Encyclopedia Muranica: Passive Aggressive

The annual D.I.C.E awards have been going on for any of the uninformed. They’re thrown by the AIAS every year, for the advancement and recognition of awesome games and stuff. Any organization that wants to throw some horns up to Hideo “the guy who doesn’t want to be known for Metal Gear but totally is” Kojima, great in my book.

Must be so annoying only to be known for something like this.

Must be so annoying only to be known for something like this.

Among many notable speakers this year, and Randy Pitchford being both wise and photogenic, David Cage made some noise with pleas to the gaming industry at large to steer away from violent video games. Being previously outspoken about the subject before, this came as no surprise, though it did garner reaction. One of which was a write up on D-Toid by Allistair Pinsof. He makes some interesting points about the state of immersion, and how video games are to this point, the culmination of immersive evolution. While his declaration directly contradicts Cage in saying violence can be a key in the immersion process, he doesn’t neglect the fact that our own technological limitations may be facilitating the need for this basic language of violence.

You may not be able to speak another language, but everyone's multilingual when it comes to fighting.

You may not be able to speak another language, but everyone’s multilingual when it comes to fighting.

Interesting points and great times. I love the philosophy both views bring to the table, and lavish in the mental struggle of understanding either approach.  I appreciate Cage’s want to help move the industry along in a more diverse manner, but with the track record of games he’s helped create, while entertaining, hasn’t exactly shied away from explicit content. On the other hand, while the technological limitations Allistair brought up are important to note, people’s entertainment succeeds on very primal levels. Just looking at 2012’s best sellers for a majority of the year in the U.S, you have, Sports, Sports, Guns, Dancing, Space Guns,  Guns, Sports, Guns…

…and Mario.

Hyper 4

Mario wondering why everyone’s using bullets to dispatch foes.

I know on a wider scale, Europe and Japan have a slightly more diverse line up, but the overall message of the games do rely quite heavily on violent conflict. Not to make a point of claiming all video games are violent, it just depends on the meaning and purpose. The crux of the argument comes from what people enjoy, how they are aroused mentally, and what keeps them going. These are the rules game design must exist to service, and quite often, the simplest message often rings the loudest. A gun shot, for example, is usually the loudest, and a very easy concept for most to follow. Other games, will always struggle for a mass appeal, and needlessly so. For example, I’ve played several games just today, that have no real point or motivation of violent tendencies. Animal Crossing is a great example, and Super Stardust is another. With something like Pokemon (another favorite) is thrown into the mix, you start to get a bickering back and forth on what constitutes as violence, and what is condoned as problematic or too aggressive for the general audience to abide by.

Too aggressive?

Too aggressive?

I think context is everything, and there ‘s as right an answer to this “problem” as there are people with opinions. I’ve enjoyed every kind of game out there, and developers are thankful of that. Other people, no matter how appealed to, and how well made a game is, do not fucking care about sneaking past the guards without firing a bullet, or want to grow as many flowers as possible to keep their neighbors happy. With an overwhelming number of players still helping Activision sell truck loads of Call of Duty each year, the message is clear. It might not be that the industry can’t make other games. It might be that the players won’t let them (financially speaking), which in and of itself, is an industry motivated by the basic laws of modern life.

People want to be rich and win, and it’s easiest to do when you sell a product that let’s you kill your competition.

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