No, not dribbling all over your keyboard. I mean gruesome visuals. Body parts flying all over. Blood spattering. Loving close-ups of unpleasant deaths. That sort of messy gaming.

Over at The Escapist, Adam LaMosca has an article up describing how he enjoys that sort of play. While he couldn’t stand to watch the same stuff in a typical slasher flick, rampaging among dismemberments in a game gives him pleasure.

He isn’t alone. There seems to be a big demand these days for “messy gaming”. Players are disappointed if there isn’t enough blood and detached limbs, some of which can be used as weapons, an apparent favorite with the crowd.

Even Fallout 3 caters to this desire. From what I’ve read, it appears that the best way of dealing with an enemy is to get a close-up of his head and blow it off. Or smack it a good one with a melee weapon. (Yes, I know, earlier games had the “Bloody Mess” trait or perk, whichever it was; that, at least, was optional)

I can do without all that. A little blood for verisimilitude is fine. Going much beyond that is, in my view, unnecessary. How can people enjoy this sort of thing? How can they take pleasure in the graphic depiction of bodies – human or otherwise – in various states of evisceration?

Adam explains it by saying this gives him a feeling of power: “I’m not driven by any sort of anger or bloodlust. I’m not indulging in serial killer fantasies, either. Dead Space’s monsters are the digital embodiment of everything terrifying about mortality. They’re murder and death and pain and disfigurement. They’re marching toward me. They’re my worst fears.

And I’m methodically, gleefully, tearing them to shreds.”

That’s his take. Facing up to one’s fears is one thing. Taking them apart in acts of butchery, that’s another. Surely there’s a better way to do it? There must be something else going on here. And if he’s not driven by bloodlust, how can he, or any other player, really stand such actions?

I Slay The Bodies Electric on The Escapist