First of all, this is not meant to be a “violence is bad/games make us violent” post. However, the older I’ve gotten, I have grown quite sick and tired of how basically every major game needs to have violence in it one way or another.
I am hoping that with a new generation of consoles on the horizon and new technologies, we can start to think of more interesting and creative ways to use the medium of gaming because I believe it has so much more potential than just to be a killing simulator. It really annoys me how even games that get critical praise and are considered “art” by the gaming community such as The Last of Us, Bioshock, etc still involve countless murders.
One of my favorite games of all time is The Witness and I find it funny how one of the main complaints about that game is “all you do is solve puzzles” whereas there are tons of games like DOOM or Call of Duty where are you do is kill and yet everyone is ok with that.
It seems like the only game occasionally risking not having violence are indie games or very niche games like flight simulators. But I think it’s time for more non violent triple A games. Like why can’t we have a game where we play in a GTA like open world except we are some sort of other profession, like a movie director or a politician or something. I think a game that came close is LA Noire where you are primarily a detective trying to solve crimes and interrogate, but that game had shooting scenes every once in a while. I think a lot of people have this misconception that without violence a game would be boring but the truth is this is just a challenge many developers have been to lazy to tackle because they know they can make easy money by making a game with guns and swords. If we start demanding more nonviolent games they will happen.
Personally, some of my favorite games of all time have been violent, I especially like it when a game uses violence creatively like a Dark Souls game where the violence is a skill you must master, or a game like Bayonetta where the violence is heavily stylized and feels like a dance. But I also believe that video games can be much more than what they are right now. Violence for games have been like training wheels, they’ve gotten us to a nice place but are now holding us in our pre pubescent years. We need to take these training wheels off and challenge ourselves to create far more profound and interesting non violent games.
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