The games industry's meeting with Donald Trump and vocal critics yesterday didn't yield consensus on how to make American school children safer from shooting rampages, but it did yield a particularly dim portrayal of the game industry's work in the form of a White House-produced compilation of graphically violent scenes in games, including popular franchises like Fallout and Call of Duty.
Even some within the industry were taken aback by the level of violence on display. Specifically, Deus Ex and System Shock developer Warren Spector took to Twitter to lament the ammunition the industry had been giving its critics.
"I don't believe games cause violent behavior," Spector said. "Not for one second. However, the videogame reel shown at the White House on Thursday is simply disgusting. Every shot is in colossally bad taste and everyone associated with those games should be ashamed of themselves. They hurt us."
When another Twitter user pointed out that not all of Spector's games could be called family friendly, the developer acknowledged as much.
"True enough," he said, "but the games I work on typically offer alternatives to violence; I try to show the consequences; there aren't any decapitations, bloody gibbing headshots or ax killings. I don't mind violent games. I mind games that glorify it & present it in graphic, disgusting ways."
Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford replied to defend the games in question, telling Spector the images were taken out-of-context and cut together "dishonestly" as a piece of propaganda.
"Your own games can be cut with such a mindset -pressed into the same service of highlighting depictions of violence to undermine art and expression," Pitchford said. "Such depictions are sometimes necessary if art is going to be useful to our species. Have you not read Shakespeare? The bible?"