I am just disgusted with where video games are going.
I may have said this before, and I'll say it again though. We're approaching a horrifying Event Horizon.
I may be known as a professing Christian, but also as many people know, I'm a horror buff. I'm a buff for a reason - there's something about horror as a literary and film genre, when done properly, that has some degree of merit. Either the oeuvre taps in to a zeitgeist and as such is culturally important, or it digs into a core fear that people have, and it's good as a therapeutic device. (After all, the original horror stories were really morality plays designed to keep the faithful on the straight and narrow, right? Right, Dr. Faust?)
Let's face it, some of the horror films have genuine merit. The zombie genre, right from its inception - was about people working together, and dying when they don't. Aliens was built on the same premise, in theory man vs. nature but at the end of the day, man vs man.
And what is The Exorcist but the fear that something horrible is happening to your child and you're powerless to save him or her. What is The Amityville Horror but the genuine fear people have that they buy a house, and it turns into nothing but a living hell for them (oh, the foundation just cracked. The plumbing just burst, etc.)
But a video game is devoid of narrative. It's typically devoid of empathy, storytelling in any real sense, or framing the violence and the fear in a context.
Whether you're playing Call of Duty, or Mortal Kombat, all you're doing is getting into a simulation of brutally violent combat. And Mortal Kombat just upped the ante by offering to let you play the game as Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th or Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Neither was a hero or a sympathetic character, though they had backstories that were somewhat sympathetic. But the gist of both is that the characters were meant to clue you in to a bigger message. Jason butchers young women and young men having sex, because apparently we have the idea in our society that sex and fun are dirty and evil and sinful and result in the disproportionate retribution of being butchered alive.
Likewise, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was meant to outrage you at the sickening level of violence inflicted on someone - only to be reminded that that is the same violence and the same degree of violence we inflict on hundreds of thousands of animals each and every day. If you truly want a horror show, the eggs you eat have the collateral damage that infant boy chickens are considered a waste of time and are put on a conveyor belt - having just hatched and still blissfully unaware of life - to be dropped into what amounts to a giant paper shredder that liquefies them, somewhat instantly. You are outraged and disgusted at the idea of butchering something to eat - then reminded that the only difference between that and your hamburger is the target species.
For the record, one of Leatherface's "finishing moves" is to pull out a hammer and bludgeon the head of the stunned opponent over. And over. And over. And over again. It's sickening to describe, and even more vile to watch - which is a "valid" slaughterhouse killing technique.
And that context is lost when you're put in the persona of either character with a view to shredding, slicing, kicking, pulverizing, and killing someone else. Slashing someone's head off is a victory, eviscerating them with a chainsaw is simply violence for entertainment's sake. And the games are so realistic now, that it is uncomfortable to watch if you have any shred of humanity left. But judging from the comments section of the videos of these games, these gorehounds love every second of it. Whereas if you time-travelled that game back to 1950, the developers would probably be arrested, and horse whipped. With the full consent and agreement of the community.
One of the most incredible moments in horror film, for my money, is the scene in which the young Michael Myers is chased by some bullies, but he has a weapon and gets the upper hand. You're initially cheering for the first couple of blows, it's some kind of payback. But then the violence escalates, and gets a lot darker, and the bully, now helpless and deeply wounded, begins to cry. You realize that this is a child murdering another child, and that no matter how much of a bully the kid was, he doesn't deserve this. And as Myers hits the fallen and screaming bully again, and again, and again - the mood switches real fast, and you become horribly conscious of the fact that you were almost cheering it a few seconds ago - and realize that you never should have been. It's a fantastic story telling moment and the antithesis of what you'd expect a horror director to root for. Then again, Rob Zombie is vegan.
The reward for winning the game with Leatherface is that you get to approach the pretty female fighter and when she rejects you, you butcher her, cut her face off and wear it over your own.
No, I am not buying this game. Not for me, or for anyone else. And I want a time machine to go back to 1950.