As some may or may not recognize, we are living in a great age for video gaming. Many of the stories that we yearn to see are enhanced by the graphical muscle that our consoles and PCs can push out. We have been a part of stories where we have saved worlds from alien invasions, survived the zombie apocalypse, and lived dangerously in the shadows of historical events. But, what happens when some of these game stories hit a little too close to home?
The Division dropped this week and so far it’s been a pretty decent game. If the sales records can be believed, it’s a hot seller for gamers during the winter lull.. From gamers, I have spoken with, many are happy that the game at least has a story that is cogent enough to get through. But, is anyone at the very least freaked out by the story? The very idea that someone could possibly taint money to spread a virus through a city and cripple the country seems too real. Of course it’s not the first time that some games have hit upon themes where fiction could possible mirror reality. Take a look at The Division’s opening sequence and then we will examine some other games with themes that may hit a little too close to home.
This game’s impression really lasted in my mind for a long time after completion. It’s not just the one sequence below, but the entire game in which the disappearance of a child and the people who are searching for him have their lives affected. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, the people that are supposed to be the most trusted are the ones responsible. It may have been out for awhile and it recently has been remastered but I strongly caution parents that are gamers, when playing it, the subject matter may keep you up at night.
The Grand Theft Auto Series
It’s almost hard to talk about real life situations and not include the GTA games in them. On one hand, some can treat GTA like it’s Scarface or other over the top gangster movies because for them, it’s not real, while others can look at aspects of the game and see how some of what happens may be too much like real life. Even if you look past some of the stories of the games, the crimes one can commit can be borderline genocidal. Very few games allow anyone to be a mass shooter, a violent car jacker, a meth addict, an animal abuser, a bank robber and a cop killer with no impunity. GTA IV and V did it in the setting of quasi- New York (Liberty City) and Los Angeles (San Andreas). And we aren’t going to talk about some of the racist aspects of the game as well. Dear parents that are picking this M rated game up for your 10 and under kid, if you are wondering where they learned some of that colorful language smack yourself for not paying attention. Of course there are adult idiots that have attempted to try living their Grand Theft Auto fantasies in real life and failed miserably.
Call of Duty: MW2 – No Russian
The Call of Duty series has seen its share of varying degrees of realism over the years. It has come a long way from its World War II roots. When the Modern Warfare series came along, it became clear that the Call of Duty games were going to tell contemporary stories that may really hit home. Call of Duty really gave gamers a punch in the gut with one particularly disturbing scene in Modern Warfare 2. The game was released right after the Ft Hood shooting in 2009. MW2’s “No Russian” level caused a large stir with its graphic depiction of an undercover agent who along with the Russian terrorists he infiltrates, shoots innocents at an airport. Players who want to, can skip the level altogether but many governments including Russia, voiced their dissent against Infinity Ward over the release of this game in light of the mass shooting that took place.
Just by reading the title you can already guess this isn’t going to be good. There is also a reason why many outside of Japan, may not have heard of or gotten this game especially since it’s banned in most countries. The story centers around a groper or chikan who stalks and rapes three female members of a family. There is a long list of reasons why games like this are just wrong for ever being made especially considering the real life impact that rape has on people. I mean, come on, SOMEONE MADE A GAME THAT PROMOTES RAPE??? What is wrong with these people?? This just proves that just because you can make a game DOES NOT mean that you SHOULD.
WARNING: The video requires you to sign in and provide your age before viewing as it is graphic.
These are just a few games among many that have pushed the envelope of fiction coming to life not to mention controversial for other reasons as well. Some of us may view games as just that; media that mirrors some real world situations we can immerse ourselves into without consequence while others of us may play a game that could all too well trigger moment of trauma and anxiety. We are at a point where games can tell intricate stories but at what point do we want to play something and have it remind us of some of the real world ills? This isn’t to say however, that some of these games should never be released, however as with anything consumers purchase, gamers should know what they are getting into before buying as well as when to stop.