Friday 3 October, 2008
I would not call myself a “gamer.” Actually, that is an understatement. I have played video games for probably a total of 5 hours in my entire life, the majority of those hours spent on Nintendo 64 Mario Kart and Donkey Kong in my childhood years. Neither of those games are particularly violent except for maybe occasionally jumping on the occasional “evil” character or overturning another player’s car in a race. Needless to say, when I began to play Grand Theft Auto the violence, language, objectives, and just graphics in general came as a shock.
I spent this first half hour away from the missions, since driving around the car I stole was struggle enough, much less having to worry about reaching a goal in a set amount of time. Playing with some more experienced friends, I soon learned it was the most “fun” to drive around, steal cars, and just shoot people. From the music to the actions to the objectives in the missions, everything about this game seems to promote the stereotype of African American gang life. You gain “respect” by shooting people, including opposing gang members, police officers, and innocent bystanders wandering the streets.
If these actions are viewed from a real world, utilitarian perspective, this game is ranked extremely low on the moral totem pole. In the real world, shooting someone or stealing a person’s car would overall negatively affect other human beings. Seeing as much of the killing done in Grand Theft Auto is for no particular reason other than purely for entertainment, there is no way to look at the actions in a positive light. Looking at it purely from the perspective of the game, where CJ earns points for killing the innocent and guilty alike, I suppose he would get positive “points” because those killed are not negatively affected they just kind of disappear. In a sense, the game dehumanizes victims. They can maybe say a few words but other than that we know nothing about them other than that we get positive points for stealing their cars and/or killing them. It is still killing, but to a player it is equivalent to killing oh, maybe a spider, in a real-life situation simply because the victims are nothing to the game but possible points to be earned.
I thinks its good that you started to analysis the goals of the game through the perspectives of the moral philosophies from the start, your responses and conclusions are agreeable because of that. I think you brought up a good point, that in the game the reactions to CJ's crimes are not reflective of the real world, although the game uses the "Star system," in which the player gets more attention from law authorities as they commit more crimes. I think in future you could point ways in which game designers should reflect negative feedback towards anti-social behavior in games.
Saturday 11 October, 2008 by mtisdale