Violence has been a part of computer games almost since day one. One of the first video games – Space Wars – was a multiplayer game where players took turns shooting each others space ships, and we’ve been shooting, stabbing, punching and just generally killing each other ever since. But video games are just one subset of games, and the majority of games aren’t all that violent! For some reason violence tend to be ubiquitous and constant in video game, where other games can avoid the topic altogether.
Why is that? And what does it mean for our ability to express more mature themes and ideas? How can we explore complex, sensitive, and emotional topics without just representing them as physical obstacles or conflicts? In this talk I want to break down why computer games oriented so quickly and strongly around spacial simulation, why it’s so hard to move past that and refocus on broader topics, and take a look at how games could explore new areas going forward.
About Chris Franklin:
Chris Franklin is a writer, critic, and video producer. For the past six years he’s been producing Errant Signal, a webseries where he looks at games, design, and culture. His work often tries to bridge the gap between the ideas explored in academia and the wider YouTube viewing audience, resulting in episodes that range from breaking down Gonzalo Frasca’s “The Debate That Never Took Place” to close reads of games to mechanical system breakdowns.