Head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, responds to the recent game where you can shoot him in the head. He waxes lyrical about how its a sign of the ‘state of our country’ and that if someone is ‘on the edge’ studies show that games can ‘push them over that edge.’
However, my primary complaint with his argument is when he says that violent games are there to ‘titillate’ the audience with violence. He misses the point about violence and its role in any medium, the power that well used violence can have and the effect it creates in the audience.
He says that as a consumer of media violence is there solely to peak our interest, that we are aroused by the violence in games. This is a one sided view, though I agree that games exists to arouse us with violence and power fantasy but there are games that use violence to make a point, to shock not titillate, to make us think about what is happening.
The Walking Dead is a prime example of this, there is violence in the game but it is there to counterpoint the emotional, honest moments and add weight to the decisions that need to be made. One moment we are bashing a zombies head in with a hammer and the next we are confronted with our actions through the reaction of Clementine.
Through this we think honestly about how we feel about what has happened, not as a player but as a person, it lifts the Vail and reveals a mirror by which we can understand ourselves better. Not every game is a murder simulator, some simulate the consequences and confront us with the ramifications of the act. That is the power of well used, narratively relevant violence can have.
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