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I'm 17 and I want to be a writer when I grow up Mum and Dad.
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I'm not gonna say I was here from the beginning, because I wasn't, however the time I have spent here has been baller. I found out about Destructoid late 2008 and it has been my homepage or in a tab ever since. There's an air of character about it, the news posts are frequent and mirror the personality of the author, the editorials are often funny and/or interesting, the podcasts are consistently hilarious and the community feels close to each other.

Destructoid has also affected my life outside of just the internet too. The Podcasts have offered me viewpoints on gaming that I had never even considered before hand and subsequently doubled my interest and enthusiasm for games. Even more importantly, the fun that the writers seem to have when they write for Destructoid opened my eyes to acknowledge that I too want that kind of career. Writing about something you feel pasionately about and providing alternative viewpoints is something that I am very interested in and has affected my choices for University courses.

So Happy 4th Birthday Destructoid and Niero and I hope to keep reading the site for many years to come.

[/Destructoid Fanboy]

8:39 PM on 08.24.2009

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It's widely known that as of late, morality in games has been a rigid, blunt, mechanic. It is often just used to give the player certain rewards or perks for playing in a certain way or sticking to a personality type. Some good examples would be inFamous, Fallout 3 and Fable 2 as they all featured quite an obvious morality mechanic. The morality mechanic in these games were highlighted a lot by the developers in order to create interest and a buzz for them as it gives the illusion of diversity within the game.

Thinking about Fallout 3 in particular led me to question if we could ever have a proper, real morality system or mechanic in future games, I will explain with an anecdote.

Fallout 3 Spoilers

There's a particular section or mission arc in Fallout 3 that requires you to visit a location called "Tenpenny Tower" that houses a rich, corrupt business man by the name of "Allistair Tenpenny." Earlier in the game this man sent a "goon" of his that tries to persuade you to blow up the City of Megaton for a fee. Obviously even to somebody with a vague understanding of the average mans moral code, this would be seen as an evil act.
Anyway back to the anecdote, before you enter the tower you are shown a verbal conflict between a guard and a ghoul named Roy Phillips. The guard refuses the ghoul asylum from the wasteland due to his physical appearance as he believes ghoul's are sub human. Right there you are deliberately shown that the ghouls in this area are being oppressed by the richer and "smooth skinned" race, which would generally be seen as a cruel thing.
When you enter the tower and go to see Mr Tenpenny you can choose whether or not to kill this man as part of a quest and if you choose to indeed kill him, you will be rewarded with positive karma. Right then the game decided that the man was evil and that killing him was a morally positive act to commit.
Once you leave Tenpenny's living quarters and speak to a guard named Gustavo you quickly discover that he too detests ghouls and wants Roy Phillips to be eliminated in case he starts a rebellion against Tenpenny tower. I quickly went to find Roy to talk to him as I felt sorry for his character for being oppressed and I came to an arrangement with him that instead of killing him I would help him get his revenge.
Roy wants you to open up the backdoor of the tower so him and his feral ghouls can get in a wreck up the place. I felt that this was justice as personally I strongly dislike prejudice and discrimination, especially as the residents of Tenpenny tower wanted to kill Roy and his family. So I let him in and helped him kill everybody inside thinking that the game would see the reasons and allow me to break even in the Karma system as on one hand I'm dealing out justice but on the other hand I'm doing it in a really extreme way. However after the quest was complete I found that I had gone from "Neutral" all the way to "Evil". Right there I wondered why they said that Fallout 3 has a morality system as it is more like a "law" system. In law murder is murder no matter what the circumstances and you will be punished for committing homicide. In Fallout 3 the game decides what reward or punishment you get preemptively without judging the scenario and thinking about any moral ambiguity.
Is it right to kill to stamp out an oppressive force that was trying to kill you?

Of course we don't have the technology yet to create such a broad morality system that could efficiently judge moral situation and we probably never will. Even if we create an AI so powerful it takes on human thought and logic then morality will be judged due to that AI's personality type. If it has no personality then it will have to use logic, and then we're back at square one. Everybody has a different definition of what is morally right and what is morally wrong. We have rigid laws that try to fit in the middle of the average moral view but in the end, that system has to remain rigid.

It makes me question why we need moral systems at all? Why call it a moral choice system if all you can do is pick a really obvious morally wrong or right situation like in inFamous? Surely a better idea would be to enforce a "law" system and let us judge a situation and weigh up the pro's and con's of the games options and act upon that? Wouldn't that be a true moral choice?

For example lets say that there is a game where the objective is to find your daughter who has been kidnapped and torture might be the fastest method of achieving that goal. In this game there is a law system that says that torture is wrong and you will be punished (arrested = Gameover?) if you do it and are caught. However if you get away with it the reward is that you've become one step closer to your daughter, but you've had to torture a man to do it. Of course for this to work there would have to be some considerable risk to resorting to torture and/or it would need the game to give you a reason to not torture that character, they may have a family or something.

Surely that is a proper moral choice? Judging the outcome of the situation within the realms of an in game law would present you with a real moral choice, not just a "Yes/No" box that is used either subtley or bluntly in todays games with "Moral Choices".

I really hope developers abandon trying to incorporate a moral choice system into a game where the moral choices can be made in our brains instead. I suppose that is why I'm really looking forward to Heavy Rain, the story in that game appears to be incredibly flexible and able to allow you to choose a solution that fits you, the punishment being a character death.

Thanks for reading.

(If this blog reads wrong it's because I wrote it from 4-5am)

Hello, destructoid's resident lurker and writer for Negative Gamer here.

Basically me and a couple of members of a forum I frequent have started doing a podcast that is up to its third episode. The first episode was well received within the forum so I thought I would expand our audience and let dtoid know about it.

It's a gaming podcast and we cover news on all platforms as well as a weekly feature, the past 2 have been:

Console gaming vs PC Gaming
Can Games be art (Pretentious Ahoy)

So yeah if you have a lazy afternoon in the nearby future, be sure to try the podcast and let me know what you think.

Link: http://www.gcast.com/u/aerialblock/main
Megaupload: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VWI5LMHK

Oh and have a picture of some Geese.

Thanks Dtoid.

4:10 PM on 01.04.2009

People slated Mirrors Edge because of its hard gameplay and combat
system yet Farcry 2 is rated very highly among reviewers and gamers.

Farcry 2 is the most annoying game I've played of this generation, list
will be provided.

*Health Bar depletes rapidly
*You have hardly any ammo
*Enemies appear to have eyes in the back of their heads
*Cars die too quickly
*Check points everywhere
*Hidden enemies popping your head off from 100 metres away with a
shotgun, and you can't see where they are.
*Bad voice actors
*Missions send you on a car journey that lasts 10 minutes

And they all congeal together to make many frustrating experiences.

EG, You go through a check point, they come after you in a truck, car
gets 2 shots in the back of it and then the bonnet starts steaming (Doesn't really
make sense),
you get out of the car and then 5 people lamp you in the face with bullets.
And even if you escape, if you haven't cleaned all of their clocks they come
running after you shooting you in the back but then you turn around to shoot
them you either:

A) You have no ammo
B) You cant see them anywhere

And you get pwned again.

The problem is that I really want to like this game because it seems to
have the right idea going for it, I don't know maybe I need to slog on through
to get a better experience.

Home is a good idea.
It elaborated on the Nintendo Mii idea and decided to go one step further from customisable
avatars and created a world for owners to mingle with their friends and play some simple
minigames, eg. Pool. When it was first announced in 2007 thats all it was, a good idea by
Sony, but now its turned into a gigantic hype machine by the Playstation fanboys where

This hype has been generated by the shameless display from Sony by delaying Home
time and again and keeping people that wanted to play it, in the dark and on the edge
of their seats (for no real reason). This caused curiosity among gamers and eventually
became a legend in its own lunchtime because of the mystery question, "when will it
actually be released".

Now we are here at the release of the open beta for Home (still not even been officially
released...) and Playstation owners are going f***king mental over it. At the moment it's
not even hit the PSN store (to my knowledge) and the tension around the fans is intense.
People just want to see what they have been missing out on for over a year and because
of this its going to get hyped to hell by the fanboys and in turn, they are going to get flame
baited by the 360 owners that feel the need to critisise Home because it is for the enemy
Console, and we can't allow the opposition to have a better avatar function than us can we?

Hype is the black death of games, for example Mirrors Edge was a good concept and
had original gameplay, but was destroyed by the hype of the impressionable gamers
that see a teaser trailer and automatically judge the whole game on a few seconds
of actual gameplay.

Prepare mature gamers, the next few months will be rife with Home Vs NXE arguments.
Then again, looking at the track record of the common gamer, we have seen much worse.

P.S. Woot first blog entry.