When you combine the first and second points you start to see that the SMT series paints a picture of flawed authority figures.� Fathers who aren't around and mother's love that is just out of reach.
To continue the theme of authority figures, it reaches to a much deeper level.� While parents are supposed to be our safety and support system during our development- if we develop without them, what authority figures do we relate to?
The next logical step is the innate morality present in the world around us.� Law and Chaos; represented by God (YHVH) and Satan (Louis Cyphre) respectfully.
Of course, these are represented by "Black and White" choices; either all Chaos or all Law.� While the games do offer a "neutral" path, in all cases these paths are essentially "non-endings" where either the world continues on or starts back up where it stopped.
Coming from a Christian background I have to admit I find humor in SMT.� I was originally intrigued by the idea of the Hebrew God as a final boss.� The "black and white" Christian way of thinking would probably condemn such a game.
The point behind this, I feel, is to set up the transition between childhood and adulthood.
Generally speaking, most people try to "graduate" from their parents.� There comes a time we have to strike out on our own and create our own life.
In each SMT game the protagonist is tapped to become the catalyst (or "Messiah") for a new world.� He/she becomes the "parent" of the next generation of man.� In our journey to adulthood, we have to overcome our parents.
The idea of "God" or "Satan" plays into all the things we wish to do away with when we think of our parents.� We would try to be free from pride, greed, lies, hypocrisy...� All these traits and more are represented in these "boss" figures.
Accepting ourselves for who we are as people, good or bad.
In reality, there is no "black" and "white".� The world around us is made up of greys.� Just because I said something mean to a stranger, does that mean I'm also a murderer?� Shin Megami Tensei tricks us into choosing a path knowing that both being neutral and being one sided is wrong.
In the end, there is no right answer- and that's the thrill in replaying the games.� Not in simply seeing the different endings, but imagining ourselves as different people making the different moral choices; aligning ourselves with different demons to boot.
In the end, who we are is what we create.
Shin Megami Tensei paints this message as we make the transition to adulthood.� Most RPGs have static elements and static endings.� In the world of SMT, your ending is determined but what you've become over the course of the game.� An angel?� A demon?� A messiah?� A destroyer?
In that way it's much like parenthood.� Despite our best intentions to be the best parents we can, our children become a representation of ourselves.� Just like we did, they will have a choice someday to become different and create their own world.� Fortunately for us, they won't be able to summon demons to do it with.
It's an interesting life picture; however flawed.� In all of the SMT games, you are required to choose from other people's choices, never allowed to make your own.
Regardless of it's little flaws, SMT is a series I love wholeheartedly and will continue to support with my means as long as they keep making them.� In many ways, SMT helped me confront, converse with, and persuade my own demons...
LOOK WHO CAME: