Games, art, objects, hate and helicopters

It often baffles me how there are people who think video games are real life. There are those who seem to equate a video game character to a real person. It’s understandable, as it seems to be the human nature to humanise and antromorphise things that are not human to be more humanlike or completely human.

I’ll cut the chase; video game characters are not people. They are not men or women, they are programmed objects. To say a game character objectifies someone raises the question why do you think something that is an actual object would do that? It would be more apt to say that it is the person viewing the object is doing the objectification. Of course, the designer and the person who does the modelling have their hands in creating the object and their take on various aspects does affect the end result. However, there’s a need to emphasize that they are modelling a human body, but a human being. Video game characters have as much humanity and everything carried with them as your general blowdoll.

Any and all people have tendency to see things where there aren’t any. Overly analysing something and anything has become a sort of cultural pass time in the Western countries. It’s no doubt part of the post-modern era of art we live in, where everything has something deeper to say. In reality, not everything has an agenda, a message or a deeper meaning but there are those who see things otherwise mostly because everything they do does have an agenda, a message and the alleged deeper meaning. This is extremely sad, as otherwise possibly great products become politically charged items, and politics is one thing consumers of the video game industry do not want to see. It always needs to be repeated, but people play games to get rid of stuff like politics, feminism and reality overall and just have fun.

Hatred has got a lot of buzz around it since the release of its trailer. This is pretty good, as Hatred clearly harks back to the era where there was no bullshit attached to the games and you’re just thrown in to play the damn game. Hell, even the logo has distinctly similar typeface to Doom.

And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked
And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked

As the people at Destructive knowingly are going against the rising trend of making everything comfortable and political correct, they’ve already seen fairly high amounts of criticism, a thing which definitely will only encourage them to go even more out there and show more outlandish things. It’s a motivational thing, and I’m sure this is a reaction they hoped for, despite the people having nothing much to it than what’s on the surface.
I’m sure Hatred will be described as murder simulator by people who have never tried their hands at a proper simulator in their life and can’t make a proper distinction.

The above is an example how a simulator can teach even a novice how to get a Kamov Ka-50 up and running. A proper simulator is a far cry from a game like Hatred, where the player character simply loads up the gun and walks out.

It needs to be understood shooting a gun in real life is not the same thing as ‘shooting a gun’ in games. To use a real weapon requires certain degree of knowledge how a gun works from loading to shooting. There are online sources that readily teach you how to handle a gun and take the recoil properly, whereas a game simply allows the player to use the object of a gun. Claiming that clicking the mouse button to shoot a virtual weapon is the same thing as pulling a real trigger is ridiculous claim to say the least.

Because of human nature to reflect reality into what is not real, it’s not too farfetched, and is applicable, to see people bringing their frustrations into a game environment. I assume everybody would agree that it would be better to get your more violent frustrations out through a match of Tekken rather than go to the closest BBQ line and fight people there. Because we see these objects as avatars to human life, we get all sorts of satisfactions from them even when they’re far from the original intentions.

But let’s take bit different stance and let’s consider games as form of art.

Art, essentially, is all about creating an objectification of a human. Be it paintings or sculpture, the classical arts have always portrayed humans in the ways the creator has intended. Indeed, the girls of Dead or Alive are nothing less than direct descendants of statues of Aphrodite. Who would be mad enough to begin to argue that the idolised woman and man in art could be something evil or bad? After all, shouldn’t we all strive to become the heroes from legends? There is no form of depiction that would not offend somebody or gain a claim of negatively objectifying something. I would argue that depiction of something is essentially creating an object out of the depicted thing. If you don’t like the depiction, you’re free to find all the other alternatives that are out there. Of course, objectification in itself is a matter we need to discuss at one point, but in context of this post we need to remember that no game character is a person or even a human being, but a literal object.

In modern world, especially in the West, the sentiment of What I say I right and you are a horrible person for disagreeing is dominant. This is apparent from the petition that aims to take down Hatred. The whole wall of text provided is not good to read and shows how certain parties simply don’t give a fuck about anyone else but themselves. There are numerous spots that should be discussed overall when it comes to video games, but in a petition like this they are merely opinions without proper base. Then again, the author concentrates on racism to such extent he completely seems to miss his own racism and bigotry by excluding white people from his rant. It would be more apt for him to complain how people are not equally killed in the game.

But the thing that gets my blood boil is the question What made you think this was ok? If people indeed want to take games-are-art as serious argument, then games like Hatred should not be demonised because of their subject; on the contrary, it should be celebrated for bringing such matter in front of people and make of it what they will. Art across ages has been there to be enjoyed for sure, but it has also been there to challenge with uncomfortable images and themes. Within the last thirty decades, there has been only a handful of games that concentrate on the gameplay element and bring up issues people do not want to assess. Software like Depression Quest and Gone Home may have issues worth of discussion for sure, but they’re incredibly bad games. Not only they hold the users’ hand like they’re bunch of morons but also lack any sort of replay value. Hell, Gone Home could’ve been a point-n-click adventure where the player is the kid he is reading of for some reason. THAT would have been something to note, as the player would have been put into the shoes a closet gay character and taken through the events and life the game tries to convey. Hatred, on the other hand, puts the player in control of the antagonist and asks the player to ponder why this sort events take place at time to time. As certain sources have said, games don’t need to be comfortable and should touch on difficult subjects. Hatred does this in a very visceral and brutal way to go directly to the point and its unapologetic method is very something to admire.

After all, games are all about the gameplay. We have made objects that are humans in their look in order to reflect reality to them, and perhaps this sort of unreality is the only place we can handle certain aspects of ourselves. In games, everybody and anything is idolised and perfected, much like in classical depictions of mankind.

So I have to ask, if games are art, why is the idolised depiction of things in form of actual objects something that is objected? This makes even less if you take art from the equation, as we all know entertainment should hit the notes the customers wish to hear. In either cases there exist numerous products in films, books, movies and to lesser extent, in games that handle horrible subjects directly. Only games are able to give the player the full fledged control and control the player character through those horrible deeds.

All that said, why the hell would you want to force a developer shut down their project? The developers of Hatred really do acknowledge what they’re doing, and whatever they’re stating officially is straightforward. They have something to say, and silencing them by forcing to shut down the project would be nothing less of censorship and detracting the value of game as a medium overall.

Shit, I need to drink less beer while writing rant articles.