Games Have A Responsibility To Show Violence – Ken Levine
Earlier today Caveshen wrote a rather interesting and thought provoking article on BioShock: Infinite which is worth a read even if you don’t agree with what he has to say. Meanwhile Ken Levine has something to say about the depiction of violence in media, or any art form.
Mainstream media tends to shy away from gore and violence but video games don’t typically play it so safe. Violence in video games is nothing new and there are plenty of games that relish in an excess of gore. Games like Super Mario 3D World. Ken Levine believes that it is up to video games to give an uncensored look at what news outlets won’t show.
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“One of the responsibilities of art is to actually show this is what it looks like when someone gets shot, because it’s really obfuscated” in media reports about war and violence, Levine said. “War is about sending pieces of metal very fast at people and tearing them to bits on the most primal level.”
This is not the first time Levine has spoken about the role violence plays in video games. In the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, Levine said, “Violence, for better or for worse, is…going back to the dawn of narrative, is a part of the storyteller’s toolkit.”
Levine is no stranger to violence having created games such as System Shock 2 and is currently working on a script for the Logan’s Run remake for Warner Bros. It’s a story set in 2116 in a dystopian world where all people must be executed at the age of 21 to aid population control.
Levine’s latest work, BioShock: Infinite, was an excessively violent game with bloody maulings by the truckload.
Violence is neither a good or bad thing but it depends on how you use it. If it becomes excessive then you’re only going to devalue the gore and make it cartoonish but use it sparsely and you can give great meaning to the violence players do experience. That’s just a very general guide. With regards to Infinite specifically, the violence was over the top and definitely unnecessary whereas something such as The Walking Dead grounds itself and really makes you feel the weight of everything happening with its gore and violence.