Thursday, June 12, 2008

Games: Blood, Gore and Violence

Games: The Introduction

Video games, definitely one of the most recognised form of virtual entertainment ever to be created and introduced into today's modern world. With its user interactive mode and salient images, combined with sound and visual effects, video games are an instant hit with people, especially the youth (Weaver & Carter 2006, p. 319). Introduced to video games at the age of 7 years old, and attracted to its interactivity, i have been playing games ever since. Gaming is also a way to relax my mind and relieve stress.

However, due to its variety of genres and with the advancement of modern technology, we find that, today, video games are constantly being linked to social violence.

Games: The Genres

Changes in the interests of modern society and with the evolution of technology, give rise to the birth of different genres (Neale & Turner 2001, p. 6). There are various kinds of video games, from the action-adventure genre to role-playing to dating stimulation games. The most popular genres being the action-adventure type. Shirato and Yell (1996, p.114) state that "one genre can involve one genre giving way or interupting or blending in with another" while according to Neale & Turner (2001, p. 6), different genres can overlap one another and be hybridised to form a new sub-genres. Thus, we see that from action-adventure, the genre further splits to other violent sub-genres like survival horror, hack and slash and shooting.

Game Mod: [ON] Kill Mod: [ON & READY]

A shooting scene from Resident Evil 4, one of the most violent games of survival horror genre. Survival horror is a genre with horror fiction elements, like the death with blood and gore.

(Picture sourced from:

Thrill Kill, one of Play Station's most controversial and gruesome game is cancelled before its release and has never been officially published in any region due to its level of violence and gore. In this game, players slash and hack each other to death in the most gruesome and grotesque way where body parts fly off and blood splatters all over the place. However, despite its extreme violence, Thrill Kill remains as one of the most popular underground market item. This game is of fighter cum survial horror genre.
(Picture sourced from: Imageshack)

The number one games of choice for youths these days are those that promotes blood spill, gore and violence.

But why is that so? Why violence? Why the blood and the gore?

According to Weaver and Carter (2006, p. 323), the "intensity of colour, the recently-added-three-dimensional nature of the characters and settings, the speed and variety of movement, as well as the explosions, blood pools and of course the multitidinous forms of bodily multilation" is what that catches the attention of game playes world-wide. For instance, Play Station's Bloody Roar, proudly advertise that you can "maim, crush and devour your enemies in over 200 different ways". (Weaver & Carter 2006, p. 323).

A fighting scene from Bloody Roar
(Picture sourced from: Arcade-History)

As a girl, even though i do not agree to violence neither do i support or promote it in anyway, however, if the designs and interactivity of the game is interesting enough, even i might be drawn to play it. Definitely, the three-dimensional settings of the game, its colourful graphics and the variety of movements the characters have is surely an eye-catching factor, even for me.

Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, the beautiful designs and three-dimensional settings of the game is one of its main highlights that attracts game players
(Picture sourced from: Photobucket)

Besides that, with the advance technology we have these days, games can be very realistic with superficial expressions on the characters and even CGI to enhance its gameplay. Therefore, those that wanted to escape reality for awhile and immerse themselves into the virtual reality of cyberspace can do so through playing games (Osgerby 2004, p. 200-201) .

Games and Violence

No matter how interesting and exciting these video games can be, there is no doubt that with such controversial contents, these games highly promotes and expresses violence. Game players, especially game addicts who are constantly in direct contact with these violent genres are very likely to become aggressive themselves. As Kirsh (2006, p. 130-137) puts it, by constantly watching and playing games that contains extreme violence, the level of aggression and anger can be influenced to increase. Another worrisome factor is that most people have the tendency to imitate what they see (Kirsh, 2006, p. 130-137). Hence, playing these kind of games might just implant ideas of torture and violence into the minds of the players, be it directly or indirectly.

A picture of children playing video games
(Picture sourced from

Solutions To The Problem

According to Shriver (1997, p. 362), document publishers should always consider the interaction between the targeted audience and the product, the causes and effects. In this case, game creators should think of the mental well-being of their targeted audiences first, instead of the profit gained. No matter how in demand these kind of games might be, there should be a limit to how gruesome and violent the content should be.

As a gamer myself, i think that all gamers should be able to judge for themselves the pros and the cons of playing these kind of games. One should be able to differentiate the good from the bad and not be influenced into something bad just because of a temporary exposure to it.

Reference List:

1. Kirsh, SJ 2006, 'Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research', Sage Publications, USA

2. Neale S & Turner G 2001, 'Chapter 1, Introduction: What is Genre?', The Television Genre Book, British Film Institute, London, p. 1-7

3. Osgerby, B 2004, 'Youth Media', Routledge, London

4. Schriver, KA 1997, 'Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Text For Readers', Wiley Computer Publisher, New York

5. Shirato, T & Yell, S 1996, 'Communication and Cultural Literacy:An Introduction', Allen & Unwin, New South Wales

6. Weaver, CK & Carter C 2006, 'Critical Readings: Violence and The Media', Open University Press, New York