Editor: Jonathan Bester
An interesting thought crept in this morning as I was traversing the interwebz. We are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of shooting/violence driven games. Especially First-Person-SHOOTERS.
But let’s take a step back and evaluate this for a second. When was the last time you saw a game that did not involve the main character having to shoot at objects/enemies to progress in a first/third person game? Violence does not just exclusively belong to the shooter genre of games either. It can be found in fighters, adventure games, and even real time strategy.
But for the purposes of this article today we will focus on First-Person and Third-Person titles.
Non-violent First-Person and Third-Person titles are extremely rare, and it would seem that they are becoming an endangered species, because not enough people are interested enough in the titles to ensure further evolution for these titles.
I’m not saying “let’s take away violence completely”. I’m just saying tone it down to a level where it doesn’t desensatise the gamer to a point where he/she sees violence as a normal everyday thing. Believe it or not, there used to be a time when violence in any form of media had a shock/horror element to it. Not so these days. Shoot a guy in the face, or chop his head off and people point and laugh as if it’s the funniest thing in the world. What happened to that feeling of revulsion and fear that it’s supposed to instill?
Let’s take a look at some of the few non-violent First- and Third-Person titles that have been released.
1. Mirror’s Edge
Mirror’s Edge is a pure parkour title. Meaning your character is a free runner. Putting this in a first-person view, only served to add more of an adrenaline rush. Sure there are some hints at violence, but the game is all about survival. Instead of running into battle, your character is running away from it, which is a fresh perspective.
Imagine Lego, but with mining involved in order to get your building blocks. Yes, Minecraft is the translation to screen that most Lego-lovers have been waiting for. With millions of sales garnered in just the first few months after launch, Minecraft is one of the biggest commercial successes in the history of the Xbox 360. And little to no violence!
3. Portal 1 & 2
Yes, I know this game involves shooting, but it’s not violent! As with Mirror’s Edge, Portal has the violence directed towards the player, and not at the enemies as with traditional shooters. As most of you will know, Portal is a thinking man(or woman)’s game, requiring the player to use a clever mechanic, in the form of a portal gun, to traverse puzzle rooms, to ultimately escape an underground facility.
4. Amnesia: The Dark Decent
A First-Person Survival Horror par excellence! Survive a beautifully crafted world in which you must solve puzzles and stave off the encroaching insanity by means of fleeing from those scary monsters in the dark.
5. Slender The 8 Pages/Slender: The Arrival
While we’re on the topic of Survival Horror, let’s talk about Sle….OMG he’s right behind me. HEEEELP! Sorry, as I was saying, the object of this game is simple. No guns, no weapons, just fear. Run away. Don’t let the boogie man catch you and all in glorious first-person view.
I guess, what I’m trying to convey with this opinion-piece is the fact that you don’t need guns and blunt objects to immerse yourself in a gaming world. Sometimes just the ability to control your character and do normal mundane things like running away, and solving puzzles and building things are enough to satisfy the gaming hunger inside each and every one of us.
The goal of a game shouldn’t always have to be kill enemy after enemy, until you reach one final big boss, and kill that one too. Sometimes a game’s story can be far more fascinating and satisfying when you have performed tasks by using your brains instead of your brawn. Oh and your legs too.
Know of any other First-Person Non-Shooters that you think is deserving of this list? Pop ‘em in the comments below. Oh crap he’s behind me again isn’t he?