Tag Archives: violent video games

Walmart Asks Employees To Remove Violent Video Game Signage

Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty)

For the past couple of days, Walmart employees have been receiving memos instructing them to remove “any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior.” Principal among the suggested items are demos and signs promoting violent video games.

Vice first reported on the memo’s circulation earlier today. It tells employees to “remove,” “turn off,” or “cancel” a range of promotions, specifically “consoles that show a demo of violent video games,” signs “referencing combat or third-person shooter video games,” any events promoting those kinds of games, violent movies that might be playing in the electronics section, and hunting season videos in the sporting goods section. The memo specifically says to remove these items “immediately.”

Kotaku reached out to Walmart for more information, but the company has yet to respond. In the meantime, it’s unclear how widespread these memos are, but a number of people claiming to be employees have said they’ve received them on Reddit. Journalist Kenneth Shepard also posted a copy to Twitter.

This comes on the heels of two recent shootings that took place in Walmarts, one on July 30 in which a gunman killed two co-workers and wounded an officer in Southaven, Mississippi, and another on August 3 in which a gunman killed 22 people and wounded 24 in El Paso, Texas. In the wake of this, some politicians blamed video games. This included President Trump, who partially chalked the shootings—which also included an August 4 mass shooting outside a popular bar in Dayton, Ohio—up to “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.” This stance ignores scholarship and statistics to the contrary while also failing to consider the pernicious ways in which video games and guns are related. The timing of Walmart’s memo, then, has raised some eyebrows.

“Does this mean gun displays in sporting goods are also going away or is this just nonsense,” asked one redditor in one response to an image of the memo.

“No,” another replied sarcastically, “because guns don’t kill people. God of War, Call of Duty, and Borderlands kills people.”

Others, however, have offered more tempered takes on Walmart’s supposed decision-making.

“They’re not taking that stuff down for those reasons,” said another poster in the same thread. “They’re just trying not to be insensitive after multiple mass shootings. Completely reasonable, albeit I don’t think it’s necessary. If some people are on edge when a balloon pops at your store, I’m sure some people would complain about such depictions of violence.”

But again, Walmart is still selling actual guns that can be used to inflict real-life violence, which seems like a more pressing matter no matter how you slice it. Increasingly, people are dissatisfied with Walmart’s decision to continue selling guns, most of which have been hunting rifles and shotguns since 2015. This includes some employees, two of whom, according to the Wall Street Journal, sent out a message on Monday to all e-commerce staff and the companywide Slack channel calling for a general strike in protest of Walmart making money off gun sales. Two others at the company’s corporate office in California called for a walkout, only to have their access to internal systems suspended over concerns that “there are more constructive ways for associates to offer feedback such as emails or conversations with leaders.”

In a Facebook post in the wake of the weekend’s mass shootings, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the company is a “learning organization” that will “work to understand the many important issues that arise from El Paso and Southaven, as well as those that have been raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence.” However, a Walmart spokesperson told WSJ that there are “no plans at this time” to change policies around gun sales.

Source: Kotaku.com

Manhunt Hates You And Wants You To Suffer

Many games are about escapism. Allowing the player to escape from their boring or shitty life and experience something incredible or impossible. In the popular shooter series Halo, players become the Master Chief; a badass super soldier capable of destroying armies of enemies by himself. He is in command of soldiers on the battlefield and travels around the galaxy, seeing gorgeous planets and fighting evil aliens. And for the most part, the player and the Master Chief always win.

This form of escapism, allowing players to do the impossible and save the world, is common in tons of games released every year.

Manhunt is different. It isn’t about escapism. Manhunt instead is a game about punishment and suffering.

The game starts with James Earl Cash, the character you play as, getting tied down and given a lethal injection. He is being executed for being a criminal who murdered people before the start of the game. Regardless of how you feel about lethal injection, in the world of Manhunt, this is Cash’s punishment for what he did.

Yet you escape death, thanks to a murder loving snuff film director named Starkweather. He pulled some strings and instead of lethal poison, James Earl Cash is given a powerful sedative. This is when Cash discovers the real punishment isn’t death. It is sneaking and running his way through Hell.

Sometimes, death is better.

After that brief setup, players are thrown into a rundown city filled with hunters; organized groups of killers who want to murder you.

Manhunt might seem like a game all about murder and violence, for example, you’ll see multiple executions and fights while playing. But that’s only a part of Manhunt. Most of the game is spent hiding and sneaking from shadow to shadow, avoiding enemies and danger.

The whole experience is terrifying.

Unlike the Master Chief, James Earl Cash is vulnerable and always being hunted. You’re not a hero or a badass in Manhunt. You’re a scumbag murderer trying to escape a nightmare.

I don’t want to be James Earl Cash, even for a brief period of time. His life and his situation aren’t things I want to “escape” into. Instead, I watch from behind my controller, happy I’m not there.

One of the main reasons I never felt like escaping into the world of Manhunt, is because of the fantastic work done to make the atmosphere of the game feel oppressive and shitty. Every level in Manhunt is awful. I don’t mean the level design is bad, instead, I mean they all look and sound like shitholes. Shattered glass everywhere, crumbling buildings, broken down cars on every street. Oh, and did I mention the hundreds of dangerous killers everywhere?

In a game like Skyrim, you want to stop and live in the village you just saved. In Manhunt, you never want to return to that slum you just sneaked your way through.

Playing Manhunt is about being afraid and suffering. Even when Manhunt throws you a bone, it quickly takes it away and calls you a piece of shit for even thinking about touching that bone.

For example, towards the end of the game, you fight a large and dangerous naked man who is also wearing a pig head as a mask. His name is Pigsy and his weapon of choice is a rusty chainsaw.

Eventually, after a tense and dangerous fight, you defeat Pigsy and take his chainsaw. In every video game, chainsaws are often shorthand for “Go kick some ass!” In Doom, getting the chainsaw is fun. You feel powerful and it improves your ability to fight demons.

But in Manhunt, this isn’t the case.

After getting the chainsaw, The Director calls in a team of well-equipped mercs to hunt you down and kill you. That new chainsaw you got, well good luck using it. To kill with it you need to turn the motor on and rev it. This creates a loud and continuous noise, which is very bad when you are trying to sneak from shadow to shadow, quietly.

All of this might sound bad. It might make Manhunt sound awful, but I actually really enjoy Manhunt because it is so different from so many other games.

For a medium filled with heroes being heroes and saving the day, it’s a nice change of pace to have a game like Manhunt spit on you, kick you in the stomach then point towards another room where you’ll get kicked and spit on some more. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a masochist?

This always oppressive and shitty atmosphere is why the executions in Manhunt are so great. It’s the one time where you get some revenge. You get to dish out some punishment of your own and you decide how brutal you want to be. And you might be surprised how brutal you can be when you hate everything around you and feel no remorse for the people hunting you down.

Manhunt doesn’t let you choose to be non-lethal or give you an option to be good. Your only option with enemies is deciding how quickly and painfully you want to kill them. Sure, you can avoid a few enemies, but many during many enemy encounters it will be nearly impossible to complete levels without taking a few lives.

Murdering in Manhunt is all about timing. How long you hold the button will decide how brutal the murder. Hold it long enough and you will stab people in the eyes and cut heads off.

By the end of Manhunt you probably won’t like James Earl Cash, which is fine. Manhunt is a wonderful example of a game with a protagonist who is someone you probably wouldn’t want to spend any time with. No one wants to go get a beer with James Earl Cash, that dude’s a deranged murderer.

Unfortunately, going back to Rockstar developed games from this era is always tricky. The games use awkward and clunky controls and they never look very good. Manhunt is (mostly) different than other Rockstar games from the PS2.

Due to being more linear and smaller than something like GTA San Andreas, the game’s visuals hold up better than you might expect. And the low res textures and grimy feel actually work in the game’s favor. After all, Manhunt was never meant to look “nice”. It was meant to look depressing and dirty, and it achieves that goal in every level.

Manhunt’s controls, however, don’t hold up nearly as well. The main issue is that the controls and the gameplay feel loose and yet oddly rigid. But again, because the levels are smaller and you move around slower, the controls hold up better than say Vice City’s awful movement and combat controls.

If you do go back and beat Manhunt, you’ll find it has no happy ending or nice cutscene where you save the day or turn the evil bad guy into the police. Instead, you kill his lackeys and then kill him. Then you leave. Credits roll. Good job, scumbag.

And while Manhunt would get a sequel, it would have almost no connections to the previous game and instead would take the series into a different direction. That game is fine, but it never comes close to capturing the horror and oppressive feel of Manhunt.

Honestly, I’m not even sure if Rockstar could re-capture that feel in a future game. Improved visuals might end up making a Manhunt 3 feel too real and uncomfortable.

I’m fine with the world never getting another Manhunt 3. Instead, I recommend for those curious to creep back to their PS2 and experience Manhunt, preferably in a dark room. Alone. Good luck, killer.

Source: Kotaku.com