Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Part of me hoped that I was able to put beating the living crap out of women behind me, especially as we look to turn the page on this year, but I guess it wasn’t to be.  Soon after its sudden appearance and equally abrupt disappearance (due to being blocked for an international audience) the Danish anti-violence gamelet Hit the Bitch was discovered by the mainstream blogettantes and predictable levels of opinionifying ensued.  Now, make no mistake, if you’ve read my previous post on the gamelet, you know that I found Hit the Bitch pretty disturbing on many levels and, ultimately, a tragically misguided attempt to mount a provocative intervention in the service of a cause that gets too little attention.  You only have to scratch the surface of our society to find some pretty horrific levels of violence against women, and only the fact that most people engineer their lives to skate comfortably across the surface of life and society ensures that this remains invisible.

Therefore, one would hope, as the developers of the gamelet undoubtedly did, that their work would be controversial, that it would provoke discussion.  But what has been obvious from the blogosphere’s reaction to Hit the Bitch is how insubstantial and inconsequential has been the nature of that discussion.  But that insubstantiality is interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, for those of us who study games and gaming this lack of substantive critical appraisal of games (frequently descending to the level of outright idiocy) is nothing new in the mainstream media.  The mainstream media is–with only rare exceptions–incapable of discussing anything related to electronic gaming with subtlety, insight and nuance (as is abundantly obvious when the media gears up to wring its hands about gaming violence).  Of course, a cynic would say that the same is true of the media’s coverage of anything.  However, we are told ad nauseum that the blogosphere is supposedly the new, hip, interactive, penetraing, insightful, engaged, world-saving alternative to the mainstream media.  It is, therefore, intriguing to find the blogosphere mired in the same lack of critical nous as the mainstream media when it comes to dealing with game-related controversies.  In one sense this is only to be expected.  It is hard to sell subtlety and complexity.  It is easy to sell controversy and outrage if it’s all presented in an easily digestible package.

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(Thanks to Kayla who originally sent me this link).

Some of you may have seen this, during its brief existence on the global web.  The game whose title is also its gameplay directive:

Hit the Bitch.

The game was originally created in Denmark, but has now disappeared for most of the rest of the world.  When you try to click on the game site you receive the following message:

Dear non-danish visitor,

Due to an extremely high amount of traffic “Hit the Bitch” has been limited to only allow users from Denmark.

However, domestic violence is a global problem, so please support the fight against it in your local country.

Thanks for your interest.
Kind regards
Children exposed to Violence at Home

So, let me try to reconstruct for you, as best I can after having played it only once, what this game involved.  It is a Flash game, and it is all in Danish.  One of my goals was to actually get someone to translate the thing when I went back to it, but the site was closed off by that time.  However, to judge from the icons, you are able to control the game either through the mouse or–a more intriguing and disturbing possibility as you’ll see in a minute–a web camera.  Once you have made your selection (I picked mouse because I don’t do the whole webcam thing; no one needs to see me in my tighty whities at 7am searching for navel lint) you are then presented with the head and torso of a woman, rendered in naturalistic video.  The background is otherwise completely black.  In the foreground is a large, relatively realistic, man’s forearm and hand.

On the top left and right respectively are two scoring bars: one is labeled “% pussy” and the other is labeled “% gangsta.”  The woman starts talking at you.  In Danish, unfortunately, but it is clear from her tone and facial expressions that she is not happy.  This is where the kind of international linguistic ability that so many Europeans take for granted would have been really useful.  I’m assuming that what she was saying were insults, some of them impugning my masculinity in general and probably the size of my sexual organs in particular, but that’s just a guess.  Anyway, at a certain point, because there is a forearm just sitting there and it kinda seems as if it ought to be used, you hit her.

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I’m still mulling over the issue of AI in relation to environmental constraints, but I thought it might be nice at this point to remind ourselves what those of us who see value in looking at video games more intelligently are up against when it comes to their portrayal in the mainstream media.  To that end, check out. . .

The Biggest Threats to America’s Youth

Be sure to check out some of the “discussion” in the comments that follows (that may be lending it more dignity than it deserves, but whatever).  What I found really amusing was that so many people didn’t seem to understand that this was satire.  Which is perhaps in itself a tragic commentary on how accurate this table is.

–Twitchdoctor