Those poor critters in video games…

Recently I had to do it again…kill a sheep to get enough wool to craft in bed in Minecraft. A bed that I needed to sleep away the darkest nights when there isn’t a lot to do in my Minecraft world. I knew there was no other way, I needed the bed and to craft it, I had to kill three sheep. So I gritted my teeth and went about it. What made it worse was that they tried to run away after the first blow. Poor animal, grazing away, minding its own business and then to be savagely butchered. That’s how it feels to me when I have to kill an animal in a video game.

Rune Factory, sheep, animals in video games, harvest Moon

That was the most important reason that I didn’t take to Monster Hunter.They made it even worse there, blood spurting everywhere. In Rune Factory I had the same problem, killing the sheep, chickens or cows to get much needed materials. But in that game I knew I’d only have to do it until I was able to tame such an animal, because after that they would give me their produce for free. Once they liked me enough to give me wool and milk for free, I always left the critters in the wild alone, on the understanding that if they didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t bother them.

Viva pinata, sparrowmint, candyAlthough, writing this article I realized that I might be just a little bit of a hypocrite. You see, I don’t mind killing monsters in games like Final Fantasy or Bravely Default. I happily chop away to progress the story and to level up my fighters. Maybe it’s because those monsters don’t look anything like real animals? And on top of that, one of my favorite games is Viva Piñata, a game that really takes sacrificing animals to another level. Strange that I almost completed that game, although in the beginning I did really have a problem with letting my Whirlm be eaten by the Sparrowmint that visited my garden. But I overcame my own resistance, convincing myself that these animals were clearly filled with candy and that they had no other purpose in live then to bring joy.

I was wondering, how does it work for you? Are you happy that you can finally slay some beasts, something you don’t do in real life? Or do you dislike doing what sometimes needs to be done as much as I do?


  1. Now that’s a interesting subject! To be honest, I already had guilt issues over the slaughtering of cute creatures and/or monsters in videogames. When I played Children of Mana on the DS, I used to clear every single dungeon floor of its resident enemies because the fighting physics were so amazingly enjoyable, but these methodical executions made me feel guilty at times. I was literally going out of my way to kill foes and enjoying it greatly, and that disturbed me somehow. Also, knocking off Pokemons in Pokemon X made be feel bad because of the detailed fainting animations… Yet in other games, I didn’t have a second thought about butchering everything in sight. I guess it really depends on the game and the mood you’re in when playing!

    1. Methodical executions…now that makes it even worse, but you are so right! I hate it when you have to do that to progress, even when they are real monsters that you battle. Why would you do that if the monsters don’t bother you, right?
      In Pokemon I’ve thought myself to think that they Pokemon enjoy the fighting too…but the detailed fighting scenes do make it hard to be convinced about that!

  2. Depends on the game. I don’t think I would mind slaying creatures in Monster Hunter because a lot of them are huge and want to gobble you up. In Rune Factory 4 at least they say that your weapons are enchanted so they merely teleport away the cute critters you whack.

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot! In Rune Factory they go back to the forest of beginnings, right? Seems the game developers had the same feeling about their games!

  3. Personally I always had a huge problem killing wolves in video games. Most likely because as a kid I always felt sorry that they were always the villains in fairy tales and that has lead to some kids disliking them, on top of them being already endangered….and this is even worse than having an issue with killing cute monsters or other real animals, because enemy wolves in games are everywhere. In turn based RPGs, I just have to sadly swallow it, but in free roam ones I just run away (which does lead to my death sometimes, but I don’t regret it).

    As for cute monsters, it depends. Usually I feel bad if they literally pose no threat. Like some of the cat-like enemies in Dragon quest, where the early cats rarely attack, instead spending their turns licking themselves or playing…what possible justification is there for me to slaughter them? If it’s cute but it’s actually terribly viscous, then the guilt goes away. It’s just a monster with a cute outfit, and I have no issue with killing monsters (most of the time anyway).

    I also tend to let harmless animals that run once I hit them to go away. Which means that it’s a good thing I don’t play minecraft. But I didn’t feel too guilty in Rune Factory games, since you never kill any of the monsters, your weapons just teleport them back to the forest of beginnings 🙂

    1. So we do think along the same lines here! You would be surprised how many of the gamers I chat with on here or other social networks feel the same. When it’s not absolutely necessary, most gamers don’t kill the animals!

      1. That’s a really good thing to know! Really puts the whole “all gamers enjoy mindless violence” in perspective. Although not really surprising to us considering how so many games where you befriend monsters/animals or make them your allies are really popular (Pokemon, Digimon, Megami Tensei, Youkai Watch, Fallout, Animal crossing and so many more).

  4. It is funny how it can be so much easier to kill something that’s attacking you than something that isn’t considering it’s all digital anyway. It just highlights the immersive power of the well crafted game. You may be interested to know that you can sheer the sheep rather than kill it, I believe. And I’m pretty sure you can corral up the animals and run a proper farm too, though I’ve never gotten to that point.

  5. I cringe at hurting animals in games. I know they aren’t real, but that doesn’t matter. The worst ones for me are the Far Cry games (which I love). At least they were until a friend told me you could turn the skinning animations off, so I did, and that made it far less awful.

    Still. I don’t like any animals, real or digital, to be in pain.

      1. It was. I’m so glad my friend found out it was something that could be toggled off.

        I love that you had animals! When I was little, we had many, as well. Chickens, ducks, and rabbits on a regular basis.

        1. So you had lots of animals too! I even had a tame carrier pigeon, that came in my house. There was a time that I wanted to be a vet, but it never got to that.

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