Hatred and the Catharsis of Violence

 Pages PREV 1 2

While at first some of the arguments made sound plausible, for people that can actually differentiate between fiction and reality (like his son) they really aren't or shouldn't be. At the end of the day it's just another article trying to persuade people that "killing" pixels on a screen of a specific shape or form is "bad" or "morally wrong" (and the author needs his flimsy moralistic rationalization/pretense for doing so and being allowed to have fun like "going on a jingoistic war effort and killing evil Nazis/Terrorists/Russians because they deserve it" or "killing bad gang members and criminals") and he has finally found the formula of where exactly this moral border that shouldn't be crossed should be.

Many people seem to think that the negative reaction to Hatred is influenced primarily by moral outrage, but it's not always the case. The main issue seems to be a complete lack of self-awareness and taste on the developers' parts (unless the game is a very elaborate satire, but I doubt it).

Look at it this way. Transformers 4 and Mad Max: Fury Road are completely filled with over-the-top action, cars and explosions. Yet one is considered the absolute nadir of action cinema while the other has been critically acclaimed. It's not about the content, it's about the execution. And Hatred's approach towards its subject matter (from what the promotional material has shown), is absolutely juvenile and tasteless. Sure, I don't think it should be banned, but I think it's important to recognise the difference between something that is well-executed and something that is not.


If the developers painted all the NPCs in Hatred green and set the story against a "zombie outbreak" with the army working against the player to keep it quarantined or something equally stupid as a plot it'd be hailed as a great awesome gory zombie shooter
If anyone can't differentiate between fiction and reality, the problem is usually not with the fiction.


[...]I think that the sole point of Hatred's 'story' is that it truly represents acts of hatred. The name itself points out what the game's focus is all about.

Humans have hatred in them, the reasons behind the hatred itself vary from understandable to ludicrous but the hatred is still there. Depicting true hatred, because that's what this game is all about, is in it's own way; honest with the darkest parts of our nature. Art represents our inner world and if video games are to be considered artful they will have to represent the darkest corners of our souls as well.

And here we reach the epitome of the issue, I think. Gamers as a whole are pretty damn good at dealing with dissociating themselves from games with the knowledge that pixels are pixels and computational math is not bothered with the concept of morality. But to the rest of the outside world - especially when you add in the element of tactile feedback that comes from gaming - the immersion of it can become confusing. And when the average first-world white-picket-fence person is immersed in a story that emphasizes the darkest part of people with no redemption (and even the SAW films had a thin veneer of moral redemption in their stories, iirc) it's going to make them incredibly uncomfortable.

I kinda liken it to a child googling the wrong thing and suffering an rather traumatizing awakening. The difference is that adults can't run to their parents and bleatingly cry on a shoulder until the discomfort has passed.

On a personal note, I'm super keen on Hatred. Not only because it's scheduled for release the day before my birthday, but also because I occasionally seek out entertainment that makes me cringe a bit (Read: DeadSpace 2 eye scene, Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and the aforementioned SAW). I like to be reminded that over-the-top pandering-fests like Call of Duty and DMC really ARE over-the-top gloryporn:

I don't like watching The Expendables or Transformers all the time, sometimes I need a little reminder from Pitch Black or Fight Club that other parts of my empathy can still function.

Plus, there's a whole other level of Catharsis here that hasn't been touched from what I've read -
I know a lot of people, myself included, who went through nihilistic, emotional phases in their childhoods/teens and had similar "Fuck humanity, you're all scum, the world is horrible" mindsets who can use this game as a way to subconsciously (or consciously) put all that angsty self-pitying crap to bed with a flamethrower.

My favourite album of all time (None So Vile by Cryptopsy)

There's someone else on here?! I'll never forget when I decided to play the drums, I was like 15 and I found out that Flo Mounier was an actual person and that a human could defeat the dry drum machine-core out there. Anyway.

I'll probably try Hatred out of morbid curiosity, which is probably most of the sales the dev expect (if they're expecting much at all), and I too am one of those people who couldn't handle having blown up Megaton. I don't think we've seen enough of it to really know the context of the whole experience, but I'm pretty sure dizzy here is on point in comparing it to death metal/grindcore lyrics. I don't consider None so Vile to be an instruction manual, and I'm sure Hatred won really be much of a "spree killer simulator" in that regard. We'll see though, they've got some bit of my curiosity.

It's far more about us and our reaction to it than the game. If pixels were people, all gamers would be fucking monsters. Because we've all sniped a soldier in the nads just to do it. We've all snuck up on someone and placed three charges of C4 right behind them. We've all gone out of our way to run someone down in a vehicle and then reverse over them a few times and we've all had far more fun with bodies and ragdoll physics than would seem appropriate. We all smiled with glee when doing it. Your argument only works if we do the bare minimum to kill these characters that get in our way. Having a reason to do it (they're a jerk) flies right out of the window when you don't just shoot them, but fill them with enough bullets that they'll be able to open a pencil factory in the next life. There's no good reason for that, no matter how much of a jerk they are. It doesn't matter if a character is meant to be your enemy when you cackle with glee as you launch them a hundred feet in the air with your explosives rather than just shooting them. That's gone beyond violence for a reason into violence for the sake of violence, which is what hatred is.

At the start of the Hatred trailer, the protagonist puts all of his gear (two magazines, two grenades and a knife) into the same pocket. Distribute your load!

Why? He wants to die!

It is interesting how with every new art for there is outcry that it will influence horrible things in society. History has shown that there is nothing to worry about. Not to suggest that violence in video games causes less violence, but the correlation does seem to go that way.

I once ready paper about a study that suggested that violent porn helped reduce urges in violent sex offenders. It gave them a sage place to release those urges. I do not know if that study was done very well, but I wonder how it could relate to this issue.

I personally think that with the new wave of attacks on video games implying they cause violence or sexism is pretty funny. These ideas have already been shown to be foolish, but somehow people still take these ideas seriously.

I also think that the massive attack on video games is causing a demand for more violent and or sexism video games. Kind of like how telling people rape jokes should not be told makes them more funny.

Hatred isn't art. The developers themselves said so.

Have you seen how some players attack friendly NPCs and allies to see how the game handles it? Are they immune to your attacks? Do they just flinch and complain but never die? Do they retaliate and hurt you or try to kill you? Do you lose instantly? I wonder what would happen if I played Hatred without shooting or attacking anyone.

Didn't we have this debate already over Super Columbine Massacre RPG?

Honestly this game sounds kind of interesting to me. It sounds like it's deliberately going out of it's way to make you feel uncomfortable playing the protagonist. The point made in this article about feeling no catharsis because we're not killing people 'who deserve it' seems to be exactly what this game is shooting for. It would sound ludicrous to suggest that violence in movies should only be directed towards bad or evil characters, wouldn't it?

I've seen comparisons between this game and Penderecki's 'Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima' around the net, and I think the comparison is valid, in that they are works of art not meant to be 'enjoyed', but creating more negative emotions in the audience instead.

I really liked the level headed approach to this article and I agree with the idea. My only complaint is I want to know what he thinks about Postal's comparison to Hatred. Postal 2 and Postal are not the same thing, Postal 2 tried to be some form of satire, you get attacked by human caricatures of annoying people like he mentions, but Postal 1 was a completely different beast. Postal 1 was almost exactly like Hatred (or at least what we all assume Hatred is going to be). You spawn in, you shoot people who are minding their own business, they scream and beg, can be executed, and there is no attempt to characterize or make us sympathize with the protagonist. The only real difference between Postal and Hatred (aside from graphical) is that Postal did offer the ability to not kill "innocent" people, you would progress by killing a certain percentage of the hostile enemies who seemed to be reactionary and merely trying to stop your rampage, and it takes an insane amount of effort to actually beat the game without harming any non-combatants.

I would like to see Shamus examine Postal 1, but I really enjoyed his analysis of other games that Hatred keeps getting compared to because he was very effective at explaining why those comparison's don't stand up. Additionally, as someone who wants to see what Hatred is as a game, I am glad he didn't attempt to sway influence one way or the other about it's existence.


My favourite album of all time (None So Vile by Cryptopsy)

There's someone else on here?! I'll never forget when I decided to play the drums, I was like 15 and I found out that Flo Mounier was an actual person and that a human could defeat the dry drum machine-core out there. Anyway.

I'll probably try Hatred out of morbid curiosity, which is probably most of the sales the dev expect (if they're expecting much at all), and I too am one of those people who couldn't handle having blown up Megaton. I don't think we've seen enough of it to really know the context of the whole experience, but I'm pretty sure dizzy here is on point in comparing it to death metal/grindcore lyrics. I don't consider None so Vile to be an instruction manual, and I'm sure Hatred won really be much of a "spree killer simulator" in that regard. We'll see though, they've got some bit of my curiosity.

Oh, blowing up Megaton... Not even Moira seemly clueless that she just survived an atomic explosion as a ghoul cheered me enough (in some way it made it even sadder).

Hmm. Interesting take.

I certainly feel what Shamus says about, effectively, catharsis. I had a really bad week a few years ago where I was in a head-on traffic accident (the other driver's fault entirely), and then got rear-ended on the way to the courthouse to file the accident report. For a while there, playing something like Saints Row and pushing cars out of the way before taking a short cut onto the sidewalk and down an unpaved hill gave me a genuine feeling of relief.

As far as Hatred goes, I'm less inclined to cite something like GTA as a comparison than, say, Carmageddon. Mowing down shrieking innocents for points, sometimes as the goal. The style is more cartoonish, and the individual deaths go by in seconds, but I think there's some parallel there, at least to the point where I'd hesitate to say that something like Hatred has never been done before.

Of course, Hatred clearly takes its time to, erm, "savor" the murder of its victims, and I can't blame anyone for finding that disturbing. As for me, I might have to actually play the thing before I feel I can render judgement.

As stated before Hatred isn't new, its just a clone of the original Postal games.

Hatred isn't any more violent or morally questionable then any game where you go on a murder spree. In most games you commit mass murder. Even Mario commits an insane amount of violence, what exactly did the Koopa people do to deserve receiving 1000s of deadly curb stomps and having their ruler tossed into a vat of lava? Kidnapping...?

By writing articles on Hatred, you play into the exact game the developers are trying to drum up. The best thing you can do for Hatred is to talk about it all.

Hatred isn't new, isn't interesting, isn't worth talking about, isn't wrong, isn't anything. Its just another game on Steam, of which there are many more interesting starving creative works that need more attention. And most of those works you also commit mass murder.

you see a world of shallow people driving cars they cant afford to jobs they hate to pay for shit they didn't want **snip**

I know you didn't mean to quote Fight Club, and I'm not mentioning that other than to find it kind of funny but my real response is thus:

I've never honestly felt that way about life. I need to pay rent, keep utilities running, food on the table, clothes on my back and gas in the car. Maintenance on the car too. Those are things I need in this modern age to survive, and also to provide for my family. I've never felt those things as "shit I don't need". Thats a very narrow view of people to have of people you don't even know. You don't know their motivations, why they get out of bed every morning and go to work, braving the hellish commutes and such. So how can you even attribute that ideal to a whole? Its a stereotype of people, and its kinda wrong to look at them that way.
I mean you may totally be right about some people being shallow assholes who drive shit they can't afford to jobs they hate and pay for shit they don't need, but right alongside that yapping assjack on his iphone doing 80mph weaving through traffic in a BMW SUV yelling to his secretary about how he doesn't need this job but shows up anyway may be a guy who drives a modest Honda Civic who has a sick wife at home who can't work, deals with personal issues on a scale most people wouldn't understand, a 15 year old daughter who just started high school and just happens to be beautiful so that makes him worry all the more about her safety and security while he's doing his best to make ends meet on a daily basis, and sometimes going without so his family can get what they need.
You don't know who may be sitting next to you at any given time, whether they be serial killer, serious jackass, a Neil DeGrasse Tyson or just a regular guy who gave up his dreams to raise a family and struggle mightily against a system that doesn't care about ANY of those people.

I've met a few people in life who are as you described but they were few and far between the people I've met that are good hardworking and honest decent folk, from all levels be they poor, rich or somewhere in the middle.

Its not good when you start viewing other people through that type of lens.


Since Shamus mentioned it: Can I just say that I never got the point of punching the journalist in ME? Most people, both in the story and out, seem to feel she was some kind of evil muckraking paparazi. Why? Cause she asked questions other than "What's it like to be so awesome?" Asking critical questions of high-profile people, especially those involved in events with large casualties, is kind of what a reporter is supposed to do. She asks pointed questions, sure, but she lets you answer them on your own terms, and those answers apparently go on the air unedited. It never sat right with me that everyone (including the reporter herself, once the camera was off) treated this as unacceptable behavior, to the point where you get paragon point for not punching her in the face.

Would like to echo this sentiment. I was quite shocked to find out punching her was not just an option, but a recurring one. She always gave rather pleasant and hopeful reports on my Shepard.

Is that so? You sure you're remembering right? Unless you're joking?

If you saved the council, she focuses on how human lives were sacrificed. If you didn't save the council, then she says you abandoned them.

I've kinda ignored hatred, it looked to me, and still looks to me, like the game version of the goth middleschooler who cuts themselves. It strikes me as a game for people in that phase of their life, and eventually things will get better and they'll move on emotionally, but in the meantime, that's a place for them to get it off their backs, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I also can't really think of a game that does the same thing, and if hatred really is unique in it's bare-bones type of horror, then that should be appreciated, video games are an artistic medium, so we should be free to explored these themes, and if there is some subversive purpose in the game of mass killing while taking away the usual justified context, then i say kudos for trying something so daring, even when it means dealing the the "moral guardians". Again, i don't know how refined these concepts are in the actual game, or how intentional they may be. The creators could have just been trying to cheaply pander to that narrow depressed middleschooler demographic, but of course it deserves to exist, and if there's some artistic merit to be found anywhere, then that's a good thing for everyone.

Hatred doesn't strike me as anything particularly new.

It's another game, playing off the "Too Hot for Stores" and conflates its value through its controversy. By using the surface of "being banned", it's instead generated much more pre-orders and sales and free advertisement just by its content alone.

But the thing is, you don't need a game to be controversial or uber-violent or gratuitous for the sake of gratuity to make it good. I've played plenty of games where the player character doesn't so much as throw a punch that was still as engaging. Now, does that mean violence or gratuity are indicators that a game is bad? Of course not. But that doesn't mean it's guaranteed Hatred's going to be the next Ocarina of Time.

At the end of the day, it's the quality of the content that matters. I've seen pieces of art with the most positive messages but with terrible executions. I've seen pieces of art with deplorable messages but well executed storytelling. There's a difference between South Park and Brickleberry.

"It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it." -Roger Ebert.

 Pages PREV 1 2

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here