The dead (virtual) children problem

24 Feb

There’s a segment on the Extra Hot Great podcast called “Tiny Triumphs” about little victories that we have in our lives. I was blessed to have one this week; I wrote a piece for that was published early this morning and appears to have struck a nerve. As of this writing, it’s earned more than 700 comments and I’ve gotten lots of e-mails and Tweets from people who read the piece. That hasn’t happened before, even with the piece I did on Facebook and religion.

The editor I work with at CNN e-mailed me to tell me that at one point today it was the 3rd-most-popular piece of content on the entire site.

Last week, a trailer for the video game Dead Island was released (my brother Pablo sent me the link) and it earned near-universal praise on gaming blogs (and some mainstream ones as well). But something about it just didn’t sit well with me and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t have a problem with just this trailer, but with several video games that are using the deaths and torture of children as central plot points.

I pitched the column to CNN and they were able to get it published pretty quickly. I don’t know if what I wrote is right or wrong, I just know that the best stuff I write typically comes from a strong feeling I have and the need to explore what that feeling means and where it came from. This was the rare piece where I got to do it for a very popular site and get the idea out in front of lots of people.

I’m embedding the original trailer below. Warning: it’s VERY gory and potentially disturbing. It’s also well-crafted and haunting, an amazing piece of work. And there’s part of the problem.

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