This appeared on Kotaku on the 18th of December. That talented lady Patricia Hernandez and I found ourselves writing emails to each other arguing about video game violence. We decided to publish them.
From: Patricia Hernandez
To: Cara Ellison
Cara, something I read last month is haunting me. I keep returning to it. There’s an article on Midnight Resistance where Liz Ryerson dissects hyper-violent Hotline Miami and its reception. In it, Ryerson asks “how can you rhapsodize at great lengths about the joy of violence in a videogame without sounding like a complete psychopath?”
The article is compelling—she doesn’t suggest that violence shouldn’t be in games, but she does urge us to take a look at why it’s there and how it affects as as folk who probably aren’t about to go commit murder. And for once, this discussion isn’t being anchored by the suggestion that games will corrupt us forever… just, that we do an awful job at examining what the violence does or mean, even though we’ll go at great lengths at describing how enjoyable it is.
I think it’s worrisome that we don’t talk about this stuff. We’re so sure that the value in the mechanics of these games is self-evident enough that they don’t warrant examining—really examining. Like, beyond the idea that it feels good to kill someone. That part is the easy, obvious part.
Read the series at Hotline miami letters| Kotaku.