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What Makes a Video Game “Violent?”

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On a thread concerning the appeal of violence in video games, @The Blackangel asked @Juneberry for a subjective interpretation of what constitutes violence in video games. I thought that was an interesting question deserving its own thread. I'd love to hear others weigh in on this.

On another thread where we discussed whether video game violence promotes IRL violence, I asserted that video games are not actually violent, but rather feature simulated violence, and I hold to that.

That being said, what is my definition of simulated violence? I guess anything where there is simulated physical damage to my character or any other character in the game. This also includes “nonentities” such as reanimated corpses though, or even objects in my environment. So my definition is super broad. Good thing I enjoy simulated violence :)

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It is something that can’t really be answered, as it’s all individual interpretation. Some may consider Mario jumping on a goomba violent. Others may not consider it violent until games like Hatred come in the mix. It’s a really difficult question. I would say that violence begins when there is actual gore and repercussions to your character and NPC’s in game. You can gut someone with a spoon, but if it doesn’t have them screaming and show details, then I don’t consider it violent. I can get run through, and if I don’t see the pain and disbelief on my characters face as the blood runs down my body, then I don’t see violence. Mortal Kombat is not violence. That is a game created to attempt violence. Violence has to include psychological damage as well as physical damage. If both aren’t inflicted, then it’s simply not violence.

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7 hours ago, TheSteelyardDweller said:

cursing can make a game violent sometimes? also, what bad stuff?

To some people like radically religious people, the closest to cursing that is allowed is mentioning people who are “damned” and talking about their religious version of “hell”. Or referring to a donkey as an “ass”. If it’s not written in their religious scriptures (Quran, bible, etc.) then it’s a one way ticket downstairs.

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