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Have we become so image desensitized?


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Reading the new EGM and seeing some of the upcoming games to be released, heck, even Romier's Silent Hill 4 thread has got me thinking about how jaded we as gamers have become, that things no longer shock us.

 

 

Don't get me wrong here ..... I am so in line for SH4, The Suffering, I even am a little interested in Manhunt when it drops in price. But I can still recall the media furor over Mortal Kombat introducing the fatalities in the game. People were foaming at the mouth over fake blood. It did not matter that there was an option to turn the blood off, people were offended that a video game for entertainment purposes should dare to include something so hideous. ( Well, in their minds.... as for me .... I was bruising my thumbs trying to get that combo down pat. )

 

 

When has the line been crossed over in your mind as to when a game has gone too far ? Or when will it be ?

 

When we bought GTA3, I remember Cal finding out you could pick up a working girl, and not only have a wild ride, but beat her up and get your money back. I was shocked. I looked at him and said, " You did NOT just do that did you ?!? "

And then when his nephews came over and saw he had the game .... the first words they said were " You can beat up hookers and take their money ! That is so cool ! ". It is the difference between these mind sets I am wondering about.

 

It is that first reaction of, " OMG, I can't believe you can do that. " vs " OMG that is cool ! " that tells me that the genre of horror/survival is going to have to delve a lot deeper into our twisted little psyches to make us jump, scream and shudder in the future. ( Well except for Buck maybe. ;) ) Games are getting more and more relaistic looking in the graphics departments and for us veteran gamers that is a good thing. We still remember playing as a bunch of green/beige/and gray blocks waving a striaght line at other colored blocks to defeat them. We did not even have blood. Now unless the screen is awash in it, a lot of kids say it does not seem scary to them.

 

 

Are there any games you think you will not be playing due to the graphic content of them ?

If so, why not ? What is it that just does not interest you ? Or do the darker, gritty, grisly scenes capture your attention and tell you " I have to play this, it is so creepy and disturbing." ?

Will you let your children play them ?

 

 

I tried not to ramble too much. After my bedtime, my brain turns to mush sometimes. I hope this made some sense and we can discuss your views on it. I am interested in seeing what Romier has to say, as I know he is a horror/survival gamer.

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Well, I don't have kids yet, but I already know that I'm going to be shielding them from a good deal of games for quite a while. I'll talk to them about some of the games that I play and let them know that they're not ready for them yet, etc.

 

I know that I wouldn't play Manhunt. Just seeing the executions in the game was enough for me to want nothing to do with the game. I have no problems with violence in a game, but sometimes it seems that developers make a game that throws in ultra-violence just for no real reason at all.

 

To be honest, the whole Silent Hill thing has never really intrigued me. I've played some of the darker games, but those ones never really tripped my trigger. I own quite a few of the Resident Evil games...but sometimes I think I've bought them... just because they were a good deal, and they were "the Resident Evil games"

 

I know how much I enjoyed Eternal Darkness, but that game just didn't seem as violent to me... maybe it's because it was working over my mind so much.

 

Now who's rambling....

 

Glen

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Are there any games you think you will not be playing due to the graphic content of them ?

 

No, never. If it looks like a good game I don't care if its ultra violent. It is afterall, just a game. I believe the majority of the population doesn't have a problem telling a game from real life.

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When has the line been crossed over in your mind as to when a game has gone too far ? Or when will it be ?

 

I don't think I've seen a game that has "gone too far". Almost every game I've played that contains violence has done so in a way that's so exagerrated and caricatured that it's usually funny to me. The GTA series would definitely qualify, as I think those games parody crime/gangster stories as much as they try to become them.

 

The exceptions to that might be games like the Silent Hill series, but that's the genre and you should be prepared for shocking imagery in those games just the same as you would if you were to pop Hellraiser into your dvd player. Of course, I also don't believe that those games are dialing up the gore because gamers are jaded because most fans of those games that I know are scared shitless by them just as they are. I think they're raising the level of gore because the developers are sadists who won't be satisfied until there are dead, heart-attack-stricken gamers in living rooms all over world ;)

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In my mind, things are the same as they have always been. If I don't like what my kids are playing/watching, or if what I like to play/watch is too violent, sexual, or whatever, I just change to something I think is appropriate. Parental censorship never went out of style as far as I am concerned ;) It doesn't matter how violent or inappropriate they make games these days, if I say no they just aren't going to see/play it.

 

For all the parents saying Everquest killed my son or GTA 3 taught them to beat up hookers, I don't see why they didn't invoke the universally useful parent 3 step program: walk over, turn it off, tell them to do something else. For example, if you were shocked or angered by your nephews behavior, why did you let them continue playing that game in your house? (not picking on you Auntie M, for all I know your nephews might be 6'3" 250 lb 28 yr old Green Berets :lmfao:)

 

By the same vein, if I'm watching something with some sex, violence, or language that I think has value, I'll let them watch it. Protecting is one thing, hobbling is another.

 

Plus, anyone who is motivated enough by a game to enact the material themselves is already out of whack. I must have killed 100,000 people (easily) over the years playing games, never once had the slightest inclination to shoot anyone in real life (although a good slap is occasionally dreamed of for the really stupid people.)

 

Don't let it get you down, kids these days are just fine.

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Spurious or no, the fact of the matter is that Custer's Revenge was released and it was sold.

 

I think it can legitimately stand as a title that qualifies as going too far, irregardless of how many people may have played it.

 

I mean, I recognize that you have a point there, adamsappel, but really that's more of a semantics argument.

 

Just my opine though ;).

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Am I just monumentally naive?

 

If it hadn't been because I've been told about it by every media outlet on the planet, I wouldn't have a clue that you can pick up the hookers in GTA3; never tried it.

 

As for Silent Hill 4, I thought those screenies looked terrible; rather than being shocked at them for violence or blood, I just couldn't believe how much those horribly low-poly slabs of meat seemed to have been lifted straight from Quake 1 gibs. Not that I play survival horror games anyway; not my bag.

 

I'll not be buying Manhunt, if that answers your question. I can stomach gore - good job too, when I have the Army Of Darkness DVD box, the Hellraiser tin and so on. But Manhunt just seems to be based around being gleefully nasty in a way I don't like.

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I just couldn't believe how much those horribly low-poly slabs of meat seemed to have been lifted straight from Quake 1 gibs

 

Believe me Ian if you have/had played Silent Hill 2/3 recently you would be a bit more trustful of Konami's graphical prowess with the Silent Hill series. Its a very disturbing game, both graphically and phsycologically. AuntiMuffins inclusion of the series of series is a good one IMHO because of its disturbing nature.

 

I'll focus soley on the survival horror genre here since that seems to be part of the topic. Do I feel that any survival horror game has crossed the line? No, not really. For all of its lumping into the stealth/action genre I think Manhunt most fits the description of a survival horror title (they do not afterall need to involve zombies or a fucked up other-reality town covered in smoke ;) ). Even that game I feel didn't truly cross the line so much as redefined how close to the line you could get before stepping over. Feel free to disagree with that.

 

When we are talking games like Resident Evil, Fatal Frame or even Silent Hill I think those games are so far removed from reality that its difficult to take the violence depicted there in an offensive manner. These games include themes that we as consumers have been watching and sampling cinematically for year. Silent Hill for instance deals with the psychosis of its protagonists. The second game deals heavily in murder and its consequences. There are also themes of rape and its all handled in a very adult (and I daresay tasteful) manner.

 

I believe the reason Manhunt makes people uncomfortable is because it in fact does serve to desensitize those who play it. In a game like Manhunt there is seemingly no point to the violence. I believe it serves a purpose in that its an integral part of the atmosphere the game tries to create. However I certainly understand if someone feels the opposite and considers it blatant and unnecessary. As I mentioned in the Manunt thread in the PS2 forum. The game taps into one of our societies big taboos. Sure murder is wrong, but what if when I play this game I enjoy it? Not so much in a "I want to go out and decapitate someone" way but more in the form of a release. Eerie stuff to ponder I know and definitely not something that I would let a child experience. However to an adult its a very subjective topic.

 

Are we desensitized to violence in videogames? I think as a society we are desensitized to violence in general. We live with it day in and day out in almost every facet of entertainment we choose to absorb, not just videogames. My most fundamental belief however is that people are good by nature and no matter what amount of desensitizing they have gone through they are still able to see right from wrong.

 

Perhaps the parents of that child you mentioned Leslie, and forgive me for being forward, needs a reminder of exactly what to let thier children play and what not too. Or at the very least explain why it is not "cool" to bash a hooker over the head to take back the money you gave her for sexual favors. Its the least a parent can do. ;)

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Jan 8 2004, 03:48 AM

Are we desensitized to violence in videogames? I think as a society we are desensitized to violence in general. My most fundamental belief however is that people are good by nature and no matter what amount of desensitizing they have gone through they are still able to see right from wrong.

Romier;

 

I disagree to a point. I believe that we, as a society, are desensitized to violence on TV, in movies, and in video games. We are not, however, desensitized to real life violence. I think we can watch brutal crimes take place in these media because when we see those acts, we can think it's not real. It's pretend. No one really died there.

 

Yet if most of us watch as someone is brutally executed right before our very eyes, the effects can be terribly traumatic. We're not used to seeing someone die for real because it doesn't happen to us every day. The vast majority of human beings do not want to aide in the killing of their fellow men and women. In that sense, yes, people are generally good and do see right and wrong. I sincerely doubt any video game - no matter how violent - will change the fundamental values held by those who play them.

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Jan 8 2004, 09:48 AM

I just couldn't believe how much those horribly low-poly slabs of meat seemed to have been lifted straight from Quake 1 gibs

 

Believe me Ian if you have/had played Silent Hill 2/3 recently you would be a bit more trustful of Konami's graphical prowess with the Silent Hill series. Its a very disturbing game, both graphically and phsycologically. AuntiMuffins inclusion of the series of series is a good one IMHO because of its disturbing nature.

Actually, even within that selection of screens, there were some impressive shots too.

 

In that specific instance, however, they crossed a different line; the one that seperates the disturbing, but kept tightly under control, feeling they normally have from the 'ooh look, its lots of polys with red textures' that id, among others, have used in the past. Its so fake, and yet so over the top, that you can't take it seriously. It was exactly what I didn't expect from Silent Hill, which is why I was surprised.

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All very good points. And Romier, you delivered just as I expected. That is why I like hanging out here at this board. Intelligent points of view, be they agreeing or disagreeing can be presented in a understandable manner. Rather than, " It just Rox tat's why !!! " , with no real foundation or thought required.

 

 

Snakefish, I agree with you 100% about parental control being exercised, and that topic has been discussed here a few times. There are games we let Sara ( our daughter who is 4 ) watch her daddy or I play, and others we feel are best left till she is in bed, or at her mommy's house. SOCOM is one we let her watch, and I am sure our play gang will confirm how cute she sounds when she yells " FIRE IN THE HOLE !! " When her daddy tosses a grenade, and she has also learned the Asian ( not sure what exact language it is ) term for grenade lobbing too.

 

As for the kids Romier, we can not control what their parents let them play in their own home, but Cal & I can, and do limit what they are able to borrow from our collection. That is as far as our responsibility can extend in this case. I do not think their mind set is mature enough to handle GTA3, and it does not matter if they know it is not real or not .... it's the prinicpal of the matter to me. Next time their folks say they can borrow what they want, I think I'll toss in the unrated version of Caligula in the stack. :twisted: See if they are paying attention. (j/k)

 

I guess IMO, when I can watch something violent, and my initial reaction is not shocked/awed/repulsed, then maybe I need to re-evaluate my outlooks on things. I am not too worried about my gameing senses... those are intact and working.

 

Bring them all on ... the gory, disturbing, eerie, twisted games coming up for grabs. I want to watch Cal play them all. ( And no, I don't play very many, I suck really,really bad at survival/horror, and die very easily. It is more fun to watch Cal skillfully manuver his way through the horror house. )

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I'm all for on what parents should let their children play. That is why we got a rating system on games, to not only please the government stooges but to also help out uninformed parents.

 

I rented and played Manhunt to completion this past week and I tell you what, IMHO that games violence is a bit overhyped. Sure the executions are a bit hardcore, but in my eyes they still look cartoonish. I thought the violence and gore in Soldier of Fortune was more intense and real looking. I thought Manhunt was a solid stealth game and agree with Romier about its gun missions.

 

So far the one game that my g/f and I both agree on not letting her 5 year old play is Fatal Frame. The game will just scare the shit out of him too much.

He has never played the Resident Evil or Silent Hill series, but I don't think we will let him sit in on those games just yet. ;)

 

-Dean-

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I police very carefully what I let my kids watch and play. I have to say, both my 10 and 8 year old are pretty naive, but I'm also proud to say that.

 

My 10 year-old recently came back from spending the night at a friends house, and the next night he tearfully confessed to me that he had let his friend talk him into watching "Deep Blue Sea". He had put on a brave face at his friends, but what he saw had terrified him so badly the he had trouble sleeping for a while after that.

 

And that's good!

1. He went outside the rules that we as parents had established AND he suffered a consequence.

2. He will still be able to enjoy the "thrill" of getting scared, but later when he's able to handle it.

3. I was able to turn this event into a good discussion on "peer pressure" and ways to overcome it.

 

Too often, parents allow their kids to watch and play violent movies and video games, not because their kids are ready, but because it is an inconvenience to the parents to have to shelter their kids. I let my 10 year old play Halo cooperative with me, because I know he can handle what he is seeing/doing in that game. It's a fantasy world of aliens and "robotic-like" warriors, so there is a disconnect from any semblance of real-world events.

 

On the other hand, I WILL NOT let him even WATCH me playing Rainbow 6 or RTCW. Halo, RS3, and RTCW are all rated M, but RS3 and RTCW deal with humans killing humans, and I don't think he's quite ready for that yet.

 

Would I love to play with him? Absolutely. Do I hate that I have to wait for them to go to bed before I can play? You bet I do. But I endure the wait because I feel its right for my kids.

 

I DO believe in desensitizing. Once something is witnessed many times, and a thrill or pleasure is derived from it, it is natural to want to progress to the next level. The "endorphins" or whatever that are released the first time just don't rise to the same level the next time, so something has to be added to augment it.

 

To the parents that are allowing their kids to play the ultra violent video games and watch violent movies at very young ages, I always try to ask this question:

 

What will provide shock entertainment for your kids when they are teenagers?

 

To me, it's worth the wait to let the things that are SUPPOSED to provide that thrill do just that. Because the alternatives out there, if they are already bored with the standard fare, are just to scary for me to think about.

 

 

Carlos.

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Yet if most of us watch as someone is brutally executed right before our very eyes, the effects can be terribly traumatic. We're not used to seeing someone die for real because it doesn't happen to us every day. The vast majority of human beings do not want to aide in the killing of their fellow men and women. In that sense, yes, people are generally good and do see right and wrong. I sincerely doubt any video game - no matter how violent - will change the fundamental values held by those who play them.

 

 

Completely agree Jeffrey. You touched on exactly what I meant in my last sentence. Desensitization (if thats even a word) goes only so far. Take 911 for instance. Sure you can witness an unending amount of violence on your TV screen and in a videogame but when it matter its difficult to look at reckless murder without feeling some kind of emotion. Again I still to this day have trouble watching any type of 911 documentary and the lord certainly knows Ive sat through my fair share of violence via entertainment.

 

In that specific instance, however, they crossed a different line; the one that seperates the disturbing, but kept tightly under control, feeling they normally have from the 'ooh look, its lots of polys with red textures' that id, among others, have used in the past. Its so fake, and yet so over the top, that you can't take it seriously. It was exactly what I didn't expect from Silent Hill, which is why I was surprised.

 

Understood. Thank you for clarifying. We'll have to wait and see more however to see exactly how things pan out. The game is afterall early in development. ;)

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well I may be in the minorty here, being married with a young child, but the story line of max payne mainly the opeing sequance, really rubed me the wrong way.

 

Don't get me wrong I have now problem with violent games I love the GTA games, first person shooters, and fighting games.

 

Max Payne when to far with the killing of the baby as part of the stroy line IMO so there for I will probaly never play it.

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I don't know about Max Payne Bobbio (never played it), but your avatar is the REALLY brutal image here. It's freaking me out!

 

I have to pitch in and say that the Silent Hill games have always been a little low res, grainy, camera hadicapped, and dark. This is all on purpose and should be that way for these games. It's so integral to the tone and style of game they are making that you have to play it to appreciate it, screen shots for SH games are always underwhelming out of context. The horror is intensified when you are desperately trying to make out some new nasty in a dim hallway (that you can hear 5 mins before you ever see it) and it is just too damn dark/grainy to see it. Guaranteed that one of those monsters will hit your fear buttons the first time you see it (the closers in SH3 did it for me, and those damn nurses in all of them.)

 

A similar visual choice that you either love/hate but is integral to the game would be JSRF. Sure the graphics could have be higher res, but I can't imagine it without that killer cartoony feel to the action.

 

:lmfao: I love this: "I'll toss in the unrated version of Caligula in the stack" :lmfao:

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I love this: "I'll toss in the unrated version of Caligula in the stack"

 

 

 

:oops: :oops: I can not believe I admitted I own that particular disc.

 

 

 

 

 

he had let his friend talk him into watching "Deep Blue Sea". He had put on a brave face at his friends, but what he saw had terrified him so badly the he had trouble sleeping for a while after that.

 

I live on the ocean now, and because of that movie, I am very, very, VERY, afraid of swimming out past the waist. So he is not alone in this case.

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I do think that they way times & society has changed has had an effect. When I was growing up, there were no DVD's,no cable tv (till I was a teenager), & no internet.

 

Now we have access to soooo much more, & it is literally at the touch of a button. The envelope will just keep getting pushed until something really bad happens & someone decides to take a step back.

 

It wasn't that long ago that you wouldn't hear the word "ass" on TV. Now it is the norm - & shows like FX's The Shield (a must see,BTW) really are pushing the boundries of the extreme.

 

Leslie said it best - while my daughter is very smart, & figures out lots of things pretty easily - she just won't have access to anything that I deem is too much for her. Though she loves watching LOTR & the Harry Potter films...

 

Could anyone who has actually played Custer's Revenge please raise their hand (ROMs don't count)?

 

I have not. However, I do own & have played the game Beat em' & Eat em', which is just as bad. The graphics may be ancient, but you can see what the whole point of the game is...

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I must admit I am rather curious about Manhunt. I?d never heard of it until Romier started talking to me about it over AOL sometime ago, shortly after he?d purchased it. There?s a certain degree of violence I usually feel I can take in both games and movies alike, yet for the first time descriptions I was reading of Manhunt seemed to make it clear that here was a game to challenge what I personally find acceptable for levels of violence in videogames.

 

For me, Manhunt seems to be too much. Is it too much for a videogame full stop? Of that I am unsure. I?m not of mind to condemn this game which I have not played, and damn it for being sick and a step too far. If I did that, I?d surely have a good future as a British newspaper journalist. :) A game with such a degree of graphical realism doesn?t particularly feel like my cup of tea. Of course, I did ask Romier if it was a good game, and by all accounts many say it is, which leaves me with a curious interest in playing it sometime which I suppose says of me, if the game play content takes priority, then I can put up with such gratuity. It may not mean I overly like it, but I would put up with it if a game was genuinely a good videogame (as I do with GTA).

 

I think the way Sony helped nurture videogames into a leisure accessory for twenty and thirty-something?s with the PlayStation, the gaming world has allowed for these more adult themed titles. Over the past decade there?s been much more acceptance that the older age market is there and is of much higher regard with developers. The market for the more ?mature? game has always existed, but the last ten years have shaped the way developers market games to consumers of varying ages drastically like we?d never really seen before.

 

We come to the question then of what is disturbing. In any media, I have never actually believed a graphic visual act alone is disturbing so to speak. I think most on this planet are smart enough to distinguish the difference between fiction and reality, even children, in fact I think they are especially quick to catch onto that fact. If you think of a very scary moment in a film, or a game, ask yourself what scared you. Was it the graphic content, or was it the atmosphere that leads up to or surrounded the scene in question? Of the few things in film and videogames that do leave me rather uneasy, it is the atmospheric content because it is this that is usually the door between utter fiction and that disturbing sense of realism. So then, it is perhaps not so much an act itself, more the way it is depicted on screen that makes us question how far is too far. GTA offers a sense of freedom, but hardly a sense of reality or atmosphere.

 

If the atmosphere is right, and acts of violence, general abuse, bad language, drug abuse and so on, are relevant to what you may be watching/playing, then I find it to be acceptable to a certain degree. It?s like Saving Private Ryan. It?s hideous, but why do we accept it, because its reality and it is dealt with accordingly on screen. So what are worse, graphic depictions of violence in a film like that, or the latest Schwarzenegger opus?

 

Shock value, and violence for the sake of violence?etc, I think is a step too far in any media. The truth is we crossed that line in movies and games years and years ago, and the GTA games are guilty of such practice, yet they remain good games to play which again, for me can take priority over any controversy surrounding such a title.

Media in general has shaped the way we view many things. If you look at news broadcasts today and see how many of bulletins are reported and packaged, some even underscored by dramatic music, one has to wonder if a child watching CNN is left to understand the difference between fiction and reality, when reality itself these days it edited and broadcast to the world much in the way fiction is.

 

It?s rather an odd circle if you consider reality is broadcast like fiction, and fiction takes inspiration from reality. Look at various war games like Medal of Honour or Call of Duty. Do games like those exploit the plight of thousands in the Second World War by reducing them to a bunch of polygons on a monitor? Is one left to learn anything from these types of games, or are we just to sit there enjoying the slaughter of Germans and Japanese?

 

I think Children do need to be kept away from these types of media aimed at the older generations. I may not agree there is a defining age that immediately makes something acceptable to a viewer/gamer because the level of maturity in one child of ten can differ radically to the level of maturity in another child of the same age. A good parent will have a good enough relationship to know the mentality and level of maturity of their child and will see fit when to allow them to progress in seeing and learning about different things, and hopefully the parent will be alongside them when they make such a progression with something like a film or a computer game.

 

I?m continually concerned about the level of distance many can find between some parents and their children. Distance due to many reasons, most common seeming to be the workload of a parent. A parent may be so under stress that they place their child in front of a television set and take no notice of what is being shown, or what game is being played. Media as a babysitting device disturbs me greatly.

 

Daniel

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Could anyone who has actually played Custer's Revenge please raise their hand (ROMs don't count)? This title is so old and rare that using it as an example of the depravity that videogames are capable of is kind of spurious.

 

Hell, I own the game, including the box and the manual. Don't need no steekin' ROM.

 

Anybody played "Beat 'em and eat 'em"?

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