News Article

Talking Point: The Rules for Violence in Video Games

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Are there rules?

Just yesterday we reported that Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D arrives in the North American eShop this week, an arcade shooter where the targets are assorted wildlife from the plains of the African continent. We also wrote the following:

While your opinions on the merits of game hunting in Africa undoubtedly vary, we're slightly surprised that a title that allows indiscriminate gunning down of endangered species got through the Nintendo approval process.

This game has gone on to provoke an interesting debate about violence in video games, what's acceptable and what is a step too far. It's a topic where there doesn't appear to be any definitive winning argument, but rather multiple grey lines intersecting each other. Let's look at a few examples, why some may deem the violence to be a step too far, and why others may argue that, actually, it's all a fuss about nothing.

Both entries of No More Heroes and MadWorld represent, we think most would readily agree, over the top and cartoonish violence. In both cases blood gratuitously fills the screen, while brutal methods of killing enemies is also par for the course, even rewarding the player with extra points in the latter. These are mature games in every sense of the word, with No More Heroes featuring plenty of sexual innuendo and young women in skimpy outfits, and MadWorld having a running commentary with enough profanity to make Chris Rock blush. These are games for grown-ups, put simply, so have few inhibitions.

But what about the use of violence? In the case of more than one member of the Nintendo Life team, the brutal kills, splattering blood and severed limbs didn't cause any moral repugnance or squeamish reactions. Perhaps it's due to the presentation, both cel-shaded and one in black and white — apart from streams of red for blood — or it may be due to the outrageous nature of these games. These aren't titles that strive for any sort of realism, but are pure unadulterated fantasy with no grounding in reality. We find it questionable that either would inspire violence from an impressionable gamer, because the action and its portrayal on screen is so far from reality that moral considerations, for some, go out of the window. Yet, like any examples we give, this won't apply for everybody, and some undoubtedly find games like these offensive to play.

So what about the FPS genre, does the way that the violence is portrayed shift the dynamic? The two examples we've given in the heading perhaps show why this can be, like this whole topic, a grey area. To start with Call of Duty, it's a franchise that has developed from a relatively gritty World War 2 game to Hollywood-style warfare. If we take Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, it provides war fighting at an exceptionally intense level, with the campaign primarily cramming the disc with one intense battle scene after another. It's very violent, and despite the SD limitations of Wii also attempts to portray visuals of a fairly realistic nature — it's possibly representative of how some naive individuals perceive war. There are plenty of real-life guns, lots of killing and an online component that's one of the most competitive in gaming. It's a series that's pushed limitations and critic's buttons, of course, with the infamous 'airport massacre' level in Modern Warfare 2. That title never arrived on Wii, why not? Was it developer resources, or did Nintendo resist? If you don't know about the controversy to which we refer, saying that one level involved observing — and participating in — a killing spree of civilians should give you an idea.

If, for arguments sake, the Call of Duty series can be criticised or considered offensive, do the same rules apply to a title like GoldenEye 007 on Wii? It bears plenty of similarities to Call of Duty and other modern FPS titles — to the dismay of some retro fans of the N64 classic, no doubt — but is set in a fictional world. Of course, Call of Duty is fiction as well, but does it make any difference that GoldenEye is set in the James Bond universe? After all, it's an action-intensive, violent game, with plenty of killing and quick-time controlled fights thrown in for good measure. If Call of Duty tests boundaries with war-themed violence, does GoldenEye do the same thing, or does the setting and backstory change the impact of the play?

If we're talking about violent FPS titles, we can also loosely include the Metroid Prime Trilogy, even if it's more of a first-person adventure. Ultimately, Samus sets about brutally killing hundreds of Space Pirates and, let's not forget, aggressive creatures native to the various locales. The crux with all of these shooting titles, perhaps, is that the enemies are trying to kill your character, but does the setting and context of the title influence our perception, even if the concept is actually very similar?

This article started with Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D, so it seems appropriate to return to that same title once again. The first game highlighted above, Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D, was recently published be Teyon, the same company that brought Outdoors Unleashed to the North American eShop today. In terms of gameplay, these titles are broadly the same thing, with a simple task of aiming and shooting at whatever's on screen, though Outdoors Unleashed appears to have moving environments and more content. Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D, and its DSiWare counterpart, was greeted on its merits as an arcade shooting game, whereas today's release prompted an entirely mixed reaction.

The distinction between the two is all about style, rather than concept. Crazy Chicken Pirates features cartoon-like birds dressed in stereotypical pirate gear, and the visual aesthetic means that in all likelihood most gamers wouldn't think twice of merrily shooting lots of these characters. Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D, on the other hand, takes a real-life past-time, applies visuals of a more realistic style and throws in combo rewards for lots of kills.

A reaction for some in the Nintendo Life community was that this was inappropriate and distasteful, with the trailer showing lions attacking the player, for example, but also stages where the task is to kill a number of elephants running across the screen. Perhaps the distaste was due to the fact that these are representations of real-life animals — some of which are endangered — and encourages the player to kill them in seemingly great numbers. Maybe the reaction against this is simply down to the fact that the animals can't fight back in a meaningful way, nor are they enemies that chose to get involved in a fictional war or conflict on an opposite side. Many of the animals being shot in the game are clearly defenceless, while those that do attack are hopelessly outgunned: more like a protester throwing a rock at a tank, than a genuine threat.

An argument against the idea that this title is distasteful is that gamers show hypocrisy. Happy to gun down humans in a war game, or cartoon animals, but suddenly repulsed if the action targets realistic animals. Some cite the Grand Theft Auto series, which has never featured on a Nintendo home console but has appeared on handhelds with Grand Theft Auto Advance for GBA and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for DS. This is a game franchise where players can either target and kill enemies alone, or simply go on a mindless rampage and run-over, shoot and kill innocent bystanders. Of course, the charge of hypocrisy may be inaccurate in some cases, as some of those that criticise Outdoors Unleashed may also be just as critical of GTA.

As these examples hopefully demonstrate, this is a complex part of gaming with no easy answers. What is undeniably important, and perhaps vital as video games become more mainstream and varied, is that gamers respect each other's views and accept that harmless fun to one person is abhorrent violence to another. Beyond that, there's plenty of debate to be had in terms of why some games are deemed more unsuitable than others, and where lines should be drawn in terms of content, if at all.

What do you think about these issues? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (87)



rayword45 said:

In my opinion, a game is a game. One shouldn't start complaining about the level of violence, because it's a game. It may glorify it in a way but never does it outright promote real-life behavior.

There are certain topics where I would be offended, but unless one replicates those behaviors, I say "let them play what they want"



Wheels2050 said:

I don't remember any blood in NMH...

(the USA got an 'uncensored' version, while Japan and PAL regions got the version where enemies burn to ash)

As for the article itself, violence in games is such a complicated and emotive topic that I can't say I've got a particularly well-informed opinion about it. Personally, I don't mind violence as long as it's not disturbing or sadistic (that goes for any medium - books, games, movies - I recently felt a bit squeamish during one particular scene in the fourth Game of Thrones book) but I think it is often unnecessary, which really only bothers me because the story at hand usually doesn't improve much with needless violence.

All I can say is that I've grown up playing violent games since I was young (Wolfenstein, Doom as a 5 or 6 year old kid) and watching violent movies (one of my earliest memories of a movie is watching naked people in a swimming pool being shot in a Dirty Harry movie, which was probably before I was 10) and I consider myself well-adjusted and not prone to violence.

I know I'm just one person, but video game violence isn't the corrupting force many believe it to be. I have my limits as to what I'll sit and watch/play/read when it comes to violence, but that's more of a personal preference than any belief that experiencing it will do me harm.

P.S. - As for the Outdoors Unleashed game, I don't see it being any worse than, say, Big Buck Hunter at the pub. I don't want endangered animals being hunted in real life, but I don't think shooting virtual elephants is doing any harm.



Geonjaha said:

Violence can be important in some games. It can be necessary for the story or just to complement gameplay elements. Games dont need violence to be good though, and unfortunately one reason many self proclaimed 'hardcore gamers' dislike Nintendo is because they think they do. Violence doesnt make a game mature or hardcore, and by no means does it make it better.

I have no problem with games that are violent - but ones that are overly so will probably just make me turn away. The only aspect of such games I despise is the audience some of them bring about.



Ryno said:

I am finding that the older I get the less likely it is that I want to play an over the top violent game.



SkywardLink98 said:

Violence can be important and excused, but over the top, excessively gory games aren't any better than if they were without the gore and violence.



photofool83 said:

I personally don't understand the obsession with violence in video games. It seems like you're not considered a hardcore gamer unless you are playing something ultra-violent. I know plenty of hardcore games that have little to no violence. I don't necessarily want everything to be sunshine and rainbows but it does seem like the industry is a little over saturated with violent games at the moment.



Samholy said:

the african thing is somewhat inappropriate simply because it goes on a realistic side with a leisure cruise feeling. (and it looks boring at most ) killing endangered species as a main goal just isnt fun. Keep the killing for humans, not animals

mind that im a hardcore horror movie fan. ive seen many things. but they remain fiction, as well as the video games.
i agree photofool83. violence isnt always necessary. But you gotta admit, some of them are insanely fun. We are human. human like violence, its deeply written in their DNA. war,fights,survival. this is the base of life. survive and kill to eat. check a national geographic movie and you will see intense killing made by animals. theyre gruesome, without pity. some eat their prey alive. you gotta survive or you will die.

jbetter have all this action violence into your videogames rather than in real life, no ?



ultraraichu said:

I don't mind games being violence, I just mind the people who like to label them as "real" hardcore games because it's "mature". It's like them saying rockband is a real music game and rhythm thief is not because it have real music (I had a debate about that one).

Before games could be violence with the common sense of knowing it's not real and be based on the gameplay and story itself, now it's the main selling point for "hardcore" gamers and debate (at least when it comes to nintendo)

Also I'm a bit surprised that HOTD: Overkill wasn't mention. Holding a wii remote like a gun shoot zombies (or mutants) with blood chunks everywhere. I guess only humans and animals allowed



FluttershyGuy said:

Same as real life, I could live with the hunting game if the animals had guns too. How would humanity like it if something were hunting us for sport & fun? But, animals would never do that to us. They hunt for the sake of nourishment, and therefore survival. Viridi has the right idea about us.



Bass_X0 said:

Yesterday I overheard a customer in GameStation, a man about 40, say to his wife that if a game is rated 18, its good. But if its rated 15, its crap. I shook my head in disbelief but did not challenge him on this statement.



Kyloctopus said:

I don't find any problem with cartoon violence. About every game has it. (Stepping on goombas, using Ice Beam on Bulbasaur,) However if it is realistic violence, then follow the ESRB.



FluttershyGuy said:

Something else, here in America where we love our guns & violence, this is a relatively insignificant issue, except amongst the occasional politician that's courting the "family vote" before an election. If this were about SEX in a video game, man would there be a BLEEP storm! Or there wouldn't be an article like this at all, because two people showing affection to each other rather than filling each other with bullet holes is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE, and therefore the sexual content wouldn't even make it into the game to be made an issue of. MAKE WAR, NOT LOVE!!!



Wheels2050 said:

@Thomas: Yes, you're right, number 2 did have blood - I was really just being unnecessarily (though intentionally!) picky

@FlutterShyGuy: I completely agree. There's this weird disparity between showing sex and violence throughout Western media that I totally don't get. Sex is a wonderful thing, and should be celebrated (tastefully) but it seems to be this taboo topic. As I said in a thread buried in the forums here somewhere, have a movie where kids are killing each other in brutal fashion (The Hunger Games) and it gets rated PG, have a movie with 'sexual themes' and it's quite likely it'll get bumped straight up to a stricter rating. To me, that's backwards.

@Bass_X0: that's a bit sad - that guy's denying himself a lot of fantastic games. You should have waved SMG at him!



King_Boo said:

My mind has always seen video games so fictional in every aspect that even the worst violence(postal 2 and the like) have never bothered me. Real life violence, in movies, and in some anime I find disturbing.



WingedSnagret said:

Oh sure, it's okay to kill your own kind in a mass genocide, but go so far as to even point a gun towards and elephant or lion, and it's a big no-no. I'm sorry, but there is something very wrong with this picture.



Sir_Deadly said:

Well, if parents would stopping buying there kids COD and BF maybe violence wouldn't be an issue. Let the mature audiences play the mature games and so on and so forth!



Hokori said:

@ThomasBW84 It's not a problem, I'm not into GTA and if I wasn't keeping a close eye out on the "hardcore" that other systems get, I probably would've missed them myself



Varia01 said:

I know I play Metroid and Zelda, but that won't stop me from playing games. But it started to bug me that games with "Intense Violence" is saturating peoples brain with all the blood gashes or decapitations is bad influence. Normal violence on T rated games are ok. But all ways peaceful back then gaming when kids could go to the arcade or have an Atari or NES to play on with super non-violent 8-bit games. But now popular games has became M rated games with blood and gore! It is just disturbing!!!! It seems like these days that the more violent the better! Thanks to Nintendo they are making games for everyone to enjoy!!! Ok, ok I admit, blood is only slightly disturbing but gory violence has to stop! BE GLAD THAT NINTENDO STILL MAKES GAMES!!!



LordJumpMad said:

We have age rating on videogames for a reason!E is for the kids and man-child, and M is for real gamers, and that is good enough for me.Adults play videogames too, not all of us still need our hand to be held, when things get scary.

By the way, No More Heroes and MadWorld are good games, any adult Wii owers shouldn't miss out, you will be doing a favor to your man-hood.



Terave said:

Video games are fictional and if you want to play a game with a lot of violence in it, good ahead. Most of the people know that it's a game and not real-life. However, we've also got a big audience in gaming called Children. This group (or at least part of it) wants to play game with violence in it. It is up to the parents to decide what's good for them and what not. Let everyone play what they want, but you have to know where your boundaries are.



Geonjaha said:

@BossJumpMad - This right here is the attitude that's making gamers look like idiots. So many people are brought up on heavily violent games, and as soon as something like Animal Crossing comes up they go into denial - dismissing any though that they might enjoy such a game, generally claiming their games are more mature, and make them hardcore gamers. A hardcore gamer is not defined by how violent their video games are, and violence alone is in most cases more immature than games without it.

  • Many adults play video games, and very few of them play violent games exclusively.
  • Games with violence and gore can hold your hand as much as any other game.
  • The video game industry has to this point pretty much been defined by games that dont feature blood and gore.

Any gamer who sits at home exclusively playing violent games because they feel it makes them 'hardcore' and a 'real gamer' is terribly deluded and quite frankly pathetic...



ThreadShadow said:

Everybody realizes that "cartoonish" doesn't equal "blood filling the screen right? Neither is calling grotesque violence "over the top" an excuse for it. If some person was splattered and squashed by the side of the road, blood everywhere, would you excuse it by saying it's "over the top", and "cartoonish"? No, we wouldn't, so why do we excuse the same depiction of brutal, grotesque, inhuman, violence in videogames with those same terms?

I don't want to play a game about shooting african animals or any animals, but the thing is, it's okay to shoot and slaughter depictions of humans, but all of a sudden we are offended by a game that lets us shoot depictions of animals from a certain continent?



Grodus said:

Someone said as long as it isint disturbed, voilence is fine I agree. A game is a game for the most part, but do we really need games that make people mentally disturbed?
@fluttershyguy (11) LOL



FluttershyGuy said:

Yes, it is completely backward. One would think displays of affection between people would be preferable to violence and bloodshed. Doesn't seem to be the case, though. Another example is CSI. The original that debuted in 2000 set a trend for showing gruesome deaths and gore on TV. It's one of the most popular shows around to this day. But, if the lovely Ms. Jorja Fox flashed a breast for half a second, various groups would organize rioting in front of CBS headquarters. Remember the outcry after Janet Jackson's (staged) "wardrobe malfunction?" The FCC doesn't fine networks for depicted decapitations, does it?

And the subject here is video games, but the same standard applies. When PETA made that cartoon about Mario wearing a bloody tanooki skin, hardly anybody batted an eyelid. Most reaction was ridicule of them, Best I remember (and it was reaching). Now, can you all imagine the outcry if it were ever even HINTED that Mario & Peach "got it on", even in another castle?

The moral compass for society in general is not just off, it's broken as HA-IL!!!



LordJumpMad said:

@GeonjahaThats a comment I expected to get from someone else.

Seeing how you miss my point completely, for those who still bash M rated games, I remember correctly Nintendo have made a few M rated games themselves, and all of you seem to enjoy them, blood and gore in all.
Conker's Bad Fur Day
Perfect Dark
Eternal Darkness
Everytime you shun a M rated game to come on a Nintendo console, you stop great games like theses from ever being made.

(Awful Gaming Everyone) ^_^



Geonjaha said:

@BossJumpMad - I didn't really connect my post to Nintendo besides the Animal Crossing reference, so I LOL at the fanboy statement.
I could list many good non-violent games that Sony has published if that would help you though?

Not once did I bash M rated video games either - only a certain attitude they promote in some...maybe you should look at my first post.
I never said Nintendo havent released violent video games either...
I also never said I dont enjoy videogames that have violence in...
For someone who claimed I missed the point you sure do contradict yourself. XD



technotreegrass said:

I don't see a problem with offering a hunting game, even one for exotic animals. This isn't the first game nor is it the last, and I've seen hunting games on Nintendo systems before. It's a fantasy not to be replicated in real life, same as almost every video game ever made, whether it has realistic or cartoonish violence. I enjoy going on a killing spree in Grand Theft Auto games just for the sake of causing mayhem, and I shoot every animal that moves in Red Dead Redemption, but I would never take someone's life in the real world, nor would I ever go hunting, whether it's for deer or some exotic animal elsewhere in the world.



KingDunsparce said:

@BossJumpMad I see nothing wrong with people playing games when they are above the requirement. (other than if they are an adult playing Early Childhood games alone D:)



armoredghor said:

This is going to be long winded. read if you care to.
First off, animals aren't defenseless. The commonly hunted animals in africa are the ones that are the strongest and most ferocious in the world. Hunting guides often carry fully automatic weapons on hunts for their own safety. It is common for a lion to be hit with a heavy caliber weapon and run and hide in bushes. Once they've been tracked and they know of someone's nearby presence, they will charge one person that they choose. In that time, there are often 5+ hunters in the situation firing away at it before it kills one of them. If nobody lands a shot in the eyes or mouth it will likely take at least one person out. Here in america, we have the department of fish & game to regulate hunting to seasons and maintain the healthy population. Countries such as South Africa allow for year around hunting but are still regulated by population. Poaching however, has always been a problem. It's a crime; don't look at it as the same as hunting. I am surprised that the killing of fictional wild beasts is more controversial than the killing of people in a war orchestrated by a third party.



LittleKing said:

@FluttershyGuy Love =/= lust. Just felt the need to point that out. I think that both sexual and violent content should be censored to some extent, but agree that violence should probably be treated more seriously. Along with the crazy stuff in horror movies, etc. nowadays. For me, both those things are more disturbing and damaging than sex. You see someone having sex, you probably won't be greatly traumatized. Seeing someone have their face chewed off by a mutant zombie with six arms, however, will probably cause some damage, whether the viewer realizes it or not.

Also, there's a moral conundrum with sexual content, even when its not very explicit, as to WHY the people are engaging in the act. I think it is important to make a distinction there.

Violence in video games is an interesting topic. Personally, I think that extremely violent and gory video games should not be given to young children. They are very impressionable, and I DO believe that it can increase aggression. When a child is within the right age group for a game with some violence, I think it is important that they understand WHY they are being violent. It's not because the people are there, but because they did something bad. I don't believe it is healthy for anyone to go around beating the tar out of innocent civilians and acting like a punk (GTA). That sort of behavior should not be encouraged through any form of media.

The problem with games with decapitation, dismemberment, tons of blood, etc. is not that it'll warp the general population specifically, but what will it do to a child's brain? Especially, what about children with preexisting issues? Personally, I would never play an extremely gory game because of the empathy I feel for the characters on screen. What the hell did they do to deserve being cut up like a piece of beef and be left as a gory splat on the side of the road with their head rolling by?

As the forms of media get more and more gory, our feeling of empathy gets more and more suppressed. It has to just to watch the things we do.



C-Olimar said:

I checked, I do have GTA 2 for GBC, not sure what I did with the first... it's pretty bad anyway



StarDust4Ever said:

I wished more "M" rated titles were about gratuitous toilet humour, with bright, cartoony visuals, in the style of Conker's Bad Fur day, rather than bloody-goory "kill them before they kill you" type gameplay.



eltomo said:

It's like the scene from Men in Black where Will Smith shoots the little girl and none of the aliens simply because they aren't posing any threat.

Killing the "Bad Guy" is what I enjoy, not killing the "innocent animals" for prize and glory!



Bankai said:

I like how people here are telling other people what they should and shouldn't be offended by. Nice.

Censorship in general is bad, but I find that taking pleasure from killing to be deeply offensive behaviour and games that encourage that behaviour even worse.



Wheels2050 said:

I will add that I found the "No Russian" mission (Call of Duty airport mission) pretty off - I know I had to select the option to play it, but it wasn't really necessary for the story (from what I remember) and was just needless, over the top violence.

I find CoD OK for the most part though, and to be honest I don't even think about the violence when I play multiplayer - I focus more on the skills involved than the fact that I'm virtually shooting people.



shinpichu said:

@anyone thinking of responding to BossJumpMad
Don't. Just, don't reply to him. He clearly be trollin'. Don't feed the troll.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Violence in games sometimes changes people. Reminds me of an old friend who just obsesses over blood.
Me: Hey man are looking forward to the next Smash Bros!?
Friends: Is there blood in it?
Me: Uh... I highly doubt it but its another Smash Bros! You loved Brawl, remember?
Friend: Yeah you know what, it wasnt really all that great now that I look back, Needs blood.
Me: Are you serious?!!
Seriously though, He's changed, I never talk to him anymore and honestly I'm glad, he just keeps putting me down. I simply just hate people like that! Dont get me wrong I play games with blood and violence in them, but you dont see me suddenly throwing out all my Mario and Kirby and Pokemon games!
Bottom Line: you dont need blood in every game, just as long as it fits with the situation!



scrubbyscum999 said:

I will reiterate what a lot of people have been saying, many "gamers" nowadays feel that a game needs to be really violent to be good. This attitude in gaming has gotten REALLY BAD over the last decade. I don't believe in censorship, but when people start judging how good games are based on if it has enough violence that is wrong. I think a lot of the younger players are playing these violent games and not only messes up their idea of what a good game is, it messes them up in the head generally. A lot of these kids simply can't handle these mature games and they become annoying macho obsessed people when they get older as teens and adults(mainly in the case of boys). Ironically, they become less mature when they play mature games when they are younger.

I think it's bad to have this type of attitude because it gives violent games that suck more credit than they deserve and non violent games less credit than they deserve. A violent game can be good, heck, it can be a great game. Violence however does not automatically mean the game is good. This idea that all game under the M rating are crappy could very well drive down the quality of games if it just keeps going. I do find people have this idea that violent games automatically equal good games are immature, macho obsessed, and overall just extremely dumb and childish. Sadly, these type of "gamers" have made up a significant portion of the market. It's also funny that violence is treated with open arms in society (at least in the US) but sex is considered some demon that should be subtle and avoided. If anything, violence is bad, sex really isn't bad at all. Too much violence will be very harmful while sex really isn't going to hurt anybody. Not saying we should encourage sex instead but people don't get hurt with sex. I find that amusing society thinks his way.



Bankai said:

"Too much violence will be very harmful while sex really isn't going to hurt anybody. Not saying we should encourage sex instead but people don't get hurt with sex."

I've got a couple of psychology textbooks that would disagree there.

Physical damage isn't the only kind.



scrubbyscum999 said:

@OlympicCho Well I guess if it's something extreme or the person is too young but how the heck is sex on the same level as violence? Heck, without it we wouldn't be here.



The_Fox said:

Since people brought it up, I will say I gleefully murdered dozens of innocent people as they ran and cowered in terror in the "No Russian" level of COD: MW2. Clearly video games have warped my mind.



SteveW said:

People need to realize the difference between games and real life. I downloaded Outdoors Unleashed and it's a great game.



WaxxyOne said:

The trouble with the question "When does it go too far" is that everyone's answer is going to be different, and many times different people aren't even comparing games on the same scale.

I work with a guy who loves violent games. The more violent, it seems, the better. Doesn't have a single problem with a game dumping buckets of blood and guts on the screen. But put in a single scantily-clad chick (or sometimes just a seductive pose!) and he is suddenly up in arms about how inappropriate that is. Other people would deem unmitigated gore to be worse than a pair of large breasts. It all just depends on your personal outlook.

This is why I consider the current game ratings system we have now to be adequate, for the most part. They make an effort to stamp the game with a general age level, and then explain what content the game contains that warranted the rating given, in most cases putting this information directly on the box. Customers are then empowered to make their own decisions for themselves and their families. Whenever people start trying to enforce their own ideals on everyone else, that's when I get mad. Your moral values are not the same as mine, so stop trying to push them on me, thank you very much.



NImH said:

Thank you so very much. When I first saw someone play Duck Hunt as a child, I was totally traumatized and cried so hard that I vomited. I lie.
Such a great article, @Thomas! Thanks for the even treatment and what seems to be a pretty objective POV on the issue:
"An argument against the idea that this title is distasteful is that gamers show hypocrisy. Happy to gun down humans in a war game, or cartoon animals, but suddenly repulsed if the action targets realistic animals." Perfect.



Transdude1996 said:

If the player is under the age of 18, it is the parents choice of whether they want their child playing the game or not. If you are over 18, you get to choose what you want to play. If your attacking games that have voilence, why not go after movies and books that contain violence as well. This is a subject that should be dead and long forgotten about. End of discussion.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I don't really see the connection between this game and the whole "violence in video games" debate. I mean, it's violent in that you shoot things, but if you were to level violence it would be pretty close to the bottom. It's only rated T! What's more, it's rated T apparently just for violence, meaning there's little to no blood!

The only spark I could see from this game is whether or not people should kill virtual endangered species, and I really can't see anyone rationally attacking this game for that. The only reason most people have a problem with it in real life is because there aren't many of the animal left, but in a virtual world that couldn't matter less.



Bankai said:

"I don't really see the connection between this game and the whole "violence in video games" debate."

Not often I agree with you, but here's one occasion.

The problem with hunting games is not the violence of the game - even the realistic ones that feature blood. The problem with hunting games is the real-world activity that those games act to reinforce is offensive.

Unlike running through an airport shooting civilian, hunting is an activity that for some moronic reason we actually allow anyone with a gun to do.



TrueWiiMaster said:

"Not often I agree with you, but here's one occasion"
And then you just had to go and ruin it by saying, "hunting is an activity that for some moronic reason we actually allow anyone with a gun to do". Sigh.

Is that how it is in Australia? I thought they were strict about hunting over there... Over here you're required to get a license, which are limited in number, and then you're only allowed to hunt certain animals, depending on the time of year, and only allowed to kill a set number of that specific animal. You're also restricted to certain areas (at least where I live anyway). It's not just picking up your gun and shooting something.

I'll say right now, I'm not a hunter, but I respect hunting. Why is it that you think hunting is moronic and/or offensive? Are you vegetarian/vegan?



Bankai said:

"Is that how it is in Australia? I thought they were strict about hunting over there... Over here you're required to get a license, which are limited in number, and then you're only allowed to hunt certain animals, depending on the time of year, and only allowed to kill a set number of that specific animal. You're also restricted to certain areas (at least where I live anyway). It's not just picking up your gun and shooting something."

You need a license to have a gun (well, most guns) here. Get that though? It's easy to get away with hunting - whether it's legal or not is completely irrelevant, the resources are not there to police it.

I highly doubt obtaining a license for hunting in the US requires people complete a conservation course. And until it does I remain very skeptical that we can trust hunters to actually know what they're doing. Other than, you know, killing stuff.

"I'll say right now, I'm not a hunter, but I respect hunting. Why is it that you think hunting is moronic and/or offensive? Are you vegetarian/vegan?"

Nope, I eat meat. I recognise the need for humans to eat meat - we're a predatory species.

Hunting is completely unnecessary, however. We have farms to provide us meat, and there is plenty of meat for everyone. What does that make hunting? Gluttony, is what. Excessive killing, and killing without the same regulations for humane treatment that are placed on farmers, to boot.

Animals feel fear, pain, and familial bonds - this is scientifically proven. That someone would cause animals fear, pain, and emotional distress because it <i>amuses</i> them, when they could drive to the local supermarket and buy more meat than they could eat in a year is not something I will ever respect. People who derive pleasure from killing - of any kind, offend me.



Edwrd said:

I don't even kill cows and chickens when I see them in game, because its not ok to kill these things in real life for fun, that's what most people are hung up on, people are hyper-sensitive about "programming" other people who presumably are complete idiots that its fine to kill animals for entertainment. And because they are good as food, and its bad to waste food, didn't yo mama teach you? You can't eat humans or nasty alien creatures!!



rayword45 said:

If people need to play M-rated games solely to boost their ego, then I feel bad for them.

Unless they're douchebags. Then I want to smack them :3



TrueWiiMaster said:

"And until it does I remain very skeptical that we can trust hunters to actually know what they're doing"
I'm pretty sure they don't, but there are conservation rules in place. If you're caught breaking the rules (hunting something in the wrong season, using the wrong weapon, killing more than you're allowed) you get your license revoked. There might be additional consequences like fines or something, but I'm not sure.

"We have farms to provide us meat, and there is plenty of meat for everyone"
First, a lot of people have taste for wild meat. It does taste different than farmed meat, and some meats (bear for instance) can't be obtained in stores. Second, there's a whole other debate about how humane farms actually are. They may kill the animals instantly, but they often feed them unhealthy foods and drugs to make them grow bigger faster. What's more, most farmed animals haven't lived much of a life when they're killed. Many stay penned up most of their life. In some ways hunting is more humane, and its certainly more natural.

"Gluttony, is what"
You can get a lot of fresh, delicious, all natural meat for a low price. One deer's more than anyone could finish, so people often freeze the meat or share it with friends. Deer meat is also much healthier to eat than beef, being naturally leaner. That's not really gluttonous.

"Animals feel fear, pain, and familial bonds"
I agree, but in order to use that against hunting you'd have to be vegan. Farms also break up families and cause animals plenty of stress. When you eat a burger, it's source had a relative, just like a deer in the forest. Besides, like you said, humans are predators. If it's wrong for us to hunt because it causes animals fear and pain, there are many predators out there doing far worse (some eat their prey alive).

"People who derive pleasure from killing - of any kind, offend me."
I have to agree with that. It's pretty disturbing to see a hunter thoroughly enjoying the kill. It's one thing to be happy you just landed a lot of meat. It's another thing entirely to be overjoyed that you killed something.



Bankai said:

"Second, there's a whole other debate about how humane farms actually are."

And I argue against unethical farming as I argue against hunting - to me it is just as bad. I go out of my way (and pay more to do it) to ensure I'm getting meat from ethical farms.

What's more, most farmed animals haven't lived much of a life when they're killed. Many stay penned up most of their life. In some ways hunting is more humane, and its certainly more natural.

Not on ethical farms, they don't.

"You can get a lot of fresh, delicious, all natural meat for a low price. One deer's more than anyone could finish, so people often freeze the meat or share it with friends. Deer meat is also much healthier to eat than beef, being naturally leaner. That's not really gluttonous."

Read up on the definition of gluttony again, then. Gluttony is over-indulgence. When there's a year's worth of dead meat already sitting in a supermarket, for a human being to then go and kill something else is gluttonous on a social (if not individual) level.

"I agree, but in order to use that against hunting you'd have to be vegan. Farms also break up families and cause animals plenty of stress."

Considering meat is processed herds at a time, and considering that abattoirs are actually designed so that the animal isn't aware of what is happening, and therefore does not feel fear, anxiety or stress, your comment is not actually true at all.

Again, ethical farming. Anything else is unacceptable in my opinion.

""People who derive pleasure from killing - of any kind, offend me."
I have to agree with that. It's pretty disturbing to see a hunter thoroughly enjoying the kill. It's one thing to be happy you just landed a lot of meat. It's another thing entirely to be overjoyed that you killed something."

While I don't think that killing animals is equatable to killing human beings as a moral crime, I do think that taking pleasure in killing them for any reason is comparable. Humans need to eat meat, and therefore animals need to be killed. Therein I can accept the need for (ethical) farms.

However, hunting for the "thrill of the hunt" or to be "happy to land a lot of meat," is no different to me to torturing a human to death or being happy that the man you just shot had a wallet with $1000 in it. The joy of killing, regardless of where that joy comes from, is something that no enlightened human being would conceive of doing.



TrueWiiMaster said:

Fair enough. Ethical farms are great if you can afford them. The animals are better treated and the meat tends to be better, probably because of the better treatment.

"Read up on the definition of gluttony again, then. Gluttony is over-indulgence. When there's a year's worth of dead meat already sitting in a supermarket,"
Stocking up on healthier, natural, cheaper meat is not gluttonous. What you're saying is like saying people shouldn't fish because there are fish at the store, even though fishing means fresher, cheaper, and often better fish, or that people shouldn't garden, because every vegetable they grow is a vegetable that will go bad at the store because they didn't buy it. Also, it seems rather socialistic to say you have no choice but to buy what the stores offer because they offer it.

"Considering meat is processed herds at a time"
If you really think that young cows are slaughtered with their mothers, you are sorely mistaken. The fully grown cows get processed before the younger ones, which means families are indeed broken up.

"However, hunting for the "thrill of the hunt" or to be "happy to land a lot of meat," is no different to me to torturing a human to death or being happy that the man you just shot had a wallet with $1000 in it"
The only way that analogy can even begin to work is if you do in fact equate human and animal life. Besides that, hunters, unless they're disturbed in the head, try to kill their prey as quickly as possible. The more stress, pain, and fear the animal feels, the worse the meat will taste (it's true).

I think you misunderstood what I said. When I said "happy to land a lot of meat" I meant happy to have gotten so much food, not to have killed the animal. It would be similar to you being happy to have gotten a pack of meat from the store. Technically, you're happy for the same reason (I'm assuming you don't eat it begrudgingly).

I forgot to mention it earlier, but there's also population control to consider. It may sound cruel, but it is actually necessary. Back in the day, there were mountain lions all across America to hunt. Nowadays they live mostly on the west coast due to hunting and a shrinking habitat. If people didn't hunt in their place, deer would overpopulate, which is bad for us and the deer, especially since their habitat shrank too. Basically, it's now a necessary part of the ecology even if everyone wanted to stop.



Bankai said:

Very good. Tell the guy that has a pet duck to go visit a hunting site with the name

Hunters can go take their 'culture' and shove it. Their hobby involves killing things and ergo I have no respect for it.



Buob said:

OlympicCho - I've noticed you've been acting like a jerk lately...Is there something up?

Either way, our hunting deer or fowl is just our way of population control. It's like your rabbit population problem.

Also, you said something about familial ties earlier. I really doubt they feel those kinds of things, as a buck has 4-5 different hinds that he mates with, and then totally ignores any offspring. IF he does get back to the offspring, it's female during mating season.

Back to the topic at hand, the airport level in COD made me sick. I stayed behind the other mafia members and shot at the luggage and other minor things in the background (I do that during FPS games, just to see how much detail they've put in. I find it fun to shoot tires on vehicles and watch the air whoosh out). As for other violent games, it really depends on the context and the amount of blood and stuff. If there's a war, I'm fine with it, but if it's random killing of NPC's, I don't pick it up. For hunting games, I think it's okay, as long as you put a disclaimer in the manual saying that the hunting of endangered species is prohibited in real life (if applicable). Killing monsters is also okay with me. I doubt I'll find a Goomba or a Moblin (or even a zombie) in real life who will judge me for killing their inner game counterparts.



Geonjaha said:

@shinpichu - I reply to him as I would to anyone else. I'd like to assume that trollers would simply have their comments removed from such articles, but since that doesnt happen - I just treat his replies like anyone elses. He can feel smug about having 'trolled' or 'trapped' someone - but in the end he's just the person who wrote a stupid comment on a website. Best just to let the kids work out their own problems.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

@Buob That first sentence you typed. It made me think.
You know that saying about who gets the last laugh? IMO, I'm kinda seeing this going on.

And as for the most of the comments that were made, I just wanna say this;
We all should know for a fact that humans aren't perfect. Heck, nothing is perfect, to all of us. We all view perfection in a different way. We're all not gonna agree on everything, but there's usually a line in the middle, where people meet each other half way.

And as for violence, — I'll come come back to it after I'm not hungry.
Oh btw, I think it's mostly parents who buy violent video games for their childern. I think at least 1/4 of parents who say that the don't buy violent video games for their childern are lying.



LavaTwilight said:

Haha and half of them (2/4) don't realise the game theyre buying is so violent.

In Army training, cadets used to have to shoot at black and white targets, but then that was replaced by a SILHOUETTE of a man. Why? Because the army realised that in shooting at the mere outline of a man reduces significantly man's natural resistance to kill another human being. If a shaded image of a person can do that so much, how much more so is constant violence in computer games going to reduce that resistance when some games boast several different expressions of pain when you shoot someone and requires the character to kill over 100 maybe over 1,000 different people by the time the game is complete? I'm not saying everyone who plays these games are going to go on killing rampages, that's just ignorant stupidity to think that. But you CANNOT say it has NO affect. People spend hours a week, even hours a day playing computer games. Yet big companies spend billions of dollars on 30-second advertising. Why? Because it has an effect! The more they spend on advertising, the more sales they generate. It's not theory, it's science!



SteveW said:

Your missing the point... I would never shoot any real animal, but Outdoors Unleashed is a video game! you are taking things too seriously. You are afraid to hurt a chicken in Zelda?

In real life, I would also not eat a giant mushroom that made me grow larger or eat a plant that makes me shoot fireballs from my body. I would also not run through mazes eating pellets and consuming ghosts whem they turn blue! isn't that like eating a soul? omg! that should be banned also!



Tsuchiya said:

Fantasy, cartoony and historically contextual violence - Yes

Referencing and copying real world violence for the sake of being shocking or purposely controversial, making light of severe real world violence and seemingly providing no real reason to do so - No



Araknie said:

For me all of this is non-sense.

A violent game can disturb you only when you don't think anymore that's a game.
All of this it's only excuses for that misunderstaing, and i know Nintendo will think this like i do.



Adhrast said:

My point still stands: why this and not The Binding of Isaac?
The problem was religion? So killing LOTS of people and/or animals = fine, raising some criticism on religion through a clever and extremely fun game = NO NO. Wth?



grumblegrumble said:

My idea is this... Instead of complaining about a $4 video game and how that is so terrible, why not use your time wisely and join PETA or go volunteer at your local animal shelter, where real animals need your help today! This is a video game and we can't lose sight of the fact that there are more pressing concerns in the real world. Also, I totally agree that its hypocrisy to gun down humans in a video game and not animals. While I'm a total liberal and a democrat in life, I don't see this game as being harmful to society. People need to take responsibility for their own lives, you can't blame video games for 'making' people violent, no more than you can blame a parent for what their adult children do. So please take your complaints down to your local PETA headquarters and give your help where it's truly needed and where it truly counts.



theblackdragon said:

@grumblegrumble: I agree with what you're trying to say, but I wouldn't suggest PETA at all. I'd suggest going down to your local animal shelter or ASPCA and seeing what you can do to volunteer for them directly.



mamp said:

IDK to me a game is a game if you don't like it then don't buy it, if it doesn't sell then you never have to see it again.
Also XD the psychologists are coming out.



Slapshot said:

No More Heroes and MadWorld are both games that have very little substance and rely on over-the-top violence, sexuality and vulgarity to sell. I personally find both of these to be offensive titles and to be ill-fitting on Nintendo's ("family console") Wii. Yet, they're excused by Nintendo loyalist?!

While I don't agree with the endangered species being involved in Outdoors Unleashed, comparing it to MadWorld and No More Heroes, and calling people hypocrites that don't see them as equally violent is, well, verging on being offensive.

Hunting is a legal sport and the last time I checked, I've never seen a score pop out of any game I've shot in real-life.



Bankai said:

@armoredghor I'm more than happy to try to get to know hunters. Right up to the bit where they kill something.

Since hunting kinda requires the killing bit, and since I find recreational killing to be despicable, I rather think that the hunting "culture" and I would be happiest if we never encountered one another.

Should I ever give a political career a go, though, hunters are going to hate my policies.

That's my last work on the subject.



Slapshot said:

@OlympicCho Where I'm from, hunting/fishing is more of a lifestyle than a sport. We abide by the rules/laws, hunt on our own land and only take a shot when we know it's going to be a clean kill. Not only is wild game healthier to eat, but a single deer an feed a family for quite sometime — saving you a great deal of money.

It's not all about the kill either. Once you've taken down your game, there's hours of work ahead of you — sometimes miles of dragging the game out of the woods — and then you've got to clean and de-bone the game, just as a butcher would, and get the meat on ice. The next day you've got to slice your meat to your preferences too.

Hunting is work, but when your feeding your family off of game that you've killed, prepared and cooked all yourself, it's not exciting, it's humbling. Yes, some people take it to extremes, but it's like everything else, you can't judge everyone by a chosen few.



Bankai said:

Sorry Slappy, but any hobby that involves killing, for any reason, is not going to go down well with me.

Obviously it's not going to taint my opinion about otherwise good people, such as yourself, but you're just going to have to accept that this is something I am passionately, actively against.

It's not personal, it's just reality. There is no way anyone is ever going to convince me that killing something as part of a hobby, sport or game, is a moral activity.

I am also passionately anti-war, but that is not to say that I can't get along with a soldier.



TrueWiiMaster said:

"There is no way anyone is ever going to convince me that killing something as part of a hobby, sport or game, is a moral activity"
How about as a way of life? Most hunter's don't just enjoy the hunt, they live off the spoils. You may say no one should resort to killing their food themselves when we have professional killers (farmers/slaughterhouses), but as I've said before, there are benefits to eating wild meat (cheaper, literally all natural, healthier). Besides that, which do you think is the nicer option, hunting animals that have led full lives, or buying meat from cows that were kept in cells and fed drugs and corn (which is bad for them, btw)? I know that you buy only ethically made meat, but not everyone has that option.

And like I said, even if everyone on earth agreed with you on the subject, hunting would still be completely necessary for the good of both the people and the animals.



Slapshot said:

Oh yeah, you know I'm one to respectfully disagree with others. I can completely understand your point of view, I was just trying to bring a bit of the reality into the entire argument as a whole. It's definitely not all about shooting animals for fun — for many cultures (including my own) it's a way of life. For myself though, I've not been hunting in years. It's too much work for me and the little time I have off, I don't want to spend it hiding in a tree in the middle of nowhere.

I just don't like one-sided arguments, which is how this piece was written. Hunting was demonized from the start, regardless of anyone's cultural thoughts/cares and I personally found that to be quite offensive. Hunters are needed where I live, as the deer population is heavily monitored and if we didn't hunt, they would overpopulate in the matter of a couple of years. Most everyone I know is an avid hunter and I can guarantee you that they're not "murderers."



Henmii said:

"Are there rules?"

Well, apparently not! Especially on Xbox360/PS3 everyone can see that there is a violence rush going on! Every developer on those consoles want to top the last game, violence wise! Why all that violence? Is that the only thing that can sell on Xbox360/PS3?! Personally I think it's very sad!!



ToneDeath said:

I guess a game about big-game hunting, perhaps set in the days of the old British Empire could potentially be sort of a good thing; the hunting element in Red Dead Redemption seemed okay because it made sense in the context of that world...well, okay leaving a skinned horse by the side of the tracks was a bit weird.

However, having watched the trailer for this Outdoors Unleashed, it really does look terrible. Hunting used to be considered a sport, but where's the sport in trying to wipe out EVERYTHING, and even waiting for meerkats to pop up right in front of you so you can shoot their faces off? It looks so bad it's hilarious really.



BulbasaurusRex said:

There's more to violent video games than just inspiring real-life violence. They also desensitize you and increase your aggression. There are plenty of people who have never committed a violent crime yet are still incredible jerks.

Why are you comparing the Call of Duty games with Goldeneye and the Metroid Prime trilogy without mentioning the rating difference? The Call of Duty games are rated M, because the developers were stupid enough to overdose the violence to that level instead of toning it down to a T rating like Goldeneye, the Metroid Prime trilogy, and the Conduit duology. In fact, most (although, not all of them) M rated games could be cleaned up to a more acceptable T rating without losing anything crucial to the games themselves.



Fashion_Ninja10 said:

Honestly... the makers of Outdoors Unleashed: Africa or whatever... should be ashamed. I hope this game isn't available. I like some violence games and animal shooting games, but that...that is just horrible. Terrible. Despicable. I'm disgusted.



Fashion_Ninja10 said:


I totally agree. I have an Xbox360, and i'm looking for some girly fashion games, and there's like, NONE. All I see is violence games. Grr. Anyone want an Xbox360?

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