Violence in Games Has Gotten Weird

One afternoon in university a classmate asked me what I wanted to do after graduating. I immediately said “Video games!”, and she was surprised; she thought I’d go off to make weird Arduino-based projects for the Surrey Art Gallery or something. She didn’t think me the type to play or want to make video games. Eying me suspiciously she asked: “Aren’t those really violent?”

I was expecting this; I was, in fact, prepared for it in the way only an obnoxious know-it-all like myself can be prepared. “Well actually…” I began, eager to waste the next two minutes of her life ranting about my favourite subject. “The medium’s fixation on violent conflict is an unfortunate artifact of early design constraints. Just underneath the blood spatter are interesting spatial and temporal problems that constitute the actual game, and designers dress those things up with violence only because the precedent has become deeply ingrained and difficult to erase.”

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