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  • Fintan Davies

My complicated relationship with violent video games


(Fig. 01) My Screenshot (The Last of Us Wallpaper, 2020)


In 2014, I played my first graphically violent video game, The Last of Us (Fig. 01) (Naughty Dog, 2013), and loved it. I loved it because of the compelling characters, and, at the time, I found the violent gameplay to be a lot of fun.


However, I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing this game. I would play hours upon hours of it just to escape the stresses of university.


It affected my mental health negatively. I didn’t want to connect with people and I had trust issues.


My mental health declined. I sought help and I was advised to stop playing graphically violent video games and do only an hour of gaming a day.

(Fig. 02) My Screenshot (Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled Wallpaper, 2020)


My mental health improved dramatically. Most of my free time was focused on connecting with the people I love and pursuing a mindful hobby, playing the guitar. Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled (Fig. 02) (Beenox, 2019) was a wondrous respite as well.

(Fig. 03) My Screenshot (The Last of Us: Part II Wallpaper, 2020)


I will admit, I don’t enjoy The Last of Us: Part II (Fig. 03) (Naughty Dog, 2020) because it hits a bit too close to home. I played as Ellie; a selfish murderer and I feel bad that I invested so much time into her for years.

(Fig. 04) My Screenshot (Death Stranding Wallpaper, 2020)


But Death Stranding (Fig. 04) (Kojima Productions, 2019) changed all that. It’s a big game where killing is actively discouraged and helping players to traverse the game world by creating structures, ladders and climbing anchors is a core game mechanic.


I loved helping other players so much to the point that I found the violence to be not as compelling.


Death Stranding has inspired me to focus on bringing positivity into the world with my non-violent game design. I don’t want to create game mechanics that focus on killing because the majority of big, successful games revolve around conflict and killing your problems rather than solving them. (Micah Edmonds, 2020, 4:04:35-4:06:15)


I don’t think there’s anything new I can say about violence whereas with non-violence there are so many fun and exciting avenues I can explore.


Reference List:


Computer Games


Beenox (2019) Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled [Video game]. Activision. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/CrashTM-Team-Racing-Nitro-Fueled-PS4/dp/B07L4F8LJW/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1GIMTFDXT5KJO&dchild=1&keywords=crash+team+racing+ps4&qid=1605890102&sprefix=crash+te%2Caps%2C233&sr=8-1 (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


Kojima Productions (2019) Death Stranding [Video game]. Sony Interactive Entertainment. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/PlayStation-GVS0O0A-Death-Stranding/dp/B01GVS0O0A/ref=sr_1_2?crid=BYDA0DZ44Q9C&dchild=1&keywords=death+stranding+ps4&qid=1605890223&sprefix=death+str%2Caps%2C186&sr=8-2 (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


Naughty Dog (2013) The Last of Us [Video game]. Sony Computer Entertainment. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Last-Of-Us-PS3/dp/B00844PC9S/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+last+of+us+ps3&qid=1605890348&sr=8-1 (Accessed 20 November 2020).


Naughty Dog (2020) The Last of Us (Video game]. Sony Interactive Entertainment. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Us-Part-II-PS4/dp/B01LTI9IEU/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=the+last+of+us+ps4&qid=1605890434&sr=8-4 (Accessed 20 November 2020).


Screenshots

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled Wallpaper (2019) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://wallpapersafari.com/w/Kfxe7T (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


Death Stranding Wallpaper (2019) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://deathstrandingpc.505games.com/ (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


The Last of Us Wallpaper (2013) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://wallpaperaccess.com/the-last-of-us-4k (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


The Last of Us: Part II Wallpaper (2016) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://wallpaperaccess.com/the-last-of-us-4k (Accessed: 20 November 2020).


YouTube Video

Micah Edmonds (2020) Be Bloody or Be Nothing Worth – An Excision of The Last of Us Part II. 1 November. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKHJrfhIxow&t= (Accessed: 20 November 2020).

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© 2020 by FINTAN DAVIES.