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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 77: What We're Playing, Is Sniper Elite V2 too Violent?

Dylan Collins's picture

In this episode we have a good old fashioned "What have you been playing?" Discussion. We then have a debate sparked by an email over Sniper Elite V2 and round it all out with some thumbs! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik and Dylan "I have no witty nicknames" Collins.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   Nintendo DS   PC   iPhone   iPad  
Developer(s): Rebellion  
Series: Pokemon   Demon's Souls   Sniper Elite  
Genre(s): Role-Playing   Shooting   Online/Multiplayer   Horror  
Articles: Podcasts  

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great podcast

Hey all-
I really loved the podcast. The thoughts about violence in games were very interesting and were a real highlight of the podcast. It was great to hear open, intellectual, opinionated exchanges that did not devolve into a talking heads, yell-fest. I would love to hear you all tackle these more challenging issues using a similar format. It was thoughtful, engaging and deeply respectful of the question, the questioner and each other.

I know that when I play games, I need a layer of abstraction over the violence. I don't mind "killing" in a game as long as it is on another planet, a fantasy realm, etc. On the other hand, as that veneer falls away and games get more "realistic"-- as the layers of abstraction fall away-- games become much less enjoyable for me. Consequently, I'm not a Modern Warfare guy and I know enough about myself to avoid those games.

This came up last week when my wife commented on how violent the video games were that I played (Torchlight, in this case), and I was forced to actually think about why it that was I was ok with exploding goblins but not people and headshots. It was like the conversation had me already thinking about your theme.

One cool implementation that didn't get touched on in the podcast was the "Bloody Mess" Perk in the Fallout Games. That was great because if you liked that level of violence, you could choose the perk and it would add the aspect of fun, gratuitous gore to your game. Needless to say, I never turned it on and enjoyed the Fallout games a great deal more because of it.

Thanks again for another enjoyable hour+ of Videogame discussions. I always look forward to the podcasts and you all didn't disappoint.


Great podcast guys. A quick

Great podcast guys.
A quick question, Mike you mentioned two critically games that should be purchased, one was Binary Domain, what the other? I didn't quite catch it. Was it "near"? I can't find anything about it so I obviously misheard.

Nier. Which also should be

Nier. Which also should be banned! Gruesomely violent. (just kidding)

The Jeroen from The Netherlands (who is NOT grumpy!!!)

Thanks for the podcast! Interesting.

I like sniper games, (Chi) but to see the actual damaging results, in all it's gory details, isn't so much confronting/contradictive as it is unnecessary. Yes, I do have a problem with being confronted with horrific details of exploding testicles and all kinds of shit to this specific detail, because A. I am playing a game for fun, and B. there is no point in it. I don't think gameproducers should give that message (that letting organs explode is fun) to (young) gamers. In general I am against censorship, but for me the line is crossed where a game's message is basicly to experience fun in actively (sine the gamer makes the action happen) hurting other people, especially when so vividly shown.

I think a movie comparison isn't really justified because as a viewer you feel less responsible for the actions of a character than in games, where you as a player control the character, and thus are way more responsible also, at least in feelins/emotions.

Now I shouldn't decide for other people what they can or cannot play? If you don't like it, then don't play it? But let other people decide for themselves? Those arguments are the easy way out. We, (or you guys as gamecritics) should indeed draw a line somewhere. Because if the line isn't here, according to you guys, then where is the line? Virtual child's porn you guys have nothing against? Or how about a game, produced by the friendly government of say Iran, where the purpose of the game is to stone women. I bet some people in Iran, would think that's fun. You guys are all for freedom?

Where's the line? Anything goes?

PS. (obviously I understand that not every Iranian is a religious fundamentalist or is in favor of stoning women, I just use that as an example. You can fill in anything a "modern/normal" person would think is wrong)

Btw, in the Netherlands,

Btw, in the Netherlands, freedom of speech means one can say a lot, almost anything. But it only goes so far that, when a point is reached where the content of the message (in which artform it is presented doesn't matter) makes other people use violence, or calls for violence by other people, is in fact not allowed.

One could say that glorifying violence, or causing extreme damage to other human beings (or animals) via visually explicit means of images/video, is indeed indirectly promoting and/or might lead to the use of violence, in a real world setting, by other real people. Not in a one to one-ratio, but indirectly for sure. Ask the Batmanshooter's victims!

Now this doesn't mean everything which contains violence should be banned or censored, but neither does it mean that everything goes, right? I mean an individual is in the end individually responsible for his actions, but aren't we, as a society, or for example as gameproducers, also responsible for the world in which we let our indivuals (childeren/teenagers, also) grow up? Learn values? Therefore my question: is there a line then, and if so, where is it according to you then? (Mike Bracken?)

An incomplete answer

Hi guys,

As it was just pointed out, It seems that you guys took the easy way out by not addressing the most extreme examples given by the e-mail such as the question of a potential child porn simulator. Should that game be legally sold ? Because if we follow the consensus of the crew, in "theory", it seems that way.

It's easy to say that there shouldn't be any censorship while giving mild examples of video games that are already self censored according to their audience's tastes. I feel that your opinion on the matter will only be complete if you address the question this way: would the most abhorrent video game you could imagine be legally acceptable ? if you say no, then what right do you have to object to others' view of what's permissible and what's not ?

It was a pleasure listening to the podcast, as always,


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