Guns, Gore, and Games: the Trivialization and commodification of warfare and militarism through the mixture of alcohol and arcade

The medley of first-person shooting games at Arcade Bar--located within the heart of the nightlife scene in Gainesville, Florida--presents an opportunity for crowds to revel in the fleeting but intense emotions evoked by warlike, militaristic, high-energy situations. The appeal of many of these games is that they incite the human instinct for survival at all costs--costs such as the infliction of indiscriminate violence--amidst the backdrop of virtual chaos, adventure, and seemingly-tangible (but ultimately harmless) danger.
These games offer players shots of adrenaline; and as the venue is also a bar, loud music and alcohol drench the atmosphere and, coupled with the games, heighten the recreational experience of the arcade (thus further trivializing the excessive war imagery and themes throughout the arcade by veiling them with entertainment and pleasure).
The sense of excitement and realism is augmented by the ability to physically hold of the guns themselves; players are able to mimic the reloading of a gun by resetting the magazine after a certain number of bullets have been fired
"Area 51" -- a shooting game where the objective is to aim at and exterminate all of the aliens that saunter onto the pixelated screen
The objective in "House of the Dead" is to kill all of the zombies and various strange, dark creatures in the players' way while rescuing the scientists and workers trapped in the facility. Headshots are the most efficient and quickest way to kill the enemies. The gore, albeit pixelated, is simultaneously caricatured and gruesome.
All-out warfare against Martians in the form of a pinball game
The Capitol Building is depicted here as under siege, conveyed through the lens of classic, pop-culture images of warfare: fire, destruction, chaos, architectural ruin, and the standard war symbol (and trope) of the damsel-in-distress. The reminiscently retro, 80's vibe and design of many of these games also invites both conscious and unconscious aestheticizations of the arcade.
Created By
Rachel Han
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