Gratuitous Violence in todays Videogames (blog)

#1 Edited by Gorillawhat (1259 posts) -

If I kill it, will it explode on me?


    Over the next few months, your wallet, and most likely your dead body in some violent video game, will be dismembered into several pieces and then eaten in slow motion. Be it Gears of War, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead or Dead Space, they all have exceptional amounts of dead bodies, graphic dismemberment, and an endless supply of spurting blood. But is any of it justified? Or even necessary?  Let's find out.

Rating System

   
    The rating system used to rate these games will be based on a 5 point scale. 1 being justified and 5 being gratuitous. Gratuitous violence is unnecessary violence and/or the depiction of unjustified/excessive violence. Justified violence is violence there for the purpose of bettering and immersing the player into the game, without ruining the immersion by over doing it. So here's the scale otherwise known as the Welcome Mat of shame.
                                                                          

Far Cry 2

Yes, he also wonders how that got there

    The sequel to the original Far Cry, Far Cry 2 ramps up the violence a degree or two. Killing foes isn't very graphic nor unnecessarily violent, however,
Putting a whole new meaning to "It gets on my nerves!"
should you be shot by another enemy and choose to heal, you will be presented through a rather graphic animation consisting of things such as ripping bullets, rhubarb, wire and teeth out of... places. Watch all the animations here.

    Is this gore justified? Although the healing animations go a bit far out, they make sense, and add an extra layer of immersion into the game. And really, if you had a nail protruding from your hand, would you just leave it in there and keep fighting?

On the Welcome Mat of shame, Far Cry 2 receives 2 fingers in the arm out of 5. Because playing doctor on yourself never hurt anybody.
 

Dead Space

He can really keep ahold of himself!

    When you buy a game who's primary combat method is dubbed "strategic dismemberment", your going to have to come to some quick conclusions. The first being that you will have to dismember things strategically. Dead Space involves so much gore, ripping apart of appendages, and straight up weird stuff, that it quickly becomes an easy game to categorize. Guy holding own head, cutting off of limbs, enemies who birth more enemies mid-battle...  I don't think I'm wrong when I say the violence is alot gratuitous, and to the games credit, the violence works in the game, makes it scary, but is still over done.

On the Welcome Mat of shame, I'll give Dead Space 4 dismembered tentacles out of 5. Because even though the violence adds some to the experience, most of it is over the top.
  

Left 4 Dead


ACNE, sometimes linked to brain digestion
Yes, I know, this game has yet to be released to the masses for a little while now, yet from the abundance of gameplay videos of it out there I believe we can come to some pretty close conclusions. To me, Left 4 Deads' violence and gore is perfectly suited for the games main theme, zombies. A bit of blood
It's Left 4 Deads version of a Fusion Coil!
splatter here, some brains over here, just the good 'ol zombie stuff. Yes there are some weird things, like explodable fat guys and other zombies we probably haven't heard of yet, but all the flesh and guts blends perfectly with this zombie survival game, making Left 4 Dead a prime example of justified violence and gore.

On the Welcome Mat of shame, Left 4 Dead is getting 1 combustible fat zombie guy out of 5 combustible fat zombie guys. Because the violence and gore blend so well with the classic zombie theme.


Fallout 3


Step 1: Detach head from body
    Fallout 3 is plenty bloody, slimy, and appears to have individual pieces of flesh physics, which is plenty appetizing. Featuring a shooting system in which players can pick individual parts of an character and then shoot them off, Fallout 3 is mighty gory and violent. Throw in a perk that zooms onto that pefectly decapitating headshot, providing every gruesome angle, then add in the fact that you can do it to any law abiding citizen, and you've got yourself some excellent, over the top, gratuitous violence.
Every time you miss a headshot, a mexican baby dies

    On the Welcome Mat of shame, Fallout 3 will be honored/cursed with 5 slow motion decapitations out of 5. Because it goes through some big steps to make living things explode.




Gears of War 2



If I had taken screengrab any later you would only be seeing red
Ah yes, Gears of War 2, the sequel to one of the more graphically violent games released this generation. I'm 99.9% positive that this game will contain as many, if not more chainsaws and curb-stop-o-rama as it's predecessor. One indication that Gears of War 2 might go a bit over the top would be the GDC Gears of War 2 tech demo, which involved a large piece of meat in the shape of a cube bounce around with some fancy physics. Now imaging a couple thousand of those tiny flesh cubes flying off of some doomed locust as you cut it in half with a chainsaw equipped lancer, get the picture?
The new Burger King/Gears 2 project - Deep Fried Meat Cubes

    Although Gears of War 2 shows many promises at being obscenely violent, it is one of the few games where I've actually heard the designer justify some of it. In some interview, Cliffy B mentions that the reason enemies spurt foot high fountains of blood when shot is so that the player knows when his/her shots are connecting. However that does not justify walking up to someone on their hands and knees and crushing their skull into the ground.

On Welcome Mat of shame, Gears of War will be rewarded/shamed with 4.5 meat cubes out of 5. Because although the violence is through the roof, a little bit of it is justified.                    
 

So is Gratuitous Violence good?


    You may be asking yourself this question, contemplating and tearing yourself apart over the moral decision to make, but it's all a matter of opinion. As I see it, gratuitous violence is a lazy mans way of entertaining the easily entertained. On the other hand, when done well, gratuitous violence can improve a game, making aspects of it much better. Morally, gratuitous violence is wrong, but these are videogames, and if we avoided every game that was immoral in some form or another, we wouldn't be playing very many games.

Now it's your turn, what is your opinion on gratuitous violence in todays videogames?

Thanks for reading.

Gorillawhat

*Like the blog? Send over an ego stroke and leave a comment!*


#2 Edited by pause422 (6179 posts) -

Its something everyone can have a different opinion on whether they like it or don't, or don't really care either way. Myself, I absolutely love a ton of gore in games, and find it way more satisfying. I generally thought Ninja Gaiden 2 was a pretty good game, but mainly only liked it more than the original because of the crazy dismemberment and gory deaths in it. If that wasn't in the game, I definitely wouldn't of thought as much of it. Same with Fallout, I just find the kills so damn satisfying, and everytime a game is rating M and doesn't have dismemberment/decapitation, people getting their heads and other body parts blown off, I find it a bit disappointing.

#3 Posted by MB (12273 posts) -

The way I see it, if you don't like gratuitous violence, there's always Viva Pinata.

Moderator
#4 Posted by Demilich (2599 posts) -

Not bad. Not bad.

Only swap the scores for Gears and Dead Space. The chainsaw and blood spatter doesn't compare to stomping the limbs off the corpses of reformed humans.

#5 Posted by Gorillawhat (1259 posts) -
MB said:
"The way I see it, if you don't like gratuitous violence, there's always Viva Pinata."
But if you hit them over the head with a shovel they explode! =P
#6 Posted by Bellum (2944 posts) -

You don't remember Quake, do you? :P

Absurd violence is nothing new. Personally, I prefer a more subdued approach, but something that is a little over the top is fine if you are supposed to feel like you are exceptional. Like in Fallout 1, when you get a critical hit with a shotgun, a body might be cut in half, or with an energy gun, the skin might melt off. That makes you feel powerful, and that's how you are supposed to feel, as time goes on.

#7 Posted by BiggerBomb (6944 posts) -
#8 Posted by sheisty_shogun (256 posts) -

Does anything in a video game need to be "justified" or "necessary"?  Crushing the skulls of virtual aliens is fun.

#9 Posted by xplodedd (1316 posts) -

i liked the self drawn conclusion, I think that fallout was outta place,
i mean foor killing a dude there is tons of blood

#10 Posted by get2sammyb (6412 posts) -

I like horror and I like gore but that doesn't mean I want it shoved down my throat 24/7. Games like LittleBigPlanet and Mirrors Edge are refreshing because they're actually using colour, they're actually toning the violence down. As a Nintendo fanboy I'll always remain that way because, well Nintendo know that in the case of games like Pikmin, Super Mario, etc a great game doesn't have to have space marines blasting dudes in the face.

That's not to say I'm against it or don't want to play that time - not at all. Just, variety is the spice of life and all.

Sadly, a lot of journo's and a lot of gamers seem to be calling out for more of the same all the time - which is why projects like LittleBigPlanet are so rare. Why would developers make games people aren't going to buy?

Which says more about the human race than it does the industry.

To quote one of the industrys influential figures, Shane "Fanboy" Satterfield (and I say that through gritted teeth but sadly it's true; he gets his opinion out to a lot of people and therefore can be deemed influential): "[On Mirrors Edge] Where is the guns and blood? People can't relate to this?"

#11 Posted by Claude (16255 posts) -

I just watched Apocalypto, I want to see blood like that... Badass. Make my games like that.

#12 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -

If anything, there should be more gratuitous violence in games than there is now. Maybe that'll be the start of games being a bit more adult as that kind of stuff is definitely not for kids.

#13 Posted by keyhunter (3207 posts) -

Wow! If I were a grade 10 english teacher I would give a check mark!

#14 Posted by Gorillawhat (1259 posts) -
keyhunter said:
"Wow! If I were a grade 10 english teacher I would give a check mark!"
My english teacher is a hoe.
#15 Edited by Bellum (2944 posts) -
HandsomeDead said:
"If anything, there should be more gratuitous violence in games than there is now. Maybe that'll be the start of games being a bit more adult as that kind of stuff is definitely not for kids."
Doesn't make it "for adults". A lot of these games are pretty infantile.

EDIT:
I thought "Beyond Good and Evil" was more mature than, say, Gears of War, and it had a fucking talking pig.
#16 Edited by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

Well your kinda right but the violence just makes it kinda fun. I mean what made Dead Rising fun, not the story, it's the over the top comical violence that made the game fun to play. I agree with get2sammyb, You don't need violence all the time, but sometimes it's fun.

But whatever, why does anyone care, it's not as if mentaly stable adults like the people here are going to go : Hey it's hella fun cutting up dudes in Dead space, let's try it at my local grocerie store.

And yes I think little kids and mentally unstable people (the same if you ask me) should not play violent games.

#17 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8609 posts) -

Very cool post.  I must say that Fallout 3 probably deserves more if Dead Space got a 4.  But a well-thought post in all.

#18 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -
Bellum said:
"HandsomeDead said:
"If anything, there should be more gratuitous violence in games than there is now. Maybe that'll be the start of games being a bit more adult as that kind of stuff is definitely not for kids."
Doesn't make it "for adults". A lot of these games are pretty infantile.

EDIT:
I thought "Beyond Good and Evil" was more mature than, say, Gears of War, and it had a fucking talking pig.
"
Obviously. But everything works in waves and currently, blood is either nowhere in a game, or all over it. I know I follow the film and game parallels a bit too far, but pshing for violence and gore would take us into the exploitation era, hopefully opening the censors a bit, and from there, it could be toned down again to more David Cronenberg levels.
#19 Posted by Gorillawhat (1259 posts) -
addictedtopinescent said:
"Well your kinda right but the violence just makes it kinda fun. I mean what made Dead Rising fun, not the story, it's the over the top comical violence that made the game fun to play. I agree with get2sammyb, You don't need violence all the time, but sometimes it's fun.

But whatever, why does anyone care, it's not as if mentaly stable adults like the people here are going to go : Hey it's hella fun cutting up dudes in Dead space, let's try it at my local grocerie store.

And yes I think little kids and mentally unstable people (the same if you ask me) should not play violent games."
That is a whole other Grand Theft Childhood topic.
#20 Posted by jakob187 (21665 posts) -

Left 4 Dead isn't gratuitous when compared against Fallout 3 or Dead Space?  Seriously?

Honestly, I don't think it really matters if the game is super bloody and violent.  I would rather it be in a video game than in real life.  =  /

And besides...if I'm going to blow someone's head off, I better see gratuitous blood and violence with it!!!
#21 Posted by DualReaver (3882 posts) -

I enjoy it when heads fall off.

#22 Posted by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

Yeah sorry, kinda got off subject there, your post is good don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just overreact when people talk about violence in games, exemple after Virginia tech. Some people just blame games for evrey problem out there, I don't think your one of those people.

#23 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -

So did you like put blog in your title? cause i would have sworn i turned blog entries off on the forums.

#24 Posted by oldschool (7264 posts) -
MB said:
"The way I see it, if you don't like gratuitous violence, there's always Viva Pinata."
Going to be my point as well.  
What I will add though, is that I don't criticise games that are violent, because I don't particularly like them, but why do some feel the need to criticise a game, say like, Mario, because they feel it is too kiddy.  If you like a gam,e play it, if you don't, bypass it.

Violence is endemic in the human nature.  A sick and twisted type will find inspiration in anything.  Games are just easy targets, especially for old farts who do not understand them (like modern music as well).  They feel the need to blame something and they do, with all the irrational xenophobia that they can muster.  Violence was around long before video games and old farts have always found something to blame.

I always remember in psychology studies the example of 2 Disney films and the opposite reactions they can cause.  The movies were Bambi and Pinnochio, both films parents love to play for the kids.  When some kids watch Bambi, most will cry, feel sorry for Bambi, hate guns and probably not want to eat meat (in varying degrees).  However, in that group, there will be those who relate to the hunter and want to go out and shoot deer.

Thee other example is on the island in Pinnochio where the naughty boys destroy a house for fun (before becoming an ass).  Most kids will see that it is bad to destroy property and think negatively of the boys, seeing the moral embedded in the story.  However, in that same group will be some kid who wants to rush out and throw rocks through a window because it looks fun and he didn't see any moral attached.  This is nfact happened in Australia when a group of young boys totally destroyed a house under construction.

The point to my ramblings is that a perverted mind will find justification and inspiration for their actions in a way that will be invisible to most of us.  Games do not have a direct effect.  As Michael Moore's documentary said, the Columbine boys went  bowling before their killing spree, why not blame bowling.

#25 Posted by Virago (2486 posts) -
MB said:
"The way I see it, if you don't like gratuitous violence, there's always Viva Pinata."
that's right. if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
#26 Posted by Bellum (2944 posts) -

Has anyone on this thread actually equated violent video games to violent people? This is a hardcore gaming site, it's a non-issue for most (all?) of us.

The discussion was more about the violence being absurd. Sometimes it gets in the way, or is there to hide the fact that it's really a poor game with little to offer. I don't think anyone here is disturbed by it. It's just, well, stupid.

#27 Posted by PureRok (4235 posts) -

I saw no point to this blog post. There is no such thing as gratuitous violence; either there is violence or there isn't.

#28 Posted by pause422 (6179 posts) -

Pretty simply said, if anyone ever has a problem with it, they don't have to play it....very simple. The more gore and dismemberment the better, for me.

#29 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -

I don't really like how most blockbuster games this year are horribly violent. You prolly should've put Resistance 2 and World At War on that list but I think that if it's about the theme of the game, violence can be OK.

I mean, I find the violence in Fallout 3 comical, the violence in Dead Space creepily atmospheric and the violence in Farcry 2 cringe inducing.

It just depends on the game. Although, I do see myself getting Left 4 Dead sometime.

#30 Edited by get2sammyb (6412 posts) -

The thing that kills me is that people will overlook a game like Super Mario Galaxy which, in my opinion, is close to the absolute pinnacle of level design and gameplay, because it's: a) on Nintendo Wii - the family console and; b) it's coloured brightly with chirpy music. Instead people will pick up generic shooters with gore and guns attached just because of the content. Regardless of which is the better game.

And this is the problem with the "hardcore" gamer in this generation. For me "hardcore" gamer used to mean the people who were most interested in their hobby. They had a deep understanding of the range of games for their platforms, past games and present. Nowadays the "hardcore" gamer scorns the games that look at "their" hobby in a different way. Yes the Wii has made "our" hobby mainstream (but didn't the Playstation?) but that's only a good thing. More consumers means more gamers. Yes Nintendo had an awful E3. But the point is it's the people that go out and play games like Super Mario Galaxy and Little Big Planet alongside their Resistances and Gears Of War that are getting a much more "full" experience. Those that only look at shooters and violence are as narrowminded as the people that won't listen to The Beatles because it's "old and gay".

The people that claim they are "hardcore" gamers these days are the ones who trash talk the likes of Super Mario Galaxy because it's not another shooter with more shotguns and more violence. It's these people that are telling the industry it's "ok" to keep making Generic Shooter 101 - not the casuals that are snapping up their Mario Galaxy's in abundance.

#31 Posted by Pibo47 (3166 posts) -
MB said:
"The way I see it, if you don't like gratuitous violence, there's always Viva Pinata."
lmao...i laughed so hard after i read that, win.
#32 Posted by Gorillawhat (1259 posts) -
pause422 said:
"Pretty simply said, if anyone ever has a problem with it, they don't have to play it....very simple. The more gore and dismemberment the better, for me."
Oh I agree. Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I don't like games with gratuitous violence, infact I'll probably own half of the games on this list eventually, I was just questioning it's value and blah blah blah.
#33 Posted by TheDrifter (253 posts) -

Brilliantly done

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