November 27th, 2010

worst pacifist?

i think i might be the only gamer born after 1975 who's actually bothered by violence in video games.

i'm needing to take a break from re-playing Assassin's Creed (the first one, before you ask), because i'm starting to feel truly repulsed by the violence. ripping through hundreds of anonymous, screaming guards and their angry, terrified employers has really taken a toll on me, and i need to stop for a while.

it was like this when i was a kid, too. i remember going over to my friend Joel's house, and playing Die Hard on the original Playstation late at night. the player could choose the "blood" level, and i always made him turn the setting completely off, because the graphic realism of it really bothered me.

what's interesting is that i don't have an ideological problem with violent content in media. i don't blame video games for the Columbine High shootings, nor do i think that Scarface is responsible for gang culture. i really don't. but on a personal level, i have found that i have a threshold for realistic and gory violence, and even for other representations of reprehensible behavior - i don't even like playing games where the main character is emotionally or psychological hurtful. if i can't find a way to somehow get behind the character's motivations, i am prone to becoming genuinely upset about it. i can't watch A Clockwork Orange for this reason. i can't even think too hard about what i'm doing when going for a domination victory in the Civilization games, or playing Diablo II, because the genocidal pointlessness of the war and killing can actually jar me, despite the lack of much gore, and the nature of the enemy as a necessarily evil creature (in the case of the Diablo games).

i don't think this is a weakness, but it's certainly an oddity. i've been exposed to violent games, books, movies, and real life behavior since birth, just the same as every other American child of my generation - and yet, it seems to affect me differently.
contrary to popular humor, i may not be the worst pacifist ever. (boo-yah, Genghis.)