Episode 491 - Really Proud for that Meat Dog

This week we're discussing Patrick's article talking to Call of Duty Developers after a mass shooting, managing a Motorsport franchise (it's hard!) and the new tricks they taught an old Meat Dog in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. Then we receive some good news and unveil a new Rob power in the Question Bucket.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://shows.acast.com/vicegamingsnewpodcast/episodes/episode-491-really-proud-for-that-meat-dog
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As a Systems Specialist for a school district who was involved in the construction of a new school… the amount of time I dedicate to preparing for a shooter situation is kind of a lot. I could talk for an hour about all the things I’ve had to engineer/incorporate into systems.

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I’m glad they talked through Patrick’s article here. I thought it was a good piece, but I still came away from it a little unsure where he fell on the premise of Gage’s tweet about how the games industry somehow has to take stock of its shooters. To paraphrase my response on Twitter at the time: I too know the difference between various military firearms as a result of my gaming diet, but I don’t live in a country where I can just walk into a store and buy them with practically zero legal or logistical limitations. There’s a whole world playing the same games, watching the same films, listening to the same music, or whatever other scapegoat you want to raise, but this still only regularly happens in America. As such, it was good to hear a more detailed breakdown of the motivations behind the article and how the gang felt about the topic.

Which is not to say I don’t think there’s anything worth engaging with: as they discussed, I’m sure it must be incredibly difficult to work on shooters when these shootings keep happening. Not because of any responsibility, just because of the context. I was reminded of that recent STALKER 2 dev video where they talked about writing quests involving violence while being shelled in a war. I can’t begrudge anyone looking at the news and deciding not to continue that kind of work. I’m also supportive of a critical analysis of violence in games as much as I am of any other kind of criticism. I’m just very wary of any attempt to frame it, as Gage’s tweet did, as if there was a real reckoning or responsibility to be had. That can only be a distraction from the actual root causes.

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As a norwegian the conversation about school shooting drills and designing schools around the threats of mass violence had me rubbing my temples, you know about the prevalence of mass shootings overseas but to hear the routine and normalisation of it, and how long it’s been a thing is pretty wild.
(not been living under a rock ofc. but it’s still wild to hear their personal experiences)

It really is about policy, regulation and background checks. Easy accessible and highly effective firearms is not a good combination to have.
The rhetoric about guns as a human right and the lack of mental care has done far more damage to human lives than video games, yet there is something to be said about video games as a propaganda vehicle for the us-army and gun culture, though they’re more a symptom than a cause.

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I grew up in the tail of Apartheid, so we did bomb evacuation drills a couple of times a year. We had to specially tag our bags so they could be recognised as legitimate, so I’m not completely unfamiliar with the idea of what American school kids go through, but for us the risk was very distant and unlikely. I can’t begin to imagine what living under the cloud they do is like. Especially with mass shootings being so common.

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I am about four years older than Ren so I share roughly the same experience when it comes to lockdown drills and the mentality she was describing. When I was still in K-12 school I definitely used to think about where I would hide in a given classroom, whether there would be escape routes (out windows, etc.) should there be shooter, what in a given classroom could be used as a weapon against an intruder, etc. I remember my AP US History teacher telling us he felt it would be his responsibility to take a bullet for any of us if he needed to and finding it dire, but not particularly strange to hear that vocalized. We didn’t do many lockdowns because I think being a massive school (~4k students in my HS) made it harder to coordinate, but we did it enough that it was a strange combination of something that was both scary and hard to take seriously in the moment (from the perspective of “how helpful would this actually be”).

There was also an incident where a kid brought a handgun to school, not because he was planning to use it but because he thought it was cool and wanted to show it off. Gun culture is I think also something that’s probably hard to grok for people who haven’t grown up around it, but it’s things like that I think about. There’s the kind of gun culture you find in former military people and enthusiasts and the like who know everything to a T and how to use guns “safely” (and who tend to be very aware of things like range safety and the four rules and such), and there’s the kind of gun culture that sees guns as just cool objects without the kind of respect one should have for something with that kind of power. I do wonder about video games being not a cause, but a symptom of that (cool objects being the center of a lot of the gaming landscape) and I think a lot happens in the divide between say parents who fall into the former group and their children who, growing up around massive gun collections as an object of daily life for example, fall into the latter.

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While I grew up pre-shooting drills, we had regular bomb threats called into the school, which had us all relocated to a nearby community center until the police could determine that things were in fact safe. It didn’t come with the existential anxiety that happens today. We all knew that it was probably someone who really didn’t want to go to school that day and not really anything real.

But. After I graduated, I came across a map for an FPS game that someone had made of our high school. That was fairly chilling at the time. Would have been absolutely terrifying today.

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In the pre-Columbine days, I remember a lot of kids making maps of their schools in Quake and Doom just as a challenge to learn the editing tools. Institutional environments like that are easy to recreate, and kids would already have a solid mental map to work from.

There’s certainly a more sinister tone to that sort of thing now, though.

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Somewhere in south-central Utah, while listening to this episode in the car, my wife said, “Hmm. Motorsport Manager sounds pretty neat.”

She doesn’t play any video games but she is an extraordinary manager of things. We played Motorsport Manager for like five hours today and it was awesome! Han Portlandia, our scrappy ex-driver turned manager, has pushed her team from two bottom of the list showings to a middle of the pack finish that shows real potential and netted us a lovely bonus from our chairwoman as well as an extra payout from a sponsor.

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I had the distinct fortune of growing up in the double whammy of Columbine and 9/11. We were sent home early one day with no idea why only to find out that some food delivery had arrived at our school covered in white powder. I don’t even remember exactly what it was, some other perfectly mundane food item had leaked out but this was the height of anthrax scares so everyone went home.

We lived through one wave of “one of our classmates is going to shoot us up” and another wave of “terrorists are going to kill us.” Oddly though, for my group of friends it was never really on our mind. I remember the biggest change in attitude after Columbine was being super vigilant about our language. A kid got angry and threatened to kill another student, the kind of nonsense that used to happen all the time over the most minor of arguments, and a week later he was gone, expelled and moved to another school system. We were more scared of making what we knew was a minor empty threat between friends and having the hammer come down as hard as possible. Im not here to defend that stupid kind of masculinity after the fact, it’s dumb to talk that way, but it was never a serious threat. I also remember a lot of people being super paranoid about terrorism in a way that never made any sense to us. We were a borderline unknown school in the middle of the woods of a rural area. I used to make fun of people saying that our own state didn’t know where we were and if our school was the target of a terrorist attack the major headline would end in “but why?”

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