GTA V Torture Scene Controversy

(image courtesy of http://arstechnica.com)

(image courtesy of http://arstechnica.com)

I’m not really a person who gets offended easily by anything shown in any type of media art form.  I even watched the Human Centipede and for some strange reason the sequel as well, and yes there were gross and seriously disturbing scenes in there but I could get through it, and sleep quite well at night I might add because well it’s just a movie.  I’m not doing those things…

Have you guys heard about the latest controversy?  Well, it’s in a little game called Grand Theft Auto 5

SPOILERS!

OK so there’s a mission where you and your terrible trio of three have to break into some type of federal building to break out this guy who MIGHT have information about a bad guy that needs to be taken out.  I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but this is just the build up anyway.

Once you have gotten this guy, the F.I.B (which is the F.B.I. really) asks Trevor (who is as psychotic as they come BUT at the same times, has his morals?) to torture this man to obtain the information.  So, Michael heads to the location with another F.I.B. agent to find the target but they need the correct information.  Que the controversy scene..

In order to find out what the target looks like, Trevor is contacted and asked to get the info.  You have a couple of tools to choose from in order to get the answers.  You have a wrench, which I think was to break knee caps or testicles, jumper cables hooked up to a battery on one end and the others will go onto the nipples of the tortured and then you would electrocute him,  a tank of gasoline which you can drown your victim in and pliers to pull teeth.  Let me paint you a picture..

OK, so how do you feel?

Now while I was playing that I felt the need to walk away.  My instinct was to not participate in this kind of behavior however in order to progress I had no choice but to play my role as psychotic red neck which I did.  I still remember pausing the game and saying to my wife I wish I could skip this part.  The pulling of the teeth in particular was grueling for me, because as you saw by the video, they really make you work to get that tooth out.  It was a horrible ordeal.  I wasn’t offended by it but I was put off because I don’t like the idea of hurting other people and I didn’t have the option to skip.  Wait a minute, did I just say “I don’t like hurting other people“?  Hmm, interesting, because if I’m truly honest with myself, I’m a fucking hypocrite again.

How many people have I killed in Uncharted, Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, The Last of Us, Resistance, Singularity, etc, etc.  Do I feel bad about killing these people?  No, not really.  So what does that mean?Are we all monsters deep down?  Why was this particular moment in GTA V so different from everything else we’ve played?

My first explanation is that the acting was brilliant, I believed the guy was in pain and I felt bad for him, I heard bones break, and could hear the electricity coursing through him.  I could almost feel that tooth coming out.  And when he was crying and gasping all I wanted to do was let him go.  The sound was excellent which really immersed me in the entire situation.  What I find interesting now is that I’m referring to this guy as a real person and I’m referring to it as a situation and not a mission.   Don’t you think that’s odd?  Because I could see his face, see the damage I was doing and hearing how painful it was. I think on a sub-conscious level my mind thought it was real.   I was the person controlling this character.   That’s why I felt bad and disgusted by it.  I’m not saying Rockstar did a bad thing in fact I think they should be applauded for making so many of us feel so revolted and uncomfortable.  I felt more uncomfortable in this scene alone than I did in the entirety of The Last of Us.

My wife brought up a good point that maybe it was so bad because the guy couldn’t defend himself.  There was no way out and I was in a way the executioner.  Perhaps that’s why its easy to kill thousands of other “enemies” because they are armed.  It’s a fair fight.  But is it?  Is it fair to a roof top guard in Assassins Creed, to get stabbed in the back simply for doing his job?  Is it fair for a henchman to get an arrow in the head simply for patrolling his designated area in Tomb Raider?  Granted these guys would kill you given half the chance but my point is, is that it’s easy to kill “enemies” who are simply obstacles to over come.  But at the same time, I guess we weren’t torturing these enemies, we simply killed them, put them out of their misery, couldn’t look them in the eyes and pull the trigger.  If we were forced to pull the trigger slowly on an enemy in a normal gun fight, hearing him injured from a bullet wound that you caused, would you still be comfortable?

What I think Rockstar did was skip the obstacle and delve straight into our humanity, our moral fabric of what is right or wrong.  Were you offended because you had to torture him in a game or because you had to face him head on and torture him while he expresses the pain?  Or maybe we are all evil bastards that just want to kill but can’t come face to face with the gravity of it or maybe we’ve been programmed to resist?  It’s interesting or at least, it is to me.

What I’m mainly interested in, is why everyone is so upset with Rockstar about it?  Again it came to my article on censorship, that either everything is off limits or you can do what ever you want in a game.  Rockstar is always pushing the envelope.  Have they pushed too far?

What do you guys think?  I know a few of you have got the game, so for those of you who have gotten to that part, what do you think?  Morally grey?  Down right wrong?  Should people Chill?

Gaming Equality, Meet Censorship

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Last week i wrote an article conveniently titled Gamers are so mean:  Gaming Equality for All”

In a nutshell it was based on the premise that most gamers are dicks to one another, use race against each other and certain genders are treated unfairly due to the amount of stereotypical bullshit that has plagued us since like, forever.  This is not a continuation of that article.  But it did lead me to a conversation with LadyCroft3 over at Linksaveszelda.  While commenting on that very article that preaches gamers rights I inadvertently called her a girl gamer  GASP!  I know right.  Here are those comments.

LadyCroft3:  in my experiences, even after I show my skills (this happens most to me in L4D and Halo, both of which I am amazing at) they just harass me out of anger because “the stupid girl” who they just made fun of beat them at “their” game. I too have been lucky enough to make some amazing friends, but at the same time I encounter more nastys than good people. I usually avoid it all by not using a mic and muting the lobby or being in a party (if I’m on the 360) so I don’t have to hear them in the first place. Messages are something I can’t stop though, and I have gotten some funny and awful ones.

Vitosal:  “Geez, that’s horrible. I don’t own a 360 but is there no way you can block users like on the ps3?”

LadyCroft3:  You can, but honestly I don’t feel like it’s as much of an issue on the PS3 since a lot of people don’t use mics.I don’t do a lot of MP on the PS3, but when I do I never get harassed. I don’t know if it’s due to a more mature community or what.

Vitosal:  “there’s a Microsoft joke somewhere in the your post lol. I wonder if it will be different on the PS4 and Xbox One? Being able to mute everyone, block users completely. Me personally, I’ve had no problem blocking a user on my PS3. It really does sadden me that girl gamers have to be subjected to this kind of crap.”

LadyCroft3:  “Lol well I do dislike MS as a company XD Blocking works, or muting, but what is boils down to is that I shouldn’t have to. No one should have to. It’s sad that so many gamers are so hateful to one another.”

Vitosal:  “agreed. What you said just sparked another idea for a post I’d like to write. I am actually backtracking here because i think i just fell into my own trap there by inadvertently calling you a girl gamer, implying there is a difference between a man and woman gamer which is going to lead me to my next post. I apologize for that.”

LadyCroft3:  “No worries, it happens a lot. I do appreciate that you realize it though, a lot of people see nothing wrong with the phrase, but it separates us into genders. We are all gamers, regardless of what we got going on between out legs :D

Ok now that we’re done with the “Previously On…” section, did you guys take note of what i did?  I called her a girl gamer.  Is this really a problem.  YES! As per LadyCroft3’s last comment it doesn’t matter what you have between your legs, you are a gamer.  I didn’t even know that I had done that until she commented afterwards.

I swear I have a point.  Would we still feel the same if something horrible was happening to a woman in a game?  Would everyone still want equality?

When i realized what had happened, the first thought that hit me, was a game where a young woman was about to get raped.  I’m not going to say what game it was but if you’re a gamer you’ll know by the main picture above.  Did you know that a whole lot of people were up in arms because a video game was depicting this kind of behavior?  Honestly, it made me feel rather uneasy too and here’s why.  As a man, I’ve been brought up to protect woman, because society and upbringing have programmed us to think that women need protection from bad things.  This is how it’s been for hundreds of years really, if you had to think about it.

That shit needs to change then.  Censorship on video games is one of the causes that we have labeled women that title, “girl gamers”  thus contributing, albeit in a round about way to the intolerance of other gamers.  Gamers want to have female leads, but don’t want them to get to roughed up.  That’s hypocritical in my opinion.  You can’t say all gamers are equal but then don’t want a female lead to get royally fucked up because it doesn’t look good.

tomb raiderThis is where i think the Tomb Raider reboot nailed it on the head.  She started off as a typical stereotype woman, who as the game progressed became a sufficient hunter, warrior and just a typically, not to be fucked with kind of person.  Crystal Dynamic’s wasn’t afraid to show how a woman could be drastically affected by the actions of others while enduring this whole new level of torture, and still come out on top.  BUT IT WAS THAT KIND OF STORY! I hear that annoying voice in the back there.  It wasn’t.  While very similar to Uncharted, i never felt that Lara was completely safe in this game unlike Nathan Drake who you knew would survive at the end of all his games.

nathan drake

My point is that if we have censorship that controls what we can and cannot show in video games, like Nazi’s torturing Jews, hate crimes, woman getting rapped then we will never step out of the shadows of the past and no one will truly be equal because entertainment will tell us what’s right and what’s wrong.  Let’s start showing some real world violence, men get raped to you know,  Men also cry,  Not all black people speak ghetto.

We can’t all be truly equal if censorship forces us to see things a certain way.

What do you guys think?