CommenTerry: Morality in Gaming

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As more and more action-adventure games come out in our generation, one factor has made itself more present than any other.

What is this factor you ask? This factor is probably one that reflects our choices as a human being to the core, and although may not always reflect what we see as appropriate for real life, it shows the cognition of what a player might think or determine to be “rewarding” or “fun.” This trait is called Morality.

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Games like Fallout, Skyrim,  and Mass Effect, (and to a lesser extent Grand Theft Auto or Far Cry 3) have all made the move towards engaging the player in decisions. One notable one is from Fallout 3, and choosing whether or not to blow up the city of Megaton using an atomic bomb. Personally, I’ve found it more rewarding to serve the people as a savior of the wastelands, because it provides less benefits in the short run, but allows for these places to be returned to later in the game to further receive support.

Some players may not think the same way, a friend of mine always chooses to senselessly murder anyone possible and use the loot he finds early on all the way through the game. Even though that isn’t the way I play a particular game, it’s interesting how each decision in it’s own has it’s shortcomings, with playing as a “good” character is very time consuming, playing as a “bad” character requires a lot of preparation and gives short term rewards.

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Leaving these choices up to the player gives a storytelling level like no other. You (the player) are significant, you’re changing the world as you take every step. People will either quake in your path, or shout your name as their savior. There is no true “right or wrong” way to play the game, because you create the world to reflect the image you want it to.