Video Game Resensitization

Introduction/ Background

Video game has changed the way violence is treated in society.  Violence has always been in media throughout human history; its in paintings, literature, movies, music, and going way back, even in cave drawings (violence against woolly mammoths counts as violence).  Video games however seems to have been getting the most attention and the most heat lately, unfairly in my opinion.  Because it is still seen as a medium for children is why I think there is so much heat against it.  The video game that seems to be the poster child for video game violence is the Grand Theft Auto series.

I want to say right now that video games are great.  I love them.  However, I'm afraid that a constant exposure to virtual violence may desensitize players to real violence.  I'm not saying that playing games will make me want to  kill  42 1/2 guys with my uzi while pedaling on my bicycle; I'm just afraid that a constant exposure to game violence (which is technically victimless) will make people not care so much about real life violence (which is horribly serious).

Grand Theft Auto because of its game content and mostly because of its popularity has been the main target for most anti- game violence critics.  The game is clearly labled and intended for adults in mind.  As much as I hate to say it however, kids do get a hold of these games, and they do play it non-stop.  That is why I chose Grand Theft Auto San Andreas as the basis of this piece.  Its popularity automatically gets peoples' attention.  The game also allows players a lot of freedom which is why its perfect for this project.  Players have choices since the game is so non-linear. 

Project Overview

With graphics and technology getting better and better, the line between real and fake is getting blurred perhaps amping the process of desensitization.  What I want to do is to resensitize people to violence in general.  I want people thinking about their actions.  The process in which I want to accomplish this is similar to how firefighters unleash a controlled burn to stop the spread of the wildfire.  I'm going to shock players (figuratively and literally), acocording to their actions and in the game world.  I want to make the game as real as possible before players are eased into that type of experience.  An experience in which the players are fully immersed in a world, and they don't care about discomforts such as smell, pain, or even guilt.

I want to take gamers to a point of immersion before they are eased into it by the flow of the industry.

Grand Theft Auto is what people would call a sandbox game.  It is non-linear and it gives player pretty much total freedom.  Players can make the main character CJ do actions that would be classified as either positive or negative.  Based on these actions, the project will provide players with both positive and negative reinforcement.

shootingonbicycle carjacking
biking skydiving

The Piece

This piece would be an installation.  Players will take a seat in the gamer's chair.  In front of them will be a large screen projector so the viewing audience can see the action fully.  Before the game is started, the player is strapped with differrent devices that make up the bulk of the piece.  Using a PC and a modded version of the game, certain triggers acticate these devices.  Around his/ her arm will be a device used for electric shocking, nothing fatal of course... but pretty close.  Around the neck will be an electrical dog collar.  Plugged to his nose is a machine that sends scents.  Above his/ her head will be a shower head that spurts mist.  In front of the player, near the knees will be a fan angled towards the face.  On the player's crotch will be another device.The player then picks up the controller in front of them and the game is started. 

Actions/ Reactions

The game allows the player to do a number of varied activities.  These activities can be considered positive or negative.  These actions are then reinforced by the machines strapped to the the player. 

Killing with gun
Very Bad, Worst act possible in game
Guilt trip, scent of rotting flesh, blood spray, 5 minutes of electricution via arm band and dog collar, and game is shut down if caught by police
Car death
Vehicular manslaughter
Bad but not the worst
Guilt trip about drunk driving, scent of corpses applied, blood spray
Game shut down if caught by cops
ho fo sho
Soliciting a prostitute
Burning sensation in crotch simulated by non-stop vibration on high for the rest of play-time
Sexual Realtions with a consenting Adult
Pleasing soft crotch vibration,
Legitimate jobs
game rewards players with virtual money,
game reward you with better body shape, constant mist spray, pleasing ocean scent
better body shape
Other recreation
different degrees of air blowing via fan depending on activity, with a pleasing scent
Death and Pain
You don't want it
Spurts of electricution for pain.  3 minutes of electricution with game shut down for death.


Electricution Armband
The armband is wired to send extremely painful none lethal electrical shocks to the arm, causing not only extreme discomfort, but causing the player to lose concentration.  The band monitors the health bar of the player and dishes out punishment correlating to the health lost.
dog collar

Activated when player dies. 
Scent system
Different scents are administere to the player via a smelling device.  Scents include rotting corpse (developed by US Military), and pleasing scents like ocean breeze,  autumn breeze,  breezy breeze (scents from basic air fresheners.) 
Mist Spray
Different sprays are administered for different action.  Swimming will feel like a pleasant shower.  Blood spray will be simulated by red food colored water sprayed in short violent spurts,
Remote Crotch Device
Device attached over players crotch, not directly on top.  Administers sensations to crotch via remote control signals. 
Electric Fan
household fan gives soothing feel for actions that dictate it
Guilt Trip
Players are bombarded with pictures, articles, videos, and news reports of real-life people that have died the way the player has just killed.   The players are confonted with a face for their formerly faceless victim.  Not only that, players are shown the reprecussions of their actions if it were real life, i.e.  grieving mothers, parentless children.  These pop-ups will eventuall cover the screen making it extremely difficult for players to elude the police.


I hope to find various reactions to the reward punishment system.  Will people commit crimes when they know what now awaits them?  Will they trigger the guilt trip system, curious to find out about real-life events?  Will they relish in the pain and consider it a new obstacle to overcome. 

I also want to see how pain affects the player's ability to play.  Will it hinder him/ her enough to stop killing and just take a walk on the beach?



Waco Resurrection- Eddo Stern

Tekken Torture Tournament

Hacking from the Outside/ Tekken Torture Tournament

Five Holes Reminiscient

Scent Projector


Smell of War/ Popular Science

Victoria Fang:  The Living Room

Berman Center Astrea Remote Vibrating Panty