Is Gaming’s Gun Addiction a Big Deal?

Almost all the biggest games this year include guns to some capacity. Although not every big game calls itself a shooter, guns are ubiquitous among high profile games. This makes it easy to get fatigued. Why do guns get so much attention as a means of combat while swords, fists and magic fall by the wayside? And why don’t we see more diversity in high profile games? The answer is, who cares?

While this infatuation with shooting people in the face is somewhat unique to the current generation of consoles, so is its solution. The answer lies in Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft’s downloadable game front. Originally a source for classic arcade games, XBLA has drastically transformed over the six and a half years since its launch. Its library may not be full of high profile games, but it certainly delivers on diversity. It provides an excellent outlet for developers to release small budget games and for consumers to avoid the often uninspired fray of shooting galleries.


Indeed, the solution to the gun addiction is simply to avoid it. The most high profile of high profile games this year is yet another installment in the Call of Duty franchise, arguably one of the most stale and tired series in the video game market. And yet, that doesn’t bother me.

The industry is growing, and if twenty million people want to buy Call of Duty this year, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for me to enjoy the plethora of downloadable games on XBLA that are not only more interesting, but a quarter of the price. I’ll take Super Meat Boy over Call of Duty any day, and I can only thank Microsoft for opening up that space in the market for Super Meat Boy to exist.


  1. Sterile Prophet says:

    I love first person games but yeah the amount of cookie cutter FPS games is insane. Condemned: Criminal Origins was a first person game with guns but it barely focused on them. They were extremely limited use weapons that usually only had a few rounds in them when you picked one up, most of the combat in that one was melee.

    Then on the PC with games like Amnesia and Cryostasis. Amnesia as far as I’ve played into it has zero combat but does really interesting things with the first person perspective. With Cryostasis it had guns but the combat was very limited, you didn’t fight a ton of dudes through out the game.

  2. Wolf96 says:

    I’d love to see more kick-ass platformers, but I fear that genre has gone the way of the console mascot. The plumber stands alone.

  3. jas says:

    There are some insanely fun platformers on XBLA. They are definitely out there.

    As for the heavy use of guns, I think it is to be expected. At the core, the reason why shooters are popular is because they represent the human struggle for something. It is a highly accessible theme to latch on to, embrace and play out. And when humans are struggling to achieve something, they use weapons. With firearms being one of the latest and greatest forms of weaponry, we are familiar with them and i can’t think of a better weapon to have in the real world, so I play games with one.

  4. jas says:

    @mario Sega still has a mascot, just no console LOL

  5. Ron Aquino says:

    Shooting stuff is fun, but being constantly on-rails is not. Getting fragged online even less so.

  6. Sterile Prophet says:

    If platformers are what you’re looking for all you need to do is fire up your PC. There are tons of free indie games that are amazing and a lot of them are 2D platformer goodness. Cave Story is probably at the top of everyone’s list and yeah, you can get in on Wiiware but the original PC version is still out there and 100 percent free. Another soon to be Wiiware game, La-Mulana is amazing also and unlike many games of today it doesn’t hold you hand you actually need to figure out what you need to do and where you need to go. VVVVVV is 5 bucks on Steam and it’s like bringing a Commodore 64 style game to the modern era and it is also fantastic. The best thing about these games is you don’t need a super computer to run them and they are all amazing.

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