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Can Enhanced Authenticity Be A Dangerous Progression?

This story really got me thinking.

Not so much about the inherent difficulties for gamers when their interactive hobby continues to resemble virtual reality more and more with every passing year. That's what Medal of Honor executive producer Greg Goodrich was talking about, but it led me to the interesting question: can more realistic violence create serious problems? Most will quickly say that violent games have ratings and that movies have been putting horrific stuff on the big screen for decades. But at the same time, we have to acknowledge that gaming is an interactive hobby, and the belief that we're actually "doing something" is more potent with more realism and authenticity. As we continue to advance in this area, might it be dangerous, even for well-adjusted adults? Essentially, if you really think about it, some of the more over-the-top action games could be accurately considered to be "killing simulators" in the not-so-distant future. I'm not in favor of censorship here but I've always been a firm believer that you can always go too far.

Personally, I think I'd start to feel a little uneasy when we get to the point where killing someone really does look too much like killing a real human. Take last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, for instance: just about everyone I know, Arnold included, felt - at the very least - uneasy during that airport scene. This proves something to me. I just saw it and I didn't really find it enjoyable; in fact, I didn't want to watch any more of it. Looking five, ten, fifteen years down the road, I'm starting to wonder if I'll even be able to play those games that make me feel this way. But perhaps the question is, will it have a marked psychological impact? Gamers often frown at studies but I really think this is one bit of research thought ought to be conducted.

P.S. The pic here is an example of "cartoon-y violence" from Bayonetta.  This obviously isn't the type of violence I speak of, but it's a solid picture, no?

4/14/2010 9:09:59 PM Ben Dutka

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