How does critically looking at video games highlight flaws in our society?
Throughout the semester, we have constantly discussed video games in relation to the society we live in, even when we were discussing sports we would go back to video games. Video games are a huge aspect of the twenty-first century and they definitely do not seem to be going away any time soon so it is very important to understand the impact that they have. Video games have grown to be a huge aspect of popular culture and should be analyzed just as much as we constantly analyze literature, film, and art. Even if that includes highlighting what is wrong with what popular culture, like video games,
Video games reflect what society would like them to reflect. Over the past thirty or so years, video games have been growing in production, graphics are getting better, stories are becoming more and more involved, and gaming has gone past just the group of kids that would go to an arcade with a bag of quarters and attempt to get the highest score. So when video games begin to show off a large degree of violence, most noticeably violence against women, it begins to show off what society really values and what society strives to portray.
I remember being a little kid watching my older cousin and sister play “Duke Nukem and the Land of Babes” on the Playstation and not thinking twice about the graphic images of women that were portrayed. Flash forward about fifteen years and I recently played “Bioshock,” a video game that was prominently discussed in “Women as Background Decorations Part 2,” and witnessed basically everything that was stated in the video. Women were sexual objects, used to fuel the flame under the protagonist’s fight. This sort of stuff really highlights the idea behind women being secondary characters to a protagonist’s fight. It happens in movies, television shows, literature, and even sports games. When these kinds of images are displayed, it just emphasizes the flaw in our society that women are not considered to be as cool and as powerful as men.
Video games also highlight the violence seen in our society. When you play a video game like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Call of Duty” it has the power to desensitize others into believing that this violence is normal and necessary. Although there are both studies for an against the view that violence in video game has any effect on the players, but its still there. It is still making it okay to view this violence and commit violence in video games. Killing a prostitute is just fine in GTA, apparently. It really shows how much violence seems to be okay as long as it’s “fake.”
I think what really reflects how society views critically analyzing games is how those who publicly analyze them are treated. When women like Anita Sarkeesian are sent death threats, rape threats, and have their personal information leaked simply because they believe in analyzing video games and calling out video games for their misogynistic and negative portrayal of women and people of color, there’s some sort of flaw in society in there. There’s a xenophobia portrayed because it is so often that white men are portrayed in a positive and strong light that when people call out others on the need for change, suddenly it is as though the whole world has been turned upside. I think this reaction really shows the xenophobia represented within our society which makes us less likely to like or understand change, which can be really negative for any form of growth.