Power and Intimacy in Videogames

Thrusting SticksNew posts are added some Fridays here, and at Thrusting Sticks.

Welcome children to another mind expanding exploration into the world of computy games from Trusting Sticks.

Why Killing Orcs in Mordor is more intimate than sex in Mass Effect:
Power and Intimacy in videogames


I am 12 years old. I am standing behind a Russian soldier, my SOCOM pistol pressed into his back. I whisper:


 Poor man.

A minute or so later he is limping away, bleeding profusely from multiple gunshot wounds and trying in vain to call for help over his broken radio. If I were feeling kind, I’d shoot him in the head with a tranquilizer dart and stuff him in a locker somewhere.

I am not feeling kind.

I pummel and kick him until he loses consciousness. Then I wake him up, and do it all over again.

It is easy to dismiss this act of torture as the digital generation’s equivalent to picking wings off flies. Indeed, as a 12 year old child playing Metal Gear Solid 2, being able to cripple and torment people with a gun is possibly the most sadistic power fantasy you can enact.

But over a decade later, this segment of gameplay still lingers in my mind, inciting my curiosity. I recently bought MGS2 for the Vita; and as an adult I still find the ways you can interact with the guards to be the most compelling part of the game. Yes, almost all of the possible interactions are somehow violent, and the resulting interplay often becomes sadistic. But there’s something else. Something not many games ever achieve:


Intrigued? I thought so, you can read the rest here.