GTA's a strange example. You can avoid genocidal body counts, but it's kind of known for them. I always tried not to mow down the endless respawning pedestrians (not sure I really got into the spirit of the thing) and it's quite hard, because they really don't try very hard to get out of your way.|
You can consider actual genocide a reasonable course of action in Europa Universalis, because it makes sense there. See also those things in Gal Civ 2 that blow up stars, though I'm not so sure which side of your divide they fall.
Basic and obvious reason is giving people what they want or, I think more strictly, what the industry has got into its head they want - there does seem to be a discrepancy between this huge 30-something target market we often hear about and the 12-year-old boy a lot of the content is still geared to ensnare.
Slightly less obvious is that dead/alive is probably the first binary state that pops to mind, and computers are horrible at modeling anything else. Games are full of conventions that make next to no sense (dialogue trees, hit points...) but we accept through familiarity and for want of an achievable better alternative, and they still tend to behave primarily like games however they look.
You're saying your issue is mainly context, yeah? I would think your best bet is just not to play games that try to look realistic. I assume you have less of an issue with absurd carnage in something like a God of War or Diablo? Bioshock Infinite looks like it's going to be the first *shock that doesn't have nearly everything wanting you dead, eventually if not on sight. Not sure I trust that, but might be interesting - is that the sort of direction you're wanting?
Veracity 352 posts
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