While politicians and Buzz Killingtons debate whether or not video games are the great destroyer of our youth’s moral fiber, there is one line that games aren’t willing to cross when it comes to children.
Having children that are able to be killed by the player has always been a touchy subject. So much so, that developers have made damn sure to avoid the situation altogether. Take a look at games like Grand Theft Auto. You can have sex, sell drugs, murder random people in the street, and exact just about any psychotic fantasy you might have. However, there’s not a single child in sight.
In Skryim, a game that lets you be any kind of person that you want to be and kill anyone that you desire, the children remain the most indestructible features of the game. It became such an issue in the community that a modding team went and actually created a mod for the game that allowed the kids to finally be killable, much to the developer’s chagrin.
So where do I stand on the issue? Do I endorse the murdering of virtual children? No, not really. If a game were to feature that for a good reason, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. If it was in there just for the sake of child killing, I might question the judgement of a developer. Otherwise, I don’t feel a strong need to include it in my video games as it’s not something I look for when playing.
The topic gained a bit of resurgence recently when zombie-survival game “No More Room in Hell” added killable zombie children in their game. A few players took offense to the presence of children that could be killed and took to the Steam forums to let the developer know about their feelings. Reactions to the children ranged from players being shocked and disturbed to people being intrigued and excited by the concept.
With the discussion raging on in their forums, the developer team decided to weigh in on the issue and let people know that zombie children are here to stay.
To officially address the topic of children zombies:
We will not be removing them. They are a core component of our game design, our design philosophy, and our long-term vision for NMRiH. Part of our goal was to create a zombie game not based on killing and action, but on tension and fear and moral and ethical choice. We are attempting to simulate a real-world collapse of society as a result of a lethal epidemic. If you cannot handle it, do not play the game. We are sorry that some people seem to be offended for one reason or another but we are NOT going to censor our game and our vision.
Reading some posts by players off-put by the zombie children, being unable to shoot them on first encounter.. that is something that we set out to achieve. That reaction is actually intentional, that is what we wanted. This is a game about survival.
Our game is free, and we developed it solely out of passion and fun to make the zombie game we always wanted. If you do not like it, we are sorry and it’s unfortunate but this is a no-compromise situation.
We appreciate any and all feedback on the game, as always.
Personally, I think this is one way case where having killable kids in a video game is perfectly fine. The idea of a horror-survival game is that you’re supposed to be challenged with hard decisions and seemingly impossible choices. What’s more challenging to the average person than being faced with a child you have to kill? It’s a horrific thought and perfectly suited to the nature of the game.
What about you reader? Are you okay with the subject matter? Do you think the zombie children should be removed? Weigh in on the issue and let us know.