Chuck: Gamer

Of all the silly things...

I was listen to Major Nelson's podcast yesterday (the major's real name is Larry Hryb and he's one of XBox's promotional people) when he and co-host e (Eric Neustadter, also an XBox Live employee) where talking about the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) that recently end in Los Angeles. E3 is where all the video game folks come together to promote their new games, hardware, and stuff like that. Anyway, at one point e mentioned that he was disturbed by the number of games that involved the killing of animals that were being featured at E3, even though he's okay with war games where some soldier is pointing a gun at him and the choice is either him or the other guy.

I only know of two games where hunting was, at some point in the presentations, featured. One was Assassin's Creed 3, where you play as a part Native American during the Revolutionary War, and the other was the new Lara Croft game where she's basically stranded on a not so deserted island. Each hunting scene involves the need to survive. In AC3, your character, Connor, hunts down a deer for meat for some soldiers, then is attacked by a pack of wolves who would take the meat for themselves. In Lara's case, she is the one who needs food, so after aquiring bow and arrows, she hunts down a deer. Depending on your point of view, it does get a little disturbing after that where she goes up to the dying deer and regretfully (she actually says, "I'm sorry") guts the animal.

These are moments not worth complaining about, in my opinion. Granted, both scenes can be considered graphic, but the situation deems them necessary. How many animals did they kill in Red Dead Redemption, one of the best games in recent years? Hunting in Red Dead could be excessive (and, I admit, a little addictive), but it was a western, and McDonald's hadn't expanded that far, yet.

The demonstrations the game developers made for E3 probably could have left out these hunting scenes, and we don't know how promonient hunting will feature in the games, if any more than the two scenes mentioned, but the under the circumstances, these are fact-of-life moments for the era in AC3's case and for the situation in Lara's case. Both Larry and Eric are not vegetarians (listen to the podcast a few times and you'll learn of their love of Texas Bar-B-Cue quickly), so hopefully they'll think twice the next time they look at their plates.

I would also like to point out that I am not a hunter, but I hold nothing against hunters (although do you really need a semi-automatic rifle to kill an animal?). I don't know if I have the stuff to actually kill an animal, but under the circumstances where I needed to survive, I just might.
I think they were talking about the whole overall aspect of the games being shown having a lot of animal killing in it that they were having a problem with, although no names were mentioned. I just used the AC3 and LC games as the only examples I knew of. There isn't a lot of deep thinking and social commentary during the podcast.

I sort of agree with Ms. Benedetti when she asks that because "Sexual assault is so very tragically incredibly common in our real world, I have to wonder ... Why shouldn't a female character confront this very situation in a video game?"

I don't like that it seems like such a cliched way of making a female character "complicated and haunted" like the death of a parent for a male character (although a sexual assault on a male character would be a disturbing thing, too). After watching the clip from the trailer, I understand why Crystal Dynamics back-pedaled away from the word rape, which is a pretty strong word (ie. you have to mean it when you say it).

Personally I'm a little offended by the assumption that the gamer (especially male gamers) are going into this game with the mindset of wanting "to protect her." I know that when I finish the game, I'm not going to think that I'm the one that saved Lara's life, she is, I'm just guiding her. Hell, I'll probably get her killed a few dozen times in the process, but I won't be thinking I didn't "protect her" well enough; so I'm thinking that I'll actually be "projecting" myself into the character. (just thinking off the top of my head here.)

On another point, when I first saw the trailer for the game a year ago(?), I did find it to be really intense. Heck, there was some game-play footage for The Last of Us that came out at E3 that was pretty darn disturbing, too! Sometimes a shotgun to the face is just a shotgun to the face, but the in-the-moment intensity (be it Last of Us or Lara Croft) can really change the player's emotional response.

Video games are getting a lot more complicated, and I'm not just talking about the game-play.

Edited at 2012-06-16 08:45 pm (UTC)