The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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J T
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Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSFW)

by J T Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:10 am

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Some games don't play nice. They get in your face. They want to make you squirm. They push the boundaries of decency.

When does it cross the line? Do we go too far, or is it important to push limits? Is there value in disturbing the player? Is it even possible to tactfully deal with difficult subject matter in something also meant to be a game?

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I just finished Alice: Madness Returns and the Dollhouse level really left me creeped with all of its themes of childhood abuse and prostitution farms. It was sick and fascinating all at the same time, but I think it was carried by the work of the visual artists and the gameplay only minimally added to the content, which I'm never sure really should have been tackled in this game in the first place... or maybe it should... I appreciate the ambitiousness of the concept and I think they did have something to say, but there were also times when I think they just wanted to be fucked up for the sake of being fucked up. And it's really weird to be platform jumping through some pedophilic nightmare land.

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Why do we play these games that upset us? Is your idea of a good time having a bad time in front of your gaming screen? Or do you set personal boundaries for yourself and refuse to play games that delve into dark territory? I have written elsewhere on this site about how impressed I was by Manhunt's ability to make me feel guilty for playing it. And yet, even with all that guilt, I play on.

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Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is easily the most messed up game I've ever played (which is really saying something given its primitive RPG Maker graphics), but I appreciated its willingness to dive into the darkest abyss of the human psyche and really meditate on the idea of human cruelty in its purest and most sadistic form. The manipulative "date sim" gameplay made it all the more twisted. This game made me very uncomfortable, but I appreciated it for doing that. It's like knowing that darkness is important so that you don't ever let it sneak up on you.

I don't know as I've ever been too offended to play something, though I've certainly been offended. I suppose I've stayed away from games like Rapelay or Super Columbine Massacre, but they look like bad games, not just games with bad subject matter. I don't personally mind the provocative, though I do occassionally question the people that play those games and enjoy them. If an offensive game is enjoyable, does that make it more or less offensive?
Last edited by J T on Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Menegrothx
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by Menegrothx Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:18 am

I think it's very hard to talk about certain taboo subjects (pedophilia, child/animal cruelty?) with out coming off as immature (trying to shock the players just for the sake of shocking them), but there are games that disturb the player in a more mature manner. I think Silent Hill 2 is the best example of this, it is masterfully, even artfully, executed while the game talks about subjects such as rape and spousal abuse. In a way it's almost beautiful how a game can tell an intelligently written, thought provoking story through crude and disturbing scenes and images that have symbolic meaning, even if the story doesn't have any positive aspects to it nor a happy ending. That's what I call art.
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shmuk
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by shmuk Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:49 am

I dunno. I remember Majora's Mask disturbed me as a kid. That game was really demented.
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BoringSupreez
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by BoringSupreez Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:59 am

No Russian. Didn't offend me, but several members were.
prfsnl_gmr wrote:There is nothing feigned about it. What I wrote is a display of actual moral superiority.
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J T
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by J T Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:58 am

BoringSupreez wrote:No Russian. Didn't offend me, but several members were.


I was among the offended. I've calmed down about it now, but it's a good example of something that pushes buttons. For me, I find war reprehensible and I'm bothered by these modern war games that look like things really happening now, or are even about recent or ongoing wars occuring in the real world. It's propoganda/entertainment related to the most horrible aspects of our modern existence. It bothers me because it's not metaphorical or an example of a concept- they are actually trying to turn real tragic events into a game. I guess that's where the line gets crossed from my personal vantage point. Especially when there are things like Medal of Honor: Warfighter running a promotion that puts real guns into people's hands.
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Luke
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by Luke Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:38 pm

I've never really cared for Bill Maher, but love George Carlin.
Never really cared for Manhunt, but enjoyed Hitman.
HOSTEL is a waste of film, but I can watch the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE any day.


Hold on, I'm building a bridge here.

If the entire purpose of something is to shock and nothing else, I have no interest in it. If there is great material and some of it is shocking but at the same time is there for a reason, I'm all over it. But all shock and no substance is awful.

Maher often says things as "There is no God you fucking idiots", while Carlin would say, "You know what I believe in, the Sun. It keeps all of us alive ad I can see it!". Carlin made statements, Maher just wants attention. Manhunt is the same way.

I guess I would say the games don't offend me but I find them extremely pretentious.
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noiseredux
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by noiseredux Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:43 pm

Luke wrote:HOSTEL is a waste of film,


agree to disagree.

I can watch the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE any day.


agree to agree.
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Luke
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by Luke Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:51 pm

noiseredux wrote:agree to agree.


The first time my wife watched TCMassacre was around ten (yeesh) years ago. I believe I had to walk her to the bathroom that night as it really got to her. She literally squirmed throughout most of the movie, and as the credits rolled she repeated, "this could actually happen, this could actually happen".

But the best is that her school served BBQ the next day and she refused to eat it. That movie still freaks her out that much.
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by dsheinem Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:56 pm

Luke, i think you are being unfair to Maher, Manhunt, and Hostel. Each has more than shock to offer...
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Re: Has a game ever disturbed or offended you? (possibly NSF

by noiseredux Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:37 pm

yeah TCM rules. No arguments. But Hostel def had substance. There's a lot of social commentary there.
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