I recently read this great little article about controversy in video games. I’ve been a gamer for about as long as I can remember, so I have a pretty good idea what the last few decades of games have been like. The worlds have grown from simple 8 bit landscapes to sprawling, detailed, living cities and even countries, with no sign of progress letting up.
So here’s the question: are games really getting more controversial as time goes on, or is that simply a product of our imagination? It’s easy to see the past as a simpler, more innocent time, but is that really true? It’s easy to see history through rose tinted glasses…
I would argue that no, they haven’t changed a whole ton in terms of controversy. What’s changed is simply that we’re able to portray controversy in ever greater detail, be it gratuitous violence, language, or even nudity. Game developers have always wanted to include these things in games, but simply didn’t have the processing power to do this in years past. It’s all about the intent.
Though the original article publisher stayed largely impartial on the topic, I’m going to express my opinion on this supposed increase in controversy. Personally, I think it’s a good thing – within reason. It gives gamers a lot more choice, and really, a more mature gaming scene is long over-due.
Remember what the old Bond movies were like? I know, I’m speaking heresy here, but I like the new ones a whole lot better, and it’s not just because of Daniel Craig. They’re more visceral, more authentic, and that’s something that was sorely lacking in games.
Photo: Peter-Ashley Jackson