Empire, Class Warfare, Triumphalism, and Dehumanization in the Gaming Industry

79% of mainstream PC games feature killing. The reason for this is to condition players (largely youth) to view obstacles as things to be eliminated. The concept of negotiation in a computer game is seen by players as ridiculous – the majority have never played a obstacle-oriented game with anything but killing whatever opposes the protagonist (controlled by the player). The typical gamer’s idea of what is done in a video game other than killing is building up a base before killing or building an empire before killing (and taking over the world). War is the overwhelming motif used time and again in video games.

There is a massive difference between the mainstream games market and it’s 79% killing rate and the amateur games market and it’s 49% killing rate. Consider that the primary source of inspiration for the design of amateur games IS the mainstream games market.

Mainstream games developers have given a few reasons over the years for why they make so many games about killing:

— It’s exciting for the player. Therefore the player enjoys it, therefore the player buys our game, therefore the game makes money, therefore publishers continue to fund our games, therefore we continue to work in the industry.

— It’s simple to develop.

— Game developers themselves are young, immature, and male, and therefore they themselves enjoy killing in games and hence develop those games.

All of these reasons are problematic. Ratings on Newgrounds show that players enjoy games that don’t include killing just as they do ones that do.

When immature young male writers write stories they don’t feature killings by the protagonist 79% of the time, or anything close to that.

It may be “simple to develop”, but that’s only because the industry has a long history of developing games that include killing, to such an extent that the development of the industry itself is dominated by that. Hence the prevalence of “physics engines”, which are often used to track bullet trajectories and the flying apart of objects following violence.

The one reason heard least often but which is the most interesting is that developers make so many games which feature killing because publishers want it that way. Money talks and the money is saying “Make us games that feature killing”. This begs the question of why.

The publishers of video games are overwhelmingly from modern industrial Western countries. Japan and the US dominate the industry, with the UK and other European and Western-friendly Asian countries trailing behind. This Western bloc as a semi-unified force has been an Empire since the end of WWII.

The US requires propaganda to turn children into killers to be fed into the war machine. No other country has this requirement to any similar degree. This fact has startling repercussions on the industry. Japanese publishers are far less favorable toward killing in games. Whole genres have been created by the Japanese, such as dating sims and pet management (breeding and raising creatures). American publishers tend to favor “shooting shit and blowing stuff up”.

Other aspects between allied Western powers however converge. Triumphalism, Supremacy, and Dehumanization are traits that all imperial states need to instill in their populace. A popular genre in Japan as well as the US is the role-playing game, where players lead a group which cleanses (exterminates) the world of monsters while completing a world-saving quest. Over the span of this game the players become more and more powerful, gaining supremacy over the world and ultimately standing triumphant. At the end of the game, truly nothing and no one can stand in their way (and barely anything remains to even try).

“Saving the world” is used time and time again as the justification for absolute atrocities. Every obstacle in the way of “saving the world” is deemed a monster which not only can be slaughtered without thought but should be slaughtered, nay, must be slaughtered, or the world will not truly be saved. Game developers must be proud – not even the Nazis were this ruthless.

As the player progresses through the game, he becomes stronger and stronger, and this kind of hedonistic “progress” is similar to the “rise” of a drug dealer who devastates whole communities as he enriches himself. Except even a drug dealer usually avoids killing.

Is it really any wonder that humans who have spent in many cases years playing these kinds of games can go to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Iran, or wherever the Empire wants to strike next, call the people there “monsters” which is equivalent to “hajji”, and exterminate them? These people truly are victims of their upbringing. I’m not so much surprised that American forces commit so many atrocities as that they sometimes don’t.

The game publishers are part of the capitalist class, the ruling class, the elite, that benefit from war as well as economic and military domination. Hence US publishers finance games which feature killing, and US, Japanese, and other friendly publishers finance games which feature domination, extermination, dehumanization, triumphalism, and supremacy. All of this is done to control and dominate the target group, the first victims – their own people. The buyers that they claim to “serve”. Poison is always this chef’s special of the day.

Pure Pwnage is a landmark game-parody series which covers a few of these issues, especially triumphalism and supremacy. It’s very light-hearted and fails to draw connections between gaming and the larger world, except in terms of culture.

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