This is a response to this article talking about Ken Levine. http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/12/05/ken-levine-on-bioshock-infinites-explicit-violence
Its that time of year again when people start talking about violent videogames on the market once more. And in many ways like Quentin Tarantino Ken Levine, the creator of the Bioshock series, has stepped on sensitive toes when it comes to how much violence comes with the actual story.
Now for those of you who have never played Bioshock before look it up and read up on it or heck even play it the game is art at its finest. If you don’t want the hassle though the short version is that its the story of a city deep underwater in the Atlantic during the 1950’s – 1960’s. Its is a memorable groundbreaking game that is incredible in all aspects from gameplay to characters. However, one thing that the game is also known for is just how incredibly violent it can be. Violence that isn’t necessarily all the time or even could be said to be gratuitous but rather frightening or grim. People have often asked about videogames or even when telling a story is violence necessary. I would whole-heartedly agree by saying yes. Like Ken mentions and I am about to mention there is something about not showing the violence properly or not keeping true to the actual violence that could happen or would happen that takes someone out of the universe they are in. In order to properly sell a universe and its story and characters one has to truely keep continuity and one way of doing that is by keeping the violence in key.
Now don’t get me wrong I don’t in any way agree with violence. But as a story teller I realize that without real violence or a real physical manifestation of the philosophical conflicts within a book or story a tale can become stale or uninteresting. The lines and setting will become cheesy and it will fall into anonymity and uselessness. Like any good story you have tools at your disposal to tell a story and tell it in a compelling and interesting way so when you fail to use a tool it can hurt your attempts at creating a tale that is meaningful. Violence is one of those tools.
As for whether it affects the human psyche or even more-so makes someone more violent I disagree. Violent people are drawn to violent things … not the other way around. Besides, people have been killing each other for centuries before media or videogames or movies came into play. Its the same with guns as well. The methods may change but the psychological conflicts manifested into the physical realm remain the same.