Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What I learned about violent video games recently made me never want to play them again.

A fatality effect that is included with Mortal Kombat 11 (you can do this to someone you defeat). 
Probably like you, I've enjoyed a video game here and there. But just this week, I learned that video game programmers are forced to work in pressure-cooker type situations, and that the content of violent video games is actually giving computer programmers PTSD. Examples of these types of games are Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto.

In a nutshell, what is happening is that there's a team of programmers that are assigned a certain section of a video game to complete. Sometimes it's only a sequence only a few seconds long that just requires a lot of detail. If the sequences are gory, then the programmer spends a huge amount of time examining gory images and making sure that things look authentic. The article I read on Kotaku indicated that in one office, it was pretty typical to see programmers watching videos of real life hangings, people getting killed, and cows being torn apart or cut up online so that they could get blood effects and death just right. Conversations around the water coolers talk about how blood splatters, how it lands, and how meat should look if its decayed, ripped open, etc.

I never realized that this was a thing...that people are actually being forced to watch stuff like this in order to make a living wage in this country (and other countries). One programmer talked about how he had nightmares so bad from staring at bloody images of real life people that were murdered (and posted around his desk for reference material) that it gave him severe nightmares. He said that he avoided going to sleep and took drugs to stay awake. Those that weren't effected like this had grown desensitized to violent imagery and talked about it like sociopaths. Is any of this good for society?

Knowing all of this, I don't think I can ever play a video game like Mortal Kombat ever again. It's not right, despite the fact that its fun to do. That's the problem I think: the things that consumers in the United States find fun or convenient are usually made possible because someone we can't see is made to suffer. I wonder how long this trend can be sustained, and what its long-term effects are going to be on society at large.


  1. That would be pretty terrible but to play Republican's advocate no one is forcing them. They can quit if it bothers them.

  2. I had no idea programmers were forced to endure such twisted "training." I do know there are a few military programs that use violent video games to help desensitize some soldiers. In the long run? I believe that making extreme violence entertaining will result with more sick and violent people in our society, and that's not good.

  3. This is so sad. It just shows that whatever you feed your mind, you get back out.

  4. I didn't know this was happening. But then why does that surprise me? Writing horror, I've had to do some gruesome research in the past, and sometimes gone a little too far that I've had to switch off. I don't think I can ever be desensitized to anything like that.

  5. Even the little exposure I get to some of that gore is too much for me. That's one reason I don't play violent video games (or watch overly violent films). I've always been way sensitive in that way.