Today I came across this article enumerating various points about why we crave violence in video games (shooters, specifically). Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Shooter: Spec Ops: The Line and why we play violent shooter games http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8157257/line-explores-reasons-why-play-shooter-games Overreacting to a blithe, shrugging presentation of the very definition of human evil, all in the name of "entertainment." I spent a couple days feeling ashamed of being a gamer, of playing or liking military games, of being interested in any of this disgusting bullshit at all. Hopefully this can remain a non-political thread and focus on mechanics and developmental opportunities for the industry. With all the talk going on about gun control and violence in the media I thought it might be interesting to brainstorm as gamers on how to evolve video games into some kind of post-violence era. Now, like musical genres (e.g. post-metal) this doesn't mean non-violent; but it means something that is somehow beyond or more sophisticated than what we have come to expect or know is the basis of video game violence. In the opening point, he mentions how in the game one has a QTE section dedicated to torturing a guy, but then immediately thereafter the player makes a "moral choice" whether to kill the guy or knock him out; torture = must do but killing = optional? Elsewhere he talks about the feedback loop that effectively trains gamers to not care about the writing and story because they don't really fit well into extraordinary shooting-up-entire-cities type situations. He mentions that shotting people is essentially just another variation on solving a puzzle (blue key = blue door). There is discussion of the desire to engage in realistic moral situations that then fall apart into basic shooting galleries, or become ways of enacting power fantasies out of our base lizard-brains, or become death counters were another nameless NPC/enemy falling into dirt has no meaningful impact to the player, or visualizing the thrill of war that some soldiers report feeling in the heart of combat. What ideas are out there on evolving the violent mechanics of shooter-style games into something more nuanced or meaningful or teachable? Would a video game that really tries to teach players that the enemy is us succeed? Can the intense philosophical backdrop in a game like Bioshock be delivered and made thoughtful for hordes of high schoolers upping their kill counts in 12-hour stretches over summer break? What would it take to convert the core "puzzle game" of competitive violence to something more productive to such a target demographic?