Mafia III’s perspective on racial tensions in the United States is something rarely seen in games. Accordingly, some reviewers have argued that the actual gameplay of Mafia III wasn’t nearly as innovative as the narrative. While I agree that Mafia III’s narrative takes more risks than the gameplay, the two function as…
Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a powerful statement about the effects of “virtual violence” on children that media psychologists are describing as disingenuous.
The Evil Within’s downloadable content has been...interesting, to say the least. The first two add-ons were stealth-centric, while the latest one, The Executioner, transforms the game into a first-person brawler. What?!
Ah, Brutal Doom. The last place a gore-hungry gamer can go when drowning people in The Sims and exploding opponents’ testicles in Mortal Kombat starts to get old.
The world raised an eyebrow when it was revealed Batman: Arkham Knight would be M-rated, since the previous games—Arkham Asylum, Arkham City—were both T-Rated. The ESRB has now released its official ratings entry for Arkham Knight, providing insight into the decision.
As Mortal Kombat escalated during its early years, the series introduced more ways to finish fights. Fatalities were just the beginning. Friendships, animalities, and babalities become part of the equation. Brutalities were in the console ports of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but disappeared from the franchise soon…
It's taken Mortal Kombat X to show me how much I've changed since 1992.
Hatred is a game about the wanton slaughter of people fueled by nothing but pure, well, hatred. Its trailer came out this week, and many people found it to be upsetting, even deplorable. Video games, however, frequently revel in over-the-top violence. So why is everybody talking about this game in particular?
Last week, I wrote about a strange issue Shadow of Mordor players have been reporting since the game came out: Orcs they insisted they'd killed kept coming back from the dead. Developer Monolith has now told me that while they're aware of people's confusion, they're also having a hard time testing for a solution.
We've killed a lot of things in a lot of video games over the years. But not all video game deaths were created equally. Some make us feel like powerhouses, while others fill us with shame. What's the one act of virtual killing you wish you could take back, and why?
A whir, a pop, and then the head explodes. Ceases to exist, really. Ropy tendrils of gray-black goop spiral outwards from the point where the head used to be, and then the body falls heavily to the ground. There's precious little time to think about what I just saw, because another enemy is headed my way.
We normally think of game ratings as little more than a useful marker of where we'll be able to buy a game, or whether or not it's suitable for children. But oh, let me tell you: ESRB literature can be so, so much more than that.
Nowhere in video games is the phrase "evolution, not revolution" more apt than in first-person shooters. As proof, I submit for your consideration the latest trailer for Far Cry 4. It's seductively pretty, and willfully obscene. In other words: it looks exactly like Far Cry 3. Only, ya know, snazzier.
After this thing the other week here’s some actual science proving actual things. Specifically: “’immoral’ virtual behaviors in a video game can lead to increased moral sensitivity”.
Violence in games can be great—not to mention really powerful, as we recently discussed. What about the other side of the coin, though? The moments (or even entire games) when bloodshed stops and everyone shows their true colors? Let's sit back, get all deep, and talk about those.
There's really no getting around it: many, many games are about violence, and sometimes it can be a bit much. Kill this, kill that, kill this until it all feels the same, like mowing a lawn or stomping an anthill. We've written a ton about it. But violence can also be incredibly powerful and interesting. Let's talk…
Ever notice how violent video games are? Wonderful! Terrible! Your call, but hey, it's a thing.
Torture sequences in games are old news—many major franchises have included it in some capacity, from the classics like Metal Gear Solid to some more recent big titles like Grand Theft Auto and Splinter Cell. The context is usually the same—torture is explored as a military practice (or a critique of military stuff),…