Exploration, Puzzle-Solving Teaches Kids Non-Violence, Alarmed Parents Say

Washington, D.C. — As word spreads of the adventures of quirky, charming, non-violent adventurers using puzzle-solving and exploration to cope with their problems, parents are growing more and more concerned that today’s children are learning that non-violence is an option.

“Look at our cities today,” one horrified parent said during a protest at the nation’s capitol. “Full of gun-toting thugs, monsters, zombies, aliens, and super-villains. Meanwhile, my teenage son was going on and on about some charming little bird-man he heard about, who lived in a peaceful realm where he ate blueberries and collected over-sized pencils and apples.”

“I checked out this blueberry-filled garden he was telling me about,” she continued. “It was serene, peaceful, with gentle piano music playing in the background. Piano music? How is my child going to learn to lock and load or run and gun, listening to anything other than pulse-pounding, teeth-rattling electronica?”

She went on to express her fears that the lessons in non-violence from these quirky, gentle adventurers will leave children vulnerable in a harsh, unforgiving world full of explosions and monsters.

“He’s going to be woefully unprepared for the realities of our violent world,” she said, as a burning helicopter slammed into a building behind her and several cars hurtled by, spitting gunfire. “A crowd of gangsters will ambush him in an alley, or zombie hordes will swarm all over him, and all he’ll know how to do is make a tower out of giant dice and wedges of cheese.”

“It’s fine for adults to occasionally put down their machine guns and flamethrowers and do a little puzzle-solving,” said Tom Jackson, a lawyer for the activist group Violence Alliance, which promotes teaching children to solve their problems with hand grenades and laser weapons. “But kids are so impressionable. They may think that solving puzzles or exploring quirky, artistic landscapes is fun and worthwhile. It’s disgusting. These environments are just puzzle-simulators. They’re teaching our children it’s better to think than to shoot.”

Another concerned parent spoke of his son, who had heard about a robot named Josef living in the city of Machinarium.

Is this robot teaching our children not to kill?

“I guess this robot carefully and cleverly disguised himself as security bot in order to bypass a checkpoint,” the parent explained, “by putting a traffic cone on his head and topping it off with a light-bulb. That’s a terrible lesson for our children, when simply shooting the security bot with a sniper rifle or taking him out with a pulse grenade would have done the trick in far less time.”

The child, meanwhile, wants to visit Machinarium someday to solve puzzles of his own.

“Not gonna happen,” said the boy’s father. “No son of mine is going to wind up wearing a traffic cone on his head on some delightfully quirky and charming environment. I’m enrolling him in Bullworth Academy in New England, and then he’s enlisting in the Space Marines.”

“You think a traffic cone is gonna impress the Cacodemons and Hellknights? Huh?” he yelled at his son, who was quietly tying a length of string to a magnet in an effort to fish a metallic object out of a puddle.

“See? See what they’re teaching him?” the father said, dragging his son away by the arm. “After a couple tours on Phobos, he’s gonna learn that non-violence is not the answer.”


  1. Jack Thompson says:

    Damn it, Livingston! You totally mis-quoted me! SUE!!

  2. Devenger says:

    This Tom Jackson sure does sound reasonable.

  3. Jack Thompson says:

    Hey! Who’s this impostor? I’ll sue you! Not myself, of course, but I’ll hire an attorney!

  4. I would like to see those meatbags try to put a cone on my central processing host.

  5. Jack Thompson says:

    I can offer you my services, Mr. Thompson.

  6. Ex-Overwatch says:

    I dunno.

    I mean, sure, brutal violence has solved most of my problems in the past, sure, and I know that, should the combine regime be toppled and kids exist again, we’ll want them to know how to kill things with blunt objects, but I find that sometimes you need a little spatial reasoning skill, the kind you don’t get from Turkeypuncher 3D.

    Take this one time. So, my boss sends me to investigate an island full of combine troops. I kill my way through them for a couple hours, and everything’s going fine. But then, the unthinkable happens.

    I lose my guns! Well, I think it would be fair to say I was in trouble. But then I remembered back in junior high, when some of the “bad kids” had snuck in a copy of “Puzzletown”.

    Those abstract physics puzzles saved my life! I was able to build a crude tower of blocks to pull a switch, disrupt an energy array, and eventually find a fully automatic AR2 to resume my rampant murdering.

    And I don’t think I’m the only guy in that position, either.

  7. note from Gordon says:

    oh! missed one. [picks up gravity gun]

  8. This is an atrocity. I was recently commissioned by the government to design a live-fire course for military androids–big maze of rooms, lots of random objects and obstacles, and fully automatic turrets around every corner. I was really proud of my work, you know? Every day I would get to sit in an observation room overlooking the course, and watch as all these expensive military droids just tear each other apart. Beautiful.

    Then one day, this lady shows up at the course with some sort of weird-ass gun. I thought, okay, human test subjects with experimental hardware. Should be interesting. But then she points her gun away from the turrets and shoots out two sections of wall, making a couple of big glowing holes. Then she walks into one hole and somehow comes out the other, right behind one of my turrets. Finally, she just pokes the damn thing, and it falls right over and shuts down. She went through the whole course this way, without even blowing anything up! I wanted to cry.

    This kind of outside-the-box nonviolent thinking threatens all of our most cherished institutions, and it makes a mockery of honest, hardworking military engineers like me. We need to ban puzzle games now, before it’s too late!

  9. Space Marine says:

    I approve of this website for its promotion of the USSMC. Join us and your love life will take new exciting turns! Implications: Pleasant and pleasurable!

  10. A Concerned Parent says:

    Just the other day I saw my daughter trying to fight against an evil computer using only a gun that shoots portals. But instead of arming herself to the teeth and using the portal gun to teleport to convenient locations, she attempted to the kill the thing using only the portals! And what else would happen that she hurt herself in the process and had no medpacks to help. She ended up getting dragged off by some robot while she was unconscious. Hopefully she’s learned her lesson.

  11. Quicksilver_502 says:

    a simple compromise is the solution here. if we can teach our children to look at a horde of zombies as a puzzle to be solved, they may become ingenious and deadly killers, inventing new murderising tactics on the fly.

  12. Borisvdb says:

    If only there were hordes of zombies and giant octopus monsters and crazed Albanian immigrants destroying New York.
    But alas.

  13. Kadorhal says:

    It’s a tough issue.

    On the one hand, outwitting large groups of hostile soldiers armed with full-auto weapons by using only your brains and random scrap you probably found in a warehouse in another city makes you feel like you’ve truly accomplished something.

    On the other hand, seeing that same large group of hostile soldiers with full-auto weapons and tearing them all to shreds with a bigger gun or blowing them all to kingdom come with a big enough application of explosives is a beautiful sight.

  14. Alex Mercer says:


    Trust me, the only problem solving skill you’ll learn from that is how many times you need to hit it with your mutated knife-fingers before it’s pastrami.

    I never needed to worry about problem solving, if I had a problem I punched it in the chest and stole it’s body and memories – need to fly a helicopter, but don’t know how? Absorb a helicopter pilot in a horrific manner, it’s the best of both worlds.

  15. This is horrible, I try and set examples by spouting one liners and punching innocnt reporters, this just demeans my own and others hard work.

    If his continues, our kids won’t say things like “That was…shocking” if someone gets electrocuted! They’ll spout some logical bullshit.

    Excuse me, I have to go steal candy from some baby.

  16. My son, he’s lost it. Throughout the entire night, I could hear clicks, coming from his room. It was driving me crazy. Finally I decided to storm his room, shotgun in hand, and what do I find? He had spent all night setting up dominoes that would trigger the explosion of a watermelon! He saw me, and quickly started the chain reaction with his physics manipulating gun thingy.

    Oh, it was horrible. What could have taken only a second, took 2 minutes. The last domino tipped over and set off the gas tank, blowing up the watermelon.

    I don’t know where I went wrong.

  17. Look as an anthropomorphic dog of both intellect and violence I believe there is a place for puzzle solving. In my years as a freelance police officer I’ve encountered many a confusing puzzle between shooting random objects with my revolver.

  18. Space Marine says:

    @Commander Shepard:

    I find your comments snide and insinuating. Sir.

  19. Well said, well said.

    While I have no fears for my own daughter, who is quite adept at telepathy, teleportation, and telekinesis in addition to kung fu skills and unnatural toughness granted to her by the sea slug she was implanted with at a young age, I fear for other children in our city.

    While it’s good for a young girl to keep close to her adult escort (who may or may not be related to her) when traveling through rough neighborhoods, all this “angel” talk and skipping around like everything is fine is frankly just not healthy. It’s not that I mind them draining the blood of the dead with their syringes, but no one is teaching them how to use those syringes as effective and deadly weapons until they’re much older. What if someone comes along, kills the girl’s escort and tricks her into working for them?

    I mean: it’s okay if I do it, but I can’t trust those other jerks to have the girls’ best interest in mind.

  20. Non-violence?

    I don’t think I’m familiar with that word.

  21. “…pulse-pounding, teeth-rattling electronica”

    The technical term is “deathcore.” As in, it makes you want to make everything dead to the core. Some sissies like to listen to drum & bass, but they also shop at the stores in the mall that don’t sell ammunition by the pound. I’ve heard there are even people who listen to that damn bumpity-bumpity computer music – the only music I want to hear from any computer is when it’s telling me my missiles are locked on.

    What I’m getting at is, make sure you get the right kind of music. You don’t want to get some sort of ironic hipster instead of a killing machine. Try playing some classical for your kids. You know, like the soundtrack to Doom.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shoot some drum machines and CD players with a minigun. I’m making a killer mix for my next road trip to Hell.

  22. Anonymous says:


    You just made my day. Bravo! Also, I completely agree. Puzzle-Solving CAN help to further the noble cause of violence, death, and destruciton.

  23. The last tribal leader who followed a doctrine of non-violence was eaten by a Thresher Maw. Since then, we’ve just stuck to good old violence.

  24. In Russia you do not solve puzzles; puzzles solve you!

  25. It’s all very well to promote problem solving skills, but it’s hazardous to rely on them exclusively. I have recently found myself in the depths of an arctic fastness, investigating the mystery of my deceased father. Straight up puzzling all the way to the gravy train right? Well apparently not, there’s wolves and bloody great spiders everywhere I go! It’s a mercy the wolves seem to have no sense of smell, since if one was to see me I’d be right up the creek.

    I even have a variety of blunt instruments to hand but no hope of mounting an effective defense. I knew I should have taken the combat module on my Physics degree…

  26. J.C. Denton says:

    My vision is augmented.

  27. Lone Wonderer says:

    I think it’s great that kids are *Bang* learning how to *bang* solve some problems without *Bang* using violence cause *reload sound(maybe something like a chah chink)* it might eventually *boom* lead too some real progress *click click* in ending sensless violence,*sound of auto axe revving up* and really cut down on the cost of blood stain removal.

  28. Bayonetta says:

    That’s terrible in my opinion. The games these kids are playing these days…they don’t even have gratuitous and questionably relevant sexual content in them! How are kids supposed to live in a world where every female has massive breasts, shapely thighs, and impossibly long legs (BTW, these gun heels are fucking killing my feet!) if all their games feature female heroines who are pretty in their own way but not sex symbols, like me?

    As an accomplished gunwitch, I feel today’s games need much more sex and violence, in order to teach our kids that sometimes, you just need to have your clothes/hair (it’s complicated) turn into a big demon thing and bite some angelic juggernaut’s head off, leaving you suggestively naked in the process. I mean, it’s about principles, really.

  29. This whole talk about solving everything with violence may sound logical to you old timers, when all you had to do was go from room to room killing everybody, but the truth is todays youth needs to be prepared for puzzle solving. You just can’t turn on the tv without some story about people pushing crates and activating levers all over the news.
    The fact is, puzzles are out there in the streets, and if you shelter your kids like that one day they are going to run into a situation where they can’t get out without physics.

  30. Oh come on. This is just more bloody media beat-up. There is no scientific evidence to prove that puzzle-solving and classical music lead to non-violence. I play games like these all the time and I still punch random strangers on the street and take their ammo.

  31. Imperial Guard says:


  32. Following Freeman says:

    It does bring up the question what our kids will do when our city is shelled with headcrab bombs. Will they try to confuse the headcrabs with puzzels? Or will they try to “reach out” to them?

    I once saw a guy reaching out to a headcrab. The result was horrible. We had to put down what was left of him afterwards. Those things are dangerous. How will our children learn how to deal with them? A tower of cheese, apples and a random pencil won’t stop a headcrab, let alone fast zombies or even striders.

    A strider would just step on the cheese!

    Even a CP officer could just slap our children to death with a can!

    Oh this is madness!

    Think of the children!

  33. note from Gordon says:

    i’ve encountered a few “puzzles” in city 17 like a jump ramp for a fast boat that required several boyant barrels underneath

  34. Bob Page says:

    Should have tried this in conjunction with the nano-virus. The “false-flag terrorism leading to police state with super agents” thing is kinda biting me in the ass right about now. Although I get this strange feeling that Denton would just take non-violence as a challenge and somehow wreck my bases without killing more than a couple people total…

  35. I am categorically against non-violence for entertainment!

  36. Solid Snake says:

    Non-violence won’t help you when terrorists are trying to activate Metal Gear. War never changes, so don’t turn our kids into wimps like Otacon.

  37. Francis says:

    I hate puzzles, and non-violence.

  38. F. Grigori says:

    I have learned to combine physics with crushing zombies in anyway possible. We should encourage our young people to use physics! If they succeed they can become like me! And if they fail… then they can become heh heh part of my congregation! hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

  39. Gordon Frohman says:

    Oh! Church puns!

  40. Emperors Finest says:

    *takes out flamer*

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  1. Anonymous says:

    […] Kirk Hamilton of the GamerMelodico blog compares the iPhone game Chaos Rings with 2008’s The World Ends With You. And from the news desk of the First Person Observer comes word that: “Exploration, Puzzle-Solving Teaches Kids Non-Violence, Alarmed Parents Say”. […]

  2. […] Kirk Hamilton of the GamerMelodico blog compares the iPhone game Chaos Rings with 2008’s The World Ends With You. And from the news desk of the First Person Observer comes word that: “Exploration, Puzzle-Solving Teaches Kids Non-Violence, Alarmed Parents Say”. […]