Video Game Ethics And The Coming Bulletstorm

A fellow named Richard Clark doesn't much care for the gleeful, bonehead ultraviolence in Bulletstorm. Money quote: "Games have always been violent, and they've often reveled in brotastic protagonists who serve as ciphers for our own power fantasies. Games have always featured lame and offensive dialogue. The difference between those games and Bulletstorm, though, is the intentional nature of all of these things."

Me, I think a) he has a point and b) chill out, grandpa (despite the strong possibility he’s a decade or two younger than me), to varying degrees depending on how much coffee I’ve had.

  1. No one tell him about Duke Nukem Forever then. In fact, Mr. Clark seems to be pretty ignorant of many past FPS games that reveled in the ridiculousness of the gameplay’s standard tropes. The Serious Sam series and Duke Nukem 3D come straight to mind, and Borderlands seems right on the edge between self-seriousness and satire. God forbid games have some fun at gamers’ expense.

  2. That ended on a much more balanced note than I expected:

    In a sense, we should expect and accept these types of things. They represent the same thing that certain types of films, books and albums represent: a wide net, capable of encompassing every possible expression of the human condition, even if that expression is, by most outside accounts, undesirable and troubling. In a way, I’m glad we’ve finally arrived at this point.

    That said, it seems a little early to be double-jumping to any conclusions — the game isn’t out yet and the demo wasn’t released when the article was written, so this is all based on ads and trailers which are not always comparable to the product they’re selling.

  3. I was glad that he clarified at the end that he thinks that adults should be able to make their own decisions about that sort of game, because I think that’s important to remember, and I appreciated that someone who was criticizing games for their content did remember to acknowledge that.

    I do kind of understand where he’s coming from, though, because I hate when game companies seem to have such a low opinion of us gamers that they think that throwing in more boobs and/or blood is always what we want. Don’t get me wrong: juvenile content can certainly be fun sometimes. As Sapphire pointed out, Duke Nukem 3D is amazingly juvenile, but it was so cartoonishly over the top that it became self-parody. And most importantly: there was a fun game underneath it all. Which is really what it comes down to in the end: how fun is the game to actually play?

  4. Oooh, this reminds me, I need to go download the demo for the PS3 so I can blow some shit up!

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