Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Player Actions, Good vs Evil.

in which i ramble a bit about some games.

I was listening to Anthony Burch's GDC talk, which discussed many issues, including player agency, and immersion.

I started thinking about the times I play myself in games, and the times I play a character.

This made me think about how I played Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2/Fable II.
Whenever I am faced with a GOOD or an EVIL option, I tend to choose the GOOD. Even if I really want to be bad.
When I play me, I am good. I think I am a good person, even if I tend to threaten violence as a joke.
Anthony discussed how in a game like Uncharted 2, you play/help out Nathan Drake. And if you have a problem with snapping a guy's neck, and cracking a joke, you will be uncomfortable. It was fun. It was fun to kill guys and crack jokes, and run around like the hero. I wouldn't do that if it were actually me. I wouldn't kill dudes and crack jokes, even if I would fantasize about it in my head. Which is why playing Nathan Drake, playing the dude from Prototype is important to games. Sometimes established characters help the player PLAY. I really enjoy karate kicking planes and slicing people to bits in Prototype. Because Alex (that's his name, I remember it now!) would do those things, and is in a position to do those things. He has been pushed far passed the breaking point, and this is his life, not mine.

Back to the good or bad thing. I think, if in Mass Effect 2, I knew a renegade action would be non-lethal, I would use it. I shied away from using these actions after accidentally (?) killing a guy. I felt really bad about it, and almost reloaded, but then thought No. Shepard needs to learn this lesson. And I did. I didn't use renegade actions again after that, because that isn't what *I* would do. I would however, punch him, sabotage him, delay him in some way - but I didn't like the killing.
It would have been more fun to take some of those renegade actions. But I am not that character. Shepard-me wouldn't do that.

I think both ideas are important to gaming, the taking on of another persona and putting yourself in the situation. I don't think the pinnacle of gaming is the Star Trek holodeck. I want to be Nathan Drake. I want to be me. I want to be Shepard.