It’s too much, and I just can’t take it anymore. For a few years now, there has been this trend in games to make them something other than what they are, namely a form of entertainment. Whether it’s some form of social commentary or an attempt to remind us that gee, war really is not so wonderful a thing after all, gamers, reviewers and sometimes even the developers have taken it upon themselves to take the fun out of games, forcing a level of moral guilt on everyone.
When we pepper wave after wave of enemies with bullets in the repetitious humdrum of everyday shooters, as limbs fly through the air and blood splatters the earth, it’s easy to forget what we’re actually doing: mowing, maiming and murdering every day folk, usually fighting at the behest of governments.
For me this was the final straw; I mean seriously, “what we’re actually doing” is playing a damn game based on a classic First Person Shooter. Let’s focus on that comment a moment: A GAME. This is not the Time Life video series of The World at War, we are not studying the Vietnam Conflict or trying to discuss the causes and events which led to World War I or even more recently the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are playing a smart ass American Soldier who makes wisecracks and shoots (admittedly wonderfully rendered) pixelated Nazis on your monitor or TV. Yes, a story was added, yes it does have its moments where it may grab you (I almost teared when they killed off Jimi Hendrix), but it is no different than watching a damn TV show or reading a comic book.
Another example in recent memory include the self righteous indignation about the “trivialization of war” in Medal of Honor: Warfighter that stemmed from one particular person not liking the fact that health regenerated in game; self righteous indignation which eventually resulted in the pulling of product endorsements from the game that were originally in place to benefit charities. Boo hoo, sissy.
Still yet was “The Disgusting Representation of Women in the Rainbow Six: Siege E3 Demo.” This same person took it upon himself to cry foul because the trailer featured a female hostage. In this heap of written tripe, the author notes that “Ubisoft exhibited a disturbing level of insensitivity during their press conference.” Again, someone else is trying to read too much into things here, just play the damn game. What difference does it make if the hostage were a female, or a male or the friggin Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? I’m sure the few minutes seen during the demo are only one small bit of the game. Obviously someone spends too much time on the crapper, contemplating the deeper universal truths of a game trailer. Of course, I’m unaware if the author also neglected to research the statistics involved, that little one where women are three times more likely to be the victims of forcible confinement than men, but we’ll just gloss over that one…
None of the pointing the finger loathing guilt trips occur in other games, where players TAKE hostages, such as Payday 2, or where gamers can go batshit crazy and kill every person on the screen if they chose. No one cried “racism” during the recent Assassin’s Creed titles, where African slaves were depicted working in the fields of plantations, or in one scene were actually on sale. Was objectifying women (and men) a problem for folks playing any of the recent Fallout titles, where you could screw someone with no skin if you wanted to? Was there any mention of insensitivity to drug addiction mentioned? Did Valve catch flack because you could beat a scientist with a crowbar in Half Life (one of my favorite pastimes in the game)? No, it is perfectly fine to point out one failing and just ignore the others….
I don’t know about you, but after I play a game of Battlefield 4, Call of Duty Whatever, or friggin’ Candy Crush, I don’t take a moment to contemplate about the deeper meaning of life, philosophy and the ethics involved, then cry because I am a bad person. Generally, I am sitting down after a long day of work, quite possibly with a beer or twelve, and relaxing. I am enjoying myself, something that people do far too little of these days in between stressing out over bills, raising children and contemplating their place in the universe or whatever the hell it is they are doing. Quite frankly I do not care, and I do not care to have anyone place some guilt trip on me. I do not need to know the horrors of war, or how bad the social fabric of America and the world is. If you have story to tell, tell it, just don’t jump on your soapbox and preach to me. I’m tired of it.
Video games are not meant to emulate real life. For years, gamers and developers alike have argued that video games are not a cause nor a contributor to the many events we see, whether it be the desensitization to violence, or any number of things. So why in the hell are we trying to look for something and say: “See, this is the problem with our world today!”
By reaching in and fishing for issues to call attention to, these people are qualifying the very arguments we say are false. Video games are not the cause of violence, yet they trivialize war and women. Which is it numbnuts? Better yet, I have a better idea:
No one really gives two craps about the axe you wish to grind. If you don’t like the way the world is, then do something constructive to change it. Find a cause, and work towards a solution. Maybe then, you will have something worth saying. In the meantime, can I enjoy my game without you having to quote the Dali Lama, or some shit?