Isaac Asimov once said “…For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” The notion of evil has been hot-wired into our DNA since the beginning of our existence. Good vs. Evil has made for the best stories, games and movies. But lately the idea of being evil has implanted itself more so in today’s video games that it ever has. Rarely do we ever hold the weight of our consequences from a bad deed. Game developers know this and leech onto it making us, the gamer, feel like big badass gods. But, at the same time, it can be used as a crutch these same developers lean on because they cannot put the same power into making an equally appealing good guy or good moral system.
Games have always tried to emulate Hollywood, and with their development, this guy has done more then anyone else. Vader represented pure power, when he walked into a room people stopped and looked. He was the original badass motherfucker (sorry Jules) so naturally every bad guy has to be raised to Vader’s standards. Gamers naturally want that freedom of feeling free to do whatever they want in their gaming experience. Vader’s open use of the Dark side made it cool to be evil. And once the Emperor showed up with lighting, the Dark side was the only side. Give into hate and get lighting? Sounds easy and rewarding. There is always something of a hook to lure people into the bad side of things. When Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
came out it boasted all these amazing force powers. Naturally the Dark side was given full show and boy did people choke a bitch
or two. It was celebrated as a game that reveled in being a bad guy granted there was a lame flip flop moment in the game that the developers never really capitalized on, but for the most part it was an instructional video on how to be a bad guy. Star Wars
was honest in its approach, you are a Sith, nothing more nothing less. There are worse offenders out there that claim to be “Good.”
Alex Mercer is a good guy; yes read that again HE is a good guy. Prototype
is a game that tries to veil the idea of a “good guy.” He has become one current model for an anti-hero, but this one eats people to gain levels. Radical Entertainment took what they did in Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
and bathed it in browns and reds. In Hulk
you were well, the Hulk a good guy (Depending on who is writing him) who well destroys stuff. But the point is that he a good guy, and that is what the game is telling you. However in Prototype the game allows you to Macho Man-style elbow drop a tank and then throw it at innocent people.
Many games nowadays use that Grey area of being an anti-hero way to often. Developers should know ahead of time, through the story and character driven moments what they want their protagonist to be. It seems games that were made a couple of years ago had a clear understanding of what a hero stood for. Yet now, it seems all right to kill people for the sake of being good. That little evil is needed in order to tell a good story. Radical failed as developers, that the sheen of being a good guy is just moral padding to let them develop powers to commit evil
. If killing tons of people was the point of the game then just come out and say it.
This is the face of being good in gaming nowadays. Kratos for all intent and purposes is evil. He has no redeeming factors, no real grow, he is just rage given human (or godlike I forgot) form. But it seems that this is what the growing public likes, or even loves. The idea that they can kill tons of people and have nothing really wrong happened to them. Morality in video games is still in its infancy and until it more accurately reflects the human condition it will never work. That is why being evil is so easy, it gives us all the power and none of the responsibility. Violence solves everything in video games, epic war? Love one lost? Red Rings of Death, all solved by a little violence.