Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thoughts on Superhot and the glorification of violence

Superhot's Kicksterter campaign has reached it's goal, this is one of the indie games I have been most hopeful for lately, but somehow I now feel like I have fallen outside their target audience. The bullet time mechanic seemed like it had such great potential for breaking down modern FPS games, but with the direction the game seems to be taking, it feels even more of a glorification of the act of violence than any of the AAA FPS on the market to date (that comes to mind, I'mm sure they exist). Where I feel over saturated by blood, gore and brutally murdering things for the sake of recreational game sport, Superhot seems do distill that conquering lust down to it's bare essence of empowerment. This makes me a sad fish, I wanted a breakdown of the FPS genre, not a glorification of it. Still, I love FPS for the empowerment that it does give, and I love the mechanics of FPS's, but I do not love how that is all unnecessarily upheld by violence. It's possible to make an empowering FPS without having this (in my opinion) perverse clinging to murder. Superhot has taken an interesting direction with it's graphics, but by (as far as I can tell) having no story, and human figures being nothing but polygons, this arcade like game misses an opportunity to tell a story that could really hit the nail on many an FPS fans head and make ripples in the AAA industry, where some good old satire or harsh criticism would be very welcome. 

Unfortunately as it stands, I probably won't enjoy Superhot. Slowly running up to those faceless people and bashing their skulls in with a gun won't make me feel powerful, it will make me feel disgusting. If that isn't going to happen to just me, then perhaps the game successfully does comment on the state of FPS, but I hardly doubt that will be the common experience by fans of this game. Still I'm very positive that we are getting new and interesting games exploring the FPS genre, and by simply having an alternative art-style and mechanic, hopefully superhot will help pave the way for more diverse, interesting and maybe even constructive video games in the future.