When Violence was designed in video games

By the meaning of “violence was designed in a video game” I mean the violence that exists within the game story and not the player’s initiative choice.


One possibility about video game violence is that the game player, who is mostly the prime mover and the audience as well, may not recognize or realize it at all because of immersion. As Taylor’s definition about diegetic immersion, is that a player is being caught up in the story, so that the viewer forgets they’re watching a media text. In other words, when a player is diegetically immersed with a game, all other fact will be ignored including violence within video games. Apart from fighting games, violence in most games is a subset of the game plot regarding the game story itself. There is no violence game just about violence game. It is just an outcome in order to finish the game story. The unaware of violence is because the player’s attention is turned elsewhere, and normally is the game story. In order to finish it the player must acting within the pre-set code of the game, follow the rules and kill whoever needed to be. Like, my first time playing GTA SA, I am urged to know what has happened to Sweet (CJ’s brother who was taken and held by the police) and I simply don’t care, or never noticed what I have to do to find the clue. I was immersed with the game story, and by the time when it comes to a killing mission, I kill. Not because I am enjoy it but because I know in order to find out the story I have to do this, and I want to find out too badly to care about the NPC character I just killed. When violence happens to a diegetic immersed player, he probably would never realize it.


The other possibility is after the violence was recognized; the player sometimes has to be a part of it without any choice due to the lack of agency. Similar to the first situation that game player has to do violence thing to finish the story, in this occasion players need to follow the game design too, only the player is aware and forced this time. For example the Airport Massacre Scene in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is really disturbing when I was playing it. But simply I don’t have a choice, I have to be part of the massacre to continue the game and I don’t have the integrity to close the game and never play it. The lack of agency of the game made me no choice, even if I never fire a shot I will have to sit in front of the computer and watch it happens. These NPC characters have to die because as a player I wasn’t given the ability to manipulate the story and stop it from happening.


In either of the situation player was forced to be violence, with or without being realized. But for different reason, the player has to continue the violence without bypass it. In the first situation very few will feel guilty because of the unawareness. Some may find it extreme guilty regards the second situation, with the lack of agency, the helplessness will reach a player’s emotional bottom whereas some may find the guilty pleasure, having fun of being violence without have to worry about the NPCs at all.


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