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Killing Animals in Games


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10 hours ago, Uncle Nasty said:

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


Is it worth pointing out that in this song, sung from the point of view of somebody who kills a lot of people, that she doesn't kill the dog? 

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2 hours ago, SeanR said:

Fuck cassowaries though. 


Not quite as bad as emus. We lost a war to them we did.


I remember the director's commentary in Tomb Raider Anniversary had one of the creators (possibly Toby Gard) talk about how they made most of the main threats animals to get around the extreme violence in games at the time only to find out post release that almost every animal they'd included was endangered.

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17 hours 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.

I didn't take it as a gotcha! It's a reasonable question.


In terms of the passive vs active pursuits thing: I recognise the differences but there are also similarities. Not so much today, but in the past at least, when printed and visual media had the potential to completely change the cultural landscape. They key difference with games is - I think - the ability to train people passively (which is, er, ironic/confusing given the previous active/passive distinction) - as in, games can effectively teach us the principles of something like gambling in various subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

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17 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

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.



Disagree with this. The point being responded to was that if something doesn't have real life consequences in a game, it doesn't come with any kind of moral quandry. A fair enough point but it absolutely is open to asking whether that applies to just the killing of animals or to other bad/questionable behaviours. 


It opens up a lot of other questions: what is it about the killing of animals that makes this feel okay to do in a pretend world? Where's the line (certain types of animals) and is that a cultural thing? It there a similar line in the shooting of digital representations of humans? Or are the questions of control and objectives (e.g. is it a fundamental part of the game or is it just optional) more important?


I'd argue that if none of that even interests you in the slightest, this isn't the topic to be talking about.

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There are a lot of lines that can be drawn on this topic, clearly. What about games that are largely based on stealth - not all give the option to incapacitate people or avoid them, so you are murdering people, as it isn't in self-defence. Or perhaps you just kill them anyway even if you don't have to, to make things easier for you? How do people feel about that?


I can understand the focus of this thread being around animals - they are largely going to be passive objects within the game world that can often be left alone - but that is also true of a lot of 'enemies' or NPCs. How many bere used to go on a big rampage with civilian casualties (whether deliberate or collateral damage) in earlier GTAs for example, for 'fun'?

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