Tagged: War Violence ‘n Vidya Games Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • unmanneddrone 1:56 am on November 16, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    @RedSwirl The amount of swearing you get up to is concrete evidence that both rap music and gaming have corrupted an otherwise decent soul. F-bombs here, f-bombs there. Who can drop f-bombs into a question about Baldur’s Gate? An indecent and damaged individual, one utterly eviscerated and poisoned by this vile filth on the most base of moral underpinnings, that’s who. 😛

    @bowlisimo Good points, sir. Although, I’d like to think games’ very interactive nature could conceivably give pause for thought in some instances – something we’ve all thought and hoped more for. Your Apache comment is exactly what I’ve been indulging in of late, and it’s been a very strange balance of emotions – the digital thrill of ratio accumulation/degradation inherent to gaming on a whole (hence why violent games are such a good fit for the medium – it’s simply a case of immense visual feedback for the underlying framework of plus/minus) and the bile-inducing unease of knowing that this FLIR simulation is a glorified depiction of reality.

    Case in point – http://bit.ly/9Ti7nM

    One thing’s for sure, the incredibly muted thrum of an underslung cannon firing 30mm slugs with that micro-delay between firing and the thump of it ripping through a Datsun pickup isn’t a terribly gratifying experience, outside of patting yourself on the back for judging the distance and velocity of your target – especially not in this War TV era. It’s incredibly well implemented in Apache: AA, but damn, it makes my blood run cold.

    That said, and I’m not ashamed to say it, military technology and its sheer beauty in clean utilitarian design gives me a mighty horn. That’s from an aesthetic and interlinked systems/logistics point of view.

     
  • bowlisimo 7:43 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    I’m so glad Beige mentioned that video game violence only really desensitizes you to other video game violence, because it’s true (I was yelling in my car for someone to say this).

    Anyone watch that girl die from a gun shot wound on camera during the riots after Iran’s election last year? That was way more disturbing than all the dudes violently exploding in VATS put together. Ever have the misfortune to watch Apache footage on youtube where a group of living, breathing people are there one moment, and then are a splatter of limbs and glowing entrails the next? I promise that the gravity of that is not lost on someone who has shot, stabbed, burned, dismembered, melted, and exploded countless video game people.

    The everyday world is way more messed up than Mortal Kombat, or Postal 2, or Grand Theft Auto (or whatever the next scapegoat for the ills of society is) can ever hope to be.

     
  • Pete Davison 9:32 pm on November 10, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    SquadCast 2.7: Shot to the Head Direct l… 

    SquadCast 2.7: Shot to the Head

    Direct link

    Jeff, Mark, Pete and, back by popular demand, Kev get to grips with video game violence. And Jeff gets angry about Fable III.

    Music in this episode:
    Fragrance of Dark Coffee from Ace Attorney
    McLarty Party People from Super Meat Boy
    Theme from Forbidden Forest

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    Got some thoughts on video game violence? Tag ’em “War Violence ‘n Vidya Games”, like this one, and any striking new thoughts that we hadn’t brought up will be read out on the next show. Because we love you.

     
  • unmanneddrone 11:36 am on November 6, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    @beige You make Fallout sound very enticing just as a sandbox game on survivalist mode. I’ve never found the franchise all that interesting, but the itemisation and fiddling about with combinations sounds fun.

    Is the discussion for the Squadcast still going to be somewhat war-themed? I suppose I’ve stated all I’ve to say on the topic until the squad leaders cast their opinions.

    Might I just throw some hot shit all over the place? The Walking Dead seems to be some hot shambling shit on AMC, and that’s coming from someone who finds every single ‘thing of the night’ utterly twee. Terriers is a fantastic show as well, but much like young America’s disinterest in voting, the lack of viewership for such a brilliant show is puzzling and disappointing. Boardwalk Empire…shouldn’t have to be mentioned, because – to quote @feenwager – if you’re not watching it, you’re doing it wrong.

     
  • unmanneddrone 11:34 am on September 13, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    Oh, to have a 360 for Reach. I fell foul of the franchise after Halo 2, but that was more to do with coming back from overseas into the frenzy of the admittedly-awesome multiplayer aspect my housemates had honed their skills within to a keen edge. “All in on Lockout” was the call that brought a frustrated tear to my eye. But, the games are solid, the original some magical, clean and polished affair that I’ll treasure forever.

    Those unmistakable, subtle sound effects. The hum of shields, the quiet crunch of boots on the ground, the superb sound design. And everyone has a fondness for the announcer’s voice. “SLAY-er.” “KING of the hill.” “TAKen the LEEEad.”

    Just off the main topic at hand, and perhaps an interesting aside towards the war and video games discussion, Battlefront.com displayed a number of videos from their upcoming Combat Mission: Afghanistan title. Thing is, our generation tends to forget the blood already spilled on the sands prior to the current engagement. Indeed, this new tactical simulator charts the Soviet invasion of the ‘Ghan in the 80s, not the current conflict. Here’s some food for thought:

    Material losses of the Soviet Union:

    118 aircraft
    333 helicopters
    147 tanks
    1,314 IFV/APCs
    433 artillery guns and mortars
    1,138 radio sets and command vehicles
    510 engineering vehicles
    11,369 trucks and petrol tankers

    Casualties and losses

    14,553 killed, 53,753 wounded

    Afghan losses:

    Estimated over 1 million people

    One would imagine those helicopter losses on the Soviet side would’ve increased dramatically once the CIA started delivering Stinger missiles on the backs of donkeys. But it does raise the point that games are incredible teaching tools – or at least can be – when it comes to warfare. We can all experience our own Waterloo, our own Market Garden, our own Thermopylae. Right now in the wonderful RUSE, I’m finding out in wonderful abstraction the incredible doggedness of the Allies at the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Does this extend to FPS games? Well, it very well could – and has in some small if we’re to go by the strange Kuma War game…

    “Kuma War is a series of playable recreations of real events in the War on Terror. Nearly 100 playable missions bring our soldiers’ heroic stories to life, and you can get them all right now, for free. Stop watching the news and get in the game!” – http://www.kumawar.com/

    …which lacks any sort of subtlety or nuance. It seems like it’s catering to a fairly low denominator, but who really knows the target audience. Six Days In Fallujah another one that I’d be afraid would have missed the mark, but if there’s any place to start, a big budget title like Medal of Honor might be the safest way to go in doing a little more to engage young minds or shed light on situations currently surrounding the armed forces.

     
  • unmanneddrone 5:29 am on September 11, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    @zegolf It’s an interesting notion, especially since Medal of Honor the first mainstream game I’ve known to be about a current conflict, not one that camouflages the region and combatants behind fictional titles – ala Full Spectrum Warrior and Zekistan. Combat Mission Shock Force came close, but that’s more a combined arms situational simulator than a ‘game’ game.

    And, what EA are doing is ballsy. Is a game that promotes an addictive multiplayer component trivialise the actual combat and sacrifice of real boots on the ground? Is it a game that perhaps we’re overstating the effect of, considering most of the young male troops in the armed services would have, at one time or another, enjoyed a few rounds of Call of Duty Modern Warfare and don’t see there to much problem in a game set within their theatre of operation?

    I feel the controversy, if any, will come from the usual suspects, but it’ll be fragmented into a few different camps…people who see the single player campaign as a solid and heroic tale of the US war machine doing their part against insurgents…and if that’s the kind of experience the youth of America can have, then perhaps it’s a good thing in terms of reinforcing ideals. It’s intangible, it’s kind of hazy and it’s not particularly effective as a method of conveyance, but I’m willing to suggest that’s its free pass for some.

    When dealing with enemies in contemporary warfare, it seems there needs to be some sort of cultural cooling-off period before it’s deemed acceptable in wider society. Hence the Taliban issue for some. I think the VC are alright, but the Khmer Rouge certainly are not. The German forces are acceptable as player forces or characters, despite the sordid dealings of the SS upper echelons and a certain issue of genocide. The Japanese fall into this category as well, but perhaps its more a question of who has come to the table of democracy and international relations with the super power after the fact.

    I’ll ruminate on it some more, and type some things when I’m not on a Japanese keyboard. The spacebar is too small and my apostrophes come at the cost of a SHIFT+7, which is hellish.

    May the discussion continue!

     
  • RocGaude 4:22 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    OK, if we’re going to do a full episode about violence in video games, be sure to post your questions with the tag “Q&A”.

     
  • unmanneddrone 3:59 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    @RocGaude Very interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, and on the whole depiction of the military/conflict within video games. It’s especially interesting, with a younger bro in the Aus military who’s looking at getting deployed next year into Uruzgan with the next big rotation come the new year. IPerhaps a different perspective, being a smaller peripheral support group compared to the US forces, but an IED is an IED and the Taliban engaging US forces are the same former Mujahideen fighters picking at our lads.

    Yeah, should be good to hear your views over a range of gaming genres that deal with conflict and war on different scales and in different shades.

     
  • unmanneddrone 5:48 am on September 4, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , War Violence 'n Vidya Games   

    Another tasty item for discussion, and one slightly more interesting than bemoaning the current DLC woes! War and violence, their representation in video games and what we’re to draw from them – if anything. Should we be worried or concerned, or take this as an opportunity to examine ourselves and what lies within and without?

    If I had to, I’d break down the strengths a particular genre has when tasked with conveying warfare.

    FPS – An intimacy unrivalled primarily between you, your combat equipment and a representation of a foe. Combined with, at least recently, an incredible aural conveyance (case in point: Bad Company 2’s “War Tapes” sound effect option), a battlefield of varying degrees of realism (ARMA to Modern Warfare) has become the primary and easiest genre of choice to fit the “game” notion to. It’s all a question of movement variables coupled with quota degradation and accumulation, but the sheer immediacy of the genre – at least thus far – has lacked any sort of thought-provoking ideas, moral musings or concepts outside of shock value. Interestingly, horror is traded for roller-coaster ride. A Hollywoodification of a genre where, instead of an intense examination of not why the enemy is firing at us but rather why we’re firing at them and what that means to us as individuals; we get perhaps a cappuccino-froth scoop of the cream, where the obvious rush and intensity are emphasised over the psychological ramifications of combat.

    Grognardian Operation-level War gaming – The traditional hex-based games, like Steel Panthers and The Operational Art of War, deflate the humanity of war down to cold statistics. I’ll take a punt and say more veterans and combat servicemen – at least up until this generation – would prefer to play games such as these than representational games in other genres. I know of a few old veterans who enjoy a light-hearted bout of Squad Leader or anything of the old Avalon Hill-esque wargames. Violence is masked as simple depletion of chits or stacks, something either more palatable or preferred to a somewhat overbearing and perhaps unnecessary addition to not so much a representation of combat, but an abstraction of combat used as one would the pieces in chess.

    Simulation Management – Anything from T-72: Balkans On Fire to Full Spectrum Warrior, Combat Mission to Close Combat and A-10 Tank Killer, these aren’t games that run on any particular glorification of war, simply to use it as a platform for examination of the hardware, logistics or capabilities of their specific core components. Much like the traditional war gaming, maybe even more so, these types of titles appeal to either service members or hardware enthusiasts. If I may share a personal anecdote, Full Spectrum Warrior was the first game I ever played that made me truly consider the notion of the many levels of urban combat; the complexities of fields of fire, ballistic trajectories and squad logistics; particular weapons systems’ strengths and a vague idea – as I’ve not had the harrowing experience myself – of what it means to lose a squadmate right next to. If anything, I’d say the simulators of this world do a far better job of conveying the intensity of war and combat than the big budgeted Medal of Honors and Call of Duties.

    Grand-Strategy – The Hearts of Iron series, Making History, Gary Grigsby’s World At War etc., involve one key aspect within their abstractions…the “why”. I think that’s an important distinction, because it’s only genre where the levers of statecraft – the political machinations that send the young farm boy to the front – are given over to the player. The abstraction itself is a two-edged sword – much like hex-based war gaming – whereby the firebombing of Dresden and the entailing death and destruction occurs, but in ever-shifting quotas relating to population, to industrial output, to dissent, to capacity to supply garrisoned forces. Perhaps this only highlights the ease at which we’ve waged war throughout history – it is the grand leaders in their capitals that cast their armies into campaigns and march under frivolous cassus belli, it is the boots on the ground that feel the arrows, the bullets and the IEDs. Something a thorough grand strategy game does well is showcase the lasting ramifications of waging war, though being essentially conveyed through charts, graphs and numeral indicators. Not only do you fight your enemies, but you fight your own population and the will of the people. And once the fighting is done, your annexed territories continue to harass and plague through peoples within that territory. Uprisings, dissent, a complex equation the result of primarily post-Westphalian ideology. America and her allies know only too well the cost of the aftermath.

    The moral implications of pushing your virtual nation to war and seeing casualties listed in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions if we’re talking of the USSR, is one to reflect upon. Stalin did suggest that one death is a tragedy, but one million is a statistic. Oh, ol’ Joe.

    Oddities – One game springs to mind, and that’s our favourite title DEFCON: Everybody Dies. That’s one particular game that really hits you like a freight train despite being a Spartan abstraction of thermonuclear war. Fair enough, Wargames and all that, but the deeper reflection is the use of civilian population centres as bargaining chips in the brinkmanship dance of nuclear deterrence. Ever since Guernica, the thought of a civilian population centre being considered a viable target and one way to undermine an opponent’s administration is chilling to say the least. There’s something about DEFCON’s subtle conveyance that really gives me goosebumps. My carrier fleet in the frigid North Atlantic slowly making its way for the Norwegian coast, polaris subs slipping silently into the warm waters off the Andaman group. And that first calm voice telling you a nuclear launch has been detected; that first city disappearing in a radial flash accompanied by a muted detonation and those words…New York Hit. 9.5m Dead…at least for me, I felt a pang of horror and pity, but it showcased just how easily man lusts for retribution and revenge soon thereafter.

    It’s a very intriguing discussion topic, war and violence within the gaming medium. On one level, guns make the perfect “game piece”, by their direct nature and ability to augment a player’s standing with his or her surroundings – and military engagement features a concentration of such articles. On another, it’s incredible to see the entertainment medium on a whole be so quick to represent current conflicts with productions like HBO’s Generation Kill and its axed spiritual predecessor Over There, not to mention movies like The Hurt Locker. Half of it appears to American social reflection – but that’s an Australian’s perspective – whereas the other half is a mixture of being true to its current servicemen and women as well as, at least, culturally lengthen and support its traditional militaristic might and the ever-present war machine.

    Anyway, just some initial thoughts. Apologies about the length!

     
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