When I was a wee little boy I did things boys usually do. I hung out with other boys doing boy stuff. One of those boys stuff was shooting a sling shot, or “kettie”, at random objects because that brought me pleasure. This was before HD TV you see. One faithful day I ventured out with my “kettie” into the legendary mine heaps of Kimberley and decided that today I was going to hunt something. So off I went armed with all my knowledge of stealth I learned from episodes of “Die Swart Kat” and searched for my target. It wasn’t long until I found a “mossie” and started pelting it with rocks. This went on for a couple of hours – needless to say I wasn’t the best shot – but sooner or later, I ended up with a dead bird in my hands.
Now this was a type of passage into manhood in my environment. My dad killed birds, as did his dad before him. It was just something we did. But I stood there and all I felt was a whole bunch of stupid. Since then I have never killed another animal ever again. I mean, I eat enough meat that I am probably the reason a lot of them are dead, and I am not anti-hunting at all. Hell, I have done my fair share of cutting meat off dead animals after my uncle bought some wild. You know… for biltong. I just never physically killed one.
Fast forward to three weeks ago and I popped in Far Cry 3. Now for the five of you that haven’t played this game yet, you get to kill a lot of animals, with a lot of different weapons. For example, you get to shoot a leopard with a shotgun. I don’t think you are legally allowed to do that in real life. That is what is so amazing about gaming you see. You get to do a lot of things you will never do in real life.
But this got me thinking. What about the really bad things you get to do in games? I mean, most games you are killing people? In GTA alone you can drive over civilians, kill hookers to get your money back or just take a bazooka to the traffic (something I really feel like doing sometimes. WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT AT WORK?!). All things I have done myself in games. For me, most of these things are a form of stress relief. I find pleasure in wrecking digital havoc. It is fun destroying a car I will never be able to drive let alone own. The things I have done in The Sims, bad things, just to see if I could. In Sim City you get options that bring on death and destruction to the city you just spent hours building. Are we the people that want to see the world burn?
“Games allow us to do things we can’t in real life” That is a statement I made not too long ago. Whenever I see it though, it just feels wrong. It is true however, but still just feels wrong. That could be what the key is. You know the things you do in games are morally wrong. You also know that it isn’t real. So you snipe that pirate from 1km away, because you can. Also that pirate said a bad word. So he had it coming.
Anyway, this is the last Voice of Doom till 2013 is a week old. Enjoy your holidays, and rather drink and drive in GTA Vice City than in the real world. Stay safe.