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Killing Animals in Games


JamesC
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17 minutes ago, Uncle Nasty said:

 

You're massively overthinking this and being oversensitive, it's not like you're going to play Duck Hunt and start ripping the heads off geese at the local park. How can you find it "particularly disturbing" to score an achievement for bagging some rare game, in a game? It's like that thread on MGSV where someone on here described Quiet's shower scene as "Rapey" - just completely out of proportion with the actual content.

 

I don't support hunting but I love the occasional hunting game - the stealth, planning, and luring aspect of hunting the animals is unique and deeply engrossing, as well as the exploration and nature elements. None of it makes me flinch but in real life I genuinely don't even kill flies or any living creatures. There's nothing "Dark" about it.

 

"All of God's creatures they all have to die" Nick Cave.

 

 

I think this is a deeply shitty post, especially given that there are some good thoughtful posts before yours.

 

Anyway, surprised to see the 'it's just a videogame' argument pop up. There's a vast range of shit that I don't think videogames are mature enough to handle or really should even be modelled in interactive media. 

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I think BotW would be interesting to try to complete with a "no killing" rule. As far as I know this should actually be possible with the exception of Ganon and the bosses. The fact it would be possible just adds to the freedom of what kind of player you want to be.

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I think I was vegetarian throughout BotW but that's really because I am in real life, so cooking vegetarian dishes just seemed natural to me. (I also cooked fairies once, just to see if I could.) I fished in Shenmue 3 and Yakuza Zero recently though, so perhaps I'm just wary of shooting animals.

 

Would be interested to know what people think of the Cabela hunting games, in the context of this topic.

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1 hour ago, smac said:

It's a good question - I've always been a bit queasy about killing animals in games, while realising it's a faintly ridiculous reaction.

 

Nah, animals are cute and usually aren't screaming 'motherfucker' and trying to machete your head off like those filthy loathesome humans

 

It's like innocents in games, I won't kill them if I can possibly avoid it either - but if someone's trying to blow my face off with a rifle, I won't bat an eyelid if I wind up tying their entrails to the ledge of a skyscraper's roof before kicking them over the ledge, that's just good clean fun

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I 'm fine with killing animals in games generally. The only thing that affects me is if they have a sad death animation, in which case I do often feel a bit uncomfortable the first few times. I'd be happy playing hunting games if the ones I'd tried had been any good. This is all behaviour I would not dream of doing in real life. I'm a vegetarian, and would be vegan if it wasn't for cheese. If you're a meat-eater and you have problems killing virtual animals I'd suggest maybe something is a little off there.

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That's kind of how the human mind works, right? It's easier to feel sympathy for a creature that you have to see/act out the killing and/or skinning of than an abstract piece of meat, virtual or no. That's generally why publicity for vegetarian/vegan diets tends to involve images of animals, not a block of mince. Not really all that surprising, even if you find it abhorrent. I mean, I regularly buy clothes first-hand, but I'd baulk at a video game that asked me to populate a sweatshop in order to accrue in-game bonuses.

 

That, and it's somewhat easier to give up virtual loot than it is actual food.

 

(I'd also note that for people whose ethics allow for eating meat but not e.g. the fur trade, it wouldn't seem all that unreasonable to be comfortable with virtual hunting for food but not for pure "crafting", depending on how much they want their in-game moral decisions to reflect their real life ones)

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1 hour ago, jonny_rat said:

Anyway, surprised to see the 'it's just a videogame' argument pop up. There's a vast range of shit that I don't think videogames are mature enough to handle or really should even be modelled in interactive media. 

This is possibly tangentially related to your point, but do you think there is some merit in the 'videogames affect people' argument? 

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I'd like to try a no killing run through of Breath of the Wild. I think it should be possible and an interesting challenge.

I'm pretty sure I played it vegetarian on my initial play through. 

It's great that there's so much freedom to play that game the way you want to. 

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I’ll admit that killing dogs in The Last of Us 2 was satisfying. Especially when they went over trip mines. I wouldn’t want to blow up a dog in real life.

 

I felt bad whenever I inadvertently killed a fox in breath of the wild, though.

 

 

 

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“Easy, Girl!” Arthur Morgan says kindly as he skins and butchers another deer. This is how I’ve been spending all of my precious Xmas holiday, riding around looking at pretty landscapes and lots of needless animal murder. And now I’m called to account for my crimes. 

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I meant to pick up Monster Hunter Rise, but after seeing some footage of a bunch of people pile up on some "monster" lying on its back I had seen enough. I'm not that familiar with the context of these games, but the idea of invading some animal's habitat and slaughtering it for some trophy or whatever doesn't interest me in the slightest. I also wouldn't want to play a game where you're encouraged to invade a perfectly innocent family's home to kill all the residents. I can't really follow the "its' just a videogame, I don't care lol" folk. Just as a very extreme example to make a point: would you use the same argument when there's something like active engagement in pedophilia involved?

 

I guess the thing is that animals and children are the epitome of innocence for a lot of people. I can handle it when you're killing a deer or a dog in RDR2 or TLOU2, when the killing is mostly grounded in survival and there's no glorification of it.

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I'm guessing that the "it's just a game" people probably still have some limit to what they'd happily play. People draw the line in different places, and I think that's fine to a certain extent.

 

I'd never touch a hunting game, but weirdly I think I have less issue with them existing than stuff like my AC: Origins example. I can easily avoid a hunting game, while realising ten hours into a game that I have to kill a hundred badgers or something to get a bigger wallet is a bit much.

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29 minutes ago, Gabe said:

This is possibly tangentially related to your point, but do you think there is some merit in the 'videogames affect people' argument? 

 

I find it frustrating that starting from a generally agreed position of "violent videogames don't make you violent" we've ended up entertaining this weird logical fallacy that videogames have no affect on people full stop. Don't influence people in any way. Don't express or communicate ideas or ideologies. Don't have positive or negative emotional effects.

 

"Do videogames affect people?" Is such a surreal question. As surreal as "does music affect people?", "do films affect people?", "do books affect people?"

 

Regarding the steady increase in mechanics around hunting and killing animals, I always try and trace what the fantasy behind these things is. It's about giving people the illusion of self sufficiency and competence in a world where increasingly, as societies we have less and less, are capable of less and less.

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42 minutes ago, Gabe said:

This is possibly tangentially related to your point, but do you think there is some merit in the 'videogames affect people' argument? 

Not in any way, shape or form that the media has portrayed this; as in, no direct casual relationship between games played and behaviours, criminal or otherwise. 

 

Where I do think there's a bit more room for debate is in looking at games in the same way that we have looked at films and books in the past. (Like, I don't think anyone ever got shot because of Westerns, but I do think Westerns made the idea of firearms and gunfights more acceptable as a part of everyday life). Social games can play a massive part in kids lives too, and I think I'd be a fool not to say that shit that happens in Roblox doesn't have an impact. I don't know if it's net good or bad either. 

 

I'm aware that I couldn't be more sitting i on the fence if I tried (I might as well have just said 'it's complicated', haha)

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In Red Dead Redemption 1 you could actually exterminate the Buffalo, kill them and they were gone forever and I did, to be fair those buffalo skins were worth a few bob!

At the moment in Vanguard online got no problem killing Alsatian’s but with them it’s kill or be killed(mostly killed)

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56 minutes ago, Grobbelboy said:

I can't really follow the "its' just a videogame, I don't care lol" folk. Just as a very extreme example to make a point: would you use the same argument when there's something like active engagement in pedophilia involved?


No, though to the best of my knowledge there isn’t a game where that’s a thing and I strongly suspect there never will be.

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1 hour ago, Grobbelboy said:

I meant to pick up Monster Hunter Rise, but after seeing some footage of a bunch of people pile up on some "monster" lying on its back I had seen enough. I'm not that familiar with the context of these games, but the idea of invading some animal's habitat and slaughtering it for some trophy or whatever doesn't interest me in the slightest. 


I mean…the clues are right there in the title 

 

Quote

I can't really follow the "its' just a videogame, I don't care lol" folk. Just as a very extreme example to make a point: would you use the same argument when there's something like active engagement in pedophilia involved?


:lol:

 

What kind of argument is this? You kill imaginary dragons ok so you’ll be fine with paedophilia? Jesus Christ. 

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16 minutes ago, Strafe said:


No, though to the best of my knowledge there isn’t a game where that’s a thing and I strongly suspect there never will be.

 

Some of the anime games released on Steam (and even the Nintendo eShop!) seem to be treading the line a bit close.

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6 minutes ago, Doctor Shark said:


I mean…the clues are right there in the title 


Ah, the game calls them Monsters, everything is fine now 👍 


 

Quote


:lol:

 

What kind of argument is this? You kill imaginary dragons ok so you’ll be fine with paedophilia? Jesus Christ. 


Weird thoughts. My point is that it’s strange to me how “it’s just a game!” somehow wouldn’t make you care at all about any morally depraved thing you do. 

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18 minutes ago, Grobbelboy said:


Ah, the game calls them Monsters, everything is fine now 👍 

 

 

The game is called Monster Hunter. The title implies that you, the player, are a hunter of monsters. Whether or not you agree with the creatures themselves being 'monsters' or not is irrelevant, really. They're dragons, dinosaurs, huge creatures destroying the ecology. You find them, kill them, skin them and make stuff out of them. If you don't like it then by all means continue not playing them, but to act shocked that a game called Monster Hunter has you hunting things is ridiculous.

 

Quote

Weird thoughts. My point is that it’s strange to me how “it’s just a game!” somehow wouldn’t make you care at all about any morally depraved thing you do. 

 

Not weird thoughts at all. You're the one that brought a strawman to this discussion. We're talking about the moral quandary of whether or not it's right to kill animals in games and you take it to a ridiculous extreme by asking those who say it doesn't bother them if they'd be ok with paedophilia in games.

 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: I don't go out of my way to kill animals in games. I don't kill them just because they're there. I kill them because a quest/story progression requires me to. For example in RDR2 once I'd done the basic hunting tutorial stuff I never went hunting again. Not because of some moral objection, but because it doesn't interest me. Same for games like Far Cry where you can kill things to make a new strap or wallet. I don't bother. I don't play those hunting games you see for the same reason. They're not interesting to me. I play Monster Hunter because I like fighting fire breathing tyrannosaurs or electricity flinging dragons and making nice hats out of them, though.

 

I do these things when I have to in a game safe in the knowledge that it is, in fact, just a game and not likely to make me go shoot and skin my dog to turn him into a throw pillow. 

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2 hours ago, matt0 said:

 

I find it frustrating that starting from a generally agreed position of "violent videogames don't make you violent" we've ended up entertaining this weird logical fallacy that videogames have no affect on people full stop. Don't influence people in any way. Don't express or communicate ideas or ideologies. Don't have positive or negative emotional effects.

 

"Do videogames affect people?" Is such a surreal question. As surreal as "does music affect people?", "do films affect people?", "do books affect people?"

 

Regarding the steady increase in mechanics around hunting and killing animals, I always try and trace what the fantasy behind these things is. It's about giving people the illusion of self sufficiency and competence in a world where increasingly, as societies we have less and less, are capable of less and less.

 

1 hour ago, jonny_rat said:

Not in any way, shape or form that the media has portrayed this; as in, no direct casual relationship between games played and behaviours, criminal or otherwise. 

 

Where I do think there's a bit more room for debate is in looking at games in the same way that we have looked at films and books in the past. (Like, I don't think anyone ever got shot because of Westerns, but I do think Westerns made the idea of firearms and gunfights more acceptable as a part of everyday life). Social games can play a massive part in kids lives too, and I think I'd be a fool not to say that shit that happens in Roblox doesn't have an impact. I don't know if it's net good or bad either. 

 

I'm aware that I couldn't be more sitting i on the fence if I tried (I might as well have just said 'it's complicated', haha)

My question wasn't trying to be any kind of gotcha, but the highlighted bit above I've always found interesting and I disagree completely that it's a surreal question; I do personally think they must be doing something to our psyche on some level, exactly because they are interactive in a way that books, music and films aren't. I don't for a second think it turns people into killers or anything, but I do think it is completely different to passive pursuits (which obviously I think can influence people too, in a different way) - I'm not aware of any books creating the effects of a skinner box, for example? But games sure do and permeate the medium. And gamification is a thing in the big wide world too to try and sell us all manner of things.

 

I do therefore think the act of digital killing probably does change us all slightly in some way over a very long period of time, though I have no idea how that could be adequately proven, so I find this thread interesting.

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19 minutes ago, Gabe said:

 

My question wasn't trying to be any kind of gotcha, but the highlighted bit above I've always found interesting and I disagree completely that it's a surreal question; I do personally think they must be doing something to our psyche on some level, exactly because they are interactive in a way that books, music and films aren't. I don't for a second think it turns people into killers or anything, but I do think it is completely different to passive pursuits (which obviously I think can influence people too, in a different way) - I'm not aware of any books creating the effects of a skinner box, for example? But games sure do and permeate the medium. And gamification is a thing in the big wide world too to try and sell us all manner of things.

 

I do therefore think the act of digital killing probably does change us all slightly in some way over a very long period of time, though I have no idea how that could be adequately proven, so I find this thread interesting.

 

We might be talking at cross purposes because I agree with what you're saying here.

 

I don't think it's a surreal question because I think games don't effect us - I find it surreal because they obviously, transparently do and there won't be a single person on this forum that won't be able to recall at least one kind of emotional or psychological response to a game. I think most of us probably experience some kind of profound effect from playing games fairly regularly, either a sense of fear or panic or flow state, an emotional response to a story, or something more fundamental like seeing Tetris blocks when trying to go to sleep. And if games can do this, and they have the same (and I'd argue greater) capacity for complexity as other mediums I think it's more of a leap to say they can't effect or influence us on a profound level than saying they do. Nobody would argue the first point for films, or books or music, but for some reason it's a truism about games.

 

I've also (not directed at you but just in general) got no patience for attempts to police or downplay these responses, either consciously or unconsciously - I don't see a difference between a sense of revulsion from having to kill animals in a game, a sense of panic or fear from being chased in a Resident Evil game, or being emotionally engaged in a game's story.

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