It seems like violence in video games is a popular talking point for video games blogging at the moment, what with Craig Pearson talking about how games have saved him, while Graham Smith does a virtual body count and KG has thrown together a proposal for a better program than that Tnoight one that started this whole thing.

But probably most ironcially, the post that I found the most interesting was ironically, not related to said show, but instead relating to a game that is probably a major “offender” of violent gaming – in every sense of the word – Hitman: Blood Money, and Tom Francis’ take on the game itself and how it embraces a rather dark ethos and motivation for murder and how the game portrays its subject matter.

Blood Money’s vision of the world – the Hitman’s vision – is just as dark, but a little more complex in the attitude it tries to evoke. Its characters are oversexualised in a profoundly unsexy way – both genders are luridly exaggerated beyond attractiveness. The Hitman is asexual, and people’s sexual attributes and inclinations appear exaggerated and repulsive to him. Hence the chesty women, the muscle-bound men, and the endless sex-talk (conversation topics range from “fuckingâ€?, “who I’d like to fuckâ€?, “I’m drunk and would like to fuck youâ€?, “how hot are these girls?â€?, “wow these girls are hotâ€?, “let’s fuck laterâ€?, “I’m going to fuck you laterâ€?, “I want to fuck youâ€?, “would you like to fuck?â€?, and “here’s some aphrodisiac to help with the fuckingâ€?) . It’s shoved in our face to make us as disgusted by it as a cold, sexless killer would be. It tries to make killing them almost cathartic, a culling of animals rather than cruel murder.

And you know, I think he’s right. BM is probably a game that features at least one aspect of nearly all the dark themes that these scaremongering programs try to warn the public about, but IO approach it in a mature way, as Tom says himself, it’s not for kids, but then the game doesn’t try to appeal to that side. The really ironic thing for me is, that realtively it seems to slip under the radar in all but the advertising for the game. Hitman is about as adult a game as you can get, but other than in gaming circles and those in the know, it seems to go largely unignored. The only reason it seemed to get any negative publicity was it’s rather clever adverts that potrayed a number of deaths. So have IO or even Edios got something right here, or is it something else? As much as GTA gets chastised in the larger press for what is essentially cartoon violence, Hitman is a dark, dark game. And it’s not for kids. Which in part rather shows the diversity of games today, and as a media product it is a fairly successful piece of adult entertainment. But also shows that if TV and Books can explore the baser side of human exsistence, then games can too, and do it equally – if not better – as well.

Games are growing up. We should too.

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2 Responses to Sex, Violence, Language, Games, Other…

  1. PN says:

    Games have been grown up for years! Deus Ex is pretty heavy, and before that Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream had some emotional wieght to it. And Planescape Torment establishes a huge number of philosophical themes, including a couple of fantastic examples of consensus reality, through the analogy of the D&D universe.

  2. The_B says:

    That is true of course, in fact, most adult games have been around longer than the Grand Theft Auto or Hitman series’. However, these two games are probably amongst those that had brought it to the mainstream, at least to the mass media (sweeping generalisations ahoy!).

    Ironically Edios (or rather SCI nowadays) know that, along with Lara, 47 is one of their best assests, so they do seem to expolit their dark themes with their marketing, and in some ways, perhaps we could blame GTA’s graphical style to it’s dark content – after all, the examples you mentioned never seemed to get negative attention from the press for their dark themes. Part of it is the culture we live in nowadays, I think the main tactic is to alter the perception to the public (and it’s become rather clichéd nowadays to say it – as indeed was my phrase at the end) – but in both cases I use it with a sense of irony – games aren’t just for kids.

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