Friday, October 15, 2010

Killing humans is OK, if done right!

Two victims walk into a bar. One is a fictional monster. The other is a human. You shoot both of them in the head. They both die.

Which death is more disturbing?

In theory, the human death should be more disturbing to you than the fictional monster because the human has an emotional link to your reality, while the fictional monster should, in theory, have less of an emotional connection to your world.

Whether blood spurts were shown or whether they deserved to die or whether you were hired to kill them should have no bearing on the fact that you just killed a fictional monster and a human.

So, why is it that shooting a human in the head in a game such as Call of Duty on the DS is rated T, while shooting a fictional monster in a game such as Dementium on the DS is rated M?

Don't get me wrong, I like the Call of Duty games on the DS and we knew Dementium was going to be rated M before we started making it. I have no issue with the rating the games received. I just find it interesting that our society is more OK with seeing a human die (as long as there's no blood and it wasn't a so-called "senseless act" - even though war is pretty senseless IMO) than seeing a fictional monster die (with blood, etc.).

What do you think?

Hope you're having a great day! ;)



  1. My theory is that it's the overall atmosphere created in Dementium. Arguably it shouldn't be but being hounded by faceless ghouls and monsters is disturbing because of the unknown. Fighting in a war zone is something we can easily conjure in our mind and due to over saturation (news, films etc) is something more mundane and can be said to have a purpose even an entirely pointless one.

    Dementium scared me when I played it in the dark with headphones, Call of Duty does nothing for me you could replace the soldiers with Muppets and the guns with cream cakes and it would be the same. The sense of dread and fear of the unknown is more frightening than any recreated war zone because the main danger is death but in reality you are in no danger in a war game unlike the real thing but the sense of fear is primal and more intense in a horror game.

    Mind you kid purchase power is greater on DS so maybe it was some marketing bollocks it's daft either way but that's the theory I use to get some semblance of understanding.

  2. Pretty good point being made here. This also goes back to the rating system for movies. They tend to focus on personal moral judgement than that of the society norm (like they are suppose to) I agree with you that we should have a stronger link to the humans death but sadly we are really good at killing ourselves. I think the core issue here is how the games were judged overall. I am sure along the same way the movies are. You have a core of people who "represent" the moral fabric of America. They see what offends them and mark it as such. I could drag this post off topic easily by going deeper into how others are making to many choices for us on what's acceptable and what's not but I wont. Let's just keep it as I agree and I think there needs to be a better system in place that just helps parents find out what exactly is in the game that could offend there particular way of living.

  3. Good point, but I don't really have a connection with human characters or fictional monsters in videogames. They just are real enough for me to care about, maybe that's something game developers need to work is to make me feel loss when I kill a man. I also think a game like Dementium gets a M rating is the horror aspect. I mean it's like a R rated movie and a Pg13 rated movie. A R one will have more expicite deaths or scary things in it (or people getting "busy") PG-13 has less violent things. But like I said, characters aren't as real to most people in videogames to feel some much compassion. Kind of like when i play Halo and I have a Human allied, sometimes I kill them on purpose but feel no remorse because it's just not real enough. Plus society has people thinking it's alright to blow the brains out of the "bad-guys" so that's why it's okay for kids to play those games like COD on DS. Like I said Dementium is scary and shows gore. I'm pretty sure within a few years, our standards will drop as a society as to what is appropriate for children. Sorry for my stupid rant.

  4. If there's no blood then you don't equate it to reality. This goes all the way back to 2D games. If you played an NES game where you shoot someone or something, like Contra, and there's no blood, that game doesn't even register as realistic. Throw in blood and it gives you this weird feeling in your stomach you never had when blood wasn't allowed. That's some chemical in your brain releasing to tell you you're killing real things now. Anyone who played Mortal Kombat when it first came out should understand that a little better.

    Rating is really a minimal factor in game sales. Shrewd kids get their rents to buy them anything. Dementium sales were limited due to the DS audience being mainly little kids who were more interested in Pokemon. That problem will be erased with 3DS.

    Dementium 2 improved almost every aspect of Dementium 1 but was still only slightly better based on one factor. The primary point of any horror game should be to induce fear. Dementium 1 did that in spades. Dementium 2 ditched that and just tried to gross you out with over gore. People 30 years from now aren't going to look back and say Rob Zombie is a better horror director than Wes Craven. Craven understands horror, Zombie just understands gore.

    Does any idea sound cooler than playing a horror game on 3DS and something literally pops out of the screen from behind a wall. Ya, if it has its guts popping out and blood pouring out of its ears that's cool and all, but that's not the thing that made it scary. The scariest horror movie ever just had a guy in a white mask hiding behind bushes for most of the movie. You have a chance to make a game so scary that people won't be able to play by themselves in the dark. That sounds better than one that just makes them lose their lunch.

  5. I agree that Dementium: The Ward is scarier than Dementium II. Our goal with Dementium II was to focus more on action and overall improvements to the experience as a game more than the scare factor.

    Our next horror game will get back to basics with the focus being on scares, because that is fun for us to make and fun for you to experience.

  6. Sounds excellent! I know the crafty minds at Renegade can make the freakiest game ever. Congrats on being named a certified 3DS developer. Hope while other studios are cutting back, you're getting enough profit to add more staff and push out more games.

  7. In Call of Duty DS games, you can even knife people, and don't forget grenades!

  8. Well, the split in half bodies may help with the rating.
    I don't think the violence is the reason of the Mature rating. I believe it's the gore

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