the first of, perhaps, many deadly cross-posts
I forget what spawned this originally--it's probably explained somewhere in the content, but I want to make a brief addendum and desperately try to get someone to read the damn thing by transparently relinking it. I think this is called digging yourself, and it qualifies as public indecency.
Executive summary: The only thing preventing 'good', or for that matter 'evil' from being compelling choices in games are a lack of imagination brought on by a dogmatic approach to those philosophical concepts in the first place. Basically, the reason Molyneaux's worlds do not offer compelling ethical choices is because, fundamentally, he posits the existence of an absolute morally perfect entity which creates the ethical structure under which all creations labor--in this case, the game designer. For most free-thinking individuals, even assuming you believe the ethical structure of the universe to be a solid discoverable thing, you *still* aren't interested in getting a 2nd hand interpretation of that structure from someone who's just as dumb as the rest of us (whoever that may be), or, at least if you're interested, you're only interested as long as they're not trying to tell you how to have fun.
So fallout 3 and Fable II are out, and my inconsistent capitals and roman numerals should stand as a symbol of angsty anarchist defiance of dogmatic horseshit in the face of a world clutched in the iron grip of Strunk and White.
If you blow up a city, then what you've lost is that city, and nothing else. Except, perhaps, your guaranteed place in heaven by the right hand of Joe. V.
In Fable II, the first thing I want to do when I see that poor dog (after liberating it from the prototypical english youth who helped to build an empire on tea and coal) is nurture the fuck out of it. Like, I want 3 buttons that allow for horizontal nurtures, vertical nurtures, and power-bomb maneuver nurtures. Including an extensive set of combo cuddles. I don't necessarily care that it's fat. Now, in order to achieve this, if I have to shove my wooden sword so far down my 'sister's' throat that she has splinters in her uterus, then so be it. That's a cost I'm more than willing to pay. When next the dog shows up, and I'm confronted with this deadweight of a sister who's working me to the bone so she can buy a music box from a con artist/likely rapist, that urge is, if anything, stronger. Unfortunately, I think I went too far with the hyperbole the first time, so it's hard to 1-up it. In retrospect, I should have said something about the toy gun and her ass. And 'up'. Then I could have moved on to the splinters thing. In any case, at no point am I allowed to murder my sister and feed her flesh to the clearly more deserving puppy, and why? Because the deity of this particular world decided that, in a game rife with the expression of good and evil recieving constant and arbitrary feedback for every action taken, the dog was a fixture, but the sister wasn't, and therefore, if I showed up at the castle with a bloody head hanging from my belt, and a happy, well-fed canine on a leash made out of bloody lace--or perhaps a length of dried scampgut, then there'd be no traction for the ensuing setup. For instance, the magic circle might glow red, rather than green, and me and the guy might get along great. Maybe I picked a female character, and my sociopathy extends to an inappropriate sexual relationship which I eventually parlay into a poisoning, usurpacy, and lesbian harem--where the only *true* love of my life is the dog. Who would have his own harem of bitches (activated, again, in this hypothetical circumstance by down, down forward, forward, and B).
Fallout 3, on the other hand, despite requiring many headshots (see gametrailers), nonjudgementally allows me to kill a guy. And his friend. And their robots. The only loss being the literal loss of those characters. Do they have something to offer--ethereally, aesthetically, or in a concrete game-relevant way? Then morally, they might live. Ayn Rand would argue for their continued existence based on my self interest--she's a sweety pie like that.
Meanwhile, to go an unthinkable several months into the past, Bioshock, allegedly based on Ayn Rand, argued in favor of self interest as if self-interest, itself, were being measured against the moral assumptions of an absolute deity. Who was, himself, a total buzz-kill.
I'm not saying I want to murder little girls. But considering I was an automata, and the little girls had no 'presence' over which I had reasonable control (as soon as you make some muffin into a +5 health muffin, it ceases to have the pure pacman cherries quality of choice, and becomes an objective--and objectives are objects to be objectified... objectively. Look, I know it's lameass and geeky, but it's literally true. And I've never backed off something that was literally true. ... although I've often wanted to. And maybe I have a couple times. IMO).
Force Unleashed is another example of a game which is a bitesize randian exercise. Want to be the badass? Kill the other badass and take is place. Sure, you're a punk, and that nice lady with the breasts ends up exploding, but at least you get a neat helmet. Contrarily, want to be emotionally fulfilled in a vague afterlife? (note, rerelease of RotJ needs to be rerereleased so that Starkiller shows up at the end next to anakin and obi wan. and yoda. And they should be playing the Cantina-Band on the X-wingbox 9000--please George lucas, heed my call--I want to buy your shit all over again), simply ignore righteous vengeance in favor of semi-futile sacrifice. There's less hassling of me, the player in that scenario, despite the last-minute nature of it, because it becomes the conclusion to a story I was writing in tandem with the vague outlines of electrocuted stormtroopers and wookiedolling. My free will is triumphant in a narrowly defined existence, which is frought with adversity (star destroyer lock picking sequences) and temptation (holocrons). Like life, it's too short, contains alot of suffering, and ends abruptly right after it gets good.
All things considered, these damn social conservatives need to stop making open world 'choice' games as submarine attempts to sink our lusitanias of genuine curiosity in an ambiguous world. To hell with those dishonorable krauts. Who are, in this case, limeys.
Note, I love cabbage and citrus fruit, and anyone who is culturally identified with either.
back to the news...