I woke up one day and realized that I was no longer content not sharing bits of my personal life and opinions with strangers on the internet. In my spare time I enjoy long walks in the rain, breathing, and naming kittens after obscure literary references.
Having decided to take advantage of the fundraiser/sale going on at gog.com I snagged a copy of FTL. I had played for a few hours before something struck me. Something horrible.
Somewhere, an unsuspecting planet was about to receive a massive payload in the form of missiles.
Lots of missiles.
For those of you who don’t know FTL or Faster Than Light is a spaceship sim made by Justin Ma and Matthew Davis of Subset Games. The player is given a ship (the Kestrel before any others are unlocked), a small crew, and tasked with outrunning the coming Rebel armada in order to deliver vital Intel to the remaining Federation forces. The game plays like a Roguelike and is generally pretty fun unless you accidentally destroy a few ecosystems like I potentially have. Just hear me out.
I should have known the assignment was doomed from the very outset. Your crew is entirely customizable but they do randomly generate names. One look and I knew I was in for something potentially wonderful.
Crew Chief Butters reporting for duty!
Not to be undone by fate I quickly made a few more edits.
No sooner had we launched from the base our boys ran afoul of a Mantis ship. FYI, the Mantis are bad news bears and for the love of all that is good and holy do not let them board your ship. Not wanting to be turned into a pile of wreckage I quickly launched a volley of lasers at their weapons room and a missile straight at their shields. Only problem is, the missile didn't hit. Guess Butters wasn't the best choice for a commanding officer.
Not wanting to look like some sort of non-missile colliding wuss I decided to launch about three more at the ship, all of which missed. Eventually I took the thing down with sheer determination and focused laser blasts but it hit me:
1. There is no gravity in space.
2. Without gravity there is no friction to slow or stop an object.
3. An object with a given momentum would continue drifting at that momentum.
4. Five missiles will continue drifting in space forever.
Or until they hit something…
Suddenly I was hit with philosophical guilt. Of course, nobody would actually ever get hit by those missiles, it’s just a game. But what if it wasn't? What if some poor bastard was just enjoying his day until the inevitable occurred. I tried to picture myself just sitting on a park bench enjoying the day when…
Not only had I potentially ruined somebody’s day in FTL but the same would apply for any other game. Launching a killing spell into the wild blue yonder in Skyrim is certainly a lot of fun but eventually something has to stop it. Randomly firing off missiles in Star Fox? Hope you can sleep at night you potential murderer. The worst realization, especially in terms of space related games, is just how easily you could screw up an entire ecosystem with just once loose weapon. One day Chiktup the proto-human is crawling out of primeval slime and the next second BOOOM wiped away from the history books. Just one misfire could have spelled the difference between homo-sapiens being the dominating force on Earth and a literal planet of the apes.
Oh don’t even look at me like you wouldn't love that you smug bastard.[sub] Photo credit to David Burke[/sub]
When Kyle, Cartman, and Butters were wiped away by the Rebel Fleet just 45 minutes later I couldn't help but to feel some sense of justice. After all, what is floating dead in the abyss of space for eternity compared to the horror of destroying worlds. It’s not like the spacecraft holding their cold bodies would ever crash into anything and….