive entertainment medium that is here to stay. Games allow for more immersion than traditional entertainment mediums like theater and movies. Some people (, and their numbers are declining rapidly) haven’t fully understood it, mostly because it is new. Like with all new things, at first they are seen as a threat to society, which games are not. In the end, that too shall pass and attitudes will change.

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