Is mafia/gangster/criminal theme disturbing in games?

I don’t know why I wrote this in valentine’s day… but here we go.

Mafia or gangster games deal with quite tough subjects. Games depict various kind of violence, blackmailing, extortion, drugs and other heavy stuff.

Before age 30 all was ok, but now I’ve been thinking if this stuff is bit too much, at least the more realistic approach games take. Pixel art gangsters with humour I’m pretty much ok with, but if there’s really realistic art, realistic setting and immersive story I’m not sure if I want to get immersed in that world.

What you think? Do you find any violent games/criminal/gangster disturbing? Why? Why not?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. The other side of the coin is that: I would never become a mafia don in real life… or rule the middle earth as Sauron for that matter 8) …but games let me experience this, safely, without harming other real human beings.

  2. This is something I have been thinking a lot lately.

    According to what I’ve been studying, all the thoughts and feelings we are holding in our minds are reflected on our actions and our environment; adding more of the stuff we are holding in our minds to our world.

    And if you think about video games, what could be more involving than actually being immersed to the virtual worlds of video games and “living it” yourself?

    If wars and crimes and all kinds of “bad” stuff is something we want more to our world, then let’s make and play that kinds of games… but personally I would like to be involved in creating something different.

    There is a great challenge for game industry: How to create games which don’t contain violence and cruelty, but still are interesting enough for the masses to buy the game.

  3. childrens love this kind of games
    parents can’t stop their childrens to play them
    this is not good at all

  4. I have the same thoughts about TV programs/movies. Also I choose what news I want to read. It’s up to you what you want to fill your brain with.

  5. You pretty much summed majority of my thoughts *after* I had published the blog post.

  6. Can they be disturbing? Sure they can, but so can the war games and nearly every other game. No one really asks if Mario Bros was a disturbing game, but if you think about it, you were killing all sorts of creatures. I think that these themes should not be glorified, but if there is a market for it then so be it. Make the game.

  7. Most youngsters don’t see the violence and crime going on in this world because they have a narrow focus on their own life, which is nothing to blame. When they get older their focus broadens from local to global and they become aware of the cruelty out there. Then fictive war/rape/murder themes start to become reality. At this point it becomes less fun to kill in simulations because there are real people dying just the same way.

    Similar phenomenon: most demonstrators start their careers in college/university.

  8. Eh, well. I am quite indifferent. I have to say that it is what it is and people seem to like them. I have never played them and leave them alone, but if people play them, well, more will come out.

    Some of them I find really disturbing though, like the Postal games or Manhunt. I totally disagree with those being on the market.

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