Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NightMare Fuel, Day the 7th - The Art of Murder

Nightmare Fuel! Today we celebrate one week of writing horrible things! I've shared these already with the NMF community, but have not had time to post them all here, until this morning.

This one is about an issue important to me, and a question for all of us: is there responsibility inherent in the choice of entertainments we create or support? Yes, this one is a touch didactic and talking-headish. I'll revisit later. For the nonce, what are your choices? If you support the existence of violent games like the Grand Theft Auto series, how do you answer Brooke's final question? 

The Art of Murder

"...freedom of speech. It's what the country was founded on. Even in the wake of this tragedy, I find the very question to be anti-American."
--Excerpt from interview with Alan Roche, April, 1999

Alan Roche flipped off the news. It was tragic, so tragic, but what bothered him the most is that he knew the questions would come. The way they always come. The same dance, probably with the same reporter. The world of gaming had been good to him, had gotten him this cabin with the fireplace and great natural light to draw storyboards for his next project. He didn't do the animations anymore, there were people for that. Didn't do much of the programming either, but he still understood most of it. Today he was storyboarding one of the cutscenes, looking back and forth from his sketchbook to what would be the finished product. Should the viewpoint stay at eye level for immersive realism? Drop closer to the dying woman for intimacy? OR a little higher to heighten the feeling of power?

"...you think the brain scans mean anything? You've shown me pictures on a computer screen. That doesn't make me a doctor any more than playing one of my games makes you a murderer. I've gamed for years, and never killed ... "
--Excerpt from interview with Alan Roche, April 2007

He sketched it out again, slightly stylized  this time, in a faux-Japanese style. No brushes yet. He was still halfwaiting for the phone...

"...terrible tragedy. We've had a mental illness problem in this country for a long, long time. What we don't have is a video game problem. Mass shootings a fair bit older than video games."
--Excerpt from interview with Alan Roche, December, 2012

..and it didn't disappoint. Caller ID said it was the same reporter. The same dance. He knew from the moment he heard the news.

"We doing this again? You want a statement?"

Silence on the other side.

"Ms Brooks? You there?"

"I can't do it this time." Her voice was flat, almost robotic.

"Then why'd you call me? ABout the shooting? Everyone should know by now. Games don't cause killings. Never have."

"Alan," she'd never called him Alan. "Alan, my niece was in that school. I've... not heard from her yet."
The Art of Murder by

Roche tightened his grip on the phone. What was it now? Emotional blackmail? Was that supposed to make him feel worse? Change his tune? "I'm very sorry and hope she's OK. You know this doesn't change anything."

"What I wanted to say... what I wanted to ask... the last thing I'll ask.. is how you feel about  having wasted your life?"

Alan almost laughed, but caught himself. "What do you mean wasted? I'm successful. I have a nice home. I make millions of people happy."

He heard sniffling from the other side of the phone, and a deep breath. "Because everytime this happens, you say games have no effect. That it's just a toy. That it doesn't  impact anyone. So, my last ever question to you, is how it feels for your life's work to be on something with no impact. On anyone."

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