Daily Archives: July 31, 2008

Video Games and Morality…

Christian.  Female.  Gamer.  I have to be in the vast minority (anybody else out there?).  I’ve been interested in, and played video games before the wonderful old atari system came out; on old (Apple) computers of course.  So obviously I don’t think playing video games is wrong.  What I would like to discuss, just because I find it interesting, is what about morality within the context of the world of a game?

For example, in one of my favorite games of all time; Knights of the Old Republic, which is based in the Star Wars universe, you can choose what kind of Jedi you become.  Do you stay a good Jedi, or start embracing the teachings and/or action of the Sith (“evil” Jedi).  Of course if you choose the Sith side of things, you aren’t a very nice person in the least.  So (some of you must be wondering) why would you ever choose to play the villain of the piece?

Well, you see, that is interesting too.  To get the fully story in a game, you play both sides, as each decision often adds to the storyline, and fills in gaps.  So, it’s the programmers who are really the immoral ones! 😉  To get all the details that you buy and play the game for, you must play both storylines; good and bad.  Some people cannot do it.  They can’t force themselves to even be verbally mean to a group of bratty kids (in game)… let alone turn traitor and kill a member of your own party.  Others of us don’t really have much of a problem with it, although there are things I absolutely will not do even in video games.

It’s just a fascinating concept to me.  No one mistakes a video game’s world with the real world, but we do know that even “fantasy violence” can disturb people, leave an impression, and give people ideas.  Now, there are games that are built solely around violence, such as the Grand Theft Auto games; and I definitely stear clear of those; however, many people gloss over the fact that even if you play the good side, the good storyline, you still wind up (usually) killing people, or at least other living creatures.

So what does anyone out there think?  Does your morality impact how you play a video game, the choices you make within the game?  Or, can you shut off your real life morality in order to complete the game?  and if you can, should you? For me, it is changing.  With youtube so accessible, everyone puts the “bad” storylines up where you can see the ending without having to actually play as a bad character.  If I have a chance to fill in the details without actually playing through the game as a “bad” character, I’ll take that choice.

One of the latest games with a clear good/bad choice that I’ve played was BioShock.  Without spoiling anything, there is no possible way I could have played the character as evil/bad…so I did indeed go to youtube and watch the ending.  Cheating?  I don’t consider it so, since I did beat the game as a “good guy.”  Now, if you would like to comment, would you kindly refrain from game spoilers?

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Filed under Of Interest, Sacred Secular, Theology