So I was going to do this as a Gaming’s Guilty Pleasures C-blog, I’d actually been planning it for a week and a half or so. Then as I was typing this up I realized this wouldn’t fit the theme. This isn’t a “guilty” pleasure for me, it’s just a good old fashioned pleasure. So, instead of just scrapping it I figured I’d finish typing my thoughts and throw it up here. I mean, I already had some pictures ready, why waste ‘em, eh?
Pretty much any game in which I’m given the opportunity to be an asshole, I go for it. It’s always been that way. Be it as insignificant a choice as whether or not you’re going to leave that poor chicken alone, or a you’re-going-to-Hell-for-this-one move like murdering your blind sister, I usually go for the dick move.
I’m a nice enough guy in the real world, I’d never do half the things I do in video games if given the option in reality. That’s part of what makes games great. I’d never torture an animal, but that’s the first thing I do when I see a chicken in any given Zelda game. Run the little bastard into a corner and slash the bejeezus out of him. Playing the original Halo I’d gladly off the marines for their ammo. In Animal Crossing I roam around in a hockey mask and my custom made duds, sending threatening messages in little bottles to drift in the sea. In Hotel Dusk I got kicked out of the titular rat-trap by Dunning a few times in a row for talking shit to a little girl ’til she started crying.
GTA 4 is out tomorrow, and I know I’ll be back in the swing of things, running over random passersby. Who here hasn’t hooked up in-game with a prostitute and immediately gotten a refund the easy, messy way? If you don’t run ‘em over as soon as they’re out of the car, you’re doing it wrong.
I remember the first time I used my powers for wrong. Way back in elementary school there was a computer game, either one of the Oregon Trails or another like it, I can’t recall the name. Anyways, you’d be able to trade with the natives for supplies in the game. I’d always lowball them, asking for a lot but offering very little in return. They’d usually decline, at which point I’d ask for a bit more and offer even less. They’d almost always accept, and I’d laugh my grade school ass off. I’d really find this hilarious. Who knows if it was poor programming or just developers with a sense of humor about taking advantage of indigenous people, but this crude computer game gave me the ability to be a dick, and I loved it.
Next came Zelda and the aforementioned cuccos. But Zelda was also my first experience with shoplifting in a game. Getting a five-finger discount from the shopkeeper in Link’s Awakening just felt great. Coming back later, to find the little guy pissed off was not so great…
RPGs are getting better and better at letting me be a jerk. From telling NPCs off in BioWare games, to killing everyone you meet in Oblivion and to a lesser extent Fable, it’s all good being bad. Even in other RPGs, where you really don’t have a choice in whether or not you go save that friend/lover/relative/ruler/homeland/etc, there’s usually somebody there to ask you to do so. I’m the guy that always has to say “No”. Sure, the dialogue often loops or you’re stuck wherever you’re at until you say yes, and I know that, but I have to decline if only to see what I can get for a reaction.
Fable may be more limited than some, but it’s still one of my favorites. You can do anything from give a kid the finger, to eat a “crunchy” chick, to commanding folks to follow you so you can sacrifice them at a demonic altar. It’s all degrees if dickishness. Helping folks, getting paid, then attacking them is a common practice. Fable punishes you though, making you bald and surrounded by flies. I can understand the bald thing, I mean we all know that good people have long hair
, so it’s only fitting I guess that my character would lose all his hair, but why the flies? Don’t jerks bathe?
Cosmetics aside, the only problem with being a dickhead is that it makes a lot of games easier. It’s often easier to power up when playing the jerk, and it’s definitely easier not to care if civilians die. I actually went against my normal gameplan when I played BioShock last year, I let the Little Sisters live. I wanted to limit my ADAM and make the game more challenging, but I know I’d have had more fun the other way. Needless to say, if BioShock 2 has similar choices, those little girls are going down.
So there it is, my not so guilty pleasure. I love doing the wrong thing, it‘s just more fun. I’m sure most of you can relate…