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Violence

Boston police arrest two armed men at Pokemon World Championships

Aug 23 // Kyle MacGregor
Norton and Stumbo were subsequently arrested at a hotel in Saugus, Massachusetts for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and other firearm-related charges.  Both men are listed as invitees in the Pokémon Trading Card Game's masters division competition. Kotaku dredged up the following post made by Stumbo on a Facebook group: The Pokémon Company International has made the following statement regarding the matter: "Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue. We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department. "Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokémon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority." Keeping Boston Safe: Officers Arrest Two Suspects, Recover Two Firearms after BPD Notified of Online Threats to Pokemon World Championship [Boston Police Department via Kotaku]
PokÚmon  photo
Firearms recovered after alleged threats
At this weekend's Pokémon World Championships in Boston, local police arrested two armed men who allegedly threatened to harm tournament attendees over social media. After catching wind of the threats on Thursday, priv...

Destructoid and Destructive Creations talk about Hatred: Part 1

Jun 12 // Jonathan Holmes
Destructoid: For people who don't already know, what is Hatred about and how does it play? Jarosław Zieliński (Destructive Creations CEO): Hatred is a dynamic isometric twin-stick shooter where you take a role of cold-blooded Antagonist who hates the whole humanity and goes out for a hunt. But, when the police and army walks in, you will be hunted, and you'll struggle to survive in order to achieve the main game goal (but we won't spoil it). The game is quite challenging, unless you play on easy difficulty. On hard or extreme it shows its teeth and that's the way it was meant to be played. You can steer with a combination of mouse and keyboard or with a use of a gamepad. There is a wide selection of weapons, and you can also use some vehicles to perform the mayhem. The environment is almost completely destructible; the game offers very advanced physics and uses UE4. Dtoid: If the Antagonist of Hatred played Hatred, would he love it or hate it? J. Z.: He wouldn't like it, because he would consider it as an easy way of venting out his hatred. He is clearly a heroic fella in his own opinion; he does things in reality and that's what matters to him. But I'm just guessing here. Dtoid: You've said in prior interviews that the GTA series is largely about killing for greed and self interest, while Hatred is about killing out of an honest urge to destroy. Yet, Hatred has been demonized by many of the same people who seem to adore the GTA games. Why do you think that is, and do you think the Antagonist of Hatred is in any way more honorable or deserving of respect than the criminals of GTA? J. Z.: He isn't hiding anything behind what he does. He is full of emotions, because hate is also an emotion as the love is. His aim is to eliminate the targets. He is not getting anything out of that – no money, no fame, no satisfaction for sadistic intents. As a sociopath, he only wants to watch the world burn. His actions aren't motivated by greed. There is a kind of purity in his behavior, because he is not trying to justify who he is and what he does, contrary to what we can see in GTA, because there, we also play criminals, but motivated by something less pure. You may try to look deeper and figure out on your own why Antagonist is like this. We left the explanation of his behavior to the gamers. Dtoid: You've also said in prior interviews that you were never interested in using pixel art for Hatred, as you don't like the look and you don't think it would fit the game. Hotline Miami is another twin-stick shooter about being a sociopath, but it uses sprite-based graphics, and it's done very well commercially and critically. [Spoilers] It also has a twist at the end that comments directly on how the player likes to hurt people. [/Spoilers] Have you played Hotline Miami, and/or do you have any thoughts on how the game was received vs. Hatred's reception? Do you think people are more willing to accept an ultra-violent game about being "the bad guy" if it has "sprite-based graphics and/or a veneer of self-awareness and deeper meaning"? J. Z.: To be honest – I've never played Hotline Miami and that's exactly why: I don't really like its colorful style, it is not in my taste. We wanted to stick with more realistic approach to the looks of the game. We aren't fans of pixel art graphics; that was never in our interest to do something like that in Hatred. Why HM is more acceptable to the public than Hatred is? I can only guess, but if you would have exactly the same story and gameplay features, but it would be shown in a realistic mood, with people's faces reflecting fear and pain, there would be much more controversy about the game. And there's also a matter of a plot. I don't really know what the storyline is in HM, but I doubt it's "evil deeds for evil deeds" as it is in Hatred. And mostly – that's the reason many people are so obsessed by our game, in both ways – love or hate. Dtoid: Do you think people would have reacted differently to Hatred if it starred a woman or a member of an ethnic minority? Or a man who's dying of cancer, like in Bobcat Goldthwait's film God Bless America? How about a gun-wielding baby who just doesn't know any better? J. Z.: Possibly some would react differently, some wouldn't. I wouldn't like to give an answer for everybody as each of us has his own perspective on such things. We thought it would be better if we create a character that leaves more questions than answers to the audience. As you have seen, many people accepted the game design, theme, and the character, and we are happy about that, as we are sure that our game reached the audience we aimed for. I would also like to add that killing is always wrong in terms of morality – doesn't matter if you're a soldier, a person dying of cancer, or a psychopath wearing a trench coat. Justification of evil deeds is a cancer of humanity and will probably put it into the grave at some point. Dtoid: Hatred involves near-constant killing of innocent people, but it does not feature the violence towards children or animals, or any sexual violence of any kind. Were you concerned that allowing the Antagonist to engage in those acts would somehow make the player feel bad about themselves? Or are those monstrous actions just not monstrous in a "fun" way? J. Z.: We didn't plan to put animals, children, or rape into the game; that wasn't in our interest. And you've got the exact point – some things are so bad that even on the screen they would be too much for me, but it's a matter of personal approach. I didn't kill children in Fallout, even if I could. I was never interested in games like Rape Lay, never even seen it. As for killing animals – let's face it – we're used to doing it in games. We didn't put animals into Hatred, because it would be too much work and keep in mind we're a very small team, with small budget. And it wouldn't add anything worthwhile to the game itself. Dtoid: You've jokingly said in prior interviews that unlike Anita Sarkeesian, your team hasn't gotten any death threats, maybe because the people who make death threats are probably fans of Hatred. When things are funny, it's often because there is at least some truth to them. What do you think of all the conflict swarming around the release of your game, and what advice would you give to fans who are trying to fight "Social Justice Warriors and Unethical Games Journalists" on your behalf? J. Z.: Actually, we got more positive feedback than negative. You could count hate emails we received on two pairs of hands, and the positive feedback can be counted in thousands. It's rather a problem with media, when they found out that some "rebels" had made a game that worked against all trends. The "crusade" against us didn't really work out, as our game became more and more recognizable and successful. And who said that thing we've said had to be funny? I think it's kinda true. To anyone who opposes "Social Justice Warriors and Unethical Games Journalists" I would say: "keep fighting, we're on your side!," while we don't really care about the voice of SJWs, they are just loud minority in the gaming world and most people don't care about reviews or Metacritic anymore. Me included – many games I liked were heavily bashed by media. And besides – submission is for the weak. We won't submit to the values we don't accept. We like to do things the way we want. Dtoid: Indeed you do. Thanks for reading everybody, and be sure to come back for part two of this interview where we discuss AO ratings, if Hatred is appropriate for children, Juggalos, shitting, and more. 
Hatred interview photo
For the most part, they seem pretty nice
For better or worse, many in the gaming world might have come to take Destructoid for granted. If you follow gaming closely enough to know who we are, then you've probably also formed a general opinion about us, and regardles...

What if Twitter was a Real Life Party? Video games and violence

May 16 // Jonathan Holmes
With video games in particular, there's absolutely no way of knowing what effect games alone will have on a person on a long-term basis. Some studies saw that many people show a diminished capacity for empathy after playing some videogames, but other studies show the opposite. Unless science is able to gather a perfect test group that is able to be studied by the effects that video games have on them alone, it will never be able to provide us with any conclusive answers. More qualitative, general observations aren't much more helpful. Sure, there are more mass shootings in America now than ever before, but the violent crime rate is also down overall. It would be easy to guess that means the rise of violent video games in America gives most people a positive outlet for aggression, decreasing their capacity for violent crime, while having the opposite effect on a group of outliers who later become mass murderers, but that kind of guess would be completely silly. That kind of guess would have to discount all the other concurrent trends in America today, like the increased levels of violence in film and movies, the increased use of thought- and mood-altering drugs (both street and prescriptions) in modern society, the drastic changes in our sociological/political/nutritional landscape, the Internet's influence on culture in general, and so many other factors. If you know a social scientist who can isolate video games from all those factors in determining how a person has been affected by his or her environment, I've got a crisp $20 bill with their name on it.  Regardless, this video wasn't meant to be a serious debate about all these issues, so I'm not even sure why I'm getting into them now. It's just a little animated reenactment of an unusual and semi-cute interaction I had with someone on Twitter. I hope you like it.  
WIT WAR LP photo
Social media animated!
One of the great things about the Internet is the limitless opportunity for social interaction it provides. While it always saddens me to see people use Twitter and other social media tools for the primary purpose of putting...

Postal 2 expansion photo
Postal 2 expansion

Postal 2, not Portal 2, got an expansion this week


I'm still struggling to read it correctly
Apr 17
// Jordan Devore
I've never had much interest in playing Postal 2. Probably never will. And yet, every time it comes up, I have to see what's going on. There's a YouTube video of the bad-taste game entitled "Headless Gary Coleman Puke Party" ...

Mortal Kombat montage photo
Mortal Kombat montage

Mortal Kombat X Fatality and X-Ray montage


For all you sick spandex fans out there
Apr 07
// Glowbear
For those of you who prefer to watch from the sidelines or simply check out what moves are possible with your roster, we've got a cheery video showcasing seven minutes of Mortal Kombat X Fatalities and X-Ray moves. My poor delicate constitution. Mortal Kombat X: All Fatalities and X-Rays So Far in 1080p 60fps [IGN]

Lots of games are morally bankrupt, we get it

Mar 19 // Anthony Burch
Most games are horrifying celebrations of violence and empowerment that prioritize aggression over compassion, and competition over empathy. And that's completely fine. (So long as the game, and the audience, know that that's what is going on.) We all -- to some extent or another -- are aware that the art and media we engage with can often be full of shit. We often love our art for being full of shit! I love Doctor Who, and it's one of the most full-of-shit television shows of all time! It champions optimism and mercy without ever approaching anything even remotely similar to a real-life dilemma, and -- so long as you know that's what it's doing -- it's a perfectly fine bit of escapism. And so it is with violent videogames. Yes, it's really, really weird that you run around massacring orcs because They're The Bad Guys, and it's even weirder that we were more excited to massacre them in Shadow of Mordor specifically because they felt more human. They felt like people with lives and backstories and that made it way more satisfying to slice their heads off what the fuck. But! It's escapism. It's full of shit, but it's full of shit in a way that is decidedly fun and effective. Should we ask greater questions about why Shadow of Mordor is fun, and consider how its fun-ness might be inexorably linked to racism and classism? Absolutely. Should we stop playing Shadow of Mordor and paint everyone who enjoys it as an enormous pile of human waste? Of course not. Or, to quote Anita Sarkeesian: "It is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." (A quote that, if more people actually listened to, might have resulted in a way goddamn calmer gamer culture over the past few years.) So, it's okay to enjoy sadistic, weird, violent bullshit, so long as all parties involved know that that's exactly what they're doing. The only real problem, to me, is when that bullshit starts pretending to be about something else. Going back to Shadow of Mordor -- which was unquestionably my favorite game of last year -- I loved the over-the-top violence and the multitude of horrific things that you could do to your enemies. I distinctly did not love the story that tried to morally justify those things. The story of Talion's vengeance, and how justified he was in killing all those orcs because they are inherently "vile, savage beasts" (again, you should really read Austin Walker's article), is kind of nonsensical. It gets the player from A to B, sure, but it never stopped feeling weird for the game to paint Talion as a hero with one brush, and then allow you to decapitate an orc who is defined by a very human, relatable fear of fire moments later. But we've heard this argument before, right? Ludonarrative dissonance, blah blah blah. We've heard this argument so much, in fact, that it spawned an entirely new genre of games: the Violent Games That Criticize Violence And People Who Enjoy Violence genre. Anyone who has played Hotline Miami will remember the constant, enigmatic questions posed to the player by its cast of animal-faced murderers. "Knowing oneself means acknowledging one's actions." "You like hurting people, don't you?" "You're not a nice person, are you?" "Do you like hurting other people?" On its surface, these questions -- questions that many games pose to their players -- are deep, interesting queries. Functionally, though, they do nothing but jab an accusatory finger at the player. You fucking caveman, they shout. What's wrong with you? Why do you like this horrible, violent pornography? The answer to these condescending questions is simple: because these games are fun, and you know they're fun, and you spent hours and hours and hours of development time making sure I'd find them fun. These games never broach the actual social or biological reasons we find violence entertaining. Evolutionarily, it's to our advantage to find violence more stimulating and interesting than other aspects of the human experience, because a failure to find violence noteworthy can result in our deaths. Culturally, there are reams and reams of academic papers on violence as a (chiefly male) expression of worth and power that can often poison the aggressor almost as much as their victim. These games don't address that. Far Cry 3 says you like violence because you're a racist, simple-minded tourist (or at least, you have no problem taking on the role of one because, as a player, you're so eager to get to the murdering that your avatar is meaningless). Hotline Miami says you like it because you're kind-of-sort-of-bad-person-I-guess-but-maybe-not-really-I-don't-know. Spec Ops: The Line suggests you've just never given any thought to what the hell you've done as a player of games. These games chastise the player for enjoying consequence-free violence, right before offering them a smorgasbord of beautifully rendered, lovingly visceral consequence-free violence (Spec Ops less so, as it actually gives a shit about the choices you made in the story. Additionally, it forbids the player from being as graphically sadistic toward his or her enemies as FC3 and Hotline Miami). This is kind of weird, right? This is a hypocritical way of having your cake and eating it too -- of pretending you're making a grand statement about violence, without actually saying anything of note beyond -- bizarrely -- blaming the player for buying your game. If a game truly cared about exploring violence and its consequences, wouldn't it bake that into its game systems? XCOM, to me, is a greater treatise on violence and death than any of the other games I've mentioned because its systems force the player to make real, consequential, dynamic choices about the value of life. Should I put my elite assault trooper into the path of a crysalid if it means that he'll be able to save two or three civilians? Is it worthwhile to use my rookie to draw a sectoid's fire, just so my sniper can get a shot off? How much do I care about "winning" versus being a good person? What is the actual, financial cost of a human being? XCOM, while seemingly just a silly game about marines fighting aliens, directly engages with these questions in a way that the Hotline Miamis and Far Crys of the world never do. (And what's more, they do it without relying on gore for spectacle's sake). The answer for that is, perhaps, obvious: because it's hard. Because to do so is expensive, and means you're making a mechanically complex game in a time where it's easier and cheaper and often more profitable to make simple games. But if you're going to make a simple game that casts the player in a simple, hyperviolent role, why pretend to be an exploration of violence when your game mechanics obviously aren't? Why not go the other direction? Why not celebrate the fact that you're, to be brutally cynical, kinda full of shit? That's what Borderlands 2 was about -- from my perspective, at least. (It should probably go without saying, but a TON of people worked on Borderlands 2, and though I wrote about 90% of the dialogue, that dialogue makes up a comparatively small percentage of the overall Borderlands 2 experience. I can only speak for myself, and my own frame of mind when I worked on the game.) Early on, after the player kills a few psycho bandits, I had Claptrap comment on the battle: "Minion! What did you DO?! Those people had LIVES, and FAMILIES, and -- nah, I'm totally kidding. SCREW those guys!" As a joke, this line of dialogue isn't great. It's too long, its punchline is obvious, and it's just plain not all that funny. But nonetheless, this was a line I found myself coming back to as a thematic touchstone for the series as a whole. Yes, you are a murderer. Yes, you only exist to kill people and rob their corpses so you can kill more powerful things and rob more shiny stuff from their corpses. But it's all bullshit, so don't sweat it. Don't forget that you're being kind of a murderous antihero, but have fun with it! It's entertaining to be a murderous antihero. Don't pretend you're something that you're not (a hero), but don't beat yourself up over your antiheroism -- revel in it. There was a bit of internal worry about casting the player as such an amoral mercenary, but by making the bad guy an even bigger asshole, and by surrounding the people with (hopefully) charming, equally amoral good guys, everything basically turned out okay. We didn't, to my recollection, get any letters about how horrific it was to play as an antihero -- if anything, people seemed to enjoy that Borderlands was so jovially honest with its players about what it was and what it asked them to do. Saints Row works for exactly the same reason. The first two Saints Row games can often veer toward the horrifying, as the player upholds "values" like loyalty (which manifests itself in the player brutally murdering Julius, the founder of the Saints who rats on them in an attempt to bring peace back to Stillwater) and justice (which sees the player kidnap an unarmed woman, lock her in the trunk of a destruction derby car, and trick her boyfriend into ramming her to death as a means of avenging one of their fallen comrades). But Saints Row 3 and 4? The games where the franchise fully accepted just how batshit insane its players, characters, and world are? God damn, those are some good fucking videogames. Yes, your only method of interaction with civilians sees you punching or bludgeoning or shooting them. "Fuck it," the game says -- "let's incentivize that kind of behavior by making civilians drop health when you kill them." The moment Saints Row stopped trying to make serious statements about anything was the moment it reached its full potential. It accepted its own ludicrousness, and in so doing became the most honest videogame ever made: you play like a psychopath in these games, so we'll cast you as a mass-murderer and have everyone talk about how hilariously fun it is to be a mass-murderer. Fuck it, we'll make you president because you were so good at being a mass-murderer. Sure, the Saints Row games aren't "deep" (except for the fact that they totally are, thanks to their treatment of sexuality), but they're honest. Their messages, such as they are, match up perfectly with their mechanics. In my dumb, ex-game-dev opinion, XCOM and Saints Row represent the two best ways of actually tackling violence in games. Either build your systems around violence and its consequences -- actually force your players to answer questions of morality and power for themselves --  or just throw up your hands and create a world where the player can have fun being a total piece of shit. Above all, just be honest in what you're doing -- don't pretend your game is about How Bad Violence Is when it's really about How Awesome Pixelated Blood Looks.
Immoral games photo
Now move on, already
With Hotline Miami 2 recently released, I realized I am really, really tired of games that belong in its genre. When I say "genre," I refer not to "action games" or "indie games" or even "violent games," but a subtler, more h...

Promoted Blog photo
Promoted Blog

Videogames don't let me think about the awful things I do in them


Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Nov 01
// JoyfulSanity
[Dtoid community blogger JoyfulSanity shares his thoughts on the different types of violence in videogames, and why some resonate differently than others. Want to see your own stuff appear on the front page? Go write somethin...
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The secret origin story of Super Mario Bros. finally revealed


Or, the final episode of Mario Warfare
Jul 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
It's the long awaited final chapter of the Mario Warfare series. It's been a long wait, but the gang at BeatDownBoogie wrap the saga up in a rather splendid way. While this is the last episode of the series, this won't ...
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This is an extra weird one
Here on Farts 'N' Crafts, we tackle a lot of hard-hitting issues. And by hard-hitting issues, I specifically mean "bodily fluids," which is almost ironic considering the show's title. We've done dog feces, we've gone hedgeho...

Videogame violence photo
Videogame violence

Study ties game-related aggression to 'incompetence,' not violent content


Well, I am bald and important
Apr 08
// Steven Hansen
If you've played a videogame, chances are you've been angered by a videogame. I've also been upset by driving, sewing, spilling water on my suede shoes, missing a bus, rising income inequality, and comically ballooning rent p...
Politics photo
Politics

Anti-game senator Leland Yee arrested on fraud, gun trafficking charges


Sweet irony
Mar 27
// Jordan Devore
California state senator Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday on charges of honest services fraud and gun trafficking. A vocal opponent of violent videogames, Yee should be no stranger to long-time Destructoid readers given his ...
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Wario gives Peach a beatdown in the latest Mario Warfare


Episode 7!
Mar 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
It's been a long few months, but the latest episode of Mario Warfare has finally been unleashed! The fight to take back the Mushroom Kingdom continues, and this time Mario, Peach, and Donkey Kong have some more challenging foes to contend with. Once again the choreography is top notch, especially for something that's just a web series based on the Super Mario franchise.
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Mario Warfare shows that Princess Peach can kick your ass


Episode 4, 5, and 6!
Dec 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Beatdown Boogie's wonderful Mario Warfare series has been chugging along, and we last left off with Princess Peach learning the way of the gorilla with Donkey Kong. Since then, Mario and Luigi discovered the Smash Club, with...
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Game Debate to the Death! Favorite GTA game?


Grab a cup of hot coffee and join the debate!
Sep 10
// Tom Fronczak
In the previous debate we matched the three current generation consoles against one another to see which would be the victor of this era of gaming. When the dust settled, the PS3 ran away with the crown, but who claimed secon...
Ninja Gaiden vs. Strider photo
Ninja Gaiden vs. Strider

Shinobi clash! Ryu Hayabusa vs. Strider Hiryu


The least stealthy ninjas of all time cross blades
Aug 16
// Tony Ponce
Videogame ninjas are seriously the worst ninjas of all time. It's kind of hard to keep hidden in the shadows when there is a trail of blood and limbs running right up to your present location. Still pretty badass, though. Tw...
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Donkey Kong joins the fight in Mario Warfare episode 3


Oh, and Luigi's balls are still crushed
Jul 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Episode three of of Beat Down Boogie's Mario Warfare series has finally landed! This time we catchup with Princess Peach as she's just made her escape from the Mushroom Kingdom. Unfortunately she's put herself into more dang...
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Rhymedown Spectacular: Games, Games, Everywhere


The brains behind Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation get lyrical
Jul 03
// Jim Sterling
Can you contain your excitement? It's time for another Rhymedown Spectacular with Yahtzee and ol' Jimmy! This week, Mr. Croshaw bans guns in the name of sanity, while I banish mediocrity to the Hell Pits where it belongs.  Oh, we are good at doing our word things.
Shao Kahn vs. M. Bison photo
Shao Kahn vs. M. Bison

Who would win: Shao Kahn or M. Bison?


Closest thing to Mortal Kombat X Street Fighter we'll ever get
Jun 28
// Tony Ponce
We're never going to get that Mortal Kombat / Street Fighter crossover, so what are we to do? Harness our "Imagination," that's what! ScrewAttack's DEATH BATTLE! pits the big bosses of the MK and SF universes against one ano...
John Stossel wins photo
John Stossel wins

John Stossel wins the violent videogames argument


Fox News host uses this funny thing called 'logic'
Jun 22
// Tony Ponce
It's not every day that you can say a Fox News personality makes a rational argument regarding any of today's hottest trends and hobbies, but stranger things have happened. In a recent segment of his talk show, John Stossel ...
Pac-Man noir photo
Pac-Man noir

Pac-Man, the cocky, pinstripe suit-wearing noir hero


Cock of the walk
May 25
// Tony Ponce
A hyper-stylized version of Pac-Man that exaggerates the violence of the rather tame arcade original? Yeah, we've gone down that road before. "Goodnight Sweet Pakman" may be no different in that regard, but I can't stop watching the opening 40 seconds over and over again. That A Night at the Roxbury head bob gets me every single time! Goodnight Sweet Pakman [YouTube]
Rockstar photo
Rockstar

Ex-GTA producer won't make another ultra-violent game


Jeremy Pope happier making games that focus on player interaction
May 20
// Alasdair Duncan
When you work on titles like Grand Theft Auto III and Max Payne, you've clearly been exposed to a healthy amount of videogame violence but it was this experience that prompted a change of heart for former Rockstar producer Je...
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Biden: No legal reason why 'violent' games can't be taxed


Vice President tells Reverend Asshole that'd be just fine
May 14
// Jim Sterling
Vice President Joe Biden recently had a meeting with religious leaders to discuss gun control, and violent media was discussed. God forbid we don't obfuscate the gun discussion with more demented strawmen.  Reverend Fran...
Red Dead vs. Metal Gear photo
Red Dead vs. Metal Gear

John Marston vs. Revolver Ocelot's ridiculous mustache


The gunslingers of Red Dead Redemption and Metal Gear Solid duke it out
May 13
// Tony Ponce
John Marston: outlaw turned hero of the Old West. Revolver Ocelot: two-faced Russian gunslinger with a flair for the dramatic. What happens when these two square off in a a shootout to the death? Ocelot wins. Duh. What, was ...
Violence promoted blog photo
Violence promoted blog

Promoted blog: In defense of violence


Promoted from our Community Blogs!
May 11
// Revuhlooshun
[For his Bloggers Wanted essay response, Destructoid community blogger Revuhlooshun goes to bat for violent games, then uses that bat to smash a bunch of shit. Want to see your own words appear on the front page? Go write som...
Electronic Arts photo
Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts distancing itself from gun manufacturers


Plans to use branded weapons without licenses going forward
May 08
// Kyle MacGregor
Electronic Arts is distancing itself from the gun industry. Well, sort of. The publisher plans to cut ties with gun manufacturers while still using branded weapons in its future titles. In the past, EA has approached gun comp...
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Boy tries to rape mom, kills her, over Call of Duty ban


Uses the gun he was given at 11-years-old
May 04
// Jim Sterling
A 14-year-old boy from rural Iowa has been charged with first degree murder after shooting his mother with a .22 caliber rifle he received as a present. Noah Crooks, who was 13 at the time, attempted to rape his mother i...
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Guardian: Over half of 2012's top 50 games are violent


Apparently Super Mario 3D Land is violent
May 02
// Dale North
The Guardian has put together this very slick interactive infographic using their analysis of the top 50 videogames of 2012. They found that more than half of the top games of last year contain violent labeling as assigned by...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

PBS asks: Is buying Call of Duty a moral choice?


Videogames!
Apr 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
PBS's latest Here's An Idea series takes a look at videogames that feature real portrayals of guns such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and the like and asks whether buying these type of games is a moral choice. It brings up many interesting points, including how game companies have to pay gun makers licenses in order to represent their real guns in videogames. What do you think?
Bloggers Wanted photo
Bloggers Wanted

Bloggers Wanted: Ultra violence?


Get your blog on Destructoid's front page!
Apr 14
// mrandydixon
[When we're looking for blogs on a specific topic, we'll put out a Bloggers Wanted call. Check out the blog prompt, write a response, and you may see your blog promoted to the front page!] There's been a lot of talk lately ab...

Why does BioShock Infinite need to be non-violent?

Apr 12 // Jim Sterling
BioShock Infinite is a game about violence. It's not just a game about racism, or religion, or any of the other "heady" themes it touches upon. The floating city of Columbia is a city steeped in blood, visited by a protagonist with a past of brutality, rescuing a woman who is, in many ways, a product of humanity's most selfish and oppressive traits. Like BioShock before it, violent acts are a key, fundamental, crucial part of the experience. To demand the option of sidestepping such a thing is to miss perhaps the strongest narrative element of the game.  Ludonarrative dissonance is brought up in discussion, as if the gameplay and the story are somehow conflicting. This is so far from the truth, I have to believe those using the term don't understand the game at all. There's no dissonance, not like there potentially was in the recently released Tomb Raider. In Tomb Raider, Lara Croft is presented as an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, as vulnerable as any of us would be -- traumatically wounded in cutscenes, nowhere near as strong and experienced as the vicious inhabitants of the island she's stranded on. The gameplay contradicts this by way of violent empowerment, giving players access to machine guns, fire arrows, grenades, and a plethora of excessively nasty stealth kills. There is a very clear difference between Lara's story, and Lara's interactive behavior. This is ludonarrative dissonance.  By contrast, Infinite's Booker DeWitt is a war veteran, whose activities at Wounded Knee were excessive even by the generally horrific standards of the massacre. Though he feels guilt for what he did, he's a violent man at heart, who inescapably resorts to butchery to solve his problems, and he's in a city that, while beautiful and charming at first glance, soon bares its teeth and reveals a world ruled by a man whose acclimation to force rivals that of the protagonist. It's violence meets violence, and the result can only be more violence. This is quite the opposite of ludonarrative dissonance -- it's an integration of story and gameplay rarely seen in even the very best videogames. Ludonarrative dissonance does not, by the way, mean "violence." The term has been bandied about a lot lately, and I'm growing more convinced that many people using it do not appreciate what the term means. If they did, they wouldn't use it as an interchangeable term for "combat" like they do. The violence does not contradict the story in any way. The excess of the violence is not going against the narrative established. It sounds smart to use the term, but only if you misunderstand BioShock Infinite's plot. Misunderstanding it is the only way you could believe there's any dissonance at play.  The violence witnessed in Columbia is excessive because it has to be -- when his blood is up and enemies are at their weakest, Booker carves them up in unbelievably horrific ways. He expresses a dissatisfaction with his history of combat, and yet is frequently reminded by other characters that, deep down, he's a cold-blooded killer. Even as Booker protests, he's being fed victims by the likes of Slate and Fink, who set out to prove he's exactly the man he claims he's not. Booker's claims of regret ring hollow when he's mashing faces to pieces with his whirly claw of death -- and they're supposed to. His entire story is one of denial, of claiming he's better than those around him, and ultimately, devastatingly, being proven wrong. That first time he gladly grinds a spinning metal claw into somebody's face is the first clue that Booker's claims of putting his past behind him are bullshit.  In fact, giving Booker the option of non-violent discourse would in fact be the very dissonance some people claim to dislike. That goes against everything natural to Booker, and everything natural to Columbia. This is not a world of reason, and the "peace keepers" of Father Comstock's oppressive will are not rational individuals, out for a debate. They're fanatical, paranoid, dangerous people, and stopping to have a chat with them would simply not make sense. Likewise, the hero is a man who kills, who does stupid things without thinking them through, and ultimately proves everybody right when they say he's a monster. His story would not work if he reached the conclusion with nothing but speech checks to his name. Furthermore, though some may think it a "shame" that the otherwise beautiful environment of Columbia gets torn apart by conflict, the downfall of the city is crucial to the story. Columbia is Stepford -- a smiling, bright, utterly artificial society, based upon the visually resplendent but cheaply contrived White City of Chicago, built in 1905. Like White City, Columbia is a place of surface-level beauty with a dark side (the cheap plaster buildings of White City looked gorgeous, yet were stalked by the sadistic serial killer H.H. Holmes). We're supposed to realize that Columbia is a fake, a sham, with an atmosphere of horror under its manufactured surface. In reality, the city is a heavily armed, potentially apocalyptic weapon. We're introduced to this fact early on in the game, and we're supposed to realize that underneath the gloss, there's nothing but sheer ugliness.  It strikes me as wholly ironic that we're picking on BioShock Infinite to make our point about violence, when it's more justified here than anywhere else. Even the brilliant Half-Life 2 has to ignore its own backstory to make sense as a game. Gordon Freeman, as pointed out by the antagonist Dr. Breen, is a theoretical physicist. He's not a super soldier, he's not magic, he's just a doctor -- yet the only evidence of this ability is his plugging a machine into a wall socket. The rest of the game is about firing rockets, smashing zombies with crowbars, and sucking up dead bodies to throw at brainwashed soldiers. Similarly, the Uncharted series is borderline creepy when you stop to consider how Nathan Drake is just looking for treasure, yet guns down hundreds upon hundreds of human beings while making wisecracks. We have to compartmentalize a lot when we play story-driven games -- and yet BioShock Infinite is one of the few (outside of war games) where we don't, and here we are singling it out as the example of why violent gameplay doesn't work. Talk about a total misfire. Those asking for a non-violent BioShock Infinite are asking for a different game entirely, an issue made doubly silly when you realize such games already exist. If you want a shooter with more player choice, with less violent options, with chances to talk down the antagonists, you have Deus Ex. That kind of player agency is something Deus Ex excels at, because that's part of the series' core philosophy.BioShock has never tried to do that, never led anybody to believe it would do that, and I don't understand where people suddenly started thinking it would. BioShock's core philosophy does not include that level of player agency, that level of non-aggression. It never has. It wouldn't work for Infinite's story if it did.  Not every game needs player choice. Not every game needs a non-violent path. To ask for such things in a game designed entirely around violence is to ask for yet more homogenization in games, to want every single game to cater to everybody at all times. That's the same attitude that sees multiplayer options shoehorned into otherwise excellent solo experiences. You may believe your motives are more high-minded, but the result is the same. You want to crack and break a game to fit your one template for creative success.  Gaming pundits have a history of insecurity. We worry what "they" will think of videogames, we fret over what "they" will think of gamers. I'm not sure who "they" are, these ever-faceless societal judges who apparently witness and condemn every little thing we do, but we need to get over our fear of them. People saying the violence in BioShock Infinite is "embarrassing" betray their own lack of esteem for the medium, concerned as they are with what other people might think, and disregarding the fact that many of humanity's greatest artistry -- from the plays of Shakespeare to the many paintings depicting Jesus Christ's death -- are soaked in and driven by violence. We're a violent species, and that is reflected in much of our art. That's not say all art is violent, but it does say that, if you're reading Sophie's Choice and wishing it was a choose-your-own-adventure, you're looking for the wrong kind of art in the wrong kind of place.  BioShock Infinite is not your game if you want a non-violent exploration of its themes, because Infinite's themes revolve around violence as a core concept. It may not be to your taste, and you may have many other issues with BioShock Infinite's story, but to complain about its violence, as if only non-violent art can credibly explore "mature" ideas, makes you sound less mature than you think you sound. Your argument is shallow, hinged upon the idea that violence in art is simply wrong, and automatically undoes anything else such art tries to do. That is not true. Violence may be all-too prevalent in videogames, but that doesn't make it bad, it doesn't make it pointless, and it doesn't undo anything -- especially when it's thoroughly justified.  So why does BioShock Infinite need to be less violent? It doesn't. It simply does not. Not for the game it successfully manages to be, and the story is expertly manages to tell. I am glad the conversations about game content are finally happening ... but pick an actual good example, people!
Violent BioShock Infinite photo
'It always ends in blood'
"I want a BioShock where we have the OPTION to resolve confrontation without the use of guns," said one gamer to me today. As I consider his comment, I can't help but think more and more it's like saying you want a Metal Gear...


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