Violence in Gaming

I agree with Fox News: games are violent. Look at checkers or chess. Pieces are swept from the board, taken without warning and gone forever. checkers

I knew there was a reason I hate checkers. Now I know why: the violence. I’m not a big fan of chess either. I hate it when my opponent messes up my beautiful plans by moving one of their pieces. How dare they, right? They should just pass their turn to me.

Imagine that checkers or chess was made into a video game, and every time you took a marker or a chess piece you got a cut scene that dramatized the action in a traditional “video game” way. Like the checkers had a Wild West shoot out or chess pieces did combat like real knights of old.

More people might play checkers if there was gunplay involved. I might give it another chance.

Seriously though, I’m struggling with violence in my games right now. I’m playing Fallout 3 and besides being way late to the table on this one (it came out in 2008), I’m having moments of crisis over the violence. I never used to be this way until I became vegan.

I played Grand Theft Auto and Assassins Creed and lots of other bloody, bloody games. Lancer I liked to use the chainsaw on my Lancer in Gears of War for that personal touch. Why use bullets when you can melee? That was my philosophy. Now I find myself playing a sniper more and more. Mass Effect 3 — it was me and Garrus hanging back, lining up the headshots. Yes, it’s still violent, but trust me, the Reapers were asking for it!

Fallout 3 is set in a post-apocalyptic world where mutants run rampant. Mutant humans, mutant moles, mutant ants…  you get the idea. When you level, you get to choose perks. One perk is called Animal Friend and with that perk, animals in the wasteland do not attack your character. I took the Animal Friend perk as soon as it was available. I hate having to kill those animals. Ghouls, zombies, super mutant humans — bring ’em on! But leave the mole rats and radscorpions out of it. I’m the same way in Skyrim. I hate it when a wolf attacks my character. I don’t want to kill a poor wolf!

This was not something I expected when I went vegan a year and a half ago. I didn’t think about how my heart would change, and how my hobby would be impacted. Diet, clothing, household cleaners…  all that I expected, or took in stride. But gaming?!

In the Mass Effect series your character doesn’t eat — food just isn’t a thing, really. And I was so happy when I remembered that as I began playing ME3. While playing Skyrim, I had found myself trying to avoid animal products for my character. Yes, in game, my character was eating the grilled leeks but not the wheels of goat cheese. So it was a relief in ME3 when that dilemma was removed. I guess people in the future don’t eat.

Animals and food choices aside, even just the violent nature of the games is actually starting to get to me a little bit. More and more, I have to have a really great reason to pick up my Xbox controller. All good games make sure that the gamer has a compelling reason to shed blood. We must eliminate the other — whoever they are. And I love being a hero and making the world (whatever world it is) a little bit brighter. When the enemy is alien, that’s the best — a bellicose alien, of course. The Gears of War series is perfect for me: warmongering aliens (the Locust Horde) have attacked the human planet of Sera, and we have to defend ourselves against this invasion!

I just remembered that you don’t eat in Gears either. It’s a war zone! Who has time for food? Hmmm, I have about a month before Gears 4 comes out. I think I’ll go practice my roadie run.


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