Posts Tagged ‘Bulletstorm’

Shadow Warrior

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Over the last night I’ve been thinking of how modern FPS games (Quake 4, Halo, Doom 3, Bulletstorm, Crysis, etc)  seem to be absolutely terrible in comparison with oldschool games like Doom, Quake, Duke3d, Heretic, ROTT, Dark Forces,  and even middle of the road FPS games like Jedi Knight, Half-life 1, Unreal, Clive Barker’s Undying, Deus-Ex,  etc. What irked me is that total enemy count reduction (100 plus in Doom 2 levels, reduced to 35 or so in Quake etc) and the introduction of badly done story and grating characters in modern shooters (with few exceptions). I kept looking at valid reasons to reduce total enemies each time a new game comes out, and to introduce story in a way so that all the rooms that had enemies in Doom/Quake For instance, half of them would become empty and have “scripted story” sequences.. One really controversial idea popped up……. Shooter developers reduced this due to the controversy following super violent games in the 90’s.

After columbine, dozens of newspapers ran stories that made up stuff about doom to make it seem like it influenced Harris/Klebold, like Pipebombs and killing kids, are things that doom has. Add the hundreds of medical journals, news articles, video game attacking articles by “violent game censorship” groups quoting “Doom will become reality” (a hoax proven here), and the questionable claim that there was a version of Doom on his site that allowed him to train for columbine complete with a “second shooter”, “infinite ammo”, and other things not possible to do in doom in 1999, and you get a controversy over violent games that seems 90% fabricated, (everything but one quote by Harris that seems to link Doom as something that Influenced him/Klebold to Commit the massacre seems to be made up by the media or at least questionable). The next month, two bills were considered in senates of 2 states that would have completely banned violent games to every age group. They both failed.  Next came the senate hearings to see how violent games were effecting kids, to question if violent games made kids violent.

I noticed a pattern over the last few years in total FPS games that have come out that I actually thought were as engaging and combat intensive as older games. There was only 1 game, Serious Sam 3 that fit this description. Most shooters tried too hard to put in a story and intermittently mix it in with combat so every other room had the above mentioned “scripted sequences”. Leaving less total monsters per room. And also I’ve noticed a trend over total violence levels in MOST fps games from 2002 till now. They are FAR less violent than the older ones. Call me crazy, but I think most FPS games Like Halo, Half-life 1/2, Call of Duty, etc, are actually far less violent than duke3d, shadow warrior, blood, Serious Sam, etc. So I needed some hard data to measure the phenomenon.

This Wikipedia  List of all released PC FPS games was used as a base.  I looked at only FPS games, and only ones I have either played and finished, or have seen most or all of the game in Youtube Lets plays videos. That leaves about 100 games to do the study on. Here is picture of the completed spreadsheet.

I used this spreadsheet to measure total violence level per year, by using my own experience of each of these games to find out violent each one was. 1-nonviolent 10-horribly violent. Same thing with enemy count % 1-almost no enemies 10-insane counts (1000+ per level). I also measured how good I thought each game was based on my play through or the lets plays I watched. (1 – Horrible, 10 – Perfect). I calculated the total per year by using formulas for average for all three categories. I also added controversy level per year,  based on my recollections of controversial issues relating to violent games in the year and controversial games I knew had been released that year. I used this list of controversial games to help me on that.

The chart to the right, is viewable below:

Notice the two BIG spikes in controversial Game related issues (yellow) in 1999-2000 and 2006? 1999 is Columbine, and the media nonsense spreading around blaming it on Doom.  2006 however is less known. the Controversial stuff that year was a texas plan to 100% tax “violent” games, the Hot Coffee Controversy in GTA III, and other related controversies.  Notice the obvious Drop in quality of games (green) for the 3 or so years after these? Is there a correlation? Also notice that during the big 2 “violent” video game controversies, the actual level of violence in games overall is lower than when there isn’t…. There isn’t a huge overall rise of violence in games to spark the controversy, just people saying violent games lead to this and that (falsely mostly). The small rise of controversy around 1997 has to do with 3 things, Paducah, Violent games being ‘misidentified’ as something the military uses to break down the inhibition to kill with, and overly violent games like Duke3d, Shadow Warrior,  and Blood. The overall violence around 1997 is higher than 2000+ because of these 3 games, mostly.  Take out games like this and you notice the actual violence level of games is lower around 1999-2000 because of the lack of duke3d, shadow warrior, and blood type games post 1999.

I’m not obsessed with violent content in games, but it seems like the more combat and blood in the game, the better it was. It wasn’t because of the blood. More  combat made the game have a bigger Adrenaline Rush. Serious sam is the best example of this. Hundreds of enemies per room. And they don’t stop coming. The whole game is an adrenaline producing experience. It seemed to me that games past 2000 had less blood because pressure from censors made them need to replace blood with story.
This brings me back to my theory. After BIG violent game controversies the industry in the US  has been making dumbed down FPS games to avoid worse controversies. 2000 was the last year that a lot of good FPS games that had fun gameplay and good stories came out. Modern FPS games started throwing in too much story. They kept on reducing total enemy count and violence and gore level. Notice the violence level past 2000. Two big games caused the violence to jump up in 2006 and 2011. F.E.A.R and Bulletstorm, respectively.  Twitch shooters and those two are responsible for the raise of violence seen past 2000.  But most games I played in the years past 2000 were LESS violent than the ones in 1996 and 1997, blood and gore wise, even though the graph seems to show that games have been getting more violent past 2000. They (with a few exceptions) have been getting LESS violent in the US. Twitch shooters like Serious Sam/Painkiller/Bulletstorm made the exception to this trend.  99% of those are european developed. US games besides Bulletstorm in the years past 2000 have been far less violent, blood and gore wise. The twitch shooters also had much more enemies per room than most shooters, even oldschool shooters like Doom/Duke3d/Shadow Warrior. All other shooters that weren’t twitch shooters seemed to have less than 10% of the enemy count per level found in the twitch shooters, at least in 2000 and later.  This leads me to a theory of mine which I briefly mentioned. In the US, (possibly) due to threat of lawsuits for the years after columbine (2000-now) there has been a severe reduction of what makes FPS games fun to me. Story is added in to make the game less violent. Plain and simple. Back in 1998 US fps games had NO story, whatsoever, besides Half-life. They had tons of fights with enemies and really bad gore in some cases, and all had a decent amount of blood, with the only exception being Half-life which concentrated on puzzles and realism instead.  Now… Most games have blood but very little gore. And monster count has been reduced from 150 per level to 35 now. Why? To fit in the story that IMHO is used to make them less violent, because they can say (‘there is more to do now that there is more than killing in the game’) to critics. Why is this happening? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect censorship has lead to times when the industry is afraid of censorship and start toning down their games.

In fact this dumbing down is what is ruining modern shooters. Adding story was good at first with Half-life, Unreal, Undying, etc. But FPS developers weren’t very good at keeping this up. They weren’t designed to make story intensive games, unlike RPG developers that Concentrated on it. The story got worse and worse, IMHO, with all the ” realistic war” games like COD, Medal of Honor,  America’s Army, etc.  These games suck horribly. They are way too intense and are simply aren’t FUN! You cannot relax and play these, because every 10 seconds some drill instructor asshole is yelling at you to “MOVE IT”. Even if you got their in 000.35 miliseconds. Doom 3 and Quake 4 abused this BS tactic to make it so insults from friendly characters were guaranteed to happen no matter how quick you got to the insult trigger.   This is partially the fault of censors. They pressured the industry to make FPS games less violent. This, IMHO lead to the story driven shooters of today that had 10 enemies per level and crappy stories. FPS games like this aren’t nearly as good as Doom, etc.

And the graph clearly shows a correlation between big game controversies and horrible games coming out after them, overall. We’re in a 5 year period that has had only 3 good shooters with good story come out, because everything else has been dumbed down. Same  thing after 1999-2000.

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ESRB "Mature 17+" rating symbol, dis...

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So, on my old blog I spent 2-3 hours researching for an upcoming article debunking 10 violent game myths. I posted this article on a social bookmarking site (digg), and tons of trolls came out saying crap like “badly written article, Downvote!” and one even visited a link to the pro-family group I called nutjobs for making up a claim that violent games allow kids to ‘sodomize victims with broomsticks’.  Something that I was pretty sure no game had in it…. The trolls then visited the groups site and I had to take the post down and the whole blog, to prevent libel.

But… the actual post that I linked on the site was debunking violent game myths. I am going back to recreate the post and debunk 5 violent game myths… With links to debunk them if possible… Here goes….

I will try to say why I think the lie is being spread, and then disprove it…. Below the paragraph about each lie I will write a section called “Data on Lie”, which will give rough estimates (in %) of how severe the lie is (how drastic the claim is compared to the truth), Popularity (how much it’s being said in the media since it’s conception), recent popularity (how popular it is in the media now), and respread (how much people have spread the lie in comments, etc, intentionally or not)

5: Violent games have controllable Rape scenes in them (really going strong now)

So the following article linked in this debunking of mine is spreading this lie that has been used dozens of times on anti-gaming articles bashing the SCOTUS EMA vs Brown decision. The lie is that there are violent games that have virtual rape in them where the player rapes a defenseless woman character in the game…. You have the Bulletstorm controversy saying that the game could cause real life sexual violence, then a biased claim by the psychologist in the article that violent games have caused real life rapes to occur, without any citing of any real cases… And many, many other articles calling violent games ‘rape simulators’…. Where did this come from?

You get the morons complaining about violent games going to the next level by saying violent games have rape in them to increase the moral panic, that’s what…. And the truth is, is that there hasn’t been a controllable rape scene in a violent game since “Custer’s Revenge” in 1989!, an adult game not even sold in normal game stores, then!

I hear the claim constantly from various people… Including this Connecticut anti-gaming AG  complaining about the Cal law being held unconstitutional by the courts before it got to SCOTUS.. I have heard it at least twice in articles bashing SCOTUS, and in many comments of articles I have surveyed in my study looking for anti-gaming comments to see what their severity is.

Data on lie:

Severity 100%

Popularity 55%

Recent Popularity 75%

Respread 30%

4: Violent games are marketed to kids

This myth is less drastic than the first one, but is still constantly spread around. The truth is this one has been used in many different ways, all claiming violent games are marketed to kids for different reasons. There isn’t one common reason why this is true… But My article on this (here) basically says that the ESRB ratings are often misconstrued as GOVT enforced by people who do the same thing with MPAA ratings.. They are both voluntary ratings and if a store doesn’t enforce them they don’t get in Legal trouble, unlike what the common belief is.  So when you get a biased study like the PTC ‘secret shopper survey’ that says stores sell M rated games to kids 80% of the time, you get people thinking that the industry is marketing games to kids.

The truth is that a recent FTC study says ESRB ratings are even better than MPAA ratings and enforcement in stores… but that doesn’t really disprove the myth…. What does, however is the target demographic of the industry is 18-35 year olds, according to this page. I have heard this on many articles in gaming sites, so I trust it….  If it were 5-9 year olds like all the anti-gamers keep saying then I wouldn’t even try to debunk this… But I have never heard any kind of evidence to support the biased claim that violent games are marketed to kids that isn’t something ridiculous like “violent game ads in our subway”, or “kids in a game store that sells violent  games that could be seen by a kid”, or recently someone on a forum said this great claim “Look at all the Lego games, proof violent games are marketed to kids” after saying that since there were violent game ads ‘everywhere’ the claim must be true. Basically it’s a lie.

Data on lie:

Severity 80%

Popularity 65%

Recent Popularity 45%

Respread 80%

3: violent games make kids violent

There are many studies that seem to prove violent game make kids ‘aggressive’ but the fact is that this lie is based on right wing journalists and violent game ‘experts’ misquoting these already biased studies by saying they prove the kids become violent after playing violent games. The studies themselves are flawed (as my debunking shows). Basically the studies use brainwave scanning on both groups of kids, kids who play violent games , and kids who don’t.  The aggression levels are proven through that, and through a competitive task that pits 2 people (1 from each group) against each other and allows the winner to blast loud static noise into the loser’s ears. The study says that the kids who play violent games hold down the ‘blast’ button longer. They don’t say how much, but from a comment on an article on a recent study, it was only milliseconds. Yeah. Nice proof.  But if that wasn’t the only thing making these studies flawed, we have the fact that many of these studies fail to even measure tendencies that could cause aggression in the kids before the study starts, so basically the more ‘aggressive’ kids aren’t even checked to see that another thing is making them ‘aggressive’, and the checks are right after they play the games, no checks done next day, next month. These are short term studies… Not good on seeing if a kid will ‘go violent’ after playing Doom.  To make things worse, there is no eliminating gamers from these studies… Using a 18 year old GTA fan as proof  of ‘aggression’, by playing GTA is a bit biased. Don’t you think… Now all of this proves the studies have holes. But where did the violence claim come from, the one that says violence is proven by these studies…

From the ‘violent game experts on the news’, the hack psychologists purposely misquoting studies after columbine, on morning talk shows. This lie was spread like wildfire back in 1999 and many people outright believe it without questioning. It’s sad.

Data on lie:

Severity 100%

Popularity 45%

Recent Popularity 25%

Respread 70%

2:  Violent games make school shooters  better shooters in real life.

This one is really alarming, not very popular in lies being spread by the media, but really alarming, none the less. It basically says that Doom, allows players to be better shooters in real life, and uses the evidence in a school shooting predating Columbine as proof. The shooter was very accurate shooter in the shooting, and an avid Doom fan. They said “he had never picked up a gun before!” and then said that Doom made him the better shooter….. Without debunking  possibility of him not going to a gun range, and actually practicing for real… Ok… Now the think is that the Columbine Shooters also were Doom obsessed…. But the FBI report  mentioned that they missed most of their shots! Why?

Recoil, the force that pushes the gun angle up after every shot.

99% of Violent games don’t have realistic recoil of weapons, Doom had none, Quake had none, Half-life : none, only games that have good recoil are tactical shooters. And they are so unfairly realistic that no one could ‘train’ on them without becoming frustrated.  The shots kill not hurt in those games, and the guns are very realistic with realistic recoil and kickback… But they didn’t really get popular till AFTER Columbine.. And since there hasn’t been a school shooting with a real link to Violent games since…

Recoil prevents someone from hitting their shots if they hold down the trigger like they do in the movies and in most violent games. It causes a real life gun to spin out of control, especially an Assault Weapon like a MP5, or any Assault Rifle.  The tactic taught in older violent games available in 1999 basically was (run into room, hold down fire button, kill all enemies, let go, rinse and repeat). This doesn’t work in real life. The person would be shooting the ceiling if they tried this for more than 2 seconds. The military teaches real soldiers to fire in short bursts to minimize the recoil… A debunking of this in Doom was done by me recently on this blog… Here it is. There is no way a violent game will make you a better shot. The tactics are incompatible with real life… At least they were before realism was added to FPS games in 2003+. Realistic tactical shooters weren’t really popular till Far Cry (2003). Before that it was all no recoil in weapons…

So no way in hell did the school shooters get better at firing a real gun by playing FPS games of that time.

Data on lie:

Severity 100%

Popularity 45%

Recent Popularity 25%

Respread 10%

1: violent games break down the inhibition to kill

Ok…  I’ve debunked this in my attack on the amicus brief with tons of lies submitted on CA’s side of the SCOTUS debate (go here for the debunking) but I will debunk it again…  The claim is that violent games are used in the military to break down the inhibition to kill. This blog completely debunks the claim, which is another claim spread by the “hack psychologists” after columbine…

Violent games are used in the military to train group tactics, it’s no secret. The Marines licensed doom for this purpose… But there is no branch of the military that uses them to break down the inhibition to kill. The above blog says that the inhibition to kill is part of what Boot camp is for, to make recruits automatically follow orders. This, is really the only way to make recruits fire when they are commanded to… Seriously… A video game won’t do this… You need to break down the recruit by Intimidation, exhaustion, and other factors to make them act automatically. This needs an environment where you cannot leave the environment, and have limited freedoms, and are being constantly screamed at for making any mistakes, and are being worked out so bad that your constantly exhausted. No video game does this. Period.

Data on lie:

Severity 100%

Popularity 75%

Recent Popularity 15%

Respread 90%

Duke Nukem 3D

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It’s July 4’th again… The celebration of American Independence.  As a gamer, a game designer, and as a political commenter/ anti-violent game lies debunker, I think I need to reflect, on the nature of what we have here. And how some people don’t want our freedoms to be as strong as they are.

There are people out there wanting all violent games banned and think we’re sicko’s. The article I ranted about last night (you can view the rants further down in the page, to tired to do any linking now) proves it. People like them are not powerless. Constant attempts to restrict violent games to adults have been shot down in the Supreme court. They keep trying to restrict games to adults, and it fails. It is bound to motivate these people to request full age violent game bans… It has happened before.

In April 1999, right after the media blamed violent games for Columbine, 2 bills were introduced in 2 states, one being florida, the other being Minnesota (I think), that would have done just that, ban all violent games to all age groups. Neither bill passed. I really don’t think those bills are the last of the ones trying to do this. All that is required is a moral panic and people in power with deep religious views that hate violent games. They exist… In Utah,  they are quite common. It’s an infestation, really. Where is my bug spray…

Anyway, I think some people take this freedom we have for granted. Other countries, such as Germany, Australia  don’t have it. Violent games are outright banned in many countries, to everyone! It’s alarming the kind of freedom civilized countries lack… I’m just happy we aren’t one of these countries..

But the real question is how long will this last… The amount of violent games that are uber offensive, such as GTA, Duke Nukem Forever, Bulletstorm, etc has risen over the last few years. Previously back in 1997, you had Duke3d, Rott, Shadow Warrior, Quake, Blood, etc to complain about… Most violent games around that time had the same amount of blood these do, but weren’t quite offensive. The senator’s complained about this all the time. Now FPS games are much more realistic but they don’t have the offensive content they used to. Bulletstorm, Serious Sam games, DNF, Postal 2,  and GTA games really are the only exception, out of all the COD, Halo, UT, Bioshock, countless First Person RPG’s (Fallout 3/Oblivion/Deus-Ex, etc) games out there, nevermind all the tactical shooters, Ghost Recon, Rainbow 6, etc.

But over the last year, the amount of games released like Duke3d is double of what it was. It’s coming back. The anti-gamers are bound to take notice. These games are offensive enough to get the idiots to want them banned. Both DNF and Bulletstorm got attacks from FOX news. I never saw them attacking anything but maybe GTA games before, and it’s alarming to see this happen, when the humor in both, although crude, and maybe sexist, isn’t really that offensive. Then you have all the comments  by anti-gamers whining about the games calling us ‘depraved souls’…. There is a definite shift back to what it was like in 1997-2000.

It’s alarming… Anyway.. enjoy your july 4’th, while it lasts…

Duke Nukem Forever 2007 teaser screenshot

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“Gamer Shitheads!” screamed the moronic troll and self-appointed violent games “expert”, on the internet forum I posted my displeasure of the media’s scapegoating of Doom after a school shooting, etc. The comments the troll used were disgusting, to say it bluntly, constant swearing, lewd references, threats to “crack my skull in” and “kick your ass” (to a Doom community “ally” of mine – more on that later), a few racist comments, etc… And a severe anti-gamer bias, with claims that the shooters werent people but gamers, etc.

Of course this troll is one out of a literal 100 plus people with the obvious anti-gamer bias. And not the only one who threatened someone’s life. A commenter and famous anti-gaming politician and public figure said how “all gamers deserve the death penalty” on comments of a piece about violent games on gamepolitics.com.

Now reading comments on articles hosted on newspapers made me realize how many idiots are out there who believe the spiel that violent games “train murderers to kill”, are “marketed to kids”, “are used to break down soldiers in the military”, “make kids more aggressive”… All claims that are spread by the media that I debunked on my old blog. The response? At least 2 people on message boards calling violent games “trash” and/or “filth”, and worse… The worst offender so far seems to be an idiot who commented on an article defending the need for a r18+ rating in Australia on a blog post called “violent games aren’t the enemy” which I found (through gamepolitics.com) here

The comment is so old that it is several pages down but here is it in quotes…

“Veging out in front of a computer, playing stupid and useless games, is worse than watching TV for numbing the mind and rendering the vegetator obese and mentally defective.

My suggestion to Video Game players is to get real and do something positive with your lives rather than wasting them, sitting on your fat butts, obsessing about trivia.”

Number 1, the BS statement that all gamers are fat and “mentally defective” is downright biased and inflammatory. Replace gamers with any minority and the statement becomes racist and rude to the core. Complete BS. Fat butts…. Where the hell do these idiots get this crap… Mentally defective? What the hell… If that’s what I think they are saying… As in Mentally Retarded… That’s an insult to the core…. personally…. Calling gamers Mentally retarded makes fun of real people who were born with that condition and is not Funny…

Another comment on the FAUX (FOX) news comments on their little biased diatribe about Duke Nukem Forever and it’s supposed “turn players into sexual deviants” claims people who play these games are all “depraved souls” and claims that they will act out  the sexual activity in the real game and hurt real women… Which is BS… The people who would do the “capture the babe” slap thing in real life have other problems… Problems not caused by a video game! Unfortunately FAUX news, who HATES when a bunch of comments have been posting defending the game they dissect as a cause of “rape” or other crimes, starts disabling comments, as they did with the DNF and Bulletstorm fiasco “articles” they posted… They can’t handle negative criticism.

In the post I linked at Reddit.com,   I ended up  getting spammed by  Conservative  turdburglar trolls who at least one clicked the link to another article which had a link to an Anti-Gaming/Pro Family group to possibly tell them. That’s what lead me to the decision to pull the blog due to all the libel threats online. Who knows what twisted lawyer would prosecute me for the statement. If they are a corporation (and they seem to be), then they could say “we’re not wackjobs, LIBEL!”…  Now… That isn’t my point in this post.. The point is the stereotype that gamers are murderous fat retarded morons is harmful and is being spread and endorsed by at least one person online… (who knows, maybe all the people calling violent games “trash” or “filth” are all separate accounts being created by one person to spread this nonsense by people who would profit from it…). And it has to stop…

We’re intelligent people for the most part… Not murderous filth…