Good vs. Evil Videogame Storylines | INFJ Forum

Good vs. Evil Videogame Storylines

Discussion in 'Art, Entertainment, and Media' started by Jayce, Jul 29, 2009.

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  1. Jayce

    Jayce Community Member

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    Hello, all! I was recently discussing the upcoming Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, with my brother. I explained to him how I think more people will be playing under the Sith Empire than for the Galactic Republic. I came to this conclusion because the majority of the people I've talked to who've played the Knights of the Old Republic games prefer playing as an evil jedi because they think it's more fun.

    As for me, I could never complete the evil storyline for KOTOR because I felt emotionally horrible for doing mean things to people even though it's just a game. I can't imagine being anything other than a shiny beacon of truth, hope and love in games. This applies to any videogame where you can make moral decisions that effect the storyline. Think Fable, Black & White and Fallout 3.

    Is anyone else like this or am I just weird? :mtap:
     
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  2. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    We-ell...it depends on what's being done.

    I like WoW for its ambiguity. The Horde isn't necessarily evil and the Alliance isn't necessarily good so I have characters on both sides. But if it's clear cut and the evil side are metaphorical baby slaughterers, then...no. I wouldn't play an evil character in that game.

    For me it depends on why the other side is evil and what makes them follow "evil." If they're both fighting for justice for their people and both sides choose to play by the "rules" then I'm more apt to fight on either side.

    Besides, it's a video game.:m129:
     
  3. Orion

    Orion Strength through understanding
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    It's exactly the same for me! Kotor, I couldn't help but be good even if I started out being bad. Fallout 3 as well. I played it the second time, thinking "Right I'm gonna be evil and have fun" and I just ended up being good again.
     
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  4. Ah, video games. Always a subject I can sink my teeth into. *laughs*

    As arbygil said, it depends on the circumstances. Are your characters actions inherently evil? What are the benefits, weighed against the consequences? Exactly what choices are open to me?

    The biggest problems with most video games is that the "good actions vs evil actions" pathing is inherently flawed in most of these games, and they're about as subtle as a brick when it comes to presenting themselves. You always know which is the good action, and which is the bad action, and there's little ambiguity involved, no shades of grey.

    In those games, I tend to pick what I think will be the most altruistic outcome.

    I have an interesting anecdote about Fallout 3, one of the few games where making those moral decisions actually put me in a very uncomfortable position, if anyone wishes to hear it. I won't bore you with it otherwise. :)

    I actually feel the best games at presenting the "good actions vs bad actions" are those that don't actually give you a choice in the matter.

    Take Shadow of the Colossus for instance. You start off the game laying a young, innocent girl on a stone tablet, and begging this disembodied entity to help you save you. The only way to, he tells you, is by slaying the colossal creatures that wander the wasteland that you inhabit.

    As you continue to (essentially) murder these creatures, you start to wonder about the intent of your actions. None of these creatures become aggressive until you attack them, and they are unique creatures. By all intents and purposes, they are innocent. You are essentially fating them to death for the sake of one life, a life that's important to you.

    As you play through the game, your character's body appears more and more corrupted by the energies that these creatures are emitting, and well... if you've played the ending, you already know what happens.

    That's the kind of moral approach in my video games. One that puts me in a uncomfortable position I have to consider, instead of giving me the choice to avoid it.

    Sorry if that was long winded. *laughs* I hope someone bothers to read it. =P
     
  5. Slyphee

    Slyphee Newbie

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    Personally, I'm indifferent to slaughtering a group of innocents or joining in with something cruel for laughs. Or should I say I'm always curious to see the outcome of my actions once the deed has been done. Which may be why alot of people try for the 'evil' side of things, to do something completely out of character.

    Fun aside though I can never bring myself to doing something discriminatory or racist. In KoTOR where you had a chance to mess around with an alien because he was of a certain race or from a certain area (don't really remember) but it just made my stomach turn.

    Thats really the only time I've felt bad about an action I could commit coming from playing Fallout 3, Black & White, KoTOR and Fable (wish it were longer). Don't really know what that says about me though...
     
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  6. BenW

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    I find games with particularly black and white portrayals of good & evil to be rather shallow.
    I enjoy games wherein things are a shade of grey, especially ones with anti-heroes.

    A good example; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.
    As the main character, you are a vampire, and are necessarily part of a criminalistic and violent underworld. Yet, despite being a "bad guy" in a sense, a lot the people who are bad guys relative to you are also still bad guys in their own right. The goals you work towards in the games aren't necessarily evil, and neither are the means, but they can be. It all makes for very complex and morally disorientating interplay within the storyline.
     
    #6 BenW, Jul 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
  7. Orion

    Orion Strength through understanding
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    I love that game!
     
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  8. Azure_Knight

    Azure_Knight Community Member

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    I always end up good on these types of games. The evil storyline is not as satisfying as being good (and the actions go against what I would do IRL).
     
  9. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    Niiiice! Yes, I am that way too... I also relate to the sentiment that these games should make the good/bad decisions more about grey areas and having the player weigh for themselves what is the lesser evil. Games like Fallout 3 and to a lesser extent Mass Effect have definately been doing this better. It was always a tad bit hard to get past in KOTOR(Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic) with all of the "bad" conversation tree choices basically making you feel like a screaming impatient child, while the "good" choices made you feel like you were fresh into priesthood or some kind of super-hippy... Ha! KOTOR is still wonderful though...

    So, something kind of interesting has been happening inside of me in regards to Fallout 3. I was always as "good" as I could be when the choice was clear, and I could hardly tolerate the feeling of making the selfish or "bad" choices. There was even one quest where completing it seemed to give you no choice but to do something horrible(well, of course it was optional and I'm sure you could just kill the character offering the quest, but I wanted to be sure it would count as "completed" for achievement purposes). It was the one where you have to enslave specific people(I think the place was called Paradise something), and so that one was rough on me, especially since one of the people was free radiation treatment for having saved her previously. But anyway, it seems that the more time I spent in Capital Wasteland and dealing with more and more of these various very different people, I would slowly get to be more detached and jaded, as if my perspective was becoming more worldy, like many of the other wasteland inhabitants. I'm sure it was basically just an apathy that set in from playing that game for so many hours, but it's just funny how it played out that after a while I would have to keep myself in check as though I was like somebody who you might expect to become more apathetic about morality after gaining so much experience.
     
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    #9 Hinsoog, Jul 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
  10. Cecilff2

    Cecilff2 Emancipator of Poultry

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    Reminds me of the Tenpenny Tower & Roy quest. Roy and a bunch of ghouls want to live in the tower, but the owner and most of the inhabitants don't want ghouls in their living place. You can be hired by either side. Tenpenny's guards want you to kill Roy. It's pretty clear they have a racist mindset. Roy wants you to help him sneak a bunch of feral ghouls(insane and murderous) in through the basement to kill the tenpenny tower residents. If you're aware enough of the situation you can convince Tenpenny to let the ghouls in to live in the tower. Some of the more racist residents get angry and leave, but you have everyone living together in peace.

    If you come back later, you learn Roy has slaughtered all the humans(Even the ones sympathetic to ghouls) and turned the residence into a ghouls only tower, save for letting you in since you helped him. I shot him at that point.

    Things never seem to turn out the way you hoped, which is something missing in many games.


    I'd like to plug an excellent freeware game when it comes to choice and good vs evil.

    Iji

    You can go through the entire game without killing a single enemy, though it's not an easy task, it does change how the game plays out in an interesting way.
     
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  11. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Interesting topic, when I play Total War, the Celtic nations are always "good" and the English are always "bad". :D I almost always go with one of the celtic nations, even though the English longbows are awesome.

    I really don't like empire building, I prefer being a smaller nation and empire destroying, freeing my people from their oppression. I almost always favour the underdog.
     
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  12. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    It depends on the game. Kotor and Star Wars theme in general have a very idealistic good vs evil approach so I expected unambiguous choices. Being idealistic myself I just saw no sense in choosing "evil" actions. Why should I - money, inventory and power was abundant for both sides.

    Some games have it more interesting though. In Mass Effect I tried to be "good" but some "evil" choices were too damn attractive to refuse. In Fallout 2 I wiped out an entire small city after it's residents pissed me off.

    I liked a line from kotor 2 (the game itself was quite rubbish): if you always try to help people you rob them of the opportunity to grow.
     
  13. OP
    Jayce

    Jayce Community Member

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    Thanks for all your responses. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has a hard time being evil. I agree that it's better when games are more ambiguous with moral choices.

    Very interesting example! I love that game to pieces. I never took the time to think about it that way before. I enjoyed your post very much. Feel free to write more. ^^

    Hahaha, Kreia always had a way of making me feel bad for making "good" decisions. I remember a few moments in KoTOR II where I was unsure of my actions. I like those moments of hesitation.
     
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  14. laurie

    laurie Snowblind in Dreamland

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    I've played Black & White (1 and 2) and Fable (1 and 2) both times I've tried to play good, 'cause it's harder a lot of the time to gain points that way. I don't like doing the evil deeds either, but I think playing as a good character takes more skill overall in those games. When you're evil you just smash stuff and kill people.
     
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  15. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    It's just you. In kotor I loved being evil, in fact that's the only way that game could be fun, but boy how fun it was. Same with oblivion and any other game, being evil is the most fun. Not in real life though ofc
     
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  16. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    That's because in games, "being good" means being a pussy.

    I prefer games that don't judge, or reward good or evil actions. When I played WoW, I'd slaughter everything, or do things with stealth, depending on my mood.
     
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