I don't think you can have any sort of meaningful artistic expression without potentially touching on incredibly dark and disturbing subjects. Creators should feel a huge responsibility to address these subjects with tact, intelligence and good grace and not simply exploit them because they can. But the fine line between exploitation and a drastic exploration of fucked-up themes is so subjective that finding it has to be the responsibility of the creator and not the recipients. The latter simply have to assess what they want to engage with and what they can handle.
A modern, media savy human has to be able to cope with footage of death camps, decapitations, sexual assaults, murders, suicides and so much more. Not to speak of atrocities you'll eventually personally witness most likely. I know I have and it doesn't even compare to the (admittedly shocking) first exposure via media. As for your personal situation: I can't advise anything on so little information but I'm not a huge fan of "white lies", especially not when they can be exposed by a quick google search anyway.
I'm very glad to hear it! I probably won't have the extra cash to buy this at full price anytime soon but it's awesome to know that this has massive promise for when I can make a purchase happen. I'm going to play it someday and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a blast. Hopefully the plot is a little closer to oldschool Black Isle than Bioware but the promise of an unflinching CRPG that is the logical next step for Infinity Engine games alone is so very thrilling.
The bits and pieces I've seen so far look excellent. Now I'll have to muster all my willpower to not spoil myself in the weeks or month to come until I can manage to see everything for myself. Obsidian is probably the most deserving developer out of the Kickstarter wave. And it looks like they took their pitch and ran with it!
Um, sometimes I feel like I'm suffering a catastrophic disconnect from reality. Still gonna throw this crazy thought out there: I think it's not Hotline: Miami's primary goal to portray likable characters.
Just downloaded and got started however. I'm thrilled, I can't wait to really tackle this. RPS and TB seem to think I'm gonna have a blast and I can't wait to find out if they're right!
Coming from someone that takes the whole Giantbomb/ videogame thing pretty fucking seriously: if this is about your feelings concerning your recent appearance around this parts, calm down. You're good. All is well. You have nothing to worry about!
I'm always going back to Tetris if that counts and I tend to replay Planescape: Torment about every two years or so. I also play my favorite RPGs two or three times before I'm really "finished" with them, often over a couple of years after I got them.
Right now I'm playing Realms of the Haunting which is a ton of fun. I can only speculate how impressive the game must've been in 1997 because I didn't play it originally.
@robin_smith: Fair enough! I thought you meant to give Mario as an example for a non-violent character which seemed crazy. I'm not sure what Luigi does with the ghosts other than capturing them. Holding sentient beings (are they?, not sure) prisoner against their will would still satisfy the academic definition of violence, e.g. abusing force or power to achieve goals as a government oder institution would. Maybe he's an anti-ghost cop. But that admittedly gets very nitpicky!
Edit: I just noticed you initially claimed we where talking living things + sentient AI. Your example also doesn't follow your rule of "have to be able to kill" in the first place. Either way, I'm confused, don't mind me and proceed!
@jamesjeux007: Ah, very cool! I didn't have it in me to try that option intensively at the time and I have yet to replay the game. Excellent! That part played on my DX nostalgia so well. I remember being scolded and denied extra equipment in the first one after resolving one of the early missions less than professionally. Meaning I shot the place up real good!
I definitely love when games use their interactivity to portray messy situations like that. Which is also why @notnert427 is right and, of all things, a game about a professional murderer is probably one of the best examples of extreme dedication to forcing the protagonist into dangerous life-and-death situations and still offering anything from "adventure puzzle" solutions to stealth to "hiding in plain sight" all the way to full-on killing sprees. Of course by the OPs definitions that doesn't fit anywhere. Though after reading the other statements I'm even more confused than ever.
Are we sure that whatever Mario does is non-lethal? It definitely is violent. You're even being rewarded for harming enemies rather than evading them (via power-ups). And we're no longer on the "pacifism" discussion? Also, the intent of a character defines how lethal or violent the results of their actions are?
@beachthunder: That list is a great start! Though the arbitrary restrictions and nonsensical bingo card seem like they're not designed to descriptively analyze games but rather to "prove" an incorrect point anyway.
Many stealth games have non-lethal options, for example, but they rarely matter or offer real choices. In Thief it's often stupid to stab a fool (noisy, leaves blood) instead of knocking them out (silent and they aren't going to get back up anyway). Deus Ex: Human Revolution has one of the silliest implementations of this. You're rewarded for not killing people even though there's no reason to kill anyone and the non-lethal animations are almost more violent and deadly-looking to begin with. You can finish Fallout without killing but in the case of a certain boss this is only achieved by driving him to suicide. I'm not sure how pacifist that is even though I obviously love the fact that they implemented that option.
Replacing death animations by characters sitting down (in Counterstrike) or sidearms with (functionally unchanged) tasers was a common way of censoring games in Germany for a while. That's how meaningful the lethal/ non-lethal distinction is. Now, searching games that allow or encourage violent conflict resolution but always offer truly non-violent ways of handling any given situation would be much more interesting I think. That one is actually hard to do and can make games a lot better. Especially if the devs have the balls to really make you question if non-violence is actually a reasonable reaction.
DX:HR: saving Faridah Malik is very hard or impossible(?) if you don't pack heat
Alpha Protocol: pretty much any character can live or die, few are black or white
SpecOps: The Line: you are forced to make decisions so quickly that you're often not aware of all the consequences beforehand or who's a civilian and who isn't