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Kick the Head! KICK IT!!!
January 31st 2003, 20:40 CET by Caryn

No, this isn't about censorship. No, it's not about ratings. But is about personal limits in video games.

Foul Mag has posted up some video footage of Postal 2. I watched, and something occured to me that surprised me: I was actually really disgusted by what I saw.

I'm one of those people that aren't bothered by violence in video games, even somewhat gratuitous violence. I'm a very vocal proponent of parental responsibility in games -- it's not the developer's job, beyond providing an option, perhaps, to turn off the gore, to police your kids.

But watching the Postal 2 video really got my stomach twisted. I realized while watching it that I really DO have limits as to what I can personally take in a video game, whether it's violence or sex or any other kind of content, and that Postal 2 definitely goes beyond my own limits. I wouldn't presume to place those limits on someone else, but it did get me wondering: do any of you have limits as to how much violence or sexual content you can take in a game, or does it all fall under the umbrella of "it's just a game"?
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#1 by Gabe
2003-01-31 20:41:40
http://www.dartpublishing.com
Bickity bam.
#2 by AmbushBug
2003-01-31 20:43:27
ambushbug@portalofevil.com
Forget Postal 2, just give me Headstomper 2000!
#3 by m0nty
2003-01-31 20:44:10
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
I draw the line at violence done to the art of game development, and on that score Postal 2 should be banz0rred.
#4 by Charles
2003-01-31 20:48:19
www.bluh.org
My personal limits on game violence is that in 95% of cases, it's not needed.  Extreme graphic violence (a la Soldier of Fortune) is never needed.  And as far as I'm concerned, violence can be taken out of most games on the market.  Things like UT2k3... they don't need it.  At all.  It's not doing anything to increase the gameplay.  Do you need to see blood spurting everywhere?  Limbs flying?  What's the point?  

And it isn't needed.  Take Battlefield 1942 for instance.  No graphic violence at all.  It was a good call on their point, since it adds nothing to the game, and keeps their rating down at Teen.  People complain whenever someone suggests government enforcement of videogame ratings... when in reality, if that were to happen, it would just mean that game developers would have to just quit adding pointless violence to games.

The only time I see violence as acceptible is when it adds to the setting of the game.  Something like Silent Hill, where the whole point of the game is to scare you, and make you afraid.  Perhaps in more mature themed games you can add blood when you shoot people, but there is no need to get absolutely graphic about it.  None at all.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#5 by Fugazi(werking)
2003-01-31 20:49:01
This game is too much. It's just nasty.

Taunting chompy bear.
#6 by Charles
2003-01-31 20:49:29
www.bluh.org
I suppose what I'm getting at is that I am against violence for the sake of violence.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#7 by Greg
2003-01-31 20:49:33
I haven't found myself sickened by any violence in games that I can recall. But, unlike the Postal series, most games don't put in sadistic violence just for the sake of it. There are games with gratuitous violence, but most have you engaging in some sort of quest of gameplay that doesn't revolve around HOW you kill characters.

BEWARE THE CTHULU MOLE!
#8 by Foodbunny
2003-01-31 20:49:41
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
I'm watching this video and wondering how on earth anyone ever thought this was a good idea.  I'm not even offended, I'm just stunned by how horribly assy and stupid it is.  I honestly am feeling possibly a little bit of pity for anyone who could possibly be amused by that because man, you have got to have one sorry life if you need to see poorly executed pissing on a body in a game.  Mostly the desire to destroy, but a little pity.

"It's great to be known, but it's even better to be known as strange." - Takeshi Kaga
#9 by Xero
2003-01-31 20:50:26
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
I hate hearing women scream in game, both in Tactical Ops and in Vice City. And I hate the in-Game situations that cause the screams.

There's a mission in Vice City where you have to run a guy's wife off the road and kill her, I was extremely uncomfortable doing it.

Since the work of John von Neumann, "games" have been a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons, who have opposed or at best mixed motives - Game Theory by Roger McCain
#10 by Bill Powers
2003-01-31 20:52:28
wpowers01@charter.net
For me there is a line.  It's not a static line, but occasionally I come across something in a game that I feel is unnecessary.  I don't think I've ever stopped playing a game because of something I felt was in bad taste or just out of line.  In regards to Postal 2, I have been following it's development a bit, and I don't see it as a game I will purchase.  To me it seems as if they stepped over the line(IMHO)simply because it was there.

I'm the smear on the wall.
#11 by Foodbunny
2003-01-31 20:52:38
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Oh yeah, I was also amazed that they bothered to put in the woman screaming but she's just calmly walking in the same direction while screaming.  I guess they want you to get your killing on without the pesky tracking down your victim aspect of it.  My god, I just can't even imagine...

"It's great to be known, but it's even better to be known as strange." - Takeshi Kaga
#12 by Dethstryk
2003-01-31 20:53:47
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Yeah, I'll definitely play it after watching that. I like mindless violence without any point to it. Not all of the time, but it can be fun.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#13 by Caryn
2003-01-31 20:54:02
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Xero:

I hate hearing women scream in game, both in Tactical Ops and in Vice City.

Oddly enough for me -- only because I never considered myself being sensitive to that kind of thing -- the woman screaming in the footage bothered me, too, and of course was compounded by the fact that the player then blew her head off with a shotgun.
Like Foodbunny says, you sorta have to set aside the quality of the footage shown here to even think about anything else, but I was surprised that bothered me. I don't even really know why it did, more than the other gratuitous killings in the footage.

"I felt that I was inhabiting some kind of interdimensional nexus where the sum total suck from this and all other universes crossed paths." - Terata
#14 by jjohnsen
2003-01-31 20:54:29
http://www.johnsenclan.com
I had the same problem Xero, violence against women and children just seems . . .  different to me somehow.
#15 by lwf
2003-01-31 20:54:52
What the hell Xero.

I still function!
#16 by Xero
2003-01-31 20:55:41
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
Well my Dad raised me with weird logic, its ok to beat up a guy but never women or children.

Since the work of John von Neumann, "games" have been a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons, who have opposed or at best mixed motives - Game Theory by Roger McCain
#17 by lwf
2003-01-31 20:55:55
What the hell jjohnsen.

I still function!
#18 by Gunp01nt
2003-01-31 20:56:29
supersimon33@hotmail.com
usually, violence in games is... 'functional', you kill people to score points, money, or to advance on the storyline.

In Postal, the violence had only one function: violence itself. At least Carmageddon tied scores and bonusses to driving over innocent pedestrians, but judging from the video, the violence in Postal 2 seems utterly pointless.

Add the fact that you're not even killing enemies, bad guys or people that want to kill you. you're not killing to save the world, not killing to save your life, you're just killing.

I wouldn't say it's the violence that makes Postal (and apparently Postal 2 as well) repulsive, it's the complete lack of anything but violence.

"Since most elephants don't comply with the AGP 2.0 specification, we recommend that God does a product recall on all elephants"
#19 by jjohnsen
2003-01-31 20:56:44
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Maybe its just the footage, but is there even a point to the game?  OR is it just running around killing people that don't even fight back or run away until they're dying?
#20 by Caryn
2003-01-31 20:58:17
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Well, consider the name. Postal. If you're an American, the word used to mean "having to do with the U.S. Post Office" but since about the 1980's has become a verb that means, "to completely go insane and shoot up a building full of innocent people who can't defend themselves."

"I felt that I was inhabiting some kind of interdimensional nexus where the sum total suck from this and all other universes crossed paths." - Terata
#21 by chris
2003-01-31 20:59:02
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
There are a million reasons not to play Postal 2 before one even gets to its graphic nature.

Which, I agree, is in poor taste and is totally unnecessary. I absolutely DO NOT feel that they should be stopped from making or releasing the game, but it's nothing I'd ever want to work on.

The only stomach-twisting thing I've ever seen was in an early preview of SOF2, when Kenn Hoekstra was showing off the animation engine, and he shot a guy with the shotgun, and the guy's intestines fell out and he was writhing around screaming. Fargo and I turned to each other and both at the same time kinda raised our eyebrows like "okay... that's really more than we needed."

I largely agree with Charles's assessment... most gore is unnecessary, unless it's integral to the game. The RE series needs gore. So does Silent Hill. In UT2K3, I'd be happy to see it gone, because the ragdoll physics are 1000x more fun to watch than gibbing is (especially since the days of Quake-1 style "eighty-foot-blood arcs, so over the top it's funny" gibbing are pretty much gone).

But like I said: Postal 2 is just garbage for a huge variety of reasons. The gratuitous violence and cruelty-for-the-sake-of-cruelty are just a few of them.

-chris
#22 by jjohnsen
2003-01-31 20:59:11
http://www.johnsenclan.com
What a waste of development time.
#23 by lwf
2003-01-31 20:59:31
I thought the elephant went down too easy, I didn't see the guy get attacked by anything. It's kind of like pong with only one paddle.

I still function!
#24 by Ergo
2003-01-31 21:00:04
That's really disgusting. Shitty concept, shitty graphics, shitty, shitty, shitty. Did I mention shitty? This will be the poster child for the wackos blaming the ills of society on video games.

There are no bigger liars than quacks except for their patients. -Benjamin Franklin

DVDs
#25 by Jens Christensen
2003-01-31 21:00:08
thug666@e-mail.dk
Postal 2 just looks nasty. And not in a good way this time.

That's a big trunk. It fits a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly.
#26 by Warren Marshall
2003-01-31 21:00:10
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Charles
Things like UT2k3... they don't need it.  At all.  It's not doing anything to increase the gameplay.  Do you need to see blood spurting everywhere?  Limbs flying?  What's the point?  

I disagree with that actually.  I suppose you can disregard my opinion as biased on this, but there is something unsatisying about killing someone in a game like UT2003 and not seeing any blood.  Seeing them blow apart or whatever adds to the visceral sensation of it.

One the best things in Quake1 was the gibbing.  The sound, the effect, everything.  Was it necessary?  No.  Did it add to the experience?  Hell yes.
#27 by Matthew Gallant
2003-01-31 21:00:47
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Perhaps their next game will involve tricking retarded people into thinking you pulled a quarter out of their ear.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#28 by Charles
2003-01-31 21:01:02
www.bluh.org
I like ragdolls a lot.  I think every game should have them.  Though it's interesting... in a way, ragdolls make the violence even more real.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#29 by Dethstryk
2003-01-31 21:01:44
jemartin@tcainternet.com
But like I said: Postal 2 is just garbage for a huge variety of reasons. The gratuitous violence and cruelty-for-the-sake-of-cruelty are just a few of them.

The engine looks like it will handle pretty shittily.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#30 by Xero
2003-01-31 21:01:56
http://novakometa.blogspot.com/
UT2K3 is cartoon fun, its not done in a distasteful way like Postal 1 or 2. I have no problem with the game and thats not just because I pwn j00z in UT2K3. : )

Since the work of John von Neumann, "games" have been a scientific metaphor for a much wider range of human interactions in which the outcomes depend on the interactive strategies of two or more persons, who have opposed or at best mixed motives - Game Theory by Roger McCain
#31 by jjohnsen
2003-01-31 21:02:21
http://www.johnsenclan.com
You just made me choke on Oreos and milk Rip.
#32 by Charles
2003-01-31 21:02:47
www.bluh.org
disagree with that actually.  I suppose you can disregard my opinion as biased on this, but there is something unsatisying about killing someone in a game like UT2003 and not seeing any blood.  Seeing them blow apart or whatever adds to the visceral sensation of it.


I can understand your point of view a bit, but for me, I get that same feeling by just seeing a guy fall over dead in BF1942.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#33 by Matthew Gallant
2003-01-31 21:02:47
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
I disagree with that actually.  I suppose you can disregard my opinion as biased on this, but there is something unsatisying about killing someone in a game like UT2003 and not seeing any blood.  Seeing them blow apart or whatever adds to the visceral sensation of it.

One the best things in Quake1 was the gibbing.  The sound, the effect, everything.  Was it necessary?  No.  Did it add to the experience?  Hell yes.


Well, there are better ways to accomplish this sensation, as the relative sales figures of BF1942 and UT2K3 will attest.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#34 by lwf
2003-01-31 21:02:55
I had a good time with the original postal (I must have been like 15 though) and I don't think they have improved upon it at all.

I still function!
#35 by Caryn
2003-01-31 21:02:58
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Just so I'm clear on the topic: I'm not against RWS making Postal 2, I'm just saying that it went too far for my personal tastes, and that's the first time I've seen that happen with a game, so I wondered if anyone else has some line like that.

"I felt that I was inhabiting some kind of interdimensional nexus where the sum total suck from this and all other universes crossed paths." - Terata
#36 by Charles
2003-01-31 21:03:32
www.bluh.org
There is also the pure sales aspect;  who knows how many more copies UT2k3 would sell if it had a Teen label.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#37 by Charles
2003-01-31 21:04:20
www.bluh.org
Caryn:  For me, SOF and SOF2 went too far.  Which is why, despite all the fun I had with the SOF2 multiplayer demo, I refused to purchase the game.  Or even warez it for that matter.

"People who give John Edwards money are stupid, and you're stupid for defending them, stupid."  -- Your Friend
#38 by Gunp01nt
2003-01-31 21:04:47
supersimon33@hotmail.com
#19: ever played Postal 1? the objective was to kill a certain percentage of people in an area, no matter whether they were innocent civilians or not. Postal 1 wasn't sick, it was too stupid to be sick. the mindless killing wasn't intended to shock people, it was just added to hide the fact that Running With Scissors (the developers) had absolutely no creativity or inspiration.

"Since most elephants don't comply with the AGP 2.0 specification, we recommend that God does a product recall on all elephants"
#39 by Your Friend
2003-01-31 21:04:53

I wouldn't presume to place those limits on someone else, but it did get me wondering: do any of you have limits as to how much violence or sexual content you can take in a game, or does it all fall under the umbrella of "it's just a game"?


It would take a lot to really repulse me, and I've yet to see a game that has.  However there are a number of games, including Postal, Postal 2 (based on what I've seen so far), BMX XXX, etc that I somewhat find intellectually offensive because they are shameless immature pieces of garbage trying to make a name for themselves using nothing but shock value.

Of course I also think some games that do include violence are perfectly fine, because the violence is there but isn't the entire focus... a real game exists as well.  GTA3 would be a perfect example of this.

The game industry is not alone here, and overall not even the worst offender.  Look at all the crappy reality TV.. Same thing.  Look at the 'works of art' that consist of an existing picture of some religious icon covered with cow dung (just to reiterate, I'm an atheist here, and I really enjoy subtle anti-religious messages in art, but this sort of thing is just 3rd grade stuff, IMO).

2000/XP is better than Win9x in every way.
#40 by Sgt Hulka
2003-01-31 21:05:08
do any of you have limits as to how much violence or sexual content you can take in a game, or does it all fall under the umbrella of "it's just a game"?


Good taste, gaming, decorum? I love the Mike Wilson Lesbian Three Way Kiss Fest Orgy-O-Rama's at previous E3's..


It would appear as if depravity sells in todays world.


We're all DOOMED!

#41 by lwf
2003-01-31 21:05:12
Xero

Speaking of ownzing jme at ut2k3 is there a planetcrap friendly server up anywhere? I kind of miss all yous guys with your bombing runs.

I still function!
#42 by Warren Marshall
2003-01-31 21:06:35
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Well, there are better ways to accomplish this sensation, as the relative sales figures of BF1942 and UT2K3 will attest.

Meaning what?  I don't see which side you're arguing here ...  Neither game is selling poorly.
#43 by jjohnsen
2003-01-31 21:06:38
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Hulka, is the new icon the Olsen twins gone rotten?
#44 by Bill Powers
2003-01-31 21:08:03
wpowers01@charter.net
#26 by Warren Marshall

One the best things in Quake1 was the gibbing.  The sound, the effect, everything.  Was it necessary?  No.  Did it add to the experience?  Hell yes.


I agree.  In this case it's more of an award.  The gibs were earned by beating another player, not just thrown in because blood looks cool.

I'm the smear on the wall.
#45 by Matthew Gallant
2003-01-31 21:10:57
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Meaning what?  I don't see which side you're arguing here ...  Neither game is selling poorly.

Well, you're saying it adds to the experience, I'm saying the game that doesn't have it is actually doing better. Either it isn't important, or it is important but in the opposite sense you believe it to be.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#46 by Greg
2003-01-31 21:11:05
Warren:

One the best things in Quake1 was the gibbing. The sound, the effect, everything. Was it necessary? No. Did it add to the experience? Hell yes.

Yeah,  but like chris said, it was pretty absurd, and not very realistic. Feedback is important, which is why that bug in UT2k3 where instagib didn't always gib the player was kind of annoying. Postal is going over the line making gibbing players the goal rather than just an effect.

BEWARE THE CTHULU MOLE!
#47 by snowcrash-22
2003-01-31 21:11:48
snowcrash22@excite.com
Splatterhouse the Arcade game was the first instance of a game "going to far".  What with the fetuses on a spike and all.  It was little too much for my fragile 14-year old mind.

Currently, I find that Vice City is pushing me to the point of squeamishness, but affords me the freedom to NOT kill every prostitute I encounter.

Something my wife doesn't understand, as her favorite Vice City pastime is to hop in a luxury car and "punish the sinners" as it were.
#48 by Greg
2003-01-31 21:15:02
Charles,

From playing the multiplayer modes of SOF2, I don't remember as much of the violence in it as was in SOF1. In fact, I was surprised that they lessened the amount. (I don't know if SP had much violence, I didn't play it very much)

Maybe they realized it wasn't that important to the game...

BEWARE THE CTHULU MOLE!
#49 by Sgt Hulka
2003-01-31 21:16:42
jjohnsen, hehe, actually it's a Russian girl group named T.A.T.U. and I only know of them because one of their songs is used by Victoria of the WWE as her theme song.  It's actually a pretty groovy song called "All The Things She Said".


... plus, they look dirty.

Not nasty dirty, but dirty dirty.  As if they smoke two packs of cigs a day, live in a smoke stack and wallow in the mud.  That kind of dirty.

#50 by Shadarr
2003-01-31 21:17:35
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
The thing that really stood out to me in the video was first and foremost how bad it all looked.  I mean really amateurish, with crappy animation and obvious clipping problems.  Also that it was pointless.  None of it really grossed me out, but I also would never play that game because it's pointless.  Where's the challenge?  Is there somebody in the game who can hurt the player, because if not it will become boring pretty damn fast.

The really lame thing is that this is a game nobody will ever play, because it won't be fun, but it's a game that will be held up as an example of how horrible other games that are fun are,  in an effort to put restrictions on those other games.  Way to go RWS, it's like you're an enemy mole or something.
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