Bozanimal / Member

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Enough with the Violence. Oh, and Misogyny. Oh, oh: and Religion! Oh-

Our esteemed News man Eddie Makuch recently posted an Article called, "Violence in Games: Industry Buzz," a compilation of industry views on the pervasive violence demonstrated in this year's E3 which was different than prior years, supposedly, because the violence displayed was for entertaniment value rather than providing support to a narrative or context. Only, this isn't exactly a new topic, and there wasn't really any substantive reason to be discussing said topic other than the fact that Miyamoto - I love you, Miyamoto - doesn't like it. Only his problem wasn't violence, it was the pervasive use of weapons, but we'll go ahead and generalize that for now.

Violence for the sake of violence has existed in games for a long time, and in entertainment in general for thousands of years. In gaming most recently it reached its apex with Mortal Kombat about 20 years ago (1992). To address the issue of gaming violence in the U.S., the ESRB was created two years after Mortal Kombat (1994) to provide guidance to consumers in order to ensure people knew what was appropriate, using reasonable standards, for certain age groups. Similar organizations were created in other countries and regions, and have been widely adopted and consistently enforced more than similar rations of movies and music (Source: FTC). The issue of the glorification of violence in games has been discussed at length and appropriate action taken by forming these bodies to provide consumers with guidance.

Now I'm not a fan of a rape scene - interactive or not - being included in Tomb Raider (supposedly this is not going to happen now, by the way). Lara Croft is a sexualized character as it is, what with the hot pants and cleavage and all. But I'm not going to get up in arms about it being created, either: What are we supposed to do, limit free speech? Tell the developer not to make it? Regulate and outright censor the content? The best "solution," if there is such a thing, is exactly what has already happened, making further discussion of topics like violence, misogyny, and other repetitive, recycled gaming social topic redundant unless those discussing said topic have some sort of alternative solution to address the problem handy, assuming that there is a problem, which there may or may not be.


The part I really don't like, though, is what people aren't talking about. Hundreds of games that do not glorify violence are coming out all the time, and not just the high-profile, family-friendly, first-party Nintendo titles. You've got Airmech, Bastion, Bit.Trip, Braid, Jamestown, Monaco is Mine, Osmos, Portal, Quantum Conundrum, Superbrothers: Swords and Sworcery EP, Trine, Watch Dogs- need I go on? There are many, many games that focus on puzzle elements, narrative, or to which violence is a mechanic rather than something glorified. I would argue even that, though the violence in The Last of Us is indeed gruesome, it doesn't really seem to be for its own sake, its there to support the suspension of disbelief.

But it's not as fun and interesting to report on games like Lego City as it is topics like the issues of misogyny, violence, religion, stereotyping, etc. in gaming, so all the amazing progress that has and is being made all the time with great narratives and storylines gets outshone by coverage of the hot-button issues.