As the wonderful saying goes, ‘opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one.’ and whilst we live in an age where thoughts and feelings can be so easily shared, it is only a limited few who enjoy having someone else’s arsehole shoved into their face. That being said after watching the recent trailer for Destructive Creations new isometric shooter ‘Hatred’, I felt compelled to drop my trousers and indeed, shove my arsehole into your face.
Before I go any further, I do realise that there is a sense of contradiction in what I am saying. I enjoy using twitter, reading reviews, listening to podcasts etc. All forms of media with which opinions are shared, so with that being said, shall we continue??
If you haven’t watched the trailer yet then allow me a moment to explain the premise. Hatred is about a man who seems to have given up on life, his anger and rage have consumed all parts of his moral fibre and he decides he wants to die. He will not be going alone however, as depicted in the trailer the ‘star of the show’ arms himself with all manner of destructive tools as he plans to murder as many people as he can before he himself is slain.
An interesting concept you may think, it’s not that far removed from such films such as ‘Falling Down’ or ‘Taxi Driver’ and there has been scenes in recent games where slaying the ‘innocent’ is an option, or indeed necessity. Some have been met with great commercial success whilst others have flopped, gone, but never forgotten. It is the fact that we remember games such as Postal, Manhunt, Carmageddon and ‘that’ scene from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is because they are controversial and therefore receive a lot of attention.
It is here that we find ourselves at the door of Hatred. The first few seconds of the trailer had me intrigued, I enjoy violent games and the premise seems OK, I get to shoot and kill things, it’s something I’ve done many, many times in my virtual life and I have yet to grow wary of it. It was the final 30 seconds or so however where things changed.
The sheer brutality of what I had witnessed I found morally questionable. Slaughtering people at close range whilst they beg for the life just seems wrong, even for a videogame. As any gamer will tell you, the immersion and escapism that games offer are unique. Watching a movie, reading a book, attending the theatre or favourite sporting event are all sedentary experiences, we merely watch as the story unfolds. Videogames offer something more, they are an opportunity to witness the story first hand and play an active role in how and when this story develops. It is an emotional experience, whether you are leading your favourite sports team to glory, running amok on the fields of battle, building your ideas of utopia or simply jumping on your friends, the emotional stimulus is at the heart of every great game and it is what keeps us coming back for more.
This is why, based solely on the trailer, I don’t think Hatred is a game for me. Gaming should be about experiencing what would either be unachievable or replicating the fantastic. It is by no means a sterile pastime, you are not merely pressing buttons making the on screen characters dance to your every whim, is a true interactivity.
Many actors will tell you it is often more fun to play the villain; you are free from the shackles of conformity, truly free to act however you please. Videogames present us with this opportunity and it is indeed enjoyable, but only as a form of escapism. The violence portrayed in Hatred seems to lack any real context and I fear that it will take me to a very dark place indeed and I don’t see the fun in that.
As a society it is important to push perceived boundaries and challenge the status-quo. Some of the greatest forms of art have come from this and it’s only natural that videogames follow suit. If we want to live in a society where freedom of speech is encouraged then there will inevitably be things we will disagree with or things which will cause offence, and that’s OK. It’s only when we go too far that we know where too far really is.