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147 comments

  • jubabowling - June 20, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    Games are strange when it comes to dealing with death. Even games meant for kids usually involve ending someone's or something's life. The easiest way to make a player feel empowered is to have them mowing down hordes of enemies without any consequences. I think it's a mistake to let the player feel that everything they do is justified, especially with the kill counts riding in the hundreds, or even thousands for some games. When I was in the Army I killed people and that's not something I take lightly. Games are my favorite art form and they do not show nearly enough respect for human life. I actually hate games like Call of Duty. (Battlefield 3 gets a pass just for the authentic sounds.) Military shooters make soldiers out to be robotic killing machines without any sense of right or wrong. (To be fair, I know a few that kind of do fit that description, but they're a minority.) The worst thing is that games reward players for thinking that way when they play. Knowing when NOT to shoot someone is actually much more important to a soldier than games would lead you to believe. Real battlefields have innocent bystanders that you have to be aware of at all times and protect from harm. (Guns are dangerous to more than just your enemies.) In a weird roundabout way there are almost no games out there that deal with death or killing, at least not in a meaningful way. These topics are almost never discussed or investigated. They're regarded more as a mechanic to keep the player engaged while they travel from plot point A to B. The NPC's you fight against are declared unimportant and can be killed without guilt. Every Taliban soldier I killed had a name, a family, friends, and most importantly a potential future before they met me and I struggle with that on a daily basis. Games need to start acknowledging that there is no such thing as a nameless henchman.
  • jubabowling - June 20, 2013 11:32 p.m.

    I didn't mean to imply that I wish all, or even most games to start exploring these heavy topics. It would just be nice if there were more than just a few. I have just as much fun playing GTA or God of War as anyone else. Also I don't think that games should try to mimic reality too much. Reality and fun don't always go hand in hand. I just think that stories (even in a fantastical setting) do have the tools to make you think. Games are missing out when it comes to the power of provoking deep thought. (This can easily be done in an entertaining way.)
  • jubabowling - June 21, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Heavy Rain's problems didn't stem from the story it was trying to tell. The problem was that it wanted to be an interactive film instead of a game. I still liked it though. Also developer's aren't the only obstacle to making games that can make you think. Gamers aren't always the most mature audience.
  • jubabowling - June 24, 2013 3 a.m.

    Hopefully that changes next cycle.
  • ABACADA6494 - June 20, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    Hey Henry, one important thing to note about The Last of Us is that the enemies killed stat includes infected and the like. So its not just 700 survivors you killed. it could be 699 infected and 1 survivor (its not, but it could be). The game doesn't break it down between survivors and infected. But I do get your point.
  • GOD - June 20, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    Well in TLOU not all of those enemies of your 700 were still human. Also, I don't feel that they remove the guilt from you in the way that the story is written, and actually try to make you feel bad by then end of it. I won't spoil the ending or anything but one notable kill at the end really made me feel like a monster. Morality is a big part of the narrative of that game though so it's I didn't find it as ruining my experience that I had to go through so many enemies. I do wish there were more times when you could've stealthed past enemies though. Often times I felt like it was trying to force me into a combat situation and it seemed like my chances of success against human enemies were usually highest when using a combination of stealth and guns blazing, where as trying to go 100% stealth was much harder most of the time and put me more in harms way than cover shooting. I also like how in Uncharted 2, at the end Lazarevic brings up the fact that you have killed hundreds of his men and are essentially a mass murderer, although I never felt guilty about killing anyone in U2.
  • sixo T - June 20, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    in my opinion, in order to balance meaningless killing, there needs to be other elements within the game that needs to be focused on more. for example, for me i like physics combined with realism, with physics you can make things unpredictable(I.e. buildings breaking down, set pieces that crumble when shot at etc...) I guess until A.I is improved to react to the environmental changes and being able to use those changes against you (i.e. shooting traps near you, hunting you and not being obvious). TLDR; In general give A.I. the ability to change and use the environment around you and against you.
  • thesilentassassin - June 20, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    I would argue the rebooted tomb raider being included in the list, I know you do kill countless waves of enemies but the tone of the game is surviving she was on a hostile island where she was forced to adapt into a killer in order to survive. The enemies may have been numerous but they were all ship wrecked people who had to go through the same thing and were forced to become killers. I am not saying that it was not to much but whenever i killed enemies in tomb raider I always thought back to the first kill and Lara's reaction to it and it reminded me of what was one of the best scenes in the game.
  • jubabowling - June 20, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    I think that the sheer number of people you kill in Tomb Raider makes it hard to take the situation she's in seriously. That's the real problem.
  • Darkhawk - June 20, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    The title image is perfect: the one thing that always bugged me in Uncharted was the necessity of murdering everyone. How can this guy be quipping and romancing all the time when he's just slaughtered hundreds of security guards just doing their jobs? I know, minions, James Bond, the Hollywood Tradition, etc. - but in an interactive medium there need to be more opportunities to avoid bloodshed if we want to.
  • Tyrlanae - June 20, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    It does, indeed, get exhausting to murder your way through the plot over and over again, but I think that a lot of developers are finding it hard to tell a dramatic story while maintaining the player's interest. I feel like we're committing mini-genocide because it gives us something to do, it's the interactive element of largely narrative driven games. Look at games like Heavy Rain. I liked Heavy Rain, but it's no secret that a lot of people felt very bored with it and complained that it was something of a slog because of it's tankish controls and QTE heavy gameplay. However, it did try to do something different, it tried to tell a mature story without all of the killing. For the most part I think it succeeded, but I'm not so sure it was commercially successful. L.A. Noire tells a similar story. When that game came out forums were abuzz with "You can't pull you gun, that's so stupid!" and "there's nothing to do in this game, why can't I actually shoot the bad guys?!" That's probably why you see so many other developers continually falling back on violence, because it keeps the player involved and moves games off of shelves, so to speak. Honestly I really like the Assassin's Creed franchise for it's approach to the issue, or at least the earlier iterations of it. Sure, you -could- engage the entire cities worth of guards but you didn't have to. If you really wanted to most of the time you could get through a mission killing only the assassination target and a few choice individuals who stood in your way. You're also penalized for gratuitous violence in that killing civilians will game you over. All that said, I agree Henry. All of the violence is starting to cheapen the experience, and it's growing tiresome. I wish more games would take a cue from Assassin's Creed, or even, as you mentioned, the Arkham games. Supergiraffe mentioned that Watchdogs has started to lose interest to him now that more in-game footage has revealed a lot of firefights. I can totally understand where he's coming from, and I hope that, if nothing else, a lot of those situations are optional or that there's an alternate means of dealing with them, such as hacking the OS to escape rather than kill everyone. Maybe the solution isn't so much to remove the violence altogether, but to provide alternate strategies for those who don't feel like drowning in blood.
  • db1331 - June 20, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    I wonder how many Goombas and Koopa Troopas Henry has killed in his lifetime. Thousands? Tens of thousands?
  • The_Ouroboros - June 20, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    Exactly! Haha. How is murder any different if you're able to displace yourself into the character of Mario. As children most of us destroyed many, many helpless denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, successfully using the escapism to put ourselves into the game. They are much, much more defenseless than anyone we've shot in a FPS, yet we still murdered them in masses in order to... What? Find out the Princess wasn't even there? So world after world you're massacring all of its citizens, many of whom aren't even attacking you(Goombas are just going on a stroll). To our childhood minds, using our imagination it was just as vivid as any well animated headshot of Bioshock Infinite. I would suggest playing less M Rated games, as there are a wide variety of options for you if you don't want to massacre an army.
  • shawksta - June 20, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    Eh, its hard to say. I do agree on some aspects but the gaming community has grown to it to the point where some will complain over a game that's not about killing something. Anything else turns out to be a different genre entirely, though the morality in Batman made a good point. Eh, I just want to have fun, killing or not killing.
  • garnsr - June 20, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    The original Tomb Raider didn't have that much killing, you got to spend most of your time exploring and figuring out huge environments, which I loved, but that's fallen away with all the sequels and reboots. And at the end of the new one you finally make it to an inaccessible place, with the only apparent path to get there falling away as you scramble up, and as you're catching your breath tons of enemies just pour in, having absolutely no trouble getting there. Why not just a few enemies who have been in this secluded place for a long time, instead of flooding the end with a bunch of enemies to kill? It's a common setting in games, but this was the most glaring example I remember.
  • obviouslyadouche - June 20, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    What bothered me more then the death toll in infinite was the amount of women soldiers. Not because I'm sexist mind you, but for the world it created, it made absolutely no sense for you to even see two female soldiers, let alone hundreds.
  • Tjwoods18 - June 20, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    I never noticed. Most of the Vox seemed male to me.
  • obviouslyadouche - June 20, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    vox were mostly male, plenty of founders were female.
  • The_Ouroboros - June 20, 2013 5:16 p.m.

    I thought the same thing, actually. That in a time where 'White Honor' was above all, women definitely would not have been allowed to serve in the Founders army.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - June 20, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    Agreed. What's the way around this though? Make the fights more deadly with fewer enemies? Meaning kills are more meaningful and earned?
  • supergiraffe - June 20, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    Make not killing people fun would work too.. Either through puzzles, or exploration, or stealth, or any number of other options.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - June 20, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    Yes true, but a whole host of games are simply going to be dependent on combat as a mechanic

Showing 121-140 of 147 comments

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