Why I Can’t Play Violent Video Games Anymore – Reader Feature

Call of Duty Vanguard Warzone Soldier Firing Gun

Call of Duty Warzone: there is quite a lot of shooting (photo: Activision)

A reader is shocked to discover that he no longer enjoys violent games like Call Of Duty and thinks it must be because he is now a father.

At 34 I don’t like to think I’m old yet, but I have two beautiful twin boys and as any parent will tell you, that makes playing video games very difficult. That’s three in a couple of months, so I’ve been able to slowly get back into playing games from time to time, when in bed or with the in-laws, but I found something strange happened: I just don’t enjoy gaming like I used to. Or at least not the violent realists.

Most video games involve violence of some kind, though the options for those without have slowly increased over the years, with the rise of indie games and more and different people playing than 10 or 20 years ago. You’d hardly know that from looking at output from major publishers except Nintendo, but that’s a problem for a different feature.

I used to have what I think is pretty normal taste in games. I played FIFA and Call Of Duty, as well as other big franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, but I consider myself pretty open minded and would also play Telltale games and any indie titles that caught my eye (I love Into The Breach!).

With such limited time at the moment, the obvious one to go back to was Call Of Duty: Warzone, as it’s free to play but also something I’m familiar with. I downloaded it and played it, and it’s obviously a good game, but something was wrong. It’s essentially a toy soldier game, but suddenly the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčendlessly shooting and killing people no longer had the appeal it once did.

Warzone is a pretty realistic looking game, even if the gameplay is very arcadey and you’re basically just shooting people over and over again. There’s really no blood but that doesn’t really matter, the selling point is that pretending to kill people is fun and that’s what Warzone aims to provide.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch a lawsuit to ‘ban this sick filth’ but for me personally, I suddenly see everything in a different light. Lots of games are built on that basic premise: killing people is fun, so let’s see how many clever and interesting ways we can offer you to do it.

And it’s really people too, at the end of broadband, millions of other people trying to shoot themselves in the face with enthusiasm. I’d like to say that it’s all very funny, but as anyone who has played Warzone, or any game like it, knows that most people are very angry all the time. That’s why no one uses voice chat anymore. Cheating is also an epidemic, at least in Warzone, suggesting that a vast majority of people who play it don’t approach the game in the right frame of mind.

It’s not just Warzone though. I was thinking of buying The Last Of Us Part 1 as I loved the game on PlayStation 3, but then I read comments about how depressing people found it and started to remember in detail the various scenes and plot twists. And you know what? I don’t need to play a bleak post-apocalyptic story about a depressed middle-aged father who makes poor parenting decisions.

However, the problem is that I don’t know what I need. I love gaming, but somehow virtual bloodbaths don’t have the appeal they once did. Not that I’m a pacifist in real life, but games where you’re on the offensive, where it’s all about fighting and nothing else, have lost their charm.

I imagine something more fantastical, like Elden Ring perhaps, could still be something I enjoy, but there’s no way I’ll have time to play that. Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom is probably the same problem, but at least I can take it with me on the go.

Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’ll feel differently when my little angels are angsty teenagers, but for now I’d like to avoid the ongoing violence and sinister misery. The news alone has enough of that for me at this point.

By reader Ross

The reader feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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