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I think with the GTA games in particular, the novelty of going on a random pedestrian killing spree has really worn off for me. I try to limit the loss of innocent life. This might be a combination of me getting older and graphics becoming more realistic.

 

Mind you, Limmy’s GTA killing sprees are a giggle to watch. But I’m one step removed, like watching a movie.

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I'm a vegetarian - practically a vegan most of the time - and I'll happily kill anything you want in videogame-land. It can be animal, human, or mutant-bad-ass-baby and I will kill it dead, given the weapons and the excuse to do so.

 

I have worked in videogames most of my life, so know that what we're killing is just data, not actual people. No-one gets hurt.

 

It's great if you want to step outside of this and move on, but really - if you stay here no-one gets hurt.

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Not me. I’ll kick something into the sun in good old video game land, and consider ninja gaiden 2’s obliteration techniques as works of art.

 

The distinction between video games and reality is absolute for me, I can happily tolerate just about anything that’s not happening in reality.

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I don't do the carnage in GTAs very often now, but that's because after so many times doing it, it has become a bit boring.

 

Still love a perfectly executed kill in Ass Creed, The Witcher, Skyrim etc.

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4 hours ago, Kayin Amoh said:

Not me. I’ll kick something into the sun in good old video game land, and consider ninja gaiden 2’s obliteration techniques as works of art.

 

The distinction between video games and reality is absolute for me, I can happily tolerate just about anything that’s not happening in reality.

Doesn't that do a bit of a disservice to games that use violence to try and make a point? Like the white phosphorous bit in Spec Ops: The Line, say, or some of the stuff in The Last of Us. Registering the harshness of it is surely part of the experience. I think it's fair to point out that there's violence and there's violence in games these days. Sometimes it's exhilirating. Sometimes it's comic. Sometimes disturbing. It would be a shame if that range wasn't possible, as it is in other media. The reason why Hotline Miami works so well is that it plays on the lines between these different reactions - encouraging you to enjoy it and then feel disgusted at yourself for doing so. Otherwise it's a pretty basic game.

 

5 hours ago, MarkN said:

I'm a vegetarian - practically a vegan most of the time - and I'll happily kill anything you want in videogame-land. It can be animal, human, or mutant-bad-ass-baby and I will kill it dead, given the weapons and the excuse to do so.

 

I have worked in videogames most of my life, so know that what we're killing is just data, not actual people. No-one gets hurt.

 

It's great if you want to step outside of this and move on, but really - if you stay here no-one gets hurt.

Reminded me of this: https://kotaku.com/id-have-these-extremely-graphic-dreams-what-its-like-t-1834611691

People who spend their days working on finishing moves in modern Mortal Kombat games suffering from PTSD.

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Great topic and have the same sentiments. In fact always have really. I marvel a the technical achievement of the GTA series. Each time they come out I buy one, never "play" it but end up playing around in the environment! Take the last GTA release 5. I explored the city. You know what I ended up doing? Climbing a mountain near the sea, standing there looking over the edge at the sea and sky, listening to the birds and the waves crashing. Also got a rowing boat and had a row around a big lake.  My other half laughed at me as she was on her phone to her friend in another room whist I was playing. She heard all the shooting and swearing during the initial cut scenes and then quiet. When she came through she was amused to see me sat at a virtual mountain looking out to sea. She asked why I wasn't playing and I said - "It's too noisy and violent in the city so came up here for a chill" :D Never buying a GTA game again. And never bought Red Dead Redemption 2 because I know I will never play the game. Although the idea of roaming around on a horse through that stunning realised world is very tempting....so may pick that up from a bargain bin at some point :D 

 

I played through the new Tomb Raider games and enjoyed the Uncharted series. The shooting bits bored me to tears the reason I played these is because of all the locations the games took you too and I enjoy exploring and puzzle solving (which is limited in these games). For me I'd be happy if the stripped the shooting out completely and made puzzlers. But that won't sell. :-\

 

Think this is what is driving me away from AAA games these days. Much of the content revolves around shooting things and guns or weapons of some kind. Its getting too graphic for me - not that I'm a wuss I go into a virtual world to escape the real one a bit. Sometimes life in the real world is miserable enough - all the knife crime, the constant bad news we are bombarded with on the TV etc. 

 

And. This brings to me to the reason why I'm enjoying my Switch at the moment. I think its the purity of the gaming on there its just about having fun, bright colours, lovely environments and sound. Latest one was Luigi's Mansion 3. Played that through to completion because it was such a fun place to be. Sure I guess technically there is some shooting in there but its at abstract things with weapons like bombs that are actually thrown at me or vacuuming things up!  The limited violence in there makes sense. Its about defending and overcoming evil aggressors, helping to rescue friends and the games have a sense of community about them.

 

Its why I love playing games escapism and challenges. Each to their own but I'm fed up of grizzly shooting games.

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Realism did it for me. In the top-down GTAs and the PS2 3D ones, I used to love killing sprees and their cartoony violence. Running over pedestrians was like pac-man munching up dots - it even had a satisfying sound effect.

 

When it became more realistic, it wasn’t fun anymore. It was horrible. 

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I mean gaming isn't trying to escape its kiddy reputation anymore, people here haven't been teenage edgelords for a few decades.

 

Most of the time you see overt violence it feels retro, a throwback - DOOM, Mortal Kombat, etc, old franchises trading off of historic notoriety.

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I must admit I was put off by footage I saw of the latest COD in which you get to take part in a terrorist shoot out in London, people running around screaming, get shot or blown up etc.

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I've talked about this before but for me it started to turn during the PS2 age due to a combination of the following in a very short slice of time.

 

Medal of Honour:Frontline (PS2) Laughable now but that beach gave me a little bit of an idea of what my grandfather and other relatives had gone through at my age. The noise. The random deaths of those around me. But it was invading the barracks that gave me pause. Sure, you're killing Nazis and seriously fuck those guys. But killing someone up close, especially if they're surprised and beg for mercy, that hit me. These were pixels that (for the time) moved and sounded like people. It was the leap in fidelity that put me off.

 

Deus Ex Machina (Spectrum soundtrack) At the same time I found an mp3 of this old work and listened to it out of curiosity. 

 

And then I heard this and it made me rethink my hobby.

 

 

Yeah, Frankie Howard phones it in here but the his bored impassive voice contrasted against Ian Drury's more warm humanity makes it.

 

Lyrics in the spoiler

 

HE STORYTELLER

Then a Soldier. Full of strange oaths. Jealous in honour. Sudden, and quick in

quarrel. Seeking hi-score, even in the laser's mouth.

THE DEFECT POLICE

War crimes are easy.

The uniform's free.

Follow the drumbeat.

Don't follow me.

Jump without question.

Into the fire.

War crimes are easy.

This gun's for hire.

War crimes are easy.

When I say 'jump', jump.

Wait for it, wait for it... Jump!

THE FERTILISER

Listen to me...

THE DEFECT POLICE

Listen yo me.

THE FERTILISER

Killing is wrong, even pretend killing on little screens. And people that sell

violent games to children should be put away somewhere safe, 'til they get well

again.

THE DEFECT POLICE

You are only obeying orders...

THE FERTILISER

Don't waste the life I gave you...

THE DEFECT POLICE

Waste someone else's.

THE FERTILISER

All you need is love.

THE DEFECT POLICE

All you have is hate...

War crimes are easy.

They taste very well.

War crimes are easy.

I smell a smell

March on empty spaces.

Fill them with your mind.

When you burn a brain cell.

Him smell like bacon rind.

Shield you head from torture.

Shield your back from pain.

Shield yourself from fireballs.

Here we go again.

War crimes are easy.

The uniform's free.

Follow the drumbeat.

Don't follow me.

Jump without question.

Into the fire.

War crimes are easy.

This gun's for hire.[/quote]

 

The rich library of the PS1-PS2-Dreamcast-N64 (and indie scene soon after)

 

For a time mainstream videogames were primarily laser focused on teenaged boys and it did feel like the price of admission to play most videogames was to kill kill kill. Contrast the lonely caverns of the first Tomb Raider with five or six other people to defeat verses the sequel with it's endless goons. But all of a sudden around the early 2000's it felt like you had options. Even with military games like Metal Gear Solid there were other ways to play that didn't involve being Rambo.

 

I still play some violent games but if it's just violence for the sake of violence I'm not interested. For me at least the increased fidelity is the issue and I do wonder if sometimes we like to have our cake and eat it as well. I don't think violent games will make us into zombie killers but I do wonder if it effects our empathy. I mean if we accept that games can affect you in positive ways or that they can make you laugh or cry than surely there might be negative effects to playing violent games where the violence is the beginning middle and endpoint.

 

Then again maybe we just lose the taste for violent media as we get older and see / experience more real life violence over time ourselves in the real world.

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One of the most disconcerting ones I remember is Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, at least I think that's what the one set in jolly olde London town was called. It starts off going for a fun adventure vibe, then your chirpy cocker-nee character who's got a heart of gold and loves his old mum...etc runs into some back alley thugs... then proceeds to dispatch them with blades in a graphic manner befitting of Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers, then saunters off without a care for more fun adventures.

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Can’t say this bothers me,

 

Back in the day you had the Mortal Kombats over the top deaths of pulling out spines and what not, Manhunt years later was a game literally centred around kill People in the worst ways possible,

 

I like it, nothing like a good headshot in a COD or blowing off limbs in Fallout 

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If anything I've gone the other way. I never used to play shooter games. Always a JRPG guy, with polite (after you good sir) cartoon combat my preference but as my time and patience for these games waned, my love of the visceral immediate reward of more violent games crept in. It was also aided I guess by the en masse invasion of RPG elements into mainstream games.

 

I love me a good shooter these days. Great to blow off some steam in these divisive times. Popping heads never felt so good. If I get to loot and level at the same time then even better.

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33 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I must admit I was put off by footage I saw of the latest COD in which you get to take part in a terrorist shoot out in London, people running around screaming, get shot or blown up etc.


I don’t care enough about COD to watch videos about it but apparently you can shoot a baby. Don’t know whose idea that was. 

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22 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:


I don’t care enough about COD to watch videos about it but apparently you can shoot a baby. Don’t know whose idea that was. 

You can "suggest" you have shot a baby. In that you press the trigger, but nothing actually happens, other than you will die . If you do it repeatedly on restart the game will say "are you serious?" and boot you back to the start screen.

 

It's not a graphic depiction of a baby being shot.

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Good idea for a topic. I have had exactly the same thoughts in recent years, but didn't know whether I should express them. I'd never want games to be censored, and I don't believe that videogame violence can make a mentally healthy person go out and commit an act of violence. So it's not like videogame killing is harmful.

 

Yet... in recent years I lost my taste for shooting human enemies in videogames. In my middle age I now often prefer violence to be more abstract and cartoony.

 

However, it depends on the game. It's hard to pinpoint why killing feels wrong in some games but not others. The Tomb Raider and Uncharted games hit me the hardest. I played The Uncharted Collection a couple of years ago on PS4, and even though the graphics of Uncharted 1 and 2 were no longer very convincing, it just felt... distasteful... to have so much human killing. Perhaps it's because the gameplay and cutscenes do not match at all -- the killing of hundreds does not match the wisecracking hero character. Also the lack of consequence -- he's still the good guy who will never be considered a murderer, and he'll never even personally have PTSD from what he's done. So it's a game that makes killing humans feel just as videogamey as killing space invaders.

 

I feel like some kind of traitor to videogames just for typing the above paragraph. I had no problem with games like that when I was younger! Have I become some pathetic wanky adult who thinks that human life is precious, and so videogame killing is distasteful? Is that why those pompous adults in the 80s and 90s were afraid of videogame violence affecting us, while we were just having a merry old time?

 

Anyway, Lara Croft is a fucking psycho too. The problem with the newer Tomb Raider games is that she becomes a hunter/stalker kind of killer. I think you're supposed to enjoy the act of creeping around and hunting your human prey and then going in for the kill; after all the game devs made it such a detailed part of the game.

 

But then I don't have any of these ethical concerns with some other games! It's hard to explain. Agent 47 in Hitman is literally an assassin who plans his kills more than Lara Croft... yet you're roleplaying that job, so it works. Multiplayer killing never feels wrong, because that's a competition between real people. Most games set in fantasy or historical settings feel detached from reality. I also had no problem with GTA5's single-player, perhaps because the characters are criminals, and the violence befits something that is happening in Trevor Philips' world. Perhaps also the thick layers of satire and comedy in GTA also prevent it from feeling realistic. COD military campaigns also look too "edgy" to cause concern -- ironically because they are trying really hard to make you have mixed emotions and ethical dilemmas, it just makes me roll my eyes. I'm far more concerned about Nathan Drake treating low-polygon henchmen like space invaders.

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I'm a bit conflicted on this.

I find it's one of several aspects of modern AAA games that leave me a bit bored/dissatisfied, but I don't think it's the violence that's the main issue. It just seems like "game = killing things" is so ingrained in the decision making/planning stages that companies rarely attempt to look beyond that if there's much of a budget involved.

 

Of course there's the old classic "if only you could talk to the monsters" quote, but at this stage I do wish a lot of games would take a step beyond being a mixture of cutscenes that tell a touching human tale and gameplay where you run around either stabbing or shooting 1000 mans in the face.

 

I remember playing Assassins Creed Unity and liking the little detective missions they had more than the general man stabbing of the regular missions .

AC:Syndicate too, had a few bits that hinted at Dickensian ghost stories or urban legends like Spring Heeled Jack etc but still 99% of it was "run here and stab this guy in the face". I guess shooting and stabbing is the easiest way to make "a game" but it still seems like a shame when you have these amazingly detailed game worlds that briefly hint at something more interesting.

 

My favourite games these days tend to be ones that have little to no graphic combat, stuff like Rime,My Summer Vacation, What Remains of Edith Finch, A Short Hike etc.

Well actually my favourite games are arcade racers and shmups but they're not the same as "modern games" ;)..

 

I'm not really morally against violence in games, I enjoy Serious Sam type stuff, Doom and Quake, various shmups etc. I like Shock Troopers but not COD, in shock troopers you can machine gun people stretchering wounded soldiers off the battlefield but whatever :)

I also thought the outcry over "Hatred" a few years ago and justifications of why GTA is ok but hatred isnt were interesting. As if motivation etc are important when you kill fake computer men.

 

 

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This is such an interesting topic. I think a huge amount of it is about context and tone. There's no doubt that I've become less inclined to enjoy outright violence in games as I've got older, and there are some games I'd love to share with my kids that I just can't - Assassin's Creed stands out here, though they did a brilliant thing with the educational mode.

 

But it's also true to say that one of my most enjoyed games of the last few years was Sniper Elite 4.

 

In contrast, Tomb Raider has really stuck in my craw this gen and I think the issue there is that those games paint Lara Croft as having some kind of moral high ground which really jars with the extreme violence.

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It was one of the things I was hoping the orginal WatchDogs would deliver but then even that introduced guns etc :facepalm:

The tomb raider games are very graphic & for me out of character for Lara, I can't see her being that vicious in kills & even though I have completed all three recent games it is a negative point for me in their enjoyment.

 

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I think what gets me is in GTA and RDR type games is the missions where you have to kill police who are(quite rightly) after you. I don't mind shooting criminals etc. so much but think there should be options to do it another way. 

 

The tone of the game definitely has an effect. In the first Tomb Raider reboot, it makes such a big deal out of Lara's first kill traumatizing her, but it's forgotten half an hour later when she's slaughtered dozens more. 

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I played Rise of the Tomb Raider mostly laughing my way through it, as the carnage she instigates in her serial killing rampage is one of the most tonally at odds with the flimsy premise for her adventure and loyalty from her friends than in any other game I've ever played.

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Just now, Mike1812 said:

I think what gets me is in GTA and RDR type games is the missions where you have to kill police who are(quite rightly) after you. I don't mind shooting criminals etc. so much but think there should be options to do it another way. 

 

The tone of the game definitely has an effect. In the first Tomb Raider reboot, it makes such a big deal out of Lara's first kill traumatizing her, but it's forgotten half an hour later when she's slaughtered dozens more. 

 

I've spent the past couple of days replaying the 2013 game and she's a lot more brutal in this than the others. Using fire arrows (or fire in general) on the guys tracking you down is pretty gruesome with your your attackers suddenly flailing around screaming in agony.

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has a lot less combat (maybe because I turned it down to the lowest setting) leading to three or four concentrated set pieces leaving the rest of the game as a walking sim / exploration puzzle game. (Mind you Shadow has loads of other issues.) But it's almost a redundant game in a sense in that puzzle fans are surely served better by The Witness and games such as Horizon Zero Dawn take care of the action genre. And if you want to climb every mountain then something like No Man's Sky provides almost infinite mountains.

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The ludonarrative dissonance in Uncharted, Tomb Raider, GTA IV et al breaks the illusion of the games for me as a cohesive whole, but in general I have no problem with killing the videogames mans. Would have trouble shooting a virtual dog, though. I think it's the sound that could push it over the edge for me, not the visuals. The sound of pain is not a pleasant one... luckily most videogame mans say silly lines before death, and then scream in a ludicrous OTT way if at all. 

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8 minutes ago, Benny said:

I played Rise of the Tomb Raider mostly laughing my way through it, as the carnage she instigates in her serial killing rampage is one of the most tonally at odds with the flimsy premise for her adventure and loyalty from her friends than in any other game I've ever played.

 

Wait until you play Shadow.

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