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Introspective Murder Simulators

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yahtzee made a video today about Modern Warfare: Warfighter about how it’s a bad game that hand-holds you through its single player and will often do things for you if you take too long. Although, this isn’t surprising since the Modern Shooter genre has done this before; this video made 2 years ago shows Black Ops players not having to even fire a weapon for the level to finish itself. Is this it? That single player is an admitted waste of time; please give us your (subscription) money and get back on the multiplayer servers?

His video also points out that Spec Ops: The Line kind of accused the Modern Shooter generation of blindly killing everyone and everything until they felt like a hero. Are you feeling  like a mass murderer yet? No? Welcome to the loony bin, you’re a psychopath.

I think this introspective look at murder simulators is really hitting its stride. First there was Spec Ops: The Line, followed up by Hotline Miami and in both games the protagonist kills and kills and just keep doing it because killing leads to the end right? After finishing a level Hotline Miami forces you to backtrack the entire stage past everyone you killed and all their bloody smears you left on the walls and carpet.

There’s some great juxtaposition of the “Good job killing that guy have some points” and “OMG LOOK AT THIS WHAT DID YOU DO YOU MONSTER!”

Hotline Miami is a great game where you get told by a shadowy set of employers to go kill apartments full of people to make absolutely sure you kill one guy on the top floor that was the actual mission all along. Then you backtrack the entire stage, evade the cops, get a pizza and a new mask. Much like Spec Ops: The Line, the Hitman eventually succumbs to paranoia and delusions just as Walker does. And neither of these people seek assistance once they begin, just bottle it up, continue as everything is fine until suddenly it isn’t. Then the game ends while berating you for your choice to play it.

Part of me worries about this though – both of these games are made for the white american audience. In Spec Ops, an American military group shoots other Americans. In Hotline Miami, an American shoots/kills other people in America (who I assume are mostly Americans minus the Russian Mafia). Why is this display of violence based entirely around American culture? As much as the games are vilifying the player for wanton murder, it both runs opposed to and parallel with the Modern Shooter franchises. So far the introspective look at what we accept as reasonable stimulus to commit mass murder has come from a narrowly defined set of acceptable targets. As far as I can tell, the video game industry as a whole is telling me that it’s OK to murder as many virtual simulations of people as I want, so long as they aren’t American.

Why is there an American flag in Dubai? Whose is it? I’m pretty sure the Army doesn’t regularly carry these things around with them.

I guess it’s mostly a cultural standpoint. The news often reports how many of our soldiers died in action today, rather than reporting how many confirmed kills they made. I know I grow disinterested when I hear 2 American soldiers are dead and the news would rather focus on their families grieving and their governments plans to respond without any weight given to the families of the humans they killed while on a battlefield where two sides are shooting at each other and anyone can die! Why must death of our country’s citizens be treated as an intolerable war crime that only reinforces our reasons to mow down the other side as the butchers they know they are? Surely the same propaganda is being fed exactly the same way to them as well.

Which reminds of the crap being posted by Team Athlete on Twitter. As much as those inspirational phrases can work for you, they also work for everyone competing against you. “If you want it bad enough, IT’S YOURS.” Let bring that back to modern conflicts shall we? The Americans want to stop all the Terrorists that they loosely define as what they are shooting at as being destabilizers of world peace and what not. The terrorists want to stop American presence  in their country and win back rights for their religion, people and country. Hold the phone. It doesn’t matter what both sides want when they both believe the same things about effort and persistence leading to guaranteed victory. Nobody surrenders when all their friends, family, country and other supporters tell them it’s impossible to lose if they keep fighting.

Lets bring this back to video games – we need some cultural diversity and some flipped perspectives in this crusade against the psychopathic man-child who screams insults at everyone through his Live Arcade account. There needs to be more than this one-dimensional killing-is-bad attitude, bring it back to the real world. There are hundreds of conflicts out there that AREN’T American VS Terrorists and they need to be displayed as well. INDUSTRY, you’re still promoting killing foreigners is OK. It needs to stop.

I don’t want to take anything away from these games though. They’re wonderful perspectives of sanity and heroism in gaming, but I really feel like I’m waiting for the third game to come out to cap this perspective off to know if it’s culture based or just Americans playing video games.

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