1. Wow, I had no idea modern FPS games had gotten this bad. Or maybe it’s just the “military shooter” genre? Either way, I’m glad I’ve stayed away.

  2. I dunno… I’ve spent the week chainsawing aliens in Gears of War, and I grew up running over pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto. This is always with us

  3. “I didn’t buy it so I can still play it and pretend I’m not implicated in the disgusting nature of this product.”

    That’s like a vegan saying, “Well, I don’t eat meat because I value animal life but since this steak is already dead… I’ll have mine rare.”

  4. I’m not sure I buy this. First the author states that he isn’t bothered by graphic violence and in fact loves Mortal Kombat. Then in the very next paragraph, “it’s the peculiar fetishizing of gruesome acts of violence that gets under my skin”. Well, d00d, which is it? If MK ain’t exactly that, I’ll eat a hat made of human innards. It seems to me that MK is WORSE, because its gameplay is entirely context-free ritualized violence, endlessly repeated. If his critique of BlOps is that it fails to engage the player in an emotionally or intellectually meaningful meditation on violence whilst flinging about RPGs, then that is at the very least an admission that it tries to do so — that it fails makes it a narrative failure, not death porn.

    Military shooters by their very nature glorify violence and have about them more than a whiff of bloodsport. We SHOULD feel uncomfortable playing them. I agree with his point that “games like Black Ops continually ask us to behave like psychopaths without any consideration of how doing so implicates us in self-destructive, reductionist attitudes toward actual war. Their visual fidelity is precisely why they should be used not as arcade shooting galleries, which they are at bottom, but as simulators that allow players to experience the incredibly complex and disturbing aspects of combat”.

    But would that game sell?

    Well, it’s been tried. It was called Far Cry 2. Which was, almost, a great game. Had it not been for the infuriatingly fast respawn rate of enemies coupled with awful AI and companions straight out of Ye Olde Stereotype Shoppe, Far Cry 2 could have been the shooter that made the player rethink what it meant to play a shooter. I’m not a fan of shooters, because I suck at them and I’m not interested in getting online and being a target dummy for some 14-year-old shut-in whose entire vocabulary is variations of the word “faggot”. But I played way more of Far Cry 2 than I thought I would for two reasons: 1) the physics of the game are solid (fire spreads! bullets impart momentum!) that it was fun to play around with and 2) I kept hoping it would get better. What I came away from the game with was, “Damn. I’m a scumbag. I’m totally screwing up this African country. I’m another meddling interloper, out for personal gain, bringing death and misery with every crate of weapons.”

    So in a sense, Far Cry 2 was good at what this blogger wants to see in shooters: it imparts a sense of culpability.

    I don’t think that’s a necessary requirement for shooters, any more than I think horror movies have to have a moral center or novels must have satisfying resolutions. But it’s nice when it happens.

  5. Kane and Lynch 2 apparently does this, according to a few Select Button posters. The main characters are loathsome psychopaths because that’s what a shooter protagonist would be.
    In Red Dead Redemption I felt guilty when I shot a civilian but okay when I shot bandits and such. I was following genre convention though.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Spacechimp thinks you might also like...

Skip to toolbar

What Is Gamefilter?

Gamefilter is a community weblog based in spirit and intent on the great work of Matt Haughey and his staff at Metafilter. It's all about sharing links to interesting stuff on the web, but with a narrower focus on gaming-related links -- good stuff that other people might not have already seen -- and talking about them.

Anyone can join for the low low price of zero dollars, and once you're a member, you have the senses-shattering power to post new stuff right from the front end of the site, and talk about that stuff in the comment threads. You don't need an account to read GFi, but as well as giving you The Power To Post, membership also lets you

  • Thank and Favorite all the goodness
  • Build a profile page with all your stuff in one convenient place
  • Send private messages and friend/follow your favorite GFites and their unstoppable Gfiltering style
  • Feel the warm glow of satisfaction in helping grow the community
  • Do all sorts of other neat things, both now and coming in the future!

Gamefilter is part of the growing MefightClub Network of sites, including our forum home, MefightClub itself, FullGlassEmptyClip, our group blog, and Ludic Research Labs, who are a bunch of bastards.

Your genial host is stavrosthewonderchicken, the miraculous poultry who built and administers the MFC Network sites, and a bunch of other web stuff as well. He has a minor addiction to building websites. He loves you all.