Let me, first off, start this entry with a little clarification before I get slaughtered by you insane internet frown posse, or whatever you call yourselves nowadays.
[I do not advocate the removal of violence from video games, or any other "feature" such as sexual content, drugs, and language, I simply am trying to convey an idea that I had about the future of video games without them.]
You've all heard about it, the violence from video games that is corrupting our children's youth. For years, parents, activists, and many others who just couldn't leave well enough alone, have fought to rid content from our entertainment. Massive backlash always follows and most of the time it's non-violent, which helps out tremendously in not propelling the crass stereotype that gamers are aggressive people, but recently it occurred to me that something big would have to change in this industry if the support for violence was never there.
Now, the first thing that came to my mind was the influx of puzzle/thinking games; however, then I realized that this isn't a world in which we outlawed violence when games were first created, it's a world where, very recently, we were told that violence can't be a part of our entertainment anymore. This changes how we think about games drastically. We would still have all the knowledge from previous games, so first/third person games are fine, racing games are fine, adventure, action, strategy, all fine. The difference is there is no killing, no combat.
We rely on combat extensively. A little too much perhaps. A game like Call of Duty depends solely on it's shooting mechanics being tight and huge set-piece, explosive moments to keep the player engaged, so when you really boil the game down to these basic points you can't help but realize how dull it actually is. And, yes, there is something to be said about the competitive aspect of the game, but we need to start moving away from wanting to be the best at holding down a button while keeping our cursor on someone until they lose. I know that condensing shooters to just that base mechanic is a bit unfair, but it was the best way for me to get my point across.
I'm not here to present a solution because there isn't a one, there are many. In fact, there are as many solutions to this problem as there are creative minds still out there. And I know they are out there because you see them every day making unique indie games that focus on an idea before gameplay. I don't even really feel right calling them "indie" because people generally think that that means they will only appeal to a very small, specific audience when in reality we are all looking for something fresh and exciting to come along. I want to see the day where I can talk to my friends and say, "Hey, I found this new game called ****** and it's doing this really original thing where you *********," rather than continue going along saying, "Hey did you see that new game called ********? It's got, like, 22 new guns, so it justifies me paying $60 for it."
Again, I'm being kind of unfair to a lot of games out there, but it's all in light of me trying to prove my point. I also know I got off track a lot, but I hope you were able to bear with me and understand what I'm trying to get at here. I want things in this industry to change in a big way and detach itself from violence being a very up-front mechanic, but taking it away completely just isn't the solution. It's too powerful an emotional reception to see something violent, and it's ridiculous to remove it as a possible action in a story. All I'm asking for is to stop continuously using it as your crutch of a gameplay mechanic which, judging by the majority of games to come out in the past 30 years, is apparently asking for too much.
Thank you for reading.