Games Inbox: Are video games too violent?

Games Inbox: Are video games too violent?

The Morning Inbox thinks Mario Kart 9 should feature the Smash Bros. roster, as one reader looks forward to single-player The Outer Worlds.

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Self-restrain yourself

Every time I look at the news there seems to be a new politician blaming video games for inciting violence, and these mass shootings in America in particular. It seems to me that they’re being set-up as a scapegoat and are very soon going to come under some kind of new censorship. And as another reader has pointed out what happens in America affects everywhere, whether or not their laws affect us.

Even beyond that you can beat British politicians will start parroting the same nonsense, since it only seems to take the smallest nudge for some of them to start talking about banning and regulation. And as has been pointed out Mortal Kombat 11 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare have some terrible timing at the moment, with COD literally looking like it is going to walk into a minefield.

And inevitably the question will be asked whether video games are too violent. And you know what? I think sometimes they are. Mortal Kombat 11 definitely is. You can argue it doesn’t take itself that seriously but it kind of does and it is really gross. Modern Warfare I don’t know because I haven’t played it yet, but based on past performance it probably will be all controversy for controversy’s sake. Although I’ll be happy to be proven wrong if there is strong story and characters to justify it all.

No-one wants censorship but I do wonder if a little self-restraint wouldn’t go a miss too.


Computer companions

The thing I find most exciting about The Outer Worlds is not just that it’s a single-player role-playing game, which I love, but that it’s filled with complex non-player characters that follow you around and help you out. For me this is the real problem with the modern obsession with multiplayer and co-op, not that I don’t like it but that they keep putting those options into games where the computer would be much better.

I’m sure The Outer Worlds with other people would be interesting, but those people are not going to be role-playing their character the whole time, keeping character, always making sure I get to do the most interesting stuff, and not wanting anything for themselves (in the loot sense at least).

If I’m playing a Fallout game like this I want total immersion and that’s got to include the characters as well. Messing around with mates in co-op is all well and good but for me that has nothing to do with a role-playing game and I’d like to keep the two things completely separately. I look forward to the game and to meet all my potential companions, and them not getting bored and disappearing halfway through a session.


Loyal interest

I see a lot of people talking about Death Stranding as a possible game of the year contender but I don’t really get it. Unless I’ve missed something we still have no real idea what the game is or how it plays and none of the Metal Gear games have been that big in terms of sales or across the board in terms of review. Is it just because it’s a PlayStation 4 exclusive? I guess it probably is, which is kind of disappointing.

Then again seeing fanboys supporting such an avant-garde and weird game just because it’s on their console of choice is kind of funny, so why not. For once console loyalty may actually do some good and expose people to something they wouldn’t normally play.

That may be the best thing to come out of Sony’s excellent run of exclusives this year, the idea that they can get people interested in pretty much anything they do just by having their name on it. Or zombies involved. Ideally both I guess.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


IRL favourites

Isn’t weird that the most popular video games are the ones hardly anyone talks about? When was the last time anyone on the Inbox talked about Minecraft, League Of Legends, Dota 2, or Roblox (whatever the hell that is)? Heck, even Fortnite rarely gets mentioned, I assume because anyone that’s deeply into video games has plenty of other games they’d rather play/talk about.

But it’s not just the Inbox. I don’t know anyone in real life that has played any of these games (except Fortnite, obviously) let alone talks about them. Even at the height of PlayerUnknown’s Battelground’s popularity I only met a few that dabbled in it and no one that had played DayZ.

Is this just me? Do I need better friends or do other people? I get a lot of them are aimed more at kids, but not exclusively so and it’s not as if Nintendo is 18-rated or something. It just seems like the only people that don’t play the most popular games are gamers themselves.


First person trilogy

Personally, I hope that it is Resident Evil 8 which is announced next and I think there’s good reason to think that because they were talking about a different team working on it years ago, so I think they’ve had plenty of time. I’d prefer them to stick with the first person view and for that to be the basis for the new sequels for at least a trilogy’s worth (so 8 and 9 and least). I think that will help to distinguish it from the remakes, which I am all for, and also increase the chances of coming up with something new.

Despite what it seemed like at first Resident Evil 7 was a fairly modern interpretation of the original game so I’d like to see the sequel be like Resident Evil 2 and be more expansive and perhaps even experiment with open world elements. Not a whole open world, necessarily, but I really liked the way Metro Exodus handled things with a number of small but still large open worlds linked together but more linear sections.

The new game would need more monster variety, I think everyone agrees that from 7, but it needs to keep the cheese. I trust Capcom though, they know what they’re doing and have got it wrong yet this gen.


Double meaning

I’ve read the name Invisible, Inc. many times on these pages since its release a few years ago. It’s only now after reading Malkie’s letter in Monday evening’s Inbox that I finally noticed the pun and subsequently demanded that my palm firmly swept upwards and impact itself on my deserving face.

Have any other readers taken so long to pick up on a glaringly obvious video game name pun? Perhaps you were perplexed by the fact that the player character in cartoon spook fest Grabbed By The Ghoulies never dealt out or received any groin specific attacks? Maybe you’re a Splatoon veteran that’s only just realised you’re playing as part of a platoon that ‘splats’ things? Just as long as I know I’m not alone.
Meestah Bull

GC: Blast Corps was always our favourite Rare pun.


More than meets the eye

Without wishing to touch a sore nerve do you think we’ll see a new Transformers game in the next generation, GC? I might be biased but I always thought the two Cybertron games were really underrated. They were good licensed games before that became a thing and I think they just got kind of ignored automatically by people, especially as they’re essentially based on toys.

I doubt there’s much hope for a remaster or remake but I hope that someone else can come along and make a new game that’s two gens on able to have much larger levels and enough artificial intelligence horsepower that everyone can be transforming all the time. There’s so much potential there and the new tech could be what is needed to unlock it.

GC: We don’t even know who, if anyone, has the licence anymore so we’re not expecting anything anytime soon.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Everybody Kart

I can’t take full credit of this letter to GC as the idea came to me after watching a YouTube video suggesting that the next instalment of Mario Kart should/could feature the ‘Ultimate’ moniker, akin to the new Smash Bros. proclaiming ‘Everyone is here!’

Now the said video suggested all past racers and tracks should be included, which I think is great but at the same time just as Smash Bros. has transcended into something that celebrates video gaming icons in general I think it’d be a triumphant return for the racer if we had ‘A New Racer Revs Their Engine!’ approach to the series.

As my niece debated “It wouldn’t be Super Mario Kart then would it?” And I agree, but it would be Mario Kart Ultimate!

Let’s put our foot down and do away with all the sub-par clones by strapping everybody in just as Smash Bros has done, Solid Snake, Pikachu, Zelda, Samus, Rayman, Master Chief (Microsoft, c’mon now, stop playing with our emotions, he can have a Warthog and Mongoose as a motorbike equivalent) the return of Donkey Kong Jr. (hey, he’s an original!), Sonic of course, that nasty Crash Bandicoot everybody seems to love bar me (boy would I have some imaginative insults for him and his rubber-banding exploits I’ve kept reserved for my regular and frequent co-racers since the beginning of time, language I’ve used to describe my beloved gaming characters would make Conker blush!). Talking of Conker, throw him into the mix too, I’d welcome them all with open arms AND a red shell!

Hell, let’s see Captain Falcon in a Kart, it’s not like he uses the Blue Falcon so much anymore. That futuristic hover car is better placed in a classic car museum these days!

Let’s keep this mascot massacre alive, I’d buy paid DLC to light up half of these washed up has-beens with a well-timed lightning strike and add insult to injury as I pass by flipping them the death stare after squashing them flat!

See you in the pit lane, Pit!

Hasta la vista Bubsy the Wombat!

Second place is first loser MagiKoopa!

That reminds me, where has Birdo been hiding all these years…
Bad Edit


Inbox also-rans

I’ll be honest I’m kind of surprised that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been embraced so much by hardcore fighter fans, I thought most of them didn’t even count it as a fighter?

GC: Only pedants try and pretend it’s not.

Blaming video games for violence? I know ‘90s nostalgia is the in thing at the moment but did we really need that to come back? It really does feel like the world is going backwards.


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston, who asks who’s your favourite video game villain?

No matter what game they’re from what bad guy do you love to hate the most? It can be anything from the main villain of the story to a cannon fodder grunt, but we want to know which one you have the strongest feelings about – whether it’s an enemy that makes an impression through the storyline or purely the gameplay.

What makes a memorable video game enemy and do they need a complex backstory or is it enough for them to just be a dangerous in-game foe?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear twice daily, every weekday morning and afternoon. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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