Violence has been a touchy subject on the video game industry for a while now, as more games get increasingly violent, the question of what is too far gets asked. BioShock Infinite seems to be the next game questioned on whether games are getting too violent lately. BioShock Infinite is violent, but itís not as violent as most says it is. You do shoot things and use vigors to kill enemies, what makes it violent is the melee kills. You get your skyhook and use them in brutal ways. Either killing an enemy by decapitation or simply snapping the neck. I think the reason why these kills are the front and center of it all is how detached the rest of the game†is. Itís the most violent aspect of the game, and it can easily be avoided most of the time. The only time you use the melee is the first battle.
RIP TEAR SLASH
But what about the other games that is out there? Take the God of War games. They are increasingly violent, and it sells that level of violence to the audience. When God of War III was first announced in E3 2009, the finale part of the demo was Kratos ripping Heliosí head off. It was not a clean rip either; skin was stretched, veins burst, and blood spewed everywhere. Even Kratos himself was bloodied. That one rip was the talk of everyone when God of War III was discussed. Itís very possible to say that the violence and gore was part of the game design, but if you look at paintings about Greek Mythology, they are violent by nature. The one painting that shows up often is one of Cronos eating his young. It was not like they were swallowed whole like in God of War II, but literally being eaten. Blood covered Cronos hands and mouth with a body that is almost devoured. This is just one of many graphic paintings of violence that shows how violent a person is. Look up Hell at Google, and you will be shown paintings of people getting tortured and killed. From the early days of the caveman paintings by telling the story of how they got their food, to now where we can see real live shootouts in the news. Violence is now, and forever more, a part of human nature. If you see an insect you donít like, thereís a good chance that you are going to kill that insect. There, you have commented violence.
See the veins
Violence is in movies, music, comic books, books, and nearly everything you do. Some of the greatest movies are violent. Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Saving Private Ryan, and even the old classic Disney films are violent. Same goes for comic books. Even in the 1950's where comic books had to be absurdly tame, it still had violence in them. Music and books are downright graphic. Listen to a song from the Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem and there is a good chance that there is a violent reference. Then there are bands like Cannibal Corpse and Dethklok. Their songs are violent by nature. There is not an episode in Metalocalypse that some random person dies in the most graphic ways. Iím a fan of They Might Be Giants and thereís a song from there new album on which it hinted that two young kids kill their parents. This is not the only song they sing about that has death in them. In their long career, death one way or another is one of the main themes. If you think that games and music is bad, it has nothing on books.
GORE AND GORE
One of the most popular books to come out in the past 20 years is the Harry Potter series. It starts out fun and light, but by the time the series ends, itís so far removed it feels like an entirely different series. If you saw the movie and read the book, you know that the snake did not disintegrate in the book like it did in the movie. The snake was flown off and blood was everywhere. What you make in your own head is worse than what actually is. In the Dark Tower series, Stephen King goes to an absurd detail on how a person got ran over by a car. No music, game, or movie has ever match that level of graphic violence. That is why horror movies are effective and some are not. The less we see the better. Because there was not a PG-13 rating back in the early 70's. Toby Hopper was hoping to get a PG rating on Texas Chainsaw Massacre because of how little gore was shown, but when it was released it was rated R. Even by todayís PG-13 standards, the film is tame. What pushed it to the R rating was how little was shown and how your brain made it worse. The ironic thing is, is that Jaws is rated PG and that film is gorier than Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
He gives us the idea, we just fill in the blanks.
You could argue that the reason why games are in the spotlight instead of films and books is because we are participating on the violence. While this is true to a point, we are only interacting with someone elseís idea. Itís one thing to play a game; itís another thing to write about a fictional characterís death. In the game we are giving the tools to kill an enemy. Either by sword, gun, magic, blunt object, to even the body. Writing about a death allows you to step forward beyond that. It gives you a motive, setting, weapon, and the characters. I could write that person A kills Person B with an ax, or I can say that person A dodge person Bís attack and Kills person B. I can kill A or B in a number of ways. By the chest, legs, arms, or even the head. Itís entirely up to me and that is what games canít do.
There will always be violence in media. Whether fiction or on your nightly news, violence will never go away. I just rather prefer violence in a game, book, movie, music, paintings, plays, or any other matter that is not real life. If you kill another human being, then there is something far more wrong with you than you realize. There is no easy answer, so try not to find one.