#9

microwaviblerabbit

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I've often found that in games that the morality system does not match up to my own. I often find it arbitrary and sometimes even reversed. The most prominent example for me was in Fallout 3 where you could quite literally buy karma from the two churches. Neither church provided any service to the people of the wasteland, and the church of atom seemed to actively harm them. I found this so repulsive that in almost every play-through I ended up wiping out the entire of both churches.

Then to add cream to this pie of moral corruption, there is a side-quest where you get karma for removing someone from the church (In Rivet City). This along with Tennpenny Tower made me abandon the system except to farm it for endings, and do what I felt was right.

In Oblivion I pretty much became 'evil' because the quests for the two evil groups were so much better and gave a sense of accomplishment. I found the thieves guild to be the true heroes by aiding the poor, protecting the beggars, and generally being helpful in word filled with self-important fighters, aristocratic mages, corrupt officials, and shopkeepers fixing prices. The Dark Brotherhood in turn were secretive, violent and cruel, but were self-aware and followed their moral code consistently; leading me to respect them as opposed to the other factions. I guess that says more about me than the game itself.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Mark J Kline said:
Are you still a nice guy if you play evil?
Ask any of my friends. ;) And I'm the most corrupt, backstabbing, underhanded SOB in games. Hence the avatar name.

I can also play a Whiter than White character...but being evil is SO more fun.
 

The_ModeRazor

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Hey, I just realised what that strange feeling of Deja Vú was: Dr Mark totally looks like the Medic from Team Fortress 2! Well, not really, but just enough to remind me of that guy.

Err... anyway. Is it a bad thing if I always (I mean it) play as the good guy in RPGs? I always go for the nicest (and if possible, the funniest) options... well, except that one time I killed the crazy mage in the forest in Dragon Age. But he was actually hiding a bunch of demons and was generally an asshole, so he had it coming.
Maybe I just can't fucking let go.
 

2fish

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The_ModeRazor said:
Hey, I just realised what that strange feeling of Deja Vú was: Dr Mark totally looks like the Medic from Team Fortress 2! Well, not really, but just enough to remind me of that guy.
Why did you have to say that now I have the pyro in my head calling out for a medic, Thank you very much!

Being evil is just more fun, it doesn't mean you are a bad person. It just means that the evil team members are more fun. Plus evil people have an easier time in the start of games, while the good characters are taking the high road and not having the money to but gear, I (aka the evil characters) have just bought all the gear with the money they pillage along the villages on the low road.

I mean we get the great deed done that saves all life, we just took a different path, one that includes money, power, and women.

Meh-bic! Meh-dic!
 

tkioz

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May 7, 2009
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Personally I've found morality meters to be inherently flawed, because they make it a black and white thing, when morality is usually far more grey. Take Fallout 3 for example there is a quest where you can either aid a group of cannibals ("vampires") in extorting a town, or wipe them out; guess which action gives what karma?

What about Fable 2? Eating meat is a "bad" at but eating vegan is "good"?

Sure there are games out there that give you to the chance to be an out and out psychopath, but most games with a morality system fail to understand the subjective nature of morality; very few "evil" people in real life view themselves as evil, to them they are doing what is right, even if we think they are the love child of Satan and Hitler.
 

Vzzdak

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Mark J Kline said:
I'm normally a nice guy in real life, but are these games trying to teach me something about myself? Am I secretly evil, or, at least, not a very nice person?
So I think you can learn something about yourself from the fact that you go for the evil actions. As part of the human race, you have the same tendencies as the rest of us. You may well be doing yourself some good by having a safe and contained place to act them out, and this can serve a useful psychological function in helping you continue to be a nice guy in real life.
Or you could be rehearsing evil plots and plans that you will eventually unleash upon the world.
Carl Sagan expressed an interesting perspective that books were a form of telepathy, wherein the reading of a book was effectively providing a glimmer into the author's thoughts, in effect reinforcing synaptic patterns within your own mind that correlated with concepts that the author was attempting to convey. In similar fashion, games like Grand Theft Auto and Postal 2 were criticized because the activity of "performing the crimes" within these games were reinforcing habits of mind that could potentially lead to destructive behaviour.

Mind you, at the same time a game is simply a pastime that serves as a source of recreation, and as a point of common interest with other gamers. It is interesting that Kline touches on "humanity" because in essence we all have an inherent capacity for accomplishing difficult and complex endeavours, moderated by our personal preferences and our willingness to works towards a given goal.

Mark J Kline said:
This may also be what compels some religious and political leaders to transgress: they are working so hard to be paragons of virtue, the burden of this responsibility can create overwhelming pressure and perhaps an unconscious desire to let go of being good all the time.

By coincidence, today there was a Cracked satirical article that better expressed the reasoning behind this:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18777_5-scientific-reasons-powerful-people-will-always-suck.html
 

Psydney

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Oct 29, 2009
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tkioz said:
Personally I've found morality meters to be inherently flawed, because they make it a black and white thing, when morality is usually far more grey. Take Fallout 3 for example there is a quest where you can either aid a group of cannibals ("vampires") in extorting a town, or wipe them out; guess which action gives what karma?

What about Fable 2? Eating meat is a "bad" at but eating vegan is "good"?

Sure there are games out there that give you to the chance to be an out and out psychopath, but most games with a morality system fail to understand the subjective nature of morality; very few "evil" people in real life view themselves as evil, to them they are doing what is right, even if we think they are the love child of Satan and Hitler.
Don't get me started on the stupid Fable meat-eating thing. Rescue slaves, eat tofu - it's all the same morally. Sheesh.

I liked Mass Effect 2 for subtlety - the paragon/renegade continuum seemed to have more substance than the too-usual "save kitten or serve kitten in pie!" I always play squeaky good characters, but I felt pretty fulfilled taking renegade actions like blowing up a fuel tank near a pontificating bad guy or nodding to Miranda to start shooting before a mercenary finished offering us the choice to surrender or die. It didn't seem psychotic, just kind of...smart.
 

Falseprophet

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This book [http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Pastimes-Cultural-History-Entertainment/dp/B000VYVLJY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1286502946&sr=8-1] did a great job advocating for games as a form of catharsis, also noting that our "violent" entertainment isn't nearly so bad as some forms throughout history. One notable anecdote, the author remembered growing up in the 1950s, all they did was play with toy guns all day long, while in the 2000s, some 5-year-old got suspended from school for pointing his finger and someone and yelling "BANG!" [sigh]

Psydney said:
I liked Mass Effect 2 for subtlety - the paragon/renegade continuum seemed to have more substance than the too-usual "save kitten or serve kitten in pie!" I always play squeaky good characters, but I felt pretty fulfilled taking renegade actions like blowing up a fuel tank near a pontificating bad guy or nodding to Miranda to start shooting before a mercenary finished offering us the choice to surrender or die. It didn't seem psychotic, just kind of...smart.
And Dragon Age decided instead to just have different actions gain approval/disapproval with different party members (and some NPCs), which comes close to the "factions" system the Extra Credits guys advocate for in their moral choice video [http://www.youtube.com/user/kirithem#p/u/1/6_KU3lUx3u0]. (Which we used to see more often.)
 

spookydom

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Aug 31, 2009
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What about the voices in my head Dr Mark? They tell me that all the angels are dead and I must go out in the streets to reclaime them form the evil people with my great grandfathers wood choping axe. As an aside I would also like to point out that I am available for childrens partys.


The Morale of this story is don't get drunk and post on internet forums kids. It's not big and it's not clever.:)
 

carpathic

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Oct 5, 2009
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I find it to be deeply disturbing to play the bad guys. Even when I set out to do so, the cognitive dissonance really makes me change to playing a paladin.

Not sure why, I just can't be bad for anything other than a kick.
 

P47R1CK

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Jun 15, 2009
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I try to take the "evil" side, thinking it will be really cool but I cant quite go on with it in most RPGs. In FO3 at Tenpenny Tower, I had the bomb set up and ready to go but I couldnt pull the trigger.

In the Mass Effect games I go full Renegade, but whenever a real moral choice comes up, I just Cant pick Renegade for it.

Feels bad man.
 

tkioz

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May 7, 2009
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Psydney said:
tkioz said:
Personally I've found morality meters to be inherently flawed, because they make it a black and white thing, when morality is usually far more grey. Take Fallout 3 for example there is a quest where you can either aid a group of cannibals ("vampires") in extorting a town, or wipe them out; guess which action gives what karma?

What about Fable 2? Eating meat is a "bad" at but eating vegan is "good"?

Sure there are games out there that give you to the chance to be an out and out psychopath, but most games with a morality system fail to understand the subjective nature of morality; very few "evil" people in real life view themselves as evil, to them they are doing what is right, even if we think they are the love child of Satan and Hitler.
Don't get me started on the stupid Fable meat-eating thing. Rescue slaves, eat tofu - it's all the same morally. Sheesh.

I liked Mass Effect 2 for subtlety - the paragon/renegade continuum seemed to have more substance than the too-usual "save kitten or serve kitten in pie!" I always play squeaky good characters, but I felt pretty fulfilled taking renegade actions like blowing up a fuel tank near a pontificating bad guy or nodding to Miranda to start shooting before a mercenary finished offering us the choice to surrender or die. It didn't seem psychotic, just kind of...smart.
I agree completely, the paragon/renegade system is more better then a plain good/evil system, Shepard is still a "good" guy you just get to choose how he handles things, which helps with the RP part of RPG at least for me; I'm nice to my friends, polite to strangers, and respectful to people who show me respect, but if I'm about to get into a fight at the pub I'm not going to play "nice" I'm going to go for the quick (and safer) path to victory, if that means fighting dirty, so be it.

The Dragon Age system was good as well, you're still the hero no matter what you do, you always end up at the same place, but who is still with you at the end depends on your actions, in fact it was much more realistic, I'd rethink a choice that might cost me a valued party member, the same way I'd act in real life "mmm I want do this, but is really worth pissing off my friends to such a degree?"; it gives you a feeling of consequences that is sadly lacking in a straight morality meter.
 

Booze Zombie

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As always, great read there.

I wonder, Dr, does it say something about me that I have an almost pathological inability to commit evil in games?

I played a game called Overlord, a game where the entire point is to be evil... and I got the good ending.
That is, the ending for not being evil.
Does this suggest that I've been brainwashed into blindly accepting "good" as "the thing" I should always be doing?
 

ajemas

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Nov 19, 2009
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Whenever I play games, I try to play the good guy. That being said, I'm not above taking some of the evil options in a game. I've played Infamous before, and spent a lot of time murdering innocent civilians in order to get the bad ending. However, I don't think that either of these options is a very good reflection of how I act in real life. I am dealing with characters that don't exist, so why should I harbor any strong feelings towards them? If I truly felt empathy for any of the NPCs, I certainly wouldn't murder their entire family and steal everything that they own.
My point is that it depends on the person doing the evil mode. If somebody is just doing it for kicks, with no feelings towards the NPCs then no harm is done. But if the player is truly imagining murdering somebody else, then there is a problem.
 

rsvp42

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But if I play evil, I do it for the aesthetics and the gameplay options. I don't really feel like I'm acting out some inner aggression so much as I'm making a gameplay choice. Almost like choosing a spec in WoW or something. Sometimes the "evil spec" has some more appealing weapons, powers, outfits, etc.
 

chrismyster

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This got me thinking about why I always play evil and I think I know why now. I always play evil ever since I first bought knights of the old republic 1. I played evil in that game because in star wars plot lines it usually forces you to be good. I was sealed into playing evil by the empowered felling you get at the end of the game and then moved onto play fable, where I was then evil. Ever since then all games, even if before they are released, I say "I'm going to be good this time" I end up, for some reason, feeling as if I'm playing the game incorrectly so I play as evil again. In mass effect 2 I was a mix, even when playing a deliberatly renegade character some stuff just felt too evil for the story to make sense. In GTA IV though, I chose all good choices and rarely killed civilians until the end when I was bored after the story ended and never made Nico use prostitutes because it seemed out of character. Same as mafia 2... didn't kill any civilians.
 

AngryMongoose

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Jan 18, 2010
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For a lot of games, I'm perfectly willing to be evil because I really don't care about the characters. Fable 1 for example. I was perfectly willing to kill villagers and guards en masse, because they were flat and I had no empathy for them. The only characters I restrained from killing were Briar Rose and Weaver. By Fable 2, the increase in interesting believable characters had me following the good paths most all the quests, but I was still perfectly willing to slaughter the villagers by their thousands. In Fallout 3 however, with all nearly all the characters having unique dialog and such, I felt bad about murdering them (though I found them annoying enough that I followed the dick path for a lot of quests.)
 

PrototypeC

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...I'm not sure that really answered the question this time, Doc. It was sort of your outlook on the discussion of what "evil" is, rather than explaining why one would do that. It didn't tie into the actual play of a moral-choice-central video game very much.

I know that for me, I don't look too far into the choices that I make in-game and do whatever is most fun at the time. I might have one character that is "good" and one character that is "evil" (in order to glean the whole experience from the game), but I almost always find that my "evil" character is more fun for me. Why?

First of all, I can see this tiny, fake world organized for my enjoyment, and I can smash it right up. That's cathartic. I have rarely encountered any game that makes me care deeply about every character, so games like Black and White, Fable, Transformers: the game, Infamous, etc. are filled with people who are like cardboard cut-outs of real stereotypes, and slaying them all is a satisfying stab at the way I see society. It's also a way to exert some power in a game I wouldn't have in real life; that is, the temptation to use immense power for selfish destruction. That ties back into what Dr. Kline was saying.