E3 2015 – Gratuitous Violence Edition

Colby Butler/ June 15, 2015/ Potent Potables

E3 2015 – Gratuitous Violence Edition

 

Lastnight I watched Bethesda’s 2015 E3 press event and holy crap, I was taken aback by the Doom presentation. Here are my key take-aways from the presentation:

Next-Gen Doom is Here!

  • Nice helmet Doomguy!
  • The lighting and ambiance are amazing!
  • Wow, double jumps? Welcome to the 21st century, Doomguy!
  • I can bust skulls open, while they’re still attached to necks
  • I can break a guy’s leg and bust his head open with it
  • I can rip a guys jaw off
  • I can breaking the arm off of a dead guy to use his hand on a security scanner.
  • I can chainsaw a guy into two pieces in multiple ways (straight down the middle or diagonal across the torso depending on my preference using Next-Gen technology)

OK, I think I’m seeing a pattern here.

Revenant

Sure when I say “guy”, it’s often really “Evil Space Demon”, but I think the point still remains: When did Doom turn into a strange military themed anatomy game? In fact, here’s an almost-shot-by-shot breakdown of the trailer:

  • Fade-In to shot of Doomguy’s helmet
  • Doomguy putting on said helmet
  • Fade-Cut to inside helmet HUD view
  • Doomguy picking up a gun
  • Several more shots showing off guns
  • Slow motion body parts flying everywhere from a demon being gibbed
  • Loading a doube-barreled shotgun
  • Slow motion shot of a demon being cut in half by a double barreled shotgun blast
  • Shot of the Plasma rifle and some other gun
  • Shot of some huge monster absorbing a bunch of rounds with light blood splatter.
  • Slow motion shot of first the left and then the right arm of a demon being shot off
  • More gun porn
  • Slow motion shot of two demons being gibbed. Lots of blood and fire.
  • Shot of a demon being chain-sawed in half by Doomguy. (Plenty of chainsaw revving and blood splatter in this one)
  • Shot of a scary demon (Revenant?)
  • Doomguy running and gunning with some blood splatter
  • I think Doomguy rips some guy’s arm off and then smashes his head apart with his own arm. (I’m not completely sure because it happened so fast. All I know is that whatever happened, when it was all said and done, there was alot of blood and not alot of head left.)
  • Some dude getting gibbed by a sub-machinegun
  • Some guy getting his head stomped in on the ground.
  • Several firefight shots
  • Literally punching a guys head in/off
  • Taking a shotgun from a dead guy (with no head)
  • Blowing a demon apart with a shotgun blast
  • Ripping a deamon’s jaw off of its head
  • Gibbing a demon with a plasma rifle
  • Punch-gibbing a demon in some flashy manner.
  • A demon ripping Doomguy’s arm off and beating him in the head with it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love playing a good FPS. But at some point, I seem to have let my attention lapse and the FPS landscape seems to have changed quite a bit.

It seems to me that whenever people first started complaining about gratutious amounts of violence in video games, the defensive argument was that the violence and gore was only there to serve a larger purpose in propping up the narrative. I believed that then and I still think that’s a valid argument now. For example, I feel this was demonstrated fairly well (not perfectly, but well enough) by Spec-Ops: The Line (White phosporous anyone?). I don’t really see how anyone could come away from watching either the Doom E3 demo or the Doom gameplay trailer and not feel like the gore and violence is a key FEATURE of the game.

Historically this wouldn’t bother me, but after reading quite a bit about how to help move myself in the direction of being a more spiritually connected individual, I have to wonder what kind of spiritual effect this type of gratuitous violence has on people. And that doesn’t even beging to address the age old questions about being desensitized by seeing and acting out violent acts in videogames. Here’s a key quote from “A Course In Miracles” that keeps coming to mind:

“…recognize that every thought you have brings either peace or war; either love or fear. A neutral result is impossible because a neutral thought is impossible.”

So if thoughts are never neutral, and they bring either love or fear, how does playing a game like this affect someone trying to live more in alignment with their spiritual path? I think there’s a big difference energetically between a game you play with violence compared to a game about violence. Like most things in life, it’s all about focus and attention.

 

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