Today we often hear that some video games negatively affect people’s psyche and contribute to the increase in the number of murders. In my opinion, discussions on the matter will never fade, no matter how many studies are conducted. They either provide the evidence for the statement or prove otherwise.
However, it is not the only thing people complain about. They also say that games become more violent over time. Is it really so? And if yes, why does it happen?
Brad J. Bushman, a professor at Ohio State University, says, “It seems, as time goes on, video games continue to become more violent, realistic and graphics.” This opinion is shared by many researches, whose articles can be found on trusted resources like the National Center for Health Research website and other ones. But what about older games like Chiller, Postal, or Splatterhouse?
This is a screenshot from the Harvester, a point-and-click video game known for its goriness and cult following. If we imagine it with modern graphics, does it look less violent than games we have today? Probably, not. So, one of the reasons for games to be more violent these days is technical progress.
So, in general, video games have become more realistic thanks to modern technologies, and as a result, we get a more disturbing image.
The second reason paradoxically lies in technological underdevelopment. The best AAA studios cannot provide gamers with the experience, for example, showed in the Sword Art Online anime series. At the same time, people are hungry for “bread and circuses.” They easily get used to what they see in video games and demand something that can impress them. And going to the extreme violence is a temporary solution for game developers to keep their customers entertained.
Even game designers themselves are involved in discussions whether they or their colleagues cross the red line or not. However, when there is a lot of money at stake, moral issues take second place.
Game developers strive to be visible at any cost. And appealing to the basic feelings seems to be the easiest way to do that. When the market is oversupplied with ultraviolent games, the latter will hardly resonate that much.
Game makers, would prefer being famous for a well-developed plot, for example. But, it is not that easy to create something unique when most stories have been already told by someone else. And who wants to risk when there are many successful projects that can be copied? Companies only need to spice a cloned game up with provocative elements to be talked about, to be visible among their competitors.
Why it is violence that became a subject for exaggeration? Well, the concept of a game is closely linked to competition and death. Where the game is, there must be winners and losers as well. A game is rarely a process of exploration only where players do not have to cause any harm. Their goals are often an obstacle for opposing forces. Therefore, they need to fight, and these moments of confrontation must be as “juicy” and spectacular as possible. Players enjoy the changes they cause, and the significant these changes are, the better.
This trend is not illustrative only for the game industry. It manifests itself everywhere; in music, modern art, politics… the list goes on and on. Before people find a new content to present, they will try to use form to show off.