This guest piece comes from Burgess_101. It seems that the way games handle mature themes has got them a bit riled up.
The controversy surrounding the new Tomb Raider game and the alleged rape scene made me boil over, even though it’s now been made clear that it wasn’t as it first appeared, and they have said there were no sexual thoughts involved. We as gamers are constantly pushing for more and more mature story, à la Heavy Rain, but as soon as rape comes along as a subject, many people become close minded. Rape is around us, we cannot simply shut it out.
I love films. Shock cinema is my favourite. I love to be challenged while watching a film; challenging both my morals and views on life in general makes for an interesting experience. I’ve watched films that have depicted terrible things. Such things that, if shown in a mainstream game, would see that game ostracised and destroyed in the media.
Gaming needs a revolution. An image change. If we show that we can’t deal with mature issues, we won’t get mature games. It’s that simple.
I am not trying to say there is no room for any other sort of game, of course there is, just like we can watch comedies or read nursery rhymes. Diversity is important in any type of entrainment medium.
My favourite example of a game dealing with mature issues is Heavy Rain, showing the loss of a child and also the extent a parent would go to save a child. Heavy Rain deals with depression, suicide, mental illnesses and murder on a more personal level than we’re used to seeing in videogames.
Do I kill this man and leave his kids fatherless but risk my own child’s life? Never have I had such a hard decision in a game. The decision I made said a little about myself as a person. I killed the man. I realise this is not real life but it’s as close as I would ever want to get to such a situation.
Grand Theft Auto is another I applaud. You may argue it’s a series largely devoid of morals, but I argue that it’s a game of decisions. It shows the extremes you will go to just in order to have some sort of self-worth whilst you’re chasing the ultimate dream. Money, cars and houses are all status indicators, and people kill on a daily basis for these things. “…it’s easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It’s easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It’s easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.” (From the film Seven).
People can live life with rose tinted glasses and pretend bad things don’t happen in this world but you are fooling yourselves. Away from the mainstream media, genocide is occurring and western countries are often heavily involved in funding it.
People kill and die for their religions and, just because some don’t think it’s appropriate to show, doesn’t mean these things simply go away. The best thing we can do is raise awareness of these issues, not cower away when our morals are tested. The more games that hit on issues like rape; genocide and torture, the more awareness can be raised and therefore acted upon.