This is gruesome. I'm going to talk about rape and the murder of children and innocents. I'm upsetting myself writing it, so please click away if you don't want to do this. Or use The Other Button.
You will also be faced with potential spoilers for MW2, Prey, Rule of Rose, [prototype], and Edmund as well as the films The Hills Have Eyes and Dead Girl. Almost all the images I could find were blatantly sexual. I think that's fitting in some horrible way, so I'll go with it.
There is a point in all people where they get squicked. A line, that when crossed spills over into tastelessness. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent strokes means this line is entirely subjective and is going to change throughout your entire life. I saw a good example of this on bloodydisgusting.com in the write up for the Alexdre Aja remake of "The Hills Have Eyes" uncut edition in which the reviewer, a writer for a gorehound website, describes the movie as having gone too far in a sequence in which a woman is raped while a gun is held to her infant child's head and another in which a teenage girl is raped and forced to watch her sister murdered. (I haven't seen this movie and I feel sick to my stomach just typing this.) Nothing more dangerous than a tween who knows she's beautiful
Rule of Rose is an amazing and horrifying game. A cast of orphan children who have formed a society of cruelty and abuse among themselves. Prepubescent sexuality, "puppy love," drives them to acts of desparation and eventual murder. Yet despite the clamoring of the EU ratings boards and their almighty ban on the game, these subjects are treated with a respect and subtlety that still entrance me.
The headmaster, all too eager to smooth Diana's hair while she cries crocodile tears when being accused of killing his pet fish; the doll shaped like Jennifer that Amanda beats with a stick while still offering Jennifer presents and compliments; the scene in which Margaret holds out a rose to Diana, who crushes Margaret's hands against the thorns before kissing away the blood; the "stray dog" Gregory who kills the girls (off camera) on the orders of Wendy, disguised as his dead son whom he misses too much to disobey. This is powerful, artistic stuff. This is a game that is still entirely clear about its themes without forcing barbaric images on the player. Without blatantly stepping over lines, this game made me think about the issues of what is happening through the veil of the character's stories.
So. These are my squicks and the ways that they can be veiled to communicate meaning while still staying within my boundaries. Your mileage may, and will, vary. You might play GTA4 to let off steam by mowing down a street full of faux New Yorkers. I played it as a sort of life simulator. Working the mob missions and cursing myself every time I clipped a pedestrian. Remember, Nico Bellic came here to get away from his life of killing. Not to become a more casual mass murderer. I got angry at Alex in [prototype] whether he's hero or villain. Once the story missions were over, and his character fully revealed, I jammed the Other Button and traded in the game. I had no desire to continue playing such a creature.
This became a ramble at some point but my hands are shaking now. So badly, I almost don't want to reread and edit. Suffice to say, I'm very upset at any developer that makes me use the Other Button.
LOOK WHO CAME: