Recent comments from Richard Bartle, one of the developers for the first Multi-User Dungeon (MUD), stirred up discussion about whether virtual torture is acceptable
as part of modern games. Bartle was referring to a quest in the latest World of Warcraft
expansion, Wrath of the Lich King
, in which players are instructed to extract information from an NPC. He drew criticism for his view
from a variety of sources, but Wired is now running a piece provocatively titled, "Why We Need More Torture in Games
." The author makes the case that the failure of most media to properly portray how horrible torture actually is (for example, on the TV show 24
), and the increased focus on real-world topics like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and waterboarding, could make games the perfect venue for demonstrating the "devastating repercussions" of torture.