The Kind Of Video Game Violence That Disturbs Me (NSFW)

The Kind Of Video Game Violence That Disturbs Me (NSFW)

Hatred is a game about the wanton slaughter of people fuelled by nothing but pure, well, hatred. Its trailer came out this week, and many people found it to be upsetting, even deplorable. Video games, however, frequently revel in over-the-top violence. So why is everybody talking about this game in particular?

First off, here’s the trailer. Fair warning: it’s exceedingly graphic and depicts the slaughter of horrified people who scream and plead for their lives. It’s not pretty.

It has, of course, also gotten a crazy amount of attention, which makes sense given that its entire announcement campaign smacked of a thinly veiled grab at publicity. “Bring [the trailer] everywhere and let the haters hate! (And they will, oh they will…),” the developers wrote. They proudly trumpeted their alleged lack of “political correctness” or affiliation to art/any kind of message — despite, in doing so, making a very pointed political statement — and generally leaned on how different they thought they were being.

Thing is, they really weren’t. This is just a footnote in a book with many, many chapters. The Postal series — which is about killing everybody, aka “going postal” — centres around this exact kind of scenario. Grand Theft Auto can be just like this if you choose to rampage around or merrily skip down the sidewalk except, you know, in your car. Blood snaking and pooling, innocents scattering and screaming until their lungs cave in. In some ways, it’s even worse in GTA, if you think about it. In a world that offers you all sorts of other options — from stunt driving to tennis — you choose to treat (virtual) human lives like ants in a pesky anthill. Which is not to say I think playing that way is wrong. I’m just pointing out how it looks on paper.

The short version? This is not new territory for video games.

Hatred, however, struck a nerve. It’s been tweeted about countless times. Its debut trailer is fast approaching a million views. More importantly, a lot of people have decided to draw their line in the sand and say this — not GTA, not Postal or what have you — is too far. This for a game that handles its subject matter with all the subtlety, nuance, and emotional resonance of teenage metal band’s first hit single, “Kill Fuck Strangle Scream (ft. DJ I Saw This On TV While My Mum Wasn’t Looking).” As Polygon points out, it’s limp, wetly-thudding “shock” schlock. It’s a barking dog with no teeth.

However, I think the wider reaction to all of this says a lot about how we view violence in video games. Foremost, people like pretenses. Grand Theft Auto is often a parody — delivering many of its lines, if not its bullets, with tongue planted firmly in cheek — while Postal is a cartoon, albeit a sometimes tasteless one. Hatred, if nothing else, pretends to do away with all aspirations toward anything except violence fuelled by senseless rage and hate. That is its creators of definition of pure “entertainment.” Death and misery.

Point number two is fidelity of the game’s graphics/animation and what they’re used to achieve. Hatred’s trailer lingers. In multiple instances it revels in the moment of the kill as the main character, for instance, sticks the barrel of a gun down a screaming woman’s throat and pulls the trigger. It details every element of that, each portion of the struggle, every feeble flail of arms and legs.

Video games have a habit of making violence seem “awesome” or “crazy” and upping realism in pursuit of that, but Hatred doesn’t only focus on the “coolness” of the kill. Rather its trailer shifts its gaze slightly to glorify fear — fear instilled in helpless victims, no less — and the power one person can exert over another with it.

That doesn’t feel quite so good or palatable. Humans are empathetic creatures. Very few of us enjoy seeing another person beg and plead for their life (some even prefer more abstract enemies like aliens or zombies), but Hatred asks us to feel good about that. Going by the trailer, at least, that’s supposed to be part of our reward.

All of this is compounded by context. Hatred‘s trailer brazenly depicts — among other things — multiple mass murders. Given that a) the number of these sorts of tragedies has tripled in the United States since 2011 and b) people in the gaming industry have recently receivedthreats along these lines, everybody’s (rightfully) on-edge. Hatred manipulates that imagery — and tries to claim it’s only entertainment and shouldn’t be viewed in a negative light — during a time when many are pretty sickened by it. Further, the game uses that to garner attention.

This all actually makes Hatred‘s juvenile teenage fantasy approach more upsetting to me, not less. As a former angry teenager, I could imagine a more messed up version of myself fantasising about this sort of thing on these terms. Nothing too complicated. Just blind rage. To the right person, this game could make it all seem almost attractive in a tangible, low-stakes way, as opposed to being something you merely imagine to vent pent-up anger. That’s not to say I think Hatred or a game like it would make someone want to kill other people. It could make someone feel a bit less revolted by these things, though — even though they are things I think people should absolutely always be revolted by.

Now the usual disclaimer: I DO NOT THINK GAMES CAUSE VIOLENCE. Nor, for that matter, do I think this game should not exist. It has every right to. I’m merely discussing why I think it struck such a nerve and why I find it to be, frankly, pretty gross even though it’s almost comedically over-the-top.

That said, full disclosure: I’m of the opinion that a culture where violence is super pervasive does influence us as people (that’s unavoidable; humans are, in part, products of their surroundings), but influence does not always equal action. Rather, as I’ve written extensively in the past, I think it’s important for us to constantly self-examine and consider where we draw the line between fiction and fact on a regular basis. We understand ourselves and our hobby better that way, and ultimately we make and do better things as a result. Anyway!

I’ve now gone through some semi-obvious reasons Hatred is getting under people’s skin, mine included. But I think there’s something more to it. Now, this is just me speaking from a personal standpoint (because really, as a single human being that’s all I can actually do), but I think this also shines a light on how close some entertainment I really love is to being deplorable even to my own sensibilities.

At first I couldn’t figure out quite why I was still upset by the things Hatred depicted when I discovered how dumb/schlocky they were, but then I realised that — for me — the game served as a kind of mirror. Because as I said at the start of this article, Hatred really isn’t all that different from other games. It only turns a few dials a couple notches further. In other games I have senselessly killed people who couldn’t really fight back, laughed and taken great joy as others fled, and done so in contexts only slightly less relevant than, say, a mass murder. I’ve nearly enacted Hatred in other games. Biggest difference is, Hatred makes it a bit more explicit, both in terms of player objectives and its depiction of them.

Still, my reaction to Hatred made me realise that the line I draw between perfectly entertaining video game violence and upsetting video game violence is increasingly arbitrary. Or if not arbitrary, then rooted in an increasingly specific set of criteria that mainly add up to “too close to home” versus “oh, well that’s only an issue over there/away from me personally.”

That doesn’t make enjoying games that fit that description wrong at all, but interrogating that part of myself — never becoming complacent, especially when it pertains to actual human suffering that takes place all around us — is incredibly important to me.

People frequently discuss the fact that humans are, by and large, able to tell the difference between real life and fiction. It’s why video games don’t turn us into killers or whatever, obviously. We rarely, however, talk about the process of doing so — that it’s not entirely automatic. It’s not like breathing. We’re not specifically built to do it. We do have to consciously consider this stuff and meter out what goes where in our heads.

There are times when we choose not to think about the media we consume. I worry that my sudden revulsion at Hatred but quiet approval of other games with similar themes means I haven’t been thinking enough, or else I would have noticed what actually informs my views on violence in games a lot sooner.

That doesn’t mean I’m now not shocked, saddened, and horrified when real world tragedies occur, but I don’t want to take them even slightly less seriously as a result of the entertainment I love. I’m worried, then, that I might not have noticed a small change for the worse happening in myself despite that. If nothing else, Hatred provides me (and whoever else might want to) a chance to revisit the process, to think more deeply about these things again. Because separating entertainment and elements of the real world is a process. Because it’s necessary and important, at least to me. Dark cloud, meet silver lining.

Comments

  • It’s not very often that a game has shocked me, let alone a trailer for one…. Wow, this one shocked!!
    Lets see how long before this game gets banned in Australia, I’m all for R rated games, but this is not a game, this is just sick.

      • Yet we celebrate that in cinema with movie series every year such as SAW and various other series, ESPECIALLY the torture-porn genre that houses movies such as Hostel which revel in the slaughter of innocents. Not to mention the earlier movies such as Friday the 13th which had innocent teens repeatedly slaughtered for no good reason. Seems a tad hypocritical if you ask me? One may be passive and one interactive but if we want to fly the flag of ‘Games don’t inspire people to act out violence!’ then we have to accept the fact this game won’t have that effect. Can’t have our cake and eat it too.

        • A part of me agrees with the logic behind you point, but another other part of me thinks this game really crosses the line. To me this shares the same place as Rapelay, except rather than being sexual in its perversity, it’s violent in its perversity.

          • It’s perfectly fine for you to have that opinion of course, however the question is, is it ok to push that sense of personal self onto others because you yourself are offended?

            To quote Stephen Fry (and yet it has swearwords and I mean no personal insult, but the message is the valid)

            “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

          • I really like Stephen Fry, and think he is a genius and has a good sense of the world…usually. I totally disagree with this opinion of his. We have anarchy if everyone thinks like that. Let’s see how that helps society. There are very serious repercussions from offending people, and it’s not always just the victims perspective that is at fault.

        • I think those movies are sick and depraved and don’t understand why anybody goes to watch them. But that is just me

          • +1

            Never watched them once I found out what they were about, never had the interest. Will ignore this as well as it’s just a cheap shot at publicity.

        • Totally uneducated comparison.

          In Saw, the audience empathises with the victims. That’s why it’s horror, you watch freaky shit happen to people you relate to and get freaked out imagining it happening to you.

          This game is, by virtue of being a game, tying you to the perpetrator of the violence because you’re controlling him. BIG difference. Stop being a contrarian and accept that there’s a good reason the majority of people agree on some things.

          As an aside, beyond everything else – this game takes 10 steps back for every step artistic developers have taken forward for dispelling the ‘games make Americans go on rampages’ media hysteria. Ugh.

        • Let the market decide if its beyond redemption. All this negative attention you’re giving it is likely to increase sales. Before all this controversy I would have dismissed this as shovelware and kept scrolling. But now I’m genuinely curious about how it turns out.

          • I’m giving it or the site? I’m all for it being released and judged on its own merits, not being slammed before release.

        • ‘Games don’t inspire people to act out violence!’

          I completely agree with that statement, although with one exception, they do for anyone that’s mentally unstable.

          Any normal person would think that carrying out such acts in real life is vile and abhorrent, but there are people that are so screwed up in the head that they’d like nothing better, and they get off on this kind of shit.

          That said, they would get the same sort of inspiration from a movie, or song, or probably just reading a book about murders.

          There’s some really messed up people out there, and we don’t need them playing shit like this.

          • I’ve actually wondered whether a game like this is something that would curb someone who has these sorts of fantasies? Like giving them a virtual outlet may stop them from taking actions to commit the crimes in real life…??

        • sure sure… but the problem is
          games like this is exactly what creates BAD publicity for the whole industry

          unfortunately all that developers care about is to make publicity stunt to get negative attention to their product… (i dont think this game will be any good, if you look at the actual game play footage it looks very average…

          • Absolutely and undeniably. I was having this very talk with a mate last night. It does indeed, but we can’t have the absolute good without someone pumping out the absolute bad at some stage, it’s bound to happen.

            And yeah, I can’t see the gameplay in this being very sustaining past the initial ‘shock value’ tbh either.

        • I would never buy or play a game like this as it would make me feel too uncomfortable to even role play virtually some of the acts being shown in that clip. I do however love horror movies. Not so much torture porn like Hostel or I spit on your grave but i do watch them also.

          I think the issue and the reason this game hits home a little harder for me is perspective. In the movies you listed and most of that type your essentially seeing the story through the POV of the victim trying to escape the acts of violence where as this you are the perpetrator committing the acts yourself. its about the fear of what if you were put in this situation with a deranged psychopath after you. Its not about the anger or hatred of you being the psychopath. I don’t think any sane person watches Friday the 13th and is prompted to think how they would act if all they had was a hockey mask and machete and had to kill 6 horny teenagers before dawn.

        • I’d argue SAW is a bad example. At least the first 2 or 3 movies. They quite clearly explore the notion of “how far would you go to survive” and concepts such as forgiveness, cooperation and compassion.
          I think they do evolve into gore-porn later in the series but I found the first few surprisingly deep.

          Can’t comment on Hostel. Haven’t seen it.

          I guess the other difference between movies and games here is the disconnect. Watching something fictional is different to being part of it, controlling it, and actively making the decisions to perform the violent acts.

          • The delusional ideals of the murderer in SAW are definitely applicable. A sociopath who sets up a situation for people to die in, giving the option for them to be tortured inhumanely or they die. The movies plot ‘justifies’ it to the audience to put them on side with Jigsaw, which is even worse. When we get to part 3, almost every trap from then on is rigged by Hoffman to be ‘unbeatable’ essentially. Giving it that extra bit of ‘evil’ness. This is pointed out in 4 I believe , when they find the arch-angel trap from part 3 which flays the woman alive pulling out her ribcage.

            Hostel is about people paying money to murder other people, businessmen/women paying for the pleasure of murdering backpackers in a controlled environment. Cool movie, sick concept. Much entertainment. Wow. Shibby etc.

            The Saw series is a deceptively deep series, it’s ethically and morally challenging and I loved the arching plot that ran 7 movies deep, with elements tying back to part 1 as far as part 7. I don’t think honestly there’s been a movie series quite that complex… ever possibly?

            While I do get there’s an inherent difference to controlling a game, there’s still the factor of the subject matter. One does not watch the movie RAMPAGE for instance, expecting a bedtime story, it’s a movie portraying the murderer as the hero, the same with the game here. It’s a conscious choice on the part of the partaker. But, it’s up to the person to play/watch/experience or not at the end of the day. The question is, will people realise they have the *choice* to say no to this game, just as they said ‘you have the choice not to play it!’ so many times on so many other kotaku forums, or will they fall back on moral high horses of hypocrisy so many times?

        • I personally found myself offended at this game, however I simply will not buy it now involve myself further with the game. The developers can make the game, I don’t care nor do I have to involve myself with this game. I don’t see it getting an R18+ rating however. I see the ban hammer coming for this game

        • Well think about this. Would you condone a game that put you in the shoes of a member of some terrorist cell and your mission was to hijack a plane and crash it into two towers.

          I think this sort of violence hits too close to home with all the recent high profile mass murders. I think that if we have this exact game but gave it a fantasy setting, say a futuristic planet earth or maybe on another planet, it would not have received this kind of attention.

          I think thats the key point here. The line does not have to be drawn on how violent a game is, but there needs to be a line on how relatable it is to the current generation.

        • Exactly.

          Also, you can’t draw the line at this and try to ban it. Someone else, with a different sensibility, may draw the line a little behind, someone may draw the line at GTA or Postal or Carmageddon.
          You can’t say this is not fine and Carmageddon and GTA are. It’s a slippery slope and a dangerous path to follow that would hurt the freedom of speech and expression.

          • I think you guys missed the point to my comment. I find a game that appears to be coloured mostly in black or white with you clearly being lighter than the rest of the greyscaled people running around and instilling terror before killing them for the reason of killing in a blaze of glory before your killed yourself to be repulsive. I do realise however after looking at my collectors edition gta V that it comes off as slightly hypocritical but to be honest I haven’t played gta V in a long time, and for me I’ve made the decision that given the tone and lack of if you’d call it justification that is given in the game that to best communicate to the developers that I won’t support it, I will not talk to people about this game who are not already talking about it. I will not watch youtube let’s plays of the game, I will not buy or download the game, but I will respect the developers rights to make and advertise their expression of art. Like when I look at survival horror games as opposed to their movie genre counterparts there is a certain feeling of disconnect I can feel comfortable in with the movie that I do not feel when playing the games, which is why I can’t stomach survival horror games

  • Jesus. I hadn’t actually watched it until now, but damn.

    Kinda disturbing how right Grayson is on how close this is to stuff we already do. I definitely saw echoes of the executions from Shadow of Mordor in the executions in the Hatred clip. The difference is that the Uruk were aggressors… and even then, a lot of the time, their final moments are of fear and panic, too. But we’re meant to feel good about that, like… ‘just desserts’?

    As mentioned in the article, this is nothing new. Postal and the original GTA are fine examples, even Saints Row and Watch Dogs. Anything where one of the more popular mini-games or ‘player created entertainments’ is grabbing a tank(/spidertank) and blowing up everything good and decent. When Half-Life first came out, some of the earliest mods were to create a scientist-killing simulator, and when you think about it, the classic shambling zombie isn’t too far off. Hordes of people, mown down by your power… But we kill those because of their malice. …right? Everyone loves to be bad, sometimes. Empire vs Rebels, Horde vs Alliance (yeah, yeah, noble savages whatever, that doesn’t excuse the Forsaken), Robbers vs Cops. Normally it’s a ‘fair fight’, but a lot of the celebrated enjoyment hasn’t always been. Evil Genius, Overlord, Dungeon Keeper… did we not mind because it was cartoonish or seemed like the other side of the same rational coin? An opposing but equally-understandable tribalist ideaology?

    I won’t be surprised if decent people can still derive some…. er. I dunno. Entertainment isn’t the right word. Use? Satisfaction? I’m still gut-turned over some of those executions and it strikes me that the feeling is more powerful than something from many other games.

    You know what it feels like?
    It feels a lot like the fear from playing Alien: Isolation.

    Except instead of fear and horror, it’s revulsion and horror. Why would anyone want to experience deep, gut-turning fear? Why would they want to experience revulsion and grief? Until I played Alien, myself, all the Outlast/Slender/Amnesia/etc games left me instinctively saying, “Ylech! Ew, GOD no, why would someone do that to themselves?” After being lured into Alien thanks to its IP, now I know – it’s for the intensity. The feeling of something, tricking yourself in ways that ‘safe’ games don’t. Hatred’s gut-turning revulsion may just hit the same kind of spot. What makes you or I say, “Ylech! Ew, god now, why would someone do that to themselves,” about the vile expression of pure malice, that may just be what it takes to make some jaded horror fan feel something that they hadn’t before.

    I won’t be surprised if people end up finding some merit to this, in the end. From the advertising, though, I’ll be surprised if that’s actually the developers’ intentions.

  • After reading the article I don’t think I’ll watch the clip. Shoving the gun down a throat of a woman begging for her life? No thanks.
    Even though I know it’s just pixels on a screen, that isn’t going to make it feel any better.

  • At least there’s no pretense to the violence like most games.
    The mantra of humanity is hypocrisy…….

  • The thing with GTA and Postal 2 is that the game doesn’t send you out to massacre innocent people, you can go through an entire game without killing an innocent bystander, the game doesn’t make you, you make that decision yourself. Postal 2 tagline was “it’s only as violent as you are”

    Hatred on the other hand, it looks like the entire premise is to go out and massacre entirely innocent bystanders with the flimsy premise of “you hate the world” The worst part is that they are going down the “lets make it controversial, bitches love controversy” route, everyone talks about how “sick” and “depraved” it is will only fuel peoples interest in it.

  • Darkness: check, innocent people pleading for their lives:check, graphic violence: check, possibly psycho character you are forced to play as: check. Congratulations, you have managed to earn the wrath of many people who want to ban this game to be distributed to other countries

  • It’s so funny how much the developers are mimicking being angsty teenage boys that don’t want to ‘conform’.

  • Sad, really. Developers devoting time and effort to something so cynical and nasty. For some of them, their single most significant contribution to humankind will be this bile. And those who justify it – as art or something – will not realise that they have done exactly what these manipulative devs hoped they would.

    Despite all the attention, the game looks like it plays like a boring twin-stick shooter.

    • And like there’s so many cynical pieces of movies, games, etc out there that have been done in a way to be acceptable, but this is just lets be violent and gritty for the sake of it.

  • Looks great!

    A nice mashup between Postal, Manhunt and Hotline Miami. 🙂

    I am emotionally void and desensitized to basically everything though… so I tend to sit here and find myself confused about everyone’s uproar over this game trailer.

    • Agree! This is that kind of game for two kind of people, the ones who wants to kill innocent people and are ok with just virtual innocent people and the ones who knows that at the end of the day, this is still just a game.
      And the American Dad couldn’t say it better, games don’t kill people, people kills people!

    • See THAT’S an interesting comparison, the first one I’ve seen. Hotline Miami. An ultraviolent game delivered in 8bit format. I think it’s the kneejerk moral outrage we see every time with a dash of white knighting myself. I think there’s a major amount of hypocrisy as well. I think the game itself seems like it was written by a juvenile kid, with the whole emo ‘I live in a world of darkness’ thing going on, but I do accept that this is a valid genre and viewpoint, the villain centerpiece.

      • Juxtaposition of arcade-reminiscent features against violence is meant to impress dissonance upon the player, there’s intent in Hotline Miami message and gameplay beyond recursive violence.
        Hotline Miami is beautiful for both the criticism it received from those who viewed it superficially as a murder simulator, and the praise it received for the depth of its story and its commentary of violence in games.

        From what we’ve seen, Hatred has presented no such depth. It’s not really an interesting comparison, at least until we know more about the game.

        • One can argue then that the art style, the ‘immaturity’ of the main character and the ultra-violence aspect of the game loans itself to an almost effectively, similar endgame there. The trailer has drawn a lot of criticism, rightly so, but those that are condemning it and calling for the game to be banned, shut down etc are doing so from a pedestal built solely on hypocrisy and knee jerk reactions.

          • One could also argue that the game could devolve into an itinerant shitfest. One wouldn’t argue that though purely because the exposure and content of the trailer is insufficient to draw a critical bow of such length.

            I give the game the benefit of the doubt as to what it could be in the future, whilst simultaneously stating that the devs have been short sighted in what they’ve chosen to expose to the media.

            Once again, a person comparing their standards against those presented in a trailer and coming to the determination that the game has no merit does not make their position inherently knee-jerk.

          • Exactly, nor does it make it valid or well informed. We’re just gonna have to wait and see on this one.

    • Hotline Miami to me was a game that made commentary about the violence in video games; where you were (or I was) perfectly content murdering a whole bunch of people while the music was thumping and the lights were flashing with numbers flying around, you (I) lost that sense of satisfaction of completing a level the moment the music stopped. Suddenly the bodies strewn everywhere were really disturbing. I was asking myself why am I actually enjoying this, is it just because the game is telling me I should?

      Then that moment comes when you’re asked; “Do you like hurting people?” as the person playing the game, not as the protagonist. I was so unsettled I actually shivered.

      Hotline Miami to me was doing the opposite of what games usually do. You weren’t playing the bad guy: You were the bad guy for playing the game; “You’re not a nice person, are you?”

      So I would argue that superficially Hotline Miami was “about” brutally murdering people, the game’s actual message seemed to suggest something darker, not just that it’s a dark game dealing with dark themes, but that we all kind of like this sort of violence as it satisfies our morbid curiosities. That maybe that’s not really OK.

      Admittedly I might just be defending Hotline Miami (one of my all time favorite games) from a game that seems to aim to be entirely the opposite of what Hotline Miami’s story was trying to achieve. Didn’t one of the devs describe Hatred as “pure videogame enjoyment”? (Can’t find a source for that, I think I read something on Gamespot.) See, if he’s actually thinking that’s the kind of videogame people want to play (the implication being because we can’t do these things in real life) that’s pretty horrifying, even more so because it might be somewhat true.

  • *sigh* How juvenile.

    From the violence to the whole “we’re not about art or politics” crap, this just screams of the work of juvenile minds.

    Look at how well film deals with violence. The Cohen Brothers films, for example, are extremely violent, but deliberately so in order to make you think and more importantly talk about violence and humanity and society. It’s designed to make you think and encourages the audience to engage with the medium of film.

    There’s a film called “Not Quite Hollywood” about Ozploitation films from the 70s and 80s – where you discover Taratino’s love for Australian film. A movie like this could not be made if violent film didn’t invite criticism and was made without political motivation.

    Games will never be seen as a legitimate form of entertainment, let alone as art, whilst developers continue to act like children and keep claiming their creations have no meaning outside of “it’s just a game”.

    • Video Games never seen as art? Enh, give it time. Sturgeon’s Law, and all. Penny Dreadfuls were supposed to herald the end-times: corruption of youth and the death of literature.

  • I really enjoy dark humour and morbid themes in movies, so I’m going to hold back on judging this game until I’ve played it.

    I’m sure our “Hero” will die at the end and there will be a poignant message, or it will be a moronic twist along the lines of “IT WAS A GAME ALL ALONG!”

    In all honesty I’ve seen people do some horrible shit in DayZ, and they have the choice to include their own bias and discrimination in the mix. This game applies hate to everyone, or so it would seem.

  • Geez …..yeah I play horror based games and watch horror movies, so I’m usually pretty unphased by fictitious violence, but that right there is messed up. This should not be a game. There doesn’t appear to be any story or point to it.

  • …yeah, fuck this, I’m out. Don’t get me wrong, I dig my videogame violence. I like it a lot more than actual violence, but I just don’t dig angsty teenaged torture porn, (and increasingly, the developers too). I dunno, I just don’t dig the whole sadistic deriving of pleasure thing, especially not like this, if the preview is representative of the game. That it seems to be sadistic for fun, rather than for any contextual purpose for the story, or character, etc, is what thoroughly lost me.

  • These ‘Postal’ type games are what the media trawl up to give the whole industry a bad name. Something I personally have no interest in playing.

  • What ruins it for me is the game actually looks fun, if they just took out the excecutions and changed the story from ‘I hate everyone’ to ‘let take down these badguys for (reasons here)’ I think it’d be a cool game, I like the twin stick style isometric shooter thing and the graphics are nice enough. Just as someone else said, violence for the sake of violence is not great.

    For me personally it is the fact they all plead for their lives, even in gta they kind of just run away, and you can’t brutally excecute them with guns in mouths and such. It is a fine line and they have only introduced a few new things but it’s enough I guess

    • yeah, for the few seconds of actual gameplay, if you look at it for what it is and try to ignore the whole “shooting innocent people” thing, it kinda looks really well done. Nice aesthetics, smooth animations and some nice visual effects.

      but it’s all going to be for naught, because a game like this will never see the light of day, at least certainly not in this country.

      I’m still waiting for the company to turn around and say that that’s not the game at all, and this has all been a big social experiment

  • I felt physically ill watching that trailer. Even before the killing started it just felt fucked up.

    This was a good article, though, and Nathan is completely right when he talks about introspection – we should be practicing it at all times and not just when we feel confronted by something.

  • There’s a difference between killing in video games, and sadistic killing.
    Yes, there is killing in military shooters like Battlefield 4, but there’s not innocent women pleading for their lives. Everyone else is trying to kill you so everyone’s on fair grounds.
    Games like Manhunt, Hatred, and Postal just don’t attract well with me, the way they portray the suffering makes me feel a little too uncomfortable.

    Of course, I’m not advocating censorship, by all means the developers can release the game, but you can count me out.

    BUT,with that being said, I always find a strange attraction to these types of games, perhaps its the whole taboo aspect and controversy surrounding the game, or perhaps it’s simply the psychopathic region of my mind that has a interest with these video games.

  • So the character, and I use that term loosely, doesn’t even have a name? Yeah, this game is just violence for the sake of violence. Honestly, I don’t usually care about violence in games. But, that’s because, most of the time, it has context. Not just “I hate everybody! Let’s shoot them!”. This is great way to tarnish the gaming hobby even more than it has already.

  • Who’s actually publishing this game? They obviously wanted that trailer to gain lots of controversy, looks like it worked.

  • I might play it
    If it is a game where you kill people and that is it then it would get old fast. If there is a story or reason behind the killing then it might be fun…………

  • It’s uses unreal engine, so just wait for a rainbows an unicorns mod and all will be dandy

  • I’m somewhat amazed no one has yet brought up the “other” problem with this game..

    In particular the publishers/creators themselves and their ermmm “interesting” political leanings. I’ll let you guys look it up yourselves if your interested. But as of this point that “other” issue seems to be internet conjecture. But it does put a more subversive spin on this game if it was true.

  • Doesn’t look like my kind of game to be honest and I don’t like the fact that it will make gamers/gaming industry look even worse then it already is to the general populous but I’m all for games to give people new experiences and emotions. Like in the headline “The Kind Of Video Game Violence That Disturbs Me” that’s the whole point of why the game is great, the fact that it disturbs you. The whole idea of all good and engaging entertainment is to give you these emotions and feelings in all it forms.

  • …You know what? I’ll actually be happy if this is denied in Australia. Fuck the new R-rating, this is just awful and should not be allowed.

    • Ah, so when someone else’s belief of what is acceptable in a creative medium is more conservative than your own then that’s oppression, that’s unreasonable censorship. But when your own personal line is crossed it’s time to bring out the ban hammer.

      For what it’s worth I don’t approve of the theme’s here, it pushes a limit for me and makes me uncomfortable. But I still don’t think I have any right to restrict what’s going here based solely on my own personal discomfort.

      It’s still a game, made up, not real.

      • I think he’s entitled to an opinion that agrees with banning a game. I do not think however, that @bodmaniac can actually make the decision to ban it or not. However, the fact there is someone who can pisses me off!

  • Looks like a suitable fix for a shitty day at work. Though I’d doubt I’d want to go though much repetition of the fatalities.

    Pretty sure though we won’t be seeing this with an Australian classification..

  • It’s good to see that there are people out there not chained down by the bonds of Political Correctness and wanting to take risks with the medium. It’s like being back in the video game boom of the 90s, where risk played a part in making great new IPs. Today everyone is too scared about upsetting a political group, a minority group, a censorship group, etc; that we have ended up with nothing but a generation of sequels.

  • Sick, twisted, messed up, whatever…..It’s still just a *video game*.

    A work of fiction. No one is harmed. No one will be harmed as a result of this game. But due to the attention it’s getting no doubt it’ll be called the new anti-Christ etc etc.

    Really, discussion isn’t even necessary, because if you don’t like entertainment you can simply choose to not view it, play it or read. For the record, I do not think any work of fiction should be banned.

    If no one is actually being harmed, others have no right to take away the liberty of others to view or play any sort of entertainment IMO.

    FYI there are just as many pointlessly violent films out there, as well as every other kind of entertainment. As far as I’m concerned, I really don’t give two shits if games are every considered this pretentious thing called “art” – what society thinks of my entertainment choices is of absolutely no interest to me.

  • Call me hopelessly optimistic, but after reading this and seeing how it’s made people go “well wait, what’s the difference between mowing down hundreds of people in this and hundreds of people in [other popular game]?” makes me feel like maybe that could be the point of it. I mean the schlocky cheesiness of the trailer couldn’t *actually* be serious, right? Plus it looks fairly stylish too, I can’t help but feel it should be looking a little more generic for as mindless and cheap as what it otherwise appears to be at face value.

    It’s gotta be a good thing that it makes us all as uncomfortable as it does, I guess I’m just hoping that that was the whole idea behind it 😛

    • Good points there. Also, why the down vote on my comment? I am happy with down votes when constructive criticism is given too. I don’t understand why else you would down vote, unless trolling or responding to a troll….

          • What I was saying was, if this game had a middle eastern setting there would be no way it could be released. IS did similar things with GTA V mods, imagine if they were behind a game like this (which wouldn’t surprise me)! But because it’s set in a western country, with a western lead character it seems to be accepted. Obviously not accepted by a lot of people, but accepted none the less.

  • I feel like everyone’s just distancing themselves from it due to a perceived fear of backlash, a protective, defensive measure. I really hope that one day we can look at provocative imagery and actually unpack it instead of resorting to this sort of knee-jerk reactionary moral objection. People will argue for two things over this game: “video games don’t need to be art” and “this is bad and you should feel bad”. I don’t really think either argument is intended as discourse for the game and all that’s happening here is posting another “people are outraged” story. Kudos for getting so much out of the idea and simplifying complex issues.

  • Eh, you got bonus points for running over pedestrians in Carmageddon too. There are B-grade movies that do the exact same thing, this is just a B-grade video game, no worse than the airport level in MW2. Sure, it’s angsty and juvenile but everyone starts out like that and maybe in three games time they’ll make something really good. I have no intention of buying it but I’m not offended by it either.

    • Likewise. Interested to see what it has to offer other than the ‘shoot all innocents’ feel it gives off….

  • I thought the trailer was funny to start with. At first the start sounded like a joke, then I realized it was serious. Being a fan of Postal I’ll be getting this one on release. I don’t like how everyone’s complaining about the story. Gameplay makes a good game, not story. If the game is fun, it’s a good game. Sure, the gameplay doesn’t look like it will appeal to everyone due to its nature but I think games like this should exist and push the limits.

  • So, a question that comes to mind and (for me, at least) is food for thought: would you actually classify this as “a game”? Are there rules, obstacles, victory conditions, etc? Is it played or is it just experienced? I think that’s what makes it different for me: I just don’t see it as a “game”.

  • Look, I probably won’t play this, coz it looks a bit pointless, BUT..

    How is this that much worse than Payday, a game where the wholesale slaughter of police officers is rewarded with cash and progression?

    Why is it OK to kill cops, but not civilians?

    At the end of the day, it’s just pixels – if we put police hats on all of these peoples heads would it suddenly be ok? What if we made them zombies instead?

    And controversy sells of course.

    • I think the problem is so many people here jump on the bandwagon and want to be part of the “correct” crowd.

      I guarantee if the article was written in a more positive tone the majority of comments would support the game.

      But hey, if that guy doesn’t agree with it then neither do I! *ignorantly picks up pitchfork*

    • This is Australia, we banned the R rated Left 4 Dead 2 because the Zombies where once people. Making them Zombies doesn’t make it ok to us.

      • Quick note. Both L4D & L4D2 had mixed terminology, infected and zombies. Infected was used almost exclusively while zombie only popped up in the occasional sound bite.

        L4D2 was refused classification partly for its emphasis on attacking infected humans. Had they been zombies, it probably would have passed.

    • Hm, well even though cops are generally considered ‘the good guys’, they’re at least defending themselves. This dude is murdering people who are running scared. Hm.

  • Kind of reminds me of the State of Emergency games on ps2. I’m not going to comment on the whole politically correct stuff, but if killing is all this game is going to deliver, then it’s going to get old fast.

  • And here I was thinking the game had literally any other purpose than killing innocent bystanders.

    This sort of crap just makes the whole ‘violence in video games provokes xyz’ arguments. Some kids will grab this and due to their immaturity will probably think it’s really cool.

  • Since I haven’t seen similar in the comments yet.

    WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE PIXELS!

    I’ll let myself out.

  • We need games that are ultimately uplifting and make you feel like a worthwhile human being, even in a digital world. This game sure ain’t that. C’mon devs, produce something positive!

  • This has been blown way out of proportion. I personally won’t play it as my laptop probably won’t run it, but I hope it gets classified here, If only so I can laugh at all the people complaining about it.

    It’s amazing how hypocritical some of you are..

  • The most offensive thing to me was how much of a douchebag the main character sounds like.

    • Yeah, this just seems like a neckbeard fantasy game. Ok, off ya go, listen to Kreator and wank to MLP.

  • LMFAO this game looks so BAD. I’m not even fussed by the stupidity of the violence, it looks so…. SHIT hahahaha

    I burst out laughing at the voice acting… Whoever did that… don’t quit your day-job. In fact, whoever made the game…. Time for a new career LOL

  • OK, sure, lots of games glorify violence.
    But this looks like a straight-up mass-shooting simulator. And the context is that he hates the world so he’s going to kill everyone? Yeah, that’s not wacky or satirical. That’s like training wheels for actual incidents.

  • I don’t see the point of this.

    From the trailer the storyline seems to be that your character is a mentally unhinged homicidal maniac and… no wait, that’s it.

    Good lord America, please stop.

  • Well it looks like Postal reborn (2D one) with new graphics to me. Guess because it looks so real and such people are all upset. And probably because some people in society actually are sick f**ks and have thought about doing this sort of thing, which seems to happen in America allot… Still society is to blame, not the videogame.

  • Not buying, but I don’t believe it should be banned (here) because it goes beyond my own limits.

  • If it was set in Iraq or Syria, and you played as an IS recruit, this would have been buried in a legal avalanche already. I also think that’s kind of funny. Whilst this game isn’t supported by the masses, it seems more permissible because it’s set in the USA? That’s the feeling I get…. May as well whack an IS badge on it, because that’s essentially what the character seems to be from the trailer, sans Arabic.

  • To anyone saying this crosses a line and shouldn’t be released: Everybody has a line and it’s different for all of them. For some it was Mortal Kombat, others GTA and for you it’s this. Nobody is forcing you to play this, there’s no evidence to show this will make other people more violent and I don’t see why anyone should be upset at the mere existence of something you might be offended by.
    This game doesn’t bother me. I’m not interested in it but hey, I’m not into B grade horror flicks or death metal either. I’m not going to judge someone who might find some sort of entertainment out of this.

  • ok, sure, it’s shocking. but take a look at what’s actually different between this and most other games of it’s ilk – as far as I can see, it’s brazen, but otherwise it’s not really too different – you walk around, you shoot people, you execute people, probably some other stuff (but hard to tell from the clip), you proceed in the game. What surprises me is that people see this as so radically different from other games on the market, when essentially your characters own motivations are the only thing that’s changed (and that’s the one thing you don’t actually have any control over). In terms of player interaction, what you actually do isn’t really that different from a lot of other shit out there.

    and maybe that’s the point? admittedly in this particular instance I don’t actually think that’s the case, seems more like the developer was just like, ‘woot! executions brah!’, but I do enjoy games that make me consider the context of what I’m doing both inside and outside of the game’s setting, and I think this game would probably fit into that category. A couple of other examples from memory would be manhunt and spec ops: the line. Both made me think, why am I comfortable doing this in a game? (oooo chevos!!) admittedly that was pretty overt in spec ops, but it was incredibly subtle in manhunt. And maybe (hopefully) there will be some element of this game that poses a similar question, or that it’s in some way more self-aware than it appears in the trailer.

  • I’m torn between talking about this game or flat out ignoring it, because the entire thing is clearly designed to gain viral press through shock value alone, but I think there’s still a strong need to point out how wrong it is in every way.

    Sure, games are often violent, but it’s hardly ever the innocents who are the subject of that violence. GTA has violence against innocent pedestrians as you can drive straight through them in whatever vehicle you want, but that’s not the designed goal of the game, rather a side effect of what the players themselves choose to do with the open sandbox. This however, is a game who’s gameplay and narrative are specifically designed to simulate the mass murder of innocent civilians. If anything is going to push back the general public’s opinion of videogames by about 15 years, it will be this.

  • I would be very surprised if this receives classification anywhere in the world.
    Also it looks like they need to go for extreme shock value to try cover up how pathetically bad the animations are.

  • Way to set the industry back. A pointless exploitation game with no point, no story and no redeeming features. I’ve seen other sites compare it to GTA, but GTA has a point and neevr forces you to massacre, nor does it make every kill linger in the most brutal ways possible. Gaming was finally getting taken seriously, yet now we get ”Spree Killing Simulator”. Screw this game and everyone involved with it.

    • Not sure why you were downvoted for this comment, it’s true. Several members of the dev team, including the CEO, are supporters or members of white nationalist or anti-communist militia groups.

  • I can see why some people might think this crosses the line … but … don’t you ever have one of those GTA sessions when you just walk around randomly punching pedestrians in the back of the head, then shooting their mates from behind as they try run away, then shooting the cops who turn up, stealing the cop car, running over more peds, shooting down some police choppers, blowing shit up, and trying to cause as much mayhem as you possibly can ? I’ve been doing that in every GTA since … oh … GTA-III ? About the only ‘flaw’ GTA-V has for me is the fact it doesn’t let you unzip and piss on people like you can in Postal 2. Manhunt was only mildly satisfying because by the time I played it eighteen months ago the tech had obviously aged quiet a bit – and the level design gets a bit repetitive.

    My point is – you can totally ‘spree kill’ in existing games if that’s the headspace you happen to be in after a hard day at work, wife being a moody PMT b*tch, kids screaming their heads off or whatever, and there are other games which are more-or-less violence for violence’ sake depending on your viewpoint.

    Have I spree killed in real life ? Nope, I assure you I’m not writing this from prison. Nor WOULD I ever kill in real life. Are there mentally ill people for which games such as this might act as a catalyst / be a bad idea ? Sure, but that’s a mental health issue and if these games don’t exist to set them off, something else will (most of the murders and mass murders in the 20th Century happened well before the age of the near photo-realistic violent video game).

    So yeah … the trailer isn’t that great but i’ll be interested to see more of this game before jumping to any judgements.

  • This is just a schoolyard violence fantasy played out. The fact that grown men developed this is a little fucked. When will ‘rape fantasy’: the game be released? I don’t think the “it’s just a game” argument is valid when it is presented in a completely humourless light such as this.

    This is Clickbait/Columbine THE GAME. Weird man.

  • This is a scumbag game, made by scumbags for the enjoyment of scumbags, exclusively. I would feel comfortable in saying that anyone who could enjoy this game is a monster and a sociopath.

  • So does this game really cross the line? Or is it the fact people need a piss weak story line to veil there murderous desires? People end up doing this kind of thing anyway in GTA or Postal 2, a side story does not add context to violence if you break out of it by choice and end up on a rampage anyway. Does having some kind of game objective other than senseless killing make you feel like less of a monster?

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