Recently, I was speaking with a colleague and fellow Milk Badger blogger, Kerreantbun (check out her blog posts, they are excellent) about Until Dawn and how she intended to do two separate play-throughs. The first would be as herself, making all decisions based on what she would do in real life. The second play-through she would just have some fun with it, messing with the status quo of the group, seeing which character got killed first. This got the old grey matter ticking slightly faster then usual about the simple question: Do most gamers play as themselves or as a fantasy figure? Do they play good or evil?
There are many games out there that let you be either good or bad. Fallout for instance, lets the player either peacefully buy equipment from traders, or if they wish, slaughter the traders and steal all the stuff they require. I know when I am playing games I usually try to react as I would react in the real world – and certainly in games like Fallout, I would always do anything to avoid fights if possible. But is everyone like this? Do some people intentionally act like dicks in games? And if they do, is it because they act like a dick in real life or is it because they are nice in real life and long for escapism. Some people I guess just like to create a little bit of chaos and see what happens.
GTA is a great example where the user can choose for a little slice of anarchic rage, ploughing down innocent NPCs and then trying to survive the onslaught of law enforcement that generally ensues. Its kind of sticking your middle finger up to the authority and screaming that you just don’t give a f**k – now try and catch me if you can.
To play games in that sense do you need a natural helping of recalcitrance? Is it even healthy? I’m sure ministers and congressmen would be frothing at the bit to try and link gaming to real life crimes. But it is never the game’s fault. Not when the player has a choice – to be good or bad. Being bad is not the fault of the game, only the player who chooses that path.
So I’m asking you, the readers, just out of curiosity…
When you play a video game, do you generally play good or bad? I’d be interested to read your comments below.