The Mitchlist: Top 5 Most Intense Interrogations (VIDEO)
This week saw the return of TV show “24″ and its terrorist-fighting ass-kicker, Jack Bauer. And if Bauer is known for anything, it’s his willingness to employ any means necessary to get information that might save lives — including “enhanced interrogation” techniques like torture.
Depictions of torture have picked up in games in the last generation or so, and more than a few seem like they might have been influenced by Bauer’s real-time exploits during that show’s eight-season (now nine) run. Putting players into the role of tortured has its psychological effects, and of late we’ve seen many more games provoke discussion by placing players in the role of torturer. One infamous scene in Grand Theft Auto V, for example, even calls out how ineffective torture can be while still asking the player to partake in that torture.
In his latest Mitchlist video, video producer Mitchell Saltzman runs down his picks for the Top 5 Most Intense Interrogations ever committed to video games, and they include players and player characters both withstanding interrogation and playing interrogator. What Mitch doesn’t talk about too much, given the nature of short videos, is what each of these scenes conveys, and what purposes they serve, in the contexts of their games. When Sam Fisher blasts a dude’s head into a urinal, spraying blood all over porcelain, what’s the purpose of making you the person responsible for pressing A to smash?
With all the conversation that “24″ stirred up about torture, especially in the throes of the U.S.’s War on Terror, there’s plenty of interesting discussion to be had about how video games treat interrogations, what they make players complicit in during those scenes, and why their creators made the choices they did. So as you watch Mitch’s picks for the ones that he felt were most intense, let us know what you think about those scenes and how games use the player, both as interrogator and interrogated, in the comments.