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Save State: A Candid Discussion (Spec Ops: The Line)


This single scene asks so much more of the player than any other game has.  It isn’t just saying in this game you were a dick because I told you to be a dick.  It is asking you if you really, honestly, think that every military shooter on the market is right.  Is it correct to take people’s lives to live out your own power fantasy?  How far are you willing to go to get the reward of being a hero?  The entire scene is asking you to stop playing games as a kind of Skinner Box - keep killing and we will keep rewarding you - and start questioning your motives and thinking for yourself.  What have they done?  Why am I killing?  Do I have a choice?

From a personal note, I played this game through on my first time going for the last ending.  There was no closure, no fanfare, and I felt empty for it.  I did everything it asked me to, because I knew that if I did I would get another chapter.  I would get another achievement.  If I shot someone in the face with a shotgun, a fountain of blood would pop up with all the fanfare of a coworker giving me a thumbs up in the office.  I felt nothing from the game, except the feeling that I missed something.  I played through again through the scene with the white phosphorous only to get the same empty feeling.  

After watching that scene again, and realizing that they were talking about me?  I feel horrible.  I fell right into their trap.  They were right.  I would pursue any goal, no matter how gory, to advance whatever narrative they drove.  When I mentioned Bioshock above, it wasn’t simply for the community spoiler.  It was also because this game pulls the same “would you kindly?” card.  I am willing to do whatever a game asks me to do, regardless of context, just to advance the game.  We trust that what we are doing is correct.  If a game refused to progress unless you killed an infant, would you?  Would you turn off the game and play something else?  What if the game asked you to open fire on civilians in an airport?  Spec Ops takes a moment to ask, from one reasonable human being to another, what are we willing to do in a game to be entertained?  How far will we go?

For me the answer to that question is, in a word, unsettling.
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About SaveStateone of us since 9:05 PM on 04.27.2013

Welcome to the Save State Cblogs! In honor of Chad Concelmo's awesome Memory Card series, we decided to continue his legacy.

Remember that one moment from your favorite video game? You know, that one you made a special save file for just so you could easily experience it again? Well, that's us!

Every so often, we write up about moments in games that had an impact on us, either by making us feel super happy, super sad, or a moment that showcases how awesome videogames are! These are the special moments we saved and want to share with the world.

The best part? This is community driven!
Currently the team consists of:
Smurfee McGee
Amna Umen
Last Scion of the House of Blue Lions

But you can join too! Anyone can write up an article to be featured here. Want to get started? Send a PM to any of us or to the central Save State account.

Load state:
1. No One Stops (NieR)
2. The Impossible Maze (Antichamber)
3. Jenny (The Darkness)
4. An Assassin Takes Any Job (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance)
5. Taking One for the Team (Einhander)
6. Courageous Stortelling (Fear Effect)
7. A Candid Discussion (Spec Ops: The Line)
8. Optimization (Unknown)