Disturbing

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ClymAngus
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Disturbing

Post by ClymAngus »

It takes a lot to disturb me these days. I like to think of myself as a well read man who is at least aware of many of the atrocities that man can visit upon their own kind.

A close work collogue is working on a masters in social studies, specialising in the effects of poverty on children. Some of the stories that he has to study makes your soul bleed. Also I was brought up on a farm where death was an ever present part of life.

Still I found the recent trailer for a game called "dead island" tricky to emotionally deal with. To be honest I'm not going to link to it because I honestly think that if you want to view it, then your decision to do so should be taken more seriously that a straight click from a mouse.

It seems to be a standard Romero zombie (eg fast) game. But the use of children in the trailer has left me a little uneasy. Given the fact that I know hundreds of children die every day of curable diseases, my intellect is at odds with my feelings on this. How is it possible to be disturbed by the unreal when the real is so much more terrible?

If I am honest, maybe I feel that something with such emotional gravitas is being used "merely" to advertise a game. It's not just 'Dead Island', 'Dead space 2' uses the dead children card over and over again. I worry that in using the serious emotional state (to fail to protect ones children from harm) to merely sell a game, cheapens and weakens one of the core pillars of social humanity, and mocks what it is to be human.

I could be reading too much into this but as I said earlier it got to me. It would be nice to hear other peoples comments on this subject, but honestly if I had the choice I would have rather remained in blissful ignorance of this nasty little game and it's spirit sucking trailer. (3 day depression and counting). :(

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Re: Disturbing

Post by Killer Wolf »

i'm on the Hicks side of things - why get disturbed only about children? why doesn't all life getting finished off affect you? what's the cut-off date you apply?
personally, i don't care about dead things in games or on tv, or out on the streets. the DI stuff's been out a while, i saw nothing more than a fairly unimpressive zombie shooter - seems everywhere you turn zombies are included in something. there's was a child zombie getting its head blown open at the start of Walking Dead : big deal, Fulci did it better 20 years ago.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by ClymAngus »

No, that's fair. I think I would have thought differently as a single man. Having kids changes you utterly. I realise that.

Maybe it's a Rorschach. It is what it is. Psychic putty that reveals through response rather than through its own nature.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by Commander McLane »

Sorry for your depression!

I can't say anything about the trailer, or indeed about anything you mentioned, because I am blissfully unaware of it, and I intend it to remain so.

Having said that, I know that I have my triggers as well. I think they also have a lot to do with harming the innocent and helpless. Worse if it isn't just fiction, but real. I was very quiet when I left the genocide memorial in Kigali.
If I am honest, maybe I feel that something with such emotional gravitas is being used "merely" to advertise a game. It's not just 'Dead Island', 'Dead space 2' uses the dead children card over and over again. I worry that in using the serious emotional state (to fail to protect ones children from harm) to merely sell a game, cheapens and weakens one of the core pillars of social humanity, and mocks what it is to be human.
I think you have a point here, and it goes to the core of the commercialized way of life in our (real life) Corporate States, where the core pillars of social humanity are only valued as long as they can be used to sell some crap.

Another point can be made, and has been made, that in the long run the exposure to depictions like this can harm the user's ability to feel genuine emotions where he should feel them, in real situations.

One of the things that define humanity, civility, culture, civilization (whatever you want to call it) is the notion that there are limits which may not be overstepped; that there are things which are and should remain off-limits. While we may not agree where exactly the boundaries are, I think it is fundamental for us as human beings to agree that there are such boundaries; and wherever the notion of limits is refuted, there is a danger immanent, and we have to be very careful.

This probably won't help you back to a more stable state, but at least you're not the only one who is disturbed—and the ability to be disturbed is (among other things) what makes us human in the first place.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by ClymAngus »

McL, I know we have had our minor differences in the past (trivial in retrospect) but that was exceptionally well put and has given me much food for thought. Thank you. :)

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Re: Disturbing

Post by DaddyHoggy »

ClymAngus wrote:It takes a lot to disturb me these days. I like to think of myself as a well read man who is at least aware of many of the atrocities that man can visit upon their own kind.

A close work collogue is working on a masters in social studies, specialising in the effects of poverty on children. Some of the stories that he has to study makes your soul bleed. Also I was brought up on a farm where death was an ever present part of life.

Still I found the recent trailer for a game called "dead island" tricky to emotionally deal with. To be honest I'm not going to link to it because I honestly think that if you want to view it, then your decision to do so should be taken more seriously that a straight click from a mouse.

It seems to be a standard Romero zombie (eg fast) game. But the use of children in the trailer has left me a little uneasy. Given the fact that I know hundreds of children die every day of curable diseases, my intellect is at odds with my feelings on this. How is it possible to be disturbed by the unreal when the real is so much more terrible?

If I am honest, maybe I feel that something with such emotional gravitas is being used "merely" to advertise a game. It's not just 'Dead Island', 'Dead space 2' uses the dead children card over and over again. I worry that in using the serious emotional state (to fail to protect ones children from harm) to merely sell a game, cheapens and weakens one of the core pillars of social humanity, and mocks what it is to be human.

I could be reading too much into this but as I said earlier it got to me. It would be nice to hear other peoples comments on this subject, but honestly if I had the choice I would have rather remained in blissful ignorance of this nasty little game and it's spirit sucking trailer. (3 day depression and counting). :(
Now here's a thing - I'm involved with VBS2 (Virtual Battlespace 2) which is the militarised version of the Armed Assault Game Engine - in the sense that I educate how it can be used as a desktop trainer for use by the military. In VBS2 children cannot be armed, they cannot pick up weapons, they cannot be used as suicide bombers - unfortunately - in real life this is exactly what happens - so in a simulator designed to be used by the military, the programmers were sensitive to the potential bad press of the knowledge that the military might use the programme might be used to justify killing children (and thus potentially damage sales of ArmA and ArmA2) and therefore the trainer cannot fully represent the harsh realities of life - and yet - your example - a commercial company is almost glorifying this aspect for "entertainment" purposes - which I just find utterly bizarre...
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Re: Disturbing

Post by Cody »

Bizarre is the word, alright.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by Fatleaf »

The question that we need to consider, then, is: Could playing certain computer games nurture a love of violence?
Well, here is a little research I did on the subject.
Violent computer games glorify the use of weapons. They often train the user in the art of war. The magazine The Economist stated: “America’s military is relying more heavily on computer games as training tools. Some games which the military uses are off-the-shelf products.”

Take José from southeastern Spain as an example. He was a teenager who enjoyed practicing martial arts. His prize possession was a samurai sword that his father had bought him for Christmas. And he loved video games, especially violent ones. On April 1, 2000, he emulated in real life the aggression of his screen hero. In an orgy of violence, he killed his father, his mother, and his sister with the very sword his father had given him. “I wanted to be alone in the world; I didn’t want my parents looking for me,” he explained to the police.

Commenting on the effects of violent entertainment, author and military officer Dave Grossman noted: “We are reaching that stage of desensitization at which the inflicting of pain and suffering has become a source of entertainment: vicarious pleasure rather than revulsion. We are learning to kill, and we are learning to like it.”
True, those who play violent computer games are not doing harm to real people. But what does this choice of entertainment indicate about what may be happening to their hearts? What would you conclude about a person who enjoyed stabbing, shooting, maiming, and killing imaginary people? What if this person spent many hours each week indulging those violent fantasies, becoming almost addicted to such games? At the very least, you would conclude that he was fostering a love of violence, just as a person who watches pornography is cultivating immoral desires.

However, at present we live in a world that teaches adults and children, not the value of peace, but the glory of war.
Now I'm depressed :roll:
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Re: Disturbing

Post by Killer Wolf »

"What would you conclude about a person who enjoyed stabbing, shooting, maiming, and killing imaginary people? What if this person spent many hours each week indulging those violent fantasies, becoming almost addicted to such games?"

what would you conclude about a person who enjoyed blowing other pilots up and exploding their bodies etc in the vacuum of space, just for the sake of scooping a few credits worth of cargo or increasing their KILL count to make a rank? Let's all not forget in our moralising that this very game rewards you for the genocide of over 6 THOUSAND people.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by Uncle Reno »

Violent computer games glorify the use of weapons. They often train the user in the art of war. The magazine The Economist stated: “America’s military is relying more heavily on computer games as training tools. Some games which the military uses are off-the-shelf products.”

Take José from southeastern Spain as an example. He was a teenager who enjoyed practicing martial arts. His prize possession was a samurai sword that his father had bought him for Christmas. And he loved video games, especially violent ones. On April 1, 2000, he emulated in real life the aggression of his screen hero. In an orgy of violence, he killed his father, his mother, and his sister with the very sword his father had given him. “I wanted to be alone in the world; I didn’t want my parents looking for me,” he explained to the police.

Commenting on the effects of violent entertainment, author and military officer Dave Grossman noted: “We are reaching that stage of desensitization at which the inflicting of pain and suffering has become a source of entertainment: vicarious pleasure rather than revulsion. We are learning to kill, and we are learning to like it.”
Sorry, I know this is an emotive subject being discussed but this report is typical of the vague accusations and links that most newspapers use to create stories.

Jose practiced martial arts. Jose's father bought him a sword. Jose played violent video games. Jose killed his father, mother and sister using his sword. The only quote from Jose is that "..he wanted to be alone...". To my mind there is no direct evidence here to show that the games were at fault. Why couldn't it have been the martial arts? Or some other aspect not mentioned in the article? Why did he want to be alone? What mental state was he in to want to be alone? And was that caused by the video games or not?

I suppose the reason for me jumping in is that martial arts is mentioned. I practice and teach Aikido, a martial art. I don't have a metal sword but I do have a substantial 'real' knife (as in its big and sharp) and a collection of wooden weapons with which I practice. At least once a week I teach and practice the skill to throw somebody to the ground, often in a way that would end up killing them if the other person couldn't follow it. But one of the biggest things that I take from my practice is that, even though I can do these moves, I can choose not to.

And I think that is my main point.
Am I comfortable with the idea of a leisure computer game featuring scenes of children being killed? Not particularly.
Am I comfortable with a military application "game" featuring suicide bomber children? Yes, if thats is a situation being encountered/likely to be encountered.
Am I comfortable with the idea of the whole population being censored with what they can and can't do due to the actions of a very small minority? No, definitely not. After all, all of you who play Oolite as pirates have no doubt destroyed spaceships containing whole familys - how can you justify that?

Right, I've run out of time to complete/make sense of this rant - apologies if I've offended anybodies sensibilities.
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Re: Disturbing

Post by Ganelon »

As a parent, I had to decide what games my kids could play growing up and what they could watch. The oldest of my four children will be 30 this year. They were allowed to play violent video and computer games if they wanted and weren't much restricted on movie/video content they could watch. To date (knock on wood) none of them has ever committed a crime of violence or shown a violent nature. My youngest daughter is 20 and got her first katana as a b-day present when she was 14. Most of her swords are at least reasonably good quality and she keeps them sharp and polished. She's never shown an inclination to chopping anyone up with them.

Not to say she couldn't. She's very capable when playing with padded practice swords and uses the steel ones for cutting weeds and slicing watermelon (a bit dramatically). She's a great kid. (Well, a great young lady, now.. But she has always been a great kid.)

Swords, movies, video-games, computer games.. I don't feel that any of them produce violent children and eventually violent adults. Remember when they took "violent" cartoons off the air in the US? I haven't seen any studies indicating violent behaviour went down. We watched Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and Wile E. Coyote when I was a kid and back then you didn't hear much about street gangs like they have in NYC and LA and etc. Maybe the gangs were there and we just didn't hear about them.. But taking "violent" cartoons off the air didn't fix anything so far as I could tell.

Now if you want a thought that might be depressing.. On this forum, we play a space game set in the future, and the only real "score" in the game is a kill count. The original game was named for a rank gotten by kills. Has anyone ever made "Elite" without killing anything? Given a big wide Ooniverse with some spectacular eye-candy and spiffy ships to fly around in, what do we do? Kill stuff.

Ok, it's nice and neat and sanitary. A ship's engines falters, it leaks a bit of glowing plasma, a flash and then you see the bounty display. Oooo.. Maybe there'll be some cargo to scoop! But even if the charred bits of flesh and frozen splashes of blood and explosively decompressed corpses were added, it probably wouldn't change things except for maybe a few players. Having such things shown in movies and series like BSG or Firefly didn't seem to hurt the ratings.

So we criticise the playing of violent games when we play one ourselves? LOL

EDIT: I see that while I was typing, Killer Wolf made some of the same points, but I'll leave my post as it is.
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Re: Disturbing

Post by Commander McLane »

I agree on the problem of de-sensitization (that's what I meant as well in my post above).

On the other hand we just witnessed the power of nonviolence in Egypt.

So there are sparks of hope as well (and this particular one is a quite huge spark!). :D

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Re: Disturbing

Post by JensAyton »

The fact of the matter is that large-scale studies and metastudies find that violent video games have no, or at worst minute, effects on real-world violence. Inidvidual anecdotes are worse than useless as evidence.

As for sparks of hope, the chance of dying a violent death (worldwide) is lower now than at any previous point in history, and sinking, and violent crimes have dropped significantly in the past few decades in the western world. The world may look a terrible place now, but that’s partly because we can see it more clearly, and partly because we set higher standards.

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Re: Disturbing

Post by DaddyHoggy »

Fatleaf wrote:The question that we need to consider, then, is: Could playing certain computer games nurture a love of violence?
Well, here is a little research I did on the subject.
Violent computer games glorify the use of weapons. They often train the user in the art of war. The magazine The Economist stated: “America’s military is relying more heavily on computer games as training tools. Some games which the military uses are off-the-shelf products.”

<snip>
True, those who play violent computer games are not doing harm to real people. But what does this choice of entertainment indicate about what may be happening to their hearts? What would you conclude about a person who enjoyed stabbing, shooting, maiming, and killing imaginary people? What if this person spent many hours each week indulging those violent fantasies, becoming almost addicted to such games? At the very least, you would conclude that he was fostering a love of violence, just as a person who watches pornography is cultivating immoral desires.

However, at present we live in a world that teaches adults and children, not the value of peace, but the glory of war.
Now I'm depressed :roll:
As somebody who works with the UK MOD to educate soldiers and trainers in the use of COTS based applications for training I despise these kind of stories because they are always wrong - and always (seemingly) deliberately misconstrued by the press.

It's not about the application but the training need and the context - there's not much difference between Armed Assault and VBS2 but the differences are there for a reason - they're there to remind the users (rather than players) that this isn't a game (even though it can be seen this way).

Here's a counterpoint story for you - I know it's true because I was involved.

A young Army major from the Royal Tank Regiment - training his soldier's so that they can convert from CR2 to Viking. They'd normally do this in the bespoke, horribly expensive Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (at Warminster) even though CATT doesn't have any Viking simulators only Challenger 2 ones.

So this brave major upsets lots of people and doesn't send his troops to CATT, he uses VBS2 in-house with subject matter experts running the training, on geo-specific terrains using vehicles in the 3D game engine that at least look like the Viking and mostly behave (within the limits of the game engine physics) like they should too.

That major trained his troops until they were bored of playing VBS2 (a mighty task in itself) - but by the end they were a top unit of very young soldiers and officers, they had trained together far more than they could ever have done in CATT.

They deployed six weeks early, they were attacked on their first patrol by a huge IED - nobody died - lots of people probably should have - and there were critical injuries, but they acted instinctively because they'd practiced the drill for this dozens of times in VBS2 each one a subtle variation on a theme - the critical injuries were returned to the FOB, by the "weakest" trooper in the company - but he did his job perfectly and the rest of the unit remained combat effective and finished its patrol.

And that's the power of "game tech" and that's what is never reported in the press.
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Re: Disturbing

Post by Cmd. Cheyd »

ClymAngus-
I will add my thoughts to this topic, and you are welcome to consider or dismiss them as you see fit.

I sincerely hope my perspective is VASTLY different from anyone else here. I am the father of a deceased 14 month old son. April 4th of this year will mark what would have been his 10th birthday.

I am largely ignorant so far about 'Dead Island' and will happily choose to remain so thanks to your post. I believe you are correct in seeing the desensitization possible in this as a bad thing. That said - I think that this is occurring across all media, not just video games. The death of a child is an incredibly hard burden to bear. It is core to our nature as creatures who used social-interaction as a evolutionary advance as children are the closest social relationships we will ever develop. I do not object to a child's death being used in fictional media, but it should not be a regular occurrence. It is poignant. It should remain so.

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