CASE: KRATOS AND POSEIDON’ S PRINCESS In the very successful God of War series of videogames, the…


In the very successful God of War series of videogames, the player controls a Spartan warrior named Kratos on a mission of revenge against the Greek gods.

Kratos displays many of the symptoms of dissocial personality disorder, which, according to the World Health Organization, is characterized by:

… disregard for social obligations, and callous unconcern for the feelings of others.…. There is a low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence; there is a tendency to blame others… (ICD-10, 204)

Jamal is the father of two boys, one 17 and one 14. He enjoys playing video games with his sons, but he usually plays through the games himself, first, to make sure that they are suitable for his kids to play. Jamal is generally not concerned with cartoonish violence in games, or even the semirealistic violence in games where there are clear good guys and bad guys, or in situations that are clearly self-defense or otherwise morally justified by the story.

God of War III is another story, however. While playing through God of War III, Jamal was particularly disturbed by a sequence involving a computer character named Poseidon’s Princess. At this point in the game Kratos is blocked by a metal gate. The gate can be opened by turning a heavy crank, but as soon as Kratos lets go of the crank, the door closes again.

The solution to this puzzle is to “rescue” the Princess from a room where she is trapped, and then push her into the crank mechanism. As Kratos walks towards the door, the Princess begs for mercy, but Kratos ignores her. As Kratos continues towards the door, the player hears the Princess begin to scream, and then the gruesome sounds of the princess being crushed by the mechanism.

Jamal finds himself disturbed by this scene, and spends some time looking for alternate solutions to the puzzle, but there are none. The player cannot complete the game without pushing Poseidon’s Princess into the crank.

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