Nathan Grayson put up an interesting post on RPS last week while attending E3. If you’re not familiar with E3, it’s an often-lampooned convention where game-industry professionals get together to decide the fate of each other’s bank accounts, in cavernous spaces far too loud to facilitate intelligible conversation. But it’s not all fun and games. Not only are unintelligible deals routinely struck at E3 that determine the games you will and won’t see in the coming year, but E3 quite literally saves lives.
The impetus for Nathan’s post was a game demo he attended, during which the interactive industry expressed enthusiasm for hyper-realistic gore effects:
I sat in a jam-packed arena-sized auditorium and watched a game demo unfold on a screen bigger than my hometown. OK, that wasn’t the surprising part. I’d been doing that all day. This one, though, came to a rather abrupt halt when – mere inches away from the camera – a man’s head erupted into a volcano of hyper-detailed gore after a point-blank shotgun blast. And then: deafening applause from hundreds of people.
This was the blaring exclamation point on the end of a day of gleefully grotesque neck-shanking, leg-severing, and – of course – man-shooting. I can honestly think of maybe five games – in four multiple-hour press conferences – that didn’t feature some sort of lovingly rendered death-dealing mechanic. And oh how show-goers cheered.
Now, as shocking as this may be, it’s worth noting that this sort of thing is really the norm when you stand at the corner of Tech Street and Cash Avenue. Put a few techies in a room with some suits and sooner or later somebody’s going to come up with something truly disgusting, at which point the suits will run the numbers and see if it’s profitable. Only when the project gets to the marketing phase will anyone conduct a focus group to determine if there are moral, ethical or cultural impediments to launching that product or service. [ Read more ]