Is there any blood?

12 October 2003

So I’m standing in my friendly local indepdendent videogame shop playing a demo pod running Rainbow Six 3, and very good it is too – fantastic graphics engine, beautiful lighting algorithms, sensible control scheme and skilful gameplay (unless like me you lacked the skills). And, as I’m creeping through a sewer and trying to eliminate terrorists with my M4, a twelve-year-old voice behind me asks

“Is there any blood?”

to which I said

“Does it matter?”

Actually, I realised what I should have said, but I didn’t want to give the kid nightmares.

“Well, I’m not sure. I mean, I can’t see in the gloom of this sewer. And to be honest, it’s aiming for a more realistic tone so there’s not going to be showers of the stuff. But anyhow, at this range, a 5.56mm NATO round is probably going to go straight through a man the muzzle velocity’s so high. So there won’t be much report of blood, especially since the terrorists are all wearing black. But once they’ve gone down, they could lose several pints of blood from their multiple bulletwounds, and I guess that’d make quite a mess, but in the game the corpses disappear quite fast and I’m not sure modern fluid simulations are up to calcualting several pints of blood for several corpses on a humble Xbox. I guess if the round hit a head there’d be quite a lot, though – from the exit wound, though. The entrance wound would be clean. And it wouldn’t just be blood, but bone and grey matter, too. All over the shop. Of course, if I was using my .45 ACP pistol, there’d be more blood, as the lower-velocity rounds lodge in the human body, contorted beyond recognition, and tend to take more of a mess.

“But, no I’m not sure there’s any blood. Why, does it matter?”

Still, Rainbow Six 3 was very good. I had one of those mornings, though: wandering around an overcrowded town, dodging slow-walkers and people befuddled by Paying-In machines. And kids in games shops arguing about how good Fifa 2004 was going to be, and whether or not Tom Clancy’s terrorists bleed. I was on the way to see Alan Parker and Patrick McCabe in conversation. And that was excellent.