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Do You Feel Guilty for Killing?

Laurel Correa, Students Opinion Writer

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Many can agree that the “enemies” as described by Daniel Correa, a freshman at Seward High School, such as the Aliens, Zombies and Nazi’s of our video games very well may be the easiest of them all to kill. And do so without the shyest glimpse of a second thought. However, other gamers might disagree, which brings questions to mind.

Have you ever played a game that made you stop for a second to think about the virtual violence you were inflicting? Or do you lay waste to your enemies without a second thought? Is there anything that makes you hesitate before pulling the virtual trigger?

According to Daniel E. Slotnik, a writer for the New York Times, during a video game review on “Putting the Guilt Back in Killing: Game Features Zombies With a Little Soul,” Chris Suellentrop shows us two points of view about what he sees happening through some of the world’s more popular games:

  1. Dehumanizing the Enemy

“What’s distinct about the video game strain of the infection is that ‘Zombies’ and ‘Nazis’ are usually interchangeable concepts. Each is presented as a dehumanized enemy that won’t make players feel guilty for all the exultant violence they inflict. The zombie apocalypse neatly removes thorny questions of morality and makes the action about as fraught as gobbling the ghosts in Pac-Man or blasting the descending aliens in Space Invaders.”

       2. The Enemy a Soul

“Given the new dawn for the dead, it’s unsurprising that ‘The Walking Dead,’ the popular comic book turned even more popular AMC television series, has now been given its own video game adaptation. What’s unexpected and welcome about this new treatment of Robert Kirkman’s fiction is how different it is from the other entries in gaming’s New Zombie Wave. The Walking Dead’s zombies aren’t just soulless. They’re soulful, too — killing one actually means something.”

Seward High School’s Senior James Helberg claims he plays mostly violent video games, some rated under “Thriller” ranking as his favorite. His examples included “Call of Duty, Zombies,” “The Fallout Series,” “Dishonored,” and other games all revolving around killing. He says that from the start he has “never given it a second thought.” He continued explaining these games start you off killing from the beginning, and that is how you move forward and eventually win them. “It’s your job,” Daniel added.

To continue, after Daniel and James finished with their first responses, they were asked, “Is there anything that might make you hesitate to pull the trigger?” Daniel instantly replied with “animals.” Having a soft spot for them, he claimed that it wasn’t just any animal; it was the ones that are cute and have personalities or ones that were a reminder of your pets. However, James included that the harder ones were people that you previously interacted with, people with a personality that “made you love them as a character,” and when it came down to it made you feel bad for having to “take them out,” as Daniel would describe it.

After getting brief responses from other students around the school, who were known to play different sorts of video games, most agreed that by killing, you’re moving on to the next part of the game. They don’t feel guilty about killing someone in a video game because they’re nothing more than a fictional character.

“It’s not like you’re actually killing them,” multiple students replied. And in the end, they don’t feel conflicted when playing any violent video games because they “want them to die, to move on to the next level, and win the game.”


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