Thursday, December 17, 2015

About Those Ultraviolent Video Games: A Plea for More Graphic Realism

            Until very recently if I heard or read "RPG," I understood it as "rocket-propelled grenade" and not "role-playing game," so I'm obviously no expert on gaming. Still, I watch a fair number of animation shows on television — plus The Daily and Nightly Shows — so I see a lot of commercials for games.

            (And that is "see," or see fragments of; I turn the sound off during commercials and listen to an audiobook if I'm on an exercise machine or read if I'm watching from a couch. So screw you, advertisers! May you contract crotch rot and leprosy on your hands simultaneously while all your teeth fall out except one and that becomes impacted! Four minutes of commercials?!? Die, rot and be damned, scum-sucking swine! …. But I digress.)

            Anyway, I have watched a good many commercials for first-person-shooter games aimed at young people (males especially) and, although hardly the most gentle of people in my fantasy life — I curse telemarketers even more than advertisers — I find the general sensibility of many of the games to be disturbing.

            So I have a suggestion: a highly modest itty-bitty proposal that the governments of the United States, Japan, and other games-producing nations, parents groups, Tipper Gore, and similar relevant entities should "incentivize" (i.e., threaten and bribe) game-makers to develop and offer EXTRA BONUS FEATURES!!!! that might help young users consider a bit the implications of their battle-themed games.

            The Bonus Features would need to be appropriate for different games but most could include for the first level role-playing as EMT's, fire-fighters, Army medics, Naval hospital corpsmen, triage nurses, surgeons, the "green ghouls" of Mortuary Affairs and such, with points being scored for coming in after the initial game and cleaning up. The players who save the most lives and limbs, get the corpses identified and on their ways back to the families of the dead, do the best with the most immediate psychological trauma — these are the winners and can move on.

            The next level would be bomb squads and engineers and demolition teams and construction workers, who can score points clearing away the destruction and starting to rebuild the homes and factories and water supplies and power generation — the infrastructure destroyed in the initial game. And those who rebuild the local area the best can go on to further levels playing counselors, public servants, and diplomats; NGO agents and other leaders and workers who put together societies after the first-person shooters and strafers and bombers and all have finished their play.

            I'd have the Bonus Games highly realistic, and especially graphic from the points-of-view of those handling the wounded and maimed and working with corpses in Graves Registration. A high degree of gore might make the Bonus Games creepily attractive to the sociopaths and psychopaths among the players, but the Dexter/Ted Bundy demographic is small, and it may be just as well if they spend their time playing games. For children, teens, and young adults closer to the medians, means, and modes on psychological curves — for normal young people — a dose of realism in their games would be a damn good thing.

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