In Feminist Frequency’s review of Rise of the Tomb Raider, there was a statement that has driven me out of my mind because of how stupid it was. The whole review is dumb, and you can watch a very good review of her review (linked here), but the statement that got on my nerves is – video games don’t seriously look at violence. A statement so unbelievably uninformed and not true that it blows my fucking mind. And once-again confirms to me that the Anita Sarkeesian and the lackey who she had make this video (because the bitch is too fucking lazy to do it herself) do not play video games on the regular. Oh, and clearly they cannot edit videos for shit. The sound quality in that review is SO bad. But that’s not the point. Let’s talk about the stupidity of this sentiment.
I think back to the scene in The Last of Us, where Ellie is being hunted by David. You eventually get knocked unconscious and then wake up, having to crawl toward his machete. David is beating the crap out of you the entire way. You can see that Ellie is in a lot of pain, knowing that in all likelihood, she is about to die. When you finally get to that machete, it is one of the most emotionally-powerful scenes in the game, when she is hacking the man’s face to pieces, and Joel pulls her off. It’s the big moment when Ellie realizes what this world that she lives in is turning her into. She’s seen how Joel has been turned by the violence and the brutality. She doesn’t want to end up that way. However, forces beyond her control have shown that that escape is impossible, and all she can do is fight back. It’s a cruel, painful look at a girl who just wants to survive, in a merciless world. Yeah, that doesn’t look at the nature of violence at all. Nope.
There is that bit in Heavy Rain, where you are helping a father cut off his own finger, to save his child. You have to help this man mutilate himself, for the express purpose of not letting the only person he has left die. When you hear him scream, it hurts you. It’s one of the reasons I can’t play that game again. Listening to that hurting man die was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in any game. But nope, that wasn’t looking critically at violence.
How about in Bioshock Infinite, when Elizabeth realizes that Booker is a man who has killed people. Lots of people. He is not a good guy, yet he’s the person she’s stuck with. The scene where he kills someone in front of her, and she tries to run away. That confrontation when he makes her see that violence is something he had to get used to. Or when you see inside the museum, where Slade talks about Booker’s violent history in war, which made him a changed man. It was the thing that destroyed him inside, seeing what he did at Wounded Knee. That was not an examination of violence in any way.
Then there’s the scene in Beyond: Two Souls, where Jodie is locked under a stairwell at the party she attends. It puts the choice on you. You, the player, decide how horrible it gets. Eventually, Aiden loses control, and you can’t stop. The game won’t let you stop. It makes you understand that Aiden isn’t just a character in this universe. He’s also you. You are the spirit, and your will gives it direction. So it is you who is tormenting those kids. There’s a hard lesson to have in a video game. Come to think of it, that lesson was something that Metal Gear Solid 2 had as well.
How about in Until Dawn, where you have to make a choice, more than once, who lives and dies? The scene where you have the buzz saw and two friends strung up was really horrible. When you see the guy getting cut in half (I chose Ashley. What can I say, my romantic side didn’t want her to get cut in half by a giant buzzsaw), and his blood and guts go everywhere, it’s so hardcore. Afterwards, when you unhook Ashley and are leading her out, with both of them sounding like they are on the brink of losing it, it feels genuine. Not to mention later on, when Chris and Ashley are hooked up to a contraption that is going to kill one of them if Chris doesn’t kill one of them first. Yeah, that’s not a critical examination of violence. Because this Feminist Frequency puppet says so!
Or when Big Boss goes into the infected lab in Metal Gear Solid V. There, everyone inside is infected, and the only thing you can do is kill them. There comes a point where they all stand up and salute you, as you execute them. You have Emmerich deriding you, with the blood of every single person in that lab who you kill on your hands. Does that count as an examination of violence?! Wait, that game has a chick who isn’t dressed like a nun, so I’m sure that it’s nothing but Patriarchy soup to you people.
The fact is that the nature of violence in video games is something that is examined. All the time. If the person who made this review actually played games, they would know that. The stupid fuck. I’m with Dishonored Wolf on this – where does she find these people? Either he doesn’t play games, or he is deliberately lying to sell a narrative. Given that Sarkeesian herself is a con artist, neither answer would shock me. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if it was a little of both. Or a lot. Depending.
No wonder the SJW types liked Gone Home so much. No violence. No hard questions. Nothing even remotely challenging. I don’t hate that game, but I do like a game that at least is trying to tell me something worth listening to. I did like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, after all. But this idea that all video games just trade on violence and are filled with nothing but violence is absurd. It’s ridiculous and insulting and it fucking pisses me off. There are so many games that have talked about how bad violence is. Or at least shown it, but not in some preachy way where you have to be force-fed “Violence EVIL!” Games like This War of Mine, where violence is grim and not only can destroy your surviving group, but also their morale.
Though, I wouldn’t expect this little puppet with Sarkeesian’s hand up his ass to know this. After all, if it isn’t some big, AAA game that they know will get them views, would they even know about it?
Until next time, a quote,
“I struggled, for a long time, with surviving.” -Joel, The Last of Us