Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Offending Video Games

Talking off the cuff with friends last night, we got onto the topic of what offends us. I preface this with the following: it takes a hell of a lot of effort to find something that I would see as offensive. In all my years of customer service, I have been called every name and swear word in the dictionary, on urban dictionary, and made up in the heat of the moment. I have only hung up on one customer in my entire working life for calling me the c word (hint: it rhymes with stunt). At that point, you have fallen below the level of being a human and are no longer worth spending time talking to. But other then that, you can pretty much say damn near anything to me, show me any gross out movie, or hand me the best of all sexist jokes book and I'll roll with it. This isn't an effort to try and convince you all that I'm a cool chick. Because I'm not. I've been exposed to R rated movies from birth and my parents never shied me away from experiencing the world at large.

I think I turned out pretty well.

When it comes to video games, you have to do something really bold and socially immoral to offend me, or something really, really, really stupid. And I like Goat Simulator. So I mean 'stupid.' As friends listed off things that did offend, I was unable to come up a game title that would fall into those categories.

Again, I have a pretty strong barrier for "offensive content." But for the average consumer, is Mortal Kombat in it's glorification of over-the-top battles offensive? Or Watch Dogs, a game where one person could potentially hack into every aspect of your life and cause chaos? Some people have taken the open-world aspect of the game to create "offensive-like" behavior, but that was not at the design of the game but a loop-hole gamers have found (much like beating up prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto to get your cash back).

And I haven't been offended by developers either. Crestfallen that Ubisoft won't put forth the effort to make a female character for the newest Assassin's Creed game because of, well, lazyness. MGS5 has real-time horse poop. Yes I will continue to use Ubisoft and MGS5 horse poop in the same discussion. It's only appropriate. I was perturbed that Gaige the Mecromancer from Borderlands 2 was advertised as the "girlfriend mode" character. Oops. But those did not offend me. They merely made me sad that our industry has so far to go before we see equality of all kinds in games.

I see video games as a form of art, like film and television. There shouldn't be restrictions or limitations on the creators; it would be the same as asking Vincent van Gogh to not make his self-portraits whimsically disturbing. Though I wouldn't mind seeing the 3D printed replica ear from his great-great-great grand nephew. And as art, it should be free to express itself in as many ways as it chooses. It can be Mario Kart or Super Columbine RPG. Both deliver very different messages, but should be respected equally.

So dear readers, what video games offend you? If any. Or are you like me and you can handle 24 hours of Halo matches, and only be annoyed by the kids on XBox Live screaming profanities.

Okay so maybe it's not so much the games we need to be concerned about, but the people playing them? Some people are jerks for no reason.


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