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Kontra Kommando

Violent Video Games: The Gorier the Better?


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Story and gameplay aside, does blood and gore matter to you in a violent video game? Certainly, games like Soldier of Fortune stood out because of the unprecedented level of gore it had during the time of its release. But do you feel as though the visceral carnage enhances the experience? Do you find it upsetting when games like Manhunt 2 are watered down because of flak from parent-groups and politicians? Granted, you can still play a good violent video game that isn't gory; Golden Eye and Bioshock come to mind. But do you think Bioshock would be even more enjoyable if the blood and guts splattered in a realistic fashion? Would a game like Skyrim be more enjoyable if it had Fallout 3’s level of gore? But also, is too much blood and gore unsatisfying? Is it better when game violence tries best to resemble actual violence?

Vote and discuss.

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I think that blood doesn't have to be in all violent video games, but if it's added in it's not the end of the world. The blood can make it feel more realistic at times, which can be a good thing, but if you put it tons and tons of blood it can be gross. Really, in my opinion you don't need blood to make a kill satisfying. In games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl it was always satisfying to knock the other player of a platform and see that explosion type animation.

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There are a few steps in between some of the poll items so I can't really answer. Like, exploding a zombie into tons of chunks and a big red smear in Doom 3 with a hand grenade is very satisfying, but to say it's realistic is a real stretch. And it doesn't need to be - in fact, if it were, and were just gross instead of amusing (ragdoll bouncing randomized giblets), I wouldn't like it.

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Yeah, I love a good red splash when I hit things in a game. But only insofar as a good confirmation of a hit/kill -- if it's all over the fucking place, it makes things unclear.

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Voted Jack Thompson. Gore means nothing to me, I don't care either way. Blood is good as visual feedback for hits, but it does nothing beyond that. Animation work, explosions are much more relevant.

For fun, I swapped the blood to flowers in Serious Sam and after ten minutes, I couldn't see the difference at a conscious level anymore. I had to stop and look. Didn't even realise Fallout 3 had gore until reading your OP (and I've clocked a solid hundred hours or so in F3 + F3NV). Sometimes, I randomly pick up heads and throw them at NPCs, and yet somehow it didn't register.

Poll choices are poor, though. You make it sound like stuff should be in game based on whether you like it or not. Personally, I can see even though it's not my thing blood and gore are big to some people, and if it's implemented well it doesn't hurt me any, so I'm all for it. Lacking options to remove blood and gore is just as stupid as censoring blood and gore entirely, though.

I'd draw the line at super realistic and gruesome violence to the point I would finally take notice (as, again, it's all pointless to me, I just want to play the game, anything that throws me out of it is a negative), but most video games don't really come anywhere close to that level, so I'm cool with that.

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Phml's response is music to my ears. I guess what I was alluding to is that clarity in gameplay is far preferential to "durrr, blood n stuff lol". I don't mind a few crimson splats as I play, but randomly-coloured square particles will do the same job just fine.

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Eh, not necessarily 'better' at all. It should generally serve to merely reflect the type/amount of damage inflicted. When you go overboard with it, it just looks fucking retarded, gets in the way, and is probably there to serve as a distraction to try and cover up shitty gameplay.

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Yeah, I'm with Phml although I picked option #1 because I do enjoy campy gore sometimes, but only if it fits the aesthetic / feel of the game. Spec Ops : The Line is the last modern shooter that had hyperrealistic (as in, over-the-top) gore than I appreciate. This is because it matched the feeling the game was going for.

Re gore effects as gameplay feedback: I also agree with this philosophy. I liked the gibs in Quake 2 deathmatch, mostly because they indicated a level of damage inflicted over the necessary amount to kill the other player. It had nothing to do with bloodlust, but everything to do with scoring imaginary damage points.

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Phml said:

Voted Jack Thompson. Gore means nothing to me, I don't care either way. Blood is good as visual feedback for hits, but it does nothing beyond that. Animation work, explosions are much more relevant.

For fun, I swapped the blood to flowers in Serious Sam and after ten minutes, I couldn't see the difference at a conscious level anymore. I had to stop and look. Didn't even realise Fallout 3 had gore until reading your OP (and I've clocked a solid hundred hours or so in F3 + F3NV). Sometimes, I randomly pick up heads and throw them at NPCs, and yet somehow it didn't register.

Poll choices are poor, though. You make it sound like stuff should be in game based on whether you like it or not. Personally, I can see even though it's not my thing blood and gore are big to some people, and if it's implemented well it doesn't hurt me any, so I'm all for it. Lacking options to remove blood and gore is just as stupid as censoring blood and gore entirely, though.

I'd draw the line at super realistic and gruesome violence to the point I would finally take notice (as, again, it's all pointless to me, I just want to play the game, anything that throws me out of it is a negative), but most video games don't really come anywhere close to that level, so I'm cool with that.


I'm currently playing Fallout 3 (or any of that series) for the first time. It actually motivated me to write this thread. One, because of the comparison to Skyrim. Two because of the Bloody Mess perk that I enabled in the game. I thought the game had a good level of gore prior to unlocking this. Now, if I pull off a head shot on someone, their arms and legs explode off their body. Though I can look past it, and keep on playing, I think this feature had a negative impact on my playing experience. Not because I'm offended by gore, but because it was just too silly looking, and less satisfying.

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I was kind of disappointed that the gore was removed from Quake Live when I first started playing it. Now I don't notice/care about it anymore, no time to care if something explodes into red blobs or orange sparks.

Maybe in singleplayer games there's more time to notice/care about it.

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Where does Postal 2 rank on that list? The gore itself is quite realistic (actually, without the AW expansion, it's normally little more then boring/generic blood squirting, bouncing heads and charred bodies), but it does have some "perks" like vomit, disease and over-the-top situations to set it apart ;-)

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It brings some satisfaction when you obliterate enemy with minigun in short range, or HE round blasts enemy out from existence. For the record, I liked FEAR's Particle gun when it disintegrated enemy into charred skeleton.

But generally, I don't mind gore. Only some blood puff or similar that tells I hit enemy is enough some cases.

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Hmmm... Speaking as someone who pretty much only ever plays DOOM, I find that that's pitched about right for my tastes: cartoony violence and gore, not at all realistic, but not distracting and over the top either.

Recently, I watched a friend playing through the new Bioshock game, and to be honest I found the violence and gore too graphic, and imbued with sense of realism, for my tastes. That's not to say that I'm overly squeamish - really I'm not. Rather, things that are more in that vein - aiming for realistically depicted violence - seem to me to be offering a kind voyeurism that I'm not at all interested in participating in.

As such...

Poll said:

I want to see what a shotgun blast to the face really looks like (realistic violence)

I'm utterly baffled as to why anyone would want to see this.

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Maes said:

Where does Postal 2 rank on that list? The gore itself is quite realistic (actually, without the AW expansion, it's normally little more then boring/generic blood squirting, bouncing heads and charred bodies), but it does have some "perks" like vomit, disease and over-the-top situations to set it apart ;-)


I'd say it falls under realistic. For the top choice, "More gore the Better", I mean more on the lines of games like Mortal Kombat, where an upper-cut lets out gallons of blood.

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Kontra Kommando said:

I mean more on the lines of games like Mortal Kombat, where an upper-cut lets out gallons of blood.


Speaking of which, I still didn't "get" why they went with fake-ass plastic mannequin dismemberments (with abnormal numbers of legs and arms, too, e.g. 5 arms, 3 legs) in MK3, rather than the realistic ones in MK1/MK2.

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Maes said:

Speaking of which, I still didn't "get" why they went with fake-ass plastic mannequin dismemberments (with abnormal numbers of legs and arms, too, e.g. 5 arms, 3 legs) in MK3, rather than the realistic ones in MK1/MK2.


I think they were trying to make it goofier as a way to tone down the violence, without necessarily scaling back on it.

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Not sure I can vote, because honestly, it depends on the type of game I'm playing. Blood and gore is a tool, a visceral enhancement of a game, and it doesn't bother me at all, but it certainly doesn't need to be there in some games. I'd have no desire at all to see it in a Mario game for instance, and it would do nothing to enhance a game like that.

It's right at home in a game like Doom or Dead Space, and it's done the right way in those games: excessively, with a touch of realism. Doom 3's splatter system, for instance, is realistic in portraying how blood would tend to spray the adjacent wall when someone is shot, but beyond that, there's not much that's realistic about the blood and gore in the game.

On the next tier, you have a game like the most recent Mortal Kombat, which (probably on purpose) just takes blood and gore to ridiculously stupid levels, to the point where it just feels mind-numbing and masturbatory. I have very little desire to ever see that amount of blood in most games.

The thing is, some games really undershoot realism in portraying an accurate amount of blood (COD and Crysis come to mind), and said games also tend not to portray bodily deformations that would result from something like a gunshot wound to the head. Other games overshoot the 'realistic' mark by so far that it becomes ridiculous. I've seldom seen games that actually ARE realistic in their portrayal of bodily harm.

Like I said though, what I want in a game as far as blood and gore just depends on the type of game I am playing. I'd have little desire to see a game depict what these types of injuries actually look like, because it would do little to enhance the satisfaction of a game.

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It would have to be a pretty special game that got me to appreciate truly realistic gore. Most of the time it just feels like the devs took themselves too seriously, and the results therefore feel at odds with the tone of the rest of the game. It doesn't help that most of the attempts at realism fail miserably.

A find a subtle approach to realism (e.g. pools of blood beneath corpses, low damage threshold) much more convincing than most of the hyperreal schlock that's supposed to pass as real death.

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I was about to say... anybody who has seen actual videos or simulations of bodily injuries, such as gunshot wounds and the like, know that they tend to be rather underwhelming in comparison to how they're portrayed in games. That's why I just can't see it enhancing a game in most cases.

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Caffeine Freak said:

I was about to say... anybody who has seen actual videos or simulations of bodily injuries, such as gunshot wounds and the like, know that they tend to be rather underwhelming in comparison to how they're portrayed in games. That's why I just can't see it enhancing a game in most cases.


Agreed, like I said in a previous post, I liked the violence in Fallout 3 less after I enable the bloody mess perk.

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Maes said:

plastic mannequin dismemberments (with abnormal numbers of legs and arms, too, e.g. 5 arms, 3 legs) in MK3


The first time I saw this happen, I couldn't stop laughing. Even by MK's already ludicrous standards, MK3 was so OTT that it almost felt like a parody of itself.

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This would be a good standard for "realistic" video game gore (other than the enemy taking so many shots to die).

It's also my favorite episode of That 70's Show!

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Kontra Kommando said:

I think this feature had a negative impact on my playing experience. Not because I'm offended by gore, but because it was just too silly looking, and less satisfying.

Bloody mess is just a bad perk to choose, period. The 5% damage bonus is mostly worthless and if every corpse explodes everywhere you're going to have to sit around and sift through the chunks if you want to loot every dead body, which you should.

Also, I didn't vote because this is a boring 20 year old argument.

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