This is my sixth post in the reflection series, as you probably figured out if your familiar with Roman numerals. However, I’ll try not to digress too much this time. The reflection pathway can be amazing, but also the opposite. So I’m trying a new approach this time – compartmentalization.
Genres is not a new concept. We’re often striving to divide content into categories, but it’s not so easy after the seed of a medium has started to grow. I believe that the thirst for organizing will not be quenched with an argument, but can we rethink how we’re defining content? My simple solution is breaking it up as metadata, keywords. We have established some sort of a vocabulary when talking about aspects of games, but it’s often impossible to define a single game with a single word. We often talk about similar types of games and say it’s a mix of this and that.
For a long time, ever since streaming music on the Internet was something we could do, like with services like Pandora and Last.fm, we’ve had the ability to customize a feed based upon keywords like artist or genres. I do not have any statistics on this, but my guess is that most of game purchases today is done online. It’s therefor much easier to arrange games with metadata and let people use filters and algorithms to find new games that they may fancy.
Ethics and Games
My previous post covered some thoughts about releasing tension, but I believe that it’s a big enough topic to continue expanding on it. People are different, that’s something most of us can agree on. We cater to different types of entertainment and while some can feel relaxed after a session of gaming action games, others may prefer simple puzzles and adventure. Just like the terms “paidia” and “ludus” are used to place a game on the spectrum of playfulness and strict rules, we can place aggression on a spectrum – from non-aggressive (Sims) games to aggressive (GTA). I feel like I must state that non-aggressive games can make you angry, due to bugs or bad mechanics, even though the gameplay is not based on violence, and that is frankly the essence of my opinion – most people become angry, or just infuriated, because of interactions with other people or technical issues.
So how can we talk about ethics with regards to video games? Anyone with some knowledge about ethics know that there is no simple answer or theory that covers everything. Some may argue that illegal actions done in real life shouldn’t be replicated in a virtual environment, and other may respond with an argument on how it’s better to explore the darker sides of human nature in a confined space.
I think it would be healthier for the conversation if we look at violence in games as a tool for gameplay, and not something added to spread aggression and fulfill ‘sick desires’ – like in most movies and television series.
The character FPS-Doug from the web series Pure Pwnage (2004) is kind of the personification of an angry hardcore gamer.
I remember how the news media drew the video game card after the terrorist attack in Norway 22-07-2011, like this front page in Dagbladet: “10 games gave Breivik terror training”.
The recent school massacre in Florida also spawned a similar response from the media – which leads to political speech against video games with violence. It seems like politicians and people with little to no experience with a medium and specific content are the ones against it. I also remember the blame put on Marilyn Manson after the Columbine shooting because of his lyrics and performance on stage.
This reel is what was shown to President Trump after the last shooting and gun debate.
Just a compilation of violent scenes. How would a similar video with violence from popular movies, or just the news, be any different? Or quotes from books.
Let’s end this with an older meme I made from Call of Duty. I got the final kill with a ‘bouncing betty’ – anti-personnel mines that launched up in the air before detonating.
Took the screenshot just before explosion.