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When Does Gore Get In the Way of Gameplay? 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-i-need-to-break-out-the-windex dept.
Wired is running a story inspired by the level of gore in the recent Wolverine game that wonders: how much is too much? It mentions a study we discussed in February which indicated that violence tended to interest gamers less than other characteristics. "... the longer you play a 'twitch' action game, the less you notice the cultural content — the gushing blood, the shrieks of agony. You're too busy focusing on the gameplay. I noticed this with Wolverine. For the first hour, I found the deranged bloodshed both shocking and exciting; it made me feel like I 'was' Logan, the grunting, killing-machine character from Marvel Comics' X-Men universe. But as I became more expert, the cultural shell of the game boiled away. In a sort of staring-into-the-cascading-numbers-of-the-Matrix way, I found myself looking past the visible aspects of the game and savoring the underlying, invisible mechanics of play. ... The game became pure physics and algorithms: Vectors, speed and collision detection. The gore had become mostly irrelevant."
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When Does Gore Get In the Way of Gameplay?

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  • by Pvt_Ryan (1102363) on Friday May 22, 2009 @06:23AM (#28051431)
    Gore is pretty much irrelevent however I do think it has a place. For example I like the Hitman series. In the 1st one there was bullet holes/decals on the bodies I liked this as it allowed me to see where I hit as opposed to yes i hit or no i missed. I was rather annoyed at the future hitman installments removing this, for me it was all about the perfect head shot in the 1st one, right between the eyes.

    I did think the manhunt series was boring mainly due to the limited number of death animations and the excessive gore.

    I do prefer games that have some gore over those that have none, for example when a rpg shell blows someone to pieces it is more realistic than them just falling over. It's all about the realism the game creates the more realistic the more I enjoy the game (assuming the gameplay is there).
  • Re:Silent Hill 2 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 22, 2009 @06:32AM (#28051491)

    So basically you just said that the game wouldn't be complete without augmented gore. So true!

    Many games would be "compelete" without the gore, ala any FPS where you can turn off the blood and gibbs (Quakes, Counter-strike, Duke Nukem 3D, and many more). You can usually play these games unimpeded with gore off, and if you never saw the gore before you wouldn't know any difference. Many people think the gore&blood on/off setting is for kids, but it's primarily used by the best of the best in the Quake world (as they say it is distracting and can block views at inconvenient times).

    However, /my/ argument is the opposite. When I shoot someone in the forehead, I expect some blood (at least). I'm sorry, but when a game model simply falls down after a headshot it makes the gameplay cartoonish. Nothing wrong with that, but it does cause me to begin to think about the game instead of just enjoying the immersion of the game. I like to be able to "get into" the game, feel like I'm the main character, and for a few hours pretend I have a different life (at least in the case of single players -- HL2, Doom3, Fall Out 3). In short, You can take my video game blood and gibbs away from my cold dead hands. And if you want your kids to enjoy a proclaimed adult game, petition the company to include a "Blood&gore off" option, but don't go down the path that I have to live without it because some kid might see it. Sorry, I don't care about your kid -- you keep him/her from playing the game.

    Just imagine the Mortal Kombat series censored (see Mortal Kombat 1 for SNES and Genesis consoles). Let's just say they didn't sell, and were completely destroyed by loss of gore.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday May 22, 2009 @06:57AM (#28051655)
    This is a nice zen aspect to gaming, one I've found myself often experiencing as I crunch numbers while speccing and gearing in world of warcraft.

    It's also sort of similar to something I call the Zen of gaming difficulty - The hardest setting to learn on any game is "easy", while "impossible" is the simplest to master. While playing through Easy mode for the first time, you have no ide what you're up against, you face bosses for the first time, get surprised by twists and turns and keep having to look at your manual because you forget how to do your special moves. As you get better and tackle the hardest setting, you only have the tiny variations and subtle nuances to overcome, at which point you are pretty much a master of this game.

  • Re:Silent Hill 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MadMatr07 (1278450) on Friday May 22, 2009 @07:05AM (#28051731)
    I agree, games with no visible damage to a character really takes me out of the experience and makes me think "Yep you are playing a video game." However, games such as Left 4 Dead are so great in my opinion because weapons have the effects you would expect them to and that immerses you in the game so much more.
  • Re:Silent Hill 2 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Friday May 22, 2009 @08:54AM (#28053103)

    A game where the blood added something was Onslaught for the Wii, you fight alien bugs that have acidic blood, if you shoot a bug that's too close to you it splatters all over the screen, you have to wipe it off (which leaves you unable to shoot for a moment) if you don't want to take damage.

  • Re:Silent Hill 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday May 22, 2009 @08:58AM (#28053163) Homepage Journal

    Even if you get shot in an artery you will have a little stream of blood squirting up a few feet. Not a splatter of blood that consists of gallons of blood.

    It's quite amazing how much blood can come out of someone and they not die. And it's also quite amazing how many square feet just a pint of blood can cover if it's smeared around. Finally, how many people have you shot with a .50 cal or explosive ammunition?

  • Skin it and Find Out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PMuse (320639) on Friday May 22, 2009 @09:37AM (#28053689)

    ...as I became more expert, the cultural shell of the game boiled away. In a sort of staring-into-the-cascading-numbers-of-the-Matrix way, I found myself looking past the visible aspects of the game and savoring the underlying, invisible mechanics of play. ... The game became pure physics and algorithms: Vectors, speed and collision detection.

    The interesting experiment would be to remove the gory skin from those underlying, invisible mechanics and replace it with some sweetness-light-and-OMG!-ponies!! skin. I'm talking about the exact same mechanics with different art.

    Would we still enjoy the game as much? I'd like to find out.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday May 22, 2009 @10:19AM (#28054335)

    I believe many, if not most, gamers are desensitized to violence. So there's already an exaggerated expectation of how violence should be depicted, mainly that there should be gushes of blood everywhere and bodies torn apart. Even, myself, who is not keen on gore finds any game with bloodless violence to be quite tame.

    Your average non-gamer, however, is likely to have a very different reaction. The simple act of pointing a gun at a character and shooting them is troubling to a lot of people. I'm not suggesting that gamers are going to resort to real life violence or anything as absurd as that. But certainly there is a thrill they get out excessive violence.

    I personally have no problem with gore in a game if it's an integral part of the story. The problem I have is when developers get gratuitous with it for no clear reason other than, I suppose, to sell more games. It's not all that dissimilar to developers constantly objectifying and over-sexualizing women. I like watching hot girls as much as the next guy, but when it becomes the rule, not the exception I think there's a problem. In some ways I see all this as appealing to the more immature attitudes although I'm sure some people will disagree.

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Friday May 22, 2009 @11:52AM (#28055735) Journal

    Just like when he forgot to give air to Laurie when he teleported her to Mars, it emphasizes the fact that he is nearly totally disconnected from most aspects of humanity.

    He blew his enemies up in showers of gore presumably because it happened to be slightly easier than the alternative, even if it spattered a roomful of traumatized bystanders. He knew enough to stop the "bad guy", but beyond that he just didn't care either way. Now that's chilling.

    For that reason I was very glad that they left the gore in, even though in the movie it looks worse than the equivalent scene in the comic.

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