Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Videogames are often accused of showing too much violence, particularly when they’re used by younglings. As a developer, I use to get mad when I hear that and I see how those same parents allow their children to watch violent movies without remorse.

I’ve just watched ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. According to my recount, 24 people are injured along the movie. 51 dies, and 10 of them are directly killed by the main character, Dr. Indiana Jones. And that’s one of those ‘family movies’ that all parents will be happy to let their children watch. Both in games and movies the user emphatises with the main character, so in a way you’re also the killer of those 10. At least I felt happy when they died and my favourite archeologist of all times could go on with his quest.

Leaving aside hypocrisy, I think the whole point of this is motivation. You can’t doubt of the good intentions of Indiana Jones. He fights nazis (evil by definition), and fights for saving precious artifacts so they can be kept safely in a museum. On the other side, users often impersonate characters in games who have no motivation for killing, or a really thin one.

Maybe that’s all we developers need to work on. I remember Sonic got some ‘Protect the children’ awards because when you kill an enemy, a little smiling animal was released. That’s should be enough for kid’s games. For adult games, hypocrites will continue bugging around.


sgarces said...

I challenge you to name 10 movies where nobody dies. Like it or not, a certain amount of violence is accepted, not only in movies, but also in videogames.

ESRB and MPAA ratings for kids younger than 13 accept "mild violence" and that's the rating movies like Raiders or games like Lego Indiana Jones got.

Not many people object to those, because to them violence is not measured by body count. It's measured by how graphical and explicit the violence is. It's worse to break a nose and have blood pouring out than to kill 500 people as long as it looks like they went to sleep.

I think it's a serious issue to trivialize death and portray it as having no consequences. Bad guys don't have grieving relatives and the hero doesn't go to jail. But then again, we live in a heartless and competitive society, where other people can remorselessly be squashed like ants if they get in our way, so maybe we're teaching our children the right survival skills.

Alvaro Vazquez de la Torre said...

My point is they’re measuring differently movies and games. In Raiders of the lost ark some of the deaths are particularly disgusting (like the guy who gets chopped by the plane propeller). In the Star Wars saga the whole Skywalker family suffers from amputations in different degrees. And that’s all ‘mild violence’. The same amount in a game will grant the +18.

I guess the reason is: In movies you see someone doing the violence. In games you are performing that violence, which makes it double strong. That’s why I think the character motivation is important to justify that violence.

On your point, I don’t think we can get rid of violence from our society. As you say, somehow it’s just human.