GamesBeat’s Dean Takahashi moderated a panel on game violence
while at Devcom (right ahead of the recent Gamescom) in Germany. The group included folks who worked on Spec Ops: The Line, Call of Duty, a former Israeli soldier working on games that promote peace, and My Child Lebensborn, a game about the children of Norwegian women and German soldiers following World War II.
I’ve never been into games seeking to make war realistic, whether developers cast it in the present day or in a historical context. I do play violent games, but all of these are sci-fi or fantasy in some manner. The military games I play are either strategy games or involve tanks and ships, and while these remove the cost of individual soldiers dying in war, I do consider that a blast from the 16-inch cannons of an Iowa-class battleship could be killing dozens of sailors on the ships and shores I’m attacking.
I play violent games. I read novels with violence – the book I just finished, Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
, has some graphic portrayals of killing characters with swords and incinerating people dragon fire. I watched the The Battle of Helm’s Deep from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
last night. Violence is near-ubiquitous in our culture.
Is this a good or bad thing? I’ve long thought that it’s up to each individual to choose how much/how little violence they should take in with their entertainment. For me, I’ve cut down on playing games/watching media with realistic gun violence – shootings with weapons one can go buy at sporting goods stores, off the Internet, or at a gun show. I don’t permit my two young boys (9 and 7) to play games with such weapons (the most violent game they get is Star Wars: Battlefront II, and the most violent movie they’ve seen is Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
I don’t advocate regulating violence in our media, but I do think it’s important for each of us to consider what we’re reading/playing/watching and how it makes us feel – and if we’re uncomfortable with any of it, what we can do in our own lives (if anything) to curb its real-world counterpart.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor