If you’ve been playing Battlefield 3, you might have come across the following scene:
In the scene in question, the player – a US Marine – is hiding from a passing army of Iranian soldiers. He crawls along a ditch until a rat crosses his path and starts to nip at him. The character, presumably afraid that the rat’s squeaking will alert the nearby soldiers, stabs the animal.
You don’t have to kill the rat. If you don’t, however, an Iranian troop finds you and shoots you. In your dying breath, you – I shit you not – give the rat the middle finger.
If you’re a regular Kill Screen reader, you can probably guess we’re about to report that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is upset at the prospect of killing a virtual rat. That’s sort of silly, but it does raise an ethical question: what does it say about our culture that you have to kill this rat or else you die?
“Killing virtual animals can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience. There have been repeated cases of animal cruelty in Germany, where young people kill animals. Inspiration behind these acts often came from movies and computer games.”