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Why does War sell?

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#1
Fkemman11

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 When I was a kid, the coolest thing that you could have in my neighborhood was a toy weapon like a gun or sword. I got a toy gun for my eighth birthday that looked like an M16 and had cool sound effects when I "fired" it. Wasn't long before I and my friends were fighting over it and sure enough, I- in a fit of rage- used it to club my best friend over the head, breaking the plastic toy. Later when I was a teen, my friend and I would go out "hunting" with our BB guns in the woods behind our houses. We just wanted to shoot something- anything to be honest. At the age of 19, I went off to boot camp in Georgia. There I got to learn how to use some real weapons of war. The recruits including myself were eager to learn how to use these weapons of modern warfare and were almost giddy about it. Dreams of valor and glorious battle in our heads as we "popped" our guns at the targets. "OOhh, I can imagine commies coming from that hillside shooting at us"- I might have thought while dreaming of being a real soldier in battle and killing or maiming  enemies.

 

Well, evidently I like war and battle so much that I played many war themed games from being a teen onward to today. I like the strategy involved with planning attacks and defense both. I like putting myself or "my guys" in a position to "win" in any battle. Then when the battle begins, I'm excited to see how things go from there and whether my careful plans worked or not. During the battle, I look for any "cool" kill moves or vicious brutality on both sides and laugh with satisfaction as both sides fight, struggling back and forth until one side or the other emerges "victorious". Then I proceed to strip the "fallen" of any interesting or usable loot while planning for the next "engagement". I repeat this little cycle of "playing war" over and over- and it never gets old really.

 

Not only do I like war in games, but, I like it movies and television as well. Some of my favorite movies were about war- and everything that goes with it. You see things being destroyed or damaged, people dying and screaming, explosions and fire, ect. It is madness. It is glorious, deadly pandemonium that epitomizes the beastly nature of all humans.

 

The reality of war is quite different, I think. People don't die like in a movie or in a game. They die ugly, broken, in pain. There is no glorious death- there is just death. If you yourself manage to survive, you still might lose friends and loved ones. This is not even taking into account the level of damage that war inflicts on everything else- destroyed land, housing, industries, livestock, infrastructure, cities and areas maybe, entire civilizations have perished in the wake of unceasing war.

 

Over the course of my life, I have often questioned my obsession with war and battle. What is it about war that interest me so much? Is it war itself that I like or is it the aftermath- or spoils of war- that I seek? The disturbing answer for me is that I like war and battle itself- regardless of the reason.

 

And, I'm not alone in this lust for war at all. Most of the world's best selling books, games, movies, television shows or series based on war have the best ratings more times than not- easily beating out almost every theme- based entertainment.

 

Now I want to make clear that I am not trying to say "make love, not war" at all. I'm not decrying the "foulness" of war. I am, however, trying to understand my basic nature- what compels me- or anyone- to like anything about war as an entertaining past time or hobby.



#2
DaddyDirection

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Part of it is our society in general. I can imagine all nations have the similarity of associating war with patriotism and bravery. Poets, novelists, filmmakers and more have glorified the actions of soldiers and the military. Over time that affects peoples view of war and killing. Killing out of hatred or for the simple joy of killing is bad. But killing to protect people or ideals (assuming that those ideals are good) is acceptable, perhaps even encouraged. Also, if you look back at humanity through the ages - killing things and other people is one of the things about us that remains constant. Deep down killing things is part of nature, just like taking things from others and the desire to see things in a us vs them mentality.



#3
WastelandAssassin

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I wholeheartedly understand the notion , but I think there is also something you need to consider , which is how this is all shown to you

you speak of war in the media like TV shows and movies , but most of these don't display war in a realistic fashion

I doubt anyone would watch the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan (the cemetery scene and the Normandy landing scene) and think how cool war is

if you watch TV shows like The Pacific or Generation Kill , they show war in some of it's ugliest and devastating ways

but these are meant to portray war in it's reality , rather than to provide some patriotic experience

 

war is in many ways a part of our human nature . for everything that brings us together , you can find some way to divide us as well (be it religion , skin color , nationality etc)

and with propaganda working wonderfully at finding ways to alienate those who are different , and even demonize them , it's no wonder how many wars were fought over such basic things (although they were probably really fought for money and land , but these tend to sound less enticing in propaganda)

 

I'm sure war wouldn't sell so well in America back around the Vietnam war , or around the first and second world wars

especially once the war is over , and you truly understand the amount of human lives lost , and see the gains of these wars

righteous conflict sounds wonderful on paper , but looking back at wars will show you a very different picture

 

but the simplest thing is , war usually sells so well only to people who haven't experienced real war

when I was younger I found shooting games fascinating and fun to play . today , after having served in the military and having trained with real guns , I can't find the same satisfaction is these games as teenager me

I have enjoyed war movies far more since my service days , but I also tend to go for more serious war movies (and older ones) , rather than your usual Michael Bay explosion fest movies . I find the more mature outlook on wars that you can find in the older movies to be far more interesting and effective , especially with older movies having more focus on story and characters rather than action

TV war series' also work great , because they also have enough time to focus on characters , which makes the stories more human and relatable

 

but I can't quite explain why war is so fascinating to us as humans

it is probably partly by nature , partly by history and our outlook on it , and partly by our education (in our homes , at school , via society and through the media)

it is an equally sad and fascinating question



#4
TheMastersSon

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but the simplest thing is , war usually sells so well only to people who haven't experienced real war


This.

#5
HeyYou

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Because humans, by their very nature, are violent. We try and convince ourselves that we are now 'civilized', and 'we aren't like that anymore', but, that is just denial. We are still the most violent species on the planet, and one of the ONLY species that regularly kills their own kind, with little or no reason.

 

Our government likes it, (USA) because the military-industrial complex enjoys the money it makes them, and are more than willing to spend some of that money on politicians that will vote in favor of war. (mainly because it won't be THEIR kids going....)

 

I agree with the notion that "Glorious battle" only exists in the minds of those who have never been in combat. Those that have, tend to try and avoid it..... (granted, there are those that actually enjoy that kind of adrenaline rush..... but, I most certainly am NOT one of them.)



#6
Pagafyr

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My first rifle and pistol were metal replica's of real ones.  I stuck a cork in the end of the barrel and pumped the Winchester loader lever, only it was for air, twice.  Aimed and fired at a targets bulls eye.

 

If I used it as a club and had hit anyone in the head with it the metal rifle, it could have cracked their skull.

 

War?  Two children fighting when they both discover a bottle with some milk on the floor near them.  Usually both end up crying after a they grapple for the bottle with some milk in it when Mom takes it away. That is; they cry the first time in fear of being hungry.  So they both cry.  That is, until they have a few more experiences like that.

 

The Waa Waa war crying days end; when Mother gets wiser and refills their bottles before they start fussing.

 

Then they get a little wiser and realize she's just getting a refill in a couple new bottles.  One for each.

 

Once they realize she's going to refill it, another bottle too, and return with two bottles they don't cry or fight over them, for War, they fight over the bottle to raise attention to the fact they've run out of FOOD.

 

You actually broke your plastic rifle?  I am from the toys made of metal age.  If I had done anything like you did everyone would have called me a Monster.

 

Did your friend have to get any stitches?

 

 

 

Spoiler
 



#7
Fkemman11

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I'm thinking that maybe it would be better to have games that allow you to resolve situations without violence or bloodshed. The Metal Gear series of games allowed the player to knock out enemies rather than kill them. I also seem to remember another game where you were a spy or a thief and the game actually punished you for being so sloppy that you had to kill by reducing your reward or something. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't accurately portray the consequences of your actions- like seeing the dead bloke's grieving family afterwards. Most games also seem to put your enemies squarely in the "bad guy" faction so as to not impose any sense of morality in your decisions to kill the lot of them. Bioware did a decent job of presenting you with situations in games like KOTOR where you are forced to make hard decisions about characters you know and like(d). Do you join a former friend that has gone to the dark side and turn against the others? Do you side with the others and fight the former friend? But, even in that game, most enemies were "evil" and beyond caring about.

 

Has anyone played a violent game with battles and such that actually made you regret some of your decisions to kill? And I don't mean because that one npc would have had a great reward for you later on. :tongue:



#8
WastelandAssassin

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Has anyone played a violent game with battles and such that actually made you regret some of your decisions to kill? And I don't mean because that one npc would have had a great reward for you later on. :tongue:

 

the only game that even begins to come to mind is Dishonored , and that one doesn't really make the merciful options seem merciful

in fact , some of the non lethal options seem far worse than any of the lethal options

but this isn't really the case of finding a non violent solution

I don't really remember any game that gives serious non violent options , or focuses on a non violent gamestyle (I know of games like Thief and games with a similar formula , and I believe Hitman is the game you mention where you are penalized when killing innocents , but I never played these so I can't speak from experience)

if such games truly exist , I don't think I've ever heard of them



#9
LadyMilla

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Has anyone played a violent game with battles and such that actually made you regret some of your decisions to kill? And I don't mean because that one npc would have had a great reward for you later on. :tongue:

 

the only game that even begins to come to mind is Dishonored , and that one doesn't really make the merciful options seem merciful

in fact , some of the non lethal options seem far worse than any of the lethal options

but this isn't really the case of finding a non violent solution

I don't really remember any game that gives serious non violent options , or focuses on a non violent gamestyle (I know of games like Thief and games with a similar formula , and I believe Hitman is the game you mention where you are penalized when killing innocents , but I never played these so I can't speak from experience)

if such games truly exist , I don't think I've ever heard of them

 

 

Elder Scrolls Online penalizes you if you kill civilians or steal from them, but it's not an altruistic feature: it is part of the Dark Brotherhood/Thieves Guild mechanism. Far Cry 5 also warns you if you kill captives/innocents, but there is no penalty. Essentially, the only game that rewards you for being stealthy and choosing not to kill anyone is Dishonored. The low chaos ending is much more rewarding than the opposite.



#10
TheMastersSon

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Essentially, the only game that rewards you for being stealthy and choosing not to kill anyone is Dishonored.

It depends on one's definition of rewards, e.g. in Oblivion the Dark Brotherhood invite/questline can be avoided entirely by not killing any innocents etc.

IMO VR will finally put the brakes on video gaming's longtime obsession with war, killing and other graphic violence. These things might be enjoyable to many people on a desktop, but in VR they become genuinely offensive and disturbing.

Edited by TheMastersSon, 09 April 2018 - 12:20 PM.






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