Tag Archive for morality

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We All Have Fears, Even the Bad Guys.

Realism in Middle-Earth? Now, I’m using realism in a subjective sense, talking about the realism in the diegetic world of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Realism is going beyond just the look of the game. Of course the game is beautiful, the areas of Mordor you can explore have desolate barren wastelands, over run by Uruk scum while other areas are lush and expansive that seem to be teaming with life. Even your character has a unique realistic design. His hair seems greasy and unkempt, as it should in this type of environment. When it rains your clothes become saturated, and are given a unique shine while other objects in game will have the rain bouncing off them as they would in a real world setting.… Read the rest

Morality in Fantasy Role-Playing Games

You’ve built your character very carefully, designing them into a realistic, if perhaps over-skilled person, one with individual characteristics, and perhaps even a somewhat planned storyline.  Then, you accidentally steal something.  You meant to select the shopkeeper or house-owner before you, but instead, you select their valuable health potion, and without hesitation, they attack you.  Your immediate reaction?  You don’t return the stolen item, or explain your mistake.  Nor even do you admit what you’ve done and accept a night in jail.  Often times, you don’t have the chance to do these things, and, when you do, well, it costs you less coin to just take out your enchanted mace and kill that poor shopkeeper.  … Read the rest

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GLORY TO ARSTOTZKA: Mundane Tasks and Moral Dilemmas in “Papers, Please”

While most games entertain players by guiding them through vast, mysterious worlds or challenging them to become great and powerful, the communist state in Papers, Please entertains its players through brutal oppression and hard labor. Fortunately, you have been randomly selected in the October Labor Lottery as the immigration inspector for your great and beautiful country. As creator Lucas Pope describes, “your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia” — all you have to do is inspect a piece of paper and accept or deny the owner of that piece of paper.… Read the rest

Enemies as Victims: The Darker Choices

The eighth chapter of Tom Bissell’s Extra Lives reminded me that video games have a remarkable potential for ruthlessness. Or, rather, it reminded me what video games can force (or allow) the player to do. Of course this is something people have written about before: from the very genesis (no pun intended) of video games, moral guardians have questioned the violent nature of “the collision and disappearance of two blocky abstractions (Bissell, page 130).” This has evolved into heated arguments over the ethics of crime-related series such as Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row, or violent games such as Mortal Kombat, Gears of War, or Call of Duty.… Read the rest

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