Unfortunate Timing: Dealing with Loss during E3

Death is a hard thing to deal with in any situation. No matter if the death is personal, impersonal or national; there’s something to be said about human’s ability to keep going in the light of such horrific events.

As this is being posted, Day 1 of E3 2016 has wrapped. EA and Bethesda have both gone out onto their respective show floors and presented games of all sorts to the masses gathered to see the next big smash hits for 2016 and beyond. However, a dark cloud lingers over the convention halls. The night before E3 2016 kicked off, 50 people lost their lives in a terrible shooting rampage in Orlando. This is a dark time for the USA, and the world, as we are once again faced with such terrible evil of man. As a nation mourns, do we just all stop and do absolutely nothing till the media, or other people, tell us it’s ok to keep going with our lives?

Well, Chris Plante of The Verge seems to think that E3 should just close up shop and cancel everything. Other people also seem to be wanting to turn and place the “finger of blame” squarely on E3 since a lot of games that are featured at the event promote gun violence. Yes, it seems like we’re heading down a very familiar path once again: Video Games promote violence and are to blame for an event of mass evil.

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Now Chris’ article (If you could call it that. And no, we’re not linking back to such click bait bullshit) points out that audiences both in the LA Convention Centre, and millions online, were cheering as EA brought out Titanfall 2 & Battlefield 1; the latter game focusing on World War 1, which resulted in over 17 million deaths. Chris follows this up with the line “For that tragedy, horror is no longer horrible”.

I don’t think it was EA’s intention to be silence on one of the biggest mass shootings in US history, but more that they didn’t know if such an audience, which was still probably coming to grips with the tragedy itself, was one they wanted to bring down with such a statement. E3 is meant to be a time of happiness and hype, bringing together the best of what gaming has to offer and just enjoying the hobby that it represents. Could you imagine what it would be like for an EA representative to come onto stage and announce that not only were they removing titles people were wanting from their E3 presentation, but we should take a moment to reflect on the lives lost? The event would be brought to a halt that no one on this planet could recover from. Now imagine that with every single publisher that is at E3 at the moment. There would be millions of dollars lost in promotion, floor space and many other areas if the company didn’t do what it did and kept going with the event.

There’s a small saying from the great Winston Churhill: “We must just KBO”. KBO means “Keep Buggering On”. I know the phrase would sound weird to Americans, but a lot of people in European nations understand it quite well. KBO is just simply “Keep on living” or “Keep on doing what you must do”. In the stakes of E3 and EA, they just went on about their announcements for their games like Orlando never happened, and I’m glad they did.

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Before I get into the more meaty part of things; that being replying to some of the tweets that have happened recently about E3 and shootings in general. I want to make something personal known.

During the Bethesda E3 Showcase event this evening, my mother came into my bedroom in tears. It turns out that an elderly family friend has had a bout of sudden and rapid onset Alzheimers. As of this writing, our friend is in the hospital with maybe days left to live. This news upset my mother a lot. Even now she and my Step-Father are helping other members of the family cope with this news and possible loss of a family member at any time. As for me, I KBO.

For me, this news was sad, and when the time comes I’ll probably break down and cry like any normal human being would. But when I was told, I had a job to do. I couldn’t put everything I had started doing for this website to come to a complete stop just because I needed to be emotional, nor did I feel that it was right to pass this off to another member of The Outerhaven staff. I committed to reporting E3, just like I would have any other paid employment, so I just had to KBO till the job was done. This is the same thing the people at E3 are doing over the next few days.

The people of E3 have a job to do. They are there to promote these games to all of us who enjoy the hobby of gaming and they should just KBO like other people in the world do. For if we stopped what we were doing every time someone died in this world, then nothing would ever get done.

And now, because I need entertainment more than anything, let’s take a look at a few of the more popular retweeted tweets that have been going around Twitter tonight:

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Well shit, if it isn’t Jon McIntosh, the mouthpiece behind Anita Sarkeesian (I bet you didn’t know he was involved in every piece of Feminist Frequency media huh?). He’s trashing video games again to score political brownie points. He was going to live tweet about E3 press conferences, probably how sexist things are as he gathers information to incorrectly use in the next “Tropes vs Video Games” series he… I mean Anita, will make sometime in the next 12 months. Now while I’ll concede a point that the video game industry does fetishize gun culture, I will state for the record that movies do the same thing. So do books, magazines, and just about every type of media when you take out context. But I will admit, it would be nice to see some games focus a bit more on the unfortunate side of gun violence… Oh wait, we did that in Max Payne years ago.

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Here we have Jed pretty much saying the same thing Jon did in the image above his. But the way he makes it sound is like all we ever see at E3 are games that are first person shooters or have people shooting guns. While a lot of games do show a lot of death in them, there are going to be a lot more that are non-violent. Remember, we still have Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo to come. Microsoft and Sony love the indie games scene now, so expect a lot of sizzle reels where those non-violent indie games are showcased. As for Nintendo. They are Nintendo; even when they do have something with guns in it they don’t actually hurt anyone or anything.

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Now this double set of tweets from MovieBlob and one of his followers is one that annoys me. First off, Blob is expecting anyone with footage or gameplay of their games to go back through it and censor it for the sake of those poor people who feel “triggered” by the mass shooting. Now I hate this type of mindset. I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies are actually going through and downplaying some of their footage because of the shootings in Orlando, and it’s up to them to do so. However, to have people like Blob demand that censorship should be done in order to “save face” from the wrath of people like him; that just pisses me off.

His little follower is just as bad. “How many mass shootings until the game industry stops making shooting people fun?”. I hate this type of bullshit too. This line of thinking places the blame squarely at the feet of video games and the developers, like they are the ones responsible for one man taking 50 lives. There are a million factors that go into the human mind at anytime and there is never any reason to blame an external stimulus. People like the shooter are fucked up for their own reasons, and no video game, book, movie, religion, or anything else external should be blamed for something that happened. This has been proven as FACT for 2 decades now, but it’s stupid people like this, and the fear-mongering media, that keep bringing this stupid shit up.

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Wow, just wow. Not only does this girl… guy?… This thing make some major assumptions of the victims of this tragic shooting, but also makes some racist and sexist claims about gaming too. Yes, there were homosexual and transsexual people, some of them of colour, being killed in the shooting; but not all of them were brown, black or any other race. It was a mixture, and frankly, their sexual or racial identity no longer matters. A victim of death is a victim no matter what.

As for the assumption that games are all about white men shooting and killing for pleasure is just a stupid thing to say. Again, using something that was known as #NotYourShield, people who play video games come from every background known to the world. Hell, even the stupid made up identities that Tumblr throws out into the world to make themselves feel special play video games too. 

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Now here we have everyone’s favorite space-case Brianna “I’m always the victim” Wu and Seth MacFarlane talking about gun control. I know it’s a little harder to see with Brianna’s tweets as she surrounds it with attention getting dogma and special snowflake-isms, but it’s right there in the middle. As for the content both of them are talking about, there is some merit there. Banning automatic weapons or at least restricting the sale of said weapons is a good idea on paper. As Brianna points out, my country (Australia) banned the sale of automatic weapons completely over 20 years ago, along with placing restrictions on guns in general. For the most part this has worked. Gun violence is indeed down in Australia to the point where we rarely hear about someone going into a place and shooting down a bunch of their fellow human beings.

What you don’t see is the increase in other forms of violence that deems to kill people. Knife violence is extremely high here, as are “King hitting” deaths. (King Hitting is striking someone when their back is turned) Those types of violent ways of killing each other are on the news almost constantly. Removing guns did not end all violence in Australia, it just moved the violence into other areas and other forms. So no, banning all guns or even a few types of guns will not remove death from any country, it just makes things more creative.

At the end of the day, we all deal with death in our personal way. From sudden onset Alzheimers to a mass shooting, death does come for us all. However, we can’t just close up every time these things happen. We need to keep the world spinning. Sometimes it might not seem like the best thing to do, especially in the case of E3 and the violence that is in video games and video game culture; but that’s just what things are. Tears will come when they are needed.

We all just need to KBO in our own way to survive.

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About The Author

Karl Smart
Senior Editor / Reviewer

The main "Australian arm" of The Outerhaven. Karl primarily spends time playing and reviewing video games while taking time to occasionally review the latest movie or piece of gaming technology.