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Old 04-26-2008, 09:16 PM   #1
Violette
 
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Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

*Puts flame-proof hat on*

This is a philosophical/psychological thread.

I took courage to ask the same question a long time ago on an MMO and was instantly flamed. Only one person agreed.

Something tells me that mudders are more mature, so let me throw this thought into the void:

How has it come about, that our society associates virtual slaughter with entertainment?

I'm no puritan... it just disturbs me a bit that most gamers flock to games that reward them for killing things. There is even a sense of accomplishment and pride that goes along with it. The quests are usually something like this: Go kill this-n-that. Loot them to get goodies!! Take their possessions!

Does no one else see how primitive and savage this mentality is?
I'm no saint either... sometimes I get the craving to bash something.
But I'm sure the peaceful indigenous people of the ancient world would have been absolutely appalled.

Have we evolved so much, that this is how we entertain ourselves?

*ducks*
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Hmm, an interesting discussion to say the least. I think it comes down to human nature, and also it depends on the person. Some people play sudoku, or do crossword puzzles. Some people like to play Gears of War. Honestly for me it's just for fun. If it's fun I'll do it and I've always enjoyed fighting games (street fighter, fatal fury), as well as 3rd person shooters.

You've got to remember though that for every game out there that has killing/maiming, there's plenty of games that don't. It's just that action and violence sells pretty well in the American market, and why is that a surprise? The american culture is built on the foundation of rebelling against your superior (england) and taking what you believe is rightfully yours thru any force necessary, and for being such a young country we've also been arrogant enough to war with just about anyone or anything over any reason. But that reason is usually money, so it shouldn't surprise you that most gamers like violent games, it's just the culture of the country.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:07 PM   #3
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

I think that humans often tend to try to make our beginning much more special than it actually was. Physically, we are not much different from the animals we share the world with, and if you've ever taken any behavioral classes, you can see that we share many of our instincts with other animals. Most of us start at loud sounds. Our heart rate increases dramatically when we are stressed or scared. (This increases blood flow to allow us to flee or fight.) We eat when we are hungry. We sleep when we are tired. We get irritatble when we go without sleep. You can see all these behaviors reflected in the animal kingdom. We really are simply animals with an awareness of our own existance and the existance of others around us.

Even now, scientists are finding more and more genes that they have linked to specific behaviors. I won't go into all the details here, but here's a quick and easy source if you wanted to get started reading about it: Behavioral Genetics

So, while we have progressed far in the advancement of our culture and our civilization, there are still basic insticts that we possess, especially survival instincts. Studies show that endorphins are released while playing video games or achieving success at various endeavors that involve a struggle. It feels GOOD to succeed at something. In the wild, it may have felt good to bring down prey, to find a source of food, or to escape from a predator and save your family while doing it. Then perhaps it progressed to feeling good bringing in that first harvest, cooking an excellent meal, etc. Later, it progressed as far as advancing in our careers, education, and cosumerism.

I'm not sure that it's the killing that really draws people. That's just the mechanism for advancement. There are plenty of extremely popular online games that also promote advancement in different ways without involving killing at all. For example, you've got the Sims, Neopets, Ikariam, Zoo Tycoon, and tons of games on Pogo, which are actually far more popular than the huge MMOs or any mud and include men and women.

Genetically, though, men are wired pretty differently from women. They have much higher concentrations of several hormones that are linked to aggressive behaviors, and that could be why we see more men playing the "bloody" games that involve killing or PvP. Lots of men also channel this aggression through sports, and it could easily explain why sports generates so much money. In the past, we had much more bloody ways of dealing with that aggression. The Minoans had bull leaping (and killing). The Romans had gladiator battles. The Mayans played kick ball with severed heads. These were all considered sports.

Maybe the game designs take us back to when things were primative and savage and gives us a safe outlet for genetically programmed behaviors. As thinking beings, we know that going out, slaughtering some random person, and stripping them of their loot is a "bad" thing and is "bad" for our society. Thus, MOST of us don't do it. Most of us can also tell "pretend" from "real", and it's not really realistic to go around slaughtering boars, ripping out their hearts, and turning it into a quest NPC with an exclamation point over its head.

I think most of us are self aware enough to know that video games, bloody or not, are just a way to let loose a bit. In a way, you might say we've evolved to harmlessly taking our aggressions out on a computer rather than on each other.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Tus true, though there is a blog online at the moment.. name escapes me, for a person who has managed to reach high levels in WoW.. without killign a darned thing

15 Minutes of Fame: Noor the pacifist - WOW Insider

Quite a feat really
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:25 AM   #5
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Cool Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

I just love killing stuff! Is that so wrong?

Actually, it's really more about character. You want your character to be seen as a bad-ass, you have to be able to kill stuff. There are characters/roles that really don't require that, and there are muds where you don't need to actually kill stuff to advance (or kill stuff to learn to be a decent fighter).
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:36 PM   #6
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

I think it's an excellent question. I don't have an answer. But it's a good question.

Maybe it's because terrible violence exists and it's frightening. By embracing it in art and entertainment perhaps the goal is to domesticate it and make it feel less threatening, and more like something we can control.
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

After running NW for many years, playing D&D, and playing other MUDs, watching movies and reading books I have concluded that human nature struggles for taking a side in the epic battle of Good and Evil. If you read books, watch movies, or play roleplaying games what side do you take and why? Who do you cheer for and why? Even players that play evil characters on NW still clap for those that vanquish evil as it were because I think that they play a role to give the heroes an opponent.

While many games promote "killing" or "violence" for gain NW as well as many other games promote protection for gain as well. In NW there is a God of Light and a God of Darkness. There are civilized cities and uncivilized. This gives a balance of that "good and evil" struggle that many find so enjoyable and epic.

Your question is a good one and the answer is that without harsh bad, there cannot be the heroic good. But moreover, most games were created on the D&D concept of advancement from training (training equally killing). Still, you will find on many games including NW that you do not have to be a warmonger to advance. There are many ways gain notoriety without slaughter.

And yes, you won't be flamed much on a MUD forum, because we are more mature and mostly look for Roleplay and immersion and story value more than turning into a dragon and flaming a town while yelling out "L33T man, L33T!"
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

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Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
And yes, you won't be flamed much on a MUD forum, because we are more mature and mostly look for Roleplay and immersion and story value more than turning into a dragon and flaming a town while yelling out "L33T man, L33T!"
What are you talking about? I've had really immersive and fulfilling roleplay with Sirwhackalot and Youngvrigin on WoW.
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:56 PM   #9
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Hmm. Well, I play EQ2 and like 80% of my levels and 90% of my achievement points came from exploring places and having a message pop up, "You have found a new location!". That and quests, a lot of which require killing stuff, but not all of them. The killing stuff part is actually monotonous and annoying in most games (been killing the same 4 stupid mobs for nearly a month now, since I am top level in the game, and its either kill those same mobs, or do equally monotonous tradeskill quests (also top level there) to gain guild levels. Its boring and stupid.

Something like Halo is a bit different, since your opponents don't just charge at you and keep attacking until they die. Instead they hide, run away, dive away from grenades (and occasionally stare dumbly at one you threw near by until it goes off...), but they don't act like standard mobs in most games. BTW, this is imho where muds fail. Its pretty damn hard to make "smart" mobs when your confining every damn thing you do to one room, there is no real way to have them run some place else without losing track of them very quickly (even the best text based method can't let you see *where* they ran to, just a vague direction), etc. It means that, for all intents and purposes, unless you have one that teleports away and waits for you to show up in the next room, or some dumb BS, mobs in muds are dirt stupid, and there is no real way to "fix" that. Splinter Cell is sort of fun too, and you spend most of the game "not being allowed" to just shoot every opponent in the way.

So, yeah, its the sense of achievement that gets you. Of having something to do, and appearing to accomplish something. Games that try to have you not fight and kill, when its some epic battle, and usually damned lame, have lots of puzzles to replace it (and I am not that great at solving "every" puzzle), and the premise is often silly, stupid and illogical, which unless you are ***really*** into puzzles, its just irritating. Some, go to nothing but, "kill or screw over everything and everyone in site.", and I do think that the people that play that stuff constantly are mentally unstable, or they wouldn't keep playing the game. Note, that is unstable to ***start with***.

Then you get some place like Second Life... Exploration without achievement, combat in some areas, probably without any achievement, besides being expensive to "buy", nothing to do, for the most part, unless you are "really" into RP and/or cybering on someone's lawn in an area you are not even supposed to have adult content, etc. If you can build, there may be some achievement involved, you may explore, but exploration is hampered by terrible disconnection between zones, a poor system to search for interesting places, and a lot of people that have found that the only thing *to* do in the world, if you don't RP, run a business, or cyber, is create chaos, to get a rise out of the people that want to be there. It could be a great place, if the client was more stable, and if people built to provide something worth doing in it. Otherwise, its the most boring place not on earth.

So, what is the point of mentioning it? Well, its damn close to what the anti-violence in games people would have us stuck with, and without the mature sections where someone might see naughty things as well... But heh, its only my first week in there and I haven't looked "everyplace" yet, so.. lol

Anyway. Violence in games is also a way to channel aggression, as some have said, and I would much rather pay $20 a month to ***be*** the aggressor, if I can't make any RL money from it, than pay $200 for some stupid ass ticket to go watch some other ass be aggressive, while he makes more money in one fracking game than I am likely to see in my entire life time. I just don't "get" sport fans... lol
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:34 PM   #10
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
(sorry I snipped the rest for now)

Your question is a good one and the answer is that without harsh bad, there cannot be the heroic good. But moreover, most games were created on the D&D concept of advancement from training (training equally killing). Still, you will find on many games including NW that you do not have to be a warmonger to advance. There are many ways gain notoriety without slaughter.
But why does there have to be a Divide, a separation? Most of the evils of society are rooted in Us vs Them mentality; Black vs White; Good vs Bad. I believe when we realize everything is One, we will evolve. Perhaps we are acting out our failures in the deepest recesses of our conscious... but does it help us or does it hinder us?

And I meant the majority of games... ones that are most popular because they attract the average person... the average person being attracted to leveling, grinding, and aggrandizement through "violence" :-).........
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:36 PM   #11
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violette View Post
But why does there have to be a Divide, a separation? Most of the evils of society are rooted in Us vs Them mentality; Black vs White; Good vs Bad. I believe when we realize everything is One, we will evolve. Perhaps we are acting out our failures in the deepest recesses of our conscious... but does it help us or does it hinder us?

And I meant the majority of games... ones that are most popular because they attract the average person... the average person being attracted to leveling, grinding, and aggrandizement through "violence" :-).........
There was a fighter back in the day, Genki Sudo. After every fight he used to hold up a banner that had every single nations flag on the border of this white banner, and in the middle were the words in big black bold letters:
"WE ARE ALL ONE"

I look at him and see the future, he understood the same thing that I do, but a lot of others don't, unfortunatelty. It's nice to see somebody else who does.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:49 AM   #12
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

We are not simply animals but we have established our rule over the animal kingdom through killing and conquest. That's how the human race likes to get things done. These games allow us to experience our "dark sides", and how wonderful they feel to satisfy! The problem is not with the people re-living it - its with the "civilized" people labelling this as "savage". It is in everybody in fairly equal capacity, no matter how civilized the country. I can state this with confidence having deliberately discussed it already with many people who would be considered reserved and far from htat. We can go nuts. So best to go ahead and just release that, because it is a part of you that will force itself to the surface if you try to bottle it up. Look at the story of Chris Benoit for instance. I am a very calm and patient person when I am not slaying the undead in droves in pixels, but I can 100% identify with the desire to want to strangle somebody dear. I realise that sounds morbid but I would like you to think about how you really feel deep down sometimes. Being nothing more than a civilized "monkey in a suit" has its bad points, just consider how often we read about "quiet people" going postal. Gaming is beneficial for many reasons that governments dont approve of, hence all these studies by so-called experts (they have to do bogus research to get their government funding, and the government chooses what to fund). In fact they are already trying to stigma them as addictions, or causing violence , or just being a waste of time, when the truth is that violent nature was ALWAYS THERE, and the games are therapeutic!! But keep smoking, they won't bother you over that as long as you are paying taxes. Die quicker and pay more. Thats the fundamental law of humans. We kill for survival and sometimes for just gain. The dodo went extinct because its eggs tasted nice. Enjoy your clear-conscience gaming and do not be ashamed of what you are, but you must be aware of it to be in control of it.

Last edited by Davairus : 04-28-2008 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:34 AM   #13
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfyr View Post
...
Something like Halo is a bit different, since your opponents don't just charge at you and keep attacking until they die. Instead they hide, run away, dive away from grenades (and occasionally stare dumbly at one you threw near by until it goes off...), but they don't act like standard mobs in most games. BTW, this is imho where muds fail. Its pretty damn hard to make "smart" mobs when your confining every damn thing you do to one room, there is no real way to have them run some place else without losing track of them very quickly (even the best text based method can't let you see *where* they ran to, just a vague direction), etc. It means that, for all intents and purposes, unless you have one that teleports away and waits for you to show up in the next room, or some dumb BS, mobs in muds are dirt stupid, and there is no real way to "fix" that. Splinter Cell is sort of fun too, and you spend most of the game "not being allowed" to just shoot every opponent in the way.
...

I should point out that there are infact "roomless" text-based muds that effectively use 2-d or 3-d coordinate systems in a manner in which you can visually track the opponent's dynamic physical location in real-time, whithout waiting for the screen to scroll, and without using some special gui client, whether it's another player, or an AI char.

-obit
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violette View Post
But why does there have to be a Divide, a separation? Most of the evils of society are rooted in Us vs Them mentality; Black vs White; Good vs Bad. I believe when we realize everything is One, we will evolve. Perhaps we are acting out our failures in the deepest recesses of our conscious... but does it help us or does it hinder us?
Well, in a role-playing game, part of the whole point is to tell a story, and one of the basic components of a story is conflict. Man vs man, man vs nature, man vs himself-- you have to have conflict or you have no plot and pretty much no story.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:07 PM   #15
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by obit View Post
I should point out that there are infact "roomless" text-based muds that effectively use 2-d or 3-d coordinate systems in a manner in which you can visually track the opponent's dynamic physical location in real-time, whithout waiting for the screen to scroll, and without using some special gui client, whether it's another player, or an AI char.

-obit
I am sure there are, and I know at least one person I talked to a while back who was thinking of making it. Its still not the same thing and the means to "see" where something goes is very artificial. One can get used to it, but its not how we interact with the real world, for the most part. There is, rather obviously, a huge difference between, "is the slightly blue something moving behind that bush a shadow I shouldn't waste ammo on, or is my opponent hiding behind it? Ah, a flash of silver, has to be my opponent!", and what you are forced to do in a text came, which amounts to, "A nearby bush moved." Without explicitly knowing the color of the opponent, or a lot of other things, the game can't "really" tell you anything that is at all useful in text, where a visual look can tell you instantly what is going on, or even let you move around a bit, so you have a better view, without your opponent necessarily knowing what you are attempting. Hard to manage in a CG game too, but you have a better idea what might "trigger" that in such a game, since you can truly tell where you are, and where you are going, related to the bush.

Point is, yeah, there should be more text in non-text, for when it makes sense, and there isn't, but there are also times where, no matter how good the mimicry you can make in text is, graphics would be better. At least one of the games I know of that is one of your 2D types, is a battletech based one. Works nice, apparently, but it didn't stop one of the players, the moment he realized he could link a mapper into Mushclient easily, to replace the "text" information on his screen with a real overhead hex-map, like the tabletop used. Sadly, its not "quite" so easy to do that with other kinds of content. lol
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:45 PM   #16
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davairus View Post
We are not simply animals but we have established our rule over the animal kingdom through killing and conquest. That's how the human race likes to get things done. These games allow us to experience our "dark sides", and how wonderful they feel to satisfy! The problem is not with the people re-living it - its with the "civilized" people labelling this as "savage". It is in everybody in fairly equal capacity, no matter how civilized the country. I can state this with confidence having deliberately discussed it already with many people who would be considered reserved and far from htat. We can go nuts. So best to go ahead and just release that, because it is a part of you that will force itself to the surface if you try to bottle it up. Look at the story of Chris Benoit for instance. I am a very calm and patient person when I am not slaying the undead in droves in pixels, but I can 100% identify with the desire to want to strangle somebody dear. I realise that sounds morbid but I would like you to think about how you really feel deep down sometimes. Being nothing more than a civilized "monkey in a suit" has its bad points, just consider how often we read about "quiet people" going postal. Gaming is beneficial for many reasons that governments dont approve of, hence all these studies by so-called experts (they have to do bogus research to get their government funding, and the government chooses what to fund). In fact they are already trying to stigma them as addictions, or causing violence , or just being a waste of time, when the truth is that violent nature was ALWAYS THERE, and the games are therapeutic!! But keep smoking, they won't bother you over that as long as you are paying taxes. Die quicker and pay more. Thats the fundamental law of humans. We kill for survival and sometimes for just gain. The dodo went extinct because its eggs tasted nice. Enjoy your clear-conscience gaming and do not be ashamed of what you are, but you must be aware of it to be in control of it.
That would be nice indeed, if only it didn't feel like I was killing my brain cells.

Don't you get that feeling too?
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:46 AM   #17
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

Quote:
Some people play sudoku, or do crossword puzzles. Some people like to play Gears of War. Honestly for me it's just for fun. If it's fun I'll do it and I've always enjoyed fighting games (street fighter, fatal fury), as well as 3rd person shooters.
Hmm, I wonder if it makes me weird that I greatly enjoy Sudoku, and games like Grand Theft Auto, God of War etc.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:53 AM   #18
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

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That would be nice indeed, if only it didn't feel like I was killing my brain cells.

Don't you get that feeling too?

I have been playing games since space invaders and I am pursing a degree in sciences. Though I have some way to go I can top my present classes *if I choose to apply myself*. There are a million ways to waste your damn time and procrastinate, I dont plan to make gaming the scapegoat, and that isnt just because its something I enjoy. I think my interest in gaming and computing is what put me in that place. At the age of seven I was trying to program an amstrad soundchip to produce the tunes of my favorite cartoons! You tell me that's bad. A sedinteray lifestyle, yes. Sitting in front of a CRT in a magnetic field, yes. Everything in moderation, obviously. Did you know that not eating AND over eating can kill you? It absolutely will.

As a matter of fact if you want to improve memory playing chess (a game) is a great way to do it. MUD also exercises the imagination so I see it as a worthy pastime. These full-feature MMORPG games perhaps not so much, but even with that under consideration, if you are bottling up that predatory instinct, you can do something really messed up down the road.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:17 PM   #19
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

I am not a psychologist, though I play one on tv (not really, but I do have a minor in psych).

I think the reason "killing things" is such a common and basic goal in games is because deep down, we still get a visceral thrill from the idea of mortal combat. The idea of it gets our adrenaline pumping in a minor "fight or flight" psychological response.

I don't think this reflects anything bad about us as creatures, nor does it mean we are bloodthirsty savages at our core. I think it is just an inescapable reality connected to our origins as a species, and thus fighting and killing will always be able to generate a deep, emotional response.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:46 AM   #20
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Re: Where have we gone wrong? *may trigger :p*

I eat hamburger. I love hamburger, and most any form of red meat. Dinner should have had a face to satisfy me. All day long, I can claim to be civilized, since I don't walk out my door, go onto the great plains and bring down a buffalo with a spear, afterwards, stripping it of its stuff. Meat, hide, bone.

At times, our civilization masks for us that (and by no means is this restricted to American culture, nor has it ever been) our existence is based on killing and violence, and the nature of the world itself makes violence of some sort necessary to survive. Sure, someone decided to put a big fence around our meat source, so its easier to kill in vast quantities, and someone cuts it up into palatable chunks, flavors it, and packages it so we don't feel like we just went out and slaughtered the thing to eat its living heart, but it takes a great deal of sublimation to ignore that that's done in our name, for our sake, with our tacit approval.

Violence is inherent in our very diet. We may be omnivorous, but to satisfy that meat craving, as it were, we are predators. Part of our social linguistics developed because those specimens which had them made for superior hunters.

In our 'civilization' which I think is a misnomer, violence is masqueraded to the point where its prevalence is more easily deniable, but we even see it in the corporate world, in the language itself. "Dog eat dog." "Higher up on the food chain." Our social structure (in a male-dominated society, anyway) is hierarchical, and that hierarchy is established violently, if not fatally, although sometimes the conflict comes short of actual blows. It's still an attempt to overcome or overwhelm adverse circumstances. I guess I just don't feel guilty about it.

We pay for people to maim, harm and kill for us, too, constantly, even if we live in a country with no standing army. We arm police, and authorize them to do many things of a violent nature, in order to placate our threat response. I don't see myself as above street violence, but only as removed from it with the police as my proxy warriors.

Little surprise to me at all then, when MUDs, rather than having us put on a mask, oftentimes serve the opposite purpose. Historically, our specie is violent, right back to the fratricide of Cain and Abel. If it's in competition with us, we destroy it. If we find it tasty, we kill it and eat it. If we find it otherwise useful, we subjugate and exploit it. With the veneer pulled off, it sounds so very savage and primitive, but in general, it's who we are.

I don't think women are especially immune to violent impulses, but their hardwiring is of course different. Try taking away a mother's child in the supermarket, see how quickly nice and quiet Mrs. Jones becomes Emily Rose on crack. Or see what happens if a woman feels threatened by another woman in her spousal attentions.

NOTE: I do not say that everyone is completely uncivilized, nor that the impulse toward violence is equally strong in everyone. Just that it's there, and has been since our specie's inception.

So when it comes to the 'shoot-n-loot' mentality, I don't feel shame or surprise. I mean, I'm just typing, while IMAGINING violence on a critter or opponent. And I'm enjoying it.

Often, I do it with a hamburger in my hand.

Last edited by Disillusionist : 04-30-2008 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Added a small point about police.
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