[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sex and Violence

June 18th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Deathtrap Dungeon Playstation PC CD-ROM ad -  1998I think they have it backwards.

Amid the recent media hullabaloo that modern video games are sexist and overly fixated on violence, I give you this ad for Deathtrap Dungeon from 1998. That is all.

[ From GamePro, May 1998, p.72 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Graphics quality aside, do you think today’s video games are more sexist and violent than games from earlier eras?

7 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sex and Violence”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    Short answer: No. There will always be people who think that games are too violent or too sexually suggestive. Remember the huge controversy in the 80’s when Hustler started making games for the 2600 (Custer’s Revenge). There was also a game for the Atari that had you catching babies out of a window. How about Leisure Suit Larry? Remember when parents wanted to ban arcades? If not, check out the excellent movie Joysticks. If people didn’t enjoy playing games like this, companies wouldn’t make them, supply and demand. Video games are a journey from reality into a world that normally isn’t possible.

  2. Fred Says:

    Graphics quality aside, not really sure how they could be more violent. Gibs are essentially people exploding from the inside out. I can’t really think of an example that would be more graphically violent than that.

    The modern era seems to be more politically correct than those of decades past. Sexism is probably less tolerated as more people are more aware / more sensitive to it. I think games will reflect these changes in the collective attitude.

  3. Geoff V. Says:

    This type of stuff is stupid and silly to worry about. Play a game like “I have no mouth and I must scream,” and talk about violence and dark subject matter.

    Current violent/sexy games are like movie makers and 3D. They have the technology, but have no idea how to properly use it.

  4. Zoyous Says:

    It’s hard to consider the question without regards to graphics. Early arcade games were limited to such abstracted graphics that the violence didn’t register as much in my mind. I tend not to enjoy playing games now if the depiction of violence and the world it takes place within is too realistic. I would have to say that games now are more violent due to this; however, with the right amount of suspension of disbelief, something like Galaga could be seen as a horrific massacre.

    On the other hand, I think there are more games than ever before that explore nonviolent play paradigms, ranging from artsy endeavors to explorations of human activities other than violent engagements.

    Regarding sexism, I think it’s a similar situation… there are both more negative and more positive portrayals of women. But not enough of the more positive portrayals to shake the accurate stigma of an industry run by privileged manchildren.

  5. JackSoar Says:

    My answer is simple: ‘Twas ever thus. Like all other fictional media, games provide a way to vicariously explore areas of human experience that might otherwise be hard (or dangerous) to come by. The only thing that changes is the level of realism.

    Speaking of Deathtrap Dungeon in particular, however, it is interesting to note that it was based on a 1980s gamebook of the same name in the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ series. There was some pretty dark imagery in that book, (at least for a series aimed at younger readers) and man did it live up to its name. I’m actually running a tabletop RPG campaign using the system developed from the book series at the moment. I don’t think I’ll end up including Deathtrap Dungeon in it, but if I do, it’ll be a heck of a lot more interesting than a mediocre PS1 game.

  6. Thomas Says:

    I think the question about wether it was better or worse before is beside the point. The question should really be: “Why haven’t we (the game industry and gamers) progressed passed this?” Why is it we still get caught up in the same question, decade after decade.

    I mean, even if you argue that the situation regarding sexism and violence in games has improved it still isn’t anywhere near what it could, and should be.

  7. Dean A Says:

    You’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!


    Keep up the great blog!

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