Imagine the Power: Disembodied Violence in Fantasy Traditions

Violence is paramount to maintaining fantasy fiction and disembodied violence is a pillar of the fantasy genre. Disembodied violence is the celebration of violent power, or the expression of violent power against unthinking but vaguely human-shaped antagonists; it’s the kind of violence that isn’t really violent because it doesn’t take place against another person. Take Iron Man 2: in … Continue reading Imagine the Power: Disembodied Violence in Fantasy Traditions

…When All You Have is a Hammer

Continuing from my previous thoughts, Spec-Ops and Hotline Miami, perhaps the two most visible “violent games about violent games,” have player-characters who only use violence to interact in the world. While Spec-Ops is far more on-the-nose about how destructive that attitude is, both put the player in a scenario where violence is the only language they have to communicate … Continue reading …When All You Have is a Hammer

Everything Looks Like a Nail…

One of the things I find most fascinating about the conversation about videogame violence is the nebulous threshold that separates “inappropriate” from “provocative” portrayals, “excessive” from “effective” ones. Reactions to Spec-Ops: The Line fluctuate widely, with some praising its harsh frankness and others ridiculing its shallow pretensions. People are either captivated or duped by it: it … Continue reading Everything Looks Like a Nail…

The Self-Perpetuating Violence of the Mortal Kombat series

(Preface: Most of my interest in games is in how they function as narrative pieces. As a result, most of the writing I do focuses on videogames, single-player games, games with a traditional story structure, games that rely primarily on cinematic and literary narrative techniques and the wide cross-section of all the above. Therefore I … Continue reading The Self-Perpetuating Violence of the Mortal Kombat series