Coming to terms with being human.


Kicking Chickens and Other Pastimes

Morality based games have always called out to me. I like the idea of shaping a player character through a moral rating of its actions. Unfortunately, the systems of morality that various game designers have created tend to disappoint me.
The most common fault I find is with what constitutes a good decision. Take Fable, my most recent time-waster. Every time I kill a bandit, I receive “good points”. Every time. The bandit can be frolicking in the daisies, while cradling the baby Jesus in his arms and I would still gain good points for a swift decapitation. This seems strange to me. Granted, the bandit may be a bad man. Maybe he kidnapped Jesus and was planning on ransoming him back to the wise men. However, being of no threat to me, I have zero reason to kill him except; and I pass on this phrase from my former life of service… for shits and giggles.
It seems to me that killing a man because he wears an ill-fitting leather vest would be a tad evil. Not akin to stealing a book, which does earn me bad points, but evil none the less. I assume that the moral logic is this. Bandit equals evil. Killing bandit equals removal of an evil. Killing bandit equals good.

I do not agree with this type of reasoning. The end product of an action has no bearing on the moral decision behind it. Actually, I am not convinced an action can even be moral in itself. I see morality as based in the decision making ability of moral agents. It’s the motive, not the end result that matters.
Well, I went on, didn’t I? OK, I know that making bandit killing good is just a game design decision. I would have been really bored letting all the bad guys live. Still, it says something about our views of good and evil. The bad man’s got to die, to hell with the reasons.


  • At 5:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Once again, C.S. Lewis: "[...] that is why Christians are told not to judge. we can only see the results of the choices the man makes out of his raw material." (Mere Christianity). I agree completely.



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