So Bullet Storm is this tremendously controversial game. It’s controversial in large part because it wields the titillating blend of extreme violence (nothing at all new) and sexual innuendo. By way of illustration, the game includes these “skill shots” you can do for special points (or whatever, some kind of validation). And these skill shots are called things like “gang bang” and “facial”. And there’s one called “rear entry” which revolves around shooting enemies in the ass.

So that’s the current news on Bullet Storm. It hasn’t actually come out yet.

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media is all upset and saying kind of epically dumb things about games. Notably, Fox has in some capacity claimed the Bullet Storm causes (or, rather, will or would cause) rape. Because, you know, video games… violence… something something… sex… something something… causality something something… rape. QED.

Unsurprisingly part two, the proud defenders of games from these spurious claims have fought back by pointing out that such claims are inane. They’ve deconstructed the various arguments, queried the citation of psychological studies, discredited so called experts and so on. You can get a dose of that over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun if you want it. Nothing much new going on, though as per usual, the defense of games is pretty admirably well reasoned and all. Pretty calm.

In the midst of this, however, I really do find myself missing another kind of voice. Not so much a middle road as just a different perspective on it all. Maybe it’s out there and I’m missing it (like all of us on the internet, I think I can say pretty safely that I miss more or less everything that happens), but the voice would say something like this…

“All this business of precognitively crying “rape trainer!” and assuming rather than showing that video games are a big bad evil is super lame. It’s great that there are people willing to tirelessly respond to it.

“On the other hand… shooting people up the ass? Really? Is that where we are now? Is that what we’re fighting for? Video games, violent ones included, can be the source of much beauty and deep interest, but do we have to also drag ourselves into the fray to defend ass-shooting?

“Further, maybe it is the case that video games do have a bit more to defend. Ass-shooting movies, those that exist, are also a bit of an embarrassment, but video games, where we do the ass-shooting, seem degrading to everyone involved. The ass-shot clearly, but the ass-shooter every bit as much.

“In conclusion, what in the sweet hell is going on with video games? Why are we shooting other people’s asses as part of our daily dose of entertainment? Is it really just fine and dandy that we got here? Or should we be kind of pissed off about it? Shouldn’t we be directing at least some of our displeasure at Bullet Storm and its “rear entry”? Rather than saving it all for the bunch of jerks who criticise our video game life?

“Just say no to ass-shooting.”

Something like that. Don’t quote me on it, though.

15 February 2011
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