Why are we Drawn to Guns in Games and Movies?


#1

Austin, Rob and Patrick and myself took some time today to discuss our week of writing stories about the relationship between guns and games. We interviewed a game developer who never shoots in games, an academic who studies the relationship between games and violence (and lack of strong correlation), and wrote and edited critical pieces on games as cultural objects, customizable trophies, and much, much more. We also discuss Canadian pizza and Far Cry 5, because, of course we do.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ywxvg5/guns-games-movies-waypoint-radio

#2

Here’s a link to the This American Life segment about the Democratic Party mentioned during the podcast.


#3

Thank youuu! I was about to look it up.

I adore these theme weeks and I hope to see more! Both this and At Play in the Carceral State have been extremely interesting and I’ve learned SO MUCH from each.

On the subject of pacifism in games, Bar SK (a local ‘games’ bar filled with weird games and handmade controllers, if you’re ever in Melbourne check it out) are running an exhibit called Harmless, in which they’ve actually removed the ability to shoot in any of the games. So doom has no shoot button, you have to play through CoD 4 relying only on your AI squadmates etc. It’s super cool to see.

You can see photos of the setups here https://twitter.com/SK_Louie/status/976712264060256256

Also shoutouts to the Wolf3D mod that Louie (Bar SK owner) made that turned it into a game about petting dogs.


#4

I never played it, but there was a Wii game called Endless Ocean that’s just about underwater ocean photography. I hear it’s not a bad game either. Wii emulation via Dolphin is pretty good for most games if that’s your speed.


#5

Damn, that takes me back! I played a lot of Endless Ocean when I was 11-12. Not that I’d put much stock in my younger self to recognise a good video game, but I did play a lot of wildlife photography sims and the like back in the day.

In particular, there were these weird small-scale god games, Venture Africa and Venture Arctic - made by the designer of Monaco, no less - that were basically real-time strategy sims about populating ecosystems with animals and making them sustainable through understanding the food chain and the changing seasons. Probably not a genre that will see a resurgence anytime soon, anyhow.


#6

There was also that Afrika game for the PS3 where you’re a photographer.


#7

I’ve got homework!
Btw the articles this “gun week” were great, congrats everyone.


#8

Yeah, I dunno, something’s sticking in my craw about this episode–some complicated feels, and some simple feels.

I’ll just start bluntly; it feels like you guys are talking out of both sides of your mouth whenever you get into politics. Zacny came close to a moment of introspection early on in the episode, talking about how guns function as vehicles for power fantasies, allowing us to resolve profound issues in very short amounts of time, and then… and then… a disappointing reversion to “edgy” political glibness. This American Life really stuck it to those Dems, for once, amirite? There was no further probing about the intersections of power fantasies with the other dominant ideologies affecting us like patriarchy; if you look at who actually holds strong gun regulation positions, they tend to be women, and they tend to have their concerns dismissed as unserious through application of gender norms.

We actually just had a really big test of how serious gun regulation ranks in the coalition of left concerns, and a lot of people with access to microphones told us that it was far more preferable to elect a politician with strong class stance and a particularly male-coded way of delivering speeches, rather than his opponent with a stronger gun-control stance and her unfortunate female-coded tropes of incrementalism and compromise. Such low-energy policies like gun-control couldn’t actually be popular with a broad swath of Democratic voters, so the fact that more people voted for her than her opponent is evidence of corruption by The Establishment.

And so, Zacny gets caught in his own snare and comes a hairs-breadth close to saying that y’know, the real problem is identity politics, rather than naming the specific identity that’s actually been in control of the debate for a long-ass time. Do you think the podcast would come to the same equivocal position if the panel was three ladies and a dude?


#9

Finished listening to the Gun story Radiolab podcast that was mentioned. It basically covers three landmarks in American gun history: The Black Panthers in the 1960’s, the NRA becoming a political activist group via a coup, and the Supreme Court ruling in 2008.
What a difference between the Black Panthers and Heller (the man the NRA chose to base on their supreme court case around)! On one hand, you’ve got a group using guns to fight for social justice, and on the other this guy Heller who comes off as a petulant child wanting a toy, for no other reason than he wanted one and he’s an american and should get what he wants. Two guesses who the justice system rewards. Hard not be be cynical after listening to this.
link to podcast