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View Full Version : Has A Game Ever Forced You To Do Something Against Your Morals?



DwayneA
11-20-2009, 02:52 AM
More and more games these days are made where the protagonist (controlled by you) has the potential to do immoral things, forcing the player to perform these actions in order to proceed or even win. Then there are games where the protagonist can be good or evil. Games like Overlord, Fable, Infamous, Grand Theft Auto series, just to name a few.

Personally, I would never play any of those games, because those game would force me to do things against my morale.

The only games of this type I have played are first person shooters (strangely enough, these are among my favorite games, such as Blood, Redneck Rampage, Duke Nukem 3d, Witchaven, etc), the Tomb Raider series (I've only played the first five games and their expansions), and the Quest for Glory series (as the thief). Personally, I would never do any of those things in real life. I'm no thief, murderer, terrorist, gangster, or any other type of bad person you can name.

If I did play Fable, I would become a good hero. If I played Infamous, I would always make the right choices for good karma. If I played Overlord, I would end the game with a 0% corruption rate. In fact, whenever I play first person shooters, I never shoot innocent civilians (except for one in Blood in the level Breeding Grounds because he has a key you need). Years ago when we first got Duke Nukem 3d, in the Red Light District Level, my younger brother Jeff actually killed all those babes. But whenever I play that level, I always leave with all of them alive.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to do such immoral things, not even in videogames. I don't know if there's something wrong with me or not. So go ahead, call me a goody-two-shoes, but that's just me.

Has anyone else ever had these problems in videogames where you've been forced to do something that went against your morales just to win?

whistlelock
11-20-2009, 02:56 AM
But, Dwayne, in the First Person Shooter you commit murder on a massive scale.

How is that different than being "evil" in Fable or Infamous?

SPMiller
11-20-2009, 03:05 AM
Fatality.

Zoombie
11-20-2009, 03:05 AM
Modern Warfare 2, kinda.

clockwork
11-20-2009, 03:39 AM
Nope.

And I wouldn't harm a fly in real life. Literally. I'll chase a fly out a window rather than kill it. I don't have that problem in video games because however realistic the content is, I just does not register as being real to me in any way. Video games are just something to do in my spare time, as morally benign as tea and crumpets.

DwayneA
11-20-2009, 03:53 AM
It's not murder if done in self-defense. Now if you shoot the civilians, then it's murder! I would never do that in real life.

Besides, it's not like the producers give you any other alternatives to deal with those trying to kill you.

I play games for fun. I know it's not real, but there is a time when I have to draw the line between fun and realistic impact.

Freelancer
11-20-2009, 04:17 AM
Modern Warfare 2 flashes into my mind, but you can do that part without killing a single civilian as I heard (I'll play with it at the weekend.). But as I heard there the game is rather forcing you to kill civs and I don't like like this approach. The other one which is flashing into my mind is Bioshock, where you can kill children to get some bonus or you can save them (I saved them, but I hate this sort of moral decisions. That's why I put BS away for a longer period. I hate when they're taking this into a game.).

In games I'm always playing the good guy (Mass Effect, KOTOR, Jade Empire and other games where I must choose). The only game where I played evil was Overlord. There you had a chance to be evil or real evil. I was simple evil. :D

And the other game where I accepted the role of evil was Mafia - The City of Lost Haven. It was good to be the evil, who has a heart in the reality and pays for his crimes at the very end.

DwayneA
11-20-2009, 04:55 AM
In most games, the protagonist's personality has already been determined, picked out by the producers. So all you do is control his/her actions. Games like Blood, Duke Nukem 3d, Tomb Raider, to name a few. The game producers don't give you any other alternatives to overcome whatever obstacles they encounter. So when they do the things they do, it's because they're supposed to, you're not given any other choice.

Then in other games, the protagonist's personality actually depends upon the player himself/herself. Games like the Quest For Glory series. In these games, you feel as if you've become the protagonist of the game itself. In one scene of the game Overlord that I know of, you can either return food stolen from peasants, or you can keep it. And in Fable, if you give arrest warrants to a guard, in the future, the town is crime-free and you feel good for playing a part in it, but if you give them to a criminal, the town has become a crime infested neighborhood, and somehow you can't help but feel responsible for what happened. These kinds of game actually allow you to make decisions about how the protagonist acts rather than doing what the game designers expect you to do. Personally, if I ever played these games, I would never do something that I would later come to regret and feel guilty over later.

Maybe that's why the thief is my least favorite character to use in the Quest for Glory series.

Wavy_Blue
11-20-2009, 05:20 AM
You know, I have been from day one...do you really think I would actually hunt ducks??? I should say not.

whistlelock
11-20-2009, 06:09 AM
It's not murder if done in self-defense. Now if you shoot the civilians, then it's murder! I would never do that in real life.

Besides, it's not like the producers give you any other alternatives to deal with those trying to kill you.

I play games for fun. I know it's not real, but there is a time when I have to draw the line between fun and realistic impact.


Laura Croft is a theif. She steals cultural artifacts for...who? Herself.

It doesn't matter that the game has no choice element- she's still stealing. And that's you still controling her actions.

Game morality has no bearing on real world morality. It's a game. Evicting someone in Monopoly is not equivalant to evicting someone in real life.

You are no more moral for "doing the right thing" in a video game than you responsible for the murder you commit in a game.

BigWords
11-20-2009, 08:21 AM
It's not 'immoral' if it's a user-controlled action in a game. If you take the events presented in the game into the real world, then it becomes immoral. No computer game is inherently moral or immoral save for the crap like Custer's Revenge or Ethnic Cleansing, which barely counts as a game anyway IMHO. Seriously, if you feel that the game is making you question your own morality as you play it, then the game isn't for you.

Most of the games which routinely get cited as being immoral are merely misunderstood (or completely misrepresented) by the media. GTA NEVER had any rape scenes in the games, despite some idiot news presenters and extreme right wing newspapers (The Daily Mail's fascist tirades come to mind) reporting the 'fact'.

Uplink was the first game I played where I questioned the morality of my actions, though the game plays more off the fear of being caught than the fear of doing wrong. I like Manhunt and GTA (in any iteration), so the question isn't one of morality for me. The "people" are only code and pixels...

Rhys Cordelle
11-20-2009, 09:39 AM
So you're ok with doing immoral things if you're playing a character that's been developed by someone else, but not in a game where you create the character? I really don't get that. You said it yourself:


Personally, I would never do any of those things in real life. I'm no thief, murderer, terrorist, gangster, or any other type of bad person you can name.

Doing these things in a video game doesn't make you any of these things. You're just pushing buttons.

What sort of things do you write about? Does anyone commit 'immoral' acts in your fiction? (assuming you write fiction).

Hittman
11-20-2009, 09:49 AM
Then there are games where the protagonist can be good or evil. Games like Overlord, Fable, Infamous, Grand Theft Auto series, just to name a few.

How do you play a good guy in GTA? Granted, GTA four gives you a couple of points where you can decide if you kill someone or let them get away, and another spot where you have to decide which of two bad guys to kill, but there really isn't any way to be a good guy in that one.

BigWords
11-20-2009, 11:07 AM
Playing GTA as a 'good guy' presumably means that you don't deliberately drive on the sidewalk trying to mow down as many people as you can... Uh... Not that I would do something like that... :D

defcon6000
11-20-2009, 04:50 PM
It's meant to be "fun", the game isn't teaching you morals; it's escapism.

I always enjoyed turning to the dark side in KOTOR (their abilities are SO badass). GTA is just for shits 'n giggles.

And if you don't like it, then don't play it. :tongue You're never forced to do anything you don't feel is right; just turn it off and move on to something else. Maybe pottery or gardening.

Marian Perera
11-20-2009, 05:08 PM
I have wiped out entire nations in Civilization III. I have dropped nuclear warheads on enemy cities. I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.

That's during the game. After I turn it off, I go back to studying chemistry, writing and doing calligraphy in my spare time.

tarcanus
11-20-2009, 11:52 PM
In most games, the protagonist's personality has already been determined, picked out by the producers. So all you do is control his/her actions. Games like Blood, Duke Nukem 3d, Tomb Raider, to name a few. The game producers don't give you any other alternatives to overcome whatever obstacles they encounter. So when they do the things they do, it's because they're supposed to, you're not given any other choice.

Then in other games, the protagonist's personality actually depends upon the player himself/herself. Games like the Quest For Glory series. In these games, you feel as if you've become the protagonist of the game itself. In one scene of the game Overlord that I know of, you can either return food stolen from peasants, or you can keep it. And in Fable, if you give arrest warrants to a guard, in the future, the town is crime-free and you feel good for playing a part in it, but if you give them to a criminal, the town has become a crime infested neighborhood, and somehow you can't help but feel responsible for what happened. These kinds of game actually allow you to make decisions about how the protagonist acts rather than doing what the game designers expect you to do. Personally, if I ever played these games, I would never do something that I would later come to regret and feel guilty over later.

Maybe that's why the thief is my least favorite character to use in the Quest for Glory series.


No offense, but you're really not making any sense. Like someone else said, it's ridiculous that you find nothing wrong with games where you're forced to commit atrocious/morally reprehensible acts and yet shy away from games that let you choose actions that offend your 'morales'. If you really think about it, the fact that you choose to play a game like Tomb Raider where you're killing animals, and people and stealing valuable artifacts for yourself is exactly like a choice in one of the games you just can't bring yourself to play.

If you choose to play the game, you choose to perform the actions within the game. I find it ridiculous that you'll play Tomb Raider over Oblivion just because one has the option of letting you do 'evil' things while the other forces you to.

KTC
11-20-2009, 11:55 PM
It's not murder if done in self-defense. Now if you shoot the civilians, then it's murder! I would never do that in real life.

Besides, it's not like the producers give you any other alternatives to deal with those trying to kill you.

I play games for fun. I know it's not real, but there is a time when I have to draw the line between fun and realistic impact.


I used to mow down long lines of Buddhist monks just to see them die in an early version of whatchamacallit. Dumb asses would walk just so perfectly in a line through the park...bugged me. (-; Doing that in a game doesn't reflect my morals in real life. I, like The Chris, would not harm a fly.

BigWords
11-21-2009, 04:30 AM
I used to mow down long lines of Buddhist monks just to see them die in an early version of whatchamacallit.

The top-down GTA? Carmageddon was another fun game, but I was always annoyed by the green blood. I don't want to mow down zombies, I want to mow down people...
Only in games, of course. :)

KTC
11-21-2009, 04:47 AM
That was it! Grand Theft Auto...of the old days. I used to hunt down and kill all the pretty Buddhists. (-; Those bastards had wheels...walked on air.

Freelancer
11-21-2009, 06:26 AM
Uh... you're talking about, ahem... GOURANGA!!! Right? :)

Always this movie, Resident Evil 2 comes to my mind when we're talking about GTA...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9xaNclkHMA

:D

Xelebes
11-22-2009, 07:58 AM
I've done it all in my FPS's and sports games that I've played.

benbradley
11-22-2009, 09:36 AM
There is a bootif here.

Zoombie
11-22-2009, 09:53 AM
Ya know, i was just thinking that Dragons Age has some moral choices where the choices are between bad and worse.

Like, will you use evil blood magic and the life force of a woman to save her child, or simply kill the child to prevent the demon possessing it from taking over the world.

Both methods involve murdering an innocent...and well, the story goes deeper than all of that, but each layer of depth just makes the choice harder.

You can believe me, I sat there going, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah," For like...20 minutes as I tried to figure that choice out.

LOG
11-22-2009, 02:30 PM
More and more games these days are made where the protagonist (controlled by you) has the potential to do immoral things, forcing the player to perform these actions in order to proceed or even win. Then there are games where the protagonist can be good or evil. Games like Overlord, Fable, Infamous, Grand Theft Auto series, just to name a few.

Personally, I would never play any of those games, because those game would force me to do things against my morale.

The only games of this type I have played are first person shooters (strangely enough, these are among my favorite games, such as Blood, Redneck Rampage, Duke Nukem 3d, Witchaven, etc), the Tomb Raider series (I've only played the first five games and their expansions), and the Quest for Glory series (as the thief). Personally, I would never do any of those things in real life. I'm no thief, murderer, terrorist, gangster, or any other type of bad person you can name.

If I did play Fable, I would become a good hero. If I played Infamous, I would always make the right choices for good karma. If I played Overlord, I would end the game with a 0% corruption rate. In fact, whenever I play first person shooters, I never shoot innocent civilians (except for one in Blood in the level Breeding Grounds because he has a key you need). Years ago when we first got Duke Nukem 3d, in the Red Light District Level, my younger brother Jeff actually killed all those babes. But whenever I play that level, I always leave with all of them alive.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't bring myself to do such immoral things, not even in videogames. I don't know if there's something wrong with me or not. So go ahead, call me a goody-two-shoes, but that's just me.

Has anyone else ever had these problems in videogames where you've been forced to do something that went against your morales just to win?
So...it's not immoral in a FPS but it is in a RPG? That's the message I'm getting here.
Also, why bother buying an RPG if you're only going to play the good guy angle? That defeats the purpose of the game.

LOG
11-22-2009, 02:34 PM
Ya know, i was just thinking that Dragons Age has some moral choices where the choices are between bad and worse.

Like, will you use evil blood magic and the life force of a woman to save her child, or simply kill the child to prevent the demon possessing it from taking over the world.

Both methods involve murdering an innocent...and well, the story goes deeper than all of that, but each layer of depth just makes the choice harder.

You can believe me, I sat there going, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah," For like...20 minutes as I tried to figure that choice out.
Or you could do what I did with my Noble Templar and go get help from the Mages tower...

MGraybosch
11-23-2009, 01:03 AM
Has anyone else ever had these problems in videogames where you've been forced to do something that went against your morales just to win?

No, but when I play a videogame, it's precisely so that I can put aside my morals and do things that would see me branded a criminal or a monster if I were able to do them in real life. I wouldn't kill somebody in real life, but in a video game I'll do it with a smile.

Zoombie
11-23-2009, 01:08 AM
Or you could do what I did with my Noble Templar and go get help from the Mages tower...

...you can do that?

But how do you prevent the demon from wreaking havoc while you're away?

LOG
11-23-2009, 06:16 AM
...you can do that?

But how do you prevent the demon from wreaking havoc while you're away?
The demon does nothing if you leave.
I hadn't even done the Tower yet so I had to go through all of it, came back to the castle and the id still hadn't left his room, now that's what I call sulking >.>

Rhys Cordelle
11-23-2009, 07:33 AM
It may not be realistic, but I think it's necessary. You would miss too many game events if you had time restrictions.

benbradley
11-23-2009, 08:17 AM
More and more games these days are made where the protagonist (controlled by you) has the potential to do immoral things, ...
Seriously, is it immoral to grab a game controller and manipulate it so that certain things happen to images on a video screen? Does anyone who plays these games believe that manipulating these images in any way affects anyone other than the player?

For a game in which the player "has the potential to do immoral things," check out the Milgram experiment or the Stanford Prison experiment.

Seriously, if the player doesn't believe anyone else is affected by the outcome of the game or the actions of the player, can there be a moral issue?

Obligatory reference: "Ender's Game"

Rhys Cordelle
11-23-2009, 02:02 PM
Well, Enders Game isn't exactly the same. There are people behind the curtain who are doing something immoral, it's just that Ender's not one of them.

I can only assume that Dwayne feels that making these choices in a video game would say something about his personal character. Perhaps that if someone is capable of doing wrong in a fictional setting that they are just as capable of doing it in reality?

Thump
11-23-2009, 02:25 PM
I love Carmagedon :D I love how when you're playing the chick driver she goes "Oops, sorry" when she squishes a pedestrian in a brutal and gory display of automobilistic acrobatics.
I'm a quiet, passive sort of geek girl and I don't do conflict well. I have some serious ethics. Does loving violent video games and movies mean I'm really a budding psycho? I doubt it. I think it's probably healthy, actually.
I do tend to play good guy characters but if a game puts me in a position where there is a moral dilemma and challenges my brain to have to chose between two evils, I find that game interesting and enjoyable. I want to be challenged and I want to get in touch with my inner demons. We all have darkness in us, understanding it and accepting it is fascinating. You're a good person if you knowingly chose good rather than do it because you're afraid of the dark.

I wish I could afford WoW, I so want to go pretend I'm an Undead now >__< I love bad zombie jokes.

ETA: Ender's Game is an awesome example of this topic because Ender is a good person, you feel for him and still he does terrible things. Mostly unknowingly but there is the possibility of debate. After all, he does kill two other children, including one when he's just 6 years old. Does he really not realize he's killed them or is he just blanking the knowledge out because he can't face his own ruthlessness?

darkprincealain
12-02-2009, 11:00 PM
I've always thought games were helpful to experience things you'd never get to do in real life. So my morals are pretty much set aside at that point, which is helpful because in a lot of games there are sometimes choices where you're looking for the lesser, or greater, of two evils.

Jcomp
12-02-2009, 11:13 PM
The damn Brood Mother in Dragon Age made me turn the difficulty into "casual" mode to get past her. Goes against everything I believe in when it comes to gaming. It shames me....

dclary
12-03-2009, 12:28 AM
I once raped a cat playing Pahrappah the Rappah.

Zoombie
12-03-2009, 12:48 AM
The damn Brood Mother in Dragon Age made me turn the difficulty into "casual" mode to get past her. Goes against everything I believe in when it comes to gaming. It shames me....

I ADMIT IT! I DID THE SAME! I DID THE SAAAAAAAME!

<sobs>

robeiae
12-03-2009, 01:46 AM
I had to pleasure two women at the same time to get to the next checkpoint on God of War II. Not so much against my morals as it was outside my capabilities...

Anyway, many RP games--of video and non-video sorts--have you pick an alignment. And if you're evil, you should act evil, imo.

Then there's Ultima. In the original versions, I'd wipe out villages for fun. The jester planet comes to mind: you could kill every jester in town, except for one that was indestructible. Lost a lot of lives figuring that out...

dclary
12-03-2009, 02:54 AM
I had to pleasure two women at the same time to get to the next checkpoint on God of War II. Not so much against my morals as it was outside my capabilities...

Anyway, many RP games--of video and non-video sorts--have you pick an alignment. And if you're evil, you should act evil, imo.

Then there's Ultima. In the original versions, I'd wipe out villages for fun. The jester planet comes to mind: you could kill every jester in town, except for one that was indestructible. Lost a lot of lives figuring that out...

What about Ultima IV: Avatar... where the only way you could level up was in exerting your virtues? Levelling up by letting enemies live, donating all your money to temples and beggars...

Jcomp
12-03-2009, 02:58 AM
Once when I was playing online I had to go against a guy named Diego Morales. I think he'd object to me calling him "my" Morales though...

LOG
12-03-2009, 03:07 AM
Alot of posts today...
You Broodmother fighters got nothing on me. I had it on EASY. A-boo-yah!

MGraybosch
12-03-2009, 03:51 AM
What about Ultima IV: Avatar... where the only way you could level up was in exerting your virtues? Levelling up by letting enemies live, donating all your money to temples and beggars...

That went against my morals. :evil

dclary
12-03-2009, 05:24 AM
That went against my morals. :evil

I know. I couldn't get to level freakin' four. FOUR!

Dommo
12-03-2009, 05:33 AM
I think games need to actually put people in real catch 22 situations.

The mages tower thing, well that would have been a good opportunity to have the player who tries to be the good guy end up committing the greater evil. I would have been thrilled if when they got back the demon had killed the kid and massacred the rest of the people in the castle. It could have been an interesting twist to the game.

MGraybosch
12-03-2009, 06:44 AM
I know. I couldn't get to level freakin' four. FOUR!

I eventually beat the game.

CACTUSWENDY
12-03-2009, 07:52 AM
I play City of Heroes/City of Villains and the only 'targets' I can hit are the ones that the game targets. I don't have any good or bad feelings about it. I have my 'mission' and I do it.

dclary
12-03-2009, 09:02 AM
I think games need to actually put people in real catch 22 situations.

The mages tower thing, well that would have been a good opportunity to have the player who tries to be the good guy end up committing the greater evil. I would have been thrilled if when they got back the demon had killed the kid and massacred the rest of the people in the castle. It could have been an interesting twist to the game.

May I interest you in a game of Kobayashi Maru?

MGraybosch
12-03-2009, 09:20 AM
May I interest you in a game of Kobayashi Maru?

Hacked it already. :)

LOG
12-03-2009, 09:27 AM
For those who don't know (o.0) Kobayashi Maru is a fictional game from Star Trek. In the original parameters of the game, it is a catch-22 situation simulation, in which there is almost no way to win.
It involves attempting to rescue a stranded ship, though doing so would violate a galactic treaty. If you leave the ship to be destroyed, you lose. If you attempt to rescue the ship, you are assaulted with overwhelming force, that will continue to escalate until you are destroyed, although Scotty may have been able to cause the program to overload if his solution could have been repeated enough.
The most viable options for success seem to either be to destroy the stranded ship itself, sacrifice your own ship or crew member (usually the captain), kamikaze, crash the A.I. through a programming paradox, or to cheat.

Wavy_Blue
12-04-2009, 10:20 PM
http://ps3.ign.com/articles/105/1050144p1.html

Here's an interesting article about controversy in video games.

Mr. Anonymous
12-04-2009, 10:25 PM
I'm not sure I follow.

You don't play games that give you the CHOICE of doing "evil" because they would FORCE? you to do things against your morals?

Also, good and evil are, to my mind, poor terms. How do you know that your enemies in the games you play are bad/evil? Have you sat down and talked with them? Nope.

darkprincealain
12-04-2009, 10:29 PM
The note on Rule of Rose: all I can say is, :ROFL:.

LOG
12-04-2009, 11:15 PM
I'm not sure I follow.

You don't play games that give you the CHOICE of doing "evil" because they would FORCE? you to do things against your morals?

Also, good and evil are, to my mind, poor terms. How do you know that your enemies in the games you play are bad/evil? Have you sat down and talked with them? Nope.
Evil has been over-rated for centuries.
It's become more an dmore difficult to find truly un-redeemable villians in literature, to my mind anyways.
I think the best true evil characters that come to my mind are the selfish power-hungry ones, like Sauron. But that's just so cliche now, and Sauron had a particular menace in the LotR series because we never really knew him, he was like a shadow that just constantly hung over the protag's heads.

tarcanus
12-04-2009, 11:53 PM
Can a mod please change the topic title to 'morals' and not 'morales'? It's been driving me nuts for weeks.

DeleyanLee
12-05-2009, 12:12 AM
No game (or book or movie or any other form of entertainment) has ever FORCED me to do anything because the choice of participating in it is totally mine. If I don't want to participate, I don't. If you're playing a game (or reading a book, watching a movie, etc), it's because you have made the choice to have the experience it offers. If that experience is offensive, stop. No repercussions will come of stopping, after all.

And if you discover that you're not happy because you stopped, that you're either over the offense or enjoyed being offended, finish the game/book/movie/whatever. Again, your life won't be over if you do. Even if you like it.

Humans have nasty streaks. Games/books/movies/sports/etc. are a culturally acceptable way of venting those nasty streaks so we don't actually cause chaos in the world. It's healthy to do these things so we don't do them in real life.

Our culture today has so little avenue for the thrill of the hunt, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of "getting away with it" and other things that life used to have. These video games can bring some of that back. I think it's a good thing. I mean, look at the games out there--it's pretty much all theft, destruction and murder. Don't like it, don't play.

Me, I don't play, but I root my daughter on as she plays through the Assassin's Creeds (2 is marvelous!), Fall-Out 3 and any number of other murder/theft games. I'm so proud of her when she kicks digital butt and accomplishes stuff. It's a bonding experience. Since no living person gets hurt and we're enjoying ourselves, I don't see why morals factor into the scene at all.

BigWords
12-05-2009, 11:51 PM
Humans have nasty streaks. Games/books/movies/sports/etc. are a culturally acceptable way of venting those nasty streaks so we don't actually cause chaos in the world. It's healthy to do these things so we don't do them in real life.

QFT.

I'd rather have people busying themselves with dispatching virtual characters than killing people IRL. If violent games can keep one person off the streets and causing chaos then I can live with the negative feedback which erupts in extremist rags such as The Daily Mail.

Kaiser-Kun
12-06-2009, 12:09 AM
Test to know if videogames'll make you go on a murderous rampage:

1.-Have you been taught the difference between real life and fiction?

A) No.
B) Yes.

Results: If you answered (A), you're screwed.

Dario D.
12-06-2009, 04:44 PM
Has A Game Ever Forced You To Do Something Against Your Morals?
Battlefield 2 (or should I say, the bugs, crashes, and design-decisions of Battlefield 2) made me believe that buying a catapult for my room, so that I could launch my computer out the window, was a fantastic idea.

darkprincealain
12-07-2009, 10:56 PM
Test to know if videogames'll make you go on a murderous rampage:

1.-Have you been taught the difference between real life and fiction?

A) No.
B) Yes.

Results: If you answered (A), you're screwed.

QFT.

Sarpedon
12-07-2009, 11:14 PM
Can a mod please change the topic title to 'morals' and not 'morales'? It's been driving me nuts for weeks.

Spoilsport! I was having a chuckle about a videogame that involved overthrowing the President of Bolivia.

tarcanus
12-08-2009, 12:52 AM
Spoilsport! I was having a chuckle about a videogame that involved overthrowing the President of Bolivia.


Haha, fair enough.

What bothered me was that this entire topic started off on a misspelling of the most important aspect of the TC's argument.


Anyway, I'm still in agreement with the dominant view in the topic. Just because some games allow more choice than others doesn't mean that the game is inherently immoral because it lets you destroy things/murder people. It all comes down to your choice to play the game.

Sarpedon
12-08-2009, 01:23 AM
Its like criticizing "The Game of Life" because it allows you to sell your children and spouse.

Mr. Anonymous
12-08-2009, 05:12 AM
I don't want to hijack this discussion but I revisited this thread and was reminded of an article I wrote not long ago for my school's newspaper (regarding the airport shootup scene in MW 2.)

For those that haven't played it, you play as an undercover agent who participates in a terrorist attack on a civilian airport. Basically for a few minutes you're just mowing innocent civilians down as they run and crawl away, etc.

(Anticipating a possible objection, I will say that to me, the argumnt that you are undercover, therefore its okay, is a very "ends justifies the means" approach, and its most basic problem is that it doesn't deny that the player is playing the role of a terrorist. It merely adds the qualiication that the player's motives for participating in a terrorist act are different than that of his virtual terrorist cronies.)

The question is, of course, is this okay? Should games allow us to do this?

The typical answer from gamers is that it is okay, because what is being potrayed is not real. Real people are not dying. It's all just pixels on a screen.

However, if that's really the case then I have a follow up question.

Woud it be okay if a game allowed you to torture, rape, commit pedophilia, etc?

If you answer no, then there is an inconsistency with your argument. It's still not real, after all. It's still "just pixels on a screen."

I think what makes games fundamentally different than other media is that the gamer, unlike a reader or a viewer, is interacting with the experience, helping to bring it about. Just as he is "playing" in the real world he is literally "living" out the story in the game world. Put simply, a gamer is an insider to the experience, whereas readers, viewers, and listeners are outsiders.

There is, after all, most of us would agree, a BIG difference between playing a game that allows you to commit pedophilia and reading Lolita.

In light of this, I think we have to reconsider the way we go about defending video games. We cannot use the same arguments that we use for movies/books/etc.

MGraybosch
12-08-2009, 07:38 AM
Woud it be okay if a game allowed you to torture, rape, commit pedophilia, etc?

Yes, as long as I don't have to buy, rent, or play the game.

Zoombie
12-08-2009, 09:46 AM
You haven't played anything coming out of Japan, have you?

EDIT: I am sure there are American porn games...they are just not as good.

LOG
12-08-2009, 10:16 AM
You haven't played anything coming out of Japan, have you?

The Japanese have so much erotica because they're so reserved in public, so they let it out in games and other media :P

Anonymous, the 'pixels on a screen' arguement is only one aspect to that while issue. Another major part is simply the idea that regardless of what you see or do in the game, you should be well aware that it is not real, and thus, not something that should overtly influence you.
Also, you have to remember that our culture is highly acclimated to violence, as well as sexually suggestive material. Give us a few more decades and more adult only games will begin to flow into the market that follow the more explicit content.
As has been said, humans have alot of natural impulses that we have been trained not to act on. Games are a good way of releasing those feelings, as long as you know what reality is, it shouldn't be hard to do so and be perfectly safe.

JimmyB27
12-08-2009, 04:50 PM
Test to know if videogames'll make you go on a murderous rampage:

1.-Have you been taught the difference between real life and fiction?

A) No.
B) Yes.

Results: If you answered (A), you're screwed.
You had to be taught this?

DeleyanLee
12-08-2009, 05:53 PM
Test to know if videogames'll make you go on a murderous rampage:

1.-Have you been taught the difference between real life and fiction?

A) No.
B) Yes.

Results: If you answered (A), you're screwed.


You had to be taught this?

Yes, some people have to be taught that.

clockwork
12-08-2009, 06:23 PM
I don't want to hijack this discussion but I revisited this thread and was reminded of an article I wrote not long ago for my school's newspaper (regarding the airport shootup scene in MW 2.)

For those that haven't played it, you play as an undercover agent who participates in a terrorist attack on a civilian airport. Basically for a few minutes you're just mowing innocent civilians down as they run and crawl away, etc.


But you don't have to participate. You can either skip the level, or complete it without ever shooting a civilian. Eventually the police arrive and if you don't want to die, you have to shoot them but that's no different to dozens of other games out there. Even if you were forced to kill civilians, you still have a choice about whether or not to play it in the first place, just as if Mario & Luigi's Princess Peach Gang Rape Galaxy came out tomorrow, you'd have a choice about whether or not to play that.

Society does a half-decent job of accepting or rejecting these things anyway. The COD airport level caused a slight brouhaha on release but nobody's talking about it now and as far as I know, there hasn't been a resultant epidemic of airport shootings. When the alternative is opening up a censorship floodgate, I can tolerate the controversy.

icerose
12-08-2009, 11:05 PM
My latest MC, which I take is a step deeper than any video game could go, is a murderer, seductress in her own right, a psychopath who lives for the kill. I am none of these things and writing her and her story didn't make me into one either. There's reality then there's fiction. As long as you can separate the two, you'll be fine. It's those who can't separate the two that wind up in trouble.

BigWords
12-09-2009, 02:56 AM
It's those who can't separate the two that wind up in trouble.

Or in government.

Mr. Anonymous
12-09-2009, 03:24 AM
Yes, as long as I don't have to buy, rent, or play the game.

I'm not convinced by that line of reasoning. I am talking about something that is potentially morally abhorrent. Say, virtual rape/torture. Your excuse is that as long as you don't have to do it, you have no problem with other people being able to.

The following example is not meant to be taken seriously so much as a vehicle to get my point across.

Is murder okay? Yes, as long as I don't have to do it. You are justifying something accused of being morally abhorrent by saying its okay as long as you aren't forced to do it. As a result, you are failing to engage the real heart of the matter, which is, IMO, whether say, virtual rape/torture is morally abhorrent in the first place. The fact that you would not engage in such behavior, even if it were only in a video game and thus not real, suggests to me an uneasiness at the prospect. And this uneasiness, I would argue, could very well stem from the fact that you MAY on some level find it morally abhorrent.

You haven't played anything coming out of Japan, have you?

Just because something is done doesn't make it right. I'm a gamer myself, and I'm not trying to say things are definitively "this way" or "that way." I'm just trying to get a conversation going.

EDIT: I am sure there are American porn games...they are just not as good.

Porn is not rape.

Anonymous, the 'pixels on a screen' arguement is only one aspect to that while issue. Another major part is simply the idea that regardless of what you see or do in the game, you should be well aware that it is not real, and thus, not something that should overtly influence you.

The pixels on a screen argument is almost the same as the "its not real, thus you shouldn't be influenced" one. Replace "it's not rea" with "it's just pixels on a screen" and you have the same argument.

While I see what you're saying, what I'm getting at is slightly different. I'm not coming from the overprotective parent approach that playing GTA will make my child shoot up a school. What I'm asking is whether that actual act of virtual violence, be it murder or rape or torture, is itself morally abhorrent, regardless of whether or not it has an impact on the outside world.

I'm not convinced either way, but a simplified version of an argument I might make is the following.

1) Art is a representation of life.
2) Acts that are morally abhorrent in life are morally abhorrent in art.
3) Being an outsider to a morally abhorrent act in life is not morally abhorrent in and of itself, but participating in the act is.

Conclusion: Being an outsider to a morally abhorrent act in art is not morally abhorrent in and of itself, but participating in the act is.

As has been said, humans have alot of natural impulses that we have been trained not to act on. Games are a good way of releasing those feelings, as long as you know what reality is, it shouldn't be hard to do so and be perfectly safe.

There are many ways to release these feelings. Sports, for example. I'm not so much concerned with safety as with morality. I also think the argument that gaming desensitizes us to violence is one that we cannot simply dismiss because we don't like it. True, the same charge can and has been leveled against other media, but the fact that the gamer is an insider to the experience is what sets games apart, in my mind.


But you don't have to participate. You can either skip the level, or complete it without ever shooting a civilian.

A valid point. That's not really what I'm getting at though. What I'm getting at is, should we even have that choice in games? It's a radical argument coming from a gamer, because it calls into question not just acts of terrorism/rape/pedophilia/torture in video games, which haven't really been featured prominently if at all, but rather murder and violence in general.

I'm not trying to provide a definitive answer. But the more I thought about this question myself, and the more I tried to utilize the gamer's typical defenses, the more I realized I was (IMO) failing to be objective.

My latest MC, which I take is a step deeper than any video game could go, is a murderer, seductress in her own right, a psychopath who lives for the kill.

You are writing a character. The story comes to you, but you do not live it or experience it. Not in the same way as with a game, at any rate. Thus you are still an outsider to her experience.

I am none of these things and writing her and her story didn't make me into one either.

You may disagree, of course, but I believe that there is a reason why the stories and characters that occur to us as writers do so. It is my conviction (which you may or may not share) that what you write IS in some way a manifestation of a part of your being. That doesn't make you a murderer or psycopath or whatnot. But it does say that there is a REASON why you were drawn to write this character in this story, and the reason is inside you.

BigWords
12-09-2009, 04:22 AM
There are many ways to release these feelings. Sports, for example.

Absolutely. Nothing better than beating someone to a bloody pulp in a muddy field because they happen to be wearing a different color shirt than me. And to be cheered on as I'm kicking my opponent senseless - even better.

Who needs violent games anyways?

clockwork
12-09-2009, 05:05 AM
Woud it be okay if a game allowed you to torture, rape, commit pedophilia, etc?

Rape, torture and paedophilia aren't the same. They're about specific psychological issues; control, power, 'love', and are the end product of a mental disorder, an impairment in a person's brain or brain chemistry that leads them to do it. Nobody wants that, or seeks it out unless they're already a host to it. They would never appear in mainstream games for that reason and so trying to compare the two doesn't really work.

Game violence is different. It's in the same family as knocking down someone's house of cards for fun or pulling your sister's hair or throwing a Rubik's Cube across the room because you can't finish it. It's bitching about your boss and saying, "I'm gonna fucking kill that guy." It's playing a practical joke or teasing someone. It's one kind of facilitator for emotional release, a release that's vital and inherent in all of us to varying degrees. It's those varying degrees that control whether or not you find video game violence morally wrong or completely benign.

LOG
12-09-2009, 05:20 AM
Absolutely. Nothing better than beating someone to a bloody pulp in a muddy field because they happen to be wearing a different color shirt than me. And to be cheered on as I'm kicking my opponent senseless - even better.

Who needs violent games anyways?
ROFL
He does have a point. If it's betwen virtual violence or real violence, virtual violence is obviously better.

So you're saying that a virtually morally wrong act is as bad as a real morally wrong act?
I'm sure that's not quite correct, but I don't buy it.
Morally reprehensible in idea perhaps. But then, I have and play otu many morally reprehensible ideas inside my own head. Games ar eno worse than what I can see in my mind's eye, in the end, it's a highly mental exercise, just like reading morally reprehensible books. The greatest physical action taken is turning pages, as opposed to clicking buttons.
The largest difference would be the idea that you are the person carrying out the actions, but very few people will find a gaming character that looks, or acts like them. Even in RPG's, they are usually given an identity to seperate them from you, such as Link, or Commander Shepard, the setting also means that it would not be easy to identify actions you can take with action they will take. Games are morally reprehensible actions, but there is no consequence unlike real-life, thus there is no problem.

Mac H.
12-09-2009, 05:24 AM
There is an unmistakable trend in the last few decades that some video games are becoming more visceral - even if technically they are less violent.

So in the old days, you would be violently killing hundreds of aliens by playing space invaders. The crew of each spaceship you destroyed would naturally be killed in a horrible, painful fashion as you blew up their spaceships - but the player was emotionally removed from it. So the games were encouraging players to destroy without letting them see close up what was actually happening.

Now in games you get up close to them and kill them personally. So the numbers of aliens you are killing is smaller - in the old days a single press of the joystick would slaughter a crew of hundreds, but now the player is up close and personal.

What should be the affect of this trend?

Let's look at the real world - where the rate of violent crime in the USA has dropped by MORE THAN half between the years 1994 and 2001.

Clearly we shouldn't be giving sole credit to the drop in violent crime to the change in video games. But we can't deny that the correlation hints that getting up close and personal to the visceral violence in a simulated environment reduces violence in the real world.

Mac

Mr. Anonymous
12-09-2009, 07:45 AM
Absolutely. Nothing better than beating someone to a bloody pulp in a muddy field because they happen to be wearing a different color shirt than me. And to be cheered on as I'm kicking my opponent senseless - even better.

I'm a big fan of sarcasm and humor, but on their own they don't make a very convincing argument.

Sports in which the goal of the game is to beat someone to bloody pulp: Boxing...mma...sumo wrestling...

The rest: Skiing, iceskating, skateboaring, running, cycling, swimming, ballet, fencing, tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer... I could go on for a while.

In the Middle: Football, rugby, hockey.

So you're saying that a virtually morally wrong act is as bad as a real morally wrong act?

Now you're putting words in my mouth. I am not saying it is "as bad." I am suggesting that a virtually morally wrong act is still wrong, regardless of the fact that it is virtual.

But then, I have and play otu many morally reprehensible ideas inside my own head.

1) The difference is in the details. Thinking to yourself "I'm going to kill that SOB" is very different from playing a game in which you torture that SOB to death, chop him into little pieces, and then feed him to the pigs. Very different from experiencing every second of his virtual death at your virtual hands. An idea occurs to you in a very broad, sweeping manner. You do not live it - do not experience it.

2) You don't act on these morally reprehensible ideas. If you did, you would be punished. If you are presented a game in which you can rape someone and you go through with it, you are acting out an idea. Not in the same way as on a real person, but acting it out nonetheless.


The largest difference would be the idea that you are the person carrying out the actions, but very few people will find a gaming character that looks, or acts like them.

FPS's involve you in the game without the medium of an avatar. And in general, I don't think it's a stretch to say we project ourselves onto the character we're playing.

Games are morally reprehensible actions, but there is no consequence unlike real-life, thus there is no problem.

If you cede me that games have morally reprehensible actions (which you as a player bring about), then my next question would undermine your defense (no consequences, no problem.) If you could rape someone without consequence (nobody would know you did it, and your victim would never know it happened), would that make rape, a morally reprehensible action, okay?

Clearly we shouldn't be giving sole credit to the drop in violent crime to the change in video games. But we can't deny that the correlation hints that getting up close and personal to the visceral violence in a simulated environment reduces violence in the real world.

Interesting post. Gaming might very well have something to do with it. But as you yourself admit, correlation does not imply causation.

EDIT:

Hmmm. I thought about it and maybe this could be a possible response.

A morally reprehensible act in real life is morally reprehensible in the real world.

A morally reprehensible act in the virtual world is morally reprehensible in that virtual world, because it is "real" in the virtual world.

But a morally reprehensible act in the virtual world is not morally reprehensible in the real world, because in the real world, it is merely a representation of something morally reprehensible, and saying all representations of the morally reprehensible are themselves morally reprehensible would be going much too far.

I'm not 100% satisfied though, as that seems a complicated version of the "it's not real" argument, and we still have the gamer as an insider to the experience, which raises the question of whether I can separate the real and virtual worlds in the way I did above...

Mac H.
12-09-2009, 11:51 AM
I'm not 100% satisfied though, as that seems a complicated version of the "it's not real" argument, and we still have the gamer as an insider to the experience, which raises the question of whether I can separate the real and virtual worlds in the way I did above...I agree.

If you were 100% satisfied with a simple answer in a complicated situation then you would be wrong. Because its complicated.

We can logically disconnect the 'real' and 'virtual' behaviours, but it still influences us. It is simply automatic - in fact it's a factor of intelligence that we make these connections without realising it.

It's odd, though, how little we are affected by films & games. I was sure that plenty of people would be injured from kids trying the pranks in 'Home Alone' ... but they weren't.

I was sure that people would eat less bacon after watching 'Babe' .. but they didn't.

Film producers convinced a watch company to pay them a fortune in return for having James Bond wear a particular brand watch ... so they seem to be able to convince people with money that there is a clear cause & effect. And I'd believe that it worked.

But we just aren't consistent.

Mac

JimmyB27
12-09-2009, 01:51 PM
I'm not convinced either way, but a simplified version of an argument I might make is the following.

1) Art is a representation of life.
2) Acts that are morally abhorrent in life are morally abhorrent in art.
3) Being an outsider to a morally abhorrent act in life is not morally abhorrent in and of itself, but participating in the act is.

Conclusion: Being an outsider to a morally abhorrent act in art is not morally abhorrent in and of itself, but participating in the act is.

(My bold)
This is the key thing, to my mind. Who gets hurt when you kill a computer generated civilian?

JimmyB27
12-09-2009, 01:54 PM
Film producers convinced a watch company to pay them a fortune in return for having James Bond wear a particular brand watch ... so they seem to be able to convince people with money that there is a clear cause & effect. And I'd believe that it worked.

But we just aren't consistent.

Mac
I think there are few people for whom buying a watch is a moral decision. It's a bit like hypnotism, you can't be hypnotised into doing something that's against your very moral fibre, but you can be made to dance like a chicken in front of a few hundred people.
ETA: In fact, from what I know of the two phenomena, advertising is very much like hypnotism indeed.

LOG
12-09-2009, 07:29 PM
It's called product placement actually.

Sir Valeq
12-11-2009, 10:14 PM
Once I learned that a game would force me into being 'bad' I didn't even install it. In games with choices, I always make the 'good' ones. Why? Escapism, simple.

LOG
12-12-2009, 07:35 AM
Once I learned that a game would force me into being 'bad' I didn't even install it. In games with choices, I always make the 'good' ones. Why? Escapism, simple.
So I take it you didn't play the Overlord games?

MGraybosch
12-12-2009, 05:19 PM
So I take it you didn't play the Overlord games?

I played the demos. They were crap. The sooner Codemasters goes out of business, the better. They're a blight on the videogame industry.

LOG
12-12-2009, 09:42 PM
I enjoyed both Overlords...

Monkey
12-31-2009, 08:06 AM
I play The Sims 2. In one neighborhood, everyone is perfectly happy. Most of the characters were made to represent people I know in real life. It's an ageless, painless, super-sappy kind of place, where everyone meets their every aspiration and has lots of love.

Except for when that one guy ticked me off in real life, so I killed the character I'd made to represent him. :)

I like escapism, and I like to escape to somewhere pretty. Usually.

I also have a second Sim neighborhood where a pair of evil clowns killed most of the civillians and a necromancer came along behind him and turned them into a zombie army. Of course, it being the Sims, I had to create the killer clowns, then rig a couple of traps, then watch the victims cry, pee themselves, and complain of hungriness and filth until they died. It was grisly. But fun. Did you know you can actually cause a house in The Sims to become so haunted that it's impossible to spend more than a few nights there without the ghosts killing you? You can!

I also play Spore. I create pretty little creatures that charm the pants off of everything, then go on to dominate the world through the force of their religious persuasion. I just don't like killing those cute little pixels, even though I slaughter my own meat in real life. Go figure.

To me, sex and violence are both somewhat inherent to the human condition. They happen, and it's natural to have the urge to explore them. Why not do it virtually?

I admit to being very annoyed at the choices available on a few RPG's, though (several Final Fantasy titles come to mind). It wasn't so much the morals of what was involved but the lack of what I would consider reasonable options. Ah, well. In the end, you might play Tomb Raider as Laura Croft, but you aren't her. You're not Cloud, either. Most first-person games are from the POV as you as a certain character. So when I'm given multiple options but wouldn't choose any of them, I just figure those are the options that the MC would think of. I don't feel like my own morals are tested or threatened in the least.

Dommo
01-02-2010, 11:44 AM
You know, a serial killer add on for the sims could be pretty cool. Making a sims "Buffalo Bill" would be an interesting experiment.