Morality isn’t something that is instantly associated with video games, but as games become more interactive the line starts to blur. Yes, it is just a game, but damn if I don’t feel horrible when I take the bad side on questing. This article is going to be short and sweet about the decisions in gaming.
For me, a lot of this really started with the Xbox title Fable. The world of Albion needs a hero. The question is, will you be that hero? That phrase led me down so many paths and hours into Albion. Aside from all the unlocks and silver keys, the mystery, and the Balverines the coolest enemy in the game, you also had choices. This began as a child in the game where you decided to help people and fight the bullies or help adults commit adultery. This game had no chill.
It set a good standing point for a lot of games and although it wasn’t the first to give you morality options it was more in your face about them. If you were a good person you practically glowed were in if you went down the path of evil you literally grew horns. Boy would that be handy in real life. Walk into a gas station and the dude has horns? I for one am taking my business elsewhere.
Fable did have some more serious options that it dabbled in as you got near the end of the game. It didn’t come close to the options that started hitting you when you got into titles like Mass Effect or Fallout for that matter. One title allowing you to commit genocide on a race and the other having you nuke the first friendly town you meet if you wanted a hotel room. Over a hotel room!
I feel bad when I bump into someone reaching for something.
Now I’m a big pusher when it comes to my dreams. I will drive all night when I want something and my friends often tell me I need to slow down or take a break. Even when I am going a thousand miles an hour I never set out to intentionally hurt someone and I think part of that learning did come from videogames.
To help narrate that view let me explain.
I have played bad or evil options in games. I felt it would be a waste not to when they put so much into the games to give you these branching pathways and abilities. The difference is I can tell that they are those options. I don’t feel good about making the orphanage into a brothel instead (looking at you Fable 3) when I did I said to myself, “Man this character is bad.” I was able to understand the actions and what it took to get to that point with that character. The integrity they lacked along the way because it was just easier to get it by taking instead of earning.
Games with choices helped me decipher the pathway my actions take. My parents always told me, “Do in life what makes you happy, but be kind.” Hearing those words is simple as a kid, you say to yourself why would you be anything but kind? When you begin to get into the world and grow you start to understand where the line is more. You know if you help that man break that crate you gain just a little evil. Is this pushing it? Yeah, probably a little bit, but it makes you think on it still.
I know this is a topic I want to revisit a few times yet. The photo I chose for this one reminds me so much of Bioshock, another game that lets you chose good or evil. I may even break into the elephant in the room and touch on video game violence in general. As a gamer, I always had people blaming the medium but will take as unbiased of an opinion as I can.
What games made you think twice on your decisions? Do you play through good or evil first? Let me know and as always thank you for the read, the likes and the shares. I do all of this because of people like you. You are breathtaking.