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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    How Extreme You Can Be To Teach Your Children The Horror of War

    If you worry that your children are too obsessed with violent games (my parents apparently are one), how extreme you can be to teach your children a good lesson against them? Simply forbid your children to play those games like most parents would go for as a no-brainer solution? This Swedish good father, being urged by his two small boys to buy Call of Duty (only adults play Battlefield, huh?), went for the extreme approach: to take his boys to a tour to the Middle East to live witness the horror of war!

    This good father, Mr. Helgegren, himself a journalist active in the Middle East war zone, is no stranger to the horror of wars. And he knew well whom he should bring his sons to talk to. Gladly his sons did take the life lesson well and I do hope that it benefited them their whole life.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014...n_5672143.html

    Frankly, playing too much Battlefield does fuzz my conception to life. I start to wonder if I would, in some day, truly believe that a gun downed guy would respawn few seconds later.

    But don't worry, Mr. Helgegren is rational enough not to bring his kids to ISIS warzone.
    Last edited by squirrel; 15-08-2014 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Or, yunno. You could sit down and talk to them. That too.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Prolar Bear's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the guy had a lot of free time and spare money.

    Or, yunno. You could sit down and talk to them. That too.
    Pretty much. Or getting them to play better games.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    But what would Squirrel then use for his next sensationalist headline? D:

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    When the family returned to Sweden, Frank and Leo decided not to play Call of Duty after all. They told their dad "it didn't feel good".

    I feel bad for them.

    I was about their age when I got a small taste of the NATO bombings of Serbia. I was visiting some relatives near the Serbian border of Romania. You could throw a rock in the other country. I have vivid memories of staring out the window at the explosions, feeling the house shake. The smoke during the day, the orange sky at night. I remember the refugees and the smuggling of goods over the border.

    A couple of years ago I visited Serbia. All throughout Vojvodina and Belgrade the ruins of the war were kept intact. Right in the middle of Belgrade, I saw the huge ruins of the twin buildings of the Yugoslav Ministry of Defence. Such a bizarre scene - the city is modern, very beautiful, but every now and then you stumble upon a scar from the war. That, and propaganda. America helps you rebuild.

    Anyway that doesn't stop me from playing Sniper: GW2, which is set during the Balkan Wars, or Far Cry 2, or many war games. If anything, being slightly more aware of what war means gives me a slightly better understanding of these games. I appreciate the artistry and sometimes the authenticity that goes into creating or recreating their worlds and scenarios.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prolar Bear View Post
    I'm guessing the guy had a lot of free time and spare money.
    Yeah... But ultimately, that trip without any talking would have been a bust.

    My kids are banned from 2 types of games, individually banned from anything that causes(or my wife and I assume would cause) them anxiety, (Blueberry Garden was banned for a while) and anything where lives were worthless (friendly or enemy).

    Atom Zombie Smasher completely passes the second rule, you are at all times trying to save people first and furmost, and cleansing a disease by a military enforce quarantine, thousands of people can die, but that in itself isn't the problem.

    But Almost every "Action" FPS/TPS fails (many pass, Portal, Various walking simulators,more strategic games) with countless faceless enemies who near unrecognisable from a moving target. Honestly, the first rule filters many more games than the second. Curiously nearly every online multiplayer game passes the second rule, everyone is either a hazard or an ally to be aided... Now if only the potential for anxiety wasn't so great.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    When the family returned to Sweden, Frank and Leo decided not to play Call of Duty after all. They told their dad "it didn't feel good".

    I feel bad for them.
    I feel like saying something flippant about them being free to play better games that CoD, but yeah, the nearest I came to war was the Arndale bombing in Manchester, I was visiting family in a block of flats facing the Arndale and heard a distant bang and a short while later later tiny little shards (which must have travelled and incredible speed and distance) chattered against the windows and walls.

    This was one bomb planted by (in modern terms) extremely polite terrorists, I cant begin to imagine an actual warzone/civil war/ethnic cleansing.
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 15-08-2014 at 04:21 PM.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    I cringe at the fact he named his kids Frank and Leo Helgengren. I'm aware that's a bit horrible of me, but yuck.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    My kids are banned from 2 types of games, individually banned from anything that causes(or my wife and I assume would cause) them anxiety, (Blueberry Garden was banned for a while) and anything where lives were worthless (friendly or enemy).
    Is it that you judge them too young/unable to process the implications of anything that trips the second (that in itself might trip the first, as well, I guess) or is it your personal preferences coming into play? Or a little of both? Just curious, not judging, they're your kids, obviously.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    The boys are looking suitably grim, but Sheldon 2.0 and the other soldier seem to think they’re posing for a fashion magazine. :)

    Not much to say about this whole thang, a kid’s own parents usually know what’s appropriate for them better than I do, and the father did some work reporting over there (that’s one hell of a take your son to work day!) so he’s not just some dunce who’s like ‘ma kids play on da shiny box powered by some kinda witchcraft all day!’ and immediately books three plane tickets to a country he’s only heard about in Trivial Pursuit.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Everything can be solved by technology. The problem of nowadays' video game is that, as the name suggests, stimulates us only through visuals and audio, but mostly visuals. If you let them play a violent game which requires physical exercises, say running, jumping, and fighting with physical strength (remember, if you fire a firm arm, even a pistol has weigh, and firing induces recoil), and simulates the pain you feel when hit the bullet, after playing such game, most would have a different view on war.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    I don’t think paintball provides the perspective on war you're looking for.

  12. #12
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    I would have thought the people involved has more impact than the fidelity of the simulation.
    Though the two do correlate. Chess simulates tactics and strategy in battle, COD simulates shooting people in the face. You could simulate both very accurately, but one is specifically about making people die, and not about much else.

    What happens when you fill your entertainment with stories of people wanting to kill each other all the time? What happens when it's no longer about the people, but instead just about finding greater ways to be violent to people?
    It is a technical difference, but's there none the less.

  13. #13
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    Heliocentric, why wouldn't you let them play Blueberry Garden?

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wengart View Post
    Heliocentric, why wouldn't you let them play Blueberry Garden?
    Yeah, I've got to admit curiosity on this point too. Did you figure out what about that game (which I seem to recall being generally fairly languid) got them worked up?

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wengart View Post
    Heliocentric, why wouldn't you let them play Blueberry Garden?
    Oh, I did eventually. But the flooding world, which keeps progressively getting more inhospitable upset my son (then aged 8 or 9), essentially he didn't get a do over, he couldn't save, go back to a checkpoint or reverse his mistakes, he was just progressively getting in deeper and deeper water (literally and figuratively). Its quite stressful when you frame it in that context, after my son playing it I returned to it and thought of it as a survival horror. And it actually works better than most so called "horror" games, the sea is coming and it will wash everything away unless you stop it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    Is it that you judge them too young/unable to process the implications of anything that trips the second (that in itself might trip the first, as well, I guess) or is it your personal preferences coming into play? Or a little of both? Just curious, not judging, they're your kids, obviously.
    Most action games cast you as a Psychopathic Lazarus Superman, your own death doesn't matter four seconds later, you don't care about anyone else friend or foe and your allies are nought next to you. You barrel through murdering. Consider Just Cause 2, does the character ever make efforts to save innocents? Or ponder if the liberation is really something worthwhile? Indeed, it's a parody, the main character is causing unrest for unrests sake, crippling infrastructure, disabling the military's ability to react, but its the most honest representation of player characters I can think of.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    Everything can be solved by technology.
    Indeed. In my house, we have one rule: if you want to play CoD or Blueberry Garden, out come the eyelid clamps and the emetic (we use nicotine).

    Don't judge me for using nicotine, it's how it's done!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Most action games cast you as a Psychopathic Lazarus Superman, your own death doesn't matter four seconds later, you don't care about anyone else friend or foe and your allies are nought next to you. You barrel through murdering. Consider Just Cause 2, does the character ever make efforts to save innocents? Or ponder if the liberation is really something worthwhile? Indeed, it's a parody, the main character is causing unrest for unrests sake, crippling infrastructure, disabling the military's ability to react, but its the most honest representation of player characters I can think of.
    Oh sure, I get that, or guessed that was what you meant: but I was asking if you'd stopped your kids from playing games with this kind of mindset because you thought being kids, they were simply too young to adequately process "But it's a videogame/it's funny/it's not real/I shouldn't idolise this sort of thing/etc." - or because you didn't like that kind of thing too much yourself. Or whether it was a bit of both. Again, just curious. Sorry if it's a dumb question, I simply haven't followed enough of your posting to instantly assume "Oh, right, yeah, I guess that is how he'd think".

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eight Rooks View Post
    I was asking if you'd stopped your kids from playing games with this kind of mindset because you thought being kids, they were simply too young to adequately process "But it's a videogame/it's funny/it's not real/I shouldn't idolise this sort of thing/etc." - or because you didn't like that kind of thing too much yourself. Or whether it was a bit of both.
    Hmm, people came out of watching Fight Club and started Fight Clubs, while I don't accuse my children of the same idiocy there are so many worthy challenging and insightful games I saw no reason *not* to filter out some of gamings more pathological traits. I see it more as curation, some people (me included) think of street graffiti as art, but they are not talking about "I wos ere" or knobs drawn on statues. A game doesn't need a worthwhile plot, a life lesson, to be strategic, mentally or physically challenging. But when it has nothing redeeming? They might as well skip it even if it isn't obviously upsetting.

    edit: As a counterpoint Hotline Miami is one of my favourite games, but my god was it oppressive. See also SWAT4, Hidden: Source, The Void, Amnesia, Conviction, Bioshock 2.
    One and all they are all examples of what I'd filter from my children because of their bleakness or lack of value for life (often they would value life inconsistently, or bleakly snatch life away without introspection) but not myself. But I can partition better than they seemed able to, I was much looser with my eldest first but the games conceits were very openly in his imaginative play, they were heavily colouring and limiting his creativity. Indeed it seemed that his outlook of storytelling was being polluted.
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 15-08-2014 at 08:21 PM.
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  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node TWChristine's Avatar
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    I think I can see where you're coming from. While I've had the fortune to never be in a war zone, I did a stint as an LEO for several years. I loved the job, but I also saw a lot of things that I can't get out of my mind. I ended up going from (brought up in a military family) a "military hell yea!" attitude and one where I would've been flippant about the lives of the "bad guys," to one where I've really come to appreciate the frailty and value of life. As such, even though I know they're just games, I find most FPSs, in particular the military themed ones to be rather disgusting and not something I can stomach much any more. I think it just comes down to the theme that's trying to be put across, because I thoroughly enjoy the Saints Row games (although I try to not hurt the random city dwellers). I also love Max Payne and Metal Gear Solid. But something like CODs and the sniper game where it shows the damage of the bullet (which I find to be more violence-pornish than Tomb Raider) is not something I'd bother playing any more.
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Speaking as someone who doesn't have kids and has never been anywhere near a war zone...

    This doesn't seem like a bad idea, when you properly consider the context rather than the sensationalist headlines. Firstly, these kids are 10 and 11. A lot of parents would simply ban them outright from playing something like Call of Duty, and I'd consider that perfectly justified. Secondly, while this news has (conveniently) surfaced in the middle of the Gaza conflict, the trip took place months ago when the area was not an active war zone. Thirdly, this guy has experience as a journalist in the Middle East. He knew what he was showing his kids, he wanted them to understand things he's seen.

    What he was doing was showing his kids some of the actual outcomes of war. Whatever your opinion of games like Call of Duty, it's hard to deny that they do glorify war. Even supposedly hard-hitting scenes like CoD 4's nuke or the infamous airport aren't going to have the same impact as seeing a real refugee camp. They're all shooting and explosions and heroism, and it totally isn't the same as playing with toy guns. This guy had the opportunity to try and show his kids why he objects to Call of Duty rather than simply barring them from playing it.

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