Sorry, I’ve got to post about the appeal of violence again, because it occurred to me that all the gear destruction videos (such as boiling a new iphone in coke) demonstrate a basic effect that can also be found in a lot of video games.
I wrote last time about killing in video games, and someone commented that sex and violence just deliver quick fun or satisfaction. There was also something about competition and being able to just take it to the extreme, killing.
Gear destruction may come from a number of factors, but one of them is simply the fun of blowing stuff up, the basic fun of rebellion, of breaking social codes without fearing repercussions. On top of that, you’re destroying something that other people hold dear, that other people devoted years to when they invented and developed it, that someone in an Asian sweatshop had to assemble, you’re destroying other people’s fun, the result of their work, and obliterating a cultural icon. That must be all kinds of fun to a lot of people, since those videos get millions of views.
It’s much like kicking over a sand castle, or setting ants on fire in front of other children. Gross antisocial behaviour in front of others.
As a game developer who tries to figure out why violence is the default in games, this immediately rings a bell. I guess just going and blowing shit up, ideally while your shocked parents are watching (remember the Strafe trailer?) is a source of immediate fun and satisfaction for certain people, which is precisely why games with destructible environments and games where you can kill chicken with watermelons let you do these things.
Is it too much to interpret wanton destruction as another act of competition taken to the extreme? “See what I do, I’m powerful, I’m cool, I’m unstoppable.” I mean, people don’t shoot an iphone out in the desert where no one watches. They film it and put it on youtube. Destruction in games? Hmm. Multiplayer, school yard, youtube again.
Games like Hatred are built around this principle – wanton destruction, killing completely innocent people in the street, and the more it breaks social behavioral codes, the more extreme and baseless the destruction, the better. Apparently.
The logical next step: Kindergarten Killer. You heard it here first.