Archive for November, 2011

Children dying in video games. Big deal?

Posted in HJ Journal on November 24, 2011 by HolyJunkie/Jakob

Heck no! Children can die in very much the same way as old people, and generally everything that breathes in some way, shape, or form.

From what I’ve heard around some gaming forums and review sites, two games that came out recently have shown children dying in cold blood. Those games are Skyrim (not by itself. the child-killing is achieved through a mod) and Modern Warfare 3 (in what has to be the weakest moment of controversial action I’ve ever seen since “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”)

The child-killing mod in Skyrim basically does nothing more than allow children to be killed. Okay. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. If anything, the children being immortal in a video game that’s sold itself intensely on immersion isn’t a good thing. It’s very contradictory toward what the game developers were trying to sell to whoever buys the game.

I know killing kids is bad, but have you ever been on public transit with younger students? Have you ever walked past a Jr. High school these days? Haven’t you ever wished you could just slap those foul-mouthed, bad-attitude dirtbags with a baseball bat? Have you ever wondered what the hell they see in those stupid-looking foam hats they wear by just placing on their heads instead of slipping it on? Have you ever wondered why they wear those stupid hats in even sillier fashions?

If anything, we’re more or less spoiling those kids without letting them know that their asshole tendencies aren’t welcome in our general society. Even if we tell them, they insult us because we haven’t proven that we can enforce our opinion on their bad behaviour. Sure, that’s not what it’s like everywhere, but I live in Edmonton. I’ve had the unfortunate experiences that showed exactly those kinds of dirtbag kids.

Despite that, I can see why people would make a fuss about it.

What about thirteen years ago, when Mulan came out?

Disney Animation, came out in 1998. Chinese girl joining the army during the Chin dynasty. Sexism up the face, so she cross-dresses.

You know what Mulan has on its screen and heavily implies with symbolism on screen? I’ll make a list and examples.

  • Heavy sexism. Right from the start, we’re shown a society that treats women akin to worker drones for the men. No man respects her because she’s a bit of an oddball. They made an entire musical number pointing out just how weird she is. Even when she finally joins the Imperial Army, she’s still treated like dirt, and she’s stressed because she has to hide the fact that she lacks a Y-Chromosome. It’s also shown that she’s kind of physically unfit, to the point where she was the first recruit to be considered sent back home. Mulan even got graphically wounded and equally-graphically murdered an entire Mongol army with one of today’s modern horrors. (Avalanches) After claiming victory, it’s discovered that she is a woman, and almost immediately, every single man (reluctantly, but that’s beyond the point) went with the decision to LEAVE HER TO ROT AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WITH NOTHING BUT A BLANKET AND A DRAGON WHO CAN BARELY BREATHE AN EMBER. Bear in mind that it was either that, or they straight up execute her. Only reason they didn’t is because she brought them victory. Even the Mongol mooks deep-down wanted to murder Concubines for no other reason than they are ugly concubines.
  • Child-murdering. Remember that scene where the Evil Mongol Dude’s falcon brings a Powerpuff Girl doll to Evil Mongol Dude? He straight-up says “The little girl is missing her doll. Let’s bring it back.” Yeah, I totally trust the man who wanted nothing more than to kill China because they built a wall that could serve any number of functions aside from defense. Next scene we see the doll is in the middle of a completely ransacked village, where all the corpses had been buried by the snow.  Soldiers are dead, civilians are dead, children are dead, as implied by the Powerpuff Girl doll. It’s implied, but it’s really damn obvious. Think about it, Evil Mongol Dude left Chinese alive in previous scenes to inform the Emperor that the Mongols are attacking. After the message, he wouldn’t have much reason to let anyone else live.

This is a Disney movie, officially made by the animators for the purposes of entertaining children. If you didn’t call out Mulan for its heavy sexism and child-murdering subtext, then you have no right to bitch about a Skyrim mod.

“BUT WAIT!” You sayed, “Mulan explores those subjects! That film has reason to have them! Skyrim doesn’t! Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t!”

Well yeah, but I’ll explain the context of the two games one at a time, starting with Skyrim:

  • Children cannot die in Skyrim without the mod. This is a game where dragons can attack towns and burn people to a crisp, smash houses, and devour dudes. Would it make sense for children to be giggling and running in their mo-capped style (on fire) and generally ignoring the fact that by all means, they should at least stop, drop, and roll- if not stop and drop at all?
  • This is a game that’s sold itself on its insanely excellent graphics and immersive capability. Even I, a guy who can’t give a crap about Crysis, was genuinely impressed by any Skyrim video I had seen. Immersion means understandable beheaviour, not realistic graphics. If you see burning children not dying when fully-grown adults are dying for less lethal means? That kills immersion.
  • You see the dragon attacking, and you see the citizens dying from the deadly breath attacks. As the Dragon Born, I would think “That damn dragon is murdering the innocent! I must avenge them!” If I (as the Dragon Born) saw children running half-assedly out of a house, on fire, and not dying, I would think “Those are not children… Those are Friggin’ Fire Imps!”

Now then, Modern Warfare 3:

  • Okay, you win this round. That’s mainly because Call of Duty is a crap series to begin with. After all, this is a game that appealed to the Oslo Massacre jackass.
  • No, I’m not saying he used it as a training sim. That’s the stupidest thing a human being could ever conceive. It still appealed to the bastard, which says something about the game.
  • As I said earlier, the death of children is a storytelling device. A recent martial arts movie starring Andy Lau called Shao Lin included a scene where a girl graphically and tragically dies. Said death completely tore down the protagonist. Once he had calmed down, he realized that he really had nothing left, and then he became a monk. – Mulan also used the children and civilian deaths as a storytelling device as well, directly informing the characters and the audience that the Mongol Huns are actually capable of that kind of wanton destruction.
  • Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how a single child dying could hold any weight for the story, considering in the previous game you got to massacre an entire bloody airport. In the previous game, you get thrown into the perspective of a man who’s swiftly dying from exposure to a detonated nuke.
  • The child dying in MW3 is, as far as I can tell, completely irrelevant, and is therefore a point for the overly-worried parents.

Though, you ever notice how many kids who play CoD are loud, foul-mouthed jackasses, the very same kids you wished you could teach discipline to with a belt and a baseball bat? That red-armoured kid from Arby N the Chief? He’s out there for real. He’s an insult to gamer culture, and any culture in general.

My point is: This isn’t a big deal. Kids can die. It’s tragic, no-doubt, but it’s also a story-telling device, as proven in Mulan, and many other pieces of media.

Of course, if it isn’t a storytelling device worth using… then what the hell is wrong with the people who write/program it in?

What’s wrong with Infinity Ward and Activision for having a girl get blown to bits? What’s wrong with the programmer who originally conceived the “switch death ability to on” mod for everything? Did the programmer specifically do the mod just so children can die? Or were there other creatures who just wouldn’t die?

-HolyJunkie.