Yeah, me too. I was a lot more dogmatic about absolutes back then.
Well, this is true, but US gun culture is very much a part of that history of glorifying violence and war.
It’s also a rather specific offshoot of it.
They are probably inseparably linked at this point, but it seems like the rise of US gun culture and the rise of US entertainment culture have gone hand in hand.
US independence and frontier spirit came along at the same time as guns, embedding the idea in the US psyche. This was soon followed by the rise of mass produced entertainment in the form of TV shows and Movies, which echoed those ideas in things like Westerns.
Which then fed back into the US psyche and love affair with guns.
I think that the subsequent rise of the US as the dominant global economic and more importantly cultural power has had the effect of making the US love affair with guns a global entertainment phenomenon, even in countries that don’t particularly share it.
I mean, I’ve never met anyone in the UK who loves guns. Even the few farmers I’ve met who own guns and go hunting for fun don’t have the obsession with them that a lot of US people seem to have. It’s like a tennis racket or a bicycle. They enjoy the activity, but they don’t really care a huge amount for the tool.
But everyone in the UK (depending on age) has grown up with John Wayne, Die Hard, The Matrix, etc… and this affects entertainment media in the UK, and most other countries.
Games are pretty much inseparable from other entertainment media. If the US hadn’t been the dominant cultural exporter for the past 50 years I suspect we’d have a lot less gun focused movies, games, etc… We’d still have a lot of things involving combat, war, tanks, etc… and probably some guns, but I’m not sure it’d be so pronounced.
Imagine if the UK had been the dominant global entertainment exporter. Maybe sci-fi would have grown from Quatermass or Dr Who or Lord of the Rings (er… no change there then) but maybe protagonists would be more likely to be facing enemies with cups of tea or screwdrivers than with guns, and maybe that would have happened in games too.
That said, I think these days we’re actually in a time of less and less manshoots, and more and more games where you don’t use guns. I’m not sure any of the games I’ve played this year have used guns.
I do also think, on a gameplay level, something like combat provides an excitement, a challenge, an unpredictability, a responsiveness that is much harder to replicate with many other actions. Which makes combat a natural fit for many games.