January 9, 2004

“Kill All Video Games!”

by Nick Montfort · , 1:35 am

Brutal, bloody images, racist messages, and the suggestion that anyone who creates video games dealing with unpleasant aspects of life should be strangled. It’s all packaged in the local TV news.

Apparently in early November someone named Difenderfer said, speaking of Grand Theft Auto, that “My mission in the game is to kill the Haitians!” Sure, there is confusion about whether Difenderfer is a character in the game or is an outraged yet addicted “viewer” who wasn’t willing to appear on camera. But the basic point is still clear: People shouldn’t be using their television sets to play video games! How can the local TV news and our country’s advertising apparatus defecate down our throats if we’re busy using the TV to expore a rich, simulated word that critiques American culture?

8 Responses to ““Kill All Video Games!””

  1. torill Says:

    Are you slightly annoyed at advertising, Nick? (I am happy I had lunch before I read that post…)

    The other message you get across – that video-games takes viewers away from commercials and advertising – is very interesting! I would love to know whether the attacks on games are more prevalent in television than in other media, since television is the medium that suffers under the competition, games not only drawing the viewers away from the screen, but actually taking over and using the screen!

    Television has after all always been a sender-controlled medium, no matter what they say abut “giving the audience what the audience wants”. Of course it is scary when the audience finds a way to control the screen other than channel surfing!

  2. Walter Says:

    Hmm, strangely well timed with a GameSpy article on product placement in videogames! See this /. post.

  3. nick Says:

    I was wondering what it would take to get people to comment at the beginning of the semester … Sorry about your lunch, Torill. These so-called “blogs” are just seedbeds of obscenity; it’s a shame what unwholesome things people do with comptuers now day.

    Video games not only include ads, but have been created for the purposes of advertising. Product placement certainly isn’t a pleasant direction for gaming from an artistic standpoint, mainly because it indicates how subsidiary the artistic goals are. But the amusing phenomenon I wanted to call attention to was a pathetic “old media” empire, of the sort that is effectively parodied in video games (e.g., U.S. radio stations in Grand Theft Auto), lining up to label video gaming an evil influence.

  4. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Nick, you’re absolutely right. Local TV news and, more obviously, talkshows, thrive by making an audience indignant or upset about something, and then training them to depend upon more TV watching to deal with their indignation. Sort of like those dust-removing solutions that leave surfaces shining with a sticky residue that attracts more dust. I quote from a now-offline Onion article, “Who Will Bring Closure to a Grieving Nation?”

    “But while the day [9-11] will surely be difficult to endure, it remains unclear which television network will rise to the occasion, with its sensitive, cathartic anniversary coverage helping us decide what to feel while bringing a sense of closure to our national period of mourning.”

  5. John Doe Says:

    You just realized this world is a bunch of hypocrites and liars. Welcome. You are now an adult!

  6. andrew Says:

    Playing devil’s advocate for a moment… Here’s a harsh review of Rockstar’s latest, Manhunt, which appears to me to be ultraviolent for reasons less as commentary on American culture, and more as a way to continue to grab more free publicity in the local TV news…

    Whereas this review of another new GTA3-like game, True Crime, seems to expand on the more interesting themes of GTA3.

  7. nick Says:

    This website requires cookies to be enabled. Please enable cookies and push the Back button on your browser.

    You do not have permission to access this page. You must be a registered member of GameCritics.com to view our content.

    A harsh review indeed. When I finish reading all of the good stuff that is available on the Web without handing over or making up demographic information (and even without turning on cookies) perhaps I’ll register and check it out…

    Meanwhile, here’s an article on CNN/Money about Manhunt ‘s violence and the failure of game ratings. My favorite quote:

    Trust me, it’s grisly stuff. I’ve played the game for several hours to see if it lived up to all of the gory hype.

  8. Grand Text Auto » Authentic Interactive Characters To Solve Violence in Games Controversy Says:

    […] ent experiences, or how violence is such a one-note tune in contemporary game design or in media coverage of games, or maybe how life can eerily imitate game violence, or […]

Powered by WordPress