The Onion Puts a Fine Point on Video Game Violence

Thank God we have The Onion to shout out that the Emperors of excessivelly violent video games have no clothes:

Hot New Video Game Consists Solely Of Shooting People Point-Blank In The Face

No, your game does not have a “good story” (note the distinct jab at the stylistic but vapid Max Payne series).

This takes me back to my last few years of high school in the mid-90’s, when i was itching to get into the game industry. Unfortunately, my favourite game genre, the Graphic Adventure (RIP) had been on the wane for years, and had one foot in the grave at that point (Walk To > Grave). Games like DOOM and Duke Nukem were all the rage, and gaming culture slid from a cluster of respectable, scholarly types with beards, glasses and elbow patches, to the jocks who antagonized them in the venerable and true-to-life Revenge of the Nerds film series.

Revenge of the Nerds

Seriously – why do i have to develop games for THIS guy?

i remember feeling slightly sick to my stomach while playing the first King’s Quest game, when i daringly typed “use knife on goat” and was shocked to see a stabbed, lifeless animal lying in a pool of blood a few moments later. Fast forward five years later, when someone at school was describing to me a first-person game where you decapitate your enemies, and then carry around their diembodied heads, which wolud vomit acid on other enemies to disintegrate them.

King's Quest

King’s Quest: wussy, but good

i was very sheltered from violence growing up, and i think it’s helped to make me a much more caring, empathetic (if not squeamish) individual. i don’t like to see horrendous acts of violence inflicted on others, because i wouldn’t want them inflicted on me. (Maybe that makes me more self-centered than empathic, but whatevs.) Enrolling in a college course for 3D art and animation, it felt like i was running into a flaming building – the ideals of my chosen industry collapsing all around me in cinders.

i realize i’m being a tad amateur poet about it, but suffice it to say: excessive and gratuitous game violence just pisses me off, plain and simple. So thanks for tellin’ it like it is, The Onion.

Now let’s leave the video for Everybody Else to enjoy, because “hur hur hur … dem people’s faces assploded.”

7 thoughts on “The Onion Puts a Fine Point on Video Game Violence

    1. Ryan

      Ooh … that’s a really good question!

      i don’t think i’d have made it, and here’s why:

      Look at South Park. It’s a show that combines sharp satire with base idiocy. i’ll occasionally watch the show, and i enjoy it when it’s at its sharpest and most scathing. But most of the time, it uses lowest-common-denominator tactics to convey its message. The perfect example was the ginger episode – Cartman suddenly decides to start picking on red-haired kids. The episode lampoons racism. (Apparently, ginger prejudice is real … i’m not sure how many North Americans knew that when they watched the show.)

      The ginger episode was somewhat subtle and clever. But what came of it? A bunch of high school-aged kids who watch South Park initiated “Kick a Ginger” day on Facebook, where everyone was supposed to physically harm a red-headed person at school. Super.

      So no – while i appreciate the satire, i wouldn’t have made the game … if only for all the people who will say “Dude! You gotta check this shit out – you can shoot guys in the FACE at POINT BLANK RANGE! It’s AWESOME!”

      If i had written that South Park episode, i’d be horrified. You have to handle satire with care, or you may be responsible for committing the same societal offense you originally intended to criticize.

  1. Michael

    “Kick a Ginger” day? Yikes. I see your point. You’d be “that guy who made the face shooting game — are you gonna make a sequel?”

    I went on YouTube to look at the comments on the video (and its clones) to see whether people really are that dumb. Yep!

  2. Snurre

    Nice vid :) but I must say that I was chocked that people would even consider making a game like this (even though I’m only 19). I don’t consider violent stuff per definitions as bad, a game like Counter Strike wouldn’t have been that fun if you had to shoot each other with waterguns. The movie SAW, it had a really good point in the first movie (I think), but it can freak me out that people loved seeing those people being tortured so much that the have made 4 sequels. When the general man thinks this way, why not make a game like Close Range, they can make money from it and does not have to think about the consequences before their 10 year old son gets shot in the school. I think it’s outrageous that we have a society today where everything is so self-centered. Apparently quite a lot of people would rater shoot thousands of people right in the face, than making a good life.

  3. Michael

    ‘“I was amazed by the lack of compassion in the people that I knew and the fact they would think that this is a fun thing to do,” he said. “I just never thought that people were capable of that before.”’

    Man, good thing video games don’t inspire violence in people at all, right?


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