60 – Defending Video Games

The video games industry often comes under scrutiny because of perceived glorification of violence in some of it’s games, particularly the Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto series. However this criticism clouds the media’s perception of the whole industry which is a shame as the industry is actually very broad. Would it be fair to criticize all written books for being too sexual because Fifty Shades of Grey is? No, of course not and for the same reason it’s unfair to criticize all video games because a certain few feature strong violence. This is what Charlie Brooker, comedian and video game enthusiast, tries to get across to Channel 4’s lead news reporter Jon Snow in the following clip.

Jon Snow seems to represent this media prejudice against the industry (or is guilty of it) but this is mainly through naivety. Like Charlie says the most publicised games tend to be the most violent which then makes people believe these are the only types of games on offer. There are millions of games on offer that do not feature violence as the main theme. One game I bought recently solely focuses on Space Exploration and building rocket ships which could even act as an educational tool. There are also games that are being incredibly imaginative like the Stanley Parable for instance.

or trying to create distinctive and interesting art styles like Limbo which takes the platform genre into a dark and enigmatic area.

However as these games are only really well known within the ‘gaming community’ and even then they’re far more niche than a Call of Duty title, they will never quite be recognised by the mainstream media who consistently claim that video games are encouraging violence and are one of the reasons that countries like the United States have so much gun crime. The media has also targeted the film industry but to a lesser extent as the general public know that the action genre is simply one genre of films. I think these worries are unfounded though as violent games are only going to encourage violence in people who are incredibly susceptible. It would be unfair to blame video games for this as such people would be influenced by anything, TV, films, books. It would be a problem with the person themselves rather than the industry.

When you play first person shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield it is a simulation at the end of the day and you’re completely aware it’s not real. However I would admit that these games are more and more becoming the generic and lazy end of the medium. Every Call of Duty game since Call of Duty Modern Warfare has been basically the same game but just repackaged. Battlefield tries a little bit harder but feels like it’s on the verge of following in Call of Duty’s path of endless recycling.

To those people who say that they don’t like video games just realise you sound as ridiculous as when someone say’s they don’t like any film. There are so many different games that all work in different ways, some are karoke games, some are sports, some are intriguing interactive stories, some allow you to build your own worlds and yes some are violent war simulators. Somewhere there will be a game that you enjoy.

Blog Post Over.

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5 – Top 5 Features of Grand Theft Auto 5

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So this week the new Grand Theft Auto game came out, GTA V, which cost over 260 million dollars to make which is a bigger budget than a lot of blockbuster films. Over the last 2 years this is the second video game I have bought as I have got bored of all the repackaged COD and Battlefield games so it takes a good game for me to decide to buy it. From the start it is a really engaging and vast open world game with a great new plot despite it being a controversial game.

But anyway seeing as this post is the fifth post on the blog and the game is the fifth instalment of the series I thought I would do a top 5 features list of the game.

5. Realism and Satire

The game includes a parody of the real world IPhone as the IFruit. But the parodies do not stop there as the game includes in car radio, television channels to watch, the stock market and social networks like Bleeter and Life Invader to access anytime among much more.

Citizens of the city will walk around the city on their mobiles, walk they’re dogs, go on jogs and bike rides and even when witnessing a crime whip out they’re smart phone and video the events which they send to the police. The whole world feels very realistic but at the same time there is an element of satire, especially with fictional characters Jock Cranley and Sue Murry who are mock representatives of the democratic and republican parties in the U.S.

4. The Mechanics

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From driving to using weapons and flying planes feel more fluid than in the earlier games and much more accessible to people who may be new to the series. There is even tennis, golf, flight schools, scuba diving, yoga and cycling to do if the missions do not excite you enough. Which brings me onto

3. The Plot

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Since the first GTA game where the decision was made to play as the villains rather than the heroes as the producers thought it would be more fun each game has focussed on the lives of different criminals trying to make it to the top of the crime world and overcoming the local police force. This game is no different but makes the missions within the game much more interesting by adding heist missions. These heists are reminiscent of films such as Heat, Die Hard and other famous crime films. The plot is dark and you can understand why many people have been against the series but there is a lot of drama and action and as a player it is incredibly fun to play through.

2. The Map

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As soon as you start the game it is clear there has been a lot of work been done on the fictional city of Los Santos in which the game is set. The city is inspired of Los Angeles in america and it really does look and feel vibrant and bright. This has been achieved through great lighting, brilliant water and sea effects and far draw distances. It’s not the biggest game world ever made but it is one of the most detailed and best looking worlds.

1. Sandbox

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By far one of the best things about the game and the series is the sandbox type gameplay where you as the player are free to do anything you want within the world and in this game there is more to do than ever before. I have only actually been on the game for a couple of hours so far but I already think it’s pretty brilliant and can’t wait to play some more of it.