Back to the Killing

Tomb Raider

I had relatively “sworn off” doing the killing thing in videogames for the last while – had felt no real urge or interest in playing games in which that was the focal point. But we got a PS4 and it’s a bit unavoidable if you actually want to see what that particular hunk of black plastic can do. So I’ve ended up playing a couple of AAA kill-fests as a matter of course. I played Fallout 4 for a while because I loved the feels involved in navigating the world of Fallout 3, but found it incredibly tiresome unfortunately. I guess 3 did enough for me…

More recently, though, I’ve been going through the PS4 version of Tomb Raider, and, although the endless waves of killing are kind of boring, I’ve been interested to find that I do find it oddly less objectionable than I usually do. Specifically, I think I somehow find it a bit more okay because I’m playing a woman killing gross men. Not that I personally think anyone “deserves” to be killed, perhaps not even in self-defense if I’m being extreme, but there’s a definitely sense of a kind of payback involved in directing Lara to kill this big gross psychopathic dudes that I don’t think I’d feel if she was, say, “Larry Croft”.

Probably there are all kinds of troubling elements whirling around in my psyche in relation to this, but it really feels this way. It’s just refreshing to kill people as a woman, and again I think it may be specifically “killing men”. Somehow, too, the fact I almost always use the bow and arrow feels a bit “fair” or more “personal” than the usual endless gunshots. Not that it actually is fair or personal, but there’s a kind of patina of something there – the way people who kill animals with those weapons instead of guns feel like they’re doing a “better” version of killing animals I suppose. Which is odd, because I don’t identify with those people at all.

Anyway, just reporting in to say that I, Pippin Barr, who basically thinks violence in videogames is bullshit and disturbing, am quietly puttering my way through Tomb Raider and cannot deny that I’m pretty into killing gross dudes with an arrow to the head.

11 May 2016
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